Say hello to the Giggles Family – Jules G

giggles family photoPlease welcome military wife and mummy Jules to Blogs for Babies!

Life’s never quiet living the army life, sailing the ups and downs of having a husband often working away and a Baby G learning new things every day! Baby G is under a year and bundles of fun, easily getting the giggles at the smallest thing.

They make the most of family life together after for quite some time fearing they would not be able to have a family at all. They love spending their time checking out local children’s activities, holding family events, having fun with friends and making a blog and video diary on their YouTube channel for the future.

Jules blogs at www.TheGigglesFamily.com

I’m new here so I guess I should introduce myself *Waves*.

Me and Mr G have been together 6 years, married for 4. After thinking we may not have the chance to have a family, Baby G came into our lives and as cheesy as it sounds, made us feel complete.

We have the same stresses of family life as anyone, but we try our best to make the best of every moment because we almost didn’t have it.

Baby G is now 7 months old and learning constantly. He’s at a stage of frustration, wishing he could crawl and still thinking that if he concentrates hard and makes a grunting sound it will magically happen. He still hasn’t clicked that’s why we have tummy time!

Daddy G is in the military, but currently, fortunately at home with us aside from bits of training, so we are making the most of all being together. He has been posted elsewhere next year so we are gearing up to move with him. If anyone has any tips on packing a whole house with a baby please let me know!

I blog 2-3 times a week, review products and hold giveaways plus networking. We are also vlogging daily in December for Vlogmass. Sometimes it can feel too busy, and other times I just enjoy having my own little project through currently being a stay at home mum.

I’ll admit I’m an Instagram addict (@mrsgigglesworthy) because it makes any photo look beaut and has become a kind of family photo album for us.

I hope you’ll pop back to join us on our journey, our first Christmas together and moving next year. It would be lovely to have you along for the ride.

Follow Jules on Twitter @thegigglesblog

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Living with Silent Reflux – ‘Resident Blogger’ Hannah

hannah reflux 1Resident Blogger and all round lovely lady Hannah is new mum to Toby, now three months old. Poor Hannah and little Toby have not had the easiest of times unfortunately, as Toby has been suffering from a condition called silent reflux, where a baby’s stomach contents come back up their oesophagus but they show no sign of vomiting. It can cause tremendous pain to the baby, and a lot of upset and anxiety for mum, as Hannah explains in her latest post here.

Hannah blogs at www.buddingsmiles.co.uk

Anyone who reads my blog and/or follows me on Twitter may well know about my son Toby’s diagnosis of silent reflux. He was diagnosed at 6 weeks old and now at 13 weeks, I feel it’s time to write about our experiences so far.

The first few weeks of Toby’s life whizzed by in a blur of sleep deprivation, figuring out breastfeeding, scheduling visitors and snuggling our new son. Looking back, he was never a truly settled baby and try as we might with the Moses basket, Toby would only sleep in mine or his Daddy’s arms. By about 5 weeks it was very clear that he was more unsettled than other babies; as we ventured out more and met up with our NCT friends and other new parents, Toby would cry constantly unless being fed or bounced whilst their babies cooed and slept. Still, neither the health visitor nor GP thought anything was wrong at the scheduled checks so we just carried on.

Things became really tough quite quickly and soon Toby was pulling away from my breast screaming, arching his back and going almost rigid. It was horrible to see and it felt like a personal rejection to me. I was told to work on my latch but I knew that the latch was fine. One day, I noticed Toby’s tummy gurgling during a feed, then he pulled away and sounded like he was going to be horrifically sick but nothing came out. When this had happened a few times, I called the health visitor and she immediately said it was silent reflux. It was that simple!

hannah reflux 2I had a phone consultation with a GP and Infant Gaviscon was prescribed, but after a few days of even more screaming – we’re talking 10 hours a day – alongside constipation, we stopped the Gaviscon as any possible benefits were totally outweighed by the terrible pain he was in from constipation. I called the GP back, ready for a fight, but he immediately got us an appointment and prescribed Omeprazole.

Seven weeks later, we’ve had good days and bad days; the Omeprazole does seem to have helped and since, Toby’s also been put on Dentinox for colic. On the bad days, Toby has cried and screamed for hours on end and I won’t sugar coat, I too have cried very many tears. I have told myself repeatedly that if silent reflux is as bad as it ever gets for Toby then Phil and I are very lucky, but when you watch your son screaming in pain and crunching his legs up, unable to open his bowels or have a full feed then it’s heartbreaking.

