Featured Blogger: Leyla Preston of Motherhood Diaries

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Name: Leyla Preston

Age: 32 years old

Location: London

Starsign: Libra

Introduce us to your website…

Motherhood Diaries is a global online magazine, offering parents and parents-to-be a free platform in which to share their wealth of knowledge and experiences in the topics of preconception, pregnancy, labour/birth and parenting.

What made you decide to start blogging?

As soon as I found out I was pregnant for the first time, back in April 2010,  I went on an online rampage to find a weekly blog of a mother’s pregnancy that I could follow,  just so I could get an idea of the symptoms I would experience and to find out how my baby was growing.  I found one resource site that I was rather disappointed with,  mostly due to its generic content. So I decided to start my own blog and share my journey with other mums (and dads!). Little did I know how much the parent blogging industry would explode in that year!

Is blogging your day job or do you have another occupation?

I used to be a lawyer and quit my job when I found out I was pregnant. I blogged around my two boys until May 2013, when I decided to turn my hobby into a magazine business.

What would you say are your top tips for preparing for a new baby?

It’s true when they say that you can never really be fully prepared for the birth of a new baby, but there are things you can do to help ease the process. Having two baby boys myself, I’ve compiled a list of my ten top tips for preparing for a new baby:

Pack a Hospital Bag:

Pack a hospital bag at least three weeks before your due date,  so that you are prepared for when your baby comes early.  I’ve written a post about the items that you should include in your bag here,  which should help you get your bag in order, so you don’t have to do what I did during my first birth and send my poor hubby back and forth from the hospital. I had forgotten some rather important items, like our baby’s woolly hat (he was born in December) and some snacks and reading material for me!

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teddy bear bodysuits | guess how much I love you sleepsuit & hat | padded bear jacket

Prepare and write out your birth plan:

Most birth plans are thrown out due to the unpredictability of birth itself, but having that piece of paper gives you that extra bit of control on how you would like things to be done during birth. And, if you’re not in a position to talk (from the labour pain) then make sure your birth partner is clued up on what’s in your birth plan and let them be your mouthpiece. Remember that it’s your body and you still have the final say on what you would like to be done during the birth.

Devise a list of emergency contacts and keep the list with you at all times:

Another very important tip is to ensure that your list of emergency contacts is complete, up-to-date, and in order of importance.  Keep it on you at all times in case your partner is not available or if you go into early labour. It would be very useful to include your contacts’ insurance and hospital information as well, in case they need to provide these details.

Don’t go overboard with stocking up on essentials:

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blue short sleeve bodysuits | white short sleeved bodysuit |pink short sleeved bodysuit

It’s very easy to buy more than you need to prepare yourself for your new baby, so sticking to the essentials is key here.  Some of the necessities like nappies, clothing and wipes can be bought in bulk, but will your newborn really need every product that’s out in the market today?  Don’t forget to stock up on household items too to avoid trips to the store afterwards. Frozen food, toiletries, a healthcare set, toilet roll, shampoo, and even extra pairs of undies come in very handy when your knee deep in milk and nappies.

Buy a Car Seat:

If you haven’t done so already, another important item to add to the list before the baby comes is a car seat. You cannot go wrong with recommendations from other parents as they have probably tried and tested some of the best and worst car seats around.  But, please don’t forget three very important points – Never use a second hand car seat, always check whether a car seat comes with your pram/pushchair, and make sure that the car seat you use is suitable for your baby’s age.

Motherhood Diaries Facebook group is a fantastic resource for communicating with other parents about car seats and much more.

Do your baby’s laundry in advance:

Wash all baby clothes, bedding and blankets in advance, making sure you use a very special, extra gentle, non-bio detergent, so that it doesn’t cause any irritation on the baby’s skin. It is very difficult to fit doing laundry into your upcoming super-busy schedule of looking after a newborn 24/7, so try and get all these things done in advance.

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Teddy Bear Bodysuits Set

Encourage unity with your partner:

This may sound like a given, but during your pregnancy your hormones are raging, leaving you with less patience than normal. Unfortunately, on some of these occasions, your partner is left in the firing line. Talk about your problems and your feelings with your partner, and get them involved in your pregnancy. Don’t just assume they know how you’re feeling or how much of an impact a new baby will be on your lives. Differing expectations can lead to big conflicts, so it’s best to work these issues out ahead of time.

Network, network, network:

Some people may disagree with this point, mainly because too many opinions can cloud an expecting parent’s judgement about the birth process and the reality of life with a newborn. Of course, the more obvious reason is that every family experiences their own issues, so one parent’s solution may not work for another parent. But, that shouldn’t stop you from getting as much free information as possible! Antenatal classes are extremely helpful,  if not just to meet other parents-to-be that are going through the same thing as you.  Being informed ahead of time by the people you meet can only be a bonus – and you may make some lifelong friends along the way!

Start thinking about childcare:

Whether you are taking maternity leave right now, or you plan to be a stay-at-home parent, it’s important to find out which types of childcare are available to you where you live. Private nurseries can take babies from as early as 3 months old, or there may be very well-equipped nannies in your area that can offer a helping hand at home with your baby, should you need it.

Go with the flow:

Women,  by nature,  like to be in control of everything. But, when you’re pregnant and your birth is imminent, your baby will pay no heed to your carefully thought out schedule. Accept that you’re no longer in control of everything, and that’s okay!  Just take each day as it comes, and if you’ve prepared for your baby by following all the above points (which by no means are exhaustive) then you can sit back, relax, and look forward to D-day!

What is your favourite pieces from the M&Co Baby/Kids Range?

As I have two boys, it’s only naturally to pick a male item of clothing as my favourite. But, here are my favourite items from the entire kids range:

Newborn – Perhaps not as practical for daily use, but my favourite newborn item has to be this gorgeous Bumblebee bodysuit.

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Bumblebee bodysuit and hat set

Boys – My eldest is a big fan of Spiderman and swimming, so the Spiderman sunsafe swimsuit would be perfect for him.

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Spiderman sun safe swimsuit

Girls – This Strawberry swimsuit and hat is just as cute for girls – bring on the summer!

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strawberry swimsuit and hat

Got a new arrival on the way? You can shop all of your newborn essentials right here!

Jenny Morning

Jenny Morning

Jenny is our kidswear content assistant, keeping you in the loop when it comes to trends for the little ones. After studying fashion for 5 years, she has a major shopping addiction as well as a slightly unhealthy obsession with TV show Dexter. She loves dogs (even though she doesn't have one…yet!) and wishes she had more time to draw and paint (in between shopping trips).

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