5 positive parenting quotes to inspire you today

5 positive parenting quotes to inspire you today

DISCLAIMER: This post may contain affiliate links. This means after trying a particular product, I love it enough that I am willing to recommend it to others and the company will pay me a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you decide to purchase from my affiliate link. I will only recommend products and services that I have tried myself and love. Please click here for my full disclaimer.

I’m not a patient person at the best of times. But I want to be a positive and nurturing parent for my daughter so that we can establish a healthy relationship as she grows into her own person. Keeping this goal in mind, with the help of some of my favourite positive parenting quotes, helps both my husband and I at the most challenging of times as our almost three-year-old is learning to identify and control her little emotions.

#1. This too shall pass

This is probably my favourite positive parenting quote since starting my journey into motherhood.

My daughter has not been the greatest of sleepers since we hit 3-and-a-half months. At almost three years old, Ella still climbs into bed with me most nights.

I attribute most of her issues with staying asleep to being in a Pavlik harness and then a rhino brace to treat her Developmental Displacia of her Hips. Between 6 weeks and 6 months, Ella was in a Pavlik harness and then from 9 months to 18 months, the rhino brace.

The positioning of her hips meant that she woke herself every sleep cycle as she knocked the bars of her cot. We ended up putting her in the spare Queen-size bed with me from 11 months just so she could sleep comfortably.

And now, my cuddly little three-nager still wakes multiple times a night demanding ‘mummy cuddles’. She gets a small cuddle and then is put back to bed, however some nights she gets absolutely distraught and wants more cuddles to go back to sleep. These are usually the nights where I am the most exhausted from a hard day at work.

Related Post: ‘Why ‘How to promotion infant sleeping through the night’ posts grind my gears

And this is where, along with our treacherous sleep journey, I inhale, centre myself, despite the frustration of being woken multiple times a night and exhale, mentally chanting ‘This too shall pass.’

This is a reminder that one day, the trials and tribulations attached to parenting in the younger years will pass. And I hope that as she enters a new stage of emotional development, Ella still wants her ‘mummy cuddles’. I just hope she expresses that want in a less whiny way.

this too shall pass | Naturally Busy blog attachment parenting quote

#2. “When little people are overwhelmed by big emotions, it’s our job to share our calm, not join their chaos” – L.R. Knost

Children have very immature cognitive reasoning skills. These skills mature as your child grows. Toddlers and very small children often FEEL emotions but don’t know how to express themselves, often resulting in emotional outbursts, whinging and what most adults would see as ‘poor behaviour’.

Older children that never adequately learned to articulate their emotions may also be prone to emotional outbursts.

How grating is it when your child has spent the last couple of hours just whining for what we perceive to be no reason? I know constant whining and emotional outbursts from my daughter cause me to get more and more agitated. I’m not proud to admit but I get snappy sometimes.

But that’s when I need the reminder that my daughter is relying on me, the adult with more mature cognitive abilities to show her how to articulate and regulate my emotions. Joining her chaos won’t help.

I saw this positive parenting quote about a year ago when I was scrolling through Pinterest and it inspired me.

How can we share our calm with our little ones when they feel overwhelmed?

Create a safe, calm down space.

I set up the teepee tent that her grandmother gave her for Christmas, placed a pillow and light blanket in there, and put a lullaby bear in there for her. I let her know that it’s her personal space. She knows when she is feeling overwhelmed, she can escape the chaos.

safe space teepee

Sometimes she asks me to come with her. Sometimes she wants me to sit at the entrance of her tent and read a book while she calms down. Sometimes she goes and lays on her pillow and plays quietly with her doll.

Creating a ‘calm down’ area has been really helpful in reducing whinging and tantrums when she is overwhelmed with emotions, especially after a long day and she is overtired but it’s not yet time for bed.

I deliberately created our ‘safe space’ in the loungeroom where I have my essential oil diffuser going. In the lounge room, I tend to diffuse calming blends to help everyone wind down after a busy day. My favourite blend is ‘Calming the Child’ because it works for the big child too (the hubby!).

KidSafe Starter Set with Aromafuse Diffuser - Pearl White

#3. “Too much love never spoils children. Children become spoilt when we substitute ‘presents’ for ‘presence'” – Anthony Witham

This one says it all. I love this as a reminder that I don’t need to provide the best of every material item for my daughter, she just needs my love. Which I have more than enough of.

Despite working full time, I don’t feel my child misses out on my presence because every morning and evening, we spend quality time together.

How do we use presence instead of presents to enrich our child’s life?

  • We eat breakfast together in the mornings she wakes with me at 5.30am before I madly rush to get ready for work.
  • Every evening, I sit her on the kitchen bench and we cook dinner together. These activities may take longer than they have to if I was to just put the TV on, or banish her to her toy area, but we have such an amazing bond.
  • We read bedtime stories every night.
  • We spend time as a family on the weekends. Weekends in the garden are one of my favourite things to do with Ella. She helps us weed, we play catch and fetch, she helps water the garden.

I keep reminding myself that experiences with her parents are what will help raise a loving, compassionate and well-rounded child. At her age, the smile on her face at spending time with mummy and daddy is the best reminder that our presence is the most enriching thing for her development.

#4. “Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them leaves an impression” – Dr. Haim Ginot

This one resonates with me so well. I still have vivid memories of my childhood that affect me today, positive and negative.

Being aware of how your childhood can impact a person in adulthood is what reminds me to parent with respect even in the most challenging of times.

When your child is whingy, it is annoying as hell. But ask yourself why? Most of the time, they need emotional reassurance for whatever is bothering them. And often they don’t have the words to explain why they have the feelings that are making them so emotional.

Provide that emotional reassurance and that will be the impression you leave on your child. They’ll know that you’re there for emotional support when they need it most.

children are like wet cement. whatever falls on them leaves an impression

#5. “The children who need the most love will ask for it in the most unloving ways” – unknown

This is the best reminder that a child that is ‘acting out’ by our standards, normally just needs our love. And this is the perfect opportunity to show them the love they need.