As the stress took its toll I accepted that I couldn’t keep exclusively breastfeeding because it meant that I couldn’t have a break, allow Phil or our families to help out on the bad days so that I could rest. Some people continue to feed no matter what and I commend them, but I felt incapable of being the best possible Mummy to Toby if I was an emotional wreck. We began combination feeding during our family holiday a couple of weeks ago and that was a huge turning point. With shared responsibility at night and on the weekends, I can have a bit of time to breathe, to reset my head and to go back in with more strength to help Toby through this.

Whether it’s the feeding, the elusive 3 month mark, the medicine or complete coincidence, Toby does seem a lot better. Toby now sleeps better, smiles more and is developing at an amazing rate. Sometimes he cries, he is a baby after all, but the frequency of the gurgling tummy has reduced and Toby seems so much happier. Phil and I obviously don’t want Toby on medication long-term, but for now things are working and I think we’ll wait until weaning commences (which I’m so excited about!) then speak to the GP and figure out a course of action.

hannah familyFor any parents reading who are experiencing the horror of reflux, please do accept help, fight if doctors won’t listen to you and take each day as it comes. I hated it when people told me it would get better, but it truly is doing and I feel like the Mummy I was born to be, with a perfect, beautiful, smiley son who I love to the ends of the earth.

I’m doing a reflux series of posts on my blog, the first of which was my very first vlog, so please have a read and do get in touch if you want to chat.

Follow Hannah on Twitter @BuddingSmiles

Find out more about reflux and silent reflux from the NCT website

20 myths about adoption busted – Sophia Thompson

love in the clouds logoI’m so thrilled to introduce Sophia – our first blogger who is a new mum through adoption. I must admit to knowing very little about the whole adoption process, and this first post by Sophia has really opened my eyes to this whole other route to becoming a parent.

If you have any queries about adoption that you would like Sophia to try and answer for you, please comment below.

Sophia blogs at www.loveinthecloudsblog.com

I’m really excited to be the first mum on Blogs for Babies through adoption!

Adoption is a crazy journey and something I find people are really curious about. There is so much in the media or through hearsay that isn’t true so hopefully today I can shed some light on it. Let’s start with busting 20 myths of adoption:

MYTH#1: You get to choose a baby

BUSTED: It’s not like shopping. Anyone who views hearing about children in need in that way really shouldn’t be adopting! Through the lengthy assessment process you explore with your social worker the kind of child as a family that you could cope with, what could make you uncomfortable or affect your attachment with a child, and where your skills and personalities lie. It’s to ensure that once a child is adopted it really will last forever, that long terms needs have really been considered. The social workers discuss profiles of families and children to ensure a “match” is made that will last. For many adopters this means expressing an interest in a child only to be told a large number of adopters are being considered and waiting, hoping for weeks before you know if you’re ruled in or out. It’s not easy.

There are websites where approved adopters can view profiles of children waiting, but it’s not an easy surf. To see all those children in need of a family and read harrowing stories is heart breaking. Whenever we looked on them I felt awful afterwards, however it is a necessity to ensure that matches can be made as quickly as possible for the child.

MYTH#2: You have to pay lots of fees

BUSTED: In America private adoptions can costs tens of thousands. I think this is where this myth in the UK has come from. In the UK, adopting a child through the state, domestically, does not cost anything. The local authority pays for the preparation, training and home assessment. The only charge is when applying to court to formally adopt, which currently is about £170.

Adopting from overseas can be expensive. The adoption agency may charge a fee. There are also the visits to their country to consider, which may be more than once. It can still be well worth it, but is something to think about when considering your options.

MYTH#3: Adopters are always needed so you would have a child straight away

BUSTED: Since the huge, and much needed, campaigns to attract new prospective adopters in many local authorities the wait has actually increased. This doesn’t mean all children have been adopted though. It just means there are a lot more adopters waiting too, but your wait can depend also on what child you are happy to adopt. If you feel you could cope with a child with very high needs, there are sadly many children in need of you. Please contact your local agency!

