I’m selling invitations on Etsy again! I’m currently converting all of my invitation templates into instant download files that anyone can edit using FREE software (Adobe Acrobat Reader DC). This is the first one that I’ve put up in my Etsy store. It is a pink and silver baby shower invitation. I love designing invitations, it’s something a bit different compared to my usual graphic design services!
Yes it is possible to express lots of milk even if you think you’re terrible at pumping – I’m living proof! When I first started pumping, I could get an average of 25mls per pumping session (and that was on a good day – sometimes I would get 10mls or less!) but now days I can get 150ml PER SESSION!
When my daughter first started childcare I was so worried I wouldn’t be able to express enough milk. I bought organic soy formula for her to have at childcare, but I really wanted to be able to pump as much as possible so that she could keep having breastmilk even when she was at childcare.
I did lots of reach online and tried all kinds of techniques to try to increase my output. I’m not really sure what worked best because I tried so many different things in combination, so I thought I would share everything that I tried in the hopes that it will help some other mummas increase their yield also!
Try different pumps
My husband thought I was crazy, but I ended up buying three different breast pumps, and I’m so glad I tried out some different options. When I was using a Medela Swing single electric pump, I was getting 25mls per session (that’s from both boobs total!) after I switched to a Medela on the go double electric pump, my output doubled so I was getting 5omls per session. I would strongly suggest getting a double pump. It makes life so much easier because you can pump in half the time. And FYI my third pump is a compact hand pump that I use when I go out – very handy!
Drink LOTS of water
I knew that I didn’t have an issue with my supply, but I also found that pumping was more effective when my boobs were fuller, so I figured increasing my supply would probably help. And I find the best way to increase supply is to drinks lots (and I do mean LOTS) of water. I drink 4-6 liters of water a day.
Figure out the time that works best for you
I kept reading that the early hours of the morning was the best time to pump, but I found that wasn’t the case for me at all. I’ve tried all the “key” times – early in the morning, super early in the morning, and late at night, but none of those times worked for me at all. For me, I’ve found 12 noon to be the optimal time for me to pump.
Train your boobs to withstand longer pumping sessions
I used to stop pumping as soon as the milk stopped flowing, but then I discovered if I kept pumping I’d have another let down, so I’d keep going, but then I’d have to stop because my boobs were too sore. So I’ve gradually increase the amount of time that I pump for each day and overtime my boobs have gotten tougher and now I can pump for longer periods of time without them getting sore.
Heat is your friend
Before pumping I try to have a hot bath or shower and I get out of the aircon and sit in the hottest part of the house. It’s not comfortable, but the hotter the room is the more I seem to be able to pump!
Get into a routine and just stick with it
Now that Charlotte is attending part-time childcare I’ve gotten into a routine of pumping every three hours while she is away and it is incredible how quickly my output has increased! I pump at lunch time and then I pump before I go to pick her up. That gives me about 300ml of milk.
I send her to childcare with 2x 100ml bottles, and any extras go into the freezer. She usually drinks 2x 60-80mls of milk at childcare, plus she eats plenty off food while she’s there, and she’s still nursing around 4 times a night so I’m not worried about her milk intake at all!
I had another MASSIVE year in 2015! Some highlights included:
1. Moved into our new house
In January we said goodbye to our inner city apartment and then renovated and moved into our new house in the suburbs. Yes, I was moving house and renovating while heavily pregnant and I would not recommend it! But all the nesting hormones certainly helped!
2. Had a baby
After an epic 4 day labour, I gave birth to my beautiful little baby girl Charlotte on the 17th of April 2015. This was definitely the highlight of my year! Being mum to a newborn has definitely been the most challenging, exhausting, intense experience of my life, but it has also been an amazing, rewarding, life-changing experience.
3. Anniversary holiday on Stradbroke Island
For our one year wedding anniversary, we headed back to Stradbroke Island which is where Chay proposed. This time we had a little baby with us!
4. Woodford Folk Festival
We took Charlotte to her very first music festival and she LOVED it! She was still a little young for most of the kids activities, but she loved dancing to the live music. She got so excited at the start of the closing ceremony, that she tired herself out and ended up missing most of it because she fell asleep!
