“Mudging” (Mum-judging)

If you’re yet to join the ranks of motherhood “Mudging” would have to be one of the weird made up words you’re yet to involve in your day to day vocabulary. Mainly because I made it up, but thats besides the point.

But the act of “mudging” or “mum-judging” is VERY real, in fact, so real that I’m surprised it hasn’t become a common hashtag or catchphrase yet. The reality of it tends to be quite hidden, that is until the day you, as an unsuspecting first time mum join the “mummy groups” that are the hidden forums of the judgy-mcjudge dark side of the internet.

At first you’re delighted by the empowering and basically utterly adorable posts… “#normalisebreastfeeding” and “#fedisbest”, Babies everywhere, milk teeth on show, wrinkly bums out for the world to see. There are threads on postpartum advice, advice on the best bottles, a plethora of info on where to buy the best baby things at the best prices. I mean, I could go on ALL day about the beautiful thing mothers pages appear to be, but thats obviously not what you clicked on this title for.

It appears the one thing they forget to give you in your “pregnancy and motherhood” gift pack you receive at your first antenatal appointment is the pamphlet that apparently almost every other mother out there has read stating:

“MOTHERHOOD IS A COMPETITION! DON’T TAKE LAST PLACE!” 

But I’ll tell you now, you’ll find that pamphlet plastered passive aggressively in the comments section of almost every single post on your friendly neighbourhood “mum’s page”. You wouldn’t believe it but the drama we thought we all left behind in high school is surprisingly alive and well in the same “empowering” posts we all thought were here to make us feel better about ourselves.

But it doesn’t begin and end with disagreement. There is name-calling, blatant shaming, gang-up type behaviour, unsolicited advice, posting of articles that are completely biased and mostly entirely unreliable used in order to “educate” people on what they should be doing with their OWN children.

Post upon post made in spite of other posts because people are too passive aggressive to address issues on the original conversation. But commenting their opinion on the post would be disregarding the “scroll on” rule that almost every single one of these pages has, so better to create an entire other post on the matter right? So it doesn’t appear as though its a response to something that’s not agreed on, rather a new “topic” to discuss.

Yet no matter how many rules are made, or how many people are “removed” from these groups the issue is still there. The people that are removed simply create their own “NEW GROUP!” that is somehow better and more positive then the last. Spoiler alert, it never is.

The reality of it is, in most situations people just can’t help feeling they know better then someone else. And motherhood just so happens to be one of those things that people who have experience in, think they know ALL about.

There is no doubting women are strong, incredible creatures. Not only for what our bodies are capable of, both in pregnancy and childbirth, but also in our remarkable ability to carry on through the struggles motherhood itself can bring beyond the womb. But with our strength comes a fire we are using against ourselves; fellow mothers who are not only experiencing the same difficulties motherhood presents us with, but women with their own life struggles and hardships.

There is no denying the beauty behind women who support one another, and we all know that these groups are started with that intention. But FAR too many times we let our ego and our hunger for “knowing best” get in the way of our ability to empathise.

So much time is wasted dragging one another across rock hard ground without ever stopping to contemplate the fact that we are all just women who love their children with every ounce of who we are and who we ever will be.

I am sick of reading and hearing about women purposefully hurting other women for the sake of an argument. And if it were as simple as leaving the “mums groups” I don’t think I’d see enough reason to write this post. But in all honesty it is everywhere. It is facebook posts on public profiles, and in the comment sections of public videos, its in the judging remarks of one woman to another on the street (even if one of them never actually hears it), it’s in the looks we give and the sounds we make, the messages we send, the phone calls we make… even in the thoughts we think of ourselves as we stand in front of the mirror questioning our own ability as a mother.

And if that isn’t the saddest part about all of this then I don’t know what is.

Our inability to consider one another with empathy and love is hurting our ability to consider ourselves with empathy and love. And how can any mother can be the best they can for their children without first being the best they can for themselves.

