I’m so glad Rebecca Lupton, a photographer and the creator of The Mothers Project picked up this quote to summarise my interview when I took part in The Mothers Project.
I might look like I’ve got it all under control, but I certainly don’t, not all the time anyway…

I am thrilled to be part of this project – mums sharing their unique stories of motherhood accompanied by beautiful shots by Bec x

You can read the interview here

the mothers

 

I keep saying this, but I am incredibly grateful for all the new mum-friends whom I have met online. There’s a lot of support, sisterhood, mamahood out there x

Learning about myself: I’d rather be outside

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Quite a few people have asked me about what’s like to run with a pram. In a nutshell? It’s a lot harder than running without a pram, but it also gives me the freedom to go for a run without waiting for Daddy to come back from work and look after the baby. It keeps me fit too, as it’s a full body workout!

This post covers everything that I have learnt so far; from short walks in The Peaks when Oliver was just a few days old to, half marathon training.We are definitely making the most of our off-road pram.

Which pram to choose and when to start running?

There are quite a few buggies designed for running on the market. The difference between normal strollers and the ones designed for running is that the wheels are bigger and they usually have three wheels.

After thorough research we decided to go with an Out’n’About Nipper Sport , as we wanted a buggy that was suitable for off road conditions – people who know us know that we tend to spend a lot of time walking and running in the Peak District, and so we needed gear that would help us safely take Oliver with us. The big 16″ wheels and rear suspension met the brief.
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We got this buggy straight after Oliver was born, but as I mentioned already here, it’s suitable from birth (with a special newborn insert), but we only used it for walking until Oliver was 6 months and could sit up straight unsupported.

What to pack for a run?

Running with a baby reminds me of my ultramarathon training when things weren’t as simple as putting my running kit on and leaving for a run. Running with a baby means that I need to pack some extras, and even more stuff for our long runs while half-marathon training.

The pram has a couple of handy storage pockets and a large shopping pouch, so taking more than I usually pack is not a problem. It’s just like taking a nappy bag, but on wheels!

This is what I usually take with us: food for the baby (usual amount for the expected time + 50%), nappies, tissues, hand sanitiser, energy gel & water (sometimes), bank card in case of emergencies, and obviously a rain cover! I also tend to listen to music, but not too loud so that I can hear Oliver chatting or asking for food.

Planning the route

I run on both roads and trails. Having said that, I always choose a route where terrain won’t be too bumpy for Oliver. I also tend to avoid busy roads as I hate the idea of us breathing traffic fumes, but of course that’s not always possible! I never run with the pram in the dark, so basically, will do everything to make sure that the baby is safe!

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I also plan my long runs so that there’s a loo on the way – silly post pregnancy bladder haha! 🙊

Enjoy your pace!

Running with a pram is actually more difficult than without, and so I never intentionally run to beat my ‘no-buggy’ PBs. However, I keep an eye on my PBs with a pram and we are getting a lot faster!

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Be flexible – feeding pit stops and changes of plans

I used to plan my runs after his feeds to avoid pit stops, but now I prefer to take plenty of food with me and stop whenever he needs to. I have fed Oliver in all sorts of wonderful places so far!
I have also learnt to be more adaptable and know if it’s time to go home if he gets a bit grumpy – I think this has so far only happened once. The buggy has a peek-a-boo window that I use a lot to check whether he’s ok, but I’ve learnt that if he’s quiet, he’s either asleep or enjoying the views.

I guess what I am trying to say is that not all babies will enjoy being in a pram for an hour or longer and so it’s important to listen to them and know when to have a pit stop for a feed, cuddle, or just return home.
I’ll follow the same approach when I run my first half-marathon with a pram next month! I’m fully prepared tol have to make a pit stop for feeding or a nappy change 🙂

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parkrun PB – 26:05

Take care of your posture and find a comfortable position

It’s quite hilly where we live, which is an extra challenge, as steep hills are difficult enough without a pram! It’s easy to find yourself pretty much horizontal pushing the pram, which of course is not great for your back, so I always try to watch my posture.
I also tend to switch between pushing with both hands, or running a bit faster and pushing with one hand while pumping with other arm. I need to switch frequently to make sure that my arms are not getting too sore. It’s slightly easier if Daddy runs with us, as we can very simply adjust the handle and swap the pram between us during the run.

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Thanks for reading and see you out there x

Living overseas means that I frequently ‘commute’ by plane to see my family. I knew that I would need to take my new baby on the plane asap, and of course once I was ready and comfortable to do so. I have to say that the thought of traveling with someone so small and vulnerable, but someone who requires more luggage than me was a little bit overwhelming!
Speaking to my friends and family, reading online advice and the mum travel blog was very reassuring and helped me to prepare and to avoid any unpleasant surprises. Here’s a quick summary of everything I learnt from my friends, family and our experience. I hope that everyone who likes to be over prepared enjoys this post 🙂

Is my baby old enough to travel?
I waited for my baby’s 8 weeks check-up before I decided to book our plane tickets. We also needed to carefully schedule our trip between his immunisations, which were given at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age.
We went on holiday when he was exactly 3 months old, so a week before his final jabs.
I felt so much more confident to travel, or even leave the house once Oliver felt a little bit more ‘solid’. However, babies as young as two days old are allowed to travel by plane. The best thing to do is to check with your airline.