Have you ever noticed how talking to your child quietly and calmly in a reasonable way about their poor behaviour and how it affects other people is more effective than yelling at them and sending them to their room?

These are some of my favourite reminders of the power of positive parenting. Does your family have a mantra that keeps everyone calm in your home?

5 positive parenting quotes to inspire you today
Don’t waste your money on these 5 baby items

Don’t waste your money on these 5 baby items

DISCLAIMER: this post may contain affiliate links for the products I recommend for use INSTEAD of products I don’t recommend. I will disclose which links I may earn a small commission from if you purchase the product through my link with (#afflink) next to the affiliate link. Affiliate compensation helps me run this website and the costs involved with. Read my full disclaimer here

Being a first-time mum, I got sucked into a lot of mum’s groups, other relatives and friends and all the advice the internet had to offer on being prepared for the baby’s arrival.

I was that neurotic, super organised pregnant lady who had the nursery completed by 28 weeks and my hospital bag packed, armed with my birth plan on a neat piece of paper, at 30 weeks.

You need to sift through all the information you are given and find the common items and suggestions needed, and even then, you won’t actually know what works for you until your baby arrives.

Here are some of the items I wish I hadn’t wasted my money on:

#1 Pre-walker Baby Shoes

When my husband and I found out we are having a little girl, I kind of went crazy looking for adorable outfits for her. And this most definitely included itty-bitty shoes.

But… have you ever tried to get shoes on a baby? I have, and let me tell you, until your child is walking, attempting to put shoes on an infant will be the biggest waste of your valuable naptime.

Unless you’re from an icy cold climate where the warmest socks are still not enough for warmth, shoes for babies before they are walking are a waste of time and money.

I come from Perth, Australia where our summers are 30- 35 degrees average and winter averages about 20 degrees.

Fleecy socks were very suitable on cooler days, but we had absolutely no need for shoes (except for cute baby fashion) until my daughter started walking and was more cooperative when we put shoes on.

#2 Baby food processor

A food processor designed purely for baby food? This would have to be one of the biggest wastes of money for a baby. You can achieve the same result just using your regular blender or food processor.

Steam the vegetables using hot water and a regular pot on the stove, then add it to the blender and blend it all up. VOILA- you have baby puree.

There is no need for a fancy, baby-specific appliance that just takes up more room on your kitchen bench, clutters the kitchen and you’ll only use it for 6 months or so before your child is eating more solid food.

Keep it simple. You don’t need extra gadgets to clean, dry and reassemble when you have a baby. Half the time, you’d probably be making the same vegetable for the rest of the family. Nobody wants more dishes than necessary.

We have a Breville BBL605XL Hemisphere Control Blender which has preset functions depending on what consistency you want your food to and it is perfect for baby purees if you don’t do baby led weaning. One jug to clean and you’re done.

#3 Branded Breastmilk Storage Bags

I was horrified to find that branded breastmilk storage bags go for around $25 in some pharmacies for a 20 pack of Medela breast milk storage bags.

As anyone who knows me knows, I’m as frugal as you can get. So I just bought regular ziplock bags from the supermarket for $2 and get more than 50 bags.

They’re reusable if you sterilize them after each use as branded breast milk storage bags and a fraction of the price

Sure, the supermarket ziplock bags don’t have a measurement on them, but you can just check the bottle you expressed into before transferring the milk to the bag and then write the amount in marker on the bag. $2 for more than double the amount of bags. To me, it’s a no-brainer.

#4 Bumbo

I had a lot of parents swear the miracles of a Bumbo. So I made sure I got the one my aunt use for my cousin when they were finished with it.

I didn’t see the magic.

I had a rocker for my daughter that she preferred because she would have toys to look at. The bumbo frustrated her because she just sat there.

My daughter also had hip dysplasia and was in a Pavlik and rhino harness so she couldn’t even use the Bumbo half the time.

The only this I will say about the Bumbo, is that I can see the merits of it as a portable highchair for children when travelling. It doesn’t take up as much room as a highchair would so would be perfect for frequently travelling families that feed on the go.

Bumbo

#5 Wipes warmer

I may have been silly enough to buy gadgets such as the baby food processes (albeit secondhand), but I never actually went as far as purchasing a Wipes Warmer.

To me, this is consumerism gone mad, preying on parents and their need to mollycoddle their children.

I never had one of these. I saw a relative use one and was baffled.

You can get the same result by holding the wet wipe between your palms for 20seconds and allowing your body temperature to warm the wipe.

Or, unless you’re in the Antarctic, your kid could just deal with the momentary cold wet wipe on their bum before you put a fresh nappy on them.

So there are the items that I think are a waste of time and money. But… I also have a list of baby items that are essential to my parenting routine.

What baby items did you find utterly unhelpful? Post them in the comments below.

7 important things to consider when choosing the best childcare centre for your family

7 important things to consider when choosing the best childcare centre for your family

DISCLAIMER: This post may contain affiliate links. This means after trying a particular product, I love it enough that I am willing to recommend it to others and the company will pay me a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you decide to purchase from my affiliate link. I will only recommend products and services that I have tried myself and love. Please click here for my full disclaimer.

 

Choosing childcare is a dilemma for every working parent. What kind of care is best for your child? What educational benefits are important to you? Can your family afford to utilise traditional childcare?

With so many questions to answer, how do you start looking for the best childcare provider so you can return to work with a sound mind that your child is happy?

Finding your Starting Point:

Before you start, answer these logistical questions:

  • Will I be responsible solely for dropping and pickup up my child from childcare?
  • Will my husband/partner be partly responsible for helping with the daycare drop-offs and pick-ups?
  • Is it more convenient to put your child in a childcare near your house or near your place of work?
  • Do you consider the location of the childcare centre more important than the style of childcare provided, or is a specialised curriculum more important than the location?

