TOP 5 TIPS: HOW TO BALANCE WEIGHT WITHOUT RESTRICTIVE DIETING

By Krissy from Her Nourished (Certified Health Coach)

Today on the blog we have the lovely Krissy from Her Nourished sharing her TOP 5 TIPS on how Mums can balance their weight without having to resort to restrictive dieting. Our bodies go through so much change when we become Mums, from pregnancy to post pregnancy and beyond, and weight gain can be a major pain point for many of us. I personally had a very strict ob/gyn when I was pregnant who constantly kept my weight in check due to family history of gestational diabetes. With my firstborn I dropped all the weight plus more very quickly due to a thyroid issue and major anxiety borne out of sleep deprivation. This didn't happen with my second! However, after I stopped breastfeeding and when I knew I was "done" with having babies, I then began the slow process of working on my health and weight. My youngest is now almost 3 (where does the time go!!) and it's still a work in progress, but most importantly I feel healthy and strong, which in turn makes dealing with motherhood that little bit easier!

I love the tips Krissy has shared below - they are all extremely achievable. Especially point 3 - which Mum hasn't snacked off their kids leftovers? Make sure you read to the end to grab an amazing FREEBIE too - Your Simple Wholefoods Recipe Guide for Busy Mums!

1. WALKING

Walking is one of the most underestimated forms of movement out there today.  Once you have medical clearance to walk, walking is incredibly beneficial, not only for your body but also for your mind. Being a mum is challenging and tests you in ways you never knew you could be tested. As a health coach and psychology graduate, but also as a mum of two, I know that when I walk in nature I feel more balanced.

Fasted cardio (walking before eating) is a great option to balance your weight without placing great deals of stress on your body, impacting breastfeeding or requiring money/care options to attend a gym. I mention fasted cardio because activities that continue for more than two minutes, such as walking, result in the body using fat as it’s preferred fuel. However, a walk is a walk and any movement is great for your mind and body.

I personally chose to eat before walking and then slowly incorporated fasted walking a few times per week if my days allowed for it (still aiming to eat within an hour of walking).

For me, walking (with the kids in tow) gives me an opportunity to connect with my thoughts, feelings and emotions and re-charge my own batteries. I love listening to podcasts while walking and having a little “time-out” even though the kids are right there with me. They also love walks which is an added bonus!

2. EATING VEGETABLES WITH EVERY MEAL

Yes, even breakfast!
I once saw a restrictive diet plan that encouraged the restriction of vegetables because “they too are carbs”. While it’s true that vegetables are a source of carbohydrates, they are so so so much more than that. Vegetables contain essential and valuable vitamins, minerals and antioxidants as well as one of my favourite nutrients, FIBRE! Fibre is what helps you to feel full AND what helps you to be more regular, if you know what I mean.

So how is eating more (vegetables) helpful for weight balance? While I despise calorie counting without purpose (I just don’t think it’s necessary for you to count calories - leave that up to the professionals), most of you will know that vegetables are not energy-dense (they are low in calories). Despite this, vegetables have an amazing ability to help you feel full when eating, therefore making it more challenging to overindulge/overeat foods that are less nutrient-dense.

I personally aim to fill over half of my plate with vegetables at any given meal, including breakfast! I LOVE zucchini oats, adding greens to my smoothies and even savoury breakfasts with spinach and tomatoes.

If you are short on time (if..? who am I kidding. We all want time-saving tips as mums!) my favourite tip is to prepare a large salad or bowl of lightly steamed vegetables once or twice a week that can simply be served alongside your meals.

3. REDUCE STRESS

You’re saying “but how Krissy, I get up through the night to my baby/ies, I can barely find time to eat, I am constantly covered in spew and I repeat the same phrases multiple times per day”. Lovely, I totally get it! Stress is inevitable, and actually it’s not the worst thing in the world in small amounts. We need a little stress in order to get us by. But your body isn’t designed to deal with ongoing and prolonged emotional stress. Even as a mum there are some simple and effective ways to reduce emotional stress as much as possible.

These are my favourites, and ones I try to adopt as often as possible, if not all the time:

  • Turn off the news (this isn’t about being ignorant, it’s about knowing where you draw your energy from). I personally feel deeply emotionally triggered when I hear sad or disturbing news events (I’ve also worked in the social work field for several years so I’ve seen perhaps more than the average person). I know that by listening to the news I am not able to serve myself, my family or others in the best way possible, therefore I choose to turn it off.
  • Social media switch offs. If I ever feel stretched too thin I turn off social media. Even if it’s just for an hour. That hour is bliss.
  • UNFOLLOW. Persistent negativity has no place in my life. If I see ongoing negative or down-right mean stuff I will simply hit unfollow. I used to feel incredible guilt for doing so but now my social media feels so inspiring and uplifting. It’s a nicer place to hang out. This can also be practiced in real life by spending less time with those who may bring your energy down.
  • Meditation. I used to laugh at anyone who said “just meditate”. I was like, “have you seen my house! I can’t even go to the toilet in peace let alone meditate”. In fact, I once took my toddler to a mums and bubs yoga class. That was possibly the least relaxing yoga class I’ve had to date. I get it, I honestly do. But choosing to take 2-5 minutes or even 10 deep belly breaths any time life feels chaotic has changed my life. It reminds me to be present, to reconnect with ME and allows me to GIVE MORE to my family. If you are new to meditation I suggest trying guided meditation.

4. REDUCE HABITUAL SNACKING

Habitual snacking (eating out of habit, not hunger) is so easy to do. And most of the time you won’t notice that you are doing it unless you give it full attention. One of the most common habitual snacking for mums is eating your children’s left over food, toast crusts (this is one I was doing ALL the time!), and sugar because you haven’t had a chance to sit down and eat all day.

For those of you who struggling with late night sugar cravings/binges please know, it's not that you have no self control or "can't do it"! Those late night sugar cravings are always serving a purpose.
Many women I work with eat sugar at night, not because they don't have self control, but because it serves as a release for them in some way or another. In fact, some of the most successful "A type" personalities struggle the most (myself included).

Before looking to change those habits, look to WHY you are eating late at night or craving sugar. The food serves a purpose and once you identify it's purpose you can create change that much easier. Some common reasons for late night sugar craving:

  • you've held it together all day and you just need a release
  • you've had a busy, stressful day and sugar makes you feel comforted in the moment
  • you are tired and your body is telling you it needs sleep or energy, so you are choosing sugar in place of sleep
  • and sometimes...it's a habit.

Once you identify the purpose the food serves look for non-food ways you could address the need. Do the non-food activity before eating (or at least take 2 big deep breaths before eating) and see if it helps you to make more mindful choices when you do choose to eat. I am incredibly passionate about reflective mindful eating as a way to explore your relationship with food as well as how the food you eat is serving you.

5. PRIMARILY EAT WHOLE FOODS

Whole foods are foods that are in, or as close to, their natural state. Food such as vegetables, fruit, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds are perfect examples of whole foods. They require little-to-no processing and often don’t require a nutritional panel.

Restriction has no place in my life nor should it have any place in yours. Instead of focusing your energy on ‘what should I cut out’, bring your attention to ‘what can I swap’. Focus on filling up your plates with primarily whole foods and then enjoy those extras or indulgences whole-heartedly and WITHOUT GUILT.

I personally feel most balanced (both mentally and in my weight) when I eat whole foods 80-90% of the time. This is where my weight naturally balances and I have the time, energy and emotional capacity to do the things I love to do!

Krissy - Her Nourished (Holistic Health Coach)

And now for your amazing FREE download- sign up to our mailing list below before the end of May to receive Krissy's "SIMPLE WHOLEFOOD RECIPE GUIDE FOR BUSY MUMS" e-book which is chock full of information, tips and lots of easy delicious recipes!

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I’m Krissy, the founder of Her Nourished and your Holistic Health Coach. Based on the beautiful Gold Coast of Australia, I live with my FIFO husband and two wee kiddies (Mr 3 and Miss almost 1). I’m passionate about holistic health and a non-diet approach to balancing weight because I struggled for many years with disordered eating myself. You name a restrictive diet and I’ll tell you that I’ve tried it. I’ve been able to heal my relationship with both food and myself through a combination of support, guidance, changing my food language and learning to eat intuitively from a place of love (not fear) and I want that for you too!

Connect with Krissy at Her Nourished

Email Krissy for enquiries, custom menu plans and personalised support

Mothers Day Edit

By Fi Morrison

This year is my very first Mother’s Day and I have to be honest, I’m pretty darn excited. Not completely for selfish reasons (although, which mum doesn’t like to have their ONE day of pampering a year?!). I am excited about celebrating almost a year of starting my motherhood journey, and spending time being loved and appreciated by my son (and husband). And as this is our one allocated day of the year to be a little bit spoilt, how can we not take this opportunity to find some amazing Mother’s Day gifts for ourselves (unless you are one of the lucky mums whose husband is a good gift giver… anyone?!). So if you’re looking to give hubby (and your kids) a nudge in the right direction, or find something for your own Mum, make sure you check out this brilliant range of gifts from our Mother’s Day Edit! - Love, Fi xxx

FASHION & ACCESSORIES FOR MUM

EIRESS : Famke Luxe Necklace + Matching Keyring

Most mums are used to wearing sweatpants and mum buns, making it hard for them to feel pretty (do we even have time for that anymore?!). Becoming a new mum has helped me to appreciate the accessories that we can add to our everyday attire to help us feel dolled up and special. Eiress has a gorgeous range of Famke necklaces, such as this stunning Famke Blueberry Luxe piece that will be the highlight of any mother’s outfit. I’ve been wearing it non stop and I absolutely LOVE it! The Eiress range of jewelry is a must-have for your mother’s day gift list as there is such a beautiful range of unique designs, with the added bonus of being safe around gummy bubs (although they are not a toy!).

