Sunday, 28 October 2012

These Bikkies are going straight to my...BOOBS!

Pinky McKay is onto an absolute winning idea with these lactation cookies. My breastfeeding ‘story’ with Mr.T is a long one, and like so many others, breastfeeding didn’t just happen as one magical moment for me. It took a lot of work, extra wakings, expressing and the list goes on. I was put on ‘motilium’ to help boost my supply, and while it did work, I would of loved to have a more natural alternative. I did come across lactation cookie recipes on the web, but as if I had the time or energy to make them, and furthermore, where in the heck was I going to get brewer’s yeast from? I live an hour and a half away from anything!
It's pretty easy to talk yourself into the fact they aren’t going to your hips – just your boobs, because they taste good. The other selling point to buying them and eating copious amounts is that they are full of all natural, organic ingredients. So there’s no nasties (like chocolate) that can pass through your breastmilk and make some babies unsettled.

So how do they work? Well, the brewer’s yeast is rich in Vitamin B and essential minerals. Other ingredients that have been known to boost supply are flaxseed and oats. There’s also some folic acid, Omega 3 and iron in there which we know is all full of goodness for you when pregnant or breastfeeding. 

I love how these come individually packaged. It does make it easier to stop at a couple, but also you don’t have to worry about them becoming stale and they are so easy to throw into your bag or nappy bag so you can dig into one while you’re out and about. 

They are so nice and soft in the centre and they taste GOOD. They kind of remind me of a softer ANZAC biscuit. There is a slight hint of the yeast in the taste, but it’s not unpleasant (and I don’t even drink beer!) I have DEFINTELY felt fuller in my boobs upon eating them, and being the sort of girl who notices a dip in my supply when i am extra tired or busy, they have definitely come in handy.

Pinky has really thought of everything, because you can SUBSCRIBE to have them delivered to your door! What a winning idea. For someone who comes from a rural country town, anything that is easily delivered gets winning points with me.

If you are looking to buy them however you can check out the stockists here. You can also buy them carton or subscribe to have a monthly supply delivered to your door from the website!

Not sure but would love a free sample? Pinky is onto that too! Just click here to get some.
This is vanilla flavour which I was lucky enough to try. They also come in orange and cinnamon flavour - Yum!

So, have you tried lactation cookies? Think you will try these ones? 

*I was sent this product to sample and review. All opinions honest and are my own.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Sleep Tip Saturday - What worked for us.

Once upon a time Mr.T used to wake once during the night for a feed. Just once. During that time though, he would sometimes be up screaming for 4-5 hours straight with wind pain prior to his bedtime.

Somewhere around the 3 and a half month mark, he slept less, less, less...until he was waking hourly. This continued for a few months and then he started sleeping for two hour stretches, and if I was EXTREMELY lucky, 3 hour stretches.

Since he was three and a half months old, I had not had longer than 3 consecutive hours of sleep and as he got heavier and heavier, I got more and more dismayed, stressed and well, exhausted from his lack of sleep. He wanted to be rocked every time he woke. EVERY time. In a rocking chair? No way. I had to be pacing the room. For months I have been pacing his room with tears running down my face and pins and needles in my shoulder blades.

Some of you have read my previous stories about Mr.T’s sleep, and if you want the backstory you can check it out. But I’m here to shout from the rooftops that we have found the solution. I mustered all my strength to give one more possible solution a go and it worked.

One of the things mentioned to me by Pinky McKay was an Osteopath. We had already tried Chiro, Naturopaths, Paediatricians, Sleep School and the list goes on. I was so sick of the constant disappointment. I was either told to let him scream hysterically, or that this naturopath concoction or that touch on the shoulder will definitely work. Only to come home and find nothing had changed.

I took the plunge to at least have a look online and I came across Lara’s site which had comprehensive information on the symptoms osteopathy in children can help. It began to play on my mind. Everything written there fit Mr.T perfectly – the colic, the sleeplessness, the constipation, the fact I had a fast birth and so much more. I decided this was it. The final curtain. And off we went.

The first session we went there was absolutely no change. I was told to expect this so that was alright. I tried to ignore the fact that I was driving 2 hours each way for these sessions. If it was going to be the final curtain I’d better see it through.

Immediately after the second session he started to sleep 3 hours or so and by the third night he was sleeping 5-6 hour stretches. I couldn’t believe it. I kept waking and looking at the time in shock. And the best part was, when he did wake, all I had to do was give him a quick feed and he was back asleep. Overall he is calmer, more rested and SLEEPING.

