Ways to help a new mum

Motherhood

As a first time mum and new mum, I did not realise the impact of friends and family wanting to visit. Whilst their intentions were kind hearted, the visits often left me physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted. I found it very hard to say no to visitors and I also thought if I said no to visits from friends and family, that I would be seen as rude and not coping or adjusting to new family life. In hindsight these were all silly thoughts and knowing what I know now, it is absolutely ok to say no to visits if you choose or need to.

It is a lot – Between juggling your new routine, learning the new habits of your new bub, adjusting to your milk coming in, taking care of your new baby, feeding with bleeding or cracked nipples, eager visitors, stitches and trying to also recover from the birth! So much has and is happening to your body!

Family and friends would often ask “how is the baby sleeping?”, “is the baby eating well?”, “is the baby settling in to its new routine?”, “can I hold and give the baby a cuddle?” but no one asks the mothers these same questions if they are sleeping, if they are ok or if they need a cuddle.

Here are some tips of mine for helping a new mother:

1. Limit your visiting time

I remember having a friend visit who stayed for ages and despite dropping so many hints, I could not get rid of them. I felt so bad but after a few hours, I had to ask them to kindly leave so that I could sleep as I had been up pretty much the whole night. I was breastfeeding, pumping, topping up, washing and sterilising too.

When visiting a new mother, find a time which suits the mother for a visit. Never just turn up as it is very overwhelming, disruptive and the family may be trying to catch up on some sleep. New mother’s are busy and fatigued so if you are so lucky enough to have been given the go ahead for a visit, limit your visiting time. Personally, I found that 30 minutes was a good time frame as there are so many visitors throughout the day.

And… please, please, please do not visit if you are even slightly feeling unwell.

2. Please help

If you have some time when visiting, offer to help the mother. Sometimes it is easier to be proactive rather asking if the mother needs help as most of the time she will reply that no help is needed. I remember constantly having to make tea for visitors and then collecting up and cleaning all the cups when they left in my exhausted state. The best visitors I had were the ones who were proactive, asked if I needed any help and made me a cuppa. Did I need any help? HECK YES! It was also so nice to have enjoyed a hot cup of tea which was very rare in those first months and not having to feel like I had to entertain our visitors.

The family might also need some laundry done, the plants watered, the dog walked, clothes folded and put away, stacking/unstacking the dishwasher, getting some groceries, gardening, vacuuming, refilling the nursery goods like the wipes dispenser, taking out the rubbish, putting gifts away, entertaining older kids, petrol in the car, offer to make the family tea instead or even something as simple as holding the baby so that the mother can shower. Trust me, they will have a list of things needing to be done.

3. No typical gifts

We are so thankful and lucky that our little man got so spoilt but I just remember our hospital room being filled with so many flowers and gifts. It was incredibly overwhelming. Being asthmatic, I felt wheezy from the flowers in our room and the smell was overpowering, so much so that I had to ask my husband to remove them from our room despite how beautiful they were. Gifts were filling up our room making it very claustrophobic for us and hubby was carrying bag loads of things home each night! I felt bad that he had take the gifts home and I knew that at some stage that it would have to all be unpacked. I just wanted to take in the newborn cuddles and not have to worry about anything else.

Despite these gifts coming from a good place, other gifts which I would have loved and preferred were home cooked meals, meal delivery service, grocery delivery, an in-house pamper voucher like a mobile hairdresser, toys to entertain older children, gifts for the new mother such as lactation cookings, a masseuse, a pamper voucher, lactation cookies, a door walker or a engaging a company like Fantastic Services*. Admittedly, hubby does most of the cleaning in the house but when we engaged Fantastic Services to do a full house clean, it was so refreshing for the whole family. Hubby did not have to worry about the cleaning so got a lovely break, I didn’t feel stressed that we were not spending enough time together and I felt a lot less anxiety knowing that it was one less thing to have to worry about. To receive $20 off your first booking, simply enter my referral code tribeofwuwu when creating your account. Besides Fantastic Services being affordable, it gave our family time together, a break from the chores and time to do things we wanted to.

