August, 2013

30 August
3

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Car seats, cars , diapers and dummies…

Hi everyone,

This week’s blog is a few days late so I apologise. I hope you all had a lovely bank holiday weekend? I had a lovely weekend despite of the torrential down pour on Saturday.

Alex and I went to a Hollywood-themed wedding which was lovely. We felt awful that the sun couldn’t make an appearance for our friends, but thankfully it didn’t ruin their day and they are now enjoying a much deserved break and some sunshine in Mauritius!

 

Alex and I at the Hollywood wedding

Alex and I at the Hollywood wedding

 

So on to this weeks baby/pregnancy related investigations…

Noone ever tells you that you actually need a degree to use all this baby stuff! It took us a good half an hour to install the ‘family fix’ base for our Maxi Cosi pebble car seat we purchased, but its fab! Buying a car seat is one of THE most important things you need, because you won’t be able to leave hospital and take the baby home without one. For the first 3 months its recommended that the baby sits in the back, facing backwards. So a mirror attached to the back windscreen of the car facing the baby, that you can see in to, could come in handy (as suggested by my sister in-law). Having the family fix base isn’t necessary but it does make life a lot easier. It means the Maxi Cosi just clips in safe and secure. There is no need to harness the car seat in with a seat belt which can sometimes be a lot of faff. The family fix base will also be suitable when the baby is older and the car seat needs to be upgraded to a bigger size (the pearl). So personally I think it’s money well spent. Most buggies have adapters for this car seat to fit in to, so when you make a decision on what buggy you are going to purchase, make sure you buy the maxi-cosi adapters as well.

 

The family fix Maxi car seat base

The family fix Maxi Cosi pebble car seat base

 

Until recently I was thinking that I would keep my Mini. I love it, but it’s not the most practical car for transporting everything I’m going to need when I’m travelling around and filming in the UK next year for A Place in the Sun – Home or Away with baby in toe! I’ve always been a bit of a petrol head and Alex and I have decided to purchase a ‘family car’. We went for the Mercedes 350ML because, not only is it spacious, it is luxurious and also has a good bit of power. One of my favourite features is the self closing boot which I’m sure will be extremely useful when I won’t have enough hands to carry everything and close the car door! It also feels really safe being high up and it’s definitely far more appropriate for what we are going to need. I’m really impressed with how economic it is too. I’ve just got to get used to the size difference as I’m no longer able to squeeze it in to tiny car parking spaces.

 

Our new 'family car' - the Mercedes 350ML

Our new ‘family car’ – the Mercedes 350ML

 

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about disposable nappies versus washable diapers. In my head I really like the idea of using washable ones as many people say they are better for the baby and can help prevent nappy rash. They are also more environmentally friendly. The amount of nappies that get put in to landfills is incredible. I have found a couple of interesting companies online that could be worth trying if you are considering using these. Littlelambnappies.com look good, lovely and soft and they offer a trial pack. Babipur.co.uk is also worth a look with some colourful designs.

There is a group set up called ‘Nappuccino” who hold mornings in local areas to show you the different types of washable nappies you can use. There are also nappy libraries where you can try before you buy! You could argue that you will spend more on washing by using this type of nappy. Also, with all the extra washing you have to do with a new baby, it might not be so convenient (given that, on average, a newborn needs their nappy changed between 8-12 times a day.)

Disposable nappies do seem to be being made more ‘environmentally friendly’ and after careful consideration, with my work schedule and how much I will be travelling, I think using these will be best for me and my baby (and also for everyone who will be helping look after the little one). I really would love to use the washable ones but I just don’t think they are going to work for me… Alex is so easygoing, he is just letting me get with whatever I think will work best. He will be changing plenty of nappies too and has had lots of previous practice with his niece and nephew so he will probably be more of a pro than me!

The one gadget that I will be investing in whilst using disposable nappies is the Tommy Tippee nappy wrapper. Lots of my friends have used these and say they are a brilliant as they help minimise smells and compress the nappies too.

