New Mama Tag

I got this idea from watching the new mum/mom tag videos on YouTube, which was created by the beautiful and inspirational Emily Norris, so without any further ado, let’s answer some questions.

1) Favourite Mum Hack?

This might not be too amazing but, I’d say teaching your child to perform basic clean up tasks as a game, has been my fave hack. Reuben loves wiping his high chair down and helping with the laundry for this reason.

2) Most Embarrassing Mum Moment?

I thought I could bottle feed in the nursing room in a shopping centre. I was wrong.

3) Favourite part of the day?

Going to get Reuben out of his cot after any nap/sleep. It’s lovely. Bathtime is a close second, that’s always a giggle.

4) Worst part of the day?

Cleaning up after mealtimes irritates me every single time.

5) Worst thing someone said to you when pregnant?

“you got pregnant so you didn’t have to work” and “just another useless mum on the dole” and also “you’re absolutely massive”. Yay.

6) A baby name you disagreed on?

Reuben. But, I got my way.

7) Do you co-sleep?

It’s only occasional now, when trying to get extra sleep in the morning, or when Reu is poorly.

However, when Reu was a newborn, I didn’t want to cosleep, but often, it was very necessary. There was many ways to make sure it’s safely done. I panicked about SIDS constantly but I found many tricks for making cosleeping as safe as possible.

8) Baby products you never used?

I didn’t really have everything I needed when I had Reuben, but I never used his newborn clothing. My 8lb 6oz baby was too long.

9) Name 3 hospital bag must haves?

Comfortable clothes, painkillers, pads.

10) Are you a go with the flow or routine mum?

I’m a bit of both. I have routines but I’m flexible about when they begin and when naps occur. I would love to be more a routine mum but I’m too lazy. Or laid back, rather. I am really lucky that my child has always been a good sleeper.

11) What labour and pain relief did you have?

I was induced, I had gas and air and an epidural. It was traumatic. I wouldn’t opt for another induction at all if I could help it. Future me: if it’s not 100% necessary, don’t do it.

12) Have you ever been mum shamed?

Yes. By a midwife in the hospital on the post natal ward for giving in and giving Reu formula. By a few people I know for quitting breastfeeding three weeks in. And recently, an old women decided to say I was a shit mother who didn’t care about my baby because I was using my phone on the bus, instead ot interacting with Reuben.

13) What have been the biggest challenges?

Healing from trauma /going through therapy, whilst being a single mother. Especially when I am studying. It’s so hard.

14) What is the best advice you’ve had or that you’ve given?

“You’ve got to take care of yourself too” and “don’t compare yourself to other mothers”. Also, if you can ask for help, or are offered it, take it. You need to take some of that pressure off yourself, Mama!

15) Who’s your mum crush?

Britneyandbaby and Louise Pentland are my ultimate role models on Youtube, but in real life, I have many mummy friends I look up to.

That was quite fun. I will tag fellow parent vloggers in my insta post!

Thank you for reading,

With love, Rebecca x

Advertisements

This Time Last Year

I remember the way I felt this time last year. The way the air felt, the white noise of something mechanical humming at night (I still can’t figure out what it is), the way the lights across the city seemed crisper… It all reminds me, like the most wonderfully enchanting memory. There is no doubt in my mind that I’m remembering with rose-tinted glasses. But I know for a fact, also, that I remember that the person I was before Reuben was born felt a kind of excitement, naivety and apprehension that I’m scared I will never feel again.

The selfie I took before heading to the hospital to be induced.

I remember feeling dreadfully uncomfortable, completely DONE with being pregnant and massive. And moreover, I was done being told how massive I was. As if I couldn’t tell!? I was sick of the sickness, the acid reflux, the endless peeing, the pain I was feeling around my ribs, the ridiculous amounts of discharge and the sweating. You know, I was still trying my best to cherish my pregnancy but I think I spent more time trying to film baby kicks than I did actually appreciating the moments (something I will remember if I’m lucky enough to have a second). I would rest my hands on my bump, take endless photos, but by 37 weeks I was done. So when I was offered an induction days before my due date, I leapt at the chance.

I’d seen a lot of inductions on One Born Every Minute and I’d read the leaflet but nothing could have prepared me for the days that followed. I felt like I’d been in hospital for a week before I was actually induced – in a different hospital – on my due date.

But my mind seems to have fixated on the little details of the hospital I was supposed to give birth in, when I was waiting to be taken to delivery suite to have my waters broken. In all honesty, it was quite lovely but I was so impatient and being in a hospital bay all day waiting around was driving me a bit nuts. I wasn’t very well prepared, I hadn’t brought much to entertain myself – which is probably why I remember the space around me in vivid detail. From the way the light hit the blue flooring during the day, to the way the overhead lamp created a calming ambience at night. I remember bouncing on that big purple gym ball for hours hoping labour would come on spontaneously but I now realise, it was doing very little for me, and it was probably making me all the more impatient.

