Pregnancy: Getting the best support possible

Image @ Pinterest

Pregnancy can be an uncertain time. Like me, this might be your first time experience, you might not have been around other pregnant people before and feel a little bit overwhelmed with everything going on leading up to your birth. There are a lot of hospital appointments to attend with various scans, blood tests, and never ending urine samples. All of the glamourous situations! There are also a lot of things to consider along the way such as planning your birth and getting everything organised before your little bundle arrives.

Today’s blog post is a review about ‘Bump to Beyond your birthwhich is an amazing antenatal and postnatal support service for mums to be, and I’m really excited to share this with you all!

Image @pinterest

My pregnancy support journey

During the last 9 months, I was not prepared for the lack of information or support that we were given along the way. Covid is possibly one of the main reasons for this but as this is my first pregnancy I don’t really have anything else to compare it to. I thought that I would have been assigned a dedicated midwife that I would meet with regularly who would be on hand to go over everything we might need to know but this really wasn’t the case at all. 

As someone who has barely even held a baby before, never mind fed, changed, bathed or given birth to one, I had a lot of questions buzzing around my head. So we joined an online NCT group which unfortunately we really didn’t enjoy very much and didn’t get on with at all. I found it to be quite a judgmental space and more geared towards women that only wanted to breastfeed which can be a very touchy subject. The group was made up of around 6 other couples and I found it a little intimidating to ask questions in this sort of group setting with others that were not open to other people’s preferences. So we didn’t really get what we actually needed from this type of course.

Discovering a new kind of support Network

This got me wondering what other options there were out there for us and then I thankfully discovered Bridie from ‘Bump to Beyond your Birth’. She has a wealth of experience, having been a midwife for over 10 years and is also a mum herself to 2 children. Bridie offers birth preparation courses on a one-to-one basis which takes place over a Zoom call. So you can sit in the comfort of your own home with a nice cup of tea and talk with her openly in total confidence. You can arrange to have a birth preparation course (Antenatal) which will cover the whole labour process and she also has a baby preparation course which will help you with making sure you are all ready and informed in time for bringing your new baby home with you.

Feeling informed and prepared

I was personally really interested in finding out more about the whole Caesarean process as well as bottle feeding. As the courses are on a one-to-one basis it’s so much easier to tailor these to your specific questions and needs rather than being in a group setting. We scheduled in a Zoom call together and from the outset I felt relaxed and comfortable as we went over the following:

Signs of Labour we discussed the signs to look out for that will mean you have gone into labour. This will be slightly different for me as I have a planned caesarean booked. However her Antenatal course will cover this topic for you as well as what the stages of a natural labour are, of the different pain relief options that you will have available, your partners role in the whole experience and what to expect after the first 24 hours of birth.

The caesarean operation process – we went over the whole procedure for me, covering everyone that will be in the room during the operation and what each person’s job is. This was a great comfort to me as I wouldn’t have thought to have asked about this and would have been wondering who everyone was in the room which could be a little scary. We then covered what happens during the actual procedure, through to the recovery process afterwards. This was so informative and has really put my mind at rest about the whole thing.

Preparing to go into hospital from what to pack in my hospital bag (I will write a separate blog post on what I have packed in my bag) and what to plan for when I come home and go into the recovery process.

Bottle Feeding As I plan to bottle feed, we discussed about doing this whilst being in the hospital, following onto when we are back home. 

How to book a course

I was so impressed with the professionalism and information that I received from our Zoom call. I felt that I was able to ask as many questions as I needed – there was no such thing as a silly question and there was zero judgment whatsoever. I really recommend booking a course with ‘Bump to Beyond your Birth’ as it’s the perfect way to go over everything you need and to feel prepared and empowered in time for your birth. 

There are a few courses that you can choose from which I will list below, but just to let you know that you can have a 15 minute Zoom call free of charge with Bridie to meet each other and for her to explain in more detail what your course will cover ready for your scheduled call which is great.

  • Booking an Antenatal course with ‘Bump to Beyond your Birth’ is recommended from around 28 weeks of pregnancy. The 4 hour course can be split into 2 sessions and is priced at £170. As mentioned above, this course will go over in detail what the stages of a natural labour are, the different pain relief options that you will have available, your partners role in the whole experience and what to expect after the first 24 hours of birth.
  • Booking a practical preparation for baby course is also recommended from around 28 weeks of pregnancy and is an excellent follow on from the above courses. This is a 3 hour session priced at £135 and will cover everything you could possibly need from how to hold your baby, nappy changing, taking the baby out, dressing, bathing, feeding and all other general care. An essential for anyone feeling nervous like I was, having little experience with babies before.
  • Booking a preparing for your labour, birth and baby course is recommended from 32 weeks pregnancy onwards. It’s a 2 hour session priced at £90 which will cover your choices for birth, putting together a birth plan for you, packing your hospital bag and preparing your home for the new baby.

