REVIEW – Breast Pads – The Good, The Bad and the ESSENTIAL! :)

I consider myself to be fairly lucky on the breast feeding front, in that I have always had a good milk flow and strong let down, and therefore I have never struggled to feed my daughter. However, what this has meant is that Ive found myself in a few awkward situations, walking around with large wet patches on my tshirt and having to try and hide the fact that my breasts are leaking milk… everywhere.

Because of this, even before my baby was born, I had to invest in some breast pads. Believe me when I say… I have tried them all! The challenge was finding a breast pad that was comfortable, that stayed put in my bra, and that was absorbent enough to soak up the milk that automatically sprayed out the boob that wasn’t being utilised!

Here is the Real Mums Review on 3 of the breast pads I tested – the Good, the Bad, and the Essential!!

THE GOOD – Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Breast Pads

Cost – Between £3 and £5 for a pack of 50 pads.

The Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Breast Pads come in packs of two – making it very easy to pop a sealed packet into your handbag or changing bag when going out for the day. Described as having a special moisture trapping layer, these are relatively discreet, with a sticky pad to stick onto the inside of your bra.

Pros:

  • Reasonably cheap and regularly on offer in Boots, Mothercare etc
  • Reasonably absorbent – I have only had one or two occasions of leakages using these pads.
  • Comfortable fabric, not itchy against skin.
Cons:
  • I found it handy that they were wrapped as a pair, but there may be occasions where you just need one, and therefore this could be seen as a negative.
  • The sticky pad isn’t particularly sticky, and therefore they can ride up in your bra which can be embarrassing, particularly in the summer when wearing strappy vest tops!
  • These would be more than adequate for someone who only leaks occasionally, however if you are a regular leaker like myself, then you may need slightly more absorbent pads to ensure no accidents occur.

THE BAD – Boots Own Breast Pads

Cost – £4.09 for 80 pads. Sometimes part of the Boots Mother and Baby Events. Benefit from extra advantage card points for Boots Parenting Club Members.
Described as soft contoured breast pads – they are supposed to provide protection for your clothes from leaking milk especially just before a feed when your breasts are full or whilst breastfeeding when you have a let-down reflex.

Pros:

  • Cheaper price per unit.
  • Large size pad fits fully within your bra.

Cons:

  • Quite simply I found that these didn’t work! Despite having the pads in my bra, I still came home with wet patches on my top. I guess the ‘you get what you pay for’ mentality is really true!
  • The material can be a little itchy against the skin, feeling more ‘paper-like’ and the pads are notably thinner.
  • No protective wrapping so the pads would get dirty if you took them out in your changing bag unless stored in a separate plastic bag or nappy bag.

 ESSENTIAL – Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads

Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads are described as having an ultra-thin but super-absorbent contour for a natural fit that won’t show under clothing. The soft, stay-dry lining
is supposed to draw milk away from the skin and into the core of the pad where it is absorbed
by a special polymer to prevent leakage.

Cost: Approx £5.50 for 60 pads, however significantly cheaper when purchased online (currently retailing for £3.79 on Amazon (plus postage fees).

Pros:

  • Not visible under clothes, discreet even when worn in the summer under strappy vest tops.
  • Stay put and do not ride up – two sticky pads unlike a lot of breast pads on the market – most tend to have just one.
  • Very absorbent-  although they do become thick and heavy when full, they do not lose their shape, and don’t feel wet against your skin.
  • Easy to open packaging.
  • Shaped and contoured (curved) so seem to fit closer to the breast.
  • Great at night when my leaking was at its strongest.

Cons:

  •  More expensive than others on the market – but this is clearly an example of “you get what you pay for”.
  • Wrapped individually – although great from a hygiene point of view it does waste packaging – I seem to have little tabs and wrappers EVERYWHERE!
  • Not as readily available in store – tend to be more easily accessible online or in larger boots stores only.

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Window to the Womb – 3D Baby Scan

After my 20 week scan, there was a part of me that was a little gutted that we wouldn’t get to see any more photos of ‘bump’ before the big day! I had really enjoyed my previous scans, having had a private one at 10 weeks in addition to my routine 12 week scan, and my routine 20 week anomaly scan.

I had seen pictures from other peoples 4D scans, and had always been amazed by them, so when an offer appeared on Groupon with dates that worked for my pregnancy, it was too good an opportunity to miss!

