To celebrate the launch of Bonds Newbies in New Zealand, we recently treated several lucky mums to a photoshoot with their little one. These beautiful and cherished keepsakes of their time as new parents are shared here. We also spoke to each of the mums about their parenting journey.
Each and every experience of becoming a mum is different, so we talked to our photoshoot prize winners about their experiences.
Katie and baby Alice, six months old
The thing that surprised Katie the most about becoming a mum was how much she could take on, both mentally and physically, and still come through. Katie is surprised literally every day by what she has done during the course of giving birth right through to having a three year old and a six month old on the go. From sleepless nights to physically carrying two kids around, she is amazed at what her body and mind is able to do. She will look back on this time and consider it to be pretty special to take on all those challenges and meet them.
Knowing what she knows now, what advice would Katie have given herself before becoming a mum? Trust yourself. She spoke about not feeling guilty about backing yourself as long as you are happy with the decisions you make.
As for the expectation of motherhood meeting the reality, Katie admits to having had no idea it would be like this. “With my first daughter I had a pretty difficult birth and then she was seriously colicky and was a real screamer so I had the proper 4 o’clock till midnight screaming constantly, so that was a real great introduction to motherhood.”
Everything is more amplified than she expected. But Katie is quick to point out that the love and the joy that a child brings is also far greater than she ever could have expected, so she doesn’t mind so much taking on the difficult bits because the highs are so amazing. “If the highs weren’t amazing, you would really be struggling.”
While Alice is definitely a more cruisy baby, Katie puts a lot of that down to her being more generous with herself second time around. “I don’t expect so much, I don’t put so much pressure on myself to do things the way that I probably thought that I should the first time. The one piece of advice I give everyone is do what you need to do. Just doing what she needs rather than what people tell me I should be doing, or stressing about what she should be doing at a certain age I just kind of let it be.”
Katie’s husband commented when Alice was a couple of months old that she seemed so much happier this time round. Katie admits that she is. “She’s happy and I’m happy because I just accept it for what it is and I’m just enjoying her. She’s more relaxed because I’m more relaxed. Before you’re a parent, there’s so much well-meaning advice out there that you kind of anticipate that everything is going to go a certain way and if it doesn’t there’s something wrong with your baby. Actually that’s not the case, your baby is just not responding in the way that that particular piece of advice was working.”
Katie’s funny moments as a mum have mainly come down to exposure. She explained how she had opened the door to a courier, accepted a parcel, gone back and sat down and only then realised her top was wide open with everything hanging out and no baby attached! She was that tired she didn’t realise. She also commented how she had been to the library or into town and her breastfeeding top has been wide open with her bra showing and not even noticed.
When asked if she could have an endless supply of anything at all, Katie focused on emotions. For her, an endless supply of positivity was what she wanted and Katie said, “You can get through all of the challenges if you keep positive but it’s about surrounding yourself with people that can do that for you.” For her children, she just wanted them to be happy.
Katie loves the Bonds Newbies baby gear that she was given at the photoshoot. She found them to be beautifully soft and super easy to dress Alice with, being asy to get on and off. She likes the stretchiness and easy openings as well as the generous sizing, being able to roll the sleeves and legs up and down to adjust the length allows Alice access to her feet and hands but with plenty of growing room. They also easily accommodate bulky cloth nappies at night.
“I’m trying to treasure all of the moments, good and bad (some are much harder than others …). For Alice, one of the most special moments so far was her birth. With her older sister, the birth had been long, drawn out and stressful for everyone concerned for a number of reasons. So, with Alice, when I had a few mild contractions just after midnight I was expecting to be in for the long haul. Fast forward just under four hours, she was born in our front room with just my hubby and I present. My midwife didn’t have time to make it there as I was convinced I couldn’t be that far along! My hubby handed her to me and wrapped her and I in heaps of blankets and towels, and we just spent those first few minutes together, so in love and so blissed out and relaxed, enjoying getting to know each other. Soon the cavalry arrived in the form of my midwife and her colleague, but it remained such a calm and peaceful experience that I will never forget.” Katie.
