Month: March 2014

Explosion in Prahran: A lesson in thinking on your feet

It was Sunday funday.

Hubby and I had agreed to meet friends at a cafe in Chapel St for lunch, strapped Millie and her 17 million necessary items in the car and headed off.

Poor Millie (and I) had a couple of rough nights because of teething and a head cold – double whammy for bubba – so I made sure I packed lots to keep her entertained/fed/watered/not crying.

After a couple of minutes in her car seat she fell asleep.

We parked in the multi-deck car park next to Prahran Market and hubby got the pram out while I tried to transfer our sleeping babe from Mazda to Bugaboo.

The slight wetness near her leg I put down to spills from a cup of water I’d helped her sip from before we left.

Then the smell hit us. Whoa, baby! You might be sick, but at least you’re functioning properly! An old beach towel made for a change mat and I proceeded to undress our bean in the back of the boot. Millie was very excited about the change of scenery and all the random items Daddy leaves in there. Shoelaces, lacrosse gear, bags, towels, wrappers, water bottles. All fair game for an inquisitive baby girl.

It was at this point I realised the wetness was also on her bodysuit and singlet. It was here I realised it probably wasn’t water.

A number 3 poo explosion had occurred in the 10 minutes it took to arrive at our destination.

I always carry plenty of wipes and nappies, but had forgot to pack a change of clothes.

It was then hubby suggested we go home to change her but spotted the Aldi supermarket opposite.

While he cleaned up I ran across the street on a mission to find something for Millie to wear.

It was my lucky day: I foraged through the bargain bin in the centre of the supermarket for size 00 or 0 clothes and found three PINK items. Millie’s girly pink style continues, even in times of crisis.

Leggings: $2.99. Long sleeved spencer: $3.99. Corduroy dress, $9.95.

I think Millie was pretty chuffed with her (cheap) new outfit
She was also very pleased with her new car boot change table

It was slim pickings at the supermarket but I think she looked pretty cute, rocking an outfit that cost less than $17.

What do you think?

Time flies when you’re changing nappies

I find myself staring at Millie and telling my brain to take it all in.

In a week she would have changed again.

My baby is 8 months old and time has whizzed by.

In those first weeks just about everyone told me to appreciate the time spent with my baby. “She’ll be off to kinder before you know it!” they’d say. Now I know what they mean.

I have been lucky enough to take 12 months maternity leave and treasure the Millie and mummy time every waking moment.

It’s hard to believe Millie was ever this small. Her Bonds mushroom suit was a size 00000

It’s weird because I still have an infant child but find myself getting nostalgic about how she was just 6 months ago.

Two dear friends have had babies within the last two weeks and I cannot believe that was me last July. Xanthe and River are so tiny, so delicate and so compact – making Millie look like a giant in comparison.

I read in New Idea that a recent survey found 75% of women would quit Facebook and 70% would give up chocolate to go back in time for just one more baby cuddle with their child.

They are only this small for such a short time and maybe that’s why we feel ‘ripped off’ when they become independent little people. I can see why women go back and have many more children – holding your newborn is like a drug and you need another fix.

But there is so much joy in watching my darling girl grow and learn. She giggles incessantly, waves hello and is a little chatterbox these days. It’s also a beautiful age – and I know I’ll be wishing for this time again come her 1st birthday.

Taking lots of photos (oh you MillieMummyMelbourne Instagram followers are in for a treat!) and videos is how I’ll remember these first 12 months.

But I have to ensure I don’t spend my time watching Millie through a lens and instead hope the best memories of now are locked up there in my noggin.

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Millie at 8 months

Sink your teeth into these, kiddo

Gels, jewellery, giraffes, rings, toys, necklaces…there’s something out there for every teething baby.

I think Millie’s first toothy peg has popped through. There’s a white dot on her bottom gums that I’m almost sure is a tooth just about to rise up.

Tooth or not, she is a frantic munchie girl at the moment and those dribble bibs are getting a good workout.

I’ll start with our little French squeaker, Sophie. The pale natural rubber giraffe is clutched by just about every baby once they learn to hold things.

Sophie the Giraffe is chewed by babies all over the world

I like Sophie, and most importantly, Millie does too. Sophie’s shape means she can find a part that gets to her tender spots and she holds her legs and whacks it against things to make it squeak, then smiles. A smiling baby makes for a happy mumma.

