Maternity Leave: More Than Just Babies. 

With less than two weeks to go until the dreaded return date, I wanted to reflect on what maternity leave has been like for me (in a nutshell, mind you. We don’t want to open THAT can of worms).

Maternity leave. It’s a big one. Not just in time; although for some it isn’t, but in meaning. When you go on maternity leave there’s this HUGE expectation that you have, let’s face it, a lot of time off. Time off that you think will last a lot longer than it actually does. It doesn’t. Time off that you think will give you a chance to “get stuff done”. You don’t.

 

I just tidied up!

More often than not, there’s this assumption that maternity leave will be this magical time filled with Instagram worthy moments, and days that flow nicely from start to finish. Sure, some days are like that. Some days you will just “win”. But other times you’re just happy you’ve got to the end of the day.

Maternity leave is far from a holiday, which is why you have to take the little things as a gain, although for me they’re definitely not “little things”. Instead of thinking what you haven’t done, remember what you have done. 

Here’s what my maternity leave looked like in addition to, of course, keeping a baby alive:

Blogging.

I started blogging to document our TTC journey and capture T growing up. Little did I know that I would still be doing it years to come and that I would gain several friends from the process!

Babywearing.

Before T was here, babywearing was alien. A skill there was no way I’d be able to master. In fact, I thought the buggy would be my friend. But thanks to an idiot dog who likes to run in front of the buggy, and a Velcro baby, I quickly got into babywearing. So much so that I now hear myself telling S about the different threads and carriers, and how much of an “investment” they are.


My OCD

Before babies I had a strict routine. Not just related to timing, but how I would deal with certain scenerios. For some reason, with all the chaos that comes with babies, my OCD has been toned down a little which has been one of the biggest leaps for me. A relief, in fact.

It was a genuine concern of mine, when I was pregnant, that I wouldn’t be able to cope with having to prepare a baby bag as well as check that all the plugs in the house were switched off. I still have bad days, but more often than not I do ok managing a baby and my OCD.

TV

Oh the TV. Some would say the TV is counter productive but I love TV. I defend my opinion with the fact that I don’t watch trash TV. Sure, I don’t watch University Challenge, but I watch shows that require some thought (that’s my defence, anyway).

Over the past 11 or so months, I’ve watched several box sets (they’re almost like books, right?) as well as films I never got to watch the first time round. These are genuine accomplishments for me as I rarely got to watch much telly whilst working shifts. They’ve kept my brain ticking as well as let me escape back into the land of Kate for a while.

Reading

I LOVE READING. Like the TV (kinda), books let me escape for a bit. Not only do they take me into a new world, but they also take me to a hotel poolside or the beach. To me, books aren’t just about the subjects they’re about.

Thanks to my bucket list challenge, I’m trying really hard to make use of nap time and feeds to read.

Since T was born, I’ve read six books. SIX. Adult books at that. That’s not bad going for me considering I was regularly interrupted as soon as T hit 3 months or when I went weeks without out picking up a book because of other commitments.


New friends

This is a big one for me, and probably the most life changing one. Parenting can be a lonely place, despite being part of the biggest club in the world. You can go to all the groups in the world but as soon as that group is over, you’re back at home. Alone.

I’ve been very lucky over the past 12 months and have gained some genuine friends. Friends from the blogging and the “real” world. They have kept me company. They have kept me sane.

 

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New friends

So there we have it. My maternity leave. It looks pretty bleak in black and white, but it’s hard to put into words what it’s been like emotionally. It’s been one hell of a ride.

When I first started my maternity leave back in February 2015 I had no idea what to expect (apart from said baby… eventually). I didn’t think I’d be so busy, I didn’t know I’d doubt myself so much, I didn’t think I’d need more than S to keep me company – I’ve always been really independent.

I’m not going to lie. It’s been hard. But, if I’m being honest, I’ve enjoyed it. I feel like I’ve completed a dozen marathons and still wanting more.

It feels like an end of a era, but it’s only the beginning!

Do you agree? What else did you gain from your maternity leave?

K

Birthday Giveaway with Puddleducks (ENDED)

T has been swimming with Puddleducks for quite some time now, with his first lesson starting back in June when he was just 2 months old.

