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Accepting the Reality of Infant and Toddler Sleep

Imagine if we, as a society accepted normal infant and toddler sleep. 

I mean really accepted it, in all its glory. 

Every part of society, from every generation, every family, every profession, every community, every culture, every religion.

What if we knew and accepted it as expected and respected elements of a child’s development? 
What if everybody knew well before having their own children that their child would need night time parenting for the first few years of life? 
If everybody knew that waking frequently to nurse was the biologically normal way for an infant/ toddler human to sleep? 
If everybody knew that we are in fact ‘carry mammals’ and that our young require near constant contact with a caregiver for the first few months to continue their growth and development outside of the womb? 
If everybody knew that a baby’s and toddler’s sleep can fluctuate a lot  over the first couple of years as they grow and develop at a phenomenal rate? 
If everybody recognised that a baby’s and toddler’s need for comfort, closeness and nurturing at night is just as valid and important as their need for these things during the day? 
What if nobody doubted the value of night time parenting and wouldn’t even for a moment consider that they could trade it off so they could be a ‘better’ parent by day? 

We, as a society, would come at infant and toddler sleep from a whole other place than we do right now.

There’d be no sleep training and therefore no sleep training industry.

There would be less focus on the baby and their behaviour and more focus on the dyad as a dynamic pair and nurturing the nurturer.

There would be focus on all levels from family right through to the political sphere on the kinds of support families need to navigate this time in their lives.

Antenatal classes and Mums and Bubs groups would be all about helping mothers to build their support network and discovering options that will allow them to meet their baby’s needs while also meeting their own.

For mothers who are struggling with intense high needs babies, the support would recognise the extra level of challenge these mother face as they run the Ultra Marathon of her life and help put the supports in place that mother needs and deserves.

Mothers with mental health concerns would be nurtured and treated in ways that respect her child’s legitimate needs day and night.

Families making decisions about paid employment would do so with the full knowledge that their baby will still require night time parenting.

Wouldn’t the world look so different to the way it does right now.?


The stress, strain, struggle and sacrifices made all because so few people know and recognise what has always been and always will be the way our tiniest most vulnerable humans find sleep normally.

I was told that new and expecting mothers don’t want to know that babies continue waking for a couple of years. I was told I was scaring them unnecessarily and that it was the equivalent of telling horror birth stories to a pregnant mama as she prepared to birth.

I strongly disagree.

Knowing and accepting what IS likely to happen as your baby grows and develops is not a horror story. No one knows how your baby will find sleep in this world but one thing is for sure, they will need you and that is not something you need to fear. Instead of fear, it gives room to mentally, physically and practically prepare. It takes away the element of surprise. It removes the angst of ‘shouldn’t they be sleeping better yet?’, ‘why does my baby still wake?’

A birthing mother doesn’t need to hear every horrific tale of every horrific thing that may or may not happen to her. That does nothing to help her towards her own journey. But it equally does not help to tell her that it will be easy, straight forward and you practically just sneeze and the baby falls out without pain/ discomfort.

A pregnant or new mother does not need to hear every detail of every form of sleep torture she may or may not face in the years ahead with her child. But she equally doesn’t need to sprint to some arbitrary finish line that someone has told her and think that her child’s night-time needs will magically cease and her sleep will return to that of pre-baby.

Let’s be real. Let’s be honest and let’s give new parents the very best chance to set themselves up with realistic expectations for the early time in their child’s life where they will be needed just as much at night as they are by day.

I know this may seem like a pipe dream right now, but all it takes is for voices to rise. Mothers and babies of the future deserve better than what is offered up in mainstream society today.

When we know better, we can do better and so, for all of those in the know, it’s our turn to share our voice, speak our knowledge and share with all we can the truths of normal infant and toddler sleep.

