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Pregnant Guest blogger Norwich Mumbler

Pregnant Guest Blogger Norwich Mumbler – 29 weeks update

When they say each pregnancy feels like it goes faster, they’re not lying.

 

I am 29 weeks pregnant now, which means only a mere 11 weeks to go.  At the beginning 11 weeks feels like it last forrrrrrrever, but now it feels like time is running away and B-Day (Birth Day) will be here before I know it.

 

I think one of the main problems is I’m trying to organise a rather large children’s activities event at the beginning of June…and I’m due on 29th June.  My husband was unimpressed when I told him my plan and said he would refuse to help me.  Of course he will help, he was just saying it out of protest that I was going to attempt this event at 37 weeks pregnant, but having an event deadline before baby deadline is definitely making time feel like it is going even faster.

DELEGATION will be my word of the day for the event on 9th June – if only I could delegate on the 29th June too, ha!

 

Even though time is FLYING, I’ve been pretty good at taking regular bump pics and I’ve posted a few bump photos on my Instagram stories (for some reason it feels less public than posting them to the Mumbler FB page?).  Quite a few people have commented on what a neat bump it is and I do always seem to grow a good bumpy type bump, but as ‘neat’ as the bump looks, it is now 85% stretchmarks.

 

They radiate from my belly button to around the diameter of a football.  I know body positivity and ‘loving the stripes’ is very popular at the moment, and when the bump is full of baby it is way easier to accept them, but it is the aftermath that I am slightly dreading.

 

I am trying to feel ok about them though and remind myself that my body has stretched itself to its limit not once, not twice, but THREE times and so far grown two incredibly hilarious, stubborn, kind and noisy humans.  Hopefully number 3 will be just as hilarious and kind, and a little bit less stubborn and noisy, but that it will still remind me it’s ok not to be ok with my post-baby body…it’s still damn amazing.

 

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Seven years, Seven tips & Seven offers. Its lucky number 7.

Seven years, Seven tips & Seven offers. Its lucky number 7.

This month my Norwich based, baby and child photography business turns seven years old. I consider it my other child, my life passion and a source of great joy and pride.

To celebrate, I wanted to share how I got here; my seven tips for making what you love work and a very special lucky number 7 offer!

Something I am frequently asked; how did you start your business?

College was the catalyst for taking photography up as a hobby; where many an hour was spent working away in the dark room (the smell!!! If you know, you know! I LOVED it!)

Fast forward a few years and whilst enjoying an adult education course in photography, I found out I was pregnant! As for so many, evening sickness took its toll so badly, I had to give up the classes, but if anything, it spurred me to follow my dreams another way. I had a bump shoot and the wonderful photographer, who made me feel so at ease, inspired me when the arrival of my own baby provided the perfect model. Cass, my photographer came back and mentored me… so I took the plunge that so many of us mamas do when we want to work around having a baby – I stated my own business.

I have never stopped pursuing my dream and pushing myself. I never assumed I was at the zenith of my learning or knowledge and have over the years continued with 1-2-1 training with other new-born photographers. I have always learnt by absorbing and asking questions and it was no different with my own business. 20 months after the arrival of Lucas and the birth of my business, our little dream boat - Lilah burst into our world. I won’t lie, keeping everything afloat with 2 under 2 was hard and without the support and love of my hubby I wouldn’t have come out of the other side with everyone and the business intact!

Any business goes on a journey, working out what’s best, what’s popular, what makes you happy and some years into baby and child photography I made my own mark… I decided that what I loved best was the simple, neutral images. Showcasing the little ones for all that they are so I stripped it back, limited colour, limited props and it’s the same ethos I carry through into 2019 and beyond.

So, this blog is also a dedication; seven years of thanks and gratitude. To my husband, my children, my fur baby, my family ad friends. The support from everyone is never ending and to this day it amazes me that I continue to make friends on this journey. Most of all thank you to my clients and their beautiful models that made this business possible. Not only are you my bread and butter but you have created a support system I could never have dreamed of through the light and the recent heartbreak of losing my dad. You have made it easier - so thank you all!!!

