To every mum who yelled at her kids today.

To every mum who has a sink full of dishes.

To every mum dreading night time because they know he pain of broken sleep.

To every mum dreaming of eating a hot meal in peace.

To every mum who didn’t shower today.

To every mum wondering if 10am is to early for wine.

To every mum who is constantly second guessing their every decision.

To every mum wiping away the tears and wondering how they can muster the strength to get through another day.

To every mum who is feeling the strain on their relationship.

To every mum who fed their kids cereal for dinner.

To every mum missing their friends because they can’t seem to find time for anything other than staying sane and keeping the kids alive.

You’re a good mum, tomorrow is a new day.

You got this x

We all know how much those first few weeks at home are with a newborn. They’re even a blur for me still with a 2 year (add a 5 month old into the mix and I’m a frazzled mess) and some days I just can’t be f*cked with the hassle of going to the supermarket let alone out in public at all.

We were introduced to The Baby Bag a couple of months ago after seeing their content in my Instagram feed and I had to give it a go and see what all the fuss is about.

They’d just made some big changes to their website, including the introduction of some logic to improve their user experience and make the end result that much better. I am all about good design and customer experience so I put it to the test and boy was I impressed. This service is a total game changer for busy parents like me.

You can just shop like normal, or you can add a few basic details about your wee ones so that their website recommends products based on their age/stage (nappies, food, baby care etc). Their site is super easy to use and navigate. What’s better? They stock the very best products.

If you choose to use the smart suggestions, the website pre-populates your bag for you when you log in based on what you’ve ordered in the past and what the system thinks you’ll need next. Confirm your bag and it’ll be on your doorstep within a day, sometimes even the same day dependent on your location!

No more running out of nappies and having to do the dreaded nappy run in your PJ’s.

My fav part about the service? It’s created by Mums, for Mums all here in NZ!

I absolutely love what Jessie and her husband created after starting their own family and realising the lack of infrastructure that existed to support parents like us. Baby supplies are required in such high frequency by all of us who typically have very little flexibility in our daily routine.

Jessie Jarvie, the founder is a Mum, just like us – doing big things.

Armed with the determination to revolutionise parenting as we know it, they launched The Baby Bag and I wanted to ask them some questions about it.

  • What gave you the idea to start The Baby Bag?

Before my youngest boy Franklin arrived, my husband and I were both working full time. The needs of our biggest boy, George, were always changing. From puree to soft lumps to fork mashed; from newborn to infant to crawler to walker. We changed nappy brands a few times. Then there came teething. A gummy eye. Dry skin. Nappy rash. Eczema. Little people are so dynamic. My husband would swing by the supermarket after a long day at work to pick up some more wipes. There were a couple of packaged food brands that I was having to get online. I used to try and keep some good quality frozen meals in the freezer for those days when it would all fall to bits, but they weren’t available at our local supermarket. Then I’d frequent the organic grocer for natural remedies for his eczema. I don’t know how many times in that first year I visited the pharmacy. I don’t know how many times I asked Doctor Google strange questions (have you ever had that sense of relief though, when the text field populates your question for you, before you’ve finished typing? Meaning there must be other parents out there asking weird stuff too!). It was 2013. It felt like there were support services around for everyone and everything – except for busy little families like ours. We were shocked at the lack of infrastructure that existed to help young families in New Zealand to thrive.

When my second little boy arrived, the nature of the problem changed. The idea of going anywhere with a really little baby can be quite scary. Paul is part Chinese and there is a wonderful Chinese practice of home confinement for one month after childbirth. This is literally called “sitting the month,” as new mothers are pretty much expected to just sit around in their pyjamas for a month to recover from bringing new life into the world (and so they should, right?) but oh god they need so many darn nappies. And who knew you could go through an entire box of maternity pads in one day?

After the newborn phase, getting your hands on the stuff your kids need continues to be challenging, equally for stay at home parents as for working parents. One babe is asleep (and none of us want to disturb that!) or the other one decides he’s hungry just as you pull into the carpark. Maybe you’re rushing home from a busy day just to chill out with your partner or get into the bath/dinner/bed routine before a meltdown. Maybe it’s raining and the thought of racing into the supermarket with one on your hip and one in the capsule is a bit overwhelming. We found that as a busy family we had quality groceries at our fingertips – we frequented local weekend markets and we were able to utilize services like My Food Bag or smaller food stores that proved to be quicker and easier. But baby supplies were continually a challenge.

We had learnt that becoming a parent was the most simultaneously wonderful and exhausting experience – an adventure like no other, and we wanted to create some infrastructure to make the road a little less rocky. In May of 2015, we launched The Baby Bag from a tiny little office in Grey Lynn, and since then we’ve been offering quick, reliable and cost effective delivery of the country’s widest range of baby supplies to thousands of New Zealand families.

