Early misty farm mornings || Life on a dairy farm

Early Mosty Farm Mornings on the Dairy Farm with Farmboy & CityGirl South Africa-01.png

After a particularly bad night (or rather a week of a lot less sleep than usual) I'm going through my photos and reminding myself of all the things I have to be thankful for. And at the top of the list, living in such a beautiful place...even when the whether is grey and cold.

Here are a few photographs from an early morning adventure to feed the calves with Dad. Most mornings, after Evy wakes up and I feed and change her, we walk down to the dairy office to see what Dad is up to. On this particular morning we caught him just in time to hop in the bakkie and go with to feed the calves. What a fun adveture for little Everly.

Everly had so much excitement, she promptly passed out halfway through. I'm treasuring these rare moments of her falling asleep in my arms. She used to easily fall asleep with me holding her, no matter where we were. But now that she's bigger and more alert as to what's going on, it rarely happens anymore.

I'm not sure where the last 6 months have gone to, it's sort of passed in a blur and yet in those hard moments, time has dragged on. It really is true when they say 'The nights are long but the years are so very short' and so I'm going to keep reminding myself to pick up my camera and keep capturing the every day moments so I can look back on them and remember.

Everly's Top 5 Sleep Essentials - Newborn to 3 months

Baby Sleep Essentials Newborn to 3 months CityGirlSearching Blog-01.png

When it comes to babies, I think sleep (or lack there of) has got to be one of the biggest, most debated topics around...although it's probably right up there with starting solids/breastfeeding vs formula and oh wait, don't forget natural vs cesar birth. I guess just about anything and everything to do with babies will elicit wanted (and unwanted) advice and recommendations from everyone and their granny. 

I want to share what things have worked for us when it comes to our little girl, because I have always loved reading blog posts from other mommies (I find blog posts are easier to digest than spoken advice, plus I can 'turn them off' and come back to them if I want to and if I like the way the blogger has shared her experiences). I hope you find this post useful, and as always, please leave me a comment below if you have any questions about anything I've written about, or whether you'd also like to share something that has helped your little one sleep well/better.

1. Swaddle Blanket - Groswaddle 

Baby sleep essentials citygirlsearching blog newborn to 3 months swaddle blanket

Groswaddle Swaddle Blanket

I'm sure you have heard that babies like to be swaddled, right? And while I'm sure any old blanket would work, the Groswaddle is a lovely soft and stretchy cotton fabric that wraps perfectly around little newborns. It's also very easy to use (it's designed in a 'T' like shape), so even Dad can help with those early morning wraps after nappy changes. We were given two, and they were just amazing. I had a selection of other swaddles, but somehow Everly was always able to undo them. She stayed pretty snug in her Groswaddle though. She wanted to have her arms out, and would fuss no end until we took them out. You can get your hands on the Groswaddle and other Gro Company items on Takealot.

We used these swaddle blankets until she got too big for them, at around 2 months. Although it may seem like a short time to invest in such a fancy swaddle blanket, it's one of the items that I would buy again and again!

Baby Sleep Essentials Newborn to 3 months GroSwaddle swaddle blanket

2. Nurture One Nesting Pillow 

Baby Sleep Essentials CityGirlSearching Blog Newborn to 3 months Nurture One Nesting Pillow Cushion

Nurture One Nesting Pillow

This was probably one of the more expensive sleep accessories, but Everly loved this pillow and even if it only ended up giving us a few peaceful hours of sleep, it would have been worth it. It gave us a LOT more than just a few hours of good sleep though, and had it not gotten so hot here, I probably would have bought it in all the next sizes.

The only downside that I found, is that the stuffing gets 'stuck' on the one side of the pillow, and now matter how much poofing and fluffing I did, I wasn't able to get it even. It's not a big problem though, as you can flip the pillow around, and put a blanket under the other side to make it even. The NurtureOne Nesting pillow is easy to clean, simply pop into the washing machine. I still popped a receiving blanket over the pillow to keep it extra clean though, as I didn't want to have to wash it every time it got dirty. You don't realise just how long it can take to get into the swing of getting all those burps out, and of course getting a good system right with your nappies (we use cloth nappies and had our fair share of leaks until I figured out the correct fit/best absorbent ones to use on her).

