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Preparing For Baby

Hospital Bag Checklist

We try and makes things as easy as possible for all expectant mums.  Here is a comprehensive, all you will ever need hospital bag check-list.  Leave comments for us if you think we should add anything.  We love hearing from you. This is a list for a 5 night stay.  Reduce accordingly for a shorter stay.

Hospital Bag

Tory talks ... Caring for multiple kids

If motherhood has taught me anything, it’s that hindsight it a wonderful thing! In my pre-mum days I remember thinking I could just accumulate all the advice from people and prepare myself adequately for what was to come. Sleepless nights, check. Changing nappies, check.  Baby proofing corners, check.

My reality was very different. Suddenly I felt like I’d lost every single spare second of time. I didn't, it would seem, have time for anything so in effect, getting everything done with no time felt very stressful.

This for me was the biggest adjustment. Once I’d realized and accepted the limitations of time and learnt how to adapt to it, adding more kids the mix seemed inconsequential, sort of.

The critical key to 2+ kids is organization and routine. I know there is a school of thought around letting kids run their own lives to develop who they really are. This sounds lovely but as previously mentioned, there is no time left for anything in our house and this includes self discovery so we forge ahead running our tight ship.

Our strict method of parenting affords us the luxury’s like getting everyone fed. Getting out of the house and to scheduled appointments, work, childcare etc.. within reasonable late time frames. Sometimes, when we’re really strict we make them on time! Going into public fully clothed in weather appropriate attire (most of the time)…the list of successes continues.

Some key components of our approach:

  1. Whatever can be prepared the night before, gets prepared (school bags, lunches, cleaning the kitchen, loads of washing)
  2. Give kids ownership of processes (age specific). Getting dressed, cleaning teeth, eating own breakfast etc.
  3. Fit your own mask before assisting others…AKA Get up and ready before the kids get up. Getting multiple kids ready is a challenge akin to juggling so it’s best to not be trying to get ready yourself
  4. Have a game plan. Know exactly what needs to be done and by whom i.e. to get out of the house of a morning, shopping list, weekend plans etc..
  5. Have and monitor a household to do list so that everyone knows what needs to be done and can pitch in
  6. Take/enlist any help you can get/afford e.g. a fortnightly house cleaner is an investment in sanity.

 

So, in the immortal words of Dr. Seuss:

Two kids

So be sure when you step.

Step with care and great tact

and remember that Life's

a Great Balancing Act.

Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.

And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?

Yes! You will, indeed!

(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)

 

 

Choosing childcare

Childcare

Ok - first things first.  If you are pregnant you should already be signed up to multiple childcare facilities.  Obviously if you have checked it out and there are no shortages where you live then ignore the above, but if you live in Melbourne, you should be signed up as soon as you find out you are expecting. 

There is a lot to consider when choosing childcare but ultimately there is not a large amount of choice.  I am going to focus in this post on childcare facilities but obviously you can have multiple childcare options working together, home based care or nanny care.

The key things to think about when choosing childcare:

  • Close to home or close to work?
  • When?
  • How many days a week?
  • Pick up at 6 – who?
  • What's your key criteria?  E.g. inside and outside areas? Is there a kitchen and do they provide all meals?
  • Including kindergarten?
  • Length of time that the childcare centre has been operating?
  • Are there extra-curricular activities eg music and sports class?
  • Budget?

What to look out for in a childcare centre:

