An Internationally Certified Lactation Consultant, infant massage instructor and best-selling baby care author, Pinky McKay is the author of 4 books, including ‘Sleeping Like a Baby ‘ which offers research, evidence and gentle sleep solutions from birth to three years
Pinky McKay tells that she believes it’s important to look at reasons why babies and toddlers are waking and address those, rather than use a one-size-fits-all approach. She says, “By seeing your baby’s waking as an expression of a genuine need, rather than ‘bad behaviour’ you are likely to remain calm and this will help your baby develop a positive association with sleep and bedtimes – which is more helpful in the longer term”.
Some reasons babies wake and what to do
Hunger: Is your baby feeding well during the day or is he distracted? Is he experiencing a growth spurt and corresponding appetite increase? Or have you been advised to space out feeds? Your baby needs a certain amount of food in a 24 hour period so if you restrict feeds during the day, he will wake more at night to get his quota. It’s normal for babies to need night feeds throughout the first year – this can be influenced by mother’s milk storage capacity if she’s breastfeeding, baby’s activity levels (imagine the calories burned by a crawling baby!) and growth spurts.
What helps: Try offering your baby extra feeds in a quiet space during the day and for older babies and toddlers, try an evening snack of carbohydrate foods such as oats or yoghurt and banana – bananas are rich in tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin which is a calming chemical that encourages sleep.
Food intolerance: Food additives are present in ever-increasing numbers in almost all processed foods and these can dramatically affect sleep patterns. Some babies and toddlers can also become restless after eating foods containing salicylates. These are naturally occurring chemicals which are found in otherwise healthy foods such as berries, grapes, apples, citrus and tomatoes, as well as in some processed foods.
What helps: If you suspect foods in your diet may be making baby unsettled, keep a food diary – jot down what you eat and times on one side of the page and your baby’s unsettled/wakeful times on the other. See if there is a connection and eliminate the suspect foods for a week. If you suspect dairy is a culprit, you will need to eliminate all dairy (milk, cheese, yoghurt) for at least two weeks as it can take some time for any gut damage to heal. If you are breastfeeding you will need to eliminate suspect foods from your own diet too.
Teething: Although you are sure to be told by someone that teething has no side effects, some babies and toddlers seem to have an awful time, especially as they cut molars. The first set will usually appear between 12 and 18 months and the ‘two year old’ molars can erupt around two but for some children this may be a bit sooner or as late as almost three years.
What helps: Lying flat means more circulation to the head and jaw area and this can create more pressure and pain for teething infants. There is also more saliva during teething to gag on and cause waking. A simple solution is to elevate your baby’s head – either with a folded towel under the mattress or, if you have an older toddler (over 18 months) and feel comfortable about his safety, you can give him a small pillow (try this during the daytime to see how he manages).
Separation anxiety: As he moves through developmental stages from crawling to walking to running and developing language, your baby’s world is expanding at an incredible rate. This can be overwhelming so it’s natural for him to want to be close to his secure base – you! Also, when you have a baby, you are constantly attending and responding to their needs. As these needs become less intense when your baby becomes a mobile toddler, it’s easy to let him ‘get on with it’. This is fine but it can mean that without little refills to his emotional tank through the day (cuddles, eye contact and focused attention), he will express a stronger need for connection at bedtime. He may also be experiencing separation (such as childcare) for the first time, so it is perfectly natural for him to want to catch up on time with you at bedtime.
What helps: Be patient with your clingy baby – pushing your child beyond his limits will usually result in more clingy behaviour. Sit in your toddler’s room and cuddle or hold a hand on him as he falls asleep – this will elicit relaxation hormones that will help him reach a deeper sleep. Please don’t try to force your baby or toddler to self-settle before he is ready as bedtime should be a calm and welcoming space, not a time of stress. Not only does a stressful bedtime make little ones even more resistant to going to sleep in the first place, it can result in them waking more due to elevated stress hormones that make it difficult to relax and sleep soundly. Try to see the time spent helping your little one fall asleep as an investment in your relationship as well as a healthy way to encourage sound sleep.
