Welcome to the Neev Spencer column. Each month, DJ and presenter Neev shares her latest adventures in motherhood. This month Neev tackle teething!
Hello, welcome to another instalment of the Neev Spencer column! What a month it’s been… We’ve been busy with teething, new ways of living and trying to entertain a three-year-old in this weather.
Our baby Vivienne is now sleeping through the night and has a structured day plan which she’s really adapted to. We’ve now moved onto the next hurdle in her development and that’s the dreaded teething.
Every baby is different and although my first born, Genevieve, sailed through teething this little one is finding things much harder. I’ve been using all the tricks. Teething powders, gentle gum massage cloths and a trusty Matchstick Monkey toy.
The Monkey is Vivi’s new favourite thing and not only helps her with her grasping skills, it’s soft and kind on her sore gums. Teething can be a really long drawn out process so it’s important to find aids that work for your baby.
Now that I’ve got some of my core strength back, I’ve gone back to my favourite type of fitness; Pilates. I’ve found some really great classes nearby where I can bring Vivienne along with me.
Sofia Santarelli runs Mum and Baby Matwork Pilates classes at The Parent Hood in West London. She’s an expert in Body Control Pilates and works with mums both pre and postnatally. Sofia’s been teaching me a lot about how to lengthen and strengthen my body, and being a mother of two herself, she totally understands what’s it’s like to juggle finding time to train whilst being a mum.
The main thing for any new Mother is trying to work on building pelvic floor muscles back. I’ve been using the Elvie Trainer which is effective and easy to use, too. Elvie is all about bringing tech to new mums to help make their lives post birth easier. Pulling in my pelvic floor as I lift the baby, do chores around the house and my daily exercises has really been building it back.
Our new year’s resolution as a family is to be more environmentally friendly and we’ve been teaching Genevieve, our eldest, about caring for the planet. Our first step in a more eco-friendly direction is cutting down on the amount of meat we eat. Reducing it to three times a week. I hope that we can find more and more ways to be more environmentally conscious. We are also more aware of plastic use now and our Adobe Pronteau hot water tap has helped us reduce our carbon footprint by not using plastic bottles. Having instant hot water for drinks, cooking and mixed feeding saves so much time in our busy lives as parents. I find the convenience of the tap and its functions such a great addition to our kitchen.
Indoor soft plays have been saving us this winter. The Maggie and Rose Clubs and Jungle Mania soft plays have been our new hang outs. It’s so helpful to have somewhere cosy, baby friendly and that allows a three-year-old to let off loads of steam. With the constant dodge of rain and icy weather, this has really helped us with daily activities.
Catch me next month for more on my journey through motherhood and follow me on socials @neevofficial.
The Neev Spencer Column: Calling in a ‘Sleep Nanny’.
My life as a mummy of two is really finding its feet and I’m becoming more confident each day.
Sleeping and feeding have been the biggest thing in our household this month. Vivienne is growing so beautifully and after mixed feeding her since birth, I decided due to work commitments to slowly stop breastfeeding her.
I’ve been using MAM anti colic bottles which I find really good for her feeds. Weaning her off breastfeeding was actually much easier than I thought it would be. I cut out feeds gradually and pumped breast milk when I needed to.
The Elvie breast pump was amazing for on the go subtle pumping. I’ve been on a low carb and low sugar diet and that has helped reduce my milk flow naturally. The Lansinoh breast pads are brilliant for ensuring you don’t leak at an awkward time while your body gets used to the changes.
Now that Vivienne can understand patterns better we consulted with Lucy Shrimpton ‘The Sleep Nanny’ to start her off with some gentle sleep training. Lucy is a certified sleep consultant and author and has years of expertise.
Implementing a routine has really helped her throughout the day and she settles a lot better for naps. We started with putting her in her Snuz Pod cot for each sleep even during the day. She’s been learning how to self sooth which helps her sleep for longer periods. Setting out a clear bedtime has also made a big difference and she’s actually been sleeping through the night which I still cannot quite believe.
