'Everyone's an expert while you're pregnant'
Motherhood and me: Anna Daly
How many children do you have?
Two children. James is two and Euan is just seven months.
What age were you when you became a mother?
I was in my early thirties but I always prefer to avoid these questions!
Did you breastfeed?
Yes I did. The second time around was a little more successful and less stressful! than the first time. I put too much pressure on myself after our first baby James was born and hadn't anticipated how difficult it was going to be.
On the second, Euan, I combined feeds from the start (formula and breast) and it gave me the peace of mind that he was getting all the nutrition he needed. My opinion has stayed the same throughout however – do what works for you. Happy mummy, happy baby!
Did you buy baby food or make your own?
A mixture of the two. James was our first so he probably benefited from a lot more homemade food than Euan does. Once you're savvy about labelling you can always choose good food for your child, whether it's shop bought or homemade.
Does your baby have set nap times?
Not in a very structured way at this stage but as he gets a little older, I'm sure the routine will establish itself. Most importantly, he sleeps through the night!! Phew!
How soon after the baby did you go back to work?
I took a six-month break from work.
Were you happy to go back to work?
Yes, if a little bit anxious, but I was delighted to get back to the workplace, especially considering I had the peace of mind of knowing both boys were in safe hands.
What are the particular challenges of your job?
The challenges are also the things that make my job fun! Like not being able to keep track of where you might end up or who you might be meeting – the unpredictability of it.
What do you find most difficult?
Trying to get the balance right! Is there such a thing?
Do you work full-time or part-time?
If you had the choice, would you stay at home full-time?
No, I like to have my own outlet, that's important to me. When my children are at school and have a schedule full of hobbies and extra-curricular activities, at least I'll still have my own career.
What is the division of labour between you and your partner?
It depends on the week to be honest. Some weeks one of us will end up doing more than the other; we're both flexible and realistic.
Creche, childminder or nanny?
Euan is minded by my mum, Ann, who also looked after James until recently. James goes to a creche now and it's perfect for the stage he's at.
What do you think of Gina Forde?
Like all baby experts, her books and ethos will work for some and not for others. Personally, I don't think you can categorise a child because every baby/child is individual and has their own unique personality and needs.
What was the best advice you were given?
Listen to the baby. You can get caught up with routines and what you think you're supposed to be doing. When you relax and actually take time to enjoy your baby, they'll give you more cues than you'll ever get from reading any parenting book.
What was the worst advice you were given?
Everyone seems to be an expert on parenting while you're pregnant. I discounted most of it and just took it all one step at a time.
What do you do when you have time to yourself?
Catch up with friends. These days there's nothing like a long lunch/night out with good friends. Because it doesn't happen as often as you'd like, you really make the most of it when you do get around to it!
Do your children do any activities?
Yes, they have rhythm and rhyme classes which are very sweet and excellent for stimulating all of their senses. We also need to start looking at swimming classes for both boys.
What's your guilty pleasure?
Chocolate. 'Strictly'. 'X Factor'. One after the other ideally!!
Anna Daly is a spokesperson for the Pampers and UNICEF Ireland 'Every Parent's Dream' campaign. For every specially marked pack of Pampers you buy, Pampers will donate the cost of one vaccine to help UNICEF in the fight against maternal and newborn tetanus.