Thank you, Papa!

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Having a new baby is a massive learning curve as a first time Mum and Dad. 

I’m lucky enough to spend all day, every day with this little lady, and I’m getting to know her pretty well. 

Her Papa has just spent two weeks with her and knew her very well too, but in the time since he went back to work she’s changed so much again: she’s having a growth spurt, feeding more than ever and playing differently (she ‘found’ her right hand yesterday, which amused her non stop for 45 minutes!). 

This is all wonderful, but it makes it harder for him to know how to comfort her when he gets home from work. Just as we’ve found something that calms her and perfected our technique, she changes again! 

Last night I was pretty tired (see previous post and you’ll understand why), and when it came to bedtime for me, Violetta had been fighting sleep for a good 2 hours. 

I took her up, changed her and fed her, winded her, had a little cuddle until she was sleepy and then popped her down. 

She wasn’t having any of it and screamed her little heart out. 

Normally I’d pop her straight back on for some more milk, especially at night as there are fewer options for settling her…. midnight walk through Charlton, anyone? 

Before I could roll over and sit up, ready to pick her up, her Papa had got her up and was rocking her. The screaming was relentless (and heartbreaking) for at least five minutes, then it became a little less desperate and fraught, then eventually, after what felt like a very long time but in reality was only about ten minutes, it stopped. 

He had rocked her to sleep. 

Thank you, Papa! 

I fell asleep so fast I can’t even tell you how long he cuddled her before putting her down. But I can tell you that she didn’t wake up again until 5.30am! 

So I got a good solid six hours (as did she!) and I learnt the valuable lesson that there are other ways to get her to sleep through the night! 

I’m feeling refreshed and ready to go, and very grateful that hubby stepped up and worked out a way to calm our little girlie. 

Finding our New Reality

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We’ve hit the six week mark; all the initial introductions have been made, my Mum’s little stays to help us have stopped, hubby’s paternity leave (taken weeks 4-6 due to work commitments) is over and it’s now time to go it alone with my little lady. 

I’ve loved having everyone around. It’s enabled me to find my feet as a new mummy and given everyone the chance to get to know Violetta in her littlest day’s. I’ve been able to get some sleep, learn how to breastfeed and get help with washing, ironing and cooking. 

But I’m thrilled to say I’m ready for the next step and ready to enjoy finding our feet together. 

My body is well and truly healed, I feel like I know my new little addition pretty well now and I’m up for the challenge of being wife, mummy and company director. 

Monday was an easy day; dad was off work so he popped up and took as out for lunch! 

Tuesday, however, was ‘in at the deep end’. Hubby headed out to work at 7am and it was over to me to get the little lady and myself up, washed, dressed, breakfasted and out the house. I realised how lucky I had been with the helping hands to hold her while I ran around getting ready in the mornings! 

Once we’d got ready there was no time to celebrate our first success; I had a hospital appointment to get to at London Bridge! 

On went the sling and the backpack and off we went to the train station. I left myself half an hour to get there, as this is how long it took when I last walked, in November. Eight minutes later we were there. Oops! 


Hubby says I looked scared in this pic…. I wasn’t! Just tired, chilly and 23 minutes early for our train. Rookie error! 

We made it to town, navigated our way through the new and snazzy London Bridge Station and headed to the hospital. My little bundle was asleep all the way there and all the way home again. 

I then had a mad moment after we got home and decided to clean the house while Violetta slept. Seemingly our first trip to London wasn’t enough for one day! 

By the time hubby got home at 7.45pm I’d cleaned, steamed and essential oiled the house, cooked dinner and caught up on the laundry. 


(Can’t recommend these oils enough! They come with some blending ideas and smell heavenly rubbed into woodwork or popped in a water diffuser). 

It has to be said I felt pretty proud of myself, and absolutely ready for bed!

Violetta had other ideas. Having had such long and comfy sleeps during the day, she decided mummy cuddles were in order at bedtime…. and for most of the night! 

One tired mummy gave in at 7.30 this morning after a few broken hours sleep, and did the only sensible thing: baked a cake. 


So far, so good!

We’re enjoying our new ‘normal’ and looking forward to finding our feet over the next few weeks and settling into the reality of our new lives! 

To the Mummies of the Charlton Slopes….

