Boston & Winnie are just about to venture into the wonder world of food, where did the last 5 months go! Lucky for them they have Mother’s that are serious foodies.
Infant nutrition is crucial for supporting optimal growth and development. Think about this for one minute.. choosing foods for your infant can either prevent a disease or feed one. Now, that sounds serious, but we actually have the power to influence our children with fuel to set them up for a healthy life.
I made a little promise to myself when I was pregnant with my second child. I would do my best to try give my second baby a bottle from 6 weeks if I could breastfeed. The reason behind this is because Cruz (my first child), still to this day has never taken a bottle. I tried so many brands but he was just never interested. All he wanted was the boobies! That wasn’t to much of an issue to me back then as I had him home with me for the 10months of his life. However when he went to day care he would refuse my EDM or formula. I could never really pop out for to longer periods either as he would want to be fed. Cruz was not great on solids either. So he needed my breastmilk to nourish him.
When I was pregnant with Winter Rose I received a message from the gorgeous Bianca Ebeling telling me about the book she had created. It was called "Let's celebrate" by @mylittlebookywooky and it was designed to stimulate a newborns vision by using black and white images.
My eldest little boy Cruz is such a little book worm, we hang out at the library a few times a week and borrow new books out. He just loves them, especially the images. I usually change the story around too haha. So hearing about this book I was instantly interested in hearing more.
I received the book and flash cards and was so excited to use once my little one arrived. I placed the flash cards on the wall next to the change table and placed the book in the cot awaiting my babes arrival. Cruz was so in love with the flash cards. He chats to the animals and I tell him what they are. He thinks it's great. Plus it's a great distraction while trying to change my wriggling toddlers bottom. Haha!
Since Winter Rose's arrival we have been placing the book next to her. It's amazing to see how over the past 4 weeks she is really starting to focus on the images. In just a week she was able to lock her eyes on the book. Now week 4 and she is reaching out to the book. It blows my mind how interested in the book she is. During witching hour I often lay her on the bed on her side and she will just settle when I place the book next to her. She goes from crying to such a calm nature. Just wow!
The book will defiantly be something I will be buying for other mummas in the future for baby shower gifts or birth arrival gifts. I would also recommend this to other expecting and new mummas too.
I have asked Bianca a few questions below so that we can all find out a little more about her and her book. Thank you again Bianca.
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself Bianca?
I am a mum of 2 little cheeky monkeys aged 3 and 1. My husband and I moved from Melbourne to Geelong 4 years ago for a more relaxed and affordable lifestyle and we haven't looked back. My background is in finance but my biggest sense of achievement comes from being creative. Developing my books has been extremely fulfilling.
What drove you to create a book specifically for newborns?
As part of my mother's group I attended a session with the local librarian who was explaining to us new mummies that we should be reading to our babies from the moment they are born and that the best books for 0-6 months are black and white books. I actually didn't read much to my son so I took her advice on board and found a black and white book and my son started reacting to it instantly. He was completely captivated by the images. It blew our minds. He had previously really struggled with tummy time and would cry so much and really didn't want to do it. I thought he would never achieve lift his head however with the black and white book in front of my him, he started really trying to lift his head to see the images and within less than a week he was holding up his head for short periods. There were many other benefits that we witnessed over the few weeks we had the book from the library and I just knew I had to get one for myself to have permanently. Unfortunately no bookshops or baby shops stocked such books. Hence I had this idea…
What is the idea behind the black and white illustrations?
When babies are born their eyesight is still developing and they find it hard to focus on the world around them. High contrast images are much easier for babies to see in their first few months and provide them with something simple and engaging to focus on, and in this focus or intense concentration they can allow their minds to rest. A baby cannot see pastel colours properly for several months after birth. It is recommended to surround a baby with as much black and white as possible in the early months for visual stimulation and development.
Now the book only has illustrations, no words. What is the reason behind this?
This is one of the best bits about the books. Anyone can pick up the book at tell a story about what they see on the page. In my first book there is a page with a hot air balloon and clouds. There are so many ways to approach this. You can simply tell your newborn baby what you see on the page. Or you can make up a story about a hot air balloon that flew away and went travelling around the world. Or perhaps you got engaged in a hot air balloon. Another story opportunity. Talk to your baby, read, make up stories. Let your baby hear your voice, a range of vocabulary. Also, every parent/caregiver will have a different story to tell based on what they see. The fact there are no words in the book means you aren't bound by the words and you can let your story telling imagination run wild
How important is it to read to your child?