Genevieve, my three-year-old, has regressed with her sleep, waking a lot during the night and after taking Lucy’s advice in bringing her bedtime forward we’ve seen a change. It also means I can do both of the girls bedtime at the same time, which is so much easier!
I have now built daily exercise and healthy eating into my daily routine and this is helping me with my busy lifestyle running around after two little ones. I feel like this newfound determination and change in my wellbeing and physical self is benefiting me so much.
Genevieve got a place at our desired school which is such a relief and we now have the rest of the year to enjoy before she goes off to big girl school. We wanted to teach her a really important lesson about giving and gave away all of our old baby products and winter wear to Help Refugees UK. Helping people in need is always such a beautiful gift to give.
See you next month for more on my journey as a mum to two little girls! Follow me @neevofficial
The Neev Spencer Column: Health and Fitness After Birth
My new life as a mum of two daughters is going well and these past few weeks have been all about fitness and bringing strength back into my body.
Recovering from surgery and pregnancy, and it’s toll on my body, was making me urge to move and get some proper blood-flow going. I started with yoga first and found a really amazing woman called Lucy Howlett who specialises in pregnancy and postnatal yoga.
Just taking out one hour a week to focus on myself, on my breath and lengthening the body makes a huge difference to a lot of the aches and pains I was experiencing from trying to care for two children with such varying needs.
I found Lucy’s approach was just what I needed, being a mum herself she understood so much and after our first session I actually broke down with emotion it had been such an impactful and important 60 mins. I now do a little Yoga each day and this has been such a positive thing for me.
Balance restored I then needed to start a healthy fitness regime and called upon an old friend, Jane Wake.
Jane is a leading expert and trainer in pre and postnatal exercise. She’s been helping me to adopt the right approach (which is vital in the early stages), releasing tension and working on inner core strength. Instead of thinking about weight loss at this stage I am more focused on building up my strength first.
Naturally with the new focus on health my diet has changed and I’m now eating a lot better, making sure I have the right nutrients but also enough calories to slowly lose my baby weight but also continue breastfeeding Vivienne.
It’s really important you go back gently to any fitness and or diet plan, drastic changes are not advised when your postpartum. Finding time to cook has been really tricky but I’ve been using Mindful Chef and have been enjoying their weekly food deliveries and recipes.
Having someone select great ingredients and deliver this to your door is a huge help in these busy times of parenting two children. It gives us variation and Genevive, my eldest, loves opening the boxes and exploring what we can make together. We are still trying to give her a lot of focus and time because having a new sibling is a tough adjustment.
Our latest gadget to the home is an Abode Pronteau Filter Hot water Tap and it has made bottle feeds for the baby so much easier. Instant boiling water is such a fantastic addition to a hectic life and makes a big difference for mixed feeding. Also having filtered water at home direct from the tap has been such a luxury and knowing we are doing our bit for the environment to reduce plastic makes it a huge tick.
More on health, I found out that after a C section research shows that babies get less microbes than that of a natural delivery so I have been using Optibac Probiotics in the baby’s feeds as well as using it myself to give Vivienne the best start for her immunity and gut health.
See you next month for more on my postpartum health and fitness journey and don’t forget to follow more of my journey on socials @neevofficial.
The Neev Spencer Column: Life With a Newborn
Me and my two girls are doing really well. Vivienne is now through that first stage after arriving in the world and all I can say is Phew!
All of the practises and preparations I took on have helped me navigate through the sleepless nights and juggling both of the children. My eldest has found this adjustment really tough so I’ve been making sure I give her dedicated time for just me and her as much as possible.
After my C-section, breastfeeding was an uphill struggle, but we got there in the end and I’m so glad I persevered. A few things helped along the way, lactation cookies by Boobix which contain lots of yummy ingredients that help build milkflow and make those middle of the night feeds less weary.