Sophie is available at most shops and baby boutiques these days as well as a multitude of online stores.

What has been a winner lately is my Harper and Hudson necklace. I wear it, so not only do I look funky, but Millie is always grabbing at it, providing a great distraction when we are out and about. I’m not sure why but babies always seem to go for things they know are not their toys – keys, remote controls, watches, paper – so that’s why this necklace works so well. Millie knows it’s mine and so can’t get enough! They are made from 100% non-toxic silicone and are safe for bub to chew and suck. There’s heaps of different styles and colours and a selection is available online at Savvy Bambino.

Millie munching on a Harper and Hudson necklace

There are other brands that sell teething jewellery with different shapes, including Tiny & I. This brand has square penne bead and fruit loop bead necklaces and are designed in Melbourne.

A necklace from Tiny & I

Millie has a little necklace of her own, a Baltic amber bead necklace. It’s from Bambeado and is said to release an oil containing succinic acid when worn against the skin. The acid is supposed to ease teething pain. Some mothers swear by the benefits. I’m skeptical. How can a necklace make a difference? But it’s a natural pain reliever so I’ve been willing to give it a go. With the necklace on or off, I don’t notice a difference in Millie’s irritability (or lack of it). Maybe she is ok because she has the necklace on? Maybe she’s a lucky baby and isn’t too bothered by teething anyway? How are we to know?

Bambeado amber beads

I have a teething toy mushroom I just bought at Naughts & Crosses in Elwood, it was an instant fave for Millie. The irregular shape holds her interest and it’s a soft natural rubber like Sophie.

I buy the Rafferty’s Garden Banana Milk Rusks too, these ones would taste a bit nicer than plain rusks because of the banana. She will hold it and munch away happily for ages with one of these and it’s good for relieving sore gums.

She also quite likes the Nuby IcyBite keys, these have different surfaces and are filled with a special gel that stays cooler for longer after refrigeration. The keys are about $10 from most chemists.

IcyBite keys

Similarly, I’ve found feeding her some stewed fruit straight from the fridge offers a nice cooling sensation on her sore gums.

Argh! My baby’s on nursing strike!

Millie did a very strange thing the other day.

She went on strike.

Strangely, she refused to feed. Flat-out just stopped. But she only stopped feeding from me. She still took a bottle, ate solids and had sips of cooled, boiled water.

Millie is almost 8 months old and until starting solids has been exclusively breastfed without incident.

She took to me well despite being prem and her sucking reflex was there from the day she emerged. We’ve been lucky. No hassles. I got over the initial breastfeeding nerves (who else struggled with the transition from only your partner seeing your boobs to every nurse, doctor, family member and friend copping an eyeful in those first days in hospital??) and persistence paid off. She’s happy, sleeps well and grows steadily.

But the strike really put me in a spin.

What is wrong with her? What’s wrong with me? Why doesn’t she like me? What have I done to make this happen?

Every time I held her in her feeding position in the crook of my arm, she arched her back, turned her head and screamed.

This lasted the best part of two days.

She was crying, so I did too.

Blubbering, I phoned the lovely volunteers on the other end of the Australian Breastfeeding Association helpline. It was suggested I try walking while feeding (she wouldn’t have a bar of it), feeding in the bath (don’t have one) or singing to her while feeding (poor kid, she was already upset). Anything to distract her somewhat.

Nothing worked.

It’s so hard when they can’t tell you why they are upset. I pulled out the dog-eared copy of Baby Love and the book said nursing strikes can happen for any number of reasons. Illness, teething, fright, weaning. It can last hours, days, weeks…or be permanent. The thought it could all be over made me all the more teary.

I’m aware she will be weaned eventually. That’s fine. BUT NOT YET. I’M NOT READY. It’s our thing. It’s cuddle time. It’s our bond. It’s me being her mum and doing what I think is best for my precious baby.

Don’t get me wrong, I look forward to the day when I don’t have to wear a bra to bed, buy breast pads or use a breast pump. But in the scheme of our lives, feeding my baby will only happen for such a short amount of time.

I expressed and fed Millie from a bottle while she was on strike. Luckily she slowly came back around (with the help of a dose of baby Panadol…teeth?) and wanted to breastfeed but it took patience and persistence.

She might do it again and that might be it.

But if she does I’ll be less shocked, more prepared and OK with it – if still a little weepy.