#StopMudging

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xx Emily @ Lovinglittlone.com

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Violet Rae: Nine Months (of mischief)

As per usual, it astounds me what these short months of Violet’s life have brought us. So many beautiful moments of peaceful cuddles and smiles. Nine months have passed and I’m struggling to believe that she’s now been out in the world longer than I carried her inside of me. Is it just me or is pregnancy SO MUCH SLOWER than any other time period? I’m pretty sure we’ve discovered a way to slow time, it’s not for everyone but if you’re really desperate, fall pregnant!

I want to take a moment to be real with you, this month has been… testing. Her curiosity is at it’s peak, tied in with the new found mobility of crawling and climbing and grabbing, I find myself spending every waking moment making sure she isn’t strangling herself or throwing herself off of high furniture onto hard tiles. Naturally, I find myself saying “no” a LOT, and then shaking my head as I realise that she doesn’t understand “no” and even when she eventually does understand it she will probably ignore it anyway. She is cheeky to the core, and meets every scold with giggles and clapping no matter what ‘cranky face’ you pull. No area of the house is off limits, she has discovered everywhere from the bathroom to the laundry, with the kitchen being her favourite (more cupboards to open and random objects to play with).

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But despite what appears to be naughtiness, our baby girl really is starting to become a little girl, and dare I say it, a toddler. She is discovering the world around her, including the boundaries she likes to tip toe around. And somehow no matter how frustrated you get with her, she can still make you smile and your heart melt inside. She’s constantly talking, mostly about “dada dad” and never afraid to giggle for the sake of it. Food is still basically the centre of her world, whether its your food, her food or the dogs food, she wants it and will try he best to get it, even if she has to climb over a few things to get there.

Breastfeeding is still a very big part of our routine, and I am hoping to keep it that way for as long as I can in an effort to avoid formula and cows milk until her stomach is more matured. For the moment the comfort it offers her is irreplaceable and I feel as though I would miss the midnight snuggles that happen with ease when there is booby involved. I can see nothing but benefits of extending our breastfeeding journey, from both a physical and psychological perspective for the both of us.

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Along side Violet’s milestone of 9 months my 20th birthday has come and gone and I am now no longer considered a “teen mum”, however thats not to say have any better idea about what I’m doing. It does thrill me a little to think that by the time I am 40 I will be long past my last nappy change and hopefully getting a full nights sleep while my babies are off finding their own place in the world, which is sad, but very exciting. I’m getting very good at treasuring every moment, they are only small for such a short time.

Now is around about the time when people start to ask questions about a sibling, usually by asking the baby (who has no idea what they are saying) “when are you going to have a little baby brother or sister?”. Our answer at the moment is “we have no idea”, in my head I feel as though getting Violet through toilet training would be easiest before another little one joins us, but we all know that things don’t always go to plan, so for now we are just rolling with the punches. (if you want an explicit answer: I’m not pregnant and not planning on it for at least another 6 months to a year, but we will see how we go)

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However! Violet did obtain a furry little sister this month, Mila. Mila is a domestic kitten who is just on 3 months old, she is from a great rescue in Brisbane called Best Friend Felines. We welcomed her into our home on my birthday and are very proud of the way Violet has taken to both her and Moey in the last few months. Can definitely see an animal lover shining through. If you’re after a cat or kitten please don’t hesitate to check out Best Friend Felines on their website or Facebook, or any other similar rescues before heading to a pet store or breeder. Little rescue babies and big loveable cats need love too, and there are so so many of them out there who need homes before it is too late for them. You can view profiles of cats and kittens available for adoption through their website (here). Because who doesn’t love looking at photos of cats and kittens right?

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It’s safe to say, after 9 months, life is finally starting to set into rhythm again. A beautiful sense of normality has returned, and although I might have some loose skin here and there I am mostly back to my pre-baby body, only I now have a cute little girl to hold my hand wherever I go. What an epic 18 months we have had! I honestly cannot wait to see what the next 18 months hold.

 

xx Emily @ Loving Little One

 

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Violet Rae: 7-8 months

If I could sum up the last 2 months for Vi in one word, it would be mobile. She is crawling, climbing, sitting, standing, pulling things down, pushing things over and putting things in her mouth she probably shouldn’t. Turn your head for even a second and she’s off in a completely different corner of the room to before.

