The Tired Mom’s Guide To Sleep

When you first have children, there is no shame in admitting that the one thing that you look forward to is them sleeping through the night. Though those early days are important for bonding, I don’t know of anyone that says that they miss those night feeds. But once you get to the stage that your child is sleeping through the night, then often, you can still find yourself tossing and turning at 3 am. Not a good thing when you’ve got to survive a whole day at work, as well as getting up early with your child or children. So how can we as mums get a better night’s sleep? It is what we have been craving for such a while, right? It turns out, that there will be a number of reasons why you aren’t sleeping at your best. But the best news? They can all be dealt with. So here are some things to look out for and ways to change them.



Bright Lights In the Evening

It can be surprising to hear, but many studies have shown, that if you are surrounded by bright lights just before going to bed, then it can really disrupt your sleep. The lights stops our bodies from producing a hormone that makes us sleepy. So if you are sat with all of the lights on downstairs, as well as looking at a tablet or smartphone, then it is time to turn them off. Use a dimmer switch if you can, or look at getting lamps or side lights to reduce the brightness of the light. It will make it much easier to wind down faster.

Your Bed Is Uncomfortable

If you have a bed that is uncomfortable, then it is going to make a big difference to your sleep. If it is too hard, then you can wake up with back problems. If the bed is too soft, then it can mean that you wake up every time you roll over as you just sink into the bed. So looking at your mattress could be a good place to start. You could look at getting a Tempur memory foam mattresses if you have back or posture problems as it could help. Otherwise, look to try out a few different mattresses with different firmness to see what is the most comfortable for you.

Young woman sleeping

Using Your Bed For Eating or Studying

If you use your bed for lots of things other than sleeping regularly, then it can have a detrimental effect on your sleep. If you use it as a playroom for the kids or you do work on your laptop in bed or study and read in bed, then it can cause problems. Your body will get used to doing those things, and it will associate your bed with your laptop, rather than sleeping, for example. So where you can, keep those things out of your bedroom. You want to associate your bed with sleeping to get a good night’s sleep, right?


Ah, hormones, the bane of every woman’s life! There is some truth to it, though. From pregnancy hormones to your monthly cycle hormones, they do have an effect on you. During your menstrual cycle especially, sleep can be more difficult. Your body temperature rises slightly, as well as certain hormones like progesterone fading off at the end of your cycle, making you less likely to sleep deeply. So it is a good idea to keep track of your cycles so you can take extra precautions.

Lack of Exercise

When you’re a busy mum, it can seem hard to fit anything else into your routine. So when people start talking about exercise, you might start to switch off. But the thing is, when you exercise more, you’re much more likely to sleep better. So my advice would be to schedule in exercise to make it more likely to happen. Your body will crave sleep as it is when you repair and rest. So it has got to be worth a try!

Feel Worried or Anxious

Feeling worried or anxious can be part and parcel of being a mum. But it doesn’t have to stop you from sleeping. A great tip is to have a notebook or post its by your bed. Then, when you get into bed, and you have something on your mind, you can write it all down. This will help you to offload those thoughts elsewhere, rather than you just sat there worrying and thinking about them. So if you’re a worrier, this could really help you.

The Different Phases Of Maternity Leave

Maternity leave is a fantastic time to enjoy those first months of your baby’s life. In the UK we’re fortunate that our government’s maternity leave policies are flexible and generous to allow us to spend quality time with our newborn children. If you’ve worked for most of your adult life, maternity leave can be a bit of shock as you take a proper break away from work. Find out what to expect at each phase of your maternity leave below.

Arranging your maternity leave

After finding out that you’re pregnant, you’ll need to discuss it with your employers so that they can begin to make arrangements for your maternity leave. You’re entitled to up to 52 weeks maternity leave, which can now be taken as shared parental leave with your partner if that is your preferred arrangement. Reading a maternity and paternity leave guide for employers can help you to work out what your options are and prepare you for the discussion with your manager.

