Posts in Australia
Baby Photographer Shares Secrets to Get Great Pictures

Looking at these sweet newborn images three months after Brooks was born, I almost can’t believe how small he was! Don’t get me wrong though. He’s still very much an infant, only recently able to hold his own head up (and it’s still a little bobbly wobbly!).

I’m currently back in the USA right now introducing Brooks to my friends and family. I put together a book filled with these images for his grandparents and great grandmothers. It’s a great way to treasure these moments forever… and a great way for them to easily show him off to their friends and family at church, in the neighborhood, and nursing home! ;-)

I am so happy my husband and I made the decision to take newborn pictures when Brooks was less than a week old. He is so cuddly and squishy! I am simply melting once again over these images!

Below you will find a Q and A with an amazing Aussie photographer, Kath Mclean. She shares why taking pictures early is best, how to get good light, what to do if the baby is crying, and several other secrets to snapping such heartwarming pictures.

Read More
Baby Milestones: When Will Baby Do What!?!

Brooks has just turned 10 weeks old... or young I should say!  He is very smiley, lifts his head and can turn it from side to side when having tummy time, coos when he is on his own, and seems to almost try to get words out (cute random, sounds really) while making intense eye contact. As a new mom, I can't help but wonder, when he will laugh, roll over, crawl, walk, talk, etc. From my reading I have learned developmental milestones are grouped into the following categories: physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and language. A great app I have been using for the last month or so is called, "The Wonder Weeks."

To learn about baby milestones, I have done a YouTube interview with GP,  Dr. Jill Gamberg from Double Bay Doctors. The video is below. She has also given us a few bullet points for reference.

Read More
Fox and Friends: A Special Baby Announcement

Brooks getting an international welcome via the number one cable morning show in the world, Fox and Friends. A very big thank you to my colleagues at Fox News in New York City for the most lovely way to announce the birth of my first born child, Brooks Kooiman Stuckey. My heart is absolutely exploding!!!

Read More
How to Prep Your Pup for Baby's Arrival

As I count down the day's until may baby's arrival, I can't help but wonder what it will be like to have my first born 'real' baby meet my first born 'fur' baby! HaHa I want to make sure the transition is as smooth as possible. Baxter is a 100 pound yellow lab that has been my rock for nearly 11 years. I’ve had BaxMan since he was a few weeks old. He’s lived with me in Ohio, North Carolina, three New York City apartments, San Francisco, & now Sydney, Australia. He is one cool pup.

As I imagine most of you at home would agree, these fur babies truly are part of the family, aren’t they? So what happens when our families expand? How do our animals react to the new pecking order? What can we do to ensure our homes are not only safe environments, but also happy environments, free of unnecessary tensions?

Below you will find a Q and A with Baxter's doctor from Bondi Vet, Dr. Kate Adams. Dr. Adams is one of the brilliant vets who helped save Baxter from the infamous corn cob that nearly took his life a couple months ago. Read the piece I wrote for Fox News here.

I have found Dr. Kate's answers very useful in my quest to make my home both baby and doggy friendly. I hope her answers resonate with you or someone you know!

Read More
9 Months Pregnant, Final Beach Workouts with Speedo Fitness Club

I'm 9 months pregnant and about to pop! But I want to stay motivated until bub arrives. I feel as big as a whale and I've been dealing with a ridiculous amount of swelling in my feet, ankles, and legs, In fact I wrote about my 'cankles' in this piece for Fox News. But I feel so much better when I am active. So as long as I can, I'll be doing modified workouts.

I do plan on slowing down even more once I welcome my little man into this world. Along with the mommy/baby bonding, I also think recovery is so critical for both the mind and body.

