Home > Blog

Feather & Black Blog

Rachael Haydon

Easter Egg Hunt

Posted by Rachael Haydon, Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Easter Egg Hunt

It’s nearly Easter, so we’ve got a cracking Easter Egg Hunt running on our website. We’ve hidden seven golden eggs on seven of our pages. All you have to do is find one of our golden eggs to be in with a chance to win! 

Prizes

We have a luxury duck feather and down pillow to give away, plus either our Luxury Plain bed linen set - in a colour of your choice - or our snuggly soft Alien bed linen set or Explorer bed linen set. There are two prize bundles to be won by April 16th, so get hunting!

alien and explorer
Explorer and Alien bed linen

luxury and pillow
Luxury Plain bed linen in Rose, and duck feather and down pillow

Hint

Every day we’ll be giving you clues on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus to help you find an egg!


Terms and conditions

Choose from our Luxury Plain bed linen, in a colour of your choice or a child’s duvet set. There are two prizes in total to be won. In the unlikely situation that we do not have stock of your item, we will offer you an alternative range of the same value. Prize is not exchangeable for cash or other products.

Remember, sharing is caring! Share this with your friends and family so they have the chance to win as well.

Jen Stanbrook

Sleep deprived and coping

Posted by Jen Stanbrook, Wednesday, April 02, 2014

love chic living logo

Mum of two, Jen, shares her amazing story

At the time when my first daughter was born, I actually didn’t know you needed to ‘help’ a baby get to sleep. It sounds absolutely ridiculous to say it now, but I really was unaware that babies couldn’t get to sleep themselves. After all, if you’re tired, you fall asleep – it’s simple right? Of course it didn’t take long for me to realise that this is not the case when you are a new born baby. It was a harsh realisation and one that would shape my life for many years to come.

Jen and girls

I am a mum to two lovely girls. I would say that wouldn’t I! They are 9 and 7 now so I’d like to think that we’ve come through the sleep difficulties of the early years, but like anything with children, these childhood challenges never really go away. They simply change and develop with the child. 

The early days 

When my eldest daughter, Miss E came home from hospital 9 ½ years ago we were already advocates of the Baby Whisperer. Her methods are probably outdated now but at the time we were keen to establish a sleep routine as soon as we could. Miss E slept in a Moses basket in our bedroom at night, but in the evening we put the basket in the lounge and tried to encourage her to sleep. We were so naïve back then, yet had great faith in what we were doing and a huge amount of hope! She was tiny, but fed regularly and soon established a routine. I know not everyone will like to know that by 10 weeks old she was sleeping from her 11pm Dream Feed through to her 7am Morning Feed. It wasn’t every night of course, there were blips when she had a growth spurt but we’d pretty much cracked it at that point. And at that point we moved her into her own room. It worked well for us and for her.

baby in pram

The sleep deprivation had got to me though. I remember when Miss E was around 8 weeks old, sitting in a park with a friend, becoming very tearful. I wanted to go back to work. Being at home all day, every day with a new born was tougher than I’d imagined and I wanted my old life back. I’m convinced it was the lack of sleep, combined with the shock of my new life, which made me crave some normality. At the time, anything would have felt better than the world I was in. But, and this is key to remember, it passed. 

“The sleep deprivation had got to me”
 

A different story 

Fast forward 3 years and Miss R came along. Her home birth was calm and wonderful and we slept in our own bed the day she was born. Bliss. However, I think that was the last time I slept for months! Miss R was the polar opposite of Miss E when it came to sleeping and we were in for a rough ride.

Suffering with colic and just a general reluctance to sleep, Miss R was a challenge to say the least. I would rock her, I would cuddle her, and I would drive her around and walk the buggy until my legs were aching. But little seemed to help. I found I wasn’t coping very well at all.

Three months in and I was diagnosed with anxiety and was well on my way to post-natal depression. I took Prozac, tried to accept offers of help and lowered my expectations. Life should have been perfect with two healthy children, a lovely home and a great life, but instead things felt like they were falling apart. The way I coped was to talk to others. I found people that I could relate to, the ones who spoke about the reality of having two very young children, who told it as it was and didn’t sugar coat anything. I needed people to be real.

“The way I coped was to talk to others”
 

I also found an amazing Health Visitor who enrolled me on a Mothers Group where we could talk and be honest. It was supported by health professionals and dealt with a lot of the issues we face as new mums. With support I started to alter my preconceptions of what life should be like. It didn’t matter if the washing up wasn’t done, if the girls weren’t perfectly dressed and groomed, if I hadn’t vacuumed, as long as we got through the day in one piece with smiles and love, we’d done it. And gradually the days improved. Miss R still didn’t sleep brilliantly but I had adapted my expectations and we all started to relax a little.

sisters

Further down the line 

I think we all believe once we’re through those early days and months, maybe years, the sleep issues will disappear. I have to say, they do in the majority but there will always be little niggles that appear from time to time. There are the nightmares for example. As their world starts to broaden, their imagination can run riot at times, and this tends to show itself predominantly in nightmares. Miss R gets what we think are growing pains and has horrid leg pain deep in the middle of the night. Soothing her, administering Calpol and gently calming her back to sleep all takes time and seems to hit harder when you are used to a full night’s sleep.

toddler sleeping

Miss E has had a lot of problems with sleep as a school aged child. Mostly this centres on her inability to actually fall asleep. She has a very active brain, is very bright and really finds it hard to switch off. It took a few years but we eventually found she needed some melatonin to help her. Melatonin is the natural hormone we all produce to help us fall asleep. Miss E just doesn’t produce enough so takes extra in medicine form just before bed. It was a miracle. After years of being awake until 10pm, she was suddenly asleep at 7.30pm and she was a changed child as you can imagine. And we were changed parents.

