We've survived our first month

We have survived our first month of work/nursery and come out the other side almost unscathed.

I say almost because we've all been riddled with germs since week two.

Of course, starting nursery comes with lots of new germs and Peyton's done a cracking job of picking up a pretty hefty cold. She was snotty for what felt like forever, passed it onto me and Tom, then got over it for a couple of days before coming down with another one. Grand.

My third week back at work and I felt like death warmed up and ended up getting tonsillitis, so not the best start to being back!


We've both had a ball.

Peyton absolutely loves nursery. She is always so happy when I drop her off on a morning. Even on her first day she didn't cry, she just went to the ladies and happily went about starting to get breakfast.

Now, when we get there, as soon as her coat is off she's putting her arms out to go to the nearest member of staff, grinning at everyone she sees.

It's so nice that she is so happy, and has such a good relationship with them already. It definitely makes it easier for me.

I was worried that if she was upset that I would cry, too. But, no tears from her meant none from me! I did have a knot in my stomach most of the day on my first day back - particularly when I saw a missed call from nursery on my phone and a dozen messages from Tom asking what I was doing and why I didn't answer when nursery rang - but no tears.

FYI, the phone call was just to check she could have some Calpol cos she had a high temperature due to her top four teeth all deciding to come through together on the poor girl's first day of nursery. Ideal.

Last week she had to be sent home from nursery because she had picked up a bug that was doing the rounds. Because she had the runs it meant she couldn't go back for 48 hours after they'd ended. Brilliant. Cue a last minute rush to find childcare for her for Wednesday so that I could still go to work. Wednesday is my busiest day, with it being deadline, and last Wednesday was a proper chaotic one - so I deffo needed to be there!

I think having a few days away from nursery has helped her get rid of her snotty nose/cold, though, because *touch wood* she is clear today. Instead of going to work not realising I had snot wiped on my shoulder, I went to work with toothpaste all down my arm today. Maybe one day I'll make it out without her leaving me a little reminder on my top!

Tired little babe after a busy day of playing.

I always knew I wanted Peyton to go to nursery, even if our parents could've covered her childcare fulltime. I loved nursery as a kid and wanted her to have that, too. I didn't envisage our bill being more than our mortgage but hey ho! (And she's only there three days a bloody week!) We do the tax-free childcare scheme, though, and that helps massively. It saves us just over £100 a month which is way better than nothing! For any parents with kids in nursery who aren't doing this you need to get on it! It's a revelation.

I even saw Martin Lewis talking about it on a clip This Morning shared this week, so you know it's good if he's advocating it!

She's already come on so much in the four weeks since she started. Her eating is getting even better - she eats more and more now and eats so well, even some days not having her afternoon bottle; her sleeping is better, although I am trying to stop stressing/obsessing over her sleep so much; and her personality is coming out even more. She's proper babbling now, too, and sometimes will copy sounds you make to her. Sometimes we get "mama" but it's few and far between and is literally one of the only sounds she knows how to make, so I'm not getting excited just yet ha.

She has just started to wave too. It's the cutest thing. She waves at people waving on TV, waves at the cats when they come in the room, and was even waving at the dogs at mum and dad's at the weekend.

We've passed the nine-month-old milestone now which is terrifying! The fact she's now been alive, and on this earth, for longer than she was in my tummy blows my mind. I can't believe she will be one in less than three months.

One year of being a mum, of winging it every second of the day, and of learning to adapt to this crazy new normal.

I think we may have stopped breastfeeding now. I haven't fed her from me since Friday through the night. Before she got her tummy bug she did five out of seven nights without feeding during the night. When she woke she either went back off to sleep within a couple of minutes or she just didn't wake at all (she obviously stirred to roll over etc but didn't whinge). That told me that she didn't really need the night feed anymore, she was literally just doing it for comfort. My boobs don't fill up anymore and I'm certain she doesn't get anything from me during the night.