4. Offer to go out of the house together

This is a hard one depending on the recovery of the mother, however this was a memory of mine which has really stuck with me after I had bub. When my mum came to visit me, she said when she had me, that going for a walk really helped her. I just had this all these thoughts in my head – I won’t be ok if I leave the house, it has been fine being home so why do we need to go outside? What happens if someone makes the baby sick? Do you know how the pram even works? I was so consumed with the baby, overwhelmed with getting the baby bag packed, did not have any make up on, was lacking confidence as a new first time mother and getting out of the house took forever (like hours!).

One day mum offered for us to go out for a walk on a path at our local beach as she knew that I loved that walk. She is not a big beach fan so I was very surprised that she even wanted to go there.  As reluctant as I was to leave home, she made the process so easy for me and I enjoyed our time out together so much.  Mum got the baby bag packed, offered to drive to the beach, helped get the pram out (which we both laughed as we had no idea how to use it but eventually figured it out), changed bub’s nappy and all I really needed to do was breastfeed when I needed to. Plus! I had a hot tea for the first time!

You cannot force a mother out if she does not want to be but since mum made the process so easy and having been one of my favourite places in the world, I was happy to go. To be honest, those first weeks are all a haze for me but I remember being out again and feeling a little like myself again and it is a memory I hold so dearly.

5. Choose your words carefully

There was so much advice we were given and reflecting on it all, most of the advice did not help or work.  This little bub is your baby and you know this baby the best. Go with your instincts!

Encourage the mother and family that they are doing a good job. Watch for comments and advice which may be taken wrongly, such as mentioning how tired you are and how the house looks a little more messy. Don’t forget to credit the dad’s as well!

 

*Sponsored

Bath Salt Kit

DIY

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At each year, around July, I start collecting used jars around our home and also hunt down our local Vinnies and Salvation Army stores for cool jars (cheap and the money goes towards those in need) in preparation for DIY Christmas Gifts. Using old jars is a fabulous way to up-cycle and once cleaned, you cannot even tell that they weren’t new to begin with. This year I decided to make bath salts. Epsom salt is meant to have a long list of benefits but personally I found the Epsom salts particularly beneficial when I was pregnant to ease muscle soreness and anxiety. Plus! Epsom salt is affordable too! This DIY gift ideas is a sustainable gift for all special occasions.

 

What you need

Epsom Salt 

Himalayan Salt

Rose Petals

Dried Lavender Flowers

 

How to

Wash jars with warm soapy water and dry thoroughly.

Fill 1/4 of the jar with epsom salt.

Fill 1/4 jar with rose petals.

Fill 1/4 of the jar with Himalayan salt.

Top the rest of the jar with dried lavender flowers.

 

Some extra information

To further up-cycle, use string received from packages and make gift tags by cutting out rectangle shapes from old cards and hole punching them to add a string.

A great gift to accompany the bath salts is some oils (Lavender, Lemon and Rose work a treat) or even a scoop spoon and plate.

To remove sticky labels off the jars soak in warm water and rub. Otherwise Eucalyptus oil works a treat with a chub cloth.

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Tips for moving with kids

Motherhood

Moving houses can be a very stressful time in someone’s life… so can having kids. Put the two together and it can be a very overwhelming situation. In the same instance, moving houses can be a confusing time for children, especially if it’s the first as it may take away the security the child feels. This does not have to be the way, here are some tips for moving with kids:

Talk talk talk

Mentioning the move to your child from very early on will help them understand the concept of what is going to occur. Speaking about the move in a positive way can shape their attitude and get them to understand that this is a good thing that is happening. Talk to them about their new bedroom, the backyard they can play in, the fun park down the road and anything that may be different from your last home. 

Visit the neighbourhood multiple times before moving

By visiting the area you’re moving to, it will familarise your child so it isn’t as daunting once officially moving. Show them the house you are moving to, wonder the streets, and let them play in the local park, so they can get use to the new environment. It also may be a good idea to sign up for the local sports teams so they can make new friends in the area. 

