YouTuber Emily Norris recently created a new 2019 Mum Tag with some great questions about pregnancy, mum hacks, labour, mum shaming and more. I thought I would continue her tag in my own little corner of the internet, so below are some of the questions set out by her with my answers; I also thought it would be interesting to have a new mum’s perspective, and to also revisit this in a year to see how my answers change!
YouTuber Tag by Emily Norris
Favourite mum hack?
My favourite hack is a simple but effective one: using the nursing pillow as a place to put Rowan down on the sofa. When I was recovering from the cesarean I couldn’t move much and picking up a baby was new to me, so being able to put him down close to me and know he was safe and comfortable, and that I could give my arms a break but then pick him up straight away if he needed me, was ideal! This is why it’s also one of my Newborn Essentials.
Most embarrassing mum moment?
As I’m two months into being a mum I thankfully haven’t had too many opportunities for embarrassment, but the first few instances of breastfeeding in public (trying to remain discreet and somewhat covered up while fiddling with the nursing top and bra and getting Rowan in the right position) has definitely made me break out into major mum-sweats! Also Rowan can fart like an adult so I’m just waiting for the moment he lets rip in public and everyone looks at me! 😮
What part of the day do you love the most?
At the moment it’s got to be the first change of the day in the nursery. Rowan seems to really enjoy being on the changing table – I think it’s because he can see my face clearly and he can have a good wiggle on the mat and feel safe. So he’s usually quite smiley and will happily put up with me while I find an outfit for him and talk rubbish to him and make silly faces! 😜
What part of the day do you like the least?
This has to be when changing him at night. I’m obviously pretty tired and groggy at that time so fiddling with Babygro poppers and getting the nappy in the right position is a hundred times harder! And, unlike when he’s fully awake in the morning, Rowan isn’t too happy about being changed while he’s tired and groggy as well!
The worst thing someone said to you when you were pregnant
Thankfully I didn’t have any really negative experiences while pregnant; however, there was someone who thought they were being amusing by saying “are you sure it’s not twins?” every time they saw my bump…that got old pretty quickly!
Baby name you didn’t agree on
Darcy – it’s a name I would love for a girl but my husband vetoed it!
Do you co-sleep?
No, I feel like our bed is too small, but I can see why it would make night-time feeding in the early days easier if you can position yourself in a way that meant minimal movement was needed to get the baby to latch on. Personally, I just wouldn’t be able to sleep properly though so it would counteract any benefits like that!
Something you bought but never used?
Well there are definitely a few items of clothing that he outgrew before he had a chance to wear them, but most of those were gifts or hand-me-downs. For post-labour I did buy a plastic bottle for washing myself with after going to the loo (another gem of advice I found on mum blogs and vlogs!), but of course never needed it as I had a cesarean!
3 hospital bag must-haves?
- Snacks, like bags of sweets, that you can just keep picking at while you’re waiting
- Mini toiletries to help you freshen up when you’re feeling very unfresh!
- For an induction – a book or e-reader to help you pass the time (I even took my knitting and actually did some!)
Are you a routine mum or a go with the flow mum and what does bedtime look like?
I would very much like to be in a routine but I have learnt that with a newborn there is just no such thing! But I do have a general pattern to my day which I want to write about more in a future post. Bedtime at the moment usually involves me handing Rowan to his dad so I can get a few hours of undisturbed sleep before the night-time feeds begin! So Rowan gets a bottle of formula or expressed milk and cuddles with his dad and falls asleep with him before coming to bed properly at about 11pm.
What type of labour did you have?
I was induced at 40 weeks and 4 days (I wasn’t allowed to go too overdue because of having gestational diabetes). The process started with the fluid-filled balloon used to widen the cervix, which was left in for 24 hours, then I had my waters broken. I subsequently went into hyper-contractions and Rowan began to show signs of struggling as firstly his heart-rate dropped, then went too high. I also had a high temperature at one point so the medical team decided it was best for both of us to use a cesarean to deliver him. Again, I’ll go into more detail in a future post!
What pain relief did you choose?
I had an epidural once they’d stabilised Rowan’s heartbeat. I tried gas and air but didn’t like it as I felt it interfered with my breathing which at that point was very laboured and the only thing I could really focus on through the pain!
Have you ever been mum shamed?
As I’m new to the mum world (and the putting-my-thoughts-onto-the-internet world) I have yet to experience anything like that. I certainly give myself a harder time than anyone else could when I’m feeling low and struggling, which I’m sure a lot of mums do, so we should put our energies into making each other feel better not shaming!
The biggest challenges you’ve faced since becoming a mum
It’s a rare day that goes by that I don’t feel challenged in some way! For me it has been learning to cope with Rowan’s crying and trying not to get too emotional myself. If he’s having a really big scream because I’m taking too long to get his clothes on after a change or his tummy is hurting with colic and there’s nothing I can do, I feel like a total failure. I realise that’s quite dramatic, but in that moment his cries just pull at the most insecure part of me and boy do they tug hard! But I am becoming more resilient as I get used to it.
The best bit advice you’ve ever been given and the biggest piece of advice you’d give to a new mum?
The best advice I discovered early on was that you don’t have to change the baby’s nappy as frequently at night, thereby disturbing their sleep less and giving all of us a chance to get more rest! I think to begin with my husband and I were changing Rowan’s nappy at every feeding, which of course can be almost hourly in the beginning; so although babies do pee frequently, when we realised you could just let the nappy do its job and absorb it all for an ‘extra’ few hours, it was a revelation! Of course, if it’s a dirty nappy it needs changing a.s.a.p!
The advice I would give to a new mum – especially a brand new mum – is something a midwife said to me in the hospital: although all the advice says that breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt if you’re doing it right, in the beginning it will hurt because your body needs to get used to it. I was very fortunate that Rowan latched on really well straight away, but it was still painful because, guess what, I’d never had a little suction machine attached to me for hours and hours every day! The intense pain lasted about five days before my body finally started to adapt, and then took many weeks to become virtually ‘pain-free’. So any new mum experiencing that pain even when the latch and position is all correct, don’t worry it will get better! Another midwife said breastfeeding is 90% down to the baby, so any mum beating themselves up if they’re struggling with breastfeeding: don’t! You and your baby are both new to it, no matter how instinctive it is, so there is a learning curve they have to go through along with you! But of course always seek help if things just aren’t getting better or you’re really struggling.
Who do I tag next?
- Rebekah at Living with Winston. You can read her answers here.
- Kirsty at Navigating Mum, you can read and watch a video of her answers here.
- Christine at Normal Life Mom, you can read her answers here.
- Vivienne at her blog Viv Simone has some great answers to her tag here.
Below is the video by Emily Norris.