Happy Go Ducky Toys

May 24, 2017 | 0 Comment

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If you’ve been following me on Instagram you’ll know that I have a thing for children’s décor and toys. I don’t know what it is, I just love giving my kids fun things to play with and interesting décor to look at. I enjoy creating fun, calming spaces for them. And whilst I fully appreciate the colours, sounds and educational aspects of modern day toys, there’s nothing quite like watching my boys running around dragging a pull-along, or pushing their wooden cars and trains around the house all the while making up their own sounds to accompany them. Learning through play really is the best way. And now I’m rhyming!

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Children’s décor has such a massive audience for Australian children. Our kids really do have such an incredible range of toys to engage with. My favourite place to purchase their toys is Happy Go Ducky Toys because of their brilliant customer service, extensive range and the all over quality of the stock they sell. Importantly, whilst a lot of similar toys and décor are outsourced to China, Happy Go Ducky Toys only provide eco friendly and sustainable, 100% non-toxic, ethically handmade products sourced directly from the Czech Republic. From colourful toys and puzzles, to the most intricate raw timber cars, trams, planes, boats and trains, from dummy clips to stackers, pull alongs and push alongs, they stock them all. Located in Maroubra, NSW, all in-stock products are shipped swiftly, with a flat rate Australia wide of only $9 and they accept zipPay & afterpay.

 

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My personal wish list is constantly growing and whilst I’m preparing to start up my own small business, supporting other small business mothers is something I’m equally passionate about as well.

Happy Go Ducky Toys

Website: www.happygoducky.com.au

Instagram: www.instagram.com/happygoduckytoys

Sleep School

April 2, 2016 | 1 Comment

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I’ve just returned from 5 days and 5 nights at sleep school and I’ve been getting a lot of messages and questions. So I’m blogging my experience to hopefully answer them all.

Firstly, let me start by saying I’m a big fan of sleep training. I trained Jack at home at 6 months (he’s 2.5 years now) and I firmly believe it set a strong foundation for his continued healthy relationship with sleep. Yes it turned to crap when he was unwell, teething or going through age-related sleep refusal (wanting Mummy or Daddy to stay in his room until he falls asleep/crying when we leave etc) but as soon as the tooth has cut, the illness over or the developmental phase passes, he’s back to sleeping well.

If the training is going to work, it is going to work quickly. Everyone has an opinion on sleep training/controlled crying/responsive settling or whatever you want to call it. In my experience, it isn’t leaving your baby to cry for so long until you have emotionally damaged them so much that they stop calling out for you. It’s gentle, monitored and hands on. It is being present in helping them learn that their bed in a safe space and that they don’t need to be fed and sedated with milk back to sleep. Even as adults, we all wake briefly during the night. The difference is, we know we’re safe and slip quickly into our next sleep cycle without needing any help. It doesn’t take much for a baby to learn this either. I also have to mention that I’m not a medical professional. I’m speaking purely from my own experience and those of people I know who have also given their baby the gift of sleep. Yes that’s cliché, but it’s exactly what it is. The gift of a full nights sleep and to wake refreshed.

When I applied to the mother and baby unit 6 weeks ago, it was because Easton wouldn’t self settle at night. His days were fine, but if left in his cot drowsy but awake in the evening, he would cry. A loud, emotional cry that I couldn’t ignore. I tried, waiting to see if he’d eventually be able to settle but I don’t think I ever lasted more than 5 minutes. He’s such a happy baby that hearing him cry frayed every one of my nerves. Therefore, I fed him to sleep and gently and quietly transferred him into his cot, praying he’d stay asleep. He also woke frequently overnight but that wasn’t my main concern. It was getting him to sleep initially. If I couldn’t pull off the transfer into the cot, then I’d be back at square one. I had no downtime, I felt miserable and exhausted. Then 10 days before I was due at sleep school, he miraculously started self settling at night and kept it up. By then it was too late to cancel and I wanted assistance with ceasing the multiple overnight wakings and feeds that I knew at his age were unnecessary.

I arrived on Monday and was discharged this morning. For the first two days, when he was due for a sleep, I would tuck him into his cot and the nurses would then take over in order to observe his patterns, assist in solving whatever problem we arrived with and ensuring he was getting enough sleep. When he woke, I got him up and we could do whatever we liked until his next sleep was due. In the evening, after the dream feed, I was offered a sleeping tablet (optional) and sent back to bed and would only be woken to feed him if he failed to respond to settling overnight. YES! A FULL NIGHTS SLEEP!!

On Wednesday we were encouraged to ask questions, get more involved and watch some settling. So during the day when I knew Easton would probably stir, I watched the nurses resettle him to lengthen his day naps. Their methods were easy and effective, but nothing I’d thought to try before. I’m not going to lie, it’s not easy. There will be some crying and grizzling which is always hard for me to listen to, but the improvement was incredible.

Thursday & Friday were about taking control and making all the decisions regarding Easton’s sleep in preparation for going home. This can be daunting, but the nurses are friendly, kind, encouraging and always right there for guidance throughout the day and night. Though, for the entire duration of my stay, I didn’t have to leave my bed and tend to Easton between 11pm (when I finished the dream feed) and 6.45am, which was the earliest he woke. He learned fast. A+ buddy!! Tonight is our first night at home so we’ll see how he goes.

During my stay, all the mums attend a group session per day to discuss parenthood, settling, understanding sleep routines and how to consolidate the routine at home whilst also working around illness/teething/holidays/childcare and older children. We also all received a visit from a GP to discuss any medical issues and had a blood test (again this is optional, though it’s a good idea as iron deficiencies or thyroid imbalances can also be a contributing factor in maternal exhaustion).

