Parenthood

Love To Dream because I Love to sleep

You know that awesome idiom, “Sleeping like a baby”? Remember how people used to use it to denote a good night’s sleep? Let’s all laugh at that shall we.

When has anyone ever wished to sleep like a baby unless they legitimately want to wake up every hour, need constant shushing and soothing, and get cross because their own hand hit them in the eye?!

Well, we’ve definitely got the whole “sleeping like a baby” vibe happening in our house, and whilst we have become more accustomed to a serious lack of sleep, it’s still a toughie. I’ve tried a lot of methods to try and help get Cece past the stage of waking up every 60-90 minutes but she just doesn’t seem bothered that mummy and daddy need their rest. So selfish.

I did think it was getting better and I even posted about it. Sadly I learnt the hard way that one should never state in writing that something is going well – basically, as soon as you sound even the tiniest bit smug, life bites you in the ass. For instance, I posted on Instagram (here) that the sleeping had gotten a little better and that I wasn’t having to give up dairy because I couldn’t see it making a difference to Cece and her cramps. Ha. Ha bloomin’ ha. Guess what folks, I’m now off dairy. And each day I seem to add a new item to the list of things that I can’t eat. So far, the list stands at:

Chocolate – maaaan I miss this baby
Dairy
Citrus
Strawberries (I can have a few in my morning smoothie)

I’ve taken to having almond milk in my tea but because it tastes so gross in coffee, I’m now not getting my morning cup o’ joy anymore. Oh the things we do for the love of our children. Giving these food items up has made a remarkable difference though in terms of her not screaming. Not that she was a screamer – I have this fear that I’m painting life with my newborn as much tougher than it really is. It’s not. She’s a pretty chilled-ish child. She just doesn’t like certain food in her breast milk and she upchucks a lot. Oh, and she doesn’t like sleeping long at night.

Throughout all our sleeping research (it’s been an interesting 5 weeks), we’ve found a few key changes and products that have worked for us and one of them has been the Love To Dream Swaddle Up.

The main issue with her sleeping is 1) she currently has a cold so she snores, snarls, coughs and gurgles and it wakes herself up, 2) she likes to be in mum’s arms, 3) she jerks herself awake with her crazy arm movements.

Now the Love To Dream Swaddle Up can’t really assist with the first two but it does do the following for us:

1. It stops her scratching herself in the face/hitting herself awake – she can easily move her arms to her face but because of the gentle way it swaddles, it prevents jerky movements that will hurt her.
2. It stops her scratching me.
3. It stops her getting her hands in the way when I want to feed her at night.
4. It gives her the opportunity to self-soothe. It doesn’t entirely restrict movement like a normal swaddling cloth would, but it still offers the benefit of helping baby feel secure..which in turn, makes them feel calm.

Traditional swaddling has always made me a little anxious – mainly because I was always hopeless at origami and swaddling looks way too hard. I also always thought of it as too restrictive. The Love To Dream Swaddle Up allows access for baby’s hands which is vital for development and self-soothing (you’ve seen how babies are constantly touching their faces in the womb right, yeah, well, it’s because it’s comforting). The Swaddle Up also has two zips which makes for easy changing – you can just whip the legs out the bottom – and you won’t find that in a traditional swaddle.

Every night is different though and sometimes, no matter what we do, she still wakes up super niggly but that again could be because her nose is blocked so it will be interesting to see how much better the Swaddle Up works for us when her nose is clear and she doesn’t sound like T-Rex.

Competition time!

Because I know the importance of sleep, I’m giving way a Love To Dream Swaddle Up Original (worth R429.99) in mint green. Yay. To stand a chance to win, you can enter two ways (doing both doubles your chances but it’s not a requisite).

To enter via the blog:

Comment on this post telling me who you would like to win this for (yourself and your baby, or a friend, or a very small pet etc). Please make sure you leave your valid email address, we will use that to contact you.
Follow Love To Dream on Facebook (We will check)

To enter via Instagram

Find the Comp post that I have shared here, like it, make sure you’re following me, make sure you’re following Love To Dream and comment what colour swaddle I’m giving away.

Simple. No “tag 5 million friends” needed.

This competition is running until 30th October. The winner must be in SA

P.s, I’m actually giving away a swaddle in dove grey but I wanted to check how many of you cheeky blighters actually read the full posts -I see you!

