For all the ‘Moms’ out there

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I am sorry for the silence.

It has been a hard 2017 for me. I don’t mean this because I want sympathy as everything I have done has been my choice and I was well aware of the highs and lows. However I never knew that hard was this hard.

So I have taken a month to lick my wounds and find myself again.

Another sorry- but I think I am only beginning!

I am writing this sitting in a hotel room in the grand USA.

This is a place where being a ‘Mom’ is respected. People have bumper stitchers displaying whether they are an Army mom or a volleyball mom.

Ads on the radio explain how to be a great mom with simple snacks for your hungry kids!

But why did I not respect my role as a mom?

I have spent the last seven years working tirelessly on ‘providing’ for my family giving them opportunities to have everything. And yes probably not listened to my many close friends and family that predicted that they really just wanted me 😦

This makes me feel sad- more so like I have been doing it all wrong.

We need to respect what we do and the importance of the clean clothes and the dinner on the table. As without this the entire house will fall apart.

Being a ‘Mom’ is hard work. It is often unappreciated and seemingly meaningless.

But I am beginning to see this is very important. We can’t do it all and really shouldn’t need too.

We don’t need to be both the bread winner and the care giver. We can’t be everything to everyone all the time.

So don’t worry I am not giving up on it all. I am really just having a re-think as being upside down in the world can do this.

I really want you to all value what you do and that being a ‘mom’ is great. You kids are your greatest product and when your old and wrinkly they will nurture you like you have them (hopefully).

I will be a bit quiet over the next few weeks as I enjoy a well earned rest in America but will be back with tips and tricks to help those early few months of parenting joy easier.

Feel free to join The Baby Manual for more information on being a great ‘Mom’ to that little baby The Baby Manual

Sleep for your infant – Part One

I most say sleep and settling dominates any conversation that I have with many new parents.

In some cases we are already taking about it before the baby arrives!!

Sleep is so important and helps anyone or anything run better.

However sleep and settling has many approaches and potential solutions.

Over this four part series I will be discussing

1-Infant sleep itself

2-What are the different approaches to sleep and settling

3-What can you do to change a pattern or improve a behaviour

4-Where to get help and available resources

Firstly let me be very clear this is a very opinionated topic with lots of controversy.

I like to avoid this by either talking without judgement or talking about why instead of what.

I would also like to be very clear I am not a sleep expert or consultant. I have learnt most of my skills from reading the many many books on offer, listening to new parents and their babies or speaking with experts to learn more myself.

Here we go—-

INFANT SLEEP

We are talking about the first 2 months or the infants/ newborn life. That is when this little person is going through a rollercoaster of change and development. Not to mention that its parents are figuring out how to cope with a new little person to look after.

Many new parents are flooded with ‘helpful’ advice.

Don’t hold the baby too much or you won’t be able to put it down.

Make sure you follow a routine so the baby learns how to sleep.

Wake the baby up so it sleeps better (doesn’t it sound crazy!)

The first few weeks are full of gastro-intestinal changes that causes havoc with the babies tummy and bowels. This causes lots of wind and pain that makes a baby wake more often for comfort.

They also have two development changes that cause them to get overwhelmed and confused with the world. Meaning they seek more comfort from their parents.

Babies also have LOTS of REM sleep meaning they wake easily and often. This means  they need to be re- settled frequently.

Most babies at this stage of life (first 1-5 weeks) will be happily awake for 15-20 mins at one time. The world will then get very overwhelming and they will have to ‘download’ that information with a snooze.

And the real kicker is that newborns don’t know the difference between day and night. They won’t for many months as the hormone melatonin is not secreted to around 3-4 months. Meaning your baby will think day and night are the same thing.

The only problem is most parents have lots of melatonin hence they feel very tired at night. I don’t have specific advice for this fact- other than survive and know everything does change eventually.

With all of this in mind how can you ‘teach’ a baby to sleep with so many changes happening. No wonder most new parents feel overwhelmed and that they are doing a bad job as nothing they do works for a long time.

I hope this make sense and helps you to view sleep for the first few weeks as a rollercoaster. Also looking at your baby if they are squirmy they probably have a sore tummy so sleep and settling is not going to work at all. Comfort with a cuddle or tummy rub will help with the pain and then the baby will sleep. Try to not watch the time ( your baby doesn’t have a watch) and watch your baby follow their cues and trust your doing a great job.