Once you have an idea of who will be picking up your child each day and where is the most convenient location for a childcare, then you can locate all the childcare centres in your area.Or you can do a search for centres that provide the style of childcare you want for your child.

Or you can do a search for centres that provide the style of childcare you want for your child.

Traditional vs Alternative Childcare Curriculum:

One of the most important questions to ask yourself is: Do you want your child being part of the traditional Early Childhood Learning Curriculum, or would you prefer an alternative method of early childhood teachings such as Montessori, Reggio Emilia, or Steiner?For me, the most important aspect of early childhood education for my daughter was to learn through play. Developmental education is more important to me than educating children based on their own cultural communities because I feel that it is a more inclusive style of learning, where each child is equal as a child.

For me, the most important aspect of early childhood education for my daughter was to learn through play. Developmental education is more important to me than educating children based on their own cultural communities because I feel that it is a more inclusive style of learning, where each child is equal as a child.I also didn’t want her to be made to feel inadequate for not understanding a concept. My sister struggled a lot through school with learning to read because she didn’t learn in a way that the teachers taught. I didn’t want that for my daughter.

I also didn’t want her to be made to feel inadequate for not understanding a concept. My sister struggled a lot through school with learning to read because she didn’t learn in a way that the teachers taught. I didn’t want that for my daughter.

For me, a post-structuralist style of early childhood education was a definite no-go because my husband and I are definitely opposed to the idea of educators teaching through the use of ‘exploiting the use of power relationships.’

I am a very much a ‘don’t cry over spilt milk’ parent. Spilling milk or making a mistake in our household is a case of ‘Whoops. Let’s fix that, can you help me?’ because I feel it encourages children to learn from mistakes instead of being scared to make a mistake.

So, I wanted the childcare centre where my daughter would spend a significant amount of time to reflect those parenting values.The most important thing for me is that the childcare centre, regardless of what model of education they provide, is accredited with the National Quality Framework (NQS), which ensures they are up to standard with the Australian government.

The most important thing for me is that the childcare centre, regardless of what model of education they provide, is accredited with the National Quality Framework (NQS), which ensures they are up to standard with the Australian government.I’ve put some information below about some of the developmental styles of early childhood education so you can see how each style of learning stacks up and decide what best suits your child(ren) and family.Childcare question pack display

Any information provided is a result of my own reading and experiences when I was investigating childcare centres for my daughter.

Montessori

In Australia, Montessori style of early childhood education in childcare has been more and more popular.

While I am pleased that more childcare centres are embodying developmental methods of educating and nurturing young children, it is also a worry because I feel that some centres are only gaining Montessori accreditation to appeal to parents and rake in more money, and not because they wholly believe in the methods.

When my daughter first started in a childcare centre, I thought I had found the best childcare provider possible because they made a point of informing me at every opportunity that they were sponsoring all their carers to obtain their Montessori accreditation.

Montessori theories emphasise that children learn at their own natural pace, and it is the educator’s job to facilitate the natural learning processes, through play, while maintaining that it is ‘child led.’

After my daughter spent a couple months there, receiving the weekly newsletter where they stated “During Montessori sessions, the children did (insert activity),” made me feel that the Montessori was just an activity that they scheduled in each day to ensure parents felt their fees were worth in, rather than a holistic approach to early childhood learning.

When I withdrew my daughter from the childcare centre because we no longer required childcare (as my mum was offering to have Ella on the days I worked), the centre manager inferred that their centre provided better care than my mother could “because they were Montessori”. That’s when I knew I was leaving that centre for the right reasons.

Not all Montessori education centres are like this. I bet I just was unlucky enough to get the only one that only cared about the style of education for its ‘buzzword’ appeal to parents.

My understanding of the Montessori development methods is that it’s an overall philosophy that should be embodied in any daily activity with children, as with every other developmental style of early childhood education. The Montessori Australia website provides a concise explanation of how it should be implemented.

My daughter is now at a different childcare centre as I increased the days I work (mum still has her two days a week and they love their time together) and although the centre doesn’t label themselves as ‘Montessori’, they embody aspects of ‘developmental styles’ of early childhood education in their daily activities. I couldn’t be happier where we are now.

Reggio Emilia

This style of early childhood education is similar to Montessori in that it is a developmental style of education, but emphasises more ‘learning through play’ approach, where toddlers and pre-schoolers learn through their experiences and their senses.

Reggio Emilia is another style of ‘child-centred’ education where the childcare educators are there to guide the child’s learning but have a ‘hands off approach’.

One of the carers that used to look after Ella described Reggio Emilia style as ‘educators collaborate with the children, rather than playing the role of an instructor’.

Reggio Emilia style of education places more emphasis on children expressing themselves through ‘a hundred languages’ (other than just speech) and promoting an environment that is conducive to this expression.

Steiner

Another popular style of developmental education, that varies from the traditional curriculums is the Steiner style of early childhood learning.

Steiner places more emphasis on learning through practical, hands-on and creative activity that tends to be slightly more structured than Montessori or Reggio Emilia styles of early childhood learning. I found the Steiner Education Australia website wonderfully informative for how Steiner theories of early childhood education are implemented in a practical sense.

What I love about the theories of Steiner or Wardolf education, is that a lot of learning is facilitated through practical activities such as gardening, cooking, as well as artistic and collaborative activities such as singing etc.

How to choose the right childcare based on education?

Quite simply, arm yourself with knowledge.

I’ve provided very rudimentary explanations, based on my own research of childcare centres as a starting point for you. Download my free printable of the Jumbo List of Questions to Ask the Childcare Centre when you go to explore childcare centres for your child. (insert opt-in page for free printable)

Other factors to consider:

There are many other factors that you need to consider when choosing a childcare. We’ve already covered logistics and location.

