The 3 Key Steps for Creating a Solid Self Care Strategy

The 3 Key Steps for Creating a Solid Self Care Strategy

Guest post for Gold Coast Mum

By Eva Van Strijp

You’ve probably heard the saying: “You can’t fill another’s cup if yours is empty.” Well, it’s absolutely true. Parenting can be at the same time incredibly fulfilling and exhausting. It can be both rewarding, yet totally depleting.

This is why regular and consistent self care is vital for busy mothers. It helps to maintain focus and mindfulness. It helps to keep perspective and to practice gratitude. It’s not enough to just do something for yourself every now and again.

You really need to carve out time each day to fill your cup.

So let’s take a look at the 3 keys for creating a simple, practical and effective self care strategy.

1. Support

Communicate your needs to your family and friends and enlist their support.
Let them know that you want to improve your self care strategy (or create one!) and tell them why. Ask them to help you achieve a more balanced and positive lifestyle.

After a few days of seeing you implement some regular self care, they’ll notice you’re a happier, calmer, more energetic mother and they’ll be more than happy to help you maintain the new, more peaceful you!

2. Plan

Planning is the second key to your successful self care strategy. Perhaps you could create set days on which you do specific self care tasks.
For example, you could implement Pamper Friday. When Friday rolls around and the kids are happy playing, you might take yourself off to do some pampering style self care: painting nails, waxing legs, facial mask, foot soak, bath.
The reality is that visiting the salon for these things isn’t always practical, affordable or necessary, so we have to create the space and time for them without having to make it a logistical nightmare.

(Note that I have children old enough to hold the fort while I disappear for half an hour. If yours are still little, maybe hold your pamper sessions for when the kids are sleeping or you have someone to care for them.)

Another idea could be Book Tuesday, when you head outside with the kids and let them know that this is your special reading time now. They can play while you read. You’re all together, you’re all outside, but the kids will start to understand that this is a time for their own play. Mummy will come to play when she’s finished reading.

TIP: Have a go-to list that you can grab an idea from in a hurry. You don’t want to spend your free five minutes wondering what on earth to do with it.

3. Implement

You know… it can be a bit like all that New Year planning. We buy the gorgeous wall calendar and the desk planner, the pretty post-it notes and the lovely pens, but we don’t actually implement. We fail to follow through on the most crucial piece of the strategy.

Getting the support and creating the plan will mean nothing if you don’t take action.

So: implement, implement, implement. Regularly and consistently.

Don’t just do it for a few days and then stop. Do it every day for a set amount of time and stick to it.

It will be hard. Kids get sick, we get tired, dinner has to be cooked, the washing needs to be folded, someone has to buy the groceries, take the bin out, oversee homework… and every other minute detail of parenthood.

But this is crucial. Self care is really, really important. Remember: you can’t fill another’s cup if yours is empty.

If you think you need to work on your self care strategy, why not sign up for my free Self Care Adventure– you only need to commit 7 minutes for 7 days. You’ll be surprised at how fun, simple and rejuvenating it can be to commit to regular self care!

Eva Van Strijp

Eva Van Strijp is a mother of five, business owner and creator of Simple Life, Peaceful Home – the 8 week strategy guiding busy mothers through the process of creating and maintaining a simple, peaceful family home.

When Eva isn’t hanging out with her family or running a business, she’s eating chocolate, listening to podcasts or tending her veggie patch.

You can follow Eva’s journey through her Facebook page and Blog.

'Baby whisperer’ Tizzie Hall under fire for baby car safety practices

'Baby whisperer’ Tizzie Hall under fire for baby car safety practices

By Lauren – Gold Coast Mum

Tizzie Hall is at it again.

The self-titled baby whisperer who is known for a book that she wrote PRIOR to having children of her own that instructs parents on how to get their babies into strict feeding and sleeping routines (to the point that they may become so distressed that they may vomit?!), is now copping criticism for advocating potentially-unsafe car safety practices for babies.

Tizzie, whose expertise is "
based on years of my study and observation of how babies sleep" is under fire for spruiking merchandise available on her website that could possibly endanger babies if used in the way she suggests.

