Reading to your 9 month old baby

Reading to your 9 month old baby

This month I was able to reintroduce Baby Chloe to paper based picture books. For a while there we could only read board books as Chloe kept trying to rip the pages in a normal picture book. Don’t get me wrong, she’d still love to rip up and eat paper but she is currently not trying to do that while you read to her…

So our favourite books during her 9th month have been:

  • The King Cat by Marta Altes 
  • This and That by Mem Fox and illustrated by Judy Horacek
  • Chooky-doodle-doo by Jan Whiten and illustrated by Sinead Hanley
  • Play Hide-and-Seek with Pepe and Millie by Yayo Kawamura

The King Cat

I love reading this story. It’s such fun to read aloud and I get quite into character. The cat is quite dramatic.

For Baby Chloe I think it is the pictures that she loves the most. The artwork is gorgeous and it seems to hit a sweet spot with her in regards to things to look at. There is a mixture of busy pages and then just the cat, so not too much to concentrate on but enough to keep her interested.

This would also be a great book for a toddler or pre-schooler getting a new sibling as it talks about making new rules when your family dynamics change. E.g the King Cat is pretty angry and upset about the introduction of a dog to the household but together they make new rules and end up being best friends.

This is a paper back book and I did read this book to Chloe at about 3 months old but had to stop from roughly 4 months on as she just kept trying to rip the paper. So I’m glad she seems to have moved past that stage for the time being.

Buy The King Cat online through Booktopia – currently on sale for $10.50 (as of 13 December 2018) RRP $14.99

Play Hide-and-Seek with Pepe and Millie

We were gifted this from our wonderful friends that live in Germany. It is such a fun book with sliders that hide Pepe and Millie behind varies objects e.g. reeds in the pond, flowers and a hammock. Unfortunately the slider on our hammock page is a little dodgy, it seems to stay down rather than up for the big reveal. There is also lift-a-flaps on the last few pages. Chloe loves looking under the flaps. The book ends with the cat and the dog sharing a cake. Which is an easy way to introduce the concept of sharing, although Chloe is way too young for that just yet!

I feel like this book makes a really great present, as it is a bit on the pricey side. So probably not something I would buy for myself but she certainly has really enjoyed this book.

Buy Play Hide-and-Seek with Pepe and Millie from Booktopia – on sale for $17.75 (as of 13 December 2018) RRP $19.99

This and That

Chloe loves this book. The version I’ve been reading is a medium-sized board book (not super big but definitely bigger than most) and the illustrations are colourful and exciting.

The book is about a mouse and her baby and all the wonderful crazy tales, the mum (or dad) mouse tells before bedtime. The storyline leaves lots of room for you to elaborate and make up your own stories, if you wanted to. I think if you had an older child, you could have a lot of fun with that aspect of it.

I love that this book ends with a kiss! As it is a sweet action to finish the book with especially before bedtime.

This book is by the same author and illustrator as The Green Sheep.

Buy This and That from Booktopia – on sale for $12.95 (as of 3 January 2019) RRP $14.99

Hot tip – You can also get a paperback version of this book from QBD for a bargain $3.99

Chooky-doodle-doo

I grabbed this book randomly from the library and I was so glad that I did. Chloe loved it. I found it a bit of a tongue twister to read at first. So probably good brain gymnastics for mum as well! As an added bonus – this book was a Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Finalist in 2014.

Buy Chooky-doodle-doo from Booktopia – on sale for $8.25 (as of 3 January 2019) RRP $14.99

Have you got a younger baby?

I’ve also written about Chloe’s favourite books for:

Newborn Essentials – Baby wardrobe

Newborn Essentials – Baby wardrobe

Baby outfits are just the cutest. Which is why you’ll probably find you get gifted a lot of really gorgeous items of clothing from your friends and family. Hooray!!

So this is one area you won’t need to go to crazy on. In fact I recommend waiting until after your baby shower to take stock of what you have and what you need to buy.

How does baby clothing sizes work?

