The A-Z of pregnancy ending with a nice big nap...
love from outie.co.nz

The Pregnancy Alphabet by Outie

The A-Z of pregnancy ending with a nice big nap... love from outie.co.nz

The A-Z of pregnancy ending with a nice big nap…
love from outie.co.nz

A-ankles

B-boobs

C-cankles

D-dignity (out the window)

E-elevate

F-flatus

G-glow

H-hurl (morning sickness)

I-insomnia

J-jugs

K-knankles (extension of cankles…)

L-love

M-mummy

N-nursery

O-outie

P-pelvic floor

Q-queasy

R-ravenous

S-stretch marks

T-tummy

U-ultrasound

V- (overgrown)

W-waddle

X-expecting

Y-yelling (mood swings)

Z-zzz (have a nap)

 

The Pregnancy Alphabet has been brought to you by Outie.

If you liked this post, please let me know and click ‘follow’ before you go.

X Katrina (Outie)

outie_nz on Instagram

OutieNZ on facebook X

 

The Elmyra Complex – Why None of Us Are Immune

The Elmyra complex takes its name from the Looney Tunes character, Elmyra Fudd, who has compulsion issues in her desire to ‘catch and cuddle’ all things cute. The symptoms for this complex are varied and can be present from birth, though some parents find that signs of the complex can manifest more slowly. Parents throughout the ages have tried to gain immunity from the complex yet none have been known to succeed. Some say the ‘putti factor’ is responsible for igniting symptoms even when the complex has been dormant for several years. Ultimately it is up to us as parents to recognise the symptoms, gush, and try not to become too loony.

 

Symptoms of the Elmyra Complex are different for each individual. Parents talk of an ‘overwhelming love’, ‘a pull’ or ‘a bond’ that inspires them to vocalise with ‘naws’ and ‘aws’ when they see something that might pass as ‘cute’. These indicators are paired with a desire to smell the cute thing, tickle its feet and to try to make it giggle or snort in order to satisfy the parent’s inner Elmyra. Many parents claim that the complex is present right from the moment of birth, though some parents find that signs of the complex can manifest more slowly. In a moment of distracted observation weeks or even months post birth, an affected parent may have a delayed onset of symptoms and experience an overwhelming feeling of fierce (and sometimes even tearful) love that seems to have come from nowhere.

 

Currently there is no known immunisation or cure for the Elmyra complex. Despite our best efforts, there have been no babies born that cannot be recognised as cute by at least one other person. The English language is littered with idioms that explain the potency of the Elmyra complex in affecting parents who, from an outsider’s perspective, might have been spared from calling their offspring ‘cute’. ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’, ‘A face only a mother can love’ and ‘Love is blind’ are among some of the most popular expressions we use to explain the seemingly unexplainable ‘hug-em-squeeze-em’ urges that the Elmyra Complex inflicts.

 

Many kinds of ‘cute’ can prompt the symptoms of the Elmyra Complex. Historically, the ‘putti factor’ is the leading trigger for igniting symptoms even when the complex might have been dormant for several years. Putti (pl, Italian ‘put-ee’ or singular putto) describes cherubic, often winged infants used primarily in religious paintings to add something to ‘aw’ and ‘naw’ at during boring sermons. Especially popular during the Boroque period, they also came to symbolise the omnipresence of god and thus the omnipresence of cuteness in babies. Typical attributes of putti that trigger the Elmyra complex are chubby arms and legs, little feet (especially if the toes are pointing), cheeky expressions, round cheeks, upwards-looking innocent gazes and perfectly smooth looking skin. Even though the putti factor is largely to blame for cuteness overload in infants it is worth noting that even pimply teenagers still cause some parents to be affected all over again.

 

There is no known immunity to the Elmyra Complex because there is no known cure for what we call ‘cute’.

Ultimately it is up to us as parents to recognise the symptoms of the Elmyra Complex, gush and try to move on. Each of us will suffer from different symptoms and inflict them on our babies without notice – even when our babies have grown into adults. We cannot escape it as it is part and parcel of becoming parents. None of us are immune because our love for our children is forever – and it is this unexplainable love which drives us all a bit loony.

elmyra

This post was brought to you by the Outie Snuggle Shrug – our cutest product yet.

 

mma

Is your baby safe from attack? The ultimate sleep fighter

Sleep fighter (noun): baby who counterattacks sleep with ninja-like technique

Startle reflex (noun): arm and leg ‘kapow’ combo used by a baby for self-defense, also an excellent starter strategy for escape from most swaddles

Is your baby a contender for the Ultimate Sleep Fighter?

Is your baby a contender for the Ultimate Sleep Fighter?

 

The smallest change in environment can activate your baby’s startle reflex. A small noise, the sensation of falling or even a change in temperature will make them lurch in alarm. Their arms and legs will snap out suddenly, they might hit themselves with confusion, they might scratch their own face with their razor-sharp fingernails and they will punch and kick at the same time.

Suddenly alert, your baby mentally checks the perimeter and then needs you to spend the next hour (and then some) trying to help them get back to sleep.

Your baby’s night ninja is the ultimate sleep fighter. Attackers could be coming from four different directions when one of them steps on a twig – and ‘KAPOW!’ all four assailants are dealt with with one fell swoop – and all this while you thought your baby was soundly asleep. And that’s just with their startle reflex starter move.

It’s actually a pretty impressive skill – this sleep fighting. Unfortunately for us parents, it means we also have to summons our inner ninja as we expertly tiptoe around, slink in shadows and ‘become white noise’ in our efforts to keep the baby asleep. We swaddle to try to prevent them from waking themselves with the startle reflex but they keep coming up with new moves to break free.

While their sleep fighting routine might actually be useful in their future career as an Mixed Martial Artist or a Kung Fu movie extra, it is not particularly useful for anyone in the family wanting the ‘Holy Grail’ of life with a new baby – sleep.

Babies are born Jiu Jitsu masters – they do their sleep fighting from their backs and they can ‘shrimp’ out of the best swaddle. It turns out that babies actually have some pretty dirty sleep fighting habits and use techniques that would be frowned upon in sanctioned combat sport. Eye gouges, headbutts, fish hooks, pinches, scratches, bites and kicks to the groin are all par for the course of being a normal sleep fighting baby.

Do you recognise any of these elements of sleep fighting?

NEWBORN: Unusually long fingernails, back fists and straight leg kicking combos.

4 WEEKS: Jab – jab, cross, upper cut, wild kicking,headbutts.

6 WEEKS: The one sharp fingernail you missed, the back arch bust out bridge and the double-leg push kick.

12 WEEKS: Undercover un-tucker (a mysterious move no-one has yet witnessed), grab-grab-hands and multi-slicing finger nails.

6 MONTHS: Super-strength, pummelling, butterfly guard, complex kicking combinations , clawing, cheek squeezing, death grips and the power shrimp.

It’s exhausting and we are just the spectators. But what can we do about our baby Kung Fu?

The primary combative measure to sleep fighting is to swaddle your baby so that they not only feel secure but also that they stay secured. Babies combine movements of their arms and legs with shrimping movements to gradually break out of most swaddles and blankets over the course of a nap or night-time sleep. A truly effective swaddle must combat sleep fighting by preventing your baby from using their arms and legs at the same time to break free. A successful swaddle will also repel even the best shrimping technique. Once you find the right swaddle, your baby cannot wake themselves with their night ninja routine and in the fight against sleep fighting – you will win.

 

 

NB: It is a little known fact that leading MMA fighters are now swaddled as part of their basic training in order to test their fighting prowess and strength.**

Very few have been able to match the power to weight ratio of a newborn and all fighters concur that it is due to an expert combination of both leg and arm movements together that allows babies to successfully break free from swaddles.

The Outie Snuggle Shrug combats a baby’s sleep fighting stratagem by side-stepping all of their kicking efforts. Baby kick escapes are blocked by swaddling the upper body only. With arm movements contained and kicks encouraged even, the ultimate sleep fighter can settle again quickly. Wing fold technology is shrimp proof and the swaddle has been tested by the toughest sleep fighters we could find.

Tried, tested and approved by The Baby Sleep Consultant.

 

P.S. The Outie Snuggle Shrug is the undisputed heavy weight champion of swaddles.

