Parenting // Changing station

What our changing station looks like has changed alot over this last year. I thought it would be helpful to give you ideas of what to include in yours.
First off, I would suggest buying two baskets. One for the nursery and one for the lounge. In those early weeks your little one will need so many nappy changes and trust me, you won’t be wanting to run upstairs ten times a day. At first we had two rectangular woven baskets about 20cm x 40cm. These allowed us to fit lots in during those manic months and the less often you have to re-fill it, the better!
We filled each basket about two thirds full of nappies and the rest of the space was taken up with:

  • Cotton balls – we didn’t use wipes with Wilf until he was around 4-6 weeks old as babies skin is so sensitive and it was actually easier and cheaper so I would definitely recommend doing this over water wipes. But you will need a tub of fresh warm water (we just used an old ice cream tub!).
  • Nappy cream – we didn’t need to use this for months but better to have it to hand should you find a red bum mid change. 
  • A pack of nappy bags – for dirty nappies, always use for pooey ones!
  • Hand sanitiser – to clean your hands before/after without having to run to the sink.
  •  ~ Downstairs basket only ~ spare clothes – we kept at least two baby gros and two bodysuits at all times, you may wish to add booties/hats etc depending on how warm it is.

After a few weeks the cotton balls switched to a pack of wipes and after a few months we ditched the spare clothes downstairs as the poo explosions became less freequent. At around seven months we also used smaller baskets. A slightly smaller wipe clean one was now in use in the nursery (as seen in the picture) and a small A5 size basket was used downstairs as the number of nappies didn’t need to be so high, but still handy to have a change station down there.

It’s worth mentioning that we have a nappy bin in the nursery but downstairs the full nappy bag would sit at the changing station until it got moved to the bin, this worked for us as we didn’t have other children or dogs to worry about.

We also didn’t have a change table in the nursery, hence these items being in a basket and not a drawer. We found this worked for us. If we needed to run out the room we weren’t worried about leaving him on the change mat!

Hopefully this is of help to some. I find with things like this you just don’t know what you need until you are in the midst of newborn haze.

T

Parenting // Returning to work

I have now been back to work for eight weeks. In some ways it has flown by. 

I really thought a part of me would look forward to getting back to work. Even though last year I fell out of love with the charity I work for and for the job itself in some ways, I knew that I was returning to a great team, and a job that I knew. Both key things when all you can think about is the little person who has been attached to your hip for the last nine or ten months.

I debated over what to do for so long and actually put off making any kind of decision. We then realised in January that we could not put it off any longer. We decided to ask for my return to start in mid March, at 21 hours a week, over three days. After much to and fro-ing. We came to an agreement that meant both parties making a compromise, but I fortunately got my 21 hour/three day request granted (which didn’t look hopeful for some time).

So how are things going now I’m back?

Well there are good days and bad days. I do enjoy my grown up time and use my lunch breaks to run errands that are easier done without a baby in tow. 

I feel confident that Wilf is in safe hands with his grandparents and nursery. He seems really happy on his days without me and I love that he is interacting with more people and babies/toddlers. And also he will be doing lots of things that we wouldn’t necessarily do. And I have a plan for the two days I spend with him to ensure we still fit in lots of out of the house time.

But work wise I am finding it hard to be passionate. I have put myself forward for extra projects as I need some exciting tasks to be part of. I am finding job sharing a little tricky, handovers are often rushed or information is left out. The thing that keeps me going are my colleagues. I have such a good rapport with them all and they make the days so much easier. 

I find that working part time is fitting in well. By the time my working week has started, it finishes, which reduces my mum guilt. Although the flip side of this is that I find my days at work are crammed with meetings and catching up on emails, leaving little time to actually get stuff done. I think the recent swathe of bank holidays haven’t helped. A two day week does not allow much time to get everything done!

All in all I am glad I returned to work, I am glad I returned to a job I know surrounded by supportive colleagues I know. But I feel that I need to think about a change at some point. A change in career to bring some passion back. I also feel that I could work an extra day now I know how settled Wilf is at nursery.

Getting my head around the thought of returning to work was so, so much harder than the reality of it. If you are in this position talk to your partner or your friends or your parents and even your boss. (After an initial difficult conversation, my manager has been very supportive and phased back my return, ensuring that no pressure or responsibilities were put upon me for my first few weeks. I’m sure there are many not so lucky as this.)