To give you an example, from the time we attended the adoption information session to when we brought Shipmate (nickname for our son) home took nearly 2 years. That included a delay due to availability of a social worker to take on our case. From what I hear that’s pretty quick, however I also know people for whom it took under a year in their county. It’s worth asking about current waiting times for the assessment when you make an enquiry. That way you can be realistic in your expectations. It’s painful getting your hopes up, i.e. by Christmas we could be a family, only to have to undergo that event still waiting.

MYTH#4: Single people, Gay/Bi/Lesbian people, people with any difficult history, disability or that have ever had depression can’t adopt

BUSTED: Noooo! All applicants for adoption should be treated equally. The most important thing is that you have a loving and stable home. The home assessment covers your relationships, whether you are single, gay or heterosexual makes no difference. It’s about who will be in the child’s life and whether that is a good thing for them. You will also be asked to undertake a health assessment with your GP. If you have had medical problems, the severity, whether this could affect the ability to parent, and whether you have accepted help (especially in depression) will be considered. It is a strength to have known when to seek help. Everyone goes through difficult periods in the life. You are not expected to be perfect.

MYTH#5: You can’t adopt if you live in a flat and must own a house

BUSTED: You can live in the flat, you can be renting. It’s about whether your home is safe and suitable to bring up a child. Just because you don’t have a garden doesn’t mean you won’t be able to use local parks for outdoor time. You will however need a bedroom for the child.

MYTH#6: Once you adopt you’ll relax and get pregnant

BUSTED: This is said so often. Adoption isn’t a relaxing experience. Being a parent generally often isn’t! It’s busy, there is always something to do and kids are demanding. If this was true for any parent, when they are ready for their second child it would just happen! It should also be born in mind that for some (not all) adoptive parents, they may have been through infertility issues. Saying to them they will “just get pregnant” could actually be pretty hurtful.

MYTH#7: Adoption is a second choice

BUSTED: For many people adoption was their first parenting choice. I for one would never look back wishing I’d had a birth child. Any birth child we had had wouldn’t have been Shipmate and I wouldn’t want anyone other than our Shipmate!

MYTH#8: All adopted children have been abused

BUSTED: Children come into the care system for all sorts of reasons. Yes some have been through traumatic abuse that should never have had to happen to them. For others it may have been that they were “At Risk” of abuse e.g. perhaps previous siblings had been harmed and taken into care or there are significant concerns around the safety of a birth parent or their ability to keep the child safe. Though rarer, some babies are also relinquished. My point is just not to make any assumption. You may never know why your friend’s child needed adoption. It’s a very private piece of their life.

MYTH#9: All adopted children are orphans

BUSTED: Again this is rare. Usually there is a birth family in existence for whom you need to be able to have some understanding and perhaps have letterbox or face to face contact. That you will need to explain to the child and help them to understand the situation.

MYTH#10: Adopting an older child means you miss the hard bit/sleepless nights/nappies etc.

BUSTED: For many adoptive parents this is met with sadness. They would have loved to have been a walking zombie from a sleepless night with their child as a baby, or drowning in nappies. For some children they come with other “difficult” times as they settle in with their new family and learn to trust again. It’s not necessarily harder or easier, just different.

MYTH#11: You can just adopt from abroad

BUSTED: There is the option of adopting from abroad but that’s a whole specialist subject in itself. Not something I have experience of. However I know from friends it’s also a long process, from many countries an even longer process than in the UK. You may be dealing with another language, a foreign legal system, fees and distance. Whilst obviously still very worth it, to them it’s not as easy as “just adopting from abroad”.

MYTH#12: You can’t adopt if you’re in the military

BUSTED: Yes you can! Military personnel are also entitled to Adoption Leave. You can adopt through your local authority or there is an organisation called SAFA especially for military families that provides an adoption service.

MYTH#13: Adoption means you have to live in fear of birth family finding you

BUSTED: Not all birth families pose a danger. Some try to move on the best they can from such a hard experience. Some may have agreed with the route of adoption or adoption was needed because they couldn’t care for their child due to severe learning disability for example. Where there is a danger, the adoption agency would discuss that with you and measures that could be put in place e.g. the child may be adopted out of the county or in extreme circumstances it may be advised their name is changed. Part of the agency’s job is to ensure a safe match, risk assess and provide a support plan.

