Sunday, October 18, 2015

Transitioning from a corporate life to a stay at home mum

When I was pregnant and still living the corporate life, I would daydream about how amazing and relaxing it would be once I finally went on maternity leave and became a stay at home mum! Oh, how little did I know…

Becoming a stay at home mum was one of the most challenging things I have ever done! The transition from a corporate life to one in the ‘burbs was not easy, especially emotionally! I am one of those people who thrive in productive, organised and scheduled lifestyles. So suddenly having to deal with spontaneity, dealing with housework (or lack of time to do housework), and looking after a bub while maintaining my sanity was seriously one tough gig!

Here are my 5 tips on transitioning to a stay at home mum from a corporate life:

1. Use a planner 
Schedule your day, week and month! If you liked structure in your life, using a planner will help you so much! Keep track of all your appointments, playdates, things to do, events, etc. I use this planner from Kikki K and stick it on my fridge. Every Sunday night I plan for the week ahead and I get all fancy and use Washi tape to decorate the pages. I use a weekly planner which is similar to my calendar layout I had at work. I find this helps me know what’s coming up for the week and I get that fulfilment of ticking off things you’ve done (yes, that’s you laundry).

2. Head out of the house at least once a day 
Even if it’s just to go for a quick walk around the block, do it. Don’t stay couped up at home, especially if its spring, the sun is shining and there’s the world to explore! With rainy day exceptions, I will go out for a walk with Chloe if we have nothing on that day and I love taking her to the park now for a swing or a slide! Or pop to the local shops and support those local businesses!

3. Stay productive 
If you thrive on productivity, sitting on the couch while the bub sleeps will not make you feel better if this happens day in and day out (it may if you are having one of those days). Get to those chores, do a workout, bake some cookies, take a shower, etc. Doing things while bub sleeps will make you feel more productive and more happier, when they wake up!

4. Do something for yourself 
As a first time mum, I felt like the majority of the day you will be attending to your bub – which is completely normal as it is your new role. But that doesn’t mean that you should neglect yourself! Spend some “me time” doing what you love, while they nap or have someone come in and look after them for an hour or two…I love doing some exercise, and also going on date nights!

5. Keep in touch with your friends (new and old) 
Another way to survive the transition is to keep in touch with friends – chat to them, catch up for lunch or coffee, etc. Do the things you use to do with them, where you can. I also highly recommend joining a mother’s group or playgroup. This not only benefits your bub, but definitely keeps you sane during the first year of being a first time mum. You share the same experiences and feed off positive vibes from each other. It is a supportive network and most likely they all live closeby so is also very convenient!

What are your tips on becoming a stay at home mum?

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Hamilton Island - Family Trip 2015!

Hi lovelies, we are back from our family vacation to Hamilton Island! It was the first time Chloe was travelling and also sleeping away from home (and her cot, since birth!). It was very daunting, but we survived and while Chloe was not a happy bub all the time during the trip, it was nice to spend some QT with the family!

We stayed at the Shorelines number 18 apartment, which is on the western side of the island. It boasts stunning sunset views across the ocean! The apartment was equipped with a high chair and also a portacot. It has a self-contained kitchen so you can buy groceries and make your meals at home.  I really loved how spacious the apartment was and the views were just breathtaking. The only downside, was I thought that the apartment was not as clean as expected (we saw roaches) and also the decor and furniture did feel and look a little tired.

If we were to go again, I would probably choose to stay at a lodge on the Resort side of the Island near Catseye Beach. But staying anywhere is fine, as getting around the island is very easy, you can walk or ride a Buggy or Shuttle pretty much anywhere!

We really wanted to just chill and relax so I didn't fill our itinerary with many activities. A couple things I would definitely recommend though (besides chilling on the beach):
1. Hike Passage Peak - the views will not disappoint! The hike is quite steep and in the bush so wear your sneakers!
2. Have lunch at the Hamilton Island Golf Club - $65 for a 2 course lunch, as well as a tour of the scenic golf course and includes return ferry taxi to Hamilton Island.

We only ate out a handful of times as we wanted to cook meals at home - I highly recommend ordering via Coles Online at least a week in advance! We left it too late and had to resort to the Island's only General Store (which charged exorbitant prices for groceries). We ate the Marina Tavern for dinner, I would say it is pretty average (order a burger or the parmi!).  We also had takeout from Popeye's Fish and Chips (yummy chips!) and Bob's Bakery (yummy pies).

Hope you found this helpful! Let me know what you recommend doing in Hamilton Island!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

My Breastfeeding Experience!

