5 practical things to do ahead of labour and birth…

Pack hospital bag

This is probably already at the top of your to do list and I am going to dedicate a post to just this. The first thing to do is plan what bags you will be taking- one for you, one for baby and one for your birth partner perhaps? I have just ordered some travel storage bags from amazon which are going to be perfect for organising all the bits for both me and the baby. Get them here: i-Sure 7Pcs Flamingo Waterproof Travel Storage Bags Clothes Packing Cube Luggage Organizer Pouch

Pack labour kit

This bag will come to the hospital or birth centre with you too but it is handy to keep your bits for labour separate because you will need them at home. Some ideas for this bag: Microwave heat pads, TENS machine, paracetamol, snacks and a drink. Little tip: a clear bag will make it easier to access everything. This bag from Amazon is ideal for this: Eono by Amazon – Clear Tote Bag Transparent Bag Large Toiletry Bag Clear Crossbody Bag with Adjustable Shoulder Strap and Zipper Closure, Perfect for Stadium, Work, Sports Games, Leisure Occasion.

Plan childcare and pet care

Make a plan for your other children and your pets. If your children are in a nursery or school make arrangements so that other key people are allowed to pick them up if you cant. Pick a safe space to hide a spare house key too in case you need anyone to be able to get into your house to pick up something you have forgotten or to take care of your pets.

Write birth plan

I have read loads of advice on this and the key thing I have picked up on is to keep it simple in both content and format. Midwives want easy to read birth plans that are clear on your main wants and needs. Include your basic information and then plans for pain relief, environment, delivery and post delivery. It is worth trying to keep an open mind as some things will likely have to change.

Prep birth partner

Go through your birth plan with your birth partner and talk to them about your wishes. They will have to advocate for you if you cant so ensure they are clear on what you want. A couple of extra things I will be telling my husband is to take lots of photos and to wait until I can be involved to call family and friends.

Plan route to hospital or birth centre

It’s a good idea to practice the trip, plan other routes incase of road closures and figure out where you are supposed to park when you arrive. Also make sure your car is filled up, the baby car seat is installed and you have a towel and cushion in the car for your trips to and from the hospital.

5 postpartum essentials…

It’s good to prepare to be very sore for at least a few weeks after giving birth (however you do it). You will need big comfy underwear and loose soft clothes and if you are breastfeeding – breastfeeding bras and tops that you can easily lift up or pull down. Loungewear jumpsuits with a cross over top are perfect for this! I will probably get at least 3 new jumpsuits to wear around the house in those early days- boohoo.com have some perfect ones.

Some tips when looking for clothes try to find ones that are:

  • easy to feed if you breastfeed
  • soft for both your skin and babies
  • easy to put on when your tired and sore
  • easy to take off to use the toilet or wash
  • have enough room for big underwear and maternity pads

It’s also just nice to have new loungewear that makes you feel good for yourself even on those long days at home – so definitely add buying some new bits for yourself to your to do list. Another thing to add to keep you busy when getting ready for the baby is to have a good organise of your clothes, maybe do a box of what you don’t think you will be wearing for a while to store away.

Care boxes for your bathroom. These are essential to make sure you are prepared to take good care of yourself in your recovery. I am going to put one downstairs and one upstairs and they will have the following items in:

TOP TIP: Make up a mini version of this in a little bag to take with you if you go out*

Just to keep it real here- I did have to wee in the shower a lot after giving birth to Theo- the stinging pain after having a lot of stitches was just unbearable so having running water on me helped ease it. *THE BEST TIP* if you have this problem, (this may sound crazy) but sit on the toilet and lean over as far as can putting your head near your feet before weeing this seems to work.

I am not good at planning meals or cooking them for that matter but I am really trying to make an effort this time to be prepared with the following:

  • Make and freeze some family meals
  • Find and copy lots of new simple recipes into my recipe book
  • Practice making nutritious nursing smoothies and stock up on essentials for these
  • Make healthy snacks for me and the boys
  • Sign up for Gusto or Hello fresh
  • Stock up on vitamins and food essentials

I will also be relying on my amazing friend at @bubbaeats on Instagram for loads of inspiration for healthy snacks and meals.