What I really loved about the NurtureOne Pillow, is how easy it is to transport a sleeping baby. We were able to pick her up, while sound asleep, and move her to the couch, to the other room, and the best part, it fit perfectly in our pram bassinet! So she could carry on sleeping peacefully while we moved her from our house to Granny across the garden. We have the size 2 (75 cm x 45 cm).

We used the pillow until she was about 2 months old.

3. Bassinet

This will all depend on where you decide that you want your baby to sleep. We decided Everly would sleep in her own room, and were able to borrow the family bassinet until she moved to her cot.

We had her in a bassinet, in our room for the first night after we got home from hospital. I didn't sleep a wink. I had the bassinet right next to me, and I spent the whole night putting my hand on her chest to make sure she was breathing. We did have a monitor, but didn't use it the first night as I was so close to her. From that moment on, I knew we needed her to sleep in her own room so we that we would be able to rest as much as we could. I had no idea just how noisy newborns are! They grunt, and moan, and squirm, and all while being fast asleep! Our house is pretty small, and the two bedrooms we have (hers and ours) are right next door to each other, so we were able to hear her when she woke up and started crying. From day 2, Everly slept in her bassinet, in her own room (on her Nurture One Pillow and wrapped in her Groswaddle). We used the family heirloom bassinet, a lovely wicker one with homemade bedding borrowed from my sister in law. 


I also didn't find it easy feeding her in bed, and I really didn't enjoy the mess of breastmilk all over the sheets (I had a pretty forceful letdown, and every feed I had to have towels and breastpads on hand...it wasn't a pretty sight, and poor Everly learned very quickly to be at the ready or else risk being squirted in the eye/up her nose/all over her face haha). Although feeding her in her room did mean having to get up and go to her room when she woke at night, I really didn't mind.

Those first few weeks were a blur, and I don't know what I would have done without my amazing husband who accompanied me on every night feed and nappy change for those first weeks. It was a very special time, sitting there in our daughters room together.

I would feed her, and then pass her to him and he would burp her (I really didn't like the burping part!) and then we would change her nappy together. He was so patient with me, especially as I insisted we were going the whole cloth nappy route and so every nappy was a bit of a learning curve. Here he is at 04h50 on morning...bear in mind he has to be at work (ie in the dairy for milking) at 04h30...this must have been a weekend morning. So even on his weekend off (he works two weekends a month) he sat with me.

newborn sleep essentials citygirlsearching blog

I put two chairs in the nursery, but hadn't intended for the one to be used by my hubby, we just didn't actually have anywhere else to put it. But it worked out so well having two chairs, and the second chair still gets used by visitors all the time. Some people put a bed in their nursery, and if I had had space I probably would have done the same. 

Girl Woodland Nursery South Africa citygirlsearching blog

In the above photo you can see both the chairs I have in the nursery (my feeding chair on the right & spare chair on the left).

4. Nightlight

I spent an unhealthy amount of time during my pregnancy, trying to find the perfect night light. As I'm sure other moms can sympathise, it became the one thing I obsessed over. It doesn't get an sillier friends. Thank goodness I stay on a farm in the middle of nowhere, or else I would have spent countless hours perusing shop after shop in search of 'the one'. Although I didn't visit any physical stores, I did spend my fair share of WIFI date, and after getting so dispondant that the 'perfect little bunny night light' was sold out in all the online stores I could find, I realised how silly I was being. 

rose quartz lamp nursery baby room south africa citygirlsearching blog night light for baby room

Towards the end of my pregnancy (when I was feeling #ALLtheachesandpains) I booked myself in for the most incredible full body massage here in our town. I know...can you believe we have not one, but two, amazing therapists here #smalltownforthewin! It was while having that massage that I feel in love with the beautiful Rose Quartz lamp that lit up the room, casting a beautiful glow. And the fact that it was pink didn't hurt either. I spent the next few days trying to track down a Rose Quartz lamp, not an easy feat I tell you, mainly because most of the pink stone lamps out there are salt lamps. Salt lamps are also lovely, but tend to crumble and you need to be careful of the heat from the light bulb, and so I chose to rather go with a Rose Quartz lamp. I know nothing about crystals, but thank goodness for Instagram, and I remembered I had a fellow blogger friend who knows everything about crystals. Thank you Siobhan for answering all my questions!

