11 weeks and how it’s going

Blimey it’s been a while!

I mean it’s to be expected I guess – it’s a lot looking after a little newborn (well, let’s be honest he’s not that much of a newborn anymore and he’s definitely not that little). At 11 weeks he’s rather the chunk weighing in over a stone and in the 98th percentile for length!

In terms of how I’m feeling, I have to say, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying my maternity leave. As a self-declared “lady of leisure” it’s been quite lovely. Of course it’s super tiring, sometimes stressful, sometimes emotional and the hours aren’t the best, but on the whole it’s so nice to be off and to spend such quality time with Isaac, family and friends without having to worry about work.

I’m not going back to work until April so I’ll have a good few months of this still but it really does feel like it’s flying by. I know I’ll blink and suddenly it’ll be over and then we’ll be juggling childcare and work… scary stuff. But thoughts for another time!

What have I been up to lately? Well, quite a bit! We’ve been back to parkrun – though I’m not running yet. I’m still 11 weeks postpartum and don’t intend on “coming back” until at least 12 weeks. And even then it’ll be a gradual return. To be honest, I’m a little terrified and not even sure it’ll be a success even then. I’m working on my core, my pelvic floor muscles and general strength each week so finger crossed.

But walking parkrun either with the pram or the carrier has been lovely. It’s nice to still be involved in it and of course parkrun is so welcoming and lovely that walking it hasn’t been an issue at all. I get lots of comments about the youngest parkrun being in attendance and Isaac seems to love it. To be fair, he’s very used to going for walks having been on a walk every single day of his life so far!

I also went up to Stoke and North Wales with my mum so Isaac could meet his great grandparents.

It was lovely to see them and for them to see him – we go lots of special memories and photos.

The trip wasn’t too difficult either and we only had one night out of the three where Isaac struggled with sleep (and I’m thinking this is potentially because I had a very large non-decaf coffee – my first since before I was pregnant!).

In general though it’s been a lot easier as Isaac has gotten older. Sleep has been better, though I’m still waking up 2-3 times a night to feed. But Isaac is so easy to feed, change and put back down to sleep that I’m not awake for long. And he even let’s us sleep in till 9am which is glorious!

He’s been for his first couple of swimming lessons as well.  I say swimming, more like floating. But after the initial first lesson which he really wasn’t happy about he now seems much much better in the water. It’s so important for us to get him nicely adjusted to the water because we live by the sea and want to make sure it’s something he’s comfortable and safe with.

Of course it’s still a minefield of confusion, worries and stress with looking after Isaac but we feel a lot more comfortable and at ease with things. We don’t feel like he could die at any moment if we look away for a second. We’ve gotten into a good rhythm of days and know what to do in different scenarios. It’s amazing how from being so clueless you can be to being so much more knowledgeable and comfortable.

But of course we have many more hurdles to get over and more changes to come so no doubt we’ll be back to being clueless and hapless parents once again!

How it’s going – being a new mum

I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to write my blog but just didn’t get the chance…  Life as a new mum is quite hectic! I mean, this is probably obvious to everyone of course. I’m just such a newbie to this.

Isaac is almost eight weeks old. And as everyone says in that cliché way, it has gone by so quickly. He’s no longer the tiny little newborn. He’s now quite the unit at 12lb 5oz! I mean to be honest he was never teeny tiny to begin with being 8lb 4oz, but he is so big now, and so LONG. Probably because Kyle is 6ft 2 (and his whole family are on the tall side).

We probably got a few days’ worth of him using his newborn clothes. Now he’s barely squeezing into the 0-3 months. This is a bit sad as there were so many cute outfits he never got to wear.

So how have things been? Well, the first weeks was a complete whirlwind of not knowing what the hell we were doing. I second guessed everything I was doing – from feeding to burping to sleeping. Not being a hugely maternal person or baby person in general, I literally knew squat about caring for a baby. Everything was pretty scary to begin with.

It’s funny because I’m surrounded by so many of my friends who have had a baby/babies and yet I was never keen to find out more about how things were going. You know, the details. The nitty gritty. My own fault entirely and probably quite selfish of me. And now I’m deep in the trenches and finding out about the sides of my friend’s lives that I never asked about.

Cake and boob – perfect combo

I’m still breastfeeding and it’s going very well. I actually can’t believe how well it’s gone. Isaac latched on straight away from the get go and we never had any issues there. Right at the beginning I had some soreness and amost a blister on one nipple, but then after that it just got easier and there were no issues. After listening to podcasts, friends and family hearing about how hard it could it be I was prepared for the worst. So to find it so easy almost feels like I’m cheating. But I am so so grateful.

