A day in the life · Breastfeeding · Literature · Parenting

All the blogposts I write in my head…

Blue Flap Away Colorful Sky Helium Balloons
Image credits: Max Pixel

BF asked me how my blog is going the other day. We were all in the bathroom. He had just given the Little One a bath, and was now trying to help her brush her teeth, whilst I was in the loo hoping the toilet flush would work this time, and simultaneously checking work emails on my phone and trying to follow what he was saying about when the builders were coming to fix our mouldy kitchen. I didn’t respond — just smirked.

This is what life has been like this September. Just trying to stay afloat. Work has been and will be crazy, the house is collapsing because of building works and piles of laundry left untouched for weeks. In the meantime, I keep writing posts in my head, on the tube, during dull meetings, while breastfeeding Little One to sleep. Not sure when I’ll find the time to actually write them down. I’m worried about all these fleeting thoughts during our first year with the Little One. I need to find the time to write them down.

There are three moments I treasure during the day:

A hot cup of black tea first thing in the morning. During pregnancy it wasn’t black and for the first few months of the Little One’s life if was never hot. I can now have it again and it makes me wonder how I managed to function without it for such a long time.

Stealing some time to read something non work related on the tube or the bus. I’m reading Hollie McNish’s Nobody Told Me. It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve read in a while. Pretty much the only book about pregnancy, birth and parenthood one needs to read. BF said he’ll read it when I’m done.

Cuddling and nursing the Little One, especially at night. She’s with my Mum or BF for most of the day. But at night it’s just me and her. Even if she is the only one ‘breastsleeping’, as I usually stay awake looking at her, and hearing her breath, and smelling her baby smell until the small hours.

I have to work this Saturday. But tomorrow I’ll get to spend the whole day with the Little One and maybe fold some laundry.

All is good, I’m grateful for all we have and for the fact that we somehow manage to stay afloat. Just about.

 

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A day in the life · Babywearing · Parenting · Travelling

The blissful cloud of summer indolence (or lack thereof)

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My poor blog has been abandoned for a while. We’ve been on (nominal) holidays in sunnier climes. I say ‘nominal’ because I feel much more tired now than on the day we left (and I was pretty tired then). It’s definitely not the Little One’s fault — she’s been a great traveller and companion. She’s also extremely sociable and she made friends with everyone on the plane, the hotel and the beach. ❤

It’s been rather all the effort needed to coordinate parents/in-laws, arranging to meet friends and relatives who wanted to meet the Little One, getting stressed about the really difficult winter that awaits us, the added stress of building works going on at home, plus cases of conjunctivitis (me) and stomach bugs (everyone else in the family apart from the Little One). But you wouldn’t know by looking at our holiday snaps of my Instagram feed. 😉 #curatedlifestyle #honestparenthood

In the meantime, I’ve been reading loads about gentle parenting and finding a fantastic online village through groups like this one. Travelling with the Little One has also provided additional evidence that cots and buggies are pretty useless at this age (10 months). We bought the cheapest stroller we could find just for the trip as we were worried that our Bugaboo Bee might get damaged on the plane. The Little One refused to sit on it for more than 3 minutes so we had to leave it behind. We only used our BabyBjörn sling throughout the whole trip, which she loves. This also increased my confidence babywearing. The hotel where we were staying at also kindly provided a crib for the baby. Despite the fact I was convinced that cribs are baby torture devices, it turned out to be quite useful as we used it to block the side of the bed me and Little One were sleeping on so that she doesn’t fall off. 😀

I’ve also been writing dozens of posts in my mind about our experience of one year with a baby but I’ve no idea when I’m going to find the time to actually write them down. It’s going to be a really tough autumn and winter and I’m already getting depressed about work and the Little One going to a nursery at 15 months. 😦

*deep breath*

I’m now off to have some more black tea, unpack, fight all this back-to-school sadness, do some laundry and change the cat litter while the Little One is having a nap with her grandma.

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Breastfeeding · Fashion & style · Feminism · Parenting · Shopping

10+1 things I wish I could have said to myself when I was 3 months pregnant

1.
I understand you are a textbook introvert and not the most maternal person in the world but those random women that smile at you and want to chat about your pregnancy on the bus usually mean well. You might perceive it as an intrusion but it’s just that you remind them of themselves when they went through the same thing. You’re a trigger of happy memories. So please try not to be a dick. Apart from the ones that try to give you any kind of unsolicited advice. Those ones just ignore.

2.
Yes, there are a lot of parents out there who can barely make ends meets and are on a tight budget. Yes, there’s a lot of useless crap the maternity industry will try to sell you. But this doesn’t mean that if you have some spare cash you should, like, spend it sensibly. You wake up a dozen times at night to pee, your back is killing you, and you’re already done with your male white middle aged colleagues’ pregnancy-themed sexist microagressions jokes every single time you venture to the kitchen for a cup of decaf tea that smells like an old ashtray. Don’t you think you deserve a treat? Please don’t buy those cheapo babygrows from Mothercare just because those blogs you read convinced you you shouldn’t overspend on the baby. Yes, the baby might only wear that babygrow twice but those hundred photos you took in the space of an hour with her in it looking uber cute will stay forever. TL;DR: HELL YEAH BABY BODEN.

3.
Despite what people might advise you, it’s ok to splurge on a buggy (if you can afford it). You’ll see it in front of you (literally) all the time for years. Don’t get one you hate the look of.

