Tag: baby

01
Nov

What I used and liked for my second baby.

It occurred to me, as my 15-month old daughter poured herself a Scotch and sat with me on the porch last night, she is no longer a baby. I had always intended to write a post on the stuff I liked and used when she was a baby, but maybe because she was a baby, and there was an older brother as well, I was a bit busy, and I never got to it.

And so, here is a hastily written, half-forgotten list of some stuff I recommend if you’re having or have a baby. Second time around you accrue far less of the pretty, superfluous and fancy shit, and just streamline everything into What Will Make Life Easier.

GASSY, WINDY BABY TREATMENTS

I make lusciously gassy babies. Which means that until they were around 10 weeks old, they cried and cried and cried, and would not settle after feeds because of their unsophisticated digestive system/being pigs and drinking too fast/my milk flow being set to 100kmph. The thing that changed this for us was Willby’s Wind and Colic mix. I think I started on it when she was two weeks old, for 2-3 weeks. It’s not meant to be used for long, so I moved back to my faithful Infant’s Friend (also good for general calming) and/or Infacol.  You have to call and have a consult before they will send it to you.

NESTS

Before Rudy was born, I bought a Sleepyhead (same company as DockATot) on Gumtree, (because it was super $$$$ to get a new one shipped to Aus – that’s no longer the case cos DockATot has an Australian site now) cos I’d heard so much about their magical ways.

It was great for exactly one week, while Rudy was still in that heavenly, sleepy in-womb mode. But once her gassiness kicked in at about 10 days old, her laying flat was out of the question. She wailed and wailed.

A five day old lady in The Sleepyhead/DockATot

A friend evangelically recommended the Cocoonababy. I’d been gifted one yonks back when I’d announced my pregnancy, but like so much stuff I didn’t need cos you still have everything already from the first kid, it sat untouched. I unwrapped it and plonked her in it at around 3am on a particularly hellish night. It changed everything. Rudy loved it. Slept every nap and night in it til she was three months old. We took it overseas/everywhere. It cozily cuddles the baby, (it felt weird with her all alone and so tiny on an expansive, flat bassinet anyway… A bassinet I’d just bought cos I felt like I needed one on wheels. I absolutely did not) it’s on an incline, and it’s wonderful. I’ve loaned mine to three friends, bought one for a new mum friend and deeply wish I’d invented it.

For sleeping bags, I used this great Ergopouch swaddle bag above, (which has press studs so it morphs into a hands-out sleeping bag later), and also the straight-jacket-esque Ergobaby Swaddler for sleep to keep her hands down and wrapped, (as opposed to them creeping up and into her mouth and face and keeping her awake), as well as the good ol’ Love to Dream Swaddle UP for day naps. She moved out of her nest and into her cot at three months, and graduated to unwrapped with hands out (so, in just a sleepysack) at around 4 months. (That was a rough week.)

Hot tip: If you know someone having a baby, buy them a Swaddler, a Love to Dream Swaddle UP, or go in with some buddies and get the Cocoonababy nest. They will get some sleep, and you will win Best Present Givererer. Both are important.

BOTTLES, PUMPS ETC

I used the Medela Swing maxi double electric breast pump to express at home, which I had leftover from my first baby and it worked great, and the Avent manual pump for travel, but following a trip to the country where I forgot my manual pump like a dingus, and had to drive for 40m to a Kmart, I switched to the Kmart brand manual pump because it is excellent.

Whenever I would get a plugged duct, or mastitis would threaten, (or blatantly storm in) I immediately took Nurofen, and would either jump in the shower and hold a hot face washer on the boob in trouble, or use this electric heatpad (which I loved more than even my darling husband during labour) for 10-15 minutes before feeds, then use an icepack on the book for 5 minutes after the feed. I would also gently massage the lump towards the nipple as I fed, or feed her on all fours. It was a very glamorous and not at all annoying routine. (I trust KellyMom and ABA, and La Leche League for BF advice. And NURSE-ON-CALL OH MY GOD I LOVE NURSE-ON-CALL! Any time a baby has a crazy rash or fever, I call them straight away: 1300 60 60 24.)

When Rudy was gassy and very little, I bought the Dr Brown Options Wide-Neck Newborn bottle (with a Pigeon wideneck SS teat) to use in her dreamfeed, as directed by our midwife/sleep whisperer wizard friend, Amanda (McGill, director of Nest Nannies.) (If your baby is having trouble sleeping, and you are at your wits end, Amanda will get your baby sleeping. She is brilliant.)

Once the gassiness settled down, I moved to a Comotomo bottle, which I love cos they are silicone and soft and squishy like a boob, and we used happily with Sonny for years, too.

