Monday 5 May 2014

Meet A Mum Monday - Katie Young, @MyBabyGuru

Last week, I announced that I was going to start a new regular feature called #MeetAMum Mondays and I was overwhelmed by the response. The idea behind the feature is to get to know fellow mums and bloggers a bit better and to help highlight some great blogs well worthy of a read.

For the first Meet A Mum Monday, let me introduce you to Katie Young...

1. Hello, what's your name and where do you come from?
Hi To Become Mum readers, it's great to be the first Meet a Mum Monday; what an honour! I’m Katie and I live in London, though I’m originally from Warwickshire but moved down to the big city for uni and jobs and never looked back…

2. Tell us about your children.
I have one little boy who has just turned ten months. He is a gorgeous and rather spirited little monkey who has totally changed my life (for the better of course!).

3. When did you know you wanted to be a mum?
I think I have always wanted to be a mum as I grew up with children around me all the time. My mother opened a nursery school in our house when I was born and so every day was a play-date and as I grew up there were a lot of requests for babysitting, so caring for a child was always (hopefully) on the cards. Like many women the sound of my biological clock starting ticking louder around my 30th birthday and I was blessed to have my little boy last summer.

4. What's you favourite moment as a mum so far?
Oh, there’s a new one every day! He just seems to get better all the time. My favourite moment has to be the other week when my little boy was cruising around the living room and then decided to walk into the middle of the room with a big grin on his face. My husband and I just looked up and were like “oh my goodness… so you’re walking now?!”

5. What do you wish people had told you before you became a mum?
Okay so it’s controversial but I wish someone had told me that breast-feeding is actually really hard, to the extent that it can make you feel totally useless and broken. I know that there are plenty of people who do it very successfully but at the start, for a first time mum, I found it incredibly difficult. I don’t think babies are born knowing how to do it just as mums don’t magically know how to do it either. 

It was the most unnatural, natural thing I’ve ever done and it didn’t help that I had an incredibly hungry boy who would feed for 30 minutes from each breast then want a top-up bottle too, at every feed! I wish I had been told that the ONLY thing that matters is that your baby is fed and you CAN do both breast and/or bottle very successfully, without feeling like a failure.

6. If we were to look in your changing bag, what would we find?
It’s totally packed to the top!  Of course, there’s all the changing stuff with way too many nappies, spare clothes in case of accidents (though I always forget to update this and then realize what’s in there is a few months too small when there’s a crisis!). 

There’s also bottles, formula, water beaker, Ella’s pouches, lots of little snacks, fruit and raisins to keep him quiet, spoons, medicines & teething gel, syringes, travel thermometer (I know OTT), muzzy, bibs, dribble bibs, dummies (at least 4), wipes (you can never have too many) and as many toys as a can. I always carry some handheld distracting toys like maracas, jingle bells, a small whisk (so many comments from shop assistants “oh that’s an unusual toy?”) and his favourite stacking saucepans. If it can fit, there’s also an open-the-flap book or Dear Zoo!

7. What were the top three things you had for your baby that you would recommend to other mums?
There are so many great baby products out there so it’s really hard to just pick three…hence my next work venture which I’ll get to shortly. If I had to pick my ultimate favourites for a baby I would say:

  1. Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes: This goes everywhere with me and works wonders on babies in queues, doctors surgeries, taxis, anywhere. This has proven invaluable on a flight with a baby; especially on take-off when the engines are quite loud… it just mesmerises them!
  2. Black and White Nursery Wall StickersSome babies can really hate being changed so I decorated the walls of our changing areas with these black and white stickers and made a “Mummy mobile” with them dangling down above him whilst changing. Every baby that has been changed there has loved to stare and play with them.
  3. Fisher-Price Step N Play Piano: Okay, so most mums will say that the Jumperoo is brilliant, and it is, but many babies out-grow it within a few months and so my best buy for a 5+ month old was this sit-in piano. It has a 360-degrees seat that moves over a piano with jazzy-tunes. The seat can also be removed to reveal a crawl-over piano and activity station they can pull themselves up on and walk around. It has much more longevity and really good toys. I totally credit this toy for my little one’s early walking. 

