Thursday, 7 May 2015

Mummy Time: Sophie Cummings

Sophie is awesome. Her eyebrows are awesome. Her answers are awesome (I found myself nodding along in many parts). And have you seen the little baby harem style pants she makes? They are awesome too. (Btw, you can bid on a pair as part of Carrie's Insta-auction raising funds for the women and babies in Nepal (visit @fantasy_dragon - bidding on Sophie's lot ends tonight 07/05/15) or alternatively keep an eye on Sophie's Instagram (@sophiecummings) or blog where she'll be posting updates about her shop.) I hope you enjoy this week's post!


Mummy:

Who are you?
Hello! I’m Sophie, 25 years young. I’ve lived in North London, surprisingly, for four years now with my partner, Reece and our five month old daughter, Luna. Surprisingly as I’m the last person you’d place in a city - Tesco Express overwhelms me let alone the big smoke. 

What do you do for a living?
I’ve temporarily left a Marketing Executive role to solely look after Luna, until September when I’ll have to share her with a nursery. I originally planned to go back mid-May but in hindsight I was crazy to think I would ever be ready to leave her so soon, (there was also a slight case of nurseries not taking her until September).  Nothing really prepared me for how strongly I would feel towards her and how much even the thought of not being with her every day would break my heart. That said, day by day I’m becoming more accustomed to the idea of returning, I’ve always been very career driven and I’m keen to not lose sight of the goals I had pre-motherhood - I think we can all agree that you very quickly get sucked in to baby-land!

How are you?
Honestly, honestly....honestly, I’ve never been better. Yes I’m tired and I really need my eyebrows waxing and desperately need to clean my house but having Luna has pushed me to be far more confident than I ever was, because I have to be. I have to get out the house every single day, I have to deal with the embarrassment of a screaming baby on public transport, I have to deal with getting my boobs out in public, I have to get used to not having family around.  It’s especially true living in a city; it’s fast paced and it’s packed - avoiding people with a fussy baby is never an option. For once in my life, I LIKE being busy. She’s ignited a little get up and go in me that I never thought I had. Wait, maybe I’m in some sort of honeymoon stage of motherhood? Am I? No don’t tell me, I don’t want the bubble to burst.


What do you do to relax?
My shoulders couldn’t drop quicker than when I get out of London and back to the countryside. Being around family is always a big relaxant for me, pair that with any of the following: wine, crappy TV, chocolate, a bath, A NAP and I’m pretty much horizontal.

How do you get things done?
Strap her in the bouncer and give her Sophie the Giraffe, I buy myself up to an hour and a half of baby-free time. It’s been a lifesaver!

What do you do when you have time to yourself?
At the moment? Write. For Crafted Sisterhood or my own blog - lunamaryjean.wordpress.com. The housework has been neglected for some time now and to be honest I really can’t be bothered to spend precious time on it anymore (I’ve also decided I hate my flat so the love is lost unfortunately). I suppose blogging has become a little re-introduction into creativity after the whirlwind of caring for a newborn baby and my 3 year sabbatical from my Fine Art degree, but I really do need to get the ball rolling and get my hands dirty again, I’m in a constant battle with myself about this, but watch this space. (Unless you have better things to do...you’ll be here for a long time).

How does a typical day go?  
Luna is up between 6am and 7am, we have an hour giggling and playing upstairs before she gets tired again and has a half an hour nap – I frantically scramble for coffee and toast the moment she goes back in her cot. I try to have something planned every day, whether it’s a baby group at the local Children’s Centre, a coffee date or even something as simple as a long walk. Other than bedtime and nappy free playing first thing in the morning, we don’t have any set activities throughout the day and I’m pretty lucky that Reece walks through the door at around 4pm so I have a couple of hours hands-free!


