The first 1000 days

A sponsored post for Bupa


When you think back to when you had a baby what were the most challenging times? When were the times when you needed support the most? Was it when you were pregnant, or trying to get pregnant? Sick as a dog and unable to do the most simplest of tasks? Was it emotionally if you lost a baby, or were trying to conceive? Was it when the baby came home and you adjusted to life as a new family, delirious from lack of sleep, sore from breastfeeding? Was it later when the initial support waned and you had to adjust to life as it was? The new normal? Perhaps when the tantrums started, the terrible twos?

It’s some time, isn’t it, those first 1000 days of your new child’s life? Bupa have just launched a new program called The Nightwatchmen a place for all members of the community to help out and support families through this time.


I feel so passionately about this stuff, having just been through it all myself. This time around has certainly been different for me: my age, practice and wisdom have proved the biggest changes. Learning to trust myself and my instinct, and knowing just how quickly this time goes, has been a wonderful way for me to stop and enjoy every step along the way, even the tired sleepless nights.

Being part of a small tight knit community has also shown me just how important it is to have support around you when you have a baby. Whether it’s a small home made gift, a home cooked meal, or just a friendly face checking in on you; human support and connection, I think, are the most important parts of raising kids.

Feeling connected, valued and needed outside of the new baby bubble are so important for new Mums, and a village (virtual or real) can make the transition a whole lot easier.

For me with my first baby, Daisy, I was a wreck. Living in Sydney with lots of friends and family I still managed to feel isolated, alone and completely in over my head. I was especially bad at asking for help (because I should have this, right?). Sure, I thought, having nephews and nieces, I would know what I was doing, but this capable and organised working woman was thrown in the deep end and I did NOT cope well.

I read way too many baby books, put way too many expectations on myself and used the words “should be” way too much. If only I could take back that time! The short period of just 5 months before I went back to part time work were spend worrying and not enjoying. It took a long time to find my groove, and a whole lot longer to realise that I could indeed, do this.

With Harper things were different again. I had the juggle of a 2 and half year old demanding toddler with me, and while I had a little more confidence, Rob was working a lot, leaving me alone to manage.

Again, I had just 5 months to enjoy it all before heading back to work. I remember being overwhelmed by the relentlessness of Mothering two small kids, juggling sickness and work and well, life, feeling exhausted and very far away from any resemblance of the me that I was before I became a Mum.

These feelings resulted in us making some huge life changes: a tree change to the country when Harper was almost 1, when we began a whole new life.

The almost 6 year age gap between Harper and Maggie gave me a lot of time to remember and be someone other than just a Mum. I worked on the blog and business, I travelled, I started a new life down here, I made new friends, became part of a community and there was lots of umm-ing and ahhh-ing about whether we would go again, and try for another baby.

Perhaps we overthought it all too much – deciding whether we could go back to the start, the breastfeeding issues, the sleepless nights, the tantrum; all of it seemed to be in the too hard basket.


Of course you all know the joy that Maggie has brought into all our lives. She’s taught me more about myself than I could ever had imagined. She’s made me the Mum that I always wanted to be: confident, trusting my instincts, relaxed, happy, slowed down and enjoying every step because I know just how quickly it all passes.

While there’s still been all the things that I told myself would be hard: pregnancy (especially on a body almost 9 years after my first) sleepless nights, breastfeeding issues, juggling life with three kids and work, all of that stuff gets outweighed by all the good by about 150 times over.

We’re all here now, we are a family, and the joy a baby has given us all, can never be fully explained. As I have said 100 times this past year, thank goodness for babies.


There are so many areas that people can help out when friends or members of their community have babies. I loved reading some of the ways on my Facebook page that you guys had received or given help during those first 1000 days. So how can we all be each other’s Nightwatchmen during this crucial time in family’s lives?

Feed the stomach and the heart


Meals were a huge one for me and for you guys too. I was lucky enough to get some lovely meals delivered to us in those first few weeks that Maggie arrived. Our small school had done this in the past with other families that had welcomed new babies by creating food rosters where a dinner was provided to the family each day, taking away the thought having to cook when even having a shower can seem like a big accomplishment. Breastfeeding is HUNGRY work. Dear lord, I have never eaten so many baked goods as I did when Maggie was born! Helping prepare your freezer to be stocked full before the main event is another good idea.