I ordered my pretty pink lamp from Static Energy, and it is my absolute favourite thing about Everly's nursery. It casts a very soft and warm glow on the whole room, and although I now turn it off when I put Everly to sleep (it's rather bright and now that she's older she wakes up more easily), it goes on every evening during bath time and bedtime, and helps Everly know that it's time for bed.

5. Baby Nest

Our Baby Nests have come from BumBumz, a lovely local business run by the delightful Sharon. If you order our BabyNest from her, tell her Roxy sent you. She is a dear friend, and runs her business with love and passion.

She also running a special on her products for the month of February...15% off everything a flat rate courier fee of R100.

Although similar in function to the NurtureOne Cushion, the Baby Nest has been our absolute favourite sleep accessory. So much so, that we are still using one (we have a bigger sized one now) and will probably even get the large size in a month or two. A Baby Nest is sturdier and hardier than the Nurture Pillow, and so, is very easy to travel with and take anywhere and everywhere. It's also really great for slightly older babies, as they can't roll of it.

Once it got too hot for the NurtureOne cushion, I put the Baby Nest in the bassinet, and then was still able to move her around the house while she slept. We also moved Everly to her cot at about 2.5 months (for no other reason that I wanted her to start using it, and the bassinet was really hurting our backs from picking her up and putting her down in it).

She carried on sleeping in her Baby Nest, inside the bassinet, right up until she just got too big for it!

I recently went on holiday to the beach for a week, and instead of having to take a camp cot/bassinet, I just took the Baby Nest and Everly slept like a dream the entire time. 

This is Everly at nearly 5 months old in a custom size (Medium/Large) Baby Nest from BumBumz

This is Everly at nearly 5 months old in a custom size (Medium/Large) Baby Nest from BumBumz

The BabyNest is super easy to clean, simply pop it in the wash and then put it out in the sun to dry. I have been very pleasantly suprised at how well both of them have washed in the washing machine. The spin cycle generally sorts out most of the left over water and then the sun does the rest of the job beautifully. You can also spot clean by hand, which I am proud to say I have had success with.

The other sleep essential is a dummy/pacifier. Everly only gets it when it's nap/sleep time, and pretty much puts herself to sleep when she has it in her mouth. I also give it to her in the car for long journeys. Although there is (again) much debate about the use of a dummy, we are grateful she will take one, and like that she uses it for sleeping. 

So there you have it, our favourite sleep accessories for our little girl. Is there anything you would recommend to new moms? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!


Life with a Baby - Week 15

Life with a baby week 15 less sleep but more smiles by CityGirlSearching

Oh goodness me...it feels like someone has swopped my sleeping newborn cherub for a wide awake and ready for action infant, literally overnight! 

It was just the other day that I was thinking that the 3 month stage is just the best...and then just as I was getting used to all the giggles and smiles, along comes more changes which have left me feeling a bit frazzled. Before I go on with this post, I do want to give myself a big pat on the back for keeping a little human alive for the past 3 and a half months. I have completely surprised myself, mostly because I was absolutely terrified about becoming a mom (see posts below for more on my pregnancy journey): 

I loved being pregnant so much that there were times when I wished I could stay like that forever!And the idea of what was to come really scared me. Mostly, I was scared of being 100% responsible for something so small, who depended on me for every.single.thing, and then the worries of what exactly I would do with her all day. Those first few weeks went by in such a blur, I needn't have worried. Mommy instincts do indeed kick in, and before you know it, they are no longer a newborn.

I have been wanting to share a post on life with a Newborn for ages, but, life with a newborn doesn’t allow for much of anything other than keeping said newborn alive! I have a handwritten draft of that post which I will hopefully share with you all soon. I’m going to include lots of the baby things/paraphernalia we loved and that made our lives easier, and the items we felt were a bit of a waste of money...stay tuned for that soon!