All we've been doing have been night feeds since she started nursery, she has bottles of formula the rest of the time.

In some ways I already miss breastfeeding her. However, on the whole, I am glad our little breastfeeding "journey" has ended like it has. I do wish we'd marked our 'last feed' but, I guess, you never really know when your last feed is going to be. I may still end up feeding her myself in a day or two, but she certainly isn't feeding every night anymore.

The move from boob to formula was gradual, natural and she has taken to the transition really, really well. It's nice to not have to worry about what I wear now and whether it is breastfeeding friendly; it's nice for her to not expose me to everyone when I would feed her out in public; and it's nice to be able to let others feed her and share the load. However, I do miss the ease of feeding her myself and definitely don't miss having to plan to take enough milk out with me; and not being able to be as spontaneous as before because I haven't brought enough milk.

I also do not enjoy how expensive formula is. What is that all about?! I saw an article recently about how mums water down formula to try and make it last longer because they can't afford to buy it all the time. It's absolutely disgusting that people feel they are driven to that because this country is so on its arse that it leaves mums on the dismal maternity pay to fork out for milk for their babies at such a high premium.

The whole nursery funding saga is a bloody joke as well, but don't get me started on that! How parents who don't work get free hours over those that do absolutely baffles me. Because parents who don't have a job to go to really need those free hours/childcare spaces over those who go back to work and need childcare for their babies in order to work... Baffling.

Anyway, enough about that!

There isn't really much else to report from us.

Life feels like it's going 100mph at the moment. Time is going even quicker than it was before I was back at work, I can't believe it's already April!! I'm back four days a week now until July, when I go back full-time, and, honestly, I don't know how I am going to find the time. I am already struggling to spin all my plates and juggle everything as it is, without adding another day at work in the mix.

I miss Peyton so, so much when I'm at work. I only see her for about an hour, depending what time she wakes up, on a morning before I take her to nursery. Then we only have just over an hour once we get home before she goes to bed. It makes my days off with her even more precious, but I do feel bad that I don't spend as much time with her as I would like.

There's nothing nicer, though, than picking her up from nursery and seeing her speed crawl across the room to me and reach out to be picked up. Those first hugs after a day apart are the best.

Mini First Aid: a review

With Peyton being nine-months-old, I did feel like I was ever so slightly late to the 'First Aid party' when I was invited to try out Mini First Aid: Hull and East Riding.

I had heard of Mini First Aid before. They're a national company with franchises all around the country. Prior to starting baby-led weaning I looked into doing a course with them but couldn't find any that were all that local to me. There were some the other side of York, but as keen as I was to learn First Aid I didn't want to have to travel up to an hour to get to one.

I decided to just watching YouTube videos on what to do when a baby was choking, and clue myself up on the difference between choking and gagging.

But when Jodie, from Mini First Aid: Hull and East Riding, got in touch with me to invite me to one of her classes, I decided it would definitely be worthwhile doing.

The class took place in Brough, although there are also classes in Hull, which was just over half an hour away from where I live.

It was two hours long and was super, super relaxed. I was a bit apprehensive going on my own (I left Peyton with my mum and dad because she'd have been a bloody nightmare, and I'd have learnt nothing!) but I needn't have been.

Peyton was quite happy snoozing at my parent's house while I was gone!

Jodie has just had her second little baby so is currently enjoying the little baby love bubble at home, and a lady called Nicky was running the class instead.

Nicky has loads of First Aid experience, being a first aider at work, managing a children's centre and previously working as a Community First Responder. It was her experience in the latter role that gave us all some top tips on what to do if you do need to call for an ambulance. I'll come back to this later.

The class was a good size. There were three expectant couples - all due within the next month or two - a mum with a four-month-old little boy and her mum, and a mum to a four-year-old.

When I saw the three pregnant ladies I did feel ever so slightly bad, as First Aid is never something I thought of doing when pregnant. We did the hypnobirthing and prepared for birth itself, but nothing really for when she was here.

