My support network.

They say ‘it takes a village to raise a baby’ and I could not agree more. I’m incredibly blessed as I have a lot of great people in my support network but the quantity doesn’t really matter. You just need to have people in your life who support you and you need to actually let them. That is easier said than done as there is a huge pressure to look like you can do everything on your own and never struggle. Of course we all want to be the perfect parent but it’s just not real life. I aim to hit my idea of ‘perfect’ 50% of the time, that’s me doing my best.

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Real life struggles.

When I first became a mum I definitely struggled with wanting to look like I could cope with anything and was reluctant to ever ask for help. I soon realised though that parenting is not easy, so why pretend that it is? Nobody is handing out medals for the cleanest lounge. A support network is made up of people who care about you and want to help you, so use them!

This is what my support network looks like. Yours might be very different or not so much. Made up of 50 people or just 3. It doesn’t matter as long as you value them.

The husband

Obviously, we share Little Knight, so he’s my biggest support. He is so encouraging and always builds me back up when a day of nappy explosions and toddler tantrums has pulled me down. He will work hard all day then come home and get stuck in.

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Family

There is a reason we didn’t move very far away from our parents! I see my family at least twice a week and depend on them a lot. I also find it really special to see Little Knight enjoying spending time with her grandparents, she’s very lucky as she has a lot of them! My sister is my ultimate best friend and now that she has a baby it’s even better, she always just ‘gets it’. Whether you want someone to love the 6896426th photo you’ve taken of your child or someone to watch them so you can actually have a hot cup of tea/a wee in peace/a stress-free food shop, family is always there. Plus, I don’t think you ever grow out of needing your mum. If Little Knight has a rash, I send her a photo.When I don’t know how to chop a leek, I call her. When I need a little break, I go round and eat all of their biscuits whilst Little Knight empties the toy box.

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Church

Our church family are really special to us. We have some great friends there and if you ever need anything, someone will help you. Little Knight and I go to the Baby and Toddler group in the week which she loves and we go to the morning service every Sunday. We’re really blessed as there are a lot of other babies and toddlers so she has friends to run around with and we have other parents to share the joys and struggles with.

God

Really, this point should be first but I thought I’d get attacked for ‘being preachy’. I am a Christian and my faith is really important to me. Praying got me through a long pregnancy, a hard labour and everything that has followed. This is a very personal thing and I’m not trying to throw religion at you, but I don’t want to shy away from such a huge part of my life just because I’m scared of the reaction. (I am still a bit scared though…)

Friends

Going out with the girls is the ultimate pick-me-up. There is just no spa treatment like a natter over a glass of wine and massive burger (or something more ladylike). I go home feeling refreshed and me-time is so important when your whole life suddenly revolves around someone else.

Your support network aren’t just there if you’re struggling, they are with you through all of the laughs and milestones too. Even though I go to bed singing Peppa Pig’s Bing Bong song, being a mum is the best fun ever.

Thanks for reading,

Knight Mummy x

Breastfeeding style

I’ve said a few times that I struggled through pregnancy but on those occasions when I wasn’t grey, I felt like I looked fantastic! I really enjoyed my new pregnant body and found it easy to choose clothes that made me feel good. I loved showing off my bump! Then I had my gorgeous girl and my stomach was left looking like a shrivelled balloon and I had the added issue of breastfeeding. I suddenly needed constant access to my boobs whilst wanting to disguise my new tummy and obviously I still wanted to look good and feel like my old self as much as possible.

I’ve been breastfeeding for 14 months now and here are just a few tricks I’ve learnt along the way.  If you’re in a similar position I hope you find this useful and I save you some time!

  • Buy at least 2 nursing vest tops.

I have one in black, 2 in navy and one in white and I wear them under EVERYTHING.  It then means you can easily pull up your top to feed your baby and feel confident that you are still covered up. Any vest top will work but the convenience of those nursing clips is worth the money, especially when you’re out in public with a hungry baby. Mine are from H&M MAMA range and they are just as good now as when I bought them.

If in doubt, copy your toddler.

  • Anything button down is your friend.

Fortunately, shirts and shirt dresses are everywhere now and you can get so many variations on style that there is something to suit everyone. I loved being able to buy a normal piece of clothing from a non maternity range and feel good in it. Obviously button down means easy access. I like dresses where I can cinch in my waist as I find them the most flattering. It’s getting colder now and I’ll just throw on some tights with the same outfits.

Buttons everywhere!

  • Bandeau tops can adapt anything.

If you want to wear a strapless dress for example (or just something without big, fat bra straps) you can wear a bandeau bra or boob tube underneath to keep you covered up and in place and you can just pull it down a bit when feeding.

  • Don’t completely dismiss maternity clothes.

Certain pieces will still work and most maternity tops and dresses have a nursing function. I actually bought a maternity dress for Little Knight’s birthday party as it was a skater style so wasn’t tummy-skimming and had a hidden panel for nursing. Just have a look through your maternity things and see what will still work.

The top part lifts up to reveal a nursing button (ASOS)

  • Wrap tops/dresses.

