Monday 25 March 2013

The Blissful Baby Expert by Lisa Clegg - REVIEW

The lovely Lisa Clegg sent a public tweet asking if any mums/mums-to-be would be interested in reviewing her new book, The Blissful Baby Expert. Being a first time mum, I raised my hand high! I downloaded the eBook and loved every single word of it.

Lisa is a maternity nurse and mum of three children so she’s gotta know what she’s talking about, right? The testimonials at the beginning of the book completely supported that. They all praised her work so I couldn’t wait to get through it myself.

Before I had C, I never read any parenting books. I think this was partly because I didn’t want to overwhelm myself and partly because I thought if I read the baby books, it became ‘real’. As C was in NICU/SCBU for 17 days, the nurses taught me how to look after a newborn properly, from changing a nappy to cleaning his face, but once he got a little older and more awake and alert during the day I felt as though I was thrown in at the deep end. What do I do with him? How do I keep him entertained?

As we’re a young couple, we do have suggestions on how to parent C thrown as us left, right and centre. After reading this book I am much more determined to do this as I see fit.

“Your hospital bag should be packed and ready from around 32 weeks.” No one told me this! I had C at 33 weeks +2 days. I had no bag packed and had only just bought my new hospital towels and pyjamas two days before! Cue a very stressed and worried Chris trying to find everything that I might need!
Equipment to buy – these are very handily put into three headings of “essential”, “helpful” and “not needed”. I REALLY recommend reading this part as I bought quite a few things that we never used and are taking up space. I spent months writing lists of what I thought we needed to buy, consulting numerous websites and here it all is in one convenient place!
The British Safety Standard guidelines are mentioned which are great as I had no idea on what to look out for when purchasing baby items. BPA-free is another. I knew that everything we bought had to be BPA-free but I had no idea why! This really opened my eyes.

I spent around three months compiling a list of what I needed to pack in my hospital bag. It gave me many headaches and it felt as though I was going round in circles. I consulted lots of sites which all say that you need different things but I would definitely recommend new mums-to-be to take a look at this list.

I love the information given about writing a birth plan. At 33 weeks, I still didn’t have one written (not that I even needed one anyway as I ended up having an emergency Caesarean section!) The reason why I didn’t have one written was because I simply didn’t know how!

I fell pregnant at a young age so everything was very new to me. I didn’t know much about pregnancy and delivery (and I was still none the wiser before reading this!) Now I know all the jargon from ventouse to forceps! If I’d read this before delivering C, I think I would have been much more relaxed. As I previously mentioned, I had a Caesarean but even as I lay on the operating table, I didn’t know the ins and outs of it.

You’re also given information about the various tests that are performed on your baby after delivery. After reading through I realised that some tests were done on C that I didn’t even know about! It’s nice to know what happening so you can ask if you have any questions.

This is the main part where I’m shouting inwardly “Why didn’t I read this when C was just a newborn!?”

I love how everything isn’t angled towards breastfeeding. You’re reassured that bottle feeding is okay too. If you’d spoken to me whilst I was pregnant, you would have known that I was dead set on breastfeeding and the thought of not being able to broke my heart. I thought it would be easy.
After the delivery, I wasn’t able to see C for 2 days but I still had midwives in trying to get colostrum from me. Any milk after that was put into a little syringe. It didn’t look like much but it’s all he needed. He only had 1ml every hour.

When I was more mobile, I tried expressing with my manual pump. I tried for well over a week but I could never get anything more than 10ml (from both breasts combined) in any one session. He was continually being topped up with formula and thriving. I remember once, in the middle of the night, bringing my expressed milk to the NICU in tears because I felt I’d failed my son. I was reassured that I’d had a tough time of it and he was happy enough on the formula. I didn’t need to feel guilty (I think I always will though!).
We move on then to bathing. There’s a detailed ‘how to’ which is fab. We were never show how to bath C so we just went with what worked best for us.

Even now, I sometimes think “ooh, should I be giving him more milk?” and here we have a feeding routine. I wish I’d had this when C was discharged (I’m actually modifying it slightly for C who, at six months, is embarrassingly still not in a routine).

Lots of different people gave me different advice on how to prepare a bottle feed. Here, a concise list is given so you can choose which is best for you and what will make your life easier.

This chapter really goes into detail about everything you may need to know. It really is the perfect manual for first-time mums.

The advice on how to breastfeed is my particular favourite area. I feel as though I should have pushed harder for help. If I ever have a second child, this book will be my go-to.

The visual aids for how to feed and wind are great. C was terrible for getting his wind up and we had to try to many different positions to get it up.
Many people think that babies, for the first few months anyway, behave in a textbook manner (myself included) but for every item in this book you are given what may happen for different babies.

In this chapter we are told about reflux. When C was around 4 months old, he was continually being sick after each bottle. Not bringing up milk, but a thick, yoghurt-y substance. Our GP prescribed Carobel and said he had reflux and that was all we were told. After reading this we now know what causes it.
There is an easy guide on how to make the transition from breastfeeding to bottle feeding which is great for women who are going back to work.

Reading about cot death still scares the life out of me. Six months after having C and we still don’t have a baby monitor so I don’t let him sleep in a different room from where we are. Maybe because he was premature, I don’t want to let him out of my sight. I felt the urge to skip past the ‘cot death’ part as I don’t want to read about it but it’s real. I took my time and went through it all and I’m glad I did. I learnt some things that I didn’t previously know (which may have worried me a bit more though!).

It’s nice to find a parenting book that tells you to trust your instincts when it comes to sleeping rather than telling you outright what to do.

The sleep association advice is great. C gets very grouchy when we try to put him to bed and he’ll moan and groan for around half an hour before eventually falling to sleep on his own.

The signs of tiredness given have really helped us. You’re told to put your baby to sleep before they get overtired. We could never tell when to do this.
C’s feeds and naps weren’t in a structured routine before I read this book. We’ve implemented the advice given and now we know when he’s due a feed and nap and life is so much easier for us now. It is brilliant for sleep training babies.

There is so much confusion surrounding weaning. Guidelines are changing all the time and you’re constantly being told different things.

As we’ve just reached the weaning stage, this book was perfect for me right now. Beforehand I was confused about the whole situation and it felt as though we were going in blindly but I have taken so much advice from this book. There is some brilliant advice on both baby-led weaning and spoon fed weaning. I found myself writing down the guide given to use myself. It tells me what to feed and when.

There is even an FAQ section which is again, very handy to first-time parents.

Really good advice so that new mums aren’t rushing to the doctors about every little thing that they think their child might have.

We took C to see a doctor as he had a sticky eye, cough and runny nose as I had laryngitis and I hoped he hadn’t caught it. Turns out it was just a cold and they couldn’t do anything. Cue me feeling very silly for time-wasting!

I loved this as I’m always wondering whether C should be doing more for his age than what he is doing.

All in all I’d give this book a huge 5/5. The whole way through I was reading out excerpts to my partner saying “We need to do this”. In my eyes it is a must-have for any expecting/new parent and I will most definitely be recommending it to everyone.
You can buy your copy here at a discounted price of £2.06!

2 comments on "The Blissful Baby Expert by Lisa Clegg - REVIEW"
  1. Personnaly i found the book to be a load of rubbish and simply trying to cash in on what most mothers know aleady! 5/5 i wouldn't give it 1/5

  2. Sure all these 10 tips are most useful for mom’s who have baby.