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    My names's Kate and I'm a stickler for a routine...

    Me again and this time I thought I'd share some thought about what keeps me relatively sane, of course some days I feel like I've completely lost the plot but no day will ever be the same and tomorrow is always a fresh start.


    My name's Kate and I'm a stickler for a (flexible) routine.  This all came about after Oscar was born and we were still in what I consider the 4th trimester where you and your baby are getting used to each other and we didn't do a routine for the first 3 months.  He was a cluster feeding little pickle and he would feed/snack constantly, he loved going for walks in the sling and buggy but would scream in the car even if he was tired and especially during the witching hour (between 7pm-10/11pm every evening).  All this generally made me feel like I wasn't doing anything right.  I know now that I was, but because I had put so much pressure on myself to be a perfect Mum, I felt like I was failing.  After day 10 when my ever so lovely midwife discharged me, I cried!  I cried because there was a very high chance that my hormones were going crazy and making the baby blues a reality, but I was worried that I wasn't going to be a good mum, to which she replied "The fact you are thinking and worrying about this means you are already a great mum!".  I still cried after she left but part of me felt better and that we would be ok.


    I bought a lot of books, perhaps I should have done this prior to having a baby rather than reading about what size fruit or vegetable my baby was!  Because then, I wouldn't have been a walking zombie with boobs like rocks that dripped like a leaking tap (sorry, TMI).  But none of the books were appealing to the type of parent and parenting I wanted to be/do.  Then, a friend recommended The Baby Book by Rachel Waddilove, I liked the flexible routine Rachel suggested and took aspects of it to work with our lifestyle, she spoke utter sense and came across with a calm and relaxed approach to enjoying the first year with your baby and this worked for us.


    I managed to get Oscar into a 3 hourly (and then 4 hourly) feeding, which helps you with weaning later on.  His power naps improved and so did his sleeping during the night.  And when things weren't going as well as they used to, I'd consult the book and look at what might have changed (usually them getting older) and what I could tweak  and then after a few days we were back on track.  It gave me the confidence to go with my instincts and trust what I was doing was the best for our baby, but most of all Oscar was happy and healthy and so were we.


    And then little Squidge came along.  I was a lot more relaxed and confident in what I was doing and almost immediately started to implement a very basic routine for feeding and making sure Alice didn't get over tired and she was a very content and happy baby who loved her sleep.  Sure, the witching hour was still tricky but I made sure that she wasn't too over stimulated in the evenings and yes sometimes I ate an hour after my husband and it was cold but we settled into a routine a lot quicker, which suited our lifestyle and family.


    So now, when dinner time carnage has finished and if little Squidge hasn't flicked her yoghurt up the wall, they are straight into a lovely bubble bath using our favorite Childs Farm products.  These are great as Oscar and Alice get very dry skin/mild eczema and we love their selection of award wining products.  We are now onto the big push pump bottles (which have to be kept on the shelf so that Oscar doesn't make recipes and potions in the bath and uses a whole bottle to do so!!!), but these last ages as a little goes a long way.


    And then it's less than a hour until they are tucked up in bed and it's my time, which I will inevitably spend tidying, cooking, re-washing a load of laundry from the day before that I forgot about and then finally getting absorbed into some terrible reality TV and losing an hour on social media, just to switch off.


    So what I'm saying is, this worked for us because of our lifestyles but find what works for you and make sure you do get some time for yourself, especially if you have Littles, as it helps you survive the rest of the day and gets you ready for the next day. You can't pour from an empty cup and if you've had a really terrible day, eat that sharing bag of Cadbury's Giant Chocolate Buttons, tomorrow is a fresh start and you have totally got this!


    K x


    A bump in the road...

    Hello and Happy New Year to you all, I hope yours was less sickly than mine?  Why is it that everyone gets so poorly (including me) over the festive period?!




    Lots has been happening or rather not happening rather for Pickle & Squidge and I have have had to 'tweak' my boxes and remove the Aptamil first milk.  I was sad to do this, as it was part of my initial plan, to offer a box of essential things for all new mums/parents that they might need during the first few months and to make sure that I didn't discriminate against anyones choices or add to the pressure of being a new mum.


    Once I'd launched Pickle & Squidge and it had gone live, I contacted Aptaclub UK on Facebook to see if they might feature my new business if they liked it.  I didn't hear anything for a while and then received a message, explaining that they loved my boxes and thought they were a great idea.  However they exclusively support breastfeeding for the first 6 months (obviously they have to say this and why they only advertise follow on formula) and suggested that I contact my local Trading Standards to discuss this further.


    My heart sank, but after a while, I realised that they had actually done me a huge favour.  After speaking in depth with a fantastic women at Trading Standards, I now know that there are legal regulations on infant formula, which prohibit any advertisement or promotion of infant formula to pregnant women or new mums in the first 6 months - hence why infant formula is only advertised from 6 months plus - light bulb moment!


    Now that I know this, it totally makes sense why I'd never seen it advertised and also why it is never reduced or included in offers online or in stores.  For my business it is important to me to be able to run offers and discounts once Pickle & Squidge is a little more established and because of these legal regulations, I wouldn't be able to do this.


