On the 6th February on a sunny Saturday afternoon we welcomed our darling Arlo into the world. We attempted to have our planned VBAC, however our darling had other ideas. He was our biggest bub yet. Compared to our 6 pound babies, he was our 9 pound bub. Little Arlo could not quite manoeuvre his shoulders though my pelvis. He was born via a blissful c section at 1541. We instantly fell in love.
Over the next few days we spent some time on the ward and in the special care unit. We feel very grateful to have asked Tahlia, our family photographer and friend to capture Arlo’s first few days earth side. We hope you enjoy the photos of some of these raw and real moments captured in time.
Tahlia Fiedler is a professional photographer, specialising in Newborn, Maternity, Family & Wedding natural light Photography. She is up to date with all vaccinations and is ever so gentle while handling your little darlings. You can see from the sparkle in her eyes that she enjoys what she does, this also shines through in her talent and you can see the creativity in her work. She adds her own signature to the moments she captures. Her work is destined to stand the test of time, giving you endless days of flipping through photo albums of organic, natural and light filled photographs of that special moment in time.
Written By Alice Bingham on behalf of Medela Australia
Just under two years ago, I had a wild experience with my third birth.
I went between three hospitals in just one day.
I had an ambulance with sirens, a 20hr breach labour which then transitioned to an emergency c- section under general anaesthetic and welcomed our baby girl at just 35 weeks. All while having heart symptoms going on and a possible Pulmonary Embolism.
I ended up spending the week in hospital with heart monitors on myself and tests run all week, all while trying to care for our newest addition who had a few health things going on herself with being a premie. It was quite the experience, one that I will never forget. When I look at my happy little 21-month old now, I pinch myself that we are both okay and doing well.
In fact, we are expecting our fourth child in February 2021.
This has had me reflect a lot on my experience with birth and breastfeeding my third baby in 2019 – how can I use this to prepare myself and my baby for a beautiful breastfeeding experience after a year where nothing’s gone to plan?
A reminder to embrace the chaos with presence.
The first 12- weeks of any newborn’s life can be a bit of a blur for any mum. And mine was no different. I had two little ones to care for, and was also recovering from a c-section and a feeding schedule for our preemie baby.
I was given the Medela Symphony pump immediately and was told to pump a minimum of eight times in 24 hours.
So, I was very grateful for the Medela double breast pump in the hospital as it was fast and efficient, which I needed as the feeding routine was extremely exhausting for me.
On day three, my daughter’s blood sugar level remained low. I asked to speak to a Lactation Consultant and a Paediatrician to see if a different feeding routine would help her blood sugar levels stabilise. Our current schedule of 10 minutes on the boob topped up with expressed breast milk, then pumping again wasn’t working. The team and I decided to change her feeding schedule to give her expressed breastmilk (EBM), then 5 minutes on the boob and then double pumping again for top-ups. I would also set alarms for breastfeeding and alarms for pumping using my Medela Harmony breast pump. The beauty of pumping was it made me sit down, which is essential for recovery.
My two children, then 3.5 years and 18 months, would also come and sit with me or play on the floor near me. Some days they would all be crying at once; I just had to take a deep breath and remind myself I was doing my best. The days were long, but the weeks would fly by, it was all a bit of beautiful chaos. And this is one of the most important lessons I’ve learnt with motherhood and breastfeeding – embracing the chaos, with mindfulness and presence.
For any other mum or mum-to-be who may be finding motherhood and breastfeeding difficult – I hear you.
But if you can take time to find your breath and come back to this moment, it’s one of the most powerful ways to find strength, peace and joy in these moments of chaos. I found great comfort in journaling too. A simple way to practice gratitude and reflect on the day. Plus, my journal is filled with many raw and wonderful memories of those postnatal days. I often look back on these pages to see how far I have come.
Lean on your support army wherever and however you can
The year 2020 has brought some great uncertainly for a lot of us in the Australian community, with restrictions and lock downs. Postnatal after our third child, we required a lot of appointments once we left the hospital. We ended up seeing lactation consultants, had daily weigh-ins at the hospital, saw midwifes and child health nurse practitioners for the first 12 weeks of our little girls’ life.