 

PRAMS

We are a multi-pram family: a big hardy one for home, a light, easy-fold one for my car, and a travel pram. I used a Bugaboo Cameleon3 for Sonny, but we needed some form of double pram when Rudy came cos Sonny had just turned three, AKA that weird in-between stage where he didn’t need a pram, but can’t walk that far, and was a bit shit on the scooter. (Sorry mate, but you were.) Because I had banged on about loving my BabyJogger City Mini GT so much with Sonny, when BabyJogger found out I was pregnant they very kindly sent us their new City Select LUX for Sonny and Rudy. So that made the decision for me, because if someone is willing to send you a really good new pram, you use it.

It is a true double pram, but it can be anything (it has about 400 different combinations). I like it because instead of a ride-on/toddler board for me to constantly smash my ankle on, it has a little seat with seatbelt that Sonny sits on, right under the handle, and we have a chat. And then Rudy is in her bassinet/capsule/seat behind him.

With the bassinet. Nowdays she is in an upright seat.

It’s a great pram, is ideal for two kids and our street walks and playground visits, but there is no way I would collapse it for the car or travel. It is big, and it is heavy. I prefer something more lightweight. I gave Sonny’s old BabyJogger City Mini GT to my sister in law, but I missed it a lot. So I bought a new one, which became my car pram and eventually, our travel pram (I bought the Uppababy G-Luxe for travel but it doesn’t recline and can’t fit a toddler on it so it’s out. The Mountain Buggy Nano is good though, I rate it for short trips), and confirmed to me that it is my favourite pram.

We SMASHED the Mini GT around Greece, Italy and NYC for three months, and it was consistently best on field. Also it was a great makeshift double pram, as you can see from this photo. Sonny more often than not perched on the front while Rudy sat behind him and kicked the shit out of him. Cute.

TRAVEL

Up until Rudy was about 10m old, and still fit in an airplane bassinet, we’d travel with the Cozigo, which I remember seeing on Shark Tank as Fly Babee, and thinking: GENIUS. It’s a little pop-up black out tent for the bassinet (or pram, so they can sleep in airports or while out and about) and it’s so handy. Now she’s bigger we just use a regular sun shade over the pram to black it out.

We always travel with a full roll of gaffa tape to tape down blinds and curtains in hotels and AirBnBs that dare to let light into the children’s room, or to stick dark t-shirts or scarves to smaller windows with no coverings. It’s up there with passports in terms of Don’t Fucking Forget To Pack This.

I packed Infacol and Infant’s Friend on flights when Rudy was young, but only til she was about 9m old I think. Maybe 6m. God, I really can’t remember a goddamn thing.

And as for their skin, I used Go-To, to be honest. If they got rashy or dry or scaly, I used my own skin care line on them, and it always worked. That’s an arrogant thing to say, but I always have a stack of samples around, I know what’s in my products, they’re wonderful for sensitive or inflamed skin that needs soothing and calming, and obviously I trust the ingredients implicity.

HOME/TOYS/ETC

We used Sonny’s old baby Bjorn bouncer and carrier, though we didn’t do a ton of baby carrying due to our shit backs and impatience with complicated instructions. (I love the idea of Ergobaby, my sister won’t shut up about them, but on zero sleep, I could NOT figure out how to wear it, even with the YouTube tutorial.) I used a Stina’s Style activity mat cos it wasn’t lurid green and yellow, and used Sonny’s old Ubabub pod cot. Miann & Co do great very nice bedding. So too, Halycon Nights. (AUSTRALIANA!) (They do very cute onesies also.)

Halycon Nights. Also: thighs.

I use white noise (ocean waves, specifically) every nap and sleep for my babies, pretty much as soon as they’re home from the hospital. It’s all part of their sleep cues etc, and helpful for day time construction or sirens blasting past or noisy older siblings etc. I use an app called – wait for it – White Noise – on the iPad when we travel, and a classic nightlight sound machine thingy at home from MyBaby that is no longer available but there are loads out there that make wave noises. For calm down time before bed, which is the most ironic title I could give it cos the kids go FRIGGEN TROPPO between bath and sleep, we haul out Tranquil Turtle, which is a cuddly toy + lights and sounds that makes the room into an ocean. Day spas slash therapists should use this turtle. It’s terrifically stress relieving. (If I am super tired or hungover I make their room dark and put on an “underwater party” and just lay on the floor while they play with anything sea creature related in the house around me. Mumming to the maxxx.) Also, I’d like to say that Indestructible baby books are chewable non-rippable and super awesome and a great gift for a 1-18m old.