Pure Fenugreek tablets made a difference and also eating enough food across the day with plenty of water, something you have to remind yourself about as a busy Mum. I used MAM Nipple shields because Vivienne’s latch was quite strong and went for a MAM steriliser because mixed feeding worked best for me.
I went to see Kam Pansear again at London Osteopathic Care for a post birth check over for me and baby. She observed Vivienne was having trouble turning her neck to one side and used cranial osteopathy to unfold the cranial bones, gently releasing tension through the cranium, neck and shoulder. Baby was then able to open her mouth wider and turn her neck without discomfort which made breastfeeding easier and a lot less painful. She also helped me with a lot of my aches and pains from carrying baby on one side and holding her while breastfeeding.
Kam has made a specific 10 page Baby Steps Guide find it at londonosteopahiccare.com and you can sign up for free!
We even managed a trip to the South of France for my best friend’s wedding. A mission we weren’t sure we could manage so soon after Vivienne’s arrival. We chose Le Meridien Monaco to stay at because they have great children’s facilities and adjoining rooms. We took my mother along with us to help with the children and I still can’t quite believe we managed it. Three days of celebrations, a teeny baby and a 3 year old! It is doable but takes military planning and operation.
The car seat has a pioneering parent-friendly technology feature which ensures that you use the baby seat within safety guidelines and not allow your baby to be in it for too long. It also has a handy spin system so you can turn the seat towards you to put your baby in.
My recovery from the birth has gone smoothly but while my body was weaker I used the Mamaway C section support belt which made moving around the house doing various types of housework a lot easier. After a cesarean section you really need that extra support and as a busy Mum it’s crucial you don’t overdo things around the house.
I’m now really craving exercise and a lot more movement so next month is all about the start of my healthy and balanced post baby fitness regime! I’ll keep you posted…
The Neev Spencer Column: Vivienne’s Arrival
My newborn baby Vivienne is doing well and I cannot believe how much she’s changed over the last few weeks. This month in the Neev Spencer column I’m reflecting on Vivienne’s birth and her first few days in the big, wide world.
The birth and all that recovery seems like a million miles away from where we are now and I’m so relieved to say it all went well. All of the preparation and planning seems to have made such a huge difference second time around.
Meeting with psychologist Dr Dimitrios Tsivrikos helped me work on patterns to change my negative thought processes control my fears and better settle my mind. Maureen Cromley prepared me with traditional Chinese medicine techniques and practices from building my healing response ahead of the section to helping me with lactation issues post baby.
The birth itself was utterly different to the first C-section I had. Dr Serap Akmal at Queen Charlotte Hospital conducted a ‘natural’ Cesarean. It was such a unique and special experience and I truly felt like I delivered my baby. Ahead of the birth I investigated the benefits of ingesting my Placenta and found a company who collect your Placenta from the delivery.
Placenta Practice encapsulation is a really powerful way to benefit from your own bodies natural healing remedies. I’ve been taking the tablets daily and even have a balm made up from my Placenta for me and baby to use. I also looked into new scientific advances in planning for my baby’s future. I decided to have my Umbilical cord blood frozen to invest in my baby’s future health. Future Health BioBank took care of all of this for me and my cord blood was collected from the delivery suite, bloods were taken from me and is now frozen and stored for my baby should she need it.
The results from the bloods have given us valuable knowledge that Vivienne is glucose intolerant. To know this so early on is such a benefit. My eldest Genevieve has welcomed her baby sister in her life so beautifully and she helps me whenever she can. The hardest thing for her right now is the time that she lacks with me, so my husband and I have tried to find a way to balance our time with her so that I still do her bedtimes and her early mornings keeping as much normality in the household as possible.
As hard at times as this new chapter has been overall, I have found these first steps into Motherhood so positive and so genuinely joyful I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Neev’s Top Picks
The Collection Kit, specially designed for Placenta Practice by leading bio-medical scientists, is delivered with everything you need to safely store your placenta, including ready to use pre-printed labels.
