My Postpartum Reality: Baby #2

This is my postpartum reality. 6am. After a night of tossing and turning while my babies slept. Up several times through the night, once even to find that I’ve wet myself. Yep 21, and I’ve wet myself. So 6am, I’m in a bath of Epsom salt with my 2 year old.

Recurring bouts of vaginal thrush has my head in a mess. A constant burn. A constant itch. I say vaginal because nipple thrush can also be really common postpartum, though I don’t have that type. I can fix it for a day or so with creams and tablets only it comes right back again. I’ve had ten weeks with only the occasional day of relief. And a fantastic doctor truly searching for solutions.

I haven’t brought myself to write about this yet because it’s “taboo” and talking about my nether regions apparently makes people uncomfortable, but I’m a sharer. And I suppose if this kind of discussion makes you uncomfortable then you can always leave the page.

It’s a silent struggle. Because physically I look very well for someone who had a baby 10 weeks ago. But this is the reality of postpartum for a lot of mums, you might not see the change or the the pain they’re in. Yet, they persevere.

This is in no way a comparison, or to say I have it worse. Some women definitely have it worse, and I am so incredibly thankful to have had largely beautiful experiences birthing my children. Though that doesn’t change the fact that I find intimacy incredibly difficult now, and that my patience is almost constantly thin because of the burning feeling I’m dealing with in the background. At the moment, my life is different because of childbirth although it may not look it, and I’m still learning ways to manage these new challenges my body presents. I can’t even begin to imagine how much more difficult this journey is for women who didn’t get the birth they wanted, or the body they anticipated to have afterward.

So please remember be patient and to be understanding. Not all battles are visible, especially on this postpartum road. We’re all walking our own lanes but to have one another to fall back on, even if it’s just to cry to, makes an incredible difference, no matter how we brought our babies into the world, or how we feel about our bodies afterward.

Physically, otherwise, I feel stronger. Stronger than I did 10 weeks ago, though still lacking the strength I once had to enjoy sport and exercise the way I used to, but I’ll get there.

I can’t help but think about the women who have longer harder journeys of recovery, and send them all the love I can muster. I see you, I get it, I know you’ll make it to the other side of this. Pregnancy, labour, birth and motherhood, it’s hard. But you’re stronger than you realise and that little baby you have in your arms… YOU are what love is to them. You are all they know and they love you like nothing else in this entire world exists (because they don’t know that anything else exists haha) but still, it is a deep, gravity defying love all the same. You’ll make it through this

And if you ever need someone to talk to, my inbox will always be open.

Xo Emily @ Loving Little One

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To the ones who stayed

Thank you.

Thank you for understanding all of the messages I forget to reply to and that I’ll probably never be the first to message you or call.

Thank you for understanding when I can’t make it to your party or bail on plans for the 40th time.

Thank you for understanding why my house isn’t always spotless when you visit or when I don’t check in for months at a time.

You see, I’ve been a little busy, a lot of the time. I have two little people who need me, but I need me too, in the tiny moments of freedom of mine.

I could make empty promises, to be more reachable and present. But the reality is, I can only take each moment as it comes and hope that you’ll always be as understanding as you are now, without resentment.

This journey that I’ve been on, becoming a parent, is something you’re yet to experience. And I know it must be hard to understand exactly how I’m feeling, but your understanding all the same is such a blessing.

You still check in when you can, and you know that a few months without conversation doesn’t mean anything other than we’ve both been busy. Most importantly you still see me for me, kids, messiness and all, and gift me with little reminders that you still love who I’ve turned out to be.

I started my journey a lot earlier than most, and I’ve lost some friends along the way. But the beautiful thing I’ve come to realise, is who is truly here to stay.

Xo Emily @ Loving Little One

Balling on a Budget: Making Parenthood Work when you’re Strapped for Cash

It’s no secret, our first daughter, Violet, was unplanned. I was 18 and in the middle of an education degree and Dan was 20 and had just left his job as a landscaper. We lived with his mum, and had absolutely nothing in the way of savings.

There we were, jobless and broke, and we’d been told we were expecting a baby. I think the first word we both though of was “shit”. Despite what the world might have expected us to do in a situation where we had no income, we decided to continue with the pregnancy. We loved each other, and we had always wanted children together, and god, you know I would never forgive myself if we had decided to terminate and then had fertility issues down the track. All we’ve ever wanted was to be parents together.

Despite having next to nothing, what we did have was love and support from everyone around us, and to this day it continues. Becoming parents so young hasn’t been easy, and I’d hardly say we’re now suddenly “well off”, because we’re not. We’re still rocking this gig on a budget.