    So, I made the executive decision to remove Aptamil from all my boxes, replacing it with Nelson Arnicare Arnica 30c Pillules, which nearly made the cut initially, but I felt offering a back up/emergency mini bottle of formula might be more useful in those early months with your baby.  However, as soon as I made the decision to change the products, it was a total no brainer and top of my list to include it in our mummy-to-be boxes.


    Arnica is amazing and we use the cream version weekly in this household, my littles and I are extremely clumsy (it seems I cannot go a day without walking into a door handle or edge of a table ) and it helps heal our bruising much quicker.  Which is why I chose Arnica as it can offers numerous benefits, during and after labour. It is a homeopathic remedy that can be used for a natural birth or C-section.  Arnica can help you recover from surgery and the less post-birth bruising and after pain you experience, the more care and energy you can devote to your new baby. 


    I'm not one to dwell on things if they haven't worked out how I envisioned, there's no point, because if I had continued to trade including the infant formula, Pickle & Squidge may not be in such a strong position as it is now.  This blog post may have been my last and I was not prepared to be defeated.  I was in no doubt that when I launched P&S, it would be a work in progress, there would be things I would need to change and tweak and sometimes you've just got to put a bit more effort in to make the right decisions work for you.






    FED is best...

    It's been a week since I launched my business last Friday and I have been actively sharing and spreading the love about Pickle & Squidge, and so have you lovely lot!  Thank you so much as it means the world to hear how much you like it and that you will be purchasing one for Mums-to-be in the near future.



    It has not all been positive (insert my sad face here!).


    As I was sharing the love on Facebook and letting a local Mum group know about P&S, I received a message to let me know that I couldn't share my business on their page, because I hadn't initially asked for permission as a business but more importantly, and this is the bit that shocked me the most...because I have included formula and nipple shields in one of my boxes!


    Now, I created these boxes with the sole purpose to assist and help Mums, when things get tough (as they often do) and if, in the middle of the night, your nipples are sore from a cluster feeding baby (Pickle) or one who has tongue tie and their latch is shallow (Squidge) which can make breastfeeding extremely difficult and make you feel like you want to give up or you can't go on.  I wanted to have a few products in there to support you and to keep you on track if that's what you have chosen to do.  I mean, I hope you don't need them, but they are there to make things a little easier, not to encourage you to give up! 


    Which is what the problem is with me including these items.  They are deemed by 'The WHO Code' (World Health Organization) to prevent mothers from meeting their own breastfeeding goals and undermines breastfeeding.  This, I must stress, is not directly aimed at parents or parents that choose to use formula, but the companies that aggressively market it.

    I am not here to judge or to preach about what choice you make, that is why I decided to offer a few options with my Mummy-to-be Boxes.  The first box is aimed at supporting Mums that would like to try to breastfeed, if you're a new mum about to have your first baby, like I was before Oscar was born, I wanted to at least try to have a go at breastfeeding.  I read up on lots of information, attended the brilliant Baby Journey antenatal classes and even went to the free Parentcraft ones held by the NHS which were great and really good to recap - I like to be prepared, can you tell?!  But, even though I wanted to try, I knew that it might be hard and maybe I couldn't or wouldn't want to, so I tried not to put too much pressure on myself.  After all I'm having a baby for the first time and then I'm going to try to breastfeed, which would also be another first! 


    Oscar was a cluster feeder and like those adverts/images/mums you see in the park or at coffee shops, calmly feeding their babies easily, this was not us.  Latching on was fine, he guzzled his milk but would then pull away, spraying milk everywhere (sorry if this is TMI but I now know I'm not the only one, however it felt like that at the time!)  But he did love the boob, so much so he wouldn't take a bottle for a very long time!!!  I too had an emergency bottle of formula and nipple shields on standby but luckily I didn't need to use them, but they were there just in case I did.  Friends of mine were able to continue to  exclusively breastfeed with the help of nipple shields, it gave them a little break to heal, so they could continue as planned.


     My other box doesn't include the items associated with breastfeeding, for those that choose not to, or just for someone that you aren't sure if they will be giving it a try, but still being able to send a gorgeous gift without the added pressure.  And lastly a box you can customise, with essentials you feel will be best suited for the new mum/parents. 

    Now I don't feel that I am aggressively marketing my boxes and insisting that you must use every product in the boxes - ideally I would hope you wouldn't need any of them apart from, of course, the chocolates and the dry shampoo, these are actual life savers!  But what I am saying is, sometimes things don't go to plan, I hope they do, but sometimes they don't and that's OK if they don't.  Use these products to get you through the tricky bits and get yourself back on track.


    I feel very strongly that we should be supporting women, each other, giving them the facts and letting them make their own choice on the matter, whatever that is.  Not feeling like failures but giving us support, and that's what Pickle and Squidge is here for - to support all Mums and their choices without judgement.  Because we are all doing the best we can and that's all we can ask for!



    Where it all began...

    Please bear with me as this is my first blog post (ever!) and the very first day of me launching my new business Pickle & Squidge, named after my Littles, Oscar (4) and Alice (16mths).

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