My 7 lessons so far

1. Start as you mean to go on. In hindsight I think I started too soon. I was so eager (which isn’t a bad thing) I should have built up my portfolio and trained some more. Then marketed myself when I was more experienced and confident.  I started off too cheap and had to market myself to a new clientele. 

2. You do not need the most expensive equipment, most of my stuff is second-hand or not the top brand. You simply need to learn how to use it!

3. Trust your way. I ignored a lot of advice: I was told to use props, use lots of colour, to sell via in person sales and so on, the more I followed my heart and did things my way, the more it worked. 

4. Ignore what your competitors do and say, I know people say to keep an eye on them but I’ve found the more I stay focused on my work the less I worry or stress. (Also, it’s fine to be angry if you get someone copying your style or ideas. I have ranted to close friends, but every area of business gets it and it is wasted energy. Unless someone directly steals your clients, in the words of Elsa, LET IT GO) 

5. This is a hugely saturated market and some people will not value your work/your prices, it is not personal, it is business. The lesson? - not everyone is the right client for you. 

6. People will assume all you do is take photos! Family and friends will not always understand the full process behind photography and the final presented images, that’s ok because again its best to let it go (or educate them, whatever works for you!)

7. It’s a wonderful job but a hugely competitive field and can often lonely on your own – I have found networking with other freelancers and parent businesses to be a really positive experience. Find like-minded people in different fields so you can support and lift one another up. I’m very lucky that there are a lot of these events and individuals in Norwich!

So, there you have it, how I got here and seven years of tips. So now for a seven-year offer for seven lucky mummies to be!

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Are you pregnant? If so then I am offering the first 7 mums a maternity shoot!

The package:

  • A 25 minute shoot with 7 images via an email link for £75
  • Email to book in, and be quick! Once the 7 slots have gone, they are gone! 

Balloohttps://www.facebook.com/ClaireCarneyFloralAndBalloonDesigns/n by the awesome Claire Carny

breastfeeding Norfolk

Breastfeeding Myths Guest Blog by Sian - No Milk Like Mama’s

Breastfeeding Myths Guest Blog by Sian - No Milk Like Mama’s

 

breastfeeding Norfolk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Breastfeeding is painful

Whilst some discomfort can happen when you first start breastfeeding, truly painful breastfeeding is not ‘normal’ and is a sign that your baby does not have an optimal attachment to the breast. Too many times breastfeeding supporters see women who have struggled on through painful feeds, severe nipple trauma and dreading feeding their baby, with the misconception that it was normal to be painful and they just weren’t coping with this. This can lead to further issues which may take more support to unravel. Getting good quality support in place quickly if breastfeeding is painful can be key to breastfeeding success.

  • Breastfeeding mothers get less sleep

It is often thought that breastfeeding mothers get less sleep. However, research has shown us that overall breastfeeding mothers get more sleep. Hormones in breastmilk help our babies fall back to sleep quickly, and the hormones released whilst breastfeeding, help mums to do the same. A breastfeed in the night can usually be a quick and calm way to settle babies back to sleep with minimal disruption.

  • I’ll never be able to be away from my baby

In the newborn days it is true to say that breastfeeding can feel quite intense, but so can bottle feeding. Making feeds, heating water, washing bottles, sterilising, none of this is easy. All mothers work extremely hard. Whilst breastfeeding may feel a little all consuming in those early weeks, as your baby grows, your breastmilk changes. An increase in the casein:whey protein ratio in breastmilk enables babies to go a little longer between feeds, perhaps giving mum some time to relax and spend some time on herself.

  • Breastfeeding will make my breasts ‘saggy’

Nope, you can blame pregnancy hormones, age and a dose of gravity for that one!

  • I’ll have to stop breastfeeding when I go back to work

Many babies are already weaned onto solids by the time mum returns to work. Babies can eat meals, snacks and drink water when away from mum and return to the breast when they are reunited. If your baby does accept milk feeds when away from you, this can be given in a sippy or open cup, bottles are not always necessary. Health and Safety laws protect the needs of breastfeeding mothers to enable them to express at work and store their breastmilk.