 

** totally not fact

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is how we roll

This is how we roll – things we do during nap time

dance four eyes frankly my dear helens buttons she be fierce This is how we roll you and me clairvoyant clicky cardigan

 

Button Life – the second installment. Apparently, this is now my favourite thing to do while the babies sleep. Ah well. :)

This post is brought to you by the Outie Trinity Nursing Wrap. (Something simple with so many uses…)

Love and Buttons and a bit of sewing too.

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Love Outie.

 

my eyes

Button Life

I love buttons. Most people know this – I have jars and tins of them in my studio and just like to ‘have’ them.

My love of buttons has begun a life of its own in a little series of drawings called ‘Button Life’. The last one I think would make a great new tee design – a love belly button would be super cute on a big pregnant belly… but the rest are little cartoons that just kind of happened…

I feel like you can see right through me

 

Harold   I love you to the moon outie    roger   twinsYou know what I mean father's eyes

ivy Love Button

Which one is your favourite? I would love to know what you think. It’s their first time out of the house/off my desk so I feel quite anxious about letting my button babies out…

Love and buttons

Katrina (Outie)

Mamarazzi Paparazzi – How we treat our babies like celebrities

cropped-tiki-baby-heart-sunglasses.jpg

 

Babies are treated like celebrities.

In fact you might consider that compared to what a baby is subjected to in babyhood by us parents, we could be training them for life as a potential future celebrity.

Babies have a fan club, a personal chef, a house keeper, a nutritionist, a manicurist, a stylist and more… And it’s all you Mum (or dad).

 

We are the Mama/Paparazzi because:

  • We are their fan club as soon as they are born
  • We can’t get enough of them
  • We shower them with gifts
  • We let them get away with anything
  • We constantly photograph them
  • We even photograph them before they are born
  • We like to follow them everywhere
  • We like to dress them in outfits that might be a bit too small
  • We do not respect their personal space (too huggable!)
  • We rarely leave them alone
  • We especially like to photograph them when they are sleeping
  • We talk about them all the time
  • We can’t wait for the next time they do something cute (so that we can photograph them)
  • They could poo on the carpet and we would still love them
  • We are addicted to their cuteness

Oh and we’re parents.

 

Love Outie: bumps, babies, boobies. Boom!

 

Check out our tips on photography and how to capture cuteness.

This post is brought to you by the Outie Splat Mat and Tiny Turtles Baby Search 2014.

 

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The Anger Bug

I was bitten by the Anger Bug last night.

It snuck in when my baby was unsettled and I was trying to burp her and ssh her and soothe her. I had lost track of how many times she had needed me and I was running out of energy.

The Anger Bug saw an opening.

It sank its devilish teeth in for a good, deep bite.

Suddenly infected, I was angry with everyone and with everything and for every reason.

The dark was red. The night was red.

The moment was cooked.

 

With my daughter safely in her cot, I raged at the Bug.

How dare you bite me and make me lose it! How dare you steal my patience! How dare you take advantage of me just because I am tired!

I confronted it with a verbal parade in my head.

I filled the room with silent curses, with woe is me’s, with how dare you’s, with swear words, with resentment, with dishes battles, with cooking scorn, with general housewifery I’ve had enoughness, with undone to-do lists, with drudgery and with stolen sleep. I made a list of anger-making things that marched and tripped and clapped like thunder in the dark.

And this! And that! And this! I fumed.

But the Anger Bug scurried off just as my baby burped.

She farted and the crying stopped.

The night was black again. I rolled over, forgot my rage and went back to sleep.

 

Love Katrina (Outie)

 

 

PS. It was fun to write a little story that ends with a fart.

I find that it helps to write things down.

It also helps to know that every parent loses it sometimes. Never put your baby in danger and always put them down safely (so that you can go away and enjoy an adult sized tantrum without harming them). X

 

Ten Reasons Why You Want To Trade Places With Your Baby

Babies seem to get an awesome deal...

Babies seem to get an awesome deal…

 

Ten Reasons Why You Want To Trade Places With Your Baby

1)      You are covered in kisses all day

2)      Everyone adores you even when you have messed your pants

3)      You are put on a pedestal at least three times a day

4)      Your food is cut up for you

5)      A personalised snack pack picnic is never far from reach

6)      People bring you activities that they know you like

7)      You are wrapped up tightly to sleep

8)      You are read bedtime stories

9)      Your day is organised for you

10)   You have your own personal fan club

 

More Than Ten Reasons Why You Shouldn’t

 

1)      You don’t have any personal space

2)      You mess your pants and sometimes draw with it

3)      You can’t get down from your pedestal

4)      Your food is dictated to you

5)      Snack packs are never far from reach but you can’t reach them

6)      People think that they know what you want and you can’t communicate well enough to convince them otherwise

7)      You wear a straight jacket to bed (but you know you are not crazy)

8)      You want to stay up late but you are never allowed to

9)      You want to do what you want, but can’t

10)   You are followed by a weird paparazzi who take photos of you even when you are naked/sleeping/on the toilet

11)   Boobs are thrust in your face every time you cry (or should that be in the ‘reasons why you want to trade places’ guys?)

12)   You sleep in a ‘cage’

13)   You are easily overstimulated

14)   You have to wear bear costumes in public

15)   You cannot last a whole day without crying

16) … Can you add more reasons? Please leave a comment below.

 

Love Katrina (Outie)

This post is brought to you by the Outie Snuggle Shrug – it’s like a straightjacket for Houdini babies – even though we know they are not crazy. ;)

Every parent wants to measure their success - but how we measure it is a problematic enterprise.

Parenting Report Card – How do you score?

Parenting Report Card – How do you score?

As parents, our children are a living breathing assessment of our success. Or are they?

What would your parenting report card look like?

Keep a tally of your score as you read the report comments and give yourself a rating out of 50.

 

English

a)      Has a sound understanding of the English language and uses it appropriately in front of the children (5)

b)      Knows the right words but baby brain seems to have eclipsed his/her previously impressive vocabulary and he/she chooses to use words such as ‘thingamewhatsit’ far too frequently. Use of a dictionary is advisable as is reading more widely beyond picture books. (3)

c)       Knows how to speak but expletives are used far too often. Must try f*##*^ harder. (2)

 

Maths

a)      Uses fractions and algebra on a daily basis and demonstrates confidence in daily tasks involving mathematics. Baking is of an outstanding standard every time and without fail. (5)

b)      Is easily distracted by others and must try to concentrate more on the task at hand. It is also advisable that X remembers that one plus one could mean more babies and that it takes two to tango. Baking is a bit iffy. (4)

c)       Disappointing use of basic addition and subtraction. Just does not add up. More practice with counting games is advisable. 99 bottles of beer on the wall is used too often as an counting song. Does not bake. (2)

 

Social Studies

a)      If human interaction were an art, X would be Leonardo. Socialises regularly and can make a mean coffee when guests arrive unexpectedly. (5)

b)      Mixes well with those much younger than his/herself but more adult company would be beneficial. (2)

c)       Has not been present for any social assessment. Cannot make any notable comment. It is advised that X get out more/once. (2)

 

Art

a)      A range of media can be used by X with a high level of success. An impressive competence with drawing stick figures is likely to get him/her far. (5)

b)      Needs to be reminded that paint brushes can be messy and much more care is required. Most arty experiments have had questionable outcomes. (3)

c)       A gold star needs to be rewarded for trying hard in this subject area even though creative processes clearly do not come naturally. (8 – bonus points for giving it a go).

 

Drama

a)      Can manipulate emotion at an extremely high level and his/her use of canned tears and canned laughter deserves special mention. Handles the jandal like a pro. (10)

b)      Though X tries hard to feign certain emotions, anger often gets the better of him/her. Practice in avoiding long rants of complaining would aid X in getting higher marks for general management of this subject area. (5)

c)       Lives and breathes drama. This report card serves as a timely reminder that ‘less is more’ and being a drama queen or drama king can set a bad example for little-uns. (1)

 

Physical Education

a)      X is an active participant and has demonstrated a high level of coordination in most physical tasks from house cleaning to nappy changing. X has it down pat. (5)

b)      Is in fine form and can hit most targets although more focus on this subject area would result in a higher level of achievement. Rarely scores on first attempt at throwing nappies in bin. (2)

c)       Lack of time management and general lack of activity beyond the basics of child care makes it difficult to pass proper judgement on X’s physical capabilities. (1)

 

Science

a)      Knows where to find formula when needed. (5)

b)      Uses an experimental approach and can recognise catalysts for chaos. Utilises experience with problem solving well. (4)

c)       Often encounters explosions. (1)

 

Extra Curricular

a)      Has demonstrated confidence in trying a lot of extra-curricular activities, can sing in tune to the radio in the car and deliver kids to activities mostly on time. (10)

b)      Most activities seem to have been put into the too hard basket though play grounds are used regularly for appropriate outings. (8)

c)       Attendance is difficult though the best plans have been laid. It is the thought that counts and X gains merit points for trying. (5)

 

How did you score? (Top score 50! Multiply by 2 to get your percentage!)

