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parenting

Lifestyle

The biggest issues new mums will face and how to deal with them

18th October, 2017

Last week psychologist and co-founder of The Bumpy Road, Belinda Williams shared her tips for new mums and mums-to-be. This week, she’s got more practical and useful advice for those who are currently navigating their way through motherhood for the first time. Most especially when it comes to dealing with the overwhelming feeling that comes with being a mama and dealing with the reality of what it’s really like to care for a baby day in and day out (spoiler alert: it’s not all sunshine and rainbows like a nappy commercial!). If you’re a new mum read on for your survival guide for the first few months…

What should new mums do if they’re feeling overwhelmed?

It is so important to recognise that you are not alone. Not only do all new mums feel this way, there is most often people in your support network that are very willing to help out. Here are some ways to help manage these challenging feelings:

Set realistic expectations. Things seem to take exponentially longer to complete. Don’t pressure yourself to do everything, instead prioritise what is most important and target your energies here.
Make time for yourself/self care. It’s hard to do but oh-so important! It may be a small activity like an extended bath, body scrub or washing your hair, a coffee up the shops solo or a walk around the block with your partner. Micro moments can be magically restorative.
Avoid isolation. Try to connect with other mums and talk to them about their experience. It can help to see that others are having challenges too and often gives you better perspective on your own experience.
Ask for help. Try to open up to the people close to you and let them know you need help. It is not a time to be a hero and the only person you let down when you push through the pain is yourself.

Often the fantasy of becoming a mum is different to the day to day reality of motherhood and some women may feel a little disillusioned by the experience. What are some ways to deal with this? 

Women are often shocked by how consuming and relentless being a parent can be. Each women has a different remedy. This may include:


Look at what it is that you are missing from life before your baby—is it the mental stimulation of work, the relevance beyond the home, the lack of freedom in being able to just walk out the door—maybe all of these? Look for ways that you can reestablish this within your routine as a mother. It may not be in the same form but there is often different opportunities that we have not had to consider before.
Be patient—this adjustment in self concept can take time and is not always pleasant. Try not to make the mistake that challenging feelings mean that things are not going well or that motherhood is not for you. These feelings are common as it is a very stressful and demanding time. If you are worried about how difficult you are finding the transition into motherhood, speak with a professional to navigate these thoughts and feelings.
Make plans—it may be for a holiday, your return to work, a night out with friends. Motherhood is not all or nothing. Eventually you will find a way to weave back in aspects of your life that you enjoyed. Making plans for this can be empowering.
Be selective about what information you are consuming. If you are evaluating your experience of motherhood against Instagram tiles, look elsewhere. This is only a narrow reflection on moments of motherhood and not the gold standard. If it is impacting you negatively then maybe switch off for a while.

Some new mums may miss their old life and the freedom that they had. Is this a normal feeling to have? What are some ways to deal with it? And what should they do if they feel they’re not settling into their new life at all? 

I think that this is pretty common. I remember being pretty bewildered when my first child arrived and asking my mum (probably with a few tears running down my face!), “how does anyone get anything done?!”. It is such a sudden and significant shift in pretty much every domain of your life so even if you are ready for it, you want it and it is where you want to be, it is normal to feel very shaken and destabilised by the seismic adjustment that takes place. Talk to others about how you are feeling.

Caring for a newborn is a steep learning curve and some women may start to feel self-doubt about their abilities as as mum at times. What can be done to address this? 

I think that all new mothers suffer a crisis in confidence. Firstly everything is new and secondly there is so much conflicting information coming at you even within the hospitals. I think it can be helpful to identify a few trusted people and resources and use that as a starting point. But most commonly women experience the greatest distress when they feel disempowered to trust their own instinct. I am a big advocate of trusting your gut and nowhere seems more natural to do this than when caring for a newborn. If in doubt, then of course, seek advice and do this early. It is often just small adjustments that make the world of difference and help us recover and restore our confidence.

Becoming a new mum often means having to deal with a new identity in some ways as you try and blend the old you and the new you. What can women do if they feel a little lost during this process? 

