Goodbye sleepless nights

Wee Sleep

As many of you will know, we recently worked with a sleep consultant to get baby Marlo into some better habits. She averaged at 5ish wakings each night, yawn! She wouldn’t go back to sleep without being breastfed, it was tiring and was starting to take its toll. My patience with Brooklyn was almost non-existent and I was ‘yelly Mum’ way too often.

I was a bit apprehensive to ‘sleep train’ Marlo, if I’m being honest. She doesn’t cry a lot, so when she does, I know it’s because something isn’t right (or I think that, more so). Therefore I didn’t want to do controlled crying or leave her to cry. Quick disclaimer: I will absolutely not judge anyone who does controlled crying, cry it out or any other form of sleep training – I’m a 100% believer in you doing what’s best for your family and your situation and don’t let anyone make you feel bad for doing so. Right, now that I got that out of the way…

I came across Jesse-Lee from WeeSleep on Instagram. I watched a few of her videos and read a few of her tips, and thought the WeeSleep approach was something that would work with Marlo.

‘The WeeSleep approach practices only gentle and positive methods to ensure success.’

There are lots of different consultation packages to choose from on the WeeSleep website, starting from $249NZD. Jesse-Lee and I decided that the Rescue Me (virtual) package is what we needed. Virtual because we live in different islands. This package retails for $425NZD. Trust me, it’s worth every cent.

‘This is our most popular package! This package is ideal for families with children under 2.5 years old (and still in the crib) who want to receive more personal attention and support throughout the entire sleep plan process.  This package gives you loads of support, confidence and reassurance you need to stay on track by having a Professional Consultant there for you every step of the way. And thanks to the Internet, we can meet you whether you are in New York or Australia!’… or Blenheim 😉

Step 1: We completed a questionnaire and tracking form so Jesse-Lee could assess what Marlo’s routine currently was, etc. Everything from sleeps, to breastfeeds, to what we did before bed at night.

Step 2: Jesse-Lee used that information to create a customised sleep plan for Marlo and our family.

Step 3: We had a 1.5hr Facetime consultation with Jesse-Lee. She asked us more questions about Marlo and went through the information we had provided her to ensure it was correct and accurate. She also asked about Marlo’s room and her current sleeping environment. Then she took us through the sleep plan she had created for Marlo, every little detail and what it involved. Nare was there too so he was listening and agreed he would be involved in the process. We asked any questions along the way and decided on a night to start. Sunday night was the night, eeekkk! After our Facetime consultation, Jesse-Lee finalised Marlo’s sleep plan and emailed it through so that we could have a hard copy to refer to (which I did, a lot). The plan was very detailed! It outlined what Nare and I had to do to teach Marlo to fall asleep without breastfeeding her to sleep, what sleep environment Marlo needed, when Marlo should be taking her naps, what to do for short naps, what to do for night time wakes, what to do if Marlo woke early in the morning and last of all a list of other important things we needed to know (reminders, our end goal, timings etc). As you can see there, the plan is VERY thorough. I didn’t have many questions for Jesse-Lee after reading it because EVERYTHING IS THERE.

Step 4: Implement said plan. The HARDEST part between having our consultation with Jesse-Lee and going through Marlo’s sleep plan, and starting the sleep training – was not changing anything! Because I knew what we were doing ‘wrong’/needed to change, it was SO hard not to just start changing little bits and bobs. But I didn’t, I listened to Jesse-Lee and just carried on as per usual until D Day.

That’s the bare bones of it all. But the support doesn’t stop there – with our plan we had daily email support and 3 x 15 minute follow up phone calls. Every day and night we would fill in our tracking sheet (for the whole 10 days) and I would email it through to Jesse-Lee. If she noticed there were things that we weren’t doing correctly, she would mention so and give us some encouragement. The email support was amazing! If we had any questions we could do this via email too, or save our questions for the phone calls.

Before I give you a quick (or not) run down of exactly how Marlo went with the sleep training itself, I’ll just briefly touch on the fact that I thought I had an amazing self-settler. Marlo self settled herself to sleep for all her naps and going to bed at the start of the night. She was always put down awake, with white noise on and the baby shusher. But by the look of her night wakings, she didn’t actually know how to get back to sleep herself after the initial bedtime. So THAT is what we needed to work on. Sure, she could self settle TO sleep… but she couldn’t self settle BACK TO sleep. So no, she wasn’t an amazing self settler like I thought she was…

I won’t be covering day naps here, as those weren’t the issue, it was the millions of night feeds!