  • Length of time that the childcare centre has been operating?
  • What is the ratio of carers to children
  • All Children's Services Centres must be registered with the Department of Human Services. Check the Registration Certificate on the wall to see if it is current. They must also be registered with the National Childcare Accreditation Council and actively participate in the Accreditation process. The Centre will have a copy of their accreditation results displayed. Has the Centre achieved good or high quality in most areas?
  • Holiday period policy – are they open every day?
  • How many holiday days – unpaid can you take?
  • What is their sick leave policy?
  • Opening hours?
  • What is the protocol if parent is late for pick up?  What are the charges?
  • Is the centre clean?
  • Are you free to enter the play areas at any time of the day? – How secure is it?
  • Are the staff alert and active both indoors and out, aware of every child and sensitive to their needs?
  • What is the policy on sick kids?  Eg colds.
  • Is a program outlining children's activities on display at the centre?
  • How are the bathroom times managed - changing, toileting, washing?  Do they help potty train?
  • What is the hygiene routine used by staff when changing nappies?
  • Inside and Outside Spaces:
    • Do the kids have separate rooms by age groups?
    • Do they mix between rooms?
    • Do children have their own cot, stretcher or mattress and linen for sleeping or resting?
    • How safe does the equipment look? When was it installed?  Last serviced?

This is the short list - there are a lot more questions to ask when choosing childcare.  

Tory talks.... Calmbirth

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Generally speaking, childbirth and parenting comes along with a generous serving of opinions and advice, some of it relevant, most of scary and daunting. This is why, I always preface my ‘advice’ with the most obvious yet rarely disclosed statement of ‘this is what worked for me.’ In saying that, CalmBirth was one of those experiences, I strongly implore people to consider very carefully…and by consider I really mean, do it.

 

The reason for my strong support of Calmbirth, is not shares in the company, it’s that I genuinely believe everyone has something to gain from the experience. My personal benefit came in the form of control. Throughout the course of the pregnancy experience, I was repeatedly reminded of how little I had to do with what was happening to me. Numerous mums told me that I shouldn’t bother with a birth plan because it was out of my control, the day I would go into labour and even if I’d actually go into labour was out of my control  then Drs told me that specific changes to my body and the pregnancy symptoms I would experience were out of my control. Not something easily absorbed by a control freak.

Enter Calmbirth. Don’t get me wrong…I had it pegged as some hippy, weird Lamaze deal, it was founded in Byron Bay after all! My gorgeous friend talked me into it and I will be forever grateful. It’s not remotely hippy and most certainly not some speed breathing race with other mums.

Calmbirth is a technique devised to give women their control back. Sure, we can’t pick the date or the circumstances but we can sure as hell chose what we do with them. After a very thorough, without being graphic, explanation of exactly what’s going to happen to you every step of the way, you will be armed with options and techniques to help with each phase. Notice I used the plural tense for options and techniques. There isn’t one solution, there are multiple so you can change and adapt to whatever works for you. The premise heavily relies on a form of meditation. You will learn visualizations skills supported by audio meditations. This is coupled with breathing, positions and yoga moves and supported by the use of the techniques the hospital will invariably supply also. There is also some pretty compelling evidence to support some actions you can avoid to promote an easier situation rather than a stressful one.

As the name suggests, Calmbirth rests on the ideals that if we can manage to stay as mentally calm and relaxed as possible for as long as possible then it allows the body to take over and do what it knows how to do. It takes into account people’s personal choices like water birth (obviously a recommended method) but also a hospital birth and offers solutions for all possibilities.

Of course this all sounds wonderful as long as you can manage to deliver naturally right? I know people who have used this technique during cesareans, natural labours and induced labours. No matter what situation they found themselves in, they managed to draw on the options and solutions they had to chose from to apply to them, walking away with what they all described as ‘positive experiences’. Suddenly the time it took or the method they used/were forced into using bared no impact on their perception of the experience.

Calmbirth gave me a skill that suddenly gave me a sense of control and determination. I went from approaching the birth date with apprehension, fear and concern and suddenly saw it as something I could have a say in. Even if things changed and I had to adapt, I was still equipped with skills to deal with it and that was a game changer.

If you’re interested in learning more, check out this dynamic Midwife-Yoga Teacher duo. With such an extensive background between them, you not only get a well-rounded view of everything but a few little extra gems of information as well!

http://calmbirthclasses.com.au/antenatal-classes

Pregnancy Resources

A lot is happening to you when you are pregnant.  There is a lot to do, remember - oh and there is a person growing inside you forever changing your body.  It's an incredible experience, although through the fog of nausea or vomiting it may be hard to appreciate at that moment.

