Thursday, 27 November 2014

Mummy Time #19: Holly Payne

Holly has been very open about her journey as a new mum and I hope her honesty will be helpful to others. If anyone else has struggled with post-partum body confidence, or if you'd like to share your tips on how you make yourself feel like more like 'you' again, then I'd love to hear from you in the comments below. I hope you enjoy this week's post!


Who are you?

Hi, I am Holly, I am 28, a first time mum and live in a small town about 30 minutes from Norwich. I live with my partner Jamie, 29, and he’s the absolute love of my life and my best friend. We had a pretty whirlwind ‘honeymoon period’ and were living together almost instantly. We got our own place after five months together and I was pregnant after eight. Penelope Elizabeth Payne made our twosome a threesome on 22nd May 2014.  She is now reaching six months old and we find ourselves falling more in love with her every day. 

What do you do for a living?

I am currently a stay at home mum. I have a degree in PR and have had a number of jobs since I was 15 but I have never really known what I wanted to do.  Being a mum has come really naturally to me and a high-pressure career will never be a priority. I have enough experience that I can get a part time job when the time comes and hopefully it will be something stress-free that I can enjoy and work around Penelope.

How are you?

‘Mummywise’ I am fantastic - couldn’t be happier with how I have adjusted to life as a mum. I have a relaxed attitude to parenting and a very relaxed baby- Penelope is one of the happiest babies I have ever known. ‘Hollywise’ I have my days where I just don’t feel like me anymore- I have really struggled with the physical changes to my body that motherhood has thrust upon me. I have never been a vain person but pre-Penelope I was a body confident woman and very comfortable in my own skin. I have shed many tears over my new mum-body, but I know I have to learn to love it- and I will get there- but it’s a slow process.

What do you do to relax?

I usually take a hot bubble bath, pamper myself, get in some pjs and enjoy a film with Jamie. Penelope goes to bed every night around 7ish so we get the whole evening to ourselves to chill and reflect on our days, which is lovely.

What do you do when you have time to yourself?

I have a wide circle of friends so I will always make time to go out with them when I am baby-free. Jamie and I will try and arrange a date night when we can. Luckily my parents are always happy to take Penelope for us and she’s more than happy to go to theirs- she has built a great relationship with her grandparents already. Usually when Penelope naps during the day, I will get on with housework or watch some trashy TV and put my feet up with a cuppa. If I am having a really lazy day I will nap with her as she’s usually had me up early.

How does a typical day go?

Penelope wakes for her first bottle between 5-6am, (I have a ready-made carton on my bedside table ready to pour for when she wakes) she enjoys that bottle in bed with us and then cuddles up to me for more sleep. Jamie is up and off to work at 7am and most of the time we sleep through this. Penelope then has a unique way of waking me up by grabbing my nose or slapping my face- this is to let me know she’s ready for breakfast!  We head downstairs and I put Peppa Pig on which makes her smile instantly, she happily watches that while I make her porridge and myself a cup of tea.  After breakfast she will have a little bounce in her Jumperoo while I make myself breakfast and then around 8:30-9am she will have her first nap of the day. I use this time to get myself ready for the day; I have timed it to the minute to be putting my last strand of hair in place as she wakes up! I will then get her dressed and we will usually head out to; a baby group, a playdate, coffee with a friend or a supermarket run. Lunchtime is usually around 12pm and she will have some finger food. After she has made a spectacular mess at lunch she will then nap again for around 30 minutes. Afternoons are occasionally one on one playtime for me and her, or we will take another trip out. Her final nap of the day is around 3pm and this is usually for about an hour. She can wake up a tad grumpy from this nap so it takes some funny faces from me and some giggle time before I can sit her down for dinner.  Dinner is at around 5pm and consists of a savoury puree, a dessert puree and maybe a rusk to chew on if she’s still hungry.  I then run her a bath, which she really enjoys, and after some songs in the bath it’s PJ time.  I will usually leave her to play by herself or I let her watch baby tv for some chill out time while I cook dinner. By the time Jamie arrives home from work she’s usually pretty relaxed and I pop her dummy in and give her a cuddle and that’s when she usually nods off.  I take her upstairs and tuck her in and then I’m usually back down in time for Emmerdale!


