Sunday, 4 June 2017

Baby Sensory: A first look

Last week, we attended our first Baby Sensory class and *spoiler alert* we LOVED it. It was so much better than I had anticipated and was so glad I kicked myself up the bum and went along. I even almost cried during the session... Yup. All positives here, not like me is it?

However, the lead up to the class wasn't all that great (Yup - I didn't let you down with the negativity and general Ayse moaning).

Noah was up most of the night just screaming the house down. He wouldn't settle for anything. We rocked him. We gave him a dummy. We changed his nappy. We fed him. We soothed him. We played white noise. We winded him. We tried every position under the sun but he just wasn't having it. Eventually, he tired himself out so much that he drifted off to sleep. To then wake up an hour later for his feed. Obviously.

So, it was safe to say, I was knackered and so was Noah. But the crying didn't stop there. He screamed all morning while I tried to get us both ready and out the door for my doctors appointment at 10:30 am.

When we arrived at the doctors, they were running a little late and Noah was still very unhappy and by the time I was called in for my appointment, it was feed time. This meant Noah was not going to settle for anything. He screamed throughout my appointment meaning me and the doctor didn't really get to talk about my 6 week postpartum check up and instead he checked Noah over and gave us some medicine to try.  So we left with a prescription and hope that Noah would start feeling better. I'll probably talk about this later when we actually have a positive diagnosis.

Now it was time to get to the baby sensory class which was due to begin at 11 am, but Noah needing feeding and a nappy change. This riddled me with so much anxiety. Where would I change him? Would he cry in the class and everyone would moan? Would I be able to feed him there? Am I going to be late? I very nearly drove home, but I told myself that the first time will always be scary and if I don't do this now, I never will. And surely, everyone there has felt like this before?

I drove to the venue, which was only down the road, and because it was such a hot day and I still had some time before the class began, I decided to feed him in the car with the air con on. He calmed right down. Now it was time to go to the class and find somewhere to change his nappy!

First of all, I couldn't find the entrance. So I panicked and was looking around when I *thank god* saw another mummy with her baby. I called out to her and asked where the entrance to the class was. She very bluntly told me where to go. More anxiety filled me. I walked in and the room was full of mummy's and babies. I didn't know where to go!

I saw two women in the corner who looked about my age so I walked over and said hi. They responded with a smile and looked away and talked amongst themselves. Even more anxiety filled me.

I sat on a chair on my own with Noah and looked around to see if there was a changing mat or area they keep for changing nappies. The class leader then came over to see Noah and I and explained the class. She was really loved and reassured me about the class and I was now beginning to feel excited. I found the changing mat and changed Noah's nappy. We were now both ready for the fun to begin!

I sat around the circle and placed Noah on the blanket. A lady with her 4-month old then came in and sat beside us and said hi - finally I wasn't completely alone and had someone friendly to talk to. The anxiety completely lifted and I let myself really enjoy the class with Noah.

So what did we get up to in the first class?

The "Hello" song

The "Hello" song plays at the beginning of every class and all the mum's started singing and signing the song to their babies. Noah actually cried throughout the song so I picked him up to soothe him, but it was great to see all the other mummy's joining in and the babies enjoying it. By the end of the song, Noah was settled and happy, so I put him back on the blanket.

The first activity

We were each handed a hand bell for us and a rattle bell for the babies to hold. Firstly, I put the bell in Noah's hand and he gripped onto it really tight and didn't let go (until he was taken off of him at the end of the activity - which the class leader was very surprised at for his age!). I shook his hand and he was looking at the bell making the noise. Next, I shook my bell in front of him, to the left and to the right. He looked at wherever the bell was most of the time - which was the first thing to almost bring me to tears. I felt so insanely proud of him. We then rung the bells at same time, which produced quite a racket! I thought Noah would get overwhelmed by this, but he loved it!

The second activity

We were handed four different coloured balls. The aim was to see which colour ball the babies were attracted to by looking at their eyes or if they reached out for one. Obviously, only being 6 weeks old, Noah didn't really look particularly at any one. So I selected a colour. And this is where I almost cried again. He reached out for the ball!! He held it in his hand. And didn't let it go for a good while. He was shaking his hand around and watching it with his eyes. He then started smiling and giggling a little! I didn't think he'd even be able to hold a ball?! So, I got a bit overwhelmed!!

Free-play and break

It was now time for a 10-15 minute break where mummy's fed their babies, changed their nappies or played with them. There was a pool with balls, cushions and soft toys in the middle (mainly for the older babies who could sit up) and there were baskets with books and toys all around the room. I put Noah on his belly and was talking, showing him colours in a book and shaking a rattle. We also had a little cuddle as he had the hiccups and sicked up a little bit. But overall, he was still really happy and settled.

The third activity

We were each handed some colourful ribbon which we waved above the babies heads as they laid on their backs. I tickled Noah's hand with the ribbon to encourage him to reach out. The class leader then came around with bubbles, which was so lovely. At this point, Noah was getting a bit tired and kept yawning so he wasn't really focusing much on the bubbles or the ribbon. But he was still content and happy.