Explore

Five reasons to visit Franschhoek with the Family

I could be totally biased choosing Franschhoek as a travel destination seeing as it’s only 45 minutes away from me, but when it comes to visiting an area that makes you feel like you’re in a totally different country, Franschhoek is the perfect spot.

The town has an almost magical quality to it and the valley is home to some of the best wineries in South Africa, more specifically, the best MCC (bubbly) houses. But this is a post about families and aside from wine, Franschhoek has a lot on offer for those with younger kids and teens.

Why Franschhoek?

It’s a culinary hotspot and an achingly beautiful part of South Africa, it’s not vast in size so it has this small-town buzz to it that I love and which makes it perfect for a long weekend away.

I’m all about mini getaways and that’s mainly because the husband never stops working (being your own boss is a heavy title to bear) so we like to do small breaks and often…or we did until we had another kid, and I think we need a few weeks to settle before attempting a holiday as the awesome foursome. But let me not digress, you’ve come to this post to find out why I think Franschhoek works so well for a family visit and here are my top five reasons:

Boschendal.
It’s definitely one of the more dynamic and beautiful wineries with a purpose other than just wine. It’s a fully working farm, balancing agriculture, delicious food, stunning gardens and plenty of locations to get lost in. It’s a one-stop spot for spending the whole day at with horse and pony rides available and in better weather, their picnics are delicious and always in demand. Food-wise the deli has a child-friendly, relaxed environment or you could opt for finer dining at The Werf restaurant. There is even a Splish Splash play area inside the main werf area and plans to create a tree house are in the pipeline.

The Franschhoek Wine Tram
This may feel like a strange addition considering you’re with your family but it’s not just about the wine (that’s just a bonus for the grownups) – with eight hop-on hop-off lines to choose from, each visiting different wine estates, it’s a great way to see Franschhoek and it gives you the freedom to choose. Many of the wineries are family-friendly and I’d definitely look at doing the Purple line Continue Reading…

Roses For Thorns

Roses For Thorns: Nikki Lincoln

I’m Nikki, the mom and blogger behind We Are The Humans. We live in a little semi-detached slice of heaven in Cape Town’s southern suburbs. This “we” I speak of, consists of me, my hairy, farting, bearded, dream man, Regan and our two girls, Sophie and Grace, who hate vegetables almost as much as they hate to sleep.

I have a blog that is pretty much a labour of love and often it feels more like a labour than a love. I am fiercely passionate about motherhood, I love writing about my experiences, my struggles, my triumphs. I love celebrating other mamas and I hope through sharing my experiences, you’ll embrace your own motherhood journey.

You can follow our story here:

Blog: http://www.wearethehumans.co.za/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nikkilincoln/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wearethehumansblog/

I’ve had three miscarriages.

I’m currently sitting cross legged on my bed, listening to our nanny potter around in the kitchen while Grace sleeps. I am home from work because I have a really bad case of the flu. So I’m sitting here, staring at the blinking cursor, trying to find the words to put this all these painful and jumbled thoughts together.

I’ve had three miscarriages. I told you that already. It feels profound though, like I needed to say it twice. Because what it really means is that I have had my heart shattered three times. Shattered might seem like a dramatic word. But that is what it felt like to me.

The first time it happened I was 24. I wasn’t trying to fall pregnant, it was an “oops” or maybe an “oh holy shit what the hell?!”. I had a boyfriend that I adored. He hadn’t told me that he loved me yet. I loved him though. We were happy. Young, carefree happy… My sister had just had my niece. She was adorable – a squishy, angry little baby who I loved fiercely. I remember the first day I met her I thought, gosh, if I love her this much, imagine what loving my own child would feel like.  Anyway, I realized my period was late… I was terrified and excited and happy (there’s that word again). I took a pregnancy test and freaked out. It was positive. I can’t really remember everything that went through my mind. What I do remember is feeling overwhelmed with happiness and a little afraid. Continue Reading…

Parenthood

That one time I couldn’t have an epidural

Who doesn’t like a good birth story?

Once upon a time…ah, I wish giving birth was like a dainty fairy story full of magical unicorns pooping rainbows and candy. Truth is, it’s completely and utterly NUTS. It is impossible to box, to categorize or to prepare for. Birth is one of the most unique experiences on the planet. I’ve experienced a natural birth twice now and both were entirely different.