 

The Hevea dummy

The Hevea dummy

 

Something else that has been on my mind a lot for a while is the idea of letting the baby have a dummy (or pacifier, as they are also known.) We have friends that detest the look of dummies and others who say that using them has been a life saver when the baby is screaming in the middle of the night. I have actually decided to buy some pacifiers from heveababy.com. They are designed naturally for Eco babies and they seem to have a bit of a celeb following with the likes of Orlando Bloom using them for his newborn – check them out. I want to leave you with a little thought before you judge me on my decision. You can take a dummy away from a baby, but you can’t take its thumb away. I’m not ashamed to admit that I sucked my thumb until the age of 15, as I couldn’t get to sleep without doing so. It then cost a lot of money to put my teeth right! If my Mum had given me a pacifier, would this issue have been solved?…

Right on that note, that’s it from me. Tonight I’m hosting the Teen Queen awards at Alexandra Palace and this weekend it’s my baby shower so make sure you check back at next week’s blog to see how it went. My friend Haley has organised it all with a vintage tea party theme – I can’t wait.

Until then…

Laura and 30 week old bump! X

20 August
1

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A Yummy Mummy…

Hey all,

Have you ever heard the term yummy mummy? When I googled it this week the definition came up as, “a young, attractive, wealthy mother who dresses fashionably and appears well groomed”. Well I might not fit in to every category but I would like to think that as a new mum I will endeavour to dress fashionably and appear well groomed.

Me and Alex on our HELLO! photoshoot

Me and Alex on our HELLO! photoshoot

As a pregnant lady I still want to look glamorous and feel fabulous but it is getting hard… I’ve now got the linea negra (the pale brown line that runs from the pubic bone to the belly button), that people commonly get in pregnancy and the dreaded time has also come to get a maternity bra.

My 'linea negra'

My ‘linea negra’

I have touched on it before (and I know from speaking with lots of other women), the choice of maternity underwear is really limited and quite frankly unattractive, especially for women with smaller frames and big chests. In fact, despite my best efforts of looking in many well known high street stores, they just don’t seem to cater for people with this problem at all. I am seriously considering designing my own range and am currently in the process of working on this. In the meantime, I have only managed to find one company that have maternity/nursing bras that 1. FIT and 2. LOOK NICE. If you check out cakelingerie.com they have some nice underwear and I have purchased two in their range which will hopefully see me through the next 12 weeks of my pregnancy and beyond, when I hope to breast feed. I’m pretty sure I will need to invest in some more, but for now two will suffice.

Something else that I want to be stylish is my baby changing bag. I figured that I will be carrying this bag around all the time like my handbag, so I want it to be practical but also to be quality and look nice. There are lots of bags out there but the one I have ordered is from a company called Lin and Leo. The company was set up in 2003 by two style-savvy mothers and if you want a gorgeous, yet practical bag you should definitely check these out – linandleo.com. I’ve chosen the Tan Leather Baby bag which looks lovely – maybe I won’t need to carry my handbag too!

My Lin and Leo Tan Leather Baby bag

My Lin and Leo Tan Leather Baby bag

I think having a nice maternity bra and baby changing bag will most definitely make me feel more like a ‘Yummy Mummy’!

This week I was really happy to review a wonderful website – maternitysupermarket.com. It’s a maternity one-stop shop for advice, as well as a selection of products online. The site is new so I’m sure the catalogue of products available will grow in time. It is run by a lovely lady and mum-of-three, Laura Whitmarsh, who set it up to raise money for ‘The Lullaby Trust’ and I really recommend you check it out.

