Eight Months

 

August & Everything After

Apparently we are already heading into that latter part of the year where time speeds up and the weeks all blur into each other - and I'm so not ok with it.

So what's been happening over here?

Amelia had her hip dysplasia x-ray and review, and unfortunately is still requiring harness time - her right hip angles are still not where they should be. She is now wearing her harness for ALL sleeps, which works out to be approximately 12 hours a night, plus 3-4 hours across the day. We are all pretty exhausted, but praying this last batch of increased harnessing will help us get across the line. Her next review is mid-September.

Georgia is back in the swing of things at school and Claire is enjoying two days a week of daycare, with both girls thriving on routine. We're enjoying it while it lasts, as the threat of Covid restrictions creeping back in again is on all of our minds. Both girls have gone back to swimming lessons. Georgia is doing amazingly well. Claire is just starting out and is, well, Claire. 

As for me, I turned 36 last fortnight. It was incredibly low key and sort of feels like it didn't happen at all.. but I spent it surrounded by family, so that's what matters most. I'm continuing to work with some amazing small businesses and having a ball photographing the kids as well as the products we are lucky enough to shoot. I'm also thoroughly enjoying my Virtual Assistant roles, and have been learning and growing in that department every day.

I'm slowly inching closer to the elusive 10k Instagram followers milestone, one that I've been aiming for for many years. I'm trying to do it as authentically as possible (hence the snail's pace) but hopefully the wait will be worth it! 

Amelia is rocking her Jamie Kay duds from Oakie Baby. Use MAMAJAGS15 for discounts.

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 
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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