How much will it cost?

Cost is another important factor when considering childcare.

Government Assistance?

Does your government offer a rebate for childcare fees? In Australia, until the new legislative changes are implemented, each child is eligible for up to $7500 per year of Childcare Rebate (which is not income-tested), and some families are eligible for Childcare Benefit (which is income-tested). Make sure you have a look at the Human Services website for more information about what government assistance may be available to your family for childcare fees.

While the Childcare Rebate is a massive help in getting parents back into the workforce, as with any government, they don’t implement this incentive very well.

While the Childcare Rebate is a massive help in getting parents back into the workforce, as with any government, they don’t implement this incentive very well. The government withholds 15% of the eligible rebate to ‘balance your books’ at the end of the financial year, in case you owe the Family Assistance office any money for underestimating your family income. So, this rebate becomes $6375 per child. There is very little communication about this (you must scour the Family Assistance website for this information). If your books balance at the end of the Financial year, then this sum is reimbursed, but it does not do anything to help for the three months that you must pay the full out-of-pocket expenses before the End of Financial Year.

The government withholds 15% of the eligible rebate to ‘balance your books’ at the end of the financial year, in case you owe the Family Assistance office any money for underestimating your family income. So, this rebate becomes $6375 per child. There is very little communication about this (you must scour the Family Assistance website for this information). If your books balance at the end of the Financial year, then this sum is reimbursed, but it does not do anything to help for the months that you must pay the full out-of-pocket expenses before the End of Financial Year. So, rather than figuring out what $6375 per year would equate to per eligible

So, rather than figuring out what $6375 per year would equate to per eligible childcare day and then deduct that from your daily childcare fee, the Family Assistance offers merely applies the rebate to 50% of your out of pocket fees, until you reach your $6375. For me, with Ella attending childcare 4 days per week, we reached our Childcare Rebate cap nine months into the financial year. Which means we were required to pay the full fees (as we do not qualify for the income-tested Childcare Benefit) until the new financial year.

For me, with Ella attending childcare 4 days per week, we reached our Childcare Rebate cap nine months into the financial year. Which means we were required to pay the full fees (as we do not qualify for the income-tested Childcare Benefit) until the new financial year. For those three months, more than half my monthly pay was being spent on childcare fees, AFTER we reduced her days down to three days per week.

For those three months, more than half my monthly pay was being spent on childcare fees, AFTER we reduced her days down to three days per week. While I am not complaining too much, it would be better if this information was communicated to people that can utilise the Childcare Rebate so they can plan their payment of childcare fees better. I would have paid extra per month while the rebate was being paid to create a surplus fund with the daycare to minimise my out of pocket expense when the Rebate cap had been reached.

While I am not complaining too much, it would be better if this information was communicated to people that can utilise the Childcare Rebate so they can plan their payment of childcare fees better. I would have paid extra per month while the rebate was being paid to create a surplus fund with the daycare to minimise my out of pocket expense when the Rebate cap had been reached.

The lesson to learn here: READ THE FINE PRINT OF ANY GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIES THAT YOU MAY BE ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE. Sorry for shouting. But, I cannot stress this point enough.

What does your daily childcare expense include?

Be sure to ask the childcare centre what the cost of care includes. Some centres include the cost of nappies and all meals. Some do not.

While the cheapest fee may look the best on paper, it could be that the fees that are $5-10 more per day include all your child’s meals and their nappies. If your child is in there for more than 2 days per week, then the extra money in fees that include the nappies and meals could be better for your pocket than the cheapest childcare fees but you have to provide all meals and nappies.

If your child is in there for more than 2 days per week, then the extra money in fees that include the nappies and meals could be better for your pocket than the cheapest childcare fees but you have to provide all meals and nappies.

Accreditation

Another important consideration is to consider what accreditations your childcare centre has from a governing body. These accreditations ensure that the childcare centre consistently provides a safe and secure environment for your child, as well as ensuring training of educators remains up to current standards.

These accreditations ensure that the childcare centre consistently provides a safe and secure environment for your child, as well as ensuring training of educators remains up to current standards.

Australia:

In Australia, ALL childcare centres must be accredited under the National Quality Framework (NQF), which measures how each centre adheres to the standards of care expected that is a base standard for operating a childcare centre. Each centre should be aiming to exceed the base standards. Click here for a starting point to find childcare centres that are meeting the NQF standards:

America:

In America, childcare centres should be meeting the standards stipulated by Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS).
Ideally, childcare centres in America should be accredited under the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), however not all states are governed by this Childcare Accreditation body.

The UK:

Childcare centres and nurseries are regulated by OFSTED, who perform routine inspections to ensure centres are maintaining certain standards of care.

How does the childcare centre manage grievances?

This is a big one. What frameworks are in place to protect families if issues arise? Does the centre have a formal policy on handling grievances, should they arise? Ask to see a copy of the childcare centre’s grievance handling policy before you enrol your child.

How do educators handle behaviour issues in children?

It’s inevitable. Our kids are not going to be perfectly behaved or cooperative all the time. They are going to test the boundaries; they aren’t going to be nice to their friends. But the most important thing here is to ascertain how the childcare centre handles such issues as they arise?For me, it was important that the educators employ the same methods that myself or my husband would if our child was acting out at home, to ensure consistency for Ella.

For me, it was important that the educators employ the same methods that myself or my husband would if our child was acting out at home, to ensure consistency for Ella. I believe time-outs are ineffective, especially in toddlers, for encouraging children to correct their behaviour and wanted to ensure that the childcare centre that Ella attends would not place her in ‘time out’ for less than ideal behaviours.