It’s so hard watching your children, at whatever age, trying to get to sleep and not succeeding. As a parent we need to be able to fix this and make it right, so the relief we felt when Miss E finally got to sleep was huge. Finally we could relax. Well for a while at least!

Do your children suffer from nightmares? What sleep tips did you find worked for you? Leave your thoughts on the comments section!

 share on social

 jen_stanbrook

Rachael Haydon

Should your baby really sleep through the night?

Posted by Rachael Haydon, Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Mummy and babyFirst-time mum Felicity shares her experience and offers advice

One of the most prominent memories of Eric being a new born baby (alongside the shock of how much life changed and thinking he was the cutest, coolest baby I had ever met!) was the crushing, bewildering, fog of tiredness. 

One of the hardest parenting challenges I faced was the early sleep deprivation – I don’t think anything could have prepared me for how tired I would feel. Yet, at the same time, I had quite a lot of adrenaline – it was exciting, I was a bit worried and a bit scared.

I was warned, but I had never experienced anything like it before.  I was so tired that I felt like I was underwater the whole time.

 

“I was so tired that I felt like I was underwater the whole time”

We took it day by day and we survived. It did get easier. Below is our story.

At home we put Eric to sleep at night in a Moses basket on the floor right next to our bed. If you’re using a cot instead, make sure you buy a good quality, new mattress for baby. Having him right next to our bed made it easier when he woke up in the night.  I wanted to co-sleep but we were nervous, unsure, new parents and we weren’t sure if it was safe or whose advice to trust.

Noah Cot and mattress


“We were nervous, unsure, new parents”


When we first got home and were getting used to being parents, even if we did fall asleep at night the slightest noise, snuffle or squeak he made would wake us up. I often wouldn’t get to sleep for ages constantly checking on Eric just to make sure he was breathing! If I had another baby I’d definitely have the confidence to safely co-sleep.

Daddy and Eric

Shift work

To start with, Eric didn’t differentiate night from day at all and after the first week, when we got home, he started staying awake much more at night than in the day.  We read this was normal for babies, who in utero, typically sleep during the day when rocked and lulled by the movement of their mother. To help us get through the phase of him being so wakeful at nights, Alex and I used to do shifts. Doing shifts at night with Alex got us through, and just constantly reminding ourselves that it would pass and would get better.  

To help set Eric’s body clock we made sure it was dark(ish!) and quiet at night, and for daytime naps we made sure it was light and didn’t worry about making noise, and he gradually got used to sleeping more at night than in the day.

Coping with tiredness

Having Eric right beside the bed helped me sleep better. Not having to get up and go to another room to feed him or look after him when he cried meant I got more sleep, I could just stay in bed and go back to sleep right away. 

Sleeping Eric

Accepting help

I wish I had listened to the advice to rest more, sleep when baby sleeps and accept all offers of help.  If someone asks if there’s something they can do, let them do things to help you! Guests can make themselves (and you!) a cup of tea, or watch baby while you have a bath, or clean the bathroom for you – my best friend scrubbed my loo and I’ve never loved anyone more in my life! 

 

“I wish I had listened to the advice to rest more, sleep when baby sleeps and accept all offers of help”

  


Having had a baby, these are the things I know to offer for people (alongside offering to cook or bringing food!) as I know how much I would have appreciated it, but I was worried it was rude to accept help at the time.  It’s really not; it makes people happy to know they’ve helped you. 

Lessons learnt and advice

The only question anyone seems to ask you when you have a new baby is whether they’re sleeping at night yet or whether they are a ‘good’ sleeper. It’s understandable, as it’s an exhausting time and I’m sure it’s asked out of concern for the new parents, but it’s not especially helpful as it starts to feel like your baby should be sleeping through the night! 

moses basket

I wish I had had little naps during the day and rested more! We cooked batch meals in advance which we had in portions in the freezer to get us through. My Grandma sent me a fruit basket which was just the loveliest most thoughtful thing. I think keeping a focus on the fact that it was normal and that it would get better helped us to cope, as it meant I always had the strength of hope. 

The best piece of new mum sleep advice I was given was to lower my expectations.  

 “In time, babies do start to sleep longer stretches, and it will get easier”


When I lowered my expectations it helped me feel less stressed and worried, and to trust that Eric was fine and normal and that it would get better.  In time, babies do start to sleep longer stretches, but I found regaining sleep as Eric started to sleep longer stretches was gradual and took time. I remember the first night he slept through the night from 11pm to 7am waking up in the morning in a panic wondering if he was ok and why he hadn't woken up! 

My advice

Remember that it is normal for babies not to sleep through the night. Have faith in yourself that you can cope and survive. We are stronger than we think.  Sleep when baby sleeps, rest lots in the day, have the confidence to say no to overwhelming numbers of visitors and take up offers of help from friends and relatives.

The most important thing I can look back on and remember is that it does get easier – it’s why I stand by ‘this too shall pass’.

Share on social
Are you a new mum, or did you have a similar experience? Did you find this article helpful? Share this with your friends and followers so together we can raise awareness and support for new parents.

 

 Felicity's profile


 

x i