I am so excited and humbled to introduce you all to my beautiful friend, Jess. Jess and I met through the Peanut app when our babies were two months old. If you aren’t familiar with Peanut it is essentially Tinder for new mums. Jess and […]
I have a new tribe.
Hunter has brought with him a whole new way of life, an entirely new lifestyle and, rather unexpectedly, some of the most beautiful friendships with the most incredible women.
One of us is a champion breastfeeder. One of us couldn’t stand breastfeeding. One of us desperately wanted to breastfeed but it was making their child sick. One of us mix feeds. And another of us wasn’t physically able to breastfeed.
Our children are different ages, though all under eighteen months. Each of us have a different mothering style with one big thing in common – we do whatever feels right for us. None of us judge.
A couple of our kids sleep through the night. A couple of the others still end up in our beds. Some have teeth, others don’t. Some can sit up, others can’t. One can crawl, another rolls.
One is at day-care full time. A couple are looked after by their grandparents a couple of times a week. Some are with us all day, every day.
Each of us come from very different backgrounds; each of us have incredibly different conception, pregnancy and birth stories and experiences. We are different ages, we have different beliefs, different cultures, different circumstances; and although that is the case, each of these women are my people.
Every time I spend time with these incredible women I am left awestruck. I always learn something new about each and every one of them, both as a mother and as their own person. Each of them are creative in their own ways and talk with such passion that it always leaves me inspired and grateful and unable to comprehend how I got so lucky to be in their company. One is into art and interior design, one knows everything there is to know about babies (seriously, she knows everything), a couple have truly incredible careers that they have worked exceptionally hard for.
I am writing this today because I am filled with such gratitude towards these women. Hunter and I had a particularly rough night last night and an even tougher morning this morning. We were up all night and then actually UP at 4am, screaming. For three hours. I burst into tears and felt like a failure because exhaustion and hormones are so real right now. When I finally bundled Hunter into the car to get him out of the house, my mind went to the women who comprise my tribe. I thought of the countless conversations we have had; we share stories, we share ideas, we share woes and worries we have for ourselves and for our beautiful children. More importantly though, we build each other up and reassure one another of anything and everything we need reassuring of, we never judge one another (or other parents and humans for that matter), we understand one another when we said, “It’s been a really hard fucking day”. Every single one of us is bringing up our child differently to one another and every single one of us is doing a perfect job, and we are always sure to let each other know.
From each of these women I have learned resilience, patience and perspective. I have been taught things about my own son from each of these wonderful creatures. I have been inspired to write, to create, to forge my own path, to be more fierce, to be myself. I have so much to thank these women for, most of which they won’t realised they even helped me with and through.
Mamas, your tribe will find you, and you them. Until then, you have me. I’m your tribe; Hunter and I will always be your people.
Guaranteed, at least once a day someone will come up to me and ask me, “So is he a good baby?” I cannot tell you how sick of that question I am – not just because I get asked it so often, but because when […]
Did you know that bus will sometimes cry because they want to be wrapped?
Neither did I.
Two days ago, Hunter had been fed and burped and cuddled and still wouldn’t settle. I walked around with him, pushed him in the pram – nothing. After about half an hour of trying to settle him, I grabbed his favourite muslin and wrapped him.
This was his reaction:
He slept for two hours.
There is so much advice that is given to new mums whether we ask for it or not. Most of what I have learned that works for Hunter, Pete and I, I have learned through trial and error. I can almost guarantee that all you other mamas and mamas-to-be will experience the very same thing.
But, if there is any light I can shed or help that I can off by simply sharing the things that I have learned and picked up along the way, then writing this is totally worth it.
Hunter changes every single day. Once you think that you have figured it all out, they evolved and grow and change and throw you a curveball. Having said that, I have found that establishing and maintaining a routine where possible makes a world of difference. Every night with Hunter is different from the last. Some nights he will only wake up once, have a big feed and then conk back out until 5/5.30 in the morning. And then there are nights like last night where he was barely asleep for more than fifteen minutes before screaming in pain with a sore belly (and then up at 4am for a bath).