Just a wardrobe classic for anyone really, never go out of style and suit all different body shapes. They are super easy to breastfeed in and always make me feel very put together.

  • Throw on a scarf.

I feel like a scarf can add interest to an otherwise simple outfit and they can also be used as a nursing cover. You can also get really pretty ones for a couple of quid and they will always fit.

I’m not saying I put a pretty dress on everyday after Little Knight was born. Let’s be realistic, I lived in my maternity leggings until they ripped and I had to bin them. This is just for those times when you do have 5 minutes and want to spend them on yourself (which is ok, honest!) Breastfeeding in public can be daunting at first and I always felt more confident when I was in an outfit with easy access!

If you have any other tips please share them, I’d love to know!

Thanks for reading,

Knight Mummy x

Shower troubles

I’m starting to realise just how difficult simple tasks become when you have a baby on the move. Last week I had a girly night out planned with good food, cocktails and minimum baby talk. I hadn’t washed my hair for a time longer than I’m willing to share so this was number one priority for the morning. I thought I’d quickly jump in the shower whilst Baby Knight played in her room, which I can see from the bathroom anyway. Not a problem. Pah! I am a fool.

Look at that cheeky face, I should’ve known better!

It started out how I imagined, I set her up a little toy area and she played angelically with Peppa Pig books. Then the shower curtain fell on me and the noise made her cry. So I comforted her then begrudgingly got in the shower, knowing I would soak the whole room and have that to clean up later. Baby Knight picked that moment to decide she was bored and wanted to play with Mummy. Great timing, sweetheart. She got upset when every time she got close she was sprayed with water, not that it stopped her. She then clocked a plug-in that looked appealing and decided it must be hers. Cue a soapy Mummy literally throwing her bath toys to her in an attempt to distract her.

Finally I was clean (forget exfoliating scrubs and hair masks, those days are gone). I took her in my room with different toys so I could get sorted, I managed to get a brush through my hair before she had had enough.

We plodded downstairs to Cbeebies so that I could quickly throw some clothes on. I then realised she was soaked from trying to join me in the shower. Now, getting Baby Knight dressed these days is always a workout  as she is just everywhere and is super slippery too thanks to her eczema cream. She was eventually ready for the day then she sat up, was sick down her clothes then burst out laughing.

I aborted this mission and went to my Mum’s to get ready.

Thanks for reading,

Knight Mummy x

Support for daddies.

This is something that has really been on my mind the last few months. It appears much of the world is still quite prehistoric when it comes to parenting and it is often assumed dads don’t really do anything. Of course there are men out there who aren’t the most helpful with the children, equally there are lazy mothers, but I feel men are more prone to being all grouped together and often just the butt of many jokes. In preparation for this post, I typed in ‘support for dads’ and ‘appreciation for dads’ into different websites and found many results for mums or posts criticising dads.

Deadbeat dads - funny how they can afford internet, yet not child support.

An example of typical search results.

Ok, so women do have a lot of work to do with the pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding to name a few. Yes, it is hard! There will be many, many posts on this in the future I’m sure. However I couldn’t have done any of it without Mr Knight. From holding my hair back whilst I was being sick to stopping me from rolling off the bed during labour he has been a brilliant husband. But that is NOTHING compared to what a great daddy he is. He could not do more for our daughter! And he’s not alone. I see amazing dads all the time. My heart swells when I see a man walking around with a pram but it’s almost like they are a secret breed that mustn’t be acknowledged. It seems you can barely put the TV on or log into social media without seeing men being slagged off. I understand that there are many women going it alone and I take my hat off to them but for once, I want a little bit of daddy appreciation.

Daddies are amazing!

Our own super dad

Our own super dad

Mothers work hard. Everyone knows that. Daddies work hard too and don’t seem to get much acknowledgment. It’s 2015 and men are a lot more hands on than decades gone by. There appears to be a slow increase in dad groups but after doing some research they are still few and far between.  Mr Knight joined a group on Facebook for dads to chat about all things baby and it’s full of hardworking men. It’s really great to see him getting excited talking about our daughter and comparing funny anecdotes. (It’s The Dad Network if you’re interested. They also have a private dads group but I’m not allowed to know anything about that… ask inside for details!)

Time is precious

Time is precious

So! They may not be able to help grow the babies and their nipples are completely useless but we’ll (try to) put that aside as we celebrate the amazing dads in the world!

Thanks for reading,

Knight  Mummy x

Pregnancy and Labour story.

Just the words ‘pregnancy’ and ‘labour’ make me feel a little bit sick. I still get a little envious when women glow throughout their pregnancies and have a labour that mirrors their birth plan. It took a good few months to feel ok with how my daughter came into the world which I hear is natural when things don’t go to plan. However, that is skipping to the end of the story…

Mr Knight and I decided the time was right to turn our worlds upside down around April 2013 and we were very blessed to take that positive pregnancy test in the following November.

