Who are you?
My name is Lyndsay, I'm 24 and originally from Scotland. I now live in Warwickshire, England, with my partner, Nick, and our little boy, Hamish. Hamish was born on 3rd September 2013, five weeks before his due date.
What do you do for a living?
I used to manage the shop & admissions at a well-known art gallery, it was quite a stressful job so left when I was 12 weeks pregnant. I now run an online clothing business with my Dad! We sell vintage-style dresses on eBay (Milk Moon Vintage) and Amazon and do local vintage fairs where we also throw in a whole heap of genuine vintage items too.
How long did you take for maternity leave?
I had about seven months off overall; I stopped working about a month before Hamish was born as my feet were too swollen to really move!
How did you feel when you returned to work and how did it change things?
I used to just work from home, but now I work from my parents’ house three days a week. Our business has grown quite significantly since Hamish arrived, so there is more space for stock and more hands to look after him if I'm at my parents. It's difficult getting work done with him around, but I'm not quite ready for nursery yet.
How are you?
TIRED! I know everyone jokes about how little sleep you'll get with a baby, but I don't think you can really understand how exhausting it is until you're living it. But apart from that, very happy!
What do you do to relax?
I've just started learning calligraphy, it's surprisingly therapeutic. I love getting hooked on a good TV series, I've just finished Orange is the New Black - it was amazing! A nice bath is always relaxing, but Hamish is a light sleeper, and with the bathroom next door to his room, I can't risk it when he's asleep!
What do you do when you have time to yourself?
Usually clean, or try and get some work done. It's amazing how satisfying cleaning is when you don't have a small person crawling round your ankles causing havoc.
How does a typical day go?
Our day usually starts between 5-6am, I sit and cuddle Hamish for a while or give him a bottle if he's not had one during the night. I change his nappy and we go downstairs for breakfast. If it's a day I'm working, we get ready to go out and try to leave the house by 9am as he is ready for a nap by then. If I'm not working, we play and take it easy until nap time, which is when I get myself ready for the day.
If I'm working it's a battle of trying to get stuff done and play with Hamish all at once. My Mum finishes work early afternoon so is usually around to look after him for a couple of hours. We go home about 4:30pm for a quick play with Dad, dinner, bath and sleep.
If we're having a day off we take it quite easy, I try to get some housework done, there's usually food shopping thrown in there, I try to do something fun for Hamish - even if it's just a quick walk down to the park, he's very nosy and enjoys being out and about.
|Hamish & his dad, Nick|
How was your pregnancy?
Pregnancy was tough for me. In 2012 I had a stillbirth, so I was extra paranoid about something going wrong. I had scans and appointments with my consultant every two weeks to make sure everything was okay. In my early pregnancy I was rushed to A&E because I could not stop vomiting. I also had severe water retention which meant I could barely walk by the end of the pregnancy. At 34 weeks we found out I had pre-eclampsia and I was admitted in to hospital.
Ice! I was heavily pregnant during the summer and found the heat unbearable, I just used to fill glasses full of ice and chow down on that.
Did you find out what you were having?
Yes - when you have scans every two weeks I think it would be hard to resist. If we have another baby I'd like to keep it a surprise, although I think I'm too impatient to actually go through with it.
How did you decide on your baby’s name?
We had the name picked out already. I wanted a Scottish name since Hamish wasn't taking my surname (Buchanan). His full name is Hamish Dylan Hicks, I love the name Hamish and I enjoy the alliteration. Dylan was his big brothers name.
How did your prepare for your baby’s arrival?
I didn't! My first antenatal class was supposed to be the day Hamish was born. I flicked through a few pregnancy books, but I was too busy focusing on him being okay in my belly, I didn't really think about getting him out.
How was your labour?
After being admitted in to hospital at 34 weeks with pre-eclampsia, my consultant had planned to keep me in until I was 37 weeks and induce me. Hamish was born by emergency c-section at 35 weeks due to his heartbeat being incredibly fast. I held him for about 30 seconds before he started having breathing difficulties, I then didn't see him again for three days. He had a few health complications, so was taken to another hospital that had an Intensive Care Neonatal Unit and had the facilities to give him the care he needed. Nick went with him, but I had to wait until there was a bed free for me to be transferred to. It was bizarre seeing him in intensive care, he was a big baby - 7lbs 4oz, most of the other babies around him were less than half his size. Hamish spent one week in hospital, he's been fine ever since.
|In the NICU the day after Hamish was born|
How did you get on with breastfeeding?
