Weathering the shitstorm

I saw a post on Facebook today from a desperate Mum of a one year old daughter who was seeking relationship advice. She said that she was thinking of leaving her partner because they were going through some struggles and she was worried she didn’t love him anymore. It made me feel really sad and I didn’t even know the woman! It was just an anonymous post on a Mums group page.

I really felt for her and sad that she was considering giving up. Marriage (or any long term relationship) can be challenging but those first few years of parenthood are just a major shitstorm. Beautiful, yes. But a shitstorm nonetheless.

Almost every Mum I have spoken to about this say they have experienced a time of struggle in their relationship after having a child. And if you’ve had more than one child in a short period of time it is an even bigger, smellier shitstorm. And sadly it seems many couples make the difficult decision to call it quits rather than weather the storm.

We have not been immune to the struggle. I mean, when you throw hormones, very (very) little sleep, small people needing your attention 24/7, a fair bit less action in the bedroom and a shit tonne of laundry and dishes piled up things are bound to get a little….strained.

Now, they say that the key to any lasting relationship is communication. I just finished reading a great book by Alan Loy McGinnis called The Friendship Factor and in it he talks a lot about the ultimate friendship; a marriage. The author writes that many of us have a tendency to stop talking to the ones we love the longer we have known them. Makes sense, right?! He goes on to write about an experiment that measured the amount of conversation that occurs between the average married couple over the course of a week. The end result….17 minutes! SEVENTEEN MINUTES. Geez, the average male takes longer than that to take a dump!

This scares the life out of me. Especially since some day not too long from now the kids will be grown and we’ll be back to just us. Forever.

It’s definitely not always easy to keep the communication flowing especially during those difficult times. Though we should be able to be completely honest and transparent with our spouse it is often the hardest because we care for them so much and fear what might happen if we are. But the stories we tell ourselves and the resentment that builds up because, well, he should just know what’s wrong without me having to spell-it-out are always worse than just talking about it.

So in saying all of that, whether you are knee-deep in shitstorm or if you have managed to pop out the other side, I’d love to hear what you and your partner do to keep the conversation flowing (and not just about how many times little Johnny pooped today or what takeout to get for dinner). How do you make time for each other and what kinds of things do you do to keep your marriage pilot light lit?

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Soon you will be a mother…

To my best friend,

In the coming days you will bring your baby earthside and begin a whole new chapter of your life. Soon you will be a mother. The very thing you’ve been dreaming about, longing for and patiently anticipating will become a beautiful reality. 

My friend, soon you will be a mother and you will feel a love like never before. 


You will doubt yourself more than ever before, feel a gut instinct like never before and be more selfless than ever before. 

You will fight with your husband more. And love him more too. Navigating parenthood together will be the most challenging thing you’ll ever have to face but you’ll see a side of each other you never knew was there. A fierce need to protect and nurture your offspring. That need will manifest in different ways for each of you and will often result in conflict. But it’s only because you both care so much. 

You will sleep less and worry more. Exhaustion will seep from your bones but you’ll keep going because you have to. Because you want to. Because you need to. 

You’ll cry more. Happy tears, sad tears, tired tears and I don’t know why tears. 

You won’t have a clue what you’re doing and yet you’ll know exactly what to do. 

Coffee. 

You’ll hardly ever be alone. In bed, in the shower, in the toilet. And when you finally are alone you’ll miss them. 

You’ll give more kisses, more cuddles, more of yourself than ever before. And some day you’ll get those kisses and cuddles back. You will nibble tiny toes, squeeze chubby thighs and marvel at every tiny feature that grew inside you. 

Your tank will empty quickly and often. But it will overflow too. 

Some days will be hard. And some nights will be even harder. But there’ll be a little piece of magic in all of it. 

Soon you will be a mother. And it will be most fun, difficult, crazy, beautiful thing you’ve ever done. 

Soon you will be a mother. And you will be amazing. 

You’ve got this. 

Our Birth Story Vol II: Meeting Jasper James

I remember the day I became a mother like it was yesterday. Though some days it feels like a lifetime ago as I try to recall the person I was before. And on other days I still can’t quite believe that I have created a human being. Two in fact. It’s been a busy few years!

It took me a whole year to write my birth story for Jesse, I shared it on his first birthday. With Jasper having recently reached six months old, it feels like the right time to delve back to the day he was born. Again I remember it vividly and it is so unbelievable to me that he has been earth side for half a year already.