I believe time-outs are ineffective, especially in toddlers, for encouraging children to correct their behaviour and wanted to ensure that the childcare centre that Ella attends would not place her in ‘time out’ for less than ideal behaviours. At her age, redirection and showing alternative ways of doing things is how I feel I can get the message across. Encouraging a child to correct their own behaviour, and therefore learn from it, is more effective than removing and isolating them.

At her age, redirection and showing alternative ways of doing things is how I feel I can get the message across. Encouraging a child to correct their own behaviour, and therefore learn from it, is more effective than removing and isolating them.

When Ella is playing rough with her friend, for example, with snatching toys, I attempt to correct the behaviour by telling her that “It’s not nice to snatch toys. It hurt your friend’s feelings because she was playing nicely with that toy and you suddenly snatched it. You wouldn’t like it if your friend snatched your toy, would you? Can you please give the toy back?” Most of the time, this tactic works the first time and the toy that was snatched is given back to the original child and both children play happily. By asking her if she would like it if her toy was snatched, it’s also giving her the opportunity to realise that the action of snatching isn’t nice because she wouldn’t like it.

Most of the time, this tactic works the first time and the toy that was snatched is given back to the original child and both children play happily. By asking her if she would like it if her toy was snatched, it’s also giving her the opportunity to realise that the action of snatching isn’t nice because she wouldn’t like it. If that doesn’t work, and Ella respond with ‘No’ to my request to give the toy she snatched back to her friend, then I will employ redirection techniques to distract her focus from the toy she snatched to prevent recurrences of that happening.

If that doesn’t work, and Ella respond with ‘No’ to my request to give the toy she snatched back to her friend, then I will employ redirection techniques to distract her focus from the toy she snatched to prevent recurrences of that happening.So, after a long-winded example, what I mean to say, is that it is important for Ella’s carers to employ the same methods to correct behaviour as I would apply at home. Especially when I am very opposed to time-outs and authoritarian methods of discipline, as I feel it undermines the message we are attempting to teach.

So, after a long-winded example, what I mean to say, is that it is important for Ella’s carers to employ the same methods to correct behaviour as I would apply at home. Especially when I am very opposed to time-outs and authoritarian methods of discipline, as I feel it undermines the message we are attempting to teach.At the end of the day, regardless of what style of early childhood education a centre focuses on, how much they cost and how they guide children, you need to feel comfortable in your

At the end of the day, regardless of what style of early childhood education a centre focuses on, how much they cost and how they guide children, you need to feel comfortable in your centre’s ability to meet the needs of your children.

Don’t ignore any bad vibes or gut feelings you have. Pay attention to your child’s cues to know if the centre is right for you. And if you decide a traditional daycare centre is not for your family, check out my post on alternatives to traditional childcare centres for your family.

Don’t forget to download your free printable of the Jumbo List of Questions to Ask Prospective Childcare Centres.

7 things to consider when choosing childcare | Naturally Busy
7 important questions to ask a prospective childcare centre | Naturally Busy
5 INSANELY useful items for a newborn

5 INSANELY useful items for a newborn

DISCLAIMER: This post may contain affiliate links. This means after trying a particular product, I love it enough that I am willing to recommend it to others and the company will pay me a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you decide to purchase from my affiliate link. I will only recommend products and services that I have tried myself and love. Please click here for my full disclaimer.

 

As a first time mum, I was fortunate to receive A LOT of hand-me-down baby items and a lot of advice. It was sometimes conflicting, and it was hard to know what baby items were essential to making life easier as a parent. I also out found which items were utterly useless or completely unnecessary.

Here are the items I found the most useful when Ella was an infant and that I will most definitely use again for any future children.

#1. Love-2-Dream Baby Swaddle

I learned how to swaddle my daughter with a baby blanket. She learned how to break her hands-free and startle herself awake. I learned how to swaddle her tighter. She learned how to break free again.

Eventually, I dug out the various Love-to-Dream swaddles that my aunt had stashed away in a box of hand-me-downs for me. They can come in a lighter cotton if you hail from warm climates (like my home in summer). And they have a two-way zip so you can keep your baby’s legs out in a natural position.Love to Dream Swaddle

This two-way zip proved ESSENTIAL when E was braced for hip dysplasia at 6 weeks old (an age where swaddling was still necessary for us).

These swaddles are on the more expensive side. I was so fortunate to have a few in newborn sizes and only had to purchase 2 large size ones when E grew out of the smaller sizes we had on hand, but they are well worth the investment when they prevent your newborn startling themselves awake with their tiny little fists.

I have purchased a few for friends with newborns and they have all thanked me for it!

I’ve found that you can usually find them on Facebook Buy and Sell pages or eBay secondhand if you’re concerned that they are too expensive.

#2. Baby Carrier

Oh my goodness. My sanity was SAVED when I discovered the benefits of babywearing.

My daughter was a Velcro child for the first 9 months of her life. Naps were usually on me and it was hard to actually put her down long enough for me to do anything productive (like cleaning the house). She fussed in her pram after a short time in the early days. She was only happy if someone was cuddling her.

I had written off the idea of babywearing while I was pregnant but my aunt had provided me with an Ergo Performance baby carrier which helped her. The carrier was amazing.

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However, this particular model required a newborn insert for support and this was highly ineffective during the middle of an Australian summer, where temperatures can reach 42 degrees Celsius. The insert in this carrier wouldn’t be an issue in cooler climates.

Please don’t let my initial experience with the Ergobaby Performance deter you – once the infant insert was no longer required for my daughter, the Ergo became my husband’s carrier of choice. He loved the simplicity of it. I even managed to teach him how to use it to carry Ella on his back! I would love to try this carrier again if I have a winter newborn because of the simplicity of clicking a buckle and being good to go.

So, I started with a Moby baby wrap.  It was amazing. I stopped fumbling with prams (unless I was having a meal), stopped the stopping and starting with the pram when I was out. I managed to get things done around the house as my baby was comforted and settled by the closeness.