My baby wants to breastfeed or rock to sleep: Rocking is a very natural intuitive way to calm babies. Some babies crave more movement and sensory stimulation than others and this is important to brain development. Falling asleep on the breast is one of the easiest ways for most babies to settle. This is due to hormones released while your baby feeds but if you are concerned about it becoming a habit, alternate feeding with other sleep cues.
What you can do: As baby grows, you can make changes, gradually with love, by playing some calming music on a low volume as you rock or feed him to sleep in a dimly lit room. After a week when your little one is conditioned to the music, you can gently remove him from the breast or stop rocking when he is drowsy and cuddle him to sleep. Eventually, he may fall asleep in his bed with the music playing.
Allergies including asthma and eczema are increasing at an alarming rate in developed countries like New Zealand. In fact we have the second highest prevalence of asthma in the world (after the UK) with one in four kids experiencing asthma symptoms. One of the reasons for this increase is believed to be our fear of germs and obsession with cleanliness, which means our babies and young children aren’t being exposed to the numbers of bugs and germs necessary to help them develop healthy, strong immune systems.
Below you’ll see a quick list of ideas for helping you make your home a healthier place for your baby, we’d love to hear if you have anything else to add.
Tips for creating a healthier home for your baby
Potential asthma triggers in the air include cigarette smoke, fly sprays, air fresheners, strong perfumes and aerosol cleaning sprays. Some building materials, furniture and carpets also give off fumes that might make asthma worse. It’s best to clean your home with the windows open wherever possible and preferably with your baby in another room. If you have an older child that wants to ‘help’ with the cleaning then give them water and a cloth rather than exposing them unnecessarily to potentially harmful chemicals in cleaning products.
It pays to be extremely careful of the fumes which come from fresh paint or new carpet. Low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint is available, in fact most paint companies now offer an ‘eco’ range. New carpets can release powerful toxic fumes from any adhesives or latex backing. The best alternatives are pure wool carpet, sisal flooring if the budget allows or polished wooden floors with rugs for warmth.
In the laundry
Use laundry products that are free of enzymes, optical whiteners and synthetic perfume. These can leave potentially harmful residues in baby’s bed linen and clothing which is up against their skin 24/7. If they become damp, as babies’ linens often do, the moisture can reactivate residual chemicals and potentially cause irritation.
New baby clothes and linen
If possible buy organic fabrics or clothing that is dyed with eco-friendly and child safe dyes (certified by GOTS for example). If that is not an option - always wash first with a gentle liquid detergent. New linen is often dressed with toxic chemicals. During the processing of conventional cotton into clothing, toxic chemicals may be added at each stage: silicone waxes, harsh petroleum scours, softeners, heavy metals, flame and soil retardants, ammonia, and formaldehyde to name a few.
In the kitchen
Bisphenol-A (BPA) can be found in baby bottles as well as in the lining of aluminium cans of food and drinks. Studies have shown that BPA disrupts hormones in animals, leading to early sexual maturity, changes in development and reduction in sperm in the affected organism’s offspring. Use glass or stainless steel wherever practical or look for plastics that are labelled ‘BPA Free’.
In the bathroom
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) is a widely used cleaning agent found in detergents and body care products. It’s a strong detergent for removing stains and it is also used to create foam, so is often used in children’s bubble bath. SLS can be absorbed through the skin and penetrate systemic tissues such as the brain, heart, spleen and liver. Check product labels and avoid this ingredient and its close cousin Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES)
Washing your hands with antibacterial soap
New parents change a lot of nappies and are forever in the bathroom washing their hands. It might seem like the right thing to use an anti-bacterial hand wash or soap, yet antibacterial soaps have been proven to have no better cleaning properties than normal soap, and are often loaded with nasty chemical ingredients like Triclosan that strip your skin of its natural protective oils, and can aggravate the skin, leaving it red and itchy.
Non plastic toys
Plastic toys can be made of polyvinyl chloride, a type of plastic that’s made with phthalates. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has raised concerns about phthalates because of their toxicity, the cumulative effects of exposure to multiple chemicals in this family of chemicals, and evidence that human and environmental exposure to these chemicals is pervasive. Look for toys that are non toxic and PVC free such as wood. Soft toys can be placed in the freezer overnight – the cold will kill any germs and dust that may be present making the toys safer to play with or chew on.
