Train Travel with a Young Baby

I took a little trip yesterday into London to meet the team at Talk to Mums.  It was my first time travelling into the city via train alone and something I initially thought would be trickier than it was.

So I decided instead of my double pushchair which could have been tricky to maneuver on and off trains, to take my Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier, which for me made the trip a lot of easier. As I could wear my baby and be hands free.

So my tips would be:

  • Wear a bag that can go on your back with just what you need for that period of time. So for my baby it was a spare change of clothes, wipes, x1 muslin clothes and nappies
  • Carry a spare muslin cloth ( Useful for cleaning dribble and as a cover whilst breastfeeding )
  • Ensure you carry a bottle of water and a snack for you ( I always carry some paracetamol as often get headaches when travelling )
  • Carry hand gel in your bag as again this is useful when touching so many surfaces that have been touched by others
  • Leave plenty of time as everything takes longer when travelling with children no matter how small they may be
  • Purchase the train ticket in advance
  • Travel off peak
  • Install the Trainline app, It’s really useful when you need to change train
  • If I were a regular commuter by train I’d have my phone in a case with my debit card as can see you need to get them out frequently
  • On your return leave in good time as there can often be delays

I am only writing this because I drive and rarely use Public Transport and thought it may be useful to some one.

Newborn Sleep Deprivation

When I had my first baby at the age of 26, the sleep deprivation was something, somehow I was NOT prepared for!  Despite all the advise I’d been given. ( The photo above was from 15 weeks ago when I had my third baby )

From the moment my little girl was born, Breastfeeding was quite tricky and frustrating as what ever I did I couldn’t get her to stay attached! I had lots of help from various staff on the maternity ward yet it was so tricky to get going, these difficulties I think added to the pure exhaustion early on. What I would come to realise is that it was a skill that I needed to learn as I hadn’t been a Mum before and she hadn’t been a baby before and I think that’s a great way to look at.

I finished work just two days before I was induced because of Pre-Eclampsia so barely had time to get my head around going from work mode to being a Mum.  Once my little girl arrived I started noting every time she fed and everytime I woke up! The latter I wouldn’t advise.

I even kept the record of that sleep schedule on my phone to remind me in the future.

I remember feeling so tired that I could barely function, I don’t think I slept at all until she was about 14 days old. It was hard going and something that I wasn’t prepared for, For some reason I just thought I’d go home and go to sleep for 7 hours. Hilarious looking back now!

So what I learn’t by the second/third time round, was the following:

  • Don’t record your awake times ( Record feeds if it helps, but if feeding is going well I wouldn’t worry )
  • Use a swaddle with a zip up the middle like the ‘Love to Dream’ ones.
  • Understand  that newborns feed little and often because of their tiny tummy’s even more so with breast milk as it digests very quickly.
  • Only change their nappy if full or a poo
  • Put them to sleep in a crib next to you as soon as they are asleep sleep yourself even if you only get an hour it all add’s up and will help you the following day
  • Get out and about in the fresh air
  • Have a low dimmed light on all night ( I found this to help as could see what I was doing in the middle of the night )
  • A little tip I saw on the internet was to place a warm hot water bottle in their cot, then remove allow to cool a little ( test with your own hand/ elbow ) when you feel it’s not hot lay the baby after a feed and I found this really helped my baby feel able to sleep.
  • Rest/ sleep in the day if you can ( annoyingly I never could!)
  • In advance of your baby’s arrival do a good food shop if you can and freeze meals or buy ready meals for when you are just too tired, if all else fails get a takeaway – you deserve it!
  • Drink lots of fluid, water if you can it really helps with milk supply
  • Eat regular meals and lots of snacks
  • For me having a shower every morning really helped, especially as I found you sweat more post birth and if breastfeeding it’s nice to not smell of it ( again a personal thing ) Having a shower really made me feel better and far more awake.
  • Another useful idea for night feeds is having a little area in your room with all the supplies you need for the night for me it was ( glass of water, cereal bar, changing mat, nappies, wipes or cotton wool and a change of clothes in case of a poo explosion )

Last of all, Remember this too shall pass and  before you know it your little baby will start sleeping longer stretches.

Natvia – The Natural Sweetener

I was recently given the opportunity to sample and give out samples of Natvia, A natural sweetener that can help you quit sugar.

For me sugar mostly in the form of chocolate is a huge problem and one that has lead to a two stone weight gain over the last 6 years since the birth of my first child.

I even had gestational diabetes in my last two pregnancies, no doubt linked to sugar consumption although once diagnosed I did all I could to keep my blood sugar levels under control, As I’ve had gestational diabetes I am now more at risk in fact 1 in 2 chance of getting type 2 diabetes so I really do need to cut down my sugar levels.

I used Natvia as an alternative in Cooking, baking and tea/coffee’s the feedback was over whelming good where people who tried it said, they couldn’t tell the difference. I am shortly going to be commencing a healthy eating 12 week plan from home and will be substituting sugar for Natvia in lots of recipes which I am quite excited about.

Natvia is available in Tesco, Ocado and Whole Foods.

Natvia has zero impact on blood sugar levels ( I even tested this on my old blood glucose monitor recently ) It also doesn’t contain: Aspartame, Saccharine, or Fructose like some sweeteners can do and is made from 100% natural sources. It’s definitely worth trying and is far easier to quit sugar with Natvia.

 

Maternity Leave

For me a few months after the initial birth, recovery, sleep deprivation  starts to lift I find myself wondering what I will do when my maternity leave is up, whilst I am not wishing the time away quite the opposite in fact, It does make me think am I doing what’s best for my children and our family. How will we cope with x3 drop off’s and pick up’s in different places? for example.