It is exactly that, a process and one that takes time. I think motherhood is a constant time of adjustment and readjustment as our children grow. Very rarely does the learning and changing plateau. This is an experience quite unique to the world of parenthood. There will be parts of your life before children that you no longer connect with and enjoy and there will be parts of life as a mother which you never imagined would bring you joy, but insanely they do. Whilst these changes can be confronting and challenging, it can help to approach it with curiosity rather than judgement. You always have choice even if the options on face value seem more limited to begin with. Try to start out prioritising the things that are most important to you and look at how you can maintain them (perhaps in a different format). Motherhood is a journey not a destination.

Lifestyle

What new mums need to know

11th October, 2017

Belinda Williams’ (left) practice The Bumpy Road helps women navigate the ups and downs of motherhood

 

There is nothing that shakes up life as you know it as swiftly or as deeply as becoming a mother. The changes that arise from having a baby along with the ups and downs and challenges that accompany this period can sometimes mean that it can become a little overwhelming. It is navigating this tricky time that is the inspiration behind psychologist Belinda Williams co-founding The Bumpy Road, a practice that is entirely focused on mothers.

“Becoming a mother can be a very vulnerable and humbling experience. It can be such a transformative shift from how we have been living our lives—our routines, our relationship, our work/career, our body. We [Belinda and co-founder Tawna Tourle] saw so many women struggling with this adjustment,” says Belinda. “We wanted to create a business and a brand that women felt that they could connect to; where struggles were normalised and practical, and evidence based information was available. We felt that this would help women to access help earlier and therefore prevent unnecessary damage for women and their families who try to go it alone.”

Whether you’re a mum-to-be or a brand new mama it can help to arm yourself with the right strategies to navigate the path that is parenthood. Here Belinda shares her tips for dealing with life post-birth.

Coping with the life upheaval that comes after having a baby

“Each mother and child and family is different so I truly believe that there is not a one size fits all approach. We all have different needs, different resources, different children. It is really a matter of ensuring that you are informed, supported and also trusting your gut. I think that there is a lot of pressure on new mums to be both acing it and enjoying it. For many women, this is not the case. In fact there seems to be so many aspects that are out of your control that its easy to feel completely overwhelmed.”

Preparing yourself for baby’s arrival

In the months leading up to your little one’s birth it’s important to prepare yourself for what’s to come. Along with the fun elements such as preparing the nursery and shopping for cute clothes it’s a good idea to get ready mentally and emotionally to make the transition into motherhood. According to Belinda there are a few key things you can do…

Before your baby arrives

Speak to friends and family about what the transition is like—the good, the bad and the ugly. Focusing on only one part of the story is not helpful. But knowing what to expect can help manage your expectations and plan for the upcoming change.

Understand what are the non-negotiables for you and plan accordingly – it may be trying to remain active and getting the right equipment or finding post natal exercise classes you can try; or it may be mental stimulation such as listening to podcasts and TEDx talks whilst feeding. Whilst time is a rare commodity with a newborn, it is often a case of being preoccupied, not busy as such. In the melay, there will be micro opportunities to honour what matters to you.

After your baby arrives

Stay connected with your partner – this will provide you with the best chance to be on the same page and understand each other’s perspective and experience. It can be wildly different for the mother and the supporting partner and it’s easy to expect for them to know your needs. Often they don’t, so speak up and verbalise in (in the most neutral way possible!). Remember you are a team!

Getting out and about can seem near impossible but fresh air and sunshine (if you are lucky) can help to reset the clock and improve energy levels.

Saying yes when help is offered is tremendously liberating. People genuinely want to offer the support and any opportunity for a moment to yourself, a dinner taken care of or a dash up the shops can give you an enormous amount of relief.

Put your hand up for help if you are in need. There are so many great professional supports available including your GP, Psychologist, Physio, and private midwives. The earlier you ask for help, the better chance you have at getting the help you need and improving the wellbeing for you and the family unit.

 

What should you do when you’re feeling overwhelmed? What are some strategies to deal with the challenging day-to-day reality of being a mum? Don’t miss Belinda’s column next week where she offers more valuable tips for new mums.