5. Maternity leave
For 2015 I was on maternity leave from my business while I focused on being a great mum. It was really hard for me to take a step back from my business, so I ended up working part time. Find a balance between my two roles as a mum and business owner was something I really struggled with, but it forced me to re-evaulate my business, so I’m now working smarter and getting more done in less time!
Not sure whether you should print your own invitations or have them printed professionally? Here’s a run down of the advantages and disadvantages of both options!
Firstly lets have a look at cost. Professional printing is more expensive right? Not necessarily. Once you add up the cost of specialty paper, plus the cost of printer ink, it might actually be more expensive. On the other hand, if your invitation isn’t going to use very much ink and you don’t spend too much money on paper, it might be cheaper. It really just depends on your individual setup.
Time & Convenience
Professional printing is easy because all the work is done for you, but it can take a few weeks for your invitations to arrive. On the other hand, if you do your own invitations you have to buy all the supplies and to take care of the printing, trimming, and troubleshooting. You have to figure out which paper is going to work with your printer, and figure out how to set it up so you don’t end up with paper jams and other issues.
This is where professional printing comes out on top. Professional printing undoubtedly produces better quality results than home printing. Have a look at the comparison photo on the left. Both invitations are black ink printed on kraft paper, the one on the left is printed on a high-end consumer grade bubble jet printer, the invitation on the right is printed on a commercial digital printer. See how much blacker the professional invitation looks? This is because the ink in the home printer is water based and sinks into the paper, while the ink on the professional printer is (usually) made from soy wax so it’s sits on the surface of the paper. But home prints can do a pretty good job too, and may be more than adequate for your particular project.
When you print at home you’re limited to using RGB or CMYK inks, which means that you can’t achieve some of the cool colours that require special printers. For example, most printers can’t print white ink, you need a special white ink printer in order to be able to do this. Likewise, home printers can’t do cool effects like metallic ink/foil, embossing or letterpress – all of these require specialist printers too.
I featured in a segment on attachment parenting on The Project and there are a few things that I wanted to clarify about my involvement, what I do as an “attachment parent” and what “attachment parenting” (AP) means exactly. You can watch the segment below or on the The Project website.
Personally I have received a lot of positive feedback about the segment and/or my involvement. I’m aware that there has been a lot of negative comments on The Project’s social media pages, but I’ve chosen not to look at these as I don’t feel I would gain anything from doing so.
The general consensus in my local AP and babywearing communities appears to be that people were unhappy with the way that AP and babywearing were portrayed, and that there was a lot of misinformation in the segment.
I’d like to clarify a few details for anyone that is curious about my parenting style and AP and babywearing. We were interviewed and filmed for almost two hours and this was condensed into just part of a 4 minute story, so not surprisingly, a lot of information was left out. Below are a few things that I wanted to clarify:
What is the definition of “attachment parenting” exactly?
I did not agree with the segment’s definition at all. It said that AP is about “responding to your child’s every demand”. I really disliked the word “demand”. AP is based on the principle of understanding a child’s emotional and physical NEEDS and responding sensitively to these needs in a manner which is appropriate for the child’s age.
“Attachment parenting” is a phrase coined by Dr William Sears, who also wrote a book by the same name. It is also called “natural parenting” or “instinctive parenting” or just “parenting”. Because it is such an instinctive form of parenting, it is done all over the world and many people do it naturally without even knowing that there is a name for it.
Because AP is really just about following your intuition there are no strict rules, but parents may do some or all of the following:
- Breastfeed on demand
- Share a bedroom or bed with their baby
- Wear their baby in a carrier or sling
- Respond to their baby’s cries and cues.
You do not have to do all of the above in order to practice AP. You can still be an “attachment parent” if you:
- Bottle feed
- Leave your child in the care of others
- Sleep in a different room to your child
- Use a pram
- Along with a whole host of other things!
AP is NOT babywearing 24/7!
AP is based on the principles of attachment theory in developmental psychology, thus reference to the word “attachment”. It has nothing to do with being physically “attached” to your child. Many people who practice AP choose to babywear for any number of reasons, but it is not a necessary part of AP (and they certainly don’t do it 24/7!). Likewise, those who babywear don’t necessarily practice AP.
