Sunday, 31 May 2015

Pics of the week: 40

Our week went so, so quickly! Monday was a bit of a non-starter really; the morning seemed to  disappear and suddenly it was lunch time. Ruari was working but Joseph and I went to Wingham Wildlife park (after I'd bought him the most stylish sleeping bag ever, which I'm tempted to customise into a dress for myself when he's done with it), but Joseph fell asleep in the car and the park closed whilst he was still asleep. So basically we both just napped in the car park. I never nap, but the tiredness took hold after I'd read a chapter of my new CBT book.  It was then time for tea and I'm pretty sure that Ruari and I finally watched the very last Mad Men that night, but I can't actually remember.

I worked on Tuesday then did the grocery shopping. Riveting.
Wednesday was super busy; my mum and brother looked after Joseph whilst I had CBT in the morning, which was the most tiring session yet and the first time I've come out feeling worse than when I went in. All I wanted to do was curl up and sleep, but instead mum and I had coffee before heading to my house; she sat in the car with a sleeping Joseph whilst I did some housework then we took Joseph for his one-year jabs; He did so well and didn't need Calpol afterwards. We nipped home for lunch before heading to Folkestone to hand in the paperwork for my new job and to visit Nat at Hot Salvation in the town centre where I collected a couple of Naked Lunge toys I'd bought for Joseph in their sale. I bought mum a McDonalds on our way home as she'd not eaten anything all day, and in fact I felt really bad for dragging her around with me; she said she enjoyed her day but I was exhausted by the end of it - especially after bathtime and dinner, so she must have been too.

My working day on Thursday was made a million times more pleasant as I'd been kindly sent a few samples from the 'Scent to Instantly De-Stress' range from Neom Organics to try; a de-stressing mist which you spritz above your head, a roll-on which you roll onto your pulse points (wrists, temples and behind the ears), and a shower gel. I forgot to use the shower gel in the morning, but I used the roll-on and spray throughout the day and felt so refreshed. Both contain lavender, jasmine and Brazilian rosewood essential oils and reminded me of the essential oils mix that my mum made for me to help me concentrate for my GCSEs. To say I've had difficulty concentrating recently is an understatement; and I wasn't magically cured by the scents, but they did help to calm my racing mind slightly and made me focus for a minute or two on the smells and nostalgia of the examination hall, if nothing else. In fact, I suppose they just distracted me even more from the task at hand, but it was a welcome distraction. Neom have just launched an online wellbeing magazine which I am going to make sure I peep at from time to time as they're into mindfulness too. Has this been a buzzword for a long time, by the way, am I only just noticing that it's everyyywhere and seems to relate to everyyyything?
On Friday I was given a quarter of a giant watermelon by a friend at work because he noticed I liked watermelon paraphernalia; make up bag, necklace and pen were my watermelon items du jour. Joseph really enjoyed eating it after his tea and I took circa 9,000 photos on Ruari's phone of Joseph looking so puzzled! It was so sweet!
On Saturday, after a 5.30am start, Joseph and I walked the three miles into Canterbury to meet with my friends Emma and Sophie; we had lunch in the park and chatted for hours, watching the babies play and enjoying the sunny, but not-too-hot, weather. Joseph learnt a new word from Sophie; 'bubble' - he repeated it after her whilst she was blowing bubbles, and now every time he sees a bubble wand around the house (we have quite a few), he starts saying it and pointing. It was so lovely to see Joseph and Matilda actually playing with eachother (they chased eachother around Joseph's push chair in the park!) I can't wait for Joseph to start walking; he's still just happy to cruise and crawl, but I think walking would be so much more fun for him (and for me to watch.)
Today Ruari looked after Joseph whilst I got on with decluttering and housework in between making meals; I feel like I didn't stop, yet also feel like I got nothing done (and it was another early start). Joseph has started saying 'one, two, three' just as he launches himself off the sofa, but 'one' is by far the clearest word, and he often 'goes' on the count of two rather than three. Or sometimes he goes after one. It means that whoever's on sofa duty has to be ready to catch kamikaze Joseph! It really baffles me that of all the words we've tried to teach him, he's picked up on 'bubble'; in fact I've never tried to teach him that at all, but we have upped our bubble game lately.
I am now in bed and I've rolled on my Neom, er, roll-on; Ruari asked me to put some on him too as he also likes the smell. It's so sweet, it's actually making me a little bit hungry!

I hope you've had a good week; this week is my last at my current job. I have a week off for appointments/ settling in sessions at Joseph's new nursery and then I start my new position! Eeek! x
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Friday, 29 May 2015

Eleven things / Liebster Award

Sweetheart Harps, who blogs over at BabyBrainMemoirs.com, kindly nominated me to answer her eleven questions for the Liebster Award (which is kind of like a tag game for discovering new blogs). Thank you for thinking of me and I hope some of the blogs I've nominated will be up for sharing too! Sorry for rambling on!
1. What’s your lucky number?
I don’t actually have one. Let’s go with 19.5. Joseph’s birthday is the 19th and mine is the 20th. I don’t play the lottery so I don’t need it to be a round number.

2. When and why did you start blogging? 
I started blogging on the 27th of June 2014, when Joseph was about 10 weeks old. I started for a few reasons;
  • To document our experiences (I’m a bit of a memory hoarder and terrified of forgetting… and also a bit mad at myself for not diarising my pregnancy).
  • To meet other mums 
  • To help others through the sharing of experiences (as hearing about others' lives had been useful to me). 
I know that I’m not ground breaking or informing the world of anything that’s not already been said, but I’m documenting and sharing my experiences and using my voice, which I’ve realised recently is really important to me. I’ve kept diaries (albeit not the most detailed as some stuff is just bullet pointed or single words) since I was young and there are only a few patches in my life where there’s literally nothing documented. I’m most definitely fulfilling my blogger aim of meeting other mums – my personal mum network is varied and so very supportive. I definitely wouldn’t have got that without starting my blog, I’m sure. With regard to helping others, I have had feedback to suggest that I’ve helped others in small ways, so that is just the best.

Oh and I’m not going to lie – I also wanted to somehow make a living from blogging so that I could stay at home and be with Joseph as much as possible. Almost one year later, my blog is not a source of income whatsoever, but I do think it has helped me professionally as what I do for a living isn’t a million miles away from blogging and all the things that are entwined with that. Blogging isn’t easy, and I totally underestimated the time you need to dedicate to it (even Mummy Time posts take up a whole evening and those aren’t even my words!), which I just can’t seem to manage without feeling like I’m neglecting another aspect of my life, so I have serious respect for those who actually make a living from it, particularly whilst raising families. I also realise that if I wanted to make a living from it then I’d need to make some big changes to my lifestyle, habits and turn on the business part of my brain which actually doesn’t exist.