Any house built before 1980, was probably painted with lead-based paint. When it’s removed there are risks of absorbing the lead through contact with skin, or from the atmosphere through sanding dust or flakes. To remove lead-based paint, take precautions by keeping your children and pets well away.
This year's nursery trends are more beautiful than ever. Here is a look at 2016's favorite new design ideas for the most precious room in your home and we have matched them with our New Zealand made merino sleeping bags!
According to the worlds leading design websites these will be the hottest trends this year - Which one is your favorite?
1. Back to Basics with Pastels. Soft colors and baby’s nursery go together like peas and carrots, so it’s no surprise that pastels are back and better than ever! On the heels of Pantone’s announcement last month of not one but two pastels, Rose Quartz and Serenity, we’ve got two pastels that confirm this trend.
2. Clouds clouds clouds. Our heads are in the clouds in 2016! With arrows and triangles so last year, we are excited to see more nursery design inspired by our friendly skies. These fluffy and light puffs in the sky are too cute and a must have in your nursery.
3. Inspired by travel & adventure. Parents love a cool theme to set the design tone in nursery. This year, travel and adventure stand out as the nursery theme of the year. Art declaring encouraging words such as “You are our Greatest Adventure” and “Never Stop Exploring” or “Always Take the Scenic Route” sing from the walls. We are keeping our eye out for this theme to inspire nurseries globally.
4. It’s All about Color. Nurseries, toddler rooms and playrooms are alive and in technicolor this year. In the past, color palettes, even bright hues, have been limited to a more monochromatic scheme, but this year it’s all rainbow. Bold and bright colors and lots of them are paired together in a fun and cheerful way to add drama.
5. Cosmic. An updated spin on the classic navy blue nursery, cosmic is both dreamy and sophisticated. We are seeing deep navy paired with gold, gray and black. Throw in some brass accents, and you’ve got a nursery that is out of this world!
6. Everything Modern. Modern is back and more stylish than ever! From mid-century sleek to bright white and clean, modern designed nurseries will wow us all year long.
Which trend or sleeping bag is your favorite and would you like to see in your nursery? x
Looking to keep your baby sleeping cool this summer?
Merino is Natures wonder fibre and is the safest fabric to dress your little one in - even on those hot summer nights!
This is why merino wool keeps your baby cool:
Why have baby sleeping in merino even when it's really hot?
Babies are not as adaptable as adults to temperature change. Because infants and children have a higher surface area to mass ratio than adults, they can lose heat rapidly, as much as four times more quickly than adults. This means that babies under 12 months have difficulty regulating their own temperature, even in a warm environment.
What should my baby be wearing when it's hot?
We recommend our Snugpods for newborn babies and from around 12 weeks a Standard Weight merino sleeping bag. You can vary clothing underneath depending on the room temperature (see guideline).
Standard Weight merino sleeping bag
27-25 degree C - just a nappy
25-23 degree C - short sleeve merino body suit
23-21 degree C - long sleeve merino body suit
27-25 degree C - short sleeve merino body suit
25-23 degree C - long sleeve merino body suit
23-21 degree C - long sleeve merino body suit + pants
I remember my childhood camping holidays well. They were always beside a Lake, a beautiful beach or surrounded by mountains. The sun always shone and our days were full of fun and freedom. I’m sure the reality was very different, but for me it’s those memories – rose-tinted as they may be – that drives me year after year to pack everything into a trailer, hitch it to the car and hit the road.
A couple of weeks of a simpler life are good for the soul – yet so many people make camping so much harder than it needs to be. Here are my top 10 tips for a successful family camping trip:
What a gorgeous way to end Christmas dinner or lunch with this delicious & healthy RAW chocolate tart!!! xxx
CHOCOLATE PUDDING TART WITH COCONUT CREAM & GOJI BERRIES
1 cup walnuts
1 cup dates
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons coconut nectar (or date paste)
2 tablespoons cacao powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of Himalayan salt
1/4 cup nut milk, as needed
See this recipe
To make the crust: pulse the walnuts into powder then add the dates until it all begins to stick together. Press into a lined tart tin (mine was about 8 inches) and put in the fridge.
