Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Review: Sock Ons or the Sock Monster strikes

Today was the first day that Amy did not wear a baby grow. I dressed her in a grey top saying "I love cuddles, milk and smiling", some cute pink leggings and the most adorable pink socks that, can you believe it, had been eaten by the sock monster within minutes of Amy wearing them.

I only carried Amy from our bedroom into the lounge to find out that when I arrived downstairs, one of her socks had gone. How could she lose a sock on a short way like that? I had heard from lots of mummy friends that babies and toddlers are experts when it comes to getting rid of their socks, but I surely didn't think it was that easy for the little wrigglers to make mummy go on the big sock hunt. After a good search in the lounge, hallway and bedroom, I found the missing sock and remembered that the lovely Kezi from Sock Ons had kindly sent me a pair of her brilliant invention shortly before Amy was born. Sock Ons are made from a softly woven elasticated material and promise to ‘lock’ babies’ socks gently and firmly in place. 

Do they work? Yes, they are easy to put on and Amy's socks are still where they are supposed to be: on her little feet. I do also swear that Amy hasn't even noticed that she's wearing them. They are very light and come in a great range of classic and bright colours, making sure that you can get a pair for every outfit in baby's wardrobe. Also, they are really great value for money retailing at just £2.50 per pair and making sure that you don't have to buy new socks every week. Big thumbs up!

Monday, 23 May 2011

My birth story or why I didn't care about my birth plan anymore

“Amy is going to be a big baby, so don't be surprised if she makes an early appearance”. That's what everybody from midwife to consultant told me whenever we went for an appointment. Well, they were wrong. My due date came and I didn't have the slightest twinge let alone Braxton Hicks. There was no sign what so ever that this baby was ever going to come out and I was getting more and more impatient. I wasn't uncomfortable, as I was one of the few fortunate ones that didn't suffer from any pregnancy related problems such as heart burn, back ache or sleepless nights, but I was getting more and more stressed because my parents and sister had booked flights to come over from Germany to see Amy whereas Little Miss Stubborn had decided to make herself comfy.

I went for a sweep that did nothing, I walked more than during my whole pregnancy, I had 5 curries in 5 days, I lived on fresh pineapple and I could have killed everyone that thought I desperately needed another useless bit of advice on how to get this baby out. Amy was just too pig-headed to make a move so after another growth scan seven days after my due date the consultant decided due to decreased fluid levels this baby had to come out. I was booked in for induction three days later and just when I got home from the hospital I started to get the first twinges. It wasn't anything major but I was the start to two days of contractions that got so strong and regular that I was almost admitted to hospital hadn't I coped that well with the pain. I was told to get some sleep which seemed just impossible considering the fact that my contractions were coming every four minutes but eventually I nodded off and can you believe it (?) my contractions were gone by the morning, so we had one last breakfast with my family before we went in for induction.

In hospital, Ben and I were taken to the Induction Suite and I was monitored on the CTG before I was given a Prostaglandin pessary that was supposed to get my contractions going again. Well, it didn't. It fell out while I went to the toilet so I was given a second one that also made its way down the drain. The nurses didn't see a point in giving me another one so we decided I would go straight to the Central Delivery Suite to have my waters broken. As my cervix was 2cm dilated the whole process wasn't painful at all, but it all got scary when instead of being pale/yellowish, my waters came out in a dark green.
I knew instantly that this meant that my waters were full of meconium, which inevitably meant that Amy was under distress. I had read some scary stories about situations like this one, so all I wanted was for them to get my baby out as quick as possible – my birth plan didn't matter anymore. Who cares for a birthing pool and nice music when you don't know if your baby is alright? In my head I went through one horror scenario after the other, but the midwife assured me that everything was going to be fine. She put my on a drip to make my contractions get stronger and closely monitored Amy's heart beat. Everything was fine for the next two hours.

