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Winter Windsor Walking

walk poc

 

I apologise for my lack of blogging lately – I have been trying to wear my supermum knickers and failing miserably – I used to think running the agency would be so easy with a baby at home – WRONG! Jeez . Anyway enough whinging but I apologise – my blogging has been shifted down the list these last few weeks.

We had Sonny’s first birthday at the end of November . I chickened out of having a party – I figured Sonny is too young to know and there is plenty of time yet for screaming children/Colin the clown/softplay carnage etc. We had a lovely day at the Natural History Museum, Sonny loved T- Rex then promptly fell asleep which meant we spent the rest of the afternoon eating cake in the café – always a winner!

Sonny is still off the dairy – we are going to try and introduce it after Christmas – we have finally come off the omeprazole and he seems to be ok , if a little refluxy– hoorah!!! Anyway I made a dairy free chocolate brownie which I will include the recipe for at a later date – obviously it wasn’t as tasty as a butter laden cake (are ‘clean’ recipes ever as tasty?) but it did the job and Sonny loved it –besides he is still of the opinion that a banana is the best thing in the world and that is fine with me!

I am waffling and going off subject now as I always do (a family trait inherited from my nan), but I intend to include a Walking feature at least once a month – I was going to call this feature ‘walk of the week’ but you and I both know that I will never blog every single week so for now it will be ‘walk of the month’ (Subject to change!).

Walking has always been a hobby of mine, I come from Wales so walking up hills tends to be part of daily life. Even when I was a stroppy teenager and my interests were pretty limited to boys, smoking and drinking 99p cider , I still found the time for a stomp round the countryside. I find it a great way of clearing my head and getting my thoughts in order.

When I had my hips operated on and couldn’t really walk far for a few months it pretty much drove me nuts! As much as I am a fan (or used to be when I had the time) of the gym, it just doesn’t compare to being outdoors. I especially love this time of year when it is windy and a little bit bleak.

Walking is a great way to help regain your figure and fitness post baby– you can take baby along, it costs nothing and as long as you both wrap up you can get out in all weathers. If you have a bit of post baby blues and are feeling a bit stir crazy in the house it can also help blow the cobwebs away and clear your head. It may be the last thing you feel like doing but trust me – it will be worth the effort.

All my walks are going to be fine for either a Buggy or Backpack/Sling. I will let you know the difficulty rating, distance and most importantly I will also try and include a Pub stop – if I cannot include wine I will try and point you towards a café for cake!!!

 

Walk one – Windsor Great Park – Bishops gate loop.

Suitable for Buggy with mostly flat tarmacked road – moderately easy. Distance approximately 7.5 KM (but my phone ran out of juice about a KM from the end – typical J )

Start /Finish (or both) at The Fox and Hounds (postcode TW20 0XU) for a glass of mulled wine or Cider. It’s a cosy pub and is always busy at a weekend so parking can be a bit of a nightmare. During the week it is quiet and the staff are welcoming. The food can be a little ponsey and overpriced if you are just ordering a lunch (I once ordered the ‘artisan bread’ and got a board with some sliced brown bread on it!) However, it’s a fab spot and children are welcome.

Continue through Bishops gate towards Royal Lodge then turn right where the road splits into 2. Walk through the Kissing gate into the deer park. Follow the road and you will soon be able to see fabulous views of Windsor castle to the right and the majestic copper horse to your left ( when Nannying I used to bring a lot of my charges ‘rock climbing’ around the stones of the base of the horse – simple activity but they all loved it). Follow this road and you will exit the deer park – continue straight ahead and pass some houses ,and a small pond on your left and then a farm on your right. At the next crossroads take a left and continue straight ahead at the next cross roads with a pond on either side ( however, if you are in need of a cake and tea break there is a little village shop if you take the left hand road). You will pass the York Club on your left, continue up this hill (this can be quite steep when pushing a buggy) and follow the road(which bears left )you will soon pass a statue of the Queen on horseback on your right.