8. What three things could you have done without?
  1. Nasal Sucker: Some babies don’t mind having their blocked noses sucked clean; mine HATED it! The humidifier and saline nasal spray worked much better for us.
  2. Baby brush: I know, they are so cute and soft but my little boy has such fine hair that I’ve never needed it!
  3. Shoes until they are REALLY cruising / walking: So they look really sweet but babies seem to hate shoes, they never stay on (if you can get them on to start with) and they don’t seem to help or support them until they are really starting to cruise or walk. And they are really expensive… why is that?!

9. What baby brands do you like and why?
There are some really good baby brands out there with some great British brands popping up all the time – I have been amazed on Twitter how many clever inventions are out there. For furniture, I really like Stokke, as it’s sturdy, multi-purpose and aesthetically designed. For muslins and bibs I love Faye & Lou and Aden & Anais as they look funky and wash and wear really well. For weaning I loveBibettaBrother Max and MAM as it’s well-designed and practical. For random inventions I love Clevamama for things like their apron-towels and sleep wedge for reflux babies and Gro-company for their egg thermometers and sleeping bags. IKEA has some great and very reasonably priced baby products too; my favourites being their pots & pans, soft fruit & veg sets and weaning equipment. For clothes I tend to rely on Jojo Maman Bebe or Gap as they wash and wear well and you can get some good discounts.

10. Are you a working mum? If so, how do you find it?
I’ll be going back to my “real” job in a few weeks as I have been lucky enough to have a year off for maternity… but I have been keeping myself busy by developing an exciting new app called My Baby Guru

I can’t give too much away yet but it’s building on the idea that all new mums and dads are the real “gurus” when it comes to baby-knowledge aiming to help all new mums and dads (plus I’ve had some help from an expert in the field too). It’s something I’ve never done before so it has been rather challenging, working with some fantastic developers, finding time to create the content and working out social media at the same time (I’m such a novice!).

I have loved exploring this wonderful world of mummy and daddy bloggers and all of the great support, advice and hilarious tales of tots. I really look forward to following and hearing recommendations and reviews from all you Mummy and Daddy gurus out there in due course…

11. What do you enjoy most about being mum?
I love seeing something new in him every day and seeing him master new skills (I think I’m a secret Tiger Mum…) I love his cheeky grin and squeals as I say “Morning sunshine!” every morning (even if it is 5am!)

12. How do you make time for being 'you'?
After four months, we imposed a date-night at least twice a month so that we could have some couple-time and I could have a chance to do my hair and make-up and put on some non-sick-stained clothes! It has done wonders for our relationship and how I feel as a woman and mother and so I would recommend it to anyone. 

We also were very determined from the start to get our little one into a routine so that we have our evenings and he has a lovely sleep. It took a lot of patience to get him to a pattern that suited him but it was all worth it in the end. I’m not saying it always works (anyone who does is clearly lying!) but it’s the only way we can have some regular time-off.

13. Tell us about your blog / where we can find you online.
So I’m not a blogger, but live in awe of those who can and love to read them. I’ve just started out this year on Twitter @MyBabyGuru or Facebook and I would LOVE to connect with any mums or dads out there and hear your thoughts, recommendations, blogs and stories. I will also be launching a website to direct to my App, both of which will be available this summer… watch this space!

14. Share a crazy fact about yourself.
I’m not sure I’m really that crazy but a good few years ago, I went to a Jack Dee show and there was the opportunity to submit a joke for Jack to read out at some point in his show… he was reading through them and giving his usual dry critique of how rubbish they all were, then he came to mine and read it out, then said “Hmmm… that’s quite good, I’ll keep that one for my shows!” and put it in his pocket. I was very proud. What was the joke? I’ll tweet it tonight at 8pm if you like… 

Thank you Katie for a great Meet A Mum post - I really enjoyed hearing about adventures in mummyhood so far and I'm excited to find out more about My Baby Guru too.


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