I may not be able to control what happens during the night, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things I can do to make my nights and my morning easier. Because I am expressing and then bottle feeding, I always try and make sure that I have one whole spare bottle up my sleeve and in the fridge. Even when I was breastfeeding, I would express into a bottle for the nighttime feeds. For me personally, this was easier than trying to get Hunter to latch and feed when I was barely awake to coordinate it, all the while trying not to disturb Pete because he had to get up for work the next morning.
My mornings always look pretty similar and it sets up my day nicely, eliminating a lot of stress. Before I go to bed of a night, I will wash two bottles and attach one to my hand pump and one to my electric pump – ready to express first thing of a morning. I also get the lounge room set up for Hunter and I so that in the morning all I need to do is cuddle up into the corner of the lounge with our favourite blanket ready to throw over the both of us. And possibly the most important thing I do for myself is get my coffee ready for the morning. Before getting into bed I will fill up the kettle, set my mug next to it on the bench top with a teaspoon, and get the coffee and the sugar out of the cupboard.
Even though Hunter is different every morning, those few things that I am able to prepare and control mean that I am relaxed and more importantly, caffeinated.
For nights like last night where Hunter was in agony (poor thing is constipated), I have found that the best thing to do is have him over my shoulder while I rub his back up and down with a fair bit of force. It took a while, but eventually it settled him and I was able to lie him down on his side and continue rubbing his back until he passed out. Rubbing their backs – or their bellies if they let you – help work out their wind (and who doesn’t love a back rub).
Another piece of advice that I would highly, highly recommend is to make sure you get out at least once a day. This can be something as simple as lying in the garden with you Bub, or walking to the shops, or going to a cafe – it doesn’t matter what you do, get out of the house. Not only is it essential for your sanity, but it is so important that your little one gets out of the house and stimulated. Different smells and sounds, things to look at, thee big wide world to interact with – I cannot stress how beneficial it is to get Bub out of their usual environment. If I spend more than a few hours at home, Hunter becomes really restless and unsettled. As soon as I put him in the car or in the pram and get him out and doing different things with me, he is a completely different baby. Hunter talks and smiles and sleeps so much better (and so much more) when we are out of the house.
When mum had me, she was twenty-one, single and went back to full-time work a couple of days after having me. The story of mum and I has been told over and over again, and my early days have been relayed to me over the years more times than I can count. The fact that mum was able to raise me alone at such a young age while working full-time is a huge achievement. Because of this though, I have felt like I need to live up to and be capable of the very same thing. I have the support of a partner, I am a bit older and I have the luxury and privilege of having one year of maternity leave. During the first few weeks of being a mother, I felt like I wasn’t as good a mother as my own because I had help and support around me. I felt like I should have been thriving straight away, should have gone back to work, should have should have should have. Even when things got really hard on some of those early days, I refused to ask for help because I was thinking to myself, “Mum managed me as a newborn by herself while working, I should be able to handle this.” It was dangerous thinking, and I will be honest, I still have moments where I feel like I should be doing a lot better than I am.
My piece of advice? Ask for help. Be okay with asking for help. Do not compare yourself to anyone else.
There have only been a handful of times in the last nine weeks where I have made the mayday call to mum to come over. And although most of the time I am really proud of myself and how I have been going so far, there are moments where doubt and guilt and anything else negative creeps into my thoughts and I feel like I could be doing so much more for myself and for my son.
This morning when Hunter was screaming and I hadn’t even had the chance to put pants on and I watched my coffee as it went cold and untouched, I burst into tears. Being a mum is hard work, it really is – but it is even harder if you don’t swallow your pride and ask for help. The people around you will want to help. I implore you to let them.
I am going to end this piece with probably the most important morsel of advice I can offer.
Don’t listen to anyone else.
Don’t even listen to me. Read this post and forget everything that I have said because I promise you mama, you will figure this out for yourself. Trial and error, and error and error and error. You’ve got this. You will continue to learn and figure this out. Ignore everyone and everything.
