One of the best parts of my pregnancy was how active I was during it. I was blessed in that right throughout I felt really good and I didn’t suffer with many aches and pains. I had the usual “morning sickness” but even at that it was always in the evenings when I got in from work and I was never actually throwing up. Once I got past the ten week mark I felt brand new. I went on lunch dates, shopping, in to town, nights out, weddings, moved house, and generally I was very rarely just sitting at home. I know a lot of people who were not that fortunate and who experienced severe sickness right through or who suffered with SPD for example. I was blessed. Sure we even went to Las Vegas when I was seven months pregnant and it was completely drama free. Well, apart from my camera being stolen but that wasn’t a pregnancy issue. (I’m still so not over that by the way). 


                                

                        On our ‘babymoon’ in Port Laoise just a few weeks before Billy was born



The reason I’m mentioning this is because when you have a newborn or a baby in general for that matter, heading out and about is way more of an ordeal. I remember I used to be able to go somewhere at the drop of a hat and just grab my purse and keys on the way out the door. Oh my God it is so different when you have a baby! You need to get yourself ready which in itself is an ordeal as you have to wait till its a nap time to hop in the shower, or I also know girls who brought the baby in to the bathroom and put them in the bouncer while they showered. Our bathroom is tiny though so that wouldn’t work. So as soon as you are ready to go it’s time to think about getting the baby ready. The usual nappy changes, dressing them and feeding then among various other things. Then there is planning the logistics of feeding them. If bottle feeding you want to make sure you’ve the bottles made up and enough to cover the hours you will be out. If breastfeeding you’ll probably (like me) want to feed them just before you leave the house so that it bides you some time before the next feed. I have nightmares about Billy looking to be fed as soon as we get on the bus. Something tells me that breastfeeding Billy on a Dublin Bus would be unpleasant, and not to mention dangerous (have you seen how quickly those drivers drive?). But, these are the things we have to try to plan for. “Plan”, that elusive word that doesn’t really apply to life anymore when you have a baby. But usually a bit of thought and organisation saves a lot of hassle. 

Then there’s the baby bag – you must double check that you’ve enough nappies, wipes, change of clothes (even two changes, Seriously HOW do babies go through so many clothes? If you think you’ve enough, bring more!). Then the fun part comes, actually transporting you and the baby (or babies) out of the house. We have big steps at our front door so this little routine for us involves me firstly lifting the pram down the steps without the baby. This means I have to put Billy somewhere safe like the travel cot, Graco swing or bouncer. I also have to put my keys in the front door because God forbid the door slammed shut with the wind? Me outside bringing the pram down the steps, door slams and baby is locked inside on his own. Can you IMAGINE? So these are the little things you have to plan for. So where were we? Oh yes, the pram  is now at the bottom of the steps. I then go back and lift Billy and bring him down the steps and in to the pram. I then, making sure the break is on, run back up the steps and quickly put the alarm on and lock the door. It’s actually quite a funny routine but it’s genuinely the only way it works. The steps are too big and steep to trust carrying or wheeling the pram up and down them when the baby is in it. 

                                                  

      Two days before Billy was born. Off to see Barney in The Olympia with my baby cousin & sister.


So that is just getting out of the actual house. Then comes the transport. I don’t drive (this will change soon) so for me it’s buses and walking. I actually love walking and I’ve already walked in to town with the pram which was a lovely walk. But the bus is an interesting affair. Before you have a baby you never really have to think about anything other than having the right bus fair. Well usually bus fare is actually the last thing I think about. Now it’s about whether there is space on the bus for the pram (usually the bus drivers will allow you have two prams side by side but my very first time travelling alone I was unfortunate enough to be spoken to horribly by the bus driver who would not let me on the bus because there was already a small buggy on it. The buggy wasn’t even using the designated spot. It was horrible and it nearly brought me to tears. He was so condescending. Anyway, I contacted Dublin Bus about it and their response was fairly unhelpful to be honest. They told me that only one pram or buggy can be on the bus and yet since then every single bus I have been on had two side by side. I was totally fobbed off! I prefer walking anyway. Moving on… 

                                         

                                      At a wedding when Billy was 10 weeks old



Then there is the actual destination. Is it baby friendly? Will you fit the pram in (restaurant or cafe for example). Will it be easy to feed the baby there? Is it warm enough?