The deal was for a 4D scan at Window to the Womb in Rugby www.windowtothewomb.co.uk/about-4d-scans  The VIP Baby package – normally £250 was on offer for just £99 with the groupon voucher, so I decided to treat myself, who wouldn’t relish the opportunity to see the face of the baby they’ve been nurturing for months! 🙂

The VIP Baby Package consisted of the following:

•10 minute 4D scan recorded onto DVD to take away
•Optional sex determination
•One A4-sized print
•Six 6″ x 4″ colour prints
•Six key ring sized photos with three key rings
•CD-ROM of 3D colour images
•Customer holds photo copyrights
•Upgrades available for multiple births
•Free rescan if baby is in unscannable position

Window to the Womb specialises in both 3D and 4D ultrasound baby scans and uses state-of-the-art Voluson ultrasound scanners.

I really really enjoyed the experience, and found it such an exciting time. On arriving at the venue, we waited in the reception area with a number of other expectant parents. On the walls were lots of photo reviews from happy customers, showing their 4D scan picture against the photograph of their newborn baby once they had arrived. On some photos the similarity was uncanny!

Within a few minutes, we were called through to the treatment room, where there was a large sofa where my other half could make himself comfortable, as well as a big screen plasma TV where the images would be displayed. Two members of staff sat with us, one operating the Doppler and the other by the computer screen.

They made us feel immediately at ease, asking me about how my pregnancy had gone so far, and whether we knew the gender etc. One thing that I had been worried about was the optional sex determination – we had decided early on in my pregnancy that we didn’t want to find out the gender and therefore had not been informed at the 20 week scan. I was worried we might see ‘something’ by accident, and that the secret would be revealed! They were very sensitive to this, and asked us to look away whilst they located our baby on the screen, before advising when it was ‘safe’ to look. I really appreciated this. Obviously there was a slight risk we might have seen something by accident, and I must admit we did spend a bit of time watching the DVD afterwards convincing ourselves we’d spotted a willy, but clearly it was our imagination!

The scan included a variety of 2D and 3D imagery, flicking between what I would call ‘traditional’ scan images to the 3D colour images. The first view of my babies face bought tears to my eyes, we were lucky that my baby was in a great position, and so were able to get really clear photographs of her face. They took what seemed like hundreds of photographs, all of my baby with different facial expressions! Unfortunately my daughter did seem to like having her arm up by her face, and no matter how much I wiggled, she didn’t seem to want to move it! 🙂 Still the pictures were just amazing, and I was so in awe of the little person we had created!

Once the 10 minute scan was completed, they asked us to go and wait back in the waiting room whilst our DVD was processed.

Then came the most exciting part (and probably the hardest part!) of the scan process – picking which photos to get printed!!! We must have sat at that computer for around 20 minutes, making a note of the picture numbers we liked best – some looked like she was smiling, others she looked like me, one she looked like she was giving us the middle finger and one she looked so much like her dad it was quite scary!! After we reached our final decision, they then printed our chosen photographs on high quality photo paper.

Overall I really enjoyed having the 4D scan done, and as an experience for first time mums, I would totally recommend it. Would I have it again? Probably not, but it did make my first pregnancy just that little more magical! 🙂

Pros

  • Amazing to see the features and face of your baby
  • Comfortable room and attentive staff
  • Large number of images taken – given to you on DVD so you can print additional copies as required.
  • Ability to add background music of your choice (bring with you on CD) or Disney style music selected by them.
  • Sensitivity around sex determination – respecting couples personal choice.

Cons

  • Images may not be good if you have a lot of fluid in front of the baby, or if the baby is sitting in a strange position. Whilst they offer one free rescan, there is no guarantee of high quality images.
  • As amazing as they are, there is something a little ‘alien like’ about the imagery! One of my friends was totally freaked out by the photograph when I had it on display in my lounge!!
  • Our scan didn’t bear a very strong similarity to our daughter when she was born – although many do!
  • Normally quite expensive, I would not have paid £250. However for the £99 Groupon deal, I felt this was reasonably good value for money.

4d scan

Yummy Yoga Mummies – Antenatal Yoga Review

Pregnant_yogaYummy Yoga Mummies Antenatal Yoga

At 19 weeks pregnant, I was finally starting to feel a bit more human, and it suddenly dawned on me that I hadn’t done an ounce of exercise since I pee’d on that stick!! I used to run every weekend, and considered myself to be relatively fit, but with morning sickness and feeling tired all the time, that had gone by the way side! I wanted to do something for me (and baby) that would keep me healthy but at the same time not be too strenuous. I had heard that antenatal yoga was not only a good stress release, but that it would also teach you a great deal about deep breathing, something of key importance during labour!!

I decided to give it a go, and came across Yummy Yoga Mummies, a local class in Solihull ran by Caron Millard, who not only is a yoga instructor but also a qualified midwife! I chose this class from the many others on offer for that reason alone.