According to the plethora of baby books I own, here are a few possible explanations, as well as a few others I have thought up :

  • The dreaded 4 Month sleep regression (eeek!)

  • A growth spurt

  • Teething (she has been drooling A LOT! but no sign of any pearly whites just yet)

  • A Wonder Weeks developmental leap

  • Travel or disturbance of environment/routine (we flew to Joburg a couple of weeks ago? Also we have been visiting lots of family and friends so this could be an added element?)

  • Since returning from Joburg, we have moved her out of her bassinet and into her cot...her baby nest has also become far too small and now she is just in the cot as is, perhaps she's missing the snugness of the baby nest?

  • And the most probable one...she's just being a regular baby, growing and changing with no real explanation as to why she does what she does!

15 week sleep regression life with a 15 week old baby citygirlsearching blog

Up until now...

Evy has been a wonderful sleeper from day one. I had mentally prepared myself for literally NO sleep for the first year of her life, and so the fact that she would sleep 3-4 hours at a time during the day, and 5-6 hours at night in between feeds (Evy is Exclusively Breast Fed Or EBF) in the first few months was a wonderful surprise. I can't really say that it's one particular thing we do that makes her sleep like she does (or rather...DID!), I think a large part of it has to do with luck and her being a really content baby. But I'll share the routine we follow, because I'm pretty sure it does at least play a part.

I know it doesn't really need to be said, but I want to say it here...all babies are different, and some babies, not matter how much 'sleep training/crying it out/routine fixing' you do, just want to be close to mommy and are never settled until they are on their mommy. I am a general busy body, and wanted to try my best to have Everly fit in with our lives (this is only really possible up until a point) instead of us fitting in with her. I also want to say that a lot of my friends have babies who have had terrible reflux and so their journey's have been very different to ours. If you think your baby has reflux and you've been having a really really hard time, I'd love to share these two blog posts by my friend Sophie (an extraordinary mommy I'm so lucky to call my friend)...click here.

We try to be quite flexible in our routines, but our bedtime schedule goes a little something like this:

  • 6pm bath time (depending on her afternoon nap I’ll either feed her one side right before bath time or when she wakes up from her last nap which can be anywhere between 4 & 6pm). Then once out the bath it’s a quick massage, a nice big clean nappy (we are using cloth nappies...click here to read more about our cloth nappy journey so far) and pyjamas. She generally screams blue murder if we take too long to get her clothes on after her bath, and I guess I would too if I was left to get cold on a changing mat after a lovely hot bath.

  • +- 6:30pm feed the other side and burp her

  • +-7pm sleep time

In the last few weeks she was sleeping right through until about 3 or 4am when she would wake and I would go in and feed her (and change her nappy if she needed) and then pop her straight back down again where she would sleep until around 6 or 7am.

We have been pretty strict about Everly’s sleeping right from the very beginning. I had been told to put her to sleep in a way that I could realistically do at 1 in the morning, and so a dummy works best for us. I knew there was no way I wanted to be up rocking a baby to sleep every time they woke up and so we were pretty firm with putting her down and letting her settle herself to sleep. 

Here's how put Everly to sleep at night:

After her bath & last feed & burp, we pop her straight down in her cot while she is awake but drowsy, put her dummy in and walk out the room. Depending on whether she’s sleeping on her side or back, we’ll give her a few bum pats (gosh I will someone had told me before having a baby how life changing bum pats would be! Pretty much never fails to calm her down when she gets niggly). This is the only time of the day that I feed before her sleep.

And during the day:

I try to follow a 'wake-eat-change-play-sleep' routine during the day so that she doesn't associate sleeping with feeding, as feeding before sleeping makes life really hard as baby ends up refusing to go to sleep without a feed. This has become so much harder to do lately as she is awake so much more. From about month 1 to month 3, she would sleep about 3 hours at a time during the day, which meant every time she woke up it would be time for a feed (I have fed on demand and she would generally go around 3 hours in between feeds during the day). We do the same sleep routine during the day as at night. Except this time she gets put down after play time, and it can take a little longer depending on how tired she is/how much of a good mom I've been and actually played with her vs. popping her on her play mat to play by herself.

