We recently caught up with Ripe Mums, Kate and Belinda, who have both had babies in the last 9 months to see how life is going with their little ones. We asked about their journeys so far and what their favourite Ripe styles were during pregnancy and nursing.
Kate - Ripe Marketing Manager
How is life going as a new Mum?
It’s been a rollercoaster, but I’m loving the ride! Lucie is 9 months now and when I think back over the last year, it’s amazing to think about everything that’s happened and how much she’s developed in that time. I also became a full-time Stepmum in that time too, so I’m learning about motherhood with both a baby and a 7-year-old at the same time. It’s a steep learning curve with Gaby, our 7-year-old, probably because she is more affected when I mess up! But she’s so resilient and teaches me that it’s ok not to be perfect.
Learning how to transition through the different stages of being a new mum and then return to work and all the other things that you take a break from when you have a newborn is quite the journey! I feel a strong sense of accomplishment when I think how far I’ve come. I feel proud of myself that I trusted my instincts along the way; reached out for help and advice from whoever would offer it but take from it what felt right to me.
What have you learnt about Motherhood?
It’s more relentless than I could have imagined. The mental load on Mums is exhausting. Mums are constantly giving and doing so much for their family, a lot of which goes unnoticed. I think it’s in our nature as women to be hard workers and not complain, so we look like we’re coping just fine, until it’s too much and we crack. We get upset with our partner or our kids and then we feel guilty about that too! The love you experience is BIG and like nothing else but being a Mum can be physically and emotionally draining. I’m learning to find ways to restore my energy in the small pockets of “spare time” I have, but it can certainly be hard to prioritise myself some days.
Tell us about your pregnancy?
I have such positive memories of my pregnancy. I was very lucky to have a fairly drama free pregnancy. I felt really tired and unwell in the first trimester but felt pretty great for the rest. I really loved being pregnant, especially once I started feeling the baby move around.
I was a little sad at the end of the pregnancy about it being over soon - that was until Lucie was almost 2 weeks late and I couldn’t believe there was a time that I didn’t want my pregnancy to end! Those last couple of weeks were painfully long.
I think it was around the 20-week mark when COVID hit, and we went into lockdown. Being forced to live a slower paced life was you’re pregnant and tired a lot was actually perfect. I was lucky enough that I didn’t feel isolated because of COVID or that I missed out on anything because of COVID restrictions. The only thing I felt that I missed out on was that I didn’t have many candid photos of me pregnant because we weren’t out and about living life as normal and in situations where you’re normally taking photos for memories. Of course, that doesn’t really matter at all now, but at the time it felt like a big deal.
What was your breastfeeding journey like?
It was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do! I feel like I struggled my way through 4-5 months of breastfeeding. It was so hard in the beginning, and it was difficult to get face-to-face support at the time due to COVID restrictions. We didn’t get off to a great start, Lucie struggled to put the weight back on that she lost after birth, and I struggled to express for her, so I ended up topping up with formula. Topping up soon turned into mix feeding, which was the only way I think I was able to stretch out breastfeeding for 4-5 months. By the end I just felt like it was too consuming; physically and mentally. I had to work through some conflicting feelings about stopping breastfeeding, even though I was so ready to stop. It’s strange because I strongly believe that there is no shame in formula feeding or mix feeding for whatever the reason is, but I still struggled to give myself the permission to exclusively formula feed when the time came. I quickly realised it was best for both of us when Lucie fed really well from the bottle, and I felt happier and regained the energy I needed to really enjoy being a mum.
What were your favourite Ripe maternity items?
I loved my Organic Over Bump Leggings! They were so warm and supportive and perfect for days at home. I’d wear them with our Organic Tube Tops and different cardigans or the Cowl Neck Knit Dress. Such easy to wear, cosy options for my winter pregnancy. And I felt like my bump looked super-cute in them too!
Which Ripe nursing items did you like the most?
Belinda - Ripe Sales Manager
How is life going with 2 little ones?
I'd be lying if I didn't say I was exhausted... but aside from that, it's going really well! We are obsessed with our newest addition and our little family of four feels complete now.
I am currently on maternity leave and home with both the boys every day so if I don’t have a good night of sleep, it’s a very long day. With my first, Max, I would rest or nap when he slept but now I have a toddler to look after and dedicate time to when Lenny is sleeping. We are so fortunate to have a supportive family; my mum comes around a few times a week whether it’s to drop a meal, take Max out for a few hours or to help with the kids while I do what I need to do.
In the lead up to the birth, everyone would ask how I thought Max would cope with a sibling, but I was more worried how I would adjust to the two. I felt anxious thinking about how I would still get to spend quality time with Max, give Lenny the attention he needed and still have time with Garth in between all the madness. I know Max missed our one-on-one time early, but he seems to have adjusted well and Garth tries to spend more time with him when I am busy with Lenny. Garth and I make an extra effort to balance time together as well as family time, whether it be going out together or something simple like eating a late dinner together when the kids are in bed.
What was your pregnancy like?
I was fortunate to have a very easy pregnancy with Lenny although the exhaustion this time was really hard. I had a 2-year-old to look after so between work and spending time with him, there was no time to put my feet up and relax.
With my first pregnancy I spent a lot of mental and emotional energy preparing for both the birth and our new life as parents. Although I was so excited to meet my second little boy, I felt I wasn’t as emotionally connected this pregnancy because I was so consumed with Max and all my energy and attention was always on him. I remember with the first pregnancy, I followed all the baby apps and knew what size fruit or vegetable the baby was each week but I can't remember opening the apps this time.
Tell us about the birth?
I was absolutely terrified of the birth with my first. I had no idea what to expect. I was induced with both Lenny and Max. I didn’t have a choice with Max but I had elected to be induced with Lenny. I liked the idea of knowing when it would happen and being able to organise Max and prepare myself for the birth rather than it all happening spontaneously. The birth was faster and more intense and nothing like my first induction. I was induced at 8.30pm and my labour started within a couple of hours. It was painful and exhausting and wasn't progressing, so I had the epidural which allowed me to relax and enjoy the last few hours of the birth.
How is your breastfeeding journey with Lenny going?
Breastfeeding has been so much easier and enjoyable this time around. I definitely feel calmer and more confident this time and I believe this helped us establish a good breastfeeding relationship from the start.
I remember the first couple of weeks with Max were hard and painful. I was anxious about feeling like that again but was fortunate it started really well. I had read up on breastfeeding tips and asked the midwives to watch me every time I fed in the hospital, so I felt a lot more confident going home and knew we were on the right path.
Breastfeeding is hard. As natural as it is, it doesn’t come naturally to everyone.
What was your #1 Ripe maternity items?
I lived in the Dylan Distressed Jeans! They were super comfortable and I was able to adjust them so I could wear them at all stages of my pregnancy.
What are your fave Ripe items for nursing?
I have worn our Organic Nursing Tanks when feeding both my little ones. They look like a regular tank I don’t feel like I am wearing a nursing top. They are great under sweaters and jackets at the moment too.
The Lionel Nursing Tees were also a favourite, particularly in the first few weeks as they have a looser fit and I felt more comfortable wearing them than the tighter fit.