living in oz, 3 month update

So we have been in oz for almost 3 months now. I decided it was time to give an update. relocating from the UK to oz has been a pretty big adjustment. least of all for me, but more so for Timmy and Carl.

So we moved back to oz early October, and have been living with family which was very nice of them to let us stay with them. There have been big adjustments on both sides with this new living arrangement. So my family live in an area that if you don’t have a car or don’t drive, your literally up shit creek without a paddle. Luckily, i have a licence and my family brought a third car before we moved out here, so this is my life line! Since moving out here I’ve managed to get some work through a temping agency doing some admin/reception work which I’m very grateful for, not only does it give us an income so we are not using our savings, it also gets me out of the house and is doing me a world of good. i go stir crazy if I’m stuck at home for too long.

I think Carl is finding it the biggest adjustment of all. Not only has he moved to the other side of the world far away from his family, friends and everything that is familiar to him, due to his visa process he hasn’t been able to work for the first 3 months while in oz. So he has had to be the stay at home dad, which it took a while for him to settle into, but i think he has found his rhythm now, but i know he can not wait to get back to work! its been extra hard for him, he has his learners licence, but no car and hasn’t been for lessons yet. so remember that creek i was telling you about, yep….hes up shit creek and no paddle. he stays home with Timmy most days which would drive anyone mad. especially when Timmy has a bad day and just wants to be a right little shit. Carl has had to adjust to living in a new house with my family….there are 7 adults and a toddler running around, its a busy household, little room for alone time or personal space. But he is doing good, and next month he is able o start work, so fingers crossed he finds something soon! it will do him the world of good.

Poor Timmy has had to also make adjustments, hes had me as the main person looking after him for 2 years, then had to get used to daddy being the main person, get used to a new house which comes with new people and new rules. Its a lot to ask of a child. But i think he is doing very well all things considered. Hes now had to sleep in our room, which there’s only room for a double bed and a blow up mattress on the floor. Its cramped to say the least but it is what it is and its only temporary. I’ve enrolled Timmy into preschool for next year for 2 days a week, which he will love. He desperately needs more children interaction.

Trying not to get under each others feet when you live with other people is almost impossible. If you have ever had to live with family or friends, you will most likely understand what I’m talking about. Every person has a different way of living, how they like things done and its almost impossible to slot into another’s routine. I know my family are being driven mad by us, 3 extra adults to feed, extra washing, a toddler running around, which comes with it’s own issues, constant mess, toys everywhere, smelly bins from nappy’s, waking up to Timmy watching Go Jetters, Hey Dugee, or baby jake on CeeBeeBies, the yelling and tantrums and things getting ‘misplaced’ or broken. Its stressful and hard for everyone involved with lives being cramped and adjustments being made by everyone.

So how will we manage when baby comes along? We don’t know, its literally impossible to fit a baby in the room with us, along with Timmy. We have really no option but to find Carl a job, find a place to rent before we have baby….only time will tell if this is going to be possible. As soon as Carl secures a job, we will be looking for somewhere to live. I think our family is ready to have us out now, and get back to their normal living routines, and i don’t blame them, taking us on was a big task and we greatly appreciate having a roof over our heads.

So like i said the car is our savior. when I’m not working, me Carl and Timmy love going out and exploring new places, parks, walks, picnics, play centers, shopping, visiting family. So that’s us 3 months in. A little limited in our options until Carl’s bridging visa kicks in next month. We are looking forward to the future and hopefully very soon being able to settle in on our own properly. We are going to have a very busy new years with  finding work, finding a place to live and a new baby on the way. Lots of new adventures and challenges ahead of us, but we say, bring it on 2017, were ready!!!!

xx life in a mum shell xx

 

 

A Routine and why it saved me!