3. What’s been your blogging highlight? 
I’ve had a few blogging highlights, but I think the enthusiasm surrounding Mummy Time has been really special actually. The majority of mums I’ve approached to take part have been happy to be featured, others have asked to be featured – which sometimes yields the most detailed and relatable responses because there’s that desire to share. Each week people read it and enjoy hearing about other mums’ lives and experiences and learn more about the mums that they follow on IG – or sometimes they find new mums to follow. There are so, so many more mums that I’d like to feature so I don’t think it’s going to be going anywhere for a while yet. Anyone is welcome to take part, but you may have to wait a wee while as I usually have a bit of a waiting list as I only do them once a week. I have toyed with the idea of doing them more often, and changing my questions to suit older babies and kids, but for now, I’m keeping it as it is until I have a clearer idea of what to do.


I am also really touched when someone gets in touch after they’ve read a post that I’ve not even promoted, or that is just a bit of a personal release and a bit of brain-dump which I didn’t think anyone would ever want to read or be interested in reading.


Oh, and something that blows my mind is when non-mums tell me they read my blog and say how much they enjoy it. I can’t get over that.


Sometimes (ok, really often) I get conscious that my blog isn’t really anything definable; it’s not like I’m not fashion focussed, have super sharp photography, or hot on the latest toy, gadget, feeding device, for example. Oh and I’m not the world’s most creative writer, so I wonder if it’s hard for people to relate to or be interested in… Really, I’m lucky that anyone reads it at all! But I’m definitely most proud of the mums that feature on it – they’ve all been so different and I’ve learnt something from each one.
4. What did you/do you do for a living pre baby?
Pre-baby, and now I’m back to work post-baby, I’m a client-side digital marketer. I currently work for an insurance company as part of a small marketing team looking after paid search, natural search, web content, web analytics and all things social. It’s quite a varied and broad role which I have enjoyed – particularly as my previous role just focussed on search – but I am moving jobs in a few weeks’ time to manage online marketing for a suite of Legal Services products offered by quite a big brand – think Wills, Probate, Conveyancing Power of Attorney. My legal knowledge is limited to say the least so I’m looking forward to learning more about it and helping people to find products that suit what they’re looking for at what may be quite a difficult or stressful time in their lives. There’ll be quite a few challenges – not only in terms of my practical role, but surrounding the messaging and getting it right. No one has done my particular job there before though so I feel like it’s really mine to define and get what I want out of it. I have realised that I am fairly career-driven actually, and have quite a few career ambitions as well as personal ambitions. I used to feel a bit guilty for being that way, but, for now, I think it makes me happy and I’m glad that it also allows me to provide for my family in some way and buy myself nice things sometimes. The other day I bought a navy and white stripy top with a pineapple on it. Oh yeahhhh.

5. What’s your favourite TV programme?
I don’t watch a lot of TV really but I frigging LOVE Made In Chelsea. I’ve not watched any of the latest series. I know – WTF? I have them all recorded though so hopefully one day I’ll have a MIC marathon. That day will be GOOD. I remember watching re-runs at 3am when Joseph was a tiny baby and was attached to my boobs all night. We’d sleep on the sofa and doze in and out of sleep states. 

I am heartbroken that Mad Men has now finished; I don’t know what to do with myself. Watch it from the start maybe. I need to get my hands on a Game of Thrones box set actually – I know, I know. I don’t know why I never joined Ruari when he started watching it. Probably because I have the worst attention span ever and always feel like I ‘should’ be doing something else.

Oh and I’ve always loved Friends. Joseph’s ears prick up every time he hears theme tune now as it was always on when we were at home during my maternity leave. Maybe that makes me a bad mum, I don’t know.

6. How many siblings do you have? 
I have one older brother and one half sister. My brother now lives nearby after living in Glasgow for over ten years so it’s nice to have him around. He works in retail and is trying to break through into the acting world – both on stage and on screen; I’m really proud of him for learning something new and pursuing his passions. I admire anyone who has the conviction to follow their dreams. My sister lives in Eastbourne (about two hours away) and is the coolest chick ever and so much wiser than her 21 years. She recently shaved her head after years of dying it all the colours of the rainbow, and has been vegan for almost a year which, I also admire being a failed vegan (but 13-year-strong vegetarian!).

My brother and I.
7. What’s your favourite food?
Probably Indian food. Paneer masala. I also love Mexican food. But I also love s good ol’ cheese sandwich with salt and vinegar crisps stuffed in it. 

8. If you were stuck on an island alone and could only take one thing, what would it be?
Alone? Some sort of device to get me off the island. I like my own company sometimes but I couldn’t bear being away from Joseph, especially.

9. Summer or winter?
Summer. I hate winter. I don’t care that it’s my birthday or Christmas. Give me long days and a greater chance of sunshine.

10. Outdoors or indoors?
I’m indoorsy but, don’t get me wrong, I do like the outdoors, especially the seaside. But I like to be warm and I like creature comforts.

11. Sweet or savoury?
I have a very, very sweet tooth and the fillings to prove it unfortunately.

SANTA BARBARA!

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I now have 11 questions for some of my IG pals with blogs to answer:

1. Would you consider yourself to be a tidy person or a messy person? (I am messy but wish I was tidy.)
2. Would you consider yourself to be a hoarder? (I am particularly interested to hear how people get rid of things. I seem to be emotionally attached to pretty much everything and regret chucking anything.)
3. Would you consider yourself to be career driven?
4. What book or book are you reading at the moment?
5. What are the 5 most recent websites you’ve visited?
6. What was the last thing you bought?
7. What are your thoughts on exercise? Do you do it? Are you a regular do-er?
8. What’s your favourite smell?
9. How does a typical day go? (I’m obsessed with finding out about how people use their time!)
10. When did you start your blog and why?
11. What are your nails like right now?

Expecting mamas:
Emma, @moresweetsoul_ - ohhomesweethome.blogspot.co.uk
Alice, @ALCMHN – alcmhn.blogspot.co.uk

Skin/health bloggers:
Katie, @katiethirks – katiedaniellemarie.blogspot.co.uk
Kelly, @kellio – blog.kelliobellio.com

Parenting bloggers:
Kelly, @yellowkelly – elsaandus.blogspot.co.uk
Hannah, @hannahsunited – carsonrepeat.wordpress.com
Romeca, @heyitsromeca – beautybumpandme.blogspot.co.uk
Lauren, @belledubrighton – belledubrighton.co.uk 

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Here are the rules of the Liebster award if you'd like to take part (no pressure!):
1. Acknowledge the blog that nominated you and let them know you've done it
2. Answer their 11 questions
3. Write eleven questions and nominate 11 blogs to answer them (I've chosen eight blogs. Shoot me.)
4. Let the blogger know you've nominated them
5. Find a Liebster award image you like to include in your post (I haven't done this. Shoot me again.)


Did you enjoy today's post? Bit different, eh? Thank you for reading! 

Have a good day! xx
You Baby Me Mummy
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Thursday, 28 May 2015

Mummy Time: Lucy Tanner

Lucy's honesty in this weeks post will leave you with your jaw on the floor; here she talks about the reality of getting things done, and making the tough decision on what had to give; how she coped when her four month old son started crawling and how free online hypnobirthing videos helped her to deliver her second son at home, just one hour after getting jiggy!

Lucy is an absolutely incredible mum and an inspiration, and I'm so pleased to be featuring her on the blog today. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did.


