Thursday, 26 February 2015

Mummy Time #29: Emily Stokes

Emily has impeccable taste in kids fashion and Toby is the most perfect brand rep for Dudes n Dolls, Tobias and the Bear, Young One Apparel and Grey North Shop. I can't wait to see how Emily dresses baby number two, due in June! I hope you enjoy Emily's wonderful Mummy Time post this week!


Who are you?
Hi, I’m Emily and I’m 21. I live in the city of Hereford, with my partner, Nath and our son, Toby, who is now two and a half. We are also expecting our second child in June of this year.

What do you do for a living?
Pre-baby I trained to work in Marketing which I loved, however chose not to return to as I didn’t want to work full time with Toby being so young. I now work part time in retail and part time as a PA/support worker. Not my dream but suits us well at the moment.

How long did you take for maternity leave & how did you decide how long you'd take?
I took just under a year off with Toby before I started at my retail job. I knew I wasn’t going back into marketing right away so just started when the job came along rather than planning exactly when to go back to work. My PA job, I have only been doing for a few months now. I am still unsure how long I will take next time and whether to return to both or just one.

How did you feel when you returned to work and how did it change things?
I was quite happy to return to work as all the work I did then, and still do, now works around Nath’s job as an engineer, with a little help from my Mum here and there. So I knew Toby would be in good, familiar hands. I only started off doing a few hours at a time so I was never out of the house for a long time in one go.

How do you manage the work/life balance?
Sometimes I find it tough, and tiring. Working two jobs around normal working hours means I am out most evenings and a good chunk at the weekend. It just means our family time is precious and we try to make the most of it.

How do you get things done?
Toby is pretty easy. He is usually quite happy just playing while I get on with house jobs. However I can never get any ‘work work’ from home done so usually wait to do it in an evening off or during a rare nap time.

How are you?
Generally great! This pregnancy is making me really tired but my nausea has now worn off so I’m feeling more my normal self. I could do with a few more hours sleep today but I think that’s just part of parenthood.

How do you relax?
I love to watch films or a good TV series.

What do you do when you have time to yourself?
Get on with work from home or tidy and clean, unfortunately. That is usually the plan but sometimes a cup of tea and browsing Instagram takes over.

How does a typical day go? 
Toby will wake up anywhere between 6 and 8am. Nath will go to work and we will go down and have milk/coffee and some breakfast, put a bit of tele on for an hour then get dressed. We then usually meet friends for a play or get the shopping done, or we sometimes go to play groups or for a swim about 10/11 o’clock. Our afternoons we usually spend playing at home and occasionally Toby will nap. I then prepare tea and have a tidy up before Nath gets home and I’m straight out of the door to work. Nath will then have Toby for the evening and put him to bed before I return home about 10pm.


How was your pregnancy?
I have suffered with awful nausea for the first trimester of both pregnancies although no complications with Toby and none this time around, so far. I think I have been very lucky.

Did you have any cravings?
Again, both have been the same so far. I can’ t get enough of really cold milkshake and ice lollies. However at the moment I am really put off bread or anything ‘squashy’.

Did you find out what you were having?
Yes we did with Toby and we are this time as well. I don’t think it’s any less of a surprise not waiting until the end… you just have the surprise half way through instead.

How did you decide on your names and you already have the names ready before they arrived?
Toby was never going to be Toby throughout my whole pregnancy but it was about the only name we could both agree on. When he was born, we both fell in love with it as is just suited him so much. All of the other suggestions that we were arguing about for months just didn’t seem right. We will probably have just as tough a time this time as well. Our suggestions are just so completely different.

How did your prepare for Toby's arrival?
I did antenatal classes which were good but that was about all. I didn’t want to read up on too much as I was scared of what I might find and thought ignorance was bliss. I wanted a water birth but then changed my mind when it came to it.

How was your labour?
It was a very slow process. I was labouring at home for a day then my waters broke and Toby was born 36 hours later. Although it was long, it was a good normal delivery with no interventions needed. I had Pethidine which I hated as it made me tired so seemed to make the pain worse but it had luckily worn off by the time he actually arrived. As he was born so long after my waters broke we were both at risk of infection so had to stay in hospital for days after to be assessed regularly.


How did you get on with breastfeeding?
I breastfed for the first three months. I didn’t find it easy and had mastitis three times (I thought I was close to death) but I persevered. Toby had started to wean himself off by that time and became very difficult to feed and always seemed uncomfortable doing so. He was then diagnosed with a dairy protein allergy and I was advised to try a special dairy free formula before he started to lose weight. Although it’s not what I would have planned I am totally happy with my decision to try the formula as it made a world of difference to us. He luckily grew out of his allergy by the time he was 18 months old.