You can email the following address to arrange a course booking or to ask any questions:  info@bumptobeyondyourbirth.co.uk

I know you will enjoy these courses as much as I have and so I am really happy to blog about my experience with this. I would love to hear how you get on too and what course you decide to go for!

Also, if you missed my recent pregnancy blog posts I will leave the link to them HERE. and HERE

7 ways to get out of the 2020 slump

2020 has been a strange one and it’s so easy to get yourself into a slump at the moment. There is a lot of tension out there from constant arguing and opinion slinging on social media to people actually having a go at each other in the street – I have had this directed my way a couple of times recently from complete strangers which is just the weirdest thing ever. I’m all about keeping positive right now and have 7 ways on how to get out of that 2020 slump.

Switch off from social media

This sounds like an obvious one but social media can be a bit of a toxic space at the moment, especially on Facebook and Twitter. We are all constantly on our phones and having that endless stream of doom and gloom news can really start to get to you after a while. 2020 has seen a huge increase in the suicide rate and social media will definitely play a part in this. Turn off your phone for a few hours a day and step away from the news and newspapers to give yourself a break from it all. They say ignorance is bliss and I can’t help but agree as when I take a break from the news and social media it makes me feel a whole lot better and is the perfect way to reduce stress or anxiety levels.

Less slump, more get up and go!

Being on lockdown and staying indoors for long periods of time can definitely get you in a slump and feeling sluggish. The weather is turning colder and you might just want to stay in your pyjamas binge watching Netflix. This is completely ok but not all day, every day. Make a plan to do something productive every day. Start reading a new book, clear out your wardrobe (see my previous blog post with tips on this), re-organise a room in your home, do something creative, go for a nice Autumnal walk, do those jobs that you have been putting off for a while. You will feel so much more positive and productive when you get up and get moving.

Write yourself a list

Following the above point, writing lists is a great way to get a plan of action in place. There is something really satisfying about crossing things off of a list when you complete them too and you will be able to see everything you are getting through and accomplishing. Writing down a list is also an excellent way to clear your mind as sometimes it can feel a bit overwhelming when you have a million things buzzing around your head all at once and a list helps to see everything written down clearly. Plus, it’s always nice to treat yourself to some new stationery.  My favourite places to buy fabulous stationery are Smythson, Papier, Paperchase, The Magic Notebook, and Juniqe.

Paperchase A4 Jungle Forest Notebook
Paperchase A4 Jungle Forest Notebook
£8.00
Smythson Mara Chelsea Notebook
Smythson Mara Chelsea Notebook
£115
Paperchase Luxe A5 Subject Notebook
Paperchase Luxe A5 Subject Notebook
£7.00
Paperchase Letter H Notebook
Paperchase Letter H Notebook
£7.00
Smythson ‘S’ Monogram Panama Notebook
Smythson ‘S’ Monogram Panama Notebook
£69
Paperchase A4 Jungle Forest Notebook
Paperchase A4 Jungle Forest Notebook
£8.00
Smythson Mara Chelsea Notebook
Smythson Mara Chelsea Notebook
£115
Paperchase Luxe A5 Subject Notebook
Paperchase Luxe A5 Subject Notebook
£7.00
Paperchase Letter H Notebook
Paperchase Letter H Notebook
£7.00
Smythson ‘S’ Monogram Panama Notebook
Smythson ‘S’ Monogram Panama Notebook
£69
Paperchase A4 Jungle Forest Notebook
Paperchase A4 Jungle Forest Notebook
£8.00
Smythson Mara Chelsea Notebook
Smythson Mara Chelsea Notebook
£115
Paperchase Luxe A5 Subject Notebook
Paperchase Luxe A5 Subject Notebook
£7.00
Paperchase Letter H Notebook
Paperchase Letter H Notebook
£7.00
Smythson ‘S’ Monogram Panama Notebook
Smythson ‘S’ Monogram Panama Notebook
£69

Practice gratitude daily

One way to avoid falling into a slump, is instead of focusing on negative things, think about all of the amazing things you already have in your life. Be grateful every day for what you have and it will definitely make you feel more positive. You could even write down one thing a day that you are grateful for and then read over them by the end of the week. You might be surprised at how lucky you are even by the most simplest of things. Here is an example of a daily gratitude list:

  • Monday I’m grateful that I have my own home/place to live in.
  • Tuesday I’m grateful that my family live near to me.
  • Wednesday I’m grateful that I have a good job and have been able to work during the pandemic.
  • Thursday – I’m grateful for having an easy pregnancy this year and that I am about to be a new mum.
  • Friday– I’m grateful for having a great support network around me.
  • Saturday– I’m grateful for all of the amazing, friendly messages that I receive on Instagram every week and meeting new people.
  • Sunday– I’m grateful that I have a fridge and cupboard full of food.