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The special things I did to help me connect with my second baby

The special things I did to help me connect with my second baby

Every child and every pregnancy is a blessing, but I don’t think I’m alone in saying, it can be hard to find the same wonder, awe and excitement second time around. It’s just not the same, no matter how much that second baby was wanted, wished for, dreamed of and worked for.  
For me, I was not in anyway ready to be pregnant again and was actively trying to not get pregnant when I found out I was expecting. Instead of the tears of joy and relief I felt seeing those two lines first time around, this time a cried heavy, hot terrified tears of ‘what the hell am I going to do with another one?!?’ Then I cried some more thinking about my first born having to share me. Then I cried some more because I knew my husband also wasn’t ready. Then I cried some more because I was still nursing my first at least 2 hourly around the clock and I was ever so tired and I had no idea how I would be able to do it all. Then I cried even harder, full of guilt for this unborn, undreamed of, unplanned, tiny wee soul in my belly, who I knew I would love with every inch of my being and I knew I would have to make this work for in the end.

It was not the happiest time in my life.

But that’s okay.

I was in shock. I wasn’t ready, but I honestly believe this is partially why we are pregnant for as long as we are. It gives us time to be and feel ready. It gives us time to get our head around things and gives us time to find our feet.

I think it was our 12 week scan that finally saw me truly happy to be pregnant again. I had found my protective mama bear streak was well and truly in force again right from the time 2 lines came up and with an early scare or two and the complete feeling of dread and heartache that immediately came, I knew I already loved and wanted this little soul with all my heart, but the happiness did take time.

Even once the happiness arrived, there was still so very little time for me to focus on being pregnant with this new little baby, I swear weeks would go by and I’d almost entirely forget that I was in fact pregnant.

A toddler with almost constant needs both day and night and the daily grind, simply did not leave me much time to ponder.

It was after my 12 week scan, which our toddler had attended, that I realised that it might help and benefit both my baby and I, for me to consciously make some time for ‘us’.

If I didn’t want to look back on my time being pregnant as a blur of toddler and very little recollection of this baby in my tummy, especially if this were to be my last, then I needed to work out how to take stock every now and then.