Does Toby have a feeding routine?
Toby is very unpredictable with if and what he will eat. He has always been the same despite always being encouraged and being given a good variety of food to try. I try to keep him in a routine of breakfast lunch and dinner with just a few snacks though out the day, not too close to meal times. He will then have a beaker of milk before he goes to bed.

What does Toby eat?
His favourite meal is sausage or bacon and chips, which I will make for him about once a week. Apart from that he loves pasta or rice based meals. He is not too keen on other types of meat or vegetables, although I usually manage to get some in. He has recently discovered that he likes mash potato but bread and baked beans are still a definite no go! He loves to help me make smoothies which I have found has been a great way to top him up with his five a day.

What was your approach to weaning Toby onto solids and what was their first food?
His first taste of food was baby rice at about five months. Then I moved onto puréed fruit and vegetables and added lumps gradually until he was able to eat proper meals. I also gave him finger foods to get used to feeding himself as well which he liked. He seemed to take to it really well as he was never a milk lover.

Does Toby have a sleep routine?
We’ve never had a nap routine and it’s something I regret not putting in place when he was a baby. He would only ever fall asleep in his pram or in the car which has meant a lot of miles covered in the last two years. Now he rarely naps and I actually find our daily routine easier now that he doesn’t. He has a bedtime routine of bath, milk, clean teeth, stories, bed which has always worked pretty well.

What are Toby’s favourite things to do?
He loves to swim, go to soft play, go to music groups or have a play or park date with his little friends. At home he loves to paint and colour, bake with me and play with his play doh. He likes to watch the odd bit of tele and enjoys doing puzzles and playing with his trains.

Does Toby seem to suffer with anything and what do you do to help it?
Toby always teethed really well, I realise I have been so lucky when I hear other mums horror stories. He does get a bit of dry skin and eczema but I control it by using prescription bath oils and creams.

At what age did Toby become more mobile?
He crawled at about 8 months old and started to walk just after his first birthday. We got stair gates at the top and bottom of our stairs in our old house and a big extendable one around our old heater so he couldn’t go anywhere near it. Since moving here just before his second birthday, we didn’t really need to put the stair gates back on but will have to baby proof again for number two.


Does Toby have a favourite toy?
Yes. He has an Elmo teddy that comes absolutely everywhere with us. He was only cheap and is now old and tatty but Toby loves him. To play with, it has to be his ELC wooden train table.

What was your most recent baby or baby-related purchase and why did you buy it?
I have just bought the new baby a pair of black leather moccasins to match Toby’s but in a tiny size. We have nothing else for him/her yet, but priorities, right?!

What has been the most useful thing you've bought?
The best thing we ever bought was a baby swing, I think it was a Fisher Price one. We didn’t have one originally but Toby was such a difficult baby we were willing to try everything and anything to settle him. He loved it, to sleep in or to play in. It’s one of the only things we saved in case of future children.

What is Toby’s mode of transport?
We bought an iCandy Cherry in blue before he was born which we used up until he was about 18 months. I loved it and couldn’t fault it. It was light weight, compact and could attach the maxi cosi car seat onto. I then bought a maxi cosi Tobi (coincidence) when he was about 9 months old so he could forward face in the car when his baby seat was too small. When he outgrew the iCandy I bought a Mamas and Papas Luna which we still use now. It has been really good as I found it’s in between a pushchair and a stroller size and folds in once piece. I never tried baby wearing but might find out more about it this time. I now have my heart set on a Bugaboo Cameleon for the new babe and hoping Toby will be able to ride on a buggy board by then but we’ll see. Has anyone had a Cameleon, specifically the Cameleon3? I’d love to know your thoughts on it before buying!

What are your absolute essentials when you go out?
A drink and a snack. And Elmo! I am lucky he is no longer in nappies so don’t need to take a changing bag out anymore.

Where are your favourite places to shop for baby clothes?
Baby and toddler clothes are my weakness! H&M or Zara for basics but I mainly order from independent brands online.


If you could have given your pregnant self some advice, what would it have been?
Expect every aspect of your life to change dramatically. Don’t expect to get much or any sleep some nights, and go with your instincts!

What's the best advice or most useful tip that anyone's given you about parenting?
To make the most of every moment. Time really does go too quickly.

Lastly, is there an IG mum that you'd like to see on Mummy Time?

I have met so many lovely mummy’s on Instagram, lots that I now consider friends. You should all do this if you haven’t already!

Thank you so much for sharing, Emily and I wish you all the best for the rest of your pregnancy and beyond!

Instagram: @emilyand_t


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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