We have always managed to make things work, whether it be strategy or pure luck, I thought I would share how we’ve made it to where we are today with you.

Find a job and stick with it (even if it’s just for now). God, it sounds easy. But the reality was, for about 4 months of my pregnancy with Violet, Dan didn’t have an income, and I was part time at a burger restaurant. It wasn’t because he didn’t want a job. Big cities can be tough, and it’s certainly a case of take what you can get. Once he got it, he stuck to it, as painful as it was at times. It paid the bills, and as long as that happened we could focus on finding something better in the background. So take what you can get and remember there will always be time to work on the bigger picture once you’ve got an income.

Take all the help you can get. I get it, it’s a pride thing. But there are systems in place to help your financial situation, systems that EVERYONE here in Australia is entitled to, not just low income earners. Enquire about what you’re entitled to and don’t be ashamed to claim it. The systems are in place to help, not only your financial situation but your overall wellbeing. That also goes for accepting help from family and friends, they’re here to help and they certainly wouldn’t offer if they didn’t want to help you.

Keep track of what you’re spending. Something we certainly haven’t always been good at. You don’t have to be as crazy as keeping every receipt, but taking note of your bank statements is a step in the right direction. You’d be surprised just how much a daily coffee on your way to work adds up.

Make it yourself. Food that is. I would say clothing but you know this girl has no idea how to sew (properly anyways). Honestly though, homemade things will always save you money. Especially snacks. Feeding a toddler can be pricey when you buy pre-packaged snacks. Try batches of pizza scrolls, muffins, sausage rolls. They can be frozen and reheated and end up cheaper because you’re making batches.

Take moments over “things”. Whilst kids are little, and even as they get older toys always seem to be present. But remember they’re often tossed aside when something new comes along. Opt for experiences over gifts, especially in a sense of saving money. Beach trips, park trips, even just going for a stroll adds a bit of joy and money doesn’t have to be spent doing any of those things. Heck, even get out the hose in your backyard. The simplest things can bring joy to kids, you’ve just got to be enthusiastic and they’ll follow suit.

Don’t be trapped by loans. It is SO tempting, I know. Credit cards, car loans, short term personal loans… such a great way to get what you want, but long term… it is so much more expensive. Consider budgeting for the things you want, save for them first and then splurge. It makes all the difference week to week when you don’t have the weight of loan repayments. Though I do understand this way of doing things isn’t for everyone. And by all means, go ahead if you know it will work with you and your budget. But personally from my perspective, it’s one less financial stress for our family.

Make the big hard decisions. Sometimes it means picking up and moving, sometimes it means giving up things that take up too much of your budget. Sometimes it certainly is a bit of a sacrifice. However I’m willing to bet you wouldn’t be having children if you’re not ready to make some sacrifices.

I’ll be honest, I could go on and on here about how to make it work with little money. But truth be told, you probably already knew a lot of these points. A lot of people will put off having children for the sake of finances, which of course is a personal decision. But in my opinion there really is no “right time” to have children. You could want to buy a house first, or a new car, go on that dream vacay, get the dream job… all valid reasons to put it off, but there will always be something else to do.

We get to do all of our big dreams with our girls by our side, and although we’ve made a few sacrifices, we make it work. And I’d much rather have a couple tiny hands to hold through the tough parts of life, than to be handling it solo.

Xo Emily @ Loving Little One

Needles: What to Expect of Vaccinations in Australia

Let’s talk about needles.

And no, I don’t mean the kind of talk that starts heated discussion. I’m not here to tell you what you can and can’t do with your children. I vaccinate mine, end of.

What I want to talk about is what to expect, at least from my experiences with the girls, when you go to get your baby vaccinated from a parents perspective. Because although it’s something that happens to almost every child, there are very few posts out there about what the process is like. Which means it can be a pretty daunting experience, especially for new parents.

Babies in Australia are most often (unless parents state otherwise) put on to a vaccination schedule from birth. The schedule is different for babies of Aboriginal/South Sea Islander decent, however for the rest it is generally the same. Because my girls are not of Aboriginal/South Sea Islander decent, I’ll be speaking of my experiences with their vaccinations, and this may differ to your own children if they are.

The schedule is exactly that- a schedule. Based on your babies age, it determines what vaccinations are given at certain times. Generally speaking over 4 years your child will receive about 13 needles, and at least two oral vaccinations. The first one is given just after birth, followed by two at six weeks, two at four months, two at six months, three at 12 months, two at 18 months and a final two at four years old.

