The Neev Spencer Column: Powerful Baby Brain
Hello! Me and my two growing girls are doing well and it’s been another busy month of memorable moments and new challenges. Genevieve, my eldest, absolutely loves being a big sister and often helps me with Vivienne’s care. It’s such a relief to finally see her really settle into this new world and happily take on her big sister role.
Health-wise, my teeth have been giving me some trouble through the pregnancy and beyond so I decided to go and visit a renowned dentist and advocate for maternal health, Dr Zainab Al-Mukhtar. I visited her practise in Harrow on the Hill which is so child-friendly, it was a relief to take Genevieve somewhere that welcomed her threenager antics so beautifully.
After our consultation, I learnt that due to hormonal changes your gums can swell and bleed during pregnancy and it’s important to make a visit to your dentist or hygienist to ensure that you are keeping vigilant with your oral hygiene. Using interdental brushes or flossing twice a day can really improve things and making sure you are taking the right vitamins such as Iron or B12 supplements to help avoid deficiencies that could lead to mouth ulcers.
I’ve found two very cool products made by mums that have been positively impacting our lives. If cutting or filing your baby’s nails fills you with dread check out the Thumble, a wearable nail file. It’s such a task to de sharpen those ever-growing baby nails. Vivienne won’t sit still for a second and I would literally hold my breath as I tried to not accidentally hurt her. Using the Thumble while she is calmly being fed has made this whole task so much easier and less scary for me and her!
Another item I’m using a lot is my Kerikit nappy bag. It’s super stylish and makes me feel fashionable even if I look like I’m in total disarray and haven’t slept a full night in half a year. Kerikit was founded by mum Keri who wanted mums to finally feel stylish while also just going about their mum life.
This month we are absolutely loving our new Nanit smart baby monitor. The Nanit has revolutionised baby sleep monitoring and gives you in-depth analysis to help improve their sleep patterns. The camera is crystal clear and shows you every part of your baby’s sleep day and night, therefore, giving you the most dynamic insights into their sleep backed up with scientific guidance on how to make positive changes.
I’m still finding a great deal of balance in myself which has helped with the stresses and strains of my busy household especially now I’m working again. I’m so pleased to bring back my ‘powerful baby brain’ live talk to The Baby Show this year and look forward to seeing some of you pregnant women there. Spreading the word on how to maintain a healthy mindset in pregnancy and post-birth is something I’m so passionate about so I’ll be hosting a 45 min session on stage on February the 29th at 1030am at The Baby Show at Excel with an expert panel for more information. To use my unique discount code of tickets check out my socials @neevofficial on instagram.
The Neev Spencer Column: Tackling Teething
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.