Completely potty trained in two weeks! Here’s how…

“At what age should I start to potty train?” and “how long will it take?” These are two questions that most parents ask themselves at some point in their parenting journey. Of course every child is different and there is no one solution that fits all, however I really wanted to share with you my take on potty training and the success I have had with my own children. I used a basic two week plan which has resulted in both Ari and Chloe being basically potty trained during that timeframe, with no regressions.

Both of my children were potty trained at the age of two years and three months. There were certain signs that I looked out for, like when they would tell me that they needed to go to the toilet or they would go in a different room to do their business (in their nappy.) These are just a few of the signs that made me realise that they might in fact be ready to potty train. Basically at this point they were aware of their need to pass urine and have bowel movements, and we are capable of going to the potty, pulling down their pants and potentially using it.

It is important to note that the success of potty training isn’t just a result of your child being ready, but also you being ready too. It takes dedication on both parts to master this life changing event. All too often mothers share stories of how difficult it was to potty train, what a nightmare it was and how long it took, however I would offer the opinion that perhaps they themselves weren’t quite ready yet to take on the task. (And that is totally understandable!) It’s important to choose the right time to potty train, for example not right before you head off on a trip, move house, or before a new baby comes along. To train your child quickly and successfully it is very important that you are in a relaxed state of mind, and also that everything around you including other siblings are relatively stress free and organised too. This way you will be able to concentrate on the potty training that is about to happen.

Here is a list of signs which helped me to know that my children were ready to potty train:

1. Their nappies were frequently dry when they woke up from their lunch naps. This was a good indication that they had some bladder control.

2. They showed signs that they were aware they are going to the toilet.

3. Eagerness to take their own clothes off and put them back on.

4. The ability to be able to occupy themselves for five or 10 minutes with something like a book.

5. Understand simple instructions like ‘Can you put that toy away?’

There are a few things that you will need to start potty training so I have put them in a shopping list below:

1. One or two potties. If you live in a home with one floor you can probably get away with one potty, however if you have two floors you will want to have one on each level of your house.

2. One or two children’s toilet seats to progress onto.

3. A dozen pairs of underpants purchased in a couple of sizes bigger than what you would normally buy. I suggest buying in a bigger size so that they are able to easily pull their pants on and off with little assistance.

4. A selection of story books or movies on your iPad. This is to provide some entertainment if your child needs to sit on the potty for a while before any business happens.

5. A star chart is a great idea to encourage positive reinforcement. With Ari and Chloe made our own star charts which made things even more exciting for them. We had days listed Monday to Sunday, with several places to be able to pop sticks when they did each urine or bowel movement. At the end of the week they were rewarded with a toy for their efforts.

6. A booster step is important to enable children to be able to reach the basin themselves to wash hands. They loved this!

7. Lots of spare clothes which obviously don’t need to be newly bought, just be aware that you will want to take lots of spare clothes wherever you are for a few weeks.

Stage one of potty training –

First of all I spent a minimum of two weeks preparing my children to potty train. I did this in a number of different ways, such as pointing out the fact that I was going to go to the toilet myself. I would tell them that I needed to go to the bathroom and let them know that they could come with me if they wanted to. When I went to the bathroom I would explain in a step-by-step process what I was doing, for example ‘Mummy is pulling down her pants now,’ then ‘Mummy is going to the toilet,’ and so on right up to washing and drying my hands. When I washed my hands I always encouraged them to join in.

As they began to show more interest in what I was doing, I would allow them to sit on the potty with no nappy on for 5 to 10 minutes as I prepared their evening bath. If they did anything on the potty I would praise them very excitedly. It was important to praise them by saying how clever they were for sitting on the potty, or for how clever they were for going to the toilet on the potty. This is as opposed to saying that they were a good boy, as they may start to think that they are a bad boy if they don’t. Once the children were happy to sit on the potty at bath time I moved to sitting them on it after breakfast, and when they would wake up from their lunch nap. During these two weeks, once I felt like they could control themselves a little more, I started to put underpants on them when we were home.

Stage two –

After a minimum of two weeks of stage one I moved onto the next stage of potty training. I have laid out below that I did each day for 11 days.

Firstly it was very important to choose a week that is free from activities so that you can both focus on what you’re about to achieve. Personally I cancelled all activities, or chose school holidays because that is when all of our plans cancelled for the term. (Your child needs constant attention and encouragement during this first few days, so it is important you are able to provide this to them otherwise they will lose interest quickly.)