Plus, if you’d like to add an extra special personal touch to your mother’s day gift this year, Eiress also offers personalized key rings that can match your necklaces. I got this gorgeous matching key ring for my Famke Blueberry Lux necklace (MM = Mumma Morrison!) that I just absolutely adore. Again it adds a bit of glam to a mother’s everyday accessories to help her feel gorgeous and special while running around after the little ones. An absolute must for any mother this Mother’s Day!

SHOP EIRESS NECKLACES & KEYRINGS HERE
Link to Eiress at The Nursery Collective

MODIMADE : Trapeze Dress and Keang Top


Some mums are fashionistas; others are socially conscious – with Modimade, you can find a stunning combination of both. Modimade is an independent enterprise that supports the handy work of Cambodian artisans by stocking their eco friendly clothing. The clothes are created using remnant fabrics from factory left overs, and the garments with screen printing are printed by hand using water based inks. The Keang Top and Trapeze Dress I received are both gorgeous examples of the Modimade range, and I love the contrasting colours of the black fabric and the light screen printed designs.

As a new mum, I’ve been very conscious of my weight and I find myself getting frustrated that I have “nothing nice to wear”. What I absolutely love about the Modimade Keang Top and Trapeze dress is that I feel comfortable in the clothing. They are both flattering to my body type, they are stylish clothes to wear out and about (with the option of layering up with leggings and a cardi, or leaving as is for the warmer months), and I have peace of mind knowing that they are sustainable. If you’re looking for a unique, fashionable gift this Mother’s Day, Modimade is the brand for you.

Modimade are also offering all Nursery Collective customers an amazing 25% OFF the Trapeze dress, simply use the code TNCMUM to grab your discount! Offer valid until midnight Saturday May 13, 2017

SHOP THE TRAPEZE DRESS HERE
Link to Modimade at The Nursery Collective

MY TINY WARDROBE: MAMA BEANIES


I have to admit, I’m one of THOSE mums – I love the idea of the matchy-matchy outfits with bub. Of course, this is a bit more difficult when you have a son. But I couldn’t get over how absolutely ADORABLE these baby beanies are from My Tiny Wardrobe, and what is absolutely the best is that now they are bringing out matching mother’s beanies too (apparently the lovely mumma Amy behind this biz loves some #twinning too!) She has designed these gorgeous, affordable beanies ($35 and Made in Australia) just in time for the cooler weather coming.

The beanies are 100% cotton, perfect for keeping our heads warm in winter. They come in 4 sizes, 0-6 months, 6-12 months, 1-4 years and Adult (sizing is true to size). There are 6 colours to choose from as well: Charcoal Grey, Pale Grey, Cream, Deep Pink, Dusty Pink and Navy Blue. A lovely accessory for mum to enjoy in the lead up to the cold months – with or without #twinning.

SHOP MOTHER'S BEANIES HERE
Link to My Tiny Wardrobe at The Nursery Collective

THE BUB DESIGNS: AUTUMN SCANDI NECKLACE

You can never have too many accessories as a new mum, and one thing I have quickly learnt is the more variety in accessories, the better. I’ve started collecting a range of necklaces to dress up plain breastfeeding tops and clothes to help me feel good. When I saw the Plum Scandi Necklace by The Bub Designs, I was instantly drawn to the natural wooden beads (gorgeous colour and goes with lots of outfits!) and the lovely plum colour, which is a hit for Autumn this year. The Bub Designs offers a range of colours, with the Autumn collection including mustard, olive and maroon accents.

Again, while these aren’t a teething toy for children, bub won’t be hurt if they have a little chew on this necklace while you’re wearing it (better than any metal, dangly necklace you might wear!). I love that it can also compliment both casual and dressy outfits, such as this ensemble I recently wore to a wedding. Plus, made with silicone and raw beech wooden beads, they are easy to clean (with warm soapy water) and have a break away clasp meaning you baby can’t rip it from your neck. A great fashion accessory for all mums!

SHOP AUTUMN SCANDI NECKLACES HERE
Link to The BUB Designs at The Nursery Collective

PAMPERING PRODUCTS FOR MUM

AVA LOLA ORGANICS : Pamper Box

If you’re looking to pamper your mum (or yourself – you deserve it!) this Mother’s Day, this Pamper Box from Ava Lola Organics is the perfect solution. It contains a blissful combination of a Candle, Body Brush, Sweet Orange Bath Salts, Coffee Scrub, Charcoal, Paw Paw Lip Butter and Organza Pouch (filled with potpourri).

What I love about this Pamper Box is that it incorporates many elements of indulgence – the perfect arrangement for a mother’s relaxing bath-night, treating her skin and her sense of smell to delectable fragrances. Another intriguing element to this Pamper Box that I can’t get enough of is the charcoal. I love that it has a range of uses for mums so that it meets a variety of your care needs (teeth anyone?!). The Pamper Box gave me a night of pure relaxation with the bath salts and coffee scrub in the bath, followed by the body brush, charcoal and lip butter afterwards to add to the soft skin. Pure bliss!

SHOP PAMPER BOXES HERE
Link to Ava Lola Organics at The Nursery Collective

LYN'S LABEL ORGANIC BABY : Chenille Bath Robe


Nothing says spoiling mum like a blissful pampering session, and how better to do that then dressed up as such. Lyn’s Label Organic Baby has a gorgeous organic cotton chenille robe that will make any mum feel like they’re at a luxury day spa. The best thing about Chenille (which I only just learnt!) is that it actually gets softer and softer with every wash, which will most likely beat all the clothes or robes mum might already have! The robe has also been designed with breastfeeding mums in mind, to keep them toasty warm during the middle of the night feeds in Winter.

I haven’t owned a proper robe before (I had a waffle robe for my wedding), but have worn them at day spas before. Having my own has really brought that luxury feeling into the space of my very own home. Particularly partnered up with some of the other pampering products like the scrubs and bath salts, wearing the robe before and after a relaxing bath really helped me to capture a bit of (much needed!) “me time” leading up to Mother’s Day.


SHOP Chenille Robes from Lyn’s Label Organic Baby HERE. The robes are currently on sale at 50% OFF (Down from $160 to $80) until the end of the month only. Hurry to claim this amazing deal! Link to Lyn's Label Organic Baby at The Nursery Collective.

THE STAMPED ANCHOR : Sugar Scrubs

I was initially intrigued when I came across the sugar scrubs by The Stamped Anchor. I have heard of coffee scrubs before, but not sugar scrubs. However, when I received the pouches of tiny, vibrant granules, I knew I was in for a treat. The Stamped Anchor team really know their stuff – they recommended particular scrubs for certain needs. For example, they recommended the Peppermint scrub for a pick-me-up during my morning shower, and the Lavender scrub to help me relax and unwind at the end of the day in my evening bath.

The sugar scrubs are combined with coconut oil to exfoliate the skin, leaving it silky smooth afterwards. I’ve been using the different scrubs (per my instructions!) day and night and my skin has been left glowing! Combined with the gorgeous, tropical colours, it will definitely brighten up any mother’s day.


SHOP Sugar Scrubs from The Stamped Anchor HERE – they have a 40% off discount running on their Sugar Scrubs (Code: MUMMASCRUB), so hurry now before it ends May 15th. Link to The Stamped Anchor at The Nursery Collective.

THE NATURAL GIFT BOX CO : Create Your Own Gift Box

I absolutely LOVED the concept of creating my own gift box for Mother’s Day. While the Natural Gift Box Co offers gift boxes targeted at the ‘mindful’, ‘movement’, and ‘me time’ mums, I loved being able to put together my own selection of goodies to receive. I am the type of gal who always sends links to my husband of what I want for birthdays and Christmas, so it’s nice to have to option of choosing my own presents. When creating my own gift box, I went with a selection similar to the “Mindful Mumma” gift Box – Coconut hand + body butter (yum!), an uplift organic bath soak (because baths in winter are divine!) and the 3x inspirational watercolour prints to add to my office space (which are stunning!). I then also added the Thrive by Nature Tea Sampler Pack, as I’m a bit of a tea fiend.

When I received the Gift Box I created, I was still super excited to receive my products (even though you’d think the surprise would have dampened it a bit!). The package was beautifully wrapped, and the goodies were nestled wonderfully inside. For a small box, it packs an amazing punch. I was pleasantly surprised by the generous supply of the bath soak and tea samplers (considering there are 9 of them), as well as the quality of the watercolour prints (on gorgeous stock card). If you are shopping for a mumma who likes to choose their own goodies (yourself maybe?), The Natural Gift Box Co is the way to go!

SHOP GIFT BOXES HERE (Including Create Your Own)
Link to The Natural Gift Box Co. at The Nursery Collective

AVIDIVA : Badger Body Balms


If you’re looking for an additional Mother’s Day gift, the Badger Balms from Avidiva are a great choice. They are natural and certified organic, containing essential oils to help calm the body naturally. Avidiva stocks two Badger Balms: The Lavender & Bergamot Sleep Balm, and the Aromatherapy Cheerful Mind Balm. These would be perfect to carry while travelling, particularly the sleep balm which comes in a travel tin. These balms use natural ingredients to help soothe the mind and body, and does not contain any nasty products. Each balm has particular fragrances to help calm the body in different ways. For example, the Cheerful Mind balm contains Lemon and Sweet Orange to uplift the mind, Spearmint to remove bad thoughts, and Ylang Ylang as a pleasant, floral aroma.

These balms would be the perfect gift for mums who need help to unwind before bedtime (um… like all mothers?!), or some motivation in the morning to start the day. The Badger Balms also have the added bonus of being 100% natural, making them safe for the whole family too. Give a mother the gift of relaxation or a “cheerful mind” this Mother’s Day.