I then moved to a woven wrap and until E was 2+ years old, this was my saving grace as a parent.

Some budget brands of woven wraps include Little Frog, Fidella, Yaro Slings, Girasol and Lenny Lamb wraps.

Go to local meets to experiment with various styles of baby carriers to find what works for you and your baby. You can normally pick up a carrier second hand for a decent price from Babywearing groups on Facebook as well.

Start by looking at the Baby Wearing Buy, Sell and Swap Facebook Group and you should be able to find your local group from there (please note, this is within Australia). From what I understand, there are these groups all over the world.

Here is the link to the BWBSS Aussie Babywearing Support, where you can ask for advice, meet other like-minded mums. A local babywearing meet is also a great way to meet local mums in your area. I found some of my closest mum friends from going to local meets.

#3. Electric breast pump

There are no words for how useful a decent electric breast is to a breastfeeding mama. Especially a working breastfeeding mama.

Related Post: Breastfeeding after maternity leave: Spectra breast pumps make it easy

Or any mama that wants to include dad’s, grandparents, siblings in the feeding process.

I started with a hand pump. I tried. I ended up losing my temper when it leaked milk out of the pump and then the bottle got slippery and I knocked it over.

Whoever said “there’s no point crying over spilled milk” was clearly not a pumping mama.

I had used a Medela at the hospital and thought an electric breast pump was worth looking into, as I planned on returning to work and knew I wanted to exclusively breastfeed as long as I could.

But my friend sang the praises of a Spectra electric pump. I checked the reviews of both a Spectra and a Medela and ended up settling for a Spectra S2 Double Electric Pump because of the backflow protection it offered. There’s also the added bonus that the S2 comes with 2 bottles for ease of pumping.

spectra_s2_hospital_grade_breast_pump-510x600

Oh my goodness. I cannot rave about the value of a decent electric breast pump if you plan on pumping regularly. If you only plan on expressing once in a blue moon, I would just stick with a hand pump. But if you’re expressing regularly… make the investment.

I returned to work one day per week when E was four-and-a-half months old. By the time she was seven months, I was working two days per week. And then three days a week once she was 10months. My electric pump expressed more than enough to maintain a decent stash. We breastfed and used expressed breast milk until we weaned at 15months.

I was barely pumping 40mL with a hand pump so it would take several sessions to establish a whole bottle for one feed. I was amazed when I used my Spectra for the first time. 150mL expressed in… 10minutes.

Here is the first bottle I ever expressed using my Spectra S2 breast pump

Side Note – how much you express is not an indication of what your supply is like. Some mothers can barely express a drop and their babies are as well-nourished and thriving as any mother who expresses large quantities. A baby is more effective than any pump.

You can adjust the strength of the suction and the pumping speed easily with the Spectra S2.

If you’re returning to work and can’t always be guaranteed a power supply in order to pump. Spectra have a battery operated model- the Spectra S1. From what I’ve heard, it’s just as good as the S2 model that I have, but it’s more portable because of the rechargeable battery. If necessity dictated, I would readily upgrade to the S1, after the easy pumping experience I had with my Spectra S2.

I honestly could not sing the praises of this pump enough. I’ve since sterilized all the parts and have stashed the pump away for the next baby… whenever that happens.

#4. Essential Oil Diffuser

Everyone who reads this blog knows how much I rave about how amazing and versatile essential oils are.

Related Post: My top 5 essential oils for everyday use.

An essential oil diffuser has proved its worth in my household, not just for babies but in general.

My favourite reasons for using my essential oil diffuser, specific to babies, are:

  • The ability to create a calming environment that is conducive to sleep and
  • Diffusing blends that help clear up congested babies that haven’t learned to blow their nose yet.

Groupon diffuser and PT oils
For me, an essential oil diffuser is worth its weight in gold when it comes to children. My favourite blend of oils to diffuse for a good night’s sleep is Plant Therapy’s Synergy blend called Nighty Night, which is their Kids Safe version of their other blend Sleep Aid.

If you don’t have a diffuser and won’t be getting one anytime soon, 2 drops of DILUTED lavender essential oil on the sheets will help out.

There are so many different models of essential oil diffuser on the market. One of my favourites is my Plant Therapy diffuser that I purchased alongside my Plant Therapy essential oil starter kit.

Plant Therapy Aromafuse Diffuser

Honestly, I could sing the praises of Plant Therapy all day long, but I won’t in this post. I’ll just say, their oils and diffusers are worth their weight in gold. If you’re looking for a slightly cheaper but, still a decent quality diffuser, check this one out that I scored on Groupon.

In addition to adding two drops of Nighty Night to the diffuser, I made a roller bottle containing five drops of Nighty Night in 10mL of fractionated coconut oil. I then massaged onto the back of E’s neck and the bottom of her feet has her sleeping a lot better.  And this is the child that, at 2 and a half years old still wakes at least 2-3 times a night.

#5 Nose Frida Nasal Aspirator

There’s nothing worse than a congested newborn, right?

When my daughter was about 10 days old, she was horribly congested. As first-time parents, my husband and I sent ourselves into a frenzy panicking about our child’s ability to try and breathe at midnight. There were no chemists open in our area. The closest 24-hour pharmacy was 30km away.

We improvised. As a car enthusiast, my husband had a brand new fuel line (I think?) which came out of the packet. We used this to manually remove snot from our tiny baby’s nose. I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS. It is disgusting but it worked in the interim.

The next morning we raced down to the pharmacy and discussed the best options for our congested newborn. The pharmacy assistant directed us to the Nose Frida which is essentially the same concept as my husband’s improvised aspirator. Except it has a filter to stop any snot getting close to your mouth.

Nose Frida

I cannot recommend this nasal aspirator enough!!! Whenever I am invited to a first-time mum’ baby shower, I always create a “Newborn Survival Kit” for the mum-to-be so that they don’t have to improvise and fashion A DIY nasal aspirator as random hours.