  • I can’t breastfeed if I’m unwell

The opposite could not be truer. It is very important to continue to breastfeed when you are unwell. Your body makes antibodies against the specific virus you have, and these are then given to your baby via your breastmilk, giving them greater protection from this. Aren’t our bodies amazing?!

  • I can’t breastfeed if I am taking medication

Many medications are compatible with breastfeeding, and if a medication is not, alternatives can often be found. Please seek support to discuss this further if this concerns you.

  • Breastfeeding is easy

Whilst breastfeeding is natural, it is a learned skill of both mother and baby requiring time, patience and support. Good quality, compassionate and consistent support from family, friends and professionals enables the breastfeeding relationship to be an enjoyable one.

 

Sian Aldis, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant
IBCLC. BA(Hons). FdSc.

Sian runs No Milk Like Mama’s and hosts a FREE Breastfeeding Support Café at Rowan House (Health & Wellbeing Centre) in Hethersett on the 1st and 3rd Friday of each month between 10am and 12noon. Everyone is welcome to attend this drop in service. For more details of the services offered, please see http://www.nomilklikemamas.co.uk/or find her on Facebook and Instagram.

 

 

 


The Studio

6 tips from a mum down the line for new mums

  1. Trust Your New Mama Instincts.

It’s a cliché, you’ll hear it again and again but trust me. There really is nothing like your new super powers… the mother instincts. You know your baby better than anyone if you don’t feel someone is listening to it don’t be afraid to stand tough because at the end of the day its better to overreact than to have something missed. I have never regretted asking for a second opinion or refusing to leave a GP until I was listened to and so far I haven’t been proven wrong.

  • ‘I’m overwhelmed and I don’t know if I can do this.’

I don’t know a mum who hasn’t experienced this in some measure: either a wave of this that passed or who was brave enough to talk to someone because it was something more serious.

Please don’t suffer in silence. At the smallest end of the scale I would say breathe, speak to your mum, some friends, your partner, someone you can trust and share the feelings because with so much parenting, ‘it’s just a phase’ even if it doesn’t feel like it.

Be easy on yourself, you are a new mum not wonder woman.

At the other end of the scale, please don’t suffer in silence there is wonderful help out there for post-natal depression, for those anxious from a traumatic birth or for any other feelings that are weighing you down. Please go to your GP for support and advice.

This is not a sign of weakness it is something that happens, and you deserve to be supported through it.

  • Birth didn’t go as you expected

It rarely does – as a baby photographer I hear new birth stories on a weekly basis and I want to say to any new mums to be or freshly made mums – they rarely do.

Be kind to yourself about your experience… if you had a drug free, water birth order in but ended up dosed up on all the drugs and wailing for more… well, if that’s what got you through then amazing! … you made and pushed out a human being!

However you delivered your baby… you were incredible and you achieved an amazing thing. C-section, natural, home, hospital, epidural, drugs, no drugs… all that matters is there are 2 healthy humans at the end of it. Mum and baby.

  • Friendships Can Change.

This was a hard lesson to learn. When your world shifts its centre to a tiny small human it can mean your priorities change and alongside that friends/family member attitudes towards you can also change. This is not a negative commentary, but simply an acknowledgement that life brings people in and out of it for various reasons and for many this is one big turning point in life that moves people in and out of your life.

Friends without children may not understand your new life (I know I didn’t maybe support friends who were new mothers before I became one myself) Girls nights may be rarer, relationships with partners may become strained (have you heard the one about who is more tired?!)

It all gets easier but don’t feel alone if friendships ebb and flow differently. All us mums have experienced it and if you are lucky, you’ll meet some new amazing friends through being a mum.

  • Be kind to yourself. 

The most important of my points. Be kind. To Yourself. There is so much advice out there for keeping a baby happy… and after all that’s your new role in life. But a happy baby needs to be supported by a happy mum.

