Mummy Confession: When I was a new mum especially, I was always curious to keep up with what skills my baby was developing. I often felt the need to see their progress and keep track of their milestones.
Disclosure: This post is not sponsored by any of the following companies or apps and is purely my honest opinion. This post contains affiliate links.
Now, hear me out, not every baby develops the same skills at the same time. Just like every child isn’t the same height, weight, or build, development varies from baby to baby. But, I like the reassurance of seeing how my child was coming along with milestones, as any mum would. I also like seeing what sort of activities help in their age group as well.
There are three great Apps that help mum to keep up with skills and developmental milestones that coincide with the age of their baby, toddler, and child. Below, I have outlined a few that have come in handy for me as a mother.
Many baby websites offer newsletters as well to help keep track of baby’s development and various things to expect as they grow. Some of these are listed here with my Pregnancy and Parenting Communities post.
The Wonder Weeks
Each baby has times where they seem to be more sleepless, fussy, and all around grouchy, and I have found a lot of the time, it is because they are going through developmental leaps. The Wonder Weeks app is based on a book written about this. It allows you to enter your baby’s due date and it predicts when these “leaps” occur. So much is happening in their little world that you can’t see, and this helps me to be aware of what my baby could possibly be working on, or trying to figure out. As stated in the app, though, every baby isn’t doing everything listed by those time frames, but it is a great guide as you look out for things they are achieving!
You can also set up an alert to let you know when baby is entering a fussy stage, so maybe you will be that one step ahead, being prepared.
Do you like writing down what your bubs is up to? Keep track of medications, immunisations, feedings, diaper changes, sleep, teeth, and more. Digitally store tons of developmental and growth information as well as photos and videos. Keep track of one child or more, and a daily bit of information on their age group.
If you want to have is information saved for a hard copy scrapbook later, get this app. It is so helpful when you feel like there is no time to write anything down. Plus, there are great communities online to ask your parenting and baby questions (and Baby Bump, their sister app, has one as well).
I just got this one, but I’m already impressed! This one offers an evaluation of baby’s skills and development and helps with some activities to develop their skills.
It has videos that show how to do certain activities with your baby to aid development, and has in-app purchases for further things. It also offers articles on baby’s development. You can opt in for various categories to receive information and activities for children through the age of two. There is so much I haven’t seen yet, so I will need to check it out more before I can write about it, but I was impressed already in the short time I’ve had it!
Mummy Confession: I admit, I hate how the swaddle appears, and the pictures of babies in swaddles sometimes look downright weird. However, they are a lifesaver for many parents as far as sleep is concerned.
*Disclosure: I was not given any of the following products, and am not affiliated with, sponsored by, or writing on behalf of any of the following companies, and this is my honest review and opinion. This blog, however contains affiliate links to Amazon.
Swaddling. The word alone provokes a picture in my mind of baby Jesus in a manger, wrapped up in cloths. Nowadays, there is a much wider variety of options when it comes to swaddling. You can go for the old-fashioned method with a muslin wrap, or use one of the other many options for easier swaddling.
Why do parents swaddle babies? It’s called the startle, or Moro, reflex^. When babies are fresh out of the womb, they “jump” at the sound of things (and sometimes at no sounds, they just do), causing their arms to go flailing. This wakes up baby, and causes mum, dad, or whomever is watching bubs to soothe, resettle, and pray baby goes back to sleep. This makes for disrupted sleep for everyone. Not fun.
So, a swaddle stifles the ability for baby to move their arms suddenly and wake themselves up. It looks confining and maybe uncomfortable, but most babies take comfort in the snug wrap. This is not the case for all babies, but most, especially when they are overtired, are calmed much quicker with swaddling. This was definitely the case with most of the times when my babies were fussing and just could not calm themselves down.
I’ve found they all fall within these categories (feel free to click or scroll through the categories), and have done my best to briefly talk about how they differ, as well as provide pictures and brands that would classify in the specific options.
This is just the typical swaddling, and can be done with any blanket or muslin wrap that is large enough for the baby. It’s versitile, and you can wrap baby snugly with their arms up or down by their sides. Just be sure not to make it too tight, especially around the hips. Muslin wraps are generally better I’ve found to use, because the material is more breathable, and easier to manoeuvre. Always be sure to follow the safe sleeping guidelines when swaddling your baby, and place baby on their back.
