Sunday, August 24, 2014

How to get your baby to sleep through the night

This is the hardest stage to go through. Especially if you were like me who did not "train" your child to sleep through the night until after 1 year but I have accepted it and I am thankful now that it has been achieved. Some days.

Before you begin, make sure every single issue has been resolved:

Your child is having a balanced diet throughout the day.
Your child is ...
not hot
or cold
thirsty
or needs a diaper change
sick
not overly exhausted from not having a good nap during the day
wearing comfortable clothes
eczema is not flared up
actually tired to go to sleep.


THE ROUTINE

I know, you probably get that prickly annoying feeling when someone says to you "yeah, my son is on a strict schedule because like, that's the only way I get things done. I am like a very organised person. It's the only way I-like- function."




Sureeeee.

 I know, it is super annoying to hear that but there is truth to it but no need for an over exaggeration.  I always thought that the"routine" meant this very strict schedule and sounded very intimidating, but it's not. The idea is to generally do the same thing every day so that your child body clock starts working and understands what the time is for and what's happening next.

It would be best if your husband/partner does the night time routine  so that your child doesn't think it's time for another feed with you. My son was only able to sleep through the night when I switched to fresh milk from a bottle  and Amar gave him the night time bottle feed. However, if you are still breastfeeding, make sure your child is still awake before you place him or her in the cot. You don't want to associate sleep with the feed. Or else, they will continue to wake up during the night. 
Before you give baby the last bottle, read him or her a bed time story, dim the lights and whisper to them. Mention every once in a while that it is sleep time. Associate a word like "nom" (arabic for sleep) or "nigh nigh"   as if ya3ni you are trying to hypnotise them. Just say it every once in a while and subconsciously it will click.  Then give him the bottle and a cuddle and sing a song to help them fall asleep ( you can ditch all that except for the bottle once your child learns its time for bed) 
Afterwards, gently put baby in the cot. Don't get too excited an run out of the room.

Tap baby gently on the back and tell them its nom time and whisper. DO NOT pick baby up after that. If baby is still crying, leave the room and return after 10 minutes. Tell your baby that you are leaving the room and make sure they see you leave. You don't want to freak your baby out by leaving as soon as they turn their head.
When  you return, gently tap their back and and tell them that it's nom time (gently). Then leave the room. Come back after 20 minutes if baby is not settled and then eventually 40 minutes, etc... Eventually baby will understand and sleep through the night. It takes some people 2 days for it to happen and for others around 2 weeks. It is recommended that you stay home during those days so that you put your baby to bed at the exact same time.

Now, this whole read your baby a story, give them the bottle, sing a song, cuddle, etc...etc...etc...was wayyyy to long for me. I remember when people told me this routine,  I was just like, oh my God...say wallah you think I am going to do this every single day???
Eventually when Hasouni learned that 830 pm meant bed time and that going to his room, dimming the light and giving him a bottle meant sleep time, I ditched the book and singing. I gave him a cuddle bes ya3ni that's as far as I took it. Half the time I use to forget to go to the bathroom before I started the freagin routine so I kept trying to hurry up. And honestly, the idea is to get your baby to realise it's bed time. You don't need to make it this long ass story for them to understand. Just do the same thing every day and khalas. BUT, you will need to do the long version in the beginning because it is a huge change for them and these stories and songs and blah blah blah help them transition. You can read him a book during the day.



But none of these will work if you do not make sure your child has a good nutritious diet throughout the day. Or else, you will be trying to put a hungry baby to sleep. There are many  guidelines that you can follow online or perhaps consult a dietitian. Dinner time is usually the most difficult meal because your baby is probably already full from all the fruits, dairy, and veggies that you gave so stock up on carbs to help them be full through the night.

If all else fails,  you can always go to a sleep clinic with your baby. They are a great help for that moment when you think you are doing everything wrong and they reassure you that the process is normal. 


Good luck to you all! Let me know what you have done to settle your baby to sleep. Would love to hear about your experience.