Fashion, Shop

My go-to kids clothing brands for Sophia and Grace

13th September, 2017

Shopping for Sophia and Grace is without a doubt one of my favourite things to do due to the sheer cuteness of girls’ clothes out there. Bows! Ruffles! Florals! The selection of clothing with cute little details is virtually endless. The fashion game for kids clothing brands has definitely stepped up a lot in the last few years. Having shopped for everything from casual pieces to special occasion dresses these are my go-tos for clothes that I know will deliver in the style and quality department.

Sapling

I love this brand so much that when they approached me to do a collaboration I couldn’t resist. Sapling do beautiful organic baby clothes in super soft cotton and the prints are always very cute.

Country Road

The range at Country Road is always really sweet with lots of mini me options of popular fashion trends for adults.

Seed Heritage

One of my favourite kids clothing brands in Australia. The prints and colours are always spot on and there are lots of neutral and pastel options which I am a big fan of.

Eeni Meeni Miini Moh

I love the gorgeous designs from Eeni Meeni Miini Moh. I often dress the girls in matching pieces – everything is super cute!

Cotton On Kids

You don’t have to spend a fortune on kids’ clothing. Cotton On Kids have an extensive range of basics to going out clothes that are at a reasonable price point. This is particularly great when you consider how quickly kids grow out of their clothing.

Bonds

My girls lived in onesies till they were walking so I stocked up on a lot of Bonds wondersuits. One of the best things about Bonds’ range of onesies is that they do up with a zipper rather than press studs or buttons, which as any parent trying to dress a wriggly baby can attest, is a godsend.

Tutu du Monde

When its comes to dressing the girls for super special occasions such as birthdays I’ll splurge on dresses from Tutu du Monde. The intricate embellishments make them a little work of art.

Hubble + Duke

This brand does a clothing range but I particularly love their shoe collection. If you’re after kids footwear that’s a little bit different (think rose gold mary janes and millenial pink gumboots) Hubble + Duke is the brand to check out.

Campbell & Co

A friend of mine owns this brand and they do lovely cashmere sweaters for kids. It’s a splurge but definitely great quality.

Mini by Terry Biviano

Terry Biviano’s capsule collection of kids’ shoes is handmade from quality leather with really striking embellishments such as bright pom poms and beads.

Chloé and Amélie

From printed sets to pieces with oversized bows and ruffles this brand is heaven for girls’ clothing. A great selection for those who are after kids’ clothes that are a little more fashion forward.

Atelier/Child

If you’re looking for knitwear with a difference this is the brand for you. Atelier/Child stocks everything from statement knits to cosy onesies and plush baby blankets, all made from a super soft cotton/cashmere blend that’s great for sensitive skin.

Tell me—what are your favourite kids clothing brands?

Lifestyle

Tips for throwing a stress-free kids’ birthday party

5th September, 2017
Kate Waterhouse daughter Grace first birthday party

Celebrating Grace’s first birthday

As most parents will attest kids’ birthday parties can sometimes snowball into a big production that can involve a whole lot of stress. From decorations to food to entertainment, the list of things to organise can be quite lengthy and often there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get it all done. Having organised parties for both Sophia and Grace I’ve managed to hone down my event planning to a few key things that ensure an enjoyable but more importantly stress-free event. Here are my top tips:

Keep it intimate

I’ve made the mistake of having a really big kids’ parties in the past and based on that I now make a point of trying to keep the numbers small and host a really intimate event. You don’t have to invite everyone under the sun! I think inviting the people that you’re going to enjoy having there the most such as close family and friends help make the day even better. Now that Sophia’s old enough, she can invite her own friends to her parties which often helps shape the guest list and makes it a lot easier.

