Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Mummy Time: Amber Lilley

Mummy Time is back after I'm-too-afraid-to-look many weeks! Amber has been incredibly patient throughout my blogging hiatus and I'm so glad to finally be sharing this snippet of her life with Milo which she kindly shared. Milo was 12 months old at the time Amber wrote this and references that long, lost season we're all pining after... Summer! I loved reading Amber's hilarious Mummy Time and I hope you'll also enjoy snooping her beautiful Instagram @amberivylilley!


Who are you?
Hi, name is Amber I’m 27 years old and I live in Harrogate (recently voted the happiest place to live in the UK) with my husband Michael and our now 12 month old, Milo. We have only lived here for a year after moving out of the city in exchange for more grass and pram friendly pavements.

What do you do for a living?
Right now I feel like I am in limbo with my job. I hate the idea of working more than two days a week and also having to put Milo in a nursery, partly because of how expensive they are! So I work two days a week (which I am lucky enough to choose my hours and what days I work) as an administrator/do a bit of everything at my parents business. During these days my mum looks after Milo – it’s a pretty good set up really – but a lot of the time I feel myself craving more from my career. I know soon I will have to look for something more exciting!

How did you feel when you returned to work?
Initially the thought of returning to work scared me shitless. Firstly the thought of leaving Milo was unfathomable when you spend every waking hour as a nappy changing, zombie, I thought - how can you possibly juggle something else when you have to do all this! Secondly, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do? I still don’t – it’s a constant battle I face all the time.
Also you mums that work full time or more than my couple of days a week I take my hat off to you! The house gets super messy and neglected on the days I work and I hate it! On the other hand I feel that small amount of time off from being a mum makes me really treasure the time I have with my baby all over again.

How are you?
I am good – definitely in the best place I’ve ever been in my life. But of course I don’t feel like this everyday. Some days can be an uphill struggle and your lucky to get a clean pair of clothes on yourself and your baby by noon, if not all day!

How does a typical day go?
Milo usually wakes us up at about 6.30am. Michael and I slowly wake up and fight over whose going to change his nappy and bring him into our bed for a bit while he climbs all over us and we properly wake up. We have a race of whose going to shower first while Milo enjoys some cereal, scrambled egg or toast.
I usually try to get out of the house before his morning nap, we go to the park, meet my friend Katie who has a 16 month old to go for coffee or sometimes end up at soft play torture.
At around 11am Milo naps in his cot for around 1-1 ½ hours and then we have lunch. Milo loves food and is most content when there is food around. In the afternoon we either have a lazy day at home, visit friends or family. If the weathers nice we are lucky to live right on the edge of beautiful countryside and a walk with a friend is a lovely way to get out of the house. After tea we have a loose routine of bath, book and bed – Milo is usually always in bed by 7pm and despite loving being a mama I so eagerly look forward to this time! When Milo is in bed my ultimate treat is a bath and book in bed with tea and biscuits. I know -WILD.


How was your pregnancy?
I had a pretty straightforward pregnancy until around 28 weeks when I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Having higher levels of glucose in your bloodstream means your unborn baby’s tummy can swell. Therefore you have to control this through diet and exercise. I swear cutting down on carbs, completely cutting out sweets and evening strolls helped me get back to my pre-pregnancy weight.
Milo also measured large throughout the whole pregnancy, this meant I had to have regular scans and ended up being induced at 38 weeks. Basically because I was literally ready to pop! Being so big I was really self-conscious of my bump towards the end – a woman in Mothercare could not believe that I wasn’t pregnant with twins or triplets. Not to mention it was uncomfortable as hell. Looking in the mirror naked honestly made me freak out.

Did you have any cravings?
Nope…I just wanted to eat all the chocolate in the world but this was swiftly put to bed when I found out I had gestational diabetes.

Did you find out what you were having?
Yes! I really really hoped that I was having a girl – when I found out it was a boy I think I said to the sonographer – can you double check please. It’s so silly as obviously you love your baby more than anything in the universe when they come along. I hope to have another boy in the future.

How did you decide on names and did you already have the names before Milo arrived?
I had about one hundred girls names lovingly saved to my iPhone notes and about two boys’ names in there somewhere. When Milo was born he was called Phoenix – it just didn’t suit him and within a week we settled on Milo.