In this video, Speedo Fitness Club manager and trainer, Levi Darby leads me through a less intense version of three exercises safe for month nine of pregnancy. Levi says his number one tip is to listen to your body. This is not the time to be increasing fitness levels. He also says to make sure not to let your heart rate or blood pressure get too high. And make sure to stay hydrated. Levi recommends focusing on low impact exercise and movements. Carrying the extra weight of your bub adds pressure to your joints as well as inflammation so avoid any sudden impacts or movements likely to aggravate. Practice positions that help prepare your body for birth. Deep squats are great for encouraging your pelvis to open and for your bubb to move into a great position for birth.

My friends, I truly hope these tips help keep you motivated though your pregnancy the way they have motivated me! As always, remember to always consult with your doctor.

LADIES: Please send this to a friend if you think she would enjoy this content from AnnaKooiman.com. And don't forget to leave me some comment love on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. I LOVE to hear from you!

Read More
DIY Natural Baby Products, A Lovely Afternoon with My Sister-In-Law

Want to save some cash and save your baby from chemicals at the same time? I do! Read on to see what I mean.

I am now in my 39th week of pregnancy and doing last minute odds and ends awaiting my baby boy to tell us he's ready to come into the world. Hopefully my water breaks soon! LOL I am so ready to meet him and see his sweet face! This year for Christmas, my amazing sister-in-law gave me the perfect gift. She organized an afternoon together to spend some quality time while concocting some natural baby products. We had a lovely day putting together all kinds of DIY baby potions. I'm thankful she had the idea of pinching a few pennies all while enabling me to use natural baby products on my sweet boy once he gets here.

Below are recipes my sister-in-law found for homemade diaper cream, nipple butter, baby wash & shampoo.

Read More
Should I Eat My Placenta?! I'm Researching the Concept

"I'll have bacon, eggs, and a side of PLACENTA, please!" Wait, what's going on here? What world are we living in? 

I recently got into a funny television exchange about placenta encapsulation (steaming, drying, and consuming placenta in a vitamin-like pill form) while guest hosting my favorite Aussie morning show, Studio Ten. The topic came up during the commercial break, and given the hosts' intrigue with the concept, it was worked into our hot topics of the morning. Although not particularly common, each of the hosts had heard of the practice and all had different ideas on how it could be consumed. Raw? Fried in a pan with your breakfast? Baked like a brisket? Lolli-pops? Combined in a smoothie? Dried and encapsulated?

Most mammals eat their placenta after birthing their offspring. But does that really mean humans should be doing it too? Most other mammals also don't go to college, live in air-conditioned homes, or drive cars to work. But, for all the naysayers, I've had a couple friends tell me they ate their placenta after childbirth, and highly recommend it. The reasoning? It is believed, by some, to carry a whole host of benefits such as assisting with milk production for the all important breast feeding - and helping keep away postpartum depression.

The minimal scientific studies that have been done seem to be inconclusive as to the benefits, but that doesn't stop women from raving about it. A large amount of information I have found comes from published anecdotes from women who have consumed their placenta post childbirth and are true believers. They say it's helped their ability to  breastfeed and bond with their newborn, decreased blood loss, and improved mood and energy levels. On the flip side, many medical minds are skeptical, and strongly warn against it if the mother has an infection.

So here goes... Should I eat my placenta!?  I can't say it's a question I thought would be coming up a few days before I go into labor with my baby boy. Although the concept may sound quite out there, I am open to trying alternative practices, as long as reputable doctors (including my trusted OBGYN) don't think there is potential harm.

My baby boy is due any day now, so if this is something I'm going to try, I need to know it is safe, and I need to make sure a highly regarded placenta specialist is available. As part of my research, below you will find interviews I've done with Dr. Jill Gamberg, a General Physician from Bondi Doctors and Georgie Jhet, a doula who specializes in placenta encapsulation (recommended by my acupuncturist). If you are considering this practice, make sure you consult with your doctor first.

Ladies! Check out the full Q and A's below and let me know what you think. Is this too weird? Or is it something that will become mainstream down the track? Be sure to comment on my Instagram, Facebook, Twiiter, and YouTube pages.