Mummy:

Who are you?
Hello! I am Lucy Tanner and I live in the beautiful city of Norwich with my baby daddy, Mike, and our two little boys; Miles who will be two and a half at the end of May and Otto who has just turned 3 months!

What do you do for a living?
At the moment I am a full time mummy. This is something I have struggled with quite a bit as I often feel like the odd one out. Almost every mummy I know is back at work in some way. I’ve always wanted to be a mummy and have never been career driven. I went to uni and have a degree in graphic design and illustration but when I left, I never felt compelled to get into the industry and find a dream job. I bumbled along for a bit and did lots of bar work. I really enjoyed it and it allowed me to set myself up as a self-employed illustrator in 2012. I had projects lined up and was feeling really quite positive and motivated when I fell pregnant with Miles! As every creative out there will know you have your ups and downs and, boy, did my inspiration and drive plummet! I can remember two months into the pregnancy I had an exhibition in the diary so I worked towards that and once it was over I just knew that was it. I did get my mojo back when Miles was teeny and would nap for hours on end and I started up an Etsy shop selling bits and bobs and even a makers market. But when Miles became super mobile and a non-napper I found that I would get really grumpy and stressy because it was impossible (for me) to be a mum alongside making things. I would get resentful at whatever was getting my attention and leaving the other out. So I made the decision, based on the fact that I’ve always wanted to be a mum foremost, to put down my pencil and needles and focus on being a mummy. When I do get the chance to make something, and even better sell it, then it is just a boost of feel good feelings. The release of pressure has been wonderful. Although I do get sad that I’m not doing so much and financially things are tight but I would much rather look back on these years and know I squeezed every last second out of being with my boys that I could. Having said that, if I had been in a better job before Miles came along then we would probably be in a totally different situation! The money that I would earn going back to my old job would just cover childcare so it would also be totally pointless. Once they are both at school/nursery I will most definitely be re-entering the workforce though!

How are you?
I’m good physically, but emotionally I’ve been better. We’ve had a rough few months as Mike sadly lost his job and we were asked to leave our old house very unexpectedly. The joys of renting! All this happened in the space of a few weeks last year when I was about 7 months pregnant. Not ideal but we faced it head on and our families and friends have been incredible. We’re all settled in a lovely new house though and hopefully this year brings lots more joy instead of gloom. In terms of tiredness there was a point that I thought “how do you survive this parent thing without a nap” but I seem to have adjusted to some new level of survival and can somehow function fairly well as long as you don’t expect a conversation with me. I thought, perhaps rather naively, that the baby bit would be the most difficult part about having a newborn again but dealing with Miles is definitely the trickiest bit. Otto is a total dream, he is so mellow and settles fairly easily but Miles never stays still and gets bored incredibly easy. He has never been happy sitting playing with something unless it presents him with a challenge. It is exhausting but wonderful all the same!

How do you relax?
Now that I have two all I can do is face plant a pillow until one of them wakes me up! If I’m really lucky I can squeeze in a quick soak in some suds.

What do you do when you have time to yourself?
I usually clean because I really don’t like mess but I try to do it as quickly as possible otherwise you blink and someone is demanding your attention again! I usually end up drinking lots of tea and cooking something. I love to cook and Mike is a chef so we both use kitchen time as an excuse to listen to music and zone out from the chaos, and stuff our faces in the process. Although Miles has become obsessed with every appliance we own and demands to help. Incredibly frustrating dealing with an appliance induced tantrum but I’m tapping into it and hoping to train him up to cook for us nice and early!

How does a typical day go?
I usually wake up in some awkward position with Otto snuggled up next to me and one of Miles’ limbs on my head anywhere between 6 and 7am. I then try my hardest to keep Miles asleep or still (with the help of bbc iplayer) until I can summon the energy to get up. Ideally I get both boys changed and downstairs and grab some brekkie for miles and a cuppa for myself. Mike is horrendous at getting up so he usually stumbles down after a lot of shouting from me and Miles!  That’s pretty much where the routine ends! I usually skip a shower and have one before bed as it causes less stress. The morning is spent putting on laundry and playing and most recently putting Otto down for a nap. 

We try to get out and about everyday as Miles is a bit like a Jack Russell and needs lots of exercise and stimulation. We go to a playgroup most weeks and we like big old walks! Because of Mikes shifts it’s really hard to be consistent with a routine during the day. Tea time is always the same time though and if Mike's home then a bath usually happens (if I’m feeling particularly superhuman I’ll attempt it on my own!) After bath comes the dreaded bedtime. Which can be anywhere between 7 and 11pm and often has me falling asleep before Miles does. He resists sleep to the bitter end and I have no idea how to deal with it except to all bundle into bed and pass out together. I do try to put Otto in our room and Miles in his but he isn’t a fan of listening to stories at the moment and he just never stays still! When he remembers Otto is in our room that’s it he wants to be too. 

Tonight I have read a number book 3 times counted to 10 then 20 then 30 all the way to 100. Then again. Sung 10 little speckled frogs 4 times and then lay next to him ignoring him until eventually he nodded off whimpering. It took 3 hours. But he is in his own bed hurrah! I have never been one for the cry it out approach and when we did attempt it Miles just doesn’t give in and it is really heartbreaking. Now that Otto is a bit older I have been enjoying the three hour naps and the structure it gives our days. I can get really involved in an activity with Miles and I make sure I drop every thing else to have that one on one time. 

We either have really good days where we all get on and Miles is a dream, or days that revolve around whining and exhausting rounds of psychological warfare. I’m looking forward to long summery days and letting Miles run wild.


Pregnancy:

How were your pregnancies?
Both pregnancies where really good. I had PGP both times but it was worse second time round and resulted in a trapped nerve in my butt cheek. I was also a lot more tired because of chasing a two year old round and felt like I didn’t get the chance to connect with Otto as much whilst he was still in my tummy. In the last two months I made a lot of excuses to take myself upstairs for half an hour to do yoga and meditation. I was usually interrupted by Miles screaming my name though. He became very needy towards me and I did worry how the hell he would cope with having a brother.

Did you have any cravings?
Both times I craved pints and pints of squash and cold crunchy fruit and veg - carrots and celery galore!

Did you find out what you were having?
First time no and it was a wonderful surprise although I knew all along he would be a he. Second time, yes. although I just knew again! We wanted to be able to get Miles used to the idea of having a brother and it meant we could be prepared as would have had to get so much more stuff if he had been a girl.

How did you decide on your names?
Boys names are really hard! We had some we liked but we never agreed until one day Mike was listening to Miles Davis and said ‘what about Miles?’ When he was born instead of Mike saying “it’s a boy” he said “it’s Miles” and luckily it suited him. His middle names are Robert, which runs in Mike’s family and James after my daddy. Otto I just loved when I first heard it, and I grew up in Germany which is where it originates from, so I stuck to my guns. Mike liked Otis but when he was born and the paramedics asked have you got a name I said ‘Otto” and Mike was like ‘that’s fair enough!’ His middle name is Ray after my great Uncle on my Mums parents’ side. They are the boys’ only surviving great-grand parents and I knew it would make them very happy, plus we really liked it.


