Introducing rabbits to a baby

introducing rabbits to a baby

When I was pregnant, I was really worried about introducing rabbits and baby to each other. I needn’t have been, because it’s gone really well. They love each other!

The three rabbits absolutely adore the baby, and we’ve not had any trouble yet. She really enjoys them too and squeals happily when she sees them. She’s learning to stroke them and loves how soft their fur is.

They knew that I was pregnant. Barbara fussed around me a lot. Gingee used to enjoy putting his ear to my stomach. Ned just wanted extra cuddles!

Preparing during pregnancy

Before we even started to think about preparing them to meet the baby, we wanted to give them the chance to have a support network. They used to all live in separate rooms, but over the spring (baby was due in November), we worked hard at bonding them and getting them to share one bedroom. We knew this was going to be important both while I was in hospital, so they weren’t alone for too long, and when baby arrived and we had a bit less time.

Before the baby was born, we got them each a little plastic baby doll. It gave them a chance to sniff at something new, nuzzle it and chin it, and for us to remind them to be gentle.

I spent time with them in early labour, before I went to the hospital. I was on all fours on the floor, and Gingee kept stretching up to nuzzle the bump. They knew something momentous was happening, I think.

I had a long labour (38 hours!), so my husband and I were in hospital for a while. Fortunately, our hospital is walking distance from our house, so he was able to pop home a couple of times to check on them. We left them with lots of extra water and hay.

Actually introducing rabbits to the baby

We introduced them on the day she came home from the hospital.

She was in her bouncer and the rabbits got extra fuss and food. They ignored her for the most part. We had to pick them up to even get them to look at her!

She was so new but wanted to stare at them.

Introducing rabbits to the baby

(She was so tiny! She’s grown a lot even in six weeks!)

But, if you know about bonding rabbits, you’ll know that it’s a good sign when they ignore someone.

Their growing relationship

Since then, we’ve just brought her into our routine.

Three times a day, we say to the baby, “Shall we go and play with our friends the rabbits?” She responds happily to that now!

We bring her with us whenever we feed them so they associate her with good things. She usually gets to lie on the floor with them while they eat and they’ve started leaving pieces of food for her, which is adorable.

Gingee has put his head down to ask for grooming from her a couple of times. She’s not quite got the hang of how to do it, but I’m sure she will!

When she cries, our leader bunny, Gingee, goes to patrol the area while Barbara comes to nuzzle and check she’s okay. (Ned is deaf, so doesn’t really respond to crying!) 

We worried a bit about Gingee at first. He is so attached to my husband, and has been known to be jealous. We’ve been careful to make sure that my husband treats Gingee like the special bunny he is, and I often get to hold the baby a bit more while Gingee gets extra fuss. If anything, he seems happier than before!

They all like to get attention from each other. Baby loves it when they come up and nuzzle at her, and sometimes she cries when they move away. They like it when she touches them – Ned in particular. He’ll sit and look really proud, as if he’s saying, “Look, the baby is playing with me! Me! I’m the chosen one right now!”

The rabbits have their own bedroom, so they have somewhere to escape to where baby doesn’t go. They have their door shut most of the day, but we have three long sessions of food and playtime each day, so they don’t feel neglected.

I was really worried about how it would work out, but while they were a bit wary at first, I’ve never seen them binky as much as they have in the past few weeks!

She’s only seven weeks old and they’re already all so close. I’m so excited to see how their relationship develops as she gets older.

9 months pregnant: a ticking bomb!

9 months pregnant

So, as you may have heard, I’m 9 months pregnant. Really, really pregnant. The kind of pregnant where people stop me in Tesco and tell me I look like I’m about to pop. (Or, conversely, “You don’t look very far along at all! You must have your dates mixed up!” There’s no pleasing some people.)

It’s a really weird feeling.

9 months pregnant – the good

I’m enjoying pregnancy a lot at this point. As I’ve mentioned, I’ve had a difficult time at various points during the pregnancy. And I don’t think you’re meant to enjoy being 9 months pregnant. But it finally feels like I’m getting good at this!

I like the shape of my body. I may never do pregnancy again, and I’m enjoying not sucking my stomach in. It’s expected that I have a huge belly at this point and that’s very liberating. Okay, I don’t have many clothes that fit any more, but the ones that do are very comfortable!

Now that I’m on maternity leave, I feel pretty well rested and that makes a huge difference. It also means that I have a lot less stress in my life.

I love feeling the baby move. It’s like we have this connection that no one else does, and all that will change after the birth. Baby will belong to other people as well, then. I love that right now, I’m the one that knows the most about her. I’m the one that knows exactly what she likes and doesn’t like.

We sit and listen to a lot of Disney music on Spotify right now. She loves the Moana and Frozen soundtracks and wiggles around like mad.

If my husband sits down next to me, she scoots herself over to be near him, which I absolutely love.

