What prematurity means to me this World Prematurity Day

No matter how ready you are to have a baby, nothing can prepare you for a premature baby. My own son was born at 33 weeks.

Today, November 17th, is World Prematurity Day, and Pampers is raising money and awareness for Bliss, the premature baby charity, by joining in on the charity’s social media campaign and asking parents like myself what prematurity is to them.

When I think about prematurity, I think about being thrust into a whole new world, in two senses. The physical sense – constantly at hospital with your little one, learning medical jargon until it’s like a second language and being surrounded by the beeping of machines. The mental sense – feeling
helpless, a constant state of anxiety and worry and, the biggest one for me, loneliness.

With 60,000 premature births each year in the UK every year, that’s one in 11, I’m obviously not the first person to have a premature baby, but at that time it felt like I was. No one I knew had experienced the birth of a premature baby before so I had no one to talk to, to reassure me, to tell me that it was all going to be okay.

I spent a lot of time on online birth forums but I didn’t want to clog the threads with our day to day updates and while I appreciated reading other people’s experiences and knockbacks with prematurity, some of it could be quite upsetting for me to read at that time. Luckily for us, C went from strength to strength and thanks to advances in medical science more and more premature
babies are surviving. 

Earlier this year, you may remember me writing about Pampers developing a
smaller, preemie nappy for babies weighing less than 1.8lb (800g) and I wrote about them wanting to donate around 3 million of these nappies to neonatal units across the UK.

So far, 59 of the 206 neonatal units have accepted this donation, meaning that an estimated 18,285 babies are benefiting from these free preemie nappies. From that last campaign earlier this year, Pampers has raised awareness of the struggles that premature babies and their families go through,
as well as thousands of pounds to support them. This World Prematurity Day, Pampers is continuing this partnership with Bliss. For every social media post shared using the hashtag #PrematurityIs and tagging @Pampers_UK on Twitter, they will donate £1 to the charity.

They have also developed super cute milestone cards in partnership with Bliss which I wish were available when C was born – I’m a sucker for a milestone card photo! When we got to bring C home from hospital, I found myself waiting for C to hit new milestones such as finally fitting in newborn sized clothing or going up a nappy size. I remember using the smallest Pampers nappy available five years ago with C and it still being too big. We had to bend and fold them down so that they didn’t knock against his wires or cause discomfort to his little hips. These limited edition milestone cards will be distributed to neonatal units across the UK for free by Pampers and Bliss.

I can’t wait to read about your experiences of what #PrematurityIs. I’m sure I can relate!

(This is a paid collaborative post with Pampers.) 

Our Love for Gardening in the UK

A love of gardening is one thing that many Brits have in common. In fact, the Horticultural Trades Association reported that over two-thirds of British adults visit a garden centre every year. In 2016, the UK Houzz Landscaping Trends Survey also revealed that 59% of homeowners prioritised outdoor living as the biggest influence in their overall outdoor project design.
Gardening as a hobby appears to be becoming more popular too. We have teamed up with Suttons, advocates of growing your own produce, to take a closer look:

A rising interest

It appears as though the UK as a nation is enjoying spending more time in the garden. Research revealed that the market value of home and garden products has grown by 4,548.1 euros since 2014. Similarly, Wickes has seen a 30% increase in year-on-year sales of garden lighting, which suggests that more people are spending time in the garden even when the sun goes down and perhaps in the colder months too.
One reason for the rise in keen gardeners has been suggested to be the increase in disposable income in households. In 2016, research concluded that 27 million people in Britain were partaking in gardening. More young people are considering a career in the industry too — a sharp increase has been noticed in the amount of 16 to 18 year olds who are looking to complete horticulture courses at college.
There have been concerns in the past surrounding peoples interest in gardening. It was reported that many people were paving over their front gardens with gravel for ease of maintenance or parking purposes. With the rise of urban living, it has also been reported that many people will be living without any access to a garden in the near future. However, trends have adapted and there has been a rise in the purchase of shrubbery as people try to make the most of their limited space.
It has been found that gardening is being enjoyed more indoors now too — through gardening programmes. One in four Brits claimed that they used gardening TV shows as inspiration for their own gardens. A garden transformation show called Love Your Garden, hosted by Alan Titchmarsh, saw its viewing figures hit 4 million this summer. Similarly, 3.14 million tuned in to watch the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May, which is coverage of a 5-day long garden show of innovative gardeners and their designs.