He is still waking sometimes. He's teething and that's OK. For me, one or two brief wakes a night are bliss. When you've been up and out of your bed 5 times a night for months on end, once or twice is nothing. (And yes, I even tried co-sleeping)

So why did this work for us and could it work for you?
* Osteopathy can help babies which were born by a very fast, or very slow birth. This can cause a lot of pressure on a baby’s head. Some babies will bounce back from that, and some won’t. In our case, 2 hours of pushing a 9 pound 4 baby was a bit on the fast side. She found a lot of tightness around his head and neck.

* Constipation – I’ve been told over and over this was a dairy intolerance etc. But apparently often what happens in the head is mirrored in the belly. Osteopathy can relieve that as it also helps babies generally relax (I think my little guy has pooped during each session)

* Feeding problems – Yes, we had those too. I couldn’t get Mr.T to latch and when he did, he only fed on one side and would scream on the other. I was told a chiro might be the answer. It wasn’t.

There’s a lot more Osteopathy helps with, and if you click on the link and scroll down to Osteopathy and Children you can get some more information.

For the record, on the third session she asked me how things were going and I bawled my eyes out because they are going so darn well.

Have you got a non-sleeper and could this be your answer? I hope so!

*This is not a sponsored post/review. Just me sharing our discoveries about our little man's sleep.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

My update regarding the Digital Parent's Conference - 2013

A little while ago, I wrote about my bid to get to the Digital Parent's Conference in Sydney which will be held on the 20th of March for 2 days.

I am so thrilled to announce that a major parenting website, The Bub Hub is sponsoring me by providing my ticket to the event. The Bub Hub is visited by more than 640,000 unique viewers every month! I've been so lucky to be writing a regular Blog on their site and can't wait to represent them and meet those behind the site in person!

I'm still looking for other sponsors. My husband is going to have to join me so he can babysit Mr.T  and I'm still in need of flights and accommodation.

I haven't put together packages. I want to cater for businesses in a personal and meaningful way and shape the sponsorship based on the business and my readers. If you do choose to sponsor me, however, I will do my utmost best to promote your brand/business through my Blog and social media platforms in any way you and I agree upon and that fits in with the Digital Parents Guidlines.

The Digital Parent's Conference is the biggest social media event that caters for mums, parents and personal blogging communities. It's a great opportunity to get your brand/business noticed!

So if you think you might be interested, or know someone who might me, don't hesitate to drop me a line for more information! You can email me at

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

My first year as a Mum - What I would tell my friends

It's nearly my little man's first birthday and what a year it has been. Out of all my friends I was the first to have a baby.

I was never one of those people who was 'excited' to have a baby. I had never changed a nappy, never cared for a newborn and the thought of going to visit other people with a newborn made me so nervous because I dreaded the time when they would say "Would you like to have a hold?" and I never wanted to for fear of snapping this precious, fragile little bundle in half. But I would obediently say yes and then end up looking completely awkward, with my arm sitting at too much of a right-angle. I'd count the minutes in my head and then say "Ok, someone else's turn now. Who would like a hold?"

Now I've had a year's experiences and I can change a nappy like no other, I LOVE holding newborns and I can't wait to hold my new nephew when he enters the world in January and the thought of having another baby (eventually) brings a warmth in my heart.

I know one day, my friends will have babies too. And I want to give them the best words possible. I couldn't seek those words from my friends but luckily I had my two sister-in-laws to call upon and they were more than happy to lend an ear. There is so much unwanted advice you get too, and it doesn't have to be spoken - Because you receive it through way too much Googling  internet forums and social media.

I'm not an expert. But sometimes I think motherhood is still some 'best kept secret' and if I was ever going to impart some 'wisdom' I want it to be the best I can give and I want my friends to be happy and live a world of Baby Bliss! Here's what I have to tell them:

Your world will be better because of this baby. Whenever someone tells you 'it's hard work having a baby' dismiss it. It's not work. It's hard at times. But it's not a job. And if it were one, it would be one you will do with more passion, love and determination than any other job in the world.

Don't Google too much! I spent so much time on Google and forums that I thought my son had developed terrible 'sleep habits' and it was all my fault. I spent so much time trying to do things like 'put him down sleepy but awake' or the classic 'pick up, put down' rubbish for his naps that I started to feel like a failure, time and time again.

DO what comes natural - and don't listen to anyone that tells you otherwise! Want to cuddle your baby while he/she sleeps? Do it! Want to breastfeed them to sleep? Do it! Want to hold your baby until they fall asleep? Do it! It will NOT give them bad habits! They are babies. They don't want you, they need you. I've never seen an animal in the wild walk away from their baby lest they form a 'bad habit' of sucking at a nipple while sleeping or being cuddled to sleep. Human babies need the same kind of nurture from their mothers. And if you want to try some sleep techniques - then do so. But at no point should you compromise your stress/emotional levels or that of your baby's. If it doesn't work, don't push it.