Night 1: Went to sleep fine at 6pm. Woke at 9.20pm and took 30 mins to fall back to sleep with Nare. Woke at 2.20am and went back to sleep within 10 minutes without Nare or I. Woke at 6.20am. TOTAL WAKINGS: 2. Making progress on night 1! Safe to say my boobs were melons in the morning!!

Night 2: Went to sleep fine at 6pm. Woke at 6.50pm for 5 mins, went back to sleep herself. Woke at 9.50pm for 5 mins again, and again went back to sleep herself. Woke again at 2.10am, for 10 mins this time but grizzled on and off until she went back to sleep. Woke at 6.50am. TOTAL WAKINGS: 3.

Night 3: Took a while to fall asleep this night, about 20 minutes of talking on and off. Fell asleep at 6.25pm. Woke at 8.20am. TOTAL WAKINGS: BIG FAT ZEROOOOO! (this was my first official night on duty as Nare was away, stoked!!)

Night 4: Asleep at 6.20pm, took about 15 minutes this night. Woke at 7.55pm for less than 5 mins and went back to sleep herself. Woke at 7.10pm. TOTAL WAKINGS: 1.

Night 5: Now apparently nights 5 and/or 6 (the halfway point!) can often be the worst and it’s super common to have a bit of regression here. I actually did one of the calls this night to Jesse-Lee, so she assured me that what was happening was totally normal. Which was… Marlo took almost an hour to fall asleep. Multiple cuddles with me, until I got too upset and tagged with Nare, who took over until she finally gave in at 6.55pm. Woke at 6.30am. TOTAL WAKINGS: 0.

Night 6: Asleep at 7.10pm, she took about 20 mins to fall asleep this night, chatting on and off. Woke early at 5.30am, and grizzled on and off until 6am. TOTAL WAKINGS: 1 I suppose? I don’t know if that’s considered a waking, but whatever. We’ll say 1.

Nights 7-10 were all zero wakings, a couple of early starts with her chatting. We got her up at 6am to start the day.

Thanks to Jesse-Lee and the team at WeeSleep – I have some TIPS & TRICKS to share, all of which I found super helpful for Marlo or had in place already:

–  Try not to let the books scare you with how many hours your baby “should” be sleeping or what your schedule “should” look like.  Follow a Wake, Eat, Play, Sleep schedule and you will be just fine and way less stressed!

– During the hours of 5 and 6 am little ones are in a REM (light and dreamy) state of sleep where little things can wake them- a noisy muffler next door, birds chirping.  Don’t be surprised if your child stirs or wakes during this time. Give them a few minutes to try and fall bask asleep before rushing in.

– A dark room is best for napping and nighttime.  Blackout blinds will be your best friends!

– Baby’s sleep can be interrupted by stimulated items in the room- flashing turtle lights, bright toys- less distraction = less stimulation!  Much better for infant and toddler to sleep!

– A bedtime routine is KEY to do help your baby prepare for the long sleep.  Do the same thing every day.  Babies love consistency and routine! (my fav is bath, massage, PJs, sleeping bag, story, song and g’night kisses!).

– White noise is your friend! Block out the noisy surroundings and/or siblings with either a static setting or a rain setting. Use this constantly all night long and for all naps!

I hope you’ve found this blog somewhat helpful! Of course what works for one baby, doesn’t work for another. So I highly recommend getting in touch with Jesse-Lee (she offers a free 15 min chat!) to discuss your options, if you’re having a tough time! No one likes sleepless nights. Obviously – we’re over the moon with the result we have had, Marlo sleeps 12 hours most nights and if she does happen to wake or stir at all – she knows how to settle herself back to sleep without a breast feed now. At the end of the 10 days, we were also given a sleep handbook, which has lots of advice for any future sleep problems we may come across.

And as promised, a GIVEAWAY! We have a ‘Speedy Sleep’ package with Jesse-Lee – valued at $249 to giveaway to one tired Mama & baby! You can enter on both our Instagram AND Facebook, enter in both places to have double the chance of winning! The details are all there for what you need to do to enter.