(But really, the scores are arbitrary as are the point allocations).

Parenting is not a competition.

“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” – Einstein

Image

 

This post is brought to you by Outie’s Round Merino Baby Blankets. Just like the pie chart above, except they make a whole lot more sense. X

 

A bit more fun from Outie.

 

Cuteness with worm

Recipe for Cuteness with Ingredients for Success

Cute:

1. attractive, especially in a dainty way; pleasingly pretty: a cute child; a cute little apartment.

2. appealing and delightful; charming: What a cute toy!

3. affectedly or mincingly pretty or clever; precious: The child has acquired some intolerably cute mannerisms.

4. mentally keen; clever; shrewd.

 

 

According to the dictionary, cute has four definitions. The first pertains to being ‘little’, the second points to ‘delight making’ and the third (and fourth) is about being a little clever.

True ‘cuteness’ not only has to make you go ‘Oooh!’ but also ‘Aaah!’, ‘Aw!’ And finally, ‘Naw!’

In fact, in an ideal world, you must aim for all four “Oooh-ah-aw-naw!” to truly qualify as ‘Cute’ or adorable.

If you can make all of those reactions magically happen, you have harnessed the Je ne sais quoi of ‘cuteness’ and need to give yourself a big pat on the back, publish the photo and sit back and wait for compliments.

Here is a list of ingredients you might consider using if you want to achieve the ultimate cute photo. For ease of use, I have divided these ingredients into the four reaction categories.

Be warned, these tips can result in overwhelming (almost sick-making) cuteness.

Good luck with your shoot!

 

 

Cute – Ooh!

Wear animal costume

Sit beside giant teddy bear

Crouch inside a giant flower or bucket

Wear butterfly wings

Look puzzled

Cry

Look at hands with wonder

Wear a flower garland

 

Cute – Aaah!

Roll around in Christmas gifts

Laugh and look upwards

Show off missing teeth

Hide under a blanket

Play with a roll of toilet paper

Hold a little fart in

Play peek a boo

Suck thumb

Screw up face

 

Cute – Aw!

Hold a little flower

Pat a puppy

Snuffle a rabbit

Wear vintage bonnet

Smile slightly and look downwards at toes

Hold toes white sitting down with one leg out

Wear a tutu

Eat lemon and photograph reaction

 

Cute – Naw!

Spill tea at a tea party

Hug a bear with a missing eye

Poke tongue out

Hop

Eat food and mush it all over face

Wear spaghetti as a hat

Sleep

Wrap with light weight muslin cloth

 

 

Now how did you get on?

No luck?

Maybe try using a baby or a small animal instead. Hee hee.

Did you think we were giving baby photography tips? Re-read this post with yourself in mind and you can understand how hard it is to harness ‘cute’ even with all the right methods. ;)

ImageImageImage

we had a fun photoshoot trying to harness ‘cute’ with the aid of a wooden worm toy.

It’s much, much, much easier with babies…

 

P.S. Check out Tiny Turtles Baby Search: Cutie Pie In the Sky Competition – they are on the scout for little cuties to be the new faces of Tiny Turtles Bonds Clothing 2014!

 

Three Word Birth Stories

Three Word Birth Stories – A Collection

Can you describe your experience of birth in just three words?

Image

This is one of the first photos I have of my daughter and I together. It’s blurry but that’s part of it. Daddy was probably shaking. ;)

 

I asked the above question via the Outie facebook page and the answers are haunting, resonant, beautiful, terrifying and revealing.

 

Here is a collection of some of my favourites:

 

Like a rocket.

Quick, surreal, empowering.

Natural, amazing, life-changing.

Traumatic, emotional, scary.

Fear, Pain, Triumph.

Fast, Beautiful, Funny.

Long, traumatic, unforgettable.

Early, scary, fast.

Almost down toilet.

Beautiful Home Birth.

Loved every moment.

Best night ever.

Emotional, disempowering, traumatic.

Best thing ever.

Long, complicated, worth it.

On another level.

Scary, absent, sad.

Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!

Long, painful, relief.

 

And mine: Challenging, raw, beautiful.

Challenging: I had to come to terms with having a second C-section. I really didn’t want one but I had to come to terms with the fact that my body just won’t deliver babies naturally despite my best efforts.

Raw: My body has an entirely new pain threshold that I didn’t know was possible. I felt like I was going to break. I prayed. I learned brand new things about myself. I was a quiet animal. I didn’t scream. It was a new base-line of physical experience for me.

Beautiful: When my daughter was lifted out of me my man said, ‘You got your Ninia’. I knew that’s what I wanted to call her if she was a girl. She was a girl and I couldn’t have known how much I wanted her until I got her. She is amazing. I cried.

 

Love Katrina

Outie

 

 

P.S. I would like to publish a book of these ‘three word birth stories’. I love them so much. Thank you to everyone who has shared so far.

ROUND merino baby blanket by Outie

Every way is the right way around for once

I have been thinking about my Art School days a lot recently. We learned a certain way of thinking that pushed us, as artists, to revisit an idea from every angle until we were happy with an outcome. The same applies to critique of objects and aesthetics, that it takes a few angles and changes in perspective to truly appreciate an idea and/or form.

I didn’t really see that certain forms that I was interested in all those years ago have been repeating themselves in ways that I hadn’t noticed. It seems it just takes time to work an idea out in order to bring it around full circle.

In my paintings I have been obsessed with circles. I have used them to frame portraits and looked at them as symbols of halos and suns and holes in the atmosphere of painted worlds. In my business, I love putting images into round shapes , framing them within circles. My series of t-shirts was always inspired by the round bump of pregnancy. Similarly, my favourite shape for my Splat Mats has always been the circle. Some argue that a square is more functional as a messy mat under the high chair, but I just love the aesthetics of a circle because it can never look crooked and it seems to frame the designs better (I reckon anyway).

And recently I was thinking about circles and the way they keep repeating in  the things that I make and do and I was looking at my Snuggle Shrugs and I was admiring how there are no corners and how the shapes of the pattern pieces are all round…

And the idea just hit me in the face.

I am not sure why I haven’t thought of this before, but it makes perfect (circle) sense.

Introducing ROUND merino swaddle blankets.

The benefits:

  • there is no right way around
  • they look perfect when laid out flat on the floor
  • they are like a coloured ‘spot light’ to show off your baby
  • they can be folded along any edge to be used like a conventional swaddle blanket
  • they can drape over car seats as a shade and there are no corners to drag on the floor
  • they are large for a swaddle blanket so their utility is enhanced
  • they are now more like a real-life baby burrito
  • they are the perfect accompaniment to the 120cm round Splat Mat (which provides a super-durable and waterproof backing underneath)
  • they are just better all round

 

I know it seems like these are ‘just a blanket’ but they are actually much more than that to me. They are the realisation of a set of ideas all falling into place. Like a perfect circle.

 

Get yours here.

Love Outie

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010

Houdini Baby? Keep Calm and Swaddle On

My baby is a Houdini.

She settles best when she is swaddled but we have had real problems with her hands getting out when we swaddle her with standard muslin and stretch swaddle blankets. With her hands out, she scratches her face, knocks her dummy out and generally becomes distressed until I re-swaddle her.

This ends up being a bit dramatic in the middle of the night…

She is also a ‘warm baby’. She doesn’t like her feet being covered (at all!) and I worry about her overheating if I put her in a Sleep Sack AND swaddle her with a blanket…

Hmmm.

I went into my studio hunting for a solution. And I came up with this. X

The Outie Snuggle Shrug TM – designed by Katrina Ward (me).