In May of this year, we released a new website that introduced our Smart Suggestions. These suggestions were always part of the long term version but they were data driven, so we needed a couple of years experience behind us first. Our Smart Suggestions offer parents intuitive recommendations, based on their babe’s age and stage. They’re designed to support parents throughout the journey of a little person’s ever-changing needs, whether it be recommending you moving up to a bigger nappy size before disaster strikes, introducing the right flavours and food textures at the right time, or foreseeing teething habits, sleep regressions and flu seasons before they hit the home front; we do our best to take the guess work out of the equation for new mums and dads. It’s awesome and their potential gets me super excited.

  • What does a typical day for you look like?

My house is a jungle. I don’t think I could be an Instamum! Maybe I should try? My oldest boy George usually comes and wakes me up, typically demanding breakfast. He hops into my bed for a cuddle first, which is the best. My littlest is awake soon after and the whole house comes to life as we prepare for the day ahead, eating breakfast, filling lunch boxes, getting dressed and heading to kindy. It’s particularly jungle like at the beginning of the day and at the end of the day. Lucky they’re cute.

The boys are both finish kindy at 2.30pm, which means I have short working days, and most of the time I split shift so that I can spend the arvo with them and then long back on at night to get through any unfinished business. Team baby bag likes to be ‘on call’ for our customers at any time of the day, so it’s not uncommon for me to be speaking to a customer with the boys causing chaos in the background but I’m okay with that, it’s a reality. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to be a parent while helping other parents, too. I feel like that was something missing at the beginning of my own parenting journey, so I’m proud of the service that we provide and it gives me a real kick to be a listening ear.

I have Thursday’s off with the boys and we usually plan one special activity together – scooter riding somewhere new, Uptown Bouncing, the zoo, or visiting Dad at work for an early dinner at the local Japanese place. I try to intentionally plan just one activity for those Thursdays, and no more than that. I’m terrible at overcommitting to everything, but I want my kids to be bored every now and again too, as I know it’s where they find their creativity and their peace. One of my favourite things to do is sit on the couch (usually with a cold cup of tea – what would #mumlife be without cold tea?) and watch them in their playroom together. They fight a lot – but they have a heck of a lot of fun, too! At the end of the day, I suss their dinner and my husband susses our dinner. We’re both exhausted by the time they’re in bed, but then parenting and exhaustion are kind of hand in hand. I’m super grateful for my brood and we’ll be introducing another one come January 🙂

  • How do you maintain a good work/life balance?

I don’t get much of that, but to be completely frank with you – I’m not a big believer in work life balance. I think striving for that mythical concept creates more stress than it’s worth. Us women constantly beat ourselves up because if we’re being a good mum, we can’t possibly be doing a good job at work. If we’re enjoying our work, we mustn’t be seeing enough of our children! The key is to accept that there won’t always be a balance.

I think the most important skill a mum can have (whether she’s working outside of the home or in the home, both equally as tough as the other) is to realise when things become too imbalanced. That’s when she needs to sit down with her support network of people who care about her, and her children, and make changes. When I feel like things are getting on top of me, I break them down into bite sized chunks. My mum always says, ‘eat the elephant one bite at a time’. I’m a big list writer too. I have so many lists!

  • Future plans for TBB?

To continue to rock the socks off New Zealand’s parenting community, one bite at a time.

FOR THE NEXT 5 DAYS, USE THE CODE ‘JESSBOVEY’ AND GET FREE DELIVERY!


This post has been in collaboration with The Baby Bag. All views, opinions and writing is my own and we do not work with anybody we do not know, support and/or love. Please support the brands that support this blog.

I tried with both kids and I struggled, I would feed then while I cried my eyes out. My bleeding and split nipples would simply not heal. I would pump and in an attempt to ease the pain, the milk was red with blood. I expressed for 8 weeks until I realised stress and unnecessary pressure I was putting on myself was allowing me to go further into a deep depression.

My nipples were ruined, bleeding and sore & I had very little colostrum. Even hand expressing gave me next to no results and the pain was horrendous. I HATED random nurses requesting to milk me because they assumed I wasn’t ‘doing it properly’. It broke me to be sitting there in tears with absolutely no dignity.

I wish we as mothers didn’t feel so much to pressure to succeed based on what society deems ‘normal’ or ‘best’. I wish we weren’t made to feel like we failed when our breastfeeding attempts come to an end. I wish that I didn’t need to post this in an order to defend or justify my decisions but I am and I will because I am speaking for the masses, for all those Mum’s out there who had a journey similar to mine. Who sat there trying to feed with tears rolling down their cheeks, bleeding nipples and partners who may or may not have understood. Feeling too ashamed to call it quits based on the way society makes us feel.