SHOP BODY BALMS HERE
Link to Avidiva at The Nursery Collective

SOMETHING DIFFERENT FOR MUM

PIECES OF HAPPINESS : Décor Letters


Pieces of Happiness create stunning handmade letters for both mums and bubs. The gorgeous owner of this business incorporates soft fabric and padding into the letters, coupled with sturdy edges, to make them durable. They measure 22cm x 16cm, making them bold enough to stand out in any space without being overstated. Depending on your styling, they would make a dramatic feature item in your room or an understated décor piece.

While these letters would make an amazing centerpiece for a child’s nursery, they are also the perfect gift for the stylist mumma wanting to design her own space. For the business mum, these letters would make a great office feature. For the stay at home mum, they would be a beautiful highlight for her bedroom. These letters would even brighten up the everyday family space as a reminder to your mum of the thoughtful gift she'd received for Mother’s Day. You could also purchase a range of letters to spell out a name and hang them in your preferred space.

SHOP DECOR LETTERS HERE
Link to Pieces of Happiness at The Nursery Collective

MILK MAMA: Munch & Smoothie Mixes

What better gift could you give a mum this Mother’s Day than something that both tastes delicious and is beneficial. If you are looking for a gift for a breastfeeding mum, the Munch and Smoothie mixes by Milk Mama are a perfect gift. The use of natural ingredients (for example, the flaxseed and fenugreek found in a lot of lactation mixes) helps the body to boost milk supply over the course of a few days. The Munch and Smoothie mixes are great because they are easy to use/consume (the munch mix is all ready to go!), and also boost the milk supply (I did a review on the Milk Mama Smoothie Mixes a couple of months ago HERE).

I started adding the munch mix to my morning cereal, but it works as a garnish for any type of dish – smoothies, salads, pasta or curries (the flavours would actually work quite well with a curry!). It is mostly organic desiccated coconut, and tastes amazing. There are instructions for the amount to use and how often to take it to boost the milk supply, which I found helpful when I was having it. The munch and smoothie mixes are a great alternative to the common ‘lactation cookie’ mixes, and would be great for healthy/fit breastfeeding mummas this Mother’s Day!


SHOP MUNCH & SMOOTHIE MIX HERE
Link to Milk Mama at The Nursery Collective

GRANDAD PAT'S TREASURE TROVE: The ToDo Game

If you’re looking for something outside of the box for Mother’s Day, why not check out The ToDo Game over at Grandad Pat’s Treasure Trove? It will give a lucky mumma the gift of family time (which I know as a new mum means a lot to me!), opening up the doors for creativity, fun, and insightful conversations. Plus, the ToDo game has the added bonus of being educational for the kids, so it really is a WIN-WIN. Such a great gift for the fun-loving, time-oriented mum this Mother’s Day.

SHOP THE TO DO GAME HERE
Link to Grandad Pat's Treasure Trove at The Nursery Collective

SOMETHING LUXE FOR MUM

ABBY ST. CLAIRE: Merino Chunky Knit Blanket

If you’re looking for another Mother’s Day gift that will be perfect for mum in the lead up to Winter, this Woolly Mammoth Merino Blanket by Abby St. Claire is the gift for you. Measuring 100 x 110cm, these blankets are made from locally sourced Australian Merino Wool (so unbelievably soft and luxurious!). You can purchase them in a range of colours, including Navy, Light Grey, Pale Blue, Pink, Natural and Oatmeal (custom colours may be possible, but you’d need to have a chat with the business owner).

These blankets are currently made to order so have a turn-around time of 2-3 weeks (well worth it as a late Mother’s Day present with their gorgeous design and quality!).  While the Merino Blanket looks cuddly and comfortable, heavy use isn’t advisable due to possible pilling of the wool. The Merino Blanket makes a stunning decorative piece – so if you are shopping for a stylist mumma, be sure to add this blanket to your list.

SHOP THE WOOLLY MAMMOTH BLANKET HERE
Link to Abby St. Claire at The Nursery Collective

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE WONDERFUL MUMMA MORRISON BLOG

Fi and I admin a FB support group for new and pregnant Mamas on Facebook - come join us over at Find Your Village here – a truly supportive community of new and experienced mamas where you can vent frustrations or share your excitement in a space that is free from judgment. We'd love to hear all about your Mother's Day!! Cathy

If you haven’t already joined our mailing list, please do so you can be notified of our blogs as soon as they go live! Added bonus when you sign up - you will also receive your FREE download of "Your New Mum Checklist" - all the checklists you'll ever need when planning for baby, all in the one place.

 

HOW TO CREATE A TOY ROTATION SYSTEM and 5 REASONS TO LOVE IT

By Erin from Nappy Cakes by Erin

One of the many first things learnt as a new mother is how quickly the house can become cluttered with toys. Toys, toys and more toys - scattered across floors, stored in every nook and cranny of storage spaces, in prams, in bassinets/cots, in car seats, in nappy bags, on benches, lounges and tables - you name it - there is a toy! And before you know it, what once was a tidy, organised home, has fast become nothing short of resembling a toy shop, and a messy one at that, which often leads to feelings of disorganisation and toy overwhelm.

Today I am going to share 7 EASY STEPS TO GET YOU STARTED ON CREATING A TOY ROTATION in your home and FIVE reasons why you will love it.

1. CHOOSE A LOCATION

I recommend choosing one area to begin with and an area where your baby plays the most. Once you have an effective system you may decide to venture into creating a toy rotation system in other spaces within the home.

2. COLLECT ALL THE TOYS

Take a look at what toys you have and what toy you want to include in a toy rotation (toys you don't mind seeing on the floor and are safe on the floor with your baby).

3. SORT THE TOYS

Categorise and declutter the toys as you sort. (I love using KonMari and the traditional keep, donate and toss piles). This link explains KonMari and the inspiration to begin your KonMari journey now. Deciding what toys to keep can sometimes be tricky. I prefer to use toys that are versatile, durable, fun and foster higher order thinking (problem solving, decision making and creative and critical thinking). Some toy examples are: blocks, Little People, rattles, vehicles, animals, puzzles, open/close and up/down toys, posting boxes, soft toys, handmade toys, musical instruments and books.


Image credit : Nappy Cakes by Erin www.nappycakesbyerin.com.au

4. ORGANISE THE TOYS

There are lots of ways to organise toys (colour, size, shape, favourites, alphabetically, age appropriate) but our favourite way is thematic. Eg. Animals, transport, pretend, construction etc.

5. DECIDE ON STORAGE

There are a variety of ways to store toys. Remember "Create a storage system that fits your life" - one that will fit comfortably in the physical environment (nursery or common space), provide easy and safe access for your baby and a colour palette that invites your child to participate and enjoy the rotation. Our favourites are plastic tubs with lids (particularly the Sistema storage tubs with utility trays), colourful flexitubs, and cube storage with boxes/baskets (low line). For more inspiration on how to style a modern nursery be sure to check out The Nursery Collective "Nursery Décor" section.

We currently use three sets of cube storage (one in the common area and the other two in bedrooms) with boxes and labels that match the room decor. Here is the link to the Sistema range we love

6. PLACE TOYS IN ALLOTTED SPOTS

Once you have finalised the storage of your choice, place toys in their allotted spot. You may choose to label for an extended learning opportunity and convenient packing away. Labels can be photos, words or a mix of both (whichever meets the needs of the users best-we like photos for babies).

7. CHOOSING A ROTATION SYSTEM

There are a few different ways to rotate toys - cyclic, direct swap/substitute, interest based or random. And the frequency could vary from daily, weekly, fortnightly or even monthly. I suggest trying one way and sticking with it if it works and changing it if necessary. What works for us at the moment is a cyclic mixed interest based rotation on a weekly basis. Our toys are rotated at the beginning of each week. Things to remember if you plan on trying a toy rotation: they take time, patience, trial and error to work smoothly. If at first, things aren't going to plan, take some time to reflect, seek solutions and inspiration online and be persistent whilst recognising the limitations of the users to avoid toy rotation burn out. To read more about avoiding toy rotation burn out click here.

FIVE REASONS TO LOVE YOUR TOY ROTATION

  1. Packing away becomes easier
  2. It creates a great inventory to help you get started with gift giving ideas
  3. Children show they can play with some independence
  4. Children engage in imaginative play using simple toys to create amazing play situations
  5. The organisation helps to alleviate toy overwhelm

I hope these seven steps inspire you to create a toy rotation system and provide you with many opportunities to celebrate play with your little ones.

If you have an established toy rotation system in your home please share below as there is always something new for us to learn and it is nice to inspire a fellow Mum.

- Erin (Nappy Cakes By Erin)

Erin is a Mum of two, wife and Primary School teacher as well as the Owner of Nappy Cakes by Erin and the Founder of 'celebrate play'. She lives a very busy, yet simple and enjoyable life in Sydney. Her greatest passions are family, organisation, gift-giving, helping others, celebrating events and lifelong learning. You can find her at Nappy Cakes By Erin, follow her on Facebook, join the Celebrate Play Facebook Group or email

If you haven’t already joined our mailing list, please do so you can be notified of our blogs as soon as they go live! Added bonus when you sign up - you will also receive your FREE download of "Your New Mum Checklist" - all the checklists you'll ever need when planning for baby, all in the one place.

 

Celebrating my First Easter as a New Mum

By Fi Morrison

Becoming a new mum is a joyous occasion for so many reasons. There are the obvious ones, such as having a tiny person to love, give lots of cuddles and snuggles to, and watching them grow and develop. And then there are the less obvious reasons, like having a reason to go to bed early at night, or having an excuse to do a LOT of shopping (for baby stuff of course!). But there is one thing truly delightful about becoming a mother, and that is the opportunity to share experiences and traditions with your new family unit. Traditions and events such as Easter.