Care for yourself as you do your baby…. Nourish yourself, rest, get fresh air and get support when it feels too much. Small things such as watching your favourite film while feeding your baby, having a bath, staying in your pjs all day and just ignoring the washing… it’s not easy but sometimes it is vital.

  • Get Some Fresh Air

It’s funny how I resented being forced to have fresh air as a child. However, since the moment my children were born something switched and I genuinely now believe that fresh air can cure anything. Feeling sad? Get fresh air. Got a cold? Get fresh air. Feeling stressed? Happy? On the cusp of cabin fever? Fresh air.

Daylight is good for us, walking and moving is good for you and if you want to start exercising a bit post baby, it’s a lovely, gentle way to start. I always used to invite my new mum friends for walks so we could enjoy it together. I did blog my top 5 baby friendly cafes 2 of which are in based in a park - win win walk and cake!

Jess - read more blogs here.

 


mumbler blog

Norwich Mumbler my new pregnant guest blogger

Norwich Mumbler my new pregnant guest blogger

I always knew I wanted two children.  I used to joke to my husband about wanting
three just to see him squirm or get cross about what a logistical nightmare it
would be etc, etc. but I knew 2 was our number.

YET…along came baby number two and whilst I was ‘soaking her
in’ and ‘making the most of her’  because
I knew she was our last one, I had this niggle in the back of my head that
perhaps we weren’t done.  Lots of my
friends have said they absolutely, unequivocally knew they were done, but I
never felt it!

Fast-forward nearly two years later and we’d sorted out the
logistical nightmares of potentially having three children, when that little
line showed on the pregnancy test!  I
have to say though, even though it was what we wanted, I was not prepared for
the sudden guilt tears that followed.

Guilt for our two girls, who would have the upheaval of a new sibling, guilt
that they might think we weren’t happy with just them, guilt for people who
can’t conceive, guilt for people who have lost, guilt, guilt, guilt. 

It took a little while to get my head around having another
baby, our youngest has only just started sleeping through (she’s nearly 2!) and
the thought of going back to the 2-hourly wakeups and seemingly constant sleep
regressions was HARD but, after two children, I am well-versed in the fact that
nothing lasts forever and everything is a ‘phase’.  The days are long but the years are short,
right?

My past two pregnancies have been very sicky for the first 9
to 15-22 weeks, so when week 9 came with this pregnancy I was ready.  Apart from I wasn’t sick – hurrah!  I was nauseous from week 6 but nothing that
some bitter lemon or a sour Haribo wouldn’t fix.  I was so pleased, if not a little smug.

Then BAM, it hit - I thought I’d escaped, but no.  Eugh!  (and I’m definitely voting for this one being another girl – ha!)

The first 16 weeks have been hard.  Doing school runs and running after a ‘strong-willed’ 2-year-old, whilst trying to keep on top of my Norwich Mumbler to-do list (not to mention housework, cooking etc.) hasn’t been the easiest, but there’s finally some light at the end of my ‘morning sickness’ tunnel, so bring on the rest of the second trimester.

Check out my other blogs and we will hear from Katrin again in the future . Please also check out her awesome website ,a hub for all things family related!


Mummy

Mummy and Me! Mini Photoshoots 2019

Mummy and Me! Mini Photoshoots 2019

I’m so excited to announce the return of my popular Mummy and Me mini shoots for 2019.

These sold out so quickly last year I thought it was about time to bring them back. As mums, so often we are the ones capturing pictures of our families, we avoid being in the pictures (mum buns and dry shampoo anyone?)

I know as a mummy myself how many photos I find myself missing from, or as the professional how often it is me behind the camera, so it’s time for us all to exist more in pictures. Not only for you, but for your children and families to treasure forevermore.

It’s important you know this isn’t about buying new outfits and having to look perfect, this mini session is all about you and your child/children snuggling up to you and capturing you all just as you are, because that’s who they like best.

This is also a really great way to celebrate Mother’s Day (early gift idea!) and for you to say thanks

What is a Mummy & me mini sessions?