The co-sleeping scene
This was filmed in a hotel room next to the channel 10 studios. We weren’t sleeping in the scene – we were actually breastfeeding!
The segment failed to clarify the different types of co-sleeping. Sharing a bedroom with your child and sharing the same sleeping surface as your child (bed sharing) can both be classified as co-sleeping, but they both come with a different set of risks and benefits. SIDS and Kids recommends room sharing until 6 to 12 months of age.
From birth Charlotte slept in a co-sleeper (similar to a bassinet) in our bedroom. When Charlotte outgrew her co-sleeper we started bed-sharing. Charlotte now sleeps in her own bed (which is attached to our bed) for most of the night, but bed shares with me during the early hours of the morning. We follow the safe sleeping guidelines set out by the Australian Breastfeeding Association.
Yes, we do have sex
Since this question keeps coming up, I feel I have to clarify. Co-sleeping has not destroyed our sex life! It’s pretty simple. Charlotte goes to sleep in her bed in our room at 7pm. We go to bed at 10pm. So between 7 and 10pm we are free to have sex on the couch or in the shower or anywhere else that takes our fancy (but we mostly just watch Nextflix).
I DO NOT babywear 24/7!
Charlotte has most (but not all) of her naps in a carrier because I find it an easy way to get her to sleep, she tends to sleep longer, and it makes it easy for me to check on her. If we’re out for the evening, it’s a convenient way for her to go to sleep for the night without for example having to worry about fitting her pram into a crowded restaurant. When I’m out during the day, Charlotte will either be in her pram or carrier, depending on her mood and what is the most practical option. I usually find a carrier to be more convenient for me because I find many places (such as shopping centers) difficult to navigate with a pram. Charlotte likes to be in close proximity to me at all times, so I wear her when I’m cooking dinner or doing chores around the house – otherwise I’d never get anything done!
I work from home as a freelance graphic designer. I work a limited number of hours that I fit in around Charlotte’s sleep times. I often work while she’s asleep in her carrier, but I do not sit at my computer with her attached to me all day! At the moment this arrangement is working for us, but when it becomes unmanageable Charlotte will be attending daycare.
The reason I do AP
AP is not something that I set out to do from the beginning. I just started doing what worked for me and Charlotte and those things happen to fall under the banner of AP.
In the past I have worked in childcare and been a foster carer, so before Charlotte was born I felt pretty confident that I would be well equipped to parent her. I read a couple of general parenting books, but I didn’t giving much thought to my parenting “style” (I didn’t even realise that parenting was even categorised in such a way!)
But after Charlotte was born I was completely thrown off track. She was like no child I had ever encountered before! I started to read every parenting book I could get my hands on, trying to understand why settling techniques I had used successfully on literally hundreds of babies in the past, didn’t work on her. After learning about the fourth trimester theory, I started to babywear and found it to often be the only way I could get her to sleep or settle her when she was crying.
But all those baby books I read convinced me that when the fourth trimester finished at 3 months, I was going to have to “sleep train” and follow a time table. I sent myself slightly mad trying to implement all the techniques that I read about in those books. But absolutely nothing worked! I tried putting Charlotte in her cot while she was sleepy so she could learn to “self settle” but she would just scream. I couldn’t pat her to sleep. I couldn’t rock her to sleep. My attempts at “controlled crying” were a complete disaster. I refused to let her “cry it out”. She woke up hourly over night and I fed her back to sleep each time because it was the only thing that worked. I applied to attend sleep school.
I didn’t end up attending sleep school because I discovered that Charlotte had tongue and lip ties that were causing her to only consume a small amount of milk each time she nursed. There was a reason she was waking hourly overnight – she genuinely needed to breastfeed that frequently. If my “sleeping training” attempts had have been successful I would have ended up starving her! At around the same time I discovered The Milk Meg (who also appeared in the segment) and devoured her website and book. I also started reading about attachment theory and discovered that I have what Dr Sears called a “high needs baby”. It was so comforting to know that there was an explanation for why Charlotte was so different to all the other babies I had cared for.
I know that AP isn’t for everyone and I certainly would never judge a parent for not doing it, but it saves my sanity and is what works for me and my family.
At the beginning of this month, DH and I decided to embark on an ambitious road trip from Brisbane to Melbourne. Were we crazy? I thought so. But it actually ended up being fine, but it took a LOT of strategic planning!
