Guest Blog from Cheeky Tinkers Maternity… Babies & Sleep!

My name is Louise Callear, and I am a qualified Maternity Practitioner and Gentle Baby Sleep Coach. I offer a
wide variety of packages which focus on helping parents in that fourth trimester and beyond. The most
popular topic for which I am contacted for, is most definitely sleep.
So, of course this blog will be all about just that! Let us start at the beginning, from when you bring your new
bundle home, and you are thrust into your new role as parents. It can feel so overwhelming, it can sometimes
feel like you are ushered on your way without any real guidance or real expectations of what is about to
happen in those first few months. So, what I like to call, the fourth trimester, is often the hardest part of that
new-born period and it can leave us feeling utterly exhausted and in a haze of feeding, pooping and baby sick!
It is hard to see the light at the end of that tunnel when you are in the thick of it, but it is completely normal to
feel a multitude of feelings along with sheer exhaustion, highs and lows, tears and laughter and a bunch of other stuff too.


It is important to stress that those first few weeks, the first month even, is spent getting to know your new-born baby, establishing feeding, whether that is bottle or breastfeeding, and equally as important, is resting and recovering from labour and from your own personal experience. You can absolutely say “No” to visitors in those first 2 weeks, as you are within your right to be in your bubble with you partner and your new baby. It is something that I would suggest doing as you spend your time as a family for the first time. It is such a special bonding time for you all. Soaking up all that skin to skin, laying in your bed, take naps when baby sleeps and just enjoying it.

There is a lot you can do in those first months also, which will help encourage longer periods of sleeps between feeds and which will help you get some rest and recuperation. Firstly, creating a great sleep environment and some positive sleep associations is a start. What does that entail? As your baby becomes a little older and your feeding is going well, you may start to notice that you have begun to fall into your own pattern, with similar feed times and perhaps similar sleep times even. If you are not, it’s not that you are doing anything wrong, there really is no right or wrong when it comes to being a parent, you find your own groove and what works for you. But also, what this does not have to mean, is that you are continuously surviving on the bare minimum of sleep. Sleep is indeed possible. It will of course be broken sleep as your baby will most definitely be waking for feeds in the night at this stage, but you can still get that quality rest in between those times.

Creating a good sleeping environment, so what does that involve?

Creating a good sleeping environment, so what does that involve?

  • A clear and safe sleeping space in your room firstly. You do not need to fill your babies sleep space with blankets, teddies, or pillows. The Lullaby Trust is a great organisation which can offer a wide variety of information regarding safe sleeping for your baby.

Your baby should also be placed with their feet at the foot of the bed. (See below)

  • Ensure your babies room is an accurate temperature for your baby to sleep well and comfortably. An ideal temperature according to the Lullaby Trust is between 16-20 Celsius.
  • Try making your babies room nice and dark, in order, for your baby to sleep soundly. The reason for this is that when the room is dark, your baby will produce a small amount of melatonin which is the hormone that helps you to relax and drift off to sleep. It is not essential to have your baby sleeping in a dark room for all naps, but potentially one big afternoon snooze and your baby’s bedtime snooze.
  • White noise is also an option which you can use in your babies sleep space. This is a familiar sound for new-born babies as it is said to mimic those sounds your baby heard inside of the tummy. There are many ways of introducing white noise alongside your babies sleeps, and you can choose a white noise machine or simply get a white noise app and download to your phone or device! See below some of my recommendations:


  • Swaddling in those early months can help your baby sleep soundly between feeds too. Swaddling can offer that reassurance and comfort and familiar environment which your baby felt inside the uterus. Security, warmth, and safety. See my recommendations below.

When discussing sleep with those families who come to me seeking support and guidance, it is typically around 8 weeks onwards. I would always discuss creating that perfect sleep environment firstly, either by seeing it first-hand or by discussing over the phone. I will ask questions regarding your babies feeding pattern and sleeping pattern so far and how and where baby goes down to sleep. One of the most popular question I am asked is… “When is a good time to introduce a bedtime routine?” and the answer is subjective. You can start creating that sleep environment, encourage those great sleep habits from as soon as 4 weeks old if you choose. Each baby is capable of different things, sleep lengths, awake lengths, and feed amounts. I always stress that there is no, one size fits all approach. I request a complete routine/guide of what is happening during a typical day and night for your baby and I will sit and go through that information and look at what quick changes we can make firstly before getting into talk of a sleep plan. One of the fundamentals that you would look at as part of your routine and things that may make a huge difference to your current routine is those nap gaps. Also known as awake times, or awake windows, the time spent awake between your babies feed and nap times.