The emotions that come with having a baby are crazy and can be overwhelming so try to find support in preparation for this. Before you have your baby try to think about where you will get support to help you whether it be your partner, family member, friend, local baby group or a Facebook group.

Another good tip is to get a good planner or diary. I’m generally really organised but as it comes to the end of my pregnancies and when taking care of newborns the combination of baby brain and lack of sleep massively effects how I function and it’s really easy to forget things such as appointments for your baby and all the other normals things you should know like what day/month is it!

For me it’s really important to be super organised at home before the baby comes as this will just help me relax and make the most of those magical newborn days. Setting up some relaxing spaces for me and the baby is one of big to do’s before she arrives.

The baby will be sleeping in our room in the next to me crib so I am going to make it really functional with a dedicated changing area, soft lighting, put some shelves by my bed for access to everything I need and fill my bedside cabinet with all the essentials for breastfeeding and relaxing. This will also be where I go to relax and feed the baby if someone is with the boys.

A few of the things I will set up for this are:

  • Microwavable heat pads to help with stomach pains
  • Lavender warming eye masks – amazing to help you nap in the day or get back to sleep after a night feed
  • Snacks and drinks
  • Phone and charger
  • Entertainment – Laptop for Netflix, Books
  • Muslins and burp cloths
  • Room humidifier and essential oils
  • Small light for night feeds and changes
  • Black out blinds in the bedroom
  • Feeding pillow and blankets
  • Next to me crib and sleep nest
  • White noise machine- I LOVE this one – The Gro Company Ollie The Owl Grofriend Light and Sound Sleep Aid

I am also going to set up an area in the living room on our cuddler sofa with blankets, a feeding pillow and a space for my breastfeeding box. xx

6 super simple activities to do at home with toddlers…

Here are 6 super simple activities to do with toddlers with things you will already have at home! Taken from my Instagram @thelopezlife xx

Tips to make it through morning sickness…

Morning sickness is awful. My first two pregnancies I felt sick all day and night for 8 weeks. This pregnancy was the same timings but SO SO much worse! I didn’t have Hyperemesis gravidarum and I was never even actually physically sick! I don’t know if it was because this baby is a girl or because I now have two other children to look after and a job to go to but it was all-consuming and put my life on hold.

My dogs made me feel sick, my husbands’ beard made me feel sick, fresh air made me feel sick, lying down made me feel sick, standing up made me feel sick! It was bizarre and awful and although “totally normal” it made me feel so low for what felt like forever! And I was actually one of the lucky ones because it did end when everyone said it would at 14 weeks.

The silver lining was I did learn a few things that I can share in the hope that I can help someone, somewhere! Obviously I am NOT medically trained on this (or anything for that matter) so please see a doctor and tell your midwife if you are worried about morning sickness.

  • GET SUPPORT: Find someone, anyone, who has been through it and reach out. I had one particular friend who I couldn’t have got through it without. She had been there and she would just listen to me moan EVERY day without judgement. If you don’t have anyone – find me!! … I’m on Facebook (Emily Lopez Moreno) or email me.
  • PRIORITISE: Don’t clean your house, wash your hair or spend time cooking a gourmet meal (I don’t do this anyway) but my point is anything you can just let go, let it go. Don’t worry about exercise or eating all the nutritious meals you are told to eat when pregnant there is plenty of time for that! Just do what you have got to do to make it through the day. I only left the house to go to work, everything else just had to be left.
  • DON’T FEEL GUILTY: Hating this part of pregnancy does NOT mean you don’t like your baby or you don’t want to be pregnant. It just means that morning sickness is AWFUL and that is all! Cry it out, snuggle on the sofa, feel sorry for yourself- just remember IT WILL STOP!
  • DON’T GET HUNGRY: Keep eating little and often and stay hydrated. What you fancy to eat will just depend on you and may vary day to day but I liked “fresh” things like lemons and peppermint. Sugary things made me feel worse which was annoying because I have such a sweet tooth and would have loved the excuse to eat ALL the chocolate.

I feel like everyone is different in what helps but these are the things helped me:

Another little tip: Don’t light your favourite candles or wear your favourite perfume when you are feeling sick as you might NEVER want to smell them again- ha! My husband kept drinking from this one mug when I was sick and I have had to throw it away because I couldn’t even look at it.