Vaccinations are usually initially discussed with your midwife, from any time beyond 32 weeks. They’ll tell you about the vaccinations given at birth and ask you whether or not you’d like for your child to have them, and from there you sign a form declaring you’re aware of the vaccination and whether or not you’d like your child to receive it. From my experiences, midwives have never been pushy over this decision, I have always been told that it is my choice and that they would leave it up to me, which I frankly am quite grateful for. There would be nothing worse than feeling like you’re being forced into it.

After your baby arrives, unless other complications arise, they generally allow at least an hour of skin to skin and the first feed (if you choose to breastfeed) before taking your baby for measurements. It’s after the measurements where they will give the first vaccine, usually into their upper thigh. This vaccine is specifically for Hepatitis B. The reason this is administered at birth is because it protects your baby from Hep B if you happen to be a carrier. “The hepatitis b vaccine is not a live vaccine and provides protection without causing disease. It is produced in yeast cells and is free of animal or human blood products. There is no mercury in the vaccine. It does not interfere with breastfeeding.” – Source

Of my own observations, the first vaccine didn’t seem to bother either of the girls at all. They didn’t get any localised swelling, and neither of them cried for very long after the actual shot. I think newborns are just so fresh they hardly even realise what is going on, let alone are bothered by the temporary pain of a needle.

The six week needles Matilda actually received today. These ones are tough, well for me mentally I think they are. You’ve spent an entire six weeks comforting, feeding and loving on your little person, so naturally to watch them be jabbed with a needle is quite daunting. Six week needles are generally done through your GP, but I think you’re also able to book through your child health nurse as well. Usually you’ll be seen by your GP first, where they’ll give Bub a once over to make sure everything is in the right place physically and that their reactions are on par with that of a 6 week old. The Dr will then either give the vaccines himself/herself or you’ll be seen by a nurse who will administer them.

Both girls were quite sleepy afterward, of course they both cried initially, but calmed very quickly once they were latched onto the breast and stayed quite calm throughout the afternoon. I did notice their temperatures rose a little, but not nearly enough to be feverish. I gave them both a little bit of Panadol as the evening approached, just to help with any soreness they may be experiencing. Matilda has been quite unsettled, though I honestly don’t remember if Violet was. It’s normal and to be expected. If you can think of yourself for instance after you receive a vaccine you’re generally a little bit tired and sore afterward.

From six weeks onward, you can really expect the same experience at each of your babies vaccine appointments. The reactions of your child may vary, some babies can be very upset, others not so much, and the physical reactions like swelling, temperatures and such will also vary. Violet never had anything other than a slightly higher temperature once after hers. Though this is different for every baby.

If you’d like to know exactly what they receive at each vaccination throughout their schedule visit this website . You can guarantee there is a reason for each one. And if you’re worried at all about any of them I would recommend booking in with your GP to talk about it. They will be the most reliable source of information, and if they don’t have all the details they will be able to provide you with peer reviewed information to help you make an informed decision.

I think it’s worth noting that almost every parent gets quite nervous at the thought of vaccines and what they entail. You’re not silly for questioning them and wanting to know more. Do your research, but do make sure that the research you do is up to date and based on factual evidence.

Again, I’m not going to tell anyone what to do with their children. Though I do vaccinate, and I believe there is good reason to. Take this information as you will, and keep in mind that as of January 2019 the information in this article is up to date, however this may change.

This is a very touchy subject, so I’ll leave it at that. But I do hope that this provides some insight for parents to be about what to expect when you take your children to be vaccinated here in Australia.

Xo Emily @ Loving Little One

(Image not owned by me, found at this URL)

The Lazy Mum’s Guide to Keeping a Tidy Home

I have never been very good at house keeping. Before I had children I was a bit of a mess, I saw housework as a chore (because we all know it is), and like everything else I don’t enjoy doing I would put it off. And everyone knows mess only gets messier the longer you leave it.

Since having the girls I’ve come to realise that life is far more stressful in a home with children if it isn’t organised (at least a little bit). So I’ve taken it upon myself the teach myself easier ways of staying on top of housework, because let’s be real, lazy people will always find a shortcut.

So, here are some simple little tricks I’ve learnt that make keeping a tidy home that little bit easier;

1. One Touch Rule

This is made up, obviously, but it has made a huge difference in the way of keeping space de-cluttered and it’s super simple (though a bit of a challenge to begin with if you’re lazy like me). Things you’ve used, whether it be an item of clothing or a book, once you’ve finished with it, don’t put it in a space it doesn’t belong, put it straight back in its designated space. Everything you touch you should only have to do so once, for example if you have a coat on, when you get home don’t take it off and put it on the couch, that will mean you have to touch it again to put it away. It’s that bit of extra initial effort, but it’ll mean you don’t spend time later on decluttering that space.