How did you prepare for your Milo's arrival?
Milo was not planned. I found out I was pregnant after moving back in with my parents with the aim to save and buy our own house. When we found out we had under nine months to do this in we worked our arses off and moved into our house just 3 days before Milo was born. This meant the nursery etc. all came together at the last minute. I think I was really overstressed in the last few months of pregnancy. I wish I could go back and tell my pregnant self to chill the f**k out and that everything would be ok.
I avoided antenatal classes but I did buy a bunch of books on attachment parenting. To be honest I didn’t read much, but a book I would really recommend is the ‘Continuum concept’ by Jean Liedloff (if you are interested in attachment parenting it’s a very interesting read).

How was your labour?
Really awful! To cut a long story short Milo got stuck and after all that effort I had an emergency c-section. I had all the drugs under the sun, at one point I was having hallucinations about my dad having four nipples!
My birth plan could not have been more opposite to the reality of my labour. Leading up to my labour my Nan had dubbed me ‘Mother Earth’ as I really believed a candlelit water birth with no drugs was how I would welcome my baby into the world. I think I was shouting epidural before they even started my induction.


How did you get on with breastfeeding?
I breastfed exclusively for six weeks but that’s as far as I got. There were problems with Milo latching on and I think I spent most of them six weeks with the curtains closed crying. It was really hard when I had to stop breastfeeding as the guilt you feel is just terrible.  I will definitely give it another go next time round though.

Does your baby have a feeding routine?
As Milo is now one I have just reduced his milk feeds to two per day, but this happened naturally and I have never been strict about the number of feeds he had per day. I have been so lucky with weaning Milo onto solids, as through meeting other mums I know how hard it can sometimes be. Anyway, Milo was basically born to eat. I started weaning at about 5.5 months and did a mixture of purees and baby-led weaning.
Milo’s routine has now naturally fallen into having three meals a day with some snacking in between.
He eats whatever Michael and I are having and one of my favourite things in the world is cooking for my family. I have always loved to cook so the fact that I don’t have a fussy baby (yet!) makes this pretty easy.
He loves fish, eggs, stirfry, carrots, cheese – I could go on – he basically likes EVERYTHING.

Does Milo have a nap/ sleep routine, and how did you put it into place?
Now that Milo is a year old he has a pretty good nap and sleeping routine. He has a morning nap that lasts between 1-2 hours and a shorter afternoon nap. However, the afternoon nap is usually harder to tackle and sometimes it never happens.
He goes to bed at 7pm and wakes up around 6.30am.
But looking back it hasn’t always been like this and Mamas with younger babies reading this- hang in there - it will get easier!
Milo has a sheep teddy (Sheepy) that he uses as a comforter to get to sleep with. He rolls around the bed with it until he’s asleep – it kind of looks like a wrestling match and I find them asleep in some pretty hilarious positions.

What are Milo’s favourite things to do?
Crawl around in big open spaces, play with other babies at baby groups that I secretly hate, watch Peppa Pig and food, food, food. He has also recently learnt how to play things I’ve recorded on TV. These kids are clever – he’s now watching Peppa Pig without my permission!

When Milo's freaking out what do you do to calm them down?
Turn on Peppa Pig the theme tune alone creates instant smiles, a walk around the garden, or a healthy snack – Milo is obsessed with sultanas and they usually win him over.

Does Milo suffer with anything and what do you do to help it?
Milo suffers with eczema, which is just starting to calm down now that he has turned one. It really flares up with teething and it’s a constant battle keeping his skin soft. I don’t really like using steroid creams so I basically just moisturise, moisturise, moisturise at every nappy change and post bath. I like Aveeno and Hydromol ointment. (we go through a huge bottle a week).

At what age did your Milo become more mobile and what did you do to cope?
Milo was a late mover. He literally just sat still in one spot for almost 11 months. Plus, because he’s so big for his age I swear people at baby groups were like – “Er…why is that two year old not moving?” He liked being on his legs but I had to walk round everywhere holding his hands and my back used to ache like crazy.
In the last week of being a ten month old he began to crawl and I think he may be close to walking – but you can never tell with these babies!
I’m a real clean freak so dealing with the wake of destruction that goes hand in hand with a baby on the move does nothing for my anxiety levels.

