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

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 Hazy Days: Getting through the first month with a newborn

There is no doubt about it, bringing a child into the world will be one of the most incredible and most exhausting things you will ever experience in your life. I’d consider myself a bit of an old hand at it now, having done it twice, but that would mean I know what I’m doing. And let’s be honest, none of us do!

There are a few little things I’ve come across in my experiences that have at least made things a little easier. Hopefully this can help at one or two people out in their journey to parenthood, I know I wish I had read something like this before I had my girls!

Be Lenient

This is a skill you’ll soon learn very quickly. But knowing you’ll have to be before the time comes does make the pill a little easier to swallow. In childbirth, the early days, into toddlerhood and no doubt beyond. There will be times when things don’t go to plan, you’ll need to be prepared not let go of your expectations and go with the flow.

Sleep when your baby sleeps

I can’t stress this enough. Guests present or not, you need to rest. Take every moment you can to get that rest, you’ll be all the better parent for it

One word, SWADDLE

Your baby is used to being all tucked up inside your very comfy uterus. Once out, their natural startle reflex can be confusing and more often than not will startle your baby out of their sleep. In my circumstances at least anyway, I found swaddling an unsettled baby really helped calm them down and keep them asleep for longer. I highly suggest the ergo swaddles or the Love to Dream, zippers are your friend. Traditional swaddles are fine of course, but when you have a Houdini on our hands, a zip could mean all the difference in the amount of sleep you get.

Don’t be afraid to do the (safe) things you said you wouldn’t

So what, you SAID you’d never use a dummy, or you’d not co-sleep, or you wouldn’t pick your baby up too much? Whatever feels right once your baby is here, so long as it is safe, is okay to do. Don’t beat yourself up over promises your non-parent self made… you were exactly that, NOT a parent. Sometimes doing those things you’d said you’d never do, helps more than you could imagine.

Be okay with saying “no”

If you’re anything like me, “no” is hardly in your vocabulary. But for sanity sake, if you need to refuse visitors, or refuse unsolicited advice, DO IT. Your baby, your time, your body… You just had a baby! Do not feel bad for putting your needs before others. And don’t feel bad about refusing advice that doesn’t suit the way you want to parent.

Take a moment for you as often as you can

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the world of a new baby. Don’t forget to take those moments to have a shower and just breathe. Wash your hair, shave your legs, clean your face… or whatever you like to do that makes you feel human. If someone is around get them to watch the baby for that time, or even if someone isn’t, I used to drag the tummy time mat into the bathroom and put Violet on it so I could have a couple of “mummy moments” to myself. They really are so imperative. You need to look after yourself just as much as you need to look after your baby

Talk when you’re not okay

There will be tough days, plenty of them. The hormones that surge your body after having a baby are beyond crazy, and they can leave you feeling anything but yourself for a while. Remember that it’s ok to feel the negative feelings sometimes, and it doesn’t make you a bad parent. Reach out as often as you can, you’ll find that a LOT of other people have gone through what you’re going through, you’re not alone. And if you do feel as though your feelings are beyond “just hormones” PLEASE seek help, you’re entirely worthy of receiving it, and you will always be worthy of happiness.

Walk away for a minute

Babies can cry for long periods of time, at times it can make you feel a little insane. If you’re having trouble coping or feeling frustrated, pop them down somewhere safe, like their cot, and walk away for a moment to somewhere you can’t hear them, only for a few moments. Just enough to breathe and remind yourself that this won’t be forever, they won’t cry forever. There will be peace and quiet again, just breathe mama, it’ll be okay.

Take all the photos, and spam all of your socials as much as you like. Your baby is beautiful and they’re all yours! Enjoy every moment, soak in that newborn smell and take comfort in knowing that that little baby is and always will be yours.

Xo Emily @ Loving Little One

I Didn’t Graduate Today.

The cohort I began my university degree with graduated today. Four entire years of hard work and study has come to an end and they’re now qualified primary school educators.

Whilst the feeling of admiration for them doesn’t waver, my sense of wonder at how different things would be if I had been graduating with them does linger. It’s not a negative feeling, nor a positive one. In fact, I don’t really quite know how to describe it.

I found university incredibly difficult, in all aspects of the word. Mentally I don’t think I was ready, fresh out of high school I thought I had made the right decision in regards to my career, and as my teachers from high school would put it “the start of the rest of my life”. But the reality was a much more complex one, I was young and uncertain.

I loved the idea of working with children, but when the reality of planning and curriculum came into play it was almost as if my brain fuzzed over. I found practical placement intimidating and draining and my assignments began to make me feel sick to think about, let alone sit down and complete.

My friends were bright and successful students, and I loved watching them succeed, though I had a doubt within myself that grew with every passing week and each grade I’d received back which was never more than “average”.

