Seven Months

Six Months

Hips Don't Lie

A few weeks ago, we revisited the Children's Hospital for Amelia's ultrasound, which was pretty uneventful. Instead of going straight in to see the Professor afterwards though, we had to go home and wait for a telehealth appointment a few days later. I was really nervous, as the ultrasound technician had indicated that there were still issues present - so in my head, I was mentally preparing to have to be wearing her Rhino Brace in the day as well as the night.

Thankfully, it wasn't as scary as I had thought. The ultrasound showed that her hips have shown some improvement, but there is still work to be done. It's positive, because it means the hours she's spending in the brace at night time are helping - but it's also showing she still has some immaturity in the bone and cartilage around her hip joints. The plan was to keep the brace on for another few months, before we get an x-ray to see how they are progressing.

We also need to have Claire come along for the next appointment, as both are now going to be ortho patients. The doctor was concerned that nobody had ever scanned or x-rayed Claire's hips after all of her gross motor milestones, so just to be safe, he's planning to have her checked as well. Apparently hip dysplasia can run in families, so we need to make sure nothing was missed in her early years.

It means that our sleep will remain broken for the next little while, but we're getting used to it now. And correcting her hips right now is the most important thing! That appointment is coming up in a few weeks, so I'm really, really hoping for some positive news. It's been a very long few months!

Five Months

Cushii Newborn Lounger: a review

Let's talk babies for a minute - because let's face it, who DOESN'T love talking babies? They are sweet, adorable little time wasters; that we already knew. They eat, sleep, and poop. Well - that's a given. But did you know that they're all incredibly different? Three babies in and I learn something new every day.

Enter Amelia - the youngest of our three, who has no choice but to go with the flow of what her big sisters are busy doing throughout the day.

Or so I naively thought!

Turns out, being in isolation amidst the Corona Virus Pandemic, has meant that she has ruled the roost and has been soaking up all the extra attention that she's been getting with everybody home and fawning all over her. The only downside to all the baby love: the baby does NOT want to be put down. Ever. At all. Nuh-uh!

We have been using the Cushii Lounger for these past few weeks, and I have to say, it's been an absolute lifesaver. It's one of the few places that I can put her down without her pitching a fit! We use it all over the house - it's portable, lightweight, and pretty freaking trendy too. Amelia has the Marula Blush colourway, but there are other neutral options available.

So.. here's what I love the most about our Lounger:

  • It's super lightweight - literally as light as a feather! You can pick it up easily with its own little handle, while you've still got a squirmy bub in your arms.
  • It's comfy! The photo to the right is from the very first time I popped Amelia into her Lounger, and she made herself comfy in it straight away. It can be used from newborn age and up, and is definitely worth the long-term investment. I wish I'd found one sooner.
  • It's perfect for baby skin! Made from TENCEL, it's great for sensitive little bodies. Coming from a family of eczema babes, being hypoallergenic is really important to us. It's also easy to spot clean and is machine washable.
  • It comes in a unique little carry bag. Perfect to keep your Lounger clean when it's not in use, or when you're ready to head out and take it with you.
  • It's CUTE! I know, I know - but let's be honest: we all like our baby gear to fit into our lifestyle and our nurseries. The blush is just lovely for us, but there are a few other colourways to choose from to suit every shape and style.

Just remember, these amazing loungers are to be used supervised at all times, and absolutely don't replace safe sleeping in bassinets and cots.

So go on Mamas, treat yourself to some hands free time - even if it is just for enough time to grab yourself a cup of hot coffee. Your bub will thank you for it! You can purchase your own Cushii lounger now on pre-order, with 10% off & free shipping if you use code PREORDER10. Afterpay is available too.

Breathe Gently was provided with a complimentary lounger from Cushii - all reviews are my own. If you are interested in a product review appearing on Breathe Gently, please email me.  You can also get in touch with me via my @mamajags Instagram page.