How was your pregnancy?

My pregnancy was a pretty standard one. I had horrendous morning sickness until 10 weeks and was extremely emotional and clingy. All appointments and scans went really well though and I was generally pretty healthy. When I started to get heavily pregnant I developed PGP (pelvic girdle pain) and it was awful- I struggled to walk round the supermarket on some days. I went to see an osteopath and a physio but the only thing that made it better was actually giving birth. My pelvis used to pop and crack when I rolled over in bed at night.  I used to cry rivers at how uncomfortable I was. Apart from that part it wasn’t all bad. I must admit, though, I didn’t enjoy pregnancy as much as I thought I would. I was always one of those girls that ‘couldn’t wait’ to experience pregnancy.  Now I have I am in no rush to be pregnant again anytime soon!

Did you have any cravings?

I didn’t really crave anything bizarre but I probably ate my body weight in cheesy Wotsits and I used to wake up randomly to tell Jamie I couldn’t stop thinking about a certain food! When my morning sickness subsided I couldn’t stop thinking about pink sweet food. I made Jamie buy me a ton of strawberry mousse and some angel cake, and I wanted things like marshmallows and candyfloss.  I feel like this was Penelope trying to tell me she was a little girl!

Did you find out what you were having?

Yes, we are far too impatient, as soon as we could find out, we did.  I knew I was having a girl from pretty early on, when people would tell me I was carrying like it’s a boy I would just roll my eyes thinking ‘we’ll see’  We were overjoyed when we found out and the ‘pink’ shopping began instantly. We had a novel way to announce it to friends and family too. We took black balloons with pink confetti inside to their houses and asked them to pop the balloon.  It was great to see all of their reactions.

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

Before I was even pregnant me and Jamie were watching a film with Penelope Cruz in and Jamie said ‘Penelope is a lovely name, if we ever have a baby girl we should call her that’ I was like ‘Yep ok’ and as soon as I was pregnant Penelope was always the front runner.  We chose Elizabeth for her middle name as it’s both my mum’s and Jamie’s mums middle name too.

How did your prepare for your baby’s arrival?

We didn’t really; I mean, we were as prepared as you can be with regards to bottles, nappies, clothes etc.  We took one antenatal class before deciding it wasn’t for us. I read a couple of chapters of a book but thought ‘I know all this’.  I already had a few close friends with babies who I saw often. I just thought we will know what to do when she’s here so we may as well just make the most of our time as a parent-free couple before she arrives.

How was your labour?

Before I went into labour I used to watch One Born Every Minute totally sh*tting myself but, really, the thought of labour is much scarier than the actual experience. I went into labour on the Monday evening- I had just woken up from a nap and said to Jamie that I was getting quite strong period like pains so I started to time them and they were every 7 minutes. I spent the whole of Tuesday just timing contractions and I got up at 6am Wednesday morning feeling tired, emotional and angry and told Jamie I was going to hospital to find out what was going on so he’d better get his butt out of bed! We got to the MLBU and I was told I was in labour and that I may have mild pre-eclampsia, so my plans for a water birth went out the window.  I had to go to the delivery suite to have a sweep and was told I was 2cm dilated. At 11am was placed on the ward to wait for a room while my contractions got stronger and stronger but it wasn’t until midnight that I was taken to a room. I was 7cm when I left the ward but I was still breathing through my contractions as gracefully as possible! Once I got to the room on delivery suite they broke my waters and the pain ramped up to a whole new level. I was given gas and air, two shots of Pethadine and after a good few hours I begged for an epidural. The pain was outrageous! I was given an epidural at 10am and then my experience from that moment was bliss-  I was just chatting away to my lovely midwife while Jamie slept.  I was so exhausted but I couldn’t sleep as I was so excited to be pain free and about to meet my daughter. I was allowed to push at around 1pm and Penelope came into the world two hours later at 3:14pm. The best moment of my life!

How did you get on with breastfeeding?

Honestly? I got on completely fine with breastfeeding - Penelope had a good latch and my milk came in after three days. I just didn’t feel happy while I was feeding. I found it stressful and I only exclusively breastfed for a month.  I felt a lot of pressure to breastfeed and when I introduced combi-feeding I started to feel more relaxed.  Penelope formed a nice routine with bottles and I just stuck to breastfeeding at night. I stopped completely at three months and it felt like a weight off my shoulders. I know that ‘breast is best’ but I honestly felt we were both happier when she was on formula. I won’t rule out breastfeeding again but I will definitely make sure I am 100% comfortable doing it with my next baby.