So here’s what I did-

  1. I organised someone to have my toddler for at least some of my antenatal appointments– Having my toddler in my antenatal appointments was 100% necessary some times but can I tell you, those appointments were less than ideal. Between entertaining him and feeding him endless snacks while we waited, trying to stop him touching everything in sight while I tried to wee in a cup in a hospital toilet, to trying to actually mention more that a cursory, ‘yeah, I think I’m okay, just very tired.’ When my obstetrician asked how I was travelling and then strapping the toddler into pram so I could lay on the bed for a two second ultrasound through which the toddler howled and I tried to soothe from a distance, then balancing him on one knee, holding both hands while I had a blood test so he couldn’t assist with the needle and then getting in the car to realise I hadn’t asked any of the questions I had and hadn’t even glanced at the screen to see my baby. It sucked.  Organising either a play date with a friend or my husband to come and sit in the waiting room with the toddler became a god send.  I actually started to look forward to my appointments. Not only did I get to focus on my baby for a little while and savour seeing his wriggly little body on the screen and hearing how he was growing and progressing and asking questions about things, I also got to have that time to enjoy and think about me and my pregnant self. I got to sit and chill out in the waiting room. I got to talk with other pregnant mamas, who were tracking along with me and admire our growing bellies. I could pee in a cup without commentary. I could just breathe and be in this moment.  I never thought I’d come to love or look forward to antenatal appointments as much as I did, but they are something I actually look back on fondly. This is probably helped by me having the most beautiful obstetrician on earth who I actually enjoy seeing.  
  2.  Once babe was kicking, I’d try to respond to his kicks and tumbles by either stroking the spot or talking back to babe- I would sometimes go all day without really noticing any of his kicks, but every night when I’d lay down to sleep, he’d get his little groove thing on … that was our time. Our time for gentle rubs and quiet words. My little life in my tummy.  
  3. I packed an emergency labour bag for my toddler, wrote instructions and teed up several back ups for just in case– I found I was becoming increasingly worried and nervous about my toddler as I entered my third trimester. My first labour was so ridiculously fast, I had very valid worries about how quick this labour would be and what I would do if I went early before my mum arrived to stay at 38 weeks. It started to become a preoccupation and my sole focus. A lovely midwife I spoke to about my fears made the excellent suggestion that I go home and pack up a special bag for my toddler with everything he’d need in case of emergency, write out a list of instructions and attach a house key to it and then tee up my emergency contacts (preferably more than one) who I could call and meet us at the hospital if things kicked off quickly.  I did this, and the calming effect it had on me was enormous. My focus was able to shift back to my baby and my thoughts and energy became all about birthing him safely, knowing his big brother would be okay.  
  4. I organised care so my husband and I could stay with our new baby in hospital for a couple of nights – We had never even had a single night away from our big guy before the birth of his brother but I knew what a strong bond he had with my mum, his Nana, and she had settled and resettled him off to sleep many times. I decided that as long as he was coping well with Nana and Pa, then my husband and I would take the opportunity to stay in hospital (thankfully we had a private room and the option for him to board), as our dedicated time to our new baby. To bond, to have unlimited skin to skin, to try and work out feeding and to sleep and rest as much as we could, knowing our toddler was happy and well cared for. We knew once we got home, we would never have the same opportunity for such unrivalled time with this baby.  In hindsight, it is one of the sweetest times in our lives. Our toddler visited morning and night and he had the most amazingly special time with his Nana and Pa and we lived and breathed our perfect new baby with no stress and no pressure. I honestly could not have asked for more.   
  5. I organised family support for the first 4 weeks after the birth– I knew that I’d eventually need to work out how to meet my baby’s needs on my own but I also knew that I’d be in the best place to do that if I granted myself some time to recover physically, allow my hormones to settle and allow myself time to work out the intricacies of my new baby and establish my milk supply all while my toddler had other hands on deck to ease both he and I into our new world.  We live far from family and so when they come, they stay with us. I know for some families this would not be ideal, but for us … it was the best thing ever. For the first 4 weeks, I did not cook, clean, change a toddler nappy, hang out a load of washing AT ALL!!! My amazing husband, parents and parents in law, took this and largely my toddler on and you know what? We ALL benefited from the experience! They have the most sensational memories of their time here and a treasured bond with their darling grandbabies that can only be forged through genuine loving, trust, time and affection. They also have my heartfelt thanks and appreciation for their time, dedication and love to our little family while we needed them so.  

So that’s it. This was my way to way to find special second time around.

I may have started my pregnancy in a less than ideal frame of mind, but oh my goodness, taking my thoughts and feelings in hand by accepting them and then working to find more positivity not only for myself but also for this baby who deserves nothing less than to be cherished and adored, was by far the best decision I ever made.

These simple steps made the world of difference and allowed me to take stock and be mindful of the wonder of pregnancy, birth and my new baby, and for that I will always be grateful.

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When giving everything you’ve got is still not enough

My two year old is particularly intense today. He’s demanding more from me even though I have nothing more to give. He’s not himself. He’s acting out and doing things he never does. He’s hurt the baby three times intentionally. He threw the clean clothes out of the basket and all over the floor and then called me in to show me. He kicked the dog and threw his breakfast on the floor. I know this uncharacteristic behaviour is all him desperately trying to tell me he needs me, he needs more from me but I am honestly at a loss as to what it is he needs! I have given every cuddle, every distraction, every ounce of attention, listening, hearing and understanding and STILL he wants more.  

It doesn’t help that the baby refused all attempts to get him down for his sleep. His continued presence has certainly not helped.

As he hurt the baby for the third time, I felt something crack in me. But, as I scooped the baby up, I took a deep breath and calmly walked my toddler to a room and closed the door.

I did not put him in timeout. I did not think he was learning anything being shut away but he was safe.

He was safe from my rising anger and safe from his own loss of control.