So here goes….

Those last few weeks of pregnancy

Having experienced giving birth before, I think I was more nervous this time. Partly because I knew what I was in for but also because I was worried this time wouldn’t be able to live up to the amazing and positive experience I was blessed to have with my first.

I’m not sure why but I was absolutely convinced that the baby would arrive early. Jesse was born 8 days before his due date and I just had in my head this baby would be an early arrival too.

From 38 weeks my Braxton Hicks were getting more and more intense. Some days I’d have four or five in an hour. Every night around 1am I’d have contractions on and off for several hours, enough to keep me from sleeping. But every morning they would stop.

At first I was excited because I knew that it was all positive signs that labour was imminent. But as I hit 39 weeks and still labour wouldn’t establish, I was starting to get frustrated and uncomfortable. I was losing more and more sleep each night (as if sleeping at full term wasn’t hard enough). I was in pre-labour for 24 hours with Jesse but two weeks!? It was getting a bit ridiculous!

Tuesday, 18th April 2017

Despite my frustration and increasing exhaustion, I tried my best to savour the last days of pregnancy and trust that both my baby and my body would know when the time was right. In saying that, I also felt like there was a ticking clock hanging over me.

As I lay in bed on the eve of my due date I couldn’t help but cry; actually I sobbed. My sister was leaving for America in less than 48 hours and I so badly wanted her to be with me for the birth. If I didn’t have this baby the next day she would miss it. Not only would she not be there to support me through the birth but she would not get to meet bub for 6 weeks. I was so worried that she wouldn’t bond with this baby in the same way she had with Jesse. I prayed my little heart out as I cried into the darkness hoping not to wake the two sleeping bodies beside me.

Right on schedule my contractions kicked in again but I tried not to let my brain get too carried away as they would likely go away anyway.

Wednesday, 19th April 2017 (Due Date)

I was in complete shock that I had made it to 40 weeks. I fully expected to have a baby in my arms by now.

As I got out of bed and started going about my day I was aware that I still had some slight cramping hanging around but again the intensity had lessened. I was a bit disheartened  but felt strangely confident that this might be the day.

So much so that I washed and straigtened my hair and put on some make up (no harm in looking nice for the big event, right). As I did I found myself having to stop and breathe through some contractions. Could they be coming back on strong?

Kaine took some photos to document my 40 week belly and again I was breathing through some bigger surges. I hadn’t really said much about it at this point. I didn’t want to scare them off! But I was quietly getting more and more convinced that this might be the day.

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Around 10.45am I decided to start the contraction timer. They were ranging between three and six minutes apart and lasting about 30 seconds. It was around this time that I notified my student midwife and my sister and asked Mum and Dad to collect Jesse. I was nervous about putting everyone on high alert prematurely but with each contraction gaining momentum it felt like the right thing to do.

It was around about 11.30am when my parents arrived to take Jesse. I was having contractions about every three minutes. This would usually be the time to make a move to the hospital but then I’d have a few that were further apart. So I thought I would just get comfortable in my now quite home and see how things progressed. I popped the birth play list on and bounced on my fit ball through a few contractions. In between I felt great. Happy, excited and strong.

Shortly after my student midwife suggested I phone the birth suite. Good idea! Just around this time the contractions started to get more intense and I was finally ready to admit that this was probably the real deal. The voice on the other end of the phone told me to come in and be checked out. “We can always send you home again”, she said. I knew that wasn’t going to happen!

In between contractions we scrambled for the hospital bags which had been sitting packed for about two weeks now. I was filled with elation and felt giddy with excitement. It’s happening! And my prayers have been answered, Lia will be here to meet my second baby.

Next up, the car ride. Shit! It was 12.15pm and we were pulling out the drive way. I texted Mum, my sister and a couple of close friends to tell them it was all systems go. At first I told mum that we would arrive at the hospital, get checked out and then give her the thumbs up to meet us there. One car contraction later and I sent another text “Leave now!”

As we approached the highway on-ramp I said to Kaine “Once you get passed the speed camera, gun it”. I knew this baby wasn’t far away but I didn’t want to panic so I tried to block that thought out and just face each contraction as it came. It seemed like things had gone from 0-100 now that we were on our way to the hospital.

I think I had about 4 contractions during the 15 minute drive and they were intense. I breathed heavily and winced and moaned throughout each one gripping onto the seat and door of the car. I felt a lot of pressure on my pubic bone but it was just too scary to think that baby’s head might be wanting out whilst we’re booking it down the Bruce Highway!