The only problem I have with breastfeeding is that I don’t know how much Isaac is actually getting. I worried (and to be honest still do) about how often to feed and if he’s getting enough. But as people  keep stressing to me, if he was going hungry I’d know about it. He’s a very content and happy baby and we feed on demand.

It used to be every hour, then every two. And now we’re 2.5-3.5 hours and that seems to work perfectly. I thought I’d be on the sofa for hours at end breastfeeding but actually Isaac is a super quick eater and on average is done within 10 mins.

While we’ve been super lucky with so many aspects of the pregnancy, birth and Isaac himself, sleep has been the one thing that hasn’t been that great. At first he was waking up every our in the night. And we really struggled to get him to fall back to sleep. It was exhausting. Rocking and shushing in darkness and lowering him into his moses basket with the precision of a bomb disposal unit, it was relentless.

We were staying awake in shifts so Isaac could sleep on one of us or on the bed next to us in one of those sleeping pod things (which are unsafe to for a baby to be left sleeping unassisted). But eventually we got out of that and he would sleep in a crib next to us thank god!!

Getting four hours sleep a night was classed as good. However now we seem to be in a better place. It’s sort of a predictable lack of sleep… but we’re averaging 7-8 hours on a good night and 6 on a bad night so can’t complain! Isaac will usually wake up at least twice in the night and then in the morning. It’s relatively easy though as I just feed, change and he goes back down straight away.

And through the day I’m just led by him. We tried to dictate a bit of a routine but that didn’t end well. So now we just follow his lead. He sleeps when he wants and I feed every 2-3 hours depending on what he’s doing.  Reading back this sentence, old Anna would be aghast at such a baby-dictated schedule but honestly it’s the best for us. I don’t want to stress about “awake windows” and nap times. Isaac doesn’t sleep a huge amount in the day despite us trying. He’s a “wakeful” baby. If we take him out in the car he’ll sleep and it’s 50/50 if he falls asleep in the pram. But he seems very content so we’re happy with this.

As much as a routine and strict times would work well for us to plan our day, I’m much more relaxed with how we’re doing it at the moment. In the future I might change things up but I enjoy our days much better when we have a general rhythm rather than a strict timing situation. It’s so funny because pre-pregnancy I was so set on making sure we’d have a routine. Funny how things change!

In terms of what I do through the day, Isaac and I are doing a lot of seeing friends and family. Going for coffees, going out for lunch or brunch. It’s actually quite wonderful. Usually every week I might have one day completely free of plans but every day tends to have something in it, seeing someone or going somewhere and I love it. I’m very lucky to have a strong and large network of support around me to help – whether that’s help with looking after Isaac or just being there for me so I can mentally unload.

So almost eight weeks on and things are going well! I think we’re out of the initial haze and panic of the initial stage thankfully. However I know we have many more hurdles to come. But at least we now have the foundations set inplace. Like, I can keep a baby alive for a few days at least 😉

Postpartum nutrition – all the good stuff

Finding the time to blog is becoming somewhat tricky (as you can imagine with a brand new baby), but I want to continue to write as I find it very cathartic and I also want to document memories of this crazy time.

Isaac is now 4.5 weeks old and honestly I can’t imagine life without him right now… and I also can’t imagine what over 6 hours of sleep feels like either! I always knew that having a baby would mean sleepless nights and an abundance of chaos… but actually living through it is something else I tell you.

That said, maternity leave is lovely. Amongst the crazy tiredness and constantly being on my toes looking after the little man, I do get to spend lots of time with family and friends doing fun things like going for walks, coffee and lunch.

It really is quite fabulous. My mum has two days off a week and Kyle’s mum doesn’t work Fridays so I get to see them a lot, which of course they love because they adore being grandmas.

My mum and I went to the Parade Tearooms and I had my favourite Jayne Salad followed by cake

Spending time with Isaac as a grandma must be amazing – you get all the fun without the hard sleepless night, eh!

So my week is very different to before, obviously. No work emails, no meetings – which is wonderful. But confusion, anxiety, stress and tiredness in abundance. Not exactly a holiday but not exactly like being in a proper job either. Very odd.

One of our many cake and coffee trips

The two weeks that Kyle was able to have as paternity leave was really lovely. Obviously it was hard and we were like deer in the headlights, Googling everything, ringing parents every hour asking questions and just wondering what the hell we’d gotten ourselves into it. But we also got to spend quality time as a threesome (well foursome with Alfie).

Kyle and I managed to get to 7Bone with Isaac which was fabulous

And I won’t lie, I’ve been having some fantastic meals and food lately, which honestly is quite surprising. I was told I wouldn’t have any time for myself to make sure there were lots of meals in the freezer.  I mean, I did prepare well and we do have a lot of food ready to go in the freezer but with all the meals out and people coming over bringing food and wanting to cook for us, we haven’t been starving!