Questions like should I not return to work, instead of paying extortionate amounts of money in childcare or should I find a more local job closer to home? These are all thoughts currently going round in my head. That I need to make sense of,  Financially I still need to work and I love the satisfaction and sense of pride that comes with my job that I am currently on maternity leave from.

I know that I will definitely not being having any more children ( 3 for us is a great number and slightly scary! ) And the last pregnancy was truly difficult, with gestational diabetes ( insulin controlled ) Horrendous morning sickness and several other issues without wanting to bore anyone reading this!

I’m hoping that as time passes I’ll feel more comfortable with what my future holds work wise and so aware that they are only little for the tiniest amount of time so want to make the most of it whilst still bringing in an income.  I know this is known as ‘Mum guilt’  and it really is.

At the end of my last maternity leave with my second daughter I volunteered on the maternity ward where I would end up having all of my children, It was a great experience. I was able to help support new mothers with nappy changes, making up bottles, attending to call bells and just general company if they were alone. Towards the end of the 3 months I was trusted to do several tasks which I really enjoyed and getting to know patients who had been in a little longer. This is a field I’m really passionate about since becoming a Mother and wonder if this is somewhere my future lies. The other question for me is juggling what would be shift work with my husbands day and occasional evening work.  Sadly I had to give up the volunteering after 3 months because it was tricky juggling it with going back to work and my husbands work.

At this point, three months post the birth of my third baby, I am just going to enjoy him and my girls.

Disneyland Paris – Tips before you go

We’ve just arrived back from an amazing few days in Disneyland Paris.

It’s truly magical and a real treat for the whole family even when travelling in the School Holidays. I’ve written a post below that helped our trip go smoothly with 3 children with us ( one of whom is a 3 month old baby ) :

Travel 

We travelled by car on the Euro Tunnel, it was so straightforward for us. Approximately 1.5 hour drive to Folkestone  ( Little shops/ duty free etc whilst you wait to drive on ) then half an hour on the tunnel once in Calais the drive is 3 hours but we took a few stops and there are so many little rest stops with toilets it made the drive very simple and it’s a pretty much straight route. The toll was $22 each way which in my opinion was very worth it for the route is far simpler and has the rest stops easily available.

Food

Take the meal plan option either half board or full board if staying at one of the Disney Hotels, I believe this saved us a lot of money as actually kept to using the plan instead of eating the more expensive options whilst still going to the best restaurants in the park.

Book your restaurants in advance, it may seem crazy but everything is so busy there, it’s a relief to walk in somewhere and be seated straight away especially to get out the heat if travelling during the Summer.

Whilst using the plan if one person doesn’t like all of their options ( you get a starter, main, desert and normally one soft drink each) order it anyway as normally one of the party will like it.

Tap water is free! So we often ordered this just at meals to keep hydrated and I only drink water anyway, so would give my soft drink to whoever fancied it. Also there are water fountains dotted around the park so take an empty bottle to fill up. ( we had no issues with anything from drinking the water in the resort )

If you want to save time in the parks it’s definitely worth booking the Character restaurants well in advance, we went to Auberge de Cendrillon, Inventions and Cafe Mickey , the Interactions the children had were priceless. If you are only going to do one Character restaurant i’d probably say go to Inventions in the main Disneyland Hotel just because the atmosphere was wonderful and the buffet food made it simpler and some fun puddings.  As these restaurants were an ‘upgrade’ on top of the pre paid plan price of approximately £100 per time.

Bread! You get a lot of it – Everywhere! at one meal ( the Cinderella one! ) bread came as you sat down, starter and a side. In the end we had to try to limit the girls as they only wanted bread, which didn’t do them any favours.

The children’s meals are well catered for as everything is separated i.e pasta from the sauce.  The starters for children weren’t  great as usually some form of salad covered in dressing. (But maybe this is my fussy children!)

 

Shortbread

Adult Desert from Auberge de Cendrillon ( Princess Restaurant )

Rides / Attractions 

We loved the rides in Fantasyland, probably because they appealed the most to our girls age 3 & 6 so head to the areas that appeal most to your party first.

If staying in a Disney Resort hotel make the most of the Magic Hour before the park opens to the public, we were able to go on some rides two or three times with no queue’s, Then queue at the end of the Magic Hour for any other rides/ attractions to cut down queue times. We loved the Peter Pan ride and went on it multiple times!

 

Use your fast passes then arrange to come back and get straight on your ride, it’s so easy and quick!

If wanting to watch the parade, shows or illuminations get there at least 45 minutes in advance ( for this reason it may be worth packing snacks, drinks etc to keep children busy ) this will ensure you get a good view or get in to shows like Mickey and the Magician which is amazing.

There are character meet and greets dotted throughout the park, if you see an umbrella and a cast member standing around it usually means a meet and greet is imminent.

 

Hotel 

We stayed at Disneys Sequioa Lodge which for us was perfect. I love the style and theme of the hotel like an ‘Aspen Lodge’

We booked to stay there, because A) It had a pool indoor’s and outside, which we loved as a great way to cool off after a busy day at the Parks  B) The hotel was very close to the park which made it really convenient.  The hotel staff were pretty accommodating, We arrived early on our first day and were allowed to check in a couple of hours before the normal time of 3pm to our room which was great after such an early start.

Video – Standard Room 

Shopping 

I brought a few items in H & M and Primark before we went as the price difference was huge ( Mickey Mouse Ears £2 in Primark vs $24 in the park,  although saying that some of the items sold in the park once their were quite unique. I also took a few of the girls Princess dresses with us.

Snacks – You can take these into the park and worth taking with you. We run slightly low and brought some biscuits for the girls whilst they were Mickey Mouse ones they were $7.99 for two relatively small packets.

We have put together a 30 minute video of our trip to Disneyland Paris.

Let me know if you have any questions.