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… THANK YOU! 

Yesterday morning I had to take my little one to the children’s centre to be weighed. 

We went last week with Daddy and it was absolutely fine! She was an angel the whole time. The clinic was empty and we had a long chat to both the health visitor and then breastfeeding consultant. 

Today we went alone; just the two of us. 

I confidently set off with Violetta in her sling and walked up the road to the centre. I was feeling confident, independent and completely in control! 


We signed in, headed into the clinic and found somewhere to wait. The room was busy, I was number 15 in the queue. 

When I was called over to have Violetta weighed, she decided it was time to make her presence known and began to scream. 

When I put her down to undress her, you’d honestly believe the world was ending. I felt like she’d never screamed so loud in all her little life! 

I began to get hot and bothered, apologising to the other mummies who were quietly chatting whilst breastfeeding their little ones. 

And then one of the Mummies said ‘don’t worry, we’ve all been there! It’s so much louder to you then it is to anyone else.’ Another chipped in with ‘they hate nudy time at this age , don’t they!’ And another with ‘you’re doing a great job and don’t worry, we all know how you feel!’.

Well mummies, thank you. I cannot tell you how much your kind words helped, calmed and reassured me. 

The Mummy community really is a very special one and I think we were out in force, as when I was walking home I psssed two other sling wearing Mummies. We exchanged knowing, reassuring smiles as we passed; I know what you’re going through, you know what I’m going through, and we’re all here for each other. 

I feel lucky to be bringing my little one up in such a supportiv community, and one that I didn’t even know existed! 

Breastfeeding. My experience so far. 

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And why perseverance and adjusting my boundaries were the best things I could do.

Before Violetta arrived I knew that I wanted to exclusively breastfeed her. This was so important to me because I felt that throughout the pregnancy I hadn’t been able to provide the healthy, happy home that she deserved for those formative months, and as well as that we had both been pumped full of a lot of drugs. Being able to exclusively breastfeed her is something I could do for her that nobody else could, plus I was entirely sold on all the pros of breastfeeding.

When she was very first born, my husband and the midwife latched her on for her first mini feed. I wasn’t really with it, but thankfully hubby took some photos so I can ‘remember’ that very special first latch.

My cheeky little lady then decided she wasn’t especially hungry for the next ten hours. When she next decided she wanted a feed I presented her with the boob just like we’d been taught at NCT. Except it didn’t work. Despite the fact I knew I had plentiful colostrum (it had been leaking on and off for a week or two), my newborn bubba just wouldn’t latch.

The good news was that I was in the hospital with which I had grown very familiar, and I was happy to ask for help. I knew that the maternity support workers, midwives and breastfeeding team were all there and would all be keen to help this new mummy establish a latch with her tiny one.

Sadly it didn’t quite go how I had hoped. When I first asked for help I was told someone would come back and help me soon, they didn’t. When I next asked for help I was told to hold my tiny daughter by the back of her head and effectively force her on to the breast. This was the most unnatural thing to try and do, and resulted in two very upset parties. I was left to it. The next person to try and help arrived with little plastic syringes and told me that the baby needs to eat so I needed to hand express into the syringe and feed it to her that way. I was so upset. I knew I could get her latched on, I just needed help. Despite that I was left to it and felt like I had to do as I was told as V must be very hungry.

During my three day stay I asked countless times for help latching her on and was told countless times to express and syringe feed her. I persisted and kept trying for a natural latch and when my Mum came to visit she sat and helped me too. It wasn’t easy, but with a bit of determination from both me and my gorgeous girl, we stuck at it. I found that my tiny little daughter liked the rugby ball pose, or laying down facing me.

When we got home I was finding it really stressful. Because I hadn’t been able to establish a proper latch, my nipples were cracked and sore, and it also tied in with when my milk came it. Engorged breasts and nipples that are so sore they won’t stand to attention meant things were about to get even harder.

We tried everything; hot flannels, expressing by hand (and a funky little pump that just gets popped on the boob, squeezed to create suction and then left to it’s own devices. The suction seems to ‘milk’ the boob, as when I next looked down, I’d expressed a couple of feeds worth of milk- which got thrown away as I still adamently want to exclusively breastfeed!), using different techniques to get the nipples ready and also a hot bath! When I couldn’t think of anything else to try I messaged a couple of friends who had recently had babies and fed successfully and asked for their advice. If you are a new mum in need of help, please do this… girl friends are the best and because of the relationships you already have they are able to say it as it is and give really great advice. Their support meant the world to me and reassured me I wasn’t alone.

