Mums Who Inspire Us - Eleanor Pendleton

In celebration of the recent launch of our post natal program - The 4th Trimester - we’ve caught up with some inspiring Peachy Mamas to pick their brains and have a REAL conversation. Here’s @eleanorpendleton - founder of @grittypretty, and mother to Banjo.

🍑How old are your kids?

💁🏽‍♀️My son Banjo is 18 months old – and one very busy toddler!

🍑What was the worst piece of unsolicited advice you received either while pregnant or with a baby?

💁🏽‍♀️ Like a lot of pregnant women, I definitely received a lot of unsolicited advice. My husband and I chose not to find out our baby’s gender and so I had a lot of guessing and old wives tales thrown at me [laughs]. We quite enjoyed people guessing though.

Lucky for me though, I never took a lot of the other advice on board. The advice that did not resonate with me or my parenting style, I simply took it all with a grain of salt. I had a few situations where someone felt the need to give me their really opinionated advice and if I ever felt uncomfortable, I had no problem in politely saying that to them and removing myself from that conversation.

At the end of the day, it’s about doing what feels right for you. What works for one woman or parent might not work for another. To that end, I probably receive more unsolicited advice now that my son is Earthside. Some people really love to give their two cents but I am definitely of the belief never to give advice unless you’re asked. My one bugbear at the moment, though, is the ‘just you wait’ line. It bugs me because I am in the moment and while every age brings its joys and challenges, I want to savour the present.

🍑What surprised you most about the birthing process?

💁🏽‍♀️That I absolutely loved it! I feel so fortunate to have had a positive birthing experience - I hope I’m lucky enough to experience it again.

I put a huge amount of work into my mental health and getting my perspective into a really positive place. I worked on my feelings towards labour and birth in a really healthy way from about 20 weeks. By the time I went into spontaneous labour at 40+1, my waters broke at home and it honestly felt like Christmas! I have never been so excited to birth my son. I felt so ready. Mentally, I had completely surrendered. I had no birth plan. My birth plan was to have a baby and that was it. I placed no pressure on myself for my baby’s birth to go according to plan. And, I truly believe because my positive approach towards birth was really resolute and open to possibilities, I ended up having the most amazing experience. I feel very fortunate to have had a really amazing, empowering and healthy labour experience.

The other thing I am glad I did is (thanks to the advice of my best friends and the women I trust), I knew the likelihood of birthing beyond my ‘due date’ was likely. Early on, I psychologically told myself my ‘due date’ was a week later than what my scans told me. It really helped because come my official ‘due date’, I wasn’t in that strange limbo phase when you’re going a bit crazy playing the wait game. My husband and I celebrated with a lovely dinner date on my due date and my waters ended up breaking at home the next day. I always knew my baby would come when they were ready.

🍑What was the hardest part about coming home from hospital?

💁🏽‍♀️Gosh, the hospital I delivered my son at was amazing. Banjo was born at The Mater Hospital, North Sydney and it was a gorgeous hospital with the most incredible midwives. The problem was that it was too good! [Laughs] It gave my husband and I a false sense of security! He was able to stay with me in hospital so the day us three got home was a bit of a shock to the system. Nothing really prepares you for walking through your front door with a new baby. What was really beautiful for me was that my mum, who lives interstate, was down the road for the first two weeks. Having her there to cook and clean while I had skin-on-skin time was so special. My son was born in summer and so our days were spent mostly wearing next to no clothes, cuddling and feeding. I struggled to breastfeed in the early weeks and ended up in hospital with with mastitis the third week after we came home. Fortunately, we were able to work through our challenges and I was able to breastfeed him up until 18 months. The other thing that really surprised me was how scared I was to go outside with Banjo in those very early days. I would consider myself to be a relatively confident person but having this precious newborn baby, I was terrified to go outside for the first time and to drive the car again. Our first outing into the world was a quick visit to our local beach while my husband surfed. When I breathed in that ocean air, I felt so centered. But, it definitely took time. The best way I can describe my entry into motherhood is when I gave birth to my son, he wasn’t just born, I was reborn. It felt like every single facet of my soul was broken apart and completely stripped down and then rebuilt over the weeks to follow. Parenthood is the shortest and steepest path to enlightenment. Motherhood has unquestionably changed me and made me into a more confident woman. I feel so grateful.