I knew I needed to take a break. My mental health was suffering at a level I’m not even sure I’m able to describe, but the feeling of not wanting to disappoint my friends and family also grew along side it.

Just before the second semester of my second year began, I found out I was pregnant with Violet. The single piece of information changed my plans… all of them , even though deep down I was unsure of what they were to begin with.

I think part of me knows that I probably wouldn’t have been graduating today even if Violet didn’t come along. I was far too unsure and insecure about where I was headed to be certain that I would graduate. Vi was more or less the crunch point for that decision making process.

But here I am now, two and a half years later. Two beautiful daughters and marrying the man who means the most to me in the entire world within the next year. Still pretty uncertain about what I want to do with my life, but entirely sure of how I want to feel. Happiness is my biggest pursuit.

I certainly lack a degree of any kind. But I’ve honestly done more learning and experienced more personal growth in these past four years than I ever anticipated. I sincerely hope that regardless of my academic status, my friends and family are still proud of me. It’s silly that the matter should bother me at all, and yet it does.

I’m continually asked when I’ll return to finish my degree. And the real answer is, I really don’t know when, or if I will at all. My values and goals have shifted so much in the past couple of years that I hardly recognise myself. I still possess my credits from my course, so if I choose to return I can. But for now it’s certainly not in the forefront of my mind.

At the moment, I really just want to be a great mother. I want to be here for our girls as they hit their milestones and help them grow into smart and independent little people themselves.

The exciting part about what lies beyond motherhood for me is that my future career is still a mystery! While this would worry some people, it excites me. Nothing is set in stone. I LOVE my blog, and writing, and I also have a growing passion for childbirth and postnatal care which I’m also thinking of chasing. There’s a million things I could do, and be really. And it doesn’t HAVE to be just one thing either.

If the world has taught me anything from becoming a mother, it’s that things don’t always go according to plan. In fact, YOU have the power to change your plans, and change them again if you will, and sometimes the plans will change on their own. As long as you are staying true to yourself and what you want most, nothing can deter you from fulfilling your passions. Whether that be a degree, a travelling adventure, parenthood or simply self improvement. You are the captain of your own destiny, even when things go astray.

So far, my destiny has given me two beautiful little girls to love. And although when I began my degree in 2015 I certainly wouldn’t have anticipated to be seeing in 2019 with two children, I’m not at all deterred or intimidated by the fact that I didn’t finish my degree. Great things will always be on the horizon, so long as you look for them.

I can’t begin to describe how proud I am of my friends from University who graduated today. And I can’t wait to see where life takes you in your new careers.

Xo Emily @ Loving Little One

Bittersweet Babyhood

These are the days, where we long for sleep and the simplest of tasks seem to take us half the week.

Where our patience tests us (our toddlers too), we wonder if we’re ever doing enough, and surely we do?

To keep them busy,

To keep them happy,

To fill their day with fun.

Whilst we feed, and we burp and we rock to sleep the newest little person, so little, like they were once.

With so much to do, and so little time, it’s a constant fear of missing the little things that often fills our minds.

So, I sit, a little longer than I should. One on my knee and one right beside.

I read three or four books more, even when she’s sleepy eyed.

We play outside a little bit passed dinner, and bath time is often a little bit late.

But our bellies are always full and there are always more games to play.

They’re only little for such a short time. And my heart grows a little heavy when I think about how they won’t always be little and by my side.

Though, that’s the bitter sweetness of it all, some day they’ll have their own little hands to hold.

So, for now I treasure every moment, cuddles and tantrums alike. And when I’m stuck on the couch for the fiftieth time with a baby that won’t settle and a toddler with an attitude as large as mine…

I’ll remember that these moments only last a very short while and no matter how big they get, they’ll forever be my babies- just like I am to those parents of mine.

Xo Emily @ LovingLittleOne.com

Two Weeks with Two Under Two

Holy heck. If that wasn’t the fastest fortnight of my entire life then I don’t know what was.

Matilda is two weeks old today. Which wells my heart and makes me teary at the same time. Mostly because I know that time won’t be slowing down any time soon.

Both of the girls have been amazing these past couple of weeks. Violet especially is beginning to shine in her new role as “big sister”. Although she is still yet to master the art of sharing, she really is making huge progress with her adjustment to having her little sister around.

I won’t fluff it for you, the first weekend for Vi was really tough. Tough on her and us. There were definitely a few contributing factors; excitement about visitors, lack of naps (because of the excitement about visitors), out of routine, staying with her grandparents… I could list a million things really. But she didn’t handle it too well to begin with. Don’t get me wrong, she was absolutely smitten with her little sister, but that first weekend was TOUGH. Now that we’re passed it though, and she’s had time to adjust without extra people around the house, she’s doing fantastically. Though still takes Matilda’s dummy occasionally.. she thinks it’s funny, I definitely don’t.

