Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Yesterday Milla reached out for a toy on her gym, we were so proud. Charlie sat with her, coaxing her and gently removing fist from mouth, until she fully made the transition and reached out again and again with her open hand to bat the toy.

Leap! Joy!
The rest of the day she was exhausted, we went visiting and she slept in the car and grizzled at lunch. We'd had a shower together and her hair was spiky and it was perhaps the hottest day of her life so she was dressed in shorts. She looked cute and to my eye, very smart!

She howled in the evening, which is the routine at the moment, though I never get used to it. Particularly when tears appear.

Today we did some tummy time and she was focussed and calm, watching my hands drum across the floor in big arcs and trying to crawl towards me. I quickly put her down to sleep after that effort.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Grand camp

Milla's first ride in Sooty. She woke up late, and grinning, too busy smiling to feed this morning. Funny kid. Lots of bustling around packing the car, bike, stroller, tents, what have we forgotten?

Headed back to Sheepyard for another night. Sunshine forecast.

Getting sleepy.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Three months

No longer a newborn, Milla is definitely our baby. She held her bottle last night, taking it from Charlie and feeding herself as we looked on in delight and shock.

Clever kid.
I love that she is so quick to smile. I love the sound of her yawns and sighs. This week she rolled a few times, and during tummy time, when a mirror was put in front of her, she quickly smiled at the 'other' baby.

Rolling for the first time.
We're still sleeping well, I had the longest sleep in a year, from 9:30 through to 5am without waking to Milla crying out, or my imagination. Usually, after a feed around 5am for Milla and peanut butter toast for me, we both go back to bed after Charlie goes to work, and get up a couple of hours later to start the day in earnest.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cashmere hat

Milla has been quite the well dressed baby lately, thanks to a bulk lot of very very nice second hand clothes that I bought from a woman off Gumtree. The clothes smell special, of someone else's washing powder. A DKNY cashmere hat suits her just so.

Torpedo baby.
It was a nice experience, buying the clothes. The seller was over by the Newport Lakes, in a beautiful house with gorgeous native trees and grasses in her yard. Her baby is huge, and six months older than Milla. Perfect for us to receive her cast-offs. We discussed how happy we were with the care at the Royal Women's and how amazing our bodies are. So lovely to find good people around.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Free Advice

The strange space that is pregnancy advice.

Now that I've had Milla I feel full of good advice about pregnancy and childbirth that needs to be shared.

I also love Milla so much that I think everyone should have a baby and experience this joy.

Unfortunately that's all a bit ridiculous and inappropriate.

But along my pregnancy journey I felt like there was a lot of secret women's business. And a great deal of confusing garbage and guilt.

Without further ado, some general tips for pregnancy, and birth.
  • Eat dates
  • Elevate your legs
  • Do yoga
  • Go to all the classes
  • Get the hospital tour
  • Write a birth plan, with your partner. Start it as soon as you realise you have an opinion about some aspect of birthing
  • Stock up on iron as your big day approaches
  • Walk walk walk (and elevate legs after)
  • Have a list handy of the cheeses to avoid
  • Buy a bolster or pregnancy pillow
  • Don't keep wearing your good clothes unless you're happy for them to be stretched
  • Moisturise your tummy morning and evening, use different creams/oils
  • Have a nighty to dress the baby in at the hospital
  • Learn how to switch your pelvic floor on and off
  • Sleep on your left
  • Go to the pool
  • Take snacks with you everywhere
  • Evening primrose in your last weeks
  • Plan to have toilet breaks, particularly important working in your last trimester
  • Get really good at resting
  • Most importantly, guard against stress. Do everything you can to eliminate stress. Don't feel you need to make all the decisions about pregnancy and birth and parenting RIGHT NOW. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014


Wrapping Milla in her swaddle, softly telling her it's sleep time, lifting her to my shoulder. Then some chatting starts. It took Charlie and I by surprise to hear the little voice, making conversation as she gets patted to sleep.

Words fail me. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Stroking circles

When she's feeding on the left, her right hand goes around and around in a big clockwise arc. Tracing, stroking. Her cheek, my breast. Her ear, my chest. If my hand is there, it gets stroked too.

Waking up,  ready to eat. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Ten weeks

Ten years ago I wrote a group email with the subject line 'the ten week wonderful'. It detailed my trip to Europe, starting with meeting Jack in the Netherlands, travelling France and Spain with him, then going to London to live, visiting Mum in Turkey and all the adventures in between.

Another ten week wonderful.

Can you spot the baby? 
Last night we fed Milla around 8pm, boob plus bottle, then changed her, read 'Guess How Much I Love You' and put her down at 9:30pm. We woke with Charlie's alarm at 5:30am and went down to wake her up! She weighed in yesterday at 4.46kg so I'm happy that on a reduced amount of feeds, she's getting all she needs.

Trying to do Tummy Time, and read books to her each day. And make sure I exercise. Having the bike is so good.

Just before the tears start.

Monday, September 08, 2014

First Camp

Camping with nine week old Milla. Happy Father's Day. 

After a feed, Howqua River behind. 
I have certainly spent a lot of time on forums and searching for tips about living an outdoors adventure life with a little one. Now I have my own story.

It's a happy story.

Fair to say there's been significant build up to this event. The question of how to continue our outdoor adwentures was present before I got pregnant and as I became less able during pregnancy, it was more pressing.