Charlotte doesn’t like car rides (she basically hates doing anything that doesn’t involve being with a centimeter of me, so she hates being in her car seat!) but she will sleep in the car, so we just had to strategically plan our driving so that we left when she was due for a nap. Then we had a maximum of 2 hours of available driving time to get somewhere. Thankfully we had a lot of places we were stopping at along the way so it was pretty easy to split our driving up into 2 hour or less blocks.
The first stop was Lismore for a friend’s vegan wedding. We had a great time and Charlotte LOVED the live music.
Lismore is a great place to get vegan food! The next morning we went out for breakfast and I had amazing blueberry pancakes. We then headed to Sugarshine Sanctuary to see all the cute animals, including 11 piglets! I felt sorry for mumma pig. I’m so glad I don’t have to breastfeed 11 babies – one is more than enough for me!
The second stop was Coffs Harbour to spend a couple of days with Charlotte’s Grandparent’s.
Then we headed to Sydney to catch up with some friends.
We went to Bondi Beach and Charlotte got to experience sand for the first time. She was fascinated!
We went out for dinner at Gigi Pizzeria, one of the few pizzeria’s in the world to be a member of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (The True Neapolitan Pizza Association). It recently made headlines for changing to menu to be completely vegan.
The pizza was without a question the BEST pizza I’ve ever had. It was amazing. Our friends waited in line for over an hour to get in (luckily we were running late so only had to wait for 15 minutes!) but they said it was definitely worth the wait.
After Sydney we went to Canberra, which was pretty exciting because I had never been there before.
We attended the Living Green Festival and Chay and Charlotte sat on a discussion panel about raising kids plant-based.
After Canberra we went to Melbourne and the first stop was St Kilda and Luna Park. Charlotte loved Luna Park even though she was too little for any of the rides!
While we were in Melbourne we stayed at a friend’s place in Fitzroy, which made it incredibly easy to find vegan food. We were within walking distance of a vegan cupcake cafe, a vegan bakery, and loads of vegan and vegetarian restaurants including Smith & Daughters. We planned to visit Edgar’s Mission, but unfortunately our tour was cancelled due to the risk of bushfires. Thankfully Edgar’s Mission was unharmed, but it was a close call.
After a week in Melbourne we spent a week staying with Chay’s mum who lives a couple of hours out of Melbourne, and we visited another animal sanctuary and saw penguins on Phillip Island.
Then DH drove home and a flew home with Charlotte. Her first plane ride! I was very nervous but she was actually fine. I fed her during the takeoff and landing and she slept for most of the flight!
I started to worry that something was wrong when Charlotte was 3 months old. She was breastfeeding hourly during the day, and her night sleep was going backwards – she’d previously slept for 4-5 hour stretches, but was now starting to wake up every 1-2 hours. Breastfeeding still hurt and my nipples were cracked and bruised.
Family, friends and professionals all assured me that she was normal and/or her problems were my fault. They said she was just a bad sleeper, I was trying to get her to sleep too much during the day, she was just comfort feeding, I needed to teach her to self-soothe, it was normal for breastfeeding to hurt, my nipples would stop hurting if I’d stop letting her comfort feed, etc. etc…
I’d heard of tongue and lip ties before, but because she was breastfeeding and gaining weight steadily, I didn’t think it was possible for her to have them. Plus I thought if there was a problem surely one of the doctors, nurses, lactation consultants, midwives or osteopath I’d already seen would have picked up on it! So I listened to those around me, ignored my mummy instincts, and watched my happy, contented baby turn into a cranky, overtired unhappy little girl 🙁
By the time Charlotte was 4 months old, she was feeding hourly around the clock and only sleeping for 10-20 minutes at a time during the day. Someone in my mother’s group suggested she might have tongue and lip ties, so I did some research and realised that we had most of the symptoms. I took her to a IBCLC who was experienced with ties, and she confirmed that Charlotte had a lip tie and posterior tongue tie. She gave me a list of providers that could revise her ties and showed me some techniques that could help with breastfeeding in the interim.