Read More
The Best Baby Cribs, How to Pick One

As a first time mom, I am so so so excited about setting up the nursery. It feels like such a right of passage as a woman - and it makes this whole pregnancy thing seem REAL!

When it came time to choose the perfect baby crib, I had so many questions. After a lot of research about safety and a lot of scrolling through my Instagram feed at cute possibilities, I settled on a lovely white crib by Incy Interiors. It should be arriving any day now. I can't wait! I imagine a lot of you will have the same questions I had when I started this process, so I wanted to go to an expert for you! 

I asked the founder of Incy Interiors why she started the company and why she continues to be passionate about helping new moms find the perfect cribs/cots for their nurseries. Here is Kristy's response and a Q and A about how you can choose the best crib/cot for your needs. You will notice that Aussies call the piece of furniture 'cots' while Americans call them 'cribs.' 

Read More
Active Truth Maternity Interviewed Me for Their 'How She Does It' Series

Active Truth has become one of my favorite maternity lines to wear at the gym or around Bondi Beach, Australia. It is an activewear company that serves women of every shape and size. Their designs specialize in super small to super big sizes so that no body is left out - and that includes pregnant women like me. I have tried out several lines of maternity activewear and just like some everyday-wear maternity lines, the quality is often sub-par. BUT, that is not the case with Active Truth. It is up there with Lululemon - and that's saying a lot in my book. Anyway, the founder, Nadia Tucker, recently interviewed me about my prenatal fitness routine for their 'How She Does It' series. The Q and A about my prenatal fitness and nutrition routine is below.

Read More
Battle Ropes Modified Workout for Month 9 of Pregnancy

Modified Battle Ropes Pregnancy Workout with Speedo Fitness Club: Trainer, Levi Darby leads me through a less intense version of the cardio session for month nine of pregnancy. Remember not to start new fitness routines when pregnant.

Read More
Tips to Style Your Bump from 'Ripe Maternity' and Yours Truly

Now that I'm in my 9th month of pregnancy, I feel like I finally have maternity fashion figured out! Ha! But I have to say in the first few months, there was a lot of trial and error. It's a funny spot for all of us first time mommies to be in. First we notice that we just look a little thick, bloated, or chubby and we don't know how to keep looking and feeling great in the fashion realm. We also don't know what we need to buy and what we can skip in order to save some cash.

Then once the big bump actually comes in, we enjoy feeling our bub kick, twist, and turn in our tummies... and also enjoy people knowing we are pregnant and not just packing on the pounds!  We are then left to figure out what we can wear that will accentuate our cute baby belly, and conceal some of the less flattering body changes that come along with pregnancy. We are also again left wondering what maternity fashion pieces to invest in and which ones to pass on to save time, money, and precious closet space!

So what has worked for me? I have found the two pairs of maternity jeans I invested in early on have each been worn about 1,000 times. I have a few body con dresses that I have worn for television gigs, parties, or nice dinners. Long flowy dresses with empire waists have also been a staple - particularly as I have been getting bigger and more uncomfortable! In fact, as I creep toward due day, my fashion has really been heading in this direction! ! When I'm not in activewear, I am almost 100% of the time in a long dress and Birkenstocks. This combo covers up my fluid filled legs and ankles - and supports my aching feet! I have also found BIG accessories work wonders with a simple black dress.

As you will notice from my social media posts, I have had a lot of luck at Ripe Maternity. The clothing is good quality, on trend, and many pieces can double as nursing attire once baby arrives.

Below you will find a Q and A with the co-founder and creative director of Ripe Maternity, Lisa Balakas.

Read More
Embracing My Changing Body and Connecting with Baby: Practicing Prenatal Yoga

Pregnancy is amazing. But to be real, it ain't all pretty, is it ladies? Anybody else missing their ankles??? Mine are currently 'cankles' (calf+ankle). More on that in a moment, but first, let's chat about the miracle of life.

