I won’t dress all ‘mumsy’

Dungarees and the no-makeup look is my new normal!

I remember watching a series on TV like ’10 years younger’ or some other trash and saying to my husband “I’ll never let myself go like that and dress all mumsy.” Haha! How wrong I was! I now sport the mum bun daily, live in leggings, wear dungarees on a good day and have fully accepted that my boobs may never see an underwired bra again! Since Isaac was born I can count the number of times I have worn makeup on one hand. I rarely wear my contact lenses and I can’t remember the last time I properly cleansed, toned and moisturised.

I have come to appreciate being comfortable! Now I spend most of my day rolling around on the floor or whipping my boobs out for pumping. I also know that on the odd occasion that I do see people they’re not looking at me anyway. They are quite rightly gawping at my gorgeous baby instead!

Having said all this, I do intend to smarten up a little post-lockdown for my mental health more than anything. Foundation though can totally do one – my skin has never been so clear!

My baby won’t have a dummy

Haha! That old saying! How long did it take us to break this self-made rule? 2 days I reckon. For some reason I’d been quick to judge parents for using dummies, assuming it was a lazy way to soothe a baby and thinking they did more harm than good. Just like feeding your baby formula, giving them a dummy seems to carry a stigma. However, when Isaac was born we quickly realised the benefits of a dummy in the early months, especially those that are orthodontic so don’t affect teeth development. Some good ones are these Tommee Tippee dummies. Not only are dummies a great soother, they can also help prevent SIDs.

We hope to be able to remove the dummy before Isaac gets much older and too attached. For now though we’ll take all the help we can get!

I’ll breastfeed my baby, breast is always best

In my blind naivety I assumed breastfeeding would be a walk in the park. Only once I became a mum and spoke to other mums did I realise how bloody hard it is! No thanks to antenatal teachers who told me the baby would simply crawl up my tummy (immediately after squeezing itself through my birth canal) and latch on to my breast. I now reckon that happens in about 1% of cases!

I gave breastfeeding my best shot. At one point it seemed like we’d nailed it and I just had a grouchy baby. I was very wrong. In fact I just had a hungry baby who is super happy when bottle-fed!

I am fortunate enough to be able to express breast milk. My awesome BellaBaby double electric breast pump tends to give me about 180ml in just 10 minutes which is more than enough for each of Isaac’s feeds.

Isaac pretty much feeds himself these days!

I’ll be honest, a big reason for continuing to pump (besides the health benefits for baby and me) is that I find it easy. Formula feeding (which we did for about a week) is hard work! It is far from the ‘easy option’ it is often judged to be. With breast milk I don’t have to worry about mixing powder and water at exactly the right temperature and breast milk lasts longer in and out of the fridge.

I certainly no longer judge anyone on their choice of how to feed their baby and if ever I hear a mum-to-be using the above quote I think to myself ‘OK just you wait!’

I’ll sleep when my baby sleeps

This is another one I have found easier said than done. Lots of people have advised me to do this but I have never found it possible. Perhaps it is because I have never been a good napper. There is always too much going around my mind during the day that I find I can’t really switch off.

Instead of sleeping when the baby sleeps I rush around in a blind panic, baby monitor in hand, trying to get the jobs done. Everything is done in a hurry these days! I’d love to know how others manage to sleep when the baby sleeps (during the day)?!

I won’t flood social media with photos of my baby

My apologies for this one! When pregnant I said to myself over and over again that I wouldn’t post photos of my baby on Facebook or Instagram. Not only did I change my mind straight away, I now blog about the poor boy nearly everyday!

I realise there is nothing worse than a news feed of baby spam (when it is someone else’s!) but I really can’t help it! He is so cute (mum-bias I know… but he is!) and I just want to share his smiley face with friends and family. One thing I do ensure following the advice of my tech-savvy husband, is that I remove location tags on the photos before putting them out there on the Internet.

One big excuse for sharing baby pics on social media is LOCKDOWN! People simply aren’t seeing Isaac in person and that makes me very sad. This way at least they get to see him grow up in 2d. An excuse indeed as I am sure I would be just as bad without the pandemic!

I’ll read to my baby every night without fail

As a primary school teacher I have seen first-hand the impact of reading to your child and I have become irate with many parents for finding excuses not to do it. Reading is so so so important for the development of vocabulary and literacy skills while also being a wonderful bonding experience for parent and child.

I was convinced that I would read to my baby as a fetus and then daily from the day he was born. In reality that just hasn’t happened. He has just turned 4 months and up until now I have read to him probably once a week and rarely before bedtime.

For a start, by the time Isaac is ready to sleep he is indeed ready to sleep. He gets super fussy and frustrated if I then fling a book in his face. I have to pick my moments with him and it is easier to share a story during the day. At such a young age I think Isaac takes a much from looking at pictures and ‘talking’ with me as he does from story books. I am constantly interacting with Isaac in many ways throughout the day and I often sing him nursery rhymes.

Chilling with a book!

Having said all this, now that he is able to hold a book and concentrate on one thing for longer than a few seconds, I will be upping the amount of reading and book sharing that we do. I just no longer put the pressure on myself to make this a regimented daily activity.

Stop judging yourself – perfect doesn’t exist!

What did you tell yourself before having a baby? What have you learned since? My biggest lesson has been to stop judging myself and others. Parenthood is hard enough and we have to stick together and learn from one another.