How did your prepare for the boys' arrivals?
With Miles we did NCT antenatal classes which I found quite overwhelming and not that helpful in the end! The friendships I made through it were the best thing I took away. Second time round I used my previous experience, the same yoga teacher and I did the free hypnobirthing video course offered by the Calm Birth School ladies...who are flipping amazing and I would recommend to every pregnant mumma. I basically just stayed as positive and relaxed as I could with breathing and meditation. I didn’t read any books because, to be honest, I had no idea where to start!

How were your labours?
With Miles it really took me by surprise how painful it was! Yeah I know. I really thought I had a good pain threshold. Turns out I don’t. I now know that labour very fast and very intense from the word go. I was 11 days over and had a sweep and within an hour I was having full blown contractions. I did not deal with it well at all (probably because there was no build up). The hospital told us not to come in because it would probably slow down. It didn’t. They also told me to eat. Mike made me some fish fingers and mash and I have such a vivid memory of being so damn angry that I couldn’t even eat one mouthful between contractions! When we did make it in I went into the midwife led unit. I got in the pool and it really slowed things down and ended up stressing me out quite a bit. When my waters finally broke there was lots of blood so I was rushed to delivery suite, whacked on my back, feet in stirrups and 3 new midwives screaming “let’s get this baby out” whilst I was partying on the ceiling with gas and air. They took it away from me to push and I went flipping mental! I can remember feeling such hatred towards this poor student midwife next to me. Once Miles was born I totally fell in love with her though she was brilliant! 11 hours from sweep to delivery and thankfully no complications despite the blood loss. We were then home within 4 hours.

With Otto I was quite anxious about going back into hospital but felt, due to lack of support and moving house and therefore doctors, that I couldn’t have a home birth. Mike doesn’t drive so we had his parents and friends on standby to take us and Miles was to go to my mums for a day or too. That didn’t happen! 11 days over, walk after walk up hill after hill and two sweeps down I was fed up and desperate not to be induced so we got a bit jiggy to see if some oxcytocin would help. Miles was tucked up in bed and we headed to bed about 11ish. Within 30 seconds I had a sharp pain down my tummy and then another. Then I had a proper contraction. I told Mike and asked him to turn the bath on as that’s all I could think of doing. As he stood up my waters exploded on the bed. Once again the contractions where intense from the word go. I ended up in about an inch of water and trying to talk to the hospital who said to get in ASAP. I tried explaining that I had a little boy asleep and we had to wait for our lift to get here but I couldn’t really talk. Anyway to cut a short story even shorter I ended up upstairs calling 999. Three paramedics turned up and thankfully got me some gas and air. Ten minutes after they arrived Otto was born on our bed. Just one hour after us thinking it was a good idea to test the oxyctocin theory! He arrived so quickly that I didn’t have to push although the hypnobirthing played an incredibly important part and I managed to take the gas and air away from myself and with my hands ease him into the world so gently I didn’t tear. I’m so proud amongst all the chaos that I managed that amount of control. I’m  also so glad that I ended up having him at home and we were all snuggled up in bed by 4am. Miles was in his bedroom next door the whole time and did wake up when the paramedics arrived but Mike sat him down with some cartoons in a chair in his room. I think that will be one of his first memories; meeting his brother and the paramedics flashing the lights just for him when they left.
Baby:

How did you get on with breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding Miles went well, although I stopped at 6 months on advice from the doctors because he was draining the life out of me. It’s going really well with Otto now after a few issues with latching on due to a tongue tie. I decided to have it snipped and it’s made such a huge difference.

Does Otto have a feeding routine?
I kind of feed Otto on demand although I am trying to feed him when he wakes up rather than getting him to go to sleep from it.

What does Miles like to eat?
Miles is quite fussy, although he does eat fruit and veg so I know we are lucky there. He just won’t eat pasta or rice or proper meals and says “i don’t like it” or “put in the bin” which is infuriating. I recently read a very good article though that has reassured me that what I am doing is ok. If he doesn’t eat everything I say ‘well you don’t have to’. I then offer him fruit or a yoghurt but no alternative to the main meal. He is definitely more of a grazer and quite a delicate eater. I just maintain the view that he will eat if he is hungry and toddlers can run on very little so I’ve tried to stop worrying about it so much and not get angry if he just doesn’t want to eat.

What was your approach to weaning Miles onto solids?
We started weaning him at four and a half months with purees because he was mobile (yup!!) but I now know that that was the wrong thing to do and am annoyed that the health visitor told me to. I think if I had started him on formula earlier that would have been better and I could have done combination feeding for a while instead of being forced to stop breastfeeding earlier than I had wanted to. With Otto I am definitely going down the baby led route I cannot be bothered with all of that puree making!

Do the boys have sleep routines?
Miles gave up his proper naps at 20 months when he moved into a big bed but he does still have them occasionally when he face plants the sofa or car. They ruin bedtime though whatever time of day he has one so I actually avoid going in the car after about 11am!

When the boys are freaking out, what do you find helps them to calm down?
I plonk Otto in the sling and he usually settles pretty sharpish. With Miles I suggest a new activity or a walk and whichever he doesn’t whine at we do! He usually just needs a poo though and like most men is much happier once he has relieved himself!

At what age did Miles become more mobile and how did you cope?
Miles started crawling at 4 months and was walking by 9. It was really, really hard work and very stressful. I had no idea babies could even do that. I just don’t think he wanted to be a baby! I’m really hoping Otto is a bit more chilled out on that front, but with a whirlwind as a big bro to show him the ropes I’m not holding out too much hope.


What are your go-to resources for information about the boys when you're worried?
Friends and, of course, Instagram! My friend Emily (@emilywemilyrose), who I went to uni with, and had lost contact with, fell pregnant at the same time as me. We bumped into each other one day and totally reconnected. Our boys were meant to be born a month apart but it ended up being five days. We are now neighbours and not only are our boys best buds but she has been an incredible support to me especially recently and we really bounce off each other with parental queries and wtfs.

How has Miles adapted to Otto’s arrival?
Miles has adapted so well and I can’t help thinking it was partly because he was here when Otto arrived. He wasn’t whisked away and brought back to find another little person in the house. He has been so sweet with Otto and hasn’t presented any jealousy but I think he is still a bit too young for that. We have had to tell him off for biting his fingers and toes as he didn’t understand that he was really hurting him. But he understands now I hope. The most infuriating thing is he just doesn’t want Otto to sleep and will jump next to him on the bed or sofa saying “wake baby wake”. Although it is incredible what baby number two will sleep through!


Paraphernalia:

What was your most recent baby-related purchase and why did you buy it?
Our most recent purchases have been a sling and buggy-board. We never wanted a double buggy as Miles is pretty good at walking and I want to wear Otto a lot more than I managed to with Miles. So the buggy-board gives Miles the option to rest his legs if Otto is in the pushchair (which is very rare!).

What are the boys' modes of transport?
We have a Mamas & Papas Urbo which we got new for Miles and just loved so much we didn’t want to get anything else. It is perfect for city living and has a leather handle...I have a phobia of foam and touching the foamy handle on pushchairs makes me gag really bad! For Otto we use a Wildbird ring sling and a Solly Baby Wrap. Both are brilliant although I will have to say that the ring sling is outstanding for day to day use.