Reading aloud with your child is so important. It stimulates their imagination and curiosity, it teaches them new vocabulary, it opens their eyes to new ideas. It helps develop their language and listening skills. Children who are read to at a young age do better in their schooling years. One of my favourite quotes that I believe hits the nail on the head is "reading to children, even before they can understand, teaches them to associate books with love and affection". I see this in my children. I remember when I had my daughter last year, I would have her snuggled into my arms and I would read her books throughout the day and it was my favourite activity with her. We promote the love of books with our children and set up a little reading nook in our house. Both my daughter and son spend a lot of time there each day looking at and playing with their books. They love bringing favourite books to my husband and I and sit with us and we read to them. My son is nearly 3 and I can see that a lot of his vocabulary that he is using is from the books we read and it excites me and makes me incredibly proud.
Packing my hospital bag for my first pregnancy was very exciting. I Pinterested all these hospital bag lists and I was so excited with what I packed into my suitcase, ready for my babies arrival. When the time came, my husband grabbed the bags and brought them to hospital with us. I thought I was so organised, but boy was I wrong. I had really over packed! I had so much stuff that I actually couldn’t find what I needed, when I needed it. I had to much of the stuff I didn’t need and not enough of what I actually really needed. I was so overwhelmed. So I made a promise to myself that next time I would pack a little lighter and bring more of the essentials rather than all the extras.
I have put together a list of what I need and wished I had put in the first time, for both my hospital bag and my babies nappy bag.
I am so pleased and super lucky to be featuring the gorgeousKirsty McKenzie AKA@themummysomniacfor the second time on my blog. Kirsty is a dear Instafriend that I have been lucky enough to meet, and she has helped to guide and support me through my #mumlife journey and with my lifestyle in general. This woman has a heart of gold and is not afraid to share her trimaphs and failures (argh girl thats what I love about you). In my first interview with Kirsty, she shared answers with you all in depth about herself in my #showtherealyou segment (you can read here). This time she has returned to share with you all this raw piece of writing about how she found a new love for her body during her current pregnancy with baby number three. Wow mummas this is a must read for you all as I know you will be able to totally relate with Kirsty no matter what stage you are at with your self love journey. Enough from me, time to hand it over the beautiful Kirsty McKenzie. Arghhh I know you will love this piece as much as me.
As my very first (ever) stretch marks began to emerge, somewhere throughout my first pregnancy, I’m afraid to say, I cried…
I don’t think for me, that it was vanity. I struggle with change, or at least I have at times in the past (even chopping my mum bun off recently took some serious commitment). I think for me, simply, it’s hard to see something you’ve become so used to seeing, your own body, change so rapidly. After all, I had become accustomed to my pre-pregnancy body slowly changing over the previous 27 years. Yet the changes that we experience during pregnancy are over but a fraction of the time that we had with our bodies before. After a while, I accepted the changes (stretch marks and new outie belly button to be precise)… even grew to be fond of them. After all, they represent one of my greatest accomplishments in life, my eldest daughter. And believe me when I say ‘accomplishment’, the kid didn’t sleep until she was 3.5, it’s amazing that I’m even half as sane as I am.
When the time came for baby number two, I thought I was prepared for the changes. Yet like each child, each pregnancy can bring with it a whole different set of challenges. My first pregnancy, like my first child, was set out to take me to places that I’d never been before (awake all night… and not voluntarily like in my youth). To push me to let go of the things that I need to, and focus on what’s really important. My second child, like my second pregnancy, came forth to show me just how much I was really capable of pushing things (mind, body and spirit). Just when I thought I had it all sorted out, thought I’d adjusted my headspace accordingly, and knew what to expect, the second child came along to throw all of it on it’s head. To push me to my limits, and to show me just how far my mind and body could stretch, and just how much love I was capable of. There were elements of my second pregnancy, that felt easy, in the sense that I had been there before, I knew the morning sickness would end, that eventually all babies sleep through the night, and that labour is in fact the easy part… and that the hard part is what happens when you bring the baby home. But there are no two pregnancies that are exactly the same, not even for the same person… now I know.
I bounced back physically from my first pregnancy without any real issues, but my second pregnancy had pushed my body to the extreme, literally (10cm abdominal separation). It saddens me to say, that again, when I dared look in the mirror at my body, a mere 6 weeks later, still looking six month pregnant, I felt complete and utter despair (again I cried). I thought I knew what to expect, but this took me completely by surprise. I threw myself into the chaos that was my life as a mum of two, 19 months apart, and tried to forget. Yet, eventually, bit-by-bit, everything returned to normal, or what would become my new ‘normal’. Some time, patience and a lot of hard work, I recovered, not back to the old me, but to a new and improved me. I realised how amazing, and strong my body was.
I think I had taken so much for granted in the past, but seeing how I’d brought it back (after a very long uphill climb), gave me an incredible appreciation for it.