Often one of the causes in unsettled, fractious, and difficult babies, is overtiredness. We can get confused with just how long your baby is capable of remaining awake and we just are not given that information which is in fact one of those hugely common factors of wrongly diagnosed colic babies, when in actual fact they are extremely overtired which also presents itself in a similar way. Your baby may refuse to feed, cry for most of the time, struggle to sleep at all or for just short periods only. Your baby may just appear to be extremely difficult, when in fact, you just do not know about the sleep science behind those potential reasons, which is not your fault at all but because no one tells you any of this once you leave the hospital.

This is my focus, and my driving force behind helping those families in the fourth trimester and beyond. I will leave you fully equipped and armed with all the knowledge along with these important facts, for you to then make your own informed choice when it comes to improving your current situation. The response is always overwhelming with most parents saying they had no idea of those fundamentals and they wish they had been told when leaving the hospital….

To Be Continued……

Follow Louise on Instagram @Cheekytinkers_maternity


The First Trimester… My personal experience!

The First Trimester… My personal experience!

I found out I was pregnant after several days of very clear signs that ended with Tony telling me it was time to pee on a stick!

First up I was constantly tired, I literally fell asleep in the middle of a conversation with him and woke up 3 hours later (FYI: I am not the napping type!). Then every time I went outside I would complain about the smell of fox poo,  (I haven’t ever been aware of the smell of fox poo before have you?) , thirdly I had an actual toddler sized tantrum and yelled at Tony for not plumping the cushions properly before bed. Now, I am a clean freak who likes the house kept a certain (immaculate) way, but even for me this was ridiculous, I got so upset over it I actually cried and threatened to sleep in the spare room for the first time in 4 years of living here. After that embarrassing performance he gently suggested that I might be pregnant and perhaps we should do a test that weekend.

We did, and there it was… two blue lines that appeared within seconds! We were having a baby!

This was good news for us as we had started trying the month before however, we did not think it would happen that quickly, so it was also still a bit of a shock.

I wanted to share the details of my first trimester, because it was not bad at all, and I have to say, I was expecting the worst after speaking to friends and family… pretty much everyone was telling me how awful the first trimester was for them, full of nausea and vomiting, bad smells and exhaustion, they made it sound so bad that I began to dread the few months ahead. But for me personally it wasn’t as bad as everyone had led me to believe and perhaps if  I had heard a few more positive experiences maybe I wouldn’t have worried so much.

So here is my first trimester run down..

“Dammmnnn i’m tired”

The hardest part was the tiredness… it’s like a cross between a mild hangover meets severe jet lag. I went from a 1am bed time to a 9pm bed time, from sleeping 5-6 hours a night to sleeping 10-12 hours a night with a nap thrown in for good measure. It was the most fatigued I had ever felt, yet I was really enjoying my bed! I don’t think i’ve ever enjoyed my sleep so much, it always felt like such an inconvenience to have to sleep when there was so much else I could be doing that was way more productive! Yep, I was one of those workaholic overachiever types who has legit said  “I’ll sleep when i’m dead” before (*rolls eyes). But when you are growing a child all of sudden my attitude towards rest changed, i’m not sleeping for me, i’m sleeping for the health of my developing baby, as well as to assist my body in all the changes it is going through. So my entire mindset changed instantly,  if i wanted / needed to sleep 15 hours on a Wednesday night, I was bloody well going to!

Don’t get me wrong, the tiredness sucked when I had a full day of work on my plate and I knew come 4pm I wouldn’t be able to stay awake, it was a struggle. But, on the upside for the first time in my adult life, sleeping and resting was my friend and not the enemy, and that felt pretty damn good! My advice; enjoy the sleep, every moment of it, it will be the best sleep of your life and remember its a important element of growing your baby.

