Thursday, 14 August 2014

Mummy Time #6: Amy Martyr

Amy and I met almost ten years ago and, after losing touch for many years, we found each other again on Twitter. I seem to have a really clear recollection of where I was when I saw Amy's pregnancy announcement (waiting for my lift share in the foyer after work) and I can't believe that Isabelle is fast approaching two years old! This mama has a lot on her plate with a wedding around the corner but still finds it in her to go running at 5am!


Who are you?

I’m Amy, 27, mama to Isabelle who was born on the 4th of December 2012, and soon to be married to Kevin! We have been together for four and a half years and currently live in Peterborough City Centre in a beautiful (but not very child friendly) apartment- but we are almost ready to complete on our new family home!

How are you?

I’ve just been sent home from work as I think they were worried I was going to go into meltdown....I’m getting married in nine days, in the middle of a house move (which has been problem after problem) and recently went to work full time in a really demanding job in marketing and sales. This morning Isabelle woke up at 5:30 so I’m exhausted, but also very excited!

How does a typical day go?

A typical day means getting up at 5am to go running (one of my New Years’ resolutions was to do the Great Eastern Run!) I get back and have a shower before Isabelle wakes up, I then get her ready for the day, then I get myself ready while Kevin finishes anything that needs doing that morning (tidying breakfast things etc). Isabelle goes to nursery by 7:45am, and we are at work by 8am. We get home between 5:30 and 6pm and we try to do something each evening with Isabelle - whether it’s going out for a walk or a trip to the park, or just all of us playing - before dinner, bath and bed.

What do you do when you have time to yourself?

Currently it’s literally catching up on the domestics;washing, ironing, shopping, preparing meals in advance and filing bills... All good fun.

What do you do to relax?

I do enjoy my morning runs, but at the minute there doesn’t seem much time for relaxing. I’m looking forward to reading in the bath when we move.


How was your pregnancy?

My pregnancy was ok but I didn’t really enjoy it as I had awful sickness 24/7 for the first four months and wasn’t really mentally prepared for all the changes. I was also at university at the time and there wasn’t much money to indulge in lovely maternity clothes, relaxing products etc! Everyone would say to me, “if you gain weight ‘here’ you are having a girl, or ‘here’ means a boy’”- but I gained weight EVERYWHERE, so I think people stopped trying to guess after a while!

How was your labour?

I don’t have many complaints about my labour but it progressed quite quickly. I went into the ward at 2pm, but only had three contractions whilst there and they didn’t examine me. I left by 3:30pm, but was back by 5pm (after a trip to the McDonalds drive through for Kevin) with contractions every three minutes! I was examined and I was 9.5cm dilated! I had a water birth, which really helped with the pain, but before that I just used a TENS machine as I didn’t want any pain relief. Isabelle was born at 6.35pm.

Any cravings?

For the first four months I just wanted pickled beetroot, but after the sickness went- any food that I could get my hands on… which led to a three stone weight gain!!!

Did you find out what you were having?

Yes, I had to! I couldn’t have waited- I’m so impatient!

How did you decide on your names and you already have the names ready before they arrived?

I don’t know how we arrived at Isabelle; I just felt it was a very pretty name – quite dainty and girly – although that’s the total opposite of Isabelle’s personality! She is a complete tomboy and a bull in a china shop, very outgoing and independent. We also considered Poppy and Amelie.


How did you get on with breastfeeding?

Fine at first- I first breastfed whilst I was being stitched up- not something I would ever wish to repeat! I did it for four months until I began to get quite stressed with it and Isabelle had started to fuss. I then went to combination feeding and then onto formula. I had no problems with latching on etc but I found that cold cabbage leaves helped relieve any pain that I did have. But I am a huge control freak and it would drive me mad that I couldn’t say ‘she had xx ounces’.... I think breast milk is an amazing thing, though; I have a friend that donates it to men with prostate cancer!

Does your baby have a feeding routine?

We used Gina Ford’s Contented Little Baby (CLB) routine (with a few adaptations to make it work for us) and I loved it. Now that Isabelle is twenty months old she has three main meals and two snacks which they follow at her nursery too. She has days where she doesn’t really eat (she refused food a lot when she went into the Pavlik Harness) and I used to really stress and fret about it making meal after meal to get her to eat- but now I just go with it. As long as she has energy and is healthy and happy then I’m ok with it.