Nikita and baby Aria, three months old
Nikita’s path to become a mum was far from plain sailing. “It was a little bit of a journey to get pregnant. It took a while and we had a couple of miscarriages and just getting to where we are now, I spent so much time stressing that I wasn’t going to be able to be a mum. That pregnancy journey for me was always an anxious one because I was always scared that something was going to happen. If I could go back and do it again I would say, just relax, as I never got to enjoy a pregnancy how other mums may have been able to.”
Next time around, Nikita hopes to relax more and concentrate on each milestone that she is meeting rather than being worried about what’s coming next.
When asked about the most surprising thing that Nikita has discovered since becoming a mum, she says, “I never realised how much love you can have for someone. I never knew that kind of love existed.” Nikita is a paediatric nurse and therefore works with mums and babies all the time but believes it’s a feeling that you can’t put into words. “You just see their little face, and you just know that you’re their everything.”
Working with babies, Nikita has seen a real mix of babies with different temperaments so was expecting the worst when becoming a mum. However, Aria is a very mellow baby, much to Nikita’s delight. “I actually thought it would be worse than what it is,” laughs Nikita.
Nikita’s professional background doesn’t always prepare her for what’s to come though. “My husband, he’s never really had any exposure to babies. He never knew how to change a nappy, none of that. I had to teach him and he’s better at doing nappies than me! There’s a number of times that she’s had leakages and they’re always the nappy I’ve put on. He’s never had an accident with nappies that he’s put on. And I’m a paediatric nurse. I’ve been doing that for years. He’s always just aced it. It’s a bit of a kick in the face!”
We asked each mum if they could have an endless supply of somethin, what would it be? For Nikita it was simple – good coffee. “I just need a nice good cup of coffee that’s warm, that hasn’t been left out cold because I’m sorting out Aria. That is like a little victory for me each day.”
Nikita loves the Bonds Newbies baby gear that she was given at the photoshoot. “I found the texture quite pretty and very soft. I usually don’t buy plain colours, so I do like the change. It really complemented her skintone. The fabric is really soft. I really like it and it’s got a bit of a texture to it as well.”
Nikita had bought Bonds Wondersuits previously for Aria. “She’s still in the newborn size and she’s three months old so I love the amount of wear that you can get from them.” Nikita was impressed by the real value of the Bonds clothing with the amount of wear that she has gotten out of them.
“There are so many cherished moments to choose from, but I managed to narrow it down to two.”
“The first was when she had woken up from her nap and I went to lift her out of her bassinet and she just looked up at me and smiled. My heart absolutely melted, and in that instant all those sleepless nights just didnt matter anymore because I knew I was doing something right. This mama life sure can have its tough moments but I’m sure that each smile is Aria’s way of saying ‘you got this mum, I love you’.”
“Becoming a mum was something I had always dreamed about since I can remember so after my challenging journey getting pregnant I was often fearful that it wouldn’t happen for us. But celebrating my very first Mother’s Day with Aria was so special to me that often words can’t even begin to express how it felt (my eyes usually fill with tears instead). It wasn’t just about celebrating me, it was a day to celebrate both me and my little girl, because after all, it is because of her that I was blessed to become a mum and for that I am forever grateful.” Nikita.
Laura and baby Otis, five months old
Laura is mum to Juno, six years old, Freddy, four years old, and baby Otis. She really enjoyed the photoshoot and Otis was awake the whole time, fascinated by the lights and everything. “He’s a standard third baby, really laid back. My second was definitely my hardest. So, I reckon keep going, the third actually has been really good.”
“I thought I knew what I was doing and that it should have been really easy for the second but he wasn’t a very easy baby. Whereas I got a real treat first baby – my first baby was awesome and amazing and slept and everything and then I was like, oh, this is quite easy and then I had Freddy and he wasn’t so easy. This time round I had no expectations because I had had good and bad.”
“The most surprising thing that I have discovered is that I am more laidback than I thought I was. I’m more willing to let things go.” And that has become more obvious with more additions to the family.
“I just don’t really care about what other people think any more. I remember first time round being very aware of what everyone was looking at and judging me. I probably did care what people think of me more before I had kids and now I’m very much comfortable in what I do.”
What would Laura tell herself if she could go back in time to before kids? “Go out and drink more! No, just defnitely make more of the free time. I play a lot of sport and beforehand I just think I took all of that for granted. Just do more. Do more sport, do more of everything pretty much. You can still do it when you have kids, and I’m really lucky because I’ve got a really good support system that still allowed me to play sport with all three of my kids. But I think I should have done more stuff. And travel more.”