Giving birth is amazing - Yes, it hurts and everyone's experiences are so varied. But no matter what - when you have a baby at the end of the experience, whatever may happen will melt away and it will all be worth it. You will be in awe of just what your body can create.

Don't do things to please people - If you're too tired to go out, or you don't want visitors. Tell them so. Put yourself first and don't get sucked into the 'obligations'. You have one thing in the world to focus on at the moment and it's your family and your body. Do what you need to do to get rest.

Let your husband/partner in - You might need to ask them to do specific things. It's not because they don't want to help. It's just because they're not sure what they can do. Watching your partner bond with your baby is equally as beautiful as bonding with them yourself.

Doctors won't always have the answers - We've seen doctors, paediatricians and naturopaths. Finally our solution to our baby's sleep was an osteopath. If your heart tells you something isn't right, keep seeking the answer. Eventually it will come.

Emotions will run high - I cried everyday for nearly the first two months of my little man's life. Sometimes it was because I was tired, happy or helpless. And sometimes I had no idea why I was crying. Your hormones go a little crazy. Just go with it, and do what makes you feel better. Eat chocolate, have a sleep, watch trashy TV. You just gave birth. You deserve it.

You will become a new person and you will have a family. You do not need to fear having a little body relying on you for everything, because before you know it, you will be relying on them too. You will come to rely on them being there everyday to give you beautiful smiles, cuddles, kisses and love. And nothing in the world can compare.

I can't wait until my closest friends have babies for me to kiss, cuddle and love to bits! What would you tell your friends?

The Magic of LeapFrog's Touch Learning Bus (+Giveaway!)

This giveaway has ended! Thanks so much to those who entered! The winners are...

Yvette Bowyer

Congratulations! Please contact me via Facebook or email ladies! If you missed out don't forget the exciting 12 days of Christmas Giveaways starts THIS Monday 12/11!

*The winners were chosen using and screenshots saved.

I am seriously getting addicted to LeapFrog’s products. When they come to the door I’m like the giddy kid who is just about to open a Christmas present – EVERY TIME.

The first toys we had come to us were the LapPup and the Musical Counting Pal. The LapPup is growing to be Mr.T’s favourite toy and I continue to discover new things that are so great about it. He pushes the buttons and rocks back and forth to the music. It is so light and compact, Scout the Pup now comes with us everywhere!

The new Touch Magic range by LeapFrog is so darn clever. I couldn’t wait to see Mr.T have a play as well as do some of my own investigating as to the educational benefits of the range.

And so came the Touch Magic Learning Bus! I loved seeing Mr.T’s face as he had his first play with it...

What I love most

** I love how beautifully flat it is – no chunky buttons that are hard to press or push down on. The entire toy is slim too, which makes it so easy to take anywhere.

** The touch technology is fantastic! It incorporates the latest technology at such a great price (RRP $39.95). Perfect if you want your little ones to get engaged without the use of your precious and expensive Ipad or Iphone. The size of it makes it perfect for little fingers to touch the right spots too.

**It has two types of volume control and the switch is on the back away from the child’s reach.

**It does so much – With more than 40 touch spots that respond in different ways depending on which of the 3 learning modes is selected. This is not a toy that a child will get bored with!

** I love the way it scaffolds the child’s learning by asking the question in a different way if the answer is incorrect and it doesn’t use words like “That’s not right” or “try again” but rather, it asks in a different way and then when the child does get it right, it repeats the correct answer, reinforcing it in the child’s mind. Too clever!

The Touch Magic Learning Bus is aimed at 2 years+. My little man still loved touching the interface and rocking to the music (his latest trick) and he is listening to it when it plays the alphabet song and repeats letters and sounds. All which will help his learning! But I think it would be more perfectly suited for the age it is aimed for. It won’t be long before Mr.T is gaining so much from the magic that is the Touch Magic Learning Bus.

I loved the Touch Magic Learning Bus so much that Leapfrog is giving TWO away to School of Mum readers! Entering is Easy!

1. Go to Leapfrog and follow the 'shop by toy links' then COMMENT below – Tell us some of your favourite LeapFrog products you find.

2. LIKE School of Mum 

3. SHARE this post on Facebook or Twitter with your friends – By Clicking Share below and either Facebook or Twitter. It helps if you tag School of Mum in your entry.

Too easy! The winner will be someone who has done all of the above and will be randomly chosen! So get entering. Christmas is just around the corner!

Here’s the fine print:
* Entry is open to Australian folk only (sorry!)
* Winner will be posted on School of Mum’s Blog only due to Facebook restrictions.
* One entry per person
* A valid email must be provided in the comment so we can contact you if you are a winner.
* Entries close midnight 8thh November, 2012
* Winner has 5 days to respond before another is chosen. 
* The product will be posted by LeapFrog and is not the responsibility of School of Mum

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Eating My Colourful Veggies and Fruit!