Let the professionals take over

Moving houses can be a stressful time especially when you have kids, but it doesn’t have to be. Getting help from a removalist can make the process a breeze. Hire a Mover have the professionalism and expertise to take charge of your move. They have competitive rates with no hidden fees, they are fully insured incase any issues arise, and they are available 7 days a week. By hiring professionals this means you do not have to juggle your family and their needs while stressing about potential breakages or forgetting something. The staff at Hire A Mover do this everyday and can take that stress away while you enjoy this exciting new time with your family!

Make setting up your child’s room main priority

By setting your child’s room up as soon as possible, it will make them more familiar with their surroundings. Unpack their favourite toys, blankets, books, and anything that will make them feel more comfortable. Make it fun, join in and unpack together emphasising the excitement of their new space.

ENJOY

Yes, it is a great idea to settle into the house and unpack ASAP. However, it is also important to acclimatize yourself and your children to the new area. Go out and treat yourself to lunch or dinner or even an ice cream and explore the neighbourhood. You deserve it!

This post is in collaboration with Professional Removalist Company Hire A Mover & Influencer Management Service – #AsSeenOn.

5 Tips for Photographing Children

Home, Motherhood

Photographing children is hard. My parents did not take many photos of us when we were little but I really wish there were more photos in the family album, as a lot of these memories captured are ones which I was too young to recall. I love hearing the stories about our childhood photos, seeing the surrounds of the places we explored, seeing the things we had got up to and slowly turning the pages of our family albums. Today we have the convenience of our digital cameras and mobiles, but I can only imagine how much more difficult it would have been for my parents to capture us with film! I also never knew how challenging toddlers were to photograph until I had one of my own! I have been lucky enough to have been able to take lots of portraiture of my son and have truly cherished looking back on the photos (my favourites so far are at the end of this blog). So, here are my five tips on photographing children.

1. Lighting

Photographing in natural light like near a window or outdoors will provide clearer images for moving subjects. We always try to take our photos outdoors as it gives us the opportunity to get out of the house, get some fresh air, lets children explore and burn off that excess energy. Ideally you want to shoot away from the sun and not into it. A little tip that I have for finding where the sun is shining is holding up your palm in front of you, if your palm has the sun on it, then keep moving in a circle until you see no sun on your hand and that is the optimal place to take your photo. Choosing the time of the day to photograph is really important as well. You will hardly see us take photos at midday when the harsh light is shining but if you need to take photos when the sun is blasting, find shady areas like under trees. Playing around with light also makes for really interesting photographs so don’t be afraid to experiment.

2. Blast Mode

Children are not dolls – constantly on the move and unpredictable! In the digital age, most cameras and phones have a ‘blast mode’ where multiple frames will be taken within seconds. Use the fastest mode available. This will maximise your chances to get a good photo. It is better to have lots of photos options to delete than missing the chance for a photo.

3. Don’t force it

Make the photo shoot fun! I have seen parents telling their kids sternly and sometimes even angrily  “sit down, smile and I’ll give you a chocolate after” and although many mums do this and laugh, when you see a stranger in the flesh do it, its cringeworthy. I feel like there is nothing worse than forcing someone to do something that they just don’t want to. Instead, take the kids to their favourite place like the park, beach, baby chino cafe or even their grandparents. Have fun and be silly. Don’t force fake smiles – not all photos have to be of the children smiling and I often find the most beautiful photos, are the ones where children are shot as they are naturally as we remember them at that time. Even take the kids out for a special treat after the shoot like having an ice-cream.

4. Eye Level photography

We want to tell a story in the perspective of the subject. Squat down to the eye level for you child to take the photo. This is such a simple way to improve your photos!

5. Be Prepared

This is absolutely my most important tip! There have been numerous occasions where it has taken me ages to get out of the house and then realising that I had forgotten something! Make sure your phone or camera is charged, you have the memory card, the tripod is packed and snacks are in the bag. If you are photographing products for a business, make sure you bring all the products that you need to photograph. One tip for photographing clothing is changing the child when you arrive at the destination as accidents can happen on the way and clothes get creased.