Because of Charlotte’s ties, she was having to work really hard to breastfeed, so she was falling asleep or giving up before her belly was full, so she was feeding frequently to compensate. This was why she was still gaining weight, but she was exhausted, which was actually making it harder for her to sleep. She was getting worse as she got older, because as she got bigger she needed to consume larger amounts of milk.
We decided to have her ties revised, and chose a dentist that specialised in revising tongue & lip ties using laser (rather than scissors). Here’s a breakdown of the days following her revision:
As instructed, I fed Charlotte 2 hours before our appointment, and gave her Panadol 1 hour beforehand. When we arrived at the dental surgery, a dental assistant greeted us and took us up the hall. There were meeting rooms with frosted glass up one side of the hall and treatment rooms with clear glass windows up the other side of the hall.
We were taken into a meeting room and the dental nurse asked us a number of questions about Charlotte and my experience breastfeeding. She then showed my husband and I the stretches we’d have to do following the revision (to prevent the ties from re-attaching). Then the dentist came in and had a chat with us about the information we’d given the dental nurse, examined Charlotte, and answered our questions. She was lovely and gave Charlotte a big cuddle and made her laugh.
Then it was time to actually do the revisions. She told me not to go anywhere and be ready to breastfeed because she would be back in 3 minutes! She took Charlotte across the hall to one of the treatment rooms and we stayed in the meeting room. She preferred that parents wait in the meeting room, but we had the option of going with her to the treatment room or watching through the window if we really wanted to. We heard Charlotte crying, which was heartbreaking, but she didn’t sound overly distressed and she only cried for about 30 seconds. After about 3-5 minutes the dentist came back with Charlotte. Charlotte looked a little upset but she wasn’t crying.
I fed Charlotte immediately and it was AMAZING! Her latch was perfect and it tickled instead of hurting! However, we were warned that Charlotte might slip back into her old feeding style out of habit if I wasn’t proactive about re-training her and she advised that I go back to my IBCLC for further help.
Once the dentist was satisfied that Charlotte was feeding correctly, she said goodbye and left us alone in the meeting room. After Charlotte finished feeding we put her in our Ergo and she was asleep a few minutes later (she’s usually never that easy to get to sleep!). We drove over to my husband’s work to drop him off and Charlotte kept sleeping in the car. She slept for about 1.5 hours, which was really impressive compared to her usual 10-20 minute naps. When she woke up and I gave her another feed which once again felt great. We then headed to her next appointment.
Our dentist recommended that we see a cranial chiropractor with experience in tongue & lip ties, to help loosen up the muscles that had previously been constricted due to the ties, so we made an appointment for later in the day. When we arrived Charlotte was still in a great mood and was smiling at everyone in the waiting room. The chiropractor was lovely and very gentle. There was absolutely no bone cracking and Charlotte appeared to enjoy the treatment.
On the way home Charlotte went to sleep almost immediately, but woke up 20 minutes later when we got home. She was pretty cranky, but I’m not sure if this was because she was in pain or because she was woken up from her nap. I gave her some more Panadol and some frozen breastmilk in a mesh feeder to suck on. She was very unsettled for the rest of the afternoon. At 5pm we had a warm bath and that helped to settle her. I got her ready for bed, gave her a feed and she was sound asleep by 6pm. Getting her to sleep was so much easier than usual, I took this as a sign that we were going to have a good night!
We went to sleep at 10pm and Charlotte was still sound asleep! We were so excited! Charlotte woke up at 11pm and I fed her back to sleep. She’d slept for 5 hours! She woke up again 4 hours later. This was an incredible improvement for a little girl that had previously been waking hourly!
Unfortunately it didn’t last. I gave her another feed but this time she wouldn’t go back to sleep. I was almost constantly feeding and patting her for the rest of the night, until she finally went back to sleep at some point in the early hours of the morning. I was so disappointed – the night had started out so well!
Charlotte slept in until 7.30am (a big sleep-in for her), she had a feed and we played for about an hour before she wanted another feed. I was a bit concerned about her wanting to feed again after only an hour, but her latch was still good and she seemed to be getting more milk, although she did keep pulling back to get back to the shallow latch position that she was used to, so I had to keep re-latching her.
