Kristina Rihanoff Kristina Rihanoff

Baby Mila is adorable – I can’t imagine life without her!

Hi everyone,

Welcome to my blog… again! Some of you may remember that last year I was blogging about my time on Strictly. Well this year it’s all about motherhood – what’s right, what’s wrong, how I’m finding my way and hopefully all you mums out there can leave me tips and comments!

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My difficult first month

Motherhood is absolutely incredible and amazing but much more challenging than I ever thought it could be! Being a dancer all my life, obviously I thought that my body would be fine and bounce back quickly but I must say, the actual labour was quite difficult and I had a few complications afterwards… So that first month of motherhood as a first-time mum was really challenging to be honest. It wasn’t an easy first month at all. I started feeling myself after about six or seven weeks. I can openly say that some days are amazing but some days I felt a little down. You feel like you can’t even get up and cook something or walk around because you don’t have the energy… I’m so happy that I had my mum and Ben next to me. They were so supportive and helpful and I cannot imagine doing it on my own. I take my hat off to mothers who are doing it without any help!

My mum was, of course, absolutely over the moon when Mila was born. She was saying, ‘I was waiting for her to come into my life for over 20 years!’ She finally has a granddaughter who she absolutely adores. When she was leaving to go back to Russia it was a really difficult moment because my mum was crying, but you know she has her life in Russia so she had to go back. We’ll see her at Christmas and New Year – Mila’s first Christmas! Now I send her a photo or video of Mila every day because she misses her so much.

Ben and I put a lot of thought into her nursery but at the moment Mila is sleeping with us in her “next to me” cot. I loved decorating the nursery for her and was going through loads of different looks. My absolute favourite is by www.redkitebaby.co.uk. I found a gorgeous nursery set which I loved!

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I’m learning as I go along…

It is a whole new world for me and I’m learning as I go along. I know that every mother in the world is trying their absolute hardest for their baby but we don’t know everything, especially first-time mothers. There’s so much to learn.

I prepared very seriously and read a lot of books, but I kind of wish I had put more thought into what happens after you give birth. Nothing can prepare you for after the birth, when you’re at home with your newborn – they’re so precious, they’re so fragile.

Researching about colic is something I’ve never done. Mila does have colic but it’s common in babies. I’m breastfeeding exclusively at the moment and my head was going crazy with all the articles I’ve read about motherhood. One article about what you can eat said something that was the complete opposite to another article! Luckily at the beginning my mum was with me and she cooked every day. She cooked all of the correct things according to Russian old wives’ tales. I think what I found is that you just have to see how your baby reacts after each feed. She has a bit of colic but it’s common in babies and I find that even if I stick to the food in the ‘good chart’, she still has a bit of colic so there’s nothing you can really do.

Honestly it’s not an easy job to be a mum! We need to give ourselves a break sometimes and say ‘I am trying my hardest, and I’m trying my best for the baby’. Out of all of the things I’ve done in my life – being a competitive dancer since I was seven years old and going through the tense years of Strictly – nothing compares to being a mum. There’s nothing like it! I’m still in touch with the other Strictly professionals. We have a Whatsapp group and I said, ‘You know guys, being tired is a whole new level when you’re a mum’. It is the most challenging thing but also the most rewarding!

But time has flown and Mila is changing every single day. She’s started smiling and laughing and I’m sure like every mother you love seeing your baby grow every day. They’re literally becoming little people with characters. This whole experience is absolutely incredible – I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’m so very happy I have her in my life and I can’t imagine life without her!

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Seeing Mila smile

I think the first time I saw Mila smile and laugh was a highlight for me. It was about week six or seven. In the morning we speak to her and that’s my routine in the morning now. We always talk to her, I speak to her in Russian because it’s not an easy language. She’ll smile and honestly you’d think she understands me! I think all mothers and babies have a special bond and can understand each other, even if they’re only two and a half months old. She definitely responds a lot to the intonations of my voice now.

I’m really looking forward to seeing how she develops, how she acts and behaves. She’s starting to look at toys and grab things and smile and make some noises when you speak to her. Until you yourself are a mum, you really don’t think much of it. There are mums who talk only about babies and what they do, and I used to think, ‘Can you really sit and talk about babies all day long?’ But now I’m one of them haha! I could spend hours talking about Mila!

What I’m not looking forward to…

I’m really not looking forward to her getting injections again. When we took her for her first injections it was absolutely awful. To see your baby cry and scream and be upset so much is absolutely heartbreaking. I actually had a little cry myself because to see your baby in serious pain, I hated it so much. It was difficult the first few days after because I had to give her paracetamol, make sure she was okay. I know we all have to do it for our babies but I’m really not looking forward to her 12 week injections. She was crying and she wasn’t herself.

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Post-baby body

So many people told me I was going to bounce back and get my dancer’s body back. But your body just goes through a crazy transformation during pregnancy and after labour. It took me a while to get used to exercising but once I got back into it I felt okay. It was after about six weeks. I started doing walking again and light exercises. I would take Mila for a walk in the park and that would be my time to exercise. Everyone said you will have no time to do anything and it’s true. But I thought I had to do some kind of exercise so I’ve been using my pram like a ballet bar! You have to be clever with your time, sometimes you only have 20 or 30 minutes but it’s better than nothing. At the beginning I felt a little bit bad because I would always exercise for about an hour but as a mum, you really don’t have that luxury of time. To all the mums in the same position as me I say give yourselves a break, you’re doing great!!

I also took Mila to her first ‘water babies’ swimming class last week! I’m not a great swimmer myself so hopefully she will be much better than me! I heard it’s good to get your babies in the water soon while they’re still a few months old so I was so happy that she really loved it and it was a wonderful bonding experience! There were a lot of other babies so Mila enjoyed meeting them! She loved the bath from the very first time and water in general so hopefully we’ll keep up the lessons for a long time.

Visiting London

Ben and I always wanted to have a big lovely house with a garden for Mila to play and run around in, so that’s why we moved to Northamptonshire in the countryside. I love it but I can’t deny that I still miss the craziness of London! I used to live there for eight years so I do go back for work meetings. I was a bit nervous taking Mila away from home at the beginning, it was quite scary especially when you have to remember to pack everything like bottles and pumps and express milk sterilisers. There is so much you need when you have a little one! Staying at a hotel wasn’t an option but I found Apple Apartments and they were amazing! They made the transition easy and comfortable and they have kitchenettes, laundry rooms and the like, so it felt like a real home-from-home. I would totally recommend checking out their properties around the UK (www.apple-apartments.com) if you’re ever travelling with children!

#AskKristina

Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed my first blog post! If you have any questions please send them to @hellomag and @KRihanoff using the hashtag #AskKristina and I’ll try and answer them in my next blog!

Until then,
Kristina x

2 Discussions on
“Baby Mila is adorable – I can’t imagine life without her!”
  • Dear Kristina,

    How refreshing to hear an honest account of becoming a mum, the ups and downs. My son is now 7yrs old and was not a good sleeper, I had him at 37yrs and it was tough but I have an excellent husband and parents, I would not change it for the world I love him to the moon and back, do things the way they work for you, we all just do the best we can, enjoy!

  • @hellomag @KRihanoff using the hashtag #AskKristina @appleapartments question..
    How hard is it to keave ypur baby to practoce dancing?

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