This had me thinking after everything happening right now, would we receive the same support if we required that care again with this child? During this pregnancy I haven’t been allowed to have my children at antenatal appointments or my husband at the scans or appointments. I also had to have emergency surgery a few months ago when pregnant, we were given some news that meant our baby may have not made it, I would have loved to have had my husband there with me, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, he was not allowed at the hospital with me. So, I had to take the news by myself and just chat to my husband over the phone during my hospital stay.
Thankfully, this baby is still doing well though post-surgery and as I write this, I am 26 weeks and filled with gratitude. There have been some positives though, during this pregnancy, I have been lucky enough to have the support of my own midwife. She has been able to come to our home for visits for my check-ups, if I have my other young children at home. Plus, David can be here as well.
I have seen some great improvises from our local hospital and the staff doing their best to support families and the post-natal care they provide for them. Now thankfully with restrictions easing, I feel a lot more positive about having our fourth child next year. Wherever you can – call on your support networks – from experts and loved ones. But if you are having trouble – telehealth is a great avenue to find support from a lactation consultant. Or engage in online communities where you can find and talk to likeminded mums. Rely on breastfeeding aids if you need it
I think having this will give me the freedom to pop out a little more in the earlier days to my close friends and families houses. Or even to pop in the car and drive to the waterfront. Pumping with a view is oh so blissful! The Harmony Manual Breast Pump is light, compact and portable making it easy to pop into your nappy bag and go.
Being on a time schedule with breastfeeding a premmie can be challenging if you need to be back home all the time to do it. I think this will allow me some more freedom. I am highly impressed with the 2-Phase Expression technology as it can mimic your baby’s natural suckling rhythm, which is ideal for going from baby to pump for your breasts. I think this pump will make my life a little easier, with four children in five years, I am up for anything that will guide that! So, as a final prompt to myself and other pregnant and breastfeeding mums today, in this extra time of change – take life slower, more mindful and be kind to ourselves – and always call on help when need it.
Together, we’ve got this – and whatever life throws our way.
ABOUT MEDELA AUSTRALIA
Medela exists to enhance mother and baby health through the life-giving benefits of human milk. Medela has actively been supporting Australian mothers, babies, and their families in Australia for more than 19 years.
As Australia’s hospital breast-pump innovator, Medela, has launched their Harmony™ manual pump at $69.95, to their Medela Flex™ technology range which adapt to fit every mum’s personal breast shape and lifestyle needs.
Developed and clinically tested with a team of research scientists and breastfeeding mums, the Medela Flex™ family help mums produce up to 11 percent more breast milk, more comfortably.1
The Medela Flex™ technology range is now available from major pharmacies and retail outlets including Baby Bunting and Chemist Warehouse, as well as via the Medela Store Online.
On Tuesday last week, just before I ticked over to 35 weeks gestation, we welcomed the beautiful, Danielle from Your Sacred Space into our home. David and I completed the first day of the Positive Birth Course a couple of months ago with 4 other couples (you can read about that HERE) . We choose to do the second half of the course in our home. It was everything we imagined plus so much more.
Danielle came so prepared, she catered the course to suit our wishes. This is our fourth baby and she made sure we were externally educated and informed surrounding the excitement of this journey we are about to embark on together as a couple.
Like last time we met Danielle, we were blown away about how much we took from this session, how much we learnt about birth, but most importantly how much we learnt about ourselves and each other. Danielle spent the time to listen to our previous experiences, chatted about what our wishes are for this birth and is just so easy to get along with. David really enjoyed this whole experience just as much as I did.
As Danielle was leaving she requested I share 5 things that I took from this experience. These were my answers.
1️⃣ How important this was for David and I to do together. Weather it’s your partner, your mum, your best friend that you are planning to have as a birth partner. I realised how important their role is in birth today. How important it is to connect together. How important it is to rebuild that trust before such a life changing moment is about to happen in our lives.
2️⃣ Something that is extremely simple, however we all forgot about is our breath. When you were doing some breath work with me during the meditation today, it took me my surprise how quickly I tuned into what I was doing because of my breath. I felt so calm and ground.
