Bucketloads of love and reassurance with your feeding decisions and guidance along your feeding journey.
There is more than one way to swing a cat (I love that saying!) and there is more than one way to get a baby to sleep. Personalised strategies and support to implement them.
I have had lists hidden in cupboard doors, sticky notes on every mirror and daily and weekly planners and all the grace needed when nothing goes to plan.
'If family comes first, work does not come second, life comes togther'...let me show you! And I will show you how you can be peaceful with both.
We need to look at this at home and outside of the home, with children and without children. It needs to occur every minute of the day.
Resting does not always ned to be in bed, sure we all need a good Nanna Nap, but we can rest and restore in many ways.
I can talk and fold washing, put the kettle on, hang out the washing and generally wave a wand in no time at all because I am not the one caring for a baby. I am here to help!
I can share with you what I have learnt about a child's circle of security, about how they need their emotional cups filled, and how we can help them be independent in the world.
I can support and guide you through;
· Breast and bottle feeding, we don’t discriminate against either.
· Express breastfeeding
· Learning a baby’s cues for feeding and structure
· Starting solids
· Family friendly meals
· Nourishing parents
· Coping with fussy eaters
· Coping with Colic
My feeding values:
Bottles & Breasts – We are all for breastfeeding, I did it with all four of my birth children, never used formula, have completed the Australasian Lactation Course and am a member of the Australian Breastfeeding Association, but bottles are great! And so is formula. Full stop. It maybe a rollover feed, a time out for Mum feed, partial formula and breastmilk feed or, dare I say, a formula fed baby altogether from the start.
There are enough Health Professionals, ambassadors for breastfeeding, and I am one of them, but I am also an ambassador for the bottle too. Parents deserve to make this decision for themselves, based on what is right for them and their family and it should not be laced with shame and the sense of failure.
What a horrible way to start. And under no circumstances should they have to justify it. There should be ‘I couldn’t do it’, ‘I tried’ or ‘I had no milk’. You bottle feed your baby full stop. Your decision. Own it and be proud.
Now, breasts. Breasts are beautiful inside and out, anytime. Bring them out, anytime, anywhere. Feed your baby comfortably. On the matter of breasts, you can work and express breast feed for long periods. You can ask your employer to be ABA accredited and have a private, comfortable space for expressing. Bottles and Breasts are a paradox. We shame both. But feeding your baby either way is a beautiful gift and both can present heartbreaking sweetness.
For those who do decide to breastfeed, we can guide and support you through the attachment, techniques and early stages. We all have breastfeeding education but none of us can claim the title of a Lactation Consultant so we would encourage you to see one for major issues.
Dummies. Awesome baby plugs. Instant peace. Hidden in the drawer for night time wailing or daytime for a peaceful car ride, settling, whatever. Dummies have a place. I am not saying 5 year old should walk around the supermarket with them, or that we should confuse a newborn baby when trying to establish breastfeeding and I am mindful of the frequency of use and teeth development, but for a little peace and sanity, knock yours of out with them!
Cue based care for babies and toddlers that supports the social and emotional development of the infant:
· Age appropriate expectations of sleep
· Our settling techniques follow The Safe Sleep Space education that links with
National quality standards (NQS) quality areas 2,3,6 and 7, and Early years
learning framework (EYLF) learning outcomes 1,2,3 & 4.
· Help solve cat napping during the day and help with getting babies to sleep
during the night
My settling values:
We have all completed The Safe-Sleep-Space course and are confident in educating parents on the best-evidence based settling techniques for differing ages, also aware that if the comfort crying, 5 step settling techniques, controlled crying, rocking patting or whatever does not work, you need to do what's right for you and your baby as long as it is safe, within your own coping abilities at the time.
Sometimes that might be going for a drive in the car, going for a walk, carrying the baby in a sling, a dream feed, letting baby fall asleep on Dad, whatever. When it doesn't become best for you and your baby, then change.
Ask for help from health professionals or whoever you need to help make the changes. Colic is something we all feel confident and capable of talking about.
· Household routines
· Meal Preparation and organisation
· Taking short cuts and doing ‘half-jobs’; done is better than not done!
· Plan B, C, D’s & Z’s in case the wheels fall off! Eg. sickness, personal needs and considerations. Being prepared for the ‘just in case’ days or weeks and how they might work.
