Thursday, 21 August 2014

Mummy Time #7: Sophie Dowd

Teddy has got to be one of the happiest babies on Instagram and, after reading Sophie's Q&A, I can understand why... He has the funniest mama! I have never met Sophie in real life, although we have some mutual friends, but her answers made me laugh so much they made me wish I was in her NCT group! I hope you enjoy her answers as much as I did!
Sophie with the adorable Teddy

Who are you?

I’m Sophie, I’m 29 and I’ve been with my boyfriend, James, for just over two years. We live in a little house in Leeds with our ugly dog, Reggie, and our awesome baby boy, Teddy, who was born on July 16th 2013.

How are you?

Right now I am pretty tired, but I am always tired, even after 12 hours sleep. Trying hard to get in to the swing of the work/life balance but it’s so hard when the days are so long.

What do you do for a living?

I work on a little Yorkshire soap called Emmerdale as a 2nd Assistant Director. I basically have to boss actors around all day! I love my job but the hours are long. A normal day is 6:45-7pm. Hence why I’m always tired!

How long did you take for maternity leave & how did you decide how long you'd take?

All in all I managed to take 10 months maternity leave; that included a month of holiday that I’d accumulated while I was off. If we’d have been rich, or actually saved some money, I would have definitely taken a year, but we just couldn’t afford that last three months with no pay.

How did you feel when you returned to work and how did it change things?

I’m still getting used to it now! I was really dreading coming back to work, but I did a few ‘keep in touch’ days and they really helped. Made me realise that nothing had actually changed while I’d been gone and it wasn’t that scary. Teddy’s routine didn’t really change at all. He’s usually asleep when I leave and (on a good day) asleep when I get home. That was the worst thing about going back to work for me, I miss Teddy so much on those days. I have every Wednesday off, though, so at least I always know it’s only two days before I get to hang out with the little bruiser again.

What do you do to relax?

Well, it’s not very relaxing but I love going out. I’d say at least once a month I leave James on Daddy duties while I go out for a dance and a drink! Bad Mum! I also walk the dog and listen to music; all the usual stuff really. At one point after Teddy was born I got really into running, but I’ve been so slack lately... really need to sort that out.

What do you do when you have time to yourself?

Sleep! I bloody love a good nap.

How does a typical day go?

Teddy spends two days a week with Grandparents, and one and a half days at nursery, so it’s quite hard to describe a typical day!  Wednesday is my day with him and it usually starts between 6-7am when Teddy wakes up. He has his milk while playing with his toys and then his breakfast about half an hour after that. He normally has Weetabix or toast. Or both. Yeah, he pretty much always has both because he’s a fatty. Then he plays some more before going back down for a nap at about 9am. So I use that time to get showered and dressed, although I have been known to go back to bed. When he wakes up we’ll go out somewhere, usually shopping, because Mama has an addiction, but we also meet up with my NCT friends a lot, normally at the hell that is … SOFT PLAY. Ugh, those places are the worst, just you wait! Lunch is about 12pm-ish, then Tea about 5pm-ish. I generally start putting him to bed at about 7pm, after In the Night Garden aka drugs for children. He has a bath every other night, sometimes less because he has eczema on his arms and legs that isn’t helped by all that water. He has a big bottle of formula and then I brush all five of his tiny little teeth. I read somewhere ‘make sure your baby spits out the toothpaste’ which is the most ridiculous statement ever. Sure, I’ll tell him to mow the lawn and walk the dog too. Then I put him in his cot, put his dummy in and leave the room. Only to return ten minutes later to find him standing up, laughing and twerking on the side of the cot, toys strewn all over the floor. This goes on for about half an hour when he eventually gives in and goes to sleep. 

I want Teddy's t-shirt!

How was your pregnancy?

I think I hated being pregnant. I’m sure I said that every day, but when I think about it now it doesn’t seem that bad. I kind of miss the bump and being able to get anyone, anywhere, to do stuff for you. I also miss being able to eat two puddings without being judged. Towards the end I got a lot of pain in my side, we think Teddy was leaning on a nerve or something, so the only ‘comfy’ position was lying flat on the floor which wasn’t always doable! I also had the worst swollen ankles you have ever seen.

Any cravings?

I was a vegetarian from the age of 16 pretty much up to my pregnancy, but then all I could think about was bacon.  Bacon bacon bacon. Loved it. I also ate a lot of cake, hated coffee and had a real thing for cleaning products. Particularly lemon Flash and green Fairy liquid. There was also a night when I was sniffing a tube of Germolene while listening to Gospel music. Don’t ask.

Did you find out what you were having?

We had a big conversation in the days leading up to the scan where we decided we wouldn’t find out. But as soon as we got in there and the lady asked us if we wanted to know, I pretty much shouted ‘yes’ in her face. James looked very confused.