Today is the launch of a fantastic program which I am thrilled to be able to tell you about. It’s the 'Eating My Colourful Vegies and Fruit' program and it is launching in 600 childcare centres and 10 primary schools across the country this month. The aim of this program is to encourage toddlers and primary aged children to eat a rainbow of vegetables and fruit.

The program is being launched in conjunction with Australian Avocados as well as nutrition and education experts Shelley Woodrow and Nadine McCrea. It is an initiative that uses development-based, food exploration activities to help establish good eating habits for life.

Resource Kits will be sent to centres and schools along with a tray of fresh avocados (yum!) to help kick-start a range of activities to encourage children to eat a rainbow of fruit and vegetables! The activities will encourage children to use their senses to discover new flavours and textures. Of course they will also incorporate literacy, science skills and more!

Now, I consider myself a pretty knowledgeable lady when it comes to food. I love to cook. I like to explore fresh ingredients and spices and herbs. I think I know what’s good and what's not when it comes to food. But even I was surprised to read some of the findings by nutritionist and chef Zoe Bingley-Pullin. Here’s some of them that I thought need serious consideration and some tips to go along with them!
Infographic by School of Mum
Source: Australian Avocadoes Media Release, 2012 – Analysis looked at three options within each category.

You all know I’m a big lover of working with food and getting children involved. The benefits are endless. There really is nothing more pivotal to educating children about food than to get them involved; tasting, smelling, creating. Children will never know where good food comes from if they keep seeing food in a packet or tin.

I’m going to be combining some of Zoe’s tips for fussy eaters, as well as her recipes over the coming weeks to hopefully inspire readers to making a conscious decision when choosing food for their toddlers as well as help you encourage your children to eat more fruit and vegetables. Fingers crossed there will be a guest post from Zoe too!

Here is my first attempt at one of Zoe's recipes: Funny Faces!

 A total success for us as you can see! Mr. T LOVED all the different colours and touching everything. The avocado was his favourite part!

For more information about the program be sure to check out the website and Australian Avocados also has a great Facebook page with tips and ideas for healthy eating!

Have you got some tactics for fussy eaters in your house? Share with me here! I'd love to hear them.

*Please note, I was given information about the program through a media release. This is not a sponsored or paid post. It is something I am passionate about and was keen to pass the information on to my readers!

Monday, 15 October 2012

The Ergo Carrier - Fulfilling the Dream

Before Mr.T was born, I dreamed of carrying him close, smelling his newborn smell, letting him sleep, feed, dream  - all while I was putting the washing on in the sun, going on shopping trips and perusing Sunday markets.

So off we went to the Baby Store, naively saying we wanted the best of the best and disregarding the cost. We bought some big, popular brand and I thought all my above dreams would come true. Instead we came home with this:

Ok, so it didn't quite look like that. But it had so many buckles and straps, it was a nightmare to put on, and take off. I persisted until one day I was trying to put it on without my husband’s help while on a shopping trip and I gave up – Mr.T was screaming, people were looking. The whole thing was rather embarrassing. It went back into the cupboard and stayed there.

A little while later I entertained the idea of purchasing a sling, but those hopes were dashed when I mentioned it to my Maternal Child Health Nurse who went on to tell me of a recent death of a baby due to the incorrect wearing of a sling. My husband heard that and completely ruled out the option of purchasing a sling. And with time, and too much money spent, I decided to put the dream to rest.

Then came my chat with Pinky McKay and when I told her about the endless carrying of my heavy, solid boy she told me that the Ergo was the best! She even used it herself with her grandkids. Intrigued, I went on to research and the first thing I noticed was how comfortable, safe and you guessed it, easy-to-use they looked! A conversation with ErgoBaby Australia was had and before I knew it, the beautiful 'Portofino' baby carrier was at my door.

I thought I would at least need my husband the first time I used it but I couldn’t wait. And I didn’t have to! I was able to get it adjusted all by myself. I was super proud! I was starting to see that my initial dreams could now become a reality – even if Mr.T was a little bit bigger now. Here are some of the adventures we’ve had with our Ergo so far...

Front position: I thought Mr.T wouldn’t like this too much but he loved it! When I went walking around our family farm with him and told my Dad just that he said – “Why wouldn’t he? He’s close to his mum, he’s comfortable and he can hear her heartbeat”. So true. I guess I thought because he was a bit bigger he may not enjoy it, but that was certainly not the case! He often falls asleep like this on me too, so I can’t wait to be able to walk around when we’re out and about and have him just fall asleep in there. No more tantrums in the pram!