Day one –

The first point I want to make is that when I took the nappies off I did not under any situation or circumstance put it back on, other then for sleep times.

On the first day of training after they had breakfast I put them straight into their big girl or boy pants. At this point they already had some knowledge of what was expected of them because of stage one. I explained simply that they were now a big girl or boy, and could wear pants like mummy and daddy, and that they were able to use the potty now if they needed to go to the bathroom. I continued to take them to the bathroom with me whenever I needed to go and explained what I did. I would suggest that they sit on the potty at the same time that I went to the toilet. During the first couple of days they needed constant reminders of going to the toilet. Ari needed to go at least every 15 minutes, whereas Chloe could wait an hour, so it’s important to be guided by your child. Each time I would sit them on the potty for about five minutes unless they went sooner. During this time they would read a book or listen to a movie.

The length of time it takes to get children to regularly use the potty depends on each individual child.

If they have an accident don’t make a big fuss or show that you might be displeased. The trick is to be really enthusiastic with the encouragement and not show when things haven’t gone as well as you had hoped, because at the end of the day children respond better to encouragement. Lots of praise, hugs and reward as well as using the star chart is what I found to be the key to success.

A great idea is to have a separate chart for your own progress reporting. Have a column for time, a tick column for potty, a tick column for accident and a comment section to write what kind of movement they had. This way you will start to see a bit of a pattern as to what is exactly happening. In the comment section be sure to include the time that your child use the potty.

Day two –

So by the second day of potty training my chart began to show a bit more of a pattern of regular intervals between the time that they needed to pass urine. This served a guide to show me how often I needed to remind them to sit on the potty. Obviously the aim was to have fewer and fewer accidents, and a longer stretch between going to the toilet. As time passed I gradually moved the potty from right next to us to inside the bathroom. It was important to slowly allow them some responsibility over going to the bathroom. So I changed my process from telling them we needed to go to the potty, to asking them if they needed to go.

Day three –

One day three I had a definite pattern of how often they were using the potty. The progress chart helped when planning the best time for our first outing. Ideally you would choose a short visit to a friends house where there is a toilet. With Ari I couldn’t leave the house until day six, but Chloe was ready to go to play group on day three. Before leaving home it was important to encourage them to go to the toilet to avoid accidents in the car. (Do not be tempted to put a nappy back on them as this causes confusion.) I have always stayed nappy free once taking the nappy off, other than nap time and bedtime. Consistency is the most important thing here. It is advisable to take some spare changes of clothes where ever you go and plastic bag to put items in. Until the children were used to going to the toilet on an actual toilet I took the potty with you. I have a portable potty which is in the shape of a ladybug, it has a lid on it, and the children love to use this.

Days 4 to 11 –

By the fourth day, Chloe especially, was able to regularly use the potty without prompting. Just with the occasional accident here in there. Over the next few days I put the potty closer and closer to the toilet, until I eventually took it away, and the children went to the toilet on their own seats. I did this once they showed signs that they were able to hold their bladder for long enough to get to the bathroom. By the end of the first week they were dry most of the time, with the very occasional accident. I want to stress again that I never put them back in nappies unless it was for a sleep time, as this would only confuse them.

Day 12 and beyond –

After almost 2 weeks potty training I could successfully call my children potty trained. Of course we had the occasional accident, and we still do from time to time. Once finished I found no nappies to be a breathe of fresh air, and honestly not as challenging as I ever thought it would be.

I hope that this information serves to help you and your little ones in their potty training journey. It was a busy and testing time, but mostly I found it to a bonding experience, where I felt so proud of us both once we were finished.

Enjoy!

EVERYTHING WE LOVE ABOUT BUBS AUSTRALIA TODDLER GOAT MILK

It is no secret that I am a huge, long term fan of Bubs Toddler Goat Milk.  I weaned Ari onto it when he was 12 months old, and Chloe also started to drink it from the same age.  I took a very gentle weaning approach for both of my little loves, having mix fed Ari with breastmilk from 12 to 15 months, then exclusively onto Bubs Australia.  For Chloe I mix fed from 12 months to two years old.  Each child is different but for us I found it to be the perfect way. A journey that created a balance between not pushing them to wean and giving me the flexibility of not solely relying on my breastmilk.  (Bubs Toddler Goat Milk is suitable from 12 moths plus.)

With the decision to wean, came the decision of what to wean them onto.  This is not something that I considered lightly.  With so many options of products available it didn’t take long for me to feel completely overwhelmed.  To honest there was so much out there that I would never put through their precious digestive systems.