Kate Waterhouse daughter Grace first birthday party cake

Grace’s first birthday cake

Catering doesn’t have to resemble an episode of Masterchef

The first kids’ party I ever threw I double catered and had kids’ meals and adults meals and by the end of it I thought this is ridiculous. Now when it comes to catering I serve up things that kids and adults can eat. I do big fruit platters and cheese platters that include carrot sticks and celery sticks so it’s a winner for both the big and little guests. Both are really easy to put together and can feed a lot of people. I find serving a variety of sandwiches is always a winner so I’ll do fillings such as chicken, ham and cheese and Vegemite which I know most kids will eat. As a treat I’ll also do sausage rolls and meat pies. I don’t like serving too many sweets so I keep it limited to the birthday cake and maybe some additional cupcakes and popcorn as a savoury treat.

Do most of your prep in the days before the party

I usually compile a list of everything I will need and do a big grocery shop before an event so I have all the ingredients I’ll need. I’ll aim to have ingredients chopped up ahead of time and if I’m making something like chicken sandwiches I’ll make the filling the night before and just buy bread in the morning so it’s fresh and put it all together on the day of the party. The more that you can do ahead of time the easier it will be on the actual day.

Kate Waterhouse daughter Sophia third birthday party

Sophia’s farm themed third birthday party

Have a theme

Having a theme just makes pulling everything together so much easier. Whether it’s a farm themed party or princess inspired having an overarching theme can guide everything from decorations to games and party bags and the birthday cake. One thing I do when I’m decorating a venue is to designate one area for the big photo moment when we’re doing the cake cutting. I’ll have balloons (a number balloon is always a nice touch) and some bunting to make the space fun and festive and this will be the backdrop for most of the photos on the day.

Plan group activities/entertainment

When you have lots of kids running around it’s a good idea to organise activities that they can do together. This helps keep the kids in the one spot and also keeps them all entertained. For Sophia’s last birthday we hired a birthday fairy and she kept the guests occupied which is a must when you’ve got to keep track of a group of three-year-olds who all want to venture off in different directions. If you don’t want to hire someone you can just have a line-up of classic games such as pass the parcel, pin the tail on the donkey and musical chairs and have all the kids get involved. Having games or entertainment is a must! Most of the time this keeps all the kids happy and at the end of the day isn’t that what it’s all about?

What are some of your tips for throwing a kids’ party?

 

Fashion

Father’s Day with Trenery

22nd August, 2017

When the opportunity to collaborate with Trenery on a Father’s Day shoot came up I was really excited. I’ve been lucky enough to have the chance to do some beautiful shoots with my girls and with my mum that I wanted the same experience with Luke and my dad. But more importantly I can’t think of a better way to celebrate two wonderful fathers and all that they do.

From the moment Sophia and Grace were born I could see they had a very special bond with Luke. He is an amazing dad and the kids adore him. He’s kind, caring and has endless time for the girls.

My heart does melt when I see him with our daughters. Now Sophia’s old enough to talk it’s lovely to listen to their chats and to see that they already have such a close relationship. Luke has always been a hands-on dad and he’s constantly playing games with the girls. I love the fact he’ll do anything to put a smile on their face whether it’s pretending to be Sophia’s ballet student or playing dress ups and hide and seek. Through the good times and the bad times, I know Luke will always be the kind of father who will be there no matter what.

I know the girls will feel towards Luke the way I feel about my dad who I have a very close relationship with. He’s wise beyond measure so he’s always the person I turn to for advice. He’s a very caring person and so generous and loving. Most weekends when I was growing up Mum would be busy working so I spent lots of time with my dad and really cherished those Saturdays I had with him. Whether it was swimming classes or going to the movies I have really fond memories of our time together.

I’m lucky that I live in the same apartment building as my parents so I visit them most days to say hello. My dad is normally working at his desk when we drop by and Sophia often turns his desk into her little cubby house. He dotes on the girls and can always be relied upon to be the one that gives the sneaky chocolates out! It’s amazing that even at such a young age I can already see that the girls have a special bond with him.

Whenever Father’s Day rolls around each year I’m always thankful to have Luke and my dad in my life and my girls’ life. They’re both amazing every single day of the year but it’s nice to have one special day each year when they can truly be celebrated.

To all the other amazing dads out there—wishing you all the most wonderful day!