Before I delve into this, let’s just take you back to this moment.

Remember the day
Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge emerged from St. Mary's Hospital with their newborn son, Prince George, all snug in his car capsule, ready for the car trip home?

Well Wills and Kate were blasted via social media because the baby Prince did not appear to be strapped into his car seat correctly.
Observers noted that Prince George was still swaddled in the car seat – a big no-no as this prevents the shoulder straps from being placed around a baby’s arms correctly.

“As well, the straps weren't nearly tight enough to prevent the child from falling out. By most standards, the straps should be tight enough that only one or two fingers can fit between the child's chest and the straps,” CTV News noted.

So, with that in mind, you can imagine the shock and dismay experienced by Kidsafe - the Child Accident Prevention Foundation of Australia, an independent, non-profit, non-government charitable foundation - when they discovered Tizzie Hall's potentially-dangerous advice on her online store.

The important warning from Kidsafe Queensland.

A spokesperson from Kidsafe Queensland stressed via the foundation's Facebook page:
“Just seen [sic] VERY DISTURBING information on a website..."
"DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES wrap your baby like this in a swaddle or blanket and place in a child car seat or pram/stroller. Arms and legs MUST be sticking out of the harness straps. The Houdini strap is not recommended and is designed to break apart in a crash and therefore your baby could be ejected from the child car restraint or could jack knife out.

See the case of Qld baby Isobella who was ejected right out of the car because she was swaddled then placed in her baby safety capsule. She died at just 4 months of age. The parents simply did not know of the danger they were placing her in.”

Well respected baby guru, Pinky McKay, an International Board certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and best-selling author of Sleeping like a Baby, couldn’t contain her outrage, responding to Kidsafe’s Facebook post with:
Pinky McKay: shocking! Just chilling!”

The product listing on Tizzie Hall's online store advises parents to use the Houdini stop to 'safely wrap or swaddle your baby for car travel' despite the risks.

One social media user commented:
"Surely there has to be some law or safety guidelines that she is breaking giving this advice.
Money speaks louder than a child's safety and well being for that woman. Just so dangerous."

While another, also experiencing her concern, advised that Tizzie's use of the Houdini strap, in this manner - while a baby is swaddled and is not correctly fastened - has been a cause for concern in the past.

Tizzie Hall is both adored and reviled by parents for her controversial methods, with many opponents questioning her qualifications to be dishing such advice without appropriate certification/input from industry or government experts.

Tizzie Hall with her two sons. Pic: Pan MacMillan

Many new parents, in their sleep-deprived state, fall into the 'Tizzie spell' and follow her word like gospel.
This is where things can get dangerous.

Tizzie’s Facebook fan page appears to exist primarily for the purpose of directing people to her online store (which sells a variety of items from baby sleeping bags, blankets, swaddles, baths, swimwear and other baby items), more than actually offering any assistance.

The problem I, and many other parents, have with Tizzie, is that it's dangerous for her to display an apparent disregard for safety guidelines, in favour of possibly scoring sales, and therefore putting vulnerable new mums and their babies at risk.

When it comes to swaddles/swaddling:
Yes some babies may be more content when swaddled, but usually the motion experienced when driving in a car puts bubs to sleep which rules out the need for a swaddle anyway?
And once asleep, many babies may transfer inside in their capsule/ from their capsule to their safe sleeping space - cot or bassinet. And some don’t.
But you know what, if they're disturbed in the process, that’s could be a good thing as it's recommended that bubs spend no longer than two hours at a time in a car capsule as it can damage their spine.

If it’s cold for the travel time between indoors and the car, you can easily dress bubs in more layers, whilst still ensuring the safety harness is fastened correctly.

Swaddling devotees may also end up 'creating a rod for their own back' as you may have to ‘wean’ your bub off the swaddle eventually.
For example, some might start with letting bub have one arm out at a time, before going cold turkey.

Best advice: Don't swaddle babies when restraining them in a car seat/capsule. Ensure their arms and legs are exposed for the harness to be correctly fastened.