When buying clothes in anticipation of your little bundle of joy get a mixture of sizes. You may have an indication from scans if your baby is very small or very large but these guestimations can be incorrect – as it is hard to measure or squiggly baby in the belly and your baby could come early or late.

Sizing can be confusing, here is the gist of it…

0000 – tiny newborn

000 – 0 to 3 months

00 – 3 to 6 months

0 – 6 to 12 months

Unfortunately as is the case with all clothing you’ll find a bit of variation in sizing across different brands and even within certain brands. If you have a long (tall) baby you’ll find you need to upsize your wardrobe earlier.

Our Baby Chloe was an average sized baby and when she was born she fit a few of her 0000 for a few weeks, however she was quickly into her 000 outfits.

It’s strange to say but for a baby bigger clothing is always better. That way it is easier to get on them and they are nice and comfy. Also they grow into things so quickly – babies grow soooo much during the first year.

Go on – splash out

While waiting for your little bundle to appear I think it is nice to buy a super cute outfit or two that you love and perhaps are a little on the pricey side. But then fill out the rest of your wardrobe with more practical basics. You’ll find that you get gifted a lot of super cute outfits and you will start to run out of time to wear them all.

I brought Baby Chloe three handmade nappy and singlet sets from SHP Nappies and I absolutely loved them (you can see the latest available prints on the SHP Nappies Facebook page). They were so cute sitting in her wardrobe and I got a real buzz out of dressing her in them. I got a Snuggle Pot and Cuddle Pie set, Bambi set and Fairy set. The first photo is when she is only 6 days old. Awww tiny newborn.

Baby Wardrobe basics

After your baby shower, it’s time to check that you have enough outfits for the season that your baby will be born. I’m lucky and our weather is quite consistently warm, so I didn’t need to worry about rugging up in layers.

Here is what I had to start with

  • 7 singlets
  • 5 body suits
  • 3 bonds onesies
  • 2 dresses
  • 1 special occasion dress with a tutu
  • 1 cardigan
  • 3 baby sleep sacks

Baby sleepwear

This will really depend on your weather. For warm weather I had planned to put Baby Chloe in a body suit and then a sleep sack. However she hated the sleep sack… So I ended up switching to the bonds onesies on about Day 6 and then I needed to go out and buy more as 3 was not enough. We also brought some cheaper style ones from Best and Less in a minky fabric, but these didn’t last as long as they had no real stretch to the fabric.They were cute and fun at the time though.

Where to buy baby clothes

There are plenty of places to get reasonable priced and cute baby clothes:

If you can hold out you’ll find that there are regular sales of 40 percent off on Baby Bonds at Best and Less, Big W and Bonds. So keep your eye out for the sales.

I’d love to hear about your favourite baby clothing buys. So comment below or send me an email.

Newborn Essentials series

This is my third post in my Newborn Essentials series. Previous posts include:

Reading to your 8 month old baby

Reading to your 8 month old baby

Our favourite books during this month were:

  • First Words by Jane Foster
  • That’s Not My Witch by Fiona Watt
  • Noodle Loves to Eat by Marion Billet

We also still enjoyed all our favourites from our 6 to 7 months favourite books post.

First Words by Jane Foster

I love the stylish artwork in the Jane Foster series. We also have Black and White, which we’ve been reading since Chloe was a newborn.

Baby Chloe seems to really enjoy the artwork in the Jane Foster books. As the text is quite simple I also add extra words as I’m reading, e.g. when we look at the bird I say ‘tweet tweet’ and when we get to the lion I ask her ‘What sound does a lion make? Roar” with arm actions. She loves it. On the train/plane page I make a “choo choo chug-a-chug-a” noise for the train and a “whoosh” for the plane. Sometimes I also sing the I’m a little airplane song to the tune of I’m a little teapot.

I’m a little airplane on the ground

Spin my propeller round and round

When I get all fuelled up then I fly

Off the runway to the sky

Words included in this first words book are – cat, dog, tree, apple, flower, bird, shoe, sock, cup, bowl, egg, cake, car, house, kite, ball, train, plane, boat, fish, bear and lion.