There is so much about motherhood that I have learned and discovered over these last (almost) eight weeks. Things I have learned about parenthood, about my son, my partner, our families and myself. I have also mastered doing absolutely everything with one hand, holding Hunter […]
Over the weekend, the One Fine Baby baby fair was on at Moore Park in Sydney. Showcased as ‘the most stylish baby fair in Australia’, the Royal Hall of Industries was packed with over 100 brands, both boutique and major. More than just a marketplace to buy goods for you, your bump or your toddler, the One Fine Baby baby fair provides its attendees with unique ideas for the next exciting stage of their lives.
The parking situation was simple and stress-free, and the whole event was run really well. After registering our attendance, we were given free samples from a few of the vendors as well as a bag to carry everything around in. It was pretty surreal to be surrounded by so many other pregnant mamas-to-be and rather comical seeing the hordes of them walking towards the venue. It wasn’t until I was among all those bellies that I realise how nice it was to know that all those women and I are going through the same journey – sure, our experiences will vary dramatically, but each of us had something incredibly special and real in common. It was a really warm feeling (and now the idea of joining a Mother’s Group is starting to make a whole lot more sense to me).
Although there were hundreds of people at the event, Pete and I were able to move around easily and weren’t at all bothered by the crowds. All the stalls looked great and I could have bought one of absolutely everything. The main things that we wanted to look at were the vendors that were selling Australian, handmade products as well as sussing out the prams and car seat companies that were on show. We didn’t go to the fair to necessarily buy anything, but more to know what was out there, what we need that we may not have thought of yet, and what products best suit us. That is why One Fine Baby is such a great event, because even if you don’t go there with the intention of purchasing anything, you still take so much away from it!
Spoiler alert, we did end up buying something though..
lil Soph & Co.
We stumbled across a really sweet looking stall, lil Soph & Co. Founded by Sydney-sider, Kirsten, lil Soph & Co. offers a range of quality, handmade products that are super funky in design, as well as being incredibly durable and practical. I was drawn to this stall because of the colours and prints that were on display, as well as just how professional yet accessible this brand and products felt. Kirsten also provides a custom-design service where you can discuss a special design that you wish to order! The brand offers bandana bibs, blankets and wraps, burp cloths, teething rings, onesies and cushions for you and your little one!
For our little man, Pete and I bought an organic cotton burp cloth. On one side is a funky, boho pattern (that I utterly swooned over) and on the other side is cotton towelling. It is double-layered and the perfect size to fit nicely over your shoulder, ideal (and super absorbent) for when it come to spit-up, spills and any other baby messes! Plus, it is just so freaking gorgeous.
Here are some other vendors that Pete and I loved:
Developed and founded by Australian mum and Children’s Nutritionist, Rennae, Grabease is a product and brand that was born when she went in search for the perfect self-feeding utensils for her own children. From their website, “developed in California by a problem solving Mama, Maya Shalev of Elli and Nooli, Grabease are revolutionary for toddler self-feeding. Not only are they toddler sized, they are a developmental tool that encourages motor skill development, independence and boosts baby’s self-confidence, making it so much easier for everyone at mealtimes.”
With their short-handled, ergonomic handle, the cutlery sets are perfect for little hands. With approval and recommendations from occupational therapists, the Grabease sets also feature a choke guard, non-toxic BPA free plastic as well as being available in six gorgeously fun colours! The handle is the pièce de résistance with its tear-drop shape, working with your bub’s vertical hand-hold.
New Zealand company Woolkin create pure wool and timber toys for your little ones – and let me tell you right now, they are deadset wonderful. With the desire to create toys made without toxins and phthalates, Woolkin has designed their range with environmental and ethical values in mind as well as wanting to offer children bright, fun and engaging products! Each of the toys are made with 100% pure New Zealand wool fibre that is ethically produced and offer the benefits of natural materials. The range is antibacterial, breathable, fire resistant and even offer sound absorption.
Pete and I fell madly in love with Brave Dave the Fire Engine, whose ladder you can slip out of its holder and manoeuvre. The range of toys all come flat packed with quick and simple click-and-lock assembly, so if your little one is that little bit older you can have fun whilst putting it together!
Pete was beside himself when we came across this booth. Little Snapbacks specialise in custom hats that are made just for kids! Founded and created by a Sydney mum, Little Snapbacks offer premium quality and perfect fit for your little one, focusing on highlighting and celebrating every child’s individuality. Each and every hat comes embroided with your bub’s name on it, with sizes available for children aged 0-10 years old and a wide range of colour combinations to choose from!