My contractions were getting stronger and my midwife adviced me to have an epidural. She explained that it would be a good idea to go for the epidural as induced labour was more painful than natural labour. Originally an epidural was the last thing I wanted - I had even stated that in my birth plan, but as that one had gone out of the window anyway and Ben kept telling me that this wasn't the situation to be too proud for pain relief, I eventually gave in and went for it. Up until this point I hadn't used any pain relief so the idea of feeling less pain was absolutely heavenly, after all I didn't know what I was expecting. I was given the injection and today, exactly 4 weeks after Amy's birth I can say that it was the best decision of my live. I was pain free within minutes and even managed to get some sleep. After about two hours I woke up to the worried face of my midwife.

Amy's heart beat was dropping and suddenly there were 5 midwives and two consultants in the room discussing what was the best thing to do. Some of them wanted to wait and do some tests, others wanted to send me down to the theatre to have an emergency c-section. In the end, they decided to do more tests and switch the drip off as they were sure that that was what was distressing Amy that much. Too make sure they were doing the right thing, they also decided to do a fetal blood sampling test. They regularly inserted a medical instrument into my vagina before they made little cuts into Amy's head to take blood samples that would help them to check the acidity levels of her blood. All of them were higher than they should have been, so the midwife told Ben to change into his scrubs before they took one last sample, which for some strange reason showed us that the acidity in her blood was going back down again. You cannot believe how relieved I was that Amy was fine and that I didn't have to go for a cesarean - thanks to religiously watching One Born Every Minute, that would have been my personal definition of 'Nightmare on Elm Street'. But it got even better: From one minute to the other I had gone from 2cm dilated to 9.5 cm dilated so the consultant decided to perform an episiotomy and deliver Amy with the help of a forceps. Okay, that wasn't part of my glorious birth plan either, but I can assure you, that I did not care at all: After all the trouble leading up to this stage, all I wanted was to meet my beautiful baby girl – after 41 long weeks we finally got to hold our gorgeous daughter Amy Alison at 4.23am.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Review: Philips AVENT DECT 535/00 Baby Monitor

Product: Philips ADVENT DECT Baby Monitor

Price: £100 (RRP)

Available from: Philips, Amazon and other retailers

Suitable from: birth

Initial reaction: We first thought a monitor was only for checking on your baby. Little did we know that a baby monitor can come with so many useful functions as the Philips AVENT DECT 535/00. Brilliant!

Pros: crystal clear sound, long reach (330m), eco-friendly, no interference with other electrical gadgets, humidity and temperature control, long operating time, plays lullabys

Cons: buttons on baby unit aren't lit so you either need to memorise them or switch ceiling light on, night light is not very bright and lullabys just run for abour 2 mins

Value for money: Yes

Overall reaction: This is our first baby, therefore we are not really experienced when it comes to baby monitors. I even have to admit that I was a bit worried that the technical side of them would be slightly overwhelming, but you can lean back and relax. The Philip Advent DECT 535/00 is so easy to set up that we didn't even have to look into the manual to figure out how it works. Easy peasy! As we live in a three storey house it is really important for us that the monitor has a long reach and doesn't interfere with any other gadgets around the house. We took the parent unit into every single room of the house and it passed our test with an A*. There was no interference with any other electronic devices and we could here all noises coming from the nursery loud and clear. An added bonus of the monitor is its lullaby function. The songs are slightly short and only play for a couple of minutes but they are brilliant if your little one just needs a little soothing without you wanting to interfere. Another great feature, that is especially comforting for us as first time parents, is the integrated humidity and temperature control that allows you to check if baby's room is warm enough whenever you need that little bit of reassurance. The only thing we have to criticize is that the night light is slightly too weak and that the baby unit doesn't come with any lighting that is strong enough for you to distinguish between the different buttons. If you don't want to wake baby up by putting the ceiling light on, you'll have to find some alternative light source such as a mobile phone or something similar to it. Overall, the Philips Advent DECT 535/00 is a brilliant product though, that will allow us to sit back without being overly careful first time parents.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