Where to buyGet your copy at Booktopia
RRP – $15.99 currently on sale for $14.75 as of 30 October 2018

That’s Not My Witch by Fiona Watt

I purchased this book for $8 from Big W to help us celebrate Halloween during the month of October. At about 8 1/2 months Baby Chloe started to show some interest in touch and feel books. I also noticed that in general she is more excited about touching different textures. E.g at about the same time she started to like the touch and feel books – she would excitedly wiggle her legs to feel the carpet or rug that she was sitting on.

That’s Not My Witch was her favourite touch and feel book at 8 months old (and it is still her current favourite at 9 months old), I have others but she doesn’t seem interested in touching them. This one she gets super excited about and she likes me to re-read it several times in a row while she touches the different textured sections.

Where to buy – your local Big W store
RRP $14.99 the price at Big W is $8 for all books in the That’s Not My… series.

Noodle Loves to Eat by Marion Billet

We’ve had this one in our collection since Baby Chloe was about 5 months old. I brought it thinking it would be a good story to go with starting solid food. However it is only at 8 months old that she has started to really enjoy this book and she often likes to “read it” herself (e.g. open and close the back or front cover during independent play). Funnily enough this is also a touch and feel but she never wants to touch those elements in this book. They are much smaller sections compared to the tactile parts in That’s Not My Witch recommended above. This book also includes a mirror on the final page.

I feel like this book is one that will grow with her, as there is lots of different objects to point at and discuss.

Where to buyGet your copy from Booktopia
RRP $14.99 currently on sale for $12.95 as of 30 October 2018

Where is Little Fish? by Lucy Cousins

This book was included in our 6 and 7 months favourites list. I can update you now to say that during Baby Chloe’s eight month she was also able to lift the diagonal flap – she couldn’t do that previously – and one time she has opened the treasure chest, which lifts up instead of down.

Where to buyGet your copy at Booktopia
RRP $11.99 currently on sale for $8.90 as of 30 October 2018

That’s a wrap for our favourite books for this month. What are you reading to your baby? Do you have any book recommendations?

Have you got an older or younger baby? Check out our monthly book favourites for:

Newborn Essentials – Breastfeeding

Newborn Essentials – Breastfeeding

This is the second post in my Newborns Essentials series. Missed the first post? Here it is Newborn Essentials – Sleeping.

Newborns eat, sleep, poop and then repeat.

So let’s dive into that first one – eating. I breastfeed Baby Chloe and I’ll be honest at the start it was a real struggle, as she wouldn’t latch for days… It was a very stressful and worrying time for me and I wished that I’d known earlier that many women struggle with getting started breastfeeding. In the early days it is really tough but if you can stick it out, it does usually get better and the benefits for baby are amazing. However if it’s not getting better by week 2 you should definitely see a specialist lactation consultant. They are available at most hospitals and if you ask around you should be able to get a recommendation for a good one. Also in Australia we are super lucky to have a dedicated 24/7 hotline for Breastfeeding mama’s – 1800 686 268. So don’t be afraid to use this service, I called it once or twice and it was really helpful and I highly recommend it. The advice was good and it helped me to get through and continue my breastfeeding journey.

Breast pump

As Baby Chloe took a while to get going with breastfeeding I was super glad that I had a breast pump.I wasn’t going to get one initially but a friend of mine had received two as a gift. So I brought if off them for $40 or $50 (I can’t quite remember). The one I got was the Miomee from Tommee Tippee but it doesn’t look like they make that one anymore. I’m pretty sure that most hospitals and breastfeeding associations also have some that you can hire, if you just want to wait and see how you go.

If you need to pump with a newborn the nurses at the hospital will take you through the process but it goes basically like this:

  • offer baby both breasts and try to feed
  • drip feed baby using a syringe
  • use your breast pump for however many minutes they tell you too (I think for me it was 20 mins each side).