I attended my first class 2 weeks ago and having loved both sessions, have now signed up for a 5 week block.

My Experience:

Caron has been a registered midwife for 22 years, so not only does she teach the class, she also offers insight and support to the mums to be who attend. At the beginning of the class, the women on the session get time to chat, sharing how they are feeling and details of the latest landmark they have reached. I am one of the more recently pregnant attendees, with some women being in their 25th week and onwards. I found the sharing part of the group session really useful, particularly as the other women are further along than me. They can offer reassurance when they have been through the same thing as you, and as a midwife, there is pretty much nothing that Caron hasn’t heard before!! There were about 10 people at the first two sessions I went to, so a relatively small group. I also found this a lot more personal and intimate than some larger class sizes that my friends have experienced, as people are generally more open with less of a crowd. Some of the women this week were complaining of heartburn and constipation, and Caron showed us a diagram of what happens to your insides when you are pregnant. I guess I’d never really thought about it before, but its amazing how much your bowels and intestines get squashed under all that baby growth, its not surprising you can feel a little ‘icky’ at times!!!

The Class:

Once everyone is settled in and has had time to chat, Caron starts the class. Most women bring their own yoga mats with them, but if you prefer not to invest, Caron does have some available that you can borrow on a first come first served basis. The room in which the class is held (in the United Reformed Church) is relatively spacious and therefore there is room to spread out and not feel like you are at risk of colliding with the person next to you! Most women wear loose fitting casual clothes, similar to what you may wear to the gym, but the important thing is that you feel comfortable, I wore a baggy t shirt and Nike jogging bottoms, and I keep my socks on (but I have a thing about cold feet!). I noticed on my first week that some ladies also bring a cushion or pillow for the latter part of the class, and depending on how your back is, I would personally recommend this, as I found it really helped.

The class starts with a range of Yoga moves. I for one, am not the most flexible of people, and wasn’t even before I was pregnant, but you don’t need to worry! The class is tailored to suit all stages of pregnancy from 12 weeks onwards, and therefore it doesn’t matter if you can touch your toes or only reach your knees, its all about the movements and breathing. Throughout the exercises, Caron talks you through each move and you can clearly see her at the front of the room demonstrating. I wouldn’t say any of the moves are particularly difficult, it is more about how much you want to sink into the position, and this is all dependant on what feels comfortable for you. During pregnancy you actually become a little more flexible, largely due to the hormones that relax your ligaments ready for labour. Because of this it is easy to over stretch, so we were told to take it easy, and do as much as feels right for us.

The importance of breathing is accentuated throughout, and I found that this really helped me to relax. Breathing in deeply through your nose and out through your nose. The first week I felt a little silly, but after the first experience, I decided that it didn’t matter if other people could hear me, it was important that I practised, as that relaxing breathing could become important in 4-5 months time!

At the end of the class, Caron focused on relaxation techniques and for this, the lights are turned off. Caron runs through a relaxation exercise that really does help you to release all the stresses and tensions you may have developed during the day. Sometimes its hard to focus on relaxing and clear your head when your baby is nudging you from the inside, but overall I found this part of the class really effective, and I could have quite easily fell asleep!!

Overall I find the class a really enjoyable experience, both from the exercise and breathing point of view, and as an opportunity to meet other mums to be in a social setting, whilst getting advice and support from someone who knows what she is talking about! If you are expecting and are beyond 12 weeks, I would recommend you come along and give it a go!

Costs – Sessions are £12 each and run from 7.15 – 8.30 – although the classes do tend to overrun as Caron likes to ensure people get time to chat before the class. If you sign up for 5 (which do not need to be used consecutively) the cost is £10 a session.

For more details on Yummy Yoga Mummies and the classes (including those in other locations in the midlands) please see the website – http://www.yummyyogamummies.co.uk/.

Mums Clinic Solihull – Viability Scan Review

As soon as I got a positive result on my pregnancy test, it felt like time went into slow motion. I was so excited, scared and overwhelmed, all at the same time, that I didn’t really know what to do with myself! I had heard all the nightmare stories about how crucial the first 12 weeks of pregnancy are, and was madly trying to stop myself from getting too excited until we knew our little apple seed was going to become a viable baby! The thought of waiting so long until our NHS scan filled me with dread, and I couldn’t wait to be able to see our baby on screen and hear it’s heartbeat. Only then would it feel real!

I therefore decided to investigate the option of an early scan, and came across Mums Clinic in Solihull.