Getting my milk to come through was really difficult since Hamish wasn't with me, but I ended up breastfeeding Hamish for about five months. Unfortunately he had really bad reflux so I gave in and tried him on the special reflux formula at four months and he completely changed - he was so much happier! I tried to carry on breastfeeding during the night, but he'd projectile vomit everywhere every single time, so I stopped in favour of the reflux formula.
What does your baby eat?
We started baby led weaning with Hamish at six months. We gave him cooked vegetable sticks to start with; carrots, broccoli etc. so he could get the hang of holding them. It wasn't until he was about eight months that he really started consuming the food. I find if you give him something savoury on its own, he won't eat it, so he ends up eating weird combinations like pasta or an omelette with a banana or grapes - he'll have a mouthful of pasta then mush some banana in there. He's also a huge watermelon fan, but I'm yet to find something that gets it out of his clothes!
Hamish started off on just one meal a day when we introduced solids, after a month that went up to two, then the next month three. But now that he can crawl (seriously, he won't stay still), he has three meals a day, two snacks and about 30oz of milk too.
|Hamish is a big spaghetti fan!|
Does your baby have a nap/ sleep routine?
Hamish is usually ready for a nap 2-3 hours after waking up for the day - this happens in the car if I'm working that day. Then he'll have an afternoon nap any time between 1pm and 4pm, and he's usually in bed by 7:30pm.
|Hamish's first day at home|
How do you keep your baby entertained?
Hamish loves reading books, although is very picky about which ones, and also loves knocking over his stacking cups like King Kong. His current favourite game is pulling things out of drawers, it makes a huge mess but he's so happy I can't say no!
When you're baby's freaking out, what do you find helps to calm them down?
Usually just a Mama cuddle, or if he's really screaming, singing helps calm him down. We spend quite a lot of time in the car, unless I sing to him he will cry until he falls asleep.
Does your baby seem to suffer with anything and what do you do to help it?
No issues other than teething, his first top tooth is coming through at the moment, so there's not much sleeping going on. A few people recommended Anbesol to put on his gums, it seems to help but it's very difficult getting it on as he hates it and clamps his mouth tightly shut.
Does your baby have a favourite toy?
Unfortunately, Hamish loves anything technology related - if he catches a glimpse of an iPhone or a TV remote, he won't stop until it is his (or he throws a huge tantrum). I gave him my first ever mobile phone to play with, he also has a toy TV remote and toy laptop, but he knows the difference and wants the real thing. I'm hoping he gets over this soon!
|Ready for bed!|
What was your most recent baby or baby-related purchase and why did you buy it?
It's Hamish's first birthday in a couple of days, I just bought some little toy animals to decorate his cake with!
What has been the most useful thing you've discovered?
The Wonder Weeks app has been excellent!
What is your baby’s mode of transport?
We had a Stokke Scoot travel system and I hated it - it was so unfriendly to use, it was as though no one had ever tested it. We now have a much cheaper Red Kite jogger, I'm sad Hamish faces away from me, but it's much more comfortable for him and much easier to handle. We also have an Ergo carrier which I love, but Hamish kicks and pushes me to try and escape from it now that he's mobile.
What are your baby essentials when you go out?
Nothing out of the ordinary. If Hamish starts fussing we have a sit down and he has a snack, raisins usually as they don't tend to stain everything; this generally cheers him up.
If you could give your pregnant self some advice, what would it be?
Sleep, go to the cinema, go out for meals, sit down and do nothing - you will miss all these things!
What's the best advice or most useful tip that anyone's given you about parenting?
Nod and smile when people give you advice, but do your own thing. Just because someone is older, or has had more children than you, doesn't mean they know what's right for your baby.
Do you have any tips you’d like to share with other mums or expectant mums?
Relax and enjoy it. There are times that I get frustrated if Hamish is being grumpy, or won't go to sleep, but then I look at him and give him a big squeeze because he won't let me do it forever!
Update: Lyndsay has since shared the birth stories of both Dylan and Hamish on Gas&Air blog. Read her inspiring piece here.