To make the chocolate pudding: blend all the ingredients together in your food processor until smooth and thick... it should taste a-freaking-mazing. Spread evenly into your crust.
Make the coconut cream, spread it on top of the pudding layer, and put back in the fridge overnight. Serve with goji berries, coconut flakes and cacao nibs. Nom.
Every year, as the ads come out weeks before Christmas showing tantalising visions of happy families in beautiful (spotless) homes with dazzling (colour coordinated) decorations and sumptuous (hot) dinners, we promise ourselves we will capture the magic this year. ‘I will plan earlier, get organised, write lists, whatever it takes.’ However, while our Christmas spirit is willing, we don’t actually have any more time or energy in December, despite the doubled up workload we embrace. Sadly, the ads never mention that kids still have to be cared for (and they aren’t any more likely to pick up after themselves), washing still has to be done and bathrooms cleaned (do Christmas fairies do housework?)
So we bust our butts writing cards (home made, of course), organising clothes (and haircuts) for the kids to attend Daddy’s work party with Santa (as we moan about spouses not being invited to the ‘grown ups’ version) and perusing cookbooks (late at night) to make this the best feast ever.
A stressed mummy is hardly conducive to happy holiday memories, so it’s time to get a little perspective. Let’s ask ourselves, who is Christmas really for? The kids would probably think it was Christmas if they could eat bread with sprinkles and drink lemonade for lunch and little ones are often more intrigued with the packaging than the gifts. So why do we repeatedly succumb to this pressure of Christmas perfection? Instead, why not plan a bit of cheer this Christmas by chilling out, doing less and playing and laughing a whole lot more. After all, this is what little ones remember the most fondly.
Here are a few reminders about taking care of you that make good sense all year around, because after all, taking care of little ones takes a lot of energy whether it’s the jolly holiday season or not.
1. Eat well
Give yourself a head start in the energy stakes and maintain your energy levels until the afternoon by eating a nutritious breakfast; avoid empty calories – sweets and junk food will not sustain your energy and may cause mood changes as your blood sugar levels fluctuate. Opt for healthy snacks such as fresh fruit or vegetables, avocados, boiled eggs, cheese and crackers and include fish in your diet: deep-sea fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel are rich in DHA, a fatty acid important in maintaining the nervous system.
Studies show that a mother’s DHA levels become depleted as her body provides for the developing infant during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and low levels of DHA can lead to reduced concentrations of serotonin, which has been linked to depression.
2. Have a health check
You need to be in peak health to meet the needs of your little ones as well as the demands of your busy life, so take time to have a health check: thyroid disorders, low iron and vitamin D levels can all make you feel exhausted but a simple blood test will reveal if you need treatment.
3. Delete and simplify
Take a look at everything you do each day and make a list, then check which things you have to do, what you like or don’t enjoy doing, what can wait, where you can take shortcuts – then delete, delegate or simplify. Meals, for instance, can be simplified without resorting to takeaways. Use slow cookers, batch and freeze, organise a mama bake group, eat more raw foods. Do just one bigger job a day – rather than clean the entire house, just clean or tidy one room or shelf, by the end of the week it will all get done and if it doesn’t , as long as choking hazards are picked up, no small children will suffer because they lived in an untidy house; they won’t remember whether they wore clothes that were ironed or not and they won’t give a toss if they ate cheese on toast and fruit for dinner some nights or if they ate a picnic dinner in the bath. That saves clean-ups and mess goes down the plughole, you are multi–tasking so it saves time and everyone has fun.
4. Protect your mental energy
Learn your early warning signs that you are entering your ‘overwhelm zone’ – you feel extra tired; you start to say yes when you know you should have said ‘no’; your shoulders are up and tense; you are yelling too much; you are feeling anxious. These are all signs you need to stop and take time out, whatever that is for you and however you can manage this. It might mean sitting in the sun while your toddler plays outside or having an afternoon nap with your baby. Perhaps you could hire some help or invite a friend over just for one afternoon so you can go to bed while she cuddles the baby or plays with your toddler. Inviting a friend over can be great if your stress is affecting your mothering – it’s like having ‘supervision’ as well as support. You are less likely to have a mummy meltdown if you have company. You can take turns helping each other.
