Cafe Culture

I have always felt it is important for my little darlings to know how to behave in a cafe/restaurant surrounding, after years of working in such establishments having OPC’s charging around whilst I try to carry hot pots of tea or a huge tray of steaming meat, I appreciate the need for their behaviour to be contained.

We are not talking about noise, other people can sit elsewhere if they don’t like noise and we are not talking about mess, most establishments understand cake on the carpet and mucky table cloths.  That is just to be expected. It’s  just the safety factor that concerns me.

Practice makes perfect, so I have been taking my pair of noisy messy kids to cafe’s since they were born, mostly our local tea shop where the owners now greet us like old friends. I started meeting a friend there when my daughter was a few weeks old, her son was born on the same day and we happily whiled away the odd morning with tea and breastfeeding together, when the Little Man was born I just continued although now my friend has gone back to work I still pop in occasionally to keep them familiar with the idea of food and drink in public.

On our last visit the little lady was lovely, she sat in a big chair and had a big girls cup, read the hungry caterpillar book and chatted to anyone who would talk to her, the little man gets strapped in a booster seat as he is “uncontainable unless restrained”  he had some toys and a few books to peruse and a juice and we shared some teacake, read the books and giggled at people in the street – these are the moments that I live for, happy smalls enjoying being with Mummy – I relished it.

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Things I would share with my Cousin…

My cousin is about to have her first baby at 41, it has got me thinking of my experience of being pregnant, having a baby and all that involves, so I thought I would share that experience with my blog, these are some random things I learned that were useful to me, they may not be applicable to anyone else, folk may disagree with me should they choose and they are certainly not scientific!
Take what is useful to you and leave the rest 🙂

Make the most of the bump, when it appears feel free to use it to make your life easier, let people hold doors open for you, give up seats for you, if they don’t ask them to!

You don’t HAVE to let people touch the bump, it’s your body the baby is in and if you don’t want people in your space make yourself clear, I had to back away from one person and ask them to stop, I had only met her once before, she was actually fine with my saying no.

You will be pregnant most of our summer, putting your wrists in cold water really helps with the heat.

Be aware of where the loos are…

People will forgive an obviously pregnant lady for parking in the mother and baby slots in the supermarket.

Those strange flutters might not be indigestion, for me the best experience of being pregnant was the little kicks inside me, little miss always started a dance routine as soon as I stopped moving, at bedtimes I used to get back up and stand and sway for a while, she also liked listening to music – Il Divo was a favourite – once she was born too, then she would lie on my shoulder with me swaying and drift off to sleep – so lovely!

Midwives are wonderful people, they are knowledgeable and supportive, if one of their tests comes back less than perfect they will send you to the consultant, this is not necessarily because things are wrong and you shouldn’t panic, I was sent to hospital twice with Alex due to small amounts of protein in my wee, when I was re-tested at hospital there was none present but if in doubt check it out, phone them for any niggle that is why they are there.

Do check out the hospital / midwife center prebirth, they normally do “tours” that way you can get a feel for the facilities and know what you need to provide yourself.

Do write a birth plan, both of mine were carefully thought out and then went out of the window straight away but it was a useful exercise. Little Miss was an emergency c’sec and we were delayed doing skin to skin until I came around (Daddy did his best bless him) but they knew I wanted to do it – it was in my birth plan!

Once you get the baby home you will be in demand socially, leave the coffee, tea and sugar next to the kettle somewhere easy to find in the kitchen, when people visit tell them to help themselves and make you one too, better still, get them to bring a casserole. We had an arrangement with some friends of ours that when visiting after a new baby was born they bought dinner with them, as we did to them when their daughter came along, it worked really well.

Give yourself at least a week before people who are not grandparents or siblings can visit, Daddy’s best friend turned up right in the middle of my baby blues (3 days after delivery) and a midwife visit, so not only was I blubbering I was showing another woman my breasts!
Get your partner to be your security guard, decide between you when you want to start seeing people and be firm about it – this is a magical time for you but not an easy one, turn people away or book them in later, our first Saturday with Little Miss was like Piccadilly circus people were arriving as others left, it resulted in exhaustion for me and a totally cranky baby!