Our son will be 8.5 months old when Easter comes around. At this age, he is definitely starting to show his little personality, being a lot more lively and well, fun. It's different to his first Christmas, when he was 5 months old and still a bit young to fully engage with anything. Now, he can sit, bang things, play with toys, ALMOST crawl and toddle around in his walker. There are plenty of opportunities for us to celebrate Easter with him. So what are we going to do to celebrate our son's first Easter?

1.  BUY A RIDICULOUSLY CUTE OUTFIT

Because seriously, what else do you do with your baby on a special occasion?? Dress them up of course! I have been searching around the local Australian handmade stores and have decided on a set of white bunny pants from Little Field Handmade that I can mix and match with plain tops (and will double up as cute winter pajama pants!). As I said before, dressing up my little boy is a favourite pastime of mine, and a great way to get into the ‘spirit’ of our first Easter together!


Sleeping Bunny Print Pants by Little Field Handmade

2. EASTER STORIES & BOOKS

My son has already been lucky enough to receive his first Easter present (not from us) yesterday. He got a copy of “That’s not my Bunny” by Usborne books. While it isn’t necessarily Easter themed, it has helped us to start thinking about the symbols around Easter and what they mean. We will also be getting some more Easter board books for him to explore, such as “Llama Lama Easter Egg” by Anna Dewdney, and “The Story of Easter” by Patricia A. Pingry. If you are looking for more suggestions, check out this great blog post here.

3. “EASTER EGG HUNT"

Obviously my son is way too young for chocolate, or for “hunting” and finding things. However that doesn’t mean we can’t do some great activities with him. You can purchase giant, plastic, fillable Easter Eggs from a cheap shop (they have them in Woolworths for $4 apparently!) and create a bunch of activities with them, such as Easter Egg shakers and a Easter Egg Ball Pit.

4. SPENDING TIME WITH FAMILY

All families grow up differently. I honestly don’t have much recollection of my childhood (as I have a woeful memory!), but I don’t recall doing anything overly ‘special’ at Easter time. My husband’s family, on the other hand, went away every Easter with their cousins. This was a special family time for them that they still enjoy now. As our new little family, I can’t wait for us to spend time both as an immediate, close-knit family unit, as well as with the extended family. We enjoy having a lunch with the grandparents if we can, and that gives them time to enjoy the special moments and spoil our son too (which we know they will!).

5. KEEPING UP OUR OWN TRADITIONS (AND STARTING NEW ONES)

For my husband and I, Easter has personal significance due to our faith and beliefs. We attend church throughout the weekend, and we hope that that will be something we can continue to do with our son as he gets older. We are eager to pass on our family traditions and values. I do remember attending the Easter Show in Sydney when I was younger, and I hope to be able to take my son along sometime as well. We may also decide to start up our own Easter traditions as a little family, although we might have to wait and see what actually happens on the weekend for us to decide that!

I’m super excited to be able to share in another milestone “FIRST” event with our son. How did you mark your first Easter with your children, or how do you celebrate Easter with your family now?

- Fi Morrison (Mumma Morrison)

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Fi and I admin a FB support group for new and pregnant Mamas on Facebook - come join us over at Find Your Village here – a truly supportive community of new and experienced mamas where you can vent frustrations or share your excitement in a space that is free from judgment.  Cathy

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THE EASTER EDIT

Our Favourite Easter Products and Exclusive Discounts!

Easter is just a hop, skip and a jump away and there is so much more available for our precious little ones besides chocolate! (although we love our Easter eggs too!)

We are so excited to bring you our first Easter Edit which is choc-a-block with beautiful and unique Easter themed products available from our wonderful Nursery Collective boutiques. And because we love a good Easter sale, we also have some ah-mazing and exclusive Easter discounts available for Nursery Collective customers...so make sure you read ALL the way through to get the details of which boutiques you can use the code TNCEASTER to grab some amazing discounts and start hop-hop-shopping!

OUR FAVOURITE EASTER DECOR & TOYS

SLEEPY SNOOGU BUNNY - MODIMADE

Make Easter hunting a lot more friendly and last beyond the silver wrapper this year with the Sleepy Snoogu Bunny from Modimade!
Ethically made by in Cambodia, these gorgeous bunnies make the perfect chocolate-free Easter gift!

SHOP VIA INSTAGRAM HERE
Link to Modimade at The Nursery Collective

RABBIT POUFFES BY LITTLE FRENCH HEART

These gorgeous rabbit pouffes are perfect for little people! They can be used as a cushioned seat or opened to magically unfold and become a chair or two separate floor cushions. Designed in France by artisans of childhood, L’Oiseau Bateau, the pouffes are made to be downy soft with gorgeous fabrics ~ satin and microfibre. They are not only oh-so-soft but a beautiful addition to a child's bedroom or the family living space. Easily cleaned with a damp cloth and a practical soft furnishing for a child’s space.

You can shop these pouffes here at LITTLE FRENCH HEART
Link to Little French Heart at The Nursery Collective

CROCHET BUNNIES, EASTER WAX CRAYONS, SMILING BUNNY WOODEN PLATE - LITTLE LEAF KIDS

These cute Mini Crochet Bunny's are the perfect nursery or newborn gift! They measure 20 cm from tip of ear to toe and come in two colours; Grey or Ivory. These are a handmade product and the eyes and nose are hand embroidered for safety. Made of 100% Australian cotton. SHOP HERE

Tinta Crayons Easter Egg crayons are beautiful, moulded eggs that will delight children. The 6 half-eggs are packaged in a beautiful box, sealed with a matching Easter egg tag. SHOP HERE

These stylish shallow Wooden Plates make snack time more fun! They are made from a light Beech wood, perfect for children or outdoor entertaining. The perfect Easter plate! SHOP HERE
Link to Little Leaf Kids at The Nursery Collective

HANDPAINTED WOODEN EASTER EGGS - FEATHERWOOD DESIGNS

Looking for an alternative to chocolate, but still want to enjoy the excitement of an Easter Egg hunt this year?

How about these gorgeous hand-painted, wooden Easter Eggs, perfect for play or your easter decor! Each set comes with three eggs in your choice of colour theme and contains two small eggs (3.5cm tall) and one large egg (5cm tall) with an optional extra eggcup

SHOP HERE

Link to Featherwood Designs at The Nursery Collective

BUNNY TEETHER,  TEETHING EGG AND KNITTED BUNNY - AVIDIVA

OB Designs Natural Teether Toy BONNIE BUNNY DINGaRING. The natural wooden teething ring, luxuriously soft plush toy body and gentle rattle make this an ideal gift for newborns and teething bubs. SHOP HERE

The Teething Egg has a unique shape and great design. It’s easily graspable and naturally safe. A non toxic and BPA free product made from food grade TPE.  Its design and firm, supple texture provides baby with relief from teething pain. SHOP HERE

Natures Purest Organic Cotton Grey Stripe Knitted Bunny - a beautiful companion for any newborn and made from 100% organic cotton. SHOP HERE
Link to Avidiva at The Nursery Collective

OUR FAVOURITE EASTER SLEEP PRODUCTS

Fjäder FEATHER PORTABLE BED - BUBNEST

In Sweden the Easter tradition is to decorate bare birch twigs with colourful feathers to encourage nature to blossom and turn winter into spring - "påsk ris". Therefore feather means Easter for the Bubnest team! (photo  of Easter Bunny baby in a Fjäder nest courtesy of @thebosnianaussie)
 
The Bubnest is an organic, breathable and soft portable bed for bub to rest anywhere anytime, home and away from home. You start with the nest tied up and finish with it open at the end as bub grows. The mattress is thick enough to be comfortable  on any flat surface. All nests are made from 99% Organic certified cotton inside and out, and handmade with love. SHOP HERE

Link to Bubnest at The Nursery Collective

BUNNY LOVE BLANKET - BAE & BEAR

This 100% cotton, beautifully soft, knitted baby blanket is the must have monochrome easter gift for any little styler!

Measuring 90x110cm with Black & White reversible design it's perfect for the cot, pram and moses basket.

SHOP HERE
Link to
Bae & Bear at The Nursery Collective

ORGANIC KANTHA QUILT - FRECKLE BABY

This organic Kantha Quilt makes a beautiful Easter Gift!
It is light weight and double sided and packs down small for nappy bags and unfolds large to 41"x41".
Perfect for swaddling, laying out for tummy time, and great for the carrier and stroller.
Completely hand stitched and now only $18.

