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We are getting there…

We are getting there…

So it’s been 13 weeks since our little man surprised us, and over this time it has been some of the most joyous and also challenging times of our lives. Obvious joy, love and immeasurable happiness in copius amounts. He has started smiling recently, and this sky rockets the love to a whole new level. Seeing him react to your interactions is the true definition of love, and makes being a parent the most rewarding thing in the world.

We have also experienced lots of challenges as we have navigated the world of colic, reflux and all things gassy. As readers would know, we have tried everything. I mean everything. To no avail, the medications and interventions have not helped ease Hudson’s discomfort, and we have resigned ourselves to the fact that time will simply be the factor. I have to say that whilst it’s been hard knowing that there isn’t a great deal we can do to both ease Hudson’s discomfort, and make time go faster, it has been overwhelming to receive so many messages of support from so many parents who have found themselves in similar situations. It’s hard to admit at times, that you not only want things to be better for your child, but also for yourself. I know that in order to be a good Mum, I need to feel good and rested, and that is very hard when you have a newborn with colic, and a toddler on the move.

That said, we are getting there. We have been giving Hudson bottles of expressed milk with a thickener at night and this seems to be helping. Whilst this means that it takes longer (after feeding and settling, I then need to express again), the time spent doing this means that we get more time to sleep afterwards. We’ve also been putting him to sleep on his tummy to settle, and then turning him over. This is very hard and stressful, as I’m always trying to ensure that his sleep space is SIDS safe. He is still pretty up and down, and with every few good nights, he also has his fair share of bad. It gives me hope however to know that he CAN do it, and like all things parenting, once you observe your child doing something, you know that inevitably, they will do it again.

Screenshot 2014-08-07 14.08.52

Many people have said that they feel it is harder having your second child suffer with colic, but in many ways, I’m thankful that it has been in this order. After already having a child, I”m not stressing about the things that seem overwhelming as a first time parent. I know how to be a Mum (well I try to be), and I’ve already been through the times when you doubt yourself and lose your confidence. This time around, I’m not upset, I’m just tired. A confident tired. Well, an experienced tired. It means that I have a bit of experience behind me, to help me through the tough times when I doubt myself. It means that I can draw on those times when I felt like what I was doing wasn’t working, and then, miraculously something clicks. Hopefully, what feels like a whole heap of hoop jumping will pay off soon, and he will have more better nights than bad.

In the mean time, we just keep plugging away. Thanks for the messages of support, and to all the parents who have dealt with colic and have given me advice and suggestions. You are not only helping Hudson, you are helping my whole family. It’s awesome to know that what ever you are going through, there is another Mum, somewhere who is feeling and experiencing the same thing.

kate

A new perspective for Mums.

A new perspective for Mums.

Screen Shot 2013-11-07 at 12.51.17 PMThis video has been doing the rounds on social media this week. It depicts a group of Mums sharing their feelings about being a parent. Most of them share various insights and mixed feelings of guilt and frustration. They are worried that they are not doing a good job. They feel as though they are not patient enough, spend too much time doing ‘other things’, and just give a really honest insight into the roller coaster ride that is motherhood.  They generally beat up on themselves, as most Mums too, and question whether or not they are doing a good job for their kids.

Cue their children. The creators of video simultaneously interview each of their kids and ask them how they feel about their Mothers. The Mums are then invited to spend a moment listening to the words of their children. Beautiful, loving words that make each of them smile and cry.

Do yourselves a favour. If you are a Mum and like me, question from time to time, whether you are doing the right thing by your kids, then this video may help give you a little reminder. We are all doing our best. We are all giving our most. Day in day out. And whether or not, your kids tell you that they love and appreciate everything you do for them, chances are…they will all feel like this….

You can view the original article here. A big thanks to Beth from Baby Mac for sharing this with her readers. This Mum really appreciated it.

kate

R U Ready for kids? After this, maybe not!

R U Ready for kids? After this, maybe not!

1226500912619A very dear and wise friend of mine (and amazing mother of two) Clara, posted this fantastic article on Facebook today. ‘Are you ready to have kids? After you read this…maybe not’ is a hilarious article designed to give non parents an insight into the daily rituals of being a Mum and Dad. Those of us who have taken the leap of faith can also read this article with a new found sense of wisdom…and a little giggle.