Held at my home studio, these sessions are 15 minutes long*, trust me, this is the perfect amount of time to capture some simple, natural and always beautiful portraits of you and your children. The perfect timeless memory.

Unlike a full-length photoshoot, this will be a simple set up with no outfit changes – I’ll advise you before the shoot on what works well outfit/dress wise.

Please be aware that mini sessions are suitable for babies 8 weeks old + upwards (not suitable for new-borns due to feeding on demand and short time frame) but I have several packages for new-borns that you can find HERE.

*If you would like longer in the studio with no time restraints, more outfit changes, different set ups and props, and more images in your gallery to choose from, then you can book a full length shoot off my main pricelist, please get in touch with any questions you have about this.

What does my package include?

  • 15 minutes in studio (studio at Sprowston, Norwich, NR7)
  • 5 digital images via download to print as you wish (approx of 10 to select from)
  • siblings only (no cousins or friends)
  • £60 - £5 off your package is being donated to a local Charity The NICU Parent Partnership 
  • (extra images can be purchased after)

When:

Friday 15th March am

Saturday 16th March -9-2pm SOLD OUT email to be notified if i add an extra date

Terms and Conditions

  • The session is purely for Mum and siblings, no cousins or family images will be taken. 
  • The number of images is dependent on the little/s one on the day, but you can expect 10- 15 images in your online gallery as a rough guide.
  • Due to the time limited nature of the session where a child may become shy or unwilling no guarantees are offered to provide a specified number.
  • You can purchase any extra images for £5 each. Images include print permission to print as you wish.
  • The images will be sent via a download link /Dropbox
  • If your child becomes unwell or upset, we may reschedule at the photographer’s discretion.
  • Due to studio size, I ask that only parents can attend (a max of 2 adults per time slot.)

ready to book? follow this booking link to secure your slot now!

https://jesswilkinsphotography.as.me/schedule.php?appointmentType=8811757

I can’t wait to see you in the studio!

Jess x

 

Mummy and me Norwich


Guest Blog - Chelsea's Birth Story

Guest Blog – Chelsea’s Birth Story ;

this is Chelsea’s final blog to let us know all about her labour and birth, its been amazing having her write and blog her first pregnancy a BIG THANK YOU Chelsea ..

Monday 3rd December at 18.27pm was when my life changed for for the better. Through the tiredness, tears and sore bits came beautiful blue eyes, tiny toes and peach fuzz hair.

 

My long awaited labour came at 41 weeks +3 starting at 1am on Sunday 2nd with waters breaking and painful cramps. I laid awake wondering when the best time was to poke my husband awake to tell him ‘It’s Happening’, after all we’re in it together and he needs his sleep to keep me sane when i can’t get mine!

 

2 hours later i needed to start my ‘Tens Machine’ and i can’t put it on myself so when i eventually plucked up the courage to whisper to Adam that i need him to help me, he freaked… 3 nervous toilet breaks later he was on top form! Keeping my glass topped up, rubbing my back, contacting parents to tell them the news and keeping in touch with MLBU with up to date info on my progression.

 

By 11am my ‘Surges’ were 3 in 10 so i rushed over to the MLBU ward whilst laying on top of cushions and blankets my hubby had set out for me on the back seat, like my very own blanket bed listening to our homemade hypnobirthing playlist. Thank god for ‘Spotify’!

 

After I hobbled into MLBU in the hope that i’d be popping out my baby within an hour or so I found out i was 1cm dilated…CRUSHED…how could that be? My contractions then accelerated to 1min-30sec apart so I was kept in and transferred to Cley ward with an injection of pethidine to help me sleep as I’d been awake close to 35hrs with only 2 hours sleep, 18 of those were in labour.

 

The following 22hrs were a blur, from being transferred back to MLBU at 4cm, continuing my Hypnobirthing breathing in warm baths then transferred onto the Delivery Suite when I went beyond 24hrs for risk of infection. I then had the beloved Hormone drip and an Epidural (recommended from the Midwifes).