What are your absolute essentials when you go out?
Bribes. All of the bribes!

Advice:

If you could give your pregnant self some advice, what would it be?
To listen to yourself, first and foremost, and to listen to what others have to say but don’t feel you have any obligation to follow their advice. I spent the first year doing things the way I saw other mums around me doing them. I was stressed and worried like I have never been before. I wasn’t the mum I always thought I would be. This time round I am so different and I wish that someone had told me to just be me when I had Miles. Thankfully I am now that for the both of them.

What's the best advice or most useful tip that anyone's given you about parenting?
You know best when someone finally said it to me! Oh and the chocolate button trick to get antibiotics down a toddlers throat! Lifesaver!

Do you have any tips you’d like to share with other mums or expectant mums?
You were made to do this and you can do it however the hell you like. Don’t be afraid to do something you always thought you wouldn’t (like a dummy or formula etc) You will never make a bad decision and it could mean the difference between being a total worried mess and being a happier mummy because of a more settled baby.

Lastly, is there an IG mum that you'd like to see on Mummy Time
Oooh I don’t know there’s been so many I love so far and wanted to know more about. Maybe Nia @herhandswereleaves. Her motivation and dedication to both her family and her drawing have me rather envious. In a good way! I’d love to meet her for real but being Mummy Time nosey is probably the next best thing!

Thank you so much for sharing, Lucy! 

Find Lucy on Instagram: @misslucyblue
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Monday, 25 May 2015

I heart Selfish Mother

SelfishMother.com is a blogzine featuring articles submitted by sassy mamas from all around; radio personalities, bloggers, vloggers, midwives, authors, entrepreneurs, professionals and stay at home mothers; all are welcome to join the writers' network and start posting. Heck, I am considering joining myself.

Aside from editing Selfish Mother, its founder, Molly Gunn, is doing something pretty awesome if you ask me (which, by the way, isn't at all selfish); She has developed a line of t-shirts, sweaters and hoodies representing solidarity for all mother hens which simply read 'MOTHER'. They are not only really cool, but totally guilt-free as the profits go to Women for Women International, a charity whose work aims enable women in war-torn countries to rebuild their lives by providing education focussed on following outcomes (taken from the Women for Women website):

Earn and save money – Women learn basic business skills and a vocational skill with earning power in their local markets. They begin to save and receive support to establish cooperatives after graduation.

Develop health and well-being – Women learn how to manage their health, including reproductive health and stress management. They also learn about the importance of good hygiene and nutrition for their families. They are connected with local healthcare providers.

Influence decisions in their homes and communities – Women learn their fundamental rights and those recognised in their countries, and are encouraged to educate other women. They learn the importance of civic participation, voting, and negotiation.

Connect to networks for support and advocacy – Women build support networks. They share ideas and resources, invest in business together, and help each other find solutions to common challenges.


As of May 2015, 'MOTHER' (and now 'SISTA') paraphernalia has raised £10,000 for Women for Women, and Molly's latest line of Tees and sweats, reading 'BOY' 'GIRL' and 'KIN' now also raise money for Kids Company, a charity supporting vulnerable children, young people and families in the UK.

So, last week, after months of indecision over what to buy; a t-shirt or a sweater and in which colour, I finally took the plunge and made a purchase...

I love hoodies, and anyone who sees me out and about IRL will know I LIVE in my grey zip-up, but my old faithful has been slowly dying a death over the last year or so with a seemingly un-washable oil patch recently staining it forever. I'd been on the hunt for a replacement for months - American Apparel and Topshop both failed me - and I was giving up hope. But when I then saw that Selfish Mother had brought out their #MotherHoody in grey with charcoal writing, it was a total no-brainer for me; I hastily ordered and was presently surprised [read: ecstatic] when it arrived just two days later.

I am a 5 foot 2 inch tall, flat-chested, size eight on top so I bought a size small and it fits perfectly. It didn't leave my body after it arrived for almost 72 hours (a bit gross, I know, but Joseph was ill) and it washed well too. It was £45 plus £4 postage, which is more than I'd normally pay for a hoody, but it was worth every penny. It's super soft and cosy, has slightly distressed front pocket detailing, is made from 85% organic cotton and was manufactured in factory in Bangladesh that has been certified by the Fair Weather Foundation, meaning no unfair labour.
So, FYI, this will be my staple hoody for the foreseeable future, [read: I'll be wearing it in all of my IG photos from now on] and I'm pretty certain I'll be purchasing any other colourways that Molly decides to bring out.... I'm not-so-secretly hoping for black on black. I feel like a proud mama when I wear mine (but I also have Ruari doing Glenn Danzig impressions in my earhole).

Have you bought anything from Selfish Mother? Have you ever stopped and spoken to a mum wearing a 'Mother' tee on your travels? I spotted one out and about at a baby rave I took Joseph to a while back. I was too shy to strike up a conversation, but inside I was like 'yeahhh, #MotherTee!' Next time I will be more brave!

Articles you might enjoy from SelfishMother.com:


Thank you for reading; All words and views are my own. This post is not sponsored or endorsed by Selfish Mother in any way... I'm just sharing the love!

P.S. This one's for the punks:

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Pics of the week: #39

I cheated last week and wrote about a particular day, and in a way that's kinda sad because now I can't remember what we did last week. I know I worked every weekday aside from Wednesday as that's my day off... I had CBT in the morning and Joseph had swimming in the afternoon. Oh, yeah, we visited a potential new nursery. I couldn't decide though so this week I made Ruari go and visit it too (and the contender I couldn't decide between) and we made the decision together. Annoyingly, had I made my mind up on the day we would've got Joseph in on the day that we wanted him in, but because I hesitated that day got taken up so now we're on a wait list and Ruari is going to have to re-jig things at his work until that day becomes available again. It's ok though. Hopefully it won't be for long.

On the Sunday we went to our friend's baby's second birthday party which was awesome; Joseph was obsessed with their Little Tikes 'Cozy Coupe' and now I need to get my hands on one, and find a place to store it sans garage. Hmm. I have seen them in a sale though and I can't wait to see his face light up when I present it to him... Although I might regret it once he's demanded I push him around in it for hours! I'm also considering a SmarTrike to replace our travel system. Double the price of the Little Tikes car, and not really the same kind of thing at all, but they look really fun and I think Joseph would enjoy that too. Anyone got one? How does it (the SmarTrike) work out for you in terms of practicality? Do you use it instead of a pushchair day-to-day, or just for certain walks? Ruari pointed out that I don't walk him anywhere anymore though... Which is true now I'm back at work [insert broken heart emoji.] Oh, that horrible money/time equation. It was always especially cruel at uni, you'd have the time to go places but not the money. Then when you work you have the money but not the time.)



This week was, umm, weird. I felt pretty run down for most of it, physically and mentally, and on the Monday I had to leave work early as I just felt so rough. On Tuesday I had a bit of a meltdown resulting in my manager coming out and talking to me for about an hour and a half in the car park before suggesting I go home and try to relax.

