Anca saves the day

Simple, gentle and effective guidance for growing families

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Gentle and effective sleep solutions for babies. 

Boob or Bottle ? ?

Your baby has just been handed to you, all wrapped up and you’re in awe of what you created in your own body. That amazing feeling followed by the direction of “lets try feeding”. The instinct is get that boob out, (I mean it’s already out, but that’s not the point) and start the breastfeeding journey. Now for a lot mummies out there, this IS the preferred option, or at least to try and see how it goes BUT for some — it isn’t. 

And you know what folks - THAT’S OK! 


Where did this guilt come from that your baby needs to be breastfed only? Why are bottles so frowned upon? I feel we need to look at where we are today (as women in society) and see that a bottle is just as convenient and natural to some as whipping the boobs out. Don’t get me wrong — I think it’s amazing that a) our bodies can create humans, b)formulate nutritious milk c)multi-task to new levels of extraordinary. Breastfeeding is superb, mother’s are superb, but so are alternative choices. 

Breast is best may be the case for some mummies but 2 months down the line when your body is exhausted or you’re reaching the limit of trying to pump or wake up every few hours to feed while applying nipple cream and counting down the limited time you may have before the next feed is due, MAY just may cause the desire to add in some alternatives. For the mum’s that reached out to me for this scenario, it pains me to see and read the anxiety you went through in making this decision. The guilt associated with ‘not coping’ or ‘not being enough’ — it’s so far from the truth. Bottle or boob or BOTH, as long as you are nurturing, loving and providing for your child, well done to YOU.

I want all the mums i’ve had the luxury of supporting to know that you are so amazing and motherhood needs to be as guilt free as possible - Life is simply far too short!

One Pot Wonder!

Winter has arrived and I can't think of anything better than having a feast on the table for everyone to enjoy. Having heard so many horror stories of multiple dinner meals being cooked to suit everyone's needs, I had to intervene. Here's to the beginning of Anca's family dinners for all! You don't need to be slaving away in the kitchen and with a few tweaks here and there you can zazzz it up or tone it down. 

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Beef Ragu! 

Ragu - (for those wondering), is simply a meat-based sauce. That's all! The key to this sauce is stewing your meat so it becomes this delicious, soft, rich (but not too rich, you're in control) sauce. It's so tasty! ! 

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Understandably, making fresh pasta is a bit of a stretch, but don't you worry, this dish is just as good with any pasta you have in the pantry (but if you'd like the recipe for my fresh pasta, drop a comment)!

Recipe Time! 

Now, the recipe below is for when you need to host a dinner, or if you feel like something a bit richer. That being said, i've put in brackets what you can use as an alternative. 

600g beef cheeks, trimmed, halved (or chuck steak)

2 tbs olive oil 

1 large red onion, coarsely chopped 

1-2 large carrots

1 bag of fresh spinach (I like about 300-500g)

6 cloves garlic, crushed 

½-1 long red chilli, thinly sliced (for a more adult based dinner)

½ bunch rosemary 

½ bunch thyme 

250ml dry white wine 

2 x 400g cans whole tomatoes, pureed (this isn't diced, chopped, look for puree )

1/2-1 can x hot water (I simply use the old tomato can to get that left over tomato juice)

1/2 bunch basil leaves, chopped 

2 Bay leaves

Lets get cooking!

  1. Lightly oil your meat of choice - season well, don't be shy. 
  2. In a large pot, add some olive oil and brown your meat all over and chuck it in your slow cooker (which is set to low) when done. 
  3. Add onion, garlic and chilli to same pan. Cook, stirring, until onion is soft. Stir in rosemary, thyme and wine. Simmer until wine is reduced by half, then add carrots.
  4. Add your pureed tomatoes! Bring to the boil and stir stir stir. 
  5. At the sauce to the slow cooker. If the meat is covered well by the sauce then just add half a can of water. Stir the mixture to combine all those lovely flavours and get your toddler to add Anca's favourite ingredient - Bay Leaves! 
  6. Pop that lid on, blow a kiss, put those feet up and signal hubby to wash up. Your dinner is set for tomorrow night. 
  7. Before serving, shred the meat in the sauce, throw it in a pot to reduce until you're satisfied and whack the pasta on. 
  8. Stir in the basil & the spinach (don't worry, it will soften).  
  9. Serve with some parmesan cheese. 