Stay on this road until it splits again – bear right and then straight ahead up the hill passing a row of pretty houses to your right and then the village school. Again up a short steep hill passing Cumberland lodge on your right. At the top of the hill you will see a lovely large house (The Chaplain’s lodge) to your left – take the right road passing the horsetrack to your left and then take the left and the crossroads. This will bring you back to the entrance of Royal Lodge so turn right, head to the pub and get some much needed wine J.

 

Hopefully my route is easy to follow and you won’t get lost.

 

Happy walking – I would love to hear how you get on and any ideas for future walks xx

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Reflux Sucks

reflux pic

Before I was pregnant I’d had minimal contact with reflux, and to be honest hadn’t given it a great detail of thought. I’d had friends and clients with reflux babies and if they asked for help I would just drop the ‘higher the head of the cot’ line and ‘feed little and often’. I, along with a lot of other Nannies was of the opinion that reflux was very much the ‘new colic’ ie, anyone with a squawking baby would be keen to blame it on reflux when they just didn’t want to hear their babies cry. Little did I know.
So what is reflux? Reflux occurs when the muscle at the bottom of the oesophagus is not fully formed, allowing the contents of a babies stomach to travel back up. This is extremely common in babies and nothing to worry about especially if the baby is not bothered by it.
However, GORD or gastro-oesophageal reflux disease is a completely different ball game. This is when the baby’s stomach acid travels up the oesophagus, irritating or burning them and causing them a lot of pain. There can be a number of causes/factors that contribute to this form of reflux including a milk allergy. (Sonny is allergic to cows milk, however this is not the root cause of his reflux, when we had his allergy treated, it did not really make much difference to his reflux symptoms)
Our experience with GORD has been quite a drawn out one, and please note that this is OUR experience (I am not a DR and you should always seek medical advice if you think your baby is suffering from GORD) – I am only just starting to reduce Sonny’s medication as we approach his first birthday and even now I am not sure if we are ready to reduce it completely. Since I have hit on the minimal dose we have had a few ‘arching’ episodes and last night he woke up screaming – while this could be down to any number of factors (babies really are a minefield), he has generally been super good at night. I have mentioned this before but I have also been managing Sonny’s symptoms through a controlled diet. In addition to medication I have eliminated anything acidic such as onions, strawberries, peppers, and tomatoes. Yesterday we had an amazing afternoon with friends at a PYO farm, after picking raspberries I thought I would let Sonny try one, his little eyes lit up, he loved it so I let him eat a few. Whether this caused his discomfort at night I am not sure but to me it seems like more than a coincidence so I will continue to steer clear of anything acidic for a little while yet.
Some GP’s and Health Visitors can be quite dismissive of GORD, being slow about referring you onto a paediatrician and prescribing medication. Again if you are convinced that there is something wrong with your baby you should press this – Mothers instinct isn’t called that for any other reason than it exists – you know your baby.
Signs of reflux to look out for are below and while this list is not exhaustive and your baby may not show all of these symptoms there are key signs here that could show things are not 100%
Persistent crying
Arching of the back, particularly when laid flat or feeding.
Crying when being laid flat
Pulling away from the bottle/refusing feeds
Comfort feeding
General unhappiness
Appearing to be in pain and distress – not being able to comfort
Not smiling often
Appearing agitated and very rarely relaxed
Frequent Hiccups
Bubbles round mouth
Hard to wind
Rigid and stiff body
Head thrashing when feeding
Vomit/spitting up for an hour or possibly longer after feeds (although this isn’t the case with silent reflux)
Pulling off breast or bottle
Constant clenched fists