Eventually my boobs reverted to their original state and we were able to try latching on again!

The pain was incredible. It felt like I had burning hot milk trying to get out, and my nipples were on fire. I couldn’t take it anymore and called the community midwife to ask for help.

That same morning I had a surprise visit from the health visitor who thought I may have thrush, so i booked an appointment with the GP that afternoon. In the meantime the community midwife appeared. He (yes, he! A gentle giant called John) ended up being the answer to my prayers to the goddess of breastfeeding!

He gently and carefully explained to me the perfect latch (nipple to upper lip or nose, the nipple and bottom part of the areola in her mouth, baby’s body flat across mummy’s body, bottom lip ‘pouting’ and a strong suck), what V should be doing (opening wide!), what I should be doing (facilitating the perfect latch, being in a comfortable position and ensuring she was comfortable too), how I could hold her (different positions, but my favourite was cradling her across my body). He then watched me try and said she was in an absolutely perfect position. So why did it still hurt so much I wanted to cry? Sore nipples from getting it wrong (I think she had only been latching onto my nipple for the first 12 days) and a strong let down reflex that hurt my milk ducts. He was certain I didn’t have thrush and encouraged me to keep trying (not that anything was going to stop me) and to attend a breastfeeding group locally for more help and support.

That evening one of my best friends came round. This friend is a doctor, a mum and in my opinion an absolute superwoman. I told her about what had been going on and she told me about nipple shields. That was it, game changer! She said there was no shame in using them if it helps me and my baby, that I could use them until I’d healed and then go back to just the breast, and that there was nothing to lose in trying. So I did. And everything suddenly came together. I could breastfeed without the excruciating pain, Lettie could get enough milk from a relaxed Mummy. Win win.

I should say that despite these dramas I did know she was getting enough food as she had put on all the required weight in the required time frame.

Now, at 18 days old, we have a great time together breastfeeding. It took time and effort from us both, and I had to adjust my boundaries a bit, but happy mum means happy baby and that’s all that matters to me!

Our first outing! 

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At one week old we decided it was time to take Little V out for the first time.

Any new mums will know that it’s as much about when you feel ready, as when your little bubba is ready!

Feeding in public was not a challenge I was ready for one week post-partum, in fact at 2 weeks I’m still not ready for that… but the trip we had in mind was perfect.

My younger brothers have just achieved their lifetime goal of opening a gym together and by some incredible luck it’s a ten minute drive from our house! Last weekend was their opening weekend, so we decided it was the perfect time to get out the house and introduce our new little daughter to the big wide world!

If you’re a gymmer check out 7R Royal Arsenal Gym online 🙂


Getting out the house was fun and a real education. Papa had to go out, so it was up to Mummy and V to get it together.

After an hour and a half we were washed, dressed, breakfasted, packed and ready to go….. then we had to change a nappy, then another feed was required….. one more nappy change and we were off.

Being a nervous new mummy I sat in the back of the car to check she kept breathing (I know…. first time Mum syndrome). She was fine, of course!

We had a lovely time down at the gym…  Papa did a workout, Mummy enjoyed a specially crafted coffee from the bar and V was cooed over and admired…. and she slept through the whole experience!!!


All in all our first trip as a family of three was a huge success. Although I must admit I’m a little gutted she spent her first weekend in a gym and not a dance studio!

Bringing Home Baby

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Our lovely little daughter was born on Saturday 28th January 2o17 and after two nights on the post-natal ward (to keep an eye on Mummy), we were allowed to come home on Monday 30th!

There is nothing quite as nerve-wracking as leaving hospital for the first time with a brand new baby!

It took us a good hour to make sure we had everything covered; picking up all the prescriptions, getting our discharge notes, booking our future appointments, seeing the neonatal doctor one last time, getting myself dressed, getting the baby dressed and (most stressfully!) getting Papa ready. Now, this should have been the easy bit. All he needed to do was take the overnight bags to the car and bring back the car seat while picking up a bottle of water for Mummy en route back up from the car.