Do yourself a favour this Saturday and take a look. If you are thinking of having children, it will open your eyes to say the least. If you have already had them then it will give you a reason to smile! Question number ten is my favourite…

To view the article, visit news.com.au here.

kate

 

 

 

 

*The image in this post is linked to its original source.

Friday Finds: Finding the ‘right’ words

Friday Finds: Finding the ‘right’ words

This week’s Friday Find is more a chance for me to have a bit of a whinge than anything else (sorry). It’s not about a great product or cool gadget that I have found. This week rather, I need to voice my frustration about something that I have not found….

New Mums and Dads everywhere will tell of their need for advice and guidance for all things parenting. Whether it be sleep, breast feeding, sickness or safety, new parents everywhere seek advice to help them make the best choices when it comes to their bubbas. Along the way, you are faced with a vast variety of different theories, suggestions and practices. No one seems to agree. I get it…all babies are different, and therefore cannot follow one set of guidelines. To be honest, I’m not someone who ever really searched for a regime or routine to help me through each minute of the day. In my hospital and in my Mothers Group, we were almost ‘scared’ away from these ideals, and names such as Tizzie Hall were flouted as ‘unrealistic’ and ‘unnatural’. It’s not in my nature to stick to a strict schedule, but then there are also people who need such schedules to keep themselves sane. I myself, have tended to look for advice, ideas and suggestions and then take from them what made sense to me. Robyn Parker’s ‘Baby Love’ was recommended to me from the beginning, and this book gave me confidence that I was doing the right thing.

I actually saw Tizzie Hall on the Today show here in Australia the other morning. She was asked why parents find putting baby to sleep so hard. She said that it isn’t hard, it’s actually easy. It’s just that we are making the wrong decisions. I was flabbergasted when I heard her speak this way. I get that there are a few simple rules that help babies sleep, but labelling the process as ‘easy’ in my view over simplifies the process. For those of us who are new to the game of being Mums and Dads, its not easy. It’s hard. Really hard. Dan and I have been really lucky to have a good sleeper in Ella, but we know people who pull their hair out in trying to get their baby to sleep. No matter whether or not you rock, pat or control cry, the endless information makes the whole process so overwhelming. Just sifting though the information itself is hard.

Don’t get me wrong. For many Mums and Dads, her views work. If they work and give you confidence then fantastic. Its just that after being a Mum for eight months, I’ve come to think that there is so much information out there for new parents, it is no wonder we all feel like we are going batty from time to time. My friends and I have often commented on the lack of continuity and agreement in all things ‘parenting’. Whether it be about how much sleep a baby should get, when to start solids or what foods a baby should eat and when, parents are getting bombarded with so much information that is often contradictory and confusing. I was talking with a friend a few months back about the fact that when you search the net, there WILL be a website somewhere that tells you what you want to read. Not eating at 6 months? Don’t worry. On the other hand, most research now says you should have your child eating solids from around four months. When you do find your baby is ready to eat, the mismatch of information about what foods to eat and when is unbelievable! Furthermore, many new Mums talk about their experiences in hospital in trying to learn to breast feed. With each new shift, a new nurse approaches you with a new theory on how to do it. Most give their advice with a caring outlook, but there are also some who tell you that what you are doing is wrong and you should change your whole approach. This would be fine if the next nurse agreed!

I guess the thing is, you don’t know who to believe and when. We all are just trying to survive and be good parents. I guess I should just stop whinging and get used to the idea of conflicting advice. Heaven knows that this is only the beginning! Thank god for friends and Mothers Groups. The best advice seems to come from those who have been through it, the good and the bad. Then again they have all had different experiences, challenges and successes!

I can’t wait for Ella to be able to tell me what she wants herself. Then again, it will probably be the complete opposite of what she should be doing. I guess when it comes down to it, the advice to ‘stick with your gut’ really makes sense. I just wish that I always knew what my gut was telling me, so I could do it!

Apologies for my whinging. It’s over now.

*Images are linked to their original source.

