Mum life – What I have learned in the first 9 months

There was 9 months of being pregnant, and I’ve now reached the stage of being a mum for 9 months so I thought it would be a good time to look back at what I have learned along the way. What things did I wish I knew beforehand? No one really tells you any of this stuff – there is no handbook with all the answers (unfortunately), and Google will just confuse you completely with different opinions. I’m going to let you know some of the things I have picked up along the way. It’s the biggest journey you will ever go on so hopefully these tips will help whether you are a new mum or about to have a baby.

It really does get easier

When people tell you it gets easier, you will literally want to punch them. FACT.

The newborn stage is intense. I wasn’t fully prepared for this – I don’t think any of us actually are. When I was pregnant people used to joke and say to get as much sleep in as you can before the baby arrives. I wish I had listened to this, although when you are heavily pregnant, sleeping becomes really difficult and just turning over is a struggle so I’m not sure when I would have put in a sleep marathon anyway realistically. Just know you are going to feel tired for a quite a long time!

As the months pass though, things do start to get easier. You get into a routine, you’re not as terrified of making a mistake, your baby starts to sleep through the night, you get used to the broken sleep pattern and what the different baby cries mean. But as things get easier, you move onto other new challenges to deal with so it really is all a constant learning curve.

Embrace the changes

I’m one of those people who doesn’t like change but since having a baby I’ve had to completely adjust my mindset on this. Just as you get settled doing things a certain way, your baby will progress and it will change into something different and it throws you off a bit. You never grow and develop as much in your life as you do when you’re a child and they have a lot going on, so I’ve learned that you need to be really open minded with this and literally just go with the flow of what your baby is doing.

Another change that I’ve had to deal with is with my own life. The freedom of just popping to the shops quickly for something, or going out with friends or going shopping is not as easy. It’s a big life adjustment when you realise that this little person is going to be attached to your hip for quite a long time and that is always going to have to come first now. I knew this was going to be the case but it didn’t actually hit me properly until he was born. It was quite hard to take in and deal with for quite a long time. As I said…I’m not the best with dealing with change! You do learn to accept this new way of life though.

Buy all of the essential items

A friend of mine recommended a machine for bottle feeding and it really has been a game changer. It was worth every penny and I’m so pleased we bought it. I will link it below as well as a few other essential items that I would definitely recommend.

Tommee Tippee perfect prep machine (if you are bottle feeding)

Tommee Tippee Electric steriliser (again for bottle feeding)

Snuz cloud – this has been amazing. It plays white noise and soothing music which helps your baby drift off to sleep.

Nuby teething dummies – these are so good – you can put them in the fridge to make them nice and cool on your babies gums when they want to chew everything in sight!

Nuby nibbler – this is great for when you start weaning. It helps your baby to learn how to chew as well as introduces them to new tastes, without the risk of choking.

Anti roll changing mat – we have this one HERE from Mumma Shack.

A baby organiser caddy like this one HERE is also really useful. You can stock it up with all of the essentials you will need for day or night from nappies, wipes, nappy bags, muslin cloths, creams etc and you will be able to carry it around the house easily.

Plan ahead

When I was pregnant we bought mainly a selection of newborn, 0-3month, 3-6 month clothes. What I hadn’t appreciated was how quickly babies grow! A top tip I will give is to buy long sleeve bodies in a variety of ages/sizes because in the Summer months its so difficult to get hold of long sleeve clothes. In England we still get really cold days during the Summer but the shops only seem to have Summer related clothes only during that time.

Getting into a routine

Getting your baby into a routine takes time but its something that babies really need and it makes a massive difference. I found it’s helped me so much and I like having a structure to my day. Without a plan for the day it can feel a bit overwhelming sometimes. We don’t do everything at the exact same time every single day – that would be impossible but we now have a routine in place which we keep to as much as possible and it really works well for us.

  • 7 – 7.30am Oscar wakes up
  • 7.30am first bottle of the day
  • 8.30am breakfast
  • 10.30 goes down for his nap which could be a around an hour, or an hour and a half long
  • 11.30 ish Oscar wakes up
  • 12pm – Lunch
  • 1pm – afternoon bottle
  • 2pm/2.30 – afternoon nap which is usually a bit longer than the morning one
  • 4pm ish Oscar wakes up
  • 5pm Dinner
  • 6pm bath and wind down time
  • 7pm last bottle of the day and off to bed

We moved Oscar into his own bedroom from 5 months old and started with weaning from 6 months. Every baby is different though and the NHS website will have all of the guidelines on roughly when babies should be doing certain things. You will naturally know what’s right for your own baby though and you should trust your own instincts.