What are your go to resources for information about your baby when you are worried?
Firstly my mum - she is very laid back and always talks sense when I am over worried about something silly. Also my friend Katie, she is a nurse and mother to a sixteen month old. Her little girl has usually already been through a particular phase that Milo is going through.


Have you taken Milo on holiday?
We took Milo to Fuerteventura , one of the Canary Islands, when he was eight months old. The four and a half hour flight was tough as he cried a lot! But going abroad with your baby is an amazing experience. Its hard work constantly worrying whether their too hot, burning, eating sand, as well as keep them entertained while you try to get in some precious sunbathing time – but totally worth it for the amazing experiences you will have as a family.
We are also taking Milo to France on Sunday. I have the same mix of emotions as I did last time – will he scream on the aeroplane again? Yes, probably – but just go with the flow, you’re  going on holiday! (I plan to take a family size bag of Milky Bar buttons this time round also but shhhhhhhh!)

What were your holiday essentials?
An all in one swimming costume to prevent sun burn, sun hats and a light weight pram and carrier.

Was Milo’s routine affected?
Yes, but after worrying about that I went with the flow and took Milo out for a few meals after his bedtime. Everything returns to normal when you get back home.


Does Milo have a favourite toy?
Definitely Sheepy!
It’s funny pre-pregnancy I always questioned my body, I was never 100% confident on the beach – and looking back I think how STUPID you were! I am probably more confident now than I was pre-baby.  And yes the old cliché – your body really did do something absolutely phenomenal so love your jiggly tums mums.
How do you relax?
What do you do when you have time to yourself?
A lot of the above, drink red wine and eat chocolate and sometimes I may just manage to squeeze in a monthly shave.
Red wine, my husband and my mum. Probably in that order.
For me, probably the first six months, Milo cried ALL THE TIME. The doctors never found out really why apart from that he was just a miserable baby (with colic in the evenings). I found baby groups and social situations tough because my baby was always the one balling his eyes out. For me every month that goes by is a better one as I have seen my little boy grow into such a more content and happy little soul. 

What was your most recent baby-related purchase, and why did you buy it?
More summer clothes Milo grows so fast he has outgrown his summer wardrobe. He needed a few basics for France.

What has been the most useful thing you’ve bought/discovered?
The white noise app was a godsend for the first year! Milo has only just recently given up going to sleep every night in a tropical rainstorm. Ha!

What is your baby’s mode of transport?
I used the Baby Bjorn ‘active’ carrier in the early days. I now mainly use my pram an Oyster Max2 – its ok – but I’m now on the hunt for a more lightweight stroller.

What are your absolute essentials when you go out?
Snacks (sultanas, carrot sticks and rice cakes), books for the pram, change of clothes for nappy explosions and an extra jumper/jacket, oh, and his beloved sheepy.

What are your favourite places to shop for baby clothes?
Zara, H&M, ebay (mainly for vintage denim!) and some lovely individual labels on etsy.

Body and Mind

Has your view, with your body changed since you’ve become a mother?
I’m a granny at heart! I love an early night and reading, cooking, pottering around my little garden, going walking in the countryside, an evening run and cleaning – honestly I bloody love a good clean!

When things are tough, what gets you through?


What have you been to be the most challenging month?

What’s the best advice or most useful tip about parenting anyone has given you?
Every baby is different. Don’t compare your baby or expect them to do something just because your friend’s baby is doing it. Secondly, relax, I think the more relaxed you are around your baby the more they thrive.

Do you have any advice you would like to share with other mums or expectant mums?
Do what works for you. Sometimes the health visitors or just other peoples’ opinions can make you question yourself. But if it works for you and your baby - I say go with it.

Oh and if I could give my pregnant self some advice it would be – don’t buy newborn size baby grows – your baby is gonna be a massive giant and won’t fit into them!

Thank you so very much for sharing, Amber!

Next week it's Mummy Time with my darling friend Alice and four month old Delores <3

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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