Search volumes

It appears as though Google is being consulted on gardening advice more too. When looking at the search volume of ‘grow your own’, peaks were noticed around May. This is possibly down to the beginning of the bank holidays and the rise in temperatures. On average, 50,000 more searches were made around the term in 2017 than in 2014.
Less people were searching for this term around the month of December. However, an increase in searches was still picked up (30,000 between 2014 and 2017). This could be down to the rise in ‘DIY’ kits that have seeds, tools and soil in that they can be given as a gift and used to grow your own vegetables in the garden.
More people are looking for the location of their closest garden centre too. In April 2015, there were around 230,000 searches made around the term ‘garden centres near me’ and in 2017, this figure had risen to around 700,000.
Other terms that people have been searching for are ‘gardening ideas’, which saw its search volume increase by around 130,000 between 2015 and 2017, and the search volume of ‘gardening programmes’, which increased by around 350,000 in the same period.
As our love for the hobby increases, it is expected that we’ll find new ways to accommodate for the loss of green spaces. If you’re not already part of the hype, get in the garden or visit your local garden centre to see what it’s all about!

This is a sponsored post.

Dancing Paddington - Review & Giveaway

I think everyone is familiar with Paddington Bear. After first appearing in a book called 'A Bear Called Paddington' in 1958, he captured the hearts of many and went on to appear in more books, television series and movies. Almost 60 years later, he's still well loved and this Friday 10th November, the new Paddington Movie will be released in cinemas.

Rainbow Designs have a lovely range of Paddington products, with one of them being Dancing Paddington. Although my children only really know Paddington from the first movie, they were so excited to play with their new toy.

Dancing Paddington is super soft and cuddly but he's much more than just a cuddly toy. He stands at 35cm tall and has buttons on each of hands which you can press to either make him dance and play music or say phrases, such as "Marmalade sandwiches are my favourite." He will stand on his own and dance upright and C and E have loved having a boogie next to him.

He is wearing a calypso shirt which is reversible and can be switched for him to wear his traditional blue coat. The children tend to make him wear his calypso shirt when he's going on holiday and his coat when he's home! His red hat can be removed too but I've kept it attached so far because I just know that my two little ones will lose it and meltdowns will ensue.

I loved watching my Paddington VHS tapes as a child, and having this toy around has brought back that feeling of nostalgia and I love that my children are falling in love with him too. He is suitable for children aged 3+ and requires 3 AA batteries which are included.

Dancing Paddington is available to buy from Smyths at a price of £29.99.

Want to win one for your little one for Christmas? Just enter via the Gleam widget below. Don't forget to read the T&C's beforehand!

  • The giveaway will run from 7th November until 19th November 
  • One winner will win one Dancing Paddington 
  • Open to entrants aged 18+
  • UK residents only 
  • One entry per person
  • No automated entries

Dancing Paddington

(We received this item for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)

HEXBUG Battle Ground Tarantula

As much as I don't want to admit it, my son is no longer a baby and playing with toddler toys, he's branched out into toys that are aimed at "older kids" *sob*. He discovered HEXBUG a year or so ago and loved the little nano bugs and there his love of all things robotic began.

The HEXBUG Battle Ground Tarantula is a whole new level of robot. It is huge in comparison to the nano and not like anything he'd ever played with before.

Inside the packaging you receive one Tarantula and one remote control. The control can do four different things; move the Tarantula backwards and forwards, move it from side to side, shoot a laser and change the channel.

There are two different Tarantula's available to buy - blue and orange - we received the orange and for the best play experience, you should really own both so that they can battle each other (sold separately). You switch your Tarantula on by holding in the button on the top of it and selecting a channel on the remote, we've used channel 4 when playing alone and not battling another Tarantula.

C loves making it walk and because it has eight legs just like a real spider, the way it moves really is spider-like. You can connect two Tarantulas together via infrared technology and use the button on the top of the control to fire lasers at each other. The Tarantula's sensors pick up on the action and will recoil when hit. You need to make sure you have the Tarantula's set to two different channels when battling.

The futuristic sound effects really add to the excitement of play and C has been getting a lot of enjoyment out of it. The HEXBUG Battle Ground Tarantulas retail at £24.99 each which I think is a fair price considering the amount of technology in the toy. It is recommended for children aged 8+ but my son is 5 and can play with it perfectly fine.

(We received this item for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.) 
© Mum of a Premature Baby

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