SHOP HERE
Link to Freckle Baby at The Nursery Collective

OUR FAVOURITE EASTER BUNDLES

EASTER BUNNY BUNDLES & ORGANIC BUNNY COMFORTERS - BAMBOO LULU

The Easter Bunny Soothing Duo Bundle is a perfect all natural Easter baby gift. The comforter is a simple design, hygienic and made from 100% organic cotton (Oeko-Tex Standard 100). The teether is made from food grade silicone. It is also hygienic - resistant to the growth of mould & bacteria. This teether has lots of soft, bendy edges on which baby can chew safely. Set contains: 100% Organic Cotton Baby Comforter - choose from Pink or Blue check. Size is approx 20cm. Nature Bubz Swiss Cross Silicone Teether - choose from Mint or Marble. Size approx. 9cmx9cm. SHOP HERE

Organic Cotton Baby Comforter - Toddels - Rabby Red. Their shape is simple - long ears that babies love to chew on or play with. This is the larger of the 2 sizes available, suitable for babies from 9 months old. SHOP HERE
Link to Bamboo Lulu at The Nursery Collective

BUNNY BAMBOO BIB & BURP CLOTH SET - TOWELLING STORIES

This set is made from ultra soft, thick and naturally anti-bacterial bamboo and cotton (base) terry toweling, featuring a gorgeous bunny print! The bib is large in size to help keep baby's clothes clean and the absorbent terry towelling means you can wet the bib and use the back as a face washer as well. Two clasps do up behind the neck for extra security and it can be adjusted to a larger size. The rectangular burp cloth has a circular cut out for around the neck to make burp time easier and mess-free. SHOP HERE
Link to Towelling Stories at The Nursery Collective

OUR FAVOURITE EASTER CLOTHES & ACCESSORIES

BUNNY PLAYSUIT ROMPER - MY TINY WARDROBE

This Newborn/Baby Girls/Toddler 'Bunny' Romper makes the perfect Easter outfit, yet it is so versatile for any season/occasion as all babies love bunnies! With soft elastic around the legs and snap studs for comfort, easy dressing and nappy changing, this is the perfect romper for a growing baby! The top knots from My Tiny Wardrobe also make the perfect accessory for this gorgeous romper and are available in 7 colours! SHOP ROMPER HERE and TOPKNOTS HERE
Link to My Tiny Wardrobe at The Nursery Collective

SLEEPY BUNNY HAREM PANTS, LITTLE CHICKS LEGGINGS, MY FIRST EASTER BANDANA BIB & PINK BUNNY BURP CLOTH - LITTLE FIELD HANDMADE

Little Field Handmade have so many gorgeous Easter clothing items! From their Harem Pants, Leggings and Shorts in the Sleeping Bunny Print and Little Chicks Print to their keepsake My First Easter Bandana Bibs and Pink Bunny Burp Cloths. All items are handmade with love and available from size 0000-4. SHOP PANTS, LEGGINGS AND SHORTS HERE, BANDANA BIBS HERE and BURP CLOTH HERE
Link to Little Field Handmade at The Nursery Collective

OUR FAVOURITE EASTER BABY BAGS & ACCESSORIES

NOA CHANGING BAG - STORKSAK

Storksak’s Noa is an award winning, perfectly practical baby bag, boasting a range of chic shades on the outside, in a wipe clean coated canvas fabric. Ideal for a short trip, the Noa also includes a separate matching handy Mini Organiser bag, featuring five pockets and a large zipped main internal compartment. The gorgeous pastel blue and pink versions make this the perfect Easter baby bag!
SHOP HERE
Link to Storksak at The Nursery Collective

MOLLY PINK CHANGING BAG & WAVE FAWN CHANGE STATION - BABYMEL

The Molly Pink Changing Bag is a pretty and practical satchel style bag that is perfect for everyday use. The front flap with magnetic popper closure keeps your valuables safe allowing quick and easy access while the numerous pockets allows all your essentials to be perfectly organised. Made from wipe clean, water resistant material and finished with complementary faux leather trim, the Molly is the ideal bag for parents on the go. SHOP HERE
The handy Wave Fawn Change Station looks like a stylish clutch bag with so much more to offer! Perfect for popping out and storing everything you need for changing your baby in one place. With wipe clean, water resistant finishes, padded for baby's comfort and plenty of pockets for storing nappies, wipes and creams it also has comes with a useful removable mesh zipped pouch for those smaller valuables. Strap it to your stroller, wrist or just drop it in your changing bag. SHOP HERE
Link to Babymel at The Nursery Collective

OUR FAVOURITE EASTER MUM & BUB ACCESSORIES

EIRESS & IDABEE BY EIRESS TEETHERS AND NECKLACES

Eiress has a beautiful selection of pastel gorgeousness on offer for both Mum and Bub this Easter! FOR BUB there are the ELLIPSE PASTELLA (also available in a RATTLE) and ELLIPSE SPRING teethers as well as the MIA range of teethers that look good enough to eat!
FOR MUM, check out the beautiful pastel necklaces ELLEVIL PASTELLA, ABACI PASTELS and KOVE PASTELS to put the perfect finishing touch on your Easter outfit! All products made with 100% certified food grade silicone and free from BPA, phthalates, cadmium, PVC, latex and lead. Click on the items names to shop now!
Link to Eiress at The Nursery Collective

OUR EXCLUSIVE EASTER EDIT DISCOUNT OFFERS - USE CODE TNCEASTER!

To celebrate our first Easter Edit we have 27 of The Nursery Collective boutiques and services offering some fantastic Easter discounts exclusive to The Nursery Collective customers so you can get your shopping on! Simply use the code TNCEASTER when shopping at the brands below to grab your discounts! Full details are below - happy shopping! 

ABBY ST. CLAIRE are offering FREE SHIPPING on domestic orders of their beautiful chunky knit merino blankets!
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

AMBEROCKS are offering 20% OFF STOREWIDE on their beautiful, genuine Baltic amber jewellery!
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

ANIKY are offering 15% off their beautiful and unique Baby Book - Precious Little Moments.
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

BABY LOVES SLEEP are offering 15% OFF STOREWIDE! The SLEEPY HUGS sleep suit is for easy swaddle transitioning when the swaddle wrap no longer works!
Valid from April 10 to Easter Sunday!
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

BABYMEL are offering 25% OFF STOREWIDE on their beautiful modern nappy bags, accessories and backpacks!
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

BAMBOO LULU are offering 15% OFF YOUR FIRST ORDER on their affordable bamboo and organic clothing & accessories!
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

BORN MATERNITY are offering 20% off ALL ORDERS OVER $50! Affordable, comfortable maternity wear that is also stylish!
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

BUBNEST are offering FREE SHIPPING on domestic orders of their snug portable baby beds! All made with certified, organic cotton.
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

BUBS FIRST are offering 2 CHANGE MAT COVERS FOR $50 - normally $30 each! These wipeable change mat covers are practical & stylish!
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

EAST & CO are offering  40% OFF STOREWIDE to the first 5 customers who use the code TNCEASTER! Get in quick to grab some beautiful handmade décor items & accessories . Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

FIRST IN BREAST DRESSED are offering 15% OFF STOREWIDE on their fabulous breastfeeding items and accessories!
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

FRECKLE BABY are offering 25% OFF STOREWIDE on their beautiful, organic baby products! Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

GRANDAD PAT'S TREASURE TROVE are offering 10%  OFF STOREWIDE on their engraved custom-made family height charts!
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

JUST BECAUSE PRINTS are offering 20%  OFF ALL PRINTS - the perfect décor item for your nursery, kids room or living room!
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

LIL FOOTPRINT HAMPERS are offering 10% OFF STOREWIDE on their natural, organic hampers! The perfect new gift for a new mum and bub, or for yourself!
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

LITTLE LEAF are offering 25% OFF STOREWIDE on all their items - clothing, accessories, the lot!
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

MOCKED are offering 25% OFF STOREWIDE on their gorgeous leather moccasins and baby shoes!
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

MY TINY WARDROBE are offering 15% OFF ALL NEW ITEMS - including their gorgeous Easter items!
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

THE NATURAL GIFT BOX CO. are offering 20% OFF ALL ORDERS OVER $80! Their fabulous mummy & baby boxes make the perfect gift!
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

NIOVI ORGANICS are offering 25% OFF STOREWIDE on their beautiful range of organic & ethical clothing .
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

PEPE CORNER are offering 25% OFF STOREWIDE on their beautiful handmade clothes for your babes!
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

RENEE'S GOODIES are offering 15% OFF STOREWIDE on all pregnancy, lactation & breastfeeding goodies!
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

STORKSAK are offering 25% OFF STOREWIDE on all their uber fashionable nappy bags and accessories!
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

TOWELLING STORIES are offering 15% OFF STOREWIDE on their range of apron-style baby bath towels and accessories!
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

TREE HUT VILLAGE are offering a special NO FEES for any lenders for transactions made over the Easter period! Tree Hut Village is a parent to parent baby equipment hire platform. Valid for transactions made over Easter.
LINK HERE

 

 

 

MY TRAVEL TOT are donating 20% of their profits to the Royal Childrens Hospital over Easter - a beautiful reason to shop for one of their functional foldable travel quilts for tots on the move - the perfect Easter blanket for your picnic or egg hunt!
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

COWBOYS & CONFETTI are donating 25% of their profits to the Royal Childrens Hospital over Easter  - a beautiful reason to support this gorgeous brand and grab one of their beautiful Milestone baby blankets!
SHOP HERE
 

 

 

HAPPY SHOPPING AND DON'T FORGET TO USE THE CODE TNCEASTER TO GRAB YOUR DISCOUNTS!

 

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Up Close & Personal with Sarah Renae Clark

How one mum used her PND experience as inspiration for her business

Today we are closing out our monthly focus on Anxiety, Depression and Mental Health in early Motherhood with a special interview. We are pleased to welcome Sarah Renae Clark to The Nursery Collective, a creative business owner, illustrator and designer - and a mother who has battled with Post Natal Depression. Her story is raw and yet so inspiring, read on to see how she turned this experience into an truly positive new path...

Hi Sarah and welcome to The Nursery Collective! Can you tell us a little about yourself? How would you describe yourself to others and what do you do for a living?

I’m a full time mum and business owner in Melbourne, Australia. A few years ago, I married my best friend and now we’ve got a beautiful little boy, Zac, who is about to turn 2. I’ve always been a creative person and have started a number of businesses over the years, from doing balloon animals for children’s parties to designing websites. Most of my businesses have only ever been side-hobbies while I worked full time, however everything changed when Zac was born. I stopped full time work and gave up most of my side jobs too. After a few months, I started working on some new creative ideas and eventually started my “Sarah Renae Clark” colouring book and printables business.
My business has already grown far beyond the hobby that it started, so now I’m looking at new ways to build it further and grow it into a full time income without the full time hours so I can continue to be a stay at home mum to my beautiful son.

What has your motherhood journey been like so far?

