I have a slight obsession with skincare products. I’ve always been on the hunt for the magic potion that would transform my very average skin into supermodel-worthy skin. Funnily enough, pregnancy was actually great for my skin. I didn’t have a single spot for the whole 9 months and it’s been pretty good while I’ve been breastfeeding. I expect that will all change once I stop breastfeeding and my hormones go all over the place.

Pregnancy also coincided with me starting to actually take skincare a bit more seriously. I decided that with the big 3-0 approaching I should start to have a proper skincare routine. So today I’m going to talk about cleansing.

The importance of cleansing

I started reading about the concept of ‘double cleansing’ online. Basically it involves removing your makeup/SPF with the first cleanse, and then using the second cleanse to massage and really make sure it’s thoroughly clean. Caroline Hirons has a fab cheat sheet on double cleansing if you want to read more. The theory, for those that don’t have time to read more, is that cleansing is the most important step in your skincare routine. If you don’t remove the dirt, then no amount of expensive moisturiser etc is going to make a difference to your skin.

This was news to me. Previously I was using makeup wipes or micellar water, which apparently just don’t cut it (micellar water is fine for a first cleanse). I have since upgraded to a few cleansers that I use on rotation, depending on how I feel/how my skin feels. You should cleanse morning and evening, but in the morning there is no need for a double cleanse. On Caroline’s recommendation, I’ve started using bog standard, cheap flannels for cleansing.

Skincare routine: cleansers

Cleansers currently in use.

The cleansers I am currently using:

  1. Super Facialist Vitamin C+ Skin Renew Cleansing Oil (£10.99). I use this oil for a first cleanse to take off make up. I got it on special offer on a whim. It rinses off easily, which was something I was concerned about because of the term ‘oil’—I imagined it would sit on my skin, but it doesn’t.
  2. Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser (£14). I tend to use this as a second cleanse or a morning cleanse. It’s nice and creamy. It is meant to be used with a muslin, but I no longer bother. My flannels seem to do a fine job. I’ve nearly used this up and I’m currently unsure whether to re-buy it or try something new.
  3. Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter (£10). I use this butter as a first cleanse when I don’t feel like using oil. It’s cheaper than some of the others, but really good. It’s solid but melts in contact with the skin and goes quite oily in consistency.
  4. Pixi Nourishing Cleansing Balm (£18). I use this as a second cleanse or morning cleanse. It feels very rich and nourishing on the skin, which is great in the drying winter weather. It is described as a balm-to-oil and is probably my favourite.
  5. Pixi Glow Mud Cleanser (£18). I also use this as a second cleanse or morning cleanse. It contains 5% glycolic acid, so it exfoliates as well as cleanses, which I really like.

Do you have any cleansers you recommend? Let me know in the comments.

*There are no affiliate links in this post. Links are provided for your convenience.

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As if there weren’t enough shocks to cope with when having a baby, nature throws one more at you—postpartum hair loss.

My hair loss started at about 12 weeks after Jacob was born and it’s still going on now (24 weeks postpartum). I first noticed that my brush was covered in hair, which I thought was odd because I’d cleared it out two days before. Then I started to notice that the plug hole was blocking when I showered. Finally, I started to find hair everywhere. All over my clothes. All over the baby. All over the floor. I became alarmed. How was it possible that I had any hair left? Was the whole lot going to fall out?

Postpartum hair loss is common

A quick Google later and I’d discovered that hair loss is incredibly common—and normal—after having a baby. Apparently, during pregnancy the normal hair growth cycle is disrupted. The increased estrogen causes less hair to fall out—which is why pregnant women tend to have thicker hair (part of the mythical ‘pregnancy glow’—I already have pretty thick hair so this wasn’t the blessing it’s made out to be). Once you’ve given birth the estrogen levels go back down to normal, so the hair cycle goes back to normal and all the hair that didn’t fall out during pregnancy starts to fall out in one go.

I then started asking around other friends with babies. It happened to all of them too. One even had to get a fringe to hide all the regrowth at the front of her hair!

So what can we do about postpartum hair loss?

Some websites recommend using a thickening shampoo and condition to improve the appearance of the hair you do have. Others recommend being gentle with your hair to prevent any extra shedding, so things like avoiding blow drying your hair or using straighteners. You can take a postpartum supplement to make sure the hair loss isn’t being exacerbated by nutritional deficiencies, but this is unlikely. I guess it’s worth a go if it makes you feel better to be doing something though. The overwhelming consensus is that it’s a natural phenomenon and we just have to put up with it.