Tizzie's critics:
Tizzie reportedly started giving advice on baby rearing when she was 9 years old. One of her main qualifications is reportedly in baby-sitting.

Many despise the advice offered by Tizzie - who wrote her well-known book before she even had kids - that reportedly includes timing your baby’s feeds, ignoring their cries/protests at bed time to the point that they’re so distressed that they may vomit in their cot.

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t feel equipped with such a wealth of experience before having children (even after having my first) to write a book.
Babies are all so different and you can be the best baby-sitter/nanny/Aunty in the world, but unless you're the one with them 24/7, recognising their wants and needs, breastfeeding or bottle feeding them, and getting up to them throughout the night, then you really can't comprehend what it's all about until you're there on the front line, with your own offspring, with your own hormones/instincts directing you on what to do.

(Though now, having had 4 little ones of my own I am very well versed on all of this so would be quite confident to write a book, ha ha. You certainly do 'learn on the job' and no manual/book can prepare you for it until you're there in the trenches! ;-)

I don’t follow a strict, to the minute, schedule of when I eat, poop, sleep or want affection and I’m not sure that babies are familiar with the rules set out in such books and thus may not be as keen to participate in such ridiculousness.

And for the record, I breastfed – ON DEMAND – my baby twins, let them feed to sleep and showed affection whenever the heck I wanted, and guess what, I didn’t create ‘manipulative’, ‘clingy’ babies, but bubs who were secure and were able to sleep through the night 10/11 hours from around 5 months old.
No books or sleep training required!

We followed our babies' leads and they created their own happy routine which we happily followed.
Granted we also have two toddlers and the whole sleep thing was a bit of trial and error with the first, but we got there and worked out the best STRESS-FREE and TEAR-FREE techniques that worked for us and it worked.

(And by the way, it's the biological norm for breastfed babies to wake frequently for feeds as this stimulates/maintains mum's supply so there's nothing wrong with bubs who do wake that should lead you to think you need a book/routine to snap them into shape to stop waking).

In response to criticism in the past, Tizzie has responded:
"There is absolutely nothing for me to gain in putting babies at risk, baby safety is one of my main concerns when working with clients. I believe it is up to parents to gather information, read studies for themselves and make their own choices."

"My research is my life work – 20 years + working with and watching babies of all ages sleeping. I do not have any formal research and I state clearly it is MY RESEARCH, if a parent decides that is not good enough for them to follow then of course that is their choice."

Face palm...

Moral of the story: don't rely on one person's advice/books. Seek advice/research from a variety of sources and ensure you're safety conscious.

What are your thoughts?
Would you/have you ever transported your baby while swaddled? 
Is it just common sense? 
As a so-called ‘expert’ do you think it’s dangerous for people like Tizzie Hall to be throwing around such ‘advice’?
Are you a Tizzie fan?

*Disclaimer: Like Tizzie, I'm not a medical professional. However, as a mum of 4, I feel pretty confident when it comes to discussing all things babies, breastfeeding and sleep routines, or lack thereof, based on MY many years of research.
For medical issues, please see medical professionals, child health care nurses, and 

Pinky McKay (mentioned in this article) is another great option for parenting queries. She specializes in gentle parenting styles that honour mothers’ natural instincts to respond to their babies and empower a positive response from infants and toddlers.
She’s also an International Board certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).
You should check out her Facebook page/website for future updates.

This is article is my own opinion and I have no affiliations with Tizzie Hall or Pinky McKay but am a huge supporter of Kidsafe.

The most terrifying day of my life - my 1-year-old's febrile convulsion resulting in an ambulance to hospital

The most terrifying day of my life - my 1-year-old's febrile convulsion resulting in an ambulance to hospital

By Lauren - Gold Coast Mum

One of my 1-year-old twins was taken to hospital by ambulance last weekend after experiencing a febrile convulsion. 

Without a doubt, it was the most terrifying /petrifying/horrible experience of my life. 