Fast-forward almost exactly 4 years from the appearance of those very first stretch marks, and I’m sitting fat and happy at 26 weeks into my third pregnancy. I’m not sure what it is, whether it’s having been through some tough times, a little bit of age and maturity, or simply having finally worked out what’s worth worrying about in life, but I’m excited about it… about everything (Ok, still incredibly nervous about pushing a baby out of my hoo-ha, that part doesn’t change). I’ve never felt more comfortable (not so much physically, because we all know that pregnancy has the uncomfortable factor, but in the mental sense) in my own skin. To me there’s something about my pregnancy body that fills me full of life again (literally). There’s a confidence there that I don’t normally possess, a sense of pride and self love that I wish I could feel all the time. Not only have the old marks reappeared, the ones placed on my body by this baby’s two older sisters, but some new ones too. It might sound strange, but in some ways these marks are truly welcomed. Each of my children has left their mark on me, in so many ways. I’ve changed the way I approach life, I’ve learned to stop fighting unworthy battles, to accept what I cannot change, to work with the new me, instead of trying to go back to the old me. I don’t need the old me back, she’s not relevant anymore… her way of thinking, her body, her outlook (I would welcome her sleep habits back though)… because the new me, is so much better.
I’m definitely interested to see what my new body will look like after baby number three. I don’t know what to expect, I have to let it all go, and leave my expectations in the same drawer as the pregnancy tests I took (Is it just me, or does anyone else struggle to throw those things away?). I have no idea where this pregnancy will go, but for some reason, at this point (ask me again in another 10 weeks), I’m pretty cool about that.
Wow, thank you so much for sharing this piece of your thoughts with us. I love that you have found this new love and respect for your body and you are helping others do the same without even realising. Want more from this babe? Follow her journey on her Instagam – @themummysomniac and check our her blog http://www.themummysomniac.com/
When Cruz was 6 months I decided I would do a little #selflovephotoshoot when I was 10months postpartum. So now Cruz is 10 months, here they are. During the last 4 months I have been working on a little self love project with myself. To teach myself to be proud of my body and its achievements. I no longer want to waste my breath on self hate chat in the mirror. Instead I will preach love. The rules of the photoshoot was to no make up, just a little lipstick, just a home camera job (nothing fancy), no photoshop or filters. I have nourished my body with good foods, moved my body in some way everyday since the birth and rest when I need too. So hey why not be super proud of my body and my son.
I contacted Robyn from @yummy_mummy_lingerie to be apart of the shoot as I absolutely love her underwear she sells. It’s comfortable, its fits my new mum shape and I feel good in it. She has been wonderful and so supportive of my mum journey. I think its only fair that I share some love in return and tell you all about the woman behind Yummy Mummy Lingerie?
Why did you decide to start Yummy Mummy Lingerie?
Hubby and I decided to become foster carers in 2013 so I gave up my career in health to become a full time mum, but knew I’d need to find a family friendly business to work in as well. We had tried for many years to have a family and had only been blessed with one son, who is the light of our lives. We decided that we would like to grow our family and we knew that there were so many little ones needing a loving home so we decided to embark on the fostering journey.
It was a serious commitment to make, as caring for a baby would mean that one of us would need to give up our current career and be home to care for bub and allow for the vital bonding to occur. However, once bub settled in with our family and I had time to think about work again, I starting looking for opportunities. The first day I looked for an online businesses to buy I found what I was looking for in Yummy Mummy Lingerie.
It was meant to be! I just loved the idea of offering beautiful and practical maternity lingerie to new mums and mums-to-be in a super convenient way and helping make their pregnancy and breastfeeding experience as comfortable as possible. We were lucky enough to be able to purchase the business and now I happily work from home doing something I love, whilst being able to be there for my boys.
Best selling product on the website?
My best selling range at the moment would definitely be the Cadenshae Maternity Activewear range. The best selling style in this range for Yummy Mummy Lingerie is the Ultimate Nursing Bra which is designed for larger busted mamas. They have literally been running out the door J
The other range that sells really well is Cantaloop. They are really great quality and super comfortable as they are seamless. They are also well priced which makes them in reach for the many mums who hesitate or are unable to spend too much money on themselves.
What is the most common question you get asked by women when buying underwear?
It’s more of a statement than a question but the most common thing I hear from my customers is– “I am not sure what size I am”. This is not surprising is it as our bodies are undergoing the most amazing transformation J So don’t be worried if you don’t know – you are not alone J My response is to ask a few simple questions so that we can work out together what size would be best for them now and some styles that would suit that particular mums needs.
Today Cruz and I went on a picnic with other new mummies and their little bubs.
I always love catch ups with other mummas, as you can relate to them. I always leave the play dates feeling confident about motherhood and you know you are not alone. We are in this together. I love watching our babies grow together as well! Every week they are ticking off little milestones. Such clever babies. It’s a little heart breaking seeing some of them teething.
We had a healthy morning tea, chatted and took our babes for a swim.