                                               

                                                     What’s on the menu today Mama?



For me the issue is usually related to feeding him. Of course breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world, but the reality is that it is still not seen as “normal” by many people in Irish society. People might stare, or worse they may even make a comment. This is a fear I’ve had to nip in the bud because at the end of the day I refuse to sit at home all day just because I’m breastfeeding my baby. I  now go to meet friends and family for lunch, I go shopping, out for walks, anywhere really. The reality is that if Billy is hungry I will feed him anywhere. Of course I will. 

That being said, I just wanted to share with you some information about breastfeeding “areas” in Dublin because these have made life a lot easier for me. Did you know that there is a feeding room in St. Stephens Green shopping centre? Yep, on the top floor up beside the toilets. They have comfy chairs, a bottle warmer, and a high chair. I used this room the very first time I went in to town on my own with Billy and it was a very pleasant experience. Did you know there are feeding rooms in Jervis Shopping Centre? Up beside the toilets. Little cubicles in the baby changing area which also have comfy seats where you can feed your baby. And  the best of all, did you know that Mothercare have a “mummy room”? I didn’t either. That was until last week when I was walking around the shop in Jervis picking up a few bits and pieces to buy and Billy started to cry and I knew all too well that this was a “feed me NOW” cry. I felt so flustered and didn’t know whether to pay for the stuff and then go make my way to the feeding area on the next floor in the shopping centre, or whether I should just leave the items down and go immediately. It was then that a lovely Mothercare worker came over and asked me if I was OK and when I explained she asked would I like to use the mummy room. YES please! It was a little room within the store that had a super comfy rocking chair, baby changing facilities, bottle warmer, and the most impressive thing of all, ice cold water to drink. How lovely is that? I got nice and comfy and swayed on the rocking chair drinking my water and feeding Billy for a good 15 minutes before exiting the room and paying for my items at the till. It was such a positive experience. The sales assistant informed me that you can use this room whether you are ahopping in the store or not. I wanted to spread the word. Go Mothercare!

Again, I must emphasise that breastfeeding is of course the most natural thing in the world, and there is no shame in feeding your baby ANYWHERE. It is a beautiful thing and it is in fact illegal for any company/cafe/restaurant to ask you to stop etc. However, isn’t it nice to have the option to sit somewhere comfortable where you don’t feel you are on “display”? I will feed Billy anywhere if he is hungry, but I’ve gotten quite good at recognising the very early signs that he will be looking for a feed soon, and so those are the times where I might like to calmly make my way to one of these comfortable feeding rooms where I don’t have to buy anything or pay to use the facility. It’s also handy because chances are that a feed will also coincide with a nappy change, and you can do both in these rooms.

                                         

                Ready for a day out, sporting a bit of Ralph Lauren the little fashionista!

remember a friend (that’s you Vicky) made a comment to me when I was pregnant telling me to enjoy little things like ‘nipping out to the shop’ because once the baby is born the ‘nipping’ is virtually impossible. I have to laugh because this couldn’t be any truer to reality. It is such an ordeal to even get out the door some days, but at the same time I’m determined to get out and about with Billy and I refuse to sit at home all day. I think it’s important to meet friends for lunch (where funds allow), get some fresh air and get out for walks, and even just walking to the shop for some groceries can really clear your head and give you a bit of a break from being in between the same four walls all day long. I used to envy those stay at home mothers because I imagined that they relaxed a lot during the day but it really is a full-time job and it can definitely have it’s tough moments, so mixing things up and getting out whenever you can is really beneficial.


                                      

                                                 Out for a walk, loving life!



Now on the topic of getting out of the house. What about getting out of the country? Our little trio are going on our first foreign holiday on Saturday. I can’t believe it’s come around already. I’ll be publishing a blog post about this before the end of the week. Think that packing up yourself for a holiday is stressful? Multiply that by a million when you have a baby. It is absolutely mental! I keep thinking I’m forgetting things and I have lists coming out of my ears at this stage. But I’m so excited and neeeearly at the stage where I can actually say we are ‘packed up’ so I look forward to sharing it all with you. I will also be talking about the financial side of being on Maternity leave, how we managed to go on holiday and make that happen, and tips and tricks that have make our financial situation manageable at a time where I’m living off state maternity pay. 

Until next time! 

Tracey x