Charlotte had never taken a dummy before – we’d tried a few different types but she spat them all out. We assumed it was because she didn’t like them, but after researching ties, I realised she might not be able to hold them in her mouth. So I thought I would try having another go with a dummy and this time she took it, started sucking on it, and fell asleep! I felt like I had a whole new baby!
She was in a good mood for the rest of the day, and her naps lasted for 1-2 hours. I was so happy that we were already seeing so much improvement! I did the stretches every 4 hours and Charlotte clearly didn’t enjoy them, but she didn’t cry or seem overly bothered by them. She didn’t have any Panadol or other medication all day because I didn’t want to medicate her unless she was actually in pain.
In the evening she started to get really upset. I gave her some Panadol and some more frozen breastmilk to suck on and that calmed her down pretty quickly. She feel asleep after having another feed and slept for another 2 hours. So all up she slept for over 5 hours during the day! A huge achievement for her!
She went to sleep for the night at 8pm, but then she was waking every 1-2 hours and not wanting to go back to sleep.
At 5am she was wide awake and screamed at our attempts to try to get her back to sleep. We gave her some Panadol which seemed to help. She had a half hour sleep in the morning, a 40 minute sleep at lunch time, and then a 2 hour sleep in the afternoon. For most of the day she was very unsettled and spent a lot time screaming and crying inconsolably. I gave her some more frozen breastmilk to suck on and this seemed to help a lot.
It took us over an hour to get her to sleep for the night, and then she was awake again after 40 minutes, and then again after 60 minutes, and it was a battle to get her asleep again. We were prepared for a bad night, but we actually ended up having the best night ever! We went to sleep at 10pm and then I woke up at 2am and Charlotte was still sound asleep! I did her stretches (which woke her up), gave her a feed, and she went straight back to sleep and didn’t wake up again until 5am!
Once again Charlotte was up at 5am, but at least she woke up in a great mood.
Today we went to the IBCLC again to work on improving Charlotte’s latch. The IBCLC showed me the correct way to latch her now that her ties were fixed, and she also showed me some exercises to do with Charlotte to help strengthen and re-train the muscles in her mouth that had been restricted due to the ties. She explained that Charlotte was now using muscles that she’s never used before, so she’d still find it tiring to feed until she built strength in those muscles. It was like having a newborn again in a sense because she was having to learn to feed all over again. The IBCLC said it would take about a month for her to transition through all the stages of recovery following the revisions.
For the rest of the day Charlotte was in a pretty good mood and didn’t appear to be in any pain. She didn’t have any medication and barely cried the whole day. She had two 40 minute naps in the car, and a 2 hour nap in her bed in the afternoon! Overnight she woke every 2 hours but at least she went straight back to sleep after a feed every time.
Today was probably the worst day of the week. Charlotte was very unsettled and spent a lot of the day crying. But she also cut a tooth, so I think she probably would have been miserable anyway. Getting her to sleep for the night was a 2 hour ordeal, and when she finally went to sleep in my husbands arms he was too scared to put her down!
End of first week
A week has passed since Charlotte had her ties revised and I have definitely seen a lot of improvement. She’s sleeping for 1-2 hours at a time during the day, sleeping for 3-4 hours overnight, going straight back to sleep after a feed at night, and her tummy problems have completely vanished! I can’t believe she’s already improved so much after just one week! Feeding is now pain-free if she latches correctly, but hurts if she pulls back to the shallow latch position that she is used to, so I have to keep re-latching her (which hurts too!)
After one month
We’re now at the one month mark and I’m feeling very disappointed and questioning why we did the procedure in the first place. Charlotte’s ties are now fully healed and hasn’t been nearly as much improvement has I had hoped for. Charlotte has gone back to feeding in her shallow latch position, and no amount of re-attaching will get her to feed correctly. DH thinks I should go back to the IBCLC, but I’m sick of spending money on the problem and getting no where!
Breastfeeding is now more painful than it had ever been and I I’ve decided to switch to bottle feeding when Charlotte turned 6 months. This is going to be a nightmare to do because Charlotte really loves her boobie and often it’s the only way I can calm her or get her to sleep, and I really wanted to let her self-wean. But my nipples are cracked and bleeding, hurting all the time, and I felt like bursting into tears every time she’s due for feed. I was so determined to breastfeed for as long as possible, but I’ve reached my breaking-point now.