Hitting the Bottle

Hitting the Bottle

In four weeks I’m going back to work. I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone. It seriously feels like yesterday that I was finishing my last day of school and getting beautiful gifts off the children, parents and teachers. I was lucky enough to finish school at the end of last year (2011), and so it really felt as though I was just going on another set of summer holidays. It wasn’t really until school went back this year, that I found it really bizarre. Since then, time has flown. The first three months are a bit of shell shock, and it takes a while to find your feet and then you get to really enjoy everything that being a Mum has to offer.

I’ve discovered that being a Mum means getting used to change. Nothing ever stays the same for very long. You need to get used to being flexible and rolling with the punches. It’s funny because in the beginning, I found breast feeding overwhelming and challenging. Like most new Mums who decide to breast feed, getting used to a new function for these two things that have been a part of your body for 33 years is a little bizarre. It takes a lot of patience, persistence and sometimes, a lot of pain. I was lucky enough to work through my battles pretty quickly and came to love breast feeding after a few weeks. Although breast feeding means that you really are under the pump (excuse the pun) 24/7, breast feeding has its benefits: its free, its portable, its convenient, no sterilising needed, nor warming of any bottles. Before I had Ella, I was completely open minded about feeding. I thought I would give it a go, and if it worked…great. If not, then I new there were other options. So many mums feel such pressure to persist with breast feeding, even when they are going through hell with mastitis, blocked ducts (this was my vice), lack of supply, poor attachment etc. etc. It is so hard and can be made worse by the constant pressure by society. I personally believe that every mum just does their best. What ever they choose, it should be up to them. For me, I was lucky enough to achieve the ability to breast feed relatively quickly and whilst I found it exhausting, through the months I have developed a love of this time with my beautiful girl.

Like all things though as soon as you get used to it, something changes.  I had been thinking about my transition back to work and what we would do when I went back. It’s funny, before Ella was born I thought that she would be exclusively bottle fed by then, but now that I am six months in, things have changed. In the past few months I have been going into work to help out from time to time. Ella has had several bottles since she was born, for various reasons: medical appointments, hair appointments :-), date night etc. Most of these times Ella has taken to the bottle pretty well. However there was one day things changed. My Mum had been minding Ella and she would not take the bottle. Simply refused. After an hour of persisting, my Mum called me to come home. Let’s just say that for my Mum (a nurse) to call me, this was saying something. I arrived to find a sad little baby, slumped over my Mum’s shoulder and an equally distressed Nanna. It was heart breaking. She had almost passed out from crying so much. I felt like the worst Mother in the world. I didn’t want to give up breast feeding, but this just wasn’t helping Ella.

It was after this day that I committed to weaning Ella towards co-feeding. After speaking with my Mum and friends, my husband and I decided that it was kinder to Ella to gradually get her used to bottle feeding, so that when I returned to work, she would be fine. I guess my problem was that I knew I was never very good at expressing and the thought of trying to do this whilst working in a Primary School was not a very practical option. I knew that bottles for Ella meant formula and this was fine. I did lots of reading (probably too much) about the advantages of co-feeding for working mothers. I didn’t want to give up breast feeding both for Ella and myself and to be honest,  I hand’t realise that this process was possible. I found a great schedule to help me work towards breast feeding in the morning and evening, with bottles during the day. This schedule (BabyLove) was gradual and something that I thought I could do over a number of weeks, to get us both used to it. Currently I’m in the middle of starting two bottles a day, and Ella is doing fine. So am I.

It’s funny that the transition from breast feeding, to bottle feeding, or in our case both has been something that I have found really hard. Not so much from the physical side, but the emotional one. I know that at heart I am a very emotional person, but whilst my obstacles have not been greatly physical in terms of soreness etc. , the challenge of taking the step towards moving my baby away from something that I now love has been really hard. I know there are so many Mums who struggle with so many different facets of feeding, its endless. I know in the end that I am doing the right thing for my baby. Whilst I would love to stay with her each day, I’m also looking forward to working part time and returning to a job I love. She will be better for it and so will I. Include her Dad in that equation too. I’m sure that there are so many Mums and Dads in the same position. We all just need to stick together and do what’s best for our babies and our own sanity.