Huge thank you to Jesse-Lee for her amazing work and knowledge, and helping us get some much-needed sleep! Totally invaluable. Make sure you follow her on Facebook AND on Instagram, she often uploads super helpful sleep tips – you don’t want to miss them!

J x

 

 

Recipe – Pizza Scrolls


My friend Amy from Thomas Pie shared this recipe, when we were talking about lunch box prep and things that freeze well. I’ve made it lots of times since then, and it’s always a hit! You don’t have to make them ‘pizza’ flavoured, you can do anything! Marmite and cheese, chutney and cheese, salami and cheese… you get the gist… anything and cheese will be delicious 😉

Dough ingredients
3 cups of plain flour
80 grams cold cubed butter
1-1/4 cups of cold water

Method
Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees celsius.

Sift flour into a bowl, then rub in the cold cubed butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. Alternatively – if you have a food processor, you can do this step in there. Mix in your water until it resembles a dough, don’t over mix or they will be tough!

Tip out your dough onto a well floured bench and flatten into a rectangle. Try to keep it about 3cms thick. Top with your choice of toppings, leaving about 1/3 of the dough clear of toppings.

Roll up starting with the edge that the toppings are on. Cut into about 4cm widths and transfer to a lined baking tray, you can give them a little re-shape if they get a bit squashed while you’re cutting them.

Brush with milk and bake for 12-15mins until golden brown.

Thanks Amy for letting me share this!

J x

Winter with little people

I’ve had both kinds of sick babies.

Number 1: The one that picks up every little cold every winter, which turns into bronchiolitis, which lands them in hospital… then they grow out of that and it turns into croup. Then they’re diagnosed with asthma. They don’t sleep when they’re sick, they need to sleep on your chest – so you set up camp in the lounge and prepare yourself for what will be a night of little (if any) shuteye.

Number 2: They don’t pick up anything and everything… but even when they do get a cold – they sleep like a dream, smile and giggle as per usual, are basically their normal self just with a heck load of snot.

Those of you that have been following me for a while will be able to guess who is who. Number 1 being Brooklyn. I always say that I already feel sorry for his future wife – I can tell already that he’s going to be a chronic ‘man-flu-er’. And sweet baby Marlo is number 2; she just gets on with her little carefree life, snot and all.

However, no matter who is sick, it’s never fun. I’d prefer them to just never get sick, to be honest. But of course that is unavoidable. Especially when the toddler goes to preschool – it’s like a breeding ground for germs!

As a mum, it’s built into us to want what’s best for our babies. I feel like I’ve tried it all for Brooklyn. He often ends up with steroids when he gets a wee virus as it ramps up his asthma, but I try to avoid them unless really necessary. We’ve got a pretty good winter routine going now with some products (and medication) that I swear by for Brooklyn. We were lucky enough to be given some Comvita products to try out, and two of their Winter Wellness products have now been added to my ‘winter with little people must-haves’ list, which I will tell you about below.

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The Winter Wellness range by Comvita is made up of 13 products, ranging from lozenges, to oral sprays, to elixirs and more. Comvita products are all 100% natural and though they have some products specially marketed for the children, the rest of the range is totally suitable for anyone over the age of 2! The key ingredient in the whole Winter Wellness range being Manuka Honey…

New Zealand Manuka has long been valued for its health-maintaining effects and Manuka Honey is gaining worldwide recognition for its unique properties and for supporting respiratory health.’

Introducing my new favourite two products for me:

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1.  Manuka Honey and Blackcurrant Elixir – This is an all-in-one formula to support the immune system and encourage winter wellness. There is nothing worse than Mum (or Dad) being down when the kids are down, so I’ll do everything I can to help avoid the bugs! Two teaspoons, two times a day for me!

2. Oral Spray – This is a special blend of Manuka Honey, Propolis and essential oils (Peppermint, Aniseed, Myrrh and Menthol) and is made to help maintain oral hygiene… it tastes nice and it makes my breath smell good – enough said 😉

Enough about me,  back to the little people…

My favourite two products for Brooklyn have been:

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1. Children’s Manuka Honey Elixir – Strawberry Flavour. This is a similar concept to the all-in-one formula that I mentioned above, but is specifically designed for kids (over the age of 2). It tastes delicious so it’s not at all hard to administer (woohoo!) and is designed to support the immune system. Brooklyn has been having two teaspoons every day.

