1. Favourite mum hack?
Okay, so being a mum of 3, I’ve learned many mum hacks. My first would have to be using baby wipes to clean anything! Dusting? Baby wipe. Dining table dirty? Baby wipe. Sink need a scrub? Baby wipe.
Secondly, for the early days when baby’s feeds are less predictable: at meal times, cut your food into bite-size pieces at the beginning of your meal. That way, if you need to feed baby during your meal, you can still use one hand to feed yourself!
And lastly, much like Emily Norris suggested, getting things ready the night before! Or – ‘being your future friend’, as Gemma Bray from The Organised Mum would say. Now that I have a baby along with my two older kids (6 and 4), getting their school things ready the evening before just helps if I need to tend to the baby first thing. The kids have all their uniform laid out, and their bags are packed ready for the day. If I’m busy with the baby, they’re pretty much sorted for school from the off.
2. Most embarrassing mum moment?
Luckily for me, I can’t recall anything too embarrassing! Either I don’t embarrass easily, or my children aren’t embarrassing. At times, in public, they are little brats and I hate when they scream or have tantrums in public, but I wouldn’t say I’m embarrassed at that. Just frustrated and angry!
I guess recently, I was feeding my littlest at my children’s assembly and it was very quiet – my baby decided to let out an almighty fart as she was on the boob. Cue a lot of primary school children turning to look at us!
3. What part of the day do you love the most?
It varies. With my depression, mornings can be very hard. But equally, if I start them right, and stick to my routine, they’re very productive.
4. What part of the day do you like the least?
The time in between getting the children home from school and dinner. It’s just such a chaotic couple of hours, where I have to tend to the needs of 3 children; getting the older two out of their uniforms, sorted with a snack, and getting started on homework. On top of this, the baby needs feeding and changing, and there’s a dinner that needs cooking. Often, my mum will take the eldest two for an hour, while I get sorted with number 3, and start dinner.
5. The worst thing someone said to you when you were pregnant
Once again, I’m not easily embarrassed or offended, so I can’t think of anything off the top of my head. But I do remember being called nicknames like ‘Tubby’ or ‘Fatty’ during my pregnancies. These were generally from friends, so I knew they were using the nicknames affectionately, and I wasn’t bothered. I also know I wasn’t either of those things – I lost weight during all three of my pregnancies due to hyperemesis gravidarum, so I guess knowing they weren’t true helped!
6. Baby name you didn’t agree on
I always liked the names Aurora, Chloe, and Heidi. My husband didn’t like any of those at all. We pretty much agreed on our boys’ names ideas.
7. Do you co-sleep?
With my first two, I would bring them into our bed after 2+ months from about 5am and doze. With number 3, I have a Chicco Next2Me crib which is lovely. So, she sort of co-sleeps in her own little space! She still comes in for a snuggle at 5am.
8. Something you bought but never used?
With number 1, I was gifted a Tommy Tippee Nappy Disposal System. I used it, but he novelty wore off very quickly.
9. 3 hospital bag must haves?
- Isotonic drinks for energy and hydration during labour.
- Entertainment (book, puzzle book, tablet etc) – for waiting around during labour, or when waiting to be discharged!
- A couple of changes of comfy clothes, or extra PJs. You won’t feel like dressing up in hospital.
10. Are you routine mum or a go with the flow mum and what does bedtime look like?
I know that children thrive on routine, so I try to stick to the main things at bedtime. My older two get in their PJs, do ‘wee, wash, clean your teeth’ and have warm milk before bed. Sometimes there will be a story if we’re not running late into bedtime. The baby gets very tired around 6-7pm at the moment, so I take her upstairs to a dimly lit room, change her into her sleepsuit, give her a feed and put her into her bed. She’s usually out like a light.
11. What type of labour did you have?
All three of my labours were very quick and intense! But all of my births have been very different.
