Weather forecaster Becky tells M&B all about her third pregnancy, her previous two sons' births, and life as a working mum, plus introduces us to her new innovation, the nappy grab bags.
Becky Mantin is a favourite on the weather forecasts, and is mum to two boys, with a third child on the way. She talks to M&B about her life as a mum, and about Nappy Grab Bags, Becky's new product - small nappy change kits that fit in your pocket, containing a nappy, 4 wipes, and a sachet of nappy cream.
Do you have any pregnancy cravings?
All I ate until week 15 with all three pregnancies was spaghetti and tomatoes. Literally. It couldn't be pasta in any other form - just spaghetti. Heaven knows what that's all about!
Tell us about your birth stories - so far.
I tend to suffer from tricky blood pressure during and just after pregnancy - it's usually very low but spikes in the last few months. Because of this I was induced with my eldest (Rory) at T+5 - but even so he wasn't ready to come out and it took 3 pessaries before things got going.
I was happily watching Homes Under The Hammer at 12.30 and by 1pm I felt like I was losing my mind with the pain
When it did all kick off though it was unbelievable - I was happily watching Homes Under The Hammer at 12.30 and by 1pm I was throwing up and felt like I was losing my mind with the pain - nothing felt natural. Because he was lying back to back, I had no stomach contractions throughout, in fact, no definable contractions that stopped and started, just one long squeeze of pain - as a first-timer, it felt quite frightening.
It took 11 hours to dilate 1cm - by which time I had been given pethadine (which had no effect at all) and I just kept being sick - which actually happened in both boys’ births, so I imagine that's just how I labour - so I had to be put on a rehydration drip. Then at midnight I was told it could be many hours more and was offered an epidural. I accepted but felt weirdly like I'd failed, like I was weak - which is ridiculous I know.
She pressed the alarm button and suddenly my room was like a crowd scene
Perhaps it was an effect of the epidural or maybe my body had gone into shock by that time but for whatever reason, the midwife suddenly found it difficult to detect the baby's heartbeat. She pressed the alarm button and suddenly my room was like a crowd scene. There was no messing around - I remember the consultant saying 'we need to deliver your baby NOW'. Then it was episiotomy & forceps, two short pushes and out he came - thankfully well and healthy.
Less than a week after the birth, I sat down suddenly and burst my stitches with infection setting in quickly as it tends to do in a worn-out, still-recovering body. I was put on various antibiotics over the following three weeks and was urged to keep breastfeeding. As a new mum, I diligently followed the advice but it soon became clear that the drugs were going into my milk and affecting Rory who had a constantly upset stomach and lost a lot of weight.
If I had known then what I know now, I would have ‘pumped and dumped’
If I had known then what I know now, I would have ‘pumped and dumped’ until I’d finished the antibiotics – as it was, he didn’t start to regain the weight and really thrive until after I had finished the treatment. It’s something I still feel pretty wretched about looking back but I think, as a new mum, you’re uniquely vulnerable to the advice you’re given and should instead trust your instincts if you feel something isn’t right.
Thankfully my next experience of childbirth with Tom was a totally different experience; two days early, natural labour, bit of gas and air and all done and dusted in four hours start to finish! I remember feeling so well in the days afterwards – it was just lovely! I used homeopathy in the days leading up to my due date and throughout the birth and I really think that helped. Fingers crossed for a repeat performance this time!
How did you find returning to work after having your children?
I crazily only took four and a half months off after Rory which I now find hard to fathom – but I was a new mum and couldn’t have understood how hard it would be (or indeed how hard the labour and recovery would be) when I committed to it. I was living in west London at the time and could be in work or home in 40 minutes. Admittedly I only went back initially one day a week, then two and gradually built it up - but it was still shockingly hard and I suffered post natal depression for a while on returning to work.
So when it came to baby number two I had learnt from the experience and took the full year which was just lovely. It’s a big financial burden during that time but, bearing in mind it was a tough year for us as a family with illness in the family, it was exactly the right decision. I hope I’ll be able to take the full amount of leave again this time around.
What top tips would you share about being a working mum?
Working parents – mums or dads – have to learn the skills of a juggler! Boring though it sounds, I think the only way to make it work is to be as organized as possible and become incredibly efficient with your time. I stack work commitments closer together to allow a longer lunch break once a month so that I can have my hair done in that time – and therefore not take away from precious family time when I’m not working. During other work lunch breaks I try to use to get organized such as booking doctor appointments, filling in forms for school etc – then at least letters get mailed rather than kicked around the kitchen for months – or is that just us?
Working parents – mums or dads – have to learn the skills of a juggler!
Regard all your time as precious and try to minimise anything you can – such as doing your supermarket shop online on the train.
The ideal, of course, is to try and compartmentalise – when you’re at work, you’re present and focused. And when you’re at home you’re exactly the same – on the rare occasion I do manage to achieve this eutopia, it really does make a difference!
Tell us about the inspiration behind Nappy Grab Bags
When my youngest son Tom as a few days old, my husband took our older boy Rory (then 19 months) to a soft play centre. He reluctantly took the change bag I pressed on him but when he returned he reported that the wipes had been left out – and it was an occasion he really, really needed them!
It just struck me in that moment – there must be an easier way to do this! Why has no-one invented a pocket-sized kit that contains all you need for a single nappy change. It seemed a no-brainer! I mulled it over for about it for six months and then took the plunge…! It’s been the hardest work and some of the best fun I’ve ever had.
For more info about Nappy Grab Bags visit beckymantin.com