2. Children’s Lemon and Honey Lollipops – yes, you read that right… lollipops! Brooklyn ate his way through the packet rather quickly when he had a sore throat and cough a couple of weeks ago. He keeps asking for ‘those yellow lollipops’ most days, then pairs his request with a fake cough to help with his case. They were a hit! Again – super easy to administer, what kid doesn’t like lollipops?!

I need to order some more lollipops stat! And if you want to too, you can check out the Winter Wellness range HERE and enter ‘Comvita2016’ at checkout for 20% off the Comvita Winter Wellness range until 22 August 2016.

Pair these products with my ever favourite Ultrasonic Vaporiser (I’ve blogged about that HERE), some essential oils to put in it… and here’s to a healthier winter!

Thanks Comvita for letting us try your awesome products! We’re hooked!

J x

#comvitawinterwellness

Note: Ironically; I wrote this post before our horrific week of sickness with Marlo that we’ve just had, where she was the total opposite of how I described her above. Doh! I think I jinxed it!

10 ideas for how to stay sane these school holidays

Uh oh! The school holidays are here! For me, it doesn’t make a difference as Brooklyn’s preschool runs right through… but we only have a year and a half left of enjoying that! Eeekk! For those who have the big kids home from school, or the little ones home from kindy – I’ve put together some ideas to keep you sane (or at least semi-sane) these school holidays.

 

  1. Hit the movies. The BFG is the must see movie these school holidays. We all remember the book as a child, don’t we? So take your kiddies along to check it out on film. It’s a beautiful story with a lovely message, perfect for all ages. I have a double pass to giveaway so head over to our Facebook page to enter!

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  1. Do some baking. The key here is to get in the kitchen first and prep everything. Have most things measured out so that all their ‘helping’ consists of is pouring stuff into a bowl and stirring. A few ideas for you which are somewhat stress free (ish), I’ve linked them to my favourite recipes too – bliss balls (this is a fun one as they get to roll them!), choc chip cookies, chocolate crazy cake.

 

  1. Make some cloud dough. This is a super fast and easy playdough to make, with only two ingredients! It’s soft and smells delicious. I think I have more fun with it than Brooklyn does! One part conditioner (just buy the cheapest at the supermarket!) and two parts cornflour. Simple as that! You can split it into a couple of balls and add different coloured food colouring to each. Though not ideal for OCD Mummas as it will end up a pretty shade of brown afterwards 😉

 

  1. Have a picnic! Brooklyn loves having picnics. Even if you can’t make it out to a local park, putting a picnic blanket down in the backyard will totally suffice. This is a great activity for those of us with a small baby, you can do it while they nap and have one-on-one time with the older kid/s.

 

  1. Buy some play food and play shops. Kmart hooked us up with some play foods recently (only $19 for a 90 piece set!!) and the kids have loved playing with them! Brooklyn and Ivy pictured here with a Mini Made market stall set up. The babies have played with the food most days too, it’s also a great entertainer while mum cooks dinner!

  

  1. Make some bath paint and have a daytime bath. Crank the heater in the bathroom, strip the kids off, and throw them in with some bath paint to keep them occupied for a while. Easy to make, fun for the kids, and no clean up… that’s my idea of fun! I found an easy recipe here.

 

  1. Cupcake decorating. Bake up a basic cupcake recipe and a batch of buttercream icing. Split the icing into 3 bowls and add different food colourings to each bowl. Get some sprinkles and any other decorations you want. Look away! Haha I’m kidding… kind of. Pretty cupcakes are my thing, so it’s hard handing over the reigns to a 3.5 year old to make his creations… but they’re pretty proud of their (ugly) creations at the end of it, so it’s worth it.

 

  1. Subscribe to Moomookachoo for the second week of the holidays. A friend of mine Erana from The Culture of Grace gets these awesome craft boxes which I think are the coolest idea! You pay a monthly subscription fee and get sent one box a month full or crafts, recipes and activities to do with your little ones. Most things are included for the crafts which is ideal for the lazy Mum, like me. Also great for those that aren’t easily inspired with activity ideas of their own, this will give you loads!

  1. Make homemade pizzas. Either make homemade bases, or buy them – I ain’t judging ya! Get all the toppings cut up and ready, then let them go nuts. Dessert pizzas are always a fun treat too – think Nutella and marshmallows nom nom nom!