Note, this could easily be thrown together in the AM ready for the evening. I love to make this dish and eat it the night after! 

Travelling guidance

Dreaming of a getaway? Does the thought of a simple domestic trip scare you ? This is for you then, because Anca has got you covered! Having kids can be expensive, and travelling can seem like you need a lottery ticket before googling webtjet prices. Aside from the cost, you start to think of all the little details; 

  • They're going to scream on the plane?  
  • How will we keep them entertained ?
  • What about the pram ?
  • Getting to the airport? Getting home! 
  • Food while we're there? 
  • What about delays ? 

Going on a trip doesn't have to be an overwhelming experience, it simply comes down to being organised and then a little bit more. Preparation is absolutely KEY! So, lets get you all prepared! 

Entertainment

Whether you're going international or domestic - if you  have an infant over 12months old i'd invest in a few of these free apps. Your must apps are one click away!!! 

Wash away the guilt of having an ipad on a plane - you are trapped on a plane with a ticking energy time bomb so you gotta do what you gotta do!  If you have some kids that are older, i'd recommend checking out these apps which include a range of fantastic educational games (i personally love exploring the Nat-geo one. 

Feeding the little one/s..... 

Sugar is the devil here. I'm not opposed to the standard treat here and there, but having a child trapped on a plane, and in a small confined space, it's safe to say the logical thing is to keep the sugar devil away. I've made a little slide show of some of my favourite snacks - i've done 4 long journey's with kids under 5 years of age, these worked a treat, especially having them in the 'fun bag/treat bag'. When you feel he has been behaving or simply needs a distraction - Want to have a dip in the fun bag????". It works a treat - PUN INTENDED. 

 

Dried nuts!

Mixed nuts. 

Fantastic healthy and filling snack for everyone

Seaweed snack!

Dried Seaweed ! 

A fantastic, crunchy, messy and tasty treat

 (click to scroll)

The key to all of these snacks are -very low sugar or natural sugars. Having an over supply rather than an under supply. For the long distance trips i've taken I have found that kids who are full tend to have less mood swings. Make sure the fun bag is closed and not available 24/7, it's always a good idea to keep it as a treat or opportunity. 

Milk zone 

Here are some points about getting those bottles together if you are not breastfeeding. The flight attendants are always helpful when it comes to topping up water, etc. Don't be shy to ask for help! 

  • Have your formula pre-measured, in the bottle ready to go. 
  • take off and landing can be a horrifying experience for some little ones, so be sure to make some extra bottles incase they need soothing feed
  • There is filtered water on the plane - that is available to you. Once you pass security check, go to the store and buy a big bottle of water so you can top up at your seat (especially if you're doing a domestic trip). 
  • Ask the flight attendants if they wouldn't mind topping up the bottle with hot water - they have boiling water all ready to go. 
  • Another trick is to have a formula divider container, and as you get on the plane, ask the air hostess if she wouldn't mind topping them up, so when you're ready for a feed you can just add the formula. This will save you so much time
  • For post formula kiddies, I would recommend taking some longlife on the plane. You can buy the small sizes to get through security and all you have to do is pour into the bottle. Simple and effective. 

 

Getting to the airport 

This is usually the big stress when it comes to trips. If you are doing a domestic trip then I highly recommend checking your Health fund, and car insurance - WHY ??? If you're with NRMA or BUPA, then you could be entitled to up to 20% off at Park and Fly. 

  • https://www.parknfly.com.au/? - A great service where they take you on a shuttle (with car seats if needed), drop you to your terminal, pick you up and have your car ready. So effective especially if you're going on a quick trip. If you have any discounts through your car insurance it almost costs the same as organising a cab with car seats etc. Less hassle, more convenience - IDEAL when travelling with kids. 
  • https://www.mynrma.com.au/membership/benefits - 20% off park and fly!!! Make sure you check and compare all your health insurance, private insurance and car insurance. For all the premiums you pay, it sure is handy to have some benefits. I've attached the NSW seat belt/car seat regulations for travelling in taxi's - I get asked this question so frequently that I hope this helps and be sure to pass it on to those who are travelling !!! 
    • http://roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au  I've attached the NSW seat belt/car seat regulations for travelling in taxi's - I get asked this question so frequently that I hope this helps and be sure to pass it on to those who are travelling !!!
  • https://www.uber.com/en-AU/ride/ - Ride with UBER! cheaper, better service and 100% more reliable than taxi's. NB: you are also able to catch an UBER at the airport arrivals now in the public pick up area! 