Bubs Toddler Goat Milk was and still is the clear winner for us.  It was founded in Australia by a Mother of three who wanted exactly what I want for my children… what is best for her bubs.  What Mum doesn’t want the very best for her child?  Made from whole goat milk and goat whey protein, within Bubs Toddler Goat Milk you can find a balanced daily intake of essential fatty acids, vitamins, prebiotics and other beneficial nutrients needed to support a healthy growing body. Bubs Toddler Goat Milk is produced in the beautiful Victorian countryside, and is the only Australian made Toddler Goat Milk sold in Australian Supermarkets.  Perfectly made for growing children to help to support their immune system, growth and development.

I have been blessed by the fact the neither Ari nor Chloe have any dietary intolerances, however Bubs can be the perfect solution to issues related to digestion.  Some of the symptoms of digestive issues that can be repaired by simple switching to goat’s milk include, cow milk protein intolerances/sensitivity, wind, bloating, constipation, colic, diarrhoea and regurgitation.  In fact, because it is so gentle and nourishing, Bubs can even help even help with mucus congestion and skin conditions like inflammation, rashes and eczema.

I have recommended Bubs to countless people who has subsequently asked me, “What is the difference between cow’s milk and goats’ milk.”  To put it short, goats’ milk is just easier for the body to digest.  The harder a child’s body must work to breakdown milk sources and food the more stress is put on bodily systems, and nutrients are absorbed much slower.  The Bubs Australia website is full of information on why goats milk is such a great choice, so I highly recommend having a look here.

I have previously written two blog posts about the Bubs Australia products, The Final Feed which talks about our weaning journey, and Traveling with Kids featuring Bubs Australia, which gives a really great run through of all the benefits to travelling with Bubs Australia products.

There is a huge range of products under Bubs Australia from baby formula to cereals, food pouches and rusks.  Ari and Chloe have both tried them all throughout various stages and they love them!

Bubs Australia products can be purchased from Coles, Chemist Warehouse, Woolworths and online here.  For more information on the Bubs Australia range visit their website or Instagram.

As always please remember that I am not a midwife, lactation consult, nutritionist, doctor or any other medical expert.  I am just a Mother expressing her journey and opinions.  Thank you to Bubs Australia for sponsoring this blog post so that I can share one of my very favourite products with you.  My opinion is of course and always is my own.  #BUBSPARTNER

Note – Chloe’s gorgeous outfit in these images is from My Riser.

Lots of love!

Small-Signature-Nat

As always please remember that I am not a midwife, lactation consult, nutritionist, doctor or any other medical expert.  I am just a Mother expressing her journey and opinions.  Thank you to Bubs Australia for sponsoring this blog post so that I can share one of my very favourite products with you.  My opinion is of course and always is my own.  #BUBSPARTNER

 

Bubs Australia – NEW Snack Range

The news is out… Bubs Australia has a brand new range of wholesome, ACO certified organic and totally tasty snacks, and I know two little loves who are ecstatic about this delicious news!!

Bubs have long been known for their incredible organic products.  Their Goat Milk Formulae alone is available in it’s various stages for children aged  0-36 months.  Both Ari and Chloe have enjoyed Bubs Australia Toddler Goat Milk from the age of 12 months old, I mix fed them both at first as we were still bring breastfeed, and then eventually moved to exclusive Goat Milk.  When they were 4 months old I began to introduce solids into their diets, with the first food they both ate being Bubs Rice Cereal.  At closer to 6 months old I started to introduce Bubs ranges of porridge, oats and baby food pouches.   Another Bubs product that I have found fantastic is the Toothy Rusks, which is especially great for busy hands and teething.

Everything that Bubs stands for  resonates with me as a Mother.  The company was founded in 2006 by a Mother of 3 children, who wanted the best premium organic baby food to be available for children and their mothers to enjoy.  The Bubs product line has grown over the years but their beautiful family values remain the same.

I am so excited about this new snack range and the fact that it is so readily available at Coles, Chemist Warehouse and on the Bubs website.

Here is a look at the beautiful new products which your little ones can enjoy…

Little Fingers (Broccoli & Pumpkin)
A delicious duo of organic vegetables baked into breadsticks, the little fingers are a great snack for babies starting on solid food.  They are baked not fried and use organic wheat flour and extra virgin olive oil.
They have no added sugar, no artificial colours or flavours, and are GMO free. 
Recommended for babies 12 months plus.