As we pulled into the car park I said to Kaine that I thought I was about 6-7cm dilated. I knew he didn’t believe me.

We managed to find a park relatively quickly but it was a fair walk to the hospital entrance. I basically climbed out of the car and started walking immediately leaving Kaine for dust as he grabbed the bags. I was repeating to myself “I am calm, centered and in control” as I walked briskly but cautiously through the carpark. For some reason this was the one line from hypnobirthing that stuck with me.

Making record time (for a 40 week pregnant woman in the throws of labour!) through the car park I felt another wave start to build. There was a park bench up ahead and I just focused on making it to that so I had something to brace myself on. Though I couldn’t help but worry I was scaring two small children with my moaning and groaning as their mother gently ushered them off the path and out of my way.  I leaned over the bench breathing and moaning heavily as I rocked backwards and forwards.

Kaine had caught up to me by this time. It was now 12.50pm. As the contraction started to subside I picked up the pace again and headed for the hospital door. I’ve just got to make it to the birth suite I kept telling myself. It felt like forever but a few minutes later we were heading through the birth suite doors. One look at me and the staff knew I wasn’t going to be sent home. This baby was coming!

I headed for the railing against the wall to lean on and was greeted by a midwife. She says they are waiting for a room to be cleaned. Faarrrrk! I’m going to have my baby right here in the hallway. I see my beautiful student midwife walking towards me and I just lost it. Or maybe I was already crying, I can’t be sure.

We hug like long lost friends and I apologise for being a blubbering mess. I think we joked about how quickly things had progressed and how lucky I was that we left home when we did. True. But here I am trying to stop a baby from being born in the hospital hallway. I don’t care if the room is ‘dirty’ just let me in there! The midwife has a stern word with the cleaner and suddenly I’m ushered into the room. Thank God! I realise now that I was probably in transition, arguably the most painful and scary part of labour, whilst waiting for a fricken room to be cleaned!

I barely had the chance to take in my surroundings as we walked into the room. They needed to examine me. I leaned over the bed and said “Do I take my pants off?” I knew it was an incredibly stupid question but it felt weird to just walk in and drop my dacks! She responds “Yup, bit hard to have a baby with them on!”

I started whimpering, “Please don’t make me go on my back”, I begged. But they needed to see what they were working with. And as it turns out I was 9-10cm. It was time to have a baby.

Knowing I didn’t want to be on my back and that I’ve laboured before, I was encouraged to move into whatever position I wanted.  I instinctively asked for the back of the bed to be put up and I went on to all fours with my arms draped up over the back of the bed. They gave me the gas and air tube. I took it though I knew in my head that I was way past the point of it being any help. I was in so much pain and I was feeling overwhelmed by how fast the labour was progressing. I gripped the mattress as hard as I could and let out low primal growls. I’d be meeting my baby very soon.

“Where’s Mum?”, I asked in a panic.

Kaine tells me she’s almost there. I knew I could have started pushing. Heck, I could have pushed out in that hallway. But I needed my Mum. And my sister. I hear the student whisper to the midwife “I think she’s waiting for Mum”. Bah, they’re on to me.

And then there they were. Lia came around to my left hand side and I leaned my head into her and sobbed. Like ugly, snot coming out of my nose, sobbed.

Contractions were the most intense now but further apart. In between them we chat and laugh. Everyone commends baby on deciding to come on it’s due date and how great it is that Lia can be there before going overseas. I join in where I can and then wait quietly as the next surge builds.

Things feel calmer now. I feel calmer now. The room feels cosy. We’re a team, even though some of us had only just met, and I know that everyone feels like they are part of something special.

As the next one comes I bear down, squeeze Kaine’s hand with everything I’ve got and push. A groan turning into a squeal. It passes and I apologise to Kaine for almost breaking his hand. Again we chat, have a giggle and wait for the next contraction. With my head down and my eyes closed I let the soft music (currently Janet Jackson’s I Get Lonely) take me away as I rest for a moment.

I squeezed Kaine’s hand again, with both hands this time and said “Don’t leave me”. Not sure where I thought he might go at such a time. Important appointment perhaps? He assures me he’s not going anywhere.

My waters still hadn’t broken and I heard the midwives talking and saying that they were bulging. Perhaps stopping baby’s head from coming. But they listen to baby and all seems well so they decide to leave membranes intact. I started to feel really excited about meeting my baby. Or maybe the labour being over. Probably both.