· Thinking about the care of children in the ‘crisis’ times, the ‘go-to’ people – grandparents, family, childcare, babysitter, mentors, hired help etc.
My planning values:
The idea of caring for parents in their home and helping them in their transition to parents came about through my own personal experiences, my work and through watching other parents around me, crying and in despair, alone and clueless of ‘what to do now’ and ‘will I feel better’ and ‘how can I fix this’.
The idea came from parents struggling with balancing babies, childhood illness’, feeding issues and sleep issues with the crazy business of our nuclearized, high performing, ethically living and mindfulness living lives we aspire to achieve. And at some point; returning to work.
Parenting is a struggle. From the moment we are born we are wired for struggle. But we are also wired for survival. A baby will cry out demanding its needs for nourishment and nurturing be met.
As we get older and become parents ourselves, the focus moves away from our own needs but the needs of our baby and our own survival wiring has to be rewired and our own needs for love, connection and worthiness become confused. We don’t always know what we want or how to achieve it.
Our bodies may cry out, drain, weaken and alert us to some imbalance, a need for change, re-wiring, but in the depths of struggle and flight-fright mode of wanting to run away but needing to stay, we are just wanting to survive. We can often fall into a hole at the dilemma point and ask ‘what do I do now?’. The confusion of what is the ‘right’ thing to do versus’ what we are capable of doing can drive us to breaking point.
The light gets a little dimmer, but we have an instinctive desire to thrive. It’s when the cracks get in that the light appears. That light can bring calm, clarity, strength wisdom and most of all, hope.
Only make decisions when you have to. When is the latest you have to make a decision. You don't need to know which Childcare, paediatrician, school, post-baby gym program, baby-food blender, transformer convertible pram and college scholarships your baby needs the minute the two lines appear on the pregnancy test. Make decisions when necessary.
Sometimes it is okay to procrastinate, put it off, let it unfold, go with the flow, be the disheveled, scatter brained, half sentences, coffee loving, no sign of a diet or Lycra pants kind of Mum. The messy mums are often the most functional, multitasking, do I need to know that now?, time manageable, flexible, whimsical mums there are. I'm a whimsical mum. I don't carry a badge of honour, just the left overs of last nights dinner in my hair.
· Your employer return-to-work programs and employee schemes.
· Extending maternity leave at double to amount of time at half the pay rate?
· The possibility of continuing breastfeeding and organising a clean private
space at work for expressing
· Considering the possibility of your work place becoming “Breastfeeding
Friendly” accredited with the Australian Breastfeeding Association
· Finding a mentor at work who has returned to work in a similar way as you
· Discussing with employer flexibility around leave when children are sick
· Discussing dong work at home
· Discussing ‘tired-days’ and flexibility around working hours
· Suitable childcare arrangements
My transitioning to work values:
Why do we need to support them in the transition back to work?
1. Attachment to baby between 0-5 years is vital for optimal growth, mental functioning and self-regulation, security and overall wellbeing of the baby and the family. We aspire to foster attachment with the daily demands of every day work and home activities and living and with the expansion of extended family and decrease available support. In 2011 the Australian Bureau of Statistics released the findings of a Pregnancy and Employment Transitions study which showed the average length of leave mothers took from their job for the child’s birth and subsequent care (until the mother returned to work or joined the workforce was 32 weeks (abs.gov.au A baby’s self-soothing mechanism only begins at ? months which means a baby could still be waking during the night needing nourishment or comfort, thus disrupting the parents sleep and ability to effectively function and work the next day. Generally, we are lucky if our babies start sleeping trough at 6 months, but throw in colic, colds, ear infections, gastro and bad dreams and interrupted sleep can last for years. The ABA and WHO guidelines for breastfeeding recommend exclusive breastfeeding for babies to 6 months of age and to continue with complimentary feeds to 2 years of age (www.breastfeeding.asn) . Breastfed babies will often need night feeds until at least 6 months but some will rely on it for longer.
However, Australian National Infant Feeding Survey 2010 showed that 39% of initially breastfed babies breastfed to around 4 months and 15% were exclusively breastfed to 6 months with 21% predominantly breastfed to 6 months (www.health.gov.au/breastfeeding). Statistics from The 2006-2007 Longitudinal Study of Australian Children study showed that at 12 months 28% of children were still being breast fed; at 18 months 9% of children; and at 24 months, 5% were still being breastfed.