Every night, I have a bath and just watch my belly move. I never really liked baths before, but in the last month or so, my feelings have really changed. I’d have three a day if it wouldn’t push our water bills through the roof! Fancy baths, too – I’m getting the candles and the lavender oil and the bath salts out.

9 months pregnant – the bad

I feel like a ticking time bomb. That’s a very odd feeling.

Every time I make plans with someone (pretty much just my mum or the midwife, I admit), I’m prefacing it with “If I’m not having a baby then.” It’s so weird to know that baby could just show up at any point!

I’m overanalysing every tiny twinge I feel. And oh, are there twinges! Like clockwork, every night, after tea. Suddenly I’m ridiculously uncomfortable, thinking, yep, this will happen tonight. Then I get in the bath and it stops. This morning I was up at about 4.30am thinking, something is happening. By 5am, all calm again. Right now, I’m feeling incredibly comfortable, so who knows. Calm before the storm, maybe?

Every time I wave my husband off to work or when he pops out to the pub or wherever, I’m very aware that I could be summoning him back midway through the day so we can go to the hospital.

I’m a planner, so this limbo feeling is rather odd!

9 months pregnant – the ugly

I know I said I’m really liking my body, but my belly button is kind of gross! It’s obviously turned inside out by now, but it’s got a weird little brown stump in there. I’m not going to share a picture because, well, ew. But yeah. Pretty ugly.

How did you find being 9 months pregnant? Am I the only crazy one who’s enjoying it?

 

The health visitor – what to expect?

health visitor

I know that health visitor systems vary by area. But in the run up to our first visit, I was eagerly looking for information on what might happen, so I thought I’d share this.

We’re at 37 weeks pregnant right now. Baby is head down and 3/5 engaged – yes, that means I’m waddling delightfully.

37 weeks, in our area, is also where you get your first health visitor meeting. The midwife lets the health visitor know that you’re expecting (she did ask my permission for this – I’m not sure if I could have declined) and then the wheels are in motion.

In some areas, I know that you don’t meet your health visitor until you’re discharged from the midwife. That’s usually when baby is a couple of weeks old. That’s when we officially switch to being under their care too, but they like to meet with mums (and dads!) to be before the baby is born. That way, it’s not a stranger coming round to peer at your newborn and ask loads of questions.

Ann, our health visitor, wrote to us at about 35 weeks, and we had our first meeting with her on Tuesday. I was 37 weeks on the dot – what good timekeeping!

How did we prepare for the health visitor?

Before she came round, I admit I was a bit nervous. You hear some horror stories, don’t you? People peering into your fridge and noticing that you’ve got some out-of-date grapes, asking all kinds of questions about your relationship and your childhood, judging your housekeeping…

I was particularly worried about the rabbits, to be honest. Although I’ve had nothing but positive responses from the midwife about having house rabbits, I know that some people still think they’re an oddity. I was worried that she was going to want to see them or judge us based on having them. And I always worry that the house might smell of rabbits – I had some nice autumnal candles burning just in case!

My husband and I did a lot of cleaning in the days before she came round! We literally even pulled the oven out to clean behind it. I think I’m finally being hit by the “nesting” bug right now. It was really good, actually, to have that slight apprehension, as it meant that we had a bit of a “deadline”. We told ourselves that the kitchen/bedroom/study/etc. had to be immaculate by the 17th. And we made it!

I also made sure we had milk, tea and coffee and some nice biscuits. What can I say, food is very important to this preggo!

So the house looked amazing(ish), the fridge was stocked and we were ready.

What happened at the first visit?

It wasn’t a house inspection at all! She didn’t even look behind my oven! Actually, she didn’t even go into the kitchen. She came in, we went into the living room (she didn’t want a drink) and had a nice little chat. That was it!

She asked us a few questions, mostly to check that she had all our details down correctly. What was our phone number, how did we spell our names, what were our dates of birth, that sort of thing. She also asked what we both did for a living, how much maternity leave I’m planning to take, whether we own our house and who lives with us.

Lots of talk about baby, obviously – how has pregnancy been so far, which hospital are we hoping to deliver at, was baby planned, etc. Do we have family or a support network locally, and do we have friends with children? Basically, is this the first time we’ve ever seen a baby and are we going to be completely on our own?

We talked about our hopes to breastfeed, and she told us about the breastfeeding support that’s on offer in our area – reassuring to know about!

It was just a really nice visit. I didn’t learn anything new, really, but it was good to meet her, discover I liked her, and know that we’re on the right track with everything. I didn’t feel judged at all.

What happens next?

Well, I get to go away and have a baby! Baby and I will stay under the midwife’s care for the first 11-15 days or so, and then we’ll be discharged to the health visitor. She’ll give us a call and arrange a time to come round that works for all of us.

Apparently the first post-baby meeting is quite a long one, with lots of paperwork and filling in baby’s red book.

From then on, we’ll see her for well baby clinics, weigh ins, etc. She’ll be a point of contact until baby is old enough to go to school. I can’t think that far ahead yet!