The girl with the four-month-old was there with her mum, she said as a grandma she panicked more when looking after her grandson than she did when she looked after her own kids so wanted to be clued up.

That's the good thing about the courses, they're for anyone! Mums, dads, siblings, aunties, uncles, grandparents...

The two-hour class covers everything from choking to CPR, bleeding to bumps, breaks and burns, and convulsions to Meningitis awareness.

Before I went, I thought the choking was the main thing I wanted to get out of the class. Now that Peyton has a few more teeth she takes big bites out of her food and, sometimes, I find she gags way more than she did when we first started.

However, after the class, I found choking to be one of the less important things that I took out of the class.

I had no idea how little I actually knew to do.

I had no clue how to do CPR on a baby, or how to check if she was breathing (aside from putting my finger under her nose or feeling her chest). I didn't know what to do if she burnt herself or how to treat her if she goes into shock.

I'm an emergency first aider at work (I'm going on my refresher course this week, actually) so I know the basics of CPR on an adult and how to help an adult who is choking, but it is totally different on a baby/child.

The thing we covered in the most detail was how to check if your baby/child is breathing and how to do CPR on them. There were baby and child sized 'dolls' to practice CPR on, which was really helpful. When you do the chest compressions it's so much harder than you would ever imagine, so it was good to practice that to realise.

Nicky also gave some top tips for if you need to call an ambulance. As a community first responder, she explained how hard it can be to find people's homes; particularly at night. She said to open all your curtains, turn all the lights on at the front of your house and, if you have a car parked outside, put its hazard lights on. That way, when the ambulance turns into your dark street, it can spot your house straight away. I would have never thought of anything like that.

Treating burns is something that had never even crossed my mind; but it's something I am most definitely going to have to do; whether it's a minor burn or more major.

I'll admit, some points of the course absolutely terrified me. I think I was more frightened than I would have been had I been pregnant and doing the course. Mainly because I know how adventurous/daring she can be, so was imagining all the First Aid I'm going to have to administer.

Needless to say, I bought the First Aid kit they were selling at the end of the class!!

Part of that, which is what really sold it to me, was the scissors in there. The scissors are able to cut through material - even denim - so are ideal for burns (although if the clothing isn't removed immediately you just have to cut around the clothing that's stuck to the skin. If you try remove clothing too late it can take the skin off too, which you obviously want to avoid.) They can also cut through the seatbelt strap of the car seat so I will definitely be buying another set to keep in the car. Nicky said they are good to have in the car incase you are in an accident and need to get baby out of the seat quickly. Although, I suppose, if you have concerns about baby maybe being affected by the crash you are best waiting for the paramedics to arrive. Anyway, that aside, I will be buying a pair for the car just incase!

The choking section was really, really handy. It reinforced what I had watched on YouTube but also allowed me to practice my back slaps, chest thrusts/abdominal thrusts on the dolls there. Again, like with CPR, it's amazing how hard you have to be. It definitely helped me to feel more confident, particularly at meal times. I'll still be on edge, watching her carefully, but I feel much more at ease now I have practiced what to do.

I also bought a handy magnet for the fridge which tells you what to do in the event of a choking baby/child.

There were other bits for sale, and I bought it all. I got the paediatric first aid book, which covers in detail everything we learned in the class (I thought this would be good for Tom/my parents to have a look at) and a hot and cold gel pack which can be used, as you've maybe guessed, as a heat source or an ice pack.

I figured if I didn't buy it there and then I would've forgotten when I got home, or wouldn't have got the same things as we'd seen in the class.

All in all, I would most definitely recommend a Mini First Aid class to and parents/carers. For £20 per person it is definitely money well spent, particularly if it teaches you something that helps you to save your, or someone else's, baby's life.

