Baby Essentials

Baby essentials to survive the winter cold season

Winter is coming (*Jon Snow voice*)!!   No seriously….white walkers aren’t about to invade the realm of the free folk, but nonetheless, it’s getting cold in Sydney, and Winter with bubbas is hard work!!  Little Dash has already caught his second bug of the season and daycare seems to be a never ending germ factory!!

A sick and coughing bubba can mean sleepless nights for both babies and parents!!  These are a few tips to help your bubba (and you!) get through the dreaded cold and flu season!!

A good vaporiser –  We’ve previously bought a cheap vaporiser from the chemist for when Dash gets sick, but I find it hard to clean, and also that it makes the whole room damp!!  This vaporiser from Lime Tree Kids, diffuses oils, but also acts as a humidifier and air purifier, and doesn’t leave the room soaking wet like other vaporisers do!!  I find this really helps when Dash has a cold and it seems to stop him from waking so regularly!  We bought the purple colour, and it looks fantastic as a night light also!!

Badger Chest Balm this chest rub is an all natural chest rub with ingredients including tee tree oil and peppermint to help unblock little noses….it contains no artificial or harsh ingredients and helps little Dashy sleep when he has a cold!!

Baby Probiotics!!  Probiotics are linked with immune system health!!  I’ll be including some babybiotics in Dash’s milk to help him ward off more bugs!!

Sneaking even more veggies into dinner!!  I have an ongoing battle trying to get Dash to eat vegetables!!  Our paediatrician suggested pureeing extra veggies like pumpkin/carrot/zucchini etc, and mixing it in with tomato based pasta sauces…this way he can’t even see the lumps to pick them out!!  So far it’s working a treat!!

Do you have any other tips for dealing with baby cold and flu’s?  I would love to hear them!

what i learned in 2015

A few small things i’ve learned in 2015

Did you spend time making new years resolutions?  This year I decided that before setting more goals that I’d take some time to reflect on 2015.  It’s been a massive year…Dash is now 15 months old, I’ve taken on a new job, got through more of my Masters degree, done some more travel and spent time expanding Pop Therapy…but what is it that I’ve learned from these things?  Here are a few of my rants below!!

1)  I can never be in control of everything….but that’s ok.  The house will never stay perfectly clean, I will never have everything on my “to do” list done, no matter how many times I go to Coles, I’m probably still out of milk, and/or paper towels,  I wanted to go to the gym but I caught a cold, then Dash caught a cold, then Dash cried, then I cried, and the list goes on…but that’s ok.  I spend a good deal of my life agonising over the small things, when really, life is pretty good.

jem 2

2)  Mindfulness is a powerful tool to unhook from worries and anxiety provoking thoughts…it’s easy to learn, practice and integrate into your daily life….finding an activity that helps you to experience flow is a great way to become more connected with the present and engage in mindful awareness.

3)  Being a parent is !@#$ing hard, but seeing Dash’s happy little face and hearing his sweet little voice is enough to melt my heart (even if he did just mash bolognese sauce into my hair and whizz all over the floor!!).  Nonetheless, it takes time to adjust to motherhood, and anyone who tells you it’s a breeze, would be lying!!

4)  Connections with others matter more than everything else.  I’m lucky to have some amazing friends and a truly wonderful husband in my life….without people we care about to share our experiences with, nothing is as special.

5)  If you’re attempting DIY fake tan application (in my case, if you’re looking to go from “translucent”, to “fair”)…use a tanning glove!!  Who knew these things even existed!?  They’re about $5, and would have saved me many a streak and uneven application….a tan glove!!?  who knew!?

6)  Having turned 30 this year, there’s no point in trying to be someone I’m not….be true to yourself, and life is a hell of a lot easier.

7)  I bought this sparkling water machine for my husband Lachy, and who knew how wonderful sparkling water on tap could be!?