This post was created in collaboration with Trenery

Photography: Grace Kyo

Fashion

It’s here! Sneak peek at the Kate Waterhouse x Sapling collection

14th July, 2017

Kate Waterhouse Sapling collection onesie

My little Grace in one of the onesies from the collection.

When one of my favourite baby clothing brands, Sapling proposed a collaboration I was beyond thrilled. I’ve always been a fan of their clothes for Sophia and Grace as not only do they come in gorgeous prints and patterns, they’re made from organic cotton and also durable which is a definite must. Being able to design my own Kate Waterhouse Sapling collection was such an exciting prospect albeit a little daunting as the options were limitless! It was when thinking about this limitless possibility that I finally landed on a theme: Twinkle Twinkle. The stars in the night sky have always inspired me due to their vastness and the endless hope that it represents for the future and the idea that anything is possible. This is a sentiment that perfectly encapsulates my wishes for my girls as they grow older so it only seemed fitting to build my collection around this theme.

It has been a lengthy process but I believe we’ve created some really beautiful pieces for little ones. The colours right through to the prints are all in keeping with my fashion philosophy of creating wearable pieces that can be mixed and matched and are extremely versatile. From galaxy inspired onesies and blankets to sweet star print leggings and tees I hope there’s something in the range to suit every child. It has been such a fun experience for me to see this collection through from conception to design to finished product and I can hardly believe that it’s out today. I can’t wait for you all to see the collection and I hope that your little ones keep reaching for their own little star. May their futures twinkle with endless possibility.

Kate Waterhouse Sapling collection hooded onesies

I wanted the colour palette to be something bright yet versatile

Kate Waterhouse Sapling collection

One of the sets from the collection

Kate Waterhouse Sapling collection

I love that this set can be mixed and matched

Kate Waterhouse Sapling collection raglan tee shorts blanket

This shorts and raglan tee set is perfect for active little boys (it comes in pink too)

The Kate Waterhouse x Sapling collection launches July 14 in Australia and July 30 in the USA/Canada.
You can shop the entire collection at saplingchild.com
Fashion

Style staples when I’m in mum mode

26th June, 2017
kate waterhouse mum wardrobe staples

Kate Waterhouse mum style staples

As most mums can probably attest pulling together an outfit is low on the priority list when you’ve got a busy day ahead of you. The aim is just to get out the door fast! I know for myself that when I’m in mum mode with Sophia and Grace I need to be comfortable first and foremost and my outfit needs to be able to withstand whatever a toddler and baby may throw my way. This is why I’ve managed to refine my mum style staples down to a few key pieces so I can just go into auto pilot mode on any given day. Here’s what I can’t live without…

A roomy tote

For me a big bag is essential and I always like to carry a tote as it gives me plenty of room to carry my essentials and the girls’ too. I keep a little bag filled with Grace’s nappies, and wipes and change mat and I just throw everything into a tote. I have lots of different types – from super casual to slightly more dressy – depending on where I’m going.

Athleisure wear

I love workout gear when I’m with the girls. If I’m going to Sophia’s ballet class or taking her to some sort of activity then I can’t go past my Nike sneakers and Lululemon leggings. I live in both! It’s really easy to pull together and you can’t beat it for comfort level.

Sturdy sunglasses

I always carry a pair of sunglasses with me but I make sure that I leave any delicate, flimsy pairs at home. My sunnies are guaranteed to be thrown around in my bag or the girls will want to play with them so I prefer to wear the style that’s made of a thicker acetate so they’re not easily breakable.

Comfortable basics

If I’m running around then I’ll always opt for sportswear otherwise you’ll usually find me in lots of t-shirts and singlets paired with a good pair of jeans. They’re both definite mum style staples. I highly recommend splurging on a pair of jeans that can withstand lots of wear and tear because if you’re like me you’ll wear them to death. I also have lots of great knits throughout winter and will wear a big anorak/parka style jacket which I can easily throw on and can be popped into the boot of my car without too much fuss.