 

Step One: Lay your Outie Snuggle Shrug flat

 

Image

 

Step Two: Position your baby so that their neck is at the bottom of the horse shoe shape. It should look like your little angel has ‘wings’.

 

Image

 

Step Three: Fold one wing down over your baby’s arm and under their back to make a shrug. Pull it firmly through on the other side. This prevents the Shrug from shifting if you have a Houdini baby.

 

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Step Four: Fold the other ‘wing’ down and under baby and pull firmly as before.

 

 

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Step Five: Fold the Snuggle Shrug’s shorter arm over baby’s arm and wrap across body. You can choose to either tuck it behind baby’s back or leave the end loose to tie in the next step.

 

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Step Six: Fold longer length of Shrug over baby’s arm. Pull across body and wrap around back firmly.

 

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Step Seven: Pull end around and either tie to first end in a simple knot OR if first end is tucked, simply tuck second end in over middle v-shape made from fabric of Snuggle Shrug on baby’s front.

 

ImageImage

 

Step Eight: Tuck loose ends in securely. Tickle test and put baby down for a nap.

 

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FAQs:

How do I wean off swaddling? You can simply leave one arm out at steps five or six so that the fabric wraps under the arm rather than over the arm.

Can I wrap with arms by the side? Yes. Leave baby’s arm down as you wrap the arms of the Snuggle Shrug across.

Can I use this with a Sleep Sack? Yes. The Outie Snuggle Shrug is designed to be used with a Sleep Sack so that you can get more use out of one. You can also happily use the Snuggle Shrug without a sleep sack in warmer months.

What if my baby is rolling? If your baby is rolling, it is safest to swaddle with one arm out.

What is the Outie Snuggle Shrug made from? You can choose from either 100%cotton (like the printed one in the pics) or you can choose 100% merino. Both of these fabric options are breathable and merino is a great baby sleep fabric option because it helps baby regulate their own temperature.There are lots of benefits to dressing your baby in merino which I have listed on the merino Outie Snuggle Shrug shop listing.

Where can I get an Outie Snuggle Shrug? From our website!

Do you ship Internationally? Yes we do. Please send me an email (sales@outie.co.nz) so that I can send you a personal invoice with shipping for your country included.

Thanks for stopping by!

Love Katrina

Outie: we make parenting more fun

batwing nursing
Video

How to use an Outie Everything Batwing nursing dress

This is an unrehearsed demonstration that I quickly made to answer a customer’s question: “How do you use your Everything Batwing nursing dresses?”

Well, this is how. I was feeding my daughter before putting her down for a nap. That also explains why she is wearing the Outie Snuggle Shrug (all swaddled up and ready for bed!).

Easy peasy, lessy stressy!

Love Outie

Love outie.co.nz

bushdrawing 026

A True Horror Story (Weird Little Windows)

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Before we had our first baby, something arrived in the mail that really scared us.

The thing was frightening and monstrous.

We couldn’t work out what it was and we originally mistook it for being for the baby on the way.

But then we realised that it was for something else.

 

 

At first, we laughed at it to try to ease our discomfort of being around it.

Later on, it became a ghastly Show and Tell we would subject our friends to.

None of us expected the alarming magic it concealed and without fail, it made every friend who saw it wince.

 

We tried to give it away.

We were in agreement that we could never store it for fear that our future children might find it and see them.

 

My man still recoils in horror when I mention it – though I mention it less and less now.

In truth, if his colleagues knew about it, he would have been laughed out of his job.

That thing is the stuff that divorce is made of.

 

 

Its folds were in strange places and it had slits like weird little windows behind an oversized curtain.

It was covered in small red engines, fire hydrants and dalmation dogs…

 

 

And it still gives me the shivers.

 

What was this thing?

A fire engine nursing nightie. Made with love (no frightening intended) by my Mum from a 1980s nursing gown pattern in kid-knit with a fireman theme. We thought it was a little girl’s dress or an over-sized night gown for the baby (because of the fabric) but then we discovered the weird little windows hidden behind the front pleat. I know it was designed for breastfeeding but when we didn’t expect them to be there (and hadn’t experienced anything baby related yet!) we were HORRIFIED (and clearly scarred).

 

To that end, I vow never to make anything with weird little windows.

 

Love Katrina (Outie)

We do breastfeeding dresses and tops without weird little windows.

 

Image credit: A little ‘spooky’ shot I got of the moon on a night walk around about the same time.

snakes and ladders

SECRET CHILDHOOD TRAINING: A list of games with stealthy provisions for parenting

SECRET CHILDHOOD TRAINING: A list of games with stealthy provisions for parenting

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Today, in the late afternoon terror hour, I had a flash back to the first time I had to console my two very upset children in the middle of the night. One needed patting (after being fed) and the other needed rubbing (to be consoled after a night mare) and I had an epiphany: This is why I learned to rub my tummy and pat my head at the same time as a child. This is why. (And I had always wondered what the point of that game was, really, and why you couldn’t just pat your tummy too…?)

Some games in childhood have echoes that we could never have predicted.

Here is a list of childhood ‘games’ paired with the real training that we got when we were playing them.

Games we Played (with secret provisions for parenting)

Sack races – This game taught you the basic and essential training for trying to leave your child in the care of someone else when they don’t want you to go. The hopping method is useful for manoeuvring with a toddler wrapped around your legs.

Pick Up Sticks – This game teaches you how the indispensable skill of carefully extracting a toy or book from a sleeping child without moving anything else and thus keeping them asleep.

Tug Of War – It seemed like a game of strength as a child but really it is how to grab something just when the other party releases tension slightly allowing you to take back for yours what has been mistaken as ‘mine’ in toddler speak.

Operation – This thrilling and intense game taught you how to skilfully get something out of a small space without touching the sides using a pair of tweezers attached to a wire. Really what it was teaching you is how get a syringe into a baby’s mouth in order to give them medicine without them tasting it or spitting it out.

Toys in the cart – Wasn’t it always fun to take your toys with you on the back of your trike, in your bike basket or in your cardboard box? This is a field exercise for when you have real live little side-kicks that will need to go with you everywhere. Everywhere.

Piggyback races – Rookie training! You will learn to carry a small person on your hip, over your shoulder, around your neck, attached to your ankles, wrapped around your legs, under your arm, around your little finger and across your chest and all at once.

All my dollies/All my puppies – All children want to play with all the small things all at once scoop them up to see if they can carry them all. This is reverse psychology for when parents have all the small things wanting to be carried by them and for when their arms are simply not big enough.

Cats Cradle – This seemed to be a fun game of patience making knots with string between your fingers. In actual fact you were being trained to have patience in the face of futility and how to gently ease knots out of your child’s hair and untie knots/undo messes in general without losing the plot.

SNAP – This was always a fun game that involved simple recognition of matching symbols. This is played as parents when we recognise parts of our other half’s bad traits coming to the fore in the little mirrors that are out children. Instead of slapping the pile of cards, we slap our partner. “He got that from you!” (Not really, but mentally, you know.)

CLUEDO – It seems like a fun mystery/problem solving game. The reality of this game is that you are taught to be accusatory and really want to know whodunit. Who left the dirty nappy on the floor? Who left the bath water in? Who left the fridge open? Who ate the last ginger nut? (I suggest it was Mrs. Peacock, in the Dining Room, with the Candlestick ??).

Snakes and ladders – This is advanced mental training for expecting and coping with ‘snake days’. On days like these you feel like all your progress (with sleep training/potty training/napping/eating for example) goes quickly downhill.

Connect Four – Similar to the training received in Snakes and Ladders, in this game you realise that trying to establish a routine or pattern in life will quickly be upset by some small person removing a whole row of little coins or pulling the rug out from under your feet as it were.

What’s the time Mr. Wolf? – This game teaches strategy for teaching awareness of the time and how the ‘wolf’ can dictate nap times. Every parent, at some stage at least, has to admit that there is a certain count-down going on till nap time or bed time. Go on. Admit it.

Murder in the dark – This game, by far the scariest, rehearses the skill of sneaking around in the dark without anyone knowing you are there. This is vital for sneaking into the kids’ room to check on them, for being Santa and for pretending you are not there when they are awake and looking at you in the middle of the night when they are supposed to be asleep.

Blind man’s buff – This is the game of all games in parenting stratagem because, let’s face it, none of us really know what we are doing. Right?