On Wednesday I found my appointment a huge relief; my therapist said she is going to ask the powers that be about extending our course of treatment as she shared my thoughts that we were only scratching the surface but we're half way through our course already. However, part of me feels like I was so enlightened by our session that maybe I won't need the extension. I've had these kind of epiphanies before and it has inevitably come crashing down around me but I'm at the point of 'ah that wasn't so bad' which I referred to in my post last week. How can I have such a short term memory of such emotional pain? How does it consume me on some days but on others I feel ok? What the actual? What we have noticed though is that memories from the past come to the forefront when I'm in certain situations and we're also distinguishing my motivations for doing things; are certain things my principles, or do I do things out of the fear of something bad happening as a result? I had never even been conscious of what I'd been doing, or thinking, so that was a real eye-opener.

Joseph and I went to town in the afternoon and I bought stationery for my new job. I'd been putting it off for a while as I'd not been in the right mind frame and crazy-indecisive about stupid stuff like 'do I want to appear mature or do I still want novelty crap?', but I finally went for it and went for a middle ground and got all excited. I held off buying the cloud-shaped post-it notes because I figured white post-its on white paper wouldn't stand out and defeat the point of a post it, but I did buy some kawaii stickers for my new functional, and kinda cute, but not really very 'me' diary. Part of me wonders if I'll ever get to use the stuff I bought; Whilst I believe in being open about talking about mental health I can't help but think 'what if my new team see what I've been going through and think 'ah she's crazy' and change their minds about employing me?' But, I also think that I am taking positive steps to work myself out of how I am feeling and bettering myself for the long-term, and that's a good thing, right? I liked this passage that reminds me that the brain is still a body part that needs looking after and that it's ok need to take time and look after it sometimes, just as you would if another part of your body was hurt;

"At some point in your life, something's going to go wrong with your body. So why on earth do humans assume that that their minds and emotions should be above the odd hiccup, upset or even more serious difficulty?"

Joseph was full of cold this week so I didn't take him swimming on Wednesday and it got even worse that night; he barely slept so we took him to the doctor who confirmed he had a temperature, swelling in his ears and glands and what appeared to be sinus pain from all the snot. He started on yet another course of antibiotics and the next two nights were pretty awful; we were sorely reminded of the newborn days. Last night he slept through though so hopefully he's over the worst. He's been really quite clingy, particularly toward his dad, which has been a bit weird for me and makes me wonder whether he's unhappy about seeing me a little less than he used to. I don't know.
I bought this and I have actually used it.
I felt better on Friday and went to work before going to a doctors appointment with my mum and brother, as my brother and I are concerned about my mum's health. I won't go into the details here, but she's probably the worst she's been in a long time (aside from when she's been post-op) and the doctor said it could take up to six months for her to feel back to 'her' normal following her recent spate of pneumonia and another infection; which isn't anyone else's normal unless you're in chronic pain and on insanely strong medication thanks to a cocktail of Spinal Tuberculosis, Arthritis and Osteoporosis. Bleurgh. I am obviously grateful her condition isn't terminal, but I just want her quality of life to be, well, better. I just want her to be happy and pain free without the need for such life-affecting medication, and free from the darkness that she also harbours.

Yesterday I played nurse to Joseph who was catching up on lost Zs. I wish I could've done the same but I am incapable of napping and I wasn't at my house as I perhaps may have done some housework. Perhaps.
Today Ruari was off work so we took it pretty easy; I visited my mum briefly whilst Ruari went to the gym this morning, and my dad also popped over. Ruari and I went to let his parents' dogs out and we had a wander around a shopping outlet; I bought a couple of heavily discounted books; 'Mindfulness for Dummies' and 'CBT for Dummies' - the hottest topics of mine, even though I should be decluttering and gathering inspiration for our build. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME. Gahhh. Do you ever feel like there are a million and one things you need to / should be doing, to the point where you can barely even do one thing? When I was off sick on Tuesday, I bought myself some magazines to read in bed but I couldn't read them. Distracted by a million other things and achieving squat aside from feeling guilty for not being at work or getting anything remotely useful done despite not having Joseph with me. I couldn't even read magazines. Or nap. At CBT the next day I relayed to my therapist how awful I'd felt about the whole thing and that I couldn't even account for my time; what was I doing? And I hadn't even done my homework so I felt so unprepared for our session. She said it all just proved that I wasn't in a good place so this week's homework has been to check in on my thoughts and take stock of what I am thinking and doing twice a day rather than letting my brain just rattle on as it does without me even being aware of what it's doing. Which is kind of related to mindfulness and being present in the moment.
Anyway, I'm going to go to sleep now. I've just re-read this post and realised that it is literally nothing that anyone would ever want to read. Ever. And it's not optimised for search... As if any of my posts are. #worstbloggerever

Good night, and thank you for reading it you have read this. I love you. x
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Thursday, 21 May 2015

Mummy Time: Jody Ewen

Jody is one of the founders of CraftedSisterhood.com, a collective which I'm often banging on about as they're doing some great things, and share my desire to help other mums through the sharing of experiences and stories... Which is how Mummy Time began in the first place (find out more about the whys and whos here). Anyway. Jody is one cool cucumber and shares how being mindful helps her now she's a mother... Something I'm currently a bit obsessed with. Also, yeah, I said 'cool cucumber'. I'm a loser, I know.
Enjoy....
Mummy:

Who are you?
Hello! I’m Jody, 23 year old mama to two month old Casper, who made his dramatic entrance via emergency c-section on 19/02/15. We live in Rochester, Kent with his Dad, my fiancĂ© Tom.

What do you do for a living?
I am a Buyers Assistant at John Lewis. Before my maternity leave started I worked in the Bathshop department, and before that the Nursery department (I knew aaallll about breast pumps long before Casper!)

How long are you planning to take for maternity leave?
I’m taking just under a year. I always wanted to take as long as possible and after a conversation with my (then) Head of Buying, she said ‘I don’t know anyone who wishes they’d gone back to work earlier after having a baby.’ which really stuck. My career is something which was always so important to me, but I admit it seems less so now. I’m pretty nervous about doing the commute into London again as it means I’m out of the house for such long days. Don’t get me wrong – I love my job and I do miss it, but the thought of leaving Casper with someone else makes me very unhappy.

How do you get things done?
Not my strong point! I rush around like a crazy person whenever Casper decides to nap (very rare!) I’ve tried him in the sling, which is great but only if he’s asleep. These days he’s pretty happy playing under his gym for a while so I pop him in that if I need to do anything two handed. I also sing at the top of my lungs while I’m doing stuff which keeps him happy. Of course there are still days in which absolutely nothing gets done and I feel pretty exhausted by the time Tom gets home!


How are you?
I am mostly really happy. Watching Casper change and grow everyday is so exciting, but I do struggle with the lack of control that comes hand-in-hand with having a little one. I’ll admit to the fact that I am probably too highly strung and so not being able to leave the house as and when I like, or not being able to get things done when I want to, is a huge challenge. All in all though, I feel thankful for our little guy. He’s pretty amazing and makes me laugh out loud just when I think I’m at breaking point.  I love being a mama and I wouldn’t change my life now for the world.