Comfortable flats

Heels are strictly reserved for nights out or for work events. I wear flats whenever I’m with the girls. I’ll usually wear my white Adidas Superstar sneakers or if I need to be a little more dressed up then I’ll wear my Gucci slides which are comfy yet still look polished.

What are your style staples as a mum?

 

Lifestyle

Lessons I’ve learnt as a mum

8th June, 2017

Sophia recently turned three and it had me reflecting on my time being a mum. The time has really flown and the girls are growing up so quickly. Life has definitely changed for the better and also for the busier and I certainly don’t have as much free time as I used to have but there’s not a thing I would alter. Embarking on motherhood is one of the most daunting things I think a woman can ever face, and it comes with its ups and downs but it’s certainly rewarding and truly special. Here’s what I’ve learnt in the process…

Always trust your instincts

They say mum always knows best and I firmly believe this to be true. I’ve learnt to always trust my gut when it comes to the girls. Whether it’s when they’re sick or managing their day to day routine, I always rely on my mum radar to help guide the way. There are moments when it’s only natural to second guess yourself but I find that when it comes to parenting it’s always important to let your instincts point you in the right direction. More often than not they will never fail you.

Enjoy the little moments

Time really does fly. I can remember when Sophia was just a newborn and now she’s her own little person with her own distinct personality. Meanwhile it only feels like yesterday that I had Grace and now she’s growing so fast. This has taught me to really stop and appreciate the small moments I have with my girls. Whether it’s conversations over breakfast, cuddles before bedtime or just watching them accomplish and hit certain milestones I have to remind myself to stop and be in the present and take it all in. It’s easy to get caught up in the insanely busy nature of having two kids but I have to remind myself that they won’t always be little and they’ll have their own lives one day so I’m trying my best to appreciate all the beautiful, sweet moments we have together.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

If there’s one thing I’ve learn as a mum is that there’s no way I can do it all on my own. I’m lucky to have such a great and supportive network around me in the form of my husband, family and friends and it’s taught me how important it is to have that in place in order to maintain my sanity! Whether it’s being desperate for a few hours sleep or just needing assistance around the house, parenting can be overwhelming at times and there’s no harm in admitting that you need help once in awhile. It takes a village, right?

 

Lifestyle, Shop

The new mum starter kit: my fave baby products

26th May, 2017

I remember when I was pregnant with Sophia and the list of things I needed to buy seemed quite overwhelming and endless. To avoid drowning in endless amounts of baby paraphernalia it helped that I had recommendations from family and friends about what I would actually need and use as opposed to things that may seem nice but would end up sitting in the nursery gathering dust. Over the years, after a little trial and error, I’ve also managed to narrow down my can’t-live-without essentials and I often share this with friends who are about to become mums or gift things on the list when I’m attending baby showers. Here’s what I’ve found to be musts in my new mum starter kit…

Bugaboo Cameleon

There are so many types of prams out there but I’m a Bugaboo girl. I have the Bugaboo Cameleon and I’ve use it for both Sophia and Grace. I go on lots of pram walks so I like the fact it’s really sturdy and easy to manoeuvre but quite lightweight. The pram has lots of features that I like such as being able to easily recline it right back or sit it right up, adjustable handles and I now also have a little seat for Sophia which is handy. I’ve found it to be a really comfortable pram for the girls too—Sophia loved to sleep in it and that’s a definite bonus when you’re trying to get an unsettled bub to nap!

Baby Zen YoYo

Let me preface this with the fact that you technically don’t need two prams, however when I travel I like everything to be really super easy and light and for those reasons the Baby Zen YoYo pram is definitely a great option. I’ve taken mine on overseas trips and found as it’s easily collapsible and compact it was not too cumbersome to deal with. I think it’s good to have a really great pram but I think it’s handy to have a stroller that you can just pack up. I now leave the YoYo in my car so I always have a pram on hand without having to pack my Bugaboo in and out of the car all the time.

Baby Bjorn carrier

When I’m on foot with Grace while Sophia is at kindy, I’ve found the carrier is ideal, especially when I’m going to the shops as it allows me to have my hands free. It’s also great if baby is a bit unsettled and wants to be close to you as you can carry them for awhile without completely doing your back in! This carrier is easy to take on and off so doesn’t require too much fussing around with straps and buckles.