8)  Upon becoming a parent, my hobbies and interests went from: guitar, yoga, travel…to: sleep, being able to eat an entire meal without interruption, grocery shopping without a baby etc.  The point of this is that I’m realising how important it is to do the things you care about, even though life is busy.  Doing things you’re passionate about is important for wellbeing, and for our sense of self.

9) I’m all for healthy eating, but these cookies are the bomb

What did you learn in 2015?  Do any of these resonate with you?  The cookies!?

Pop

Pop Therapy Careers – Nanny2U

Pop Therapy careers is a new addition to the blog…I’ll be interviewing some fantastic people who are smashing it with their respective careers, and finding out their tips, advice and super career secrets!!

Shannon is a super-mum of three children under three, who took a risk to give up a lucrative corporate career as an HR manager, to start her own business; Nanny2U.

After deciding to undergo IVF with a sperm donor at the age of 38, Shannon is now the mother of twins aged 2.5 and a 4 year old boy.

I sat down with Shannon for a coffee and a Croque Monsieur, to talk about how she went about starting a successful business whilst looking after three small kids…. I also took the opportunity to find out her secret time saving parenting hacks, and tips for time management when you have very little time!!

What made you decide to start a business?

I decided to start the business when I was looking for a nanny for a 1/2 day each week, to look after my own kids, when my twins were about 6 months old and I needed some time out….and I realised just how hard it is to find a nanny!!  I also knew that I was being made redundant from my HR role after 14 years of employment.  I have a background in childcare and HR, which helped me to know what to look for in a nanny, and to how to ask the right questions to make sure they’re the right fit for the role.

How did you get started with the business, and did you need help or advice?

I was looking for ideas (whilst walking round the block with the twins for the 50th time!!) for a business.  I got some advice from a fantastic accountant on things like setting up an ABN and the financial side of things.  She also introduced me to a lawyer to develop our business terms and conditions.  I also used an online mothers group, North Shore Mums, where I was able to find help with everything from the logo to the website.

What does Nanny2U do?

Nanny2U is a nannying agency that specialise in finding nannies for families with twins and multiples, as well as for single children.  A lot of our business comes from mums going back to work, and we find we often have mums looking for part time nannies.  We also provide services for twins and newborns where a nanny can complete overnight shifts to assist with newborn care.  I interview all the nannies myself, and check their credentials including working with children checks, first aid and reference checks.  All the nannies I take on are experienced and reliable.

Do you need to work full time to run the business?

Some weeks I find I end up working close to full time hours, but find that running my own business allows me to work flexible hours.  I often reply to emails at night time when the kids are sleeping, which allows me to spend time with the kids during the day.

How do you maintain work-life balance?

I’m lucky to have the support of my mum and dad who live around the corner, who help with looking after my kids when I need help.  I also have other relatives who can help so that I can spend time with friends and have a break or some time out.  When I feel like I need time out, I make sure I take it.  I also try to spend one on one time with each child, to make sure they’re getting individual attention.

What are your tips for multi-tasking and staying organise with multiple children.

Routine, routine, routine!!  I find a regular routine with babies is really important in the early days, and consistency with getting up, feeding, nap times and self settling.  I found that being consistent early on helped all three kids to get into a good routine early on.  We also have a chart on the wall with the daily routine for the kids, including having breakfast, putting shoes on etc…and they get a sticker when they get it right.  My other biggest tip is not to sweat the small stuff!!  If my daughter wants to wear a tutu with socks and sandles…I don’t care…. you don’t fight the battles you can’t win, and you spend less time stressing.

Thanks for the great tips Shannon!!  If you’re looking for a nanny in Sydney, Nanny2U is a great place to start!!

Would you start your own business?  Or are you a business owner who would like to share some tips and advice that helped you to get started?  I would love to hear from you!!

