29 January 2011

LOVE IT, LOVE IT : Cuddledry Baby Apron Towel

I have to admit that I always wanted one of these but never got around to buying one. Today when visiting a friend, she told me how much she loves her Baby Apron Towel. She says that it so good, that it has become her standard baby gift for new mums. In fact, she is the second Mummy friend who has sung the praises of these towels. Babies are very slippery when wet and the struggle to hold onto a wet baby and a towel can be tricky. These towels are an ingenious idea. The towel attaches around your neck, keeping your hands free to pick up the wet baby and not worry about holding onto the towel.

 The features of the Cuddledry baby apron towel include:
  • Apron-style - keeps hands free for bathing and lifting and keeps you dry
  • Organic unbleached cotton and natural bamboo fibre
  • Silky soft, highly absorbent and fast drying
  • Natural antibacterial properties - perfect for sensitive baby skin
  • Unique double-layer system with hood - draws water away from baby's skin and hair
  • Long and luxurious - cocoons and cuddles baby quickly dry
  • Safe and secure - makes bathing a stress-free, natural, bonding time
Great invention from such a simple idea!

27 January 2011

Bundarra Bags is having a sale!

One of my essential Mummy items is my gorgeous, funky, cotton tote bag. I use it all the time as a handbag, shopping bag and baby bag. I've written before about the fantastic Bundarra tote bags but the exciting news now is that they are having a 20% Australia Day Sale until 31st January 2010.
  Hampton's Quilted Tote
Graphic Mosaic Tote  Red Blooms Tote

Check out these wonderful bags and add one to your collection!

Giving birth....what to do, what to expect

Tomorrow Layla will be 9 months old. It has made me think about my pregnancy and her birth.

You've heard the horror stories, seen the movies and always wondered about birth. For some women it is something of complete fascination. For others it is one of complete fear. In generations past, girls saw their mothers and aunts give birth as a part of everyday life. There was less secrecy as a result. These days, modern women read books and speak to their friends to understand the mysteries of birth. For me, I wanted to know what the pain would be like and what would happen beyond the Hollywood dramatisation of sweaty screaming women. I had read all the pregnancy books but didn't feel I was in a position to understand what would happen.

Many years ago, I heard a radio interview on ABC radio with Juju Sundin. Juju is a physiotherapist in private obstetric practice in Sydney. She is one of Australia's most prominent educators in prenatal education including both childbirth preparation and holistic pregnancy fitness. Her dynamic and innovative teaching style has inspired thousands of women and men towards a rewarding childbirth experience. While it was many years before I had to tackle the issue of birth, this interview stuck with me. When I was in the later stages of pregnancy I relistened to the interview and bought Juju's book 'Birth Skills'.
Layla in my arms a few minutes after delivery

What Birth Skills taught me was what pain to expect, how to manage pain, what my body was doing and that the pain was good pain - good pain that would give me a gift of a baby. I better understood that birth was not about lying on a bed screaming. There are physical and mental techniques to make the birth easier and help the baby come out. For anyone who is pregnant, this book is a must read. It is also really important for your birth partner to read the book. I made my Mum (my birth partner) read it even though she had had three of her own children. She was sceptical at the time but after reading it said she learned a lot and better understood how she could support me.
The birth team!

Birth is but a moment in time. Even long painful labours come to an end. After all, it is the only time you endure pain and get a gift for your efforts.

19 January 2011

The Amazing Effect of Music

I love classical music. I constantly have ABC Classic FM playing in my car and in my kitchen. When I was pregnant with Layla, I would often put on my favourite classics and listen to them as I lay down and relaxed. After Layla was born, my cousin Jac gave me two copies of CDs. I took them and thanked her before proceeding to put them on Layla's bookshelf and forgetting about them. Some weeks later when Layla was having an unsettled period, I remembered the CD. One disk contained static which proved to be very valuable (see my previous blog post The Sound of Silence). The other disk contained classical music lullabies. From the moment I played this CD, it had an instant calming effect on Layla. From that night on, whenever Layla would not sleep or was upset, the classical lullabies were put on.
Recently, we went to Canberra for a weeks holiday while my husband Daniel was down there for work. Knowing the wonderfully relaxing effect the music had on Layla, I uploaded the CD to my iPod and packed the portable speakers. It was only then did I find out the name and origin of the CD. The CD is called Music for Dreaming and is a must for any new or expectant parents. As it turned out, Layla was very unsettled while we were away and the music yet again did the trick in helping to settle her back to sleep every time. There are hundreds if not thousands of lullaby CDs on the market for babies. It can be hard to know which one to chose. I can strongly encourage you to get this CD and use it with your baby. The website has a 'listen for free' feature so you can review the music before buying.I hope this CD proves to be as helpful for you as it has been for us!