We discuss all of this information in our weekly videos.

Brooke Michell from there Paediatric sleep clinic has given us some great advice regarding sleep and settling. Join us today to feel more confident and calm with the support and advice from our experts-

The Baby Manual

 

Do you need help finding inner peace?

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I must say of late I have been feeling very drained. We are building up to a great holiday however this means I have to work twice as hard before to have the extra money you need for such a fun adventure.
In my industry I feel understanding peoples personal lives is necessary as this helps me cater my advice to them and their circumstances.
However this means sometime I am allowed a sneak peak of the ‘behind the scenes’.
As the chief fixer (self appointed or course!) I then set to trying solve all these problems some of which have been there forever. Sometimes day in day out this leaves me feeling drained and frustrated.

These are my emotions that I have to solve myself.

This then leads me to think of the new world many new mums enter. Not only do you they not know what to expect with their small human but they also come across new people in their lives. This then opens them up to a new set of interpersonal relationships and potentially dramas!!
So how do you protect yourself from taking on other people dramas and anxieties??
How do you stop other people from draining your bucket??
If I knew all of this I would be so calm and enjoying my inner peace ( and not writing this!).
I like to think of the smile and nod- you don’t want people to think your rude but you can listen to them and then let if roll off your shoulders.
Take some time for yourself- this can be getting a nice coffee or going for a walk in the sunshine. Something that you like doing. This is especially important when you have a new baby that consumes your every minute. Think of taking even a hour out of the day as a time to fill your bucket so you can be better at what ever you do for the rest of the day.
If someone is really getting you down or you feel your taking on there problems as your own maybe you need a bit of space. Taking some time out will help you find perspective and balance.
As a part of recording The Baby Manual I spoke with Jodie Benveniste.
She is a parenting expert and had some great points for new parents, relationship changes and balance in your life. She has a great website that is worth a visit-

Jodie Benveniste

So as I leave you with these thoughts on a sunny beautiful day I say take a bit of time for yourself.

A better mum makes a better family. You can’t fix everyone and you are only in charge of yourself (yes I am listening to this as well).

If you would like to learn more about The Baby Manual and how we can fill you with knowledge try our 7 day free trial- The Baby Manual

Baby products- Don’t believe the hype

I have recently had a stand at both the Adelaide Pregnancy and Baby Expo and the Melbourne expo. I was overwhelmed at all the ‘stuff’ available for new parents.
As an expert in this area I was very well aware of what was available but seeing it all together made me start to think. It is so confusing being a new parent.
Wanting to do the ‘right’ thing and getting the best thing for your new little addition.
On the flip side it is a time in many young parents lives when the budget has to get tighter as one income is about to drop and some day to day expenses are going to increase.
Such a dilemma! I want the best thing for my baby but we don’t want to go into debt for this and have more day to day stress.
I will bring you back to marketing!
The pregnancy and birthing market is HUGE! A multi billion dollar industry that survives on emotional marketing.
Will a swaddle make your baby sleep all night?
Will a nose aspirator help your baby sleep all night??
Will a banana shaped tooth brush help your baby have less pain when teething??
and so on……

I found it personally hard as I had come as a health professional offering a product that offered education and support. This I learnt very quickly was not what the ‘market’ wanted they wanted ‘stuff’. Of course this was disappointing as I had spent lot of money and my time to try and get the message out there. Maybe if new parents understood why things were changing they wouldn’t feel the need to buy something that promised greatness and solutions (mostly for something that is normal).

So the lessons I learnt over my weekends at the baby expo are-
1.Don’t believe the hype!
The promises that products make are often emotionally based.
If you can’t afford the product and it is going to cause more stress then it won’t work.
2.Your body was designed to grow and feed your baby
I did take my range of lactation cookies to the expo and had lots of interest.
Some ladies came up and asked do I need these to breastfeed?
Or do these have breastmilk in them??
I had to be honest and say no these are a great snack and useful if your supply is a bit low.
3. Be nice to the people working on the stands!
We are tired and have sore feet. At all expos it is usually the creator of the product trying to talk to you. They have worked long and hard to get there just smile and be polite we are not trying to bribe you into anything 🙂
4. Have a budget of what you can afford before you go.
Many stands will have special offers that you can get after you go home.
Try not to impulse buy and then come home disappointed.
5.Use your noodle! The only products in the baby industry that have regulation are cots, prams and car seats. Other than that pretty much anything can hit the market. If it seems unsafe then don’t use it always follow the SIDS and kids safe sleeping guidelines.