Little Fingers (Tomato)
Hearty ruby-red organic tomatoes baked into breadsticks. The Little Fingers are a great meal addition or snack for babies starting on solids, they’re a little crunch of savoury goodness.
They have no added sugar, no artificial colours or flavours, and are GMO free. Recommended for babies 12 months plus.

Little Rollies (Coconut)
This sweet snack is certified organic goodness.  Ancient grain millet rolls, that are filled with temptingly tropical filling of soft coconut.  For hungry bubs that have graduate to solid food they’re irresistible.
ACO Certified Organic.
Recommended for babies 12 months plus.

Little Rollies (Hazelnut)
Deliciously sweet snacks bursting with certified organic goodness.  Vanilla-flavoured organic rice flour rolls with a mouth-watering soft filling of organic hazelnut.
Recommended for babies 12 months plus.

Smiley Squares (Pear & Beetroot)
Premium snacks bursting with certified organic goodness.  Bite-sized squares baked from four organic flours – buckwheat, rice, and the ‘ancient grains’ of millet and amaranth, with organic pear and beetroot.  Sweet and savoury, and deliciously nutritious.
Recommended for babies 7 months plus.

Smiley Squares (Mango & Purple Carrot)
Bite-sized, organic, wafer squares baked from four organic flours – buckwheat, rice, and the ‘ancient grains’ of millet and amaranth, with tropical mango and purple carrot, that’s a sweet and savoury delight.
Recommended for babies 7 months plus.

Tiddly Bar (Plum & Goji)
A premium fruit and cereal snack bursting with certified organic wholesomeness.  A harvest of organic plum, apple, and goji berries, mixed with a crunch of rice and quinoa, and organic agave fibre.  They may be small in size, but Bubs’ Tiddly Bar is big in essential nutrition.
Recommended for babies 12 months plus.

Remember you can find all of these delicious snacks at Coles, Chemist Warehouse and on the Bubs website.  

For more information on the Bubs Australia range visit their website or Instagram.

As always please remember that I am not a midwife, lactation consult, nutritionist, doctor or any other medical expert.  I am just a Mother expressing her journey and opinions.  Thank you to Bubs Australia for sponsoring this blog post so that I can share one of my very favourite products with you.  My opinion is of course and always is my own.  #bubsbaby #bubsaustralia #bubssnacks #bubspartner

 

CAPTURING & SHARING MOMENTS FEATURING MOMATU

Are you like me?  You have 30,000 photos stored on your phone just sitting there doing nothing.  Nobody views, admires, shares or prints them.  Precious moments and memories just wasting away, and then you drop your phone, misplace it or it is stolen.

The other day my Mother asked me to send her some photos of the children over the last few years, and I just knew that this was going to take me forever to organise.  I had no systems or files on my phone, no organisation at all.   The process of scrolling through 30,000 photos on my phone, looking at other devices and even photo albums, gave me a headache.  Not to mention it chewed up a huge chunk of my time when I am already such a time poor Mother.   I thought, surely in this day and age sharing our special moments should be less complex and more time efficient.

Momatu is an app that you can download onto your phone enabling you to easily capture, sort and share life’s precious moments in a way like never before.  Through using this service, you can co create and share a digital timeline with others, by providing them with an enjoyable way to ‘organise the past, capture the now and create tomorrow’s history together.’

‘The best moments happen in the blink of an eye but leave a lasting impression on our lives. Capture, share and enjoy each and every moment that matters to you, with Momatu.’  This resonates with me so much, and I’m sure that it does with you!

There are several different elements to the Momatu app.  These include:
Photos and videos – You can take them within the app of add them from your phone’s library,  after they can be assigned to a timeline.  I have personally made one for Chloe’s first two years of year life.
Journal – Entries can be added allowing more layers to your timeline, like notes on special parties or important days.
Milestones – Words can be added to images and videos allowing you to record important moments like your baby’s first tooth or the moment they walked.
Quotes – Records things like first words, moments of expressed joy or loving times by adding quotes to your images and videos.

Once you have created your beautiful timeline full of photos, videos, journal entries, milestones and quotes, you are able to share it with your family and friends.  Only the people you have selected are able to see your timeline and it can be added to, keeping everyone you love up to date with the important moments in your children’s lives.  No one will ever need to ask you to send that important photo again!

Not only is Momatu a ground-breaking private sharing platform, but you can also bring your images and timeline to life by ordering products like prints, photo books, calendars and mugs.