 

While you're in the airport - don't give your pram away - hold onto it (i absolutely push for Yoyo's or the simple Maclaren that does a 2 second origami fold-away. When checking in, inform them you need the pram up until boarding - it makes carrying your hand luggage a lot easier 

- On that note, don't carry lots of loose toy items in the bottom of the pram for the simple reason of you'll enter security check and have to stand there emptying it all out!!!! Keep to the fun bag/treat bag. All the goodies you need in one simple location, quick and effective. 

Be safe and have fun! I hope this information is helpful to you all! 

Happy travels!!!

 

Anca xxxx 

To potty train, or not ?

Before going into anything - parents, guardians, carers, basically adults; ask yourself these two questions.

Am I ready ? 

Are they ready ?  

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to toilet training is ‘readiness’, because although the glory of getting rid of nappies is at the end of the tunnel, there are numerous hurdles that come with potty training.

I've made a list of some of the fun ones below: 

  • accidents everywhere 
  • patience 
  • confidence 
  • confusion
  • doubt
  • independence 
  • potty VS toilet seat 
  • poo phobia 
  • night confusion 
  • cabin fever 

Yes, the fun ones. If you're child is attending a daycare, it's likely they'll have more peer pressure around toilet-ing than most, this isn't to say that kids who don't attend childcare don't have pressure. Every child is different when it comes to the toilet and i've noticed a lot of parents comparing their child with others, siblings, and even themselves. There are so many roads to choose from when it comes to the toilet, so I want to write about options and encourage you to compare less, and choose the best road for you and your family. 

Photo by markcarper/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by markcarper/iStock / Getty Images

The first road is letting your child tell you that they're ready - Now, they're not going to walk up to you and say "no more nappies", what they will do is show you some signs and signals. 

  • Do they let you know what they're doing ? "i'm doing a wee wee, I did poo"
  • Doesn't their nappy stay dry for at least 90mins ? 
  • Is their an increased interest when others use the toilet ? - You know those fun toilet chats; "mum, what are you doing, mum, whats that, mum what you doing". 
  • Are they actually wanting to wear underwear? 
  • Have they tried to take off their nappy to use the toilet ? 
  • Are they talking about it or friends doing it ? 

Whether they're 2,3, 4 or older, these are signs that maybe its time to take the leap and say ciao to nappies. Sometimes I like to encourage parents to invest in some L plater pull ups, just to get the momentum going with their independence. 

CLICK BELOW

If you're not wanting or are already in L plater training, then moving to the unrestricted licence potty training is next. First things first - boost that independence and confidence of theirs. I'm talking about hitting your local kmart and target and stocking up on those cheap undies - not just a few - STOCK UP! You're going to be packing at least 5 pairs at school and believe me when I say receiving poo undies at the end of a daycare day is not something I would wish on anyone. Don't be shy, buy those undie packs like a plague is going to hit. 

NEXT, the talk. 

Just like a sportsman has his pre-game prep talk, I'd advise you do the same - boost that confidence, reinforce that accidents are OK, put some humour and serious proud parent comments in there. "You're a big kid now, I'm so proud of you". 

While i'm on this road (your child leading the way), don't throw gifts at them yet. Remember they're developing enough to want to try it, so they don't need materialism (yet). Gifts are fantastic when you have a particular goal for them, as lets be honest it's the NO.1 motivator. Let them lead the way on their progress, if their morale is down, take them for a big kid baby cino bonding time, rather than - here's a toy. I like to reinforce rewards with bonding experiences instead of detached gifts. 

Think about it - linking gifts with successful toilet time may be quite the expensive path......

The other road... 