Nasty Boobies- lumps, bumps and blebs

Every breastfeeding mother fears that hot hard lump.
Will it move? Why is this happening? What will I do??
These are the common questions I get from troubled mothers wanting the hot, uncomfortable feeling of a full milk duct to pass.

Why does Mastitis and blocked ducts happen?
They are due to a lack of movement of milk through your milk ducts this then causes and increase in bacterial growth- hence causing an infection. This can be from positional drainage issues, not emptying the breast before moving on to the other side or high fat milk that is ‘sticking’ to the inside of the milk ducts.
Often with a blocked duct women can also find they get blebs. Yes you may think what is a bleb! They are nasty little high fat milk blockages that look like pimples on the end of your nipples.

What can I do??
If your feeling unwell you might need a course of antibiotics. In some cases an abscess can form (very uncomfortable) this might need to be drained. Normally you would need antibiotics if your temperature if very high and you feel unwell with flu like symptoms. This can also occur quickly (like a thunder storm).
If your feeling that your milk is not draining well and a small lump is present without a high temp you can normally get on top of things.
Firstly drainage is important. We want to get that milk moving to move the bacteria and start to solve the problem. Your baby is the best drainage. So put your baby to that breast more often and point there chin towards the lump. If you need warm pack first and then a cool pack after to help ease the discomfort. You might then have to express the other breast to stop then same problem happening again.
A drug like panadol or neurofen can help with the discomfort and temperature.

Once you have got over the initial problem then have a think about why has it happened.
Is is after a growth spurt, or a period of time when your baby hasn’t fed well.
Are your nipples sore and this is making you favour the other side??
So it is important to treat the problem but also look at the potential reasons.

In some cases with a big lump a Physio can help with ultrasound or some herbal supplements can help with decreasing the fat content of your breastmilk.

As always a qualified Lactation Consultant can offer a review and plan to get you over this time and stop it happening again.

Try not to worry that this will be forever. It will pass just like those sleepless nights when you first brought that little person home.

The Australian Breastfeeding Association has great online resources that can also help. The Baby Manual also goes through lots of breastfeeding tips and tricks to make this time easier for you.

Are you the expert- always??

It is a stormy hot night here in Adelaide.

I just went out to put the rubbish out and stood back and had look at a camper trailer.

Yep a camper trailer! You might all think I am going bonkers by now!

So as it happens sometimes we can’t do it all.

I am a fiercely inter pendant woman that sometimes has to learn things the hard way.

I can link this to a lovely message I received from a client on Saturday morning. Telling me how amazing I was and that her baby had slept in good blocks that night following the advice I gave. Wow I felt fantastic. That was until I was faced with backing a trailer into a drive way on a busy road.

Yes that can make all crazy people who think they can do anything realise that maybe without any instructions and guidance we just can’t.

If anyone knows me they would realise how hard it is to admit that I can’t do something (this of course means I will have to practice more!).

Following the recent expo in Melbourne that I took my very first step into the world of marketing and attempted to tell all that would listen that The Baby Manual was going to solve there problems, answer the questions they didn’t know to ask, and so on…..

Someone said to me- “Couldn’t I just google this?”

And I thought yes you could. But would you get confused (yes)

Would you know what to ask (no)

Would there be someone to ask if you got confused (no)

This is what I have created to solve those problems. From years of working with new parents I gathered all the common problems and questions and got them answered for you.

And yes I could have googled backing in a trailer- it probably would not have helped though.

Practice, experience and if all else fails a helpful neighbour is what I really needed.

The Baby Manual is all my knowledge experience and a gathering of experts to reassure you what is normal and what to do next.