Oh, and don’t buy a baby bath if you already have a bath. Just buy a little terry toweling cradle thingy and use that til they can sit up properly.

Alright. That’s all the stuff I can remember. (Here’s the stuff I used with my first baby. Lots of double-ups.)

Stuff I remember not using:

Muslin cloths/wraps swaddles – I don’t wanna be doing frustrated wrap origami at 3am in a pitch black room after I’ve fed and she’s done an epic poo and is wailing because I dared to change her. Technology has moved on: there are now ready made swaddle bags and sleepsuits. I celebrate this.

Bottle steamer – what a big, dopey waste of precious bench space. Boiling water worked fine for me.

Bumbo – my daughter’s thighs were too juicy to fit into it; my son hated it. Am sure many babies love it; not for us.

Bassinet – the nest ensured that was a fat waste of cash. She was happy and felt safe in the nest, in her cot – no need for bassinet at all.

Nappy bag – I find them ugly, and also cumbersome, and an additional bag on top of my already giant tote bag. For both kids I just tossed a changing clutch/roll (this JJ Cole was indispensable) and a ziploc of snacks, (and a spare onesie when she was really young and in explosive poo mode) into my regular tote.

Wine before noon – I tried to wait until at least 5pm.

It has to be said that we mums have it SO GEWD these days. Shit is getting SO good in baby land! Waterproof baby monitors! Inflatable baby baths! Wagon slash pram hybrids! So useful, so brilliant, so clever! This no barrier to entry Ecommerce era we live in has fired up the most incredible small business-big idea combo, and WE are the benefactors. I saw this even with a difference of three years between my babies – imagine what our mums think? I slept in a WARDROBE DRAWER, for god’s sake. Or in a bassinet at mum’s feet in the car. Or safe under the warm belly of a mother wolf in the nearby forest.

Okay, bye, I love you, you’ve got this, hang in there, you are DOIN IT!!!!

Ps Keep a HUGE jug of water and a cup on the bench or table once you have your baby, and refill it every night before bed. I drank so so much more water because My Jug was there, ready to go, and I didn’t have to think about it, or search for my cup. Also, buy one of those 1L vacuum jugs and make a strong pot of tea each morning. It will stay hot all day, and you might stay awake all day.

 

Responses to this drivel: 14 Comments
19
May

The baby stuff we use a LOT.

You buy and you try a lot of shit when you have a baby. It’s a confusing, expensive, strange new world, not least because the baby changes entirely every few minutes and you need to upgrade your tech and also your brain and habits and routines and life accordingly.

Alas, despite the furious speed in which our fun little son insists on developing, and his desire to “keep growing,” this is the shit we have really REALLY used. I wish I had this list before I had Sonny, because as you know, I live for recommendations, and wander the streets confused and scared without them.

It doubles, I suppose, as a list for those needing to buy something for someone about to have a baby.

A bottle drying station

This is great for drying off bottles and dummies and stuff, but also a magnificent wine glass drying station. Anything Boon we own – plates, bowls, bath toys, original bathtub before he grew out of it at about 10 days old – is intelligently and practically designed and fun to look at. They are some of my favourite things in a company/life.

Boon-Grass-Countertop-Drying-RackGreen-4

 

Terry towelling bath support thingy

We came too late to the party on this, using our slippery, stupid, panicked, incompetent hands for weeks before I bought this funny little tezzo towel ramp for Sonny to lay on and own bath time like the boss he is. Made bath time a lot easier and a lot less scary. We used it until he could sit up competently.

 

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White noise

White noise is a powerful sleep cue for Sonny. I first learned about it while reading about the 5 S’s in The Happiest Baby On The Block. (That was about as far as I got before I threw it and the seven other baby books in a huge fictional bonfire because they were doing my head in. The 5 S’s though, I think they work.) Sonny has white noise on for every nap and all night. Just lightly, about the volume of a shower. I used to literally use ‘white noise’, until I realized the aggressive hissing was making me FUCKING INSANE. I switched to ocean waves on this cute whale sound machine, which was far more calming. We usually pack Whale with us when we travel, or I just use my iPad in flight mode with the White Noise app. (The app is by TM Soft, to help you find it on app store, cos there are a tonne of shitty ones). Whale also has projections, which we reserve for night time to dazzle him as we try to put his wriggly, porcine, delicious frame in his PJS after bath time and he wants to be about 10 metres away, playing with something like a power socket or pair of scissors.