If you can get newborn poo off with just cotton wool and water, you are a better woman than me, it’s like tar!

Baby girls often have a little “period” when they are working Mummies hormones out of their body, I was totally freaked out finding blood in her nappy and phoned the hospital straight away, apparently its quite usual, don’t panic.

One packet of wet wipes will not last a month or even a week, a friend of mine once commented that on preparing for her newborn she only bought one packet because it seemed so big it would last for ages, within the first week she sent her partner on an emergency buying spree for more…

Don’t buy a huge amount of newborn nappies, Little Man was only in new baby nappies for about a week, he was then too big and had to have size 1’s, he didn’t last long in those either.
Sudocreme is a great product for comfy bums but for real nappy rash that won’t budge I’d recommend Metanium – it the bees knees!
Anti bacterial hand gel is ideal for on the move nappy changing, Detol wipes are also good for the nappy bag if you are planning to use cafe highchairs – just sayin’
Pampers are excellent overnight protection. My two both had/have a routine for pooing in the morning once they are up and moving so I put on a cheaper nappy just to catch that early morning one, then back to pampers.

Yes, breast is defiantly best but if you are unable, don’t want to don’t let anyone tell you that you are wrong, you will do your best and love your baby, that’s all anyone can ever ask of you.

If you are breastfeeding, it is your right in my opinion to feed your baby when he/she is hungry, where ever you are, if someone doesn’t like it they can stick their head under a blanket. I personally don’t enjoy getting my boobs out in public unless I’m on a beach somewhere hot, however, you will soon get used to what items of clothing allow you to comfortably achieve feeding almost anywhere discretely, when I was feeding little man I could hold him in one arm feeding him whilst doing something else with my other arm – practice makes perfect.

Shopping center breastfeeding booths are terrible, The outlet village in Swindon was not too bad and John Lewis at the mall has an okish one otherwise they are small and dim with plastic chairs or a bench seat. The one at centre parc’s Longleat is sheer heaven, I could have stayed in there all day!

I’m fed, I’m warm and comfy, I have a clean bottom and I’m burped… Key issues 🙂

My midwife said to me “if mummy sleeps the baby sleeps” whilst this is true because Mummy won’t be able to sleep whilst baby is crying it is not that easy to leave them to cry and some say it’s harmful for the baby. Try different things, Little Miss liked to be fed to sleep or rocked to sleep (people will tell you this is not a good habit) but once asleep she would be put down and got used to waking up in her cot. She could also be put down in her cot to sleep but she needed a dim glowing light and music. The Little Man will not even try and sleep if something is going on, he needs blackout and quiet. They are all so different, my sister used to drive her boys around for hours to get them to sleep, She hated driving in the dark – keep trying anything that you can think of and find what is right for your baby. Sometimes you will try everything and nothing works, so start at the top of the list again and keep going, eventually something works.

If you choose to use a dummy, leave a few in the cot because if one falls out they might find another before they wake you up.

Don’t worry about the housework, it will still be there tomorrow, get some rest when you can,

Get the giveaways – Bounty bags are treasure troves, Boots Baby club nappy bags are fab, Lloyds pharmacy also does a gift bag, I’m sure there are more.

Books, they say babies don’t come with a manual but actually there are several useful books around, we thought Haynes baby manual was hilarious but it was also pretty informative, What to Expect the First Year, by Arlene Eisenberg, was really useful to me.

Well, I seem to have gone on forever so I’m going to stop here, as I said before, take what you need and leave the rest…. Good luck and most of all enjoy, it goes too fast!

A day at the beach

We needed to break out and run around a bit, so I asked my daughter where she would like to go, “to the beach” she said, and I frowned because she doesn’t normally like getting mucky but it seemed like a good idea.

Alex on the beach

It's in the sand


Under the lift
Blown away
After a little while the little miss decided she didn’t like the sand in her toes, it was yucky, so I engaged her in a game of smash my sandcastle, after a while we packed up and rode up the cliff railway which they really loved.
After which we stopped by at Nana’s to say hi and get Mummy a much needed cup of tea.

The little miss was too busy with Nana to have her picture taken