5. Reduce your negative self-talk, especially about how much you are achieving
If you feel as though you haven’t achieved anything all day/all week/all year – whatever, stop this negativity and try looking at your day as though you are making a movie of yourself. Follow yourself through your day and acknowledge everything you have done – so the floors may be scattered with toys, the benches might be piled with junk and you have no idea what you are making for dinner – but you have engaged with your baby, fed him, cuddled him, rocked him, smelt his delicious smell, you have sat outside with your toddler, listened to his chatter, seen the world through his eyes, survived the tantrum about the toast, listened to your mother on the phone as you wiped a toddler’s bottom with your other hand… maybe you even managed to have a shower among all of this – you haven’t achieved nothing! You have worked all darn day! So look at all of this as though you are watching a movie – and tell yourself – I am friggin amazing!
6. Ditch the guilt
Divide guilt into ‘piles’ – good guilt that motivates, and bad guilt takes you away from the present and if we dwell on guilt, that adds to our stress load. We tend to over compensate – often giving in when we should actually be setting boundaries or indulging our child when all we need to do is apologise, acknowledge what we have done that disappointed us and our child, and move on. Guilt can be a signal that we might need to do things differently, so instead of being overcome, try and work out what happened – why did we lose our temper, perhaps – and how could we do things differently next time?
7. Have fun!
Set yourself a goal to do one fun thing every day before lunch. If you are too stressed right now to be spontaneous, write a list and stick it to your fridge – your spontaneity will develop as you see the positive response from your little ones. Calendar in one day every month this year as ‘fun’ day – have fun as a family. Whether you have a baby or older kids, focussing on fun will mean you are more aware and you will soon lighten up and find ways of having fun more often than just once a month. Best of all, you will be modelling for your children so they will seek out fun experiences in their lives in a positive way too.
Pinky McKay is an International Board certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and best-selling author, with four titles published by Penguin including Parenting By Heart, Sleeping Like a Baby, 100 Ways to Calm the Crying and Toddler Tactics. See Pinky’s books and sign up for her free newsletter at her www.pinkymckay.com
Baby massage is a great way to feel more connected to your little one and to make you both that much calmer and relaxed. If you haven’t given it a try before, follow these steps from our ambassador, yogi Nikki Ralston.
Humans are hard wired for connection. It’s what feeds and nourishes us and brings us joy. Touch is the language that transcends all boundaries and provides an opportunity to strengthen bonds, especially between parent and child. If you’re a parent, you know how it goes – you soothe your baby, they are all ‘cooey’ and happy then the minute you put them down they start wailing, calling out for that connection they love and crave, so you pick them up and in a second they are all happy and smiley again!
If just holding your baby can be so soothing and nourishing, imagine how much both you and baby will benefit from a full body massage. In fact, studies have shown that massaging an infant can reduce crying and fussiness, help them sleep more peacefully and help alleviate constipation and colic. Research also suggests baby massage can boost their immune system and help produce more of the connecting hormone oxytocin in both of you.
Oxytocin is that wonderful hormone produced while breast feeding, that chemical responsible for the gooey eyed, loved up feeling. But as we know, not all mothers are able to breast feed and of course dads can’t! When you give your baby a massage you are actually stimulating their nervous system, which sets off a chain reaction and makes the brain produce more serotonin and less cortisol (much like what yoga or a massage does for adults.) As a result your baby’s heart rate and breathing slow down and they become more relaxed. So it’s a great way for you both to feel more connected, loved up and peaceful – and for baby to reap the health benefits as well as having calm happy parents.
Set the mood
Giving your baby a massage is as simple as it is enjoyable, so make sure that the room is warm, quiet and the light is not too bright. Pick a time when baby is relaxed but alert, because if you try to massage a fussy, tired baby you may over-stimulate them. Make sure baby has been fed and you’ve changed their nappy. A great time is after you’ve bathed them in Sleepytime Bath as the lavender and geranium oils also have a calming effect that helps to relieve stress.
