Thursday, 5 March 2015

Mummy Time 30: Laura Humphrey

Laura's Instagram account (@hellomrsh) is one to follow if you don't already. She has an impeccable eye for interior design (and blogs for Dassie Decor), takes beautiful shots of her home, life, and her beautiful daughter, Bertie Button! Since writing her Mummy Time post, Laura has collaborated with Coco and Wolf on a line of luxurious Liberty print nursery wares which is set to expand over time. Bertie was 6.5 months old at the time of writing and I'm so excited to be sharing Laura's post with you this week.

Mummy:

Who are you? 
Hello! I’m Laura, or more often known as Mrs H. I am heading very quickly towards the grand old age of 28, which I still can’t quite believe! I live just outside Maidstone in Kent, with my ever so lovely, husband of three and a half years, Dan, our beautiful baby Bertie (a girl!!!) and two miniature sausage dogs, Teddy and Tex. B was born on the 28th of June last year, making her just short of seven months old.

What do you do for a living?
I’m a Brand Manager for Topshop, a company I have been with for almost 10 years.

How long are you planning to take for maternity leave?
I’m taking the full twelve months allowance, giving me absolutely as much time as possible with Bertie while she is really tiny. I’m excited and apprehensive in equal measure about returning to work. I’ve always been a career girl, to the point of people questioning if we would have children as I was so career focussed, and I am very ambitious. However, it already plays on my mind that by going back go work full time (part time isn’t an option for management) I am going to miss an awful lot. Not just in terms of Bertie’s development, but the quality family time that I absolutely adore. Having my first Christmas off work in ten years was a real treat, I can’t imagine not putting Bertie to bed on Christmas Eve.

How are you?
I’m great, and head over heels in love! The past couple of weeks of making decisions about work, teamed with teething and weaning have been harder, and more stressful than most of the previous six months though. We’ve turned a corner with the weaning, and I’ve extended my maternity leave so I’m at a bit more peace now. I absolutely adore being a mummy, there are the odd days of feeling overwhelmed, but on the whole it is easily the best thing in the whole wide world, and I feel very, very lucky.

What do you do to relax?
On a daily level Dan and I try and relax after Bertie has gone to bed just by listening to music, or watching a film. Some days I put the evening aside to getting bits done, such as blogging, or sourcing products for an interior design project I’m working on, but we try and make sure this is time is well balanced, being a mama is tiring!

What do you do when you have time to yourself?
During the day I like to make sure the house is clean and tidy. I definitely feel more stressed if the house is a mess and the washing isn’t on top of, I’m a notorious control freak!!! A little each day is better than it building up into an insurmountable mess. I always catch up on blogs and IG when Bertie naps in the afternoon, and sometimes draft notes and ideas for upcoming blog posts. I also love cooking, and find it incredibly relaxing, so some of my free time goes on meal planning and preparing.  Dan and I also try and have some us time, normally an evening once a month. We normally use this time to nip into London, go to a gig or try a restaurant.

How does a typical day go?  
Our routine has changed a little recently, due to the introduction of weaning. Bertie tends to wake up between 7.30am, and 8am. I used to make sure I got up before her, and was showered and dressed and ready to go. Then I realised, I’m never going to get that precious sleep time back! After a nappy change, breakfast and bottle, we usually play until B’s mid-morning nap. Sometimes Bertie will go in her bouncer while I shower, we have it on the bathrom door frame, and she giggles away to herself the entire time so means its not the rush it used to be. After her morning nap the productivity of the day sets in, we’ll run errands, sort washing, see family, take trips to the park, go swimming; whatever takes our fancy really!! Bertie feeds every four hours, and has another sleep around 2pm, Dan arrives home at 4pm, and often does that feed, while I prepare all of our dinner. Bedtime chill out begins strictly a 6pm, with a bath, massage, story and bottle, and she is usually asleep by 7.30pm. Dan and I eat dinner together, then flake out!

Pregnancy:

How was your pregnancy?
In a word; challenging!!!! Sickness set in early, around the 6 week mark, and had a hold of me pretty much every day until I gave birth. I was so, so happy to be pregnant I tried to take it all in my stride and carry on as normal. As horrible as it sounds, being sick became part of my daily routine, I got up earlier in the mornings so I could get the worst of it over before I started the hour commute to work, and I learnt not to eat until at least 10am. I tried every single old wives tale, and in the end, I just accepted my fate when none of them provided any respite. I had about three really dreadful weeks, where I couldn’t keep a single thing down, and had to take time off work but through the rest I carried on as normal, in between the god awful acid!
Unfortunately, at 33 weeks pregnant, after a routine midwives appointment where they informed me I was severely dehydrated (despite drinking about 3 litres of water a day) I toddled off to work, only to be struck down by the worst pain I’ve ever experienced. Over the coming hours I was taken into hospital, and to cut a long story (very) short, my kidneys and liver tried to shut down and stop functioning. After two long weeks in hospital, lots of scans and monitoring, I was released, however still a medical mystery. Luckily, through all that, my super strong little baby was absolutely fine. I continued having twice weekly blood tests, and once weekly growth scans because she was tiddler, until she arrived at 41 weeks.