My top tip this week from friends was regarding baby milk. I’m intending to breast feed if I can, for as long as I can. However, should I for any reason need to give the baby formula milk, a couple of my friends have said it isn’t necessary to warm it up. To give the baby it’s milk at room temperature it is perfectly fine and the baby will only be used to whatever you give it. Three friends suggested this to me and said it made their lives easier. I thought it sounded like a great idea but when I told my mum she completely disapproved! I googled it and many websites say that women only warmed up their babies milk because it’s what their mothers did…so I really believe it is down to YOU and what works best for YOU and YOUR baby. Everyone will have their opinion…

As I said, I am going to try and breast feed but isn’t for everyone and I don’t think people should be made to feel bad for not doing it. I met with another friend this week and she was unable to breast feed her baby because, unbeknown to her, he was allergic to dairy. By giving him breast milk she was actually poisoning him – on this occasion breast definitely wasn’t best!

Me with my great Sassy Bloom delivery!

Me with my wonderful Sassy Bloom delivery!

A lot of my friends are about to have babies or have just given birth, I guess we are all at ‘that age’! If you know someone who is expecting or who has just had a baby, I’ve got a great little present suggestion. This week I received a beautiful box from one of my best friends who is unable to attend my baby shower. It was delivered from a company called Sassy Bloom. They offer a service where you can put a personalised box together for the new mummy/mummy-to-be. The box it is presented in is gorgeous too and after looking at their website I have seen that their boxes can be completely tailored to the receiver! You can get gifts for new daddy’s too which I thought was nice. Check them out at sassybloom.com.

I’m really keen to hear your thoughts on all of the above so don’t forget to leave your comments and opinions.

Are you a ‘Yummy Mummy’? Or do you plan to be one?

Laura xxx

14 August
0

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Hypno-birthing and fitness…

Hi everyone,

How has your week been? Good I hope.

I’ve been having lots of work meetings and when I popped in to ITV studios this week, it was lovely bumping into James Spiers-Suttle and his mum Debbie, who are members of REACH – the charity for children with upper limb deficiency that I am an ambassador for (reach.org.uk). James and Debbie were off to watch Stephen Mulhern’s new show being filmed and I’m sure they had fun.

Me and James at the ITV studios

Me and James at the ITV studios

I’m now 27 weeks pregnant and I’m getting the nursery ready. I’m waiting for the cot and changing table to arrive, which is exciting! Recently, though, I’ve noticed that I’m getting breathless more easily and I’m struggling to bend down to tie my shoes! It’s starting to become harder work carrying around the extra weight and, as much as I often like to think I’m wonder woman around the house, I’m trying to slow down. Listen up all you guys out there – you need to start helping your partners out more if they are expecting!

As I mentioned last week, I was about to start my hypno-birthing course and after the first session I was really impressed. Teresa Pegrum, is a clinical hypnotherapist. She is trained to teach hypno birthing. She came to our house and spent two hours with us explaining that hypno-birthing has been around since the 1950′s . It was originally established in the United States by Marie Mongan, who is the founder of The HypnoBirthing Institute. The idea is that you train yourself to become so relaxed that you can breath through the surges or waves (also known as contractions.) However, even though the words contractions and pain are not used in this technique, there are NO guarantees it won’t hurt because everyone’s pain threshold is different.

Alex and I felt so relaxed listening to Teresa’s voice that we almost fell asleep – apparently that is a good thing! She left us with an MP3 to practice breathing techniques until our next session. We have 5 lessons booked and I’m really looking forward to the next one (you can check out the institute here tphypnosis.co.uk).

During my pregnancy I’m constantly hearing how important it is to keep active, so this week I enlisted the help of a good friend of mine, Kerry Norris. Kerry has been a qualified personal trainer for almost 5 years and has completed courses in pre- and post-natal exercise (and she will also be godmother to our baby!).

Here are some of her exercise tips…

“Hi there, I’m Kerry. I’m a mum of two and I’ve been a personal trainer now since December 2009. Exercising throughout your pregnancy is great and, if you are were exercising prior to becoming pregnant, you can continue as normal as long as you feel well in yourself. There will be some slight adjustments to exercise throughout the different trimesters but, by combining the correct nutrition alongside exercise, it will help you to maintain the steady weight gain required. It’s also worth mentioning that exercise not only promotes the feeling of wellness during pregnancy, it can also help to reduce pain and the length of the time of labour. If you exercise throughout your pregnancy it will help you get back in shape once the baby is born.