Another alternative to blanke/muslin swaddling is the Gro-swaddle which has an extra bit at the bottom to make it easier to wrap Baby up snugly.
Zip Up Swaddles: These come in a large variety of brands, but I’ve found these completely lifesaving as a mother and non-expert in swaddling. They are sized by weight or height, so you get the proper size for your baby, so it is just the right snug-ness for bubby. These come in different categories which I explain below.
1. Zip up with arms free within the swaddle- Several brands have this basic style, just helping to stifle the startle reflex and keep baby snug and warm to sleep. My favourite brand within this category is the Ergobaby Cocoon. Ergo also makes the “ErgoPouch” which is a sleeping bag and swaddle in one. It has varying togs (different thicknesses for varying seasons), so great for warmer or cooler weather depending on the tog.
2. Zip up with arms up– Allowing baby to soothe themselves with their hands, the arms up version by Love to Dream is an excellent swaddle recommended by many mums (myself included). This comes in various thicknesses, and they even offer transitional swaddles. Yes, they look funny, but honestly, this was the best option for us with one of the children, as she could soothe herself and her startle reflex couldn’t wake her.
3.Zip up with arms down– If your baby prefers their arms to be down when sleeping or swaddled, this is probably a great option for you. The Swaddlepod is a good version of this type of swaddle. Other brands do this, including store brands such as Kmart or Target. This is probably the most common. Just be sure to purchase that isn’t too tight around the hips.
Velcro Swaddles: These swaddles take a step out of trying to wrestle a blanket around Baby and make it just as easy as tucking arms in and securing them. Some brands thatmake these are Swaddleme and Halo sleep sack.
Some of the swaddles above have transitional options, for when you are trying to transition out of swaddles. These can be either to transition to a sleeping bag style, or just out of swaddles
The Not Quite Swaddles, but great options:
Sleepy Wings: This arms only option is good for if you just need something for bub’s arms, or something that will hold a pacifier. The pacifier easily tucks into the spots on the top bit of the swaddle wings. You can choose to put arms up or down as well. They also have other amazing options for transitional wings, or just sleeves that cover little hands.
Find Sleepy Wings here.
Sleepy Bub: There are two great options here with Sleepy Bub. A onesie that you can zip the arms down, or a sleeping bag where you can zip arms down. The hands are able to be covered as well. This is great for all the babies who seem to get out of everything else!
Find Sleepy Bub here.
Which of these options works for you? Or, do you have a baby who wasn’t keen on swaddling? I love that there are so many options out there now, to see what would work best.
The Baby Bjorn Carrier One Outdoors is a carrier for newborns up to children the age of three. It is described as the perfect carrier for family days out. I had the chance to try it out indoors, outdoors, and on an adventure through a torrential downpour. I have described a few of the features of the carrier below, as well as how I found this specific feature to work personally. I have also included pictures of each feature so it is easy to find.
Multiple Carrying Configuration
: The Carrier One Outdoors is a 4 position carrier, allowing for inward front carrying, in addition to special newborn height position, back carrying, and front carrying outward facing as well. It is approved and tested as a, “hip-healthy baby carrier” by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute.^
I could place both my giant infant (10kg) and my tiny toddler (under 15kg) easily into the carrier facing towards me, and my toddler into the back carry position as well. I had to ensure I adjusted the carrier appropriately to take the weight off of the shoulder straps and place them more on my hips. Once I did this, it was a lot easier to manage.
My infant thoroughly enjoyed front facing in the front, but it did make it a bit harder on my back, because he wouldn’t stop kicking. I believe it’s recommended not to front face them for too long, as it puts more pressure on your back as well as provides no escape for bub from overstimulation. I found about fifteen minutes was decent. At the same time, my back didn’t feel strained like in other carriers with a different, less supportive configuration.