MYTH#14: Birth family can claim the adopted child back

BUSTED: Once a child has been adopted it cannot be overturned. You become the legal parent of your child permanently.

MYTH#15: It’s best not to tell the child they were adopted/help them to forget about their past

BUSTED: This attitude always breaks my heart. In my opinion (and many professionals in the area) children have a right to their origins and history. Imagine finding out by accident as a teenager or adult and feeling your parents lied to you about something so so important. In the past this may have been common but many of those adoptees grew up feeling something was “different” and feeling hurt that they weren’t told the truth and choice was taken away.

There are many books and services available now to help explain adoption to a child. Their social worker provides a life story book and later life letter to explain their personal history on their level.

In our house adoption is an open subject. Children in the wider family know Shipmate was adopted and have children’s story books to begin explaining it in a child friendly way. It doesn’t need to feel shameful or secretive.

MYTH#16: You get paid loads to adopt

BUSTED: Adoption agencies don’t pay prospective adopters to adopt. Adoption Allowance is available the same as it is to biological families in the form of maternity pay. It’s not much! Some adoptive families may receive a top up from their adoption agency, but this would be for extra support such as towards medical needs.

MYTH#17: You can’t adopt over age 40

BUSTED: You must be over 21 years old but there is no upper age limit in law as far as I am aware. The adoption agency would discuss with you your particular circumstances.

MYTH#18: You can’t adopt if you already have birth children

BUSTED: Not at all. Many adopters have previous birth or adopted children. The current child/ren’s needs would be considered to help them understand what adoption means and how things will change. Some children may need a home with no other children due to their experience or needs but there are many who would love brothers and sisters.

MYTH#19: You can’t adopt if you have ever been in trouble with the police

BUSTED: Obviously if you have any convictions against children you won’t be suitable to adopt. However other convictions would be considered by the adoption agency on a case by case basis. If you were caught shoplifting a nail varnish as a dare as a teenager it’s unlikely that’s going to affect whether you would be a good parent now!

MYTH#20: You can’t love an adopted child as much as a birth child

BUSTED: I don’t have experience of a birth child however every day I think I can’t love this little guy any more than I do then the next day it surprises me that I do! I am told by biological parents it is just the same for them. For some the feeling is immediate, for some it takes time to grow (just as it can for a biological parent). The love between a mother and child is special and personal however it is formed and not something that I feel should be compared whether it’s between adoptive and biological parent or between biological to biological parent. It’s too individual. Love occurs in many circumstances and different types of relationships around the world. There is no way of measuring it. I think we should just value it however it turns up 😉

 

I hope that has made sense for you. If not please leave a comment below and I’ll try to help along with any questions you may have that I haven’t answered. In my next post I’ll tell you how our story started. It’s been a long and at times overwhelming journey, but oh so worth it.

Sophia

Follow Sophia on Twitter @loveclouddesign

My son and I have had ‘the Talk’ – Ali Shattock

ali and harleyHere’s a heartwrenchingly lovely little post from Ali – beautiful yet tinged with a bit of sadness. As a mummy of a little boy myself, it really struck a chord with me.

Ali blogs at www.mylifemylove.com

I can’t believe it. Last week, my son and I had the talk. The talk that breaks every parent’s heart and at only 3 years old, this talk certainly did make my heart ache.

“Mummy, I want to marry you. I want to be with you forever, you are my beautiful girl.”

I think I stopped breathing for a second. These beautiful words coming from my son’s lips, totally unprompted and unrelated. My gosh, I love him.

We chatted about how mummy is married to daddy and that you can’t marry someone in your family; you marry someone to make a new family. To which he squeezed me tightly, his super soft face touching mine and replied “But I love you.”

How lovely that he sees marriage as being with someone that you really love, forever. I felt that I needed to give hubby and myself a pat on the back for subconsciously instilling that environment and belief in our children.

As lovely and heart warming that this announcement was, reality hit with the realisation that one day, Harley will leave me. I will never leave him; he will leave me. I don’t want him to leave me.

Someone else will become his focus and his world.

I want to hold his hand for as long as he will need me to or perhaps, want me to.

But for now, I’m happy being the only girl in Harley’s life. I’m more than happy to be his ideal; his image of perfection; his everything.