And for the minor 'issues', there’s a solution: For starters, there’s a baby insert that goes in for newborns (SO getting this for the next bubs!) and as you can see he does like to munch on the strap but ErgoBaby have a solution for this too! Teething Pads! So really, how can one complain? They’ve got it all covered.

Back position: This was the favourite position for Mr.T. Once I got used to the fact that he was safe and I was hands-free, which is a strange feeling at first! I really started to notice how amazingly comfortable this position is. He loved being up there, slapping my back and laughing! And it really does free you up if you are out and about. No different to carrying a backpack really! Although of course you do need to be safe with your movements J
Hip position: This was of course, the most natural position to put Mr.T in. He pretty much lives on my hip. Surprisingly though, I don’t think we will be using this position much. He tended to bop around a bit too much for me and arch his back. Just a personal choice. It may work well with a bubs that’s just that little bit smaller.

The benefits of baby wearing is phenomenal. I generally thought, yes it’s good for me, and good for bubs because he feels safe and secure, but research told me it was so much more! Here’s a few facts that hit home for me from Babes in Arms.

Infographic by School of Mum: Facts from Babes in Arms

So, if you’re looking for a carrier that’s going to last for ages, be comfortable and safe to use I would highly recommend the ErgoBaby Carrier. I know I won’t be going back!

You can check out mine and the latest designs here

Did/do you carry your bubs? What are the benefits for you?

*I was sent the ErgoBaby Carrier to review, however this is an honest and objective review. All opinions are genuine and my own.

Friday, 12 October 2012

My Bid to Make it to the 2013 Digital Parents Conference

I’ve discovered something about myself recently. It’s probably not a revelation for my readers but here it is – I’m loving blogging. In fact, I don’t even really know how I got myself started but it just happened and, not to be all full of myself or anything, but the Blog, businesses involved and the lovely readers seem to be growing at a rapid rate. What started off as a bit of fun, and a way to get my brain into gear again – (so that it doesn’t turn into a mushy space that only thinks about sleep and poo) has really got me motivated and excited about a new avenue in my life and new opportunities.

I’ve been watching people on Twitter, Facebook and beyond at the ProBlogger Conference in Melbourne with envy. And now I’m looking into the next big thing coming up and it’s the Digital Parent’s Conference in Sydney.

It’s on the 20th of March (157 days away) for 2 days. It is an amazing opportunity to learn new things about the blogosphere and network with businesses and bloggers. It is the biggest social media event that caters for mums, parents and personal blogging communities.

Here is the roadblock: It’s $350. That’s not including flight costs and accommodation. It might not seem like much but really, I’m not making much (if anything) from Blogging yet. And we’ve just built a new home, one wage, etc etc. You know how it is.

So if you’re a loyal reader or a business or brand and want to donate, or even better yet, sponsor my whole trip then I would be ever so grateful. Businesses/brands, I will wear your t-shirts, talk your talk and walk your walk at the Conference if you sponsored me. I would blog, tweet, Facebook you for a month before, during and after the event. I’ll pretty much do anything within the rules – I just want to get there.

As for readers – I’ll keep doing what I do, and as my networking gets bigger, so too will the Blog, the giveaways, the free printables and so much more. I have big dreams for the Blog. Let me tell you.

So I don’t want to call this begging, or a plea. It’s none of that. It’s just my bid to you. Letting you know where I’m at and where I want to go with School of Mum. If you want to help me you can email me at or comment below and I’ll be in touch. Thanks!

Angela East
@School of Mum

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Lullaby Creations - Personalised Santa Sack Giveaway!

This giveaway has ended! Congratulations to Narelle Rock! Thank-you to all those who entered and thanks to Lullaby Creations for such a fantastic giveaway!

**The winner was chosen using and a screenshot saved.

I love representing small businesses and I’ve been lucky enough to work with Renee at Lullaby Creations.

Lullaby Creations provides gorgeous, handmade décor for a child’s room or nursery, including coordinating sets like this:

Love the uniqueness of her products!

Renee has a child with a disability and found herself in a position where she needed to earn an income that allowed her the flexibility to be at home and care for her little one. She is clearly a natural talent when it comes to sewing and has also studied Art and Graphic design. She put all of this together to create her business.

I was given the opportunity to try out one of Renee’s favourite current creations – A personalised Santa Sack! (and there’s one to giveaway!) The thing I noticed straight away is the quality of fabric. It seemed so thick and durable. This is not one of those cheap sacks that will wear over time, or rip after a few uses of bulky material. It’s built to last!