 

Some hours later And after pushing for 1hr ½ with minimum pain relief as my epidural was inserted too high, i had a swarm of doctors around me trying to talk to me about intervention. In all honesty I have no idea who was talking to me about what, I had to sign my life away with reassurance from my hubby on what was best. I was prepped for forceps delivery and a cesarean section. I was scared and shaking sitting on the edge of the bed clutching my ‘bb hug me’ pillow when my Epidural was whipped out and spinal block inserted. I was given a Episiotomy operation and a manual placenta removal (yep just as unpleasant as it sounds).

 

My baby was back to back and had shoulder dystocia. My beautiful Arlo was born with large bruising on the back of his head from pushing on my pelvic bone, Lacerations under his right eye from forceps which caused swelling and an eye hematoma. His cry was a horrific painful cry, Arlo was transferred to Nicu to have a cannula for antibiotics and pain relief which is where he went everyday.

 

Off I then went to Blakeney which is where I stayed for a week while we both recover. I discovered my little one and learnt how to breastfeed him. The midwife’s were beyond great.

 

The NHS is constantly criticised but there’s never enough praise for the amazing job that the midwifes, nurses and surgeons do on a daily basis. I had a 42hr labour and I got through it with the most amazing caring staff. Who are at your bedside for encouragement and hugs when it all your emotions run wild together and my modern day hero hubby who helped me through my pain and discomfort.

 

I didn’t have the labour I had intended but I would do everything again. Our little Arlo is beyond beautiful and he amazes me every day, and in all honesty once you look into those big beautful blue eyes everything is forgotten.

 

Too soon for another??

labour
newborn photographer Norwich


Maternity Photographer Norwich

7 things you might have forgotten about having a newborn

7 things you might have forgotten about having a newborn

 

It’s so easy to forget each precious stage as they flash by before your eyes, but something I hear frequently from second time mothers and fathers is how much they had forgotten by the time baby number 2 arrives. So, I thought I would compile a list of 5 things to remind all you expectant second time mothers and also to prepare anyone in round one!

Baby photographer Norfolk

  1. Prepare to google ‘Can I die from sleep deprivation’ It hurts, it makes your body ache and its akin to torture. You exist in a weird mystical fog of forgetfulness and with no idea what the day is and even if it is day or night. You might forget the date your baby was born or maybe their name, who you invited round that afternoon and where you left your last cup of cold tea (cold tea is another point, read on!) It’s brutal, but it also jam packed with that wonderful thing oxytocin and it passes.

 

  1. The Love is like nothing you have ever known. The link between you and your baby is powerful, the dull ache you feel through your whole body when your baby cries, the desperate itch to whip them back to you if anyone hugs them for too long. The strange sensation for breastfeeding mummies of twingy boobs if your baby cries. Its magical stuff, my hubby didn’t experience this, but I did, anyone else out there too?

 

  1. It’s just a phase. How hard it is to remember that with a new-born. Endless nights of colic or maybe cluster feeding, illness, screaming or just no reason behaviour. It feels like the end will never be in sight. But with retrospect, it doesn’t last forever and it’s a rite of passage that all parents stare desperately at one another in the middle of the night and pep talk one another

 

  1. How to hold a new-born! This is a funny one, you’d think as parents of an older sibling that you have been there and done that, that’s its something you don’t forget, well I can assure you that while you will eventually get the hang of it those first holds put you under enormous pressure, which brings me to a sub-point of point 4! The enormity of being responsible for new life is just the same as first time around. To keep them alive and kicking – adhering to all the rules and regulations and advice as set out by everyone around you (authorities and family) It’s hard but remember you can do this!

 

  1. Cold tea. Your tea will not be hot when you drink it for a long time. There is no way around this.

 

  1. Never ever say out loud, or in your head that you are nailing something. As we all know, the minute your baby hears you they will immediately move the goalposts and you will have no idea what is going on. Be it sleep, feeding, routine, smiling, rolling you name it. They can smell parents celebrating success!