Mums is ran by a team of specialist consultants and midwifes ‘dedicated to providing excellence and expertise in the area of pregnancy and gynaecology’. They offer early pregnancy scans from as early as 5 weeks (although this is largely to check the location of pregnancy for those who are at risk of ectopic). and they recommended that early viability scans could be done from 8 weeks at which point, I would hopefully be able to hear a heart beat and see my baby in the womb. The cost was £85 which at first reaction, I felt was reasonable based on the piece of mind it would give me. After having the scan, I can honestly say it was worth every penny.

The Experience

We booked our scan at what I estimated would be 10 weeks into pregnancy, although it actually turned out to be dated slightly less than that. On booking via the phone number on the website, the receptionist was really helpful and told me everything that would happen on the day, before sending out a confirmation email with what to expect. Unlike the NHS scans, your bladder did not need to be full, as they are more concerned about you being comfortable during the process – as it happens I think most pregnant women need the toilet most of the time anyway – so it was never going to be completely empty!! 🙂

The clinic was really easy to find, just off the main Warwick road heading into Solihull, and there was ample free parking provided on site. Unlike a lot of hospital waiting rooms, the clinic had a really friendly and personal feel, and this really helped with my nerves whilst waiting to be called through. We arrived about 10 minutes early, so read some magazines and tried to distract ourselves in the waiting room! There were a couple of ladies already there. One had come in for a 4D scan, and bless her, her baby wasn’t playing ball! She had been asked to walk around the car park in order to try and wake her baby up, and come back in a few minutes later. Apparently that is quite common! I couldn’t stop myself from admiring her bump and being slightly envious – mine was still non existent, and I was longing to get to the stage where I could show it off! 🙂 Another lady had just completed her 20 week scan and was waiting for her DVD from reception – again bump envy started to arise, but not for long, as my name was called, and it was our turn to go through.

I remember being incredibly nervous, but they made me feel relaxed and at ease in no time. We were taken to a consulting room, where I was asked to lie down on the bed and expose my stomach. The lady introduced herself and told me that she was going to apply some cold gel to my stomach and then use the doppler to display the image of my baby on the screen. Unlike the NHS scans, Mums have the luxury of large monitor screens that are really close to you, so there was no squinting to see the resulting image! The monitor was similar to a 32″ TV screen you would have at home, and was right next to us and not on the wall – this was really great as we got to see every little detail.

I had heard that for some viability scans they are unable to find it using external abdominal methods, and therefore I was a little nervous about requiring an internal examination, but almost as soon as she touched my non existent bump, our baby appeared on screen!

Although tiny, you could clearly see the outline of a baby, including little stumpy hands and feet, and she then allowed us to listen to the heart beat – a truly amazing moment, with the beats being shown on a chart on screen. She then did some initial measurements from crown to rump, and told us our expected due date based on the current size. This dated our baby a little younger than expected – 9 weeks and 4 days, but the good news was that everything looked fine! She then asked me to cough and we watched our baby wriggle on screen, it was so funny to watch.

The scan itself lastest around 15 minutes, although I have to be honest and say that time absolutely flew by! My partner and I were both fairly dumbstruck, and I was so overwhelmed that I even forgot to wipe off the ultrasound gel and put my dress straight down! (Silly girl) – thankfully it didn’t stain, just felt a bit sticky!!

Included in the price of the scan, we were then given 4 images of our baby, all slightly different, that had been taken during the process. I couldn’t wait to send a copy of these to my mum, and my partner was texting images to all of his friends before we had even left the waiting room!

We returned to the waiting room where the receptionist was burning our DVD for us. This was a short video of what had happened during the scan, and was really great to be able to take this away and show family and friends. In early pregnancy, its sometimes easy to forget that there is really a baby in there, and watching this back every now and again really bought those feelings back to the forefront!

Overall I really enjoyed my Mums experience, and would definitely recommend it to anyone.

My pro’s and cons of the scan at Mums are outlined below:

Pros:

– Early scanning option to reassure you before your NHS 12 week scan

– 4 photos included in the price (NHS charge £5 per picture)

– DVD to take away of your scan experience – to remember and show family and friends.

– Large TV screen and high quality images

– Friendly staff and non “hospital” feel to the experience.

– No long waiting times like at Hospital!

Cons:

– I guess if money is tight £85 isn’t cheap, particularly when your 12 week scan may not be that far away. However, I personally would have spent more for the peace of mind this scan gave me.

baby bakewell

Here is the picture of my baby at 9 weeks and 4 days. I think they are beautiful already! 🙂 xxx

For more info on Mums clinic and the services offered please see their website – http://mums.me.uk/