Category: Pregnancy

The maternity bra your boobs need right now

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Breastfeeding is not always easy. For some it never is. From day dot, when your baby is a hungry, sleepy newborn, you struggle with hot and heavy boobs, a baby that won’t latch properly, far too many feeds in the darkest hours of the night and ugly bras with fiddly clasps. Some of these problems are inevitable, but you can do something about your bra.

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Gifts for mum & bub all wrapped up

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Having a baby is a big deal. Huge. And while it’s not about the gifts you can give a new mum and her precious bundle, it certainly is important to get it right if you do go to the trouble of finding something special.

I’ve always tried to look for quality pressies and go by the motto that I only buy things for others that I would want for myself. So when some parcels arrived for Finn and I, I know they would be appreciated by the person I choose to spoil because I absolutely loved them.

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C’mon get appy

Who knew there is so much fun to be had on a mobile phone that doesn’t involve chatting to your mates, sending an MMS or shopping online?

It’s apps. They’re great. Besides your usual, EVERYONE must have apps (Instagram, Facebook, Urbanspoon, Shazam) there’s numerous pregnancy/baby/parenting ones that are as handy as a wet wipe.

Throughout my pregnancy I used Baby Bump. Enter your due date and each week there’s some info about what’s happening to you, how baby is growing (and strangely the size bub would be if it were a fruit or veg) and a countdown so you know how many days you have left before you’ll be able to see what you’ve been lugging around for 9 months.

It has tips and limited info, but I just liked to be able to peek at it every now and then. It was free and certainly added to my excitement about having a baby as each week my colleagues would ask me how big bub was. “It’s a grapefruit already? Wowsers!”

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There’s lots of similar ones out there and some can be quite involved, with space for your bump pics or the ability to connect with other mums-to-be.

Once we brought Millie home and I was in my ‘zombie cow’ state (half asleep and breastfeeding around-the-clock) I found the free app Baby Feed quite useful.

It charts how long baby fed for, on what side, how long it’s been between feeds and if you do a nappy change before/after a feed you can record if it was a poo or just a wee.

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I didn’t use it for long, but Baby Feed was good in the early days when you just can’t remember any details about anything. The only problem was this zombie cow often forgot to start or stop the timer. Never mind.

I continue to use The Wonder Weeks app after being told about it in one of my first mother’s group meetings.

The Wonder Weeks is a book written by an infant development expert from the Netherlands and has been condensed for use on an iPhone or android mobile.

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After entering your baby’s birth date (or corrected age in Millie’s case – she was prem and born 4 weeks early) it will provide a chart in weeks and indicate when your bub will go through a ‘leap’, or developmental milestone.

According to the author, leaps are when your baby’s brain is changing and so coincide with fussy periods your baby might have. So if bub is particularly sooky or miserable, it’s likely he or she is in the middle of a mental development phase.

It’s certainly interesting. The chart shows what stage your baby is at in terms of age and shows upcoming leaps with a solid line and indicates the weeks your bub might be fussy (storm cloud) or happy (sunshine).

Some mums look to the chart and dread the stormy periods because their bubs behave almost exactly as the chart predicts.

I didn’t really notice too many swings in Millie’s attitude to worry about the pending storm clouds, but it was great to read a summary of the leap as well as to learn what her new abilities would be and when we’d start to see her do them.

The app charts your baby’s leaps until they are 84 weeks old (Millie is about half way through).

Have you discovered any useful baby or parenting apps? Tell me what they are below.

Tales of strength and Hope

A feature wall of beautifully illustrated fairytale prints hover above my sleeping baby in her nursery. It’s a constant reminder of how lucky I am.

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Millie in her fairytale nursery

The prints are from the Fairytales for Hope project, raising much-needed awareness and money for Stillbirth Foundation Australia.

Hope Angel Heppleston, the first child of my friend Sally and her husband Simon, was stillborn – at 40 weeks, 5 days – on August 19, 2008.