Recently, I came across this overview of what is happening to the average body going through pregnancy, which I thought some may find useful.  And, in addition to that there is a Nursery Bird checklist of some things you need to do when pregnant and soon after.  It's not the full list, but there is more than enough to keep you busy!

Enjoy!




Tip & Bits ...What to look for in a great Babymoon

We all have our holiday style - the explorer, the skier, the sun seeker. Whatever your pleasure... here’s to a great holiday.

When it comes to your babymoon, my advice is go where you won’t be able to go for a while. And I don’t mean Everest base camp.  Use the time to connect and enjoy each other before your little bubba arrives. I know everyone says it, and you don't really believe it, but it will be hard when bubba arrives, you will be exhausted, and you will not have as much time for each other as you had before - and trust me you can feel it.  

Here are some tips for a great babymoon. 

  1. Relax, relax, relax
  2. Relax
  3. Enjoy each other
  4. Relax some more
  5. Sleep in and nap during the day

Ok, on  a more serious note...  

  1. Pamper yourself - but make sure that whoever is looking after you and the products that are being used are suitable for your stage of pregnancy and are done by a trained professional
  2. Don’t go too far
  3. If you like adventure and action in your holiday, you may not be satisfied with sitting on a beach for 2 weeks. Try finding a compromise between the rest you need and the urge to explore ie explore but less action packed
  4. Don’t go into areas which require vaccinations or into regions in certain times of the year where dangers are elevated e.g. stinger season up north
  5. Don’t go anywhere with bad water
  6. Find somewhere warm
  7. Or find somewhere where the air is pure and refreshing
  8. Go somewhere you normally wouldn’t
  9. And make sure you do everything in the first lot of points - relax, sleep in, nap and most of all enjoy each other
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There are some places that do not accept kids. In a few short months those places will be off limits to you for a while.  Make the most of it now.  Check out Qualia and Beach Club on Hamilton Island.  

If you can’t afford to go to the ideal place for the full two weeks – go to two places. Split your time and find a way to make the money work.

Here are some top locations around Australia to consider:

Tasmania:  Cradle Mountain (check out Lemonthyme Lodge) and Wine Glass Bay

NSW:  Blue Mountains and Byron Bay

Queensland: Hamilton Island, Palm Cove, Noosa or Port Douglas

Victoria:  Daylesford and Mornington Penninsula

And if that's not enough, here are some properties I thought might get you in the holiday mood.

 

Tips and bits… Saving for the nest

If you are planning on taking maternity leave and need to prepare for a long period of time on one salary, start your savings plan early. 

Keep your plan updated – the money you have saved, need to save and any other new expenses.  Keep it updated so that you can keep track of your progress.  Check out our budgeting tips.

  • Be clear in the products that you want – make a list and stick to it and don’t rush to buy from the first store. Shop around.
  • Keep track of your preferred suppliers for sales and random discounting to make some savings.  Sign up for newsletters which will give you updates on sales.
  • Put all key items on layby as soon as possible so that you can start paying      them off while you are still working, and also makes it easier for the baby shower and family gifting.  If waiting for sales, put the money away into your savings ot mortgage offset account.
  • Do not buy a lot of clothes for baby – only buy enough for the first couple of months (which is pretty much what you will need to pack for the hospital).  There is no guarantee what size your baby will come (or flavour) and you don’t want to spend money unnecessarily.  Ask for vouchers to your favourite stores as pressies so that you can splurge once baby arrives.
  • Research online – for everything. Toiletries, baby products and of course all big purchases.  Most stores have an online presence with ranges and prices all detailed.  Use the list of products which you require to methodically go through the key stores to get an understanding of prices and what you like. 
  • Set benchmark prices in all of your lists and you will then have them with you      as go through stores later.   You will find that there will be 2 or 3 stores that you will keep coming back to as having the most of what you want and at the price you are happy to pay.
  • You can save a bundle by buying through some online retailers.  And of course keep an eye out for sales!!!
  • Mid-year / End-year sales are gold.  They are regular and chances are you will be pregnant in one of the two that happen every year. Know what you are willing to spend – make sure things are itemised in your budget list and then when the sales hit get out there and save.
  • If retailers have online stores, and a registration process, they may also      have a wish list system.  If they do – use it. Keep a list of things that you want, and then if they go on sale you can snap them up.
  • Pin everything – create a board on Pinterest and you will be able to keep      track of all the baby things that you love – there will be a lot!
  • You will be at home a lot – using a lot of appliances.  Make sure that the appliances you have are efficient, as it could cost a lot to run old, inefficient appliances.  Remember that a lot of retailers now offer interest free terms for extended periods, so you can be slowly paying it off before you go on maternity leave.
  • Stockpile any baby and adult toiletries while you are working. 