Motherhood has been a real rollercoaster for me! I was that super confident pregnant lady who read all the books and was convinced that motherhood was going to be amazing. Then, I had an incredibly traumatic labour and my son ended up in the special care nursery for a few days. I was unable to feed him and couldn’t get up to see him for the first day because my body was still in shock from the labour. He was discharged a few days after me, so we spent our first few days as parents without our son at home, which was challenging.

The first 2 months weren’t much easier. I wanted to breastfeed but Zac wasn’t able to, and that’s something nobody had prepared me for during my pregnancy. When he was finally able to start feeding, it was agony. I wasn’t mentally prepared for the challenge, so I pushed through and dreaded every feed, feeling like I was a failure when we had to use the formula.

After 2 months, things got easier and Zac was able to start feeding without causing me pain. Things really picked up at that point, except that I was struggling with post natal depression (PND) and didn’t realise it.

PND looks so different for everyone. For me, it was the feeling of being overwhelmed by what seemed like nothing. I felt lonely, even after spending hours with friends. I just wanted a break, but a break didn’t make me feel any better. I lived in constant fear that something terrible was going to happen to my family. I saw the worst case scenario in every situation and would let my mind run off in crazy day dreams that would completely overwhelm me with the feeling of grief or fear over a situation that didn’t exist. I couldn’t drive the car without picturing a fatal car crash and imagining my child growing up without me – or worse – me without him.

Zac was such a good baby that I felt guilty for feeling sad or overwhelmed. I even felt guilty that I wasn’t “sad enough” to call it PND. Eventually I was able to identify what was going on and work through the PND, which meant I was finally able to start enjoying motherhood and spending time with my son. It still pops up every now and then, but I can easily recognise the negative thoughts and I choose not to allow them to take over again.

What has been the biggest challenge so far, and how have you overcome it (or what are you currently doing to overcome it)? I believe you used your struggle as an inspiration in setting up your own business?

I think my biggest challenge has been not feeling guilty. It’s something that comes up in every aspect of my life as a Mum – from feeling guilty about not spending enough time with my son, to feeling guilty about going out with friends for a coffee while my husband was at work. A lot of my guilt was connected to my PND and to the high expectations I set for myself. Even now, I still struggle to take a break without questioning whether there’s something more important I should be doing… but I’m working on it!

One day, I decided to let myself have some creative time and started working on a colouring book. Adult colouring had just become popular, and I needed something creative to keep my mind active and help me to stay positive. I decided to post the colouring book on the internet, and was really surprised at the positive response I received! So I worked on a few more books and started selling them on Etsy. A few months later, I decided to look at getting them published and that was the beginning of everything for me. I have now self-published more than 10 adult colouring books and I sell a huge range of colouring pages and other printables on my website.

I started getting a lot of feedback from customers who were using colouring to get through similar mental health issues, disabilities or even loneliness. I saw an opportunity in the market to create a positive colouring book that actually catered specifically to people who were looking for encouragement. Because of my own experiences as a mum, I created my book “A Year of Coloring Affirmations for New Mothers” full of colouring pages with positive affirmations aimed at helping new mums through the ups and downs of motherhood.

I included all of the encouraging words that helped me to get through my hard days. One of my favourites came from a good friend of mine, who told me “if you’re out of your pajamas by noon, it’s a great day”. I still laugh, but it definitely got me through a few days where I would be crying because it was lunch time and I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet… my husband can verify this!

I also released a second affirmations book called “Coloring Through Cancer” for my own mum who has been fighting breast cancer on and off for over 15 years now. Both of these books have had amazing support from my community and I get constant emails from people who have been encouraged by their messages.

 Coloured by Raychell Henry

What has been the biggest blessing of motherhood?

My son has been such a blessing to me. He makes me smile every day and he makes every moment worthwhile. I would do it all again in a heartbeat for him. I’m also very blessed to have an amazing husband who has supported me through motherhood and through starting my own business. He works full time, but still helps with so many aspects of my business and I love watching him spend time with our son.

Is it difficult managing your time between being a Mum and running your own business?

I’d love to say “no, it’s easy, I have a great routine and my schedule helps me to keep a great balance” – but unfortunately, it’s not the case. I do have a great routine, and I believe it’s essential to keeping your sanity as a working Mum, however even with the best routine, it’s hard to feel like you’re giving your child and your business the attention they both need. I am constantly assessing my time and changing my goals to work smarter, not harder. I try to find new ways to automate my business and set up long-term plans so that I’m not overwhelmed with the day-to-day workload and can spend more time with my son.

Unfortunately I don’t have family that live close by, so most of my productive work happens during my toddler’s nap time. As any mother knows, nap time can be unpredictable, so sometimes my entire day can be thrown off course.

I use a yearly diary as my to-do list, so I can allocate jobs to certain days of the week based on their priorities. This means that I’m not looking at a huge list each day, instead I can just focus on the plan for today. This has probably been my biggest key in not getting overwhelmed. If my day is looking busy, I re-assess and move tasks to another day before I’m even half way through the day. My goal is to finish each day feeling like I’ve accomplished what I set out to do, not feeling like I didn’t get my list done. Some days, this means just pushing the entire list to another day so I can spend the day with my son without feeling guilty.

Working from home and raising a toddler isn’t an easy combination, but I love it. It takes a lot of commitment and you need to love your job. The key is to find your balance, set achieveable goals, and know when to say no (to your work, not your children). I’d love to have more time for my business, but family always comes first for me and I would drop my business in an instant if I had to make that choice. Knowing this makes it much easier to put work aside or say no to certain opportunities when I know they will take too much of my time away from my family.

Coloured by Emma Turnbull

If you could share some advice for other new mums who might be experiencing PND or other mental health issues, what would it be?

Find someone to talk to and stop feeling guilty. I went through months of PND before I spoke up. I never spoke to someone because I didn’t feel like I was “sad enough” to call it PND. I felt guilty for not being a good enough mum, guilty for not keeping the house clean, guilty for annoying my friends with all my baby talk, and then guilty because I had such a “good baby” and had no reason to be upset!

I didn’t call people to talk to because I didn’t want to constantly bother the same people. Instead, I’d just lie down next to my baby and cry. It wasn’t until a friend spoke up about her own PND experience that I realised I was feeling all the same things. She was the first person I spoke to, and then to my husband. As soon as I identified what was going on, the daily battles became easier and I was able to start working towards recovery.

Nobody expects you to do this alone, so find someone to talk to. If you don’t have friends or family, don’t be afraid to call a helpline or local service. You are not the first person to go through what you are going through, and there’s no shame in feeling like you can’t cope.

Thank you so much for sharing your story Sarah!
CLICK HERE TO CONNECT WITH SARAH AND HER WEBSITE AND TO DOWNLOAD YOUR OWN FREE COLOURING BOOK!
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Dealing with PND & Anxiety in early motherhood

By Amanda Cavallaro (The Anxiety Wellness Queen)

The transition into motherhood can be bitter sweet for many. The excitement of starting this new beginning with your new bundle of joy not only brings about a learning experience but significant challenges and changes to your life. For many mothers, these challenges and changes are difficult to adjust to and they find themselves dealing with emotional, psychological and physical struggles.

Postnatal Depression (PND) and Anxiety are common mental health conditions new mums experience during this transition. PND can often be difficult to identify due to the typical ‘Baby Blues’ that so many women experience postpartum, unfortunately this can make things confusing. PND is commonly suffered by a new mum following childbirth and typically arises due to a combination of psychological challenges and adjustments, hormonal changes and result of fatigue or trauma.

Postnatal Depression affects up to 1 in 7 women and symptoms usually develop between 1 month and up to a year after the birth of their child.

Common symptoms of postnatal depression include, but are not restricted to:
- Low Mood
- Feelings of inadequacy
- Feelings of guilt or shame
- Emotional ( you might find yourself crying a lot more than usual )
- Feelings of anger and irritability
- Fear of being alone
- Insomnia
- Reoccurring negative thoughts
- Loss of interest (of things you usually would be interested in)
- Changes in appetite
- Feeling unmotivated
- Withdrawing from social situations
- Thoughts about harming yourself or your baby
- Feeling unable to cope
- Loss of concentration
- Loss of confidence and self esteem
- Feelings of anxiety, stress and panic

Awareness and Treatments of PND has come such a long way over the years and it has really been fantastic for women to feel heard, understood and given the proper care, support and treatment during this difficult time. Treatments for PND vary depending on a person’s individual needs and situation, either way addressing this early on is very important in the recovery process.

Likewise, Anxiety is also another very common issue women are dealing with in motherhood. Unlike PND, perinatal anxiety is only newly spoken about although women have been dealing with the symptoms and stress of it for many years! Depression and anxiety often work hand in hand and are interlinked in many ways.

Anxiety, alike depression does not discriminate age, gender or culture and the symptoms and severity differs from person to person. A woman who has experienced anxiety prior to pregnancy is at a higher risk of also experiencing it during her pregnancy and motherhood. Some of the common symptoms of anxiety may include:

- Irritability
- Panic Attacks (which include racing heart, sweaty palms, shortness of breath, feelings of nausea etc..)
- Hot or cold flushes
- Dizziness
- Tightening of chest
- Fast breathing
- Feelings of restlessness
- Excessive worry
- Excessive Fear
- Obsessive thinking
- Catastrophising
- Avoidance of situations, people or places that make you feel anxious
- Obsessive Compulsive tendencies
- Dry Mouth
- Tingling in hands and feet
- Problems sleeping
- Muscle tension

The most common cause of anxiety has been debated about for years although it really comes down to a combination of genetics, life experiences and environmental factors that contribute to the onset of anxiety. The most reassuring thing is that both anxiety and depression ARE treatable and there IS hope and a light at the end of the tunnel even though it may not feel like it at the time.

Below are some tips that you can implement to help manage your anxiety and depression

1) SUPPORT
During this difficult time the support of your family, friends, professionals and partner is very important. Once again, every woman’s needs are so different therefore ensuring you have the care you need to tailor to your needs and wellbeing is what really matters. We are so lucky that technology has come such a long way, giving us access to online education and support groups as well.