3️⃣ I found learning about the placenta fascinating. The anatomy and physiology was mind blowing. Feel grateful for my knowledge behind knowing why we do cord clamping.
4️⃣ The power of visualisation. During the fear release to day, Danielle used this empowering technique for me to visualise letting go of my fears surrounding this pregnancy and birth. Just like manifesting for our future, seeing it helps me to believe it’s possible as morning as that may sound.
5️⃣ Knowledge truly is powder. That being educated is a huge part of preparing for birth and helping support and believe in my wishes for our babies entry into the world. Knowing that I am, or David is okay with making informed decision for our baby.
Want to get in touch with Danielle from Your Sacred Birth?
Milkmaidmumma is a beautiful online retailer + wholesaler who create pretty handmade bamboo reusable nursing pads and they also stock Eco accessories from around the world to help make mumma and their Babes lives a little easier and safer.
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.
Since I will be experiencing my forth trimester soon and I have a lot of mumma followers that are pregnant, I have asked for some nutritional information and some basic survival technicques from naturopath Shannon Stokes from Mums and Bubs Nutrition Clinic. She is a mum herself to two littleys and has survived (just) the 4th trimester twice.
Take it away Shannon…
The journey to becoming pregnant is a magical one. Its either a ‘surprise’ I am here type scenario, a long awaited and joyous time. The journey itself is nuts! Pregnancy is a whole other kettle of fish, a completely natural yet unnatural experience. Getting pregnant, staying pregnant and just being pregnant is an insane journey, and that is just the beginning.
You are a mumma! Congratulations, baby is here you have been through a marathon of hurdles, a tonne of happy gas, 9 epidural attempts, a vacuum delivery, 12 different hands up your clacker at once, an episiotomy or 9th degree tear. You now have that little bundle of joy in your arms. Perhaps you are feeling those kooky love spell feelings straight away, or perhaps you think, oh jesus what have I done? All totally normal feelings. I remember thinking oh, he’s not very cute, in fact he is a bit strange looking and gee my vagina is killing…. me where are those frozen condoms at, all in the same breath!
… All of that aside, baby is here and it’s a whirlwind few days in the beginning.
How does one survive through this sleep deprivation? The healing of the whole birth thing is one thing, but then perhaps breastfeeding is hurting like a bugger and you have grazed nipples or sterilizing a bottle seems to take forever and a day at 3am. You aren’t alone, this period is earth shatteringly exhausting, scary and exciting all rolled into one. Cue the 4th Trimester! So mumma, whilst we learn to look after this babe ( I am happy to leave that to the never ending advice from the mum tribe, in-laws and experts) I am here to help YOU make some tiny changes in your day to keep you thriving.
It starts with you and ends with you. Everything else in between is that tiny babies’. Upon your first morning wake up, (ok, so the first moment you get up for the day) refresh your self with a big glass of filtered water, and take a deep breath. That’s it for now. No matter what is happening, this is a must! Then tick it off daily as it is non-negotiable.
Below are some of my favourite 4th trimester survival guidelines for all new mums and even dads.
1. Do NOT stop your multi, infact this is a time to ensure your nutritional status is up with that of the very best it has ever been. Even if you aren’t breastfeeding.
2. Eat foods rich in good fats, think avocado, coconut oil, nuts seeds, oily fish such as sardines, salmon, qood quality extra virgin olive oil drizzled on eeeeeevvvverything.
3. Make sure you are having macronutrients with each meal and at least a palm size portion of protein at each meal. (macronutrients are the essential nutrients needed in large amounts to sustain energy and basic health. The 3 macros are Protein, Fats and Carbohydrates)
4. Take a quality probiotic daily
5. Don’t focus on trying to lose the baby weight, give yourself a break.
6. Ask for things, I wish I did this more with my first. Ask for help! (you can’t get away with asking for washing to be folded and home cooked meals to be dropped when they are 3.. dammit)! Even ask for a box of nappies to be dropped off. Use that ‘new mum’ thing a little..