I then calmly packed our bag and loaded it and the baby in the car. I went and retrieved him from the room and gave him a big, warm cuddle and I explained and reassured him about what had just happened. He calmed quickly and I loaded him in the car.

We got out.

We escaped from the ever escalating frustration and misunderstanding we had going on at home.


The baby still didn’t sleep but nor did he cry. He happily crawled around and had a few quick feeds to keep calm. My toddler got to dance and sing and enjoy rhyme time while I got to sing and smile and build some positivity back up with my guy.

As we left, I made sure everyone had a full tummy and had extra drinks for hydration. We then loaded back in the car and cranked up some Classic FM for a calm drive home. I took the scenic route to give me a little longer to just chill and amazingly, when I pulled up at home, I had two peacefully sleeping babes who even transferred to bed which in itself is a small miracle.

So here I lay, between my babes. Soaking up the peaceful sleepy vibes and I appreciate how far I’ve come and how far I still have to go on this journey of gentle parenting.

It is so hard to not lose your temper. It is so hard to remain calm. It is so hard not to join the storm. If I find it so hard, I can only imagine how hard it must be being two.

I may not have been able to meet all his needs today and I know he needed more but I also think he knew I was trying as hard as I could and for today, that will be enough.

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Mummy’s Little Booby Monster

Mummy’s Little Booby Monster

Mummy calls my baby brother 

By a very funny name

She says that he’s her Booby Monster

And that nursing’s his favourite game.

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Our baby can do other things

He loves to watch me play

He shrieks with laughter watching me

And crawls right in my way.

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But if our baby is feeling tired

Or something makes him sad

Mummy scoops him up and pops him on

And soon he’s back to glad.

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Our baby now eats some food like me

But while he was tiny he never

That’s why mummy has her boobs with her

So he wasn’t hungry ever.

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Mummy fed him while we were at playgroup

In the carrier at the shops

He had boob while she chased me

Even playing wouldn’t make him stop.

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Our baby likes to play booby monster

Lots and lots during the night

So he sleeps with us right next to mum

So he can boob along and sleep tight.

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Mummy says I was once her booby monster

When I was a baby too

She says she loved to cuddle me close

And nurse away my blues.

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Mummy and our baby Booby Monster

Have lots of cuddles now

But Mummy always has cuddles for me

And she loves to show me how.

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Grubby Mummy and the Grubby Bubbies

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Sometimes we all need to lose our shit to regain it. This includes toddlers.

Sometimes we all need to lose our shit to regain it. This includes toddlers.

You know that feeling, the one where the anger, the sadness, the tension, the stress, the noise, the irritation, the frustration, the tiredness, the overwhelming need to just burst takes you right to the edge and tips you over?

I do.

I also know that when this feeling builds and builds it ultimately ends up with me completely losing my shit.

I yell.

I cry.

I swear.

I stomp.

I punch a pillow.

I slam doors.

I hide.

I shake.

I rage.

I cry some more.

I can’t hold it in anymore.

I am just so done. So over it.

It bursts out of me.

Control is gone.

I rage.

I cry.

I then breathe.

I apologise.

I may cry some more.

I cuddle.

I apologise. I try not to make excuses but try to articulate the feelings that lead me to blow my top.

I hate losing my shit but for me, unless I get on top of it sooner rather than later, it is often inevitable.

When the overwhelming feelings win out … I have to lose my shit to regain it.


I am not proud of this fact but I also don’t think it’s entirely unhealthy. I am human after all.

Life can be tough sometimes and it can be hard to catch the break you need to regain composure. To let go of the feelings that are building.

I’m sure most adults reading this can relate to this. We all lose our shit sometimes. It’s not pretty but it’s real. I doubt many of you upon reading this would think I was being naughty or manipulative or that I needed a smack or some other form of discipline despite the fact that I was for all intents and purposes having a giant adult sized ‘tantrum’.