I was offered a transfer to the other hospital where I had a bed on delivery suite waiting for me on my due date, a few hours after my mucus plug went, and I jumped at the chance. I now wonder if my experience might have been different if I’d have stayed at the hospital that I wanted to give birth in. But nevermind, what good are what ifs? No good at all.

So there I was, in the delivery suite of this other hospital, taking a quick video of the room for my Instagram. I was telling people I’d no longer be replying. Although I did later on, at some point, I can’t remember when. And I had no idea what was coming as far as the syntocin drip was concerned.

I love that before they broke my waters and put me on that drip, I was blissfully unaware saying “whatever happens I’ll deal with it, as long as baby is okay”. I mean, that wasn’t a bad mindset to have but… Yeah… the girl on the ball in her nightie who just had her waters broken, and the girl on the bed who just got given the epidural were a couple of hours apart, and I can assure you the girl on the bed felt like she’s been through a kind of hell that she knew had changed her forever. The rest of it was a breeze though, if that’s any consolation – it was to me!

I gave birth to Reuben just over 12 hours after they’d broken my waters, and it was incredible. I felt the love instantly – it was euphoric! I felt the rush of love which I’d heard people say is indescribable and I was so relieved. I was so, so happy. When I had been waiting to push, I remember thinking “this is it, my dream is about to come true, I’m gonna meet my baby!” and that was an unforgettable moment too.

So is it any wonder that I feel this way now that Reuben’s 1st birthday is a day away? It’s so bittersweet. I feel happy and sad at the same time. I feel my heart aching so badly when I think back to it. I know this is common in mothers but I never really hear or read anyone talking about it.

Maybe it’s because I feel cheated out of enjoying those newborn days, maybe it’s because I had a vision of how I wanted things to be during pregnancy and it wasn’t like that. It’s not like my expectations were high but when you’re poor and feeling unsupported through both pregnancy and your newly made mother days, it’s very hard to feel like I got anything right at all back then… I don’t know. I guess I am overly critical but when I think back, I have regrets and I find myself saying “here’s what I’d do differently”.

Anyway, it’s hard to believe Reuben’s been on this earth for a year now. He’s turned into my little best friend & he makes me smile all the time. Even though we have been poorly recently, there’s still been smiles. And I’m far from perfect but I know I’m a good Mama.

I’m feeling very nostalgic and wistful about this time last year but don’t worry, I’m also concentrating on making this year’s memories count! Reuben’s presents are ready for Thursday, the flat is looking nicer than it ever has done (apart from the kitchen right now) & I’ve even put the Christmas tree up!

I love motherhood, it puts a kind of joy and resilience in my soul that nothing else can. I mean, there’s obviously sadness and mum guilt in there too BUT! Let’s focus on the good!

Thank you for reading,

With love, Rebecca ♡

Next Time (Part II): what to buy.

Following on from my recent, emotional post about my wishes for the next time I have a baby, I want to continue on with a similar but less emotive post. This is more about providing information. I think that this might help any expecting or new mothers/fathers wanting a bit of advice on what to buy for their baby, and also it will refresh my memory in years to come.

Of course, this is personal preference but I remember going through many videos and blog posts about what I needed for my new arrival… so I’m going to try to be helpful. This isn’t going to be an comprehensive list by no means but hopefully it highlights enough of the right things.

These items I think are a waste of money:

  • Smaller sized, ‘newborn’ bottles.
  • Wipe warmers
  • Nappy/diaper bins
  • Nappy/diaper/changing bags (so overrated in my opinion, I think a big bag and possibly a bag divider works better)

These items are essential if you want to make your life easier:

  • Comfortable places to sit: if you can’t get a nursing chair (even if you’re not breastfeeding), make sure the places you’ll be sat for long periods of time are comfortable because like it or not, you’re going to be sat down a lot – especially if you’re breastfeeding. Think pillows, think good back support… I didn’t realise how important it was until I had Reuben.
  • Talking of where you are, are you close to a table of some sort? You’re going to need somewhere to put drinks, snacks, their bottles, wipes, cloths… you get the jist. It maybe worth curating a kind of basket close by so that everything is to hand and you can carry it where you need it.
  • Nursing pillows. Breast or bottle, these make life easier. I didn’t have one with Reuben and I really *really* should have made it a priority. I found myself using normal pillows so often and they just didn’t do the job well enough.
  • Get a good bottle steriliser. Microwave sterilisers are just as good as the electric ones and take the same amount of time to load up.
  • Places for your baby to sit. There’s no guarantee your baby will like them but bouncers, swings, rockers… they will help you gain your sanity if they’re happy to sit in one for a while. Then you’ll need activity centres, ‘jumperoos’ and walkers. But it’s basically there to entertain them whilst you get things done… or just sit, and breathe, and get some food/drink/take a sneaky nap.
  • Baby monitors. I don’t have one, but it’d make life a lot easier if I could check a monitor when I hear ‘phantom screams’ rather than rush across my flat with soapy hands to see my perfectly happy baby sleeping in his cot.
  • Look into a postpartum basket for the bathroom too. I was very lucky and I didn’t need quite a few of the things but many, many women do.