Four Months

Harness Life

Amelia passed all of her hip tests as a newborn. Her manual manipulations were all fine, no clicks, no family history of hip dysplasia. When she was 6 weeks old, we went for our paediatric check and while we were there, we got to chatting about how Claire had so many issues developmentally over the years - as I was worried if they would also present with baby.
The paed queried how Claire's hip ultrasound was, and I was surprised - we'd never had one for her. He was really shocked that she'd never had any sort of investigation into her hips over the years, as an ultrasound as an infant, or as an x-ray as she grew up and was unable to weight bear. As a precaution, he recommended that we have Amelia scanned, just to rule out any hip issues that might be lurking.

A week later, at just shy of 7 weeks old, Amelia was scanned. She screamed her pretty little head off during the ultrasound - not because it hurt, but because she wasn't a fan of being restrained. She has been feisty from the get-go, this one! The ultrasound tech wasn't having much luck, and called in another pair of hands. Little did I know, she'd called in the paediatric specialist doctor, as she'd actually seen something concerning. To my surprise, he DID find issues with her hips. They were not dislocated, but were showing signs of dysplasia: when manipulating her legs up and down, the ball of her hip moved in and out of the socket. This is an immaturity factor, as they should be firmly in place by 6 weeks of age and he recommended we revisit our paediatrician.
I couldn't get in to see him for another few weeks, so Amelia was 10 weeks old at this point. He attempted to get me into a private physiotherapist for more guidance, however when I made a few phone calls, I quickly realised that they would assess her but then refer on to an orthopaedic surgeon if they were concerned. I decided to skip this altogether, and had my GP refer me to the Children's Hospital at Westmead. They rang me a week later and we had an appointment arranged soon after that.

We met with a junior doctor, who assessed Amelia and then referred us onto a senior doctor. This professor felt that one hip had improved, but that he was unsure with the other - so he brought in a portable ultrasound machine to confirm for himself. One was better, the other was still very lax. His recommendation was for Amelia to go immediately into a Rhino Harness, but for night sleeps only. This treatment plan threw hubby and I for a loop, as we were expecting to be monitored over the coming weeks, but not for her to require harnessing. We went straight from the doctor's rooms to the orthopaedic unit, where Amelia was fitted for her new brace. I'm not going to lie, I was pretty darned emotional about it all. She was still so tiny, and we were manipulating her hips into this awful looking position - how would she cope with it all? They warned us that sleep may be impacted initially (but she was always a rubbish sleeper anyway, so it couldn't get any worse... could it?) but to just ride it out. They also encouraged us to keep long, firm fitting pants on her, and to keep an eye out for any chafing or discomfort which may indicate that her harness would need refitting.
She's been in it for over 6 weeks now. It's been pretty challenging. She wakes regularly during the night, and it's quite difficult to hold her comfortably for breastfeeds. We had to find special swaddles and sleeping bags that would fit her at night time, as her legs are splayed very wide.

We were supposed to have a repeat ultrasound as well as a doctor's appointment for review this week, but thanks to the Covid crisis, it was cancelled. Instead, the ultrasound has been pushed back to the end of May, and the doctor's consult afterwards will now be done via phone appointment. In the meantime, we're still bracing her each night, and hoping that it's helping her hips stay in the right place. I'm grateful that we've avoided having to be wearing it all day long at this point, fingers crossed it'll only be another few months of having it at all.

In short - get your baby's hips checked at every appointment. Dysplasia is developmental, meaning it can present as your baby ages - the earlier it's picked up, the better the outcome. I'll keep you posted on how Amelia's hips are developing over the coming months.

Here's hoping for some better sleep at some point in the near future!

Three Months

Baby Essentials

Three babies in and I've FINALLY figured out my must-haves for the new baby/infant stage. Times have changed so rapidly between my girls, and products have changed too - but I'm fairly confident that after having Amelia, I've narrowed it down to my all-time favourite goodies. I'm positive I've missed some, so I may just have to add to this list in the future as Amelia grows.

Lactation Cookies & Milk Saver Breast Pump

Breastfeeding is something I've been very lucky to experience with all of my girls, but it certainly doesn't come easily for all of us. Each of my girls has had their own issues - poor latch for Georgia, tongue tie for Claire, and Amelia had to deal with my engorgement and super fast let-down in the beginning stages.