Often the GP or Paediatrician’s first step will be to try your baby on Gaviscon. This is an antacid and works by neutralising the stomach contents immediately when taken, it also thickens the contents of your babies stomach not allowing it to travel up the oesophagus so easily. This did absolutely nothing for Sonny bar make him extremely constipated. We were also prescribed ranitidine at the same time – ranitidine works by blocking acid production, it usually takes 6 days to kick in – again this did nothing for Sonny. I then requested Omeprazole – this is quite a new drug with regards to babies – I knew friends who had used it and actually I was prescribed this when pregnant – I remember the relief being instantanious. The same went for Sonny – within 24 hours he was much more comfortable. Although he would still bring up some milk it did not seem to distress him at all and he was a much calmer baby. He could now lie in his pram without screaming and would actually be laid down rather than being constantly held upright. Omeprazole is a PPI (Proton Pump Inhibitor) , it works by almost completely shutting down the acid pumps in the stomach reducing gastric acid by 90%.
When Omeprazole (or Losec Mups) is prescribed, the dosage changes with your baby’s weight. Often Sonny’s reflux symptoms would suddenly reappear only for us to realise that he had gone through a growth spurt therefor the dosage was no longer working and needed increasing.
Introducing solids also made a difference – we did this early (see weaning 1) and it helped to keep a lot of his milk down. Up until this time Sonny had been gaining weight quite slowly – he was around the 7th centile. Soon after starting solids he went up to the 75th!
Reflux is so complex that things like sleep training and self soothing just don’t apply. I am all for letting babies grizzle a bit and agree that learning to settle themselves to sleep is a really important life skill, however, I was obviously not going to leave Sonny to scream himself to sleep in pain, I knew that cuddling probably wouldn’t make a difference to the reflux but if it helped soothe him a little then I would lay aside all my Nanny ideas and cuddle and comfort him for however long it took! (And often this meant pacing the floors singing ‘5 little ducks’ on repeat – I am sure the neighbours were thrilled!!).
I had a small taste of just how painful acid reflux could be when I was pregnant, having to prop myself upright to sleep and even then would wake up with vomit in my mouth a few times a night (nice) . The thought of my little baby having to go through this every day was too much to bear.
I often heard comments that I was spoiling my baby at these times but I just chose to ignore them. Like I said earlier there is a real lack of understanding about GORD as it is a relatively recent discovery. While in the past the crying would be dismissed as ‘colic’ or just having a ‘fussy’ baby we now have the knowledge to empathise and treat little ones. If you are suffering then do what works and don’t listen to people who have limited understanding. I know when Sonny was screaming and rigid with pain, well meaning people would think it would help to bounce him up and down or rock him on his back and thought I was being hysterical when I wouldn’t allow it.
A brief summary of things that have helped us along the way have been;
A relatively early correct diagnosis,
Medication (Omeprazole),
Introduction to solids at 4 months
A controlled diet (no acidic foods)
Feeding upright and winding every oz when Sonny was small,
Not jigging him around/bouncing/rocking him – but instead holding him upright
Propping up the head of the moses basket/cot (using a towel or blanket under the mattress so baby sleeps at an angle rather than flat on their back).
It goes without saying that each baby and all symptoms are individual. Medication is given to manage and not cure GORD as children tend to simply grow out of it. While we are not out of the woods yet, we seem to be well on our way and I really hope that when Sonny starts walking his reflux will completely go.
The whole process is not only terribly painful and distressing for a baby, it can also be terribly painful and distressing for you! When pregnant I envisaged breastfeeding calmly at baby groups and pushing my baby round in his pram. The reality was very different as often during the early days Sonny was very distressed and I just couldn’t face people asking me if he was hungry/tired/spoilt etc, so we didn’t go out. A baby with GORD can be a terribly isolating experience for a new mum and I can imagine, if you do not know what is wrong with your baby, can also be very scary and may well affect the bond you have.
If you are experiencing this currently please know that you are not alone, I have spoken to many parents who have been through the same and they have all expressed just how helpless they felt and how they questioned their parenting skills. I promise it will get better. It is only in writing this post that I realise just how far we have come.
The fact that Sonny is almost one brings tears to my eyes. We now have a happy, content, social and settled little boy, he is extremely smiley, starting to show signs of a wicked sense of humour and most importantly of all enjoys food and meal times. We are extremely close and those horrific refluxy weeks and months now seem like a distant memory.
They will soon for you too – I promise – please do not hesitate about asking for help if you are struggling xx

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Stretch Marks.

rosehip oil

I didn’t get a single stretch mark during my pregnancy and before you think I am being smug, I most definitely am not! I have loads of marks from suddenly sprouting boobs and hips at the age of 12 so I thought I was going to be prone to them. I realise I am probably being quite vain but this was one of the things that scared me most about pregnancy.