The final activity

We all sat around in the middle with our babies on our laps facing outward. Together we bounced an air ball in the air (which gave us a lovely breeze in the hot weather!) and watched the babies faces as it went up and down. Noah was really focusing on the ball and smiling, it was wonderful.

The "Goodbye" song

The goodbye song played so I cuddled Noah in the hope he may fall asleep, but instead he started getting a bit ratty. I tried to join in the song, waving to Noah and saying "ssh". Noah calmed down by the end of the song and once I put him in his car seat, he had fallen asleep.

Overall, my first experience was full of positivity and I will definitely be going back again and again. The best part of all (well not the best, but a great added bonus!), we got home and Noah was so knackered that he slept all afternoon, just waking up for feeds. This is a pretty big deal for a baby who hardly sleeps unless he is being cuddled.  

Next week, it's music therapy and painting! I'm so excited and not anxious at all. Well, that's a lie. I'm anxious for different reasons. What do we wear if we're going to be possibly (very likely) covered in paint!?

Aah, you'll never take the worrier out of me. Have you ever taken your baby to baby sensory? I'd love to hear about your experiences!

Thursday, 1 June 2017

How I bounced back postpartum (no fad-diets here)

Please don't hate me - but this post is probably quite deceiving because I actually didn’t do anything to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight I literally just “bounced” back. I wanted to document it because it’s different for every woman out there. Some women spend months or even years trying to lose their baby weight, others don’t put on any pregnancy weight and then there’s me.

I put on 2 stone in pregnancy. I went from 7 stone when I was 10 weeks pregnant to 9 stone 2 lbs by my due date. I truly hated it. I felt fat from the start. I remember complaining I was fat at 12 weeks pregnant and that was nothing on my weight at the end of pregnancy. I’ve always struggled with a negative body image, so my changing pregnancy body was a bit of an emotional and psychological battle for me. 

As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I kind of just started eating like a pig. Instead of taking a healthy lunch to work, I'd buy it most days. I'd have one or two chocolate bars most days and I really wasn't healthy at all. As soon as I went into the second trimester however, I'd almost gained a stone so I decided to get back to eating healthily again. The weight was going on very slowly at this point, until Christmas and the third trimester hit.

I was constantly hungry and craving junk food like donuts and chocolate, so I decided to just let myself enjoy the food I was craving. It was an emotional battle sometimes, but I was adamant I could easily lose the weight once I'd had Noah (I didn't realise just quite how easily!). But as my due date approached, I was really struggling with my physical appearance. I felt huge. Yet, I still couldn't stop eating loads because I was just so, so hungry.

So I was extremely surprised that once I had Noah, I was back to me, basically. I mean look at the photo, my belly wasn’t huge, but it was a fair size. Noah also wasn’t huge at 6 lbs 11 oz, but he was a good size (I was 11 days overdue however so he had extra time to cook!). So the weirdest thing of all (and was commented on my family and friends) was how, the second I gave birth to Noah, my belly had gone. 

It had completely gone. There was no bump and there was very little sag. It was almost like my pre-pregnancy belly was back?! It was really hard for me. I was emotional because even at that point, I missed my belly. It was truly the weirdest feeling in the world. I couldn’t stand up because that just intensified that feeling and I felt sick. It was a real struggle. And it honestly took me about a week to get used to it.

(These pictures were taken the day after I gave birth)

A few days after birth, I decided to hop on the scales to see what the damage was and I was pleasantly surprised! I’d basically lost all of my pregnancy weight?! How did that happen? I guess it was all baby? But, I mean, even my legs felt slimmer. It was truly odd. But I suppose I hadn’t eaten properly for a week (from the Friday when I started experiencing the contractions) and I felt sick for a good few days once Noah was home and couldn't stomach much food.  

Here I am, 6 weeks later and I’ve a lost a few extra lbs and my belly has tightened up a little bit. I'm pretty happy.

I’m hoping to start exercising again soon, when I find the time, energy and motivation. Me and Noah have both been poorly the past week so I haven't started yet. But one day soon I'm hoping to start doing some sit ups and bits and bobs to tone up a little.

Eventually I'll be going back to following Cassey Ho’s Blogilates routines on YouTube. I absolutely adore her and her routines are perfect for people with a busy schedule (which is a definite yes when you have a newborn). She mixes Pilates and Cardio to create a monthly plan of fun, heart-pumping routines. There are some HIIT workouts in there - which are great because if you have no time to exercise, they really get your heart-pumping just for 5 minutes. So you don't have to strictly follow the plan, just pick some videos that you have time to do that day. She also has a beginner’s calendar and normal calendar which is really useful if you’ve been out of the game for a while (like me!)

I’m excited and motivated to make my body stronger, healthier and *sexier* than it was before I had Noah. Eep!

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