7. Say no! if you aren’t up for visitors then say no, if you aren’t up for your cousins and nephews coming over and running a muck, just say no, but don’t feel guilty or think twice about it, they will understand…. And If they dont then.. meh… they will get over it.
8. Accept that some days are bad and some days are good, ebs and flows ladies, mountains and rivers.
9. Spend 5 minutes a day with your legs up the wall, relax those hips and lower back, take 10 deep breaths. (Again, non-negotiable)
10. Spend 10 minutes a day minimum outside in bright morning day light to ensure your body knows its day time and to help regulate those sleep /wake hormones
11. Don’t feel guilty, if you want to look at your phone while feeding bubs, do it. If you want to stay in bed, do it. If watching Oprah is your jam, do it, indulge a little and enjoy doing it. Stop feeling guilty. Guilty feelings radiate negative energy. If it has been a few weeks in a row then, maybe ask for a little help from a loved one and reach out if you are doing it tough… remember its all of those crazy hormones doing crazy things.
12. If you aren’t coping, reach out. You will be surprised to know that a lot of mothers find the fourth trimester insanely hard. No matter who you are, how together you think everyone is, its not the case. Speak up and your tribe will answer.
Enjoy those long loving stares into your babies eyes, explore their features and be fascinated with the whole process.. this too shall pass and then all of a sudden it’s a Tuesday night and you are writing about how to cope through the 4th trimester to a friend in need. Everyone struggles and if you think that its all too much, please reach out. It does get easier and it does get better. Trust me, I never thought I would see past the sleep deprivation either.
Thank you so much Shannon for your time if you wish to contact Shannon or learn more about her, her details are as follows.
Both my pregnancies, my husband and I have decided to not find out the sex of the baby. The first thing that comes to most people’s mind when we tell them is “how can you be organised for the baby” or “what can I buy you? There is hardly anything out there that’s unisex” well I disagree with them I think there is so much you can still get organised or buy someone. So I decided to blog about it haha.
It has made David and I save a bit of money not buying the trend of pink or blue clothing or decor. But if you wish to be organised or gift someone something special before their birth of their child, then there is truly so many gorgeous unisex gift ideas that you can still shower a mumma (in some cases daddy too) with at their baby shower, or purchase for yourself for your newborns arrival.
A neutral onesie, because what new baby doesn’t look adorable in the neutrals of white, cream or grey? No matter what the sex. I think they look so cute too.
A neutral cuddly companion teddy or animal for their newborn to snuggle up to. Doubles as a comforter at nap and bedtime.
A white bath towel, because who doesn’t love seeing a baby all wrapped up in a fresh white towel no matter what the gender, ekkk… oh my ovaries.
Some of your guests may like to put money together and buy something bigger for the mumma. A baby carrier can be used by either mummy or daddy to carry their newborn (up until the age of around 3 depending on the weight of the child) around when bubs just want to be close to their parents. Its also a great way for parents have their hands free when their little one just won’t settle or they need to get the shopping done.
A cute baby muslin swaddle, which is perfect to keep their little bub warm and comfortable when they first arrive. The great thing about a muslin swaddle is that it can be used as a blanket or a light pram cover (just ass some pram pegs).
A set of unisex bassinet or cot sheets, you never can have to many sets as the little bubba may have a few accidents haha, you will find yourself changing them very regularly.
A sleeping bag that doubles as a swaddle, great to keep the little new born warm and securely snug while they are sleeping. You can use the sleeping bag instead of a blanket and bub is less likely to wriggle out like they can in a blanket or wrap.
Again a few of you might want to put in some money and get something special for mumma or the baby. A nappy bag s a great idea it will be something that mum uses all the time. Be mindful though that mum might have a particular style in mind. This was the style I feel in love with. Its perfect as it doubles as a handbag not just a nappy bag.
A set of Milestone Blocks is the perfect addition to the little ones nursery. Mummas can also take photo updates of their little one next to the block as a keep sake, perfect to watch them grow and look back on.
Thank you so much for reading, I hope you got some great ideas to gift a family that are choosing to have a unisex baby shower.