Number 1, February 2013 – my son. I was new to it all, so I had no idea he was coming so quickly. I went into labour while watching ‘One Born Every Minute,’ and had a bloody show at 9pm. Then the contractions started, and were between 5-7 mins apart.
My husband was working that evening, so I had to call him home. We got to the hospital at midnight and my son was born vaginally in a midwife-led unit at 1:05am on Valentine’s Day!
Number 2, August 2014 – my eldest daughter. She was breech from 28 weeks, so I knew I’d need more monitoring and care during labour/birth. I had a sweep done at 40w+1 at 2pm, and kept having niggling pains from then.
At 7pm, we put our son to bed and I had a bath to either encourage labour or stop it. It turns out the bath revved up my labour into regular contractions. My son wasn’t even asleep yet. So, we did all the necessary phoning around, met my in-laws at the hospital so they could look after my son, and went in at 8:15pm.
They checked me over at about 8:40pm, and said I was only 3cm dilated. At 9pm, I was on the phone to my mum and having very intense contractions, one after the other. I went back to the labour ward and told them I needed gas & air. Then, all of a sudden, I was pushing. The midwife called in the necessary doctors for my breech birth, and I listened and obeyed as they talked me through giving birth to my daughter, bum-first! She was born at 9:46pm.
Number 3, February 2019 – my second daughter. I knew what my body does during labour, and was set on having a home water birth. With my very quick labours, it was likely we wouldn’t get to the hospital in time, and I’d be giving birth in the car.
So, on the night I went into labour, I was 38w+1. I was having pains from 2am, and couldn’t sleep, so I had a bath at 3am – again, to stave off or start labour. Again, the bath started my labour properly. At 3:30am, I phoned the unit and told them to send a midwife out as I was in labour. At this point, contractions were about 2 mins apart, and we started setting up the birth pool we had hired. The midwife phoned at about 4am and said she was about half an hour away, and if I got the urge to push before she arrived, we were to phone 999 for assistance.
During one of my contractions, I was aware that I’d be pushing on my next one and the midwife still hadn’t turned up. I told my husband to phone 999, and I got into the birth pool at about 4:10am. As my husband was on the phone to the 999 operator, I pushed and pushed during my contractions. Very quickly, my daughter was born into the water and I caught her. She was born at 4:20am. The midwife arrived 5 minutes later!
What pain relief did you choose?
With all of them, I only wanted gas & air. The first two, I used gas & air and breathing exercises. With number 3, without a midwife present there wasn’t the option of pain relief! So I breathed my way through it all.
12. Have you ever been mum shamed?
Not that I know of. There have been the odd comment from family members about how long to breastfeed or when to start solids or bottles blah blah. But I will do what I want to do with my children.
13. The biggest challenges you’ve faced since becoming a mum
Dealing with parenting every single day and having depression. On some days, it’s a breeze and I’m Supermum. On other days, I find it very hard to even get out of bed, so those days are definitely a big struggle. My two older kids are more understanding now, and realise on those days that mummy’s not feeling well, so they help out as much as they can. I also have amazing support around me in my husband, my mum and brother/sister-in-law. So, on the days I need someone to lean on, they’re always there.
14. The best bit advice you’ve ever been given – Biggest piece of advise you’d give to a new mum?
It’s so hard, but seriously – don’t sweat the small stuff. Everything right at the beginning is always temporary. Your baby will get the hang of breastfeeding, and it won’t always feel like razors when you feed. Baby not sleeping? It’s temporary – get some rest whenever baby does sleep, and forget about picking up the house that day. Worried about being judged? Really – don’t worry about that. You do you. You know what’s best for your baby. Be strong in your decisions.
15. Who’s your mum crush? And who do you tag?
Mum crush – Gemma Bray from The Organised Mum. I need to be her! How I would love to be so organised all the time, and still have time to get a massage every once in a while!
I am tagging any and all of you who are reading this, and have a blog. Please post your answers on your blog!