Recent trip to Breezes for brunch

But amongst all the cake, doughnuts and lunches out I have been watching my nutrition carefully as I’m breastfeeding. While I know I need to be upping my calories to keep my supply decent, I also want to make sure the calories I’m eating are of a good quality as well. I mean cake IS good but it’s not the most nutritiously dense!

One of my favourites: Bakewell atrt

Handily I was recently sent some protein powder and collagen powder to try out from Naked Nutrition. And I’ve been making some mean smoothies to get some fast and tasty nutrition in me fast. It’s not always possible to grab the healthiest snacks on the go but having a smoothie is perfect.

I really like these products because they’re not full of any unnecessary nasties. I tried the Naked Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder and add it to my porridge in a morning and my smoothie in the afternoon. It’s made from whey source from grass-fed cows raised without growth hormones like rBGH or rBST. Each serving contains 25 grams of protein and 5.9 grams of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). There are no additives or artificial sweeteners. Perfect!

The Naked Collagan Powder also has a similar “clean” profile, with no added nasties. It’s also flavourless so easy to add to anything like porridge or even soup. And each serving has 9 grams of protein and only 35 calories.

My smoothie recipe:

  1. One scoop of Naked chocolate protein powder
  2. One sachet of collagen powder
  3. A handful of spinach
  4. One frozen banana
  5. Handful of frozen blueberries
  6. Soya milk (or any milk you fancy)
While breastfeeding, smoothies are so easy to drink!

It’s delicious, filling and packed full of good stuff! Protein is so important in general to keep your muscles strong and your body healthy, and while I’m not training per se I am breastfeeding and it’s still super important to keep my protein solid. And collagen powder is SO good for you in terms of your hair, nails and bones. I’m giving so much physically and mentally to Isaac that it’s so handy to throw a smoothie together with all this good stuff to keep me healthy so I can keep Isaac healthy.

So in terms of food and nutrition I’ve been doing evry well. Just got to get my sleep as good eh? 😉

Do you like smoothies?

Have you ever had collagen?

**Full Disclaimer: I was sent the products for free in return for a blog review. All opinions are my own honest ones.**

39 weeks pregnant

So the week leading up to my due date (7th July).

It’s mad how quickly this has all gone… and yet now how slowly it feels like it’s crawling by. I suppose that’s to be expected – everyone says it happens. You have this date set for you and you just look ahead to it all the time. Everyone asks and you count the weeks and the days… and then it comes and the likelihood is nothing happens (for your first baby at least). But hey ho, it is what it is.

This week has been really good. I managed to run 4 times (5k each time) and weirdly have felt quite good and semi-speedy on these runs.

I still wouldn’t manage any further than 5k I think as the pressure on my ligaments and pelvis gets a bit much but otherwise I feel great.

In general I feel pretty good. My sleep had been a bit better. Less waking up in the early hours of the morning wondering why I’m not asleep. I’ve managed to fall back asleep when I’ve woken up. I’ve felt well rested. My body in general feels fairly comfortable. No major aches, no issues… I’ve been very, very lucky I know. And my anticipation for the baby to arrive is purely because I want to meet him sooner rather than feeling fed up of still being pregnant. It’s also not as hot as it’s been so comfort levels are fine currently.

Kyle set up the birthing pool which we’ve hired so that’s ready to go. We’re planning a home birth so this is rather exciting. Of course I’m well aware things could change and we could end up at hospital for a multitude of reasons but our plan is to stay at home if we can. So fingers crossed!

I’ve been eating all the dates every day (apparently supposed to help with labour, who knows!), drinking red raspberry leaf tea (to help naturally induce labour, again who knows!), walking lots and bouncing on a birthing ball. But we’re prepared. We have everything ready. We just need a baby now 😉

OK some chocolate covered dates too!

At the weekend we had a rather busy one with heading to Reading for my lovely friend Emma’s birthday party. My parents kindly offered to drive because they were concerned being so close to my due date that if something were to happen I wouldn’t be able to drive that distance back (hour and 45 minutes). Kyle can ride a motorbike but he can’t drive at the moment (he was planning too but lockdown and COVID scuppered that a bit). My parents had towels laid down and everything bless them.

Emma’s party was lovely. It was in her garden and it was just so lovely to see her in the flesh. We talk every week but it’s nice to finally see someone properly. Her mum and her did an INCREDIBLE food spread.

I mean it was insane. All the cheese, deli meats and salad bits with her incredible homemade sourdough bread. I was in heaven. Not a sausage roll in sight!

And her vegan chocolate cake was INSANE. It was like the chocolate cake from Matilda – dense, moreish and so tasty.