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Every week, regardless of mood, we have fun learning how to swim and be water confident together. You can tell T always enjoys himself as more often than not he doesn’t want to get out!

Looking back to when T first started, he was just a tiny baby in this huge swim suit; floating around the pool. Now, as soon as recognises Vicki; our instructor, he’s all smiles. As soon as he’s in the water, he splashes and kicks following word associations, holds onto the side when asked, and even swims underwater. We even had a Photoshoot done to capture this!

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Joining Puddleducks was one of the best things we chose to do together, which is why we want to give one lucky Floatie or Splasher (ages 0-15 months) a chance to win a free mini-taster term for May 2016*!

During the taster term, you’ll learn how to confidently handle your baby in the water, as well as teach them the basics when it comes to water safety (and fun, of course!).

For your chance to win, just follow the link below.

Enter Competition

Good luck!!

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*Terms and Conditions

Open to UK residents only.
Locations for taster term limited to Brighton Hilton Metropole, Ovingdean Hall, and Chailey Heritage School.
No cash alternative.
Closing Date: 07/04/16 (winner contacted within 48hrs)

Days Out – Bateman’s (Rudyard Kipling’s Estate), East Sussex {National Trust}

Last Sunday, as part of our Mothers’ weekend, we decided to take ourselves off to another National Trust location. The weather was finally in our favour after weeks of rain, and we all felt pretty energetic after a sickness bug.

After a short drive (nicely timed around T’s nap time), we arrived at Bateman’s. Bateman’s is the estate of author Rudyard Kipling.

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A 17th century property based in Burwash, East Sussex, it’s a polite house full of charm and character.

 

Kipling was obsessed with India, which is themed heavily throughout the house, however it still bleeds English charm. There’s also an exhibition room within the property that details all of Kipling’s work – I, for one, didn’t know there was such an expansive collection outside of ‘The Jungle Book’.

 



The grounds surrounding the property are also mesmerising, with a water mill south of the estate after a short walk, and several wild gardens.

Although one of the smaller locations within the National Trust, we had a lovely time getting out and about. We can’t wait for the summer.

 

K

We received zero compensation for the purpose of this post – we just love our National Trust membership. 

Boob fuel with Boobbix – Review

If you’ve ever met me for coffee, you know I love the cake.

Although I’m still actively pursuing the healthier snack as written previously, I still like to enjoy the odd treat-thats-now-not-really-a-treat, especially when I’m out with friends.

At home is another story though. Although still treat-like, more often than not my snacks at home contain oats for boob-fuel (that’s my excuse anyway). Oatcakes, breakfast biscuits and, of course, Hob Nobs are my favourites. They provide the right amount of sweetness but tell me I’m doing my boobs some good.

Unfortunately, they’re probably not doing my waste line any good; which is why I’m always on the look out for specific lactation food.

Boobbix are a cookie company (sold!) but they’re also a lactation cookie company. (Even better). They make delicious (I’ll talk more about this bit shortly) cookies that contain your usual ingredients to help lactation, including; fenugreek, oats, and flaxseed.

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When I tried their peanut butter chocolate chip flavour, I was sent to heaven.

 

 

I’ve tried a fair amount of cookies and biscuits in my time and I can honestly say that I’ve never tasted anything so delicious whilst knowing it’s doing me some good! They even hold out on the tea-dunk test!

Each box contains 10 individually wrapped biscuits that can be frozen for up to 6 months. They can also be heated up in the microwave to act as a warm pudding.

The cookies come in a range of flavours from chocolate chip and oat, to cranberry and almond, and retail at £10.50 so a little pricey but they’re worth it as all ingredients are free range and organic where possible.

I had two cookies one afternoon and I immediately felt a difference a few hours later once consumed with some water.

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I’ve already bought a few boxes for some boob-buddies, although I’m not sure whether they’ll last the week as they’re absolutely delicious. It’s a good job our UK girl guides don’t sell these door-to-door. Our US readers will also be pleased to hear they also ship to the US.

K

We were given a box of Boobixx lactation cookies for the purpose of a review, however all thoughts and opinions are our own. 

11 Month Update

It’s been a busy one this month. I honestly don’t know where Febrary went.


In just over a month, we’ll be celebrating T’s FIRST birthday. We’ve just started getting bits ready, although we’re far from done. We’re trying not to go OTT, but you’re also only one once!