Matilda herself has been a little joy. I forgot how much newborns SLEEP! I WISH toddlers slept the way newborns do… all day, every day hahaha! But for the most part she’s a great little sleeper, besides the odd few hours at witching hour (shivers). She is quite a little bit more windy than Vi ever was (from what I can remember). But she really is slotting so easily into our little family.

I’m tired, of course. But I’m honestly one of the happiest sleep deprived people you will ever meet. Having my girls and my man all together these past few weeks has brought me nothing but teary eyed joy.

I often find myself trying to imprint all of these moments we’re having together in my memory forever. Violet hugging her tiny sister, Dan reading to them both whilst I make dinner. It’s the simple everyday moments… I try to grasp them as tightly as I can so not to ever forget them. They aren’t big significant moments by any means, but they’re heart warming, and so special.

I often find myself wondering if it’s possible at all to be any happier then what I am right now. If it is, then we certainly have a lot to look forward to.

And as quick as this update has been, I need sleep. But I’ll try to keep this regular. These are things I want to remember.

Xo Emily @ LovingLittleOne.com

What’s in my Hospital Bag – Mama Edition

I’ve had quite a few people message me recently about my lack of posting this. I do apologise it’s taken me so long to get up… better late than never though right? (Aaaand since beginning writing this I gave birth! Hahaha so it was delayed yet again… sorry!)

If it’s not already obvious, I pack a seperate bag for myself when it comes to hospital bags. I’m certain if you found a bag big enough you could cram it all into one, but having seperate bags has made it easier for me to determine exactly what we both need seperately. This post is about what I put in MY bag. If you’d like to read about what I pack for my baby you can read my previous post here

I’m sure I’ll probably miss items on this list, so, if you think of any that I’ve missed let me know! I’ll have to pop it in my bag before I go into labour (god, hopefully soon hahaha, sitting at 38 weeks and dying). I’ll do the same format, long paragraph about why I like/need the item and then a short description underneath so that if you’re in a hurry (or in LABOUR!) you can fly on through my babble.

let’s get started

1. Comfy black undies

I’ve started with something obvious, I’m aware. BUT I need to emphasise COMFY to you, after you’ve given birth the thought of anything other than comfortable underwear will terrify you. And why black you ask? well, remember the glorious 9 months you experienced without your monthly? She’s about to return, and she does NOT care about what colour underwear you’re wearing, but for stains sake, I’d choose black every time.

Any brand of black undies will do, I’d take a size up and pack at least 6 pairs (you’ll need the spares)

2. Maternity Pads

For that reason I was just talking about… You WILL need maternity pads. Even if you’re having a cesearan. I’m about to get a bit sciency so if you’re squeemish I give you permission to skip this part. But regardless of where you baby enters the world, they take with them (about 10-50 minutes after they’re born) their placenta, which was previously attatched to the side of your uterus. The exit leaves you with a little wound inside your womb (hahaha sorry, I had to), which will bleed like any other wound, I’m sure there are other reasons for the bleed and feel free to look them up if you’re curious, but to cut a long story short, maternity pads WILL be your friend, for the next 6 weeks or so. So do NOT forget them. I ended up having to use almost a whole packet whilst I was in labour as my waters had broken and leaked CONSTANTLY, so they’re great for that reason also.

I would recommend at least two packets. I find the Libra ones most comfortable but the U by Kotex brand is also quite decent. **DO NOT ATTEMPT TO USE TAMPONS- DON’T EVEN BOTHER PACKING THEM**

3. Shape-wear

And no, not because you’ll be hitting the town and need to suck in the love handles. Underwear with that EXTRA support really helped in those few weeks right after birth to feel that extra bit supported (and less like my insides were falling out). I have two kinds, ones that sit about half way below by belly button and ones that come well up and over it. The ones that come right up were excellent in the first few days, and I really can’t recommend them enough. While everything is super squishy and funny feeling they help you to feel like you have some kind of structure to yourself. The half way ones were just as good initally, and then even better by the time I was about 6 weeks post partum. I found I really didn’t need the support above my belly button after a couple of weeks so I preferred these later on.

Not essential but definitely something I highly recommend. Mine are from best and less, but you can find them pretty much anywhere that sells underwear. 2 pairs would be enough (I’ve packed 4 because I really loved them)

4. Comfortable Clothes

You’ll need comfortable clothing during and after labour. I’d suggest putting something aside at home that you can change into during your labour at home that you know you’ll be comfortable in. And have at least 2 outfits to wear in the hospital after bubs arrives. I LOVE nursing singlets. SO much easier than wearing a nursing bra with a shirt over the top. So I’ve packed two nursing singlets and two long comfy sets of pants. I chose long because generally it’s a little cooler in hospitals than the usual. I’ve packed a pair of short maternity pj pants as well just in case but I don’t see myself using them. It’s important to remember that you most definitely won’t be back to a normal size right after birth, in fact you’ll probably still fit snuggly into your maternity wear, so do stick to things that will fit even with a postpartum bump. As much as I know you’ll want to jump back into your favourite pre baby pjs.