MybabySoundmachine

 

Lamby

My friend Bron gave me this plush baby mat at my baby shower. “It’s ugly as fuck but God it’s useful,” she said. BOY WAS SHE RRRRITE. We used it the day he came home from hospital as a little mat, and are still using it now he’s one. (I keep it in the bathroom, he lays on it before and after the bath, giggling and nude and jacked up on heat lights and nudity.) I tell all new parents to get one. So useful.

 

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Love to Dream swaddle suits

If swaddling at 3am in a dark nursery after a feed, a 45-minute burping session and an explosive shit becomes frustrating, jam your darling into these awesome little suits instead. They’re nice and tight so baby feels snug and safe, and they allow their hands to rest safely up high where they want them to be, but without their fingers poking into their eyes and mouth and waking them up. Sonny was in his for every, single, nap from about two weeks old. When the hands became an issue (i.e: he was waking himself up by smacking them into his face) at about three months, we would tuck them down and zip him up. We didn’t bother with the 50/50 suits, we just went straight to a sleeping bag, with a wrap over the top to lock his hands down. Sounds barbaric, but so is being kept awake all night by a confused infant.

 

JJ Cole change clutch

This little changemat roll thingy has been all around the world with us, it has enabled us to change nappies in the pram, on floors and with a whisper of hygiene in planes. I’m not one for a nappy bag, preferring to instead chuck this into my usual tote. It holds wipes and nappies and I jam some nappy bags in there, and we’re done. I love this godamn change mat wrap thingy.

jj-cole-changing-clutch-silver-drop

 

Como Tomo bottles

Made to be squishy like a boob, these clever, silicone bottles are the only bottle Sonny will use. Fussy little rat. If your baby is a fussy little rat, try the Como Tomo. (They also make brilliant ‘finger’ style teething rings. They are clever company, like Boon.) I give them to as many mums as possible to ‘show them the light.’

ComoTomobottle

 

Infant’s Friend

From about two weeks old, babies are gassy little monsters. Their digestive system is not very sophisticated yet, and after feeds it can take a lo-o-o-o-ong time to get that burp out, or that wind to pass. Sonny was a sweet, hungry pig and I had a jet like flow so he would always take in a lot of air, which would lead to up to two hours of bicycle legs and massage at 3am and near insanity for all of us. Like all puzzled, deranged new parents we worried it might be reflux, colic etc, but for Sonny it was just gas. Then a fellow mum recommended Infant’s Friend (all natural, buy from the chemist) for the wind, and we started giving it to him, and IT REALLY HELPED. We still use it now before and after flights and to calm him when he’s teething and pissed off.

Baby Bjorn bouncer

I had three friends tell me to buy this; that were was no substitute. I agree I agree I agree. Sonny could snooze in there from birth, and then, as he got bigger, I propped it against the couch and he used his feet to push off and bounce himself, squealing with delight. That this would give me a precious 20 mins of emailing or laundry or pole dancing; whatever Mum Stuff I needed to do.

IMG_9860

Bonds Wondersuits

As ‘clothes’ up until about seven months, then as ‘PJs’ when he began to look a bit ridiculous in a tight all-in-one in public. We didn’t understand that the arms and legs fold over to make socks or mittens until Sonny was about a month old, which is embarrassing, but worth revealing if it helps others.

Dots wondersuit

Baby Bjorn travel cot light

Not the cheapest travel cot, but since we travel A LOT, I could justify it. Other great reasons to justify it: It folds up instantly into a tiny suitcase (6kg), it’s a cinch to pack and unpack, it’s super safe, and there is loads of ventilation. It’s a ripper.

baby_bjorn_light_travel_cot_black_mesh_1_1

GAIA Natural Baby Powder

All organic, made from cornstarch, and known in our house as The Great Eczema stopper. We slightly panic when we run out of it. A lot of people make their own, but we um, don’t, because we’re us.

 A thick piece of black material

Just from spotlight. We use this to black out the window in Sonny’s room so it’s completely dark and he is not woken by 5am sunlight, we use it and some gaffa tape to keep light out of the bassinet on international flights (and also to cover windows in hotel rooms), and we use it over the pram when we want him to sleep (also usually when travelling.) It’s the best $4 we ever spent. This photo is the material attached (very stylishly) to the blind in Sonny’s room while we were in NZ. Please do a better job than us of this.

IMG_4700

 

I can’t think of anything else right now, but am hoping that other mums will add their essentials, and then we’ll have this sensational directory of Very Useful Baby Stuff, because if anyone needs some help and direction as to what will make life easier, it’s new parents.

Sloths also need some help and direction, I imagine, because they are slow and finding food and shelter would take AGES, but I’m just focusing on new parents for now.

Responses to this drivel: 75 Comments
28
Dec

This made my baby’s eczema go away.

