A Different Mother

A better mother second time round?

Nope. Just different…

I knew from day one that I was different. Within the first few hours with Scout being Earth-side a profound difference was obvious. But it took me by surprise.

When I became a Mother

The joy I felt when Oscar was born was immense but there was also a fear – this was a whole new world we were venturing into and one we knew nothing about. Ante-natal classes try and prepare you for the birth of your baby but what about beyond that?! I was completely ill equipped!

I remember the feeling that first night in hospital with a teeny tiny Oscar feeling totally out of my depth. He was the first baby I’d ever held never mind care for. After Robin left the hospital for the night it was just the two of us – I was learning how to hold him, how to feed him, change him and give comfort. It was scary!

But of course, we learnt. The next day I got home and together as a team of three we powered on – learning on the job. It was wonderful, but scary. We’d sometimes second guess ourselves. In the night when he cried and we thought we’d exhausted all resources we got anxious that something might be wrong, of course, there wasn’t anything wrong. Sometimes babies just cry.

Take two

Two and a half years later and we waited in anticipation for Scout’s arrival – we didn’t know yet who she would be, but I was nervous. How would it be second time? Would she take to feeding as Oscar did? Would I cope? Can you die from sleep deprivation?

Then along she came and I felt different – I was so completely at ease and content. She made life easy and took to feeding straight away and I didn’t worry about it the way I had with Oscar – I knew she was doing well, I knew I was enough. When Robin left us for the night I felt confident and enjoyed every minute just the two of us.

While I was pregnant, I had read a blog post by Steph_dontbuyherflowers about ‘pulling up the drawbridge’ (well worth a read for anyone expecting a baby regardless or whether it be first or 10th!). It talks about the pressure new mums put on themselves to ‘bounce back’ and basically to be superwoman on the school run 2 hours after giving birth. Back in the day women would spend well over a week in hospital recovering, and now, many people are out within a few hours putting pressure on themselves to get back to normal, despite their body just going through a monumental event – both physically and mentally (seriously, go read, because my summary can’t do it justice). Anyway, it rang true to me – Oscar was a summer baby and I had been so keen to get up and get out in the sunshine and show him off to anyone that cared, and even to those who didn’t! It was so important to me to get ready, do my hair and makeup and trundle on out with the pram – I think part of me was trying to prove to myself that I had my sh*t together and I was doing ok in my new role and not wanting to lose my sense of me.

However, second time round I’ve had nothing to prove – not to myself or anyone else. In those first few newborn weeks we (semi) pulled up the drawbridge – the fact it was January, Baltic & snowing, made this a lot easier. I’m glad that we spent our first weeks together just chilling on the sofa. We put no pressure on ourselves. We had visitors, we welcomed them in, but we didn’t bother apologising for the mess.

The shock to the system that inevitably comes with a first baby seems lesser with the second. I have felt more at ease with the relative surrender of freedom that comes with exclusive breastfeeding – something I struggled with first time even though I knew it was something I wanted to do, something that was important to me and something that ultimately I loved doing.

We have fed, cuddled and napped our way through our first two months as a family of four – sometimes not even changing out of our PJ’s.

Parenting Rebooted

Has this made me a better mother this time round?

Nope. I’m just different.

Free of the incessant worry that comes with your first child (the worry that ages you about 10 years in the first month of their life). We’re not worried about routines – they will fall into place sooner or later. If she cries, we pick her up, she spends her days in our arms or sleeping soundly on our chests and we are confident in the knowledge that we cannot “spoil” her in doing so. We can shrug off unsolicited advice and roll our eyes, knowing we’re making the right choices for her and our family. Honestly, it’s refreshing.

In the last two and a half years Oscar has taught us both so much – not least that the months fly in. So I’m soaking up every little detail because I know all too well how quickly each phase will end. Already I feel the end of the newborn phase is coming and with it Scout is spending more time awake and demanding more attention. It’s sad knowing this will be the last time we do it but I’m excited for what’s to come, because that’s something else Oscar’s taught us – just how brilliant it is watching a little human grow and develop their own personality.

I don’t think there is a right or wrong. That drawbridge can be up or down, just so long as you’re happy doing what you’re doing. Make sure whatever it is though, you’re doing it for you – don’t let anyone else get in the way!

Lou x

I Couldn’t Live Without…

“Oh but you need *insert insanely priced ridiculous item here*…”

Before we became parents for the first time, we were told about lots of things we “needed”. We were first time parents, we didn’t really know anyone else with babies so I just took people’s word for it and probably wasted a lot of money in the process…!