Follow Ali on Twitter @aliandlucky

To buy or not to buy…? – ‘Resident Blogger’ Hannah

Wonderful Resident Blogger Hannah is back after her first month with beautiful new baby Toby! Here she tells us what she has found you realistically do and don’t need for life with a newborn. Lots of you will relate to this post, and if you’re currently making your new baby shopping list, you may just pick up some useful pointers.

 What are your tips for other expectant parents to buy for the nursery – and what should they leave in the shop, regardless of how cute it is? Share your dos and don’ts at @BlogsForBabies.
Hannah blogs at www.buddingsmiles.co.uk
As Toby prepares to turn a whole one month old (it’s gone so quickly!) I thought I’d write about the things that have proven invaluable in this first month, along with the things we probably could have lived without.

Essentials:

  • Bouncy chair… Toby really likes his bouncy chair and the movement has worked well at calming him from very early on. We went for the Fisher-Price Calming Vibrations chair in the Happy Forest theme because it looks really cosy where some look as if baby is perched on top of them and don’t look comfortable. Toby took a while to like the vibrations being on, but he does now and he’ll happily nap in his chair or just sit and look around.
  • Breast pads… I didn’t leak at all during pregnancy, but my goodness sometimes it’s like someone’s left a tap on! If I do Toby’s morning feed and forget to put a pad in, the side I’m not feeding from drowns us both! Even if you’re not breastfeeding, you’ll need these for a while because just the sound of your crying baby will likely set things off!
  • medela pumpBreast pump… I have just invested in a Medela Swing electric pump and it’s amazing. Prior to that I used a Tommee Tippee manual pump, which did the job but less efficiently and was less comfortable. I express 4oz a day for my husband to feed to Toby at 11pm so that I can have a break before the night shift commences. It’s also good to have some in reserve so that I can, on the odd occasion, be away from Toby for one feed. We’ve been doing this since Toby was 2 weeks old and it thankfully hasn’t caused any confusion with breastfeeding.
  • Slumber Bear… My friend’s baby slept through the night very early on (show off!) so she didn’t need Slumber Bear, who has various settings including white noise, womb noise and classical music. Toby drifts off at night to either the white noise or womb noise setting and seems to enjoy the classical music during quiet/nap times in the day.
  • Muslins, muslins, muslins… Quite simply, buy as many as you can fit in your drawer, changing bag and changing unit because you will need them. All of them. From milk dribble to sick, to that age old baby trick of weeing the moment you remove their nappy, you’ll go through more muslins each week than breast pads!
  • toby hannah slingSlings and carriers… These aren’t for everyone, but I adore my Calin Bleu woven gauze wrap and Toby settles instantly in it. He also likes walks out with Daddy in his Baby Bjorn Original carrier. They’re so convenient both around the house and for walks when taking the pram isn’t necessary. Toby also seems calmest when he close to us physically and our wrap and carrier mean we can give him that reassuring closeness and still have our hands free to get on with things.
*Warning, sickening gushy moment alert!!*
  • My husband… He has been absolutely wonderful and Toby and I are very blessed to have had Phil at home for the first four weeks. From family time to taking Toby so I can snooze, I’m so lucky to have such a great husband.
Now, those have been our essentials, but what could we have done without?
  • Moses basket… The purchase of a Moses basket was entirely my doing because I think they’re adorable with a cute newborn in them. However my son had other ideas and barely spent half an hour total in his before we put him in a glider crib instead.
  • toby carrycotCarrycot… Along the same lines as above, I wanted to take my gorgeous newborn out and about in a carrycot pram. We do use it, but a lot less often than the car seat and slings, so we could have coped without it in all honesty.
  • Teddy bears… I seriously do not want to sound ungrateful, but Toby has been bought so many teddies we don’t know what to do with them! I know as he gets a little older he’ll become attached to a few of them, but he doesn’t need dozens to choose from!
  • Disposable baby wipes… We started with cotton wool and water, then recently went on to reusable wipes which are a load more efficient at cleaning and don’t fill up the bin with smell! I haven’t added disposable nappies, however, because we’re still on a mix of disposable and cloth until Toby’s a little bigger.

There are, obviously, loads more things that can go on both lists, but ignoring the obvious ones, these are the main things that spring to mind.

I’d love to hear what your newborn essentials were, so get in touch!

Follow Hannah on Twitter @BuddingSmiles