Being a new mum I thought I knew what was coming, what to expect and anything that I didn’t know would come along with mum instinct right? Its a built in thing us lucky mums have that’s just there and will guide us when we get a bit lost….not exactly! I knew I was in for sleepless nights, lots of feeding, nappy changes, the crying, sterilizing and all of that. I understood my life was about to change for the better, but I thought I could still continue my life as much as possible as normal as possible and baby would have to fit in with my life. How wrong could I have been? I honestly had no idea how clueless I actually was until my son arrived. I would feed him, and only 30 minutes later he would be screaming, why is he crying? I’ve just fed you, perhaps I wasn’t feeding him enough? maybe he was just one of those demanding babies I’ve heard about? I had no idea when he should be sleeping or how long for, I just went along with when he slept some days it felt like he slept all day, others he barely slept. Being stuck at home all day with this tiny demanding little person, being extremely sleep deprived (trust me when I say until you have had a child, you really don’t know what sleep deprived is!) add to that the crazy hormones that make you laugh or cry uncontrollably, without any prompting whatsoever. The constant feeding, crying, sleeping or not sleeping, burping, changing, washing, sterilizing, there isn’t a lot of time for much else in your day in those early months. My partner would come home late at night and ask what I had eaten. I would have a think, surely I’ve eaten, but what…then it would hit me, I’ve not eaten a single thing all day! I’ve not had time to think about food, let alone prepare food. I hadn’t even realized I was hungry! It was around when my son was 2 1/2 months I posted to all my friends if there are any routines that they know of that works, or any advice they can suggest as I seriously was at my wits end. I couldn’t go on like this for much longer, it was really really hard. A lot harder then I had anticipated.

Then  a friend sent me a book that she swore saved her life, and I can tell you absolutely saved mine! I have since passed it on or recommended it to other mothers, who all say its worked amazing for them too and so glad I recommended it. I love sharing any helpful advice, tips and trick which can make life easier for everyone. If I have experienced it first hand and its worked for me, I’m more then happy to pass the secret along to everyone! by the way, this isn’t a promotional or paid post. I don’t do those. I just truly love this book!

The book is by Gina Ford its called “The Contented little baby”

newcontentedbaby

The day after I received the book, I started the routine. I was obsessed with it, I had it on my bedside table and read it before bed and first thing in the morning, it did not leave my sight. Ask my partner, he found it funny. But once he saw the difference it made to me and my son, he was glad I found the book!! talk about a baby falling straight into a routine, it truly couldn’t have been easier. Maybe I was lucky and my son is just a routine baby, but he slept when they suggested, he ate when it was suggested and was contented in between his feeds and at 4 months, he started sleeping right through the night. Kid you not. From 7am through until 7pm. it only took me one month of the routine to get him into this night sleeping habit, that’s the bit which truly made the difference, happy mummy! Feedings were making sense, and I really wish I had found this book earlier before as it would have helped a lot with breast feeding and all the confusion I had!

I’m currently 20 weeks pregnant with my second child and I will be looking into her other book, “The contented baby with toddler” my first son is now 2 and a half and I have been worried about how I am going to cope with a toddler and a baby. As I now know how much attention both a new born baby and a toddler need, I’ve worried about how my son will adjust to a new baby. I have not read it yet, but I have put it on my Christmas wish list. I’m sure it will become my new obsession!

So this is my bit of advice for new mums or anyone who just is struggling, this book truly did wonders for me and my sanity. So that is my pearl of wisdom for new mothers. have a read!! If you have read this book, please share your thoughts and experiences with me, or any other books you know of that have worked for you or others. I love hearing all about them!

xx Life In A Mum Shell xx

 

Breastfeeding in public

There is so much pressure on women to breast feed, yet when out in public, no matter how discreet it is almost shamed upon when a mother needs to feed her hungry child, getting dirty looks, awful comments, almost as though they should have hidden in a bathroom to feed there baby. Its ridiculous! I don’t understand why it is ok to see celebrities posing in almost naked pictures, posting selfies on the internet almost naked in some cases actually naked, yet a mother who needs to feed her baby and you cant see anything, this isn’t ok?

I have had a bad experience myself. Before I tell you, let me say, I’m a really shy and private person. I only breast feed in front of my partner, if we had family or friends over, I would retreat to my bedroom. I’ve always planned my days around when my child needs feeding so this could be done in the comfort of my home, so I rarely ever went far and for too long.