First time round he came back without the car seat OR the water. How you ask? I blame the Blackberry!

Second time round, we have the water and the car seat, but as we are picking everything up to leave I discover he’d only taken half the bags the first time and none the second. We ended up leaving hospital looking like cart-horses and as if we’d been staying for a week or two!

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The journey home was the longest 45 minutes I have ever spent in a car… no-one warns you that you will feel the incessant need to check that your tiny little charge is still breathing, not overheating, not shivering, etc!

All this said, when we came through the front door with our tiny package it was simply the best feeling in the world, ever.

We had overcome the biggest hurdles possible (throughout the pregnancy and even right up until she was placed on my chest after quite a traumatic 36 hour labour), but here we were, bringing home our little miracle.

Now begins the fun.

Mummy, Papa and Violetta…. time to get to know each other!

Putting the myths to the test!

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We haven’t found out whether our little bundle is pink or blue, so I thought I’d put a few of the old wives tales to the test and see how accurate they are!

Let’s start with Mother’s Intuition….. I’m convinced baby’s a girl and have been since quite early on. According to many of my friends, this almost certainly means it’s a boy!

The Bump

Is definitley a boy bump, apparently. It’s all in front (see picutre) and very neat. From behind you still cant tell I’m pregnant (supposedy! I feel like a overweight baby elephant so not sure I believe the kind-hearted people saying this!). This one’s a BLUE

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Chinese Gender Prediction

This one is supposed to be very accurate. Mine is PINK!Screen Shot 2017-01-19 at 12.00.59.png

Fetal Heart Rate

Rumour has it that under 140 is a boy, over 140 is a girl.

PINK again!

Sweet or Savoury

This one is confusing me! To start off with I only wanted savoury. This apparently equals BLUE. Now I only fancy sweet! Guess what that means… PINK…. hmmmmmm.

My Skin 

Supposedly if you’re expecting a girl your skin will really suffer as she ‘takes all your beauty’. Tricky one this – when I was in hospital my skin, hair and nails really suffered, so one would assume PINK, but now I’ve been home a while it’s much better and apparently I finally have the pregnancy glow, so BLUE!

Morning Sickness

Bad in first trimester = PINK!

My Conclusion 

Goodness only knows! But not long until we find out 🙂

 

I’m very nearly a Mummy!

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It would be fair to say that this pregnancy hasn’t been anything like I could of imagined! For starters, I didn’t even know you could be operated on while pregnant, that one was a pretty steep learning curve. I was all set for my appointments as per my ‘orange book’ (my maternity notes), not for the 2 / 3 a week that I would end up having. It’s pretty tiring getting up to St Thomas’ from Greenwich with an ever-growing bump. That said I feel very lucky to have had such a supportive team who make me feel at ease and like every journey has been worth it. I thought I was going to LOVE having a bump and being pregnant. I think I will next time, but this time it’s all been rather unusual and not at all what I expected.

I think we’ve put everything in place that we can…

The nursery is ready, the pram is all set, the car seat installed, the baby’s clothes are washed, ironed and put away, we’ve settled on names(!), we have a plan for bringing baby home, I have sorted my maternity leave and hubby has negotiated some sort of paternity leave, I have sourced swimming lessons for when baby’s a little older and done all the research I can into other classes,  we’ve ordered a beautiful snuggler-sized sofa bed (which will double as my nursing chair) for when Mum comes to stay and the house has been organised and tidied to within an inch of it’s life!

Now it’s down to the baby. Which feels crazy! I’m such a control freak and it’s so bizarre to me that there is absolutey nothing I can do to influence when the little one decides to make an appearance.

I’m not sure where this blog is heading – but I’m hoping it will be an honest and true account of being a Mummy, running a business and living my life.

I hope you’ll be able to share this very exciting journey with us as we embark on the next chapter of our story.

My Kind of Mummy

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With the arrival of our little one imminent (due in January!) I have been thinking a lot about the kind of Mummy I hope to be.

There are a few things that I value very highly, probably above all else, and these things I hope to be from day one (in fact some of them I like to think I’m already doing, in preparation). There are other things that I think are important at the moment, but I know that this could all change when I have the reality of a baby/toddler/child to look after. And then there are my ideals; things I’d love to be able to achieve if I can, but which I know not many Mummies have time for in reality.