I'm still emotional whenever I think about it. Here's what happened…

One of my three daughters, Victoria, 19-months, had a febrile convulsion at the park Saturday afternoon and we were taken to hospital in an ambulance.

It started out as a nice day at a park in Surfers Paradise, where my four children and I were celebrating the birthdays of two of their little friends.

It ended up being the backdrop for the scariest minutes of my life.

Victoria had a temperature and was a bit unsettled in the morning at home, so I gave her Panadol before we left the house.

Once at the party, Victoria didn’t have much of an appetite, though she was happy, for a little while, to walk around, following after her three other siblings.

Gold Coast Mum, macintosh island park, surfers paradise
Mr 3 and I enjoying our outing. Just moments before Twincess Victoria had a febrile convulsion.

Gold Coast Mum, macintosh island park, surfers paradise

Gold Coast Mum, twins, out n about double pram,
Victoria (left) and Natalia. Victoria was warm so wasn't wearing as many layers as Natalia. 

The kids were having their last play in the playground as we were getting ready to head to the car to head home.
Victoria had had a short nap in the pram and I got her out to change her nappy.

As I laid her down, I expressed my concern to my sister and our friend who was nearby, that Victoria seemed to be quite hot again, and not her usual self, so I’d be heading to the doctor straight from the park.

Just as I was fastening her fresh nappy, Victoria started vomiting and convulsing. 
I laid her down and screamed out to my friend to call ‘Triple 0’ and to my sister who was playing with twincess Natalia on the swing.

Luckily my sister, my children’s god-mother, had joined us at the park (as it was on her way home from work) and was there when it all happened and was a huge help.

The incident was pretty traumatising for us all - the kids & our friends whose birthday we were celebrating at the park.
Victoria lost all colour, looked grey and no colour in her eyes. 
It was the most horrible, terrifying, heartbreaking thing I've ever seen.
We actually thought we were losing her as she didn't appear to breath either.
Our friend was still on the phone to ‘Triple 0’, Victoria was still convulsing and even though we were doing everything required of us/ that first aid training tells you (having her lay safely and then place her in the recovery position) I still felt hopeless, like we were losing her and there was nothing that could be done.
I was thinking ‘this can’t be happening, pleeeease wake up’, then ‘f#$%, it’s happening, this is real, she’s in trouble here, we need HELP’.
I was yelling 'HELP PLEASE, my baby!'
I stood up and was freaking out screaming/ flailing my arms about screeching for help to passers-by and people in the distance having BBQs in the park.
Luckily a Registered Nurse was nearby and became alerted to the commotion and he rushed over to help, joining my sister kneeling down next to Victoria. He gave the stats over the phone to 000 whilst we were waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

The seizure stopped after around 6 mins (though it felt like hours!) and the ambos arrived 3 minutes later. 

As Victoria and I got in the ambulance, my sister and our friends with their kids, stayed with my other three children and I called my husband to meet them there at the park as Victoria and I were on the way to hospital.

Gold Coast Mum, blogger, baby, febrile convulsion, park, surfers paradise, ambulance, hospital

Once in hospital, it took a few hours for Victoria to come good as she couldn't keep down Panadol etc which was needed to get the temperature down.

My hubby and sister took our kids back to our place where my Mum joined them to look after the kids with my sister so hubby could join me back at the hospital.
The doctors reassured us saying it's just something that can happen and that fevers can spike like that without any warning.
My hubby had a few febrile convulsions when he was little too.

We were kept under observation Victoria’s temperature came down and she could stand again, though she still wasn’t her normal self. 
We were discharged around 10.30pm. 

We came home and Victoria wolfed down some food before falling asleep sitting on my Mum’s lap, and was transferred to bed.

I hardly slept. I was up during the night to check on her repeatedly. Checking she was breathing. Checking she wasn’t too hot.

During the day on Sunday Victoria was still lethargic with increasing temps as she couldn’t keep down any Panadol.
(I stayed home with her and sent hubby and my sis off with the kids to the Disneyon Ice Brisbane show that we had all been looking forward to).