And Alfie joined too

It was such a lovely afternoon catching up and enjoying the sporadic British summertime.

On the Sunday Kyle and I had lunch with my parents at the Osborne View, a lovely coastal pub near to them. The last time we’d been we were sat outside under an open marquee so it was so nice to be actually inside. It felt like normal!

Kyle and I shared a baked camembert to start and then I had their super tasty Caesar salad for main.

It was lovely! Potentially one of the last times of us eating out without a baby – who knows!

So for now I’ll keep waiting. I’m now on maternity leave from work which is bitter sweet. I had planned to work until I pop but due to a HR misunderstanding they put until my due date and now payroll and HMRC are all sorted I can’t change it apparently. But I think this is probably for the best as I can de-stress and properly relax. For how long, who knows eh!

What’s your favourite salad?

What’s your favourite cheese? I bloody love Camembert. But to be honest, there are so many cheeses I love.

38 weeks pregnant

So one more day until I’m 39 weeks pregnant and almost one week until my due date (7/07/21).

Scary stuff.

Honestly though I can see myself going at least a week overdue. I just have that feeling. I’m not starting maternity leave until I pop so I at least have some structure and routine to my day so I’m not staring at the calendar. I think if I was on maternity leave now, or even next week, I’d be so bored. We’ve pretty much done everything for the baby coming. I’ve cleaned everywhere. I feel prepared and ready. So nothing left to do but wait.

But waiting is fine, to be honest. I don’t feel particularly uncomfortable. My pelvis and lower back do ache from time to time, I can’t wait to sleep on my back again and my nose getting congested every afternoon and evening without fail is annoying. But I’m lucky to really only be “suffering” from those issues rather than some of the more severe and uncomfortable symptoms some women can get. I’m highly aware of how easy my pregnancy has been compared to others and for that I’m grateful.

I’m VERY grateful that I’ve still being able to run as well. It’s two to three 5ks a week (a definite step down from 32 weeks where I was still running 25-30 miles a week). The calf niggle I got stopped me for a bit and then, when I got back to it, my pelvis and the general heaviness of my tummy made running further fairly uncomfortable and the recovery afterwards takes some time. But 5k is manageable and comfortable. I’m fairly intuitive with when I run now too. Have I had a good night sleep? How does my body feel?

While I’m really sad parkrun didn’t start back up again on 26th June (it’s been pushed back to August), we still went down to Netley Abbey (my home parkrun) to meet up with some running buddies for a “not parkrun” and coffee afterwards. We got there for 9am and were pleasantly surprised to see so many familiar faces running around the course. It didn’t feel crowded or unsafe. The sun was shining and Kyle and I enjoyed running the three laps around. Though Netley is far more hilly than I’m used to compared to flat Portsmouth. I definitely felt heavily pregnant running haha!

I managed to complete the 5k in just under 30 minutes, which I’ll happily take right now!

Then we went and sat outside the café and enjoyed some tasty rocky road that the lovely Sheryl had made and (decaf) latte. It was so nice – it almost felt like old normal times. It does make me sad that by the time parkrun is (hopefully) back up properly I won’t be able to run because I’ll have recently given birth. But I definitely want to pop down with the little man and support Kyle running. With parkrun it’s not just about the running, it’s about the social connections and that lovely Saturday morning warm fuzzy glow you get after being there.

On Sunday we went to Stansted House to go to the Nostalgia Festival, where Kyle’s sister, Laura, had a stall and the rest of his family were also there to support. She was selling her handmade wigs (which are just GORGEOUS). You can find her on Instagram @theWiggie and see her products HERE.

We even went on the carousel, which was hilarious and good fun.

The Nostalgia Show was good fun. We moseyed round the different stalls, selling vintage bits and bobs, and the street food vendors – so good.

For lunch I grabbed a chicken shawarma with halloumi fries…

Delicious food from Cairo Van

…and then followed that with an extremely chocolatey brownie.

Brownie was from a food truck called Gin and Tea

We even entered Alfie into a very light-hearted dog show that happened. He sadly didn’t win but he ALMOST won the most waggy tail award. He was robbed!

And back to running, I had a fantastic run on Monday morning in the cooler temperatures. My legs felt pretty good and the usual pelvic pressure wasn’t as strong. I actually ran a lot faster than I have in a while, which was surprising.

I was tempted to run a bit further but I decided to play it sensible because I wanted to run later in the week and recovery does take a bit longer. So pushing my body further is not the most sensible. All about consistent quality runs now!

So on to the next week I guess! Who knows how many pregnancy updates I have left to do eh!

Do you enjoy going round stalls at festivals?

What would you pick: regular fries, sweet potato or halloumi?