At around 5-6 months when mothers are considering going back to work, breastfeeding rates are declining. It must also be noted that at around 6 months predictable sleeping and feeding patterns may be seen but Separation Anxiety usually starts a about 7 months of age.
Babies who were sleeping through the night may start waking needing reassurance and comfort and support getting back to sleep. This is also when a baby starts to learn Object Permanence. It is important to help them through this process of letting them know you will ‘go and return’ to help them develop their emotional security and intelligence later on in life. This night waking can seem a little frustrating if a parent thought they were in a good routine, they are back at work and there is the added pressure to get a good nights sleep to cope at work the next day. Managing this with the modern lifestyle to be sugar-free, boot-camping, yoga and all round ethically living adds pressure to the adjusting family. This leads to…
2. Infant and parental mental health issues. Rising PND, anxiety and depressive episodes in Aust. An increase in mental health and happiness leads to…
3. Better physical health of baby and parents which means less sick, carers and stress leave, which leads to…
4. Better productivity, work ethics and loyalty. Which leads to…
5. More equal representation of women in businesses and leadership roles and an increase in the value to these services, a balanced approach with life experiences and learnt coping skills on their side.
A 2014 Australian study published in Child, Health and Development by John Wiley and Sons reported a significant relationship between mothers’ work-family experiences and their family relationships. Work-family conflict is associated with less optimal parenting behaviours (lower warmth, higher irritability) and higher conflict within the couple relationship; work place enrichment appears to promote optimal warmth and consistent parent-child interactions, and is associated with high-quality couple relationships.
This provides further impetus for workplaces and public policy to provide optimal employment conditions given the flow-on implications for work places such as physical and mental problems and increasing opportunities for social support, income, skill-building and identity. This study showed that satisfaction and efficacy gained in the workplace might strengthen mothers’ interactions with children.
“I love being on teams with working mothers. They are the highest functioning messes I know”.
“Work life balance is not a reality. You need to strive for work life integration, or work life blend. My family is most important but my job is also an important part of who I am and I want my kids to appreciate that.”
· Follow up postnatal care referrals
· Creating a peaceful home
· Looking at ‘What’s Important Now?’ to ground and prioritize decision
· Address the adjustments to parenting and the idea of ‘self’
· Address the transition to parenting with both parents and any siblings
· How is everyone sleeping? Is this effecting anyone?
· Any safety or financial worries?
· Enjoying the simple things in life; A walk, reading a magazine, sitting in
the garden, calling a girlfriend, a bath etc
· Consider the mental health of the parents
· What health & wellbeing looks like? It is different for everyone
Our Health & Wellbeing values:
I would like to add that parenting is different for everyone. I have studied Darwins theory of evolution and Einsteins theory of relativity and feel they both apply to us today. That parenting has evolved and is not comparable to other generations before, that our coping mechanisms are relative to what we have in our tool box and reserve tank and that happiness as a parent can be an elusive goal.
Parenting can often be a crisis and I would like to remove a lot of the shame and blame of modern parenting. To remove the shame of not breastfeeding, and not growing bilingual, organic, meditating, yoga, Mozart loving, sporty, IT savvy, earthy, talk to the animals kinda babies. We are all in this together and parenting brings you down.
It flaws you and redefines everything you know about yourself, how you thought you would parent verses how you can cope.
So let's not justify our decisions and make excuses, lets own them and our stories, be totally unravelled but still be the best we can be and love ourselves through this process. I think it's the kindest thing we can do.
· Sleep, Nanna Naps, day time rests
· Replenishing body, filling your emotional and physical cup
· Healing wounds, carrying scars, loving our broken selves
· How to give ourselves a boost, a lift, recharging the batteries
· Staying connected with the world – playgroups, church groups,
parenting groups, family & friends
· Distractions (helping with renumeration)
· Creativity – allowing ourselves to play doing and making stuff!
It is about letting go of the idea it needs to be proper, perfect, sellable, valuable to anyone else, and rejoicing in our own made-up fun and saying ‘I like that, it makes me feel good just to do it’; baking, arranging flowers, beading, gardening, play-dough, collecting shells.
· Playing with your baby, infant or toddler, create happy, peaceful learning environments and the value of this for parents and children and the Circle of Security.
Our Rest, Restore, Rejuvenate & Play values:
It is okay to not wash your hair, as long as you e got clean underwear. Self care does not mean you have to strive to be everything, be perfect.