When Laura thinks about the expectation versus reality of motherhood she says that they are pretty different. “There was one book that I read and she was quite real about it all. But I was like every mother out there – I thought it was going to be kind of hard but people do it and you look at some people and they manage it and you think if they can do it, I can do it. But reality definitely hits. First three months are a nightmare, so survive those first three months. In fact, maybe the first year!”
Parenthood doesn’t always go to plan and Laura recalled the shame of accidentally dropping her son’s “gross” security blanket for store staff to find. “He turned an old sleeping bag into a rag and leaving that behind and having to ring up the shop and ask, is there like a horrible, smelly thing in the middle of your shop, and they found it so that was quite good. I’m pretty sure they would have just thrown it away.”
When we asked Laura what she would love an endless supply of, “Nappies that don’t leak,” was the first thing to come to mind. And coffee. “I’ve started to enjoy the taste of cold toast but I can’t get round to cold coffee.”
Laura, and all of our photoshoot mums, were givena supply of new Bonds Newbies clothing. Laura loved how they were really soft and really easy to get on. “I’ve used lots of Bonds for all three of my kids. I just like how easy they are to get on squirmy little newborns,. Ease of access is what I like about them.”
“To be honest one of the most cherished moments that comes to mind straight away is the first 24 hours after Otis was born. After having two pretty traumatic emergency c-sections with my first two babies, I enjoyed a relatively uncomplicated birth with Otis. I was very aware of everything that was happening and I just loved that special bonding time – lots of skin to skin snuggles. It was super peaceful and such a lovely way to start off Otis’ life in the world with me.” Laura.
Tinelle and baby Willow, 10 weeks old
Tinelle feels that there is quite a bit of negativity put on women when pregnant, including what she experienced herself, from other mums’ experiences of sleepless nights and little me-time, etc. “It’s as if they want you to have to go through a terrible time.”
Contrary to the dire warnings and despite understanding that motherhood can be difficult when baby isn’t a great sleeper, etc, Tinelle has discovered that becoming a mum has been easier than she imagined it would be. “It’s not as hard as everyone makes it out to be. I guess I have an easy baby.”
What does Tinelle wish she had known before becoming a mum? “People tell you that time goes fast. But time goes SO fast! It’s so crazy to think that she has been her for over two months. But then also, on the other hand, I can’t think of a life without her now.” Tinelle spoke about how the first couple of weeks seemed to go quite slowly but since then the weeks are just flying by. Her message to her pre-birth self would have been to enjoy every day, don’t worry about routines and stuff – everything will come naturally.
Motherhood does have it’s ups and downs but it also has it’s hilarious moments and Tinelle shared a funny story with us. “One day I was changing her and I was just about to do up a clean nappy and she literally squirted out a poo that went a metre. We just moved in to a new house and it went down our brand new white walls, all over her bassinet. Then she started peeing and I had to pick her up and she kept peeing and there was pee all over her change mat and poo all down the wall and I didn’t know what to do! And it’s so hard if you’re by yourself. What do you do? Do you clean the baby or clean the walls?”
Asked if she could have an endless supply of something for either herself or her baby, Tinelle’s wish for Willow is simple but beautiful – a lifetime of love and happiness.
Tinelle loves the quality of the Bonds baby clothing and the awesome fit. “She’s still fits into her newborn zip ups. She’s just gone into her zero to three months Cozysuit. Other brands that you pay similar amount for, aren’t as nice and don’t wear as well.”
The Bonds baby gear was also making things easier for her partner, who detests buttons but finds the zips on the Bonds clothing so much easier.
“It’s quite hard to name just one cherished moment but the best moment so far has been waking up on Mother’s Day (my first Mother’s Day being a mum) and being able to hold her. I lost my mum eight years ago so Mother’s Day is usually a real struggle for me. This year it brought a whole new meaning to me and was a day filled with so much love.” Tinelle.
Written by Julie Scanlon for Bonds
Julie is Editor for Kidspot NZ and our MVP. Her hobbies include laughing uncontrollably at her own jokes, annoying her family by asking questions about movie plots, and never taking anything too seriously. She speaks a little Spanish and a lot of Yorkshire.
Favourite motto to live by: “It ain’t nothing but a thing”