I discovered lactation cookies when I was pregnant with #2 and my amazing SIL baked me a batch in the hospital, but I didn't use them religiously. This time around, I was more prepared! I had my stash of Milky Goodness cookies ready while I was still pregnant, and I've been a fan ever since. Full of natural ingredients and milk-making galactagogues, these babies are delicious and addictive.. be warned.

To go with them, you NEED a milk saver. This thing is worth its weight in gold. It attaches to your breast through simple suction and is really easy to use - I started with it from those first early days with Amelia. While bub is nursing on one breast, just pop it on the other - it catches precious drops from each letdown, instead of it disappearing into a breast pad/your bra. Swap sides and boom - milk! I haven't used an electric pump in the last 11 weeks and I have a freezer drawer full of expressed milk. I wish I had discovered this three babies ago! :)

Aly recommends: Milky Goodness 

Use MAMAJAGS10 for a discount, excluding bundle & custom packs. Free standard shipping is available over $60.

Snuggle Me Organic Lounger

I researched these for months, way before we were even lucky enough to get pregnant with Amelia! They looked so comfortable for little ones to lounge around in, like they were getting a hug from all sides. There are plenty out there on the market, so finding the right one was important to me. I ultimately chose the Snuggle Me because it had excellent reviews, and didn't require any sort of assembly - plus being organic, I felt it was that little bit special against soft baby skin.

Amelia really likes it! I put her in it while we're doing shoots, but also while I'm busy with the other kids. She is currently 12 weeks old and we're also advancing to using it for tummy time too. As newborns, they fit snugly inside it, and as they get taller, their little leggies can prop over the edges - so it grows along with them. Do keep in mind, it is designed for supervised naps.

Handy hint? You can use a regular bassinet sized fitted sheet on these babies, so no need for expensive covers - just use what you already have! The one I've used in the picture here is a jersey stretch bassinet cover over the top of the Infant Lounger.

BIBS Dummies

We are pro-pacifier in this household, but Amelia wasn't having it in the early days. Once we'd established breastfeeding, I was determined to get her comfortable using it. Thankfully with some perseverance, she has taken to them like a champ!

We use BIBS dummies in the size 1, the old school round teat is great for little ones, and you can easily size up when you need them. They come in a wide variety of colours too.

I'd advise getting at least 4 of them - you never want to be without one, especially when you're out and about.

Aly recommends: Oakie Baby 

Use MAMAJAGS15 for a discount - this excludes the Snuggle Me Loungers unfortunately, but works on nearly everything else on the website! Free standard shipping is available over $100.

Wraps + Swaddles

You'd think that after three babies, I would have already been well versed in using wraps... ha! I have developed a complete obsession with them this time around. We use them for everything. Swaddling, shade covers, wraps, liners for pram bassinets, breastfeeding covers, bedtime blankets, you name it, we've used it.

I'm a huge fan of the Snugglehunny Kids wraps with their gorgeous vibrant prints, but honestly, I've never met a swaddle I didn't love. Whether it's lightweight muslin wraps for the summer, or stretchy jersey wraps for the winter, you're sure to find something you love.

How many wraps is too many wraps? Asking for a friend, of course.

Aly recommends: Little Wellington Co 

Use MAMAJAGS for a discount store wide! Free standard shipping is available over $100.

Handmade Playmats + Pram Blankets

When it comes to items that are handmade, I'm a huge supporter - but my favourite handmade clothing stores deserve a post all of their own; I could go on allllll day. What I'd love to share with you though, is a store that not only sells stunning girls' clothing, but also unique handmade playmats and bespoke pram blankets.

I had been looking for a statement piece to put in Amelia's nursery, but also wanted something that could be used around the house and on the go. This floral playmat ticked all the boxes - gorgeous, lightly padded, lightweight and reversible. Did I mention it was handmade? Because OH MY GOSH. It's divine.

This beautiful business is all about slow fashion, so you won't find huge quantities or mass produced pieces - instead, you'll find more unique styles and in limited runs, so don't wait too long if you see something you love.

Aly recommends: Nurture the Nest

Use FIRST for a discount on your first order.

See anything you love? Be sure to pop over and give these small businesses a follow - in these trying times, every little bit of love and support helps. What were YOUR baby essentials?

Two Months

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