Second time round, I tried to streamline our purchases. With clothing I focused on quality over quantity buying mostly basics with some knitted bits and bobs. With other bigger items we are reusing a lot of what we had, however, some items we had were bought on a whim and didn’t quite fit the purpose, so I’ve done a lot more research this time to replace them. Perhaps it’s a case of live and learn because it’s really hard to know what you need before the little human arrives. In reality it’s very little…

So here’s a little run down of our top purchases and not so hot buys! Full disclosure, a few of these items were gifted to me, I’ve made it clear which ones, but my review of them is independent!

Our Top Six Purchases

Sleep

The trusty Next2Me Crib remains our best baby item of all time. It housed little Oscar next to our bed for 8 months and gave me easy access to feeding him every 45 bloody minutes through the night. We looked it out again for Scout and I’m enjoying the convenience of it once again. It’s also fab after a section. Admittedly though, the Snuzpod is prettier!

Scout loves a swaddle, but don’t rush into buying one before baby arrives. Oscar hated it. Try with a blanket first and if they like it I’d recommend this Love To Dream Swaddle Up – this was gifted to me but I will be buying the next size up. Scout has been using hers every night since she was 2 days old and I love it. It takes away the worry of blankets, I always worry about how many they need and also whether they’re tucked in right so the won’t ride up etc. With this I just pop her back down after a feed and there’s no faff! It makes life a lot easier.

A Good All-Rounder

My love for giant muslins will never wane! I use them as crib sheets in the next2me, to cover my feeding cushion, as a sheet in the pram, or even as a makeshift changing mat if I’m out and about – they are a jack of all trades and there are so many nice ones out there in different patterns. The majority of mine have been bought in TK Maxx. Oh and don’t forget to put one in your hospital bag to swaddle the baby for a picture!

Babywearing

Baby wearing has been a life saver for us, especially second time round. I have an Ergo Adapt carrier for when we’re out for the day and have been using it since Scout was just a few days old. My only worry using the carrier with my winter baby was keeping her wee arms and legs warm, snowsuits just felt too bulky and I worried about her overheating. So I bought this little suit from H&M – it’s not the prettiest but it’s great for layering over her clothes and bundling her in the carrier!

In addition to our Ergo, I was kindly gifted an Izmi Bamboo Wrap which I wear pretty much all day every day around the house and even with Scout in and out it all day it stays nice and tight thanks to the 2-way stretch. This was something I never really tried with Oscar, I think I found it a bit daunting but now that I’ve mastered it, it’s a lifesaver – I’m finally handsfree for toddler activities!

Changing

One thing I always thought I needed but just never got round to buying was a changing bag. And that was when I realised they were just a bit unnecessary (and often quite expensive and not that nice looking. Unless you’re going for a Tiba + Marl)! Instead, I’ve always just packed a few nappies, wipes and a spare sleepsuit in my handbag – I travel light. The only change I’ve made this time round is treating myself to a little nappy pouch from Mutha.Hood to keep it all together. Not really out of necessity, I just liked it, but it does make it that bit easier to grab and take to the changing room when we’re out and I’m not fishing through my backpack for a teeny size 1 nappy! Plus it’s cute and supports a small business. I’m a sucker for ‘Mama Merch’!

Feeding

Oh, my trusty feeding cushion. This is a bit of a personal one because I can’t live without it, but a lot of people don’t like using them. The day we had Oscar I was finding positioning for breastfeeding hard and the midwife created a little pillow fortress around me to help and suggested I get a cushion – I ordered one there and then on Amazon Prime and never looked back. That bad boy was used all day every day for 9 months – by the time I stopped using it, it looked a little worse for wear but had been invaluable! I got myself a new one this time round and have loved it all over again – it hangs on the side of the bed for night feeds and on the end of the sofa during the day, it’s always to hand! If you’re struggling with positioning for feeding, I’d highly recommend giving one a go! I got this one from Mamas and Papas.

And lastly, something I don’t have, but would like – a little nightlight for night feeds. Especially in those first weeks when I was trying to make sure Scout was patched properly etc I didn’t need the added worry of possibly blinding her with my 1200W iPhone torch..! A little subtle nightlight beside the bed that I could put on to find a nappy by not illuminate the whole street would be ideal. I’m going to keep on the lookout for one!

When it comes to it, every parent is different, and there’s bound to be stuff that’s not on this list that you end up with that you’ll love, but I suppose the point I wanted to stress was – don’t stress. Don’t stress when people tell you “oh, you’ll need XYZ” and you’re closing in on your due date and you hadn’t even heard of it… as long as you have something to clothe that new bundle in, a few nappies and a car seat to get them home, you’re doing just fine. All they really need is some love, attention and you! Worry about the rest later – Amazon Prime it or something.

Tell me…

What would you add to the list? And what is the one biggest waste of money item you ended up with? Mine is dribble bibs – I was given approximately 650 of them and didn’t even use them once!