Friday, August 1, 2014

Travelling with a baby

Sorry, I know. I took forever with this post. But, the experience was so traumatising, I needed a few months to recuperate.

I'm okay now.

Here are my top 10 tips on traveling with a baby on flights but even so, gooood luck buddy.


NUMBER 1 - LIMIT YOUR CARRY ONs!!! I was allowed to take one carry on, a diaper bag, and a purse or backpack. I decided to ditch the purse and take the backpack since it would be easier to carry through terminals. But, taking a diaper bag and a carry on as well was just a disaster. Next time, I will try to just take a carry on and MAYBE a small bag.

2 - If your baby is under the age of 9 months, take advantage of baby jar food. Some people told me that they freeze meat dishes and by the time they get to the plane it will be good enough to eat. I am just like, oh my Goddd just relax. Your baby can be vegetarian for just one day and they will survive by not having a home cooked meal for just a couple of hours. My God. There are meaty baby jar food as well for the carnivores who just can't resist. But I was all like, ummmm it aint Halal.

3 - Put all of your food into one or two bags max so that when you get to customs, you just pull the bags out quickly to declare.  They will appreciate your organisation skills  as it speeds up the process.

4 - Put wet wipes, spoons, few nappy bags, disposable or cloth bibs in each bag that you have your foodin. I had one smaller bag that had enough for each plane ride as well which I tucked into the little pockets in front of my seat (where they put the magazines) so that I didn't have to keep carrying that one massive bag of food. I recommend using disposable bibs because you don't want to be stuck with wet bibs throughout the flight. Use your bibs to keep him from wetting his shirt from drooling if he is teething. You want to limit the number of times you need to change his clothes.

5- Make sure you get the bulkhead seat so that you get a bassinet on the long haul plane rides. The bassinets was useless for Hasan because all he wanted to do was crawl or walk, but it was great for me to chuck in his toys, wipes and food without all of it being on my lap. Call the airline a couple of times to make sure they secured your seat and check in 24 hours before your flight. Once you check in, your seat is secured.

6 - Let your child crawl or walk across the aisles. It might seem weird at first since everyone is looking at you and your baby walking back and forth but it is way better then them crying and disturbing everyone. The show off flight attendants might get annoyed so just avoid eye contact. Hasan was much quieter when he was walking and eventually he got tired and was more willing to sit later on and then eventually by the grace of God, fall asleep.

7 -  As soon as your baby falls asleep it would be a great time to go to the bathroom, clean up around your area as I am sure you are covered with biscuits and plastic cups and all that jazz, and have your meal. You will feel so much better when you clean up and much more patient when the little devil wakes up again ( <3 )

8 - Don't give your baby all the toys that you took with you at once. Give him a few at a time so that he doesn't get sick of it by the first couple of hours.

9 - Reading books helped me keep Hasouni in his seat while the seatbelt sign was on. He was also so fasincated by the plastic cups that the flight attendants gave us. I don't know why but it didn't matter to me. He loved it and I loved it.

10 - Only take with you small toys and books but make sure they are no smaller than the size of your hand.  The last thing you want to do is find the little car that he dropped which you know is underneath the man sitting beside you who just had enough.


I hope that helped!! On my flight to Canada, these tips saved me. On the flight back, Hasan decided that he no longer liked baby jar food, was definitely way too big for the bassinets, and chucked every book I gave him. It was much harder because we had 3 stop overs and the first two were right in the beginning so by the time we went on our 14 hour flight back to Sydney, he just had enough.

I will try to write more often! Sorry we also had to learn how to get Hasouni to sleep through the night and that has been quite the experience. Maybe I will write about that one day !

Love,

Oum Hasan.

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Blog Tour

My dear friend Idil invited me to join the blog tour. She writes a hilarious and smart blog called So Many Tangents  about her life as a teacher. She is absolutely wonderful. You will love this blog and will likely be inspired to become a teacher.