 

Love Outie

Fun stuff for fun parents

Image credit: c/- Usborne.com

P.S. We have a new SNUGGLE SHRUG in our range now. It’s new and exciting and you should check it outie.

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baby maker and baby baker

When ‘good naked’ goes bad – how to be ‘not bad naked’.

When ‘good naked’ goes bad – how to be ‘not bad naked’.

 

Fact: There is a lot of planned nakedness involved in the making of children.

Fact: There is a degree of expected nakedness involved in giving birth.

Fact: There is a whole lot of unplanned and unexpected nakedness after the arrival of children.

Fact by Proxy: Some of that naked is not ‘good naked’.

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There is a Seinfeld episode (The Apology) where Jerry dates a woman who likes to hang out naked. The idea of it is great at first. He has eye candy at every corner – but the reality of it (when she is doing menial tasks) loses its appeal. Her un-composed nakedness makes him uncomfortable because the allure of the nude has been compromised by the daily grind.

The first ‘crack’ in the nude woman’s allure is when she coughs naked. Jerry is repulsed and the mystique of the female form he used to covet is irrevocably transformed. When Jerry tries to return the ‘favour’ (of all-the-time- nakedness), she corrects him and tells him that, “[His nakedness] is not good naked.”

~

The goal of having sex (again) after you have had children is attainable. This will involve some nakedness (obviously) yet in the lead up to that composed event, there will be many other naked non-sex events that no one wants you to know about.

People have more than one child all the time – so there is accepted proof out there that becoming a parent does not mean death to sex. Sex post birth may take a while for a multitude of reasons including (but not limited to) the need to heal, the need to sleep, body issues/confidence, discomfort and the unforgettable fact that once the baby is born, it is there.

Right there.

And it has tiny little ears and tiny little eyes that are ever so close by…

But something that is not often addressed (or not dressed at all.. tee hee) is that despite trying to be naked together for a common goal, there will be a lot of naked episodes in between. In fact, the nakedness that will occur has nothing to do with wanting to be seen naked or getting naked together. Instead it is just a clumsy side effect of being busy with children and simply being caught out naked. This accidental and frequent nakedness when caught out doing ‘just stuff’ results in the ‘not good naked’ that Jerry was humiliatingly schooled in by his girlfriend in The Apology.

Becoming a parent erases your ability to do things in private as well as in a timely and organised fashion. Getting naked can be added to the list of these things that are difficult to do (privately/organisedly/fashionably).

Becoming a parent actually means that there will be a lot more ‘unbecoming’ parent situations you will need to tackle.

This idea of ‘not good naked’ (i.e. not appealing naked) happens frequently as a parent because parents get busy attending to the needs of their children and they just happen to be naked. This is not because they have arranged for a naked play date with their other half – but simply because they have not had time to get dressed, they have been vomited all over, they were in the process of getting dressed when something happened, they were in the shower when the baby started crying or they forgot to get dressed altogether…

The possibilities for unexpected nakedness are endless and it is a simple truth that parents have to get used to: Parents will be caught out naked and they will not have time to compose themselves appropriately.

Is it important to retain some level of mystique in a relationship post children? It might be, but good luck with that.

Pre-children couples trying for their first baby have time to be guarded, groomed, considered and composed and they can present themselves naked and really bank on presenting themselves as ‘good naked’. But post-children couples? Unguarded, ungroomed, un-considered, un-composed…

Post children couples catch each other out naked. They are exposed. ‘Not good naked’ happens.

But, truly, it is not the end of the world and you can avoid super bad naked with a little care. ‘Not good naked’ can be a happy side effect of parenting that is a sign of a comfortable family environment. ‘Not good naked’ can be skilfully evaded by following some easy ‘good naked’ rules.

Following ‘good naked’ rules will leave you with being ‘not bad naked’ which is really not that bad at all, considering.

 

Here is a list of ‘Always’ and ‘Never’ rules for parents to help keep naked ‘good’:

1)      Never cough naked (thanks Seinfeld)

2)      Always undress yourself last if bathing with the baby.

3)      When squatting to dry a child after the bath, always ensure you have a towel handy.

4)      Always put pants on first before beginning new tasks.

5)      Never take pants off first leaving just shirt and bare bottom when undertaking parenting tasks.

6)      Never wear just socks.

7)      Always take socks off first.

8)      Never put a shirt on before pants.

9)      Never try to put on clothes that are too small in front of your significant other (especially if you are still wet after a shower).

10)   Always put underwear on the right way around.

11)   Always remember a change of clothes for yourself as well as your child at public engagements.

12)   Always expect unexpected guests.

13)   Never stoke the fire naked.

14)   Always plan for an eventual ‘good naked’ meeting to hopefully eclipse accidental ‘bad naked’ mistakes.

15)   Always remember that many people before you have managed to have more than one child.

16)   Always remember that ‘not bad naked’ can be the new ‘good naked’.

 

P.S: I had entirely too much fun with double entendres writing this. Sorry about that. ;)

 

Love Outie

Fun stuff for fun parents

Breastfeeding Super Hero Name
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I want my baby bump back

*talking*
Oh my god
Hubby, look at her bump
It’s so big
She looks like one of those ripe watermelons
She could pop at any second
She looks like her waters will break any minute
I mean her bump
It’s just so big
I can’t believe it’s so round
It’s just out there
I mean, it’s gorgeous
Look, she’s just so pregnant.

*rap*
I like big bumps and I can not lie
You other mothers can’t deny
That when a girl walks in with a biggy-biggy waist
And a round thing in your face
Your heart skips
Wanna start right now
Cuz you notice that bump aint stuffed
Hanging over the jeans she’s wearing
We’re hooked and we can’t stop staring

Oh, baby I want another baby

(Just one more baby)

My home girls try to warn me
But that bump you got
Make Me So Clucky

Ooh, rump of smooth skin
I wanna put you in a Batwing
I’ve seen them belly bump tees
To hell with being frumpetty…

I want my baby bump back.

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(This photo of my giganto-bump was taken one day before my little girl arrived at 40 weeks and 2 days. I miss it…)

 

Love Outie.

 

Houseproud House Cleaning Tips With A Toddler

I often pine for the delicious state my house used to be in pre-children – but I do get little windows of clean house that I like to enjoy alone before it all gets messed up again.

 

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The best advice I have for new mummies – is to do your chores with your babies so that you can rest when they do. I never did this with my son and raced around making myself miserable while he slept doing all my chores and never got a break!

I have only found the time to write this today because I have managed to get my cleaning done with both my babies awake. Now that they are both sleeping, I get to have some down time.

Here are some of my cleaning tips: (I also like to clean just before nap time so that all the activity wears my toddler out nicely. Hee hee hee he doesn’t know I am on to him…)

BABY

First make sure that the baby is changed and fed and safe from toddler terrorism. I like to wear my baby while I vacuum but I can’t really wear her when I want to clean the toilet or bend down for something. I use a baby bouncinette or I set her up with a play gym for the duration of my super-quick house clean. If she is not ready for a sleep, she just comes along from room to room with us.

 GEAR

This is my cleaning kit:

Bottle of white vinegar in a spray bottle

Bottle of 50/50 bleach and water spray

Spray bottle of water

Three cloths

An old tee shirt

Newspaper

Eco-store cream cleaning solution (like jiff)

 QUICK CLEAN UP

Involve toddler in a series of slam dunking ‘pick up’ activities to clear floor ready for vacuuming.

Use brush and shovel for fun ‘digger’ activity if you have lots of smaller toys.

SWEEP

Give toddler brush and shovel or broom to help.

VACUUM

Give toddler pile of books to sit and read in a special sitting spot. Wear baby to zen her out ready for nap.

Put baby down to nap and move on to other chores.

Sometimes I like to give my toddler some baking soda with a sieve to sieve baking soda over the carpet as a home-made deodoriser (he has fun and afterwards I get to ‘see’ how clean my house is).

BATHROOM/S

Occupy toddler in dry bath with bath crayons or give toddler bottle of water to spray around bathroom to ‘help’.

Spray toilet with bleach solution and leave.

Spray counters and mirrors with vinegar solution and leave.

Squirt jiff around toilet and quickly scrub bowl.

Run shower and swap toddler’s water spray bottle for vinegar spray bottle.