I called the hospital with my concerns, speaking to the doctor who had assessed Victoria the night before, and Victoria and I made the trip back to hospital where we were admitted.

Because she'd been spewing up the Panadol and water, Victoria had been off food for almost 24 hours.
Though, as luck should have it, my plans to wean the girls off their remaining 2/3x daily breastfeeds in the coming weeks went out the window as she was still happy to breastfeed and the doctors didn’t need to give her any extra fluids/IV as she was getting everything she needed from the breastmilk.

Victoria had a cannula inserted so blood tests could be conducted.
She also had an X-ray to rule out any chest infections/pneumonia.

The blood tests confirmed there was an infection of some sort and I stayed up most of Sunday night holding a wee jar near her bare bottom in an effort to catch a wee sample for the doctors. 

Which I finally got at around 9am!

Gold Coast Mum trying to catch a wee sample from a baby isn't easy

The urine sample confirmed a UTI and she was quickly given antibiotics.

And we were released in the afternoon when she was back to walking around and had regained some colour.

Since then, she’s been on the improve, though still fragile and not 100% but she’s getting there. I/ we're all just so thankful that Victoria is OK.
I'm still pretty shaken up. 

And I know Miss 5 is still concerned as she has asked a couple of times about the day of the incident, ‘why was mummy crying’, and ‘did Victoria nearly go to heaven?’, ‘I’m going to be a doctor when I’m bigger so I can help fix people too’.
Heart melt.

I appreciate that I'm fortunate enough to have only had to deal with an unwell child for a few days (hats off to parents dealing with major/ongoing illnesses/ injuries/hospital stays etc as you are so unbelievably strong).
This one incident has shaken me to the core.
I think it’s important to share this information, as even though I completed a First Aid course years ago, I had no idea how common febrile convulsions are, and that, usually, children make a full recovery.

Knowing this may have possibly taken away some of the terror on Saturday when I was catching my baby’s vomit and watching her little body go limp, thinking she was gone.

The card Miss 5 made for her baby sis.

Febrile Convulsion facts:

* Approximately one in 20 children will have a febrile convulsion.
(An increased chance if one of the parents had convulsions when younger.)

* They most commonly occur in children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years and are more common in boys.

* A febrile convulsion/ seizure can happen when there is a sudden rise in body temperature (eg 38 or above). Most occur with common illnesses such as ear infections, coughs, colds, flu and other viral infections which would increase a child’s temperature.

* Watching a child have a convulsion can be very frightening and distressing, though in most cases, is harmless. Though please seek medical attention to be sure.

* Most seizures are less than five minutes in duration and the child is completely back to normal within sixty minutes of the event.

* After a single febrile seizure there is a greater chance of another one. There is no way to predict who it will affect or when it will occur.

Symptoms of febrile convulsions:

*loss of consciousness (black out)
*twitching or jerking of arms and legs
*breathing difficulty
*foaming at the mouth
*going pale or bluish in skin colour
*eye rolling, so only the whites of their eyes are visible

What to do:

* Stay calm

* If you can, check there is nothing in the child’s mouth, though DO NOT poke around in the mouth.

* Don’t try to restrain/shake/slap or ‘wake’ the child.

* Clear space to ensure the child is in a safe space (eg won’t hit their head).

* If someone is with you, get them to call an ambulance, or if not stay with the child while you telephone, speak calmly and clearly to the emergency services, while reassuring your child as much as you can.

* Put the child in the recovery position, rolled onto their side.

* When the Paramedics arrive make sure you give correct information about the seizure, eg roughly how long it has lasted, what happened. 

*Your child may take 10 to 15 minutes to wake up properly afterwards. They may be irritable during this time and appear not to recognise you.

* A medication is available for children with a history of febrile convulsions lasting longer than five minutes, though most children don’t need it.

*Gold Coast Mum is not a medical professional and advises you to seek professional advice from a Doctor/medical professional.

A huge thank you to the my sister, the Registered Nurse who responded and provided assistance (thank you mystery man), my friends who called Triple 0 and helped look after the kids during the commotion and my Mum for minding the kids at home.


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