Two more contractions. More pushing. And groaning. I surprised myself with how vocal I was. They tell me to do three good pushes with the next one. “You’ll tell me when to stop pushing won’t you?”, I asked. Clearly still terrified of tearing as I recall 33 years of hearing mum tell me about my birth! They comforted me and it was time to go again. Three good pushes. I hardly made a sound this time. Push…..breathe, breathe, breathe….push…..

The midwife decided to break my buldging waters to avoid Bubby getting distressed. I let out a little shriek with the shock of the pop. “Oh baby, my baby”, I say over and over as I rock my hips back and forth, as if to entice it out.

I push again and then hear them tell me little breaths. Right, that’s my cue. Not needing to be told twice I stopped pushing and instead breathed little puffy breaths quietly. I hear voices start to discuss cord and maneuvering shoulders. I hear Mum and Lia say they can see it.

“It’s got brown hair”.

“Your baby has kissy lips”.

I guess that means the head is out? My eyes are shut and I just keep puffing away.

The excitement builds and discussion about the sex of the baby has everyone bubbling over. I say to Kaine that I want him to be the one to tell me what it is. This whole time he has been my rock. Holding my hand and encouraging me with each surge.

And then all of a sudden its time. I felt every bit of this baby being maneuvered out of me. Completely different to Jesse when, after his head was out, it felt like the rest of his tiny, slippery body just slipped out. I remember being very loud and even actually squealing at one point. And then long loud sighs of relief as I felt baby finally release from my body. It was 1.32pm.

“Lean back and meet your baby”. I look down and scoop up another slippery bundle in my arms, just like I did with Jesse. It seemed so surreal as the sweet relief and the enormity of what has just happened starts to hit me. It was pretty awkward in this position because the umbilical cord was really short.

“What have you got?”

Kaine and I saw at the same time that we had another little boy. We looked at each other and beamed happily.

By this time he had started to cry and I just couldn’t stop looking at him. Taking in every feature and committing this moment to memory. Unfortunately, due to the super short cord, it had to be cut pretty much straight away. Kaine proudly did the honours. I could now roll over and give my boy a proper cuddle. We stayed like this, skin to skin and undisturbed for over an hour.

When I say undisturbed I mean there was still the small task of birthing the placenta to do and there was lots of excited chatter as we all marveled at this beautiful boy. But he remained on my chest the whole time.

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He had his first breastfeed and his latch and suck were impeccable. I couldn’t believe it. I also couldn’t believe the after birth pains! They’re not kidding when they say they are worse the second time round. Panadol became my friend pretty quickly.

I found out my Dad was waiting outside with Jesse. He must have come to the hospital when Mum did with the expectation that it wouldn’t be a long wait. So at less than an hour old, Jesse met his little baby brother for the first time. He was very unsure of the hospital environment and clearly very tired but it was a special moment.

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It was now nearly 3pm, Mum, Dad, Lia and Jesse all left the room so the three of us could have some time together. It was time to weigh baby, get him cleaned up and have his first cuddles with Daddy.

Earlier, we had all started putting our guesses in for baby’s weight. It was clear that he was bigger than Jesse was but we were in total shock when he came in at a whopping 8lb 6oz (3.9kg). Over a kilo heavier than Jesse’s birth weight. I could not believe it. But totally explains why I felt every bit of that almost 4kg body coming out!

I pretty much knew straight away what I thought we would name him. It was the only name we had actually really loved so thank goodness he turned out to be a boy. But we didn’t lock it in straight away. After we discussed it and agreed, Kaine started making some calls and letting people know the news of the arrival of Jasper James Barton.

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And it was time for me to have a shower….finally! Don’t forget my waters had broken on the bed right before the birth. Not to mention all the other gunk and Jasper christened me with his first poo during our lovely skin-to-skin time! There is nothing quite like the joy of that first shower after birth (ok, showering after camping is a close second!). Your tummy is deflated, every muscle in your body is sore and tender but the elation you feel is second to none.

At around 4.30pm we were moved to the ward and for the next couple of hours we baby gazed and showed him off to a few close family members and friends that came to visit. Including my best friend whom Jasper now shares a birthday with. And he is a part of the 4% of babies that are born on the their due date.

By lunch time the following day, just shy of 24 hours after his birth, we headed home with Jasper to begin our new life as a family of four.