I'll miss my maternity notes

I had my last midwife appointment on Friday and was officially discharged from their care. This does not only mean that a health visitor will be regularly checking on Amy from now on, no, it also means that I had to hand in my maternity notes and with them my entire pregnancy: the results of my blood tests, my scan reports, my birth plan and all the little reports that the midwives have written in the hospital and after we have been discharged.
During the last 9 months I have grown quite fond of my orange notes. I took them to every appointment at the health centre and hospital and I was regularly reading what the midwives had put down after every appointment. I know it sounds a bit weird but I am kind of sad that they are gone. I am sure that I would have loved to sit down at some point, drinking a nice cup of tea and going through them. They would have been a nice memory, not only for me but also for Amy when she is older, allowing us to look back on my pregnancy and how things went. I know that it's important to keep medical records but why was I allowed to keep my maternity notes with me throughout the whole nine months of my pregnancy just to hand them in as soon as my baby is born? Were you disappointed when you had to hand in your notes and do you think it would be a good idea to allow mothers to keep their notes at home and just take them in when a medical professional asks to see them?

Competition: Win a £20 voucher for Baba + Boo

This month's Mumpreneur of the Month, Eve Bell from Baba + Boo, has kindly donated one £20 voucher for the winner of our Mumpreneur of the Month giveaway. The lucky winner can choose from a range of funky clothing and accessories or can invest in some of Baba + Boo's unique reusable nappies (after all it's Real Nappy Week from 16th-20th May). 

How to enter the competition:

1. Follow @caro_mad and @babaandboo on Twitter & tweet: "I want to win a £20 voucher for @babaandboo with @caro_mad. You can enter here:"  - required
2. Leave a comment telling me what your favourite product from Baba + Boo's website is - required

For extra entries:
3. Comment on one of my non-competition posts and let me know which one you commented on
4. Subscribe to Mummy Alarm using the email form in the right hand corner
5. Follow Mummy Alarm via Networked Blogs
6. Like Mummy Alarm on Facebook
7. Like Baba + Boo on Facebook

Please, use separate comments for each entry. Failure do to so will result in only one entry per person.

The closing date of the competition is 31/05/2011
The winner will be chosen at random.
The winner's name will be shown on this page.
Competition is open to residents of the UK only.
The prize is non-refundable and cannot be transferred. No cash alternative is available.

The Prize Finder - UK Competitions 

Monday, 9 May 2011

My Mumpreneur of the Month: Eve Bell from Baba+Boo

1. Can you quickly introduce yourself to our readers?

Hi, my name is Eve and I am mum to Seth and Louisa, wife and owner of Baba+Boo – the names I use for my babies!

2. When and why did you decide you decide to become your own boss?

It happened organically really. I had the children in quick succession and I had decided to be a stay at home mum. I like to always look for clothing that is unique but it was also expensive, so with two children, it just wasn’t an option. I used to be a buyer before I had the children, so I started sourcing funky products that were that little different to the high street and it all took off from there.
Also, when Louisa was 4 months old, we found money was really tight, so I looked into using reusable nappies for her and thought they were really expensive to start with. I did a bit of research and I realised that there was a need for affordable cloth nappies but with no compromise in quality and performance. Baba+Boo nappies are now becoming a really popular brand of nappies and have continuous rave reviews.

3. What sort of products to you produce and sell? And which one is your absolute favourite?

I sell funky clothing+shoes, my own brand of reusable nappies, shoes and potty training pants. I source some items for the boutique but my dream is that one day, they will all be my own design! I absolutely love my nappies and all the fabrics but if I have an absolute favourite it has to be my Moo Cow Leather Baby Shoes. Just wish I’d had these when my little man was smaller. He loved all things cow!

4. How do you juggle being a successful business woman and a mum and wife?

Hmmmm, not very well most of the time! I am getting better at it though! I have a fantastic husband who helps me with the children and then when they have gone to bed, he’s been everything to post boy, stock controller and general skivvy! I try to not work in the day when the children are with me and work away at night until all hours in the morning! Its hard sometimes because I feel guilty when I can hear all the fun downstairs and I am sat in upstairs working. I think guilt plays a part in every mum’s life though!

5. Is there anything you wish you'd known before becoming a mumpreneur or wish you'd done differently?

I wish I’d known what a roller-coaster of a ride it is when you have your own business. There have been some great highs and also some lows but I have found that some good has always come of them, and make my business that bit stronger. It’s like being a school…I learn something new every day, which I love!
6. What do you love most about your job and what are your plans for the future?