Ok, so one day I had planned a day out with a friend, we would go to the beach. I had prepared the right amount of bottles for the occasion, I was set, but just incase I packed my nipple shields ready incase of emergency. After the beach we decided to grab some lunch before heading home. My son was peacefully asleep and wasn’t due a feed for another hour or so, I had time… or so I thought!. I ordered my lunch then my son woke up and wasn’t going to settle. I had used the bottles I had planned for, as we were longer then expected I only had the choice to attempt a breast feed. I had never done it in public before, I wasn’t going to be able to get home in time, so I had no choice but to go ahead. I found the most discreet place I could find, upstairs outdoors where there was no one else, I had my son under a muslin, you could only see his little legs hanging out the other side and I was facing a corner. I was only up there for a couple of minutes when an older couple came up. They sat far way on the other side of the room, we made eye contact and smiled, then you could see the realization of what I was doing on there faces, the look was awful!  After a bit of muttering between them they got up and left. How much more discreet could I have been, yet I was still made to feel ashamed of my actions. If you have read my previous post on breast feeding, you will understand how difficult it had been for me, and what courage it took for me to actually do this in public. That was the first and last time I breast fed in public. I went back into my old routine of only going out around my feeds.

whenever I see another mother breast feeding her child, I always smile and I feel so proud for her, for one that she can actually breast feed and for 2 she has the courage to do it in public regardless of the criticism she may face. I do understand there are many places who encourage mothers to breast feed and those places are the best!! however there are still so many places which do not and this is just not right. I really hope this issue becomes an issue of the past very soon.

I am currently pregnant with my second child, and I do plan on breast feeding again. I hope I have the courage to do so if out in public this time. I also hope I don’t face the same struggles I did with my son.

xx Life In A Mum Shell xx

Mum Friends

When I was living on Sark with my new born baby I had no family as they were all in Australia, and only 1 other mummy friend who was working full time. My partner who worked in Hospitality would work long hours. It was a pretty lonely time. All my old non mummy friends would be going out and enjoying the life I used to have. If I wanted to see my friends, I would need to arrange a get together at my house with a bottle of wine and nibbles, these were very rare occasions. I would hear stories about my friends social lives and what they had been up to. This used to be me, not any longer.

When my son was 9 months old, we relocated for my partners work to a town in the UK. Not having known anyone in this town, I decided to join mums net and posted an ad requesting other mum friends to catch up with over coffee, or some social outings. I had a couple of responses and after speaking online to 2 mums, we soon realized we had all been speaking together and decided to meet up at a local library singing group for babies and would go for coffee afterwards. I was s nervous and scared, this was completely out of my comfort zone, but I did it!  luckily the 3 of us hit it of straight away, all our babies were under 1 and only a couple of months apart and all boys!!

It was great to be able to go to playgroups with friends, as playgroups can be daunting when you don’t know anyone, and everyone else seems to know everyone. We would go to swimming classes once a week, playgroups, catch up for lunch, go shopping, pop over each others houses for a coffee and cake catch up while our little ones played. It was so nice when my partner comes home and asked what I had been up to, instead of saying, “oh nothing, just potted round the house” I could say, “oh I met with so and so and we went here or did this”  I was actually starting to feel like I had a life for the first time since my son was born. I cant even stress the importance these ladies had on my life at this time. We would chat about anything and everything, all things baby related, not baby related, to our worries, fears, we compared labor and pregnancy stories, gave each other advice, an ear to listen to, a shoulder to cry or laugh on and more importantly they made me feel human again.

Then a year after meeting them, my partner and I decided to relocate to Australia. I was really sad to be leaving my new friends, they were more then friends, more of a life line really. I had the perfect little mummy group and I was leaving them! Now we are back in Australia, I have my family close by which is great. However, I have not yet made any new mummy friends, ill keep on searching. I recently met up with an old friend who has since had children and it was lovely to catch up with her, and I hope to again in the near future as Timmy loved playing with her son also. I don’t live in a big city and I find there just isn’t the sort of community for mums like there was back in the UK. I do miss that.

Please share your experiences with me, and if you know of any mummy websites or groups I would love to hear about them!

xx Life In A Mum Shell xx

Breast Feeding, Conflicting Advice, Nipple Shields & Mastitis.