2) ASK FOR HELP
If you don’t feel right please reach out and ask for help. Speak to your GP, Maternity Nurse or health care professional and just let them know what your concerns are, that will then enable them to discuss all options with you and direct you to receive the appropriate help. And there are many options out there!

3) KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
Learning more about and understanding what you’re going through really does help in the treatment as it removes a lot of the fear of the ‘unknown’.

4) PRACTISE SAYING YES
The world we live in often portrays the message that as a mother we are super hero’s that need to do everything by ourselves (YES in regards to mums being amazing superwomen and a big NO to having to feel like you need to take on the world on your own) this is just a reminder that its ok to say YES every now and then, if people offer help in those early or even later stages of motherhood just say YES! Yes to a home cooked meal, a hand around the house, a nap while someone looks after bub, yes to dropping the kids at school and picking up some milk for you. We all have those bad days and you are at no exception - You can’t do it all and by no means are you expected to!

5) TAKE SOME TIME OUT
Making sure you put aside some much needed you time is SOOOO important. It doesn’t have to be anything $$ or major, just some time for you to recharge, regroup and become ready for whatever the day throws your way. This could be a nice warm bath when everyone goes to bed or putting your feet up with a nice hot tea or coffee when bub is taking a nap. There is no need to feel guilty for taking some time away - as they say you cant pour from an empty cup!

6) REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
Motherhood is really portrayed in a very fairy-tale like way these days in magazines, TV and social media. We are shown the ‘expected’ way to look, act, feed, feel and think. Those expectations have had such a huge negative impact on women all across the globe. This is just a reminder to have realistic expectations of yourself during this time, its ok if you don’t get 35 loads of washing on today, its ok if you don’t have your hair washed today, its ok not to have a picture perfect looking house, its ok to have an all day pyjama day sometimes ( I loveeee those days!) For goodness sake, you have a lot on your plate, don’t be too hard on yourself you are doing the best you can. Listen to your body and what its telling you, it will give you the cues.

At the end of the day its important I reiterate that you ARE doing the best you can so please don’t be too hard on yourself, motherhood is one of the hardest jobs in the world!

- Amanda Cavallaro (The Anxiety Wellness Queen)

CLICK HERE TO CONNECT WITH AMANDA AND HER WEBSITE AND TO DOWNLOAD HER TOP 10 TIPS TO MANAGING YOUR STRESS & ANXIETY

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If you're a new or pregnant mama, please join our Facebook support group over at Find Your Village – a truly supportive community of new and experienced mamas where you can vent frustrations or share your excitement in a space that is free from judgment. Whether you are suffering from anxiety or sleep deprivation we are here!

Don't forget to join our mailing list to receive your FREE download of "Your New Mum Checklist" - all the checklists you'll ever need when planning for baby, all in the one place, plus additional parenting tips around Baby Sleep, Feeding and Nutrition.

 

Behind the Brand – The Parents Village

Featured Business - The Parents Village

Today we are interviewing two amazing Aussie Mums in business - Kirsty and Lana from The Parents Village! These lovely ladies have created a very special business and support network for new parents, which was borne out of their own experiences as new mums.

Hi Kirsty and Lana and welcome to The Nursery Collective! It’s a pleasure to have you on our blog! Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves and your families?
Kirsty is a Psychologist and Careers Counsellor who is married with two boisterous beauties - aged 3 and 5. Lana is Social Worker and Counsellor, who is also a married mum of one little delicious dictator - aged 2.

I am very passionate about mums having a support network, a village if you like to help navigate the early days of motherhood. Can you tell us about the idea behind The Parents Village – what led you to start your business?
In our lives before kids we thought we had it all together – we were independent, career focused, high achieving, spontaneous, super social and in control.
We were like…”we’ve got this!” During our pregnancies, we were inundated with loads of advice from friends and family – everyone had their two cents to offer. But we both felt like few people gave us an honest, raw ‘heads up’ about all that needed to be considered, prepared for, and embraced after childbirth.
The combination of sleep deprivation, hormonal fluctuation, and loneliness on top of the huge responsibilities of caring for a newborn left us feeling overwhelmed and isolated. We desperately felt the need for a “village” to learn from, lean on and laugh with.
Our little bundles of joy brought us “poop-losions, and “spew-namis”, litres of dribble, endless loads of dirty laundry and tons of tears (theirs and ours). They also brought us abundant love, unimaginable joy, laughter and wonder that is beyond comprehension. Children seem to break and then make us…teaching us the hardest lessons in letting go and embracing the unpredictable, whilst honing our multitasking skills, all on minimal sleep!
And so in 2016 we formed The Parents Village in our living rooms. United and motivated by our mutual experience of being completely “motherwhelmed”, bloody exhausted and craving a village.

I’ve always wondered how it would be like to go into business with a friend. How do you find working together?
We just love working together. We had known each other for many years before we went into partnership (through Kirsty’s brother who is a close friend of Lana’s). We have so enjoyed getting to know each other on a deeper level, sharing and supporting each other with our own experiences of motherhood and building this beautiful village together. We always say we are like Yin and Yang as we have different skills, gifts and expertise and ways of seeing things, but all with common values, so the working relationship flows so well and we are always in admiration and appreciation of the other for bringing something different into the working relationship and our services.

Can you tell us a bit about the different services you have for new parents?
We currently provide six main services that start prenatally all the way to postnatal and beyond.
Birthing The Parent is a prenatal workshop that helps couples prepare for the challenging and rewarding experience of becoming a parent. Centered on the transformation into parenthood, this interactive workshop empowers couples to better manage changes to their body, mind and relationships and adjust to their new role and identity.
Mama Nurture supported others groups were created with the knowledge that Mamas need nurturing too! New mamas bring their Bubs (0-6months) to our facilitated mothers group led by qualified counsellors. In these groups we foster Connection, learning and sharing as we weave in common themes, challenges and joys of adjusting to motherhood in a supportive environment.
Mama Blessingways facilitated by The Parents Village are a beautiful celebration and honoring of a woman’s transition into motherhood. This divine ritual will showers the mama- to- be with affirmations, blessings and practical support to build up her mind, body, and soul, together with her closest female family and friends.
Counselling Services at The Parents Village help clients to process all the feelings and challenges that come with pregnancy and new parenthood. We offer a space for you to explore and better understand yourself and your relationships, so that you can make positive changes, achieve growth and gain fulfilment.
Birth Story Healing sessions help mothers (and their partners) process, reframe and release any trauma they might have attached to their childbirth experience. We support our clients to gain deeper insight and create new meaning from this transformative rite of passage, so they can heal and move forward.
Careers Counselling & Coaching is a service that helps our clients explore their work options, renovate their resume, realise their full potential and find their true calling! We empower our clients to navigate work and family life before and after baby so that you can achieve a meaningful and sustainable career balanced with parenthood.

Wow it sounds like you've covered everything a new parent might need! To end our interview, if you could both offer one piece of advice to new and pregnant mamas, what would it be?
Forget about the superficial stuff, pretty nurseries and the best pram on the market… what really counts are the people who will be around you and your new little family particularly in those early weeks and months…that first year and beyond. Be sure to start to round up your village when you are pregnant so you have that support network readily available when bub arrives. No parent should feel they should do this parenthood thing alone… it isn’t how us humans we were made to be.
Also you don’t have to be the “best” Mum… All you have to be is “Good Enough”.

Thank you so much Kirsty and Lana for your time and for sharing your beautiful business with us! You can click here to connect with Kirsty and Lana at The Parents Village and here to follow them on Facebook.

It's so important to find your support networks when you are expecting and as a new mum! You can join our Facebook support group over at Find Your Village – a truly supportive community of new and experienced mamas where you can vent frustrations or share your excitement in a space that is free from judgment.

Don't forget to join our mailing list to receive your FREE download of "Your New Mum Checklist" - all the checklists you'll ever need when planning for baby, all in the one place.

 

Using Mindfulness in Pregnancy

By Amanda Cavallaro (The Anxiety Wellness Queen)

“Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – are caused by too much future, and not enough presence”.  Eckhart Tolle

The modern life we live in can be quite complicated at times. Our attention is demanded in so many different areas that we find ourselves constantly on the go. Trying to keep up with our busy schedules, work, kids, family and friends invites stress and anxiety right through our doors! Even when we find time to relax, our minds are always wandering. Pregnancy and motherhood is one of the most precious, intriguing, rewarding, empowering yet fearful and stressful times in our lives. Therefore caring for your mental health and emotional well being should be placed high on your priority list!

It is amazing how far mental health awareness has come, to shed light, support and educate women and their loved ones about important issues such as Pre/Postnatal Depression. Women are becoming more knowledgeable and aware to look out for signs that may be of concern, thus receiving the care they need and deserve. Pre/Postnatal Anxiety, is another pressing issue. The statistics are continuously increasing and it is now estimated that 1 in 3 women will experience anxiety. Regrettably it is one of the most common mental health conditions in Australia today. Fear and anxiety often happens when you are physically in the here and now, although your mind is wandering in the future. Thankfully research is beginning to demonstrate the positive effects of practices such as mindfulness during pregnancy, to help reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety.

So...What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the awareness of being in the present moment by paying attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them. It’s the practice of slowing down the mind rather than letting it wander in so many different directions. Unlike some of the other practices, the beauty of mindfulness is that with awareness you notice your thoughts and you then allow them to come and go without any judgement and interpretation. It’s important to understand that learning how to be present in your life takes time and practice! You have most likely practiced mindfulness on several occasions without even realizing.