Pregnancy:

How was your pregnancy?
My pregnancy was a breeze. I found out I was 12 weeks pregnant just after returning from a boozy 12 day trip to Australia & Tasmania where I thought I’d come down with the worst case of jet lag known to man (cue three days of nausea and migraines) - that was the only sickness I got.  I thought I’d balloon like Kim K but thankfully (not) it was just my boobs that tripled. I got a little bit of sciatica as I got bigger but it quickly passed when I stopped wearing heels and slowed down on the commute to work, it took me a while to admit defeat and stop trying to keep up with London pace.

Did you have any cravings?
Cherry tomatoes!! I still can’t get past cherry tomatoes! Give me all the cherry tomatoes! Also, Greek salads. Could have been worse.

Did you find out what you were having?
We did. I wasn’t 100% sure whether I wanted to but if I’m honest I don’t think I would have been able to walk out of that 20 week scan without knowing- it’s too exciting! Although I was convinced I was having a boy. I definitely won’t be finding out the sex of the next one though, I want to experience the surprise the moment they’re born.



How did you decide on your names?
We decided midway through the pregnancy. In fact it was Reece who suggested it out of nowhere. I wanted a little bit of Italian in the name to keep hold of her roots but didn’t realise there was a Harry Potter character called Luna, I have honestly never seen a Harry Potter film in my life...for the 15th billion time no, I did not name my child after a wizard.

How did your prepare for Luna's arrival?
In all honesty, I was pretty bad at preparing. I’m bad at preparing for everything really but I did think I would sort it out for this minor life changer. I went to 2 antenatal classes, one on Breastfeeding (which was actually great) and one on birth in general (which was awful) - I only went because I felt pressured by the midwives. One midwife wrongly told me Luna was breech at 36 weeks so I started attending acupuncture weekly to move her, only to be told she was head down and engaged in the presentation scan. It was a free service offered by the maternity unit so I carried on purely for relaxation and then for labour inducing purposes, I even had a session when I was in early stages of labour! I chose not to read a single book either; I didn’t want to take in too much conflicting information, I fully trusted my maternal instinct/ advice from those who had been through it all and I’m far too lazy.

How was your labour?
My birth plan literally read ‘water birth, no drugs, first person to touch her, breastfeed immediately’ and I was pretty lucky that it mostly went to plan - I went into labour at 5am on her due date, 25th November and had her 41 hours later on the 26th in a midwife led birth centre, it was incredible. The room, the staff, I can’t sing their praises enough. Aside from a shot of diamorphine that stopped all contractions for eight hours and resulted in me being sent home (I wish I hadn’t agreed to it) and an excruciating drive up to the hospital the second time bang in the middle of 60,000 Arsenal fans descending upon the Emirates Stadium for a home game - I had her in a birth pool and pulled her out as I’d planned. Although it took a long time to reach 3cm, it only took 2 and a half hours from then to have her!


Baby:

How did you get on with breastfeeding?
After Luna had the usual checks straight after birth, a midwife pretty much got my boob in her hand, grabbed a pillow, propped Luna onto it and she latched on immediately.  She nursed for an hour and we've never had a problem since.  

Does Luna have a feeding routine?
Luna became a bit fussy around 3.5 months. I tried everything only to realise that she just didn't need it as often anymore and she was becoming more aware of her surroundings! I stopped trying to force feed her out of worry that she wasn't getting enough, waited for her cues and now she feeds usually every  four hours, but I swear she could take it or leave it! Doesn't take after her Mum, that's for sure! Since we started a sleep routine she tends to feed around similar times every day, 7-11-3-6.30. 

Does Luna have a sleep routine?
We started it at 8 weeks, as soon as she did that 10pm-7am stretch every night. That was great, but Reece and I needed an evening again. We did a little routine; bath, book, feed in the dark, put in cot awake and a little controlled crying method, it was the worst 10 days of parenthood so far, but it's paid off big time. She now goes to sleep at 6.30pm, wakes for a feed around 1am and goes back to sleep until 7am. If we go out anywhere or need to travel around her bedtime we bath her, get her into PJs, feed her and she'll fall asleep in her pram or car seat for the rest of the night. As a result, her naps are now longer and more regular. She tends to have a half an hour nap an hour after waking up in the morning, then a 45 minute nap and a 2 hour nap every day.

