Newborn swimming lessons at Virgin Active

As soon as Lacie had her first set of injections we were in the pool like a shot.
I’ve never been a keen swimmer so it’s important that we get Lacie as comfortable in the water as soon as possible. It’s also important for me to learn how to confidently hold her and play with her in the water, which is why we signed up to the Ducklings Programme at Virgin Active.

The 18-week programme are primarily designed to introduce very young children to the water so I signed up straight away and got my NCT friends to sign up too. There are four of us in the class and we are all friends which is great. It’s lovely seeing them every week and Lacie gets to learn new skills with her friends which is lovely. Hopefully one day they will all go swimming together and play nicely and confidently in the water.

So far we’ve only had two lessons but I’m so much more confident with her already. We’ve been taught how to get in the water safely with a new born, how to hold them so they can swim on their front and back, and we’ve already submerged them. Lacie wasn’t bothered at all as she went under. What a proud mum!!

A few little tips I’ve learnt already is;
* To take the carseat. This means I can get Lacie changed then pop her in the car-seat as I get myself changed too.
I have the Nuna Pipa seat, which I love.  You can read my review here…..

Screen Shot 2014-05-02 at 17.37.42* I’ve also learnt to take a spare towel. One for Lacie as she gets out the pool and then one to dry her with. I didn’t do this the first time we went and had to use my towel to dry her. I recently brought this poncho, (£11.99; http://www.mothercare.com) which Lacie loves to snuggle up to as soon as she gets out the pool. It has a hood that keeps her head warm and its made with soft cotton fabric that wicks excess water and dries Lacie really quickly. 

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* Lastly I always dress Lacie in a super cool swimming costume. She looks super cute and as she’s the only girl in the class I like her to look extra girlie. I get her swimsuits from Mothercare. Here my three favourites. We will take them on our first family holiday too.

1)Whale Swimsuit; £9
I love the frill detail around the waist and neckline. The turquoise colour is just lovely too!

lacie whale

Baby K Swimsuit and Turban; £15
This cute cozy from the Baby K range has a matching turban, which is very 80’s – she hasn’t worn the turban yet but it will be great on holiday when it comes to protecting her hear from the sun.

Bbay K swim suit

Lastly this Disney Minnie Mouse Swimsuit; £9
is just adorable. I’m sure Lacie is going to be a big fan of Minnie Mouse when she’s older and I just love the frilly sleeves and waist line. It looks so sweet on.

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I tend to wear a Tankini in the pool, which is really easy to get changed in and out of but recently I came across the new Speedo Sculpture range, which smoothes and supports your body in all the right places.
I love the Crystalsun suit (£60; http://www.store.speedo.co.uk) , which gives me flattering and feminine shape, thanks to the bandeau shape neckline, which enhances my tiny bust, an the lower leg, which elongates my short body. The gentle gathers are also perfect for visually disguising any post-pregnancy lumps and bumps. Its not easy getting into the pool after you’ve had a baby, I felt very self-conscious.

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To sign up to baby swimming lessons have a chat to your nearest Virgin Active. They are super helpful and will make sure your little one goes into the right class for the age and ability level.

 

 

 

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First Trimester Cardio Workout

I’ve been really lucky to be able to write some informative blogs for the children’s shop Kiddicare. I love this shop and brought most of Lacie’s baby clothing, furniture and pram from here, so its a real honour to be writing for them.
Basically all my blogs are about how to exercise safely through pregnancy. I am going to share all these blogs with you over the next few weeks so all you beautiful pregnant ladies feel confident to carry on exercising.

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My first post will cover first trimester cardio. As always feel free to drop me an email if you have any questions or would like a personalised programme.

Pregnancy fitness: 1st trimester cardio

Sometimes a good cardio workout can shake of the first trimester fatigue and sickness. Here’s how to exercise safely in those first vital three months.Since finding out they’re expecting, lots of women want to introduce a more active lifestyle to prevent too much weight gain. Gone are the days of eating for two – the reality is, whatever excess weight you put on, you will have to get off again afterwards!

The problem is some women are scared to exercise when they find out they are pregnant, but as long as you have been approved by your doctor, there’s mot much cause for concern. Studies have found that regular exercise can ease or prevent back pain and other discomforts, boost your mood and energy levels, help you sleep better, prevent excess weight gain and increase stamina and muscle strength. It may also reduce the risk of gestational diabetes and pregnancy-related high blood pressure, as well as lessen the symptoms of postpartum depression.

The thing to remember when embarking on any pregnancy exercise plan is that this ISN’T the time to lose weight, get faster or work towards new fitness milestones. This is the time to listen to your body’s cues and put your baby first.

If you are just starting to exercise, the key is to start the habit slowly – just 15 minutes per session two or three times a week. You can build up to more frequent, longer sessions, as you are able. You should warm up, exercise, and slowly cool the body down before you complete your session. Low-impact aerobic activity like walking, swimming and indoor cycling are ideal, as this is enough to improve the body’s use of oxygen, improve the supply of oxygen to the fetus, improve blood sugar control and reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, as well as boost the metabolism and improve your wellbeing and confidence.

Walking
Walking is good exercise that poses few risks. Make sure you get properly fitted shoes that provide good support and a good sports bra to cater for your growing and often sore breasts. Be conscious of the weather too, and avoid overheating by not walking long distances outside in hot or humid weather. Walking for thirty minutes every day has been shown to be enough to improve your pregnancy and is a safe and helpful exercise that can be continued throughout your second and third trimester too.