Hilariously by the time you’ve done all that, it’s generally time to start again… Anyway jokes aside, Baby Chloe figured it out by about Day 5 or 6 and got good at it towards the end of the second week. So then I didn’t need to pump anymore, hooray!!

Breast cooling options

During the first few days, of feeding your baby is drinking colostrum. Somewhere between day 3 – 5 your milk will come in and when it does you’ll want a way to cool and soothe your swollen breasts. I used the Rite Aid Hydrogel Breast Discs that you can buy from Chemist Warehouse. Lansinoh also do a reusable one that looks fab too! If you want to try the old-fashioned way, you could use cooled cabbage leaves 😉

For me personally with the fact that Baby Chloe wasn’t feeding properly and then the fact that my boobs were on fire for a few days, on top of little sleep – it was the toughest thing I’ve done ever but it truly was only for a few days and then it got better. Now nearly 9 months on, it seems like it never really happened. Bahaha… That’s so you forget and have a second baby 🙂

Nipple balm

Unfortunately you might also end up with sore cracked nipples. Which totally sucks (pun intended). I used both pure lanolin and also the Gaia Nipple balm. I liked the Gaia one better in the end as you don’t have to remember to wipe it off before feeding and as a tired new mama, the less to remember the better.

Nursing pads

You’ll also want to grab some breastfeeding (nursing) pads, so you don’t leak milk on your clothes. If you are going to go cloth, get a stash of them and plan to wash them together in a little washbag, so they stay together. I wish I had this thought in the early days. I was always trying to hunt for them amongst the mountain of washing. FYI – when you are a tired new mama ideas like this don’t seem to magically occur to you for some time…

Due to the above mentioned washing nightmare I ended up trying some disposable ones too. I really loved the Natracare Nursing Pads but they only stock them at an eco grocer not close to my house, so then I switched to the Lansinoh ones from the chemist. Once I got back into the swing of things I started using the cloth pads again, with the Lansinoh ones as a back-up or when an outfit requires the pads to be stuck on to the bra. The disposable ones have little sticky pads that adhere to your bra and stop them from moving around.

Snacks

You will probably find that breastfeeding makes you ravenously hungry. There is science to this hunger as breastfeeding Mama’s need more calories than pregnant Mama’s!! So plan ahead and have a stash of healthy snacks ready to go. I ordered the Love with Food Deluxe subscription (I started deliveries the month before I was due) and I ate a tonne of nut bars. A friend of mine told me they make your breastmilk more fatty (good fats) for baby. I’m not sure if it is true or not but at the time I thought why not? Also they were delicious!

What to wear

I recommend purchasing three breastfeeding bras – one to wear, one in the wash and one in your drawer. I actually have four; two cheaper ones from Asos and two more expensive ones from Cake Maternity. This tactic has worked out ok for me. The Cake Maternity ones are my favourite.

You’ll need to have some breastfeeding outfits. At home I sometimes just wear loose fitting tees that I can lift up. For going out I have button up tops and dresses. I brought two shirts with zippered fronts but they didn’t seem to work well for me. I think it had to do with my body shape and my baby’s feeding style.

I really like the tube like access tops but I haven’t been able to find any reasonable priced ones. I have one dress in that style from Pea in a Pod and it works great. However I wore it to death during my pregnancy, so it looks a bit loved…

Don’t buy too much to start with just enough for you to experiment with what works. I started with:

  • 2 zipper front tops from Angel Maternity (similar to this one but with zips)
  • 1 shirt dress from Angel Maternity
  • 1 button access shirt from Angel Maternity
  • 1 tube style access dress from Pea in a Pod
  • 1 silk top from Pea in a Pod (I love this but it is not milk stain friendly)
  • 1 skirt from Pea in a Pod
  • Stretchy gym shorts that I already had from Lorna Jane and Lululemon

Then at about the 5 months mark I brought two cute dresses from Breastfeeding Wear Australia.

Want everything in a neat little list?