4.
You don’t need to buy a cot. In other words, you don’t need to buy into the westernised concept of babies sleeping alone in their own room. Even though you do not intend to right now, you will end up bedsharing, and you will [all] love it.

5.
I know you think you’re different. You won’t be a victim of marketing because you’ll be one of those cool pregnant women you see dancing at summer festivals in edgy clothes and flower hairbands, organic mocktail in hand. You don’t intend to buy ‘any special clothes’ as you believe you’ll get away with only a bunch of vintage numbers in large size from your local Traid and Oxfam. Nope. Every pregnancy is different but, in your case, after month 5 you’ll just need proper pregnancy clothes. I can’t quite explain how, but you will. Please don’t be miserable about it all. Just embrace it and start looking for some nice pregnancy outfits. And if you’re really really lucky, you might even find tops in patterns other than breton or polka dots, and dresses that don’t make you look like a Stepford housewife.

6.
Actually, just go out and spend a fortune in COS, they will do until about month 8. These are the only clothes you’ll continue wearing for a long time post-pregnancy because a) they’ll fit, b) you’ll still like them.

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7.
Ensure that some of the maternity clothing you buy also allows for nursing. You might have missed your plaid shirt but this means that the baby will have to wait for you to unbutton it every single time. Don’t test her patience.

8.
Speaking of breastfeeding, there’s a lot you can do to prepare for it. Do your research. I don’t mean spending hours studying a confusing diagram of the cradle-double-football-effing-cricket hold. You’ll only be able to figure this out when the baby arrives. For now, sort out a supply of boxsets and novels to keep yourself entertained during the upcoming marathon feeds. Give explicit guidance to BF for the frequency with which he needs to provide healthy snacks and water. Make a list of easy recipes and/or takeaway links. Inform everyone you know you’re off on your post-natal babymoon and switch off your phone for at least the first 3 months of your baby’s life.

9.
You may not quite know it yet, but you will truly like this baby.

10.
Stand in front of the mirror for a few minutes every day and practise a polite thanks-but-no-thanks smile for all the crap well-meaning and not so well-meaning advice you’re bound to receive. Right now you might think you are ‘not into babies’ and know fuck all about them but stick to your guts. As they say, you are the only real expert in your baby.

11.
Did I mention COS?

 

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Breastfeeding · Feminism · Parenting · Politics

7 people who won’t have a say on when we will stop breastfeeding

1.
My (otherwise lovely) friend and work colleague, who begged me to say that I won’t be ‘one of those Hackney / hippie / f****** creepy women’ who breastfeed their children once they start walking and talking, completely ignoring the potential health benefits of extended breastfeeding.

2.
Our (otherwise lovely) friend, who equates breastfeeding a toddler with being an off-grid, homeschooling, anti-vaxxer, attachment parenting extremist.

3.
My Mum, who helped me immensely with latch and sleep and everything else when the Little One was a newborn, but is now looking after the Little One in the daytime, and sometimes gets frustrated because the Little One won’t eat her pureed sweet potato, broccoli and spinach (between me and you, I wouldn’t either) and go for a breastfeed (or expressed milk bottle if I’m away at a work meeting) instead.

4.
My (otherwise lovely) Father-in-Law, who is very supportive of breastfeeding as it’s something natural as long as we are not ‘one of those people’ who go to extremes and breastfeed their 5-year-old.

5.
The (otherwise lovely) friendly mum I met at the local children’s centre, who asked me ‘how long I was planning to go on for’.

6.
The (seemingly lovely) headmaster whose nursery we visited last week, who kept talking about the importance of knowing the quantity of formula feeds, schedules, routines and regular nap times for 1-year-olds (guess who sent the application form straight into the recycling bin).

7.
My (almost always lovely) BF, well, because he’s been hugely supportive of me breastfeeding and, as long as we make informed decisions about the Little One’s health, I don’t think he gives a toss really.

Because the only person that gets a say in this is the Little One. She has been very assertive when it comes to her needs since she was born so I am sure she will let me know when the time comes. 🙂

Craig-7_ddw8fw

Image credits: May Burke

PS1 I remember coming across this article a little before or after we had the Little One (it’s all a blur now). I remember finding those photos weird the first time round. But like one of these music records that takes a few listens before it starts growing on you, I came to appreciate their beauty. Maybe that will be me and Little One one day. But only if she fancies it.

PS2 Starting writing this when the Little One fell asleep, finished writing while breastfeeding to sleep. 🙂

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A day in the life · Hackney with a baby · Interiors · Music · Parenting · Secret London

Golden morning breaks

I just found out that today is the first day of spring, so a good occasion to kickstart the blog. I didn’t use to be a big fan of spring growing up, but I guess people tend to mellow as they get older… 😉

We spent the weekend decluttering and selling furniture on Gumtree. We are getting rid of our home office furniture, which wasn’t used frequently anyway, to make space for the nursery. I also did a proper KonMari-inspired post-pregnancy spring clean of my wardrobe that was truly therapeutic, but this will be the focus of an entire new post! We still managed to go for a quick morning walk around Dalston and by the canal on Saturday, however, where I took photos of these gorgeous trees in our neighbourhood. #treegoals

I feel a little unprepared for spring to be honest but after a difficult summer and dark winter of complete sleep deprivation, utter exhaustion and endless to-do lists, as things have started to settle down a bit 5 months post-birth and I’m feeling a bit more like myself again, blossomed trees and longer days are very much welcome.