Because of this phobia I invested in some heavy-duty oils and basted myself like a turkey every morning and evening from day one. Whether or not this prevented the onset of marks I don’t know although I am convinced it did. (I have read reports that oils and moisturizers make no difference whatsoever but I’m not sure!)

I have always been pretty rubbish at using body moisturizer, I am far too impatient and don’t like standing around getting cold whilst it sinks in. In this case though I made sure I created a little ritual – I would apply the oil in the morning whilst in the shower and again before bed. Here is the recipe for my little concoction – this is not a promotional post and I am sure most oils high in vitamin E would also work well.

Buy a travel bottle or use an empty pump dispenser and fill it with;

6 parts Bio Oil

2 parts Trilogy Rosehip oil (Apparently the + version is even better but is more expensive so I didn’t try it)

2 parts Argan Oil

Shake and apply – voila!

When I ran out I would just use standard coconut oil which you will hear me harp on about a LOT in this blog!

As soon as Sonny was born I promptly abandoned this ritual as during the first couple of months I barely had time to wipe my own backside. My boobs therefore now look like 2 overbaked jacket potatoes (Microwaved ones at that)! So I am making it my June 24th resolution to restart.

I will leave you with that gorgeous image.

Happy basting xx

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Weaning part 1.

Government guidelines advise to exclusively breastfeed your child for 6 months before introducing solids. However, every baby is different and some babies cannot comfortably go this long without being introduced to food. Baby led weaning is what most people seem to be following these days – the name is pretty self -explanatory – you wait until your baby is sitting up and making a grab for your food and then introduce them to whatever you are eating – within reason. The logic behind this is that the baby eats whatever/how much he needs and grows up to be less fussy – I know of some people who swear by this method and if you do a search on you tube you will find loads of babies chowing down on chicken legs and steaks!

When I started off my childcare career in a nursery the advice was to start weaning pureed foods at 4 months and children were given foods laden with sugar such as rusks and wheat cereals which is seen as a big no no these days!

Personally I introduced Sonny to solids at just over 4 months. He is a very refluxy baby and has a tendency to projectile quite a lot of his milk quite often! My theory was that food would stay down and also help to keep the milk down. Sonny had also started waking more often in the night (he had stopped night feeds quite early on) and, while I know that this is not an official sign of being hungry, I knew he was (that motherly instinct I keep harping on about)!

Sonny thrived after starting solids – his just loves his food – gets genuinely excited when he sees me approach with the bowl and spoon and is a real bruiser these days.

Anyway this post is detailing the first 30 days of our weaning adventure , I will include later posts so you can see at what stage we introduce things like protein and wheat (at around 7 months) and more textured foods. You may find this useful and can choose to use this as a guide or not, I kept this diary so I could check Sonny’s reactions and also for future reference, not for a blog post

I only tend to introduce one new food every three days – I do this so I can monitor any reaction. I have also had to be wary of more acidic foods due to Sonny’s reflux – he tends to take a turn for the worse after apple, mango and plums so we have shelved those for now. I have still not attempted tomatoes and peppers etc. as, even at 7 months he is still refluxy and I just know that these would be too acidic for his little system to take.

After initially introducing baby rice at the 5pm feed, I always introduce Sonny’s ‘new’ food during the morning/lunchtime feed as then I have the rest of the day to monitor how and if he reacts.

I would also advise stocking up on Ella’s kitchen (this is not a promotional post FYI) I just find these guys the best .All of the ingredients are organic and you can buy pouches with single foods/tastes – they have nothing added like so many other brands so it suited us well. At first I was quite snobby about pre-packaged food and planned to buy and puree everything but hey, why make life harder for yourself?