Dash Doley

Travelling Overseas with a Baby – Thailand Adventures

We booked our flights with trepidation and a mix of emotion; on the one hand, a relaxing holiday to Thailand was exactly what we needed…on the other, the fear of flying to a foreign country with a small (and feisty) baby was pretty darn terrifying!!  I am happy to say that our first overseas holiday as a family of three went extremely well (and I can’t wait to go back)!!

For those of you that read my earlier post on travelling with a baby, we’d taken Dash on several domestic flights around Australia, and all had gone swimmingly, but at the time, he was quite young (barely five weeks for his first flight!) and things were a lot simpler.  Now he is nine months old, and seriously on the move!!

Here are some of my tips for your overseas adventures with your little one!!

Flybabee jem

Getting around

Rather than bringing our usual pram, which is quite bulky, I bought the Yoyo Babyzen, which is a lightweight stroller which is small enough to store as cabin baggage when it folds up (and surprisingly easy to fold up!!).  We were able to take Dash through the airport in the stroller, which made things way easier (and freed me up for duty free shopping!!).

Mosquito Protection

I was super nervous about Dash getting bitten by mosquitoes, as Dengue Fever can be carried by mosquitoes in Thailand (but luckily in coastal areas, Mozzies aren’t so bad).  I used this citrus based mozzie repellent which studies show is just as effective as DEET, but without the harsh chemicals.  My doctor advised this was fine for a nine month old bub, but it’s always worth checking with your doctor about any insect repellents for small babies….it seemed to work, and Dash managed to stay mosquito bite free the entire time without us covering him in nasty chemicals.

Out and About in the Sun

Little Dash still needs two naps a day, or he becomes particularly feisty (he’s already a feisty guy in general!!).  I was worried he wouldn’t nap in the stroller, but luckily the lovely team at Fly Babee had sent me the new Fly Babee Sleep Easy Cover to road test.  The cover clips over your stroller (see photo below, and in the top photo!) and blocks out 97% of light!!  This meant that wherever we went, we could pop this over the stroller and Dash could have a nap distraction free!!  It’s also UV protected, which meant we could go for walks on sunny days without worrying about him getting sunburnt.  It’s 100% breathable and is made of a light mesh fabric, which means it’s nice and cool inside, and safe for baby. This also doubled as a fantastic mosquito net, which was another added bonus.  We’ve used this baby on walks, in restaurants and cafes and he goes to sleep every time – this is my new absolute favourite baby product!!!

flybabee2Little Dashy was sound asleep under his Fly Babee Sleep Easy Cover!!
Hua Hin ThailandLachy walking on the beautiful beach in Hua Hin just before sunset
Hua Hin ThailandThe gorgeous resort we stayed in – Baan Baayan at Hua Hin

The Flight

The flight from Sydney to Bangkok is 9 hours – a very long haul with a little bubba!!  Luckily, the flights turned out to be fantastic with our new Fly Babee Sleep Easy Cover, which clips over airline bassinets, and forms a small tent which blocks out 97% of light.  All the bright lights and people moving around the cabin were a massive distraction for Dash, but he was able to sleep for 6 hours with the Fly Babee (pictured below)!!  Once the cheeky little fella settled in and we covered him up, he was out like a light, and had a big sleep.  This was fantastic, as it meant Lachy and I could actually relax and watch a movie.

For awake times, I used this great teether/rusk holder, to keep Dash’s rusks from falling on the ground all the time.

Fly BabeeThat cheeky Dash slept 6 hours on the flight underneath his Fly Babee Sleep Easy Cover!!

Nappies/Wipes

Nappies and wipes were easy to find.  Tesco seems to be everywhere in Thailand, and we stocked up on Mamy Poko nappies and wipes, which seem to be Huggies of Thailand!!