Travel insurance and healthcare
I never bother with travel insurance when I go ‘back home’ to visit my family. This time round we decided that it might be better if we get insurance in case of any emergencies, even getting our buggy damaged. Fortunately it wasn’t needed!
In addition to this we have registered for the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). The card is free and it gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in another European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland. Of course this may change after Brexit…

Packing and getting to the airport
We tried to pack lightly and ordered some of the baby stuff to be delivered to Poland so that we are not flying with any excess luggage. In the end we had two big suitcases, one small Ryanair size approved hand luggage, one rucksack, a pram and a nappy bag. The great thing is that on Ryanair you’re allowed to have up to a 5kg nappy bag, which is super helpful. We also got one of those big stroller bags, which we stuffed with our winter coats once we dropped off the pram while boarding.
As for getting to the airport we left an extra early to have as much stress free journey as possible, and allow for any hiccups like tram not going to the airport. Yes, this actually happened!
Food, hold and hand luggage
Once we got to the airport with our mountain of bags it was time to check in and go through security.
I knew from the Government website that we would be able to take enough baby food, baby milk and sterilised water (more than usual max of 100mls) for the journey. However, I was a little bit worried that we would need to open the bottles to prove what they were. In the end there was no need to do this, as the bottles go in a separate tray / scanner.

Up in the air
Once we boarded the plane there was plenty time to ask the person who shared a row of seats with us to swap so that we can have a middle and aisle seat, as we needed some freedom to get up and walk down the airplane, make some food or use the changing facilities. The lovely bloke agreed! I felt a bit sorry for him as he was very tall and broad and so he needed to pretty much fold in half to squeeze into his seat!

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Just chill….
Traveling with a baby is not bad at all! Babies don’t really mind where they are as long as they get the usual amount of cuddles. Whenever things got stressy I started singing to Oliver as this is something (no idea how given my voice) soothes him.
Oliver was very brave and cried only very briefly as he was a bit too hot and we needed to remove some layers. Ascending and descending weren’t a problem, because we’d been recommended to gave him some milk anyway to help his ears pop.
The other things that I found useful were some new toys to help distract him and keep him occupied while we waited for the plane, and of course, some sanitising gel and wipes for the plane.

 

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Overall the flight itself went smoothly and as my friends said, it’s actually easier to fly with a new baby who will be asleep than with a baby a bit older who will want to explore their surroundings. I have another couple of trips planned this year, and I’m already looking for tips on what’s like to fly and holiday with an older baby. Oliver will be 10 months old when we go to Ibiza later on this year. Does anyone have any tips on beach, summer holiday with babies? Can you even call it a ‘holiday’, or will it end up being even more hard work than being at home? Thanks x

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Monday evening means a weekly run with the Still Waters Run Deep, running crew, but as I am recovering from yesterday’s 10 miler with the pram, I thought I’d share the 4 benefits of running or exercising with a group with you. I think that running with a group of people helps with consistency of exercising, and helps to ‘keep going’, so this post is a pretty good continuation of my previous one on how to ease into fitness, which you can find here.

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Photo by Liam Walsh

At the moment I run three times a week, as I’m training for a half-marathon. I do consider running as ‘me’ time when I get to be alone, get quiet time to clear my head, which has a different meaning now that I have a baby. I love that ‘me’ time, but I also really love to run with other people and this is why:

Social

As I am on maternity leave the ‘social’ element must be mentioned first! I have met so many great friends through running and also I got to know a wider running community through #bridgethegap. Yes, we do run together, but we also support each other and socialise together.

What’s also really good about running with other people is that you’ll end up pushing yourself harder and running faster where when you might have slowed down when running alone. This helps to increase your overall speed. There are always runners of different abilities and experience, but we always look after each other. We start together and we finish together.

Motivation

I reckon that everyone finds exercising in winter much more difficult. Leaving the house when it’s dark and rainy doesn’t sounds appealing at all. However, knowing that you’ll meet up with a group of people who feel the same way and that count on you to turn up helps you to not skip a run.
Now think how great it feels once you’ve been for a run? It feels soooo good, doesn’t it?

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Photo by Liam Walsh

Consistency

You need consistency to become a better runner. Running with a group means that you’ll go for a run at least once a week. Again, it’s easier to keep this consistency during the winter months if you are running with a group.

Variety

Every runner knows a mile from their home in different directions. Knowing your local area makes planning runs easier, but it also can make running a little bit boring and predictable. Running with a group allows you to discover new places and makes running more interesting. We usually cover a variety of routes and distances. We run on a track once a week, sometimes along the canal, the city streets, car parks or hill reps. There’s also a healthy dose of competition between us when we split into smaller groups.

See you out there!

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Photo by Liam Walsh