I feel so incredibly lucky to be blessed with another amazing birth experience. Both labours have pushed me to my limits and beyond and made me feel empowered in a way nothing else could.

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Jasper James Barton

Born on Wednesday, 19th April 2017

1.32pm / 8lb 6oz

 

 

 

Why we do it…

Last night the Barton family gathered for dinner at Kaine’s parents as we often do whether for someone’s birthday or just because. In this case the parentals have recently arrived home from a month overseas and we were all catching up while they regailed us with holiday tales. 

These family events are fairly chaotic nowadays with four boys under five to contend with. But after dinner we were all gathered in the lounge room and my mother in law played us some home movies. Recorded in the mid 70’s on reel to reel, they contained images of both of her parents. Kaine’s grandmother whom he never had the pleasure of meeting as she passed away when his mum was a teenager, and his grandfather whom we lost almost exactly a year ago. 

With no sound and a grainy picture we all watched on knowing just how special these keepsakes are to her. 

I turned to Kaine who was standing up behind me with a sleeping Jasper in his arms and I said quietly “this is why we do what we do”. He knodded knowingly. 

You see, some day we’ll be gone but I see our family gathered together in a room just as we were last night watching back on the legacy we’ve created. I see them laughing at the fashion and hair do’s, smiling fondly as they see mum and dad in their prime and themselves as children and maybe even quietly tearing up as the images come to life. 

I guess you could say we started documenting our life in video in 2006 when we got married. We invested in a JVC video camera which, by then, had shrunk from the ones you had to prop up on your shoulder like a tv news reporter to something you could hold in the palm of your hand. We filmed our wedding day and made video diaries on our honeymoon and then we edited together an epic saga and burned it to a DVD.

We did this again in 2009 and 2011 when we went overseas and then by 2014 when we went to Europe, we had started a YouTube channel and moved to daily vlogs to document our travels. We had also taken to vlogging other fun stuff in our lives (and some boring stuff too) as well as sharing our stories in writing and of course photos.

We never set out to become YouTube famous or make a name for ourselves in the blogging world. It’s always been to leave a legacy for our family and simply because we absolutely enjoy doing it. 

Occasionally we have been mocked or made fun of. Comments like “you’ve always got a camera in your hand” or the sarcastic surprise when we show up to something without the camera. But we’ve also had lots of people embrace it and love being involved too. 

I think somewhere along the way the art of the home movie got lost. Whether it’s because the technology was too expensive or now when it’s quite the opposite. We have a camera in our hands for so much of the day now that it’s become so mundane to send a snapchat of the kids doing something cute or posting a holiday snap on Instagram… but it’s just not the same. 

So while some may not get it. I ask you to find an old photograph, or better yet, a video of a loved one who’s passed or even of you from your own childhood. That warm fuzzy feeling you get is the reason we do what we do. 

And while our musings are a little scarce right now with the bustle of young family life we will continue to write, record and photograph our lives so that some day, when we no longer can, they might bring some comfort and joy to those we’ve left behind.

Giggling Baby

So this video is a little old… but it is still definitely worth sharing. It is from the first time we were able to get Jasper to really laugh.

Daddy was being very silly… Jasper was being completely adorable… And the end result was this damn cute video of him cracking up laughing for the first time!

Remember to sit down, take a breath, and enjoy the simple things in life… like giggling babies!

The Multi-Tasking Myth

In today’s world multitasking is king. Women are commended for their ability to have a million things on the go at once and men are teased for their supposed lack of ability to focus on more than one thing at a time. 

But is multitasking really all that it’s cracked up to be? 

I hear from many women, mum’s in particular, that it is utterly exhausting and quite often ineffective to have so much on our plates. Just the mental dialouge and to do lists alone are wearing us out. We’ve been raised to believe we can have it all; a successful career, fulfilling family, a body like Michelle Bridges and a sex life out of an episode of Sex and the City. But can we really?

Maybe we can. Just not at the same time. 

I recently read ‘Happy Mama’ the guide to finding yourself again by Amy Taylor-Kabbaz. In the chapter on Grace, Amy talks about the ‘multi-tasking trap’ and it really struck a chord with me. She dared to suggest that multitasking doesn’t work and that it was actually the “source of most of my meltdowns, most of my tears and most of my shameful mummy moments”. 