Menus were filled out each day, just like any hospital stay and meals delivered to our rooms at set times. The food was fairly good though no one would complain when we all had 5 days off cooking! Easton’s solids were prepared as well. There is also a kitchen where we could make tea, coffee, toast and grab juice. One of the ladies even had a pizza delivered and kept the rest in the fridge. So you can be as self-sufficient as you want.

We were free to come and go as we please during the day, and of course could take our baby with us, so long as we were back for their naps. I packed everything such as his pram, bouncer, favourite toys and play mat even though there were two designated toy-filled play areas where the mums and I sat playing with our babies.

I was expecting to be able to catch up on movies, TV and books but I hardly did any of that, except for between 7.30-11 waiting to go in and dream feed. It was way more social than I expected which I loved! However, all the rooms are private rooms with double beds and their own bathrooms, so you aren’t sharing. This allows for time to yourself whenever you want it.

I came home this morning and Easton slept for just over 2 hours for his first nap, as he should for his age. Though he hasn’t done that for a long time!

Overall it was a tremendously positive experience and I’m SO glad I went. If there’s something I haven’t covered, please reach out to me and I’ll happily answer whatever question you have.

Here’s to healthy sleep for all of us!

Have a great weekend everyone.

Belinda xx

It’s OK Not To Be OK

March 14, 2016 | 0 Comment

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I’ve decided to try something new lately. Honesty. Yes, I admit I’m guilty of lying. When you ask me how I am and I say “good”, I’m lying. I haven’t been good, but I lie. Because it’s easier. It’s not easy to admit you aren’t ok.

But it’s ok not to be ok.

The big things (an unwell parent, a traumatic emergency surgery and adding a second child into the mix) and the smaller things (a written off car and a nasty bout of mastitis which had me in the ER in the middle of the night) have thrown me into a downward spiral. It’s been hard. I’ve started admitting to those closest to me that I’ve had a really really rough time in the last few months. I don’t think I’ve ever really done that before. I’m guilty of pretending, of posting pretty little light filled squares of happiness to Instagram (see right) when there’s been a lot of sadness behind my camera. But I feel better now. Honesty works. When you don’t admit how you feel, you can’t receive the support of those who really love you. You’re not burdening them. The friends and family that I’ve confided in, have been amazing and have made all the difference in me feeling more like me again, and I’m so grateful for every single one of you that I’ve spoken to and those that have checked in. I admit I’ve started avoiding people that I haven’t felt I can be open with, because I couldn’t pretend anymore.

I’m lucky to have what I call my online mothers group. A bunch of women, most of whom I’ve never met, that all had babies in Sept/Oct/Nov like I did. Maybe because its online, its easier to admit to your struggles, but I love those ladies for their honestly. We say exactly how we feel. When we’re proud, when we’re happy, when we’re exhausted, when we’re sad and when we feel like we’re completely losing it. It’s the healthiest place. No judgement, just support. 100% support. I love every single one of them. The same goes for the ladies I see regularly that I confide in.

Now let me tell you about Easton. What a bundle of joy. I thought Jack was a happy, smiley baby but Easton, what a happy little soul. Honestly, its not hard to try to get him to smile, its hard to stop him! He has never had a grumpy day. Not one! It was really hard to try and catch an angry face for a photo to accompany this post. He is pure sunshine and I’m head over heels in love. Our bond is remarkable. I know Jack loved me when he was a young baby, and maybe I didn’t notice as much because I was a new mum, but the way Easton’s face lights up when he sees me is unlike anything I remember. It’s indescribable but the closest way to describe it is pure love.

However, Easton hates bedtime and it’s exhausting. He is on a fantastic feed/play/sleep routine. Has approx 1.45/2hr awake time, then I put him to bed once he gives me his tired signs and he’s out like a light! Self settles like the little legend that he is. Jack would only nap for 45 minutes but Easton is a much better napper… until bedtime. He will scream blue murder if left to self settle in bed and wants to feed to sleep. If I’m lucky I can get him down by 8.30 but sometimes it’s not until 10/11. It means I have little to no downtime and it’s been hard. It also means evening plans are (mostly) out. And even if I do go out, I find it hard to fully relax because I’m the one he needs to soothe him. Thankfully, once he’s down he’s down for most of the night.

Why did I tell you this? Because my internal struggle comes back to mother’s guilt. I’ve applied to attend sleep school with Easton to get some assistance with his evening routine. Yet it took me a long time, and a lot of consulting with friends, to take that step. Why? I feel so guilty. He’s MY baby. Our bond is SO strong, yet I cant figure out what’s going wrong at night. I hate that I have to go somewhere to teach my perfect little man how to get to sleep in the evening. It’s funny. I’ve never judged any one of my friends for attending sleep school. Yet I judge myself. Harshly.

I’ve leant lately that it’s ok. It’s ok to get help. It’s ok not to know how to solve every problem. It’s ok to want your evenings back to enjoy a date night, a bath or just some downtime. Every baby is different, and it’s ok that even though I’m not a new mum, that I don’t have the answers to every child.

So in two weeks I’m off to sleep school with E and I can’t wait.

And if you ask me how I’m doing? My honest answer is “I’ve had a rough time lately but I’m doing much better, thank you”.

Apologies if this post is really rambly (I just made that a word) and doesn’t make much sense but everything today is over edited, so in the essence of what I’m trying to get across, I’ll leave my ramble as it is.

I hope everyone is doing well, and if you’re not, it’s ok. But go to someone who loves you and talk about it xx

Belinda x

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