Next week is Father’s Day It is one of those days in our house That is really really hard David and I are lucky in that we both still have our Dads But for David Fatherhood has not been easy … Continue reading
A combination of holiday comedown Missing Matilda Mae And being very pregnant Seem to have left me broken I think I have forgotten how to be a Mummy For the first time in ages I am home alone with Esther … Continue reading
It was a risk coming back here Coming at all Coming to the place where it all began Seven years ago we came My first family holiday With my family to be David and I had known each other Only … Continue reading
Standing on the shores of Ullswater Falling in love with David all over again The brisk breeze across the lake Seeing David do what he loves best On the water His own father by his side As he lifts his … Continue reading
Becoming a parent of premature twins makes you Panic When a baby is born 13 weeks too soon, everything is thrown into turmoil. How will I know what to do? And the panic begins before they are born, as soon … Continue reading
Dear Esther and William What funny little children you are. How you have exploded my world in every way imaginable. Born too soon, in hospital too long. I should know better than to complain about my lot. I know that … Continue reading
Today I am feeling disappointed in me. Our house is chaos at the moment, everything is out of place and everyone is out of routine. And yet I had still been cross with the children before we left the house, … Continue reading
When a baby is born too soon it can be very difficult for friends and family to know what to do. Is it a celebration even though the future of a tiny life is so uncertain?
When I gave birth to Esther and William I was a bundle of mixed emotion but among the sadness, fear and worry there was joy and pride too. I had given birth to two beautiful but tiny babies who were fighting for their lives. I was going to be strong for them and make the most of the time that we had. Thankfully our story has so far had a happy ending, the twins will soon be two and a half.
I still think of those earliest days and before Matilda I felt robbed of my happy birth and people coming to visit us for cuddles in the hospital, bringing balloons.
I remember people visiting us when Esther and William were born. I cried so much to begin with but by the time my sister in law and my best friend came in the afternoon I was feeling some hope and masses of pride for the little bravehearts David and I had created.
I wanted people to say well done and to bring us presents. I was a new mum just like any new mum. I had new babies. Two! I was proud of what love had done. I needed positive people around me to help me be strong for our babies.
As it happened when Matilda was born we asked people not to come to the hospital. It all happened over night and we wanted the day to bond as a three before heading home for tea and to begin our busy life as a family of five!
If someone you know has a baby too soon. Here are some of the things you might buy.
Comforters That Can Be Used As Blankets
When Esther and William were first born and in their incubators they were not able to wear clothes or have covers. Their skin was so fragile and it needed to continue to develop in a warm, humid environment. The day that their hunidity was turned off and their environmental temperature started to be reduced was an occasion to be marked and celebrated. We bought them each a baby comforter which because of their tiny proportions they were able to use as a blanket! Everyone on the unit knew about the Teddykompaniet blankets covering the Henley twins. All the staff knew that the giraffe was little Esther and the elephant was tiny William. The comforters provided them with comfort and an identity.
A Small Soft Toy
Once babies are out of humidity they can have bedding and also small toys. If they had been around for Esther and William’s arrival I would have loved them to have Safebreathe toys in their incubator. Matilda has a Hoppy and she loves him. Esther and William did not have toys in their incubators but they did have the animals attached to their comforters. The jungle ones and also some very cute Jellycat bunnies. These were mostly used as super soft blankets. Esther and William, and Matilda, use them now as toys.
Another gift that I would have loved for collecting all the bits and pieces from NICU such as CPAP hats and arm splints is a memory box. There are some beautiful ones around on the Internet. I love these from Born Gifted. They have gorgeous designs for girls and boys.
One thing that can be bought for any mummy I think is a pack of muslin squares. They have so many uses and for prem babies they can be used as an extra layer of warmth or a bottom sheet on their cots. These beautiful muslins from Aden and Anais would make a wonderful gift and can be used well into the toddler years. And beyond.
Stories To Read Aloud
One thing that I loved doing when Esther and William were in the hospital was reading to them. I read poems and picture books, short stories and news. It was soothing for me and them. It gave us a connection. A good present might be a collection of stories to read aloud. I loved reading Bible stories to Esther and William. To this day they seem to enjoy them too. I have a Lion Storytelling Bible. It is great for young kids. We used one of the stories at Esther and William’s christening last year.