Remove any jewellery that might catch or scratch. And you can use Baby Moisturiser that also has lavender and geranium oil, blended with olive, jojoba and coconut oils and shea butter. Strip baby down to just a diaper and lay them face up on a towel. Make sure your hands are warm, then take a moment and take a few deep breaths before you begin, tuning in to your breath and your heart energy.
Feet and legs
Start at the feet, which are a slightly less sensitive area for baby. Place the pad of your thumb on the sole of their foot and massage in small clockwise circles. Holding their foot, sweep your thumb upwards from the heel to the toes, then gently massage each toe lightly. Gently but firmly, wrap your hands around baby’s leg and glide your hands one at a time from the ankle to the thigh and back down. Do this a few times and then repeat on the other leg.
Massaging the tummy is a lovely way to help baby feel safe and secure, as well as helping with tummy troubles such as colic and constipation.
Place your hands at the level of your baby’s navel. In a clockwise motion, rub your fingertips firmly but gently over the tummy.
A popular technique is the ‘I LOVE U’ technique.
To do this:
– Start with your right hand on the left side of your baby’s tummy (your right) and make a single downward stroke (the I)
– Make a backward, sideways ‘L’, going from your baby’s right to left side.
– Make an upside down ‘U’, going from your baby’s lower right side, up, across and down the left side of the baby’s tummy.
Say the words ‘I love you’ as you go through the strokes. Repeat a few times as long as baby is still settled. To help relieve wind, bend both knees up to the tummy and hold for about 30 seconds before releasing. Repeat a few times.
If baby is sensitive on the chest just hold your hands over the heart and connect with each other’s energy. Massaging the chest can help relieve congestion, with both hands at the centre of the chest, stroke them out to the sides as if you were gently smoothing out sand, glide your hands down, then around, then they should meet in the centre again.
It can be surprising how much tension a baby can hold in their shoulders and arms. Gently roll your baby’s arm between your hands, starting at the shoulder and moving down to the wrist. Using the pads of your thumbs gently open their hand, roll each tiny finger between your index finger and thumb, then stroke the top of their hand from the wrist to the fingertips. Repeat on the other arm.
Massaging the face can help relax tension caused by sucking, crying and with the discomfort of teething. Babies love to mirror your movements and expressions. It is a lovely moment to make eye contact and have a happy time together, even making soft ‘ahhhhhh’ sounds together. Make small circles along the jaw with your fingertips. Join fingers or thumbs gently between the eyebrows and trace a ‘sweet heart’ over the forehead, down the sides of the face meeting at the chin. Repeat a few times.
Massage on the back can encourage strengthening of the neck, shoulders and arms, as baby lifts their head; as well as having a calming and relaxing effect. There are many ways to position your baby to encourage them to enjoy being on their front. This may be best on your lap or cradled in one arm if the baby is very young. With baby lying on their front, start at the top of the back, at a right angle to the spine. Move your hand back and forth, in opposite directions, going down the back to the buttocks, then up to the shoulders and back down again. Then swoop your hand from their neck all the way down to their feet.
Skin on skin
Finish with some skin to skin contact – this is great for all babies. Touch is so healing and nourishing for us all – for older babies it’s a great way to introduce what a gentle loving touch is and feels like, so we can remind them when they get a bit boisterous and grabby! Remember to stay connected to your breath throughout so that it’s an enjoyable ritual for you both, and always conclude the massage if baby is over-stimulated or upset. Remember you can always try again another time. Peace, love and snuggles!
Nikki Ralston has been working with the human body for over 15 years. She devised the Ralston Method, which blends together elements of hatha, vinyasa, precision alignment and mindfulness teachings. She is also the owner of Urban Ashram in Auckland.
The early stages of parenting a newborn are extremely physical and emotionally draining. During this time, your wellbeing is just as important to your baby’s growth and development as it was during your pregnancy.
For some mothers, postnatal hormones create a sense of euphoria and a surge of energy that can dramatically subside in the first week. Being aware of this can help you manage your time and energy better, and confirms that what you are going through is normal.