And Renee tells me it’s not just the sacks that are of high quality. She uses a polyester wadding with all quilts and the wadding is thermally bonded to hold its shape without the use of chemicals and adhesives and treated with Ultra-Fresh for lasting protection against bacteria, dust mites, fungi, mildew and odour. The paint she uses is non toxic and any creatures are double stitched for extra strength and safety. Check out her page for more gorgeous creations. I couldn't do the Santa Sack justice and fill it up but check out how awesome they look!

You can find Renee at the Williamstown Craft Market on the third Sunday of every month and also occasionally at the Gisborne Market in Victoria. You can also of course find her on Facebook as well.


One lucky person could WIN their own personalised Santa Sack – pictured here. All you need to do is:

1. COMMENT below – Tell us what letter you would have Lullaby Creations put on your sack and don’t forget to include your name and email.

3. SHARE this post on Facebook or Twitter with your friends – By Clicking Share below and either Facebook or Twitter. It helps if you tag us in your entry too.

Too easy! The winner will be someone who has done all of the above and will be randomly chosen! So get entering. Christmas is just around the corner!

Here’s the fine print:
* Entry is open to Australian folk only (sorry!)
* Winner will be posted on School of Mum’s Blog only due to Facebook restrictions.
* One entry per person
* A valid email must be provided in the comment so we can contact you if you are a winner.
* Entries close midnight 24th October, 2012
* Winner has 5 days to respond before another is chosen. 
* The Santa Sack will be posted by Lullaby Creations and is not the responsibility of School of Mum

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Baby Love - Baby Safe.

There was one sentence that went through my head a nanosecond before I heard the terrifying sounds of metal crushing against metal, my husband yelling and my baby screaming – “That car is going to hit us and it’s going to hit the side my baby is on”

Precious life.
I looked over to see my husband in shock but OK and I leapt out of the car instantly. I knew I was screaming in hysteria “My baby! My baby!” but my own voice sounded distant, as if I wasn’t of my own body. I opened the car door to find my two month old, crying his little heart out. I immediately took him out of the car seat, put him to my chest and covered him against the rain. I repeated “You’re ok, you’re ok, you’re ok...” I was so grateful to hear his crying, to know he was breathing and the air was filling his lungs. My husband seeing we were alright, went to check on the passengers in the other car and I went back into our own vehicle, out of the rain, where I rocked my baby against me so he could feel my warmth and continued to repeat my mantra until he fell asleep in my arms. My tears were flowing an endless stream of relief that everyone was safe.

It wasn’t long before I found a police officer at my car door. He asked me a few questions. The first he asked me was whether my baby was in my lap when the accident happened. I looked at him, flabbergasted. I told him there was no way that this was the case. He said when he saw me with the baby in my arms he just thought he should check.

Not long after we were lead into an ambulance. My beautiful boy woke and began to smile and coo at the paramedic. My tears of relief swept through my bones as I was told he was alright. Then, the question again:  “Was he in my arms at the time of the accident?” I shook my head in disbelief that I was being asked this again. Then we went home and I got the chance to reflect on that very question.

How many times had I considered the temptation of breastfeeding my baby while my husband drives on our long trips? Living in Country Victoria, at least an hour and a half away from anywhere with a colicky baby that doesn’t travel too well makes those hour and a half trips triple in time. As we stop, feed, stop, feed. Thankfully I have a husband who goes by the books when it comes to safety – while I entertained the thoughts of feeding while we were driving, I never mentioned it out loud. I knew it was not an option.

But what if my husband wasn’t there? What if it was someone else I was taking the trip with who was  a bit more laid-back with safety? Would I have taken the risk? I wondered. We were lucky. Nobody was hurt in our case. Our baby was restrained correctly in a baby capsule. We had our car seat fitted by an accredited professional. After the accident we bought a new car seat and had it fitted again.

Did you know that studies have shown that almost 70% of all children are restrained incorrectly? And that children are approximately 37% safer when seated in the back seat? That is an astonishing statistic. Considering that *more children die from injury than of cancer, asthma and infectious diseases combined? Each year, approximately 250 Australian children are killed and 58,000 hospitalised by unintentional injuries.

It’s horrific to say it. But it’s the cold, hard facts. And when we think of those precious lives, those beautiful hearts of innocence, but most of all, when we know that we, as adults are responsible for children’s safety, how can we not take every measure to protect them. Because all it takes is a split second, a turn away, or a temptation to make life easier in the short-term which could result in a terrible injury or even worse, a loss.

So, I urge you to take action. Make it a...


Check out your car seat/s today. Are they safe? Have they been fitted by a professional? And if it’s something you said you would ‘get around to’ then do it and do it now, because you never know what’s around the corner. We sure didn’t.

For more information on the selection and use of restraints check out Kidsafe NSW’s Seat Me Safely program.