My First

With Rosie, it required me to have my waters broken because we were at 41 weeks, my skin was eating me alive and I needed to get this baby out. My waters were broken at 5:30pm and within 30 minutes I was having full blown, extremely painful contractions. At 9pm I begged for an epidural and by 10:35pm she was born. However, because the epidural was done at 8cm, I still felt the ring of fire and the pulling of the placenta. There was no tearing though and recovery was super quick. Continue Reading…

Roses For Thorns

Roses For Thorns: Chenel Kruger

Hi, I’m Chenel, I’m a young mom, 25, of two boys and I married the love of my life whom I met at the age of 18. I have an incredible passion for photography and for my kids. I used to only photograph weddings but now I’ve shifted my business and I am photographing births – it’s probably the most incredible thing ever to witness and capture.

I (accidentally) started a blog two years ago where I chat about all things mama-related and show you my world through my eyes.

www.jamesandjaxson.co.za  | Instagram : @james.and.jaxson |www.chenelkruger.co.za

I was told at the age of 18 that I might struggle to have a baby one day as I only got my period every 3 or 4 months. At that age, I didn’t think too much of it until I was actually married…when it sort of counted. With our first child James, it took well over a year and that was tough enough, but with our second,  it was even more intense. I was not ovulating at all and my estrogen was low it was pretty much non-existent. I went to a couple of gynecologist appointments, scans and blood tests – the hospital felt like my home. Eventually, the doctor put me on ovulation-inducing medication with added rounds of estrogen. It gave us hope which was, little by little, eaten away at as I was still not getting pregnant.


Month after month I carefully listened to my body and googled pregnancy symptoms. I became obsessed.

I bought so many ovulation and pregnancy tests we could have probably paid for IVF. Month after month, seeing negative tests, broke me.

It hurt me more than I thought it would. I was so sick of going for scans and being told my eggs weren’t big enough when they are released or some other stupid reason. I was so mad at my own body! Continue Reading…

Roses For Thorns

Roses For Thorns: Mandy Lee Miller

Hi, I’m Mandy. I am a Cape Town based mommy of 1 gorgeous wildling little girl, Charlotte (Charly) Rose, who is far too smart. I live in a townhouse in the suburbs with Charly, my husband Brett, and our two cats. I am 36 years old, I have crazy curly hair to my waist (my favourite thing about me), and I never “lost the baby weight”.

My background is in PR and Marketing, specialising in writing and media relations, which I left when I found out I was pregnant with Charly.

I started my blog, Pregnant in Cape Town, (Facebook, Instagram) when I was about 5 weeks pregnant. I’m the owner and editor of an online pregnancy and parenting magazine, Tums 2 Tots Online. I co-own an online women’s only Facebook group, South African Sisterhood, which is much too neglected. In 2016 I started a national car seat awareness initiative called #CarseatFullstop where I spend most of my time and energy trying to teach South African parents why all children under 1.5m tall (between 10 and 12 years old) need to be in a safe, properly secured car seat. #ProjectMeZA is my next big project, where I am going to try to reprioritise myself outside of just being a mommy. I do a bunch of other things as well, which in essence boils down to me having a love and passion for connecting people.

#CarseatFullStop – Website | Facebook | Instgram

#ProjectMeZA – Facebook | Instagram

Tums 2 Tots – Facebook | Instagram

In May 2018, I knew I was pregnant. From the moment of conception, I knew.

I stopped taking my anti-anxiety meds and I even told a few of my closest friends, because I knew it was going to be a funny story one day. I never doubted it. The chances of me falling pregnant were incredibly slim. A few days late on birth control and just one time… that is all it took. Continue Reading…

Roses For Thorns

Roses for Thorns: Kathryn Rossiter

My name is Kathryn and I’m a Cape Town-based lifestyle blogger at Becoming You and I am (now) a mom of 2 amazing kids aged 8 and almost 12. Although my family might seem to be the “perfect” pigeon pair, there are still many hidden scars about my journey to this point in my life, one of which was my intensely emotional struggle with Secondary Infertility.

Like most young married couples, my husband and I thought we had plenty of time and opportunity to start our family when we got married aged 21 and 24, having a baby, although on our agenda, didn’t really feature for a few years after the wedding.