I tend to buy and puree things to use when we are at home but if we are out and about I take an Ella’s and a spoon. Also, I wanted to stick to organic produce whilst Sonny is so small – and trying to track down things like organic parsnips and peaches out of season is a nightmare.

I know some will be of the opinion that I have weaned my son too early, however I can now say that at 7 months he is a bouncy, bonny boy. He is sitting up and making a grab for my meals. He chews and is now eating chicken and pasta amongst a huge array of fruit and veg (and of course Avocado which is his absolute favourite thing of all time).

Here goes……..

Day 1 – 1 teaspoon baby rice with breastmilk 5pm

Day 2 – Same as above

Day 3 – 1 teaspoon baby rice with breastmilk after AM feed

Day 4 – 1 teaspoon baby rice after AM feed then the same at 5pm

Day 5 – Same as above

Day 6 – After AM feed – 1 cube of carrot. 5pm – Babyrice and milk

Day 7 – Same as above

Day 8 – Same as above

Day 9 – After AM feed – 1 cube of sweet potato. 5pm – Baby rice and milk

Day 10 – After AM feed – 1 cube sweet potato. 5pm Baby rice made with breastmilk + one cube carrot.

Day 11 – Same as above

Day 12 – After AM feed – Sweet potato and carrot mix (one cube of each) . 5pm Baby rice made with mill mixed with one cube of pear.

Day 13 – Same as above

Day 14 – Same as above

Day 15 – After AM feed – 1 cube courgette mixed with 1 cube pear. 5pm – baby rice, milk and pear.

Day 16 – After AM feed – 2 cubes courgette. 5pm – baby rice mixed with milk and pear.

Day 17 – After AM feed – 1 cube of courgette mixed with 1 cube carrot. 5PM – baby rice mixed with milk and pear.

Day 18 – After AM feed – 1 cube swede (was not too keen – takes after his mum!!) . 5PM – baby rice, milk and pear.

Day 19 – After AM feed – 1 cube swede mixed with 1 cube courgette. 5 PM baby rice and pear.

Day 20 – After AM feed – 1 cube swede and 1 cube carrot. 5PM baby rice and pear.

Day 21 – After AM feed – 1 cube swede mixed with 1 cube courgette. 5PM – Courgette and rice.

Day 22 – After AM feed – Apple and rice. 5PM – Swede, carrot and courgette

Day 23 – After AM feed – Apple and rice 5PM – Carrot and Courgette

(Decided to leave apple at this point as it seemed to make reflux worse)

Day 24 – AM – Avocado (blitzed with little water and 1tsp pear) LOVED IT! PM – Pear with rice.

Day 25 – AM – Avocado. PM Pear with rice

Day 26 – AM Sweet potato and rice. PM – Half an Avocado

Day 27 – AM Banana. PM –Sweet Potato and rice

Day 28 – AM Banana and Avocado. PM Pear and Rice

Day 29 – Seemed to have a bit of a tummy ache today so just stuck with two small portions of pear and rice.

Day 30 – AM Carrot and Potato. PM – Pear and rice.

Happy Pureeing (PS – it may be an idea to invest in some heavy duty overalls and plastic sheeting ‘a la’ Breaking Bad) xxx

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Breastfeeding Best Feeding??

canstockphoto11371803Now, I just want to get a few things (forgive the pun) off my chest about breastfeeding. Before I get hung drawn and quartered by the “Breastapo” let me make one thing abundantly clear….. I adore breastfeeding my son and am still doing so at 6 months. I totally believe it is the natural way to feed your baby, a lovely way to bond, it boosts the immune system, reduces the risk of tummy bugs, yada yada yada you get my drift.

What I do not believe is that formula fed babies are going to grow up to be obese, unintelligent, whacked with anti- social behaviour orders or whatever other reports we read in the press from week to week.