Remember it will end…it may not be today but it does stop and you will feel amazing! xx

How to organise your home for a new baby…

When I’m pregnant my nesting urges make me want to clean and organise every single thing in my house, garden, garage and car 😅. This time I have the boys too so a lot of my planning and organising for the baby will also be about them!

I am going to expand on this post when I actually start but for now I am going to share my to do lists so far. I do tend to over plan and sometimes have to stop myself from spending more time planning than actually doing so I will try keep this brief but I will follow up with more on each room and the bedrooms when they are done.

The new baby will be here at the beginning of the summer so I want to get the garden sorted for the boys so they can go out and play safely. We got so sick of them fighting over the plastic toys/cars/slides in the garden one day last summer we just got rid of it all on Facebook marketplace and made a new more natural play area. The goal was to be plastic free but we have kept some of their smaller toys.

We sectioned off a part of the garden, dug it out and put play bark down. We were given this amazing wooden sand pit from my dad which has a cover which turns into a cute little bench! The boys love the new more natural theme- they fight less over the toys and make up games using the rocks, sticks and sand. Still left to do is to get some sort of water play set up out there and put an extra lock on the gate then they can roam freely and safely all summer with no fighting, no crying whilst the baby naps and I relax in the sun….😂.

Have a look at my Pinterest board “Boy’s play area” for some inspiration if you think this will also work for you. Honestly it has really changed how they play out there and was really simple and cheap to do!

Soon I will empty, deep clean and re-organise every cupboard and draw and hopefully getting rid of some stuff we don’t use to make more space. This is what I will want to have done by the time the baby comes:

  • Clean and empty the top freezer ready for freezing breastmilk.
  • Make and freeze at least five family meals.
  • Get a bottle drying rack. I really like this one…Large Baby Bottle Drying Rack Anti-Bacterial Large Grass for Kitchen Countertop (Green).
  • Make one of the cupboards into a baby feeding equipment cupboard.
  • Set up an easy access tea and coffee station.
  • Check all the child locks on the cupboards and draws.
  • Stock up on cleaning supplies and food basics.
  • Have at least 20 easy healthy family meals written up in my recipe book.

Last weekend I did a car boot sale and a trip to the charity shop and got rid of loads of toys- it was so satisfying! I have created a little ‘Kids corner’ in the living room for the boys where I keep a box of toys, a box of games and puzzles, some books and Cameron’s nappy box. I try to regularly swap things in and out to keep them interested.

This is my to do list for the living room before the baby arrives:

  • Add low bookshelf to the ‘Kids corner’ so the boys can reach the books on their own.
  • Set up a breastfeeding station.
  • Set up a new nappy changing box/add to Cameron’s. You will see that grey box everywhere in my house. They are cheap and so handy: Get one here: Baby Diaper Caddy Organiser, Toy Storage Bin, Great Mommy Helper, Portable Nursery Storage Basket Bin with Changeable Compartments
  • Get some good Netflix shows on my watch list ready to binge when the baby arrives.
  • And when we finally decide it- I will need to get the new baby’s initial ordered and the frame up 😍 The letter posters were from wish.com (only £1 plus delivery!) and the frames are from Ikea.

We have three bathrooms – downstairs toilet, main/kids bathroom and an ensuite. I am adding some bits to the kids bathroom and downstairs one to help the boys use them a bit more independently and I will also be getting them ready with some postpartum essentials to help my recovery after the birth.

  • Finish off the kids bathroom – put up hooks for towels, sort bath toys, set up a teeth brushing station.
  • Stock up on toiletries and bathroom cleaning products.
  • Make two postpartum care boxes- one for downstairs bathroom and one for ensuite. I had a really tough time recovering after having Theo, I have done a post on postpartum essentials with some really useful tips!
  • This is the baby bath I have and I really really recommend it Shnuggle Baby Bath with Bum Bump Support and Cosy Foam Back Rest.

With the bedrooms, Theo has his own room which he will keep for now. Cameron’s nursery will become a ‘joint’ nursery for him and the baby but the baby will sleep in our room initially in the next to me cot.