A colleague told me a tale about caravan camping with a four month old this Easter. The little one got cold and woke, and was fed to resettle. Months later her sleeping was not recovered and she still woke to feed throughout the night.

So Milla was dressed warmly. She was very cosy, our tent had ice on it and was about 5 degrees inside. But she was warm as pie.

We camped at a familiar spot, in Sheepyard Flat by the Howqua River. A four hour drive, the last 30 minutes on rough corrugations. We camped by the river to provide white noise for Milla and maybe a wall of sound for neighbours.

We were joined by Charlie's parents who brought with them a nifty little caravan with an annex. Having their company meant we didn't need to worry about making dinner during the witching hour.

After an Ergo walk, where we followed a very calm wombat along the river, we ate dinner, Milla had an epic feed and then we placed into her little bassinet - a familiar sleeping spot from home. She was layered in merino leggings, vest and gown and then in a silk sheet for a swaddle and a custom made sleeping bag and the Icelandic wool blanket she sleeps with every night.

She looks so sweet and so cosy with a tiny little cheeks poking out from the layers. We placed the bassinet on a foam mattress in the tent by our Thermarests and she went to sleep at about 9:30pm, a little earlier than normal time. 

Being unwrapped in the morning. 
We went to bed, both stayed in our clothes, secretly fearing we'd be up and down through the night. I was anxious. At 3:45am she woke up. I was ecstatic. I declared the trip a success. Charlie quickly warmed a bottle for her as I gave her a breast to keep quiet. We resettled her and were back asleep at 5am. We then got up around 6:30am. It was just like camping. I took a walk along the river with Milla in Ergo and Charlie went mountain biking. We watched birds, took photos, had cups of tea. 

Misty morning, ducks on the Howqua.
Lessons learnt? Recommendations? 
  • Have a nappy bag ready to go, rather than sorting through the duffle for the changing set up. 
  • Have a thermos for the midnight bottle. 
  • Don't forget the swaddle blanket (yikes, that was a panicked moment). 
  • Ensure there is down time from the stimulation of the new environment. 
  • Have a pre-made dinner.
  • Undress so I could be comfortable when trying to sleep! 

Things we might have done right? 
  • Went somewhere familiar, and spacious, where it was easy to go for a walk away from other people.
  • Went when the weather was great, no rain or wind. 
  • Kept Milla warm. 
  • Tried out all the clothes on Milla before the trip. 
  • Had Milla sleep in her familiar bassinet. 
  • Didn't try to breastfeed in the tent (I always feed in a chair).  
  • Had activities for us so we felt like we got away. 
  • Went with people! Who could hold Milla, help us out with meals, etc. 

Friday, September 05, 2014

Spring joy

Beautiful frosty mornings have made way for brilliant almost warm starts. If it wasn't so lovely to nap with Milla between morning feeds, I'd be disappointed that I was missing out. This morning we're doing her 10am feed under the apricot tree, which has just begun littering the yard with tiny petals. This year I might have more time to make apricot jam when the tree goes crazy in December.

Flowers in vases, hung from tree in Seddon. 
I bought a merino gown and pants for Milla as her debut camping outfit and tested them out on her this morning, to check they fit and were comfy for her, not strange when we put them on tomorrow.

The forecast for the weekend is more brilliance, I dream that it might be just warm enough to dip toes in Howqua River.

In the sun yesterday, I fastened this little creature into the Ergo and walked 6kms to Footscray, testing my endurance and finding no lack. For Milla it was a rude shock when I took her out of the carrier at home and she screamed with certain shock.

I've been following the Wonder Weeks and presently Milla is in a leap where she begins to recognise patterns. I noticed her looking at the bunting and prayer flags as never before, smiling when I moved them for her. It's such a delight to watch her develop before my eyes.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Night smiles

Smiling while she's feeding.

The last few nights we've changed the routine. Charlie and I have gone to bed early and I've got up to feed Milla when she's woken. Before I would stay up between the 6pm and 10pm feeds, heading to bed a couple of hours after Charlie. This way we get to go to bed together.

Milla is so sweet during the night feeds, cheerful when I collect her from the crib, wanting to play when we finish and tonight, smiling as she sucked, the edges of her mouth turning up and her big eyes crinkling. Something I'll not be able to ever capture on film.

Smiling after feeding in the Ballroom.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Two months

We'll be so sad when she stops doing the tiny 'o' yawns.

Lots more chatter from Milla, it's possible to have a conversation with her for some minutes now. Very cute, intense, cheerful, purposeful talking.

She wore a dress for the first time! Looked very sweet! A change from the usual androgynous outfits that have waitresses asking 'how old is he?'. What difference a nice camera makes...
Cheeky Russian sailor look.
We're getting nervous and trying to get organised for the long-awaited first night in a tent. The focus thus far has been on how to keep Milla warm, how to keep a bottle warm for a night feed, and general stress about what to do if she howls all night.

We have a two week camping adwenture planned for next month - through NSW and ACT, my first visit to Blue Mountains... Very exciting and scary! Milla and I will fly to Newcastle and meet Charlie in Sooty. We'll stay those first days with dear friends in Newcastle, then begin to wind south. We have AirBnB accommodation in Mount Victoria, aside from that, we plan to camp. Charlie will bring bike and bouldering mat. I'll be taking photos, walking, maybe a run?