Monthly Archives: September 2014

Review: Moms Own Milk

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I can only imagine that it was a clever Facebook advert that hooked me onto this one!

When my little one was just a few weeks old, a company called MOM was brought to my attention- Moms Own Milk. This is a WAHM (an acronym I learnt recently- Work At Home Mum) who makes resin and silver jewellery made from your own breast milk. Now I am totally aware that some people will (and do) find the thought of this either pointless or disgusting- and if that’s you please feel free to move along and not read this review! Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and I certainly have a few of my own….

Some back ground for me:
My little boy didn’t have an easy start to breastfeeding- it took him three long weeks to get the hang of it. I say long weeks- it felt like years passed and I aged another decade eachtime we tried and failed to get him latched on. Eventually he got the hang of it, and that was that. He hasn’t looked back since and at about 8 weeks old started refusing to take a bottle. We have successfully got about 10 oz total into him via a bottle since that date over numerous occasions.

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I went back to work three weeks ago, part time. It wasn’t a “hard” decision- I’ve had a wonderful year at home with my little scamp (not to say it hasn’t been trying and stressful at times), but I enjoy my job, love my employers and it was time to regain a little “me time”. Even if this is a 20 minute walk to the station by myself, a quiet train journey or eating lunch without having to sweep and mop the floor afterwards- it’s still me time. This was however reasonably stressful as baby still refuses milk from anything except the breast. He doesn’t eat or porrige with milk (fussy little so and so), and he wont drink milk from a tippy cup, open cup, straw cup or any other kind of recepticle. So the 10 hours he is at the childminders 10 days a month means 10 hours a day without any milk. We’ve tried breast milk and cows milk- cold, warm, hot- nothing is good enough! So my first fear was that he’d starve. When I realised he was actually fine without milk for numerous hours, it actually made me a little sad. Although it’s frustrating being the ONLY person in the whole world (well ok, in our small world) who can give him the nutrition and comfort he needs, there’s a lot to be said for the breastfeeding (or in American “nursing”) relationship with your baby. Whilst I can’t describe what it’s like to have the bottle feeding relationship, I can say that breastfeeding despite everything is a wonderful heartwarming sensation every single time. It’s very emotional, and really has helped me bond with my lovely little person.

So I really wanted something to commemorate that relationship and couldn’t really think what that one thing might be. I plan to feed my baby directly from the breast until he self weans- who knows when that might be but I guess he may feed until three or so, but I still wanted something for when I was at work to look at and remind me of that relationship.

So MOM seemed perfect. Althought the website is a little flashy, and I found it hard to navigate, Vickie’s comms were great, even when I sent her a long rambling email about what it was I wanted. Having said all this, today I’ve visited the website with it’s all NEW look, and found it much easier to navigate to find what I was looking for!

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I have a Pandora bracelet which was a present from my sister for being her bridesmaid. Up until now it has only had the two charms she gave me on it (Birthday and Christmas are on their way!!) so I decided a Pandora style bead would be perfect. In all honesty, they are one of the only things from the website that is my style, but there’s something for everyone with a wide range of different things. You can add all kinds of things to the jewellery- from umbillical cord, to the first hair curl or placentra, but I was just after straight Milk.

Vickie responded quickly to my enquiry about what style and size bead I could have and I placed my order at once. Within 30 minutes I received the information about how to package and send my milk with a confirmation of my order. I happened to be popping out that afternoon so I posed a small freezer bag of milk (30ml) (double bagged to avoid leaks) that afternoon. Once Vickie had received the order, she emailed me to let me know, and the same once it had been shipped. I chose a quiet time of year (not just before christmas!) so the turn around was quick- less than a week from me posting the milk to the charm arriving, signed for post.

It arrived today, nicely presented in a frosted box, with a free MOM Breast Feeding Wristband (which you can turn inside out to show either a L or a R to show which side to feed from next), and came with a vial of resin and jewellery polish. Instructions are available on the website about how to care for it too.