I’ve come to the realisation that giving up on breastfeeding doesn’t make me a bad mother. Both kids are thriving and happy.

Breastfeeding is easy for some, it’s also really tough for others. Mothers who do it with ease often don’t understand how hard it can be for others, to see you feeding and wishing we could have done it.

I dreaded nosy people asking ‘are you breastfeeding?’ not only is it none of your business, it’s fucking rude. You have no idea the circumstances or struggles they’ve been through. Anywhere I went I was questioned about how my child was fed, plunket, the doctors, even total randoms. I felt hesitant to tell them he was bottle fed and I really wish that I (and others) were not made to feel this way.

I don’t post this to justify ‘why’ I stopped. I post so others in the same boat don’t go through the same experience.

I remember the feeling of absolute joy when I was able to express colostrum (aka liquid gold). My nipples were absolutely fucked already, bleeding and sore and I had problems from the moment Baxter was born and they attempted to latch him. I had very little colostrum. Even hand expressing gave me next to no results and the pain was horrendous (I would rather give birth again with no drugs). I ended up pumping and pumping to bring my milk in and also get whatever colostrum I possibly could. I HATED random nurses requesting to milk me because they assumed I wasn’t ‘doing it properly’. It broke me to be sitting there in tears with absolutely no dignity.

I had every intention of going into Lily’s birth stronger, equipped with more knowledge and power her I was still made to feel the same way. I recall pressing the buzzer at 4am and saying to the midwife with gritted teeth and tears streaming down my face “she’s starving, I’m certain she’s getting nothing from me” to which she responded, “what do you want me to do about it?”. I was already broken from lack of sleep and am extremely fast (12 minutes from arrival at the hospital) and somewhat traumatic birth. She left and I cried the rest of the night while latching lily every time she was crying for food to simply have her scream and scream from pure starvation. The next morning we had a nicer midwife who could see I was mentally breaking and said “what are you asking me for? Do you want formula? I need you to ask for it”. I cried and said “yes!”. She came back and basically read us our rights, gave us the run down of the 8 steps of breastfeeding, bla bla and then gave us a form to sign! Yes, a form. We had to sign for formula – is this a fucking joke? She gets in trouble otherwise and she even admitted to us they need to push it as much as possible. It physically makes me feel ill the pressure that is put on already emotional, fragile and sleep deprived woman who simply wants their baby to be fed.

I talk to a lot of women who have gone through similar and I truly believe that it is one of the biggest triggers of post natal depression. It was the beginning of my downward spiral.

I was told not to take formula to the hospital because they had some, what they don’t tell you is that you need to sign over your first born child and handover the blood of an albino virgin.

We all know the nutritional value of breast milk, the bond it creates and that when successful, it can do wonders for your mental health. Do you know what though, struggles aside – it’s not everybody.

As selfish as it may seem, I hated my nipples even being touched prior to children. I knew from the start I would struggle.

People say “it gets easier” and yes I am sure it does. They say “you should see a lactation consultant” and “have you had them checked for lip + tongue ties”. Well, after tongue tie corrects and various lactation consultants and the most supportive & helpful midwife ever – I still struggled. I would literally cringe and cry the moment they were crying for food because I knew what was to come.

Do what is right for you. People who had no problems with breastfeeding wouldn’t necessarily understand the struggle some others do, like me. I wanted to keep trying, I really did. Almost just to please others. I made the tough decision that I will always question and wonder if maybe I’d tried harder I could have made it work.

Reuben could see the damage it was doing, I would pump and get a minutes worth of blood first. I felt like a failure because I couldn’t do what was deemed to be the right thing for MY child.

I wish we as mothers didn’t feel so much to pressure to succeed based on what society deems ‘normal’ or ‘best’.

I wish formula wasn’t made to be such a big deal.

I wish I wasn’t made to feel the way I feel when feeding my child with a bottle (which may even contain breastmilk).

I wish that there was far more support for mothers from day one.

I wish that it was discussed more that it can be hard, that sometimes it’s not successful or it’s just not you as selfish as that may sound. Not that ‘it will get easier’ because for some people it doesn’t.

We all need to do our bit to break the cycle, to educate on the fact there is an alternative if that’s what you choose to do. It’s been made so taboo you get home with zero knowledge and then walk into the formula isle and think ‘fuck’ because you’re going into this blind. Us mothers go through enough stress and heartache, let’s try to make at least one aspect of new motherhood a little easier.

In my opinion, all Breastfeeding week has achieved is a heap more judgement than normal. Breastfeeding mother get to talk about their experience, and formula feeding mothers talk about their journey. Instead of celebrating the fact our children and healthy and fed. And here I am, adding to the mix.. Do you know what, both are hard but whatever you do is YOUR choice. It doesn’t matter which one is ‘scientifically’ best.