Breastfeeding Essentials Newborn

  • Soothing/cooling pads (for when your milk comes in)
  • Nursing pads (to stop milk leaks)
  • Yummy snacks
  • Breastfeeding bras x 3
  • Breastfeeding friendly outfits  x 5
  • Breastfeeding pump (optional)

Did I miss anything? Let me know what is on your Breastfeeding Newborn Essentials list.

Baby’s first Halloween – Australia 2018

Baby’s first Halloween – Australia 2018

My baby is going to have her first Halloween this year. I know it is a very American tradition but it’s such fun!!

What to wear

I’ve checked out all the usual suspects – Best and Less, Big W, Kmart and Target for something Halloweenish for Baby Chloe to wear. My pick is this cute tee from Big W for a bargain of $2.50. In my local Big W, this shirt was in the middle aisle near the 1 – 7 clothing, not the baby clothing.

The card to give your family

On my shopping spree yesterday, I also picked up a grey bodysuit for $2.50 at Best and Less. At home I already had adult sized fairy wings and a Halloween sign from previous year’s. I then took some quick snaps of Chloe dressed up and then jumped on the laptop and popped some photos in a template on Snapfish. I used a discount code that I found on their deals page for 50% off cards and I’ve ordered 20 cards for just over $15.

What to read

My plan is to pick up a new Halloween themed book for Chloe each year to build up a collection that can be brought out in October each year.

Just in the past few days Baby Chloe has become interested in touch and feel books, so I brought That’s not my witch from Big W for $8. She loves to pat the different textures.

I also considered the following books and I’ll keep them on my list for next year:

What to play

You could make this slimy goop as a fun sensory activity. I think your baby will need to be at the steady sitting stage to get the best enjoyment out of this.

You’ll need the following:

  • 2 cups corn flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 – 1/2 packet of jelly for colour

Mix it all together and then put some items in the bowl for baby to reach for and play with. This activity can get quite messy, I set it up in the bath tub.

What to eat – baby finger food

These “witches fingers” frittata’s are delicious and healthy. This ‘Eat-your-greens frittata’ recipe is from the One Handed Cooks Book and to be honest I discovered the green-ness by accident. The recipe calls for you to use the food processor for the eggs, broccoli and baby spinach to chop it up. I only own a blender, so I blitzed it like a smoothie and it made my whole frittata this gorgeous green colour.

This was a great finger food for my nearly 9 month old baby as it is easy to smoosh with her gums. If you want to check if a food is easy for your baby to eat, you can try some yourself and see if it is easy to mash between your tongue and the roof of your mouth.

Something for mums

On the day of Halloween (31st October) Muffin Break has $2 muffins all day! Hooray 🙂

Now over to you. I’d love to hear about your Halloween ideas.

Newborn Essentials – Sleeping

Newborn Essentials – Sleeping

This is the first post in my Newborn Essentials series.

Sleep precious sleep, what happened to you my pretty!

Newborns and sleep are two things that don’t necessarily go together.

Here is what you need.

A place to sleep

Obviously they need a place to sleep. I’m a bit of an anxious parent, so I did a lot of research to make sure I had a super safe cot and mattress as I was worried about SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). The research has shown that the most safest option is a firm mattress. You can test the mattress yourself but I decided to get one that had been given the tick of approval from the Red Nose Foundation (previously known as SIDS and Kids). I decided to go with the MyBub cot mattress from Clark Rubber. I also brought two mattress protectors, one for the wash and one for the bed.

So once I had picked the mattress. I looked for a cot. Things to be mindful of when choosing a cot are whether your baby can get their arms and legs stuck. Which seems to be a tricky thing to judge as your baby could be chunky or skinny and it will change as time goes on. Eekkk. So again I decided to take the testing out of it and I checked out the reviews from Choice. I decided to go with the Tasman Essentials Palermo Cot, which you can only buy from Baby Bunting. Luckily you can buy online and get it delivered straight to your door.

I was a bit of a nervous Nelly about whether my mattress and cot were a good combination. So I emailed the lovely people at the Red Nose Foundation just to double check it would all be a good fit. They wrote back within a day or two to let me know that this combination met their guidelines.

