Top Baby Items for the First Year.

Friends and family often ask “have you got any gift ideas for a new Mum?”, or, “what were your favourite baby items?”, so, here we go!

Better do this before I forget…

Cuski Black out Muslin

cu200s504_largeAround four months baby becomes more aware, so, this is the perfect cover to create a dark sleeping environment while on the move. Place over the capsule, buggy, cover a window, or use as a replacement forgotten swaddle. I wish I had this for my first born. This is brilliant.

$49.95 from The Sleep Store. Keep an eye online as often go on special.

White Noise

My second born was trained to sleep with white noise from birth. This has become a huge sleep association (along with swaddle or once older sleepsack). Studies have shown that babies sleep better with white noise as it emulates the noise inside the womb.

Baby Sleep Consultant or Baby Beyond

From the above point about ‘training’ my babies to sleep. With my first born I got help at four, 10 and 12 months, with sleep training as we weren’t sleeping through the night. It didn’t come easy. With Cooper, I trained him from birth with ‘shhh pat’, utlising the Baby Sleep Consultant techinques. It didn’t mean that he slept through the night until nine months, but it did mean that we had easier moments than with my first born. I highly recommend having an action plan, and setting up a great base from the beginning. That means employing a Sleep Consultant from the beginning. Baby number two is a much better sleeper than my first born ever was.

Pre-Birth Lactation Consultant

Having breastfed my first born, I wanted a refresher on ‘how’ to feed and things to look out for at birth to ensure success. As, having fed one, and knowing that it is not always easy to breastfeed and every child is different, it seemed logical. What should I do if my son has a tongue tie? How can I get good feeding habits in at the beginning to ensure success? Latch? Cheryl from Natural Breastfeeding formulated an action plan for the first 24-48hours of feeding for us, and the back up was a home visit if things weren’t going smoothly. In the end Cooper and I did have some trouble feeding, but we got help straight away before it got too bad.

Bodum Double Wall Insulated Glasses/Mugs

929863-zoomAlright, a little lighter topic, but a serious one…cold coffee/tea! These mugs have kept my tea hot for at least an hour. Perfect for when you put your tea down somewhere and forget about it, only to come back and realise it is…well in the case of these mugs, still hot! Yippee! Available in different sizes. A personal favourite are the large ones.

Mocka Highchair

mocka-designer-high-chair-free-harness-bdDon’t bother with a fancy high chair with fancy fabric, nooks and crannies. The food will only get stuck in the holes. This economical high chair wipes down easily. Heck, you could even take the outdoor hose to it if need be. Inserts and straps are available for younger babies.

Teething Babies: Weleda Teething Powder & Sophie the Giraffe

weleda-baby-teething-powder-wlbtp6Some babies teeth terribly, my boy did at four months (see below for dribble bib recommendations). These two products are a must have. Weleda Teething Powder for relief, and Sophie to chew.

Mum 2 Mum Bandana Dribble Bibs

bandana-yellowmMy son was a dribbly teether. Not to mention that at four months he couldn’t hold his head up so the saliva would pool in his little fat neck rolls (poor kid!). So, we would have rash. Well, we did have rash until we started using these bandana bibs. Going through five to seven cotton bibs was hard work at the end of the night washing them all. Made from 100% cotton, super-absorbent velour toweling with a nylon water resistant back keeps babies dry. Once we switched to these bibs the rash subsided and the number of bibs we went through decreased. Their ‘normal’ and ‘sleeved’ bibs are also fantastic.

Mumi 2 Bubi Solids Starter Kit

ssk-clear-trays-250hConsisting of two freezing trays with 42 cubes (total), these ‘big ice cube trays’ are a fantastic time saver. Once my kids hit time to start solids, I simply bulk cooked food and popped it in the freezer. Once frozen, popped the cubes out of the trays into labelled snaplocked bags and meal times were easy!

Love to Dream Swaddles / Sleepsacks

ltsu-50_50_with_pack_lo-res_72dpiMy kids were swaddled from day one. It became a sleep association. Even for sleeps on the go my babies were swaddled. The great thing about Love to Dream swaddle sleeping bags is that they simply zip – no fussing with fabric tucking, and they have a car seat ‘hole’ between the legs. Transitional swaddles are available for weening off the swaddling – one arm at a time. This was a treat for my kids. Though, I seem to remember around about four months with Isabella we were having a rough sleep patch, so, I just whipped both arms off, because, the sleeping couldn’t get any worse!