“I feel sick”

I think how sick you feel during your first trimester really does make a huge difference as to how a woman remembers her entire pregnancy experience. I’ve literally had to help wash the hair of a friend who suffered so badly with morning / all day sickness that she couldn’t even manage to wash her own hair, however her condition was severe and rare, but it was safe to say it put her off having another child. I think most women expect to experience something like that, after all its what they show us in the movies; head down a toilet bowl every morning vomiting and feeling dreadful. Well I expected the same, but thankfully this was not my experience. Medical professionals still aren’t sure what causes sickness in pregnancy but the most popular theory is that it is the body’s reaction to the pregnancy hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which is produced at higher levels during the first trimester than at any other time.

My experience was not to Hollywoods movie worthy  standards… it was a routine of waking because of feeling nauseous at around 4am and then that sick feeling continuing until around 11am every day. It would usually settle down after I had devoured my first pregnancy craving of well cooked crumpets with vegan butter on top and then I would be good for the rest of the day. The other time I felt pretty fragile was when I was a passenger in a car, I am already someone who gets a tad travel sick, so team this with early pregnancy and it was my least favourite place to be! For me, keeping water and some dry crackers with me at all times really helped subside the waves when they did arise. Luckily I was not sick once during my first trimester, however I did still manage to drop 4lbs in weight due to my minimal bland diet. My advice; Don’t expect the worst and ignore the movies, sure 80-90% of woman suffer with some degree of nausea or sickness during the first trimester, but each person has a different experience and a different way of helping keep the nausea at bay too. Your not automatically doomed to 3 months of feeling like you have the worst hungover, it genuinely might not be that bad for you or you might find a great anti sickness hack that works a treat.

Here is a few of the things that worked for me…

  • Sip water constantly; Hydration helps.
  • Think dry, beige, carb loaded food as your friend …. Toast, Crumpets, Crackers, breadsticks all work a treat when the nausea starts!
  • When life gives you lemons! Im talking lemon water, lemon ice lollies, lemonade ice lollies,  lemon hard boiled sweets can all help with even the most severe sickness.
  • Ginger …One study showed that ginger capsules with 250 milligrams of ginger four times per day were effective, but a bit of grated ginger root steeped in 1 cup of boiling water with a slice of lemon may also do the trick.
  • Ice Ice Baby – Sucking on or crunching ice – try it and you’ll see!
  • Peppermint tea (this also really helps with the bloating)

“I really fancy a ____________ (insert craving here!)

I’m not going to lie, I was a bit excited to discover what my cravings would be! Yet also a little tiny bit nervous as Tony and I had decided we were making the jump from Veggie to Vegan, we were doing really well and I did not want to pull a “Pheobe from friends” and start craving bacon sandwiches and beef burgers all of a sudden! But, reality kicked in and its safe to say cravings can be powerful!  Now i didnt go full carnivore, but within weeks the vegan diet went out the window as all I could think about was cheese! I hung on for as long as I could thinking the craving would pass. But as soon as I started to get headaches and lack concentration with just thinking about cheese (yes that can actually happen) I decided to listen to my body and to give in. It was like magic, one cheese sandwich and I was cured! It was a similar story with the eggs, I haven’t eaten eggs in over 3 years, we stopped eating them around a year after turning veggie. But boom! Second trimest hit and I wanted nothing more than scrambled eggs with chives (important detail)! Again I gave in… but I drew the line at meat even though I could murder a KFC chicken burger some days Lol…

My cravings went as follows… 

First trimester: 

Crumpets with butter

Cheddar cheese and silver skin pickled onion sandwiches

Blueberry muffins (this one was short lived), 

Second Trimester: 

Iced decaf coffees 

Scrambled eggs with chives ( worth mentioning I haven’t eaten eggs in over 3 years since turning Veggie).

Salty crisps

Third Trimester:

More Iced decaf coffees

Chocolate – Milky ways or Dark mint chocolate.

