Cry it out? Co-sleep? Up all night? I feel your pain…

Sonny Jim, Katy Pearson, #whatkatydiduk #mummyandsonny

Sleep? What’s that? Sonny Jim at (yawn) 4.47am

Sleep deprivation is an actual form of torture. Literally.

And just because you’re being woken up every hour or so, night after night, by your sweet baby boy, doesn’t mean you are any less knackered.

So after a few months of Sonny Jim deciding sleeping at night was overrated, I decided to talk to an expert.

How to get babies to sleep is a contentious subject. Personally I think you do whatever feels right for you.

I’m not up for controlled crying. Yep, it works for a lot of people – my parents included. But it’s not for me. Continue reading

Helping to stop another mummy ever experiencing this heartbreak

EVERYONE hates journalists right? We’re right up there with politicians and car dealers.

Except.

Except…when something like this happens.

Emma Cox is one of my dearest friends. She’s godmother to my Sonny Jim.

And when she went to visit her baby boy Alfie’s grave at the weekend, only to discover it had been dug up and another baby buried there, my job (nowadays done from home and squeezed in around Sonny Jim) suddenly did all the things I hoped it would when, age 17, I decided being a journalist would be pretty cool.

It meant I could get (some) answers, when no one was getting back to her and her husband. It meant I could help her to make sure no one else would ever find themselves in the same god awful situation. It meant her voice was louder and reaching more people than it otherwise would. Continue reading

Perfect mummy… until I actually had a child

Sonny Jim, Katy Pearson, #whatkatydidUK

Little sleep thief: Imagine being this happy before 5am!

Honestly, I had parenting absolutely nailed… until I actually had a baby.

I don’t think I’m alone in this. I think most of us have pretty clear ideas of what we’d do as a mummy or daddy. What we would allow. What our child will and won’t do.

Which is great, until you realise that your child totally didn’t get the memo.

Here are some of my pre-Sonny Jim parenting fallacies:

* The baby won’t be sleeping in our bed.

Yep. That worked really well until he was poorly. Until he started waking up at 4am. Until he started staying awake for hours in the middle of the night. Now, at least part of the night is often spent with a tiny, wriggly third wheel in our bed. It’s  that or we just don’t sleep for nights on end. And, quite frankly, I need sleep. Continue reading

The baby legging brand loved by celebs… and made in an Essex shed

Fred & Noah, Fearne Cotton, Katy Pearson, #whatkatydidUK

Fred & Noah fan: Fearne Cotton

YOU kind of know you’ve made it in the fashion stakes when Fearne Cotton posts a picture of herself on Instagram on Christmas Eve in one of your creations.

And then shortly after that posts another of her little girl Honey in one of your designs too.

Such is the rise of baby legging brand Fred & Noah – an empire run from a shed in a mum-of-two’s garden in Rochford.

Natalie Reynolds, 34, started making trousers for 0-4-year-olds while on maternity leave with her second son, Freddie.

Natalie was a lecturer in fashion design at South Essex College, running the fashion course, and initially making the leggings was just about her getting back into her hobbies.

But it very quickly turned itself into a serious income.

Natalie, who is an ex Thorpe Bay High School pupil, recalls: “It was exactly a year after starting the business that I was handing in my notice to the college and taking the leap to work full time on Fred & Noah at home with my husband. Continue reading

Mummies don’t need a TV ad to make them feel bad

Katy Pearson, Sonny Jim, #whatkatydid

Finding our own way – no thanks to Dove

“75 per cent say breastfeeding in public is fine. 25 per cent say put them away. What’s your way?”

Honestly, what WAS Dove thinking with its newest ad campaign?

The skincare brand – which in the past wonderfully celebrated women’s bodies in all their shapes, sizes, ages and nationalities – seems to have had something of a crisis.

Its new adverts, the premise of which is showing support for parents whatever their choices, couldn’t be any more misguided if it tried.

I didn’t breastfeed Sonny Jim. I planned to, wanted to, tried to, but he couldn’t. So we didn’t.

But I am vehemently supportive of the mamas who breastfeed. And mamas who choose to bottle feed. Fed is always best.

So Dove, here are a few things I think you need to know.

The equality act of 2010 means it is now discrimination to treat a woman unfavourably because she is breastfeeding. It’s ILLEGAL for anyone to ask a breastfeeding woman to leave a public place. So that 25 per cent you mention? Who CARES what they think.

Being a mum can be hard. Being a new mummy can be overwhelming. What a mama who is just getting to grips with motherhood, who has seen her body change beyond all recognition, who is just getting to know the baby they’ve spent months growing, absolutely doesn’t need is any more anxiety.

And that is what your advert has done, Dove. You’ve given credence to the cretines out there who like to judge mummies. You’ve given a voice to the narrow-minded numpties who with a thoughtless “put it away” comment can destroy a mum’s confidence. Can make her think twice about going out. Can make her question her mothering ability (even more than she already is. None of us think we’re doing “mummying” right anyway.)

Dove, go back to selling soap. Leave the actually parenting to us, hey?

This post was first published in the Echo newspaper on Friday, July 7, 2017: www.echo-news.co.uk

From a speck on a screen to our darling boy

4D scan, Katy Pearson, baby, baby scan, Sonny Jim, pregnant, #whatkatydid

Another look – Sonny Jim when I was 28 weeks pregnant

When did you first see your baby?

At the 12-week scan? When they were born?

I first saw Sonny Jim before he was even a baby. Before I was even pregnant.

He was a blastocyst – an embryo of about 200 cells. And it was six days after I’d been sedated to have my eggs collected. Doctors had managed to get 14. Of which 11 survived to the next day. By day five we were left with six still growing in a petri dish at Barts Hospital. Two of them were deemed “A grade.” One of them was Sonny Jim.

When I went back to have the “best looking” of blastocysts implanted – two years ago this month – the specialist spun a screen round to face me. See all that blackness she asked, that’s your uterus. Now see that tiny white speck? That’s the embryo.

My little Speckles. Continue reading

My chat with… CBeebies’ Mister Maker aka Phil Gallagher

Phil Gallagher, Mister Maker, CBeebies, Katy Pearson, #whatkatydid

Dream job: Phil Gallagher as Mister Maker

Recognise this fella?

The mummies and daddies among you probably will.

Phil Gallagher has been on our children’s TV screens for almost 20 years. The past decade has seen him bringing arts and crafts to life, in his wonky waistcoat and bowtie, as CBeebies’ Mister Maker.

And Mister Maker – plus the Shapes – will be at the Towngate on Sunday, as part of a 44-theatre tour.

But as I chat to ever-enthusiastic presenter at his home in Kent, I have to ask, just where does Phil end and Mister Maker start? Continue reading