So now that Chloe is 7 months old (what the heck, I know!), I thought I would do an update on our breastfeeding journey so far! Before I start, I want you to know how grateful I am and blessed to be able to breastfeed! Every mum and bub is different, and the best advice anyone has given is do what works best for you and your bub and family! :)

The early months…
Chloe has been exclusively breastfed since birth and is still on the boob! My milk didn’t actually come in until the third day so on the second day she was drinking formula from a bottle.
In the first few months, I fed Chloe on demand which was about every 2-3 hours during the day and about every 3-4 hours during the night. Initially, it was tough getting up and dealing with sleep deprivation, but I got used to it and it was summer so wasn’t that hard to get out of bed!  I was breastfeeding in an armchair we bought from ikea. And I never really used a feeding pillow, I just used an ordinary pillow to support Chloe while she fed.

Milk Supply…
I remember when I first started breastfeeding in the hospital, some relatives would ask whether I knew Chloe was getting enough milk. It’s a fair concern and it also got me worried about how much milk Chloe was drinking. I remember the comments would get me down sometimes, but I just kept at it, knowing that if I can breastfeed Chloe, it would be the best thing for her!

As a "preventative" measure, I was also taking fenugreek tablets for at least the first 4 months to increase my milk supply. I also baked a few batches of lactation cookies for a few weeks. While I’m not sure if they did actually help, I didn’t have any milk supply issues and Chloe is healthy and thriving :)
Chloe was taking expressed breastmilk for the feed just before bed time so that my hubby could get some bonding time with her. I found it hard to find the right time to pump and eventually I got into a routine of pumping one breast when I woke up in the morning as I found it to be the time where I felt fullest and Chloe would be too full to have both breasts anyway. I also learned to pump at the same time while feeding her.  Around the 12 week mark, Chloe began to reject the bottle. It would take us upto an hr to feed her 30MLs of EBM. After a few weeks, we decided to just let it go, and follow her lead and stick with the boob exclusively. Both Chloe and I were happy we did this!

Growing pains…
When my milk came in, my breasts were very engorged, and my nipples were unbelievably sore and raw. It hurt to put any top on, let alone dry off with a towel! Arrrgh! After every feed, I would apply lansinoh to relieve the rawness, and I remember wondering if they would ever go back to normal again! In a few weeks, it got much better and I stopped using lansinoh! 

I did get blocked ducts twice. The first time, it was easy to unblock the duct (massage, heat, allowing the bub to drain) however the second time the duct was blocked for at least a week and I was worried it would turn into mastitis! Lucky though, it was not painful, and it recovered in just over a week!
I also was using breast pads until just a few days ago. THE FREEDOM! While breast pads are your best friend in keeping your tops dry, it was quite annoying having to wear them to bed and all day, every day!

Also, it was probably around 3-4 months where my breasts regulated and became smaller and less engorged! Although, I would say my breasts are still much larger than they were pre-pregnancy (I can’t fit into any of my bikini tops anymore!).

Feeding in public…
When feeding in public, I try to stay as modest as possible. While I didn’t buy a feeding cover specifically, I usually use a muslin wrap to cover up if I’m in a public place or restaurant. I would prefer to feed in the parents room though…So far I haven’t experienced any negativity towards breastfeeding.

The future...
I really wish to continue breastfeeding Chloe until she is at least 12 months old (5 months to go! what?!). I am really enjoying this experience so far and would have it no other way! :) 

Monday, July 6, 2015

June Favourites - Mummy and Baby

This is my first video of favourites, and I thought it would be good to include Chloe's favourites for the month of June as well :)

Favourites mentioned:
- L'oreal Voluminous Mascara
- Roll neck sleeveless sweater (similar here)
- Steamer from kmart
- Sophie the giraffe
- Books: Where is the Green Sheep, Tooty Toot Maisy, The Very Hungry Caterpillar (finger puppet)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

How to put on the Ergobaby Carrier!

How to put on the Ergobaby Carrier (original collection) in five steps:

1. Adjust the hip belt and put on - adjust again if necessary.

2. Adjust the back buckle (located on the shoulder straps) so that it is high up close to your shoulders as possible.

3. Put the arm straps on and adjust so that there is some space for your baby (a guesstimate is fine!)

4. Load your baby in and adjust the arm straps so that they are nice and snug.

5. Fasten the back buckle.

Hope you found this useful and enjoyed Chloe's first appearance on Youtube :)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Review of Ergobaby Carrier - Original Bundle of Joy

As per my post on Newborn Must-haves, a baby carrier is probably one of the best investments as a parent! Newborns love to feel close to you and while sitting on the couch watching telly and cradling your bub as they sleep for hours feels pretty darn good the first week, it really wasn't sustainble for me in the long term! So, in comes the baby carrier! You can keep your bub close and at the same time, do your chores and run your errands.