Sapling Child onesies

My kids just lived in onesies so I’ve tried a few different brands and have become a huge fan of the range from Sapling Child. Not only are they made from organic fabrics and have beautiful prints and patterns they also do up with a zipper. This is SO important as I hate buttons on onesies as they’re so fiddly. I love the fact that I just need to zip it up. They also doesn’t have any seams so there’s nothing that could irritate baby’s skin.

Mama Maya wraps

Muslin wraps are a must for swaddling in the newborn phase but it’s often hard to find one that’s the ideal size. I love Mama Maya wraps because they’re oversized which I found makes it much easier to wrap baby snugly. Also, they’re made from organic cotton muslin which makes them lightweight and breathable and come in a range of great colours in their signature polka dot print. They’re also great for using as a pram cover, a cover up while breastfeeding or a light blanket so you’ll definitely get plenty of use out of them. An added benefit is that Mama Maya have partnered with Birthing Kit Foundation Australia so with every wrap purchased they provide funding for one clean birthing kit and caregiver training to help women in developing countries experience a cleaner and safer birth.

Uniden baby monitor

I’ve found a baby monitor to be a must and is the kind of thing that you’ll use as the baby gets older. It’s obviously great for keeping an eye on the baby wherever you are in the house and I found it to be especially handy when the girls started sleeping in their own rooms at night as I was able to check on them remotely which helped put me at ease.

Pigeon baby bottles

I’ve always liked Pigeon brand bottles but recently my sister in law got me onto the glass version. They’re easy to clean and sterilise which is great when going through so many bottles throughout the day.

Baby washes

There are lots of different bath products out there for babies that it can be a little hard to decide on the best one to use. At the moment I really like the baby wash from the Milk Baby range and QV bath oil which I used on Grace as she had really dry skin when she was younger.

Madreperla bed linen

It’s inevitable that you’ll go through lots of baby bedding so it’s important to have multiples of everything. You don’t have to spend a fortune but if you’re wanting something a bit special then I highly recommend the Madreperla luxury baby linen range. It’s  300 thread count and 100 per cent flax linen so it’s super soft. Their quilts are also filled with pure cotton and free from polyester and synthetics. I find anything from this range also makes a really nice baby shower gift.

Baby Bjorn bouncer

Grace loves her bouncer! I’ve gotten a lot of use from the one we have as the bouncing motion is great for soothing a cranky baby plus it’s handy if you just need somewhere for bub to safely sit and stay in the one place. It’s also a great spot for baby to sit when reading to them or playing with toys together.

What are some of your baby essentials for new mums?

Date with Kate, Fashion

Date with Kate: Jayson Brunsdon and Aaron Elias

16th April, 2017

Aaron and Jayson Brunson chatting to me about their son, Roman

 

Fashion designer Jayson Brunsdon and his partner, Aaron Elias, built the Jayson Brunsdon fashion label into one of the most recognised in Australia. In 2015 they became parents via surrogacy in Thailand but faced a devastating setback when the country stopped surrogacy in the wake of the Baby Gammy case and the IVF clinic they were using was closed. The couple open up to me about the struggles they faced, Elias’ motivation for writing his new book, Designer Baby: A Surrogacy Journey from Fashion to Fatherhood, and Brunsdon’s fashion plans.

What inspired you to write your book?

Aaron: [Roman] was the biggest inspiration. It is about love. So it is about love for him, our love, when we first met, and it’s about our careers and fashion. It’s about … our journey into parenthood and what went on [in Thailand] and how we managed to bring him home.

What were the biggest issues you faced in your surrogacy journey?

Aaron: Surrogacy issues here are hugely controversial, so the law hasn’t really changed much over the years … We used an altruistic surrogacy because my cousin donated her eggs to us, so we had to actually bring her to Thailand … to start the process there.

