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 
Website: https://milkygoodness.com.au/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/milkygoodness_/

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 
Website: https://www.oakiebaby.com.au/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/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 
Website: https://littlewellingtonco.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/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
Website: https://www.nurturethenest.com.au/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nurturethenest/

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

One Month

Amelia's Birth Story

I almost don't want to write this down, because it feels like closing a chapter in my life - birthing our last baby, an experience that was wonderful but feels so far away already. But I know how much I love revisiting the girls' births all these years later, so I want to do Amelia's justice as well. Just one post this time, I promise I won't make you wait!

Let me rewind a few months - when our little belly babe was measuring consistently large on ultrasound, in a similar pattern to both of her big sisters. It seems that despite starting this pregnancy at a much healthier weight, genetics always wins - we were never destined to have petite, tiny babies! My OB and I kept a close eye on her growth and as the third trimester drew closer to its end, she was measuring almost the same size as Claire. (If you can remember, she was born at 4.1kg at 37+6 weeks.)

We also had the holidays to think about - would she come early on her own on Christmas Day, or in the lead up to Christmas? I didn't really mind in the grand scheme of things, but I really hoped we could avoid a Christmas Day baby, just so it wouldn't make the day too crazy for the rest of the family. My doctor was on call over that period, so thankfully I didn't have that issue to worry about - I really wanted him to be there for the birth.

I had an OB appointment on Monday 23rd December, where he estimated baby to be approx 3.7kg in size, and he did an internal exam - I was already dilated to 3cm and baby was engaged at that appointment, so very favourable for an induction later that week. We decided on Friday 27th December as d-day, unless of course she decided to come on her own before that!

Baby behaved, and we got through Christmas and Boxing Day and all of our family celebrations. So crazy that it was our last one as a family of four! I hit 38 weeks exactly on Christmas Day.

Friday morning arrived, and we headed off to hospital. I had a little bit of dejavu as we headed in while not in labour, although I was feeling pretty uncomfortable at this point. We were checked into a delivery room, but it had no bath facilities so I was pretty disappointed; I'd hoped to be able to use the bath/shower when labour took off. Luckily the midwife was able to work her magic and get me into the room next door, which was twice the size and had better air conditioning too. Huzzah!
First up - monitoring. Just like her sisters, baby girl was SUPER hyped up and kicking up a storm before we got the induction going. She did not stop moving for at least an hour, and her heart-rate skyrocketed up to 180 bpm - so I ended up having fluids and some extra monitoring to calm her down. 
My doctor arrived and was happy to break my waters on the spot, since I was still over 3cm dilated and ready to go. With an epic pop, he ruptured my membranes pretty easily. It was 9am - almost identical to when we started Claire's induction three years ago. This time around, they popped some trendy little mesh knickers on me, so I was able to be up and around a lot easier. The drip was started not long after, and we were off!
Like last time, it didn't take long for things to kick off. I had prepared a playlist on Spotify of my favourite calming/relaxing music and I just let that play on speaker phone while Jason and I were hanging out and waiting for the drug to ramp things up. I had told him that he was in charge of taking random photographs throughout the labour - since this was our last baby, I wanted to remember the whole experience. At first it was amusing, watching the contractions pick up and register - enough to laugh and make jokes through. Then, just like with Claire, things got hard and they got hard FAST.

The midwife on duty asked what my birth plan was. My reply: The plan is not to have a plan. I am a firm believer in just going with the flow - the more rigid I am with wanting something to work out, the more stressed I get when things don't go to plan. We have very little control over childbirth, particularly when you're being induced, so I basically wanted to go with the flow and see what happened. I'd had two vaginal births previously, so I trusted my body would know what to do. Georgia had been born with the help of an epidural; Claire had been born with gas alone.

As things ramped up, I asked for the gas to take the edge off. In that middle stage of labour, it really does take the pain away, and I was able to still talk through it all. I remember what songs were playing, I remember commenting to hubby that baby's heartrate had stayed firm in the 160's the whole labour so far, and I remember the midwife wanting to do a quick check to see how things were going. At this point, the contractions were coming harder and faster together, so I was keen to see if things were progressing - so I was really disappointed when she did an internal and I was only 4cm dilated. How was that possible? I'd STARTED the induction at 3cm! Talk about gutted.