Capsule to Buggy Attachment

If you can, try and get either a car seat that attaches to your buggy/stroller. Or, a car seat buggy frame. This is a life saver. Particularly for number two. When teamed with the black out muslin above, I could move my son in and out of the car, from car seat base to buggy without waking him up. LIFE SAVER! We used the Maxi Cosi and Phil & Teds Navigator.

Angelcare Monitor

indexDo your own research, but for us, peace of mind with the sound and movement monitor pad was important. Now days there are monitors with cameras etc also.

Some other top tips and links for expecting or new Mum’s.

Have a look at other numerous blogs from me on pregnancy (just scroll down)

What’s in my hospital bag part one / What’s in my hospital bag part two

Follow The Bloom Method to look after your abdominals during pregnancy – often free videos and blogs

Pre and Post Pregnancy Exercise

The New Zealand Government has just launched SmartStart providing step-by-step information and support to help you access the right services for you and your baby.

Other blogs I like to follow include With the Whittakers and Anna Reeve.

If you are a new or expecting Mum – good luck, and I hope you enjoy your hot cup of tea. And for those on a different or supporting journey, good luck and enjoy!

CW xx

Air Travel with Kids

Traveling with kids is awesome, but without sounding too negative, it is also hard work.

Over the past three years we have done numerous trips with Isabella (now 3.5 years) and since Cooper (10 months) has been born we’ve done two with two kids. We’ve made some rooky mistakes, and we’ve had some disaster flights. Such as when Isabella was 13 months old, tired, and needed to sleep, but wouldn’t on me. After screaming down the plane, she finally fell asleep on the floor of the plane by the cockpit toilets and exit. Thankfully the airline staff were amazing and let her sleep there – while we sat with her to ensure no one stepped on her. Now, that was stressful!


Top tips for traveling with kids.

Try to book seats with the bassinet for babies. We fly Wellington to Brisbane often which is Virgin Australia 737-800 which doesn’t have bassinets.


We are traveling long haul when Cooper is 14 months, we have booked him a seat and plan to take his car seat for him to sleep in overnight on the plane. I’ll blog more on that later in 2017 once I can comment.

Fly around sleep schedules. We have always opted for day/early morning flights for our Noosa holidays, as the kids would have a small nap on the plane, and then a long nap on the car ride from Brisbane to Noosa (1.5-2 hours).

Prepare your toddler my talking to them about what is happening and what is expected of them.


Ditch the nappy bag and opt for a backpack for handsfree juggling.

Pack your backpack with lots of large snaplock bags. Categorise your items, for example, a nappy change packet, toy packet, snacks, change of clothes, muslins etc. That way when you are digging around in the bag everything is contained and easy to find.

Baby carrier, again, handsfree. Don’t bother with a stroller to the gate if you can. As one less thing to manage.

Brings me to my next tip. Purchase a buggy/stroller bag like this one here. Place the buggy, spare nappies, food and extras in the bag. We take enough nappies and food to get us through the next day only, knowing that we will get to a supermarket pretty promptly on arrival. Less things to take.

Food. Food. Food. Take lots of snacks on board. Take a variety of favourite snacks and new snacks for entertainment.
Treats/bribes. For the toddler, what really gets them going? For our girl it is Kinder surprise eggs and lollipops. Use them as bribes or positive re-enforcement.

Lollipops are fantastic for descent to assist with un-blocking ears and keeping them quiet in their seat.

iPad with a NEW movie, and noise cancelling headphones. We didn’t use the iPad on our most recent trip, but it has been known to be a life saver. Such as below, when Isabella was having a melt down, so she lay on the floor with the iPad only to promptly fall asleep… with it on her face.


Money. On Virgin Australia you can buy food. Take the time with your toddler to look at the menu, peruse, get them to say the names of all of the things, and then pick something to buy. Press the call button, give the toddler the money, and get the toddler to buy their snack. Again, a little experience that can buy you time.

Nappies. For wriggly babies, take both pull ups and normal nappies. Pull ups are great if they are wriggling in the bathroom change area.

Feeding cover. Feeding covers are great for on the plane, I would imagine even for bottle feeding Mum’s, as baby can sleep in the dark underneath the feeding cover without plane distractions. I got mine from Breastmates.

Prepare toys. Wrap up old and new toys in gift wrap to buy time. Look for little and light toys like these ones.