There was no rhyme or reason as to why Hope died. The tragedy broke the hearts of her excited parents and all of us who shared in Sally’s joy as we watched her belly grow and waited for news of the birth of a happy, healthy baby.

It was a shock. I was well aware of the occurrence of stillbirths, but probably not aware of just how often it happens. And for it to happen to someone I knew meant it really hit home.

The couple, especially Sally, have become tireless campaigners for the cause. The Stillbirth Foundation has benefited from calls by Sally for donations in Hope’s honour, fun-run donations and by her spreading the word about the important research the foundation does every day.

Sally’s friend Tonia Composto, a Melbourne artist, illustrated her interpretation of a fairytale for each day of August, Hope’s birth month.

Being read a fairytale was one of life’s many pleasures baby Hope was denied.

The illustrations Tonia created have been printed and are just beautiful. I bought some long before I was pregnant but gave some as presents for new babies and kept some aside for myself. While decking out the nursery last year, five of my favourite prints were the first to go in my baby’s room.

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Thumbelina, one of the 31 prints that can be purchased to raise money for the Stillbirth Foundation Australia

All the money raised from the sale of the prints goes to Stillbirth Foundation Australia. With the paper and printing costs generously donated, Sally told me this week that the project has so far raised close to $40,000. Incredible.

The pictures come in 25cm x 25cm ($20 each) or 15cm x 15cm ($10) sizes.

I can vouch for the fantastic quality of these prints. They are an inexpensive way to decorate a child’s room and have been admired by all who have seen Millie’s nursery.

“They are all over the world, so I’m so touched,” Sally said.

The simple Ribba frame from Ikea is perfect for the larger size prints and complements them so well. They are $9.99 and the illustrations can be set at the front or the back of the frame, shadow box style.

Prints can be ordered through the Stillbirth Foundation website.
For more information about Fairytales for Hope, click here.

Glowing, glowing, gone

I can create quite a sizable afro montage on the top right hand corner of the shower screen these days. My hair, it seems, wants out.

It wasn’t always like this.

During my pregnancy last year my hair was shiny, thick and swishy. I gave Rachel Hunter a run for her money (showing my age here folks, apologise if you are too young to remember Rod Stewart’s ex wife and her 90s Pantene commercials). My skin glowed without the need for primer. My expanding baby bump rounded and smoothed out the jiggly parts of my tum.

I loved being pregnant. I was lucky enough to escape the morning sickness, the ballooning ankles and the crazy cravings.

But now…oh dear. Hair carpets the bathroom tiles and what my husband and I have affectionately named the hair rat sits on the corner of the shower screen after every wash*. Glowing decollatage is now more likely to come from bub’s dribble giving me a nice ‘sheen’.

Appointments at the waxing and hair salons are squeezed in between feeds and when someone is home to take bub out of your clutches for an hour or three.

(Thank goodness) I’m not Kim Kardashian or Kate Middleton, so don’t have the fear of getting papped once I venture out of the house. But feeling ok about leaving the confines of your home is important – Millie and I enjoy our daily walks, I really believe it’s good for both of us.

I’ve asked fellow new mothers the little tricks they use to help the time-poor, overtired, emotional mummas out there look and feel more human. Some said a fail-safe messy bun in their hair disguised an overdue cut and colour; another had her eyelashes tinted so even without make-up she wouldn’t look like a zombie; many (including me) wear trendy harem/slouch/PJ-style pants instead of trackies – same comfort factor, but much more stylish – and a another friend said dry shampoo was so essential that cans of it should be given to every mum-to-be at their baby shower.

Anyway, I’m sure our bodies will settle down, our hair will return and primping and preening will get easier as the bubs get older and settle into routines.

When all is said and done, I don’t know what I’m worried about. With a cute new bubba peering from the pram, who’s looking at me anyway?

*Hair rats are disgusting, but sticking the stray hair up there until I get out sure beats pulling it all out of the plug hole down the track.