Her sleep has gone backwards again too so she’s waking every 1-2 hours at night, and her sleep in inconsistent during the day.
After 6 weeks
It’s now been 7 weeks since Charlotte’s ties were revised and everything has changed!
After 6 weeks (which was a couple of weeks before Charlotte turned 6 months old) Charlotte started to latch correctly (all by herself!) and breastfeeding suddenly stopped hurting. My nipples recovered from the damage quickly and I was completely pain-free! I couldn’t believe it!
Charlotte’s sleep also started to improve again and she now sleeps for 4-5 hours at night (which I am happy to live with), and she has 2x 2 hour sleeps and a 45 minute sleep during the day.
After 6 months of drama, I finally find breastfeeding enjoyable and feel like I could keep going forever!
I did the maths and worked out that I’ve spent about the same amount of money (for consultation fees, etc.) to get the problem fixed as I would have spent on formula, so I don’t feel like I’ve lost anything (except for maybe my sanity for a while there!). I’ve also possibly avoided the expense of speech and dental problems down the track, so overall I’m happy to have spent the money, and I’m more than happy with the improvements that we have had.
Happy new year! Wow! What a big year 2014 was for me! Just a few of the major highlights of my year:
1. Got married!
On the 28th of June 2014 I married my best friend and partner of 4 years. It was literally the happiest day of my life. And I planned the 3-day wedding in just 4 months!
2. Honeymooned in Thailand & Cambodia
Got to enjoy a fabulous 3 week holiday with my favourite person, enjoying amazing food, fabulous beaches and some really swanky hotels.
3. Got pregnant!
Despite supposedly being infertile, I was over-the-moon excited to discover that I had fallen pregnant while on honeymoon! My husband and I are expecting a little girl on the 15th of April 2015.
4. Bought a house
This was a big a of saga in itself, and you can read all about it here. We’ll be moving into our new house a month before the baby is due!
5. Launched a new business
While I’m on maternity leave, I’ll be down-scaling my graphic design business, so I decided to launch another eCommerce store to provide some extra income while I’m on leave. I’m super excited about the new store, which is selling stickers, wall decals, posters and prints!
6. Wrote an eBook
I wrote an eBook titled “How to Start an Online Store“, which you can download for FREE.
7. Completed Certificate IV in Small Business Management
Even thought I’ve been a business owner for the last couple of years now, I thought it would be a good idea to do some formal training. The course taught me a lot about business and I’m really glad I did it.
So that’s just a few highlights from my 2014, and 2015 is looking like it’s going to be just as big! I can’t wait!
It was the second last day of my honeymoon. I’d spent the past 3 weeks traveling through Thailand and Cambodia, swimming, eating, drinking, and relaxing with my new husband. I’d been having the time of my life and I was so happy. I was enjoying the breakfast buffet at the hotel where we were staying, and since there was no wifi in our room, I thought I’d quickly check my email.
The first email that came through was an email from our real estate agent. I opened and read (what at the time) felt like the worst news ever. Immediately I burst into tears in the middle of the breakfast buffet. The emailed informed me that we were going to have to find somewhere else to live in 3 months time when our lease ended.
I was upset because I loved our house and I didn’t want to have to leave it, especially after we’d only been living there for 9 months. I was upset because I didn’t want to have to invest time, energy and money in finding and then moving to a new house. I was upset with myself because I thought I must have done something wrong to make my landlord want us to leave. And I was upset because I’d received this news on my honeymoon.
And then I remembered the number one must valuable piece of advice I have ever received:
You can’t control your circumstances, but you can control how you respond to them.
So I switched to a positive mindset and started to put things into perspective. My husband and I had been planning to buy a house at some point, but because were really happy with our rental house, it hadn’t been much of a priority. Maybe this news was the push that we needed to start looking into buying something. And even if we ended up continuing to rent, maybe we’d find something even better. At the very least it would give me an incentive to clear out all the clutter in my office!
By the I had finished re-evaluating the situation, I was actually starting to feel really excited about the news.
After returning to Australia, we immediately made an appointment with a mortgage broker so we could discuss our options. I was a bit skeptical about whether we’d be able to get a home loan, since I’m self employed and we didn’t have that much money for a deposit, but the mortgage broker assured us that we would be fine. We discovered that we could get a 100% home loan so we wouldn’t need a deposit, and my tax returns were all that was needed to prove my income.