Did you have any cravings?
Ice lollies and ready salted crisps (the only thing I ever wanted after being sick).

Did you find out what you were having?
No, and it was the best decision ever. I’ll never, ever forget the moment when Dan told me we had a baby girl.

How did you decide on your names and you already have the names ready before they arrived?
We had one boys name, and two girls names, until about 8 weeks before she arrived. Then the film Frozen exploded, and the name Elsa had to be disregarded as it rose in popularity. We found it really, really difficult to pick names we both liked, and there were many evenings of discussions. We both loved Bertie for a girl as it was so unusual, it would never have been a contender for a boy though. I think we both were searching for a name where we didn’t know anyone who was called it, there weren’t any super famous ones and didn’t have any negative school/workplace connotations. When you put all those factors together it is a miracle we settled on one at all!

How did your prepare for Bertie's arrival?
Pregnancy yoga was probably my favourite thing, and every week I used my wind down to wish for less sickness and a healthy baby. We did go to antenatal classes which, in general, I found quite patronising. The most useful information was surrounding breastfeeding.

How was your labour? 
Absolutely incredible, our bodies are amazing!

I settled down for an early night watching Glastonbury on television, and about 12pm felt discomfort in my hips. I had no idea I was in labour, no waters breaking, or huge pain, but I text my mum asking how I would know. Everyone, including her, had said you will just know. I think I finally accepted I was in labour about 3 hours later! I’d been thinking I needed the toilet every 15 minutes for the last 2 hours, and was uncomfortable, now I realise it was contractions. It wasn’t any kind of real pain by this point so I got a hot water bottle and took a paracetamol. I walked up and down our hall way and tried to stay calm, using some yoga positions on the floor. About an hour later I asked Dan to put my tense machine on which, although odd at first, did help my muscles to stay relaxed.

We phoned the delivery suite about 4.30am, by which time I was sure I was contracting fairly regularly. I still wouldn’t describe it as overwhelming pain, and I kept telling myself I could do this, I was in control and I was not going to hospital too early! The entirety of pregnancy I had heard people saying “you don’t want to go to hospital too early, you’ll get sent home”, and I was going to make sure that didn’t happen to me. I also didn’t want to get on a bed and slow down any progress.

After about 30 minutes on the phone with a midwife, who at first told me to have a bath. they told me to go in as I didn’t sound like I was coping very well, which in hindsight was because I was nearly fully dilated. I then spent the next hour (I know!!!) faffing around, putting deodorant in my bag, trying to get dressed, tidying up, saying good bye to my empty nursery, and then I suddenly realised, at 5.55am, my body was naturally pushing. I told Dan who turned white as a sheet and was trying to usher my into the car. A 25 minute journey to the hospital was spent pushing, Dan holding on to me while steering round corners and being convinced I was going to give birth in the footwell! We made it to the hospital where I managed to walk (no idea how) to the delivery suite where they all panicked when they realised I was fully dilated and pushing! Less than 15 minutes after arriving, Bertie was born at 6.44am, The midwife was in shock and had to be given hot tea, Bertie was born tumbling onto the floor, (thankfully Dan had slid a mat under me while the midwife was trying to get gloves on), and everyone just kept telling me to have a home birth next time! I couldn’t believe what my body had done, and I didn’t get on a damn bed!

Baby:

How did you get on with breastfeeding?
Problems from the outset, with latching on and milk supply. I won’t bore you with the details, but in the end the midwife encourage me to give Bertie some formula, which the hungry baby who hadn’t fed for about 11 hours lapped up. We haven’t looked back, and I don’t beat myself up about it anymore. It wasn’t right for us, and that’s all there is to it!

Does your baby have a feeding routine?
She has a formula feed four hourly, from when she wakes up. We bring the bedtime bottle forward so it is always 7pm, regardless of the time she wakes up.

What does Bertie eat?
We’ve just started weaning, so not an awful lot! So far she loves toast fingers, banana pancakes and baked apple slices.

What was your approach to weaning your baby onto solids and what was their first food?
My weaning journey has been well documented on my IG! We started with puree and porridge, which very rapidly was rejected by the ever-independent Bertie. She is now feeding herself, and I tend to feed her bits of what we are having, dinner is only the real exception, as she obviously eats a lot earlier than us, so I prepare her something separately.

Does Bertie sleep routine and how did you put it in place, or did it fall into place?
She sleeps from 7.30pm-7.30/8am, and has done since five weeks old. We established this with our own repetitive bedtime routine from very, very early on, and were blessed with a girl who loves her sleep. She then has a mid morning nap, about two hours after she wakes, and another at 2pm. Sometimes she might try and squeeze in a cheeky little snooze about 5pm, but generally this one seems to be biting the dust. I’ve never restricted her daytime sleep, as I firmly believe sleep encourages sleep.