🍑What saves your sleep as a parent?

💁🏽‍♀️My son started sleeping 12 hours a night at the age of around four and a half months. For my husband and I, we were really aware that at around the four month mark newborns brains are just rapidly expanding and changing. We knew that Banjo’s brain would start processing newborn REM sleep and then overnight suddently switch to adult REM sleep. We were aware that the developmental leap was coming (I don’t like the word ‘regression’ as I believe it carries negative connotations that a baby is going backwards and that’s just not the case). When we reached the four month leap and Banjo became particularly wakeful during the nights and catnapping during the day, we decided to seek support from a sleep consultant (Sleep by Steph) who is a trained nurse. For our family and our son, she was incredible – she really educated us on how we could gently teach our son to self settle himself and to put himself to sleep without any sort of aid. I do not, however, recommend sleep training to other parents. I feel like I always need to add a disclaimer: what worked for us, yes, was gentle sleep teaching but I am not a parenting expert and what worked for my child may not work for other children. Of course, if my son is ever sick or teething, he will be unsettled (as I would be too!) and our sleep can certainly suffer. But, if we ever go through a period like that, I remind myself that it’s not going to be forever. The nights are long but the years are oh so short.

🍑What's your guilty pleasure as a parent?

💁🏽‍♀️Getting my nails done. If there is ever an opportunity to get a manicure and have that alone time, I jump on it. I love nothing more than getting a fresh manicure and pedicure. It makes me feel like a new woman. Oh, and chilli margaritas. I love chilli margaritas.

🍑What do you do now, as a mum, that you 'swore you'd never do'?

💁🏽‍♀️Let my son watch The Wiggles. I think anyone who isn’t a parent has been judgemental when seeing young kids watching TV but once you have kids and realise that The Wiggles may be the only thing to give you 30 minutes to cook dinner, well, you embrace it.

🍑 What advice do you wish you'd been given as a new mum?

💁🏽‍♀️The one piece of advice that I was given from my closest friends and my mum, which I really took on board, was to really honour those first 40 days. The fourth trimester when you are at home with your newborn. I really used that time to honour myself, my body and what is did – I grew and birthed a human being. That’s pretty magical. I’m glad I used that time to really take care of myself. I ate nourishing, warm and Ayurvedic foods and really tried to listen to my intuition. It can be hard to listen to it when you’re deep in the newborn stage because you’re doing everything for the first time but you know your baby better than anyone.

When a baby is born, it can often be all about the baby. But if you can bring your tribe of family and friends around you to ensure that you are being looked after, it makes a world of difference. Those first six weeks really are a blur. You don’t know what day it is, you’re in this bizarre state of the biggest adrenaline and oxytocin come down and your body is physically healing. Emotionally, you’re full of love but also completely stripped down and so I really am glad I listened to them, had their incredible support and meals dropped off to my door and used that time to look after my baby and I. The newborn bubble is so special.

🍑 What are your ‘can’t live without’ mummy products?

💁🏽‍♀️The Snoo bassinet. It’s like an extra pair of hands and incredibly safe particularly in terms of SIDS. I will absolutely be using it for my future children. I also loved the DockATot, which was a little nest my son would sleep in all the time during the day. We also used a Babybjorn bouncer every day. I invested in the Elvie breast pump, which is silent and cordless. I used Silverettes and Lansinoh for nipples (you’ll need it!) and for anyone who may experience an oversupply of milk like I did, Qiara probiotics and Sunflower Lecithin supplements are the two things that saved me from developing further mastitis.