2. Empty the Damn Dishwasher

SIMPLE. The dishwasher is finished? Empty it straight away. It sounds silly, but it is one of the easiest ways to keep on top of your dishes, it avoids dish pile up in your sink, making your kitchen look 100% cleaner without even trying. I usually put my dishwasher on at night just before bed, and in the morning, unpacking it is the first thing I do after getting Violets breakfast sorted. It means I’ve got space from the get go for the dishes we use throughout the day and the sink stays clear of dishes!

3. Hang on Hangers

This is a nifty little trick I learnt from my mother in law (to be). Hang your hangables out to dry on hangers! If you’re anything like me you’re not a huge fan of washing, not really the washing or the hanging part, but the putting away. Hanging things on hangers means you can literally take it off the line and put it straight into your cupboard (following the one touch rule without even trying). Which only leaves underwear and pants to fold, halving the folding and putting away job. I also find things tend to dry a whole lot better on hangers too, win-win!

4. Clean as you Go

If working in hospitality has taught me anything, it’s a whole lot easier to keep a space tidy if you make the effort to clean as you go. Not the easiest rule to follow if you’ve got a toddler racing around and a newborn who needs your attention, BUT if you can manage it, it’ll mean that when the kids do finally have a rest you won’t have to spend that time cleaning up after a mess you’ve made cooking. Again, the one touch rule comes in handy, put things away as you use them. It’s more effort to begin with, but SO much less work in the end.

5. Keep cleaning supplies where they’ll be used

I have a great mind for putting things away, but I’ve found if that space isn’t within an easy reach I rarely bother to use it. So I’ve started keeping cleaning supplies where they’ll be used most. An example, toilet cleaner is on the windowsill above the toilet, it doesn’t look the prettiest so it’s definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, but it really has impacted the cleanliness of things in my home. Just remember if you have children that “within reach” is within your reach, not your child’s!

6. Good Cleaning Products

Products with multiple uses and that WORK are your friend. It’s all well and good to have an entire cupboard of products, but if you’re anything like me you’ll dread using them because of the sheer amount of them. We have been using a brand called “Koh” for a couple of months now and I’ve been really impressed with it. It has a ton of multi uses and is a lot better for the environment than your usual cleaning products. You can find more info on it Here if you’re interested, I could go on about the reasons I love it but the website speaks for itself. Basically, good products have motivated me to actually use them, and that’s why it’s on this list.

7. Try Timer Cleaning

Being lazy goes hand in hand with being unmotivated. Give yourself a kick in the arse by setting a timer. I’ll often walk into a space and think “I’ll do it soon” and then it never gets cleaned. By setting myself 10 minutes to clean the space, it actually gets done! And better yet, I often feel motivated to keep cleaning other areas afterward. Be sure to actually use a timer, on your phone or something, otherwise it probably won’t work as well.

8. Baskets and Boxes

I don’t know about any other mums, but especially now after Christmas our house is filled with toys, literally from one end to the other. I can honestly say the easiest way to keep sane surrounded by children’s toys is to throw them all into a nice looking basket and chuck it into the corner of the room. Vi is old enough now to help throw them into the basket so we have a general tidy up time before every meal where we spend time together putting all of the toys into the baskets, leaving the spaces generally clutter free (for the most part).

9. Ask the kids for help

Now, obviously I’m not asking the 7 week old to help tidy things, but Violet is a very capable helper. She was able to do so from about 12 months, and she’s always been happy to help so long as I’m helping her too. We make it a bit of a game by singing a song I made up called the tidy up song. Cleaning doesn’t have to seem like a chore, and the more fun you make it for your children the more likely they are to want to help and they should always be helping! It’s called being a part of a household, no one gets out of it, unless they’re too young to do it yet. There’s nothing stopping you from making it a game either, who can pick up the most toys? Who can wipe up the most mess? There’s no limit to the fun you can have really, it’s all about what you make it.

Most importantly, above all of this, remember it’s okay if things don’t always get done. Don’t put pressure on yourself to “keep the house clean”… as soon as I stopped putting that expectation upon myself, I stopped feeling rotten when it didn’t get done, which in turn gave me a better relationship with cleaning. It wasn’t a “job” anymore, rather something I actually wanted to do.

The mess really will always follow you when you have children it’s just the reality of things. Toddlers are messy, newborns preoccupy you… but it’s not impossible, especially when you do little bits here and there to keep things manageable. Hopefully this list inspired you a little, even though your hands are probably already full. I believe in you!

Xo Emily @ Loving Little One