Food/Sterilising

I was quite nervous about how we would feed Dash overseas, now that he is eating solids.  I decided to pack enough sachets of baby food to last the trip (this was no problems taking through customs at the airport) to save worrying about what to feed Dash – this made feeding when out and about nice and easy, and we didn’t have to stress about the risk of tummy bugs.  In addition, we also gave Dash fresh bananas every day, which he loved!!  Our doctor advised us to be safe, that it’s best to give little babies fruit that comes in a peel only (like bananas, mangoes and lychees) and to avoid anything that’s been washed in water.  By the end of the trip, we loosed up quite a bit, and he was also eating rice and bits and pieces of our meals (he even gnawed on his first chicken bone – who knew what a great teether they make!!)

I also packed a can of formula (it can be hard to find your usual brand of formula in Thailand, so it’s easiest to pack your own if you can) and a set of bottles.

For sterilising, we used Milton tablets.  I bought a plastic tub to keep in our hotel room which we could make up the Milton solution in, and bought a bottle brush and dishwashing soap to clean the bottles beforehand.  You make up the Milton solution, and can add items in over 24 hours, and items stay sterile until you remove them.  It was really handy and meant we could also easily sterilise dummies and plastic toys.  We used bottled water for Dash’s formula to be safe also.  Dash was fine the whole trip and had no tummy problems (phew!!).

Dash1

We found Thailand to be the most wonderful place to travel to with a bubba.  Travelling with baby Dash was honestly like travelling with Madonna – everywhere we went, people would come up to say hello and to give little Dash a cuddle!!  Dash loved the attention, and made so many new friends in Thailand.

We can’t wait to return to Hua Hin for our next holiday – this was truly a magical trip!!

Have you travelled overseas with your baby?  Do you have any travel tips?  I’d love to hear them!!

 

Jem's White Dress - TBags Los Angeles
Stroller - Yoyo Babyzen
Stroller/Bassinet Cover - Fly Babee
dash faded 4

Travelling with a baby

Travelling with a bubba sounds like a terrifying concept.  “Will I be blacklisted from Qantas Airlines after my baby has the meltdown to end all meltdowns,” I wonder, as I book a flight with trepidation.  Luckily since Dash was born, we’ve been able to make the most of taking him on some short holidays around Australia (and I haven’t been escorted off any planes for creating a ruckus).  Travelling with a small baby is not easy by any means, but I’m gradually improving at being organised and making sure I’m prepared! Dash has now been on 10 flights (and slept through most of them!!).  Here are a few tips I’ve picked up along the way.

dash faded high qual2 Read More…

baby Dash

How you respond to your baby can predict academic success years later

A new study by Raby et al (2014) has found that sensitive parenting, including responding to a child’s signals quickly and appropriately during the first three years of their life can lead to increased academic performance and better outcomes, even into the child’s 20’s and 30’s.

Researcher’s observed parents and babies during the first three years of the babies’ lives.  Following this, standardised academic tests were administered.  Results showed that the children who received sensitive parenting, showed increased academic performance.

This highlights the importance of interactions between parents and babies in the early years of their childhood!!

What’s your parenting style?

narcissism

New study claims parents may contribute to narcissism in children

Everyone seems to be talking about a new study by Brummelman et al (2015), conducted in the Netherlands, which showed that children who are told that they are special and superior to other children are more likely to become narcissists.  In turn, parents of narcissistic children may over-value the abilities of their children and make claims about the children’s abilities that may not be true.

The study calls for parental training, to encourage parents to develop healthy self esteem in children through parental warmth and encouragement, rather than inflating the children’s egos!!  For example, children who are frequently told they are loved are more likely to have high self esteem, but not narcissism.

The researchers state:

“People with high self-esteem think they’re as good as others, whereas narcissists think they’re better than others”

Narcissism has it’s roots in genetics and temperamental traits, but this study shows that narcism may also be shaped by early socialisation experiences.

With this in mind, how do you foster healthy self esteem in your kids?  Here are a few of my suggestions!!!

  • Provide praise for specific accomplishments and achievements, such as working hard on a project or practising a skill
  • Reinforce task mastery rather than task outcome – for example, if your child practises tennis every week but loses his game on the weekend, reinforce the process of mastering the skill of the game through each practice session, more so than the outcome of the game
  • Reward your child for prosocial behaviour such as sharing or helping others
  • Model fairness through your own behaviour

What would you try?