Call me ignorant, i figured when my son was born i would just pop him on my breast and he would do the rest! It didn’t quit go that way, being my first child i hadn’t really had a back up plan should i struggle. I only had a small manual hand pump and that was just so i could express so my partner could feed. I had no formula, no sterilized bottles ready, no nipple shield’s, but i hadn’t even hear of nipple shield’s by this point! I went to all the breast feeding classes, and walked away thinking all i need to do is position baby right and your good to go! They didn’t tell you a back up plan, or provide you with other options in the classes. So this is how it went for me.

timmy-bottle

The first time i put baby to feed, he did 2 sucks and stopped completely. The first midwife came in and made sure i was positioning him correctly, showing different positions and techniques yet my adorable bundle would only do the maximum 2 sucks and stop. The midwife said he was a lazy baby and until he learnt properly suggested to hand express to ensure he was still getting fed. She gave me a small syringe i would hand express and suck up what came out through the syringe. A long process and not fun! she told me to do this every 3-4 hours no earlier. Baby should feed better when hungry. The second morning a different midwife came in to see me as i was trying yet again on the breast, yet my adorable son wasn’t having any of it, 2 sucks and release. She was mortified that i explained the first lady told me 3-4 hours between feeds. She recommended when ever baby cries i should feed him, so there started my confusion on when i should be feeding him. well she tried yet again with positioning etc, however she gave me a little sterilized jar to express into and then i would suck up my milk through a syringe to feed. quicker yet still not what i was expecting, it shouldn’t be this hard i thought. I was starting to feel concerned and upset that my baby wouldn’t feed, whats wrong with me? what am i doing wrong?

On the afternoon of my second day in hospital i had a 3rd midwife come in extremely hands on, trying to express herself, positioning baby herself and yet again offering different and conflicting advice from the previous 2 midwives. This just about did me in, i was extremely confused, frustrated and upset. I was none the wiser as when to feed, how much to feed and knew no other options besides formula, which was discouraged, i was told keep persisting, don’t give up! I felt like i was letting my son down. I kept all my tears hidden until i was alone with baby, i would then hold my son tears flowing and apologizing for not being a better mum and saying i was so sorry i wasnt ood at feeding him properly. I was afraid if i cried in front of a midwife they would think i had postnatal depression. Such a silly thing to think, had i of told them my worries they may have offered different advice, who knows. I should have told them i was upset by my struggling. i just didn’t want to show it.

So my partner came to visit, and i talked to him about how confused i was feeling by all the different advice and struggling, and i just wanted to go home and try and figure this out by myself. He said if that’s what i wanted to do and if i think that’s whats best then sure. So i arranged to be discharged the following day. Now if you have read my previous post you will know how difficult it is trying to get from Guernsey back to Sark, although i only needed to catch a boat this time, I had to feed baby right before we left so i would make the journey home in time for his next feed, it would be at least 21/2 hours before i would arrive home. However before i left the hospital the “expert breast feeding midwife” who can solve any problems came to visit me, she tried every trick in her book, every position, every technique she knew, my son was stubborn doing his 2 suck minimum and in the end she had to admit defeat. Her pearl of wisdom before leaving, “don’t give up, keep persisting.” At this point if i hear this saying anymore ill crack! so she leaves, and I’ve finished hand expressing and syringe feeding my son, got him changed and were packed ready to go when a final midwife comes(yet another midwife i have not seen before) in to go through discharge papers and ensure i was ok to go, i got chatting with her explaining my issues when she told me about nipple shield’s, there like a teat you put over your nipples which assists baby sucking…. why had no-one mentioned these before? Straight to boots (a UK chemist) before catching our boat. I brought 2 packets, 4 shield’s in total. There only a short term solution until baby learns to suck himself properly, however once home i put them in the sterilizer and put them to the test, they were the miracle i had been waiting for! My son was happily sucking away like a pro! Between feeds i would manually express so i had a bottle available when needed, or for my partner to feed. I still however was none the wiser on how long to feed baby, and i don’t think i was feeding for long enough because my son seemed to want feeding constantly and was restless between feeds. I didn’t know i was supposed to keep track of the last breast he fed from and alternate, i was completely clueless. After about 2 weeks of the nipple shield’s being used, they stop sticking, i couldn’t just pop to boots to get more as it required a 1 hour boat trip. I got some online, however, they were expensive and just didn’t do the job, Timmy didn’t like them. So the next stage started, as he still wasn’t doing more then 2 sucks on my actual breast, i would express, feed, sterilize, *Repeat* this was right up until 2 months, it was tiring, exhausting and just hard work. One day Timmy started sucking correctly, out of the blue one day decided he would get his act together….FINALLY!!!!! however, it was short lived, i got mastitis. Anyone who has ever had Mastitis knows how painful it can be, i felt full of flu, and every time i let Timmy near my breast i would be in tears of pain. The doctor gave me some antibiotics and encouraged me to continue breast feeding through the pain….i tried i just couldn’t, and expressing was even painful. That’s when i decided enough was enough, it had been 2 months of “trying”. I spoke to my partner as he had seen my struggling for the past 2 months, he agreed if switching to formula was what was best for me and baby then that’s what i should do, as long as Timmy is being fed and he is not hungry and is happy then we will get formula.