Everly Rose .jpg

And now...

For the last week or so, she's been waking up after quick 45 minute naps during the day (sometimes stretching two 45 minute naps together...what is called 'linking' in baby lingo) and it's just not nearly enough time to get anything Adult/Roxy/Non-Mommy related things done. This has been really hard for me to adjust to, and I have found myself getting more and more frustrated. But, this is just part of the mommy-hood journey, and I'm sure there will be lots more moments like these to come. But please, comment below and let me know I'm not alone!

Her new night time wakings have also been harder to adjust to. She's been waking up a few times, and I've managed to get through some of them by going in and popping her dummy back in, patting her a few times and then walking out. When that has failed (and I've been back and forth with the dummy numerous times) I have resorted to feeding her and then putting her back down to sleep. We do have it relatively easy, but still...the last couple of weeks been an adjustment.

I wanted to share this post here (and anymore 'Life with a Baby' posts I am ever actually able to write) as a way to document my journey through motherhood. If you have a baby or if you're having a baby soon, I hope you find it useful or inspiring (or perhaps you'll just have a good old chuckle at the things I find difficult now as I'm sure there are worse to come).

But most importantly, I want to share this post because each of us first time moms are walking our own paths through motherhood, and our struggles, no matter how big or small they might seem in comparison, should unite us together, rather than making us feel alone <3.

Everly Rose 3 Months (3 of 13).jpg

Now for the fun stuff...

Current fav nickname: Bobbin

Loves: Being sung to and any and all music! Likes to face forward when being carried so she can see the world. LOVES being naked so she can kick and squirm and fling her arms and body about.

Hates: Tummy time! The amount of tears we ave both shed as I have watchd her squiggle and scream on the mat has left me traumatised. But, there is light at the end of the tunnel! After a good 3.5 months of really struggling with this, it seems that she has graduated from blue murder screams to mumbling her distaste at being placed face down on the floor. It was a pretty viscous cycle for a while, the more she cried the less I forced her to do tummy time (an the more judgey eyes I'd get from my mommy friends), and therefore the harder it was when I did pluck up the courage to do it. But I am happy to say, we seem to have found a position she can tolerate, and this has made tummy time on the floor a bit easier as she is getting stronger.

Here's my absolute favourite photo of her doing tummy time (and the ONLY time she has ever actually stopped crying and actually smiled...#mommywin!). Let me know if you'd like em to write a blog post on tummy time, and how you can actually make it a fun activity rather than a horrible chore.

15 week baby sleep regression life with a baby citygirlsearching

Teething: Loads of drool, both hands always in the mouth (a few choking episodes where she's opened her hand while it's in her mouth and her fingers have gone down her throat...poor thing!). Everything goes into the mouth now, her hands, my hands, any and all toys, and her favourite thing to grab and suck on...my hair (ouch!).

Eye Colour: Grey? Dark Blue?

Hair Color: Dark Brown 

Weight: Weighing in at 6.2 kg's, Everly has officially doubled her birth weight! 

Feeding: Breastfed

Sleeping Aids: Her hands, a dummy & a little soft giraffe taglet/doodoo blankie

Current clothing sizes: 3-6 months (although she has been in this size for a good while). I'm going to blame it on the cloth nappies ;) I have still managed to squeeze her into one or two of my favourite 0-3 month outfits, but these were mostly her sweet little jackets and jerseys. The 0-3 month onesies and leggings haven't fitted her for a good many weeks! 

Currently eating/not eating: in the beginning, I found that the only thing that really seemed to upset Everly in my diet was tinned tomatoes. I pretty much carried on eating everything I had eaten during pregnancy. Something that I am pretty sure plays a big role in her afternoon grumpiness and something which I try to avoid is caffeine. The days when I do drink caffeine, I try to have it as early in the day as possible. This has seemed to lessen the 4 - 5pm bbay meltdown period  considerably!

3 month baby 15 week sleep regression life with a baby by CityGirlSearching

That's all for now friends. I'm hoping she settles back into her usual sleeping pattern, and if not, all the smiles and the talking and general cuteness will undoubtedly make up for it all.

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and festive season from all of us here on the farm.