9 months to make a baby. 9 months. That's it! It all happens so fast and it is truly amazing what a woman's body can do in such a short time. I think that's one of the biggest takeaways I have from the last 8 months of my pregnancy. Growing my little human has been the coolest thing to experience. It feels particularly real at the moment as he loves to let me know whenever he's awake. This little bub is constantly doing Turbo Kick workouts with some jabs, crosses, hooks, and uppercuts... "OWWWW... that was a rib!" And he also enjoys tap dancing on my bladder... "Bathroom! I need a bathroom!" 

In all seriousness, pregnancy makes me proud to be a woman. Proud of what my body has proven capable of doing, and proud of the even crazier feat (labor and delivery) that will come in just a month. This mindset of mindfulness has been fostered by my practice of prenatal yoga. 

Prenatal yoga has helped me emotionally connect with my baby and also served me well for embracing all the changes happening in my body. Whether a short meditation, a few good stretches, or a full on prenatal yoga group practice, it does a mind and body good. Pregnancy hormones are the real deal. I have found my practice brings me peace.

Now back to my CANKLES!! I went to my OBGYN a few days ago concerned because I am currently holding a lot of fluid in my legs and feet. Jiggle jiggle! By the end of the day I have been feeling like a character from Monsters Inc! The morning I went to the doctor I did the press test right when I woke up. What's the press test? Well, I was pressing my swollen ankles for a few seconds to see what the skin would do. What do ya know, even after having had my feet elevated on a pillow all night, the skin would just dimple, and stay sunken in. Eek! I was worried it could be a sign of preeclampsia, so booked an appointment.

Fortunately my doc says my blood pressure is still looking good and there's nothing to worry about. Unfortunately, it's just one of the joys a large portion of us pregnant women have to deal with during the late stages of the third trimester. The chilly water at Bondi Beach (where I live in Sydney, Australia) has been great for ridding my body of edema, even if it is short lived and the swelling returns. Prenatal yoga is another great tool in the box. I have been doing a trick I learned in one of my classes. I lie on my back with my bum pushed up against a wall and keep my legs perpendicular to the floor. This helps the extra blood flow back where it's supposed to be instead of in my mushy, marshmallowy ankles! 

Prenatal yoga is great for dealing with swelling, aches and pains, positive visualization for labor and delivery, and most importantly - preparing our racing minds for the stresses of parenthood. As for the CANKLES - they are just par for the course!

Below you will find an interview I did with my favorite prenatal yoga instructor, Nadine Richardson. Enjoy!

 

 

Read More
Why I Needed an Iron Infusion Despite a Healthy Pregnancy Diet

Energy crash! Time to go to the hospital and get strapped up to an IV for an iron infusion! Wait!!! What!?!?

My OBGYN knows I am normally quite high energy, so when I told her about my severe exhaustion, she knew something was up. We had my iron levels tested. Despite a healthy diet, full of iron rich foods, and taking prenatal vitamins, the levels were too low. She prescribed an iron infusion in the delivery suite so we could monitor my baby boy the whole time. It sounded pretty invasive and full on, so I didn't want to do it at first.

My OBGYN gave me clearance to try another option first. I tried taking an oral iron supplement in addition to my prenatal vitamins. Unfortunately a couple weeks later I felt like I had walked off a cliff into the low energy zone. The best thing for me to compare it to is the exhaustion I used to feel after a long 20+ mile run during marathon training - not wanting to move a muscle because everything felt fatigued. 

Most days I could go about my business until mid afternoon, before heading into the twilight zone. But unfortunately, a little over a week ago that feeling started coming on earlier an earlier. I could hardly keep my eyes open - was losing concentration - became short of breath - noticed my heart rate was going up - and even felt dizzy a few times. It became apparent that I ought to go ahead and get the iron infusion.