Pampering

Whenever you feel a little stressed out or in a slump, having a nice hot shower, using some gorgeous products can make the biggest difference. It’s an instant mood lifter. Having a little pampering session, like spending time doing your nails, applying a hair or face mask, or having a long exfoliating soak in the bath – these are all things that you might not have time for usually every day but setting aside an an hour for a little pampering is a great way to get you feeling good about yourself and out of that slump! Cult Beauty have some amazing sets at the moment for a perfect pamper night in.

Cut back on alcohol

Alcohol is a depressant which means that any amount you drink can make you more likely to get the blues. Drinking too much, too often will make you feel tired and sluggish – definitely not good when trying to avoid being in a slump! Lots of bars and restaurants have been closed this year which has lead to an increase in home drinking and it’s easy to get into a habit of over doing it. Take a step back from the home boozing, have a little detox and practice the other tips in this blog post and you will feel so much better for it. 

Do something nice for others

Thinking about others and brightening up someone else’s day is an instant mood lifter. Why not send a little care package to someone to cheer them up, or a bunch of flowers. You might know someone who is not able to get out of the house easily and taking them round some essential bits and bobs could be a massive help for them. It will make you feel good to help someone out. I think 2020 is a year where we all need to be checking in on each other more than ever. Make the time to call someone and see how they are doing. They might be more grateful for that chat than you realise. 

If you enjoyed this blog post, check out my other tips around self care HERE

My top 4 websites for affordable and fashionable maternity wear

Legoe Heritage maternitywear

Finding fashionable maternity wear and dressing your growing bump during pregnancy can be a challenge, especially when you hit the third trimester. I have 2 weeks left to go of my pregnancy and have reached the stage now where it’s literally a struggle to fit into anything easily!

Throughout my pregnancy I’ve tried and tested clothes from a variety of different brands and websites. No one wants to wear something that makes you feel like you are wearing a sack and for me, still keeping fashionable but comfortable were important factors for my maternity wardrobe. So, for today’s blog post, I have narrowed it down to my top 4 places where to buy maternity clothing to help anyone currently pregnant with shopping and styling their changing body shapes. 

Asos

ASOS is a great place for being able to look through a wide selection of different brands and their maternity collection definitely doesn’t disappoint. If you have a special occasion like a wedding to attend to, then ASOS is a great place to find dressier pieces catered for baby bumps. Although there do not seem to be many fun events happening at the moment thanks to Covid… But if you have a small baby shower or home gathering and want to wear a pretty outfit then this is the best place to look. Their own brand ASOS design has some really beautiful dresses which are definitely worth checking out.

You will also find a decent selection of basics on ASOS such as maternity leggings, vests, plain t-shirts etc.

You can shop the ASOS maternity range HERE

Boohoo

For me personally, I didn’t plan on investing a lot of money into maternity clothing but I still wanted to wear fashion forward pieces. Boohoo has been a perfect place for this and they have a really fun and affordable selection of fashionable maternity wear. My pregnancy has mainly been over the hot Summer season and so I picked up outfits such as biker short/t-shirt co-ords, pretty dresses, a cute polka dot pinafore dress, smock dresses, and some loungewear bits. Now we are moving into the Autumn/Winter season, they have started to introduce more shirts, jumpers and coats into their range which is great.

You can shop the Boohoo maternity range HERE

Legoe Heritage

Legoe Heritage is an Australian premium maternity wear brand. Their range is made up of contemporary, effortless and simple styles, in quality fabrics. They very kindly reached out to me back in the Summer and sent me a selection of pieces to try out and I was really impressed. I particularly love their ‘Falling for You’ striped top which I have worn over and over again as the fabric is just so soft and comfortable. The design of this top can also be used for breastfeeding which is an extra feature of this item. Every time I have worn their pieces I have always felt smart but relaxed which is just what you want during pregnancy!

You can shop the full Legoe Heritage range HERE. and you can use my discount code HANNAHxLEGOE for 10% off.