Once we had pre-approval we started house hunting. We started going to open houses and looking online. And looking, and looking, and looking… Every house we were interested in either sold within hours of being listed, or there was something wrong with it. Eventually we found a house that was perfect for us, but the asking price was much too high. The real estate agent assured us the owner was negotiable on price, so we put in our offer, but the owner refused to negotiate. What a complete waste of time! Dismayed, we kept looking.
Meanwhile, we had to move out of rental house. We were lucky enough to be able to move into a brand-new two bedroom apartment in an inner-city resort-style complex, which we absolutely loved. We also discovered that I was pregnant!
We kept house hunting but every house we liked was either already sold, or there was a problem. We kept looking for months. We were so sick of giving up our weekends and evenings to go to inspections and open houses! One Saturday morning, we decided to drag ourselves to just one open house. As soon as we walked in the door we were sold. The house was perfect. It was in a location that we never thought we’d be able to afford to buy in, but the owners had dropped down the price because they were desperate to sell. It was perfect!
After some negotiations, the owners accepted our offer and we arranged for a housing & pest inspection. But the report did not look good. The bathroom needed extensive repairs and we needed further inspections. We were devastated. My family was urging us to walk away from negotiations, while my partner’s family was urging us to stick it out. We didn’t know what to do!
But it all worked out in the end. The owners paid for further inspections that showed that the house was in perfect condition, and that the bathroom didn’t actually need any repairs, and then offered to take the cost of repairs off the sale price anyway!
Because the owners wanted a long settlement, we’ll be staying in our apartment for the next couple of months, and moving to our new place a month before the baby is expected to be born. Giving us just enough time to set up the nursery!
Yes, you can fire clients! If you’re self-employed you have the freedom to pick and choose the clients that you work with. Of course, if your finances are stretched or job prospects are few and far between, you might not be a in a position to fire clients at will, but if I client become truly unbearable, it’s nice to know that you have the freedom to show them the door.
Of course, you have to keep in mind, that if they’ve paid you to do a project, you’ll either have to finish the project before you fire them, or give them a refund. And if you fire them while they still owe you money, well it might mean you have a difficult time recovering that money.
When should you fire a client?
- They are rude/offensive/abusive/disrespectful
- They don’t respect your boundaries (eg. they continue to call you at 11pm on a Friday after you’ve asked them to contact you during office hours)
- They ask you to work for free, refuse to accept pricing increases or withhold payment
- They ask you to break the law or engage in unethical/immoral behaviour
- They otherwise breach terms of your contract
3 ways to fire a client
Increase their pricing
If you’d be prepared to tolerate a difficult client if they pay you more money, this can be a win win for both of you. You’ll be financially compensated for dealing with the difficult client, and they’ll get to keep using your services. Otherwise, increasing pricing is an easy way to get a difficult client to walk out the door without you having to ask them to.
Politely tell them you can no longer work with them and explain why (politely!)
Tell them the truth in the most professional and non-confrontational way possible. Something along the lines of “unfortunately I can no longer work with you as you have violated the terms of our contract by…”
Make up an excuse to explain why you can no longer work with them
You could tell them that you’ve changed your business model and are no longer able to provide the services that they require, you could tell them that you have to reduce your business hours for personal reasons and no longer have availability to work with them, or you could tell them that you have to take a temporary leave of absence but hope to work with them again in the future. I generally don’t condone telling clients lies, but this kind of softly-softly approach can be beneficial if you don’t have the courage to tell them the real reason you don’t want to work with them, or if you want to keep the door open in case you want or need to work with them in the future, or if you’re worried about the negative backlash that might arise if you’re truthful with them.
NEVER be rude when firing a client
While it might be tempting to lash out at your client and tell them what you really think of them, it’s never a good idea, because you never know what kind of negative consequences your outburst will have. Your client will likely tell his networks what happened (completely skewed so that they sounds completely innocent) and you might lose clients (or future clients) as a result. You might find yourself wanting to work with the company again in future (because for example the client has left the organisation) so you don’t want to burn your bridges.