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

Teddy was the favourite all the way through really. A few others were thrown in but never really stuck. James really like the idea of him having a ‘proper’ name too so he’s Theodore on his birth certificate.

How did your prepare for your baby’s arrival?

I tried reading a baby book but put it down as soon as I got to the labour part and never picked up again. We did NCT too which was the best decision we made. We didn’t necessarily learn that much, but the friends I made I wouldn’t be without now.

How was your labour?

I had a pretty straight forward labour. It started with a feeling of being poked up the bum with a rolling pin (in Asda!) and then about 8pm when I was doing the washing up I had my first contraction. By midnight they were three minutes apart and I was in a lot of pain so we headed to the hospital. When we arrived they didn’t realise how far on I actually was so they put me in a waiting room behind the reception. I was swiftly moved out of there when they couldn’t hear their phone calls over my wailing and my fist thumping the TENS machine. We got put in an active birth room at the LGI, I was give Diamorphine- which sent me a bit mental. I called James ‘Gary’, asked him if he had any plans for the next day and then demanded ‘blorange juice’. I also had a lot of gas and air, which I’m sure does nothing, but it was kind of a distraction. Teddy eventually showed up at 9:30am, after the midwife telling me that he would definitely be here by 7pm. What a liar.


How did you get on with breastfeeding?

I breast fed Teddy for nearly four months. Exclusively for about two, then I started to add in some formula feeds. He dictated when I stopped, really; he would just cry and cry into my boob until I gave him a bottle of delicious formula. That started to happen more and more until, eventually, at around four months he was exclusively bottle fed. For the first week I really hated breast feeding; it was painful and there were a few tears, but after a couple of weeks we got into a routine and in a strange way I started to enjoy it. I remember crying when I had totally stopped because I felt so guilty, which is ridiculous. I hated the way midwives made out that breast is the only way- it really isn’t.

What does your baby eat now?

I started weaning Teddy at five months, mainly because he’s a big lad and milk just wasn’t cutting it anymore. I tried baby rice but his face told me not to do that again. I just moved onto pureed veg and fruit and he loved it. After about a month of purees I introduced finger foods, like toast and cucumber etc. He really REALLY loves eating, it’s his favourite pastime. Now he just eats normal meals three times a day with snacks in between. He likes sandwiches, spaghetti and chicken stew. But basically he’ll eat whatever you give him. If it was up to him he’d live exclusively on bread and yoghurt.

Does your baby have a nap/ sleep routine?

He has a morning nap from about 9-10am and then an afternoon nap from about 1-2.30pm.

How do you keep your baby entertained?

At the moment Teddy is not really interested in toys. He likes shoes…and wires…and the dog’s bed. So at least that’s cheap! We bought him a little swing for the garden which he really likes. He also loves music, his taste is pretty questionable but he’s a pretty good dancer.

When you're baby's freaking out what do you find helps them to calm down?

With Teddy, if he’s having a freak out, it’s nearly always because he’s tired. So we put him to bed. Recently he has got a lot more clingy and wants a lot of cuddles, so sometimes that’s all it is. Oh and when he’s teething, we know about it.

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

Teddy has mild asthma and eczema, both of which flare up with cow’s milk. But he has creams and powders and everything else which keep in under control.


Does your baby have a favourite toy?

His favourite toy is Mr Potato Head. No one is as funny as that guy.

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

The swing which we bought because he loved the one in the park so much (and it was well cheap). His Grandma and Grandad got him a little tricycle thing that we can push him in.

What has been the most useful thing you've been given?

My friend Hannah bought him an Ewan The DreamSheep. It has four settings that play things like the washing machine/hoover/the sea and a lullaby (babies are weird!) Definitely the most useful, it really helps Teddy get to sleep even now.

What is your baby’s mode of transport?

At first we had a Mamas and Papas Urbo. It was really good because it was small and easy to fold up. We’ve recently replaced it for a Mamas and Papas stroller now he’s bigger.

What are your baby essentials when you go out?

Spare clothes, snacks, water and nappies. And, at the moment, a hat and sun cream.

Teddy on his first birthday 

If you could give your pregnant self some advice what would it be?

STOP EATING SO MUCH CAKE!!! Relax, read a book, go to the cinema and SLEEP, because soon you won’t be able to do any of that!

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

To not panic or be one of those uptight, worry - about - everything Mums and you will be rewarded with a chilled out happy baby.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share with other mums or expectant mums?

Do NCT! I was sceptical at first but it was definitely the best decision I made. Remember you’ll be off work for nearly a year, on your own with a baby. You need friends that are going through exactly the same thing as you to hang around with and make those awful singy songy, happy clappy baby classes more bearable.

Thank you so much for sharing, Sophie! x

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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