Future Health BioBank took great care of freezing the umbilical cord blood, and everything was collected from the delivery suite, bloods were taken from me and is now frozen and stored for my baby should she need it for health reasons in the future.
Neev Spencer’s All Things Motherhood: Preparing for Birth
Hello there! So my baby girl is here and this month in the Neev Spencer column I’m taking a look back at the last few weeks of my pregnancy and preparing to give birth.
I gave birth to Vivienne safely at Queen Charlotte hospital last month and this first few weeks have been wonderful. I saw a consultant at the hospital at 34 weeks pregnant and we made the mutual decision to go for another elective cesarean due to a previous back injury.
So, the choice had been made by the universe. The most important thing is the baby and ensuring a safe delivery. Sometimes no matter how hard we try to control things around how we bring our children into this world, it’s best to go with the flow that’s intended.
Last month I had been mainly focusing on the lead up to giving birth. I went to see Psychologist Dr Dimitrios Tsivrikos to discuss some of my anxieties ahead of the birth. I found such an ease talking to him and he has already been able to help me understand more about myself and what I need to do to stay positive and let go of a lot of controlling negative patterns.
I believe in holistic treatments so wanted to follow Chinese medicine ahead of my C-section. I’ve been working with acupuncturist Maureen Cromley. We’ve been balancing chi to help the body heal quicker and strengthen the blood ahead of surgery and recovery.
The tick list was finally completed and the multitude of boxes stopped arriving. I found a few things really handy like JoJo Maman Bébé have a ‘Hospital bag’ section and I chose things that I needed direct from there. This saved so much time and took the headache away.
My nearly 3 year old daughter, Genevieve, seemed to have lost interest in the idea of a sibling. However, reading her ‘big sister’ books is helping and I’ve ordered a load of gifts for her birthday from Plum Play to keep her busy in those first few weeks. The biggest of all being a pink deck house from her new baby sister.
My husband and I went to see the baby for a 34 week scan. We hadn’t seen the little one together since our early scan at 6 weeks so it was amazing to get to see her face and get further info on her size and development. Vera at Private Ultrasound is someone I’ve gone to over the years with my first child too and it can really make a difference to have a private scan when you need further information or just to put your mind at ease across the pregnancy.
I put in some pamper time and enjoyed a dreamy pregnancy massage and facial at ESPA Life Spa at the Corinthia Hotel last month. I’ve been using some of the products the beautician recommended. I love their Opitmal Skin ProSerum an intensely nourishing serum that strengthens the skin’s natural moisture barrier. I also spent an afternoon at Shavata Beauty having my gel nails removed ahead of the surgery, a brilliant medical pedicure and bikini wax. It’s so hard to find the time once baby is here so it’s a great idea to get all your beauty bits in ahead of time so you feel your best before the hibernation.
Neev’s top pick
Neev Spencer’s All Things Motherhood: Gender Reveal Party
Exciting news, my little one is here safe and sound thankfully, and I’m now looking back at my 9th month of pregnancy.
I finally gave up work at the radio station and enjoyed some lazier days of nesting and quality time with my little girl Genevieve.
Most exciting of all I revealed that I’m having another girl at my baby shower/gender reveal party – which was an afternoon made of dreams! I had a magical Garden of Paradise-themed party arranged by Anisha Vasani, Creative Stylist and Planner.
The party was held it at a wonderful children’s club called Maggie & Rose so that my daughter (who’s birthday is days away from my due date) could also celebrate. I think it’s so important to keep her as involved and made to feel like the focus of our attention for as long as possible.
The party started with pink drinks by Mirabeau Wine and canapés on the roof garden, which had been decorated in balloons by Balloonista. We were treated to some lovely sunshine and it was the perfect start to the day.