As I mentioned before, prior to Momatu I was dreadful at organising the 30,000 photos stored on my phone.  Hardly any of these gorgeous moments and images had been printed.   I mean I’ve have been married for seven years and still don’t even have a wedding album!  The fact that I can regularly add my favourite photos and most important memories into each of our children’s timelines on the Momatu app is a total game changer for the way I store, mange, share and view them.

Recently for Chloe’s second birthday I gifted her a photobook version of the timeline that I had created for her in Momatu.  The process was simple, easy and efficient because I have been building on her timeline over time.  Now at night before bed we look at the photos in her book and discuss those special moments, like her first outing, our favourite holiday and her first food.  As much as we love to read story books, Chloe gets so much joy from seeing photos of herself and her own family.

Nailing your family photos

It’s no secret that I love family photos.  To me they are a memory that lasts a lifetime, and I just love capturing as many moments as possible on camera and film.  I am often asked how I manage to pull off stunning family images with busy children in them.  So here are my top ten tips for nailing your family photos whether with a photographer or ones you take yourself.

  1. Plan your shoot in advance and go into it with a clear vision.  Think about how you would like the photos to look and feel.
  2. Bring props for the children e.g. sweet treats and toys.  Things that they are naturally interested in but are also in theme with your shoot style (colours, location, vibe etc.)  It all needs to make sense.
  3. Be prepared by packing a backpack full of snacks, water, sun cream and mozzie spray.
  4. You may need to relax your daily routine for the day of the shoot.  For example, if I have a photoshoot that I know will keep my littles up until later that night, I always push their lunch nap back a bit so that they don’t get over tired later.
  5. Feed hungry bellies before you start unless food is a part of your prop plan.  The last thing you need is someone wanting a full dinner 5 minutes in.
  6. For babies it’s helpful to bring along a squeaky toy that can dangled from the front of the camera, then pressed to get his/her focus.
  7. Don’t give up if someone isn’t happy.   If the baby is having a few tears don’t just call it a day, try moving position or using a distraction.  We all know that tiny whinges normally turn into goofy smiles.
  • Consider child placement.  For busy toddlers try safely using things like stools and chairs to place them in position that they are less likely to run from.
  1. Bring multiple changes of clothes for the whole family.  Not just so that you have options for the shoot but in case there are any accidents.
  2. Let yourself relax into it.  Often for the first few photos everyone is feeling very uptight, but by the end of the shoot they are having a hoot.  I find the images achieved get progressively better as the shoot goes on, so don’t rush off too quickly too!

A special offer for my followers

Momatu is a product they I highly recommend, and I would love to gift you with an exclusive code offering you 15% off of your first order.  Code – off15

To download the Momatu app click here and to visit their webite click here.

*Disclaimer: At times this website contains posts where items and experiences have been sponsored, gifted or blog posts have been paid for in return for advertisement/promotion.  Where this applies it will be clearly stated at the bottom of the blog post. Natalie Sullivan and www.thissweetlofeofmine.blog only endorses brands/items that her family uses, loves and highly recommends. To read the full disclaimer see here.

 

 

 

GET READY FOR SCHOOL AUSTRALIA

When it comes to decision making as a parent, I have found one area harder then any other….  How do I educate my child?  This questions goes over and over in my head in various forms, it is constant.  I feel the weight of their lives on my shoulders, as I ponder the decisions that I will have to make for THEIR futures.  Imagine that, the gravity of it.  Questions like, should I put them in day care?  Shouldn’t I?  Which school?  Public or private?  What do I need to do to get them ready for school?  Will they cope emotionally?  Have I prepared them enough?  More recently I have been thinking about Ari starting school as 2020 is creeping up on us. Whilst giving my babies an early life full of love, laughter and play it has become very clear that it is also important to me that I prepare them for when they are received by another educator, their school teacher.  I know for certain that I will cry because that is the weight and concern that parents hold.  I also know for certain that I will have the confidence knowing that I have done everything I can to make sure that Ari feels prepared and ready for school.