Elisha Goldstein, a mindfulness expert, talks about practicing mindfulness in 2 ways – Formally and Informally. When practicing formally, you are ‘Intentionally’ setting aside time in your day to practice. By focusing and meditating on your breathing, your emotions and your thoughts with awareness. Informal Mindfulness practice incorporates the same sort of technique into your everyday life and tasks. You can do this by simply consciously being aware during your daily tasks.

Pregnancy and motherhood is a great time to learn and practice Mindfulness. It encourages awareness and a real sense of curiosity, it can be one of the most important tools that you learn during pregnancy and carry through to motherhood. Pregnancy can create a sense of fear and vulnerability. Mostly due to the unknown. Not knowing what will happen next, how you will feel and the constant change in physical sensations. Having the knowledge and tools that mindfulness provides can be a God send!

Mindfulness for Anxiety

Anxiety has a way of capturing your undivided attention! It consumes your thoughts, your body, feelings, and emotions. One of the common key elements of anxiety, is focusing on the future. The future, meaning a year from now, a month from now or even what could happen later that night. There is A LOT of ‘What Ifs’ involved and as a result making you feel more and more anxious. So then HOW does mindfulness come into the picture I hear you ask?

Mindfulness focuses on the here and now, the present moment. The total opposite to anxiety. It’s about training the brain to A) Slow Down & B) Discover this wonderful sense of awareness you have hidden within, removing all the chaos and enabling you to focus.

Have you ever had the experience of getting in the car to go somewhere and then before you know it.. YOU'ER THERE. How miraculous hey? The strange part is, most of the time you have no memory of the steps you took to get there, because so much of what we do is on auto pilot. With anxiety, your mind wonders constantly, mindfulness teaches you to pay attention to the moment by using awareness, observation and a sense of curiosity.

Practicing mindfulness can be experienced ‘Informally’. You achieve this by placing your focus on the task at hand, such as, eating, showering, walking, cooking etc.. For example, while eating your breakfast you may already be thinking about what your day has in store for you, what you are going to wear for the function on Saturday or what is on the menu for dinner. When you introduce a more mindful approach, you are then able to take note of the aromas from your meal, the tastes, the textures, the visual aspects, such as the colours of your food. Using all your senses is KEY and a good way to start.

Why is Mindfulness important during pregnancy?

During pregnancy, we can spend so much time thinking and worrying about what’s ahead, that we spend little time enjoying the now. Part of the reason anxiety increases so much for women during pregnancy is that so much of the process is out of our control. It is scary not knowing how things are going, what the different pregnancy symptoms are and if they are considered "normal". Women often worry about having everything organised for the nursery, wondering what will happen during the labour and how they will cope when the baby arrives. So much pressure is put on a couple to make the perfect decisions, such as birthing choices, eating healthy, exercising and taking vitamins. If there is anything you take away from today’s post I would like to highlight that taking care of your mental health needs during your pregnancy is just as important as your physical health.

Top 5 Benefits of practicing Mindfulness during Pregnancy

1. REDUCES STRESS, ANXIETY AND WORRY
Practicing Mindfulness during pregnancy has been shown to lower a mother’s stress and anxiety levels and improve overall emotional and physical health. Mindfulness allows you to alleviate the feelings of guilt and judgement by placing your focus on the present moment.

2. CONNECT TO YOUR CHANGING BODY
Let’s face it. There is so much going on during pregnancy that we often can’t keep up! Mindfulness practice allows you to tune in and listen to your body and its needs. There is no better time to be in touch with your body than now!

3. GREAT PREPARATION FOR THE BIRTH
Focus and awareness during the birthing experience is essential and ties in very well with #2. Understanding that some things are out of our control and being able to go with the flow is part of the recipe for a positive birthing experience.

4. CREATES A POSITIVE MINDSET DURING LABOUR
The first thing we hear when we fall pregnant is everyone’s horror stories! Which in turn only creates more fear and anxiety. Mindfulness allows you to notice any potential negative thoughts during your birth
without getting caught up in it all. Simply just by observing, letting it go and continuing to be present of the sensations and happenings of the NOW.

5. SELF CARE AND COMPASSION
We often judge ourselves based on expectations, social norms and feelings of fear and anxiety. Mindfulness supports self-compassion through the pregnancy process because it allows us to observe our feelings and thoughts with self-awareness. This is very important because we often hide the way we feel due to the guilt or fear of experiencing them.

- Amanda Cavallaro (The Anxiety Wellness Queen)

CLICK HERE TO CONNECT WITH AMANDA AND HER WEBSITE

 

Follow The Anxiety Wellness Queen on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM and TWITTER

If you're a new or pregnant mama, please feel free to join our Facebook support group over at Find Your Village – a truly supportive community of new and experienced mamas where you can vent frustrations or share your excitement in a space that is free from judgment. Whether you are suffering from anxiety or sleep deprivation we are here!

If you haven’t already joined our mailing list, please do so you can be notified of our blogs as soon as they go live! Added bonus when you sign up - you will also receive your FREE download of "Your New Mum Checklist" - all the checklists you'll ever need when planning for baby, all in the one place, plus additional parenting tips around Baby Sleep, Feeding and Nutrition.

 

How to tackle anxiety as a new mum

By Fi Morrison

I vividly remember sitting in the car in the parking lot of a local supermarket. I was sniffling back tears. I sat there listening to my son crying out of hunger, and audibly shaking as I spoke to my husband through the car’s Bluetooth. I had just (barely) survived a SHORT grocery shop with my 6 week-old son (I seriously only needed to purchase TWO items). I had been motoring through the aisles of this unfamiliar shop while my son wailed in the pram. I fielded unimpressed looks from other customers, and even a couple of reasonably empathetic comments from passersby.

I was very grateful for two things in that situation – one, a woman called out after me ‘you’re doing a wonderful job!’ as I motored on past. That really made me feel better (although to be honest, that was after the fact – at the time it only helped marginally as I was well and truly past flustered by that stage!). The other thing that helped was the conversation with my husband in the car afterwards. Gosh it was good to have someone to break down to and receive verbal encouragement from. It was the support I received that truly helped me through that tough season.

You see, I suffer from some sort of anxiety. I haven’t been diagnosed, but I know my anxiety levels are higher than most average people. I know I worry about things too much. I know I overthink things, and I stress about ridiculous situations (like where am I going to park when I go somewhere new?). The other night, I literally didn’t fall asleep until after midnight because I was so anxious about another false alarm going off on the baby monitor. I know I suffer from some sort of anxiety. But was it any different to ‘normal’ first-time mum anxiousness?

The thing about becoming a new mum is that there will be some anxiety there for you to some degree. Whether you are ‘naturally’ an anxious person or you’re relatively laid-back, at some point it will hit you. Is my baby supposed to make weird noises at night (yes, yes they are)? Is my baby’s poo supposed to look like that? What is that red rash on his face? When am I supposed to feed him solids? Am I feeding him correctly? Mums are ambushed by so many questions, and often judgements based on their answers to these questions, that they are anxious about whether their child is normal, and whether they are mothering right. All new mums go through this at some point, and many might not be sure how to let go of these anxieties until they build up to breaking point. For me, I followed these five strategies below after my shopping incident to help me get through the tough times that motherhood brings:

GO TO YOUR SUPPORT NETWORKS

We had family and friends bring us meals in the first couple of weeks, which was absolutely brilliant - it removed the hassle of us going out shopping with a screaming baby, which was what I was most anxious about (especially after my previous incident!). Surrounding yourself with supportive loved ones can help minimise your fears and concerns as they offer practical and emotional support.

PRACTISE MINDFULNESS

Whatever this looks like for you and your beliefs, engaging in some sort of mindfulness can help you to relax, refocus and prioritise what is important. I found even having 20 minutes to myself after my husband returned from work helped to clear my mind of the things I was worried about, refocus on what is important to me (my family) and to move forward.

TAKE TIME TO EXERCISE

We all know exercise is important for physical health, but it also releases endorphins to make us feel emotionally better. Fresh air can give us a new – and often better - perspective on things, (and hey - a baby screaming in the stroller is moving and won't be annoying any one person for too long!)

FOCUS ON SELF CARE

Give yourself permission to have 'me-time' away from your child, even if it is only for an hour. Do it regularly, and indulge in something you are passionate about or enjoy (massages, movie, read a book, go for coffee). This will remove that feeling of anxiety you may be feeling, help you to relax and prepare you for the next task ahead (and you’ll most likely miss your baby in that short time – I know I sure did!)

BUILD UP YOUR MUM TRIBE

The best support I had was a group of new mothers who were going through the exact same experience as I was, who could empathise with my situation, and offered words of encouragement and support. There were other mothers who encouraged me to go out for coffee, and weren't the slightest bit put out by my screaming baby. There were mothers who would come up to me after a rough (screaming) session at mother's group and ask if I wanted them to hold my son to give me a break. If I could give you only one piece of advice, find your mum tribe as soon as possible, and stick with them because they will make your motherhood journey not only bearable, by enjoyable.

After I followed these strategies, I found myself feeling less anxious and was able to enjoy motherhood a lot more. While I still have moments of anxiety (just a part of my nature/personality I guess), I love everything about motherhood now and enjoy going out with my son.

 What tips or strategies have you found to alleviate the anxiety new mums face?

- Fi Morrison (Mumma Morrison)

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE WONDERFUL MUMMA MORRISON BLOG

As Fi mentions above, a huge part of getting through the early stages of motherhood is by having a great support network. Please feel free to join our Facebook group over at Find Your Village here – a truly supportive community of new and experienced mamas where you can vent frustrations or share your excitement in a space that is free from judgment.

If you haven’t already joined our mailing list, please do so you can be notified of our blogs as soon as they go live! Added bonus when you sign up - you will also receive your FREE download of "Your New Mum Checklist" - all the checklists you'll ever need when planning for baby, all in the one place.