What are Luna’s favourite things to do?
It changes every day, but at the moment she wants to stand up and fall down all the time. She loves to sit in her bouncy chair and weirdly she loves this poster I have above her changing mat, she coos and squeals at it for ages. Failing that we play 'witchy, witchy, woo' - we creep up to her like Michael Jacksons Thriller dance and say.... witchy witchy woo. I literally don't know how this started and I'm really embarrassed I just told you. 

What are your go-to resources for information about Luna when you're worried?
One of my best friends, Lia, is a Nanny to babies, toddlers, school children and a mother to a 6 month old and 4 year old- safe to say she's my motherhood guru. I swear I wouldn't be as chilled about it all if I didn't have her. All the advice she has ever given has worked for Luna. She's one of those people that aren't blindsided to one method, she doesn't throw her weight around or force her opinion down your throat, she suggests something and then suggests how to tweak it if it doesn't work. She's probably fixed every issue I've ever had. Failing that, Mum.



Paraphernalia:

What has been the most useful thing you've bought?
We share a room with Luna so we didn't bother with a Moses basket and put her straight into her own cot- our greatest purchase must be our Sleepyhead cocoon. Expensive for what it is, (the cot cost less!) but she doesn't sleep as well without it so it must be doing something. Also it's great to take away with you, while they’re immobile, if you're staying at someone's house/in a hotel and don't have a cot. I kind of want my own Sleepyhead, oh to be constantly snuggled. 

What are Luna’s modes of transport?
We were suckers and bought a Bugaboo Cameleon, we love it, it's a great buggy but it is quite bulky. Not great for travelling or getting up the flight of stairs outside our front door! I've recently been trawling the Internet for a cheap stroller to take to Italy in June- we were shown the Babyzen YoYo stroller in Mothercare and oh my gosh if I had a spare £400 I'd use nothing else! It folds small enough to fit on board under a plane seat...amazing, but not cheap. Carriers; Ergobaby 360 and Solly Baby Wrap. Former for longer journeys, latter for shorter/hotter journeys!

Where are your favourite places to shop for baby clothes?
Zara, H&M...I am also that annoying person who finds patterns for everyone else to make her baby clothes rather than learn how to. Luna has a lot of handmade stuff! My favourite Instagram discoveries are Saxon & Sunra (@saxonandsunra) and Maiuki (@maiuki_).  


Advice:

What do you wish you'd known before you had a baby?
I wish I'd known a few things really; that you might not connect with your baby the moment that little hand wraps around your finger. That the ‘3 Day Blues’ last far longer than 3 days. That as well as rewarding, looking after a baby can be extremely lonely and at times very frustrating. That I’d want my Mum to be with me constantly. That you won't be able to spend maternity leave sitting around making beautiful things and setting up a new business while your baby contentedly coos and smiles in the corner...ha, ha. (In fact I think my boss did actually tell me that). Lastly, that the methods you dreamed of adopting/ refused to do for your child might not work out- because your child is actually a human, with their own personality and there's only so much you can do. 

What's the best advice or most useful tip that anyone's given you about parenting? 
Mum; things change by the hour. You'll get over one hurdle and another will appear, take it in your stride day by day. 
Lia; your baby will be fussy if you let it be fussy. Introduce her to everything!

Do you have any tips you’d like to share with other mums or expectant mums?
Make the effort to make new friends, join NCT (I didn't but wish I had for the company alone), get out the house as much as possible. The tiniest little coffee date (whether it's with someone you wouldn't necessarily be friends with outside of motherhood doesn't matter, you have a mutual interest that you can talk about unreservedly), the shortest little stroll, a 5 minute trip to the shop, it does you the world of good. Especially for those suffering with PND or those far away from family. There's nothing better than the feeling of having achieved something, alone, with your baby.  When I’m having a particularly bad day where I feel like everything is getting on top of me, I abandon all the housework and get outside, fresh air and (occasional) sunshine works wonders. Get that Vitamin D fix!


Thank you for sharing Sophie! 
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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

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