The main differences between the exercises for each trimester are whether the exercises are seated or not. It’s important to bear in mind the ever-growing bump, which reduces the range of movement (Laura is starting to notice this now!). From 20 weeks you should not lie in supine position (flat on your back), so from the 2nd trimester there are more exercises to take that into consideration.

Also, the level of intensity will reduce in each trimester as your sense of gravity changes, and fatigue will increase. The amount of time for warm up and cool down has to increase from 5 minutes in the first trimester to 20 minutes in the third trimester. This will ensure adequate time is given for your body to warm up and relax which will prevent fatigue, dizziness and nausea. Larger recovery periods between sets will also be required.

Below are suggestions for exercises in each trimester…

1st trimester
1. Standing/seated wall angel
image1

2. Lying wall angel – strengthens up the abductor muscles

3. Squat with barbell – using weights that is suitable for the individual

4. Plank
image6

5. Seated row – good for working the back muscles
image2

In the first trimester, if you have been a regular exerciser before, you can continue doing the same exercises, as long as you feel well enough and adapt the weights you use if required. Always speak to your doctor or your own personal trainer prior to exercise.

2nd trimester
1. Swiss ball squat – comfortable exercise using a Swiss ball against the wall, to work on legs, and glutes
image5
2. Seated chest press

3. Pelvic tilts – good for working pelvic floor and strengthening those muscles

4. Most flat lying exercises can now be done at an incline after 20 weeks i.e. Incline chest press
image7


3rd trimester
1. Swiss ball squats

2. Single arm row
image8
3. Seated shoulder press
editimage10

4. Abdominal work – side lying or cat curls – bring knee to chest to contract abdominals.
image9

5. Superman in a box position
editimage4

Swimming is an excellent way of cardio work, as it unweights the body and relieves joint stress that can be caused during pregnancy. Stretching out after any type of exercise during pregnancy will help alleviate injury and pain.

edit-swimming

During exercise whilst pregnant, it is most important to keep yourself hydrated with water. Take regular breaks and if you feel unwell at any time, listen to your body and stop.

I hope you find the exercise tips useful and good luck with your pregnancy!

Kerry x”

Thanks Kerry.

Well that is it from me for this week. I’m off to do some exercise!

Have a lovely week.

Love Laura xxx

05 August
2

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Baby can you hear me? Give your newborn a head start…

Hi All!

So this week has been packed full of baby things – attending events, research and shopping. I’m loving it but I did say to my mum, “Wow you really can spend a fortune on buying things for a baby.” And she responded, “Laura, this is just the beginning!”

On Tuesday last week I headed to the Mamas and Papas store in Nottingham to present the awards for the ‘Mum’s and Dads’ the Word’ event. Mamas and Papas have some beautiful bits and pieces and all of their stores have recently released a local guide with some highly recommended places in each area to take your children, so make sure you look out for it.

Presenting Awards in the Mamas and Papas Store in Nottingham

Presenting Awards in the Mamas and Papas Store in Nottingham

Alex and I have now finished our NCT course and I would say the lessons have been informative, yet relaxed and fun. Our teacher Gaynor was lovely and extremely knowledgable. We discovered that it’s true, labour can be brought on by eating ALOT of pineapple, eating spicy food and being intimate with your partner (although I don’t think its necessary to do all three at the same time!). We found out there are three hormones that play an important role in pregnancy and these include:

1.) Oxytocin which triggers contractions in labour and stimulates your breasts’ milk glands.

2.) Endorphins, the ‘happy hormones’ that help us deal with stress and pain.

3.) Relaxin which softens ligaments and tissues to increase flexibility in your lower back and pelvic joints, in preparation for birth.

We learnt all about the pros and cons of the different types of pain relief available, birthing positions and breathing techniques. Gaynor had some useful suggestions of images to focus on when breathing through contractions and these included blowing bubbles or blowing out candles, both of which I thought were great ideas.

