Maternal Insights: Q&A with Gemma Alster in the Mummy Spotlight
We are shining the spotlight on Mums because we think they are all amazing!
We asked Mum of one, Gemma, some questions on family life and the joys and challenges of motherhood.
How has motherhood surprised you?
This might sound silly but I always knew I’d love my baby but nothing prepared me for the overwhelming, all consuming love I feel for her. You go your whole life being selfish, doing whatever you want to do, whenever you want to do it and then suddenly you have something that comes before anything else and you don’t even think twice about it.
You become second best and you don’t even care!
What is a typical day like for you and your family?
My husband works and I’m on maternity leave so I always feed Gigi in the morning.
I get up with her around 7 and give Gigi her milk and then about 30 mins later give her breakfast. Her favourite is porridge with blueberries.
I then make a coffee and try (and fail most days) to drink it whilst it’s hot whilst we play with all her toys, jump in her Jumperoo and watch Baby TV (Charlie and the numbers plays over and over in my head 99% of the time) When she goes down for her nap that’s when I do EVERYTHING. I do the washing, tidy up, eat breakfast and try and fit in a workout. Gigi always always wakes up at the exact moment I’m either about to get in the shower, put some food in my mouth or start a workout. I never get to do all 3 !
When Gigi wakes up I always top and tail her, get her dressed (and always finish with her Little Butterfly face cream!)
I make sure her baby bag is fully stocked before leaving the house, it’s the WORST when you forget something at home and you’re out. Especially nappies..
Because im on maternity leave every day is different. I spend a lot of time with my mum and sister who are amazing and help me so much with Gigi. Now that lockdowns over I see friends and go out for lunch, take Gigi to music and swimming classes (and spend a litttttle bit of time on Instagram..)
I used to be so scared to take Gigi out for the day because her routine would get a little messed up but I can’t stress enough to any new mum or mum to be that you just HAVE to be relaxed otherwise you’ll never have a life. I know mums who never take their babies out during nap times but I never wanted to be like that, I wanted Gigi to fit in to my life not take over my life.
A LOT of my day is taken up by feeding Gigi. Whether that’s milk or food and she LOVES eating, she literally eats everything now. Gigi naps twice a day and when she naps that’s when I get to have ‘Gemma’ time and it’s SO important to feel sane!
My husband gets home from work and it’s daddy and Gigi time and it’s the cutest thing ever. She gives him the biggest smile every single night and laughs constantly.
I grew her inside me for 9 months and pushed her out of me and she never laughs for me like she laughs for her daddy!!!!
Adam baths and feeds her every night whilst I cook dinner and shower. Then we have dinner and then watch Love Island, we always kiss Gigi before we go to bed and if we’re not too dead and exhausted, have husband and wife time 🤭
What is the biggest challenge when it comes to motherhood?
When gigi was 2 weeks old I found a lump in her neck and she was diagnosed with a sternocleidomastoid tumour (a very scary name for a benign muscle mass in her neck). This caused her to have Torticollis (a condition where the muscles in her neck caused her head to tilt to one side) and she couldn’t move her head to the left at all. The doctors and the physios said it was the worst Torticollis they’d seen in an infant which obviously made me freak out but as her mum, I had to just do what I needed to do to get her better.
There were endless physio and osteopath appointments but when she was 6 months we were told she had to wear a helmet as her head had gone so flat due to her only ever leaning on one side.
I was told it wasn’t a medical issue and only cosmetic but it was absolutely needed because her head shape was deteriorating rapidly and it was starting to affect the symmetry of her face (one eye was bigger than the other, one ear further forward).
This isn’t common in babies and was due to her having shoulder dystocia when she was born (again, not common and only happens in 1% of births) so I hope I’m not worrying any mums to be here! The biggest challenge I’ve faced has been Gigi’s Torticollis and dealing with her wearing a helmet which she ABSOLUTELY KILLS. It doesn’t bother her at all and funnily enough, bothers me even less! I was devastated when I found out my perfect baby having to wear a helmet but now it’s become a part of her and I love it because it’s making her all better !
I’ve realised that our babies will always worry us. Whether it’s the tight muscles in their neck, a rash or a cough. The challenge is learning to overcome the worry you constantly feel as a new mum and learning how to deal with it.
Even with Gigi having to wear a helmet, I was SO worried before it went on and then watched her fall asleep in her buggy 10 minutes after it being fitted. I’ve learnt that NOTHING is ever as bad or as scary as it seems.
What is the biggest joy?
Where do I begin!
Walking in to your babys room first thing in the morning and have them smile up at you with the BIGGEST smile you’ve ever seen.
Even when you’re up at 3 in the morning with your newborn and you’re beyond exhausted, it’s still just you and your baby and it’s knowing your baby needs and wants only you.
All the first moments.. first night in their cot not a Moses basket, first night unswaddled, first food, first time they sit up, first tooth.. the list is never ending!
Making her giggle. Omg. That sound
Best piece of advice you’ve been given or would give to a new mum?
When you’re a brand new mum.. accept help from everyone and anyone. Whether that’s having someone stock your freezer with homemade food that you can just heat up, having someone come over to watch the baby whilst you have a 5 minute shower, letting someone order you a deliveroo so you don’t have to think about food.
Split the night feeds with your partner, there’s no point in you both being up at the same time. One of you does the feed before bed then the other does the first wake up of the night then the other does the next one .. etc. Take it in turns!
Routine, routine, routine.. try and get your baby in to a routine as early as possible so that eventually you can get them to sleep through the night. Once your baby sleeps 7-7 your whole world changes again and you finally feel a little bit rested! Remember, every baby is different and just because your friend got her baby sleeping through at 12 weeks doesn’t mean you haven’t done well when you’re baby is 6 months old and still not sleeping through. Routine is definitely important but be careful not to compare to other people. Your baby will do what they want to do and their own pace.
Don’t put pressure on yourself to be the perfect mum. Just because your friend or someone on Instagram has blow dried hair whilst breast feeding and no bags under their eyes doesn’t mean they have their sh*t together! And it absolutely doesn’t mean you should be like that. It’s normal to live in a tracksuit for MANY weeks (or months) postpartum. And please please don’t put pressure on yourself to breastfeed. If you want to do it then you go girl! But if you don’t want to do it, that’s ok! don’t let anyone make you feel like you’re being a bad mum or that you’re not trying hard enough. Breast is not always best, FED is best.
What is your favourite LBL product?
All of them of course :) I actually bought the whole range before I had Gigi and had it all out in her nursery waiting for her!
But if I had to choose, the face cream and the top to toe wash!
Keep up to date with Gemma and her family on Instagram @gemmaalster