Readers of Savoir Flair are already familiar with Emirati entrepreneur Buthaina Al Mazrui, who, along with her partner Alamira Noor Bani Hashim, is responsible for shaping the F&B landscape of the UAE and introducing us to such concepts as The Dinner Club by No.57, Scoop by No.57, The Dessert Bar by No.57, and No.FiftySeven Boutique Café. Here, we talk to Al Mazrui not about food but about the lessons she’s learned since becoming a mother to baby Shamsa.
It always helps to have an “Aysha” or a “Leen”.
An “Aysha” or a “Leen” is a person you admire as a mother and who is always patient and available to answer your many, many questions. In fact, they get more excited than you do about answering the questions. For me, that’s my sister (Aysha) and my best friend (Leen) who are baby gurus in their own right.
A routine from Day 1 is key to juggling a full-time job, a business, and a baby.
I got Shamsa on a routine from Day 1, so she had structure in her life and so did I. The first step was to help her differentiate between day and night. I would keep her with me in the living room from 7 a.m. By 7 p.m., I made sure she was in a dim and quiet place. She started sleeping through the night by the time she was three months old. Knowing that her bedtime was at 7 p.m., I was able to schedule my meetings at night.
The best tip I ever got was to dream-feed my baby.
Dream-feeding means gently picking up your baby a few hours after they have gone to bed and feeding them while they are asleep. This meant that she did not wake up hungry and she was able to sleep through the night. I swear by The Baby Whisperer, Tracy Hogg’s method.
The best gift you can buy a fellow mommy is a Barefoot Dreams blanket.
It’s super soft and stays around forever. You can wrap your baby in it and can also use it as a play mat for them to roll around on.
You need to take care of yourself just as much as you do your baby.
Sometimes, mothers get overwhelmed when they’re taking care of babies and tend to forget about themselves. It’s so important to get “you” time by just dedicating a few hours to something you enjoy, like getting pampered, going out with friends, or even going for a walk outside.
I’m a huge advocate of organic and eco-friendly products.
In our culture, especially in our mothers’ generation, ensuring that all of the products that the baby comes in contact with are organic and eco-friendly has never been a priority. In fact, I am often challenged and reminded that I am perfectly healthy in spite of the fact that I was not surrounded by such products. Regardless, having a baby made me so conscious of anything that comes near her. I make sure she only eats organic fruits and vegetables, which is easy to do thanks to all the available options. I even make sure the laundry detergent and washing liquid used in the house are chemical free.
Activities are a perfect way for you and your child to engage together.
My favorite thing to do since Shamsa turned five months is to take her to classes. There are so many baby classes that run during the week; you’re really spoiled for choice. I take her three times a week to classes like My First Gym, Kindermusik, and Baby Sensory. We both have lots of fun together dancing and singing. These classes are great for the development of babies and a good way to meet other mommies.
As cliché as it sounds, you should trust your instincts.
Even as a first-time mother with zero baby experience, it all felt quite natural to me. I delivered five weeks before my due date and my mother, to my horror, was on a trip to the US. I really had to do and learn everything on my own, but at the end of the day it felt natural.
I wish someone had told me how difficult it would be to sleep in separate rooms.
I was told that the best time to move your baby out is once she sleeps through the night and before she is really aware that you’re there, so at around the six-month mark. However, I still can’t bring myself to move her out of my room and into hers because I love listening to her breathe and turn at night. I also love that she wakes me up every morning at 7 a.m.
You will feel a joy that pulls on your heartstrings and that you have never experienced before.
Motherhood changes you in a good way because you become so maternal that you have a soft spot even for that crying baby on the plane that used to bother you. You share a bond with your baby that is so special. I know that because, when I come home tired after a long day’s work and I realize how happy she is to see me, I feel it.