Meet Courtney, a very proud and happy wife to Zared. Together they have two gorgeous children, Indigo who is 4 and Beckett who is 6 months. Courtney and Zared got married in August 2019 and live in the beautiful seaside town of Yeppoon, in the very and mostly sunny, Central Queensland.
What were your first thoughts and feelings after your baby was born?
After birthing Indigo (a quick 2-hour labour), all I remember was lying there with a baby on my chest wondering how on earth am I going to look after her and do everything correctly. It was also like a sigh of relief that I birthed and held a healthy baby without any complications, so I was very thankful for that. It was then afterwards when we were moved into the ward where I began to get emotional. Indigo was born just after midnight and being the public system, they shifted out the partners very quickly and they were to return in the morning for visiting hours. Tears just kept flowing, I was in complete shock that Zared was going back home (45 minutes away) after we just had our daughter. To be honest, the weeks following the birth, I never got the feeling of connection with Indigo, I felt immense pressure to breast feed (she was fully formula fed from day 3) and I never fully felt a bond or mentally well until she was around 6 months of age. I was never diagnosed with post-natal depression but I definitely had signs and symptoms of it, although I had a lot of support around me to help out daily.
When Beckett was birthed, I had a different sense of feeling being second time around. I felt more empowered, I had done a lot of research and readings with birth, breastfeeding, transitioning to two children etc. so I felt I had this more under control. With Beckett I also didn't exclusively breastfeed, and we weaned off the breast at 5 weeks old as he was constantly hungry and had a few other issues going on at the time. I was always stressed and felt I was useless and couldn't do what is meant to be so natural to any mother. I found the newborn days exhausting, emotional and like I was a walking zombie! I was a lot more different second time around and found a bond a lot earlier on, I would say almost instantly and just felt like smothering him in kisses and cuddles constantly.
Did you settle quickly into a routine with your baby? If so, do you think it worked well for you?
Routine...something I am still trying to get Beckett into now at 6 months old haha. Definitely with Indigo we had routine quite instantly. She would feed every 3-4 hourly, bath time was done at a certain time, read her a book, put her to bed. I definitely found it worked well for Indigo. With Beckett, we have tried to establish a routine, but it hasn't quite worked out for us yet. We find it easier to go with the flow and we just read Beckett's cues and signs. This is definitely something I want to work on now with him, so we will be pushing more of a routine soon enough...to hopefully get some more sleep at night!!
How soon after your baby was born did you begin to swaddle your baby?
We have swaddled instantly with both babies. We found Indigo would wriggle out of blanket swaddles and preferred her arms up rather than across or down beside her body, so we gave our LOVE TO DREAM SWADDLE UP™ a go on day 1 and she slept really well. We packed it in our hospital bag with Beckett and he was in his from birth.
How did you come to know about LOVE TO DREAM™?
I came across LOVE TO DREAM™ through Instagram actually. Back when I was pregnant with Indigo, I began finding so many amazing mummas and stalked like crazy to find brands of clothing, bedding, hats, shoes etc. and reading lots of reviews and Love To Dream™ was recommended for sleeping babes so we had to get one!
Do you feel like using the LOVE TO DREAM™ range of products has made a positive impact on you and your baby's sleep?
YES! We have absolutely loved it and found it has such a positive impact. We find it has made both our children feel safe, secure, and happy when using the SWADDLE UP™. Indigo was sleeping through from 10 weeks old and religiously had every sleep in hers. Beckett is still yet to sleep through but whenever we can tell he is tired or whingy, we place him in his SWADDLE UP™ and he is instantly settled. When placed in his cot in his SWADDLE UP™, he puts himself to sleep and will happily lie there to doze off without any other aid.
What is the one thing you wish you'd known before you became a parent?
It will now take you an extra 2-3 hours to get ready before leaving the house! Be organised the night before. And follow your own gut instincts.
Three words to describe life before parenthood and three to describe life after becoming a parent?
Before: Freedom, selfish, cocktails.
After: LOVE, coffee, overwhelming.
What is the one piece of advice you’d offer new parents or parents-to-be?
Take the time to find your own groove and to discover the new world or yourself and your baby. Both your worlds have completely changed and a journey you now must work out together. You have the power to say no to visitors in those early days so allow yourself the time to bond and flourish in your new role in parenthood but also be willing to accept help from others. I really loved having home cooked meals delivered or my mum coming to fold my laundry for me. The little things make a huge impact. And never feel ashamed or embarrassed to seek help or someone to talk to...and tears are very normal to express how you feel. Parenthood is such a rollercoaster of emotions, ride with them.
What are your top 5 essential items to have ready to go when baby arrives?
- LOVE TO DREAM SWADDLE UP™ of course!
- Hydrogel breast discs to soothe sore nipples and breasts (put them in the fridge before use, you'll thank me later).
- A good tinted facial moisturiser for a quick go-to on the time poor days.
- Prepped meals in the freezer for backup.
- A good quality swing/bouncer/rocker!