Don’t compare your baby to others

It’s only natural to worry if you are doing things properly and if your baby is progressing, doing everything they should be at the right time. Just remember that every baby is different. Some learn to crawl really early, some never learn to crawl and just shuffle about until they can walk. Just like with social media channels such as Instagram, you will see other peoples babies doing things at their own pace and you shouldn’t ever compare your baby to theirs. Babies will do everything when it is the right time for them.

If you enjoyed reading this, check out some of my other pregnancy related posts – 

Getting the best support possible

 Styling your baby bump

Baby shower gift ideas

Are influencers being taken advantage of?

street shoot

The way brands advertise has changed massively in the last 10 years. Influencers and content creators now play a huge part in how brands promote their new products. However some brands are starting to take advantage of influencer marketing and using creators in a way which is becoming an issue in the industry.

Earning Potential

Influencers have the potential to earn a really good income through promoting brands. There are lots of ways to make money, for example – through sponsored posts, affiliate links, or becoming brand ambassadors. For the more well known influencers with a large following, they have the opportunity to be taken on all expenses paid brand press trips in return for promoting the latest products. You will also see them creating ‘edits’ with fashion brands as well as creating their own designed collections. These sort of campaigns not only give the influencer a large pay check and commissions through sales, but also generates a massive revenue for the brands.

Read all about it..

For a brand to place an advert in a magazine it can cost thousands of pounds – even tens of thousands depending on the magazine. This is a big chunk of money for any business. Brands now realise the potential that content creators, bloggers, and people with a large social media following have. Using influencers to promote their products for them not only helps them to spread the word really quickly, it also helps to encourage others to go out and buy these items. We live in a world now where reviews can make or break a business and influencers have already gained the trust of those who follow and engage with their content so they are perfect for showcasing products to everyone.

A brand has no way of easily being able to quantify how may people saw their advert in a magazine and how many sales were generated because of it. But an influencer is able to provide a brand with statistics showing exactly how many people liked their post, how many commented, liked, saved or reposted it. If the influencer shared a discount code or a link these can also give the brand an indication of how much interest the viewers have in their product. This sort of data is hugely beneficial for a brand.

street shoot

street shoot

The issue with “gifting”

There are a lot of people that want to be an influencer or a blogger as a career choice and the market has become saturated. Because of this, brands are able to have their pick of the bunch. They have a huge amount of choice and a lot of people hoping to break through and be noticed are more willing to accept free or gifted products from a brand rather than asking them for any form of payment.

Creating content is time consuming – Writing blog posts, shooting the products, filming, editing the photos or videos all takes a lot of time, work and effort. You wouldn’t go to any regular job and expect to put in hours of work without being paid so this should be no different. A free item doesn’t pay the bills at the end of the day but a lot of brands will now only offer this to influencers and where so many are willingly accepting this, it is making it more and more difficult to receive actual payment from brands.  For example, to send out a few free items of clothing is such a tiny cost for many companies and so they prefer to do this rather than actually paying the influencers.

So for any aspiring influencers/bloggers reading this blog post, always ask a brand what budget they have available if they contact you asking to collaborate on a project. A brand that tells you they don’t have a budget is not always being truthful. All marketing departments have a budget whether they are a small business right up to the large corporations. It’s time for bloggers to be given more credit for their worth. Of course it’s completely the decision of the content creator if they are happy to work on a project on a gifted basis only and agree to not accept payment for their work. I myself still do this if I love the brand and am passionate about their products. However, unless bloggers/creators in the industry stand together more on making a positive change about being paid more regularly by brands as opposed to purely working on a gifted basis, we are far off from this being resolved.

In this industry there isn’t a set standard on how much you should charge for your content and there is a massive grey area with this, adding to brands being able to take advantage for this.

Leave a comment below if this issue has affected you. I would love to hear what your experiences have been with blogging and receiving payment for your content.

Image @Pinterest

Outfit featured in today’s blog post

Love heart Jumper :  I saw it first

Denim Petite Lockett Handbag  : Jimmy Choo 

Sunglasses : ASOS

 

Trend Report: Bucket Hats

Bucket hats have been back on the scene for a while and they don’t appear to be going anywhere any time soon. All of the major fashion houses are involved with the trend but the brand that really brought these back into the limelight for me was Prada with their nylon version which is available in an amazing colour selection. Bucket hats can be a bit of a marmite fashion accessory though – you’ll either love them or hate them and they haven’t always had the best reputation. Unlike other types of headwear like beanies, fedoras, or berets, buckets have struggled to reach the same level of mainstream appeal. But as the high end designers continue to push this style, the more they are becoming acceptable and even coveted items.