Which isn’t to assume it will make your baby’s eczema go away, but if you’re anything like me (scales, big eyes, cute blue fins) when it comes to trying to soothe and help your baby’s eczema – yes, I have spelled that word incorrectly every time I have written it thus far because I always think there is an x in it – then you will try anything.

Those who know or care about eczema know the dos and don’ts…  I use super super sensitive, organic baby washing detergent for all of Sonny’s clothes and bedding. QV in the bath. I use super natural balms and creams (my own Go-To Exceptionoil really helps, but more on that later). And I am mental about his body temps, because, like his papa, when he gets hot, oooooh, does he gets rashy. After bathtime especially – he’s covered in red splodges, all over his back and trunk. And eczema is exacerbated by heat etc etc.

Sonny’s had eczema since about three months old. This is extremely unremarkable; eczema is very common in babies. It got real bad when we were in Greece and Italy because of the heat, has been consistently bad back home, but got even worse when we arrived in NYC the other week, which was a surprise, because it was snowing. I put it down to the being too hot indoors all rugged up, and sweating and gnashing around in his cot with jetlag for a few nights. But that’s just a guess.

Anyway. It started to get bad. Spreading and cracking and flaking off his body and horrible. We started to get panicked; was it a yeast infection? OHMYGOD IT’S A YEAST INFECTION. No, hang on, wait, didn’t our friend’s baby have something like this and it was fungal? Should we be using something other than the earnest organic eczema creams I was using? Did we need to see a dermatologist? Can you tell we’re first time parents? Does my panic look big in this?

So, we did what any self-respecting parent did, and Googed.

Next day we bought some cortisone (0.5) cream which DEEPLY DISTURBED ME. I don’t even use cortisone when I have a rash. We also bought some new eczema cream, Aveeno being the random pick.

Husband is a man who knows about rashes because he’s had around 4638 of them, and doing the post-bath ritual that night he said, ‘I just think we need to get back to using the powder.’ I agreed, although I didn’t think it was really doing much – surely the thick moisturising creams and oils were far more beneficial? Anyway, it’s a cornstarch powder, from Gaia. We have used it on and off, and that was probably part of the issue, not sticking to one treatment for long enough to see if it was working.

‘Kay, let’s do a night of just cream and powder and see what happens before we try those the nasty ‘roids,’ I said.

We did, and within two days our boy had perfect, juicy, gorgeous baby skin again, the likes of which we haven’t seen on him for months. In fact, ever! He has never not had some rash on his trunk or back. Oh, it warmed our hearts ever ever so much! He looked like a god damn Huggies TV ad baby.

We’re not sure which exact thing did the trick, but here’s what we did and have been doing, both in cold NYC and now back in warm Melbourne, should you wish to try it on your sweet little eczema baby….

  • A tepid bath with a few drops of Go-To Exceptionoil (a blend of over 10 beautifully hydrating, nourishing, completely pure oils). I know you’re meant to use QV etc but I found it wasn’t nearly moisturising enough. Very dry skin needs oil and moisture.
  • Dry him off completely.
  • Apply Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy Moisturising Cream all over the body – not just the affected areas. (We do this in the AM when dressing him also.) This is not for sale here in Aus, but you can buy it here, or maybe try buy their Baby Soothing Relief Cream, which has similar if not exact same ingredients.
  • Remove damp towel, and just have him on the bed/change table.
  • Apply Gaia powder generously all over the affected areas.
  • Pop on PJs.
  • Kiss a lot.

Here’s what he looked like before, but not at his worst…

eczema

And two days later…

eczema_cleared

 

And the day after that.

baby_eczema-gone

Pure stinkin’ peaches and cream. Ahhhh.

Responses to this drivel: 47 Comments
20
Nov

I loved doing this Chrimmus shoot for The Australian Women’s Weekly.

And not just cos I got to wear a breathtakingly glamorous Paolo Sebastian gown and have Brad Mullins do my hairs and Annabel Barton do my face and get to have some ‘keeper’ photos of me with my dumpling as a pudgy baby when I’m not in tracksuit pants with one side of my maternity bra still unhooked under my t-shirt, although that’s a valid reason.

I did the shoot to support Redkite, an important charity that supports (financially and emotionally) children and young people with cancer, but also their families and carers. They receive no government funding at all, and rely solely on the generosity of The People. (Donate here, if you choose.)

There is a behind the scenes video here but not here.

And me aside, it’s a bloody cracking issue of The Weekly. It’s Christmas on Red Bull. Incidentally, The Weekly has become my favourite magazine of late (largely because of the brilliant Caroline Overington), and not just cos of all the cake pictures.

 

 

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