As Amy went on to give some examples, it was as if I’d written it myself. The times when I have lashed out at my husband or kids is usually when I’m trying to do too many things at once. Cook dinner, send business emails, show interest in my husband’s work day, soothe a hungry baby and make a bottle for an impatient toddler all at the same time. Not to mention the internal dialogue that’s constantly screaming in my head, reminding me to pay that bill, put a load of laundry on, text my friend who’s had a rough day and what groceries we’re running out of.

Arrggghh….just writing it stresses me out.

In the book Amy says that she learned to be ‘mindful’ (isn’t that the word of the day!), to be aware of her thoughts and focus on one thing at a time. Giving that moment her full attention. She goes on to give examples of reaching for her phone while breastfeeding instead of soaking in the special time with baby or reading a bedtime story but not actually hearing the words you’ve read, as your mind is too busy thinking of other things. 

I’m reading this getting all geed up. Yes! I’m going to be mindful. I’m going to focus my attention on one thing at a time. I’m going to be present and available for my children. And then a thought hit me. How the hell am I supposed to get anything done!?!

If I can’t read while I’m breastfeeding or send emails while cooking dinner or write my shopping list while playing with my toddler then when can I? When everyone’s asleep at night? Then when the hell do I sleep??

Multitasking might be the enemy and cause of our stress but maybe it’s the only way to fit it all in sometimes?

I don’t have the answer to this dilemma. And maybe there isn’t one. I suppose it comes down to what’s important vs what’s urgent.  

And what’s important to me is that my husband and children feel valued and not constantly battling for my attention. 

On that note, time to put the phone down and turn off the internal dialogue for a few minutes. It’s time to go give my big boy a piggy back and make silly faces at my baby to make him laugh. 

You know, the important things ❤️

Love is Love

Simply Kim over at 28 Blog Street wrote the following powerful little message about marriage equality.

“To our LGBTI friends… or as I like to call you… ‘friends’…

Get married. Get divorced. Live in sin. Raise families. Stay single. Love who you want. I don’t care.

What I do care about, passionately… Is that you live your life, your way. Everyone has that right.

I do not support the Australian Government spending my money to make you feel less than who you are. I want them to spend that money to put food on the table of the needy and to build schools for our children and to give homes to the homeless. I do not support the Australian Government wasting years debating an issue that has an inevitable outcome. The time to reform the Marriage Act is now.

I want the Australian Government to spend no more money. To spend no more time. To just get it done.

Love is love. Love conquers all.

The Australian people stand with you.”

After reading this, the one and only thought I had was, I couldn’t have said it better myself! But then I start asking myself, why is marriage equality, in 2017, still an issue here in Australia? Why has this not been resolved yet? Why are our politicians so damn scared to change this outdated, archaic, exclusive law?

We have published a post about marriage equality before. A post called Close To My Heart which was published on July 1, 2015. A post that was published more than 2 years ago… 2 YEARS!!! Which means Australia has been debating this issue for the past 2 years, wish still no resolution in sight.

Australia… the time for change is now! The time for equality is now! JUST CHANGE THE GODDAMNED LAW AND LET LGBTI PEOPLE GET MARRIED!!! Seriously, what do we think is going to happen if the law changes? The apocalypse?

If you “don’t like gay marriage” like our former Prime Minister Mr Tony Abbott (who in all honesty should be ashamed of himself given the fact he has a gay sister)… then don’t attend gay weddings! SIMPLE!

Come on Australia… Just get it done. Let’s get the law changed to allow for marriage equality!

Love is love! Love wins!

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Photo Friday: World Breastfeeding Week

It is World Breastfeeding Week so we wanted to share some of our favourite photographs of feeding our boys. Some of these are very candid and not at all glamorous but they are real life. 

I am incredibly fortunate to have breastfed Jesse for 10 months and I’m now 3 months in with Jasper. It will always be really special to me. 


I think this photograph really showcases those first few days with a new baby. No top and squishy belly. 


Those first few weeks weren’t without challenges though. For the first 9 days of his life feeding Jesse often looked like this. Using a supply line to formula feed from a syringe tube. A finger in his mouth to help improve his suck. 


The formula ‘top ups’ we thought we’re temporary weren’t. But our tiny boy grew healthy and strong.


At about 20 minutes old Jasper had his first breastfeed. And unlike his brother, his latch was perfect and his suck was strong. I distinctly remember the elation I felt and how proud I was in that moment. 


One thing I am stoked about this time around is mastering the lying down feed. It has allowed me to get so much more sleep. I never did with Jesse. Partly because he woke much more frequently throughout the night and partly because I had to prepare formula bottles after every breastfeed.