A step back in time..

The bucket hat originated in the 1900s and were typically made from wool or tweed, worn by Irish fishermen and farmers as protection from the rain. It’s has had several comebacks since then and whether they bring back memories of Kevin and Perry, the 60s mods, the 90s rave culture or from the hip hop scene, the bucket hat is once again the accessory piece to be seen in.

Revival..

Prada tried to bring the trend back in 2005 but it never quite took off. Moving forward into Spring/Summer 2018, Chanel featured bucket hats on the runway and they also appeared again in Dior’s Autumn/Winter 2019 collection. Since then, Prada has had a huge success with bucket hats and the trend has branched out with various other designers including them in their accessory collections.

The catwalk presence along with the huge popularity on Instagram has also helped to kick start everyone’s interest again. Celebs such as Rhianna and Billie Eilish and many more have been wearing these countless times also adding to the appeal of the bucket hat being back in fashion and the style to be seen in.

A trend or a new classic?

So what is it about the bucket hat that has everyone excited again? It could be because they are not age restrictive – anyone from teenagers to the more mature fashionista can look stylish wearing one. They also go with literally everything and are so easy to wear. A basic relaxed shirt and jeans combo paired with a bucket hat can easily top off the look, or added with loungewear for a casual street style vibe. They are now available in so many colours, prints and textures, that adding a bucket hat to an outfit can really polish the whole look.

The last 2 years of lockdowns has seen fashion moving into a more relaxed style which will also play a part in the popularity of these hats.

I’ve been wearing my black Prada bucket hat with colourful prints and oversized sweaters, with casual loungewear and a pair of air force 1 or Nike Jordan sneakers. Because it’s in a classic black colourway, it’s perfect to add to any outfit, whereas with a patterned version you might be slightly more restricted in what you pair it with. I definitely want to invest in more colours, as well as into other designer brands and have fun styling them. In particular, I’m loving the selection at Dior and Fendi with their classic logo prints. A fully colour co-ordinated look would also be amazing and something I want to try out for a full matching colour aesthetic.

Shop some of my favourite bucket hats..

What are your thoughts on the resurgence of the bucket hat?

Links to previously written trend reports are Here or Here

Pregnancy: Getting the best support possible

Image @ Pinterest

Pregnancy can be an uncertain time. Like me, this might be your first time experience, you might not have been around other pregnant people before and feel a little bit overwhelmed with everything going on leading up to your birth. There are a lot of hospital appointments to attend with various scans, blood tests, and never ending urine samples. All of the glamourous situations! There are also a lot of things to consider along the way such as planning your birth and getting everything organised before your little bundle arrives.

Today’s blog post is a review about ‘Bump to Beyond your birthwhich is an amazing antenatal and postnatal support service for mums to be, and I’m really excited to share this with you all!

Image @pinterest

My pregnancy support journey

During the last 9 months, I was not prepared for the lack of information or support that we were given along the way. Covid is possibly one of the main reasons for this but as this is my first pregnancy I don’t really have anything else to compare it to. I thought that I would have been assigned a dedicated midwife that I would meet with regularly who would be on hand to go over everything we might need to know but this really wasn’t the case at all. 

As someone who has barely even held a baby before, never mind fed, changed, bathed or given birth to one, I had a lot of questions buzzing around my head. So we joined an online NCT group which unfortunately we really didn’t enjoy very much and didn’t get on with at all. I found it to be quite a judgmental space and more geared towards women that only wanted to breastfeed which can be a very touchy subject. The group was made up of around 6 other couples and I found it a little intimidating to ask questions in this sort of group setting with others that were not open to other people’s preferences. So we didn’t really get what we actually needed from this type of course.

Discovering a new kind of support Network

This got me wondering what other options there were out there for us and then I thankfully discovered Bridie from ‘Bump to Beyond your Birth’. She has a wealth of experience, having been a midwife for over 10 years and is also a mum herself to 2 children. Bridie offers birth preparation courses on a one-to-one basis which takes place over a Zoom call. So you can sit in the comfort of your own home with a nice cup of tea and talk with her openly in total confidence. You can arrange to have a birth preparation course (Antenatal) which will cover the whole labour process and she also has a baby preparation course which will help you with making sure you are all ready and informed in time for bringing your new baby home with you.