 

  1. In those hazy first days, it feels like no sleep, no hot tea, no routine and no idea will be your life forever, but, just remember, you will re-enter the normal world at some point. So, try to enjoy being home in a new-born bubble. Because as we all know ‘It’s just a phase’

Family baby photographer near me

And just to add – you will love this baby as much as your first , you may even feel sad about it not just being you and your first born.  But that soon went when Lila arrived, the emotions we feel as parents are so mixed and varied. Every journey is different but im pretty sure whatever you feel , someone else is feeling/ felt  the same. The fact that  we worry,  if we are doing a good job means we are!

 

If you are having your 3rd , 4th, 5th etc baby i’d love you hear from you and have you guest blog !

 

Jess

Newborn baby photographer Norwich


PARENT

A Happy Family Christmas: the realistic way - guest blog

A Happy Family Christmas: the realistic way – guest blog by Sam James 

 

 

Christmas time with babies and young children can be a magical time. It can also be a stressful time. Parenthood is an ongoing wrestle between ideal expectations versus the reality, and Christmas can be a stark reminder of this. That’s why I am going to share my 3 top tips to help you to create a realistically happy Christmas for you and your family.

 

I remember our son’s first Christmas and I had put so much pressure on myself to have the ‘perfect’ Christmas, fuelled by my perception of what all my new mummy friends were preparing and what the world of adverts, films and social media were telling me Christmas should be like.

 

The reality was nothing like it. The stress built like a pressure cooker, and it felt like everything that could go wrong did go wrong:

  • Our trip home from South Wales to Norfolk, was delayed by several days due to heavy snowfall (I normally love snow, but not in 2010!)
  • My husband and I ended up with food poisoning
  • My grandmothers water pipe burst in her garage
  • My parents washing machine broke
  • We argued with our families. I remember hiding in my room, messaging friends, wishing I was in my own home.
  • Our son was poorly on Christmas Day and I spent a considerable amount of my day on the phone to 111.
  • I lost my voice on Boxing day and woke up with conjunctivitis.

 

I vividly remember feeling so disappointed, upset and exhausted. At the time this was all I could focus on. That Christmas was a failure.

 

Yet, if I were to share photos of our son’s first Christmas it won’t show any of that. It will show him with his stocking, opening presents with his cousins, having his first Christmas lunch, families laughing and playing together.

 

In reality, 8 years on, I am able to recognise that despite all of the drama that surrounded Christmas 2010, there were many moments to treasure. With hindsight I wish I had taken the pressure off myself and my family to have a ‘perfect’ time, that I had lowered my expectations and embraced the time together warts and all.

 

It is so easy to get swept along with what we think everyone else is doing, and feeling like we should be keeping up with everyone else. So, how can you try and make Christmas work for you without the stress?

Create a Realsitic Happy Christmas.

  • Create your own family traditions

Don’t force yourself to do things that ‘everyone else’ always seems to be doing, if it doesn’t fit for you. Everyone’s situations are totally different – what works for your friend or your sibling’s family might lead to huge financial strain for you, or a really uncomfortable family situation.

 

  • Focus on the time together.

What do you want Christmas to feel like for you and your family? People remember the feelings they are left with far longer than the things that they are left with. As humans we are wired to seek out connections with each other, and being with other people and sharing positive experiences far out ways material objects, in terms of long-term happiness. There is a post on social media, written by a teacher for parents as a reminder of just this – that when they go back to school when asked about Christmas, the children share stories of staying in their pj’s for the day, playing games, watching films, going for walks. If they mention presents it tends to be the last thing they talk about.

 

  • Soften your expectations.

It is going to sound pessimistic, but I now accept that there are going to be moments when I want to scream at everyone, that someone will may end up ill, that there will be some very random present choices and some things won’t go to plan. By accepting these things in advance, I won’t feel like Christmas is ruined if it happens. So, be honest with yourself, and where can you lower the bar of expectation this Christmas?

 

 

If you’d love more tips for reducing the Christmas stress you can find my 8 top tips here https://samjamescoaching.co.uk/tinsel-tantrums/

 

Enjoy your Christmas in whatever way you choose. I can’t wait for snuggles on the sofa in pj’s with my tribe!