So, anyway, I thought, this is it. This is where I become famous. Then I started getting really nervous because she included me whilst I was in transit from Australia to Canada and I knew settling in was going to take a long time and millions of bloggers are probably on the edge of their seat in anticipation but if I took too long, surely it would all fade. I like to go into la la land to procrastinate.

OK, so here is how the blog tour works. You answer a couple of questions about "the writing process" and tag 1-3 bloggers who you like to read and then they would have to do the same.

At last, here we go!


What am I working on?

My next blog is going to be about travelling with infants on long flights. I am in Canada with Hasouni at the moment visiting my family. It took me 23 hours to arrive and weeks of preparation.
I am excited about this new post but to be honest, I am not sure when I will be able to write it as I did not bring my computer with me and it feels so strange to use my parent's. It feels like I am too old to be invading their personal things. Honestly, within two minutes of arriving to Canada, I ditched my new aussie clothes, immediately wore my old bulky sweaters, settled into my old purple bedroom, and texted my friends. Exactly like how I was when I use to live there except there is a tiny lil person in his play pen beside me.


How does my work differ from others in its genre?


I definitely compromise my image with this blog. Instead of using this blog to make myself seem like a super mom, who found answers to this difficult task, I show my struggle and I don't care. I find it more helpful to not sugar coat.

Why do I write what I do?

It was my sister Nadia and my friends (esp Hoda) that encouraged me to write. I would be on the phone with them and tell them about the funny scenarios that happen to me and they always tell me that I need to write these down and start a blog. Every blog entry has made me a nervous wreck but every response has been so positive that I just can't stop now. It makes me happy and I hope it makes you happy too!

What am I reading now?

Nothing... is that bad?

How does my writing process work?

Whenever I write a blog, I get really excited so I write really fast and put all my thoughts down even though they do not make any sense. I then save, shut the computer off, go to sleep and resume back the next day. I end up deleting half of what I wrote because it was just rubbish. I edit and re edit, then eventually I get frustrated, abruptly end my post and publish. Sometimes, that is just how it has to be. Especially if you are someone who procrastinate. You need to just bite the bullet.


Oh, thank God. The questions are now over. That wasn't too bad!! ;)

Now, I will be tagging Batoul Hussain's blog, abcreatives. Batoul picked up her bags and went off to tour the middle east with her husband, Ali. This dynamic and sweet duo kept us all in touch with breathtaking photographs and witty posts that I am sure you will love.

Okay Batoul, pressure is officially off. Now it's your turn!

You know you love me,
Xoxo. Oum Hasan.

Past participants

Idil Abdulkadir

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What NOT to do when organising your baby's first birthday




Hasouni, your next birthdays will be either at gymberoos or at the movies. Thanks.

sh** that was a lot of work. You don't realize how much crap you have to buy for your sweetheart. There are so many little pieces like for example, you can't just buy balloons. You have to buy strings as well and sticky tape if you don't have. Which you never find around your house and when you go and buy and tell yourself that you will put them in a safe drawer, it turns out to be the same safe drawer that you put all the other sticky tapes that you said you will save and remember.


I told myself that I am just going to make a simple outdoor party for my friends with cute party decor, sandwiches, drinks and party favors. I visioned twinkle lights all around the courtyard and was proud of  myself for actually taking the time and buying some and then realizing as I was going home that it will be a daytime event and no one will be able to actually see the lights. Got a bit flustered but that's alright, I moved on...

I even got my friend Amina who was a popular contestant in Masterchef to make the food. But when you are asking one of Australia's best chefs to make a meal, you don't ask them to make a fruit salad. That's what I did. Trust Mariam to ask a chef to make something that will show absolutely none of their talent in cooking. I realised my big mistake soon enough, called her in a panic and asked her if I can change the menu. She simply responded with a yes and reminded me that  we had lots of time and I felt pretty ridiculous for my over exaggeration. I had to keep reminding myself that I am not actually planning a wedding.