Photo by BrianAJackson/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by BrianAJackson/iStock / Getty Images

 This road is the "i want my child out of nappies', either because a baby is on the way and one less seems optimal or you're ready to save 20c per nappy OR you're just sick changing dirty nappies. Whatever it may be, this road I find to be harder as you're initiating the independence, rather than watching for more signs - you find the standard cabin fever/no pants wearing/nude child/wee on the floor method will be the breaker.

On this note - it may ? Sometimes having that 2-3day period of getting use to the toilet works, and you have a knicker wearing little one with just night nappies to worry about. If this is the path you're going down, be prepared for the 'regression period' of muchos accidents and laziness. Most kids go through this because their bladders are still in the piddle phase. 

Did she say piddle phase ? 

I did- the piddle phase is simply where your child's bladder is nappy trained, its still just releasing with the comfort of thinking the undies will absorb it.It'll pass  - also if your child is at daycare, even though they have teachers asking them, they're so stimulated that often the toilet is the last thing on their minds.

Some tactics; 

  • if asking your child every 30mins isn't working - let them take the lead, change the communication. "remember if you need a wee, you have to go to the toilet". 
  • increase the intervals to an hour or so and include yourself "mummy is going to the toilet, lets go together"
  • Remind them that they're a big kid now, and we have to practice the toilet 
  • Make links with the underwear- "we don't want to wee on Dora (yes, we do), lets take her to the toilet. 
  • Get a toilet mascot (elmo/their favourite companion). 

Remember the toilet is about leading their independence, encouraging them to develop and strengthen their self-help skills. 

Anca 

 

- please comment all questions! I'd love to hear from you and help. 

 

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.....


Sometimes parenting can simply come down to motivation and management - when you need to get to a playdate and don't want to be delayed an hour, you gotta simple HOOK those kidlets in. 

BUT HOW?!?!?!?

No. 1: You need to get yourself prepared before managing others. I see so many parents saving themselves for last and before you know it, your adorable, dressed, and ready to go bubba has rubbed sudocream all over themselves or destroyed something. Once you have yourself prepared, you are 100% ready to take on all challenges thrown at you (literally). 

-----> On this note, get yourself a mapped out schedule. If you need to be out the door and on a ferry to work by 8am, I would be thinking over a thorough plan of action. 

No. 2: Don't introduce distractions if you can avoid them - the big one to avoid here is TV! Unless your kids have grown up and can reason with you through conversation, then don't go near those electronic devices AND lets be real, do you really want to listen to ANOTHER paw patrol episode (let alone meltdown)????????  

No. 3: Chill on the compromises! Don't spend 20-30mins asking you child do something and negotiating a compromise to go with it, because you're basically just teaching them that if they listen to instructions they get something - which is absolutely crazzzzzzzzzzy! 

------------->> Remember: you'll be giving instructions for a long, looonnnnngg, looooooooooong time, so do you really want to be negotiating each time? NO! It's simple: 
 

  1.  Give the instruction
  2. Give the instruction in a firmer tone if nothing happens 
  3. Provide a warning (if nothing changes)
  4. Follow through - time out. 
  5. Hugs & sorries / instruct again
  6. By this point, if they still aren't listening - keep to schedule, simply say nothing, take them to complete instuction (e.g. get them dressed/shoes on/etc..... ) 
  7. Debrief when calm later on 

Now, this is all easier than said. You need to remember that every family and parent has a different boundary with their child. If you've been negotiating and suddenly follow these steps, your little one may be a little shocked. Best thing to do is talk to them the day before, tell them you need help, tell them mummy wants your listening ears on. Set up the new boundary. 

Every new day is an opportunity to make a change :D 

 

Anca xx 

 

Are you a victim of the daylight savings horror show ?

Let's start by setting the scene...... 

You've been bathing in the glory of mastering a sweet bed time routine, and NOT a 5am wake up. Smiling away as you hear your little ones in the morning but aren't horrified to see that it's pitch black outside. You get up, begin the breaky train, turn on the tele for some background noise, 

THEN...... 

YOU STOP BUTTERING THE VEGEMITE TOAST. 

"Did I read that right ? " 

"wave goodbye to an hour of sleep"

Oh no, SHIT! You grab your phone, jump on the group chat to your fellow mum pals and say, "OMG, I TOTALLY FORGOT DAYLIGHT SAVINGS STARTS!". 