Jayson: She had to inject herself daily and it’s about three weeks to get it done because she didn’t have enough eggs and it just kept going on and on and on … [Later] I turn on the television one morning and I saw this whole Baby Gammy story and they said the Thai government … have illegalised the whole IVF.

How did that make you feel?

Jayson: I didn’t even know what to do … I couldn’t contact him until the night, so I sat there all day on my own just thinking, “Oh my God, we’re not going to be able to get him out. What’s going on?” … [Later] we were very panicked.

What was that moment like when you finally got to bring him home?

Jayson: It was pure joy … There was a lot of bureaucratic stuff you have to go through.

Was the journey home how you expected it to be?

Aaron: No, we were almost arrested at the [Thai] airport. The embassy told us that we would have no problems whatsoever and that we just needed the exit permit … We got to the airport and we were fine; Qantas had organised a chaperone to take us right through … And then it all just started – [Customs] started making really horrible jokes about us, about our sexuality.

Jayson: As we walked towards immigration, all the officers came around towards us and that is where we were detained [for nearly three hours].

Aaron: They said they wanted the surrogate mother there and started screaming at us …

Jayson: They were accusing us of human trafficking … I thought I was going to go to jail … Finally the Australian Embassy [assisted us] and they were fantastic.

What were your objectives for the message of your book?

Aaron: I think it is a very imperative conversation that needs to take place in Australia because, not just about surrogacy itself, but also about gay marriages, equality, all of that. [We have been] together for 18 years … We want to paint a picture that we are not villains, we’re normal people … and we shouldn’t be treated like second-class citizens.

Jayson: We think surrogacy needs to be seriously looked at.

What do you hope has changed in the world when Roman grows up?

Aaron: I really want him to be able to live in a country that his parents could get married and let it be a happy environment and to help people – childless couples and parents that have been going through the strains of motherhood and pregnancy.

How are you going to explain things to him?

Jayson: We’ll just explain it completely the way it was. We already have. We’ve started because his mother lives here, she lives in Bondi and we see a lot of her and her children, and he plays with his siblings all the time. He is really close to them.

How has parenthood changed you?

Jayson: Completely. I think it brings out the best. It brings out a better version of yourself.

Do you guys have plans to have more children?

Aaron: No. We get asked this question every day of our lives. But initially it was about having another one at least, so that Roman could have a brother or a sister, but I think we’ve been so blessed, blessed with Rebecca, blessed with her children.

How is everything going fashion-wise?

Jayson: I’ve kind of just stepped away from it quite a bit. I found it really hard to try and concentrate on both because … when you fashion design it’s like a six-day-a-week job and it’s 24/7 … I knew that at my age, the time was precious and I really wanted to experience as much of it as possible. So I stepped back a bit from it … I’ve started painting again … That’s how I started 30 years ago – I was a fashion illustrator … I’m going to turn that into a bit of business.

What has been your biggest career highlight?

Jayson: I guess showing in New York fashion week, the first time. That was fantastic.

You’ve had so many celebrities wear your clothes. Who stands out in your mind?

Jayson: Princess Mary [of Denmark] … There is something about royalty that seems to transcend celebrity somehow … She is so fabulous.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

Jayson: I see myself painting more, just looking after Roman, he will be six by then.

Aaron: I see ourselves in a Spanish villa!

Have you always been passionate about writing?

Aaron: Always … but I never really thought that I was going to write a book. It was always the intention to write a journal for Roman and I wanted him to see the whole thing when he was old enough to read it. I wanted all the facts in there, every single detail that happened, just in case if I’m not around or something happens to us …  I was fortunate to have it published and … we never expected it, but it’s happening.

Designer Baby: A Surrogacy Journey from Fashion to Fatherhood is now available on the shelves.

 

 

BITESIZE

We went to Reuben Hills, Surry Hills

We ate French toast with bacon crumb, charred banana, bacon custard, basil black pepper gel & berries and sourdough with jam

We drank a cappuccino, soy latte and flat white

Jayson wore UNIQLO and Aaron wore H&M.

Kate wore a Trenery shirt.

Designer Baby: A Surrogacy Journey from Fashion to Fatherhood is now available on the shelves.