Mothers who choose to formula feed their babies choose to do so for a reason – whether that is for health reasons or simply because they do not enjoy breastfeeding – either is a valid reason and they should not be judged for this by a) Health professionals or b) other mothers.

Breastfeeding for most Mums is HARD WORK. I know TV would have us believe that you can simply sit and read a book with your feet up whilst your little cherub effortlessy suckles away looking peaceful. Ahem … absolute crap! This may be the case for a lucky few but for the others it means thrashing refluxy babies, endless bouts of mastitis, bleeding, cracked or chapped nipples, over supply of milk (making your baby gag) or simply an under supply and being made to feel like an unnatural failure because you are not producing enough.

Pretty much 90% of my friends have been affected by some kind of breastfeeding issues. Some have persevered with success (go them!), others switched to formula straight away (go them!) some have put themselves through hell and become really unhappy in the process.

As a Nanny I looked after breastfed babies, formula fed babies, mixed fed babies. Did all the babies that were exclusively breastfed grow up to be angelic, high IQ’d, lean mean power machines? Utter tosh. All of the babies were fine – there were naughty and chubby breastfed children and naughty and chubby bottlefed children, there were children who were never going to be top of the class who were formula fed but just as many who were breastfed.

I went into Motherhood knowing this and scoffing at the mums who became obsessed with breastfeeding at all costs – I WILL NEVER BE LIKE THAT I said to my Mum (who would just give me a knowing look).

I introduced Sonny to a bottle pretty early. I knew (after talking to lots of Maternity Nurses) that introducing a bottle early very rarely causes nipple confusion (this something that is constantly preached by health professionals).

I was told this in the early days and the guilt and doubt started to creep in. In fact, mixed feeding can be beneficial to all involved – helping Dad bond with the baby and allowing Mum to get some much needed rest.

I had every intention of also introducing one formula feed per day. In fact, I think we gave Sonny one bottle in the first couple of weeks when my supply was really low – but actually after that we didn’t need to as I had too much milk so expressing was relatively easy.

Initially breastfeeding was also quite a doddle and I used to love that special time first thing in the morning when it was just me, Sonny and an episode of ladies of London/Real housewives of Cheshire (come on – I had just had a baby you didn’t expect anything highbrow did you??).

I even managed to breastfeed with relative ease whilst Sonny was in hospital with Bronchiolitis. Reassuringly I was actually discouraged by the paediatrician from doing this; he was extremely supportive and a brilliant Doctor and came right out with “your baby has had your antibodies and goodness for 3 weeks which is an amazing achievement but you may want to choose to tube feed him formula so he stays strong” which was sound advice and a great way of delivering it. However, after a little discussion we decided to give the breastfeeding a go to see if Sonny was strong enough to take it; luckily he was and I think it was a great comfort to him, keeping us close during those horrible days in hospital. However, if he hadn’t responded well and had to be tube fed would I have spent every minute pumping milk instead of being there to cuddle and comfort my son? I doubt it.

When we were discharged and home the feeding trouble started. After another trip to hospital Sonny was diagnosed with acid reflux. Whether this was on the cards anyway or a result of the infection I will never know. What I do know is, after returning home, feeding was no longer peaceful and turned into pure hell. Sonny would thrash and arch but at the same time would comfort feed so would never want to stop. I literally had to lever him off my boob.

During one particularly scary episode, I laid him down to be changed and he vomited blood all over the mat. Obviously as Parents we were hysterical; we rushed down to A&E where, after about 6 hours of testing we were reassured that it was actually my blood that had been ingested. WTF!!

From that day on, (petrified the same thing was going to happen again) I spent every spare minute pumping away at my poor boobs. As Sonny fed every 3 hours and expressing took at least an hour each time –things like eating, going to the toilet etc. didn’t take priority.

We tried giving formula a couple of times but this just seemed to make the reflux worse (we later learned our son was dairy intolerant).