I was not prepared for how crap I would feel when I finally had to face up to the reality of leaving Wilf. It was totally shit and I just had to do it. It has definitely got easier as the weeks have passed by. And I am confident that we are doing the right thing. It just appears to be something that gets easier with time, once a routine beds in.

Returning to work was also an excuse to buy some new clothes, so there is that…

T

Interiors // Nursery tour

I love Wilf’s nursery, it might not have any fancy painting skills or posh furniture but it is my favourite room in the house. I love hanging out in here during the day with my little man whilst I sort out his clothes washing or have a tidy. 

The room has a bit of a woodland theme, but we didn’t want anything over the top. It is also a bit of a mish mash of furniture that has mostly been inherited from grandparents, parents, family friends or bought from Ikea!

Next to the chest of drawers are those essentials, a laundry basket and a nappy bin! Then underneath we have a cloud storage box filled with nappy changing items. We keep the changing mat under the cot as we decided early on that we didn’t want a changing table and I am so glad we made that choice.

The aeroplane shelf was in Dunc’s room when he was a boy and so we had to have it in here. The nursing chair was my great-grandmothers. My aunt re-upholstered it but we still want to keep it in good condition, hence the throw. The small table was made by Dunc’s grandad and has been so useful.

The Somerset print is one that I bought a few years ago, I love this artists work and we wanted it to be part of the nursery as it has lots of special places highlighted on it.

Above his cot is a custom name garland from Secret Craft House, a print, photo, shelf and some bits I crafted.

There are lots of other nice touches around the room too, including greenery, shoes, toys and books.

We have a chest by the door which is full of blankets and has a memory box on top which I couldn’t resist. Wilf likes to use this as a drum. His racoon nursery bag is also a hit and hangs on the hooks we bought from Ikea alongside his dressing gown, flat cap and a ‘born in 2016’ hanger we were gifted.

This room has really developed since Wilf has been born. We had new carpet down and the furniture and blind were in place before he was born, but most of the items which really bring the room together have either been gifted or bought since he has been here. I guess it just felt odd to have a fully decorated room before even meeting him. We needed to know him to make the space his. 

We still have some bits to do such as put up book shelves so I will update you once that is done!

I hope you have enjoyed this tour, I don’t know about you but I love a good nosey around people’s homes!

T

Digital life // Pinterest inspo

I used to bloody love Pintetest but I haven’t done much scrolling for a while. I feel like my feed is full of the same old chuff that I’ve seen for ages, or, loads and loads of pins dinstantly linked to one curveball that I once pinned.

I used to find people from my notifications but since they merged it all I find it hard to do that now.

I really need some new accounts to follow on there and would love to know your accounts and even anyone that you follow.

Please leave your usernames in the comments below and I will hit you up. I would also love to know if anyone else is also experiencing this Pinterest dip (sideways smile emoji).

T

Parenting // Nine months in, nine months out

Last Sunday Wilf reached the big nine month mark. I still can’t get my head around how fast time is going. I can’t understand how nine months have passed. People always told me that it would go quickly, I just never imagined it would be this fast. I think it has been emphasised by my friend having a baby in February, seeing how tiny and still he is, then turning to see Wilf crawling everywhere, pulling himself up on everything, just sitting up even. I can’t picture him being so tiny.

It also seems crazy that he has been here as long as he was tucked up inside me all safe and sound. My pregnancy was not fun and it felt like it went on forever, definitely more so than the time that he has been here.

So where is my little man at? Well like I said he is all over the place, crawling at great speeds and pulling himself up on everything, even if there isn’t much to grip onto he still finds a way onto his feet. 

He smiles all the time, even when his teeth bother him we can still get some amazing smiles and giggles. Mostly with kisses, making silly noises or singing like a loon. But he has started to get a bit upset if I leave the room, more so than in the past. 

He still loves to put everything in his mouth and his socks are a current favourite. He loves to play with Monty’s cat toys which confuses Monty greatly and he loves Monty loads. He still squeals with delight each time he sees him and enjoys chasing him around. 

He is really inquisitive and notices everything, he wants to have a look at whatever you’re holding and is still obsessed with any electronics. He also wants to eat everything. If he sees you eating, boy will he be upset if he can’t have some!  He has taken food from the hands of his friends on several occassions. 

We have had over a month of 12 hour over night sleep stints and his daytime naps are improving all the time. Hurrah, parent win!