We then moved down to the Marquee area for the second part of the day, there was also double decker bus for the children to play and eat in. We were greeted with freshly made lilac candy floss by Sweet Butterfly UK and sat down to play cute baby shower games like ‘guess the bump size’ as my guests made sweet wishes for my baby to be captured by a live calligrapher, Calligraphy Payal, and hung on a wishing tree.
The venue provided a brilliant entertainer Qita Iseley who kept the 15 children busy and happy throughout the event. After the big gender reveal balloon popping, cutting the stunning cake from Maya Dahlia Cakes and countless posing with friends in front of the breathtaking flower wall by Blossoms in Bloom London, we finished off the afternoon enjoying a delicious closet of sweet treats by Sugar Box Events.
I truly felt like the luckiest girl in the world and what a way to celebrate my daughter’s 3rd birthday and shower our baby-to-be. My friend, photographer Marc Bates, captured the whole day and it was simply perfect.
In other news, all the yoga and osteopathy sessions have payed off. They really helped me maintain a good body balance and prepare for the big day.
Next month I’ll be chatting to a renowned psychologist Dimitrios Tsivrikos about pre birth anxiety and learning about Chinese medicine and acupuncture with Maureen Cromley in preparation for birth. See you then and don’t forget to follow me on socials too @neevofficial.
Neev’s Top Pick
Better You Magnesium Sleep Lotion
The one product I haven’t been able to do without last month was the Better You Magnesium Sleep Lotion.
I have had the worst cramps this last few weeks always in the middle of the night and have spent hours pacing trying to calm the cramps in my legs down. As well as upping my Magnesium intake in food and tablets (be careful to stick to the guidelines for pregnancy) I found this product. Massaging into the body before sleep seems to have really worked and it’s even made my ever so irritating restless legs subside.
Neev Spencer’s All Things Motherhood: 8 Months Pregnant
Welcome to the second instalment of the Neev Spencer column, I hope you’re all enjoying this glorious weather we finally get to bask in. My ever-growing bump and I are in our 8th month of pregnancy and suddenly time seems to have stood still.
This last leg of the journey takes so much patience. You eagerly await the arrival of your precious miracle and wonder what will they look like? What will they be like? How will the birth go? So many questions seem to spiral around as you lie awake at night.
My body is in a really uncomfortable place already so I decided to investigate natural methods to try and combat the aches and pains but also help my jumbled mind.
As someone who’s never practiced meditation before, I needed someone with a great deal of experience to help me on this new journey. I found a brilliant lady called Kiki Felipe she has with 20 years experience in yoga meditation, is a nutritional therapist and a mum of 3.
Kiki has been helping me create a lot of calm in my mind and space in the body. I also noticed that my left leg was starting to have a lot of shooting pain and getting up and down from the sofa or out of bed for my 10th trip to the loo was becoming increasingly painful.
I’ve found a really fantastic Osteopath, Kam Panesar, from the London Osteopathic Care. Kam is highly qualified in working with Pre & Postnatal Women. She’s been helping me with the movement of my pelvis and lower back not only relieving the leg pain but also preparing me for labour. The combined expertise of both of these ladies has helped me so much and if you’re struggling with any of these aches and pains, look up a high-rated practitioner.
The lack of sleep I’m suffering at the moment is affecting my skin and I’ve seen it look more washed out then it’s been in the last 6 months.
I’m loving Weleda’s Skin Food range. It hydrates the skin like a light mask that lasts all day and Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Away Concealer is great for my new under eye bags. I’m currently still working, so I’m feeling that pressure to look the part daily. A great beauty regime is defo helping.
We are now preparing Genevieve, my nearly-3-year-old, for her new ‘big girl’ status and have been successfully potty training her! She’s done so incredibly well and took to it quicker than imagined. We used a prize system, lots of encouragement and even some friendly poo toys to get there – and in just four weeks she is completely potty trained.