How do you relax?
When I start to feel as though everything is getting on top of me, particularly if Casper is fussing in the evenings and its been a long day, I will quite often take him upstairs and feed him lying down in bed. I’ll read or just lie quietly while he feeds and get my head together. I concentrate on my breathing and focus on being there in that moment. Baths were my trick when I was pregnant as I have always found them so therapeutic, but sadly I haven’t managed a real long soak since Casper was born! I hoping one day soon it will happen!

What do you do when you have time to yourself?
At the moment ‘time to myself’ is the rare occasion Casper naps or is playing with his pops in the evening. If I have a moments respite I am usually rushing around to tidy, do dishes or stick a wash on. Working on the blog – Crafted Sisterhood, which I co-founded with fellow IG mama and Mummy Time contributor Carrie Anne (@fantasy_dragon) also keeps me busy and keeps my mind active. I love it - we started it just a few weeks ago and already it’s got so many supportive mamas behind it! We try to post daily, with contributions from other mamas including inspirational birth stories, postpartum advice and essentially anything relating to motherhood. It has been amazing to watch it grow and I love speaking to the various mamas I wouldn’t have met if it wasn’t for IG! We also organise mama meet ups across the country, the first of which is this was a few weeks ago in London and it went so well! Carrie and I both bonded over the fact that we felt there was a real need for a mama-meet with no fee, where mums can come together with their babies and relax, laugh, eat cake, generally be happy in a relaxed environment with no judgement. I was so incredibly excited to meet all the mamas I have been speaking to for what seems like forever – we know so much about each other! Crafted Sisterhood is on instagram as @craftedsisterhood and you can read our musings over at www.craftedsisterhood.com. If any mamas want to contribute or get involved, they can also email us at craftedsisterhood@gmail.com.

How does a typical day go?  
I am only just getting used to the fact that every day is pretty different with Casper, especially when you’re exclusively breastfeeding! We have started to see a slight pattern appear in the last few days though. Casper wakes around 5-6am depending on when he woke in the night for a feed, and I tend to make the most of Tom being there before he heads of to work by dashing to make the coffees or getting in the shower. There are some days though where Casper will sleep later which means we only wake as Tom is leaving. The battle to get coffee with a babe in tow then commences. I’m pretty lucky in the fact that Casper tends to be in a good mood in the mornings, so after some play time I pop him under his play gym in the bathroom and he’s quite happy for a little while I shower and quickly get ready.

What we actually do in the day varies, I see a lot of my mum who has a day off on Thursdays and a lot of Tom’s mum who has a day on Monday. They both have car seats so its pretty useful if we want to pop out and Tom has the car at work. I see friends who work locally or my cousin who has a little one just 6 weeks older than Casper. Whatever we do, I try to make sure there is loads going on for Casper to soak in, lots of different sights to see and different things for me to make up silly songs about.

Pregnancy:

How was your pregnancy?
I had no real complications but I found pregnancy in general pretty tough. I had a long commute to work and suffered with low blood pressure which meant I collapsed on the train a couple of times and in a handful of meetings. I suffered emotionally too, with bouts of anxiety which I had never experienced before. Pregnancy really changed me, and I am sad to say, I don’t think for the better. We had so much to organise and I remember just thinking we would never get there. Despite all of that, the magical feeling of the first time I felt Casper wriggle inside me during a yoga class was the most special, wonderful thing in the world.

Did you have any cravings?
I only really craved milkshakes – I put that down to intense heart burn everyday, also my justification for the amount of Yazoo I consumed. Pate is also the key to my heart so I really, really missed that!

Did you find out what you were having?
Yes we couldn’t wait to find out! I cried so much at the scan that the sonographer had to tell Tom to calm me down. I always liked the idea of having a boy first, although in truth I would have been just as thrilled with a little girl.

How did you decide on your names and you already have the names ready before they arrived?
Tom suggested the name Casper, and straight away I loved it. We had a back up boy name but pretty early on we were calling my bump Casper. We kept it a secret much to the frustration of absolutely everyone in our lives.

How did your prepare for your baby’s arrival?
I read the standard pregnancy guide books and devoured all the statistics and facts involved with what was happening. I think reading everything about my changing body helped me come to terms with impending motherhood when I felt so uneasy in the first trimester. I did a lot of mental preparation in the form of meditation and mindfulness practice and Tom and I attended a Hypnobirthing course which was great but unfortunately didn’t get put to use! Carrie mentions giving me her Mindful Birthing book in her Mummy Time interview (read it here) – she is the kindest soul and sent it to me once she had finished with it. I read it cover to cover and did use techniques from the book to deal with the early stages of labour. As I got closer I did the generic ante-natal classes but just found they didn’t teach anything I didn’t already know. I was confident in my abilities so it was more just going through the motions.

How was your labour?
My labour sadly went horribly wrong very quickly. I dreamed of a drug-free water birth and practiced mindfulness and meditation techniques everyday throughout my pregnancy. When I arrived at the hospital in the middle of the night it quickly became apparent that Casper was in distress. He had foetal bradychardia, which essentially means that when the heart rate naturally drops during a contraction (normal) it doesn’t recover again (not normal). After breaking my waters and attaching a monitor to his head they quickly decided he was not a happy little guy and my only option was a caesarean. There was no time for an epidural to kick in so Tom was kicked out of the room and 45 minutes later I woke up, still very hazy from anaesthetic, only to look over and see my son wrapped up in a bundle in Toms arms.
It was easily the most traumatic experience of my life and I was heartbroken that everything I wanted to happen, didn’t happen. It’s taken me a while to come to terms with how he arrived, but I have a healthy baby who without intervention may not have made it. That’s all that matters to me now.   

Baby:

How did you get on with breastfeeding?
I found breastfeeding so, so difficult. My initial problem was that as Casper was a c-section baby, I found getting him into a position that wasn’t painful for me really challenging. I also had a cannula in my left arm, so I felt so clumsy trying to prop his head up. Next issue was latching – no one explains this to you before your baby comes and I spent every feed crying and trying to be calm and failing miserably. I will never forget the feeling of panic and dread each time Casper cried for a feed. I was also pretty surprised how many people are pro giving up, just because it’s hard. Luckily I also had a lot of people around me egging me on. No matter how hard I cried I persevered and it’s the best thing I have done. One night mid-break down I just had enough. I thought to myself ‘Right. This is it. You’re going to master this because your baby needs to eat. Man up you can do this.’ And he latched perfectly. It was as if he knew I suddenly had faith in us. I am also very lucky in that I have an unbelievable supply so I plan to donate now that Casper is old enough! (Milk banks ask that you wait six weeks to ensure that your supply is enough for your baby first.) I think it took about three/four weeks of pain before it eventually started easing off. I used Lansinoh like it was going out of  fashion and tried to be bra-free as much as is possible when you have a constant stream of visitors and perpetually leaking boobs! I think in that time we were getting the hang of the latch, so once they started to heal, one day of lousy latch would just put us back to square one. It was incredibly frustrating but I am stubborn as hell and wouldn't let the pain deter me. I sent out a plea post to IG mamas and as per usual got a stream of supportive comments and general good vibes from them all. When you have twenty mamas telling you how worth it it’s going to be, you just can't give up. An old school friend saw my plea and got in touch - her own mama is a health visitor (one of the great ones) and we had a good 30 minute phone conversation. She didn’t necessarily tell me anything I didn’t already now but was positive, encouraging, and I hung up the phone feeling like I was actually doing it right for once! It was a great feeling and we didn’t look back. I don’t have any thoughts on when I will stop feeding Casper, whenever feels right I guess.