Feeling informed and prepared

I was personally really interested in finding out more about the whole Caesarean process as well as bottle feeding. As the courses are on a one-to-one basis it’s so much easier to tailor these to your specific questions and needs rather than being in a group setting. We scheduled in a Zoom call together and from the outset I felt relaxed and comfortable as we went over the following:

Signs of Labour we discussed the signs to look out for that will mean you have gone into labour. This will be slightly different for me as I have a planned caesarean booked. However her Antenatal course will cover this topic for you as well as what the stages of a natural labour are, of the different pain relief options that you will have available, your partners role in the whole experience and what to expect after the first 24 hours of birth.

The caesarean operation process – we went over the whole procedure for me, covering everyone that will be in the room during the operation and what each person’s job is. This was a great comfort to me as I wouldn’t have thought to have asked about this and would have been wondering who everyone was in the room which could be a little scary. We then covered what happens during the actual procedure, through to the recovery process afterwards. This was so informative and has really put my mind at rest about the whole thing.

Preparing to go into hospital from what to pack in my hospital bag (I will write a separate blog post on what I have packed in my bag) and what to plan for when I come home and go into the recovery process.

Bottle Feeding As I plan to bottle feed, we discussed about doing this whilst being in the hospital, following onto when we are back home. 

How to book a course

I was so impressed with the professionalism and information that I received from our Zoom call. I felt that I was able to ask as many questions as I needed – there was no such thing as a silly question and there was zero judgment whatsoever. I really recommend booking a course with ‘Bump to Beyond your Birth’ as it’s the perfect way to go over everything you need and to feel prepared and empowered in time for your birth. 

There are a few courses that you can choose from which I will list below, but just to let you know that you can have a 15 minute Zoom call free of charge with Bridie to meet each other and for her to explain in more detail what your course will cover ready for your scheduled call which is great.

  • Booking an Antenatal course with ‘Bump to Beyond your Birth’ is recommended from around 28 weeks of pregnancy. The 4 hour course can be split into 2 sessions and is priced at £170. As mentioned above, this course will go over in detail what the stages of a natural labour are, the different pain relief options that you will have available, your partners role in the whole experience and what to expect after the first 24 hours of birth.
  • Booking a practical preparation for baby course is also recommended from around 28 weeks of pregnancy and is an excellent follow on from the above courses. This is a 3 hour session priced at £135 and will cover everything you could possibly need from how to hold your baby, nappy changing, taking the baby out, dressing, bathing, feeding and all other general care. An essential for anyone feeling nervous like I was, having little experience with babies before.
  • Booking a preparing for your labour, birth and baby course is recommended from 32 weeks pregnancy onwards. It’s a 2 hour session priced at £90 which will cover your choices for birth, putting together a birth plan for you, packing your hospital bag and preparing your home for the new baby.

You can email the following address to arrange a course booking or to ask any questions:  info@bumptobeyondyourbirth.co.uk

I know you will enjoy these courses as much as I have and so I am really happy to blog about my experience with this. I would love to hear how you get on too and what course you decide to go for!

Also, if you missed my recent pregnancy blog posts I will leave the link to them HERE. and HERE

7 ways to get out of the 2020 slump

2020 has been a strange one and it’s so easy to get yourself into a slump at the moment. There is a lot of tension out there from constant arguing and opinion slinging on social media to people actually having a go at each other in the street – I have had this directed my way a couple of times recently from complete strangers which is just the weirdest thing ever. I’m all about keeping positive right now and have 7 ways on how to get out of that 2020 slump.

Switch off from social media

This sounds like an obvious one but social media can be a bit of a toxic space at the moment, especially on Facebook and Twitter. We are all constantly on our phones and having that endless stream of doom and gloom news can really start to get to you after a while. 2020 has seen a huge increase in the suicide rate and social media will definitely play a part in this. Turn off your phone for a few hours a day and step away from the news and newspapers to give yourself a break from it all. They say ignorance is bliss and I can’t help but agree as when I take a break from the news and social media it makes me feel a whole lot better and is the perfect way to reduce stress or anxiety levels.

Less slump, more get up and go!

Being on lockdown and staying indoors for long periods of time can definitely get you in a slump and feeling sluggish. The weather is turning colder and you might just want to stay in your pyjamas binge watching Netflix. This is completely ok but not all day, every day. Make a plan to do something productive every day. Start reading a new book, clear out your wardrobe (see my previous blog post with tips on this), re-organise a room in your home, do something creative, go for a nice Autumnal walk, do those jobs that you have been putting off for a while. You will feel so much more positive and productive when you get up and get moving.