According to my research, hair should go back to normal between 6 and 12 months after giving birth. I’ll let you know once mine goes back to normal!

Did you have postpartum hair loss? How long did it take for your hair to recover its former glory?

ethannevelyn.com
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Hate is a strong word. I don’t tend to hate many things, but I hated pregnancy. Not all the time, but most of it. This made me feel terrible while I was pregnant. I’d always been led to believe that women love pregnancy, so when I found it horrible I thought there was something wrong with me. I had an ‘easy pregnancy’, with no complications. We were both healthy. What’s to hate then you might ask.

Expectation vs reality

Pregnancy glow

There was no glowing

I think one of the main problems was my expectations. I really thought I’d love it. People have always said to me “ooh I loved pregnancy” and “It’s such a special time”. People only really talk about the positives of pregnancy and in a generally romanticised way. I was expecting to feel a bit sick (in the mornings!) at first, then to feel fine with the only side effect being the pregnancy ‘glow’ that everyone talks about. Ha ha ha.

I hated how I felt for the first 15 weeks. I had quite bad nausea, but I felt like I shouldn’t complain. After all, I wasn’t actually sick. Some people have hyperemesis gravidarum and get hospitalised. I just felt like I wanted to be sick. I also hated having no energy. Usually I’d walk everywhere and go to the gym several times a week. I felt like curling up on the sofa after work was all I could manage.

I did have a good few weeks after the nausea stopped, but by about 21 weeks I started getting ligament pain. I’d basically stopped going to the gym by then so walking was my only exercise. Then that became painful. We went on holiday to the Yorkshire Dales. Usually we’d do a lot of long walks. I did a 5-mile walk one day and I could have cried the whole way. I didn’t want to slow down, but I needed to. Then a bit later the general pelvis pain started. Looking back, I should have made more of a fuss. I mentioned it to the midwife, but as a bit of an aside at the end of the appointment. After a few weeks complaining I was given a support band which helped a little.

The last real problem I had was heartburn, which was something I’d never experienced before. It was unrelenting. I kept reading about ways to prevent it online. Everything I read said don’t eat spicy or fatty foods. I had heartburn after eating a cereal bar! A bloody cereal bar! I couldn’t enjoy any food and I was getting through Gaviscon at an alarming rate. The day after Jacob was born I suddenly realised I didn’t have heartburn anymore and I’ve never felt such joy.

Honesty around pregnancy

The evening of Jacob’s birth, one of my good friends asked me what was worse, pregnancy or childbirth? I immediately replied pregnancy, even though I’d just had an 18 hour labour (according to the hospital—don’t get me started on how they count labour hours!).

Don’t get me wrong, I was so happy to be pregnant. I’m not ungrateful and I understand that some people have a terrible time getting pregnant and would give anything to feel like I did. Ultimately, it was all worth it. I ended up with my beautiful little boy. But I’m not looking forward to doing it all again anytime soon.

I do wish people had been honest with me so that I knew what to expect. When I confided to a few friends who’ve had babies that I wasn’t really enjoying pregnancy they overwhelmingly said “Yeah it’s awful isn’t it”. Why does no one tell you this in advance?

I’ve decided not to sugar coat it when people ask me about pregnancy. I’m going to tell them it’s OK if they feel rubbish and hate every minute. They aren’t going to be a terrible mother just because they feel like that. If someone had said that to me from the start, I’d have felt a lot better about it all.

 

How did you find pregnancy? Were you one of the mythical glowing pregnant women?

 

Mummuddlingthrough
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The last month has been quite eventful in terms of breastfeeding. I’ve veered wildly between loving it and hating it. Jacob is at a difficult age where he is so distracted during feeds. I think this is why he’s still waking so much at night (we are still on 4 wake ups)—he’s still hungry! I’m going to work on taking him to a quiet room to feed during the day.

A few weeks ago I made the decision to introduce one formula feed a day, with the intention of continuing to breastfeed for as long as possible, but very slowly phasing to more bottles over the next few months. I’d just like a little more flexibility as discussed in my last breastfeeding update. Jacob had other ideas.

The bottle battle

Jacob has had a tough time with bottles. We’ve tried loads. As a 3 week old, he took a bottle of expressed breast milk easily when I left him for a few hours to go to a wedding. That lulled me into a false sense of security as I assumed he would continue to take one. On the odd occasion I’ve gone out he has taken some expressed breast milk from a bottle, but it has become more of a battle.

