A few months back, I was lucky enough to earn a place on the Mamas & Papas UK Parent Approved Panel. As soon as I saw the application advert, I knew I had to give it a go. Their products are so gorgeous and well made, but I didn’t really think I had a chance. Cue my happy dance when I had the congratulations email! You can see my entry video (and the other panelists) here.

I’m on the panel with ten other lovely parents and until spring/summer next year, we’ll be reviewing products to see if they’re ‘parent approved’. Our first review was for the stunning Jewel Collection Ocarro pram, which you can view here on their website. It’s such a fantastic pram with so many brilliant features; I absolutely love it! With the weather getting colder now too, we’ve just had the Cold Weather Footmuff and it’s so cosy! We had an Urbo2 pram from Mamas & Papas for Daisy as a baby and the footmuff was one of my favourite things.Even on the coldest of days, she’d be like toast inside! The new one is black velvet and way more luxurious than anything I’ve ever slept in; nope, not jealous of Zac one little bit… not at all… okay, maybe a little… a lot… okay, I need an adult sized version and pronto!We’ve recently been lucky enough to have some nursery furniture and interior accessories for Zac’s room too. You can read our review and watch a little video of Zac’s room here. Everything is of such good quality and I’m so privileged to work with them and the other lovely parents too. I’ll list their Instagram tags below, as they’re all worth a follow.

You can read a bit more about the panel here.

Emma x

Parent Approved Panel:

When Daisy was a baby, I had a baby wrap for her and a standard baby carrier, but didn’t use them an awful lot. I always found the wrap a little stressful, especially with a crying babe and the standard one we had was all buckles and rough material… not the ideal place to cuddle your little one.

We’ve been using the Caboo +Organic Striped Multi Position Baby Carrier for the last few weeks now and I can honestly say, it’s amazing! It’s saved my sanity on more than one occasion; I don’t know what I’d do without it!Firstly, the fabric is soooo soft! It comes in a few colours; we opted for Midnight, which is a gorgeous dark blue with fine stripes running through it. It’s got plenty of stretch and one size fits most; I’m around average size (with a few extra post baby rolls!) and there’s loads of surplus fabric when pulled taut.

My favourite thing about it is how easy it is to use. You simply pop over your head so the Caboo logo is centred on your back, slide your little bundle in with legs either side, position the fabric over their back and pull the sides tight. Lastly, you tie the additional piece around your back and that’s it! To take your baby out, pull the side rings to loosen and lift out. Zac doesn’t even wake up when we take him out, as it’s so seamless!The design is fantastic as it puts Zac into the most comforting position, right on my chest and ‘close enough to kiss’ as they advertise. I think his record for staying awake so far is around five or six minutes, so it’s perfect for those days where he’s a little grouchy or just wants to snuggle.

I’ve been able to carry on with housework, do the school run, go shopping and even get some decorating done all while he’s snoozed away in there. When Jon is working late, having my hands free is brilliant for Daisy’s bedtime. I can give her my full attention, helping her to brush her teeth, tuck her in and read a bedtime story without asking her to “wait a minute”, something I’m conscious of since Zac has joined the family.As Zac grows, he’ll be able to go into the side position as well and comfortably look around at the world. I genuinely couldn’t be without the Caboo now and it goes everywhere with us. Forgetting the carrier is just as bad as forgetting nappies in this house, it’s an essential.

Emma x

The Caboo +Organic Striped Multi Position Baby Carrier was kindly gifted to us by Close, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Get your own Caboo +Organic Striped Multi Position Baby Carrier here.

So, we’ve been a family of four for a month now and honestly, it’s weird to think of Zac not being here. He’s slipped into our life so seamlessly, it’s like he’s always been here. I thought a lot about the impact another little one would make and wondered how Daisy would be, but she’s taken to her big sister duties like a champ.

Nappy change? Daisy’s got the wipes. Zac’s crying? She declares he “needs a feed”. When we tell her to talk to him she always leads with “Hello Zac, I’m your big sister.” She introduces him to anyone who crosses our path, literally bursting with pride. I swear she’s been high on life since he arrived.As for the main man himself, Zac is such a chilled little guy. He can sleep through the loudest episodes of Peppa Pig, will happily lay there watching Daisy busying around and has been smiling from the start. He’s just starting to find his voice, making those adorable baby noises and doesn’t stop wriggling when he’s awake. Jon has had a good break from work which has been lovely, not just for an extra pair of hands but to enjoy some family time. Daisy is off school for the summer now and it’s been great having Jon home to still take her out and about, while I catch up on sleep after the night feeds. I can’t remember ever having this much time together as a family, and it’s been the perfect start to our new adventure as a four.

Emma x

When I was pregnant with Daisy I read everything I could about the whole experience. I knew whether she’d grown eyelashes that particular week, what possible changes to my body I could expect and by the time I was due, I was an expert in the stages of labour. There were so many apps and websites to get information from, I felt totally prepared for motherhood. I look back and laugh at this now, because the pregnancy and labour were the small parts of a much bigger life change.

After giving birth, I couldn’t believe how little there had been to inform (or warn!) expectant mothers about those first postpartum days. This time around with Zac, I was more prepared but still can’t get over how little there is about the after effects of giving birth. So, here’s a little list of things that you may experience, but don’t necessarily get told about.