Here are a couple of pieces from the brand that I have also loved wearing:

Legoe Heritage maternitywear

Legoe Heritage maternitywear

Missguided

Similar to Boohoo, Missguided has been another affordable fashion go-to that I have been wearing maternity pieces from. I really like their jersey basics, loungewear sets and oversized sweatshirts for those days when you just want to chill out at home and lets face it, 2020 has definitely been the year of staying at home! The clothing quality of these fast fashion e-tailers is not always the best but I only planned to wear these items during pregnancy to manage my growing baby bump, so I was able to compromise on the quality more than I usually would.

You can shop from the Missguided maternity range HERE

For more pregnancy style tips, check out my previous blog post HERE where I share some of the favourite styles I have been wearing.

Gorgeous gift ideas for baby showers and new mums to be.

Baby Shower

There are a lot of baby showers happening at the moment and if you are looking for that perfect gift idea, then hopefully today’s blog post will help you with what to buy! Usually at baby showers, people tend to gift items for the baby, but I think it’s also a nice idea to think about the mum to be and get a little something for her instead. As a baby shower guest, you might not know what the parents to be have already bought or you might not know exactly the sort of things they plan to use for their baby so a little treat for the mamma growing the new little person is a lovely alternative.

Here are some of my top gift ideas for baby showers and for new mums to be:

The personalised touch

I always think that you can never go wrong with a gift that has a personalised touch. It’s often something the receiver will cherish and will keep forever – especially if it relates to a new baby. My favourite places to find personalised gifts are at Notonthehighstreet.com and EtsyUK What I also love about these sites is that it’s a great way to support small and UK based businesses, which is extremely important especially at the moment. Personalised gifts for new babies could include a blanket or an outfit with their name on, a handmade toybox, a personalised hamper or a framed print for example.

A little sweet treat

For the most fabulous, boujee biscuits you have ever seen, you need to head over to Baked by Steph  Steph is the queen of iced biscuits and I am such a huge fan of her brand and business. They make the most gorgeous sweet treats which are just perfect for gifting – not just for baby showers, but for all kinds of occasions. I was very kindly sent some from the team recently and they arrived beautifully packaged and I have to say, opening them up really made my day. So I know that any new mum to be would absolutely LOVE these as a baby shower gift. 

I have a 10% discount code to share with you if you would like to purchase anything from Baked by Steph which is HANNAHLU10

BAKED BY STEPH BABY SHOWER BISCUITS

BAKED BY STEPH BABY SHOWER BISCUITS

BAKED BY STEPH BABY SHOWER BISCUITS

Vouchers

Now, some people might think this is a bit of a safe or boring option, but I personally love receiving a gift voucher. It means you can go and choose something that is exactly to your own taste and style. As a baby shower guest, you might have a slightly different idea of what is cute for a newborn than the mum to be, so vouchers are a perfect gift option. All of the high street retailers offer vouchers now. Some of my top picks for baby shower voucher options are from here:

You could even get a voucher for the new mum to be to have a lovely pregnancy massage, or an afternoon tea experience, before the baby is born while she still has the chance to go out!

Pampering essentials

Pregnancy is such a massive change for the body and it can be a really tough time for women. So a lovely gift idea for a new mum or pregnant friend would be items that they can use for a little pampering session. When their baby arrives they might not have as much time for themselves so why not put together a little hamper of bubble baths, face masks or their favourite beauty products so they can spend some time relaxing and feeling great about themselves. 

I recently discovered The Natural Birthing Company and I’m so impressed with their product range for during pregnancy and after birth. The brand was developed by midwives who know exactly the sort of things we are going to need. I’ve been using their ‘nourish and relieve’ stretch mark oil which is really nice and their ‘Midwive in a box’ set would be the perfect gift for someone you know who’s expecting a baby at the moment.

Inside the kit are the following essentials:
* A cooling body spritz
* Perineal massage oil to help reduce tearing
* A soothing Postnatal compress solution
* Organic flannels
* 3 Breastfeeding oils

Natural Birthing Co

Natural Birthing Co

A little bit of luxury

If budget is not an option, there are some fabulous places to pick up luxury items for new babies. A lot of the designer brands now have gifts that are perfect for baby showers from Gucci, Baby Dior, Hermes and Tiffany & Co to name a few. Here are some of my favourite designer items for really special newborn gift ideas:

Tiffany & Co

Tiffany Baby items

Gucci

Gucci Baby items

Hermes

Hermes Baby items

Baby Dior

I hope you enjoyed some of my picks in today’s blog post. I have some more pregnancy fashion related posts coming up so be sure to subscribe so you receive notifications whenever new posts go live. 