It's OK. Anca's got your back. 

It's OK. Anca's got your back. 

Now, there are two avenues you can go down here. The first is, you had the warning of daylight savings and therefore have the opportunity to do some preparation. The second is, you had no warning and are panicking about the pending doom you'll be facing tomorrow morning. 

DEEP BREATH

I'm going to start with the second scenario, because we are in the crux of the change, and an hour of sleep loss can feel like a whole night to some parents. 

  • The first rule is not to follow that voice in your head that says "if I run their energy out, maybe they'll go to bed earlier and sleep longer". This is a NO. NO. 
    It's one thing to make sure your little one uses up their energy stores, and it's another to drain them completely. Don't set yourself up for the over-tired screaming festival. 
My rule of thumb is always that over tired kids usually take longer to fall asleep and are incredibly restless when snooozing
  • If your regular bed time is 7pm, aim for 6.30pm. The key to mastering daylight savings is to ignore the daylight outside. Just because the sun is out, doesn't mean their body clock isn't ready for resting time. 
    I like to encourage an extra book/s, or what I like to call 'independence time' - Let your little one have 10-15mins of quiet time in bed with books (not a stimulating toy), ALONE. 
Children are as independent as you allow them to be - if you give them wings, they're fly! 
  • "But if they go to bed early they'll wake earlier!!!!" - I'm sorry families, but this is a myth. Kids are so different and there are so many factors that come into play. I can't emphasise enough to TRUST your instinct -

    If your child is tired, it's time to chill and not focus on the light outside. Their body needs at least 8-10hours of rest. This being said, please ignore the myth of "put them to sleep later to avoid 5am". By implementing allocated down time in bed, 30mins earlier, your child is learning to enjoy resting - this is much easier to work with at 5am. 

    • THE BAD NEWS: Yep - so for a good week (at least), your little gem may get up at 5am (because their body clock is telling them it's 6am). This is OK, don't hate it because it is logical. You need to educate your child now on their new wake up time. 
      HOW? Using calm words and actions. "It's not time to wake up, back to bed" Ifyour child is under 15months you can take on a similar approach by not commencing feeds as soon as theyre up, and treating it as a night wake up. Calmly go inside, lightly pat them or cuddle them. Try not to turn on all the lights unless you actually want the day to start that early. 

  • NAPS - Be mindful that your little one may be wanting to doze off earlier than expected (especially if they've been up since 5am). Try not to let them over-sleep, allow for a rest, not a long sleep haul. 
    For the bubbas, you can expect their morning sleeps to definitely come in a bit earlier. As they adjust to the new time zone, slowly start to push it out again. 

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Anca's daylight savings tips and tricks: 

  • First things first, slowly start to bring their bed time forward (or back) if it's usually 7pm you'll want to start the 10-15min increment change - this will help when the clocks change (in either direction) and it wont be too dramatic for them
  • If your child is older, talk to them about it - Use books, pictures or make up a fun story about the sun and the moon. (use the button below to see Anca's suggestion). 
  • Prepare the room! If you have blinds/sheer curtains, grab some black paper and cover the windows, this will make bed time a little easier for your child to mentally grasp the 'night'. A child's body clock is so sensitive that it's important to monitor external factors. 
  • Take some breaths. You need time for you which will help your patience and tolerance levels and to also assist in being a bit more sympathetic to your child adjusting to the clock. 

Welcome!

Hello! 

For those of you who don't know me - I'm Anca! Welcome to my website, more so, my Blog! 

I've decided to redirect my blog posts to my website after hearing so much wonderful feedback from my facebook page. I thought it would be easier to have a simple blog page where everyone can benefit from my tips and tricks. 

I'll be talking about everything kid related; from newborns to nipples, toddlers and tantrums, juggling household chaos, milk - solids and plenty more. 

Parenting and kids are my absolute passion. I've dedicated my career to helping families and educating both parents and children. I hope to inspire mums and dads to reach out for help when needed, or simply take a deep breath and smile when realising they're not alone. 

Anca will always be here to save the day! 

Anca xxx a

We never know the love of a parent till we become parents ourselves.