Most of you probably thought, ‘oh hell yeah, I’ve been there. Some days are so tough. You just can’t help but lose your shit sometimes.’

You can relate.

And yet, we seem to have so much trouble accepting that our toddler’s meltdowns are legitimate cries for help when completely overwhelmed by emotions. They have no choice but to let it out. To explode.

What may seem minor to us like my toddler losing his mind because the baby put his train track in his mouth, to them can simply be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Big feelings, small feelings, big upsets, small upsets, big frustrations, small frustrations … They can build and build and build until just like us, it’s simply all too much. The only way to disperse some of the stress and tension is to lose it.

So next time your wee one melts down, try to look at him with empathy. Let him rage without you adding fuel to the fire. Support him. Show him you know how hard it can be to keep it all together. Comfort him. Listen to him. Help him find his calm through the storm.

Our little ones have far less, if any, emotional regulation. It must be terrifying to lose the plot with no skills to regain it.

Let’s come at them from a point of empathy. After all, our perfectly imperfect little ones are human just like us. Let’s not hold them to a higher standard than we expect of ourselves. Sometimes, we simply have to lose out shit to regain it.


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GUEST BLOG- Today is a better day

GUEST BLOG- Today is a better day

By Sarah 

After the mayhem the day before

We had a very causal morning. He likes to run around the house naked before he gets dressed, which is currently one of our biggest battles. The heater is on so this morning I didn’t fight it. I ate my breakfast and scrolled through the photos on my phone. 

We ran out to the grocery store for a few things. He wanted a ‘Jacob roll’ (cheese and bacon roll) which is our treat when we do the groceries.
When we came home we just relaxed. I got the slow cooker on and he played in the rumpus room and watched ABC kids.
Mum called to check how he was as yesterday meant we cancelled plans with her today. His Aunty checked to see how he was today.Daddy messaged and called to see how we were.My response was that he is really good. We are just home doing whatever he wants.


He went off to sleep watching his favourite shows on ABC kids while cuddling into me. He has woken and called my name. He cuddles into me again and drifts back to sleep.
I have things that need to happen, washing to hang, fold and iron, roast dinner to prep and place in the oven, washing to come in off the line, the list does go on.
However today I choose to just be. 

I napped with my little man and now I lay by his side until he wakes. 
I choose to slow down and just be with my son. 

We have danced and sung. 

Talked and played. 

Cuddled and laughed. 
Today has been a great day.
I know there are days and will always be days were I feel I fail as a mother. Or that I’m shit! I have yelled and screamed at my innocent little man. I feel such guilt and remorse and promise I will not do it again.

I apologise to him and he always forgives.
I think I need to apologise more often to me, too. I need to forgive me.

Each day is a lesson and it is my job to make sure I learn and remember. 
I love being his mum. I feel it’s why I am here. 

This is what I was meant to be.

GUEST BLOG- Sometimes, mothering is shit …

GUEST BLOG- Sometimes, mothering is shit …

By Sarah 

The silence was deafening.Some offered help.

I didn’t want any.
Melt down doesn’t even come close to what was happening to my son.
The car ride home, short in distance, today felt like a never ending highway.
Once it was over he was still sobbing while asleep in my arms.
Heartbreaking! Disarming! Depleted! 
Am I the shittest mother in the world? 

In my eyes, yes! 


I am his mother, I am the one that is meant to make everything all better. 
He is almost 2 and a half years young. 

Will it ever get easier?
Wonder week,regression, lack of sleep, milestones, stages, illness, teeth, phase, intolerance, allergy, change, growth spurt, mood or just because…
Motherhood, as rewarding as it is can be can be the shittest job in the world sometimes.
I write this thinking about the people who would respond by saying…
You have a healthy child, you should be grateful!Think about all those people who can’t have kids, you should count your blessings.

This is true. 

But for me, today mothering is shit!
Tomorrow is another day and I am grateful for that. 
Let’s just hope we have a better day tomorrow.