As premature babies continue to grow and as their health improves they reach a point, a beautiful point when they are allowed to start wearing clothes. I think that a clothing bundle from Teddy and Me at this point would be a lovely gift for a new mummy and her preemies.
One other present that would be nice for mummy and baby is a Cuddle Dry apron towel. When you first bath your premature baby it is on the special care ward for all to see and unless you are prepared you might have to dry your baby in a hospital towel. A thoughtful gift therefore for a prem baby and their mummy is a pretty and practical, super soft towel.
As a mummy with babies on NICU I washed my hands more than ever before in my life. I continued to do so when I came home and a bottle or tube of luxury hand cream would have been the perfect indulgent gift for me.
These are some presents you might like to buy for a new mummy and her premature babe.
What is the best new mummy or baby gift you have been given?
When you first bring your baby home it is the most wonderful feeling.
Matilda Mae came home with us on the day that she was born. For Esther and William it was the 59th day.
59 days old and still carried easily with just one hand.
They were still so small.
Too tiny for many of the toys and accessories we had bought for them.
Too tiny for chairs and bouncers and rockers.
Far too teeny for their bed!
Tiny little creatures lost in their pram.
Born too soon and too small.
These would have given some comfort and security to the babies and me.
The Poddle Pillow could have been used to give an extra snug fit to prams and cots. It would have been a warm and safe place to lay and play or sleep. A comfortable place to be dressed and changed.
The Baba Sling would have provided a way of wearing one baby close to my heart while leaving my hands free for the other.
I did not just have one tiny baby to orientate with the world but two!
My bonding with all my babies began long before I brought them home.
I read and sang to both my bumps.
I spent every minute that I could with each of my newborn babes.
It is not always easy to bond with a NICU baby but these are just some of the things you can do.
Enjoy kangaroo cuddles
There is something magical about skin to skin cuddles for babies and their parents. It is a natural way to bond with your baby. It steadies the baby’s heart rate and can stimulate the mother’s milk production. It also melts your heart. How can you not love a tiny being you have created who’s warmth is on your warmth, heart beating with your heart and tiny hands placed so lightly upon you.
It is a wonderful experience that is good for the health and well being of babies and parents, premature or not.
Sing and read to your baby
I sang songs and read poems and stories to Esther and William everyday. It was all I could do some days to keep myself strong. Read to them the stories I wanted them to know. Stories from my own childhood or from my teaching. Stories with a message of hope. Of strength. I bought Esther and William special books during their NICU stay and I still share these books with them now. You are never too young or too small to enjoy the wonder of words.
Stroke and hold them
You have to touch a premature baby quite definitely. They can be distressed by a touch that is too gentle. They can get agitated by what we might think are soothing strokes. A firm stroke can reassure them and provide that skin to skin that all parents crave. Often what such tiny babies want and need more than a stroke is a touch. A hold. A comfort hold. This is where you place your hand on their head or their tummy to let them know that you are there. I remember holding Esther and William in this way as they had long lines threaded through their veins and blood taken from their heels. It was something very little that I was able to do.
Get Involved with Cares
Though a premature baby is in an incubator it is still possible for you to wash them and change their nappies. I used to love doing Esther and William’s oral care as whilst cleaning their mouths they also got their first tastes of breast milk. I felt that this was something so important to do and it helped me feel more confident that one day their tubes would be removed and I would be able to feed them myself.
Bonding is about developing a relationship and with these tiniest of babies making sense of what has happened and sharing a promise of hope. One wonderful way I found of doing this was by keeping something with me at all times that smelt of them and ensuring they had something that smelt of me. Scent is a wonderful sense that helps us get to know our world and in those dark earl days it helped my babies and I get to know each other.
Bonding with your baby is so important as a mummy. I love my children unconditionally and it is a good job as we are deep in the midst of the terrible twos now and some days can be a real challenge. But I love my babies. I have bonded with each of them from the start.
Once you bring a baby home you want nothing more than to make them happy and to keep them safe. As mummies we work hard to get our baby’s trust and their beautiful first smiles.
Baba Sling can provide you and baby with a closeness and security with each other that you need. Poddle Pillow provides a platform for rest and for play from where your baby may just give you that long coveted gummy smile.
But together we would like to provide one new mummy some of the tools she needs to bond with her baby and make it through some of the more challenging days.
Here is what you need to do!
When David and I were shopping for a pram back in 2010 we did not really know what we were looking for until we found it. With twins on the way we knew our life was about to change beyond … Continue reading