T has (finally) been busy getting himself mobile, with activities such as pulling himself up and a semi bum-shuffle being the favourites.

T now has no problem lunging forward when he wants something, regardless of whether he’s sat on his own or on me. If he wants it, he’ll grab it and coordinates his legs nicely now to manuever himself.

He’s also slowly grasping the way legs can move you forward! Over the past two weeks he’s started moving his left leg forward and backward, which then started to loosen his right but after an afternoon at nana’s he managed to take a few steps forward with the help of mama.

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His movement definitely comes in random bouts though. One minute he’s pulling himself up and almost cruising around the sofa, the next he’s sat and refusing all effort to get the toy that’s near him. It’s very frustrating.

Weaning has been pretty spot on this month with only a few days where he’s been a little wotsit and not eaten a thing, but then those days have correlated with days where he’s either had a heavy meal the night before or he’s teething. It really is a learning game for me, as much as it is him.

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His favourite food at the moment is pasta, egg, and blueberries. He’s now stopped eating banana, but has found a new love for grapes!

I’m now starting to wonder when “weaning” becomes “weaned”? T is boobing less now, with his morning feed only lasting 5-10 minutes after which he then starts wanting breakfast.

It seems his biggest feeds are before his nap at 10:30am and bedtime from 6:30pm. He’ll still have little “drinks” but he’s certainly not asking for as much and sometimes he’ll even take a snack instead!

He’s starting to sleep through more often than not, although when teeth disrupts this he’ll still only wake the once which isn’t bad. I’ve also changed his nappy to a more luxurious brand for nighttime – this seems to be helping.

The last week of February was tainted with illness, with the household all coming down with gastroenteritis. It was awful. Sickness before a child is a walk in the park, seriously. You can curl up on the sofa and just wallow. With the child, that’s out of the question. They don’t wallow in self-pity or cuddle up on the sofa to watch a film, nope, they just get on with things and maybe moan for a little bit before being sick. Therefore, have to keep up with them, and it’s tough. Really tough. Thankfully it only lasted 24 hours, but it was the longest 24 hours of our lives.

Finally, and most importantly, T is a year next month. We finally left the ‘denial’ stage last week and have accepted a year has passed in a blink of an eye. We’re preparing a small (ish) party at home with family but am hoping to do an extended, mass get-together a few weeks later with friends once we can guarantee nice weather. Part of us (me) wants to do a themed party (I was made for birthday parties) but we (S) thinks it’ll be wasted on a one year old. I do somewhat agree with this but I also want his first birthday to be frickin awesome, so I’m torn. I’m also aware of how expensive theming a party can be so perhaps we should make the most out of the only opportunity we’ll probably have to have a cheap (ish) party.

Maybe I’ll just go back to the denial stage and ignore this whole ‘T turning one thing’.

K

First Birthday Giveaway (ENDED)!

In a months time T will be 1. A year old. 12 months. 365 days old. Whichever way I put it, I can’t seem to get my head around how quickly time has gone. There are so many thoughts and memories running around in my head right now that I can’t seem to concentrate on much, but that’s for another post!

For now, we have an amazing bumper giveaway to tell you about!

On 7th April (T’s birthday) one lucky winner will win the following bundle of goodies worth over £200. Goodies to suit anyone from pregnancy to toddlerhood!

1 x Baker Days Letter Box Cake.

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1 X Dr. Browns Starter Kit  

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1 x All-In-One Weather Protector by NSA (via Safetots)

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1 x Pregnancy and Feeding Pillow by Theraline.

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1 x Bottle and Teether by Comotomo

1 x Red Stars Chew Pack by Cheeky Chompers

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1 x Pair of Leggings from Blade and Rose  

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1 x Warm ‘n Go and 1 x Travel Changer by Diono  

1 x Plate and Cutlery Set and Bib by BabyBjorn

1 X Turquoise teething mit by Gummee Glove!

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1 x Gro Egg.

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And finally… £30 to spend online at Lilly & Sid!

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What a giveaway! For your chance to win, follow the link below.

T’s Bumper Birthday Giveaway!

Terms & Conditions

One Winner
Open to UK Residents Only
Ends: 07/04/2016

More conditions in link.

GOOD LUCK!

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