I recommend four key strategies for managing this time:
However, if you are without help, try to rest when your baby sleeps. Resist falling into the trap of ‘I’ll just do the washing/mop the floors, etc.’ and then have a lie down — in the first few weeks there is no guarantee how long your baby will sleep. Rest first, chores second. A mini-nap can do wonders to replenish energy
2. Worry less about doing things the ‘right’ way
Don’t worry about doing things the ‘right’ way. Practice, trial and error, and don’t expect perfection from yourself or your baby. Try not to feel guilty if sometimes you get it wrong or think you have got it wrong — remember there is no right or wrong way to parent.
Besides, babies are endlessly forgiving! The fewer expectations you place on yourself — and your baby — the better your experience will be.
The biggest change will be the pace at which you live — everything now takes longer than you expect. Gone are the days when just hopping in the car and driving to the shops takes 20 minutes — it will take you all that time just to get into the car!
Remember what doesn’t get done today can always wait until tomorrow.
Try not to be over-ambitious. And don’t feel beholden to arrangements. I believe it is always a new mother’s prerogative to change her mind. Parenting isn’t about achievement — it’s not a competition!
3. Ask for and accept offers of help
It is not a failure to ask for help — on the contrary, it demonstrates that you know your limits and are able to respect them.
Your partner can be your greatest ally. Remind yourself that he or she is learning along the way and that this is new territory for both of you. It is inevitable that you are both feeling sensitive, insecure and, as a result, are judging yourself and each other. Both of you anxious to do the right thing and fearful of failure.
Most partners want to be involved but feel they simply don’t know how to help. To them, it may seem you are constantly occupied with parenting tasks that cannot be outsourced so easily.
4. Pay attention to your feelings
Showing your emotions, being upset and feeling worn out are all relevant in building your relationship with your newborn and finding your way together. It’s also okay to admit that when your baby is crying and inconsolable, you might not feel in a loving or nurturing mood. Bonding isn’t just about the good times and the cuddles — it’s also about navigating your way through the tough times.
And here’s some more advice I have to help you look after yourself:
Adopt an ‘It’s Okay’ mantra
I always knew that I would be using cloth nappies or at least give them a try - as don't you think they look delicious!! I really liked the idea of soft natural fabric against my babies skin instead of scratchy paper. But I do admit I wasn't particularly looking forward to washing the little buggers... ;)
It doesn't have to be daunting though and the best advice I got given was 'just start with one cloth nappy a day!' Well that was an eye opener - it doesn't have to be all or nothing!
With that in mind I bought 12 Totsbots Easyfits and I started introducing them when our little girl was around 12 weeks. And yes, one cloth nappy at a time.
Soon I found that I really loved using them and within a few weeks I fully switched over. They were so easy to use (just like a normal nappy!) and I really liked the fact that I was saving nappies from ending up in landfill.
I am a really big fan of Totsbots Easyfit nappies and here is why:
The latest Easyfit has an all-new unique layered fabric, Binky. It features an awesomely absorbent Bamboo & Cotton blend on the upper side which is nice and natural next to Bubba’s skin. The supersoft, fast-drying Minky is tucked away on the lower side, and does a very good job of storing away all the wetness.
The Easyfit is a very trim fitting cloth nappy that is very easy to use, especially when you are out and about. They are the ultimate in convenience and dry quickly.
Ones size fits all so no need to buy different sizes (they adjust with poppers).
And as for washing the nappies? I started using a one way liner. It protects your babies bottom by keeping it dry and it will protect your nappy from staining especially from the dreaded bright yellow breastfed poo! It also makes getting rid of poo easier, not to be underestimated ;).
I used to rinse my nappies, spin them in the washing machine and then wash them all together at the end of the day. Once you get the hang of it, it's very easy. And if you keep in mind that you don't have to use them all the time, every day, it really takes the pressure off!
All in all I cannot recommend the Easyfits highly enough and I really enjoyed using them. Because it's cloth nappy week this week you can now snap them up for only a fraction of the normal price!
Visit www.nappydays.co.nz for amazing discounts!!
Kim is the owner of SNUGBAGS - Merino for Kids. Together with her partner James and their little girl Neeva Rose, she lives in a little beach town called Piha on the West Coast in New Zealand. They love surfing, building sandcastles and all things natural and organic.