Get Ready For School Australia is an incredible resource kit perfect for parents, like me, who want to give their children a foot in the door when heading into formal education   It was designed and worded for Australian families and is perfect for ages 3-5 years old.  (Though Chloe even joins in on some of the activities at age one!)  It isn’t a ‘heavy’ material at all, but rather promotes engagement, play, family time and learning activities in a very natural way.  The thing that I like best about the GRFSA pack is that it takes the guesswork out of school-readiness.  Before we received ours, I found that I didn’t know where to start or what to do with teaching Ari school based learning at home.  I’m not a teacher so it wasn’t natural for me to know how to teach things like spelling his own name, or recognising the way that sentences are formed.  I used to be totally freaked out about how I was going to teach him all of these things and prepare him for school so that he could walk in confidently.   The program in this pack is aligned with the Australian Curriculum, even down to the Australian School Fonts that are used.  As it has been written by Australia families I find it extremely easy to use and honestly enjoy it.  I feel proud of him for learning, and proud of myself for teaching him.  Best of all it gives us both direction.  Ari loves his Get Ready For School Australia Kit, and I found that literally the day we started using it he was more observant in his everyday life.  Noticing letters on street signs, the way that I would say things to him, and of course he’s now asking even more questions!

The pack contains everything needed to prepare –
Here it is!
– Parent activity guide book: How To Get Your Child Ready For English
– Parent activity guide book: How To Get Your Child Ready For Maths
– Parent activity guide book: How To Get Your Child Ready For Science
– Forming Numerals workbook (for children)  in your State’s writing font
– Exploring Letters and Sounds workbook (for children) in your State’s writing font
– Early Learning Sticker Chart
– Personalised name writing set (first name only) in your State’s writing font
– 90 stickers to use with your Early Learning Chart
– 1 Micador Early Start Markers

You can find more information regarding Get Ready For School Australia on their website and through Instagram.

Don’t forget to use my discount code SWEETIFE for $20 off the complete kit and free shipping!

Lastly I would like to  note that this is in no way a paid collaboration.  I was kindly gifted our kit to try and I have found it to be beneficial that I wanted to recommend it to you!

FROM THE MOMENT YOU BECOME PREGNANT EVERYTHING CHANGES, FEATURING CANDLE GIFTS

From the moment you become pregnant, everything changes.  You start to care so deeply for that little bundle growing inside of you, the little bundle you haven’t even met yet.  New feelings are evoked and by the time your little one is born you begin to care more about it then you do about yourself.  As the years roll by this sentiment doesn’t change,  you live for yourself of course, but you live for your children so much more.  You are living to see them smile, to ensure that they aren’t in pain, to make sure that they are always happy.  A Mother’s job is limitless and never ending.  Even when you are apart from your children  your thoughts are always with them.

While it seems to me that the destiny of a Mother is to always put her families’ needs above her own, I believe that it is important to make sure that we don’t loose sight of our own self care.  The saying ‘You cannot take care of someone else if you are not caring for yourself’ rings true for all Mums.

Self care doesn’t have to be caring for yourself in the physical sense like waxing your legs or going to  get your hair done.  Above anything else it simply means to allow yourself time to do whatever it is that YOU enjoy.  If you have been waiting for someone to give you permission to take that free time then this is it!  I want to encourage you to take the time for yourself, to go for that walk, sit quietly alone, or if getting your legs waxed or doing your hair is your thing then do that!  Banish the Mum guilt that is often associated with taking time for yourself.  Putting your best self forward requires intentional choices for busy Mothers, even if that means stepping outside of your comfort zone and putting yourself first from time to time.  It is possible to feel healthy, feelgreat, and live a joyful life, all while juggling a family and possibly a career.  The key is to intentionally make that time for yourself through purposeful choices.  The simple truth is that you cannot neglect self care!

But how do you do it?  How to you manage self care and fit it back into your life?  For me I like to give myself a mini spa.  By doing this at home I find there is a greater likelihood that it will actually happen!  I am able to squeeze it in during lunch nap or when the children are in bed.  I run a nice warm bath with bath salts, light a candle and put some music on… bliss!  You might be thinking “I don’t have time for that,” but you do, you have to prioritise it. Don’t be afraid to treat yourself and enjoy a moment of peace alone.  Put yourself back on your to do list.

Recently I was lucky enough to choose some products from Candle Gifts and wanted to share my top picks with you.  I’ll be using these for my next ‘Self Care Mini Spa.’
(All products are linked below.)
Peppermint Grove Bath Salts
Cloud 9 Jar Candle
Peppermint Grove Soy Candle
Ecoya Hand and Body Lotion
Napli Beach Soap
Peppermint Grove Hand and Body Wash

A note on Candle Gifts –
Candle Gifts are an Australia company located in Victoria.  Their website is full of self care options and gifts that can be delivered direct to your door.  They have the  largest and most diverse range of candles in Australia with the majority of their candles, melts, hand creams and essential oils being made here.  When you’re on their site buying something to  implement into your self care routine, why not get your Christmas shopping done too, click here and use the code SWEETLIFE5 for 5% off and free shipping!

