Who are you?
Hi, I'm Nicky and I’m 27 years young. I live with my beautiful Husband, Tobias, and my amazing little boy, Hunter, who is 2 1/2. Tobias and I met in Ipswich four years ago, but since then we have moved to Cardiff, across to Exeter, up to Newcastle and then back down to Ipswich but now we are in Reading, Berkshire. I think we have commitment issues. America is calling our name next.
What do you do for a living?
I am full time cook, cleaner, painter and nappy changer. In other words, I’m a stay at home mum. I have never been interested in a career - for me you work to live not live to work. I used to waitress and it was so much bloody fun but now I know I was supposed to do this job and I'm lucky enough that my husband can support us. I finished working quite early in the pregnancy and never returned!
How are you?
I'm good, actually good… Things are great right now.
What do you do to relax?
I like to meditate. This is a new thing for me but I love it.
What do you do when you have time to yourself?
Go shopping, paint my nails or clean. Basically things I can't do when Hunter is around.
How does a typical day go?
Our days are very relaxed, so we get up late-ish, see if we can find anything for breakfast and decide what we will do that day. Most mornings we will go to a toddler group or meet up with a friend for coffee. I often like to do things just me and Hunter, so we can meet new people. We then come home for a late lunch and sometimes a nap. Then we play or do crafts until daddy gets home. We like to eat out a lot but if not then I knock up something almost edible for dinner.
How was your pregnancy?
I had a pretty chilled pregnancy, no crazy hormones or anything. The only cravings I had were for spicy foods. I ate tons of subway with extra hot sauce, chillies and jalapeños- everyone said that meant I was having a boy, so maybe some truth in that. We found out we were having a boy and fought over names until we came to "Hunter" and straight away we knew that was the right name for us and kept it a secret until he was born. My labour was a long 24 hours, I wanted a natural water birth which started out well but as I got more and more tired I just stopped trusting my body
How did your prepare for your baby’s arrival?
We bought all the usual things, cot, buggy, baby clothes and we didn't use any of it! He slept in with us, hated the buggy so we carried him, and he was a big baby so hardly any of the clothes fitted him! I went to a few antenatal classes but soon realised I just wanted to do things my own way and never went back.
How did you get on with breastfeeding?
It was tough in the beginning – I had very sore nipples and I just didn't enjoy it. I used to say "as soon as he is six months old I'm done!" But now he is 2 1/2 and we’re still going strong. He pretty much just nurses to go to sleep now and I'm ready to stop, but I feel it's best for them to self-wean when they are ready.
What does your baby eat?
Hunter has no routine whatsoever; he tells me when he is hungry and what he wants for snack. We only have healthy food in the house so it allows him to have control of what he wants. We started baby led weaning at six months old but he didn't start actually eating much until about a year old. Now he loves pate, olives, carrots fruit and meat, but also chocolate and biscuits! We have to be a bit strict on his diet as he has inherited eczema from his dad which flares up when he has gluten or dairy. He has the same dinner as us but rarely eats it at the table so we put it on his little table and he will make his way through it whilst playing later. I want to keep a relaxed vibe towards food as it's so easy to create bad eating habits.
Does your baby have a sleep routine?
He sleeps when he is tired, so sometimes he has a nap and stays up late with us or he will stay awake all day and have an early night. Either way he doesn't get up early which is nice!
What are your baby’s favourite things to do?
Cars! He has always been obsessed with cars and can play with them for hours. Loves Lego too, the very tiny pieces that takes ages to put together. He also likes to help with cooking and cleaning now which is nice. Also films, that's a big one. At the moment it's Frozen - we watch it three times in a row.
When you're baby's freaking out, what do you find helps to calm them down?
Now he is a toddler we don't really have any of that stuff, but when he was younger he was quite a fussy baby so I would put him in the carrier and go for a walk. These days, if he has a tantrum, I just stay calm and offer hugs- it helps him to get over it more quickly.
Have you taken your baby on any holidays?
Our first holiday with Hunter was to Amsterdam. He was an angel on the flight and I just fed him when I needed to as he had to sit on my lap anyway. The iPad was good for keeping him entertained and snacks are a must! The wrap was essential as we carried him around the whole time. We go for quite a few weekends away and always have. He always adjusts very quickly and can sleep anywhere as long as he has milk.
Does your baby have a favourite toy?
No, not one particular toy. He hasn't formed any attachment to things yet. He will play with anything, I saw him the other day pretending his carrots were people saying hello to each other. He goes through phases of using a certain car the most but it never lasts more than a couple days then he moves on.
What is your baby’s mode of transport?
We now use a buggy as he is getting a bit heavy for me to carry around all the time, but as a baby up until a year old we used different wraps and carriers - he loved being close and I loved having him close. Our main buggy is a Quinny and it’s great but it doesn't fold up, which is a pain, so we have a cheap fold-up one for train journeys and going away.
What are your essentials when you go out?
Snacks and drinks are the main thing as he has special needs for food and we’ve found that it's hard to find things when we’re out that he can have. We also carry wipes and Hunter has his own little backpack which he puts his toys in for the day.
If you could give your pregnant self some advice, what would it be?
Maybe to relax about what other people are thinking, I felt a bit self-conscious about breastfeeding in public after a couple of people made comments about me, but I now know that is their problem not mine!
What's the best advice or most useful tip that anyone's given you about parenting?
Your baby is extremely smart and knows exactly what they need - don't try and force what you think they need on them.
Do you have any tips you’d like to share with other mums or expectant mums?
Just do whatever feels right for you, not what the doctors, not what your mum, not what your HV says. Go with the flow, listen to your baby and also trust them!Nicky! x