Fast forward 3 years into our marriage and, despite the fact that we were living and working in a foreign country and managing to do some international trips fairly often, we both found life a bit boring! While on a holiday in Italy we almost “risked” going contraception free, but nervously backed out of that and stuck to “the plan”

You see, we are both BIG planners. We aren’t the fly-by-night, wing-it dreamers – we are spreadsheeters and schedulers. We always have a plan. And quite possibly a Plan B too!

A few months later our itchy feet and sense of malaise at our non-exciting life, along with a deep yearning for home, led us back to the leafy suburbs of Cape Town. Within one month we were “trying”, within four we were “positive”. Easy peasy! Little did we know….

The first 2 years of our son’s life whirled by in a blur and as a planner, my second baby was “meant” to be conceived around the time my oldest was 2. That way I would have the “ideal” age gap of 2 years and 9 months. Exactly the same as between myself and my younger sister.

My body had other plans.

Having received a diagnosis of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) during our stint on the NHS (prior to baby number 1), I had expected to struggle to fall pregnant the first time around. When that didn’t happen I merrily moved on, assuming that the medical tests were wrong, or that somehow my body had defeated the diagnosis. Continue Reading…

Roses For Thorns

Roses For Thorns Vol 2 – Miscarriage, infertility and the great void

“Sometimes it’s hard to see the rainbow when there have been endless days of rain.”

Volume two of the Roses For Thorns series will be launched on the 3rd September!

Following my miscarriage in October last year, I was touched and amazed at how many people have faced miscarriage and/or infertility themselves – so many of us don’t talk about it because, well, it’s not exactly a great party starter. We all know at least one person, even if we don’t know their story, that has struggled to conceive or has lost a baby in pregnancy. Yet I still find it to be a topic that doesn’t garner enough “normality” – and what I mean is that many still feel ashamed to share, shamed into silence by the overwhelming stigma that women are women partially/wholly because of their ability to reproduce.

For this season, I wanted to focus solely on miscarriage and infertility and really strip the photography down….to make it almost barren, and more focused on the physical aspect of the women involved. It was less about the surroundings and more about the “Roses”, because I wanted us to see the personal face of the fact that 1 in 4 women will suffer a termination and difficulties in pregnancy. Continue Reading…

Rosie Loves...

Making traveling fun with Trunki

When you’re traveling with kids, it can sometimes feel like you need a holiday after the holiday. That’s why we love including Rosie in the holiday vibe with her own travel essential, her Trunki.

I’ve been on the receiving end of many a toddler melt-down. They seem to have an innate ability to know when something around them is about to change and it can completely shift their emotions. Going on holiday is something different, and packing for it was sure to nudge some alarm bells in Rosie.  Which is why I’m so grateful for her Trunki and how it made her feel involved in our plans…whilst also making her feel like a big girl.

We’re all going on a family holiday

Can you beat waking up to sound of cows lulling or the smell of the sea or the freshness of salty air as it whips around your face? Two weeks ago we took a break to Stanford and Cape Agulhas and it was just perfect. Find out where we stayed and what we did in this post.

Obviously, the days of throwing some clothing and toiletries in a bag and dashing off on holiday are long gone now that we have a kid. Everything needs to be a lot more methodical and packing can feel like such a mission when you realize you need extra clothes FOR the extra clothes that you’ve packed.

To make our travels more fun, Trunki SA sent Rosie her very own Una the Unicorn Trunki earlier in the year and it’s been our steadfast travel companion for Rosie ever since. With glittery stickers, a sparkly horn and silky tail, it’s the most epic Trunki ever PLUS, it has wheels and can be ridden….like a unicorn! I know, it’s genius.

To get us all excited for the holiday, and to help Rosie feel 100% included, I allowed Rosie to pack her Trunki, which was hilarious. Continue Reading…

Parenthood

Choices I’ve made as a parent that I’m grateful for

Parenting is a minefield. No matter how you prepare yourself, you’re gonna feel kicked in the face most days. Whatever ideals you had before kids can easily go up in smoke when faced with a screaming toddler who keeps flinging themselves on the floor in frustration. I had so many rules and regulations that I was going to try and enforce. It started in pregnancy, as I told myself I was going to only eat healthily and listen to classical music. Ha. Oh Shante, you funny little sea urchin. Now, I just work around Rosie’s personality and how our family works best and it keeps us sane and at peace.