10 OTHER IDEAS FOR ACHEIVING SELF CARE –
1. Squeeze in lunch with your friends.
2. Go for a walk before your partner goes to work in the morning.
3. If you work in an office take your lunch outside and sit on the grass.
4. Go to bed half an hour earlier and read.
5. Stay connected with yourself by pursuing a hobby.
6. Wake up half an hour before your kids and enjoy some me time.
7. Schedule me time in your calendar, this will hold you accountable.
8. Take it in turns with a friend to look after each others baby for a couple of hours each week so that each of you gets some free time.
9. Make yourself a healthy meal that you love.
10. Look in the mirror and tell yourself how awesome you are.

Details –
Images taken on the beach – Laine Tribes
My make up – Jenna Turner
My dress – Piper and Me
My Hat – Seed Heritage
Chloe’s Dress – Piper and Me
Chloe’s Hat – Fini the Label
Ari’s Suit – Millk
Beach Bag – Adorne

A big thank you to Candle Gifts for sponsoring this post and supporting Mamas like me in their self care journey.

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THE FINAL FEED FEATURING BUBS AUSTRALIA

Our Story
Last week we did something that I had long been procrastinating about.  I had said I would and then I wouldn’t for over 10 months.  I didn’t know if she could handle it.  If I could handle it.  Then I saw a window, a portal, and I knew that it was time to wean my baby girl from breastmilk at almost 22 months old.  Just writing this makes me want to cry.  I had thought about this moment and built it up so much in my head.  Chloe was completely fine, I however was not.

Since I had become pregnant with my two babies so close (19 months apart) I had been pregnant or breastfeeding for a total of 4 years, 1 month and 5 days.  That’s 1497 days of giving my body to my children and the thought of weaning broke me.

I never had a goal when it came to breastfeeding.  I had even purchased a tin of baby formulae when I was pregnant with Ari ‘just in case I couldn’t feed.’  Not once did I put pressure or expectation on myself with a deadline.  It turned out that I loved breastfeeding and ended up feeding not only my babies but safely donated milk to other little ones who needed it too.

The week before I decided to wean Coco I was on a photoshoot with my friends Sam from Laine Tribes.  I casually said to her “I think I’m going to wean Chloe next week so let’s take a few pictures of her feeding just in case.”  Then the following week she woke up one morning and I decided that I might wean her.  So, I took her into bed with me, put my phone down and enjoyed a morning cuddle and a feed.  I didn’t make a big deal out of it in my head just let myself think that ok maybe this will be the last time.  Then the following day instead of bringing her into bed with me we headed straight downstairs and made up her bottle.  She wasn’t fazed at all.  I wasn’t fazed at that point either because I had told myself that if I wanted to feed her again later I could.  NO PRESSURE AT ALL.  Then the days rolled on from there and I realised that I was really doing this.  She never asked for it, she’d been used to taking a bottle for a long time, so this really was her time.  For me it was soooo emotional.  I cried more than once, in fact I am crying now.  Some people reading this might think ‘well why didn’t you just keep feeding then?”  the answer is because it doesn’t matter when I weaned her I was still going to feel this way.  I had given myself months of grace period and kept feeding even though I knew that she was ready.  Don’t get me wrong so many times I nearly fed her to satisfy myself, but I needed to take this opportunity where I could see that she was happy and run with that.  Isn’t motherhood a funny thing!  Now that it’s over I am glad that it’s done.  Yay I managed to wean her from me, (or should I say me from her!)  And you know what, the love there hasn’t changed one bit!  I still get my gorgeous morning cuddle in bed while she guzzles her bottle and plays with my hair.  It’s my bliss.

How we weaned
I had introduced a bottle of expressed milk at a young age and loved the flexibility of knowing that my littles were comfortable with boob and my milk through bottle.  This made my weaning transition with both very easy.  At 12 months I decided to wean Ari and at 13 months (when I was 5 months pregnant with Chloe,) he had his last feed.  Funnily enough I don’t even remember it, I think the fact that I knew I would be feeding again comforted me.  Also, the fact that he loved his bottle… I mean literally two weeks later I put my boob in his face to see if he was interested and he looked at it like he’d never seen it in his life!  I like to take my time with weaning by slowly dropping each feed and trading it for a bottle.  My babies have always had three milk feeds per day by 12 months old – when they wake in the morning, after lunch nap and before bed.  The before bed feed had been an expressed bottle from quite a young age so this was easy to switch out by mixing my breastmilk with the milk alternative of my choice.  I gradually increased the amount of the alternative until it was 100%.  The next feed I switched was the after-lunch nap.  Finally, the morning feed was always last, where we switched out breastmilk for a bottle and big cuddles in bed.  I would generally give at least 2 weeks between dropping each feed.  By doing this slowly I also allowed my breasts to settle gradually and never had any issues with feeling too full.   With Chloe I started this whole process a bit later.