To do list for the bedrooms is:

  • Finish decorating the nursery
  • Set up next to me cot and nappy changing station in our room
  • Organise all the boys clothes
  • Organise nursery dresser for all the baby equipment and clothes
  • Stock the baby first aid kit
  • Organise my wardrobe and get some comfy breastfeeding clothes
  • Plan lighting for night feeds and changes

We will eventually put the boys together in Cameron’s room and the baby will go into what is now Theo’s…😅 so we do have a sort of plan. Theo comes into our bed every night at some point, he has slept in his own bed all night once in 4 years 😂 but Cameron sleeps okay-ish in his cot so we decided to keep things as ‘normal’ as possible for them for as long as we can. xx

5 tips to make driving alone with young children easier…

My boys have notoriously been really difficult in the car as babies. I had to constantly pull over to feed or cuddle or just get them out to have a break from the crying and then put them back in and hope for the best. I had a lot of anxiety about travelling with them and rarely went anywhere alone until they were 18 + months and if I did I had a 20 minute time limit rule.

I had a horrible experience when I was travelling alone when Theo was 2 and Cameron was about 8 weeks. I pulled off the motorway onto a quiet road to get Cameron out because he was crying so hysterically. I got out and shut my door and heard “clunk”. I couldn’t get back into the car!! It was still running with the keys inside, along with my phone. My first thought was I need help! I had to leave the car and run to the main road. I tried to flag someone down by jumping up and down screaming HELP!! I caught the eye of a couple and thank goodness they stopped. THEY WERE AMAZING whilst I screamed at them to just “SMASH THE WINDOW!!”, they calmed me down and assessed the situation. It turned out that the driver door (the only one I didn’t try) hadn’t locked!!! So we managed to get back in. I couldn’t pull myself together enough to drive home and had to get my mother in law to come and rescue us. It was all okay in the end but it took me a long time to get over it and I still NEVER close a car door without opening another one if the boys are inside.

So that brings me to my point about planning and preparing for car trips. Here are a few things I do to make me more confident about going on a journey alone with the boys…

  • Plan the route: I always check the route on maps before leaving if I am going on any major roads to check for big traffic jams or accidents. I have a huge fear of pulling onto a motorway with the boys and traffic is at a stand still!
  • Basket of toys: For long journeys- rather than a bag I fill a basket of things and put it on the passenger seat so I can easily grab and throw stuff back to the boys. In here I put snacks, drinks, toys and wipes. See the photo above.
  • Emergency car bag: I keep an “emergency” car bag in the boot with nappies, wipes, a couple of bin bags, change of clothes for each of the boys, a small towel, some calpol, a dummy and drinks and snacks (fruit baby pouches and sealed juices are perfect for this as the have long expiry dates). For littler ones you could put in one of those little sealed ready made milks and a bottle- I would just keep an eye on temperature requirements.
  • Don’t commit to times: Whenever I can, I plan to arrive within an hour ish time slot. This just takes the pressure off getting ready and getting out the house on time, then if I do need to stop I’m not worrying about being late.

Obviously I see the irony in that none of this helped me in my emergency as I couldn’t get to anything even if I needed it- ha! But I do feel better travelling knowing that I am prepared for delays, nappy blow outs or major tantrums! I don’t think I will be going anywhere alone for a long time though after number three arrives! xx

Sleep is overrated…

Our house has 3 bedrooms so the plan is for the new baby to sleep in with us in the next to me cot then when she is about 6 months the boys will move in together and she will have her own room. But Cameron’s room is still going to become a sort of joint nursery…so most of the baby stuff will go in there..which means its needs re-organising and re-decorating- aka loads of time searching on Pinterest and many trips to Ikea!

It’s really tempting to put the boys together now and create a brand new girly nursery…but Cameron sleeps well in his room (for the moment) and I think making changes now could backfire when we need sleep the most. Theo gets in our bed EVERY SINGLE NIGHT so I don’t think that will change anytime soon, he is pretty quiet and usually still half asleep when he creeps in so I am just hoping that won’t cause too many problems! He does have a floor bed which is actually quite comfy so worst case, one of us (probably not the one breastfeeding) will have to go get in that with him to re-settle him…but we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

I don’t know what our plan will be for sleep and naps when the new baby comes- Theo had no proper routine and has always gone to bed really late for his age and had to be fed, rocked and now cuddled to sleep. Cameron became a bit more independent…we still cuddle or rock him to sleep but then put him in his cot and he does normally sleep quite well.