And you can go one step further and head to to celebrate National KidSafe Day. There’s some great activities for adults and children alike being run across the country. Head to the site for more details.

∗ Sourced from Australia's Health 2008, AIHW

I am participating in the National Kidsafe Day Bloggers Competition to support and promote child safety, along with the added bonus of chances to win prizes. All opinions are my own and not those of Kidsafe. To find out more or to enter the competition, please visit

Friday, 5 October 2012

Sleep Tips Saturday

Who am I to give sleep tips right? My kid is a terrible sleeper. And we've gotten, well, not very far really...not yet anyway. But what I do know, is that sleep is such a massive topic among parents. We are the walking sleepless a lot of the time. It can divide us, unite us, destroy us. Maybe it’s one of those things or maybe it’s all of the above at various times of the day. You can take your pick.

Sleep Tips Saturday is going to be a short Blog post each week that may highlight a gentle sleeping solution – maybe I found it online, or from talking to someone or maybe it was suggested to me by the infamous Pinky McKay (I’ve been chatting to her – so lucky!) Sometimes it will be blog posts, inspiration, words of encouragement or a cool product.

Either way Sleep Tips Saturday will hopefully be a help, or just a forum for sleepless parents to unite and share experiences. It beats those other two. For everything suggested they will work for some, and not others. That’s the beauty of babies I guess. Such individual little beings.

My first resource I have discovered is thanks to the delightful Pinky McKay.

My little guy has been sleeping to the sound of white noise (train tracks) on my phone app for ages. It worked well as a newborn. As soon as we played it he would instantly settle. I didn’t even think of changing it. In my head it was one thing we knew worked so we kept doing it. I had even learnt to drown out the annoying train track sound by my ear on the baby monitor. Pinky suggested we try downloading Music for Dreaming on ITunes. She said it would be better for baby and for you. I didn’t really see how it would work for me. I was so used to the train tracks I didn’t really notice.

But oh my God I did notice! When I go in his room and pick him up to rock him for the umpteenth time I now close my eyes and am surrounded by this beautiful melody. The tracks are gorgeous, lulling and calming. I have it playing on a CD on loop all night – down low. I’m so much calmer now when I’m rocking him and while I’m still tired...I haven’t been thinking “I can’t wait to put him down so I can go back to bed” I’ve just been going with it, swaying to the music. Waiting for a few tracks to end before I put him down.

A couple of other plusses of these tracks are: It’s Australian and done in collaboration with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and it’s really accessible. You can hear samples here:

What have you used to lull your baby to sleep? Love if you share with me and other readers here!

PS. This is NOT a sponsored post! I just loved this and am sharing it with you all 

Thursday, 4 October 2012

The Ultimate Playdough!

Ok, playdough. It's a hot topic. There is so many recipes online it's ridiculous. From playdough with cream of tartar to without, to edible playdough that to me just sounds like a weird ball of sweet stuff, and not actually playdough.

So I had a question recently and it was if I knew a good playdough recipe. I put it to my lovely readers and many, many said the one on the side of the McKenzie's Cream of Tartar container. I also got word that some recipes contained jelly. I was curious. I made, we played, I have attempted to clean up. Here is how it went :-)

McKenzie's Playdough Recipe - The ULTIMATE

That recipe was beyond my expectations. It came out perfectly. The Playdough is no different to bought Playdough - completely smooth, not oily or sticky. I didn't need to adjust it one bit. I've heard it lasts for months too, so we shall see. But to me this is the ULTIMATE. I don't think you can get playdough any better. I've emailed McKenzie's Foods and they've kindly offered a printable recipe for School of Mum readers. As soon as it arrives I'll pop it in the free printables section of the Blog.

I checked some jelly recipes online and decided to experiment. I made a second batch of McKenzie's Playdough recipe but tried with half the salt and added jelly crystals. I found it to be VERY sticky. I guess that's the melted jelly crystals at work. It wasn't a total fail though. I added some flour and kneaded it out a bit and it turned out ok. Not sure how long it will keep, but man it smelt delicious! Blue Heaven flavoured playdough. Mmmmmm :-) I then tried to mix some food colouring with the blue heaven and the results weren't great. But if you need brown to make some roads or dirt it's pretty good.

So I was pretty hesitant giving my 11 month old playdough to play with that's packed with so much salt. He took one lick and...

He never tried to eat it again! 

After that he decided it was OK and we had some fun.


So I think a version without salt would be nice but I really think salt is the key to making it the right texture and consistency. If anyone knows a no-salt version I'd love to give it a whirl, but I'm pretty happy he experimented and decided this wasn't a food pretty quick smart. We had a great play! The teacher in me has to tell you the benefits of playdough are endless, including:

*Fine motor development
*Science and Experimentation

The list is endless. In fact I could write a separate post about the benefits of playdough and activities that can be specifically done with playdough. Maybe I will another time.