Does your baby have a feeding routine?

Penelope has three meals a day and four 8oz bottles of formula. Her bottles just fit around her meal times and because she hasn’t taken to juice or water I don’t mind how much milk she drinks on top of her meals.

What was your approach to weaning your baby onto solids?

I had a pretty relaxed attitude to weaning. There is so much taboo about weaning early but I just thought I will do it when she is showing me signs she’s ready.  I weaned Penelope at 17 weeks as she was starting to want around 50oz of milk a day and her routine was all over the place. She was starting to scream for her bottle an hour and a half apart and was draining them.  I started her on a little baby rice but we soon moved on to porridge, - this really helped to fill her up and her milk drinking returned to normal.  I introduced purees after a couple of weeks and it was becoming obvious she really loved her food.  I think she was on three meals a day by 22 weeks. She now has finger foods at lunch so she can get learn how to feed herself and explore different foods, but I still give her porridge for breakfast and purees for dinner.

What are your baby's favourite foods?

She gobbles up crumpets pretty fast and makes lots of ‘yummy’ noises at her Petit Filous yoghurts.  I use the Hipp Organic purees for her dinners as they are so varied in flavour and she seems to enjoy the cottage pie flavour the most.

How do you keep your baby entertained?

Penelope relishes any form of stimulation with people and she mainly just enjoys coming along to anything I do.  So long as she’s getting some form of attention, she’s happy!  It’s handy that I have so many friends as, in all honesty, entertaining a baby yourself all day gets a little tedious.  When we go to see friends, or if they come over, it’s a nice break for me as everyone makes such a fuss of her and I can enjoy some adult conversation. Also Penelope is obsessed with her Jumperoo so if I need to get on with something, I can plonk her in that with some telly or music on and she will keep herself busy on the activity centre.

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

I’m very lucky, Penelope rarely freaks out.  The one time I’ve had a freak out cry from her is when she fell off the bed (bad mummy *slaps wrists*). It was heartbreaking but she was fine and soon calmed down after lots of kisses and cuddles. If she’s having a whingey day I tend to just keep her as busy as I can or just make her laugh.


Does your baby have a favourite toy?

Minnie Mouse goes everywhere with her, before every trip out I show her Minnie and say ‘Min Mins’ in a very high pitched voice, it gets her SO excited, her face lights up and she shuffles her legs around. She also has Bedtime Bunny who lives in her cot and is really soft to touch.  She cuddles up to him every night and rubs him on her face.

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

I got this god awful bib from a cheap shop. It’s a terrible tacky thing that looks like a princess dress but it’s like a big apron.  It’s come in terribly handy for her lunch times as she creates the biggest mess.  But at least this stops me having to change her clothes after every meal.

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

Without a doubt, the white noise app. It stops her crying, sends her to sleep, just generally relaxes her and calms her down.  I would have struggled at times without it. Also her Jumperoo, we got it second hand for about £30 and we have definitely got our money’s worth and more.

What are your baby essentials when you go out?

Minnie, milk, dummy, nappies and a spare change of clothes.

Where are your favourite places to shop for baby clothes?

I love H&M kids and River Island mini- these are good for outfits or something a little bit different. Sainsbury’s also do a lovely girls range and some good baby basics.


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

RELAX when you’re on maternity leave!! Put your feet up, have lay ins, duvet days and watch films all day.  People used to say that to me when I was pregnant but I always wanted to keep busy.  Now I would LOVE to do all those things!

What's the best advice anyone's given you about parenting?

To be honest, I believe that all babies are different so they all need different parenting approaches. I will always ask other parents advice and take on board how they tackled certain things but me and Penelope are on our own journey together and I will do what I believe is right for US.

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

Just do your own thing. You will know in your heart what is right for you and your baby.  Don’t feel pressured to do anything you’re not comfortable with.  Also download The Wonder Week’s app so you’re prepared for those ‘fussy’ periods!
Thank you for getting in touch, Holly! 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