Everyone has been going crazy with these candy buffets so I decided that since my friends are in their mid 20s that instead of having a candy buffet, that I would have cute little blue and white dotted party favours with candy inside. As soon as I gave the guests with infants the candy, I realised that I was handing them out potentially choking hazard chocolates but whatever,  I just brushed that off. I'm sure it will be fine.  And instead of writing a simple message on each candy I thought of putting different quotes. Trust me to put in the longest quotes ever and forget that I would have to hand write like a million of them.  Some of them I wrote the quote by Oscar Wilde, "The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention" and it went on to another sentence about the candy and thanking them. I donnno, it just went on. Next year, "Thanks for coming! Love, Hasan" and I'll just attach a poetry book or just print off a poem. Or just nothing.

I thought it would be really cute to make Hasouni his invitation cards. I started a couple of months ago and things were going well. I was enjoying buying all these ribbons and card stocks. Just to make it harder on myself, I decided to make each invitation card different from one another.
Why?
What is the REASON for that?
Did anyone see the different types? No?
Was it cost efficient? No. Not at all.
Did I enjoy it. Sure?

But, I did take a photo!



Here are some photos of Hasouni's party. What do you think?





Next time, order helium tanks. I almost fainted blowing up over 50 balloons. And yes, they are still hanging on the wall. I noticed that after a kid's birthday party, the decorations on the wall look like as if you went to a really bad rave party. There are just so many colours. It's seriously makes me dizzy so I've been spending a lot of time in my room

the best part was my friend surprised me with Hasan's birthday cake. look at how gorgeous it was!  the poor girl had to make it vegan and nut free for hasoun and it didn't help when I kept asking her "so. ..have you made cakes before? ? can you make it green like a forest? no wait can you make it blue? so how many have you made. ..is there any sesame inside?  is there cream in the icing (she's vegan)"


I would show you more pics but I can't find the cord to upload my dslr photos. I'm sure I'll get around to it before he turns two!


My advice is do what ever you like. It is a special time and it is worth all that trouble.  Once. Follow my blog with Bloglovin



Monday, February 3, 2014

Don't compare your child

Don't do it!

We have all read the books and got the advice from professionals that children develop at their own rate and that the milestone guides are simply just that. Guides. But of course, you should trust your instinct if you feel that your child development is significantly slower and go for a check up with the doctor.

But you seriously need to just chill out. It doesn't matter if your neighbour's baby started eating solids before yours, or their hair is longer. You are going to have so many issues in your life, PICK your worries carefully! For instance, my friend and I meet every week for a catch up while our children who are one month apart sit together and play. As I am trying to teach Hasouni how to crawl, her baby is literally trying to climb over my head. She already conquered my living room, and now wants to climb me as the next mount everest -and this baby is younger than Hasoun. I was starting to get worried and was disregarding the fact that my child was walking along the couch to get to his toys. After I put my mind to check, I have come to the conclusion that if my child is trying to learn how to walk, than I think he is okay ;). Apparently, my sister and I never crawled when we were kids. So, there we go. 

If you start comparing the frequency of your child doing a peepee or a poo poo,  then I think it is time to take a little nice coffee break. Alone.

I don't know why we do this. We stress ourselves even when our children are looking at us and they are smiling and happy. I think the thousands of books exploding in our library shelves on parenting and the millions of guides on the Internet are causing more of a paranoia than helping.

I went out with a group of friends and their kids to a nice breakfast a few weeks ago and I noticed that one mom was feeding her child food with a silver spoon and giving him tap water. I started comparing how I feed hasouni, which is always with a plastic spoon and cooled boiled water so I asked her how come she is doing that. She said to me, and I swear, it was the exact shake up I needed to just relax with all the guides we read, "oh, this is my second child." She followed by the book with her first child, and after that experience, she learned that children don't immediately fall into pieces when you don't do things perfectly 24/7. 




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