Most workplaces have their own unique policies for maternity leave, and you may need to contact your Human Resources department to establish how they apply to you. You have to tell your employer by the 15th week before your baby is due. However, many people do so earlier because they have doctors appointments to attend and have sickness during the early stages that could prevent them from working.


Unless you’ve gone into labour by surprise, you should have a couple of weeks before the baby is born to take care of last minute things and get your home ready for the baby’s arrival. Make sure you go through your pre-arrival checklist to make sure that you have everything you need in time.  More importantly, you should take the time to relax and get some rest. Labour is going to require your strength, and you’ll want to make most of the sleep before the baby arrives.

Young pregnant woman and a blackboard with copyspace

Young pregnant woman and a blackboard with copyspace

After baby’s arrival


The baby’s arrival will be one of the busiest periods of your maternity leave as you go through the birth and then the first few weeks of the baby’s life. This will be a significant period of adjustment as you get into a routine and learn more about your baby’s wants and needs. It’s likely that you’ll suffer from a lack of sleep during this time and may need to work out a rota system with your partner family members and family members to make sure you get some rest while they take care of the baby.

During the first few weeks, it’s also likely that you’ll have a lot of visitors who will want to see your new arrival. Try and arrange visits so that they happen at certain times of day, and times you know there’ll be someone else at home to help you so that you can catch up with friends and family members without feeling too exhausted.

After paternity leave ends

If your partner is heading back to work once his paternity leave is up, this will be the first time that it is really you and your baby on your own. This is where you’ll really get into the swing of motherhood and be able to make the most of your paternity leave. Yes, it will be tiring, but it’s also a time to enjoy yourself as you develop and grow with your baby.

Enjoy some great tips on things to do with your maternity leave, meet with fellow parents and just take the time to bond with your baby. If you can get someone to look after the baby for a few mornings or afternoons as well, you’ll fit in some ‘me’ time as well and do those things that are difficult to do with a baby in tow. Go shopping, get your hair done and enjoy a bit of peace and quiet.

Halfway through


Image: Pexels


By the mid-way point of your maternity leave, you’ll have got into a great routine and experienced some wonderful memories already. You’ll be more confident leaving the house and have found activities that you and your baby love to do. At the halfway point you might already be thinking about what you’re going to do post-maternity and begin making preparations for going back to work. This is the stage where you’ll need to decide if you’re actually going to return, and whether or not you’ll be reducing your hours.


Halfway through your maternity is the time you might want to think about visiting the office. People will want to see the baby and see you, and it will be a good chance for you to catch up on what’s been happening while you’ve been off. ‘Keeping in Touch’ meetings are becoming more and more popular within maternity policies that will allow you to touch base with your manager and make sure that you don’t return to a whole new setup.

Returning to work

After having up to a year off, going back to work can be difficult. You’ll need to prepare to return to work and take care of things such as childcare and perhaps agree to a change of hours with your employer. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of getting up at the right time, getting the baby ready and adjusting to a new routine before you have to do it. If you’re anxious about returning to work, you might want to use up the annual leave you’ve accrued during your maternity leave to plan a phased return. This way, you can come in for a day at a time and build it up until you’ve fully adjusted to your new work/home life.


Your maternity leave is a special time that you should look forward to and enjoy. While doing the little things to plan for you baby’s arrival, you should also plan the sorts of things you’d like to do during your time off. However you choose to spend your maternity leave is up to you, so make the most of it and enjoy settling into your new life as a mum.

The Best Photo Shoots For You and Your Baby

In the days after birth, the elation you feel is unimaginable. It can make you feel superhuman and like you can take on the world because here, in your arms, is the little miracle you watched and waited for for months. There are so many different ways to commemorate a birth, but taking a portrait between mother and baby is an extra special way. Including your partner and extended family in these shoots are an excellent way to allow the entire family to bask in the love as well. Below are our top tips and ideas for photo opportunities.