Has your baby been on nursing strike? How did it make you feel? How did you get through it? Please share your comments below

We heart Naughts & Crosses

Trouble with going for a walk near our place is that I usually have my wallet with me (sanity coffee a must).

And when I stumble across shops related to all things mini, I just have to pop in for a peek.

The lovely Elwood Village shops are a short stroll from home for us and Millie and I are often wandering through on the way to the beach.

Spot the suitcase and you’re nearly there

But there’s a little tucked away treasure trove for kiddies that is reason enough to visit the village.

Naughts & Crosses – beautiful things for little people – is my fave shop right now.

You know when you find something that’s just your taste? This shop is full of it. I’d buy one of everything if I could.

Tricky to spot at first, this shop is down a cobbled lane. The suitcase says it all: CUTE SHOP.

The lovely store owner will help you with your pram if you want to bring baby up the step and inside, but I parked Millie at the entrance and she happily watched the bubble machine spurt out rainbow spheres while I looked around. Smart girl, Millie. The longer you’re content, the more I’ll find and buy for you.

Naughts & Crosses is a hidden Melbourne gem
Millie was happy to bubble watch

There’s clothing, toys, lamps, bunting, rattles, dolls, children’s jewellery, pinwheels, rugs, cushions, books and ornaments. It’s all kitsch and beautiful. It’s funky and sweet. Nothing mass-produced or ordinary.

One of everything please

Millie’s nursery has a ‘woodland critters’ theme (deers, rabbits, mushrooms and owls) so I bought a squishy rubber mushroom teething toy on my visit today as well as a low wire mint green basket to sit some of her dolls in.

Dolly has a fine view from up here
Quack Quack: What a bright idea

If I were kitting out a nursery this shop would be my first stop. But older kids aren’t forgotten, with crafty goodies galore to keep little hands busy.

The shop also has a website for those who can’t make the trip to Elwood.

Naughts & Crosses is at the rear of 104 Ormond Rd, Elwood.

A little local linen goes a long way

Millie has the beautiful Stokke Sleepi cot, which transformed from the sweet little oval Sleepi Mini bassinet.

It is so stylish and its convertible style is perfect in our small home, meaning we don’t have the bassinet to store somewhere now she’s grown out of it.

But designer goods come with designer price tags and the unusual oval shape means we have to foot the bill for matching Stokke sheets (I wish I could sew. I can’t).

But I stumbled across Melbourne’s own Little Linen Company when a friend asked me where I got my OiOi baby bag and doing an online search.

Turned out my much-admired green bag is connected to the same company who made the amazing digital-print muslin wraps I bought for Millie when she was a newbie, the Airwrap breathable cot bumpers and funky crochet blankets.

The digital print muslin makes a light cot sheet

The company’s Little Bamboo brand round cot fitted sheet ($27.50) fits the Stokke Sleepi for a fraction of the price of the Stokke sheet. It’s soft and gets better after each wash – but only comes in white.

The breathable Airwrap

I also recently bought the Airwrap, a breathable cot bumper. Bumpers are usually a no-no,

but this one is made from mesh for airflow and has stopped Millie from sleeping with her

head against a wooden rail and throwing teddies, dummies, arms and legs out the sides of the cot.

The digitally-printed muslin wraps are so handy and so cute and a really fine, lightweight muslin. I bought one with a baby world map because with red and blue colours I thought it was good for a boy or girl. I’ve used it so much, not only to swaddle Millie but as a nursing cover, pram cover and as a sheet for Millie on hot nights.

The Weegoamigo muslin wraps have many colourful prints

The thicker printed muslin wraps are a steal at $14.95 and are really soft – I also found this type was harder for Millie to wriggle out of in her sleep. There’s dinosaurs, vegies, flowers, bears….cute, cute, cute.

My green leather hobo nappy bag has been a great choice. These bags are expensive but last, have lots of handy compartments and look just like a big slouchy handbag.

As well as selling online, I’ve seen The Little Linen Company products at Baby Bunting and Parenthood.


Dancing in the storm…and the Bumbo

Millie Moo, you’re so cute right now.

Millie is at that age where all she does is cute and funny and awkward and surprising.

I blew a raspberry the other day, demonstrating to someone what she had done during an entire car journey. She heard me and mimicked me.

She has started to curl her fingers and ‘wave’ when we say hello and wave to her. So clever this baby.