Scrub shower while in shower with toddler. (this is my shower) ‘Rub out’ drawings as part of cleaning method – get them to help by spraying vinegar.

Leave plug in shower for toddler to splash in bottom (if it’s a bath one like our one) while quickly wiping vanity down.

Use newspaper to polish mirror.

Polish taps with dry t-shirt.

Wipe down all surfaces. Finally wipe toilet and throw first cloth away/in wash.

Take wet toddler with you to do bedrooms.

BEDROOM

Dress wet toddler and chuck wet towel in laundry.

Strip beds and make tent with dry laundry for toddler to play in. (roll up and make a round ‘nest’ or hang over couch cushions to make a hut)

Add teacups for tea party.

Play ‘red rag to a bull’ or ‘whoosh’ toddler with sheets.

Put toddler on bed to jump and ‘help’ tuck in sheets.

Put toddler in duvet cover and carry around for a while like a mad santa.

Put duvet cover on duvet.

Finish making bed/s.

Use second cloth to dust surfaces in bedrooms and move to kitchen.

 KITCHEN

Set toddler up in high chair with pre-nap snacks.

While they eat, spray counters of kitchen with vinegar.

Boil kettle for coffee.

Empty dish washer while kettle boils.

Wipe all surfaces and load dish washer. Turn it on.

Polish taps with dry tee-shirt.

Make coffee.

Clean up toddler, wipe high chair and put to bed.

 

Relax with coffee and enjoy your down time.

 

OK. So I didn’t wash the floors yet. But that one has to be done when the toddler is out or asleep otherwise the slippery floor is dangerous…

And this way I get to have some me time in my lovely clean house. Even if it is only clean for me to see.

 

And finally, four small confessions:

Sometimes I scrub the toilet and leave the soapy stuff in the bottom so that my work can be ‘seen’. This is my ‘thank you prompt’.

Sometimes I fold the toilet paper and pretend I am in a hotel.

Sometimes I skate on the floor with wet towels soaked in detergent when no-one is around as a more fun way to mop.

I pay myself to clean the house instead of paying a cleaner so that I feel more valued and do a better job. (So I keep the money that I would otherwise pay a cleaner – that’s paying myself!)

 

How do you manage your chores with children?

Love Outie.

ode to the boob

Ode to the Boob – a poem

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Breastfeeding can be an inspiring time. Just sitting there, unable to move… and thus a poem is born. Just now. X

 

Ode to the Boob

 

Ode to the Boob

Large and full

Ode to its function as a feeding tool.

 

Ode to the bonding, ode to the gaze;

Ode to the nipple and the littlest face.

 

Ode to the pressure, ode to the cry;

Ode to the accidental squirt in the eye.

 

Ode to let down and ode to the pump,

Ode to the rhythm of a hungry suck.

 

Ode to expressing and ode to nesting

Ode to being up all night and never resting.

 

Ode to the changes and ode to the veins,

Ode to teething and to the startling pains.

 

Ode to the ‘shower head’ and ode to the latch

Ode to the leak and ode to the wet patch.

 

Ode to ‘momentary Pamela’ and ode to cleavage,

Ode to the confidence before the leakage.

 

Ode to the Boobie,

To the breast, to the rack

Ode to the role of mother

And to never looking back.

 

-Katrina Ward, 2014.

 

Check out our breastfeeding wraps and dresses here.

 

 

 

 

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Postpartum What?! Embarrassing stuff you need to know.

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Postpartum what?! Embarrassing stuff you need to know.

“At least if you have a C-section, you don’t bleed for six weeks.”

“No. You still bleed.”

“Oh”.

Birth is a subject that is widely covered. But what about the ‘scary stuff’ that happens afterwards? Here’s a list of things you might need (or might not) with a quick reason for why you might need it. Some are obvious and some are lesser so. If you have any questions, please ask – but don’t be scared.**

Knowledge is power as they say.

Maxi pads or incontinence pads

Whether you have a natural birth or a C-section, your uterine wall will take a while to heal where the placenta was attached. This takes around six weeks and in that time you will bleed while it heals over. Incontinence pads are also useful as they have a higher level of absorption – and you may even need them for what they are designed for until you can strengthen up your pelvic floor again.

Ah bras/Crop Bras

A crop top bra or ‘sleep bra’ will be a comfortable option day or night as they are easy to feed in and are stretchy to accommodate fluctuations in breast size.

Granny knickers and/or disposable knickers in dark colours

Things get messy, so you may as well be prepared.

Disposable ice packs or home-made ice packs (or frozen pads with witch hazel)

Post birth you may be sore and ice can be a great way to reduce swelling and reduce inflammation around any tears.

Stool softeners

Some liken the first ‘movement’ to having another baby. Things are pretty tender so why not make it easier on yourself.

Mag phos

As above, even releasing gas can be difficult. Mag phos helps.

Flaxseed

As above. Can we move on now?

Comfortable clothes

You will be spending a lot of time nursing, resting and healing. Comfort is key.

Soft toilet paper

Life’s little luxuries are important.

Prune juice and fibre rich treats

See previous points about the importance of stool softeners.

Comfy robe (We recommend Outie silk kimono top (of course))

For nursing or for privacy when receiving visitors, a comfortable robe is gold.

Spare changes of sheets

You will be leaking milk and your baby will spill and you will probably also have night sweats. All of this might happen without you having time to do any washing. Having a spare full set of sheets (or three) on hand is worthwhile.

Water bottles

Post birth you will want to flush any drugs out of your system quickly and drinking lots of water will also help reduce water retention. If you are breastfeeding it is also important to keep your fluids up.

Yoga pants

Yoga pants can offer a little more support around your tender tummy and they are comfortable too.

Old towels

You might have a spill or you might have leakage from your maxi pads or you might get blood on your towels after showering. Having old towels on hand is pretty useful.

Foot stool for the bathroom

Some women say that this really helps pass the first motion post birth.

A waterproof sheet or mattress protector

See the previous note about spare sheets. A waterproof sheet will help keep your mattress protected too. Much cheaper than a new mattress.

Long tank tops or shelf tanks

Wearing tank tops or singlets are easy for nursing and if they have a built in bra then they also reduce your need to buy a nursing bra. Wearing them in a longer length means that you can cover your tummy while you heal up nicely too.

Batwing Nursing Dress (of course!)

batwing nursing

You can wear these as a top or as a dress over a shelf tank or long tank top and they can be easily ‘dressed up’ while breastfeeding on demand.

Binding tubes/Tubi-grips

You can wear these around your tummy to help support your abdomen while you heal. Some women find that these help to shrink your tummy faster too.

Sleep bra

See the previous note on ‘Ah bra’ or crop top bra. A shelf tank top will also work but you will need some support when sleeping with your larger than normal milk-filled boobs.

Pressure stockings

You might be given these post birth to help reduce swelling in your legs.

Donut pillow

Some women swear by these to relieve the pain of sitting with haemorrhoids caused by pregnancy and/or child birth.

Haemorrhoid cream

Enough said.

Porridge

Anything with oats can increase your milk supply. Porridge is a nice comfort food to have on hand.

A grabber

Kids have them, old people have them and you can have one too. It can be really sore bending down post-birth (especially after a C-section or tear) and a grabber might just help you put your own knickers on.

A peri bottle or tea tree oil spritz

You may have ‘raw’ areas that will benefit from ice packs but you might also want to bathe these areas in an antiseptic spray. A peri bottle takes the hassle out of that particular job.

Cloth breast pads (we recommend hemp ones from Laulipop’s Shop)

Waterproof on one side and absorbent on the other, you will need these if you are breastfeeding and you want to avoid spending unnecessary money on disposable breast pads. Buy as many as you can to ensure good hygiene as frequent changing is required (plus your washing machine gnomes might steal a few).

Lanolin cream

This is a fatty cream that can help with cracked nipples which is a common complaint of women when breastfeeding.

Comfy cardigan

Any front-opening warm top will do but you will want something to wear that is easy to breastfeed in and still cosy.

Trinity Nursing Wrap (of course!)

Blue Trinity NursingWrap

If you have guests and want some discretion, these are perfect for this purpose. They can be worn three ways – as a loop scarf, as a neck warmer and as a nursing cover. They can also keep you warm for those chilly night feeds.