Now that Chloe is 5 months old, I still use the carrier for things like bushwalking or going to places where it would not be possible to bring the pram. Or I use it on days where you just dont feel like bringing the pram because its so darn big!

This is how we chose what carrier to buy!

1. Try before you buy - Go to a baby shop that lets you try on different carriers so you can have a feel for what it's like on. We bought ours from baby bunting as they have several baby carriers that you can try before you buy.

2. Comfort - Your baby is only going ot get heavier, you need something will support the weight and at the same time be comfortable for you! The padded shoulder straps on the Ergobaby made it really comfortable on the shoulders and the wide hip belt assisted with distribution of the baby's weight.

3. Easy to adjust - When you have a crying baby and you are on your own, you want to be able to quickly put the carrier on so you can soothe your baby.  The Ergobaby was very easy to adjust before you put it on and also while you are carrying the baby.

4. Easy to put on - You only need to do it once and you won't forget! There are only two buckles you need to do up and that's it - it is super easy to put on all by yourself! I will have a video soon on how I put on my Ergobaby carrier so keep your eyes peeled for that!

5. Machine washable - Even though this carrier is black, Chloe loves to chew on the arm straps which fall right next to her mouth! It is very easy to keep clean, I just throw it in the washing machine and hang it out to dry!

6. Sun protection - The carrier comes with sun protection cover that you can clip on to the arm straps when you need to use it, or store it away in the front pocket!

7. Storage space - The carrier comes with a couple of pockets, one which is for the sun protection cover, the other has a zip where you can stash your necessities! So convenient!

8. Will last a few years - This carrier (with an infant insert) will carry a newborn upto 15kg! That is pretty awesome and will mean we can use the carrier for at least a few years!

The only downside to this carrier is that the bub cannot be carried facing forward on your chest. There is however the Ergobaby 360 carrier that provides this function so if you are after that, definitely check it out!

I highly recommend this carrier!! Do you use a baby carrier?

Sunday, May 31, 2015

My experience with Sleep School and Sleeping Through the Night!

Sleep is something I obsessed about when Chloe was born. I hadn’t done much reading on how many hours a newborn should be sleeping so I sort of felt out of my depth and shocked when Chloe woke up multiple times a night.

Lucky for us, Chloe settled into night sleeps quite nicely and woke up every 3 hours as a new born and extended to 4-5 hours as she got older. At 4 months, she had slept through the night (7.30pm to 6.30am) a few times now and generally only wakes up once during the night for a feed anytime between 4.30am to 6am.

Her daytime naps on the otherhand were crazy. Between 1 month to 3 months old, she would only nap for 30-40mins in her cot (after being rocked to sleep) – she was a serial catnapper! It was really hard to manage especially if you spend the day at home as you feel like you don’t get anything done. That’s when I sought help from my local early childhood nurse who recommended Possum Cottage. I also had done a ton of research on sleeping, and have read a couple books – Gina Ford’s Content Little Baby and also The Happy Sleeper by Julie Wright and Heather Turgeon. I felt that the Happy Sleeper resonated more with me, I was happy to implement the “sleep wave method” once Chloe reached 5 months. In the mean time though, we just had to deal with her catnapping.

Possum Cottage is where parents can go for additional help on sleeping matters – learning hands on settling techniques. To me, it was more about a learning session for the parents rather than teaching the child!

As there was a waiting list for Possum Cottage of about 3 weeks, I found that Chloe’s naps became longer! She would start sleeping for about 50mins-1hr in her cot in the mornings, and her afternoon naps would be taken either in the pram at home or on the pram when I went out for a walk so I was able to extend her naps to at least the recommended 1hr.

Even though her naps improved, we still attended our appointment at Possum Cottage and Chloe was just shy of turning 4 months. The nurse could not settle her (although it was a hard time of the day – the afternoon nap!). We left her in a cot AWAKE (which I had previously never done before) and waited outside the door to self settle. Chloe did not self settle lol. She cried for about 5 mins before the nurse went in to do some hands on settling and eventually rocked her. Chloe still did not settle! Poor bubba.

So what I learned from that day was leaving Chloe to cry for 5 mins is ok. I tried this the very next day and Chloe slept on her own within 12 mins of putting her down during which she did not cry, although she was whinging. I could not believe it! Yes, she did whinge but eventually she fell asleep! I do not like hearing her cry hysterically – whenever she does this, I go in to calm her. But I feel that she is at the age now (4.5 months) where she has started to sleep by herself instead of relying on us to rock her to sleep!

This was my own experience with Sleep School, let me know if you have any questions or let me know about your own experience with sleep!