There you have it… my 5 absolute essential items for a baby. What were the essential baby items that made motherhood easier for you? Make sure you check out the list of baby items I found to be useless.

5 insanely useful items for a newborn - infographic

5 insanely useful items for a newborn
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What items should you pack for your newborn at the hospital?

What items should you pack for your newborn at the hospital?

DISCLAIMER: This post may contain affiliate links. This means after trying a particular product, I love it enough that I am willing to recommend it to others and the company will pay me a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you decide to purchase from my affiliate link. I will only recommend products and services that I have tried myself and love. Please click here for my full disclaimer.

Bringing a newborn home is both one of the most amazing things and daunting things you’ll do in your life. While you’re worried about how you are going to go with feeding, sleeping patterns and how a baby will impact your life after you leave the hospital, the hospital bag essentials for your baby is the last thing you need to worry about.

Whether you’re a first-time mum-to-be or a “repeat” Mum, having a list to refer to when you’ve got that third-trimester fatigue-induced brain fog I’ve rounded up the items that I thought were essential for the hospital bag for bub.

#1. A large reusable wet bag (or two)

You might think I’m crazy for this. Even if you don’t use cloth nappies, a large wet bag will be handy for storing all the dirty laundry when you get home. I read this tip on a Facebook page in the weeks before I gave birth and thought it was genius.

You probably already know this, but trust me, the last thing you want to be bothered with when you return home with a newborn is rummaging through bags for what’s dirty and what isn’t. You could even sort into what needs soaking before washing and separate your whites from darks. 

You might think I’m crazy, but it saved a BUTT LOAD of time when I first got home from the hospital and I could just tip the contents of the bag into the washing machine.

You can get large wetbags quite cheap from eBay.

Large wet bags

#2. Clothing

This is an obvious item that you need in a hospital bag for your infant, but how on earth do you pack for a baby you’ve never met? If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to err on the side of caution and be over-prepared for any situation you might find yourself in post-birth.

Here’s what I found to be sufficient for a 4 day stay in the hospital after having my daughter.

5 or 6 singlets and at least 5 or 6 bodysuits (short or long sleeve, depending on the season).

At least. Newborns require many changes of clothes. They spit up frequently, nappies can explode. You want enough clothes to last your entire hospital stay.

2-3 cotton blankets or specific swaddles.

Most hospitals in Australia will supply blankets but it’s always good to have blankets for the trip home from the hospital. Cotton blankets also make a good swaddle for your new baby.

I prefer the Love to Dream swaddles, but if you’re not up for spending $35 on a single swaddle (I get mine secondhand to save a couple dollars via eBay), then cotton blankets are definitely needed while you’re at the hospital.

 Love to Dream Swaddle

3 pairs of socks and mittens

These are perfect for adding warmth if required for your baby. Have a few spare pairs in case of a longer than anticipated hospital stay.

2 cotton hats

Again, you want to make sure you can keep your bub warm if needed. You can always remove layers if it’s too warm. And those teeny-tiny baby hats hardly take up much room in your baby bag.

1 memorable outfit to take your baby home in

If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to take heaps of photos of your gorgeous newborn the day you bring them home, so make sure you have a memorable ‘going home’ outfit packed for that day.

If you don’t know where to start looking for the perfect outfit, start on Etsy, as they have some great options for both boys and girls and amazing unisex options if you’re waiting for their birth to find out the gender.

 

#3. At least 30 nappies and 2-3 packets of baby wipes.

You just don’t know what your newborn’s bowel and bladder schedule will be or how long you’ll be in the hospital for. And I can’t think of anything worse than running out of supplies during your stay.

You might think 30 is too many but if you’re in hospital for 5 days for a c-section (even if you don’t plan on a caesarean)who knows what labour and delivery will bring) and your baby required at least 6 changes a day (newborns eat and poop A LOT), you might even need your partner to bring more nappies to the hospital.

Optional items that may be useful to pack for your newborn

Bottles and formula if your hospital doesn’t provide them and you plan on formula feeding.

Ask your hospital if they have facilities to clean the bottles during your stay as this may limit the number of bottles you require.

Dummies/pacifiers.

Even though I swore black and blue during pregnancy that I’d never use a dummy, my mum snuck them into the bag and then two days in, I caved and used one for my daughter to settle her while we were in the hospital and walking to settle a child was difficult after my c-section. They were good to have on hand. You can see all my other parenting expectations that were completely contradicted once my daughter actually arrived here.

A baby carrier.

One of the best ways to settle a newborn who isn’t used to being outside the comfort of your body is to wear them on your chest where it is close and warm. A ring sling or stretchy wrap is best for newborns, provided they meet the minimum weight requirements.

This is the bare minimum that I packed for my daughter, on the advice of both my mum and aunt. Do you have any other items that were essential for your newborn at the hospital? Make sure you check out my post on what items are essential to pack for yourself during your hospital stay.

 

3 essential items for your newborn - PIN 2
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6 hospital bag essentials every mum needs… that no one tells you about

6 hospital bag essentials every mum needs… that no one tells you about

DISCLAIMER: This post may contain affiliate links. This means after trying a particular product, I love it enough that I am willing to recommend it to others and the company will pay me a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you decide to purchase from my affiliate link. I will only recommend products and services that I have tried myself and love. Please click here for my full disclaimer.

 

Packing a hospital bag is a pretty daunting task, whether you are a first-time mum or a seasoned pro.

You never know what you might need to have on hand and even if you’ve had plenty of babies, have a look at this list to make sure you haven’t missed anything, in case the dreaded pregnancy brain fog has taken you over.

There are a few essential items on this list that I have never seen on any other post on this topic.

Probably because they are quite personal items or the reasons for needing them are personal. And people don’t like talking about the intimate details of what happens to a woman’s body after childbirth.