Suggested positions for giving birth

Suggested positions for giving birth

After attending the sessions, I am seriously considering having a home birth. It was suggested that it might be a bit more relaxing and the fact that two midwives come to the house means you get brilliant care. Alex is not too sure and I’m still undecided because, if there are any complications, it will mean rushing to the hospital which is 25 minutes away in an ambulance, and I’m not sure if that is a bit too far. Whatever we decide, it will be a joint decision. If any of you have had a home birth I would love to hear your thoughts.

I would recommend attending an NCT course to meet other people in your area that are expecting at the same time but if you can’t afford to pay for the course the NHS also run one as an alternative.

In last week’s blog I mentioned that I would be researching the topic of ‘the importance of communicating with your baby’. Coincidently in this week’s New York Times there was an interesting article about the topic. A lot of people have been telling me how important it is to speak to your baby whilst it is forming in the womb. Apparently, he or she can hear sounds from as early as 18 weeks and might be more responsive to a male’s deeper voice. I’ve also heard that playing classical music to your unborn child will aid its intellectual development once it arrives. This being the case, I have discovered a useful website and free app (talkingtipsforkids.com) that can help parents ensure their child will get a head start in the communication stakes.

Fiona Barry is a Speech and Language Therapist who has used her experience to develop a series of short films to show parents how even small changes can help their child. She suggests children with strong speaking and listening skills are more likely to make friends easily, do well at school, stay out of trouble and thrive in the workplace as adults. In fact a child’s vocabulary at the age of five is a strong indicator of future qualifications and achievements. There are several videos available and they can be used from pregnancy up until when your child is 5 years of age. The films are only £2.99 each and they can be downloaded from the website. The great thing about them is that they are individually tailored to mums, dads and grandparents so there’s something for everyone. I personally feel with all the evidence found, the videos are extremely useful and must be worth a try! Who doesn’t want to try and give their child a head start?

Georgie and Ray who offered fantastic advice in Mothercare

Georgie and Ray who offered fantastic advice in Mothercare

This week, as well as discovering the videos, I also purchased Gina Ford’s The Contented Little Baby and Annabel Karmel’s Complete First Year Planner (both are more for reference rather than to follow rigidly). I bought some lovely white baby grows, some breast nursing pads for when my breasts start lactating (apparently it can happen from 28 weeks when you hear other babies cry!) and a luxury pocket sprung mattress with spacetec and coolmax for the cot I have ordered. I want to say a big thank you to the manager Ray from the Purley Way Mothercare store, who was incredibly helpful and I’d also like to thank Georgie the lovely lady who served me and offered some fantastic advice.

I’ve had a few lovely presents this week too, which is always nice when there is SO much to buy! My agents Julia and Jayne bought me a brilliant gift called the ‘widgey cushion’. Julia said it was life-changing when she was pregnant. The cushion is great for me to use now to get comfy when I’m sleeping but it will be most useful for when I’m breast feeding, helping me to get the baby in the right position. When the baby starts to sit, the cushion will be perfect to support his/her back. Investing in a Widgey Cushion is a wise move!

The Widgey Cushion

The Widgey Cushion

When I caught up with Karen Barber this week (Dancing on Ice judge and head coach), she bought a gorgeous little present for the baby – some Jelly Cat booties and a matching comforter. I’ve heard lots about these and they are supposed to be amazing, so thank you Karen and Chris.

Over the next few days I’m starting my hypno-birthing classes at home. Apparently this is how the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to Prince George, and it is how I am planning on having our baby. It’s all about putting yourself into a hypnotised state and relaxing and breathing through the pain. I’m having one-on-one sessions at home with Teresa Pegrum, a clinical hypnotherapist (tphypnosis.co.uk), so I’ll let you know how I get on.

I hope you’ve found this weeks blog useful and please don’t forget to leave your comments and thoughts.

Until next time…

Laura & Bump xx
@laurahamiltontv

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