But yesterday, with one eye on Karl Stefanovic and the Today show and one eye on the fruit and oats I was feeding to my hungry bird, she did something I’m so very proud of.

She danced.

Yes, she was in the Bumbo and yes it was more nodding her head from side to side, but it was in response to music.

But it was the choice of song she decided to perform her first dance to that was one of my proudest moments.

It was to an old school tune from 80s/90s Aussie band Boom Crash Opera.

Here we go, here we go for one more turn
We can shake, we can shake the trees and earth
We can spin, we can spin and not fall down
Hold on tight, we can both become unwound
You and I, going out
And we’re dancing in the storm

My daughter has a fine taste in music. That’s a relief. Glad she didn’t start rocking out to Rihanna or someone equally as skanky.

Bumbos are for sitting and dancing

Dale Ryder and BCO are mighty fine. About 4 years ago a group of girlfriends and I went to see them play at the Corner Hotel in Richmond. Best $25 we ever spent. In our late 20s we were probably the youngest in the room, but what we lacked in age we made up for in enthusiasm. Dancing in the storm was the highlight. Love that song.

So Millie’s transformation into a mini version of her mummy is in progress. Something tells me the dancing is the easy part.

For those who’d also like to check to see if their child has a fine taste in music, or if mummy wants to re-live a snippet of her youth, here’s the Opera in their heyday. You’re welcome.

Weddings, parties, anything – it sure ain’t what it used to be

There was a time not so long ago when I’d be booing the DJ as he announced he was playing his last track.

I won’t mention names but it’s a wonder some of my colleagues and I remember one work Christmas function where the leftover bottles of wine on the dinner tables were fair game.

Then there were the numerous lavish wedding receptions where afterwards I’d track down the nearest bar. For. More. Drinks.

I was a guest at my cousin Christopher’s wedding on Saturday at The Briars, a beautiful historic homestead and farm in Mt Martha. I was stone cold sober. I didn’t set foot on the dance floor. And I was heading home at 11pm.

What has happened to me? It’s simple. It is the chubby pink bundle of joy staring back at me from her pram. What has happened has a name: Millie.

Millie and I on Saturday at The Briars for my cousin’s wedding

Now just about every event I attend I have a plus one-and-a-half.

We stood behind the hay bales set up to watch the wedding on the weekend, pram positioned to make a quick push away in case of grizzles. It turns out Millie didn’t make a peep, only a couple of quiet giggles when somebody said hello to her.

The happy couple had a ‘no children’ policy, but said their rule referred to older kids who were able to run around and weren’t relying on their mums for a feed. Millie, the three littlies belonging to the groom’s sister (two of whom were in the bridal party) and another newborn baby boy were the only tiny guests.

The groom’s niece and nephew Leif and Ellia lead their new Aunty Cara down the aisle

I must say it was nice that Millie was able to be part of the day. Apart from my own wedding, this was only the second of the nieces and nephews on dad’s side of the family to get married, so it will be nice to tell her she was there.

The reception is the tricky part. It’s when mum and dad want to enjoy their meal but it’s baby’s bed time. Again, we need not have worried. Millie Moo sat in her pram at the end of our long table and cooed, shook her rattle and ate a whole jar of Heinz Organic puréed baby mush. Happy as Larry.

Set inside a chandelier-lit barn, the reception space offered plenty for Millie to look at. She was so busy sticky-beaking I think she forgot she was supposed to be tired and hungry.

I came prepared with a supply of rusks too, although messy they kept Miss M distracted and offered her gums some relief (I suspect she’s teething, but haven’t seen toothy pegs yet).

Not wanting to sacrifice my wedding style because of my breastfeeding status, I wore a dress but sat in the car to discreetly feed Millie after dinner.

I popped her back in the pram, gave her a jiggle just outside the barn so I could still hear the speeches and she was asleep by the bridal waltz.

We stayed overnight in the nearby ArtiZen cottage with family. It was ideal not to have to drive all the way back to Melbourne afterwards and also meant we were all refreshed upon arrival at the wedding, rather than grumpy and tired after an hour in the car.

It was all relatively easy with baby in tow. There’s just a lot more to remember now. It used to be all I had to remember was the wedding present and a lippy. I did feel so grown up and responsible, especially watching other guests tottering around in sky-high heels, drinks in hand.

Millie gets a kiss from my brother Matt at the reception

Just like the bubbly would help introduce you to fellow guests, you build a rapport with fellow pram-pushers at a wedding. Sympathetic glances and baby wipes were exchanged.