Change of clothes of the kids, and yourself. A tipped water will ruin your trip, a poo explosion, or, you may lose your luggage. Pack a spare pair of underwear and contact lenses if need for yourself also, as you can generally cope wearing the same clothes as yesterday.

Lastly, prepare yourself and your traveling companions mentally. Having a chat about a plan of attack is worthwhile. But then, completely forget about it and relax. The nature of traveling is that often things are out of your hands. A delayed flight, or an unexpected cancellation. Or, simply, your child does not do well on the flight. All of these things are better managed if you are relaxed and calm.

Have fun, it’s such a treat to get away as a family, I know we always return with a renewed family connection and the kids learn and develop with each trip.

Good luck

CW x


9 Months In, 9 Months Out

Strangely, our littlest bebe, Cooper, has grown, and he is now nine months old.

Cliche I know – but where has the time gone?!

9 months in vs 9 months out, seemed like a great opportunity to reflect on the journey and changes.

9 months in.

I was a nervous wreck during the first few months of my pregnancy having suffered a miscarriage prior to conceiving Cooper. I immediately stopped training at the gym as soon as I found out I was pregnant again, and didn’t venture back until around 15 weeks pregnant. Even then, my training had to change (due to nerves AND ability).

My body (and mind) responds well to strength training (dear I say it a female lifting heavy weights!) but, no longer could I train this way. My Personal Trainer Rose Watson guided me, we modified training, and continued to train up until 36 weeks pregnant. Lots of safe core work, wide squats, posterior chain work. Anyone who has had a baby will understand what I mean by the ‘bearing down pressure’ became too much – it was time to stop and rest. Which, by the way, is hard to do when you have a toddler also!

You can read more on my pregnancy here (just scroll down a little)

Pregnancy is such a beautiful thing for some people, hideous for others. Personally, I loved how my body felt and looked while pregnant…my cute little basketball bump and booty gains 😛

However, it wasn’t all easy sailing. Perhaps due to my body composition, training, diet, or perhaps due to the way I was carrying Cooper, the midwife was often worried about his size. We had growth scans throughout the pregnancy to check how he was doing, and, every time we left the sonographer’s room with reports of a perfect healthy sized baby.

My due date came around, so, we went out for dinner. I ate a huge bowl of risotto, some of Isabella’s pizza, and then two magnum ice creams when I got home (OMG!), my body must have known it needed the fuel. Five hours later, Cooper was born naturally, with no drugs. 6lb, 12oz. Read my birth story here.

This was COMPLETELY different to Isabella’s pregnancy and delivery. During her pregnancy I put on quite a bit of weight, and endured a 32 hour labour. Had an epidural at 26 hours, and, she was 8lb, 4oz. So, when Cooper popped out, they were surprised by his size (6lbs 12oz). A few hours later we headed home and began our life as a family of four.

9 months out

Cooper was a sweet little baby. After we got over the initial stages of establishing breastfeeding (hello four hour feeding sessions!), he settled well into morning and night. Two days post delivery we went out for our first walk, and at five days postpartum I started the Pregnancy Exercise Birth 2 Fit Mum programme.

The Birth 2 Fit Mum programme is AMAZING for recovery and information. Too often (it seems), women return to fitness having not repaired their abdominal separation or strengthened the pelvic floor. I simply followed the exercises; pelvic tilts, leg slides, hip raises etc.

9 weeks postpartum I returned to the gym with my Personal Trainer Rose Watson. WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT. Confidence was low, body confidence even lower, and ability poor. It was really tough mentally to carry on when I had been the fittest, and, probably, in the best shape of my life pre-pregnancy.

Then, we bought a new house, sold our (old) house, had Isabella’s 3rd birthday party, went on holiday. You get told “you can eat whatever you want, you are breastfeeding”….HELLO WEIGHT GAIN. 8kg in fact! I should have known this would happen as the exact same thing happened after Isabella’s birth (but it was more like 12kg).

Diet was reined in, and set, goals revisited, and I was finally able to commit to two personal training sessions per week meanwhile exclusively breastfeeding Cooper. That’s a challenge on it’s own with my hungry boy!

Little Cooper was a quiet, cuddly wee boy. Plunket would have liked to have seen more weight gain, but he’s improving so that’s great. He got into solids at five months, and within a week was on four meals per day (hungry boy!). Cooper found his voice and confidence at about seven months old, and since then, he’s been a rocket…

He loves kumera (well, any food), standing up, crawling, his Mummy & Daddy, absolutely adores Isabella (you should see the way he smiles at her!), and his black Labrador brother Duke.