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You don’t realise how busy parenthood is until these months. Prior to this I could sit her down in one spot and be confident that after I’ve been to the loo and come back she’d be in the same place. Now if I leave her to go to the loo she follows me, with great enthusiasm, which quite frankly is a little intimidating when you’re doing your business.

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Nothing is private anymore, and nothing is just yours. If you’re on your phone, Violet wants your phone, if you’re changing the channel Violet wants the remote and god forbid if you’re eating without her and not giving her any. \

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Food is currently the centre of Vi’s world, besides booby of course. Never in my life have I seen an 8 month old as enthusiastic about food, ALL food, as Violet. Generally, anything you put in her mouth she will eat, and before she is even done chewing she is asking for more by flailing her legs and grunting.

Saying Dad, Bub and blowing raspberries is what she spends most of the day doing with her mouth (when she’s not eating). And the milestone of “mum” has been achieved, but only comes out when she is crying. To be honest I’m not sure whether to be flattered or offended by this, but at least she’s saying it right?

Her two uncles came to stay for a couple of weeks as well, they got to know the ins and outs of ALL of the new wiggles songs while they were here, and couldn’t shy from a dirty nappy. Violet was very happy to have their company, and took a few days after they left to adjust to how quiet the house is now.

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In the last 2 months Violet has also made great friends with another baby boy who is only 6 days older than her. Tarver and Vi do swimming lessons twice a week together and are thoroughly enjoying the company of one another after the lessons as well, even if they weren’t I think we would still hang out, having the company of his mum Lilly has been such a breath of fresh air. Since moving to Wynnum I haven’t had much of an opportunity to catch up with mummy friends, But since these guys are just around the corner it has been absolutely fantastic.

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We really have been caught up in the moment of it all. At this age time seems to fly by so quickly, and I spend most of every day captivated by the adventurous, mischievous and beautifully happy little girl she has become. It’s often hard to have the time to sit down and write, but I am very glad I am still doing it. Being able to reflect on previous blogs is already something I truly treasure, so look forward to many more!

xx Emily @ Loving Little One

She Hasn’t Napped Today

She hasn’t napped today; Code phrase for, brace yourself, sh*t could hit the fan at any minute.

One thing people who aren’t parents are yet to grasp is, napping is the key to happiness. If baby naps, baby is happy, if baby naps, mummy can nap too, if baby naps and all the crankiness of both parties disappears.

However if baby doesn’t nap, baby is tired, baby is frustrated, baby isn’t sure why baby doesn’t feel happy and that makes baby ANGRY. Mummy doesn’t have time to clean up the mess from the morning, the sweet potato all over the bench, the pile of dirty baby clothes that need to soak or the toys scattered from the front door to the back.  And on top of this, mummy doesn’t get to nap either, even though she only had 3 hours sleep and last she ate was probably 11 hours ago.

But the world still goes around, despite the crankiness of both mummy and baby. And all of the other people in the world who are yet to have babies smile and say “it’s okay, it’s only a nap. She’ll sleep longer tonight now anyway”.

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Well actually there is this crazy thing that happens, believe it or not baby actually wakes up regardless of how many naps she had because she is HUNGRY. And because she hasn’t napped when she wakes up because she is hungry she is more cranky because she is still exhausted from not napping. Which is entirely baby’s fault, but she will blame you, and the world, and anything that makes any slight noise at her at 3am.

So if you happen to come across a parent who cautions you with the word of warning “She hasn’t napped today”, don’t be surprised if baby wants none of your cuddles or smiles. She is mad at the world for giving her this curse of ‘tiredness’, it steals her awake time and all the joys that it entails. So if baby can’t be happy then neither can YOU.

Yours and tired always, Emily @ Loving Little One

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Half a year, Ten times the personality

Our beautiful little girl turned 6 months old recently. Every time I sit down to write her monthly update I am always so shocked at how quickly time is passing. The days and nights at times are long but the weeks and months are frighteningly short.

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I world is an exciting place to a 6 month old. Just like their mouths are exciting new third hands. And everything that is in the slightest bit interesting, as long as she can reach it, will go in her mouth. The naps are shorter and the tantrums are more directed, in a “Give me that, or I’ll cry” kind of way. But the giggles are in abundance and the games she likes to play like peekaboo never get old (not yet anyway).

