Luella is nearly six months old now and I’m finally coming out the other side - sleep deprived but so grateful for this gorgeous little person. During my pre-dawn feeds I would often comb baby review and shopping sites, occasionally ‘adding to cart’ in a glazed stupor, only to receive a package days later with no memory of the purchase. Happily, along the way, I found some pretty cool things that made my life easier. So if you have a a little one or the know, or know someone who does, bookmark now.
Not only does it look stunning (hello new grey and cream upholstery) the Bugaboo is the true 4WD of prams. Traipsing the rickety boardwalk at Milson’s Point was no match for its suspension and I can easily manoeuvre it with one hand while sipping an almond latte. The bassinette doubles as a cosy bed for newborns and I love that I can have Luella facing me or out to the world, at will.
My sister-in-law Tanya encapsulated her placenta when she had my niece and raved about it – saying it helped her energy levels, mood and milk supply. I had supply issues with Max so decided to give it a go. I called Doula Brooke Martin from Be Birth who suggested I also try the smoothie – where a 4cm piece of your placenta is blended up with frozen berries and banana – we made a video of me drinking it here. I definitely felt more energetic than I did when I had Max and my milk came in sooner.
As any new mum will tell you breastfeeding can be incredibly painful as your nipples adjust. Worn all day, except when feeding, you express a little breast milk into these cups and they kind of suction on, soothing the raw skin. Silver has traditionally used for wound healing and your own breast milk is also an excellent remedy. I love that you don’t have to use creams or spend money on the expensive gel discs. They can be slightly uncomfortable when your boobs are engorged, but they work so well it’s worth it. Apparently they’re all the rage in Italian hospitals but not many midwives know about them here – I hope this changes because they’re seriously good.
Taking the old school bouncer to the next level, this baby seat rocks forwards and backwards and has multiple speed settings. The rocking motion simulates life in the womb (when mum is walking around) and Luella happily whiles away the hours staring rapturously at the little toy above her head. We have clipped other toys to the little mobile above her and she loves to bat at them with her hands, while I get on with the millions of tasks on my to-do list. Hands-free time is worth its weight in gold.
Developed in the premature wards in French hospitals, the Cocoonababy is a little cushy nest designed to sit inside your cot or bassinet. The shape positions bub in a similar way to how they sit in utero and the tilt can help with reflux. Lulu loved it so much and would settle instantly once she was nested in there. It was a lifesaver when she was suffering from reflux.
Maxi-Cosi Vela Convertible Car Seat in Sparkling Grey:
The latest design in the Maxi-Cosi range means you can keep bub rear facing up to 30 months – which is the safest way for them to travel. I also love colour and fabrication – so much better than the daggy seat I bought for my son a few years ago.
FranJos Lactation Cookies:
Doctors once prescribed new mums a pint of Guinness because it contains brewer’s yeast – an ingredient which is meant to encourage milk supply. Far more PC these days is a lactation cookie – a biscuit that contains brewer’s yeast along with other wholesome ingredients. I loved the Franjos brand – not only are they super delish, the packaging is gorgeous, too.
Kenwood sent me this whiz-bang gadget when I was pregnant and I was very grateful, but, in the back of my mind, I suspected that it may go the dust-gathering way of many of my other kitchen devices. Not so! Not only does it puree veggies beautifully for Lulu, it saves me time doing mundane kitchen prep like onion dicing and cheese grating. It also has a cake mixer and bread kneader for when I finally get around to baking.
Baby Grooming Products:
My all time favourite body oil is Subtle Energies – and they had a special blend for each trimester of pregnancy. The baby massage oil is delicious, too. I also love Jurlique Baby Moisturising Cream , Lindy Klim’s range Milk Baby (try the Snotty Grotty room spray for blocked noses and the Sunscreen) and Miranda Kerr’s mum Therese’s organic range Divine Baby . I have hand sanitizers by Dr. Bronners, Aesop and L’Occitane in every bag. My favourite nappy cream is Desitin – my earth mother friend Mands (who has three boys) put me onto it and I’ve never looked back.
Baby wear and wraps:
The Mama Maya Muslin is not only a gorgeous design but donates profits to developing countries to help women in childbirth – who doesn't love a brand with a social conscience? I drape it over the pram when Lulu sleeps and it doubles as a scarf for me. As for sleeping? Most swaddles trap bubs arms a Houdiniesque bind, but the Love Me Baby Swaddle Up suits keep Lulu feeling secure while giving her access to their fists so she can happily gnaw on them and self settle. I also love Atelier Child Leopard Blanket – in fact all their clothes are heaven for both Max and Lulu.
2XU Maternity Compression Tights:
My trainer, Ricardo Riskalla gave me the hot tip that compression shorts and belts are hugely effective at helping the tummy and abs recover from childbirth. I wore these a bunch in the first eight weeks – probably about five days a week at first and I’m sure that it made a difference. 2XU are gurus when it comes to compression and they felt really supportive and look quite sporty too (when you feel anything but!)
This collapsible stand turns the Cameleon bassinette into a freestanding bed and the seat into a high chair. We set it up so we had an additional place to put Lulu to bed and now use it for feed times. It’s also great to throw in the boot when you’re going away for the weekend, rather than needing to pack a separate port-a-cot you can maximise the space dedicated to your pram.
Toms Maternity Pads, nappies & Wipes:
It’s certainly not the most glamorous thing but as any new mum will attest, the maternity pad is one thing you can grossly underestimate – in that you need way more than you think (TMI much?). Toms were by far the softest I found – seriously like a fluffy cloud compared with other brands. The Australian organic brand has also just launched Toms nappies and wipes - and they're seriously indulgent ways to keep bub clean and dry.
Credits: Story by Sigourney Cantelo. Photo by Jenna Maslechko.