When it comes to your cravings, just listen to your body. I craved a lot of calcium rich food around the time that my baby development App was telling me that my baby’s bones were developing. Then the crisps cravings were always about wanting salt. Just try to keep an eye on the difference between a craving that genuinely holds a nutritional benefit, or you can get an idea of what it is about that food that your body needs. To those cravings that are just an excuse to eat what you want because your pregnant. In my experience the difference is pretty obvious, remember what you eat is the building blocks of developing your baby’s little body and the last thing you want is to give yourself gestational diabetes from all the junk food you’ve been eating as it puts both you and baby at risk. 

“Get that smell away from me”

Who knew that the human nostril could be so sensitive… I could smell EVERYTHING on a canine level….

Fox poo, the food compost bin even with the lid on, most of Tony’s aftershaves were gross to me, and don’t even get me started on the smell of raw chickpeas and kidney beans. The chickpea thing was so bad I still cant eat them now as I am still traumatised from how the smell affected me in my first trimester! Truth me told, its part and parcel of being pregnant, it only lasted around 12 weeks and its a great excuse to get your partner to do all the cooking, and emptying all the bins unprompted! 

ME: “Sorry WHAT? Why are you being so mean? I hate you”

HIM: “Babe I only asked if you wanted a cup of tea”

Let’s talk about hormones… genuinely I have never cried so much in my life! I’m talking; I cried at the Battersea dogs home advert (I don’t even own a bloody dog), I cried every time Tony didn’t talk to me like I was a Disney princess, I cried when my mum forgot to call me back, I cried when I couldn’t get the chip shop chips I wanted at 10.30pm because they were closed. The worst part…. I was also totally aware of how unreasonable I was being, and was mostly embarrassed of what a knob head I had become but yet, it was totally impossible to stop! 

Its inevitable that you are going to feel emotional, short tempered and sensitive, the hormones very quickly take over and there isn’t much you can do about it. I think it helped the person on the receiving end of my blunt tongue or the innocent witness to my crazy ass behaviour when I acknowledged what a mess I was. Especially because during the first trimester when it’s all new for everyone involved including your partner or family members the adjustment can be tough. Im sure in the first few weeks Tony thought to himself ” Ohhh lord why am I having a baby with her again” Lol. But just simply saying ” I know i’m being silly but I cant help it…” reminded both him and I, that i’m not feeling 100% myself, and he even said a few times he felt quite sorry for me, and responded to my tantrum with cuddles and love. 

The only advice I can give here is to give in to your vulnerability. It’s okay to admit you feel a little nuts and there is nothing you can to do to control it, its okay to need extra cuddles and support, and its okay to throw a tantrum for no legit reason and then say “Sorry i’m a mess” and leave it at that. 

“Aghhh I’m so excited”  “When should we tell people?” “OMG do you think the baby is okay? “

One minute we were excited and planning the next 9 months of pregnancy / 18 years of life with a child. The next we were scared something would go wrong. It is such a fragile time the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, excitement and worry in equal measures. Then there is this unwritten rule that you shouldn’t tell anyone you are pregnant until you reach 12 weeks. For all of about 10 minutes we considered this, but then decided no. If anything was to go wrong we would at least want to rely on the emotional support of our parents and close family so we would end up telling them in that case anyway, so we found out we were expecting when I was just 5 weeks pregnant and by 8 weeks we had told our close family. We decided against telling friends until 12 weeks, and didn’t announce on social media until after our 20 week scan as this felt like a sensible decision. It is such a personal choice of when to share your news, do what is best for you and have fun with it… this is how we told our family…. 




The Sum Up!

Other things to look out for during your first trimester are…

Bloating / Sore & swollen boobs / Needing to pee LOTS / Mild abdominal cramps / Spotting.

I started this batch of blog posts because I genuinely struggled to find a single person who spoke positively about their first trimester. I personally look back at mine fondly, yes I moaned about sore boobs and the constant need to pee, and yes it was all a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, but I was excited to be at the beginning of my journey to motherhood, to be exploring a holistic pregnancy path with Tony, to be blessed enough to be able to fall pregnant quickly and easily. I’m not saying it was perfect, or easy. But my mindset was a positive one and I think it makes all the difference when pulling through the tough moments. I love that when someone tells me they are pregnant that I can share positive vibes with them and give good energy to them even if they are having a more difficult first trimester than I did. As for all those ladies also having a great pregnancy, don’t be shy talk about it and share!  

Shanie & Bump Xx