I have learnt not to stress too much about it…I regret the worry I had about Theo not sleeping in his own bed and needing so much physical touch to go to sleep but it’s actually turned out fine…he is 4 next month so it’s probably some people’s worst nightmare that he still will come and get in our bed but surprisingly it doesn’t actually cause us too much problems or loss of sleep! So I wish I had not worried so much. xx

5 tips for working out with kids about…

Trying to fit workouts into your busy day when you are at home with young children is tough but it’s not as impossible as it may seem. Stay focused on your goals and try these simple tips to get those workouts complete.

  • Make it quick: If like me you simply do not have time (or the will power) to go for a run or go the gym so you can do ALL your workouts from home. I mostly don’t even get changed for them – I am pretty much always wearing leggings, a vest top when I am at home and it’s not really necessary to get changed for these quick workouts so if I can shave some time off by just working out in what I am wearing I will.
  • Find them on Youtube: All my workouts I find on YouTube and set up on my laptop or phone on my kitchen counter. They are MAXIMUM 20 minutes and I try do them every other day. If it goes well, without too many interruptions, I will add another short one on the end.
  • Prepare to be interrupted: I will put on the boys favourite show to keep them entertained. I will prep some snacks but keep them with me until they need distracting and I can then pass them something to get an extra couple of minutes before they come back for more! When they do eventually come in whining and wont leave me alone- I will pick them up and use them as a weight or lie them on the mat and pretend its all about them.
  • Be equipped: I have an exercise mat and I recently brought some 2kg dumbbell weights. They are so worth it because by using weights I can get in the extra workout without putting in double the time. Also I really need to work on my strength to carry three children around!
  • Don’t sweat it: It not essential to get all sweaty to feel like you’ve done a good workout – if I know my husband is going to be home and I will be able to go in the shower straight away I might go for it on some harder ones – but usually after 10 minutes I’ve cooled down and my dressing gown is back on and I will have a shower when I next can.

I hope these tips help you if you are wanting to workout but struggling to find the time. I would love to hear what you do to stay fit with young kids….xx

5 things to do for siblings before a new baby arrives…

Our third baby is due on 2nd July 2020 so I thought I would share some of the things I am doing for the boys in preparation for our new arrival.

Theodore has just turned 4 and Cameron will be 2 in May so they are constantly in need of entertaining! I have been trying to think of things to keep them busy in the lead up to and when the new baby arrives. Here are some things that I am doing to make things a bit easier when we become a family of five!

  • Stocking a “dad bag”: I am going to get a new back pack and fully stock it with essentials just for the boys – a change of clothes each, nappies, wipes, snacks etc. The plan is to hang this by the front door so that my husband (or any other willing family and friends) will be able to grab it and go whenever they are taking the boys out. 
  • Ideas for outings & activities: I have started doing a list of ideas for things to do with the boys in the summer. My categories so far are: days out, local trips out, in the garden, in the house and ideas for rainy days. I will do a post with these full lists.
  • Meals and snacks: I find it hard to plan and prepare meals at the best of times so I have started a new recipe book with simple ideas for meals and snacks for us and the boys. I am putting a simple shopping list on each one so we can take a quick photo before heading the supermarket. I am also going to make and freeze some nice snacks for the boys as well as some family meals.
  • Simplify the simple things: I love being organised but I know that there are going to be so many times coming when I am not in control, my house is a mess and nothing is going to plan. To prepare for this as much as possible am going to simplify some every day things that take up time in the day. Such as getting the boys dressed- as the baby will arrive early summer- I have started getting the boys summer wardrobe ready. I love them to be matching so I am going to stock up on pyjamas, shorts, t-shirts and hats and the other things they will need and have it all organised in their rooms. I cant wait to put away all their winter stuff which takes up so much room. I am also going to do this for me as I had such a hard time picking outfits when I was breastfeeding so I have started getting a few things…I am going to do a post on this soon.

I hope these little tips inspire you if you are having a second, third (or even maybe forth or fifth baby)… have a look at my post- “Organising your home for a new baby” for more ideas to get organised. xx