For some new mums they just do it (like nike!) and could probably help me back a trailer in! However my experience has shown me again that sometimes things don’t come that naturally. Support, guidance and others experience was what I needed on Saturday afternoon (and then a glass of wine!). With the Baby Manual I have put together is all of those things and more. As a determined slightly crazy lady in little old Adelaide I am hoping that lots of new parents benefit from my experience and join the ‘tribe’ that The Baby Manual has and feel confident in the knowledge we can give you. This is to avoid an incident where you block two lanes of traffic with sweaty palms, two kids giving you encouraging words and think “SHIT” I don’t know how to get out of this situation! That is until someone come and helps you figure it out 🙂

We have a free no obligation trial of The Baby Manual

Follow this link to find out more-

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New Mum’s- Keeping the budget in check

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Ahh the dreaded budget. The stress of changing from two incomes to one can be overwhelming seemingly impossible.

Did you plant that money tree at the start of the pregnancy?

If not then you will need to have a read through my top five tips to manage the budget post baby.

  1. Surprise surprise make a budget
  2. pay off high interest debt first
  3. create a shopping strategy
  4. understand your leave entitlements from work and centerlink
  5. Make room for the baby in the budget

A lot of these key points make sense, as controlling your spending is often about control and awareness more so than some magical solution you have never thought of.

Budgets are fairly easy to come by. I have always liked a pen and paper version however these days there are some fantastic apps and electronic versions. These will help you control those day to day splurges that often see a good budget plan come unstuck!

High interest debt is terrible. Every repayment gets lessened by those pesky fees and interest. It can take many more months to pay off your purchase. So when you make a list of your expenses try and pay this one off the fasted.

A shopping strategy. Yep this is the league you are in- all those catalogues you have previously ignored. You will have time when your home with your baby to have a look and get that bargain. You don’t need to fill your house with 200 bulk toilet rolls but shop smarter not harder is always a great plan.

Understanding what you have to work with is important. Allow for the time lag between the baby and the payments commencing- so you don’t load up that credit card! This is one of the most important parts of a budget and taking control of what you have to work with will help your budget to work successfully.

Yes that little baby might be getting food from you but it still has a high use of consumables. In some cases buying reusable products will actually save you lots of $$$ however they mean you have to have that money up front. Many experts say that this little baby will cost you $200,000 by the time they are 21. Starting out small in the budget to allow for consumables then as time goes on this would need to be increased.

This is a very logical basic list- one I wish I had read before I had my baby!!

Money is often one of those things that can cause stress and lots of arguments at home. The one way to help this is to take control of your spending so you know exactly when you need to be careful and when you can loosen that belt and splurge a little.

If you want other useful tips and tricks check out The Baby Manual

We have a free 7 day trial

The Baby Manual

What to eat when breastfeeding

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Many new mums commonly feel uncertain about the diet choices they need to make when breastfeeding. They are used to the restrictions we talk about so often in pregnancy- then they get confused and don’t know what to do when they have their baby.

To be honest a healthy balanced diet is great when you are breastfeeding. A mixture of fruits, veggies, protein, fats and grains. Most women when breastfeeding just eat to their hunger. You really don’t need to count calories or make sure you have eaten enough.

You body spent the pregnancy storing some little extra ‘love’ just for this little baby. That means if you feel unwell or don’t eat for any reason neither you nor the baby are going to suffer (it is a very primitive thing really).

However you often speak to new mums that are tired and find themselves drawn to the comfort foods that help them keep their eyes open at 3 30pm! Yes those high sugar, salty snacks that we love. And of course these are also great in moderation. However if you find yourself eating huge amounts of these not only do you feel the yoyo of sugar highs and lows but also that sneaky kilo or two coming on.

(Gasp!) I thought that when you breastfed you lost all your pregnancy weight and more! Wont I look like Megan Gale in 3 months? In short NO 😦

It is funny your body actually won’t let you loose all the weight until your baby is eating solids and is no longer totally reliant on you. So again we get back to moderation.

Yes you can have a glass of wine, yes you can eat that curry, yes you can eat peanut butter ( unless your allergic to it). Eating a variety of foods is good for you and your baby.

Seemingly feeling your supply is running a bit low? Are you eating regularly? Are you resting to help your body make some more milk. You could also have some more oats, water, maybe a herbal tea or lactation cookie to give you a bit of a boost.

SA Health have put together a great resource on diet in pregnancy and lactation SA Health information

Another great idea is having a healthy smoothie at 3 30pm. Maybe a protein base and then adding some yoghurt, fruit, milk and ice. Yummy! This will also give you a slower peak in your sugar levels and energy. I tend to recommend the Little Healthy Life protein shake mix as this is the only one on the market especially for breastfeeding.