I was exceptionally lucky to have my aunt who advised me of all the ‘out of the box’ items that no ‘mummy blog’ or birthing forum had told me about.

My aunt had my cousin 11 months before I gave birth to my firstborn so the memories of what are necessities in a hospital bag were fresh for her… and a lifesaver for me. I was also fortunate that my mum was blunt about the creature comforts you’d want to have with you in your hospital bag.

#1. Nipple cream

If you plan on breastfeeding, this is absolutely essential.

If you’re a repeat breastfeeder with seasoned nipples, you’ll still need nipple cream on hand. Newborns have such an incredibly powerful latch. Sometimes they don’t latch properly and that causes cracked nipples and require the need for a decent nipple cream.

Look for one that is soothing. Allowing your nipples to air dry will also help. But nothing beats a soothing nipple cream for relief when the stinging kicks in. Your body will adjust to your newborn’s powerful latch soon, but until it does, have some cream on hand.

When we have baby #2, I’ll be packing the Nature’s Child Organic Nipple Balm again in my hospital bag. I found out about this after trying a few other brands and this one was a life-saver!

#2. Cheap cotton granny panties

I cannot preach the need for cheap cotton granny panties enough. And they need to be high-rise.

If you end up requiring a caesarean delivery, you’ll need panties that sit above your incision so the panties don’t irritate your incision and prolong the healing process.

The last thing you want with a newborn is an infection at a scar site.

And even if you have a complication-free, natural birth, you’ll want some cheap cotton panties that are wide enough to fit your surfboard sized maternity pads.  Which leads to Tip #3…

#3. Lots and Lots of Maternity pads

You’ll want at least two packets of maternity pads in your hospital bag just to get through the hospital stay.

What happens to your body immediately after birth cannot be predicted. You definitely do not want to be under-prepared.

Even if you plan on birthing and leaving as soon as possible, pack as many as possible. Just in case your birth and leave plan does not go to plan and you have a longer-than-planned stay.

If you’re planning on reusable pads, ensure you have the ability to wash frequently as the bleeding is heavy in those first few days. Or have enough stashed in your bag and a hygienic wet bag to store used pads to wash as soon as you get home.

I’m open to using reusable cloth pads for regular menstrual bleeding. But the heaviness of postpartum bleeding immediately after birth scares me off using reusable pads, at least in the first weeks after birth.

#4. Comfortable clothing

If you’ve packed anything fitted for your hospital bag… take it out and start your packing again. Trust me.

Maternity jeans are the only exception…if it’s winter and if you can bear the tight crotch.

Oversized cotton t-shirts, oversized pajamas, loose and flowing dresses, maternity bras and those granny panties are the only types of clothing you’re going to want. I think this goes without saying.

But, as you might have guessed, I’m a big fan of being prepared for every situation.

Your plan may be to deliver at the hospital and go home as soon as humanly possible. But what if you can’t go home as soon as possible?

Comfortable clothes for labour and delivery go without saying.

Oversized Cotton Shirt

My mum bought me an oversized cotton t-shirt from Kmart that she swore I’d need. I didn’t end up going through labour with my first (scheduled c-section for my stubborn breechling) but I kept that shirt in my hospital bag regardless.

I didn’t know if I would end up going into spontaneous labour and by some miracle my child had turned cephalic  (I didn’t and she didn’t, but I was prepared for the possibility).

I ended up using the oversized shirt during my hospital stay anyway. It was long enough that I didn’t need pants (waistband are the devil when you’ve got a healing incision). It was oversized enough to facilitate breastfeeding frequently.

So definitely pack at least 1, if not 2 oversized cotton shirts for yourself to be as comfortable as possible.

A dress of some-kind

You’ll probably want a cotton dress to come home in as well.

Remember the point I made about pants? They suck for c-section mummas. And judging by the residual pregnancy belly I had when I left the hospital? Pants are a terrible choice for any mum, regardless of how you birthed.

Be sure to pack several changes of clothes. You’ll sweat so much in the first days after birth as your body releases all the fluid it retained during pregnancy.

#5. Your own pillow

I can’t speak (yet) for the legends who go through labour and pushing and come out exhausted, but I most definitely was grateful for my own pillow after my c-section, that I could just collapse into (gently, of course) after the adrenaline of birth wore off and exhaustion kicked in. 

I was exhausted.

I was lucky my newborn was relatively easy at the hospital so I did rest quite a bit with the comfort of my pillow. I used my maternity pillow for comfort which also helped with nursing my newborn. I can’t recommend this Cuddle Me Body/Pregnancy Support Pillow enough.

My aunt gave it to me when I first found out I was pregnant. She’d used it once or twice. I used it so often that I will need a new one if I fall pregnant with another child because it made sleep so much more comfortable while pregnant.

I made my husband carry it in and out of the hospital for me. It was perfect for both my pregnancy and postnatal comfort and served as an amazing feeding pillow for those frequent newborn feedings.

#6. Phone charger

Pack a spare phone charger in your hospital bag just in case you don’t remember to add it in when you decide to leave to go to the hospital.

Newborns eat, poop and sleep. And while you should rest as much as possible after birth, you may not spend your entire time sleeping.

It’s inevitable that friends and relatives will want to contact you with well-wishes after you give birth.

Your phone battery will be drained. And, if you don’t pack entertainment for when you don’t have visitors,, chances are, you’ll want a fully charged phone to respond to all of those well-wishes.

Plus, you’ll probably want to take many, many photos with your phone of the beautiful baby you just delivered. And who can blame you? Your baby is the most beautiful thing in the world to you right now.

So those are the essentials that I would pack in my hospital bag the next time I have a baby. Have I missed any of your essentials? Let me know what you found essential for a comfortable hospital stay.

Check out my post on essentials pack for your new baby during the hospital stay.

 6 essential items for mum's hospital bag

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