Not only will your child be beyond excited to have something with their own name on it (I still get excited when I find ‘Leah’ on things, and as I type this, I am wearing my ‘Leah’ neckalce), but the hats are UPF50+, rated ‘excellent’ in sun protection!
Cub + Scout
I love a bag. I love needing to buy a bag. I love discovering pockets and running through a mental list of what personal item I would put in each compartment. I love a bag. Like many of the products I have mentioned today, CUB + SCOUT was created out of personal experience and the realisation of a gap in the Australian market; “born out of its two founders’, Pip Reed and Christina Phillips, fruitless search for a carryall bag that paired aesthetic style with functional design for those on the go”. Created for new mums, CUB + SCOUT offers a versatile, lightweight and functional bag that was also stylish and oh-so-good-looking.
When I saw the CUB + SCOUT booth, I had to wait to have a look at the bags because they were so packed – and for good reason! The ‘Leader’ Carryall bag is where it’s at people. Made from durable and washable neoprene, the ‘Leader’ is incredibly roomy with the perfect amount of both large and small pockets as well as free space (for those moments when you just need to chuck things in!). What I was most excited by was ‘The Mum Set’ which comes with the ‘Leader’ Carryall, the Pouch and the Change Mat. I have never thought of myself as a particularly stylish woman, but I know that this bag is a step in the right direction.
Pete should do promo work for iCandy. Seriously. As soon as we found out we were pregnant, he told me that he wanted an iCandy pram – so you can imagine how excited he was when I told him that they were going to be at the baby fair. Ecstatic. I am a novice when it comes to prams, with my only requirements being that it be light and easy to collapse; I am not a tall person, nor am I a strong one so those features are vital for me. When we got to the iCandy booth, I asked for a demonstration so that I could see it in action – and by god, it is brilliant. I cannot speak highly enough of this wonderful, clever, ergonomic, functional, versatile pram.
Where do I even begin?
We fell in love with the iCandy Peach. The seat unit is the biggest on the market by way of being able to grow with your child. What I loved hearing is how much research and feedback goes into the company’s design process. The hood of the pram has been extended which gets rid of the need for parents to hang a blanket or sheet over the face of the pram for when bub is sleeping. There is also a netted peephole at the top of the hood to improve oxygen and air flow so that your bub isn’t breathing stale, still air. The basket is large and easily reachable. The handle is easily adjusted by a large button in the centre of the grip, and the movement is smooth. The seat itself is incredibly easy to attach and detach while remaining secure and firm when it is in place. To collapse the pram, all I have to do is pop the seat out, release the pram handle so it is all the way down and pick the pram up by the handle in the basket which completes the fold of the collapsed pram. It’s pretty much a single motion and that is fine by me. More than fine. It’s everything to me. They have also cleverly included a pocket at the back of the seat unit that is able to fit a couple of nappies, wipes, bottle, keys, wallet and phone for those days where you don’t want to carry anything, or if you are off to exercise. There are also extender bars which means you can have the unit sitting higher in case your child is sick or grizzly and in need of more frequent attention. It also allows the pram to be used as a high-chair, able to be pushed up directly against the table at the appropriate height!
There is also the option for the Carrycot attachment which is a horizontal unit for newborns. The carrycot has also been approved as a bassinet for when you are travelling, which eliminates having to bring along (often bulky) travel bassinets when you are on the move.
Also, a few notes to leave you with:
– cravings this week include nacho cheese flavoured tortilla chips, tuna and avocado sandwiches and cherry tomatoes by the punnet
– for all you mamas out there that are due in late summer like me, I strongly suggest that you invest in some stretchy playsuits. Mum and I went to the shops yesterday and, in Cotton On at the moment there are really cute jumpsuits that are absolutely perfect heading into summer with a belly that just will not stop growing. For me, it has been a game changer. I am wearing my jumpsuit today and I am loving myself sick. I can sit cross-legged in the park for lunch comfortably, the stretchy fabric means there is absolutely no pressure on my belly and it is so light that the heat is barely a worry (not really.. but it makes it a lot more manageable)