Lou x

Let’s Talk Placenta

Placenta Encapsulation

Placenta Encapsulation

This Hippy Sh*t

Before I had Oscar I was clueless about the placenta… as I was with EVERYTHING surrounding birth… and babies… and parenthood (and the list goes on). But no one talks about the placenta, do they? And I suppose it’s not that important is it? It’s only the organ that provides your growing baby with everything it needs to thrive – from oxygen to nutrients… but we don’t mention it. It’s just a kind of yucky word, a thing no one really talks about. A bit of an afterthought!

I watched a documentary when I was pregnant with Oscar all about “alternative births”. One woman who was having no medical observations during her pregnancy, including scans and would give birth at home on a boat if I remember right and another was going to birth in a lake like a mermaid I think. Another woman was having a Lotus Birth which is the practice of leaving the umbilical cord uncut after birth so that the baby is left attached to the placenta – she was carrying it around in a wee bag and sprinkling it with rose petals – “this shit is a bit hippy” I thought “but each to their own”. Then there was a girl that was choosing to “ingest her placenta” in the form of a smoothie which didn’t sound that ‘out there’ she spoke about what she believed would be the benefits and how it was only one little drink so why not… It got me thinking, and the more I thought about it, the more I came round to the idea. This was followed by some Googling and reading some personal accounts of women that had done it and research that surrounded the practice. Some people had cooked it, some had drank it, some had had it encapsulated and some buried it in their garden with a tree or plant – it was interesting! Continue reading

Seven Days Of Scout – From Bump to Babe

In theatre
Bump to Baby
39 weeks vs 40 weeks

“Just when you think you know love, something little comes along to remind you just how big it really is”

A few weeks ago I wrote a post centred around my positive birth experience with Oscar. When I tried to put it all together, I realised just how much of the detail I’d forgotten. Caught up in a haze of nerves & excitement on the day the details we remember are sketchy, and over time have been forgotten. So I decided to make note of Scout’s birth story early on, and not wait nearly two and a half years…!

In my last post, I shared my hopes for our second little ones elective c-section and well, on 11th January 2018, exactly 29 months to the day on from Oscar’s Birthday our second baby entered the world in the most lovely, calm and magical way – and our hearts instantly doubled in size. Continue reading

Looking Forward to Another Positive Birth…

It’s coming round quick…

Well here’s a crazy thought – this time next month it’s *very* possible that we’ll have a new wee baby in our lives. A brand new (hopefully cute) sleep thief…

In preparation for seeing our Consultant this week to discuss our birth choices, I’ve been thinking a lot about my previous positive birth experience of having had a elective c-section with Oscar (along with the inevitable off hand comments that often follow such a birth *eye roll*) and I’m looking ahead to doing it all over again…

Bum Down Baby

For my entire pregnancy Oscar was always head up, bum down, the wrong way, breech. We were always assured he’d “probably correct himself” but as the weeks drew in towards his due date it was become less and less likely, especially as he started to run out of room. Regardless, we followed the advice and I spent a lot of my spare time at home in the downward dog position craning my head up to see the telly – very dignified, and it didn’t work.

Having been consultant led throughout my pregnancy, we were sat down once more at around 36ish weeks to discuss our options. We were offered an External Cephalic Version (ECV), this is when pressure is applied on your abdomen in an attempt to assist the baby in a somersault in the womb to lie head down. We declined this procedure based on a number of factors, including it’s rather low success rate.

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3rd Trimester

28th week of pregnancy, the Third Trimester – well, that kinda snuck up on us…

Time really does go so quickly, especially when you barely have a second to think about the fact that you’re pregnant but I’m loving it. I finally have an actual bump and don’t just look like I’ve piled on a tonne of timber… YAY!

When I announced I was pregnant, I asked for people’s experiences of anterior placentas and the feedback was a mixed bag. From people saying they still felt a tonne of movement to others saying they didn’t feel an awful lot. I knew I’d just have to wait and see and I’m glad to say that I’m feeling a lot, and seeing lots of movement on the outside too which is always really reassuring! Thank you to everyone that took time to comment!

I’d say in the last few weeks I’ve been starting to think more about what it’ll actually be like when the baby arrives and it’s so exciting… AND SCARY! I’m definitely one, in general, to be outwardly positive about my feelings and not really discuss my reservations, but they’re there, by the bucket load! Continue reading

Twenty Weeks

Twenty week scan picture of Baby Smith II

A little update

Well, it’s safe to say 20 weeks has flown by. I planned on doing an update long before now, but life with a toddler seems to always get in the way, so then I thought I’d just wait until our 20 week scan to make sure everything was alright. I’m not an anxious person at all, but even I couldn’t help but have that wee niggle at the back of my mind on the way to the hospital, wondering if everything would be okay. I am relieved to say everything was fine.

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