Its fairly easy to adjust from forward facing to back carrying as well, which is a nice change from trying to do this with other carriers. (The video at the bottom is a bit better at showing how to go from forward carrying to back carrying)
Do you know why I love adjustable things? It’s because of the height and build difference between my husband and I. We can both easily wear this carrier with nearly a foot height discrepancy and differing builds. Check out all these parts that make it comfortable to wear for both baby and the person carrying the little one.
Zipper Adjustment For Small Baby and Big Baby/Toddler: Until I read into it, I discovered there was a zipper that I needed to move in order to fit my larger baby into the carrier comfortably. I may have tried to fit my large infant with the newborn insert and wondered why it was so hard. So, just be sure you set the right zipper up before squeezing baby into the carrier! Zippers are well labelled as to the requirements for use, so just unzip from the indicated space and zip to the required size. For tiny newborns, there is also a button and loop to attach on the outside for more cozy carrying.
Adjustable waist and clip: I found this little detail of the hook for the waist clip completely brilliant! No fussing around with buckles or trying to push together two bits and not able to reach the back to close it properly. One easy hook, adjust the waist properly with the belts, and you’re done. Simply face the mesh portion towards your body, slip the carrier over your head and against your chest, and you are good to get baby fitted into the carrier.
Adjustable Shoulder Straps Everything about this carrier lets you adjust to your proper fit and comfort. The thicker fabric, with a similar style to the belt, allows you to pull to adjust the shoulder straps. The black portion on the shoulder strap is actually a place to adjust the carrier around your shoulder blades. The black bits slide up and down along the lanyard-style adjuster (as seen in photos). This black strap that goes across your back also adjusts by pulling the black strap to the most comfortable tightness.
Quick release clips: The carrier has four clips which easily attach to secure Baby into the carrier, and also make for a nice and easy quick escape in case you need to put down a sleeping baby, or unload a child after carrying them through a rainstorm. I love this feature, because it means I can transfer a still-sleeping baby from carrier to cot much easier! Anything that makes it easier for mum is amazing!
Bottom Zipper (for use in certain carry positions) Sometimes you need to unzip the bottom of the carrier for certain positions (Such as forward facing while wearing baby on the front position). Please refer to the carrying positions guide in the carrier for the appropriate use of these zippers.
Baby Bjorn Teal Strap (for Forward Facing)
Pull on the Baby Bjorn labelled teal strap when forward facing your baby, so they are more comfortable see and their face isn’t covered. I discovered this after wondering why it wasn’t more tailored to facing forward. Upon investigation, this definitely comes in handy. Silly me!
The materials used in this carrier are great! They make a beautiful, breathable and soft carrier for both baby and mum (or anyone else using it)! Here are some of the highlights!
Breathable Material: The mesh fabric used is great for keeping sweating from Baby wearing to a minimum, and keeping baby cooler. I love the mesh between bubs and whomever is carrying, as that will help with the cooling as well! I found it was great for the warmer weather we have been having, it kept bub and mum both cool enough.
Easy to Wash: Though the fabric is good for repelling dirt and easy to wipe clean, the website says that it can be washed at 40C and dries quickly.^ This is great, because you don’t need your carrier out of commission solely to wash!
Quickly Dries: This material also makes it a lot quicker to dry than the conventional Carriers. I have proven this in my experience through a downpour. The material did repel a bit, so mum and bub weren’t as wet from the carrier as well as the rain itself! It took a few hours to dry before I would wear it again, even in the muggy weather.
Soft, Comfortable, Beautiful Fabrics: One of the first things I noticed- it’s so soft! The gorgeous turquoise colour is a big plus as well! I believe this one comes in either black or turquoise. Though I’m usually in favour of the darker colours, the turquoise is beautiful, and did I tell you it’s soft?! My husband agrees the colour isn’t too feminine or masculine for either mum or dad to wear it. I am personally of the opinion that dads look much better baby wearing. 😜
(I haven’t found in other Carriers)
I love all the great things in just the carrier itself, but in addition to that, you also get these included (and two are part of the carrier itself). I found these all useful!
Storage/Carry Bag: The first thing I realised removing it from the box is that it comes inside a bag! This makes it so much easier to take along in case you decide to pack it away, it’s easy to do! I was glad it wasn’t an option extra, as I remember needing to find something to carry my Ergo along with us.