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Monday Design Co

Interviews

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My relationship with Monday Design Co was forged after several email exchanges to create a special custom made height ruler to feature in our home. Every part of our height chart was customised from the beautiful Tasmanian oak timber used, the grain, our family name was designed then drafted, we could choose the starting number of the height chart and even the length of the horizontal height lines. Every single detail was made just for us.

We are dedicated to checking our son’s height every six months, as children just grow before your eyes! Hubby and I will check yearly but we have been told as we get older, that we will also become shorter and we will also be documenting those heights as this is a piece we will feature and treasure forever.

A beautiful idea that I would also like to share with you, is to write your family history on the back of the height chart. It is so often that we ask questions about the history of our families but we do not have the answers, as the memories have gone from those who have passed. 

Without further ado, introducing you to Monday Design Co:

What is something you said you would never do as a parent before you had Harrison?

I laugh now because honestly there are so many things you say you will not do before you have kids. I was very adamant that there was no way I would play children’s music in the car. The idea of being trapped in a car listening to kids music just made me cringe pre baby. Now I find myself singing along to the Wiggles …and enjoying it, actions and all!!!

What is something you love doing outside of Monday Design Co?

Ryan and I share a love of travel and the beach. Our favourite days are those spent by the water with Harrison and our two dogs Charlie and Poppy.

Is there anything special you do for Harrison as a parent?

Yes, I write letters to Harrison. For our baby shower we were gifted a beautiful little book with pages to write letters to your child. I sit down every 6 months or so and write about the funny things he’s said or done, milestones he has achieved and what life is like for us as his parents and as a family. I personally have a terrible memory and this is a beautiful way to hold a piece of the present which will one day be the past.

How did you and Ryan meet?

We met on a working holiday at Perisher, NSW. We worked in ski hire and lived in Jindabyne for the season. We didn’t start dating until we came home, luckily we both lived in Brisbane.

Is there any advice you would give to mums – or mums in business?

Take care of yourself. It is so easy to prioritise your children, your family and work but it is so important to look after yourself. This could be as simple as listening to a podcast for an hour a week, taking a walk or having a pedi. I am an all or nothing person and often burn myself out by doing it all. Recently I treated myself to a pedicure and honestly, I am a better person for it.

How did the business come to be/how did you come up with the business name?

Ryans background is in carpentry, after ten years in the trade he headed to university and studied a Bachelor of Product Design. Shortly after he graduated we had Harrison and the idea to make Timber Height Charts was born. On Monday Ryan takes a day off so he and Harrison can play, dream and go on adventures. These days of play result in new and creative ideas – this is why we named our business Monday Design Co.

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you tell 14 year old Sarah today?

I love this question, so many things but the one that stands out is “Don’t worry about becoming an adult”. Being an adult is so fun, rewarding, exciting and now we are parents, what an honour it is to raise a child. 14 year old Sarah was scared of making phone calls and the idea of having to pay a bill, now I am part running a small business.

How did you learn to make your products and where do you make them?

We make a variety of products from Name Plaques to Timber Earrings but we are best known for our Personalised Timber Height Charts. Ryan designs and makes these himself in our workshop from home. He is self taught with the knowledge gained from his years as a carpenter and at uni.

What is the most special piece you have made?

The most special piece we’ve made was probably the very first. It was made from American Walnut, a friend purchased it from us for her friends daughter as a first birthday gift. Seeing a piece of timber become a beautiful keepsake within a few hours is amazing and each time we make a new one I claim it to be my favourite.

We have a new style of Height Chart coming out very soon which we are soooo excited about – watch this space.

Ten years from now, how do you see your lives?

I had to think about this question as I rarely look this far ahead. Ryan operates on Fiji time so he’s on his own clock and I am living at maximum 7 days ahead. In ten years our hope is that we’ve welcomed another baby into the family, travelled more of the world and that the business is our full time job. Our biggest hope is that we are happy and healthy, cliche – but isn’t that the most important thing?