It was a lovely day. All the more so I was able to share it with my little family and wake up Sunday morning hangover-free.

A farm among the gum trees

There’s a hidden gem tucked away off Plenty Rd.

The 180 hectare Bundoora Park, with its wide open spaces and huge trees, it’s a world from the hustle of the Melbourne CBD just 30 minutes up the road.

I visited with Millie for a friend’s daughter’s 3rd birthday and was surprised to discover there was so much there for children to do.

There’s sheltered picnic areas with BBQs, big playgrounds (and an 18 hole public golf course) but the urban farm at Cooper’s Settlement was a hit with young and old.

Layla the birthday girl (right) with her little friends

Kids can handle and help bottle feed a variety of farm animals as well as watch the daily happenings. While we were there a cow was being milked and plenty of food was available to give to hungry animal babies.

There were chooks, goats, sheep, pigs, cows, horses, guinea pigs – lots to keep inquisitve little tackers amused.

Millie, at 7 months, is too young to understand what I was trying to show her, but did watch intently when an animal made a move past her line of sight. The farm was fine for prams too, a friend and I managed to manouvre our babies around quite easily, despite much of the paths being gravel.

Tilly and Millie prove Coopers Settlement is pramable

The settlement has a heritage village for families to experience life in the days of the pioneers and a $3 hay ride on the back of a tractor will take you into the adjoining wildlife reserve to see the roaming emus, kangaroos and wallabies.

Bundoora Park is open from sunrise to sunset, at 1069 Plenty Rd, Bundoora. Cooper’s Settlement is open 10am-4pm. Farm admission is $9 for adults and $6 for children or $24 for a family of two adults and two children.

I’m not a stage mum (but really want my baby to win)

I’m not a stage mum.

So why then have I entered my dear little Millie into the Bonds Baby Search?

Even as a girl I’d cringe watching pushy mothers insist their girls were centre front during dance concerts.

Always tall, I was usually up the back so I didn’t block out the view to anyone behind me. Whatever. I was never going to be a prima ballerina or even good enough to have a go auditioning for So You Think You Can Dance. I blame the long legs. But I was just happy to dance.

It seems that once you have a baby all reason, common sense and declarations that you’ll never enter your child in a baby contest flies out the window. In flies pride, envy and the expectation that everybody else agrees that your bub is the cutest there is.

My happy Millie (in her Bonds coverall, no less)

Yep, I think Millie is the cutest bub there is. But she’s mine. I’m biased. I was in love even when I saw her little shadowy face on the ultrasound.

I think she’s beautiful. Why then do I need the assurance that others agree?

Voting opened for the Bonds Baby Search today. I can’t even get on the website to see Millie’s entry. That many mums and dads must be voting for their beautiful baby that the site has crashed. It’s cray cray.

I think it’s the fear of missing out (or FOMO for the young and trendies out there). What if Millie can win? What if she was to get the most votes? What if the judges also think she’s cute? What if it starts a lucrative baby modelling career? I’d never know unless I upload her smiling face to the Bonds site and see. Can’t hurt. She’ll never be this little again.

But I’m a walking contradiction. I wouldn’t pop a bow on her head and stick her in a shopping centre baby comp or buy her tap shoes so I can enter her in pageants. But I was happy to enter this. I have no idea why.

If you manage to get onto the Bonds website and scan past the tempting 40% off offer (gotta hand it to you, Bonds, sales would be booming and social media is abuzz with pleas to ‘vote for my Bonds baby’), you’ll find 59,285 lovely little babies have been entered.

In Millie’s category, female 0-9 months, she is one of 10,743. She is one of 54 Millies. Unless your baby is named Honey Boo Boo, I think you’ll find that ‘original and different’ name you chose for your child is not so original after all.

How the judges will be able to filter through that many adorable chubby faces is beyond me. Some bubs will get through by receiving the most votes. Sadly many baby comps have become more of a popularity contest and success hinges on how many ‘friends’ mum and dad have on Facebook.

But when all is said and done, 59,285 babies have parents who love and adore them enough to think they are the cutest bubbas in the country.

Win or lose, these babies are lucky to have parents who think the world of them.

PS: If I haven’t put you off voting and you agree with Millie’s mummy that Millie’s pretty cute, you can vote for her by clicking here. Thanks!