 

  1. Draw some pictures/write some cards and deliver them to their friends letter boxes. Buy or make some blank cards up and let your little one/s write their friends some notes, or draw them some pictures. Pop them into envelopes and go for a walk around the neighbourhood so that they can hand post them into their letterboxes. Or a drive, if you don’t live within walking distance.


Hopefully a few of these ideas will help you make it through the holidays alive! I also suggest adding coffee and/or wine to some (if not all) activities… for you of course 😉

J x

Thanks to Disney for sponsoring this post! Remember to check out The BFG trailer HERE.

#TheBFG #dreambignz

 

Meet Poppy

** SCROLL DOWN FOR THE GIVEAWAY **

You met the five of us a couple of weeks ago, now we just have one more family member to introduce you to…

I never wanted one. We had one growing up and he was slightly annoying. So I never saw myself with one after that.

Two years ago someone did it… they sucked me in with cute photos of these little balls of fluff. They also added a guilt trip – they were strays. Sigh. Emails photos to husbands work email. They were ready to be picked up just before Christmas. Oh man guys… cute, fluffy, homeless, CHRISTMAS PRESENT. Ugh. It was inevitable. We were getting a kitten. I choose the fluffiest out of the lot. I picked her up two weeks before Christmas and took her straight to the vet for a check over. If she was a girl, I was going to name her Poppy. If a boy, his name would be Hulk (Brooklyn’s choice haha).

Meet Poppy…

Poppy

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Poppy is now almost two and we call her ‘the other kid’. Here is why our cat is like another child:

1. She cries/meows at ungodly hours.

Seriously. Between a baby, a toddler and a cat… we’re never going to have a full night’s sleep. Until the kids move out of home? Yawn! Poppy often comes in at 3am meowing for goodness knows what! What is with that? Why don’t they sleep all night? I repeat – yawn!

2. She always gets under our feet.

So I have a cat that I’m regularly tripping over, and a crawling baby that I’m also regularly tripping over. They both must assume I have eyes in the back of my head, because they often sneak up behind me and sit right where I’m about to step back. Come on kids! What’s the saying? Better door than a window? Yes, that’s Poppy and Marlo!

3. She plonks herself on our knee at the most inconvenient times.

I like cat cuddles! I won’t deny it. But whenever I want them, she’s found a more comfortable posy on the other couch. And when I don’t want them? Hi Poppy! How nice of you to join me!

4. She wants to sleep in/on your bed.

I know. I know it’s warm and comfy, and you clearly like that mink blanket – but we bought you a bed! It’s also minky and it cost us $20 so go and lay your fluffy little butt in that, not my bed! We’re not ‘cats on the bed’ kind of people and still don’t let her sleep on it, but she tries her luck!

5. This is probably the most important point.

She’s hungry. ALL. THE. TIME. Are they all the same? Poppy is not the kind to leave her bowl half full of food. She wolfs it all down in one sitting and then every time we walk into the kitchen, she meows at us again! Between her and Brooklyn, they’re going to eat us out of home!

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Cue Fancy Feast to the rescue! Nothing grosses me out more than having a huge can of cat food in the fridge, so I’m all for the single serves! We’ve been working with Fancy Feast who gave Poppy a bunch of their food pouches and single serve cans to taste test. She LOVES them. The Fancy Feast range is so gourmet, that it almost makes you wonder if it’s cat food – or a morning tea treat for yourself. (Warning for sleep deprived mums: the food combos sound so nice I suggest having it in a separate cupboard to the human food or you might get confused one day…  though it is made from real ingredients, so I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt if you did eat one. Ha!) Honestly, I’m sure even the fussiest of cats would go for it. Poppy doesn’t even let it hit the bowl before she’s wolfing it down.

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** GIVEAWAY **
Do you have a fluffy (or not fluffy) family member of the cat kind? Fancy Feast has given us a bunch of cat treats to giveaway to one of our followers – yay! And because we couldn’t have you feeling left out, we’re giving away a $100 Prezzy Card too! Spend it on the cat… or yourself 😉 All you have to do is head over to our Facebook page and comment on the pinned post which links to this blog, telling me what the name of your cat is… or what you would call your cat if you had one. Hop to it!

J x

Note: As always, all opinions are honest and my own.

 

Thanks to Fancy Feast  for sponsoring this post. You can find out more about the Fancy Feast range HERE.

#fancyfeastnz