These items you need:

  • Comfortable clothing: whether it be loungewear, your pjs, tracksuit bottoms… whatever you’re comfortable in.
  • If you’re breastfeeding, invest in a good breast pump (manual is fine but it’s hard work), breast pads, breast shields, and especially nursing bras and clothes that will allow you to nurse easier. You want to make sure you’re kitted out. I wasn’t, and it contributed to me giving up. Breastfeeding is already hard enough so invest in this. The milk may be free but the equipment certainly isn’t.
  • It really does help if you make meals to store in the freezer, it’ll make life a hell of a lot easier to know you’ve a healthy, homemade meal that can be easily reheated when you have ten minutes to either shower, nap or eat.
  • Luxuries for yourself. Have nice things, okay? You deserve them. Every shower, no matter how rushed, should seem like a luxury occasion. Have candles. Have fairy lights. Have hot chocolate. Have a glass of wine if you want. I don’t care what anyone says, being a mother is really hard, you need to treat yourself. That includes taking breaks and accepting help.

These are things your baby needs:

  • Plenty of vests, sleepsuits, etc. Every list out there will tell you that you need about a weeks worth of each. But what if you have a sicky/refluxy baby like I did? Well, you’re either gonna have to do their laundry every day or you’re going to need to buy a lot more of them. If money is tight, focus on those basics over outfits. Your baby will look like a newborn for all of five minutes, so embrace the sleepsuits for then at least. I swear, with my next, they will live in vests and sleepsuits until they are 6 months old.
  • Sleeping bags and swaddle blankets (you can get ones with velcro to make it easier) are so much better than anything else because you know they’re safe in them. Definitely prioritise them over blankets. Blankets are still important, but you want to make sure you’ve got these in the right tog for the season, to keep baby safe and warm whilst s/he sleeps.
  • Muslin cloths. Lots of lots of muslin cloths. Bibs, too, they’re good. I didn’t really use bibs at first as I prefered to tuck a muslin cloth under Reubens’ chin.
  • Every list about what your baby needs is right, all those basics… from socks to bibs, from hats to rompers… you need them all. And if you think you’ve bought enough in the first size and 0-3 (baring in mind Reuben never fit into first size) then go ahead with the 3-6 month clothing. You have to remember… you will be constantly buying for your arrival because they grow and develop so quick. But let’s just focus on the newborn stage for this list.

Things I recommend:

  • Buy a baby wrap or buckle carrier. I can’t properly recommend these because I only bought a stretchy wrap and I didn’t really get my use out of it. But I wish I’d gone to a sling library earlier on and discovered what would work best for me and my body type. They’re so convenient. I can imagine it be better if you drive to the shops and you don’t want to be pushing a pram and a trolley.
  • If you can, a car seat that lasts from birth into the toddler years (or maybe even beyond) is an investment and will save you lots of money.
  • Really think about the kind of pram you want. Look into the handlebars so you can push it along comfortably? Will it fit properly on the buses if you’ll be using public transport a lot? Does it fold up enough to fit into your car boot? Do you want to be able to utilise it to carry shopping home? If so, what’s the basket space like? Will your changing bag/bag you’re using for nappies and bottles sit on it comfortably? It’s a lot perhaps, to think about, but really you just want to consider how much you’ll be using it and where you’ll be using it? The range of prams out there is overwhelming but thinking about these things should help you narrow it down.
  • Look into cloth nappies/diapers. Now I have started using them, I realise that it’s not as complicated as I thought it was and it’s really not grossing me out like I thought it would… so I think I’d prefer to have done it from the start. Disposables are great in their own right but it’s good to consider the amount of nappies you’ll be buying and thus, the amount of nappies that will end up in landfill.

Ultimately…

You need to do what works for you. You know yourself best and you will know your baby better than anyone else. The way you want to parent is up to you. The way you want to do things is up to you. Someone could disagree with my list and that’s absolutely fine. For me, I think I’ve realised that there were things I prioritised wrong when having a baby and things I wish I’d done differently. I think that most parents feel this way. And if this helps nobody, at least it’ll jog my memory if I’m fortunate enough to have another one day. I feel like I’ve probably missed out a very important section but for now, I think this list is pretty good.

With love, Rebecca xo