Blue incontinence sheets

If you don’t have a mattress protector but you still want to be protected in bed, these sheets can be a disposable replacement or in conjunction with a mattress protector for ueber protection.

Prop pillow or Tri pillow

Anything to stop you falling over at night when you are breastfeeding for the fifth time and struggling to stay awake – these are also good for general back support and breakfast in bed. If feeding on the couch, these can also be used across the tummy as a replacement for a breastfeeding pillow.

** Some of these are Outie products but we wouldn’t have made them if we didn’t need them! X

 

Did we forget anything? Share your tips below!

Love Outie.

 

 Outie: bumps, babies, boobies. Boom!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sex-Free Romps – 5 Play Dates for Parents

This post is sponsored by the Outie Splat Mat (perfect for all things messy and fun with little grublets around!)

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‘Those that play together, stay together’ is a truth we hold dear.

Fun needs to be the fizz that keeps your love bubbling…

When you have a child, things change. Things can change quite a lot and your previous ‘entertainment’ habits may need to change too. Your sex life may be [a lot] quieter than usual and you might have to reinvent what constitutes a fun night in with your partner…

And it’s not just post-baby, post-birth, body bulges and baby getting in the way – budgeting, time, energy, sleeplessness and brand new feelings in a new role as parents can also dramatically affect life as you knew it.

Play dates don’t have to be ‘serious’ dates. They don’t have to be particularly romantic and they are not necessarily night-time specific either.

But they should be fun.

And we like fun.

 

5 FAVOURITE PLAY DATES TO HAVE WITH YOUR PLAY MATE

(Enjoying the little things is key…)

 

  1. Blind Play dough sculpt-off

 

This is a simple game involving play dough.

One person suggests an object or an animal and then you have two minutes (or determine your own time) to make the animal/object with your eyes closed. (No peeking!) Once the time is up, you judge each other’s work.

You can make it as hard (or as easy) as you like: tea cup and saucer, elephant, Madonna and Child, toaster, stag (with antlers!), a worm…

 

2. DVD munch-fest in a couch nest

 

This one is popular in our household.

We choose a DVD and our favourite treats, push our two couches together to make a big ‘nest’ and settle in for the night.

Cosy.

 

3. Rude word Scrabble 

 

For some reason my man and I always draw at scrabble. We are both very competitive and it always ends up as an exact tie when we play ‘the normal way’ – neither of us can explain it and it just keeps happening.

Add a ‘rude words only’ rule and the results are a lot more ‘colourful’. (And he usually wins…)

 

4. Ice-cream hunt

 

This play date is great for the whole family. We all (toddler too!) jump in the car and drive somewhere new for ice cream. Sometimes we end up driving quite far on our ice-cream hunt, and other times we get ‘takeaway’ ice-creams from a dairy (corner store) and drive somewhere new to eat them.

 

5. Silly dinner challenge/collaborative cooking

 

This one can involve other silly friends who might like to join you in a strange dinner celebration.

NB: You need to have understanding friends who don’t mind being interrupted by the needs of your child/ren. And if you don’t have friends like these – do it without them because clearly they are no fun. ;)

Some ideas for silly dinner challenges:

Themed by a globe spin (pick a place)

Themed by a cook book (we have a Kenny Rogers cook book where every recipe has pineapple in it…?)

Themed by ingredient (we once hosted a 5 course mince dinner – complete with ‘after dinner mince’… ha ha!)

Themed by a celebrity chef

Themed by your child’s favourite flavours (if they are still up to partake)

Themed by colour

Backwards dinner (pudding first!)

 

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Your journey as a parent should be fun.

Outie: we like having fun.

http://www.outie.co.nz

Sweet Connections – Laulipops Shop and Hemp Breastpads

A bonus of running a small business in New Zealand is that it allows me to meet other work at home mummies doing their thing. These connections are really quite special.
The hemp breastpads we stock on the Outie website are made by our ‘new business friend’, Laura. Here’s a little more about her and her business Laulipop’s Shop. hemp breastpads by laulipops shop
What is your business?
My business is Laulipop’s Shop, named so as Laulipop is a nickname of mine!
What do you make?
I make a range of vintage inspired children’s clothing, Breastpads, Baby Bibs and Embroidered Keep Sakes of children’s artwork! (These are our favourites! – Outie)
What is the best thing about your breast pads?
They are made from hemp which is a super cool renewable resource and they get more absorbent the more they are washed! (That’s why we stock them! Love! – Outie)
How did you find out about Outie?
I met Katrina through a business group we are both in. (Katrina was introduced by Suzanne at Bundle)  I discovered Outie through there!
What is your favourite Outie product?
Deffinitly the Splat Mats! So wish these were around when my kids were little! Best invention ever!
What was your first Outie product experience?
I bought the Everything Batwing pattern. I love it, so simple and easy to make up, easy to resize if needed!
How many Batwings have you made so far?
So far I have only made the one but have plans for many more!

What has this connection meant for you?

When i was in Auckland last Katrina and I arranged to meet and meet up. It was my birthday and we spent it going round ALL the fabric stores buying up a storm! It was the best day!!!!
What else do you have in common with Katrina?
We both have 2 kids …. we have both had Mohawks in the past and we both love sewing!!! Oh and a …. button addiction!
Thanks Laura!
You can connect with Laura on facebook, via her blog, on instagram as #laulipopnz and here’s her shop.
Here’s a pic of Laura in her Outie Everything Batwing dress. Her face is hiding in the shadows a bit – but she’s sneaky like that. You can read Laura’s review of our pattern here.
laulipop batwing
tip 13 no sew bunting

Denim Bunting – An easy upcycling project

Love bunting? In the mood for some easy DIY? Then this project is for you.

You need:

A pair of old jeans

Scissors or pinking shears

A sharpie

1) Cut down side seams of your jeans so that the seam is still in tact along one side.

2) Cut zig zags up the legs of the jeans so that each line meets at the thick seam but doesn’t cut through it. End your zig-zags on each leg with a downward line at the crotch. I used pinking shears so that the edges are neat but scissors will work too.

3. Open out and you have bunting with the seam as the rope that binds them together.

4. Source type that you like (or make it up) and draw letters on your bunting flags with your sharpie.

5. Do the same with the other side of your jeans and stitch together for longer bunting if you like.

6. Pin up and admire your super-quick and super-satisfying handiwork. X

denim bunting

A little bit of upcycling goes a long way.

Love Outie: we like to make stuff and save the planet too.

shinebrightlittlestar

What do they do with the real children?

I love magazines and I love pinterest. I also love browsing baby stores and looking at gorgeously dressed nurseries. Sometimes I am shopping, sometimes I am getting inspiration but mostly I am thinking, why doesn’t my house look like that? And I am weighed down by the little green monster as well as the toddler climbing on my shoulder and the baby pulling at my breast. (Really).

I have to read the magazines with a virtual green monster fork in my hand so that I can stab the little green monster in the eye and tell it firmly, ‘real life is not like that’.

Or is it?

When I come home from an outing with two kids, I come home to a house that looks like I have real kids. They are real live and kicking mess-makers. Little miss has left little white spots over my lovely woollen rug and mister two has made noodles go where no noodle has gone before because he was swinging them like a helicopter earlier that day…

I have a Splat Mat that gets pretty well splatted every day and I have a kitchen that gets full of dishes from our baking adventures. Mister two’s room has a few cool designy elements – wall decals, another Splat Mat and some neat things that I have made for him – but the bed is tousled and covered in books and the tee pee is a bit lopsided due to being climbed on.

So here is a quick critique of some of the enviable nurseries that I have seen lately.

Nursery One has stacks of vintage books placed in beautiful piles of three. It has vintage teacups on display and a Baboushka cushion with long tassles.

It has white carpet and colour-matched walls and curtains and I love it.

But real children can’t live there, can they? Vintage teacups would be smashed in my house and putting them on top of books is a disaster waiting to happen. Putting books out that are not for touching is like toddler torture.

And tassles on cushions get pulled at, torn off or sucked.

I can meet them half way though…

My vintage books are on the top shelf for ‘special reading’ when mummy can help and the vintage teacups are also well ‘away’. My son has melamine teacups from my grandmother’s old picnic set (sweetly nostalgic) and they are ‘allowed’ (just).