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Swimming

Many women swear by swimming and water running during throughout the entire 40 weeks of their pregnancy. This is because it provides a cardiovascular workout that stretches and tones muscles in a nearly gravity-free environment, which also minimises joint strain and balance problems. During your first trimester, swimming or water running with a floatation belt at least 20 minutes three times a week will keep you in good shape. Just make sure you take recovery breaks when you need to and monitor your exertion levels. You should be able to hold a comfortable conversation without feeling out of breath. If you can’t then slow down and drop the intensity.

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Stationary cycling and spinning
When pregnant, your balance will change very suddenly, which isn’t great if you are cycling on the road. You want to be as safe as possible during these first twelve weeks, and wobbling on an outdoor bike isn’t the way to do this. Stationary and spinning bikes offer less risk of a fall than standard bicycles and can provide excellent aerobic exercise during the first trimester of pregnancy. Cycling also reduces joint stains, and it is often an easy exercise to begin for women who are new to exercise.

Take care if doing a spinning class though. They can be much more intense than regular cycling, but safe enough as long as you maintain your balance and monitor your heart rate and body heat. As with any exercise, it is essential to stop if you begin to feel faint or dizzy and always inform your instructor before you start the class.

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This home-exercise bike from Technogym is a great starting point if you want to embark on a fitness journey without the cost of a gym membership. It has an adjustable seat and pedals and is perfect for keeping in the spare room and using in front of the TV while keeping your legs and bottom strong and toned.

Nuna Pipa Carseat Review

Recently I’ve been lucky enough to do some writing for Made For Mums. I am one of their reviewers and for my first project tested the Nuna Pipa carseat.

Here’s what I had to say about it, which can also be found on the Made For Mums Website.

The Nuna PIPA was created by a team of Dutch designers with the aim of designing products that not only look good, but are also super functional. As parents themselves, the idea behind the brand is that they want to help take some of the hard work out of parenting, so it can be enjoyed with as little stress as possible. They certainly did this with the PIPA car seat.

Since launching at the end of 2013, the PIPA has won a whole host of prizes including a silver award in the Best Group 0+ Car Seat category for the UK’s 2014 Prima Baby Awards, a silver award in the Best Specialist Car Seat category for the UK’s 2014 Mother and Baby Awards, a red dot award while also being named the Most High-Tech car seat in the USA’s 2013 The Bump: Best of Baby Awards. It was also a nominated finalist in the child restraints category for the USA’s 2013 JPMA Innovation Award.

These awards are well-deserved in my opinion as the car seat is chic, sturdy and most importantly safe. It felt bulletproof yet comfortable for my precious 11-week old daughter, Lacie.

What safety features does it have?
The first outings in the car with a newborn can often be stressful. Have I put the car seat in correctly? Is it secure? Is she comfortable? All these questions can dampen your trip home from the hospital when actually you should be on cloud nine. With the Nuna PIPA, you can rest assured that the toughest safety standards have been met; it has a five-point harness to keep the little one in place and has a heavy duty shell made out of super resilient, top of the line plastics. The upper portion of the seat is also covered with energy absorbing foam, whilst the seat also boosts side impact protection.

How easy was it to fit in the car?
The instructions were easy to read with numbered images helping to explain everything you need to know, and the car seat came fully assembled in the box, so it was all ready to go. I loved how easy it was to fit into the car using the seatbelt, plus how easy it was to get in the right position – there is a blue line on the side, which needs to be horizontal to the chair. This stops the baby’s head falling forward, which not only looks incredibly uncomfortable on their fragile neck, but could also constrict their airway and cause a breathing issues. To make things even easier, you can but the PIPA ISOFIX base, which allows you to fit the seat into to car in less than five seconds with two easy steps. This comes at a cost though…

How comfortable was it?
My daughter looked super cozy and seating in a nice position and for once I wasn’t stressing if she was comfortable. The UV shield was also handy for blocking the sun out of her eyes, and just simply flips out without you having to stop and fiddle with it, plus the adjustable handle bar was nicely positioned which meant I could hang some toys of it. This made me, and her happy, as they distracted her and swung too and fro with the motion of the car.

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Was it good value for money?
It’s not cheap. The seat itself retails at £150 and if you go for the ISOFIX base option, then that’s another £130. But there’s also lots of features that will blow your mind, like the three crotch buckle positions, the padded insert, which is designed for newborns and can be removed when necessary – and the three different handle positions.  However, don’t be daunted, this chair will seat your baby until they reach 13kg so you don’t need to know everything straight away. You can adjust things as they grow and keep referring back to the manual as and when you have more time.

Who is the Nuna PIPA best for?
Safety-conscious parents who want a few extra features and don’t mind paying for them. It’s also perfect for those looking for a chair that will last and grow with their child.

In a nutshell
The Nuna PIPA is a solid all-rounder. Yes, it’s a brand that you might not of heard of, but lots of thought has gone into this car seat; the dream drape is perfect for sleepy newborns, which magically tucks away into a zipped compartment on top of the hood, the UV sun protector is perfect for sunny days, which you simply flip  out from inside hood and the fact that it fits little ones from 4-32 pounds, makes it a pretty good investment.

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