Before yesterday we had nothing like a First Aid kit at home, I'd have been so unprepared had anything happened. Other than Calpol and teething granules we had nothing! Now, however, we've got the contents of the Mini First Aid kit, which includes: two non-adherent wound pads, two conforming bandages, one pair of tough-cut scissors, two adhesive tape (hypoallergenic), two burn gel sachets, 10 uncoloured plasters, two elbow/knee plasters, 20 printed hypoallergenic plasters, two non-alcohol wipes, one pair of metal tweezers (because the ones I use to do my brows would not be all that practical!), six rust-resistant safety pins, and one information leaflet.

And it's all in a pretty green bag. Winning.

If  anyone is interested in booking onto the course, there are dozens all over the country. Just visit the Mini First Aid website and you can search for your local class. You can also arrange private classes in your own home.

It was definitely worth doing and definitely something I wish I had arranged to do before. However, with Peyton becoming more mobile and more of a daredevil with every passing day, I am so glad I did it when I did. Thankfully we've not yet had an experience where we have needed First Aid, but I'm so glad I now know what to do going forward; just incase.

Disclaimer: I was invited to take part in the class free of charge. However, the views and opinions expressed above are entirely my own and are not in any way influenced by anyone affiliated with Mini First Aid.


Mother's Day

Tomorrow is my first Mother's Day "on the other side".

For 27 years I have been celebrating Mother's Day as a daughter, spoiling my mum. I remember when I was little we'd get up early, go downstairs with dad and pick some flowers from the garden, pop them in a little vase and make breakfast in bed for mum. We'd put the flowers we'd just ragged out of the garden on the tray of toast, cereal, coffee and orange juice; and all pile up to wake mum.

One year I remember taking my tape player (so 90s) and little tinny battery-operated microphone downstairs and singing Mama by Spice Girls to her while she was on the toilet. I was obviously at the age where I recognised the lyrics and the sentiment behind them, but not quite old enough to understand personal space yet.

Every year as a child I used to ask why there was a Mother's Day and not a daughter's day (we'd have the same conversation on Father's Day, too).

My dad used to say, every time, "every day is daughter's day" and I'd scowl.

I remember thinking it wasn't. I didn't get showered with presents or extra attention every day of the year, and nobody ever made me breakfast in bed. And it just wasn't fair.

Well, seven-year-old me, it all makes sense now. Every day actually, is in fact, daughter's day (and son's day), especially when you are a child.

Every day of my life now centres around Peyton and her needs. My day runs entirely to her schedule, my social life needs planning around her childcare, and practically all our disposable income is now spent on feeding/clothing/entertaining/caring for her.

My dad was right.

I understand even more now what Mother's Day is all about. It's not just about picking flowers from the garden and breakfast in bed; or going for Sunday dinner and giving your mum chocolates.

It's about showing your appreciation and love for your mum, for thanking them for everything they do, the sacrifices they make, and letting them have a day off (of sorts, cos we all know there's no real day off when you're a parent!)

Mums are superheroes and we definitely deserve to be celebrated, thanked and shown our appreciation of. Because, some days, we just need to know we're doing a good job.

I can only imagine how painful Mother's Day (and Father's Day) is for those who have lost parents. As I've gotten older, I've loved celebrating Mother's Day with my mum. We always go out somewhere for drinks/afternoon tea/dinner/shopping and it's so nice to have the excuse for mother-daughter time. It's so nice to thank my mum and spoil her. So, for those who've lost their mums, it must be a dark day.

Likewise, for those women who are mums to angel babies, and babies who were too precious for this earth. As lovely a day as it can be for some of us, for another section of the population it's a difficult day.

There'll be people waking up tomorrow marking the first Mother's Day without a mum, or a child, and it'll be really difficult.

So, while I'm feeling incredibly blessed to have my gorgeous girl and to get to spend our first Mother's Day together, I'll also remember those for whom it's going to be a hard day.

So, whether it's your first Mother's Day with a little one, your first without your mum, your first without your baby, or your first that should have been, I hope tomorrow is everything you want it to be; whether that be a day all about you, or a day that's just like any other Sunday.

Lots of love to you all x