And this one is one of my favourites. Breastfeeding forces us to slow down. To take a breath and be present in the moment. It gives us an opportunity to gaze at our Bub, stroke their heads and commit every tiny feature to our memory. This is sometimes difficult to do with a toddler also needing your attention but I love just sitting with Jasper and watching him while he drinks. 

I’m not going to lie, sometimes it can feel like a chore. But it really is a gift to be able to nourish, comfort, heal and grow our beautiful babies. 

Another Fourth Trimester: A Love Letter to My Second Son

Where did the last three months go? Oh yes, that’s right in a blur of life with a newborn and a toddler.

As Jasper reaches 12 weeks old I can’t help feeling a tinge of sadness. I’m saying goodbye to another blissful fourth trimester spent with another gorgeous (not so) little boy. I swear I could keep doing pregnancy, birth and newborn days over and over I love it so much.


This time around was different to the first, but every bit as wonderful. Though my days were more toddler wrangling and attention dividing as apposed to ‘Netflix and Chill’ and afternoon naps, seeing Jesse’s growing affection and love for his little brother totally made up for it.


I definitely feel like I’ve slept more this time around but I could just be more accustomed to sleep deprivation nowadays. I think having a bigger baby and learning to breastfeed lying down have definitely helped.

And so as we reach this milestone I again write another love letter, this time to my second son.

To my chubba bubba Jasper,

You are such a delight, my love. Your squishy cheeks and your kissy lips melt me every day. And the way you lock eyes with me makes me feel like the luckiest mummy in the world.

No longer a newborn, but really you haven’t been one for quite some time. You outgrew your newborn nappies in less than two weeks and you have been wearing ‘crawler’ size since eight weeks old! You are already filling out 00 clothing, much of which was worn by your big brother but when he was six months old, not three!

It’s very obvious you feed well my little milk monster. And I just love how easy and calm feed time is with you.


You rushed into the world on the very day you were due. It was a beautiful, intense experience I will never forget. I will never forget our first night together when you just slept and pooped the entire night. I will never forget that you were such a noisy sleeper that mummy didn’t get a wink! And I didn’t mind one bit.


You lived in my tummy for nine months and have now been earth-side for three. Over the last three months I have loved getting to know you, cuddling and kissing you. From a noisy newborn to now, a giggling, big three month old. I could kiss your chubby cheeks all day long. And sometimes do.

Jasper James, you are such a precious addition to our family, my sweet boy.

A couple of hours after you were born I stepped into the shower with a smile on my face and whispered “I am so blessed”. And I truly am. Though some days are hard I would not have my life any other way.

Thank you ,darling, for choosing us.

Read my first fourth trimester experience here.

When the season changes…

A simple change of season brings with it so many things… like cool nights spent in front of the television under a blanket. Lazy mornings spent dozing under the warmth of the doona. Flannelette pyjamas. Onesies. Slow cooked meals and warm soups. Runny noses and blocked sinuses.

With a simple change of season, Winter is here.


It has brought with it, into our household at least, the kind of runny noses, blocked sinuses and chesty coughs that young children just seem to attract. It has also brought with it, restless nights.

Over the past few nights, our modest queen size bed has been full. Full with two tired parents, a sniffily, snoring toddler with a blocked nose, and a restless baby that just wants to be continuously attached to Renee’s boob. Our bed is full of warm bodies fighting for space in a forever shrinking bed that seems to be getting smaller by the minute. But it’s not just full of these sleeping, sometimes restless bodies… It is also full of love…

It is full of the love of a mother cradling her newborn in the crook of her arm as she yet again exposes her breast to the cool air of the night to once again feed, soothe and settle his tiny whimpers and cries.

It is full of the love of a newborn when he feels the warmth and closeness of his mother, as he begins to take in the sweet milk that he has been longing for.

It is full of the love of a father as he breathes in the blissful scent of his toddler’s hair when he rolls over and cuddles in for warmth, placing his tiny hand on my cheek.

It is full of the love of a toddler who feels safe wrapped in the arms of his father, as he breathes and snores softly into the night.

A simple change of season brings with it so many things. But of all the things that a change of season to those cooler months of Winter brings, it’s the overflowing feeling of love we feel as our family finally falls soundly asleep, breathing almost in harmony, cuddled up and sharing with each other our warmth, that we treasure most.

A simple change of season brings with it so many things…

And love is the greatest of them all.