What we recommend 
When weaning a baby one of the first things on a Mother’s mind is what product to wean onto.  Knowing that you are giving your baby the best possible is ALWAYS a Mother’s number one priority and doing so make the weaning journey so much easier.  There is an overwhelming amount available on the market that it can be nerve wrecking, so I wanted to share what has been tried and tested with my family.  What we recommend.

I have been a long-time user and supporter of Bubs Australia.  Their range spans from newborn to toddler (age 3) and not only do they produce baby formulae but food products as well.  The Bub’s Goat Milk is an exceptional product that I highly recommend and have used for both of my children.  We have even travelled overseas with our Bubs products in tow and you can read all about how easy it was here.

10 reasons why I love Bubs Australia for my babies:
1. Australian made.
2. No numbers. No nasties.
3. Premium nutrition – it’s full essential fatty acids, vitamins, prebiotics and other beneficial nutrients.
4. Accredited by the best.
5. Naturally easy to digest for happier tummies
6. Great for little ones who suffer from cow milk protein intolerances or sensitivity, with issues like poor digestion, congestion and skin sensitivity.
7. Organic.
8. Is gentle on tummies.
9. Easy to use.
10. Great to travel with.

Bubs Australia products can be purchased from Coles, Chemist Warehouse, Woolworths and online here.  For more information on the Bubs Australia range visit their website or Instagram.

FOR 20% OFF OF BUBS AUSTRALIA TODDLER GOAT MILK AND BUBS BABY FOOD PRODUCTS, PLEASE USE THE CODE NATALIE20 AT CHECK OUT WHEN PURCHASING DIRECT THROUGH THEIR SITE.

Now the question remains… will I ever feed again!?

Details of Breastfeeding shoot:
Photographer – Laine Tribes
Make Up – Jenna Turner Make Up Artistry
My swimwear – Jets 
My lace gown – Breastfeeding wear Australia
Chloe’s Swimwear – Willow Swim

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As always please remember that I am not a midwife, lactation consult, doctor or any other medical expert.  I am just a Mother expressing her journey and opinions.  

#BUBSPARTNER

15 Things I Wish I Could Tell My Pre Mama Self…

Oh hey there you! Bright eyed, plump skin, zero bags, hair brushed, clean clothes you! Firstly you look GREAT! Secondly I just wanted to let you know a few things before you get started on the whole having a baby or two situations. So listen up…

  1. It’s going to take what feels like a million years to leave the house every morning but try to not get frustrated.
  2. You’re going to be a GREAT Mum. Sure you will doubt yourself and yes sometimes you will fail, but you’ll ALWAYS be a great Mum.
  3. They say it takes 5-7 compliments to balance the negative effects of one criticism, so be KIND to yourself.
  4. Always follow your gut over other people’s opinions.
  5. Your Mother doesn’t always know best, but most of the time she does.
  6. Stay in bed. Stay in the bed for as long as you can. Eat breakfast in there, drink tea, watch movies, eat lunch and dinner in there! One day you’ll long to just stay in bed.
  7. Don’t spend the start second pregnancy guilt tripping yourself because you decided on a close age gap. The kids will love it and no Ari won’t miss out so cut yourself some slack.
  8. Yes you can have it all.
  9. Don’t overpack. Seriously. To the beach, to the supermarket, on holiday. Babies actually don’t need a lot and you’ll drive your husband crazy. Less is more.
  10. Let yourself cry and don’t overthink it. Sometimes it just feels good to cry.
  11. You’ll find yourself saying no more then you hoped.
  12. Some days you’ll feel super touched out. You’re an affection person so this will take you by surprise but some days you’ll just want to be alone.
  13. Yes you will still see the world. No it would be the same. It will be busier, tiring and won’t feel like a holiday but it will be full of more laughs and more memories.
  14. Learn to compromise with your husband. You are two people raising the same children, you both need to meet in the middle. Oh and be prepared to love him more and more especially when he does the 11pm feed.
  15. You think that you are living your best life now but darling it hasn’t even begun. Get ready for your heart to explored with more love then you know possible.

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