So that’s our happy experience so far. What have your health visitor experiences been like?

Packing the hospital bag

packing the hospital bag

So I’m 36 weeks pregnant (37 tomorrow!), and according to pretty much every book, I should have packed my hospital bag by now.

Well, good news! I mostly have. I’ve got three, actually. One for me, one for my husband and one for the baby.

Here’s what I’ve got, based on a mixture of my own common sense (such that it is!), advice from other ladies in my Mumsnet due date group, advice from my own mum, and various online articles:

Hospital bag for mummy

I’m using a suitcase for myself. Not a huge one, but I think something wheelable will be useful, especially as we have two other bags involved. We can loop the handles of at least one of the other bags around the handle of this one and transport at least two bags in one go.

Already packed:

  • Nursing bra x 2 (I’m using the soft crop top kind from M&S)
  • Button down nightie (a size bigger than normal)
  • Pyjamas – with button top (not maternity, but a couple of sizes bigger than normal)
  • Dressing gown (I say dressing gown, but it’s really a very big hoodie from Gap that I can then use as a cardigan as well)
  • Black maternity yoga pants
  • Black vests x 2
  • Socks x 4 pairs (I’m told that labouring women often have very cold feet)
  • Old slippers (doesn’t matter if I bleed on them!)
  • Black knickers x 4 (two sizes bigger than normal, and the big kind in case there’s an incision to worry about)
  • Disposable pants x 5 (just a pack from Tesco, just in case)
  • Disposable maternity pads x 20 (I have another pack of 20 waiting in the bathroom at home, and I also have all of my cloth pads ready and waiting)
  • Breast pads x 6 (three pairs, that is – another three pairs waiting at home)
  • Black towel x 2 (the cheapest ones I could find are from Tesco and also have these lovely blingy diamantes on. I’m going to be so glam!)
  • Nipple cream
  • Travel size toiletries (shower gel, shampoo, toothpaste, etc)
  • Toothbrush
  • Lip balm
  • Water spray
  • Hair bobbles x 5
  • Deodorant
  • Fun size snacks (I’m taking advantage of Hallowe’en and have got some packs of small Twixes and Maltesers)
  • Carrier bags for any washing

Still to come:

  • Phone and long charger cable (a friend in a different NHS Trust said she wasn’t allowed to charge her phone, so I need to talk to the midwife about that and see what the rules are – if I can’t use my own electronics, then I’ll pack a portable charger as well)
  • iPad (we’re going to load our hypnobirthing tracks onto this, and also maybe use it for Scrabble if we have any waiting around time!)
  • Ear plugs (our hospital’s maternity ward has 24 beds. Enough said!)
  • A bottle of blackcurrant squash (I can’t drink water lately!)
  • Moisturiser and face wash (I need to decant these from my usual bigger bottles)
  • Plain cheese sandwiches (my mum had me at 8.44am and missed both breakfast and lunch – she’s suggested freezing some sandwiches in advance and popping them in the bag as we leave)
  • Cereal bars
  • Brush and comb
  • Camera (I need to charge this first as well!)
  • Sports water bottles (I’m informed that these are useful to squirt at yourself as you pee afterwards)

Hospital bag for baby

I’m using baby’s changing bag for this. Unfortunately I filled it slightly too much and I’ve torn the zip, but I did get it on ebay for about £10, so it’s not the end of the world!

All of the clothes I’ve packed in two different sizes – the under 9lb ones and regular newborn.

Already packed:

  • Babygrows x 3
  • Vests x 3
  • Cardigans/little fleecy jackets x 2
  • Hat
  • Blankets x 2
  • Muslins x 5
  • Nappies x 1 pack (we’re hoping to use cloth soon, but for the early days we’ve stocked up on the Aldi kind)
  • Water Wipes x 1 pack (again, cloth wipes in the future, but don’t want to take too much washing home!)
  • Swaddle wrap
  • Bag for any soiled clothes

Still to come:

  • Snowsuit or other weather appropriate coming home outfit
  • Car seat needs to be put in the car

Hospital bag for daddy

Our hospital lets partners stay in overnight after the baby has been born which is great. It does mean we need to prepare for him as well though!

We’ve not packed any of this yet:

  • T-shirt x 2
  • Shorts (I hear hospitals are warm)
  • Jogging bottoms
  • Pants x 2
  • Loose change for vending machines etc
  • Phone and charger
  • Sketchbook and pencils (to keep him occupied during any bits of downtime – he’s a keen artist)
  • Hypnobirthing books

I’ll probably let him share my snacks!

We’re very lucky in that we live a five minute walk from the hospital, so if there is anything we find that we desperately need that we don’t have, my husband can always pop home and get it.

Whew. It’s a lot, though, isn’t it? I’m curious to know what we’ll end up needing and what will turn out to be a waste of time – I’m sure I’ll do an update post!

Is there anything really obvious or important that I’m missing? What did you really need and what was completely unnecessary?