So as you can see, breast feeding was not easy for me, i wasn’t one of the lucky ones where there baby just latches on and goes for it. I gave it a damn good go, and i cant even tell you the guilt i felt from switching from breast to formula, i cried a lot. There is so much pressure on mums to breast feed, i felt like a failure when i switched to formula, even though my son seemed happier after every feed and going longer between feeds the guilt remained. The pressure to breast feed is unbelievable, Of course i think it should be encouraged because as they say, breast is best, however it is not easy and its a deeply personal decision every mother needs to make for herself and the best interests of their baby.

bottle-feeding-timmy

xx Life In A Mum Shell xx

 

My First Labour Story

Before i get into my labor, let me set the scene for where we were living at the time. When i was pregnant with my son, we lived on a very small island called Sark, located in the Channel Islands. There are no cars. People get around on bikes, horse and carriages, dirt roads, and only tractors. It is the island of the “Dark sky’s” the view of the stars are spectacular! There is only one way off the island which is by a 1 hour boat ride to the neighboring island of Guernsey. Guernsey does have cars, an airport and thankfully a hospital and is much larger then Sark! So the plan when i would go into  labor is i need to call the doctor – there is only 1 on Sark. He would arrive on his push bike with his doctors bag in hand he would then need to call the Sark Ambulance, which is a tractor with a trailer attached. You take the ambulance down to the harbor where there is an emergency life boat waiting for you where it takes you to Guernsey where there is an ambulance (a real one) waiting to take you to hospital. So as you can see its a big adventure just getting to hospital! Not surprising there have been many who have not made the journey, had there babies at home, at the harbor, or even on the boat.  I was lucky and made the journey. Ok so now onto my actual labor!

pregnant-with-timmy-one-month-to-go

On an early June Morning 2.40am to be exact, i woke up startled sat upright in bed in a puddle of fluid. Oh Shit – Its Time! I wasn’t panicked, i was oddly calm. I went into the bathroom to check it was my waters broken, indeed it was. I went back into the bedroom to get myself some new underwear, my partner woke and this is the conversation that took place.

Partner: Are you ok? Me: yes, my waters have broken Partner: oh, are you in any pain? Me: No Partner: oh ok, can i go back to sleep? me: sure, i cant go back to sleep so i’m going to have a bath. Ill wake you a bit later.

So i went down stairs and messaged my family back in Australia to let them know. I sat talking to them and another friend on Facebook (who had only given birth a few weeks earlier) for  over an hour before going for a bath, just before 6am i decided it was time to call the doctor, still in barely any pain just very mild period pain. I called the doctor who came out and organised the ambulance and boat etc, he asked where my partner was and i told him still asleep….he laughed and said i think its time you woke him up. So i went in told my partner the doctor was here and its time to get up. He was pacing around, chain smoking and drinking coffee in a state of shock or panic, possibly both, which is why i didn’t  wake him earlier! So you already know the procedure of how i get to Guernsey. Once at the hospital i’m  still not in much pain the midwife does her thing and see’s i’m already 8cm dilated and surprised i’m not in more pain. It wasn’t long after that things kicked of big time and it all started. For you mummy’s out there you know how it goes so ill spare the details. I wasn’t given an epidural option so gas and air only and at 4.20pm i delivered a healthy baby boy. I’m so lucky it was a straight forward delivery, no complications.

newborn-timmy

The first time it really hit me i was a mum was when i was left in the room with just me and my new baby all alone.My partner had gone home for the night, the nurses left me alone, and i looked at this tiny bundle and said “oh shit, your mine!” It was like hitting a brick wall suddenly it all became very real. I couldn’t believe he was here and the big event i had waited 9 months for had been and gone. very surreal feeling.

I hope you enjoyed reading The tale of my labor story. I would love to hear about your labor stories, and please share your comments with me.

xx life in a mum shell xx