Pregnancy announcement

Pregnancy announcement

Pregnancy just did not suit me. I was sick at least once a day from about 6 weeks in so instead of that classic pregnancy glow my skin looked grey. I also suffered vile heartburn and had a brief spell of sciatica. Despite feeling like I was dying, my little baby was thriving and that made it all beyond worth it! We didn’t find out the gender which just added to our excitement. My birth plan consisted of a water birth with flexibility regarding pain relief, I wanted skin to skin as soon as it was born and Sam wanted to cut the cord.  I worked up until 37 weeks and my mum and sister planned a beautiful baby shower for just afterwards. And then the waiting game started…

37 weeks!

37 weeks!

Finally, 6 days after my due date I was woken at 6am by my waters breaking. I rang the hospital and then off we went to get checked out. After confirming my waters had gone and doing some business down there, the midwife told us that our baby was back to back and I should spend as much time as possible on all fours to get it to move. We were then sent home to wait for labour to start. We stopped off at Gregg’s bakery on the way back to grab some breakfast and I had my first contraction – I was so excited! (Clearly did not know what was in store.) We then spent the whole day on the birthing ball and timing contractions until about 11:30pm when I couldn’t handle it anymore and forced Mr Knight to TELL the hospital I NEEDED to come in.

We got to the hospital to find out I was just 2-3cm. I could’ve punched that poor midwife in the face. We plodded off to our room where I spent the next few hours bouncing on the birthing ball and getting high as a kite on Entonox (gas and air to us normal folk). True to form I was constantly being sick so had an injection so I could keep some water down. This is where it gets a little hazy for me. At some point I had Pethidine which did nothing and then eventually gave in and had an Epidural. I know everyone is different but looking back it was definitely the best decision for me. I even managed an hours sleep!

By 7am I was 10cm and ready to push. Here we go, time to meet our baby! Except after two hours of pushing nothing had happened. I remember so clearly the midwife saying “ok, we’ll just get the doctor to pop in and see you.” That’s when I knew it had all gone wrong and whatever the doctor was about to say would be bad news. Sure enough, baby was stuck and I was then rushed to theatre for an emergency caesarean. I was a complete mess and to make it worse my spinal block would only work on the one side of my body. I then had about four members of staff spraying me with cold stuff to see where I had feeling and asking me what felt colder. I was told that they would tilt my bed and if that didn’t work I would have to be put to sleep. All this with Mr Knight waiting outside not having a clue what was happening. Thankfully it all worked and a few moments later he was by my side as I was sliced open and our baby was pulled out.

IT’S A GIRL!

At 11:15am Baby Knight was born weighing 8lb 8oz. However we couldn’t bask in joy for very long as before I could see her she was whisked away with breathing problems. As I was being sewn up and sorted out my baby was in the neonatal unit. Thankfully, she only needed to spend a few hours in there but being wheeled into our shared room where every woman was cuddling their newborn was tough. Finally she got bought into us and we just stared at her in complete awe. I actually asked the midwife if I was allowed to pick her up! I was able to leave hospital at 4:30pm the following day which was a huge relief as I hated not having my husband with me when I needed him the most, that and I was sharing a room with a serious snorer. Once at home we had our families to visit and felt like we were in a little bubble of love. It took about 5 weeks before I was feeling back to myself and not in pain but to be honest the first few weeks are all a bit of a blur anyway!

My first mummy cuddle

My first mummy cuddle

So not one part of my birth plan was honoured and I definitely felt a bit of a failure for a) having an epidural and b) having a caesarean. However, 7 months down the line I look at our birth story very differently, all that really matters is our baby came out safely and is healthy. The rest is just the details.

Thanks for reading!

Knight Mummy x

Jumping on the bandwagon…

There is something about having a child that suddenly means you have an opinion on just about everything and are keen to share. I often find myself talking to complete strangers when out and about with my daughter, whether they engage in conversation or not is irrelevant. To put it bluntly, I just love talking about my baby. Some (many) will think I am a complete loser but I couldn’t care less! I love being a mummy and sharing the joys and challenges with the rest of the world.

That introduces why I am choosing to blog quite nicely. I am a big fan of a blog, particularly those that feature adorable babies so just thought why not join in? I’ve been umming and ahhing about it since I was pregnant and have run out of excuses not to. I’ve always found writing to be quite therapeutic. Writing a list is heaven to me! The act of getting all those thoughts out of my brain is like no other and I feel like this will do the same thing. The cold winter months have also highlighted how difficult it can be sometimes when you find yourself with zero plans all week. We try to go out as much as we can but it’s impossible to avoid having days where you have no adult conversation until Mr Knight comes home from work. Those days I can sit with a cuppa during naptime and talk to myself on the internet. If anyone else enjoys it is an added bonus.

Now to introduce myself briefly. I am a twenty something living in the UK with my husband and gorgeous daughter. We were married in September 2012 then welcomed our little madam into the world in July 2014 and have barely stopped for breath since! We are really blessed to have our families really close by and a loving church. That old saying that it takes a village to raise a child is so accurate! Pregnancy and labour were a bit traumatic but that is a long story for a whole post of its own.

Our first holiday to Spain in October 2014

Our first holiday to Spain in October 2014

Anyway, place your bets on how long I’ll be brave enough to keep this up for.

Thanks for reading!

Knight Mummy x