If you would like to read about my pregnancy journey so far you might like this post HERE

Disclaimer- this blog post contains gifted items, however all thoughts and opinions are my own and unbiased.

Pregnancy Fashion – how to style a growing bump

 

It’s week 27 of my pregnancy and I have really been enjoying styling my growing baby bump. Up until around week 20 there wasn’t much of a bump there and I was dressing as I usually would, but now it seems to be getting bigger by the day and I’m looking at how to dress in my usual style but just including this little extra addition!

Bumps out and proud!

Gone are the days where people hide their baby bumps and women today are much more confident to dress with their bump being on show and I am personally here for this! We are seeing more and more fashion retailers starting to incorporate maternity wear into their product categories too which is great. We have a much wider choice available out there and we can still be wearing fashionable pieces throughout our pregnancies these days.

As my bump has been getting bigger, and trousers have become tighter, I have really not liked the feeling of waist bands against my stomach. This is a personal choice as I know some women like to wear trousers over their bumps but for me, I really don’t like the feeling of it at all. So how have I been getting around this? Well luckily we have had some warmer weather lately and I have been loving wearing dresses and all in one jumpsuits which are so much more comfortable.

2nd trimester styling

Here are some of my favourite outfits that I have been wearing during my 2nd trimester.

If you would like to read about my pregnancy journey so far I will link my previous blog post HERE and keep posted for my next blog post which will be my top maternity picks from the likes of Asos, Booohoo and more!

All in one – unitard

Strictly speaking this is not a maternity wear item as this is an existing piece in my wardrobe but it has been perfect to wear during my 2nd trimester! It has a lovely stretch to it and is seamless so there are no annoying waist bands getting in the way. I’ve been wearing this with a little cardigan as pictured here, with an open denim shirt over the top, with a tied shirt over the top of the bump and also with denim jackets.

You can pick up a similar unitard style from Boohoo HERE.

Pregnancy fashion

Cardigan – NastyGal & Trainers Pink Nike Air Force One

Pregnancy fashion

Jacket ASOS & Trainers Adidas Originals

Pregnancy fashion

White Shirt Boohoo & Sliders Primark

Broderie Anglais 

I wrote a blog post last Summer HERE about Broderie Anglais and it’s just as popular this year! I love this material and it’s really easy to style. You can pair a Broderie Anglais dress with cute summer straw bags and sandals, or you can even toughen up the look by adding a leather jacket with biker boots.

Pregnancy fashion

Dress from Asos

Drop hem dresses

A dropped hem dress is perfect for a growing baby bump as they have a bit more give to them. They are not clingy and are lovely in cool, loose, cotton like materials for hot weather. Recently we have had temperatures high into 30 degrees and this style of dress has been a saviour for me!

Pregnancy fashion

Dress from Boohoo

Pregnancy fashion

Dress from DLSB

Pregnancy fashion

Dress from Boohoo

Smocks

Smock style dresses are not just for pregnancy. I really love a smock style dress personally as think they are really flattering and easy to wear. They often come in a variety of designs too from polka dots, sailor stripes, leopard prints and more so there is always a great selection available.  Asos, Boohoo, Missguided – all of the usual online retailers are my go to places for these every year. Zara and H&M also usually do a good selection of these on the high street. 

Here are some of my favourite smock dresses that I have been wearing during my 2nd trimester.

Pregnancy fashion

Dress from Boohoo

Pregnancy fashion

Dress from NastyGal & Topshop sandals

Pregnancy fashion

Dress from Boohoo

Pretty floral dresses

It’s the perfect time of year for wearing pretty floral print pieces and I like to style these with Summer sandals or slides, finished with cute hair accessories to tie the look together. I love dresses with ruffles at the best of times but they are also great for those days when you don’t want your bump out on show quite as much.

Pregnancy fashion

Dress from NastyGal & Topshop sandals

Pregnancy fashion

Dress from Pink Blush Maternity

Pregnancy fashion

Dress from Wednesday’s Girl & Jimmy Choo Heels

Long length dresses

Again, a longer length dress is perfect for keeping cool in the Summer, but I also love a more body con, tighter style which I plan to wear in the transitional period when we start to move into Autumn, with boots and a blazer or leather jacket over the top.

Pregnancy fashion

Dress from Boohoo

Pregnancy fashion

Dress from DLSB

Pregnancy fashion

Dress from Pink Blush Maternity

So that’s my round up of the sort of styles that I have been wearing the last few months during the 2nd trimester as my bump has been getting bigger.

What is your favourite look from this selection?

Follow on Instagram

Follow on Instagram