Wish us luck xxx

Rolley Polley Ella

Rolley Polley Ella

Today Ella rolled over for the first time! From front to back…this is a milestone that many Mums and Dads wait for for weeks on end! It was so exciting to see the look on her face, she didn’t quite know what to think! A little frightened of the sensation and a sense of falling that she had never experienced before! When we were taking our ‘parenting’ class, we learned a fascinating fact about the development of skills in children – children learn skills in a sequential order from the head down to their feet. I had never thought about development in this way before. First they learn to control their eyes – to fix their gaze and adjust their focus on familiar and unfamiliar objects. Then their development flows onto controlling their mouths, neck, arms and hands, sitting up and finally their feet where they crawl and eventually walk! I am so excited to see how Ella develops over the coming months and how her expressions show her delight as she masters new skills. I’ve been told that this can also bring on some frustration in the form of major hissy fits as she tries, but often fails, to repeat this newly found skill. I’m sure that she will give us an insight into how she will crack it in the future (flash forward to supermarket aisles and shopping centre tantrums).

I must admit though that as I write this, I am looking around our house at all of the ‘child proofing’ that needs to be done. I wonder how far we should go with this and whether or not we will consider everything! There are obvious hazards like power points, cleaning products etc, but what do we do about furniture items such as low coffee tables and floor lamps? I guess this is something that we will take in our stride and just ensure that we stay on our toes….at least until she is on hers!

Welcome to our ‘Happy Ella After’ Blog

Welcome to our ‘Happy Ella After’ Blog

On the 26th Februrary 2012, my husband Daniel and I became the proud parents of our beautiful baby girl, Ella Grace. It was an instinctive thing that we immediately reached for the camera to document this amazing moment in our lives. Within seconds, our baby girl was featured in many photographs with her tired but amazed parents looking at her adoringly. Since that moment in time, we have found ourselves taking photos endlessly. Whether it be on our camera, iPhone or iPad, the ability to capture her first smiles, blue eyes and cheeky grin has been something that has brought us much joy.

In my world at the moment, it seems that babies are everywhere. When I mean everywhere, I mean that Daniel and I counted twenty friends who were pregnant and expecting their first or second children in the first half of 2012. Incredibly, this means that we have been blessed with people who are sharing similar highs and lows, joys and struggles as we tackle the challenge of learning to be a Mum and Dad. It still makes me laugh to think that we are parents. Parents of who we think (of course), is the most gorgeous little girl on the planet. Taking photos and videos of her growing and developing is something that we hope will help us to enjoy each and every moment, as well as keep her tiny and cute for maybe just that little bit longer.

Sharing these photos with our family and friends has also been something that we have both enjoyed immensely. Whether it be via email, Facebook or Instagram, being able to instantly share these happy memories with the people we love only makes this time more amazing. This world that our baby girl is going to grow up in is so incredibly different from the one that we knew as young children in so many ways. Digital cameras mean that we can capture that perfect shot, and share it within seconds, with anyone, anywhere! I was at my Mum’s the other day and looked at the vast array of photo albums that adorn the study walls. It amazed me to think that I haven’t placed a photo in an album in over ten years. The last complete album that I have was for my wedding, and that was made by our photographer. To think that my Mum spent so much time developing photos and placing them lovingly in albums, many with captions to remember the moment. It makes me a little sad to think that we do not do this anymore. To add to this, last week my iPhoto library on my Mac crashed. Thousands of photos could have been lost (and believe me, they have been in the past), and if it wasn’t for my back up, then Ella’s first few months could have been wiped out.

This made me think about making sure that I document this time in a way that is safe, so that we and her can look back over these amazing months. A friend recently asked me If I had thought about creating a blog to do just this, with the hope that one day, Ella might write her own posts to add to mine. I thought this was a great idea, and given that I have blogged about technology in education for a while, I thought that this something that I would love to do. Not only capture photos in time, but also stories that other people might find familiar and can relate to. It has been the support of great family and friends that has helped us through this challenging yet amazing time. I hope that this blog can help us to share the amazing moments in time that we have each day with our baby girl. Hopefully one day she can read over this and know how much we love her, more than we ever thought possible.

A special thanks goes to Ellie @ Pitter Patter Portraits for her amazing photos of our beautiful girl….