Our Editor-in-Chief Shares Her Maternity Leave Must-Haves - The Grace Tales

Our Editor-in-Chief Shares Her Maternity Leave Must-Haves

As my maternity leave with our divine little Henry comes to a close, I wanted to share the pieces that have helped me through these brutal yet blissful newborn days.

As Henry is the third baby to enter our family, this list is not about breast pumps, swaddles and a killer Netflix series. As we’ve entered a rhythm where baby-rearing is somewhat second nature (if one can ever claim that), these are the items that have kept me happy – and sane – in this final period of maternity leave.

A Miracle Cure

Is there anything more intense than a new mother on a mission? Short answer? No. So when Henry was struck down with a serious case of baby acne, so began my maniacal search for a solution. As painful red spots appeared all over his sweet little face, I tried it all. Every pharmacy brand, every doctor’s recommendation, and of course, the old wives’ answer to everything – breast milk. Nothing helped. 

So when my sister tagged me in a Biologi Instagram post one evening, showing a dramatic improvement in a baby’s skin texture, I was immediately on the hunt for the internet’s fastest delivery options. 

To cut a long story short, these products are the best. For Henry, I opted for the brand’s Bf Hydration Body Serum, which is intended for use on the body, but is recommended for the faces of our little people. Completely natural and safe enough to eat, the key ingredient in the serum is finger lime, and it’s taken much self restraint not to buy shares in a finger lime plantation. 

Within a week of using the serum twice a day, almost all of Henry’s spots had disappeared and his face was as soft as butter. If you’ve seen Biologi on Instagram, believe the hype – it truly is a miracle worker.

Given Biologi’s success on Henry, I also decided to try the products for myself. Adding to their appeal, the serums are all multi-purpose, which means that my own morning and evening routines are currently down to one product (the Bd Luminosity Face Serum). Which – as a mother of three with 0.25 seconds to myself every day – is a game-changer.

Tricking Myself Into A Good Night's Sleep

Despite my first two children being absolute non-sleepers, I somehow erased the memory of just how little sleep you receive with a new baby. So it was a shock to the system that at one point in Henry’s first few months, we were averaging two hours (total) per evening. Brutal. 

So to make every fleeting moment of sleep extra precious, I popped on a Slip silk pillow slip and sleep mask. They are luxurious, indulgent and special enough to lull you into thinking you’re living an alternate life that involves 8 full hours of uninterrupted shut-eye.

Attempting To Regain Any Sense Of Glow

In the early newborn fog, there were days (read: weeks) when my breakfast, lunch and snack options alternated between peanut butter and Nutella. And while I’ll never dispute the benefits of a jar of Nutella in times of need, I did turn to The Beauty Chef for a little taste of balance.

I have The Beauty Chef’s full range – including Glow, Collagen, Body and Cleanse – and used a combination every morning as a way of counteracting whatever nutritional deficits the rest of the day would hold. 

A Good Crack (In A Serene Destination)

With just one child, the solution to a niggling neck or a funky hip was simple. A few great yoga classes to stretch out the body, a couple of massages thrown in for good measure and a lunchtime nap would do the trick. These days, well, let’s just say that there are no such luxuries. Which is why any remedy for my increasingly painful body needs to be quick and effective.

Thankfully, I found my solution in Dr Hanish at Combined Clinics Australia, whose short (and completely pain-free) 30-minute chiropractic session saw me walking out with what felt like an entirely new neck. After years of breastfeeding and toddler wrangling, this was no small feat. 

Dr Hanish’s (impressive) expertise is matched by the spectacular space he works out of, which feels less like a practice and more like a high-end Manhattan apartment. With lush velvet fabrics, brass details and even a friendly Wiemerana, it puts all other Sydney clinics to shame. Spending a morning here sans children was heavenly enough, so topping it off with a body that felt like it hadn’t just born and fed three children was a welcomed bonus. 

The Killer Pram - A Bugaboo Donkey3

Put simply – I could not have survived life with three children without this pram. After what felt like months of deliberation about what stroller would best suit our family, I should have known that Bugaboo would be the only way to go. 

This beast of a pram effortlessly transports my children up and down the hilly roads of the inner west, regularly traversing over cracked sidewalks, stray bins and tree roots with reckless abandon. But to my surprise, it’s also not too big. The Donkey fits easily into the boot of my car, is yet to get stuck in a hallway, and can be lugged up and down stairs with (relative) ease. 

The Donkey can also be transformed into a pram for one in a matter of seconds (with a handy shopping cart on the side), for those blessed moments when you find yourself with just one child to tend to.  

Adorable Outfits

Henry is most certainly my last child, which means I’m living out every last one of my baby fantasies. High up on the list? Dressing him in the cutest (and yes, often themed) outfits. I’ve been enjoying Bobo Choses, Tiny Cottons and The Animals Observatory for gorgeous, personality-filled pieces, but this Bambi onesie by Oeuf completely takes the cake. I mean, can you even?!

A Little Something Elevated

I’m not going to lie … My outfits over the past three months have primarily involved pieces whose most redeeming quality has been their ability to seamlessly transition from day time to bedtime. So to feel like I’ve made a skerrick of effort, I’ve been adding one elevated piece to what is otherwise a tracksuit. 

I was given a gorgeous Bowerhaus necklace that has been my go-to for feeling a little less ramshackled, but when in doubt, I add a pearl hair slide to my dry shampoo routine and call it a day. 

A Luxe (Multi-Purpose) Wrap

With both of my older sons being summer babies, the world of winter dressing was a new one for me. Gone were the days of nappies and singlets being the style du jour, and instead, I was forced to embrace baby knits and tiny beanies (no complaints here). While dressing Henry has been a joy, I was slightly less enthusiastic about dressing myself. Breastfeeding with multiple layers is no fun for anyone, so I found that a luxe wrap was a lifesaver. Warm enough to be worn simply over a feeding tank or layered over a shirt for easy access, this beautiful one is by Australian brand HOLOS, and regularly doubled as a baby blanket for Henry thanks to the superset 100% superfine merino wool. 

Products - And Messages - To Feel Good About

For some reason, I’ve found social media impossibly challenging this time around. Whether it’s the seemingly endless influencers showcasing their perfect lives, the constant bombardment of post-baby bodies (that make me want to sob) and the ridiculous number of toddlers in neutral linen … Whichever way I’ve looked, I’ve felt like I was failing at life every time I opened Instagram. So while I used to log on for inspiration and ideas, more recently I’ve been deleting apps and putting time restrictions on my social media use, which has made a remarkable difference to my mental health. 

On that note, I’ve also been careful about the brands I have in my home and how they make me feel, based on what they represent. One company I’ve always adored thanks to their celebration of diverse beauty is Dove, so I was delighted to see their foray into baby care, with similar messaging. With their launch of a range of (really delicious) baby wash, shampoo, moisturiser and wipes, they’re also seeking to broaden how society defines parenthood. Saying that there is “no one right way to be a parent – only your way,” they are speaking my language. With judgement around every corner about every facet of raising a family, this is one brand and one message I can actually feel good about.