I love being part of the campaign to get cloth nappies into the mainstream. Also, I have met some amazing people, who are just happy to help me with my business because they want to, for no gain. The generosity of some mums I have met since I started my business has amazed me. With regards to the future, its my dream that I can help real nappies become fashionable and I think that placing them amongst beautiful clothes for children is a good starting point. I have some new designs of clothing in the pipeline..I have a lot of things in my head which I want to do. I’m sure they will happen…when I find some extra hours in the day!

If you love the sound of Baba + Boo, pop around tomorrow for this month's Mumpreneur of the Month giveaway.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Review: Thai Taste's Green Curry Meal Kit

We love Asian food and we love experimenting with different flavours, so when I was contacted by Thai Taste's press office, I jumped at the chance to test some products from their new and revamped range. We were sent the Thai Taste Green Curry Paste, a Thai Taste Green Curry Meal Kit and some Thai Taste Sweet Chilli Sauce and I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I couldn't wait to try the products. 

We are always looking out for new products that bring original Asian flavours into our house but unfortunately many of them don't live up to my expectations. Not long ago, we tested a Thai Green Curry Kit that promised exactly the same as Thai Taste's product: a quick and easy Thai curry with an authentic Thai taste. Well, let me tell you something: It was quick, it was easy and it tasted absolutely horrible. Thai Taste's Green Curry however was absolutely gorgeous. As it contains curry paste, coconut milk and Thai herbs, all we had to add was the meat of our choice and some coriander. We decided to use Turkey fillets as they are lean and a tasty alternative to chicken breasts and also threw in some chopped onions (simply because we like them). The curry turned out absolutely amazing and was done in no time. Preparing a curry from scratch is great if you are a passionate chef (daddy is) and have a lot of time, but with a newborn baby the Thai Taste Green Curry Meal Kit is a real life saver that allows you to serve a delicious meal in just 15 minutes and at £1.99 the price is more than fair as well. 

If you are a fan of Thai cooking, do not forget to visit Thai Taste's website for some delicious recipes and more information on their new revamped product range. 

Friday, 6 May 2011

Baby Face of the Year Competition

The search for the UK’s BabyFace of the Year has begun. Some of the leading baby brands have teamed up to offer parents and their little ones a selection of fab prizes and the ultimate honour of becoming the face of a new product from one of the world’s leading toy brands, Tomy.

The BabyFace Competition is in association with Medela, recognised experts in breastfeeding support, and other industry specialists including; Smart-Trike, Maxi-Cosi, Brother Max, JJ Cole and The Gro Company, will start the search on the 3rd of May, in a month long campaign. The Competition, which is being supported exclusively by top parenting magazine Prima Baby and Pregnancy and its online network, will run online through the official BabyFace Competition micro-site. Adoring mums, dads, guardians and grandparents will be encouraged to post pictures of their little angels in one of three age categories, for boys and girls; 0 – 6 months, 6 – 12 months and 12 – 24 months. Upon entry a message will automatically be posted onto the individual’s Facebook page, letting friends and family know they have entered, and encouraging them to vote. The public, friends and family, will get the chance to vote for the top 20 BabyFaces and then a panel of expert judges will cast the deciding vote on who wins in each category. The top six will receive a prize from each partner, but one lucky tot will be named the UK’s BabyFace of the Year and receive the ultimate accolade of being crowned the face of a brand new Tomy infant toy to be launched in 2012!The people behind the BabyFace Competition commented ‘We couldn’t be more excited to get the ball rolling and launch the search for the UK’s BabyFace of the Year. What parent can resist the chance to see their baby voted the nation’s favourite?”
Who will be the UK’s BabyFace of 2011? The clock is ticking, only a month until the UK’s most adorable tot is found so remember to watch, enter and make your vote count!

As a very proud mummy, I have, of course, entered our gorgeous little girl into the competition. Okay, I am  slightly biased, but she is just too gorgeous to not take part, isn't she? If you want to vote for our little cutie pie, click here - we are looking forward to your votes.


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