Pocket for keys, phone, etc: Another feature that popped out to me was the pocket, which isn’t directly behind baby’s back like other carriers I’ve tried. It’s a separate pouch on the belt of the carrier. It can move around the belt, and be used to hold th excess belt as well. It is made of the same lovely fabric as the outside of the carrier.
Pocket for Instructions/Handy Instructions: Get this, there is a tag with the instructions for the positions the Baby Bjorn Carrier One Outdoors offers! This tag tucks into a handy pocket on the carrier, so, for people like me who get flustered at figuring things out, we’ll have somewhere to look. Such a great idea! I found it especially handy to figure out when I needed to unzip the bottom portion or how to figure the newborn/baby zipper.
Overall, I found that I loved this carrier, and really enjoyed all the features! I was thoroughly impressed with the ease of putting it on, as well as taking it off. My infant now gets excited when he sees this carrier- I’m not kidding! Plus, it has made getting him to sleep a whole lot easier, with less struggle.
I have rated the carrier according to my Mummy Confessions Scale here for a quick glance synopsis:
Overall Carry Rating: 4/5 for me, a short person with average build. Ease of Use: 4/5 as it took me a little looking around to get the hang of it. It’s fairly straight forward though. Little Baby Rating: Unable to judge, as I don’t have a tiny baby. Baby Carry Rating: 4/5 as it’s fairly easy to even get a squirming baby in, it is comfortable and supportive Toddler Carry Rating: 5/5 for front Carry while facing inwards. Back Carry Rating: 3.5/5 as I can’t quite manage to get it easily from front to back carry as described, but I’m sure with practise it will be fairly easy. Baby Sleep Rating:5/5 Baby fell asleep in this nearly every time I put him in, big plus for the terrible sleep cycle we have been at lately! Features: 5/5 There are so many! Sit Down Rating: 4/5 You can sit at a slight incline, but you need to support bubs head a little. Transfer Rating: 5/5 It is super easy to remove baby and try to keep them sleeping if you need quick escape, or to get out in th middle of a rainstorm and into the car.
I personally like the ease of use, build quality and the features of the Baby Bjorn Carrier One Outdoors. It’s also comfortable to wear, and judging by my babies reactions, comfortable to be carried in.
Baby Bjorn have come pmwith another great product.
I give it 5/5 😀.
For further information on this carrier, as well as other carriers available, check out Baby Bjorn Australia’s website here. Australians can also find it fairly discounted at the moment here.
Thank you so much for the chance to review your carrier, Baby Bjorn! I love discovering new products that make Mummy-ing easier!
^Information obtained on Baby Bjorn Australia’s website
Mummy Confession: I have a love/hate relationship with introducing solids.
I love this adventure, because it means my little bitty baby is growing well. I hate a little bit that it spoils bub’s somewhat “easy” fix for sustenance. (Solids don’t replace milk or formula, but are an addition.)
In the beginning, there is no menu to plan, no food to buy or prepare, dishes to wash (besides bottles and the like) and no disgust for the food I cook. When babes are little they get what they get, and they don’t complain.
It’s adorable to watch them immerse themselves in the brand new exploration of tastes and textures, whether you feed purees or do baby led weaning. Personally, my kids do a bit of both. They have always loved spoons for some reason.
I’ve compiled a list of things that I’ve gotten in preparation for our sooner-than-I’m-ready-for-it journey into the land of foods. And I will say, they have come out with some pretty cool stuff since my last babe!
Keep in mind: Introducing solids usually starts around 6 months old, but please consult with your doctor or medical professional beforehand if you want any resources in regards to the process. I’m no expert, and I know there are differing perspectives on the appropriate age to introduce food and how to go about doing it. I will include some resources below for your convenience, but feel free to check out my Pinterest board for some more ideas on milestones and related topics.
Now, you don’t NEED all of these products, usually any bowl, utensils and cup be fine, but look how stinkin’ cute this all is! And I will say the no-spill cups are more than just a gimmick, as I prefer my carpets to be dry. I delve into the varieties of sippy cups here.
*Disclosure,: Some of the products listed were provided, but this does not influence or change my opinion. I absolutely love everything I have listed and recommended here! This post contains affiliate links.