In the meantime do you have an awesome playdough recipe you would like to share? Or maybe you're going to try this one. Let me know. Love to hear comments from readers, always :-)

And PS. Anyone have any cleaning up tips? That saucepan isn't looking good!

Monday, 1 October 2012

The His and Hers Series - Part 3: The Birth


The season had gotten off with a bang.  The team had had a pretty short preseason but they had spent a lot of time in the research department.  Word had come through from the coach’s box that the team had gotten over the line and were looking forward to an exciting season.  We were now in the grand final.  We had burst through the banner of the labour ward, led by our wonderful midwives, and Ange was now very much in the game... and I was very much on the side wondering what could I do?  What do I say?  Where should I stand?

That didn’t last too long as I soon just got in there and played my supporting role.  Just said what came naturally, stood by Ange’s side, held her hand and provided a shoulder to lean on.  This all went well until the final quarter when things started getting really exciting.  The obstetrician had re-entered the fray, the nightie was off and it was game on. 

There was a lot of cheering “C’mon! You can do it! Well done! Keep going!”... and then a walnut appeared!  Honestly, my first thought when I saw ‘the walnut’ was “How is that going to smooth out?”  Judging by the roar that was coming from Ange I don’t think she was thinking the same thing.
Now from my vantage point I could see everything!  I’m not going to go into details but the correlation between the lightest touch of the obstetrician and Ange’s blood curdling yell was, for lack of a better word, interesting.

Well the siren was nearing, and Ange was preparing for her final push into the forward line.  The nurses and obstetrician were all there ready for the game to come their way and the cheer squad was doing his best to be there and supportive but also making sure that he wasn’t in the way. 

Mr.T came along and yes, he was the most beautiful bundle in the world.  He went straight to his mother for a cuddle and I cut him free.  He was also a jolly big beautiful bundle of joy, not as big as his old man, but 9 pound 4 is nothing to sneeze at.  Then came the placenta.  I don’t think Ange got the chance to see it but to even see the nurses being surprised at the size of this thing and saying “Is that 4 veins?” (rather than the usual 3) brought a smile to my face which said “That’s my boy”.


I have been dreading writing this part of the ‘his’ and ‘hers’ series for obvious reasons! But also, I think it’s just going to be full of pauses and ellipses’ (...) because it was SUCH a blur. It was a total of 3 and a half hours from the labour ward to the birth.

I had an enormous fear of giving birth. I was NOT the girl watching the video in Biology thinking this was a beautiful and natural experience. I was the girl exclaiming “Ewww! That is so gross! OMG!”  I was so self conscious. I couldn’t imagine getting that exposed. I knew it was going to hurt, but I told myself I would try to stay dignified, clothed and under control. Ha! Here is how it went:

I remember kneeling on the ground with the gym ball in front of me and sucking on the gas like my life depended on it...

I remember the obstetrician telling me to, ‘Get off that gas! You might have hours and hours to go’. Then she got me up on the bed and decided maybe that was an incorrect assumption as I was already 7cm dilated...

Then I just remember...pain...and learning when to push...

I remember my dignity going out the window...A nightie? No thanks, just get everything off!

I remember being asked, “Do you want a mirror?” Hell no! I was too scared it would be like when you’re a kid and you scrape your knee. It hurts. Then you look at it and all of a sudden it hurts triple the amount.

I remember the voices of support of my husband and my obstetrician. I remember myself asking for pain relief and being told I couldn’t have it because it was too late...

The burning - lots and lots of burning, and some kind of crazy dialogue in my head telling me to end this and end it now...

And then, the best part.  A baby in my arms. I was still dazed and the nurse said “Look! Look! It’s your baby!” I looked down and there he was. Every cliché was true. All of them including:
My heart melted
All the pain washed away
Nothing in the world could change that moment
He was perfect
All the natural instincts took over

I remember asking how big he was. My obstetrician looked at me and said “BIG” And big he was. Mr T. Entered the world at 8:58pm on November 4th, 2011 weighing a whopping 9 pound 4.

I can’t compare the labour as it was my first but I am glad it was fast. And I’m proud to say I did it drug-free apart from the gas. However, if I knew that he was going to be that big, I think I would of been asking for the drugs before I even walked through the doors of the hospital due to the sheer terror of the whole thing! He was, IS beautiful and I wouldn’t have him any other way and just to end with another one of those true clichés. All the pain was WORTH it. Every bit.

So...what did you think of this part? Any comments? Got any of your own crazy birth stats? Share them with us!

Linking up with Jess on IBOT!