I thought it would be quite fun to get these down now, and look back on them in the future to see how realistic my expectations are!

So let’s start with the things I value really highly. I feel like I have to put a caviat here; that this is IF I can. I’m not being unrealistic, I know some things may not work out for me, but they are really important to me so I’m really hopeful that I can find  a way!

  • Cuddles on demand. This won’t be hard! I cannot wait to hold this little baby in my arms, and have taken note of the advice that babies are used to being comforted and in a close environment so will be taking full advantage of that.
  • Exclusive Breastfeeding. There’s no denying I’ve had a really hard pregnancy, and I’m very lucky to be where I am today. Because of this, I feel very strongly that I would like to be able to nurture my baby by exclusively breastfeeding. As it stands right now, I don’t even want to express. I would like to be the person who feeds my baby for as long as possible until I start weaning him / her and 5 or 6 months. Right now I feel like that isn’t a long time in the scheme of things – so hopefully this is a realistic expectation.
  • Putting baby before anything else. This is the one I think I’m doing already. Everything will come second to this baby’s needs (to begin with). It is my first priority and my responsibility; one I take incredibly seriously.

So what are the things that I think are important, but could change when I have the baby and it’s a real reality, that I haven’t necessarily understood all the ins and outs of yet!

  • Getting out of the house every day. I want to try this, for both myself and baby. My life has been so limited for such a long time thanks to having been poorly and then finding pregnancy incredibly daunting as a result (plus a whole load of weekly appointments!).
  • Getting up, getting us dressed and being sociable. Important, right! I put this here, because I know that to begin with, it can be really difficult. I don’t want to make hundreds of social plans – I want time with the baby for just me and hubby too – but I want to be mindful of making the time to see people too.
  • Keeping my house tidy. That can happen, can’t it? I’m a little bit of a scatty one, generally, so have been really focusing on keeping tidy and organised for the last three months, and I’m planning on keeping it up so that the time I have is time for us, not time for cleaning and tidying!
  • Going to some Mummy/Baby classes. This is a big one – I am the worst at new social situations. I get super super shy! So I will be putting myself out there and trying some new things with bubba in tow!
  • Making some time for me. This one daunts me, because at the moment I feel like all I will want to do is be with the baby. We’ve been on one hell of a journey together already, and I can’t imagine wanting to be away from it for a single moment. This said, I love a bubble bath and I don’t feel ‘finished’ when my nails aren’t painted. So from fairly early on I’m going to try and leave the baby having snuggles with someone else and doing these two things for me. We’ll see how that goes.
  • Work! Ahhhh. As you will know if you’ve read any previous posts from me, I run my own company; a dance and performing arts school. I have tried super hard to get everything to a point that I can enjoy a sort of maternity leave (I won’t be teaching classes and I’ve scheduled out as much as I possibly can to other staff members for between now and Easter). This said, I’m an absolute control freak – and I hate the thought of being away from the business again. So I’m going to try and juggle a little bit here and there. We’ll see how that goes!
  • Bilingual baby! Hubby’s half Italian and we so want baby to speak both languages. This means I’m going to have to up my game and work on my Italian too. Being a super busy man I don’t think we’ll get to see Papá very much during the week, so lots of the learning will be down to me during the week.

Now for the dreaming! I know that the reality of having a baby is very different to the dreamy state of pregnancy and what will be achieved when said baby arrives! So here are things I’d love to do, if I can!!

  • Thank you cards – quickly!
  • Photos, printed and labelled if possible, not just sitting on my iphone taking space.
  • Personalising the nursery – we have it looking stunning for our neutral baby, but it’s going to need making special when we know we’ve had a boy or a girl!
  • Crafts – I love love love crafts and it’s one of my favourite childhood memories so I’m definitely hoping this is something we’ll be able to do!
  • Home made food for me and hubby. We love all sorts of cuisines and I take a lot of pride in my cooking from scratch. I hope I still find time to do this.
  • Entertaining. Another thing we love – sharing our lives with friends and families!

So there you go! Let’s see how we go and hopefully lots of this will become a reality. I’ll report back, honestly, in the future!