It’s just such a relief to have a big tick next to such a challenging and important milestone. I just wish we had started this earlier because life is so much easier and involves a lot less lifting for me. My tip is to do it ASAP. If you have a toddler aged two and above, it’s better tackled before a baby sibling takes up so much of your focus.
Genevieve now feels so grown up she has moved into a toddler bed and seems to be coping really well with her new found independence.
Neev’s Top Picks
Weleda Skin Food
This nourishing skincare treatment hydrates my skin and works like a light mask lasting all day.
Skin Food, £7.95. Weleda
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Away Concealer
Magic Away Liquid Concealer £24. Charlotte Tilbury
See you next month for all my pre-birth tips and tricks. Follow me on socials too @neevofficial.
Neev Spencer’s All Things Motherhood: Babymooning
First up, Neev talks babymoons and brings us her top picks from the worlds of beauty and baby.
Hi there, welcome to my new online column! I hope you’re enjoying this glorious time of year. I have just returned from a week’s babymoon in Tenerife which was absolute pure bliss.
We stayed at the family-friendly Luxury Ritz Carlton Resort and I wish I could turn back time and do it all over again. Our last family break just the 3 of us was so memorable.
As I go into my 7th month of pregnancy I’m relishing in the time I have with my daughter Genevieve, I feel everything is going to change soon and I’m trying to make sure I give her as much of my time as I can.
A few things really got us through our travels this month. The Silver Cross Jet lightweight buggy was great for the airports & sleepy toddler moments. It easily folds into aircraft overhead locker cabin size so takes away that hassle of trying to check in the buggy or wait for it to be placed in the hold.
The heat is really messing with my body at the moment, I found using cooling gels and non-tight maternity wear so helpful. I loved the Asos Maternity range for all my posey babymoon shots and Tiffany Rose for the dinner time dress-ups and stylish day wear.
Toddler fashion wise M & Co do the cutest summer wear and it’s really affordable. For something a bit more special Rachel Riley has the dreamiest dresses for little girls.
Convenience is everything for me right now so our new Toyota Magenta Aygo town car has been a total godsend for all the local nursery trips and supermarkets runs. With the new car arriving I decided to change my little girl’s car seat so her old one could be put aside for the new baby.
After much research I went for a Mothercare Exclusive, the Joie Every Stage 123 fx. It’s always important with something like car safety to go to a renowned brand like Mothercare that have rated the various seats so you can really investigate what suits your needs.
That pesky pregnancy insomnia and evening achiness has now kicked in. I’m going to up my weekly pregnancy yoga at Yoga West with Rebecca Tieken to try and relieve my body and mind of some of these new stresses.
In the meantime, however, the Bloom & Blossom Night Time Ritual Trio has been working wonders. Taking a lukewarm bath before bed and using the products have definitely helped me and bump ease off into a better slumber.
I’ve also been using their Toddler range as Genevieve has started experiencing nightmares for the first time. I love their Roald Dahl range for kids and our new bedtime ritual of ‘banishing bad dreams’ with the help of their ‘magic’ Dream Catchers Pillow Spray is really working!
Neev’s Top Picks
Bloom & Blossom Night Time Ritual
My new night time routine! I take a lukewarm bath before bed then use Bloom and Blossom Night-Time Ritual Trio. It has definitely helped me and bump to ease into a better slumber.
Sleep Night-Time Ritual Trio, £24, bloomandblossom.com
Silver Cross Jet Stroller, £225. Buy now from John Lewis.
Joie Every Stage
Joie Every Stage Car Seat, £240. Buy now from Mothercare.
Rachel Riley Dresses for Girls
Flamingo Jersey Dress, £45. rachelriley.co.uk
See you next month and in the meantime check out my mid-morning radio show on KissFM. Follow me @neevofficial on Instagram and Twitter, too!
- Your Pregnancy Week by Week
- All out Favourite Pieces from the Zara UK Maternity Collection
- Maternal Mental Health: Who’s Looking After Mum?
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