To us he is amazing. He is so cheeky and happy. He is beautiful. He is intelligent. He is our incredible little boy and I can’t believe we are already planning his first birthday. I hope that he knows how much we love him and how important he is to us. Our lives our so much better for him being here (even if I occassionally crave some baby free time just to get shit done!).

T

Parenting // My breastfeeding journey

I can’t believe that almost eight months in and I’m still breastfeeding. I am so proud of us.

I always wanted to get to three months, and after the first six weeks dragged by, the next six whizzed by. Then I set a target of six months thinking there was no way could I make it that far. Then I did.

Looking back at the early days, it seemed even more unlikely that we would do so well. I didn’t even think about Wilf latching on till about two hours after he was born. I totally forgot about it and the midwife didn’t mention it. It was only when I moved onto the ward that it suddenly occured to me so I asked the midwife what I was meant to do and she seemed a little shocked that I hadn’t yet done it. That was my first pang of mum guilt. She then helped me and he latched straight on. It felt uncomfortable. Not quite painful but not painfree….

After leaving me to it for a few hours I didn’t feel confident and so the breastfeeding specialist spent some time with me before we headed home that afternoon. I felt much better but still not confident and assumed that would come with time.

I continued to feed him at home for the next few days. Feeds lasted a while and were getting more and more painful. Finally the pain had got so bad that I started to wince everytime Wilf wanted to feed. My nipples were so sore and I was in tears as he fed. 

I sought help from the labour ward, who, over the phone told me that it all sounded normal. The next day I wasn’t convinced and was panicking at Wilf’s weight. He seemed to be losing all his weight before my eyes. I called the community midwife who offered to get someone round the next day. The feeding specialist came to ours and told me that the latch was wrong. I felt awful that I hadn’t been feeding him correctly but so pleased that my gut feeling was right and that this pain wasn’t right.

She showed me what to do and we haven’t looked back. There were some nights where we just couldn’t get the latch right, but I knew what was wrong and what was right and now we don’t even need the light on and those troubles seem like a distant memory.

At 5 weeks we introduced expressed milk via a bottle as we wanted him to feed with a bottle. We continued to do this once or twice a week, most weeks for the first few months. 

At 16 weeks we introduced formula for the first time at his dream feed. All seemed to go well and that feed continues to this day. At six months we introduced two extra formula feeds a day and now I only feed him when he wakes in the morning and when he goes to bed in the evening. I also feed him during the night but currently, he rarely wakes during the night at the moment…
I always felt bad for not enjoying feeds more. Because it is bonding time so I should have all the feels about it, but Wilf has always fed for so long, usually hour stints. At 5 months I was told to feed him on both sides at each feed and it just takes so long. I have always been up for a minimum of an hour for each night feed and have had to plan programmes to watch for day feeds as I am glued to the sofa for so long. I guess I wasn’t really sad about the feeds reducing, but now they are so infrequent, it does feel odd and I don’t know how long we will continue like this. I can’t see me still feeding him at a year, but then I never thought we would make it past three months…

T

Parenting // Maternity Leave

January seems to be plodding along quite slowly, and for that I am glad.

For the last seven months, whenever people have asked when I’m to return to work, with a huge grin I have been able to respond “next year”. However, that year is now here and the reality of going back to work and leaving my little man is creeping up. 

By using up some annual leave I will be back at work in mid March instead of early February. This is good. But it is only two months away, and I know how quickly it has all gone so far. 

I am really struggling with the idea of it. All of it. Leaving Wilf at a nursery, not having him by my side all day, not getting a smile and a giggle at any point, and also the idea of working. I feel like I only know how to mum at the moment.

I never, never thought I would feel like this and the thought of nursery almost brings me to tears. It doesn’t matter that we have found an amazing nursery, it doesn’t matter that I know it will be good for him, it doesn’t matter that he probably won’t miss me. I just cannot get my head around the very idea of it. We have always been so pro nursery for a number of reasons, so why do I feel like this?
I am going to ease back into work with a couple of half KIT days soon. They will be the longest I will have left Wilf in waking hours. Our parents will look after him on these occassions and Duncan’s parents will be doing one day a week childcare for us anyway, which means with my new part time hours, Wilf will only be in nursery two days a week. Doesn’t make it any easier though.

My friend told me to concentrate on the smile that will be on his face when I pick him up after his first full day. I cannot wait to see that face.

For now though I will be making the most of him, of us, of our amazing bond and the freedom of our time together before real life catches up on us.

T