Mother and Baby

Image Source

Best portraits for a newborn

A popular idea for portraits with a newborn for both mums and dads is going skin to skin. This symbolises the deep bond you have with each other, and looks great in monochrome. Another way is to photograph them sleeping in a Moses basket to show their importance in your life. You may be worried about working with newborns but there’s no need, plenty of shops out there are designed with baby in mind. Services such as Light Republic have consideration for your newborn’s schedule and habits, and offer advice on the best times to take portraits to create the best works of art for you and your baby. Having your baby all snuggled up and sleepy is a good way to remember the precious days of their early steps and simply looks cute.

Best portraits for an older baby

Older babies are up to more when it comes to photoshoots. They’ll often roll around and wiggle, and are less likely to be asleep and peaceful for the perfect shot. Use this to your advantage by having them in a creative setup such as a bed with plenty of opportunity for emerging shots, with your baby’s delight at finding you again clear on camera. Or go for a  laughing and giggling shot with you and some favourite toys around them. Some of the most aesthetically pleasing shots are the ones where a baby’s enjoyment is clear, so save a more sombre tone for a younger child. Including siblings at a later age can show how much they look alike as well.

Take a shot with a little humour

If you’re the kind of person who likes to approach all situations with a light heart, one of the best ways to take a photo with your baby is to give it a funny side. Using photo editing programmes, you can turn a normal picture of your baby into a masterpiece. It’s also a good break away from the traditional celebration, and is an excellent item for your child to laugh at when they’re older. Prove you’re a cooler parent then they give you credit for! You can have your baby flying around in planes or with umbrellas, or dress them up next to pets to show off just how much they share their lives together.

Don’t let those early days settle in your mind alone. Hanging up a portrait of your family with your baby included is the best way to look back fondly.

4 Little Ways to Prepare For the Big Arrival

a pregnant woman is holding her tummy

Preparing for the arrival of a baby is one of the most exciting yet nerve wracking experiences a woman can go through. It can be tough, particularly when pregnant for the first time, to know how to prepare and plan so that you are completely ready for the big arrival. Here are our top tips on making sure that everything is set in place for the big day.

Going With The Flow

We all like to be in control, most of time, but one of the most important thing with being pregnant is that we get comfortable relinquishing a little control and just going with the flow. We can try to control and organise everything but we all know that any baby-to-be doesn’t care about any schedule or plan that you have in place, so there will be many moments where you just need listen to your body and baby, relax, look after yourself and just go with the flow.

Focus On Your Health

The first few weeks of being pregnant are crucial to the overall health of your baby so you should make your health your number one priority. Don’t worry about anything unhealthy that you did before getting pregnant, now is the time to be really focused on being your healthiest self so that you can be in the best possible situation to look after both yourself and your baby.

Get Things In Order

We all know that having a baby can be a rather expensive chapter in life and it is better to get everything in place and ready for when he or she arrives. No one wants to be running around buying essentials with a new born baby so make sure you are looking into all the essential items that you need. Do your research and talk to mums who will be able to advise you on all the items that you are going to need in order to be ready. There are the obvious items such as getting your nursery ready and buying baby clothes, prams and other such common known items. But talking to other mums will help you figure out the other items that may not be quite so obvious for new mums. Items such as Scratch Sleeves to stop babies scratching themselves and breast pumping kits to make sure you always have enough milk for when baby is hungry. There is a lot to think about, and it can be overwhelming. But getting prepared well in advance will mean that you can feel confident that when the due date arrives you have prepared yourself for every eventuality.

Sleep and Eat

Last but by no means least, you will want to make sure that you make the most of the last few months when you will be able to eat and sleep, when you want, and not just when baby lets you. Exhaustion is one of the most common symptoms of being a new parent so get in as much sleep as you can to get yourself well rested and fighting fit for when your little one comes along.