1. Cup– Obviously you need something to hold the water as you introduce that alongside solid foods. They don’t need too much at first, so just a tiny bit will do nicely. Check out my guide for cups here if you are flustered about the choices. For my bub, I have the Avent Penguin Sippy (he got it for Christmas). It’s a harder spout with a soft feel.
2. Bowl/plate– Rather than the food starting on the floor, it’s probably a good idea to keep it contained as much as possible! I love this plate from *Baby Bjorn! It is a bit deeper than your typical plate-making it perfect from first foods or purees through to when bubs navigates the use of using his own utensils!
3. Utensils– Something for you to feed baby, and have them feed themselves as well! Check out these *Baby Bjorn spoon and fork set! With a chunky easy-grip handle for you or baby, they make great first utensils. The fork is even more similar to a spork, making it easy to scoop as well.
4. Bib– In order to lessen the mess and minimise cleanup, it’s a good idea to purchase a bib for bub! The design of this *Baby Bjorn Bib is amazing! The nifty bit at the bottom helps to catch food if it should fall (and we all know how messy feeding can be)! It’s also made of BPA free plastic, so no wet and soggy mess covering your bub’s shirt! It’s easy to wipe off, rinse off, and is dishwasher safe!
(May I just add that Baby Bjorn has all of the above products available in a handy pack as well- the Bib, plate and utensils-all the tools you need for starting your baby’s journey into solids! Feel free to check out their online store here, or Amazon for those who live Stateside. And for the Aussies, if you review your Baby Bjorn products on their website, you can be entered to win items from their kitchen range here!)
5. Wet wipes/washcloth– Any cloth will do, or maybe those baby wipes we all love to use for everything else will come in handy! You can even purchase hand and face wipes which are specifically for these sticky messes, and they come in convenient packs that can go in the nappy bag, a purse, or the bottom of the pram. For my sensitive baby, I just use a clean wash cloth and water.
6. Food– Whether you do Baby Led Weaning or purees, you will need something to feed baby. We do a little bit of both. Sometimes I even cook and purée my own food using my Baby Bullet. Because I don’t have a huge amount of time on my hands, we use a fair few pouches and already prepared things to help mama feed bubs nutritiously.
*Bellamy’s Organic has a beautiful range for those first food moments! Whether you are looking for Rice Ceral or pouches to feed on-the-go or at home, they have you covered! To add to the list, they even have pasta, teething rusks, and more (and these are just the starting foods!) Their food is made with all natural organic ingredients and no articifical additives. You can check out their store online (for my Aussies), or Amazon for my US friends. Several stores in Australia also stock their products, which you can search for here.
7. Snacks– For those moments in between meals, snacks are always good to have on hand, whether you are out or home! (Some snacks vary by age, so please follow the recommendations accordingly.)
My main snacks are by *Little Bellies who have a great selection of organic snack foods for your baby! Starting at 8 months, they carry a variety of puffs and other easily-dissolving, nutritious snacks for bub. They are my personal favourite, as the packaging is simply adorable, and my toddler is a huge fan of the blueberry puffs! You can find these in Woolworths or Coles (in store as well as online). They make a great extra to throw in your bag or nappy bag when you go out (and you can sneak a bite or two) to distract or keep little mouths and hands busy and little bellies happy! My toddler always comes running when she hears a bag crinkle now!
8. Bathing products– Of course your baby is no expert when it comes to foods, and mess is inevitable! Have that bath ready for when your little munchkin finishes immersing themselves in their dinner! We use sensitive bath products for my eczema prone baby. (Tip: Some mums say it make sure it easier to feed baby with no more than a nappy to avoid sulking over stains later, too!)
9. Camera– Maybe it’s the sap oozing out of me, but I have to get these first moments on camera. Plus, it’s super cute to see a baby covered in food. Have your camera, phone or video ready to record memories!
10. A Place To Sit– For them of course, but possibly for you as well! There are many types of high chairs, baby seats, and boosters when it comes to where they can be most comfortable. Pick something that lends itself to an easy clean. We have a high chair that adjusts in height, so baby can sit at the table level with us, or couch level if we feel exceptionally lazy.