At least two sets of comfy clothes, I prefer nursing singlets and long comfy pants for the cooler climate of the hospital. 

5. Toiletries

Obvious again, but you’d be surprised how easily they’re forgotten. My fool proof method of NOT forgetting your toiletries is to pack minis and leave your everyday stuff at home. Mini toothbrush, mini tooth paste, mini shampoo and conditioner, mini deoderant… all of it. It’ll just mean that you can have it all there in the bag ready to go, and you won’t have to do a last minute pack of all of the things you normally use daily. I’d also suggest packing some dry shampoo as well as some lip blam. Dry shampoo to help you feel just that bit fresher, and lip blam because hospitals are surprisingly drying! Trust me, you’ll thank me later

Packing minis is a great way to ensure you don’t forget anything, dry shampoo and lip blam are also a must (in the ways of comfort anyway)

6. Towels

The hospital will have these, but spoiler alert, they’re thin and don’t do their job as “towel” very well. So save yourself the heartache and bring along your own. I’ve packed two, and when I say packed, I just popped them in the back of the car (no use in having them take up room in the bag). The reason I’ve packed two is so that Dan also has one if he needs it, he might want to shower or he also might get into the birth pool with me if I’m able to use it. And, if he doesn’t use it, I probably will anyway. I’d also suggest putting an EXTRA spare towel in your boot, I know when my waters broke with Vi there is no way I would have gotten to the hospital without drenching the car if I hadn’t had a towel, and you don’t want to have to use the towels you originally packed for showering with.

A towel for you, a towel for your birth partner and a SPARE for the car. Put them all in your boot preemptively, no point in having them in your bag taking up space. 

7. Breast Pads

It’s not very common for your milk to come in right away, so this might not be something you don’t end up using, but if you do end up having an extended stay and your milk DOES come in, you will NEED these. Or you’ll constantly soaking through your bras and clothes. I used the New Beginnings brand when I had Violet, and loved it. I’ve packed the hydrogel ones this time just because I had some left over from before that I must have been given. I plan to use washable ones once we’re home, I didn’t with Vi because I didn’t really know anything about them but it will definitely save you money in the long run to use reusables. You can find them on Ebay super super cheap!

One box should be fine, you might not even end up using them.

8. Camera/Phone and charger

Most people use their phone as a camera these days, so it’s unlikely you’ll forget that. BUT don’t forget your charger on your way out, I nearly did the second time around.

Obviously

9. A cardigan or jumper

It really does get quite cold in the hospital. Having something you’re able to chuck over your shoulders is really handy. Especially if you’re someone that is prone to feeling the cold more than usual.

Something that either has a zipper or is open- it’ll make breastfeeding easier

10. Your Birth Plan

Some people think birth plans are silly and unrealistic. I have to disagree. It is always best to have a plan in place, for both the ideal birth AND emergency. Even if you just jot down a few points you’re firm on that way you can give it to your birth partner who can inform the midwife if they’re able to. Simple things like prolonged cord clamping, skin to skin etc, whatever you feel you really want for your baby can be added to it. Try and discuss the plan with your midwife at your antenatal appointments beforehand, and they should be able to help you determine what will be best for you. Having an emergency plan as well is great, and also gives you a bit of piece of mind that if things do end up that way, you still had some kind of input with yours and your babies care.

Even just a small page of notes to give to your midwife.

11. Something to wear home

I mean, realistically you can just wear the comfy clothes home if you want! But if you want to feel a little chic and groovy on your way out, pack a specific outfit. Remember to make sure you’ll be able to breast feed in it. I wore a button up dress this time from Old Navy, UNBELIEVABLY comfortable. Plus I felt a little more human after spending two whole days in my pyjamas. (You can pack makeup too if you’re one of those people! Nothing wrong with it at all. I didn’t because I knew I just wouldn’t feel like it, and I was right, I didn’t feel like it at all… I’d just pushed a baby out)

Something comfy but acceptable to wear in public. Or PJs, whatever floats your boat

I’m almost certain I’ve missed some things in this list… partly because I’ve written it over the space of about 5 weeks, and also partly because I’m now sleep deprived as heck with a newborn asleep on my chest. But what can you do. It’s a work in progress. I can always come back and add to this if I need to. And if you think of anything I’ve missed, let me know! And I’ll add it

(I do have photos I’ll add to this in the morning.. I’m currently lying in bed and can’t be bothered to go and get the camera and transfer the photos over right now)

Xo Emily @ LovingLittleOne.com