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• Create a meal roster with friends, family and community members for at least 2 weeks so they don’t have to cook a meal during the craziest adjustment time
• Why not create a baking session while you or your friend is still pregnant and get that fridge stocked up? Cooking with friends is a great way to catch up (plus other kids can play together while you cook and chat)
• Keep up regular baking sessions with friends so you can stock your freezers up with meals even as the kids are older
• Drop off a baked good, even a pack of lollies into a letterbox. Food is GOLD for a breastfeeding Mum

Be around, but be helpful

A friendly face checking in on your can make such a difference in those first lonely weeks. Especially when your partner has to go back to work. Mothering can be so isolating, especially if you are trying to work out a routine of sleep at home, a phone call or planned drop in can make a huge difference – even if it just breaks up the day for you. Feeling like you did something – even if that something was having a chat with a friend.


• If you pop in make sure you don’t come empty handed (bring some baked goods, some flowers, something practical like groceries)
• Do something when you are there: take the older kids out for a few hours. Mind the baby while your friend can tidy up, or even better, tidy up for them! Fold some washing, hang some washing out, sit and listen to them, remind them of who they were before they became a Mum and that they still matter!
• Nest with your pregnant friend and follow orders no matter how crazy they may be. She might need help getting the top of the fans cleaned and you can be that person. THAT is love.


Get online

For me, Instagram in the middle of the night was a way to help less isolated and more connected with other Mums. They were up too – doing the same thing I was doing! Social media didn’t exist when I was pregnant with Daisy (it was Benny Hinn, SBS weather TV and informercials for me) but our smartphones can be a way to instantly feel less alone when feeding or staying at home with babies in that initial bubble period.


• Share your frustrations or joys because EVERYTIME someone is going through the same thing. A knowing comment or observation, a word of encouragement can make SUCH a difference on a bad day. Someone older and wiser can always pull you into line and give you a virtual slap telling you to get over it, or enjoy it has helped me many a time.
• Read blogs, things from other Mum’s and get connected with REAL people, not a book that tells you things you “should” be doing.
• Connect with friends and family through photos and stories. Facebook can be a boring place these days with everybody selling someone something, of course a smiling baby will make someone’s day! Share the joy friends!

Be your own Nightwatchmen, pay it forward

As I said, the biggest lesson for me third time around has been stopping to smell the roses and enjoy each step of the way for what it is: a fleeting moment on joy and frustration that will pass. Trust yourself, even if it is the first time around, you’ve got this. NO ONE knows what you or your baby need more than YOU. It’s true! Whether you know it or not!


• Think of what was helpful to you and pay that forward.
• Make someone a hot meal.
• Book in a massage for someone.
• Call someone up, leave a comment and tell them they have got this! They are doing an excellent job – look they made a whole human AND kept it alive!
• Stop and enjoy it, it’s all over too quickly.

There are a whole lot different ways you can either look for help, or give help to families in their first 1000 days of their child’s life. You can check them out on Bupa’s Nightwatchmen website here.

I’d love to know what was the biggest help to you during those first 1000 days?
A hot meal?
A friendly face and custard tart?
A back rub while you cried?
A lactation consultant?


  1. Rowena / Vintagenobility says

    Thank You Beth!
    For being one of my much loved Nightwatchman throughout my pregnancy with Ruby and then beyond!
    I love and agree with everything you’ve shared – and I especially understand your words “…she’s made me the mum I always wanted to be…”, I felt that with my third, Bella – and sooo totally feel that with Ruby now!
    Your humble little blog brings so much joy to our lives – and who knew that pulling up a photo of Maggie could settle and bring so much joy to our Ruby; making her beam and coo.

    If I could give ya a hug I’d squeeze yer guts tight – you’re awesome and you are loved dear Beth!
    xxx Row

  2. For my friend that lives in Melbourne I could not just pop over, so I did her shopping online for her! Fruit, organic choccies, baby wipes, wash all got delivered to her door.

  3. I really love this campaign! I haven’t had a baby for a few years (my son is 4), but I remember all too well that crazy, first time mum to a newborn feeling! I think we all need that mum friend who does not give a fuck what anyone else thinks. The one that takes no shit and just does her thing. I got so caught up in freaking out about whether I was doing everything right or ‘wrong’, in comparing myself to the seemingly perfect mummies who were also insecure, that I drove myself crazy with anxiety. I really got so much out of having mum friends who laughed about the ‘mistakes’ they made while learning. The ones who didn’t pump you with baby questions NON STOP, “Are you breastfeeding? Are you doing this or that latest baby food thing?” etc. I loved the friends who helped me to talk about my life outside of being a new mum. Even if it was just dumb stuff like talking about our love of SATC or telling dirty jokes etc.
    I loved vouchers from loved ones for spa appointments (babysitting included – an hour away won’t hurt anyone) or products to help me feel pampered while pregnant or recovering from birth. Offers to take photos of me with bub (not necessarily a photo shoot but just candid shots while catching up) – someone to record a special time so it wasn’t all terrible selfies haha. Feeling remembered is the biggest gift. Everything’s about the baby – having someone stop and SEE you really matters sometimes.
    A friend once told me really really early on, “I want to stop and tell you that you’re doing great and you’re an amazing mum. Because in this job, you don’t get performance reviews and you can feel like you have no idea how you’re doing. But I want to tell you that you’re doing great.”
    If I could have that time over, I would have worried less. I was doing great. My kid thrived and I loved him with all my heart. I wish I’d been kinder to myself!

