Sunday, 12 November 2017

Baby Swimming Essentials & Tips

Lily's TurtleTots baby swimming lessons are by far my favourite activity we do. I love seeing her skills develop and her confidence grow. Due to her not being very well she had a few weeks of not wanting to partake much, preferring to cling to me and be swooshed around the pool, but despite that she still giggled her way through classes and clapped gleefully when her turtle pals did something fun. The last couple of weeks though she's slowly coming out of her shell again and she's been doing some incredible things like jumping into the pool from standing up on the side! It's brilliant having my adventurous little turtle back.

The little snippets of videos I post on my Instagram are some of my most viewed and liked and I can always guarantee a few messages from parents asking for details about classes or more frequently, tips on what their baby should wear or what they should take. With that in mind I thought I'd share our baby swimming essentials and tips.

TT towelnappy cover and Next swimsuit (no longer for sale).

First up and most importantly, the nappy situation! We use Huggies Little Swimmers disposable nappies underneath a Turtle Tots NeoNappy Cover. Turtle Tots operate a double nappy policy meaning you have to use a neoprene nappy cover over a disposable (although, for you cloth bum fans, they also do a Reusable Under Nappy) to ensure no leakage in the event of a pool poo! (A year swimming and touch wood, no pool poos yet...)

When we first started swimming I spent a small fortune on a SplashAbout swimsuit with a built in nappy cover but it turns out babies grow like weeds and Lily didn't spend long enough in it to warrant the cost. The TurtleTots nappy cover seem to see us through at least two clothing increases so we get far more use out of them. And it means I can afford more cute regular swimsuits! We also have a Warming Wetsuit for swimming in other pools that aren't a toasty 35 degrees like the hydra pool we have our lessons in!

Green TT rucksack

Top Tips

  • For younger babies feed them around half an hour before swimming so they have time to digest but won't be getting hangry halfway through the class. For older babies and toddlers take a packed lunch for immediately after. Swimming is hard work on little bodies and they build up quite an appetite!
  • Take an extra towel or a mat like the Turtle Tots Roll and Go Baby Changer to lay or sit baby down on whilst you get changed so they're not directly on the floor. If your baby is mobile snacks are the key to keeping them amused whilst you get changed. 
  • Invest in a baby poncho towel or a towelling dressing gown. Take it with you to the poolside so you can pop them in it just in case there's a drop in temperature from pool to changing room. 
  • Get yourself dressed first after class. If you get them dressed first they're likely to sit down and get their clothes wet. We tend to strip the babies out of their wet things, dry them off quickly and let them roam around (naked if it's warm enough otherwise in their poncho/dressing gown). That way they can dip in and out of everyone's snacks whilst we get ourselves changed before wrangling them into their clothes. 
  • This last one is for you, not your baby. Let your body hang ups go. I've lost count of how many times I've seen or heard mums say they'd love to take their baby swimming but don't want people to see them in a swimming costume. I'm a very wobbly size 24 in among a class of bodies all shapes and sizes but all smaller than mine. I might be the biggest and wobbliest but I don't imagine for a second that I'm the only one who has had to take a few deep breaths before stepping out of my clothes and into my cossie. Almost everyone, no matter their size, will have things they don't like about their body especially when they've just stretched and housed a human. I know I've never once looked at any of the other mums and thought anything negative and I'm sure they would say the same. Everyone is far too busy wrestling their wriggly baby or shielding their eyes from their excited splashes to worry about how many stretch marks the mum next to them has. Whatever is holding you back, let it go because there is so much fun to be had when you do. 
If you have any tips for taking your baby swimming, leave them in the comments!

Elena x

*This is a sponsored post and contains affiliate links.

Friday, 3 November 2017

Keepsake Gifts For Bereaved Parents

I've had a few emails lately both from parents asking where I've bought my own keepsakes and from family and friends of parents who have recently experienced the death of a baby asking for suggestions for meaningful gifts. It can be difficult to know where to look or what to get so I thought I'd put together a few of my favourite businesses who create keepsakes for babies.

My most treasured piece of jewellery is a necklace my mum bought me for my first birthday without Aneurin containing his ashes. It may sound morbid but being able to physically carry him with me every day is very comforting and I often find myself absent mindedly touching my necklace when I talk about him. It can be difficult not having a grave to visit but having a piece of cremation jewellery helps me feel a little bit closer to him. 
Laura from Carry My Heart Keepsakes hand crafts beautiful and unique cremation and keepsake jewellery. She offers a range of designs and options including a variety of rings, necklaces and beads to fit Pandora bracelets. As ashes are completely individual, no two pieces of jewellery are the same which makes them feel all the more special. Laura also creates breastmilk jewellery as well as preserves locks of hair, material and flowers. Her work is truly beautiful. And her business name comes from my favourite poem, I Carry Your Heart With Me by E. E. Cummings, so I love her all the more for that!

Most parents like to write their baby's name wherever they can as a way of including them in their lives and take comfort when other people do too. I have a photo album I call Aneurin's Adventures where I've printed off every photo we've taken or other people have taken of his name in various places. I like noting down where it's been taken and who took it. It's lovely knowing people carry him in their heart and that he has travelled the world in his own way. 
Carly Marie's (He)Art Work is created on a beach in Australia named after her son. Christian. She creates the most beautiful images in the sand and takes incredible photographs of them. You can choose from a selection of different styles of image but please note some of the options are seasonal dependent so there is a waiting list.

Liberty Rainne recently won The Cherished Keepsake award at The Butterfly Awards and it was very well deserved. They have the biggest range of gifts and keepsakes for angel (and rainbow) babies, the majority of which can be personalised. They have memory boxes (I have one for Aneurin, pictured below), candle holders, prints, frames, ashes caskets, resting place decorations and even stock The Story Of.. books. My personal favourite item is a little wooden feather that can be personalised. It's simple but beautiful. Diane also runs a birthday club whereby you pay a subscription fee of £12.99 and throughout the year you'll receive gifts as well as a personalised card and voucher.

Aneurin's hand and footprints are my most treasured thing in his memory box.  I love knowing that his little hands and feet really touched that paper; those lines and fingerprints are all his and they are so beautiful. I recently won a set of foil prints from When You Wish Upon A Star in an auction run by The Legacy of Leo and I am so excited to receive them. We don't get to make any new memories or take any more photos of him so being able to have something new to us of Aneurin is really very special. 
Abi's foil prints are created using your baby's real hand and foot prints and can even be done to size. She also designs a beautiful range of foil prints and cards. Please note Abi is about to welcome her second rainbow baby so may not be able to ensure orders arrive in time for Christmas!

I'd love to discover more businesses who create keepsakes for bereaved parents and would love to know what you have for your babies. 

Elena x
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