If I’d also had a toddler around – (as so many Mums do) this process would have been IMPOSSIBLE without one child being severely neglected. I was exhausted and highly emotional. Especially after one visit by a health visitor who assured me “you can never over feed a breastfed baby “and that “he would pull off when he had enough” (blatantly not the case with a comfort feeding reflux baby). I also shouldn’t bottle feed him as he would “never go back to the breast” (after 6 weeks he went back on the boob no problem). This garbage is repeatedly peddled out to Mums regardless of their circumstance. I felt like a failure.

Anyway I am not telling you this to try and make you feel sorry for me – millions of women go through shit like this and a lot worse every day. What I am trying to get across is this…

Is breastfeeding best when it is making the Mum miserable and affecting her health? No.

Is breastfeeding best if it is of detriment to other children in the household? No

Is a Mum who is bullied into breastfeeding despite having problems and inadequate support more likely to feel depressed? Yes

Will a depressed Mums relationship with her baby be affected? Possibly

There are many different scenarios when actually breastfeeding is not the best solution for some Mums or babies and these Mum’s deserve not to be judged for that.

As for me and Sonny, after weeks of digestive problems and diarrhoea (him not me!) and visits to the Doctor, I actually took matters into my own hands and tried Sonny on a specialist formula (although I would always recommend talking to your GP first). After 2 days Sonny’s nappies were normal and he was a much happier calm baby. I returned to the GP who immediately prescribed a specialist formula. I had to abstain from feeding Sonny breastmilk to clear out the dairy proteins from my system which takes approximately 2 weeks.

As soon as I could we began combined feeding and the difference to both me and my son was immeasurable. He was happy, I was happy – yes I was on a dairy free diet (which believe me to a complete cheese fiend is hard work) but at least I had chance to eat something! We were both content and healthy and Sonny started gaining weight like nobody’s business.

Personally I am glad I chose to feed my son. My favourite part of the day is the last feed. This is now the only breastfeed we do and, as my milk is diminishing and this will soon be coming to an end. It makes me feel immensely sad.

But if I had a baby who wasn’t intolerant to formula would I go through the same thing again? I’m not sure I would. The whole period is a bit blurry to me but it’s not exactly a time I look back on with joy. I couldn’t enjoy the time with my son as I was constantly expressing or worrying about when I was going to pump. My relationship with my partner suffered. My flat was a complete shithole (my friends will be reading this sniggering that nothing is new).

Obviously as a Mum you want to do the best for your baby – you are vulnerable, take comments to heart and every little bit of ‘advice’ feels like a criticism of your parenting skills. I think a lot of women are ‘shamed’ into exclusively breastfeeding when actually it is not best for their circumstances.

To all new Mums, all new parents – you have to do what is best for your family, your children and most importantly YOU! Only you can make that decision and ultimately you know what is best whether that be breast or bottle, natural or formula. You can do either or both and believe me you will still be a brilliant Mum.

Now I have got that off my (slightly deflated) chest I am off to watch Real Housewives of Beverley Hills (see, still no highbrow) and fantasise about cheese. Goodnight xxx

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Introduction

So, working as a Nanny I thought I pretty much knew everything there was to know about raising children and babies. People who used to say to me ‘oh but it’s SO different when you have your own’ used to really get on my nerves. How did a person with experience of just one or two of their own kids know better than someone who had looked after over 30?

When I found out I was pregnant I was adamant I wasn’t going to be one of those batshit crazy mums who thought giving their baby a bottle was the devils work, would never leave my child with anyone else or call myself Mummy in the third person……ahem, well at 5 months my baby hadn’t been left with anyone for more than 2 hours (and that was his dad whilst I went to Tesco), he is thankfully taking a bottle but god did I battle with guilt over that one and yes I constantly refer to myself as Mummy and blow raspberries in public.

I am hoping to one day become the ‘cool’ mum I had envisaged, multitasking work, having an amazing social life whilst being witty, trendy, sexy and well turned out. Pah, until that day comes I will continue walking round with my monobrow, un ironed clothes (most of the time totally unmatching and covered in sick) and hair like an electrocuted lion.