We are learning more with every day about her personality. She is so cheeky and playful but also cautiously shy. She will give a beautiful little smile to everyone she meets before burying her face in either mine or her daddies chest.

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She recently had one of her first nights without us, well not the whole night but a fair few hours, with her Aunty Emma. And she is having no issues with bottles that’s for sure, can feed herself actually! We were so glad to hear she wasn’t too fazed despite waking a few times with a ravenous appetite (not that that is out of the ordinary). We find that if she is at home she will generally be pretty relaxed regardless of who she is with, but if we are out she will only really settle with mummy or daddy. Home body like her mummy already clearly.

She is now rolling from front to back, and back to front. And will generally sit unassisted for anywhere between 10 and 20 minutes, provided she doesn’t get distracted by whatever is in her hands first. Tummy time is still a favourite and she can now spin herself fully around while on her belly, she’s yet to push with her legs yet to crawl along the ground. It definitely won’t be long though before she’s crawling all over the place.

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Food is the new and interesting thing in our daily routine, with home made purees both hot and cold for breakfast and lunch, not quite dinner yet though as her mood is generally dampened by the evening meaning she’s never really keen on anything but boob. We’ve tried everything from sweet potato to zucchini, raspberry and even steamed pears. She isn’t really fazed by anything at all and always finishes her food to the very last bite. I’ve been using the Fresh Squeezed Feeding Line, kindly gifted to us by our friends Bailey and Katelin at Violet’s baby shower. That is a super handy device that helps squeeze homemade puree into perfectly sized pouches which makes feeding time so much cleaner and with the pouches being disposable little to no washing up! I’ll be doing a youtube video in the coming weeks on how I make Violet’s food so stay tuned for that and let me know if there is anything in particular you’d like to see us make.

Although at times the clinginess can be frustrating especially at night when all we want to do is sleep and all she wants to do is play. It is all 100% worth it when those little eyes look up at you and her little hands reach around your neck as you snuggle her. I didn’t know it was possible, but I’m certain I love her more every day. And on the day she was born I didn’t think it was possible to love someone so much. So that’s an awful lot of love.

 

xx Emily @ Loving Little One

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The love of a Child

The love of a child is like no other.

It is the warmth of the sun on a cold winters morning. The smell of rain after an entire season without. The kiss of the cool water as you step into the ocean. The breath of fresh air after a long flight home.

It is in the way they smile, with their whole heart, as your eyes meet each other in the early hours of the morning. The way their fingers explore the texture of our skin as if with every day it is new to them again.

It’s the way that no one can settle them like the arms of their parents, the way your comforting coos and embracing cuddles reminds them that they are safe, and you are here.

It’s the fiery passion for their happiness and safety you’ve built in your heart without even realising you were trying. It burns brighter with every day you hold them in your arms, and drives you in every way to better yourself. For them.

It’s incredibly motivating and moving to see someone who is half of you and half of the one you love, look to you, with all of the trust in their entire world, and feel for you with nothing but overwhelmingly pure love. You, and only you, are the only thing in their universe that matters.

Suddenly nothing else is important anymore, not the world’s politics, not the price of fuel or the amount of money in your bank. It’s them, and somehow, through all the pain and misery the world might throw at you, the fact that they reach for you for comfort and for love… It erases everything you ever thought to be wrong in your life, and replaces it with a space large enough to cover solar systems and galaxies filled with nothing but your baby’s heart.

I can’t possibly describe exactly what it’s like to be a mother, it is a journey like no other and I feel incredibly blessed to have taken this journey, even if it was at an unexpected time. Violet lights up my world and has turned even the darkest parts of my life into something truly, remarkably beautiful.

Dedicated always to my Violet Rae

xx Emily @ Loving Little One

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Why I co-sleep (and why I don’t care about what you think of it)


Six or seven months ago when I was waddling around with an early third trimester bump, I had a conversation with an older woman who was a customer at my workplace whom I’d just helped with her meal. 

The conversation was loosely about how she used to be so exhausted and how scared she was about falling asleep with her baby in her arms. I agreed that the concept was scary and swore I’d never pull my little one into bed with me, no matter how exhausted I was. I’d love to take a minute to laugh about that response because here I am 5 months into motherhood, swearing by co-sleeping.