Always be sure they are supervised, seated on something suited to feeding strapped in properly as they can be wiggly little things.
11. Allergy Awareness– While allergies may not run in your family, it is best to be on the lookout for reactions when introducing new foods. Some mums follow the “4 day wait rule” when doing so, to ensure they pick up on any reactions. Though more geared to preparing your own foods, Momtastic has some excellent resources for recording baby’s reactions, preferences and listing foods to introduce to baby which you can find here.
If you have any suspicion about allergies, or wonder if something is normal while feeding baby, don’t hesitate to call your doctor to ask questions. If you believe a reaction could be life threatening, do not wait to call emergency services in your area.
But wait, there’s more! Since I’ve been given more than enough to try, I am going to share the love with one person (Open to Australian residents only). Enter via the link below and comment on this post in order to be eligible. Terms and Conditions below. Please feel free to share this, and subscribe for blog post updates!
Resources: Bellamy’s Organic: Their website for their amazing organic food range as well as articles on nutrition, recipes, and videos. Little Bellies: Their Website which lists the variety of snacks available
Baby Bjorn Australia and United States: Websites with their amazing products, and “Inspiration” section with article to help parents.
Mummy Confession:Before kids, my thoughts towards the common cold weren’t much, but after kids, even the common cold is the most vile of things to strike my children.
“We can’t make it today. The kids have come down with something.”
I used to scoff at those words. I used to think, “Oh come on. It’s just a cold. Sniffles and a little itchy nose.”
I take all those thoughts back now as a mum. Both being the one who has kids with a cold and kids who play with my children that has a cold.
We are currently battling the dreaded common cold in our house, times five. One of those is me. But, that doesn’t hurt as much as seeing my babies suffer through the drippy-runny noses and sore throats that take them on a roller coaster of misery. It is probably more exhausting trying to care for the sick when sick yourself, but we must carry on!
Nights are now spent waking up every half hour (because every hour with teething wasn’t enough already), and fighting to get anyone to sleep. Cries in the night as they try to breathe, and moaning as they clutch their throats. Begging for more medicine which they can’t have just yet, and every five minutes haunted by their tiny voices saying, “I’m still stick Mummy.”
These are the times sleep exhaustion takes over and you just have to get by with each day. I’m not joking when I say I’ve been living on sleep fumes the last few days especially. With a teething baby who takes literally hours to stop screaming, and now this virus, I’m just getting by walking around to do the necessities.
Let me just give some advice to you out there who have yet to experience the misery of illnesses with children: keep your kids away. Whether they are the one sick, keep them away from other kids if possible. If you think that colds are nothing bad, you may think twice after your child is infected. It may seem like a simple sniffle, and during the day it may just be that. Somewhere in the night it transitions into an endless pit of misery and destruction, sucking the joy (and sleep) out of anything in its path. So, wash your hands, and stay away from the sick children, and introduce plenty of vitamin C when your child is around others.
I’m not saying board up the house and never leave, but the common cold is nothing to be messed with, and it’s just best to stay clear. And if your child is the one infected, be kind and let others know (and ask if they want to reschedule) rather than them seeing snot everywhere only to weep on the inside for their anticipation of their child being the next recipient of the plague.
This goes a million times over for babies, especially young babies. You may think it’s something kids get over, it just comes and goes, but even a simple cold can have devastating effects on small babies. Not only can they not understand what is happening, but they can suffer so badly they require hospitalisation. They go downhill fast.
We were once transported by ambulance for this very reason. A cold turned into a cough, and my baby couldn’t breathe properly. And let’s not mention the time my less than week old baby couldn’t breathe through her nose. Even though endless hours were spent cuddling and diligently using an aspirator.
Be kind and, unlike you have been taught all your life for everything else, don’t share. Please, for the love of everything, don’t share. We don’t want to spend our entire night cuddling sniffling balls of mess and reminding them every five minutes that sleep makes the sickness go away quicker! To parents and carers, a cold is not ever “just” a cold. It turns sane people (perspective, people) into anxious messes.
Next time you have a cold, please be mindful that, while children need to “get used to” germs, it’s probably not your job to introduce them.
What if your child is already sick? Check out these helpful tips here (WebMD resource)!