And…. it’s lovely! Exactly how I pictured it (the website images are very clear and accurate) and it looks great with my two current charms. It’s a little bigger than would have been ideal for me, but I wanted the smooth finish and that only comes in the 17mm bead whereas you can get a multifaceted geometric shaped bead in a smaller 13mm. Having said that it looks really good with my current bracelet in the size it is so what do I know?!

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So all in all- great service, lovely item and something really special that I can look at whilst at work or away to remind my of my beautiful baby boy!

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South Hill Park

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I thought I’d start with a review of local facilities and work from there.

My most visited place on maternity leave was South Hill Park, It’s a Grade II listed building, housing a cinema, theatre, art workshops, dance studios, a cafe/bar and much more.

Pre Baby, I used SHP for yoga classes on a Wednesday night (until I broke my shoulder (not doing yoga I hasten to add) and the bar was frequently visited on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The centre has lovely gardens (recently revamped with a Lottery Grant) where you can picnic in nicer weather and so we’ve enjoyed using the park for many years.

Post-baby I am sometimes surprised at how often I visit (I managed fiver visits one week recently)! Twice a week there are Buggy Fit classes held around the paths at the front and back of the arts centre. I’ve been almost every week since November last year. The classes are not affiliated with the centre but the council allow the classes to take place in the grounds. Post Buggy-Fit we usually pop into the cafe for a cup of tea/ cold drink. It’s just a mile from my house (walking) so it’s an easy place to meet up with friends, and especially friends with babies. They also run a Bring In Baby Cinema showing once a week and do much more for older children, including dance classes, art workshops and more.

The restaurant/ cafe serves excellent food, including Sunday Roasts with huge home made yorkshire puddings and bottomless dishes of roast potatoes and vegetables. Sandwiches and flatbreads (especially the goats cheese and caramelised onion) and superb and the chips are hot, crisps and fluffy. The food is quire reasonably priced- The roasts are under a tenner and Sandwiches with chips come in about £7. They serve a good range of hot and cold drinks, although in the past I know the Ale hasn’t been very well kept and the alcoholic drinks are pretty pricey.

I was quite frustrated to find out in the last of my 51 weeks maternity leave that they do a hot-drinks loyalty card. I am a regular there and most the staff know my face so I was surprised to find this out and a bit disappointed that I hadn’t been offered one!

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Out the back there’s a nice kids playpark- enclosed on all sides (which is handy as a lot of dog walkers use the grounds). It’s mostly covered in sand which even my one year old seem to enjoy digging in, and has a few play equipment items – a slide, some cute wooden pigs in the sand, a rocking horse and some squares you can jump on that make a funny sound. It could do with a swing but the park gets quite busy and there might be a perpetual queue!

It’s a really great asset to the local area. The grounds are well kept, there’s always parking and it’s quite central for those that want to walk or cycle, and well served with off road cycle routes.

I’ll be there tomorrow for buggyfit!

Won!

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We won! We made it to one!
We didn’t leave him anywhere, break him or give up after a ridiculously difficult wonderful year.

I already went through the things we achieved over the last 51 weeks of maternity leave so I won’t do that again, but maybe a nice photo of the small one enjoying his big day!
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We took the day off work and spent it walking up to Coral Reef for a swim, then stopping off on the way home at South Hill Park for lunch. Then the afternoon included friends popping over with presents and cake & fizzy!

Then on Saturday my mum kindly hosted a family party. The weather turned out to be unexpectedly beautiful so we ate and played outside in the sun. More presents, more fizzy and more cake!

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He’s also got his first pair of shoes and is really enjoying running around in them!

Now the first year is out of the way, it’s made me think about what I’ll start to use this blog for. not to say that I don’t have the same need to rant about sleep and stress of parenthood, but I think I need some more direction. If you can think of a topic you’d like me to cover, please feel free to suggest. Otherwise I’m seeing more reviews, information about my volunteer work with the Let Toys Be Toys campaign , information about babywearing and general my general mix of “natural parenting” and “other” (unnatural parenting?!) as we traverse toddlerhood!