Little Healthy Life Protein Shake

As always eat to your hunger, don’t diet like your a hollywood supermodel! And always trust your body knows just what it is doing 🙂

Are you more scared of walking in pregnant or out a parent??

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Are you more scared walking into the hospital or walking out??

This is a common fear for new parents- PARENTHOOD!

I always remember my mum used to know all the answers. Yep all of them she knew what to do, when to do it, all the answers to my every question.

As I am a mum myself I feel that the motto- ‘fake it till you make it’ plays in my head often.

I often giggle about the explanation I gave my then 6 year old son about the difference between a vagina and a penis- wait for it……

Look mate its just like a inside willy! Yep- does that make sense at all??

I am a Midwife I spend my life working out anatomy especially in the reproductive section.

Of course when I spoke with my mum she told me, “You know they sell books for new parents to make this easier” of course she still new the answer!

Therefore I totally understand the fear many new parents have when they take that little newborn home! How much do you feed them? How many layers do they wear? What do you do if it cries??

Parenthood also makes us re-think who we are? who are our friends? Do you have to dress differently to be a mum?

The questions are endless.

To be honest you are still you, your partner is still the person that knows you the best and your true friends will still be there after you figure out all the previous questions about what to do with your baby.

You actually don’t need to know all the answers sometimes you need help to understand what the question is and certainly this new little person is going to force you to learn more things.

Important things like-

is there a perfect ‘thing’ that will make your baby sleep well (NO)

Do you have enough Breastmilk (USUALLY YES)

Should you wear leggings out the house (NO)

Is dry shampoo the best invention EVER (YES)

Will people really notice if you don’t wear a bra (YES)

You need to give yourself time to really get comfortable in this motherhood game. You will hopefully meet some new friends- these we will call the season friends.

They will help you through this season they will have the same interests (babies) and be home tucked up in bed by 730 praying for a few hours sleep, they will also be contactable via social media for a chat at 2am.

Your reason friends will also start to pop up. They will show you some new skills or make you think differently about something. Maybe you were ALWAYS going to go back to work at 4 months because you LOVE your job. However after a few months with your little human the thought of sending emails all day makes you want to cry. These fabbo friends will help you through the tough days and maybe show you life can be different.

Then there are those lifetime friends. These are the ones you miss terribly at 2am when you sad and lonely. They of course don’t get why you wouldn’t want to go back to work and most certainly are having a Carrie Bradshaw night when your watching the new series of 24 with a magnum. Your lifetime friends will be back, they are there forever and will always remember the time you laughed so much coffee came out your nose (Emily!).

So please enjoy the change, roll with the punches, fake it till you make it and don’t worry you will be fine. Change is necessary and that little person is worth all of it 🙂

To learn more of the answers and some common questions you haven’t thought to ask yet join us on – The Baby Manual

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The magic happens on the other side of fear……

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At the moment in my world I am pushing the boundaries and my comfort zone. I am about to embark on an Australia wide tour trying to get the message that The Baby Manual is out there. This includes public speaking and opening myself and my knowledge to greater public opinion (arrgghhh). This makes me want to desperately crawl back into a very dark hole and pretend life is just the same and not take any risks.

I feel I need to take the advice that I hand out time and time again….

Things will work out just fine, sometimes the hardest things are the best, trust in yourself you can do it.

It makes me reflect on the changes and phases of motherhood (yes this includes the always scary labour). Many new mums are being pushed outside there comfort zone and often feel overwhelmed by both motherhood and also the choices they have to make for themselves and their babies.

I also feel the trust that they put in my knowledge base and confidence when I say everything will work out and that things will change and that is always for a reason- which always make me feel valued and so happy in my chosen profession.

I always love seeing new mums the visit after a big development change when I hear their little babies starting to babble away or when they give them a big smile. The week before this little baby had been miserable and crying overwhelmed by the big new world they had just realised was there. I confidently told them that everything would be OK. Their baby would not cry forever and this would all be worth it.

From time to time we all need to lean on someone, we need the reassurance that everything will work out OK. And of course not always know the answers.

So please try something new, push yourself past that point when you would normally stop.

So this week I can proudly say I don’t know all the answers, I am not sure how this next few months is going to go for me but I won’t die wondering! And I truely believe on the other side of fear is where all the magic happens!!!