How do you keep Bertie entertained?
Every day we have about 30 minutes of me throwing my best shapes around the kitchen while she laughs her head off at me. She loves nursery rhymes, music and tickles. We’ve recently started swimming, which went down an absolute treat, and we like nice long walks, where Bertie loves looking up at trees.

If Bertie's having a freak out, what helps to calm her?
To be really honest, we don’t experience melt downs. When we do they can usually be contributed to teething issues or a growth spurt, so lots of sleepy snuggles and quiet songs.

Does your baby seem to suffer with anything and what do you do to help it?
A little bit of dry skin, and we’re still battling the very last of her cradle cap. Teething is no fun time for babies, but Bertie generally copes really well as long as lots of cuddles are in supply.

At what age did your baby become more mobile?
B has just started scooting herself around the floor backwards so I think crawling will set in imminently! I guess that means it’s time to baby proof the house. She was rolling over from 11 weeks so we’re used to having to plonk her in safe places and not leaving her on the sofa or bed thankfully.

What are your go-to resources for information about your baby when you're worried? 
I try not to Google, I just refer to the NHS website, as otherwise you are entering into a world of opinions, and not medical advise. Instagram is the best, free NCT group you can have, and I’ve found my fellow mummies are often on hand with reassurance. Of course advice will be given if asked for, but the general consensus seems to be we are all in this together, and everyone is just trying to do their best, which is really reassuring. In the early days I referred to a fantastic book, Your Baby, Week by Week by Dr Caroline Fertleman, which I found to be very accurate.

Paraphernalia:

Does Bertie have a favourite toy?
She likes most things I put in front of her. She was given a super soft rocking horse for Christmas which she loves being in, she cuddles up to her little deer soft toy and likes playing with her wooden xylophone and maracas.

What was your most recent baby or baby-related purchase and why did you buy it?
It’s a pretty boring one, but two wrap around, long sleeve vests in the next size up, and navy tights for with wearing with some lovely floral bloomers she was sent by the wonderful Coco & Wolf, who Bertie is a brand rep for.

What have been the most useful things you've bought?
A few things at different stages. A white noise Youtube video called baby got colic, when she was tiny, tiny. Grobags when she realised she could fling all her covers off and wiggle out of a swaddle. Our Ergobaby 360 for when we want to take the dogs walking and a fold up baby bath for our tiny bathroom.

What is Bertie's mode of transport?
I love our Ergobaby 360, as already mentioned, B always is really happy in it, and has been since she was really small. Our pram is a Silvercross Wayfarer, again, I’m really happy with it. She always seems very comfortable, it is light and compact for lifting in and out of my car yet feels sturdy, and handles varying terrain easily. We are using it with a beautiful lambskin liner which keeps her so cosy.

What are your absolute essentials when you go out?
All the usual changing bag essentials, a change of clothes in case of poonamis, and a Maileg mermaid rattle as a distraction toy!

Where are your favourite places to shop for baby clothes?
Zara mini is my favourite High Street shop. H&M are great for organic cotton basics, I love Waddler knitwear, Amy & Ivor moccs and Coco & Wolf Liberty print pieces.M&S have really upped their baby game recently too!

Advice:

What do you wish you known before you had a baby?
That day, about three days in, when you can’t stop crying because you’re so overwhelmed with love, your boobs are spraying milk everywhere the minute you step out the shower and you feel like you have no idea why you ever complained about a period, is just a day, or a couple. I cried so much I thought I would run out of tears and panicked it was the inset of postnatal depression because both my Mum and Nan suffered. Bloody hormones.
Also, don’t let visitors invade that really special family time. Dan and I had discussed how we were not going to let that happen prior to B’s arrival and somehow we still ended up having people for dinner less than a week after she was born and an influx of visitors. I was so stressed and upset about it and I wish I had put my foot down.

What's the best advice or most useful tip that anyone's given you about parenting?
Mother knows best. Always. No one knows your baby like you do.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share with other mums or expectant mums?
We are built to give birth. There are millions of women out there who are quite happy to scare the bejesus out of expectant mothers with horrendous labour and birthing stories, normally as though it is a competition. Why we feel the need to scare each other is beyond me. Not everyone can experience a serene labour, in the same way not everyone can experience a terrifying one. Empower the women around you, tell them the high points, and encourage them to stay in control and let their body do as intended. I have heard many women scared of labour, telling themselves they won’t be able to do it. Positive thinking!

Thank you for sharing, Laura!

P.S. Don't forget to enter my Buddy & Bear giveaway! There are loaaaads of entry options and you can enter more than once.

P.P.S. Linking with:
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2 comments

  1. Love this post. It's always good to get to know the blogger behind the posts more! #bigfatlinky

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great to see the baby wearing pic. Thanks for sharing this and for linking up #bigfatlinky

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to leave a comment. It really means a lot! Nicki x

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