14 January 2011

LOVE IT, LOVE IT - Kaboost

I came across this product when Daniel and I were in Israel last year. My cousin had one for her kids and I was genuinely excited by this innovative product. The KABOOST is a portable chair booster that suits almost any 4 legged chair. It allows your normal dining room/kitchen chairs to be elevated so that little people can reach the table with ease.

The Kaboost comes in three colours - green, chocolate and natural. It attaches to your chair and stays attached when and if the chair is moved. The Kaboost is able to hold weights of up to 136kg and is extremely sturdy.
In searching the web, it seems that plenty of international retailers sell the product and I was able to find a few in Australia too.

The Kaboost website features a demo video that shows this fabulous invention in operation.

13 January 2011

Picking a Pram - Part 2

On our recent holiday, I had the opportunity to test drive a new pram. Give the ridiculous amount of stuff I needed to bring for Layla, there was no way my pram was going to fit in the car boot. My wonderful Mum let me borrow her pram for the trip. I should add that she had just bought the new pram and had not used it yet. Despite all of this, she was more than happy to let me take it....now that's love!

Mum's pram is very different to mine in so many ways and got me thinking again about how to pick a pram. Here are some more points for you to consider:
  • Storage -  most prams come with a basket under the seat for you to carry essential items. When picking a pram consider:
    • how big is the basket?
    • can it be accessed when the seat is in different positions?
    • how easy is it to get things in and out of the basket?
    • are there other places on the pram to carry things (pockets)?
  • Terrain - most prams are designed for either flat smooth surfaces (shopping centres, foot paths -- plastic tyres) or off road conditions (grass, uneven surfaces  -- air filled tyres).
    • does the pram have plastic or air filled tyres?
    • which terrain will I mostly be using the pram on?
    • does the pram have suspension?
  • Weather protection - most prams have added accessories for sun and rain. Despite this, if you get caught in the rain or are out on a sunny day, what kind of protection does the pram offer?
    • does the sun visor come down low enough to protect your baby?
    • is the carriage protected from the rain by using the sun visor?
From all my point of view, there is no one perfect pram. The are prams that suit different purposes at different times. That's probably why so many Mums I know have multiple prams!

12 January 2011

When Things Are Not So New

Everyone loves a newborn baby. When I hear a friend has had a baby, I know I'm always so excited. The miracle of birth mixed with the excitement of the potential are awesome and amazing. Seeing that new face, that new person and wondering what and who they are, always stirs deep emotions within. For any new parent, the arrival of a new life is filled with excitement as well as nervousness. The journey from baby to child and onto adolescence and adulthood is a long, interesting and bumpy ride.

Before I had a child, I thought I knew what the journey would be like. I had seen friends go before me and had spent many hours nannying and babysitting. I remember my own Mum with my youngest sister Michelle. When I was pregnant, I thought I knew what was to come. I had read the books, gone to the classes, spoken with others. I had visited friends and even thought I could offer new parents advice. Despite this, until I had actually walked the road, I had no idea. Nothing could have prepared me for this journey. Even so, the path I have walked is not the same as others. Every parent and child walks their own path, takes their own journey.

When a baby is new, everyone is interested. They all want to see you, see the baby, hold the baby, smell the newness. All the attention can be lovely and at times overwhelming. What people tend to forget is that the journey continues well after the baby is just new. If anything, things get harder before they get easier.

Layla (in her Love Me Baby Wrap Me Up) and I - Week 1

For those of you with friends or family with a new baby, remember that your help and support will be needed for a long time after the baby is just new. It is so important to call, visit, bring a meal and check up on the new parents well after the birth. When Layla was 8 weeks old, my friends helped out by providing me with meals for two weeks. It came when I really needed it. When I was really tired, dealing with a growth spurt and totally overwhelmed by the experience. It was this kind of ongoing help that was most needed and most appreciated. It was these friends that truly helped me on my journey.

So remember that the journey continues well after things are new. The experience is all consuming - emotionally, physically, mentally and time. Your ongoing help and support counts for more the longer the journey continues.