  • You’ll Still Look Pregnant

Granted, you may not look full term anymore, but you’ll still have a swollen belly that’s way more squishy than it was before. You’ll probably feel like a sack of potatoes in everything you wear, so stick to pjs around the house and remember that baggy or lose clothing is your trusted friend and ally right now.

  • Bodily Fluids

Yep, all of them. When women say they went through blood, sweat and tears in labour, they weren’t joking; although they left out the potential pee, poo and vomit issues too. Yes, you may well shit yourself (don’t worry, your partner will still love you!), you’ll cry for no reason, you’ll worry about peeing every time you sneeze and boy oh boy will there be blood. You may get top lip sweat while just sitting still, want to be sick at the mere thought of another isotonic drink and soak through multiple breast pads, because someone clearly must have left the taps on in your boobs?! It’s all normal.

  • Your Dignity

Leave it at the door. You’re going to be poked, prodded and pulled around by multiple people whilst in labour. Your bits will be on full view to an audience, but you honestly won’t care; they have the power to get the baby out and they are also in charge of pain relief. You may need to be examined after going home, and with everything you’ve got going on ‘down there’ you won’t want anyone near it, but it’s necessary and they’ve seen it all before. A midwife actually said to me a few weeks back “I’ve lost count of how many vaginas I’ve seen today”.

  • It’s Not Glamorous

Too many celebrities boast about their pain relief free, natural labour with immediate skin to skin and a dream breastfeeding baby. Before you know it, they’re photographed on a beach showing off their “incredible postpartum body, just four weeks after having a baby!” (thanks for the confidence boost Mail Online). Sometimes, this just isn’t possible. Remember that a lot of these celebrities have nannies, personal trainers, chefs etc and sadly, usually have pressure on them to be seen a certain way. I guarantee you, that plenty of them have vomited into a bedpan, whilst wearing a backless, ass out hospital gown and compression stockings, whilst their other half snatched the baby out of the way. So glamorous!

  • A Rush of Love

I can honestly say, that being handed my newborn babies was the closest thing to euphoria I have ever felt. You’ve had them move around in your belly for months and wondered what they’ll be like. You’ve tried to picture who they’re going to look like and what personality they’ll have, but in truth you know absolutely nothing about that little person. However, when you’re handed your baby, that rush of love is something you can’t be prepared for. It’s funny how you can love someone so much, without knowing them properly, but in that moment, you immediately know you’d give your life for this tiny, squishy bundle without a moments hesitation.

Emma x

He’s here! HE! I can’t believe we finally know that there was a little boy in there all along (although we were totally convinced it was a boy from the start; he was a troublemaker from day one!).

If you’ve read my last pregnancy update you’ll know that I was having some problems with elevated blood pressure. After six visits to the hospital maternity unit to be monitored, a plan was finally put in place to induce me on Wednesday 4th July, two days before my due date – I can’t tell you how happy I was to know that I wouldn’t be going potentially two weeks overdue!

At 4pm on the 4th I was given a propess pessary in the hope it would bring on labour. I didn’t want to pin too much on it as it isn’t guaranteed to work, but by 11pm I was having regular contractions and at midnight my waters broke, half way through watching Jaws may I add; maybe it was all the scenic ocean shots?!

After getting to labour ward, the monitor showed that the baby’s heart rate kept dropping with my contractions and the staff weren’t happy with how slowly it was returning to normal. I was examined by Dr Smirnoff (yes, really!) who throughout the next few hours had to take some blood samples from the baby’s head, to test the oxygen levels. After the first examination (which was pretty rough) he recommended me having an epidural for the pain.

Unfortunately, the epidural wasn’t fully effective and I still had feeling in my right hand side. I was dilating at a good speed though and after a few hours was up to eight centimetres. After another examination, Dr Smirnoff advised us that the baby wasn’t fully in position which was going to make delivery difficult. He left the room to speak with a consultant and within minutes the room was chaotic.

Up to this point, we had been extremely well informed of everything that was going on and the staff were really chilled out. This probably added to the panic that we then felt, as there seemed to be a real emergency to get me to theatre for a section. My midwife Kara, said “things are going to go a bit quick now” and boy did they. Jon was thrown a set of scrubs and I was wheeled from the room, leaving my poor mother sat thinking the worst.

Even though you’d do anything to ensure your baby is safe and well, I was so scared in that moment. The thought of an emergency section terrified me. Add to that the urgency from the staff and the fact that I had laboured to eight centimetres for what felt like no reason now, I was a blubbering mess by the time we got to theatre.

Jon was bundled into a recovery room while I was given a spinal and examined again (don’t go looking for dignity around here guys!). Legs in stirrups and my knees pushed up so close to my face, I’m fairly sure I hadn’t been this flexible since I was in the womb myself. My esteemed Russian friend now popped his head up an announced “fully dilated!” which was met with cheers from around the room; I didn’t need the section after all.

Jon was dragged back into the room and with three pushes (and an episiotomy and ventouse) Zachary Taylor Lewis was born. Weighing 7lbs 10.5oz, he was lighter than his sister and lighter than the growth scans had predicted. He has long limbs, dark hair and lots of peach fuzz over his back; truly a little monkey already!Zac has slipped seamlessly into family life and we honestly can’t imagine life without him now. Daisy introduces her “little brother, Zac” to anyone who’ll listen and is proving to be the best big sister already. It honestly feels like yesterday that she was this small, so we’re trying to soak up these blurry newborn days as much as we can. We feel so lucky to have such a beautiful little family and can’t wait to start having adventures as a four.

Emma x