I’ve always been a pretty chilled mother. Sure, there are some things I can’t deal with such as barefoot kids in public (no judgies), or leaving the house without hand sanitizer, but when it comes to other “obstacles” that could have incurred a meltdown, I’ve let them slide. We’ve also looked at particular patterns of behavior in both us as parents, and in Rosie, that could be potentially harmful and we’ve made choices based on making sure we all stay happy and content. Here’s what I’m very glad we have chosen to do:

  1. Serving milk cold. I’ve mentioned before how difficult it was to get Rosie to take to a bottle but after much perseverance, we now can’t get her off them. One thing I’m very grateful for is for not warming up her milk. I had a few raised eyebrows from folks when I mentioned it originally and a few jokes about how it was mean, but knowing that I can be anywhere and I don’t need to look for a warming facility is awesome.
  2. Letting her cry. Moving Rosie into her own room and into her cot falls jut behind having to endure the ring of fire in labor. The first night of letting her cry was so traumatic. However, she was the type of kid that just wanted to be on the boob, or rocked to sleep and she would wake every 30mins and it was crushingly exhausting. I know a few people will tell me that I should have just endured and enjoyed the moments because she wanted to be with me, but you also need to keep yourself mentally healthy. The first night was rough. The second night was better and the third night, we seemed to have broken through the wall. No, it didn’t mean she slept through the night, or that we didn’t struggle going forward, but it made life easier. Now, we have a good bedtime pattern…even if there are nights when she doesn’t sleep through.
  3. Being stern with my Nos. I’m the first to admit I’m not a warm person. I like my own space far too much to have it encroached on and when Rosie was born, a few people wanted to be in our space. I was very firm about it and I don’t regret that. It takes a lot of energy to get me to leave my introverted bubble, energy that I was pouring into my baby. I won’t jeopardize what works for our family for social events – it sounds restrictive, but kids benefit from their routine and if I go to a braai with her and we only start eating after 8pm, I’m done. I’m going home. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
  4. Choosing creche. Okay, this one is difficult because I have days, mainly when she gets sick, that I wish I hadn’t put her in creche but, for the most part, it has been great for us. This sounds like a selfish thing to admit, but for the sake of being able to grow our businesses and offer Rosie, and ourselves, the best life, we have to graft hard. It’s also boosted her immune system as she has been exposed to all sorts of bugs, and I’m glad shes stronger now before the new baby arrives.
  5. Letting her explore. If you’ve seen this post, you’ll know that our house is very open. We keep our cupboards door-free and right by Rosie’s play area, we have a book shelf. By not constantly saying “no, don’t do that”, and keeping things in the open, Rosie hasn’t been tempted – because we ALL know that kids want what they can’t have. So amazingly, she doesn’t scale the shelves and isn’t interested in unpacking cupboards because it’s not off limits; She knows to be gentle and to play “softly” and I strongly believe that by showing her how we take care of our things, it has instilled that same sense in her. We were told by so many people that we would need to childproof our home and we haven’t because we haven’t made anything seem appealing by constantly telling her “no, don’t touch that!”
  6. Ignoring people when it comes to parenting advice. I am the type of person who will do the exact opposite of the advice you have given me just because I want to discover what works for me…and because I’m so stubborn. A lot of the advice that I did listen to turned out to be kak and it just reinforced the truth that you can’t learn everything from other people, you do need to experience it for yourself because each and every child is different. It’s also extremely important to myself and my husband that we discover and appreciate Rosie’s own personality and what we stand for without trying to fit ourselves into other’s moulds.
  7. Letting Rosie be. She’s a shy kid. At parties and social gatherings it can take her a full hour before she releases herself from me and goes and plays. When she meets new people, or even people she knows, she doesn’t always say hello. In the beginning I used to feel awkward about it, I used to try and force her to greet people and then I realized that she is only two. She has her whole life to demonstrate social decorum but I’m not going to lose my head over her not wanting to greet everyone. As for hugging and kissing, her body, her rules. I will NEVER force her to hug or kiss anyone. It will probably cause issue with some family, and be misconstrued as rude, but if I’m telling her that she can’t let a boy at school kiss her, why is it okay to make her kiss Aunty Ruth? It’s not. P.s, she is fantastic at saying goodbye. You won’t meet a kid who can say farewell with such enthusiasm as my daughter.