Write yourself a list

Following the above point, writing lists is a great way to get a plan of action in place. There is something really satisfying about crossing things off of a list when you complete them too and you will be able to see everything you are getting through and accomplishing. Writing down a list is also an excellent way to clear your mind as sometimes it can feel a bit overwhelming when you have a million things buzzing around your head all at once and a list helps to see everything written down clearly. Plus, it’s always nice to treat yourself to some new stationery.  My favourite places to buy fabulous stationery are Smythson, Papier, Paperchase, The Magic Notebook, and Juniqe.

Paperchase A4 Jungle Forest Notebook
Paperchase A4 Jungle Forest Notebook
£8.00
Smythson Mara Chelsea Notebook
Smythson Mara Chelsea Notebook
£115
Paperchase Luxe A5 Subject Notebook
Paperchase Luxe A5 Subject Notebook
£7.00
Paperchase Letter H Notebook
Paperchase Letter H Notebook
£7.00
Smythson ‘S’ Monogram Panama Notebook
Smythson ‘S’ Monogram Panama Notebook
£69
Paperchase A4 Jungle Forest Notebook
Paperchase A4 Jungle Forest Notebook
£8.00
Smythson Mara Chelsea Notebook
Smythson Mara Chelsea Notebook
£115
Paperchase Luxe A5 Subject Notebook
Paperchase Luxe A5 Subject Notebook
£7.00
Paperchase Letter H Notebook
Paperchase Letter H Notebook
£7.00
Smythson ‘S’ Monogram Panama Notebook
Smythson ‘S’ Monogram Panama Notebook
£69
Paperchase A4 Jungle Forest Notebook
Paperchase A4 Jungle Forest Notebook
£8.00
Smythson Mara Chelsea Notebook
Smythson Mara Chelsea Notebook
£115
Paperchase Luxe A5 Subject Notebook
Paperchase Luxe A5 Subject Notebook
£7.00
Paperchase Letter H Notebook
Paperchase Letter H Notebook
£7.00
Smythson ‘S’ Monogram Panama Notebook
Smythson ‘S’ Monogram Panama Notebook
£69

Practice gratitude daily

One way to avoid falling into a slump, is instead of focusing on negative things, think about all of the amazing things you already have in your life. Be grateful every day for what you have and it will definitely make you feel more positive. You could even write down one thing a day that you are grateful for and then read over them by the end of the week. You might be surprised at how lucky you are even by the most simplest of things. Here is an example of a daily gratitude list:

  • Monday I’m grateful that I have my own home/place to live in.
  • Tuesday I’m grateful that my family live near to me.
  • Wednesday I’m grateful that I have a good job and have been able to work during the pandemic.
  • Thursday – I’m grateful for having an easy pregnancy this year and that I am about to be a new mum.
  • Friday– I’m grateful for having a great support network around me.
  • Saturday– I’m grateful for all of the amazing, friendly messages that I receive on Instagram every week and meeting new people.
  • Sunday– I’m grateful that I have a fridge and cupboard full of food.

Pampering

Whenever you feel a little stressed out or in a slump, having a nice hot shower, using some gorgeous products can make the biggest difference. It’s an instant mood lifter. Having a little pampering session, like spending time doing your nails, applying a hair or face mask, or having a long exfoliating soak in the bath – these are all things that you might not have time for usually every day but setting aside an an hour for a little pampering is a great way to get you feeling good about yourself and out of that slump! Cult Beauty have some amazing sets at the moment for a perfect pamper night in.

Cut back on alcohol

Alcohol is a depressant which means that any amount you drink can make you more likely to get the blues. Drinking too much, too often will make you feel tired and sluggish – definitely not good when trying to avoid being in a slump! Lots of bars and restaurants have been closed this year which has lead to an increase in home drinking and it’s easy to get into a habit of over doing it. Take a step back from the home boozing, have a little detox and practice the other tips in this blog post and you will feel so much better for it. 

Do something nice for others

Thinking about others and brightening up someone else’s day is an instant mood lifter. Why not send a little care package to someone to cheer them up, or a bunch of flowers. You might know someone who is not able to get out of the house easily and taking them round some essential bits and bobs could be a massive help for them. It will make you feel good to help someone out. I think 2020 is a year where we all need to be checking in on each other more than ever. Make the time to call someone and see how they are doing. They might be more grateful for that chat than you realise. 

If you enjoyed this blog post, check out my other tips around self care HERE

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