Apart from the first 3 months of morning (read ALL DAY) sickness (I so very delicately puked down the side of some unfortunate commuters Porsche when getting off the train one day), I was determined to be a ‘cool mum’, to carry on exercising , to not get obsessed with food or to read endless pregnancy books and expect special treatment all the time. To be fair I managed most of that (probably not the ‘cool’ part) but I was very laid back , the only book I read was ‘Expecting Better – why the conventional pregnancy wisdom is wrong and what you really need to know ‘ by Emily Oster. I would highly recommend this as an honest read (it cuts through all the BS and generally gives you the facts – good or bad).

I pretty much kept my personality, shunning a baby shower for a small gathering in a cheese shop (don’t ask but my idea of heaven!) and didn’t become obsessed with all things baby .

However once Sonny arrived my world changed. To be fair I was still quite laid back (or maybe shell shocked) for the first few weeks. I had an elective c-section due to previous hip operations which all went relatively smoothly. We were discharged after 2 days in hospital and started getting back into life (probably a bit too soon).

Once we got feeding established (more about Breastfeeding to come – ye gods that is not something I had prepared for!) we even found ourselves getting into a routine and I thought I was doing really well – feeding Sonny before he got too hungry, settling him to sleep before he got too tired. We had a routine and it pretty much stayed the same each day.

At just under 3 weeks old things went downhill, Sonny caught a cold, or so we thought. My other half who is the complete opposite of me in that he worries about EVERYTHING demanded we go to the Dr – who insisted Sonny was fine. Still unsure we returned again that evening – another Dr said he was fine. I think deep down I knew that something was wrong but I was hormonal, emotional and ended up shouting at my other half for over reacting. We went home – the next day Sonny seemed to pick up a little – I had bought a snot sucker and began using that on him, he seemed more ‘himself’ but still not 100%. The following day we had the health visitor appointment– again Sonny was more sleepy than usual and his breathing seemed laboured but we were assured he was fine – my partner was adamant that he wasn’t and in the evening we rushed down to the DR and were referred straight to paediatrics –the poor little man had severe bronchiolitis. My heart broke in two – no matter how many children I had looked after, or how laid back I thought I was, there is nothing on earth that prepared me to see my little tiny 3 week old baby hooked up to oxygen. We ended up staying in hospital for 8 days as Sonny’s oxygen levels were low for a long time. I was a complete wreck when we came out. I now know in the grand scheme of things he wasn’t as ill as a lot of children get, and I know we are exceedingly lucky but nothing on earth prepared me for the guilt, worry, love and helplessness I felt for my little man.

We had a few more visits to paediatrics over the coming weeks including with reflux (read more about that later) a vomiting blood episode (scary – more in the breastfeeding post) and I was extremely over protective and scared about other people handling Sonny for at least another two months .

I would say that the whole experience taught me that you really need to listen and to trust your gut instincts being a Mother – you can read a whole library worth of books and have all the experience in the world but essentially you have never looked after THIS baby before. Trust that you know your own baby better than any doctor, midwife or health visitor. Although generally our GP surgery is pretty amazing and I can’t really fault the care we received when Sonny was ill, I do feel like I was treated like an over- reactive Mother to start with. I had experience with children and babies and I still felt I was fobbed off and made to feel that I didn’t know what I was talking about. It did knock my confidence somewhat.

Anyway I am hoping that this blog will be a one stop shop for all things baby and child related – I started writing up a book or diary when I was a Nanny with lots of little nuggets of advice – when I read some of it now I laugh out loud – other bits I wish I had listened to in my own head during those early months when I was constantly googling, comparing and doubting. Hopefully it will tell things ‘how they are’ from both a Mum and Nanny perspective – obviously not everything that works for me will for you and vice versa . I also hope to include some ‘guest bloggers’ – specialists in their field and friends who I have the pleasure of knowing from Nannying and running the agency.

I would love to hear what you think.

Happy reading

Tanja xx