Dash Doley

Adjusting to Motherhood

Last September Lachy and I become proud parents to Dashiel Hunter Doley.  I still feel so lucky to have such a beautiful baby!  Although, for any new mum, adjusting to the pressures of looking after a newborn is not easy.  I thought today I’d write about some of the things that have helped me to feel more in control again.

1)  Exercise – get out and about with the pram
One of the best things you can do for your mental health is a walk every day.  Now that you’re attached at the hip to a small child, getting to the gym won’t be so easy.  A walk with the pram is wonderful for breaking up the monotony of being house bound, clears the head, helps get bub to sleep and is great for fitness.

2)  Get out of the house every day
Being home all day is incredibly isolating, especially when previously easy tasks like tidying up or popping to the shops are so much more difficult.  I found that making an effort to go out somewhere every day makes a massive difference – whether it be a coffee or lunch with a friend or just going out for a hair appointment, doctor’s appointment, trip to the shops or whatever….whilst it might take me a long time to get out the door, I feel so much better for doing so.

3)  Spend some time reconnecting with things you enjoy
I’ve made a conscious effort to try and do things like pick up my guitar, to try and bake something new and to get back into writing blog posts.  Some days it might take forever to do any one of those things but even 20 minutes of doing something you enjoy while baby is sleeping is truly wonderful.
4) Join a new mothers group
I’ve actually really enjoyed joining a mothers group – it’s fantastic to be able to speak to mothers going through the same things at the same time and to ask all those poop related questions you’re too embarrassed to discuss with your non-mother friends.
5)  Accept that some days things will be out of your control
I think I really struggled with not being able to have control over my day.  There are those days where the baby does not want to stop crying or does not want to go to sleep where you just can’t get anything done.  I’m gradually learning that at this point in my life, my priority needs to be Dash.  It all pays off when I see him smile!!
6)  Enlist help!
We’ve started using a cleaner once a fortnight and I have to say it has been such a big help!  I honestly don’t know how I would get to all the housework otherwise.  Two hours a fortnight has made a massive difference.  Otherwise asking for help from friends or family to help out when you’re having a rough day is really important!!  A friend recently delivered me some home cooked meals, and it was the best gift I could have been given!!
7)  Make time to enjoy your maternity leave!
I’m on a mission to make sure I get the most out of my maternity leave by doing activities I won’t be able to do once I’m back at work, like mum and bubs movies, and guided art tours at the museum.  It’s a great way to spend time with your bub and with other mums.
Motherhood is a massive adjustment, but like all things in life, it gets easier with time….and the rewards are absolutely wonderful!!
nursery

Nursery Makeover

The most exciting part of moving into our new home has been setting up the nursery!!  With only a few days until our little one arrives, we’ve just added the finishing touches to his new room.  After many months of obsessive nesting, everything is finally ready to go…although my poor VISA card is a little worse for wear!!

Now we just need the baby!!

When we moved in, the paint was a drab half duck egg blue, half slightly pink combination.  After some narrowly avoided paint colour arguments in Bunnings, we decided on Dulux Shimmer Quarter.  This is now my favourite room in the house!!
We wall mounted some of our favourite Ikea Kallax shelves to store all his new toys and books.
My favourite purchase would have to be these gorgeous baby animals prints by the animal print shop.  
I wanted to find some grey chevron curtains but couldn’t find them anywhere in Sydney, so I ordered them to be custom made from Etsy, and they turned out beautifully!!
Chair – Freedom 
Change Table – Cocoon
Bassinet – Cocoon
Rug – Ikea
Side Table – Replica
Sock Monkey – Matt Blatt
Pram – iCandy
Mobile – Mamas and Papas
Zebra Print and baby animal prints – The Animal Print Shop 
Hang it all – Replica