As Chloe is 8 months old when I am writing this I can tell you that yes on occasion she has put her legs out the cot but she hasn’t had any problems with this, she just pulls them back in and keeps sleeping or rolly pollying around (this is her new favourite pre and post sleeping activity!).

I also wanted a cot that would last a while. This one has the option to lower the cot down, for when they start pulling up to a stand and you can also take the sides off to use as a toddler bed.

So that is the cot but… when the reality of having a baby kicked in. I found out how tiring it is to get a baby in and out of the cot a million times a night. Luckily our friends let us borrow their snooze pod. It is a co-sleeper that allows your baby to be in her own little bassinet attached to the bed and you can easily reach her. This was amazing and allowed me to get a lot more sleep, as I didn’t have to negotiate getting Baby Chloe in and out of the cot when I was an uber tired new Mummy.

We used the snooze pod til about 3 months old. When she started to roll/wiggle (on her back) out of the snooze pod and into our own bed.

I was a little worried about making the transition from snooze pod to cot but it was actually super easy. I used the cot for day naps and she didn’t seem to mind at all, when we swapped it over. I have kept it in the same spot as the snooze pod, butted right up to my side of the bed. At 8 months old Baby Chloe is still sleeping here as we haven’t yet made the next transition to her own room 😉

Baby sleepwear

Once you have sorted out a safe place to sleep your baby will need a bedtime outfit. Many newborn babies love to be swaddled as it helps stop the startle reflex from waking them up at night. You can wrap them up like a little burrito using a wrap or use a sleep sack. I love sleep sacks as you don’t have to worry so much about your wrapping technique, you just zip them in.

For Baby Chloe, she loved a snug burrito wrap the first few days at the hospital. The nurses at the maternity ward are burrito wrapping experts!

The first night at home we put her in a sleep sack and she loved it. After that night she hated both sleep sacks and being wrapped up. So from then on we put her in a Bonds Wondersuit for night time sleeps and for day time sleeps we just had her wearing whatever outfit she was currently wearing. Now that Baby Chloe is 8 months old I can say that we’ve tried a few different brands of onesies and for us the best ones have a good stretch to them. That way you get a longer life out of them. She does have some cute fluffy onesies from Best and Less but they aren’t as accommodating as she grows. At the moment 8 month old Baby Chloe can still fit her 000 onesies (eg if there is a washing crisis or a week with many bed time wetting accidents!) but I prefer to put her in 00 or 0 and for any future onesies I’ll be buying 0.

Newborn bedtime routine

This is optional but I found doing these things made me feel better.From when Chloe was a newborn I tried to have a mini bedtime routine that consisted of:

  • Fresh nappy (obviously)
  • Leg massage (I didn’t use any special technique – just what I thought would feel nice)
  • Pajamas on
  • Lavender spray around the cot (mostly for me)
  • Bedtime story
  • Feed

We found this routine helped Chloe know that it was now time for sleep. However you should be warned that newborns wake up, a lot!! They need to feed their little bellies. So you won’t be getting much sleep. Sorry…

Getting a crying baby to go to sleep

Unfortunately you will find that your newborn baby will cry a lot, generally the crying stage peeks at about 6 weeks and then starts to ease off. I found that the following helped me through that time:

  • Understanding that it is a completely different world for your baby. No snuggley womb and relaxing whooshing sounds.
  • Babies cry, it is there only way of communicating.

The thing that worked best for Baby Chloe was cuddling, while walking and singing. I made up this song to help pass the time, feel free to adapt and sing to your baby…

The windy wafts, the windy wafts
Poor Baby Chloe’s got the windy wafts
They don’t feel nice and she doesn’t like when she gets the windy wafts

FYI – the windy wafts is an upset tummy. Sometimes when I was tired I would accidentally sing ‘windy wasps’… Which would make me laugh.

I also did a lot of shussshing which is surprisingly very relaxing and would often send me off to sleep before the baby.

What are your best newborn sleeping tips?