Once I had a Cars and Trains Golden Book that I thought might be nice for mister two to go to bed with. It didn’t last and now I only have loose pages that I am either going to have to make bunting with or decoupage onto something one day when I find some time…

Nursery Two is themed with black and white and everything matches. The babies even wear the same designs and can be camouflaged in their own bed. There are no fingerprints on any of the shiny white things and the black and white styling looks, simply, rad.

But my kids go to the beach and go puddle jumping and are often too muddy for white things. Sometimes I put my toddler to bed with jam still on his face and sometimes, we aren’t supposed to talk about it, but sometimes he poos and it goes everywhere and his sheets are not spared.

Once I even put him to bed still wearing his gumboots because I was too scared to yank them off his feet for fear of waking the little beast up.

The black and white nursery also has low shelves with precious things on the bottom shelf. There are porcelain ornament out for display.

Porcelain ornaments?

Do the children that live there have no hands?

I don’t think real children live there either.

Nursery Three has a crane mobile hanging artfully above the cot. There would be close to 100 cranes and they must look lovely swaying and bouncing in the breeze.

I recall hearing a strange noise when my son eventually ‘caught’ his mobile and sent the fish shooting up to the ceiling because he liked the crashing sound it made and how it bounced so well on elastic. Imagine the sound of 100 cranes…

These nurseries must have hidden storage that is out of shot. In addition to all of the stuff that they have clearly swept out of the way and climbed on to take the shot, the real children must be hiding too. Or am I missing something?

Where are the real children?

 

Here are some tips for your nursery if you, like me, have real children.

 

1)      Choose a few ‘signature things’ to make the room fun

2)      If you buy white, buy more than one if you want it to stay white.

3)      Invest in more storage than you think you need (and then some more)

4)      Predict a climbing, yanking, drawing monster and try to provide spaces that allow for this growth

5)      Always have an Outie Splat Mat on hand for an eco-design option for messy play

6)      Hang mobiles higher than you think your child can reach

7)      Install high shelves for precious things and/or vintage books

8)      Add your signature with cute nursery prints (free set of six available too!)

 baby elephant crown of butterflies grow wise me love muchoarohagrey and yellow with copyright shinebrightlittlestar

baby elephant

Free Nursery Printables – So much cuteness!

I have always loved drawing and lately I seem to have found more time for it.

So I have decided to share the love by creating a little collection of free printable drawings for your nursery.

The current collection includes:

1) Baby Bear

2) Newbornicorn

3) Dinosaur Love

4) Buttons (I love you to the moon)

5) Crown of Butterflies

6) Baby Elephant

baby bear

newbornicorndinosaurbaby

I love you to the moon print

crown of butterflies  baby elephant 

 

You can order your free nursery printables here.

Which one is your favourite?

With much love,

Katrina

(Outie)

P.S – We are now on Instagram! Please follow me on @outie_nz

How do you find the time? Obliterating the parenting rut

Little things like having a watch next to my sewing machine in my studio means that I can monitor time (even when there is hardly any time to monitor)

Little things like having a watch next to my sewing machine in my studio means that I can monitor time (even when there is hardly any time to monitor)

We all want to be the kind of parent that has it all. We want to have time out, we want to have time for our hobbies, we want to be interesting and we want people to be interested in us (and not just our children). We want to have a beautiful house, we want time to read, we want time to exercise and we want parenting to work for us instead of feeling like parenting has become the new work that we didn’t necessarily sign up for.

We want to live in the light. We want parenting to be a window of opportunity that we grow out through into new and exciting directions. (We don’t want the window to be closed for eighteen years while we ‘just’ tend to our children…)

These wants are perfectly reasonable.

The desire for being ‘more than just a mum/dad’ or ‘better than just a housewife/househusband’ is natural. We are all afraid of getting stuck a parenting rut where the word ‘just’ haunts every daily task and keeps us firmly under thumb.

But we have children now and our children need us with a capital N. The type of parent we thought we could be and the type of life we thought was achievable feels out of reach because their Needs sap us dry. Their Needs make it hard to summons the time to do anything worthwhile any more. There is just no time for anything else.

All of our wants are eclipsed by the drudgery of Need – and not only that of children. The everyday needs of family, of household, of wife/husband/partner and of pets make it feel like the window of opportunity we had hoped for when we became parents has been slammed shut in our face.

We meet the needs of others all damn day long and can’t find any time in the day to tend to even just one of our own.

Welcome to the parenting rut.

 

It’s easy to get stuck here and to not see the window. It’s easy to wallow in complaints about dishes and laundry, to feel busy all the time and to feel that the kids are sucking us dry. It’s easy to wear the same clothes for days in a row and to feel filthy through dealing with our squealing little bundles in the dark.

The path that brought you here was an easy one to find.

 

You got here because you have let your own interests slip while you address the needs of your children.

You got here because you don’t have time to exercise because you are too tired from getting up several times in the night tending to your baby.

You got here because it is hard to leave the house.

You got here because 45 minutes isn’t enough time to get creative so you have a ‘why bother’ mentality.

You got here because you, rightfully, put the needs of others before your own.

 

But the real reason you are in the parenting rut is because you haven’t yet seen the hidden windows in your day – and these windows shine with light that the kids can’t have.

 

 

Children are energy-suckers – but you were once a child too. So suck some energy back and get out of the dark.

 

I used to do the house work when the babies were napping and I grew resentful at the fact that I was always doing something for someone else. When I changed my routine to include my babies in my cleaning routine so that their nap time was ME time, I was one step closer to my window.

I used to get angry at the lack of time that I had to do creative projects so I had a ‘why bother’ mentality. Now I keep a notebook and plan my time ahead of schedule so that I can get straight into it and use my time (even in tiny tiny windows) to at least begin to tackle things I am excited about.

I used to think 45 minutes was not long enough to do anything worthwhile but then I remembered that when I was a teacher I could fit a lot of learning into one lesson. Each lesson was an hour long and there were settling periods at either end – so 45 minutes was practically a WHOLE LESSON just for me. When I changed my perspective to see time like this, I felt like I had ‘a whole 45 minutes’.

I used to get annoyed at the time it took to run errands and how it felt like it wasted my day spending at least 90 minutes in the car on my way somewhere. Now I use my driving time as valuable thinking time/creative time. I keep notes on my phone to make it easy and sometimes I even pull over so that I can quickly jot everything down to deal with later.

I used to try to finish a project in one go and would get frustrated when my babies called me away from it. Now I understand that every task can be broken up into smaller tasks and even ‘just one thing’ is one step closer to a finished product.

I used to think that a good mother dedicates all of her time to her children but now I have learned that holding some back for me actually means that I end up having more energy over all.

I used to think that having goals for me were kind of selfish (and unachievable). Now I know that finding time in my day to target my own goals actually means that the window is not shut.

I used to think that five minutes stolen here and there wouldn’t really be enough to do anything significant. But those moments definitely add up.

There is more light.

The window is within reach.

The parenting rut is obliterated.

 

If you think you have no time to yourself, at first glance it might be true but try to look for hidden moments in your day that you can dedicate to you and your own needs/hobbies.

Tips and Tricks:

Set your child/ren up with an activity that you can supervise from a distance, make yourself a cuppa and indulge in something you like to do.

Use travel time as goal setting time or creative thinking time.

Write your goals down (or better yet, share them with a friend)

Write lists to help you stay focussed

Practise something you want to get better at while you take the kids for a walk

Encourage your children to do what you like doing too

Ban chores from nap time

Double up on boring tasks so that you have more free time later (i.e. I sometimes clean the bathroom while my son is having a supervised shower).

Encourage quiet time if your child has dropped their naps

Prepare activities beforehand so that you can do them quickly in a stolen moment

Set your alarm for before your children get up (blissfully quiet and rewarding!)

 

You might notice that there is no magic birth of more time in this post – just a different way of looking at the time you already have that you might have missed. The next time you feel yourself thinking, ‘I never get any time…’ think how you might use that thinking time more productively.

Is this too optimistic a task?

P.S. I don’t have a beautifully tidy house but I do seem to get a lot of fun stuff done (for me) with two babies, two dogs, a little business and no babysitters for miles.

I want my babies to grow in the light.

 

“Nothing has happened in the past; it happened in the Now. Nothing will ever happen in the future; it will happen in the Now.”
-Eckhart Tolle