  4. it isn’t easy being a mother with a new born!
    I only had one baby and I can see that the more people have the more the relaxed about things they are!
    we lived interstate and had no family or friends as then hub in the raaf ! … lucky I am very self sufficient! but I could have done with a hand at times!
    I think social media is a godsend for people going through similar life challenges!
    you are clearly a great mother beth! also with the help of rob and the girls and now your mother being close by you’ve got it handled hun!
    support from anywhere is useful at that time! love m:)X

    • I think social media is amazing for women now…no more feeling isolated and alone. It’s an amazing thing and I’m so grateful for it! Excited about Mum down here this weekend…not long now!

    • Good on you Merilyn, we have delayed children because of my Husbands Army service and being away from all sorts of support networks, you are braver than me and no doubt doing a fantastic job xx

  5. I love reading your blogs!!! 6 years ago when I had my first, it felt like social media was full of images of the perceived perfect mother (far from how I felt about myself).
    I think when you go from being a successful working woman, you put so much pressure on yourself to get everything right. Social media today helps us to realise everyone is out there struggling with something! And we can laugh about it!
    Now with number 3 I feel like I’ve got this! I also feel guilty that I wasn’t this relaxed and appreciative with the other not wishing away a moment!
    The best thing this time around, was having people come and entertain my other 2. Its really difficult to spread your time around. A friend of mine would come over and spend the first part of her visit just with my other 2- making them feel valued as well.
    Great concept Beth- well done!

  6. thegingerfox says

    Love this Beth, great tips! The importance of support for pregnant or new Mum’s is so under recognised in our western culture.
    Although it’s starting to change, it just doesn’t compare to the way other cultures value pregnancy and the postpartum period and care for and nurture mothers!

    As a midwife I get to look after women from different cultures and for example whenever the Indian women give birth their mothers or mother’s in law come over and stay for a month or two and care for the baby and the mother, the mother rests and is fed and looked after as she recovers!

    I think it’s so beautiful and something we need to learn from, less pressure to get back out there and do everything and more focus on resting, recovering and adjusting to parenthood with good support. It will also help mother’s feel more confident and that they really have got this:)

    • Absolutely! I have loved discovering some of these traditions too this time around with Maggie – the Chinese I think who stay in bed for a month? Amazing! Something we need to embrace! I loved that first week in bed at home in my baby cocoon – I’ll never forget it!

  7. You know I feel a bit sad for the Emily who had very little help when she had a newborn, a 21-month-old and 3.5-year-old and didn’t have the courage to ask for it when she so desperately needed it. She tried so hard to give the appearance that she was coping, she wasn’t. As a result of her experience she does her best to normalise how hectic/crazy life is with babies. She also does ALL she can to help her friends with babies. Love this post. xxx

  8. Lisa Mckenzie says

    I love this campaign,I remember those early days I had help from my parents and inlaws but God some days were hard!
    I am so please I can be my daughters night-watchmen and cook and clean and just generally help her do whatever she needs me to do,we only live 6kms apart,I can’t wait to help her and her partner,great post Beth Xx

  9. What a great post – great ideas and suggestions. The early days of mothering is hard and it feels so good when you have people around you that care and can help.

  10. Thank you for this. I feel so strongly about this too. When I had my first I always felt like i should be doing a better job he had a bad latch that left him hungry and my nipples bleeding. I was obviously getting no sleep. Second time round it was different again. He fed better but I was busy with two little boys and felt exhausted. By the time I had my third (another boy!) I was more relaxed and it was a really lovely (but still tiring!).
    I’m trying to help any new mother I come across, either by a friendly word or practical help. I recently met up with an old school friend who has just had a baby. I’m trying to help with sending meals and bickies. I hope she enjoys motherhood soon!!

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