Does Casper have a feeding routine?
Does all the time particularly when it’s inconvenient count as a routine?!

Does Casper have a sleep routine?
He doesn’t have a sleep routine as such but I did a few things to encourage his understanding of night and day. In the daytime, the house is kept light with plenty of noise and fun and activity. He gets dressed at roughly the same time in the morning, which I think helps him to understand that a new day is beginning. In the evenings around six he has a lavender bath, a massage and then I put him in ‘pyjamas’. After that, everything is peaceful and I try to keep the lights dim. The time when he actually drops of varies but I am fortunate in that after his night feeds he falls straight back to sleep.

How do you keep Casper entertained?
His favourite things include dancing round the living room with me to Chicago house, or listening to his pops play guitar. I think I listened to so much music when I was pregnant that it really seems to settle him. A lot of smiling and high pitched voices get the gurgles going, and he gets a lot of impromptu songs out of us. These tend to be lyrics about nappy changes dubbed over well-known pop songs, but it makes him smile! Worryingly, he also likes to stare at himself in the mirror for extended periods of time.


What helps to calm Casper down during a freak out?
We’ve only ever experienced this a couple of times, luckily, as Casper’s a pretty happy baby. I just persevered, held him close with lots of gentle shushing and if all else fails, the boob. Skin to skin helps him settle if I expect he’s just overtired too.

Does Casper seem to suffer with anything and what do you do to help it?
He is rather windy (breastfed babies not being windy is total balls!) so sometimes that makes him a little grizzly but as he’s getting older he seems to cope with it better himself. If not his dad is a pro-winder. Strangely, I also can’t eat tomatoes because they give him a sore bum!

What are your go-to resources for information when you're worried?
I have googled everything from nappy contents to hiccups in the early hours. I am also very fortunate to have a nurse as a mother in law so she is Whatsapped all sorts of pictures and questions, from the time I suspected I had mastitis due to an unfortunate infected toenail incident (Casper, not me). I ask my mum everything too as she is completely non-judgemental and works in early years childcare herself. She understands that things are different to when she raised me and embraces everything that I am doing. She is really encouraging which is lovely.

Paraphernalia:

Does Casper have a favourite toy?
At the moment he’s a huge fan of a navy and white striped zebra from Jellycat, so that comes everywhere with us. Anything with a smiley face or contrasting light and dark patterns and he’s sold.

What was your most recent baby-related purchase?
A set of dangly things (technical term) that attach to the pram, gym or carseat. They squeak and vibrate and rattle and in his favourite black and white, Casper is transfixed by them. We also got him a stripy triceratops but I think that was more for his dad than him.

What has been the most useful thing you've bought?
Probably the countless supply of muslins we have as we go through an unbelievable amount! The sling is great if Casper is happy to nap but only on me and I need to get things done. I was given a manual breast pump but got myself an electric one which is so much easier so that has been a godsend for when I need to express. Lavender oil is my go to oil for getting Casper in a calm mood in the evenings and is an absolute essential.

What is Casper’s mode of transport?
We have a Bugaboo Cameleon 3 which was a gift from my parents and is khaki and bloody awesome, but sometimes I feel ridiculous pushing it round because it’s massive and worth practically double the amount our banged-up 1998 Fiesta is. I have a Boba wrap which is useful sometimes but Casper is a wriggler and will not be in it awake. It’s great for if I know he’s close to napping as he nearly always drifts off in it if he’s tired. If I’m heading out alone I tend to take both so I can have him snoozing in the Boba and transfer him to the buggy for a wriggle when he wakes up!

What are your absolute essentials when you go out?
Spare baby clothes (learnt the hard way from a lot of jet-pee incidents), chewing gum, the usual nappy supplies, MUSLINS. I wash about 30 muslins a week. Also spare breast pads, because I’ve leaked through my top more times than I care to remember.


Where are your favourite places to shop for baby clothes?
We were bought so many clothes for Casper so I actually haven’t got to do that much shopping for him. (I say that with regret because I bloody love shopping) I’ve found some lovely bits in Baby Gap when I have had the chance to go shopping and I have to say I am loyal to John Lewis Childrenswear. There are loads of amazing brands out there that I’d love to dress Casper up in, but at the moment he has enough to be going with!

Body & Mind:

Has your view on your body changed since you've become a mother? 
I won't lie and say I'm totally in love with my body now, but you do feel differently about it once you've housed and nourished a life all by yourself. It’s pretty special what the female body is capable of and I am still so in awe that my boobies keep Casper alive and gaining weight. I'm not going to look like I used to on the beach this summer, I have a little baby pouch and boobs covered in stretch-marks but in all honesty I'm not as phased by how flat my stomach is anymore. I've started back at Yoga and try to eat a good, balanced diet, but I'm too busy blowing raspberries on Casper’s tummy for a fad diet or gruelling work out plan! 

How do you practice being mindful in respect to being a mother?
Being mindful in everyday life now I have Casper is so valuable, even more so than before I would say. There are times when his cry is piercing and he's been going at it for hours or he's so overtired he won't nap despite how exhausted he is. It's times like that when, understandably, some mamas really struggle with their emotions. There have been so many occasions especially in the early days when I would sit and cry each time Casper did. That frantic feeling when you feel as though you have tried everything and you just need a time out. Now we are more into the swing of family life, I find it easier to stop, take a few deep breaths, relax my shoulders and so on. It keeps me calm when Casper isn't which helps, as getting frustrated only ever escalates the problem! I do a quick body scan every day in the shower which helps to just re-balance and get me in a positive head space for the day. For mamas who have never done any sort of meditative practice before, but want to give it a try, I really recommend the 'Headspace' app. It's fantastic to get you started if you want to be able to get into a 'zone' but need some guidance. I started off using Headspace everyday but now find I don't need it.

Advice:

Do you have any tips you’d like to share with other mums or expectant mums?
Your life is going to change in the most unimaginable way. Being a mother is the most intensely wonderful thing you will ever do, but also easily the most challenging. Stick to what you believe is right for you and your baby. Advice will fly from every direction, but if you’re confident in what you’re doing then carry on. Breastfeeding is bloody hard, but dig deep and keep going and it will be the most easy, convenient thing ever. It’s also pretty special to get your baby weighed and realise it was all you, and you alone that is responsible for those delicious rolls. Be open and honest and don’t feel guilty for asking for help if you need it.

Thank you for sharing, Jody!

Find Jody on IG:
@jodyewen
@craftedsisterhood 

P.S. Jess from last week's Mummy Time post (along with her BFF) is hosting the second Crafted Sisterhood meet up in Bristol on Saturday 23rd May at The Green Bank at 12pm. You can find Jess and her BFF, Emma (who I want to feature on here soon) at mamafolk.co.uk.

Thank you for reading! x
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