Tucking into a lime chicken coconut stir fry

Does your baby have a sleep routine?

Again, we followed CLB routine at first- and she has slept from 7am to 7pm since thirteen weeks old. The only exceptions have been for teething and illness. Now Isabelle has dropped to one nap a day, which is either mid-morning or after lunch and is about an hour long.

How do you keep your baby entertained?

We do a lot of outdoors activities; going to the park, feeding the ducks, or for long walks with a bucket to pick up ‘treasures.’ I’m a firm believer in the benefits of fresh air! If it’s horrible weather we still go out in wellies and waterproofs. Kevin likes to wrestle with her and make dens but she also loves to push her dollies around in prams and play with her kitchen! She is also developing a full on obsession with Fireman Sam, she knows she can watch it on our phones now too!!

When your baby's freaking out, how do you calm them down?

When she was tiny- swaddles with a dummy was the ultimate aid. But she didn’t really cry so I’m not much help there I’m afraid! Now we have hit full on tantrum age, I try in vain to calmly explain things to her, sometimes time out, or just walking away and letting her calm down. But I must admit that I sometimes resort to a dummy... I feel like a TOTAL failure when doing this, it’s mainly if we are in public or if she wakes in the night and I have eliminated all other possibilities.

Does your baby seem to suffer with anything and what do you do to help it?

She suffered very badly with nappy rash and still does occasionally- it used to be down to teething but she has all of her teeth now, so I think it must be down to diet, so I try to avoid tomatoes as I’ve been told they are renowned for it (but if anyone has tips I welcome them!) We had to take her into A&E this time last year as she woke up screaming in the early hours and it was cracked and bleeding- poor baba!


Does your baby have a favourite toy?

Isabelle loves anything Fireman Sam related and anything she can push around!

What was your most recent baby or baby-related purchase and why did you buy it?

A Jellycat rabbit, a little stroller for her dolly and a toy with lots of shapes to sort and a hammer to hit them with! She needed some toys for her age group and I just couldn’t resist the Jellycat rabbit!

What have been the most useful things you've bought or been given?

It was more things that I was recommended- the CLB Routine book by Gina Ford, Milton steriliser instead of a steam steriliser and a terry cloth bath seat for when she was tiny! I COULD NOT have been without them.

What’s your baby’s mode of transport?

We have a Cosatto pushchair that had a pram, push chair seat and car seat – its blue and white stripes with a big red bow and I love it! I have no complaints about it and it was well worth the money.

What are your baby essentials when you go out?

Snacks, nappy rash cream, ‘bunny’ and... dummies (there’s that failure feeling again!)


Have you read any books whilst pregnant or since having your baby? If so, what were the best tips?

As well as Gina Ford’s CLB book, I also bought her weaning, toddler tantrums and Contented Toddler book. I didn’t read many other books as I was studying at university.

What's the best advice or most useful tip that anyone's given you about parenting?

Happy mum = happy baby and to trust your instincts. I had a feeling for a long time that something wasn’t right with Isabelle’s legs/hips and I got dismissed for five months by doctors and Health Visitors. I finally stood my ground at the weighing clinic and it turned out that both hips were dislocated and she had to go into a Pavlik Harness for three months (this was longest she could have as at the later age it can cause damage to the nerves at the head of the femur). The doctors think it has done the trick but we won’t know until she is three years old.

What do you wish you knew before you had a baby?

Pregnancy and having a baby really had a psychological effect on me; I was so overwhelmed at the thought of being responsible for someone else and that I had to teach her right from wrong. I wouldn’t change anything and there are things that you can’t know before they happen to you. I’m a much stronger person for having Isabelle, and more confident in the decisions that I make- she has taught me a lot about myself and given me a new sense of direction....I’m not sure if I’m off topic here now!

Any tips you'd like to share with other mothers or expectant mothers?

Listen to others but go with your instincts!

Thanks, Amy! xo 

You can find Amy on Twitter and Instagram.

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Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to leave a comment. It really means a lot! Nicki x