How I feed my child is none of your business.

Fed is best and I am fucking sick of hearing otherwise.

 

My OG. Bad boy ginge, our resident bobble head.

You made me a Mum.

If only I knew the things I know now.

I wasn’t sure if I’d have the capacity to love another like I love you, but the love you’ve shown towards Lily has made me realise that love never runs out, it only expands.

I’ve always been told that a mother has a special bond with her son, and you’ve shown me just how true this is.

You have taught me things about myself that I never knew existed. You made me find a strength within myself that I didn’t even know I had, a love I didn’t even know was possible.

The moment you were put in my arms, I was overwhelmed with emotions. So much love, and so much fear. I was so scared because this whole motherhood thing this was/is new to me.  I was so scared of not being a good Mum to you. I got post natal depression and I cried a lot. I would sit there and look at you, and cry. I was so scared that I was failing you because I wasn’t coping. The first few months were really difficult for me, coming to terms with such a big adjustment, my hormones were all over the place and I was discovering a new side of myself.

I hope that one day you will be proud of me and that you’re OK with me writing about you and your sister and how I am feeling. I have found a safe haven within this blog and people really love hearing about you and how you’re doing. It’s really helped me by helping others who were also struggling.

I was so afraid when Lily was born that you would become withdrawn. Sad and jealous of the attention I was giving your sister, but you’ve been amazing. You have been so welcoming and shown her so much love. You have such a kind heart and I know you’re going to do amazing things in your life.

We got some bad news this week and just having you around has made things a little easier to deal with. You have brought so much joy to our family. Seeing the bond you have with my Dad is something in itself. It literally brings a tear to my eye. You’re like his little shadow and it just fills my heart. Seeing you with my Grandad makes me so happy that he was able to get such joy from both you and your sister. I know Grandma would have been so smitten with you as your cheeky just like my Dad.

You’re an amazing wee boy Baxter with such a gentle soul. I sit here writing this with a tear rolling down my cheek. You are 2 next month and it has gone so fast. You’ve achieved so much and I know you’ll achieve so much more. I am sorry its not just you and me anymore kiddo, but I promise you that the love I have for you will never change. It will only grow. I promise we will have lots of Mummy & Baxxy time. We will go for secret ‘supermarket trips’ and eat chicken nuggets in the car and then dispose of the rubbish so Daddy and Lily will never know. I promise that I will make you proud. I will be the best damn Mum I can be to you and your sisters.

You’re going to go places B, I just know it.

Love you now, and forever xo

As if the 3 trimesters of pregnancy weren’t enough, there’s actually another one. Yes, the fourth trimester is an actual thing. Basically, it’s the idea that the first 3 months of life are very much an extension of life in the womb for baby.

In my opinion, the first 12 weeks with a newborn (see my survival tips here) are the most difficult. Hence why it’s been dubbed ‘the 4th trimester’. Nobody really tells you (warns you) or talks about it and I’m not really sure why. In the hospital they often tell you about the dreaded 2nd night, I’m pretty sure with Baxter we were even given a print out on what to expect. Constant feeding being the main thing and most babes don’t know their day from night in those early days (sometimes weeks).

I did some googling….

“Your baby’s fourth trimester starts from the moment he/she is born and lasts until he/she is three months old. The term is used to describe a period of great change and development in your newborn, as he/she adjusts to his/her new world outside your womb. You may find the term “trimester” odd, since your baby is already born.”

So there. It is a ‘thing’.

I’ve always told people that things get better after the first 12 weeks, they’re not so fresh, they respond (some what), they smile and are a lot less fragile and become more interactive each and every day.

Back to the whole ‘fourth trimester’ thing. Imagine what the life is like for you wee one tucked up inside your womb: tightly cocooned in a warm, dark, comforting place. Constantly hearing the safe sound of mums heartbeat. This is why they’re like koala’s once earthside. They take comfort in the sound of mum’s heartbeat and her smell. Mum’s chest is their safe place. Your baby will want to be held by you, and only you. Babywearing can help during this period to enable you to still go to the bathroom and do things that help you feel sane without being stuck under a newborn 24/7.

I look at the fourth trimester similar to the third trimester for many. You’re tired, your uncomfortable and many of us are anxious. Some of us still look like we’re pregnant, I know I did – just a lot more squishy!

Nobody warned me about the contractions after birth if you’re breastfeeding, your uterus contacts when you feed and it can take up to 12 weeks for it to return to is normal size. I found I bled more during those first few feeds too.

Don’t worry too much about creating bad habits during this time, you can’t spoil a newborn. They’re still too young to form bad habits.

The fourth trimester is an adjustment period for all, mums/dads & babies. I just wish there was more discussions surrounding it so we can align our expectations and not be so overwhelmed.

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