Physically, I’m slowly returning to what I was, though, I don’t think it’ll ever be the same. My body is different, plus, I’m a year older. Clean eating and being prepared with meals has been so incredibly important this time around, our busy family life has left little time for much else. Keeping on top of food and having clean treats available has been a priority for our family.

This is another reason why I hope to start my new business around clean treats soon – more on that later.

I’ll also be blogging about how I lost 10kg postpartum as soon as I get there (great motivation).

2017 holds lot of promise and excitement as we continue on as a family of four.

Here’s to 2017 (oh, and no more babies! :P)




Our Mermaid Turns Three

Come splash with us

Under the sea

Isabella the mermaid is turning three…

Our eldest baby turned three, and there was no better way to celebrate than to get friends and family together in the new house, for a mermaid party.

People must say I’m crazy; we have a nearly four month old, we’ve recently sold our house and have moved into a new house two weeks ago, yet, I decided to “go all out” on a mermaid themed party. But here’s the thing…. I need “projects”! A creative outlet…something to do…plus, life is boring if it’s too easy!

The food, the cake, the decorations…

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The end of an era…we say goodbye to our first home

This home will always hold a special place in our hearts. With so many milestones and memories created here… Newly married, bringing home Duke (our black lab pup), renovating, developing the house and gardens, Mike’s 30th, numerous birthdays and parties, and, for both of our children it’s the only home they know.

But, all good things come to an end, and a new adventure awaits us. A new home, a new place to create memories…and more space! Yippee!

In commemoration of the move, here are some home highlights

After: New Resene colours for the exterior. Weatherboards “Quarter Craigieburn”, Windows “Double Alabaster”, Accent “Iron Sand”
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Cooper has arrived!

Little Baby Cooper Westbury has arrived and, we are totally smitten…we are now a family of four!  Here’s a quick update on the labour, meeting Isabella, and our first 48 hours.

Cooper was born after a fairly straight forward natural five hour labour, and weighed in at 6lbs 12oz (3040 grams) at 2.43am. We’d been out for dinner that night, and then all of a sudden when it was time to go to bed I realised I was in labour…it kind of caught us off guard.

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Pregnancy Update. Bump, Food & Preparation.

Well, I’m 39 weeks and 6 days pregnant today…and, while I’m playing the ‘waiting game’, I thought I’d write a little blog post about; what bump has been up to, what food I’ve been enjoying, and what food I’ve prepared for when ‘he’ arrives.

Bump has been keeping me busy, moving from one side to the other (wiggle that cute bum boy!), head down, loads of rib kicks/grazes, and keeping that heartburn burning. He’s pretty tight in there, but sitting happy in perfect position for delivery (let’s hope he stays that way!). It’s not that glamorous anymore, as every time I pick something up from the floor, I endeavour to perform a full deep wide sumo squat… and, it’s getting harder to get up – thank goodness I’ve practiced those squats hey?! And, walking has become more ‘duck’ like over the past few days!

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What’s in my hospital bag – Mum. Part 2/2

I’m going to have two bags packed, one bag to take to the hospital with essentials I need during or immediately after the birth, and another bag for later. No point hauling everything up until you know!

This post is for Mum (and Dad), see my earlier post here on what’s in my hospital bag for baby.


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What’s in my hospital bag – Baby. Part 1/2

All of a sudden we are getting very close to meeting our new baby; Midwife appointments are weekly, toddler care arrangements are made for when labour starts/baby arrives, pre-birth acupuncture is in full swing, the nursery is complete, the freezer is stocked, oh, and I’m 38 weeks now…

So, my hospital bag is packed…let’s get organised!
Last time we hauled far too much stuff up to the delivery suite (twice – as got turned away 20 hours before returning), so this time we are keeping it sweet and concise.

I’m going to break this up into two posts – first up – Baby! Second post – Mum!

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It’s just “see you later” for now, but not goodbye gym…. 😢

The time has come for me to listen to my body, stop training and rest. You just know it’s time right?!
It has been incredible to work out twice a week up until 36 weeks pregnant as it’s such a big part of my life and who I am. Training has been ‘different’ and bump has kept me challenged, but I have learnt so much about the female body during pregnancy and what can be achieved. Plus – a few new exercises and variations (nothing wrong with that hey!).

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