 

    And if that all seems to hard - call The Nursery Bird.  It's what we do best! 

      Image courtesy of suphakit73 /  FreeDigitalPhotos.net.jpg

    Image courtesy of suphakit73 /  FreeDigitalPhotos.net.jpg

    Links & Resources… Preparing your pet for baby

    Preparing your pet for baby is one of the important things you need to do.  They have a lot of adjusting to do, and they didn't have say or voice in the overall process, so while new parents need time to adjust the same plus a bit can be said for our animal friends. 

    Trying to change the house around and making your dog or cat do new things once baby arrives is not ideal.  Changes are best made before baby arrives. There are specialist trainers around who can help. There are also resources that you can turn to as outlined below.

     

     

    Keep and eye out for... a new theory on cord clamping

    It seems there is a new theory emerging on the best timing of cord clamping.  In short - usually it is done immediately (meaning within a minute) of the baby's birth.  Scientists and doctors now believe there is a great benefit to slightly increasing the time between birth and clamping.  

    "The main benefit [to delayed clamping] is increased iron to the baby," he added. "That is done by three minutes or so." 

    Read the article here.  

    And most importantly talk to your doctor and midwife.  And make sure to add it to your birth plan if you decide you want it. 

     

    Tips & bits... Budgeting for baby

    Having a baby is not cheap.  For most people, setting up for baby and taking time off work to stay home with the newborn is a major stretch on their available resources.

    Being organised, clear on what you have and what you want are important steps to being as comfortable and prepared as you can be.

    The overriding principle - set your priorities.  Whatever the task, know what your priorities are.

    • Understand what you spend every month.
    • Get your house in order – quickly. Understand your outgoings, potential      savings, and any incoming moneys you will have while on parental leave.  Money causes stress and a lack of it means you lose control (of your own life).  Make sure that you know exactly what you need.
    • Work out what you need for a comfortable parental leave based on your essential expenditures, spending money and safety net for unexpected expenses.
    • Set out the saving plan and stick to it.  Be realistic but be firm with yourself. Sticking to your plan may mean having an extra month or two of leave to spend with your baby.
    • If parental leave will make finances a bit of a strain, consider stockpiling non-perishable household items while you are working (e.g. cleaning products). Stockpiling non-perishable items means there is a whole range of products you won’t need to keep buying when you are on leave.  Buy extra product every time you go shopping while you still have two incomes and your stockpile will grow      fairly quickly without too much additional pressure. You can also save a bit on these products by keeping your eye out for sales and discounts in various stores.  You will be surprised how much you can save.
    • Know what your entitlements are from Family Assistance – make the most of the      government support available through either baby bonus or parental leave      payments.  Make sure to plan for these effectively. Whilst we are a long way behind Europe with respect to parental leave payments, it’s great to have some money coming in.
    • Set the budget for the nursery – it is what it is. There are pre-loved purchase options and rentals available if you are don’t have enough to get exactly what you want form the high street stores. There are some things that you do not want to buy second hand (car seat/s and mattress) but there are plenty of things that can either be bought pre-loved, rented or that can wait until the major sales are on.  
    • Utilities, mortgages and other household costs – now is the time to re-evaluate      suppliers and make sure you are getting best value for money.
    • Make sure that your estate planning is up to date – life insurance and a will.