Save my top tips below to your phone !

 

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co-sleeping baby

The Honest Confessions of a NICU Mum on… Co- sleeping

The Honest Confessions of a NICU Mum on… Co- sleeping

 

Don’t let baby sleep in your bed.

Put them down awake.

Get rid of the dummy.

Put socks on him.

Dream feed them.

Have you tried a banana before bed?

Order a white noise machine, Gro clock and black out blinds.

Type in ‘how to get a baby to sleep through the night’,  and you will be met with so much conflicting and sometimes very odd advice.

Elijah our first child was always a pretty good sleeper, from around six weeks he slept 7-7 and after about a year he did so in his own room. Other than the odd early wake up, or a bout of illness and even getting rid of the dummy we have always had it pretty good with him.

We co slept for a while, it just happened naturally, if he woke up early he would come in with us and we would sleep until a reasonable hour.

I remember being told that this was the worst possibly thing to do, we would ‘create a rod for our own backs’, he wouldn’t never sleep in his own room and wouldn’t be able to settle himself etc.

I liked him being close to me, it meant I could keep an eye on him, and as he got bigger I liked when he snuck in our bed.

co-sleeping baby

Bed hopping

I do vaguely remember there was a time where the three of us would bed hop, between his room, our room and the sofa but do you know what, we still slept.

I got told by someone that if it isn’t a problem for you, then there is no problem and I hand on my heart believe this. We all slept and no it wasn’t the most convenient thing in the world but it kind of worked.

Then came his brother who didn’t quite follow in his brothers footsteps, so much so even now at sixteen months still doesn’t sleep very well.

We thought we had learnt a lot from having Elijah, and we were quite open to co sleeping again if it meant that we all slept but we were not prepared when it came to our little sleep thief.

I even in a sleep deprived  state ordered a Ewan the Sheep in hope it would work, it did not.

Take last night, he went to bed in his room, woke up but settled again around five times but as we were approaching the wee hours he came in with us and slept until 7am, and allowed his brother a lay in until 7.30am!

The need for sleep

Some may have an issue about co sleeping and it obviously can be very dangerous in certain situations and I am not necessarily an advocate for it, I am however very much for getting sleep.

I don’t have any worries that by co sleeping that I will have one of them in the bed until they are teenagers.

I think in the first couple of years you are in survival mode and you do what you can to get the illustrious bout of sleep that you think about  all day long.

There will be a time where they wont be waking up. Clambering into your bed, kicking you for hours through the night or my personal favourite using your head as a pillow.

It is and when your child doesn’t sleep, and you really do get quite desperate trying everything and anything.

It can be even harder when you know others their age who do sleep, and it can feel as though you are the one doing something wrong.

Once you have had a baby you are in such a rush for them to sleep through the night as we believe that this is an indication of their ability in a way.

Truth be told, I don’t think much helps, they will sleep when and where they want to. A little further down the road something will click and you will be waking up with a toddler heavy breathing in your face demanding that it is time for breakfast and C Beebies.

Baby photographer Norfolk

Three or four in a bed

Strangely, you will begin to miss those times where you woke up with no duvet and neck ache, snuggled up with someone whose nappy is feeling and smelling way too full.

Or when you, your partner, your child and every single one of their teddies has to come in and you find yourself balanced on the edge of the bed not daring to move in case you fall out!

Let go of the pressure, the guilt if you are reading this after a semi successful night where your baby/toddler/ pre-schooler/ cat and you did share a bed then don’t sweat it.

Once again, if it isn’t a problem for you, it isn’t a problem, try not to compare yourselves.

Different things work for different people, and that’s okay, however if one of them does still sleep with us when he is in his twenties then I may come back to revisit this!

Vicki Cockerill is a Freelance Content Writer and NICU/CHD Mum to two boys, she authors The Honest Confessions Of A NICU Mum Blog, founded and runs The NICU Parent Partnership Organisation and co-hosts @KnackeredandNorwich Social Club.. You can contact her via her blog or social media;

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