I moved from the bed to the fitness ball, and continued using the gas to get through the contractions as they hit. It was around 11am at this point, and I was feeling slightly upset at this point. I'd hoped the labour would be short and sweet like Claire's, and she was born at 11:04am, a quick 2 hours after the induction started. If I was only 4cm dilated, I knew I'd be labouring for a lot longer with this baby, and I was getting more and more uncomfortable. It was around this point that I stopped talking to Jason, and the gas was no longer taking the pain away - it barely distracted me through them.

Everything was a bit of a blur from here on. I stopped paying attention to everything and I remember being in absolute agony - the music wasn't helping, and I was barely taking the gas tube out of my mouth between contractions anymore. Jason wanted to get the midwife in to see how I was progressing, but I didn't want her to check me, in case I was still 4cm. It had only been half an hour - how much could I really have progressed in that time? Unbeknownst to me, while I was having another fierce contraction, hubby went ahead and buzzed for her, so she decided to get me up for another check.

I was 8cm dilated! And while she was mid-internal, another contraction hit and she commented that she could see the baby - so she told me to give a little push, while she gave my cervix a slight sweep at the same time. Whoa nelly! The pressure hit me like a freight train, and I started bellowing about needing to push NOW. The midwife rang my OB and yep... it was go time! It was around 11.45am at that point.

There was so much pressure, and I could feel her right there - I was terrified that my OB wasn't going to make it there in time. The gas was making it feel as though time was slowing down, but then all of a sudden my doctor was in front of me, to my utter relief.

Time felt like a blur to me at this point, but I focused on the intense pressure - and Jason tells me I only pushed for around 10 minutes before her head was fully out, and her body the next contraction. The midwife lifted her up to me and placed her on my chest, and I remember wondering if she would be like Georgia or Claire. To be honest, at first I had no idea! She was completely covered in vernix, and it was hard to see her features at all.

I wiped her down with a warm towel while we had some delayed clamping time. My OB realised I was still contracting and that my placenta wasn't far from arriving, so he had Jason cut the umbilical cord. I cuddled our sweet girl while pushing it out, and it was delivered complete.

I couldn't believe that she was here! Born at 11.55am, that made my labour under 3 hours from start to finish. She let out lots of cries and was thankfully well and happy post-birth, so we didn't feel rushed having that first skin to skin time. She was squirming on my chest, so we attempted a little feed, and she latched on almost straight away. After Claire's tongue tie issues, I was super paranoid about this baby having similar problems - but for now, she was doing just fine.

Since it was midday, a lunch trolley arrived as if by magic, and I got to indulge in my favourite hospital food, the little mixed plate of sandwiches - bliss! (What can I say, I'm easily pleased!) Jason had skin to skin cuddles with the baby while I snacked, and then had a shower - and just like that, we were wheeled over to the ward.

It is still the most surreal feeling in the world, having a baby in your hospital room with you. I missed that experience with Georgia when she was admitted to special care after her birth, and I had it taken away from me a few days in with Claire, when she went up for jaundice light therapy. I savoured every moment of getting unlimited squishy cuddles with our tiny, fresh little human.. and best of all, the family could come and visit straight away!

Is there anything sweeter than seeing your children meet for the first time? I don't think so! The girls peering over into the bassinet to see their new sister was just priceless, as were their first cuddles. They were smitten with her from day one, and are still just as sweet with her all these weeks later.

As for our little girl, we named her Amelia. She is fair skinned and blue eyed like her biggest sister, with the tiny nose and mouth of her middle sister. She's a dream baby in the daytime, who loves snuggles and naps like a champ. She's also a party animal at night, just like she was in my belly... so we're all pretty tired around these parts. Tired, but oh so very blessed.

Amelia Grace
3.9kg - 50cm long
Born December 27, 2019

She's here!

Welcome to the family, Amelia Grace
Born December 27th, 2019. We are all so in love!





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