10 January 2011

Handmade Messenger Bags for Little People

Toddler Messenger Bag - Ballerina Grey, Red, Raspberry
Being an active blogger, I love to follow the blogs of other fabulous writers. Please Eloise is a great blog and website that features the sweetest hair clips for little girls. Last week, Kate posted on her blog about the cutest messenger bags for boys and girls aged between 3 and 5. Mee A Bee features these wonderful bags for little people that I seriously could not pass up. The bags are made in Japan from stunning cottons and linens. I bought this one for Layla to use when she is a bit bigger.
As an added bonus, Mee A Bee is having a 50% sale at the moment! Just include the voucher code of USAGI50 at the check out for this huge discount.


Picking the perfect baby gift

The arrival of a new life into the world is the most precious present of all. Despite this, a tradition exists to buy gifts for the baby when it arrives. The baby product market has exploded in recent years with the range of baby things you can buy increasing exponentially. We were blessed with so many wonderful and generous gifts on Layla's arrival. Based on our experience, I thought I'd put together a post on great baby presents to help well meaning friends and family as well as expectant parents when they get asked "so, what can we get you for the baby?"
  • Practical - the best gifts by far are the practical ones. Be it everyday jumpsuits, funky new style wraps like the Love Me Baby Wrap Me Up, bibs or baby body products always come in handy. These are the things that actually get used day in and out. Pick a good brand and buy what you can afford. It is better to buy one good thing that many cheaply made products that either won't last or are not soft on the baby's skin. There is a growing trend towards baby registries. While it may seem a little weird at first, it can take a lot of the guess work out of buying baby gifts;
  • Clothes - clothes always come in handy. A few tips - if you are buying a bigger size for when the baby is a little older, don't forget to forecast what the season will be once the baby gets to that size. I have some really nice winter clothes in size 0 that would fit Layla now if it was not summer! If you want to buy a special outfit, these are always welcomed. The problem is that all too often, babies only get to wear these special outfits once or twice as not many occasions arise for dressy baby clothes. In my mind, clothes that can be worn any day are the best gifts. Don't forget handmade gifts can also be a wonderful present. Knitwear from Shnookies is a fantastic practical gift that given the quality, can be passed down to subsequent children;
  • Books - books never go out of fashion. Whether you chose board books, picture books or detailed stories for years to come, they will all come to good use. It is also a good idea to buy books for the parents. Chose a book like The Wonder Weeks which will come in handy as the baby grows or a cook book like Annabel Karmel's first purees;
  • A gift for Mum - the person who is often forgotten when bubs arrives in Mum. After all, she did all the work! I love to buy presents for my Mummy friends especially when they have second and subsequent children. Presents such as hand creams, massage vouchers, Mummy baby totes or jewellery are always well received;
  • Other children - when a new baby arrives, sometimes the older siblings can feel left out. Gifts such as new crayons and paper, a new book or small toy are great ideas as they help the parents by occupying the older siblings during the early days;
  • Meals - there is no better gift than making the new family a meal or two. Trying to organise shopping and cooking when there is a new baby around can be extremely difficult. This gift is always welcome, whether it is in the first week after coming home or when the baby is going through a growth spurt/developmental leap and sleep is at a minimum;
  • Baby gym / toys - these will always come in handy no matter the age the toy is designed for. Look for educational toys Lamaze or Tolo for great products;
  • Layla playing with her toys - 4 months
  • Feeding - when received I thought these were odd, it turns out that gifts like bibs, baby cookbooks, cutlery and food containers all eventually come in handy. Don't be scared to buy gifts for the months ahead rather than just newborn centric products.
I hope these suggestions are helpful when chosing the right baby gifts. I'm sure there are things I've forgotten and would love to receive your comments. Happy shopping!

08 January 2011

Interesting study - Cankles and baby weight loss

During my pregnancy, I was very active. I put on minimal weight and did not suffer from fluid retention. After Layla was born, I was shocked to find that I had developed cankles, swollen feet and legs and obvious fluid retention. Layla was not a big baby but in reflection, was quite puffy after her birth. She also took a number of weeks to regain her birth weight, longer than the Community Health Nurse thought was acceptable. Both the fluid rentention and the loss of birth weight were two issues that still perplexed me some 8 months on. That was until today!
Baby Layla - 1 day old
I read an article published in the academic journal 'Pediatrics' that attributes fluid rentention in mothers after birth and loss of weight in babies to excess fluids being given during labour. The IV fluids can cause babies to take on additional fluids which are then lost after birth giving the appearance of significant weight loss. More info can be found here....

What did your cankles have to do with your baby's weight loss? Source: http://www.breastfeeding.blog.motherwear.com/
Did you have 'cankles' after you had your baby? Could you make dents in your waterlogged feet? And did your baby have higher than normal weight loss in the first few days postpartum? If so, you may be interested in this.