Self care is about prioritising the plenitude of tasks, asking 'what's important now' and grounding yourself in the moment and eliminating the 'should do's' to the 'have to's'.
Radical self care is quantum and it radiates out from you into the atmosphere like fresh air. You have to care for your mental, emotional and physical health, you have to care for your family and provide a safe, secure, warm environment. But you do not have to wear Lycra and multi-task every moment of every day and be a certain size 6 weeks after the baby is born, provide nutritious home cooked meals 7 days a week or even have clear surfaces in the house. You do have to find a flower or ray of sunshine somewhere in the day and take a moment to smile and laugh at your new mature growing self amongst the washing and dishes.
Day time TV can be your new best friend. You only get one chance. Only with baby number one, parenting baby number two or three or four allows no time for that. Enjoy it while it lasts. Ellen, Oprah, ABC news or TED Talks, don't be ashamed that you enjoyed that Ellen interview interviewing Chris or Liam Hemingsworth while you feed, rest, fold washing or cook meals, you'll be surprised how much that 'no-no not for me, I'm not that sort of housewife day time crap TV can make you laugh and get you through a moment. Laughter is such a feel good thing to do. It is carbonated holiness and it helps us to breath again and again and gives us back to ourselves and this gives us faith in life and in each other.
It is not always about the 'self'. Though I am all for self care, self compassion and self help. I am not into 'selfies' and self 'neediness'. We have two hands, one for helping our selves and one for helping others. We need more other than self. The 'other' means connection, courage, comfort and care for others. It compliments our selves by taking the attention out of our selves. Taking time to care for others can be just as self-rewarding and fulfilling as caring for ourselves.
Make that extra casserole, pick that bunch of flowers, write that note, buy an extra packet of Tim Tams or ready made pie for a friend, give your baby clothes to the nearest Child Health Centre and chat to that person sitting alone on the bench.
Number eleven has two legs and two arms, for ourselves and others. We can do both. Rabbi Jonathon Sacks said ‘We can face our future without fear so long as we know we will not face it alone’.
Pope Francis says ‘Tenderness means to use our hands and our heart to comfort the other, to take care of those in need’. We can share our journeys hand in hand, we can love our vulnerable, lonely, 'I'm not good enough' selves and we can love and support others too.
It is apart of wholehearted living, self care living, we can feel good giving and receiving and ultimately 'do what's best for ourselves and our families, as long as it is safe.
· Creating a peaceful, warm, secure, fresh, clean and tidy home.
· Clearing surfaces that assists with organization of the home and emotional organization.
· General house work such as tidying up, vacumming, wiping down surfaces, putting on dinner, putting the kettle on, making beds and changing sheets.
· Putting a little ray of sunshine into the house with flowers, candles, peaceful music, and calm. This all helps with mental clarity and peace of mind.
Our Practical Home Help values:
Mary Poppins style-waving your magic wand-kind of thing! Bring brightness, calm and positive energy into the house from the moment we enter. Using our initiative to scoop washing off the floor, putting a load on and hanging it out, changing the sheets on the master bed, clearing spaces on benches and floors, opening curtains, picking wild things from the garden such as flowers or greenery for the table, seeing if there are enough veggies in the fridge to throw a pot of soup together.
At times all parents feel lost or without a clue about what our child might need from us. Imagine what it might be like if you were able to make sense of what your child was really asking of you.
The Circle of Security Parenting Program is based on decades of research about secure parent-child relationships and how this can be strengthened and supported. Learning objectives of this training are aimed at 0-6 years of age.
Using the COS I the work place allows parents for time of self-reflection and functioning, to have a higher understanding of how they respond as parents and the way they feel about themselves. The emotional wellbeing and resilience of the parent affects the emotional space of the employee in the work place, their self-esteem and ability to have highly functioning relationships with others and the ability t reflect on their own beliefs and work and work ethic.
An 8 week COS program for parents at home or that have recently returned to work. Weekly sessions of 90 minutes.
This program will cover;
1. Welcoming to Circle of Security Parenting
2. Exploring Our Children’s Needs All the Way Around the Circle
3. ‘Being With’ on the Circle
4. Being with Infants on the Circle
5. The Path to Security
6. Exploring Our Struggles
7. Rupture and Repair in Relationships
8. Summary and Celebration
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