It’s a controversial topic, and there are certainly lots of mixed views on it. All opinions aside I honestly think that co-sleeping is what has saved my sanity. But I want to take a minute to talk about the history behind why co-sleeping seems to come so naturally to us, despite some mums being incredibly afraid of it. 

When we look back at the animal kingdom we see so many different types of infants (I’m going to use my own terminology here so bare with me). We’ve got the Babies that are born and immediately fend for themselves, think of animals like sharks; I’ll call these independent infants. They get out and they go, go, go. These mothers obviously don’t breastfeed.

 Then we’ve got the bubs that are born and immediately walk, and follow their mother, animals like elephants and giraffes. Their natural instinct is to follow and suckle. These ones I’ll call follow infants (I know super creative). 

Of course we’ve got the animals who burrow and hide their infants, these animals only return to their burrows once or twice a day so therefore their milk would be more filling as they feed less regularly. I’m not sure what to call these ones, but I’m at a point now where I kind of have to give them a name so burrow babies work I guess.

And then, there’s the babies that are born completely dependent on being carried. I’ll call them latch infants because they’re literally hanging on for life as they can’t walk at all or fend for themselves on their own. Animals like monkeys, chimps and you guessed it, humans. It is these babies natural instinct to be close to their mothers, they feed more regularly and sometimes for shorter amounts of time, mostly because they’re always attached to mum and able to get their milk as they please. 

In the animal kingdom it is completely normal for latch infants to sleep on or with their parents/family. It’s in their instinct. And human babies are born with the exact same instinct. Just as a mother has the instinct not to crush or smother her baby in her sleep, provided she is not intoxicated, under the influence of drugs etc.

Of course there are further guidelines to co-sleeping to ensure that Bub is safe regardless of instinct. You can find them here; https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bfinfo/breastfeeding-co-sleeping-and-sudden-unexpected-deaths-infancy please don’t overlook these guidelines as they really are important to making co-sleeping the safe and beautiful practice it is.

But to me, provided these guidelines are followed I feel completely at ease, actually I sleep even better when Violet is lying in my arms. When she wakes up, she finds the nipple herself, I might wake briefly to assist her, but this is almost second nature to me, to the point where I hardly remember doing it. 

When we don’t co-sleep, she fully wakes, crying, and takes longer to settle and I even find she often has more wind after feeding because of it. When we don’t co-sleep, Violet wakes anywhere up to 7 times between midnight and 6am. 7 TIMES. And yes, sleep deprivation is part of being a parent, but when this is occurring every night for weeks on end, it is virtually impossible to be a normal functioning human being, let alone a mother. 

So we do it, we co-sleep, not all night long but mostly between midnight and 6am, there are times when we sleep beside one another. And it’s honestly been the best thing I’ve done for us.

And unlike most people say about co-sleeping’ effects on a babies ability to sleep on their own;

She still self settles

She still is able to sleep in her cot by herself 

She isn’t dependent on being held 24 hrs a day 

She doesn’t need to be rocked to sleep

In fact, she sleeps better now, on her own, during the times of night that she is in her cot, then she ever did when I was getting up to feed her and putting her back down every hour or so.

And no, it doesn’t impact my relationship with my partner, it actually makes him feel closer to us both

PLUS I’m getting about 5 extra hours of sleep then I ever got in the beginning. 

Co-sleeping works differently for everyone. Not everyone can do it, and I’m never going to be one to judge people for doing something/not doing something. But I say if you’re struggling to sleep at night because your baby is dependent on you during certain hours of the night, like Violet between midnight and 6am. You should never feel guilty for co-sleeping, because it’s natural and instinctual, and most importantly it works for you.


Thank you to everyone for your continuous love and support, it means the most to me, I love writing and for now it is my fondest hobby to capture my thoughts in time of this journey motherhood has taken me on. I’ve always known I was passionate about it, but having Violet has truly made me realise just how much I love it. All of my followers, friends and family help make this dream of having my thoughts heard come true every single day. 

Love Emily @ Loving Little One