I’ve tried several different types, but I think we’ve finally cracked it with the Munchkin Latch bottle. It is marketed as good for breastfeeding babies as the teat stretches like a nipple. Even with these he will  sometimes refuse the bottle. I’ve found I have to catch him in just the right mood—relaxed and hungry but not too hungry. He’ll also only take 100 ml maximum, so it’s unlikely he’ll be stopping breastfeeding any time soon.

Bottle of formula

The only bottle Jacob will take.

Formula woes

On top of problems with getting him to take a bottle, we’ve also taken a while to find a formula he gets on with. It’s not always practical to express breast milk, so I wanted him to get used to formula. I’m going to a hen do in May, and I doubt I’ll be able to express enough to last the whole weekend. He was throwing up his whole feed within 10 minutes of finishing it, which was incredibly frustrating. I was starting to get worried about some sort of allergy.

After trying a couple of different formula brands, it seems like SMA is a winner and we’ve had no more vomiting. I just need to get him to reliably take the bottle!

Love/hate breastfeeding relationship

I still love breastfeeding. Most of the time. Nothing beats those breastfeeding cuddles, but it is easy to feel a bit trapped. It’s also so much easier than all the sterilising faff with bottles. I definitely intend to continue to at least 6 months, but not exclusively (if he co-operates!). I think combination feeding would be a great compromise for both of us. From chatting to other mums at baby groups, I understand that there isn’t a lot of support for combination feeding from health visitors. I understand exclusive is best, but surely some breast milk for longer is better than giving up completely?

How long did you breastfeed for? Did you stop completely or slowly introduce some formula?

The Tale of Mummyhood

 

 

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Now Jacob is 5 months old (how did that happen?!), I’ve had time to reflect on the items that were really essential when he was a newborn, as well as the ones that really were not (more on that in another post). There are so many things you can buy before the baby is born, it’s really hard not to waste loads of money. You clearly need clothes, nappies and wipes for your little one, but here are my slightly less obvious top 5 essential items.

1. Muslins

I really hadn’t grasped just how many muslins we would need. People kept telling me to get loads, so I bought a pack of 8, which seemed like a lot. I was very wrong. We got through lots. I’d seriously underestimated how much a newborn can be sick and how useful they were for lots of things. Jacob was born in August and it was hot—far too hot for blankets. Someone had bought us some gorgeous giant Boden muslins and we used them to cover him while he slept.

2. Sheets

I’d bought two (yes, two) sheets for Jacob’s crib. That was clearly not enough. Again, I’d underestimated how much mess can come out of a newborn. I think on day 2 we ended up having to keep the vomit soaked sheet on the crib and just cover the wet bit with a muslin. I soon rectified the two sheet situation. I’ve found having 4 sheets is good—that allows for a couple of accidents and getting a bit behind with laundry.

Newborn sleeping

Using a muslin as a sheet

3. BabyBjörn Miracle carrier

This was something I didn’t buy before the baby was born as I wasn’t convinced I’d like to ‘wear’ the baby, but Jacob hated being put down so it was something of a lifesaver. It was also the only way to get him to nap, so I’d go for long walks with him. I’ve done a more detailed review of the BabyBjörn so you can read more about it there.

4. Baby sleeping bags

Once the weather cooled down and we needed something more robust than a muslin to cover the baby, the baby sleeping bags I’d bought became really useful. Initially I wasn’t convinced by them as they seemed quite expensive, but numerous people had told me they were brilliant, so I’d bought a couple. They were great because, unlike blankets, Jacob couldn’t kick them off. I also liked that we didn’t need to worry about him suffocating himself.

5. Swing seat

Jacob sleeping in his baby swing

This was something we didn’t have for the first 6 weeks, but I wish we had. My parents kindly bought us the Fisher Price Woodland Friends baby swing. I hadn’t actually realised it was so expensive until now (thanks mum and dad!), but I would definitely buy it myself. We called it the ‘magic chair’, as I could put Jacob in it absolutely hysterical and he would almost instantly calm down and then, often, fall asleep. He’s not so keen on it at 5 months, but we got a good lot of use out of it. It not only swings but also vibrates. It was actually the vibrate setting that soothed him the most.

 

What were your newborn essentials?

*Post contains some affiliate links.

 

Mummuddlingthrough
You Baby Me Mummy
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