I hated the idea because I am so conscious about eating a balanced diet, make sure to meet the recommended daily value of iron, and religiously take my prenatal vitamins. I felt like I had been doing something wrong.  But my OBGYN reassured me. She said t's quite common for pregnant women to be iron deficient, even when they are eating healthy diets. The growing baby just sucks a lot of goodness from us unfortunately! Having done quite a bit of research on this as of late, I have now learned that a way for all of us, pregnant or not, to make sure we actually absorb the iron we are eating, is to pair it with vitamin C. This is something I was not taking into account.

Going to the delivery suite at the hospital for the iron infusion turned out to be a great idea. The process was not painful (aside from the stick when the needle for the IV goes in), and lasted less than an hour. I was told the main side effects are quite minor - possible headache or nausea. But the other big risk is daunting. If the needle goes in wrong, there is a very slight chance the iron will stain your arm, permanently. Eeeek! I did not want to end up with a brown, iron tattoo for sure!

Fortunately all went smoothly. I am told it typically takes a little over a week to notice a real difference in energy levels, but I already feel like it was a fabulous decision to get the iron infusion. Just going to the delivery suite in the hospital was also comforting in a way. I got a mini tour, and now feel more prepared for my labor and delivery. Makes total sense! Now I know where all the magic will happen next month - when we welcome our baby boy into the world!

In this post you will find two videos. One is from the delivery suite at the hospital showing what an iron infusion looks like. The second video is a walk and talk with a friend of mine who is a family physician, Dr. Jill Gamberg. We chat about iron deficiency during pregnancy, how to make sure we absorb the iron we are ingesting, and how an iron infusion works.

Read More
Why Birthing Classes are Empowering

I have never spent a lot of time thinking about how good, bad, or ugly labor and delivery would be. Never spent a lot of time of course- until the last 8 months of my life growing this baby! The more I've read and chatted with other moms, the more I've started getting really scared and anxious about it. People don't talk a lot about how grueling labor and delivery can be. We are just supposed to think of it as a beautiful thing since we are bringing a beautiful life into the world. But it is daunting- mostly because of the unknown. I have been trying to change my mindset a bit the last couple of weeks. I'm starting to think of it like one of the many marathons and triathlons I've completed over the years. Mind over matter... You can do this! 

This weekend my husband and I are taking our birthing classes. A lot of my girlfriends who are moms have been telling me... "Get ready to feel empowered!" I think they are right. Knowledge is power and there's comfort knowing my husband will be there to coach me through it. There's comfort knowing women have been doing this since humans first walked this Earth. After much consideration about where to get educated on the ever important birthing process, I have decided I want to take a holistic, scientific evidence backed approach, with a program founded here in Sydney, Australia.

My husband and I have chosen She Births. It incorporates active birthing, yoga, massage, nutrition, acupressure, breathing, relaxation, & effective partner support. I interviewed the founder, Nadine Richardson, about how moms should choose a birthing class that's best for them, when it's best to take classes, why they are empowering, and what separates She Births from other courses.

Read More
How to Choose the Perfect Nursing Chair

I am starting to pull everything together for my nursery and I've heard from so many friends, "Make sure you get a good chair! Your booty will glued to it for the foreseeable future!" LOL

At my parents' house in North Carolina, we have a beautiful wooden rocking chair that helped hush my brother and me to sleep when we were babies. I've been envisioning something similar for my own baby boy on the way, but also wanted something a little more cushy for the 'tushy!'

I looked all over and found a beautiful chair from an Aussie company called Life of Style. It is a French inspired rocking chair, made of grey linen blend fabric, solid oak legs, and bronze stud detailing. It is a substational chair but will also fit in our limited space. My husband and I live at Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia. It is one of the best locations in the world, but we definitely sacrifice space in a big way in order to live here. I also wanted to make sure the there would be enough space for an ottoman to go with the rocker. Going into my 8th month of pregnancy, I've already been nursing sore feet. I'm guessing these puppies will want some elevating post delivery too! This Life of Style rocking chair and tufted ottoman are going to be perfect! 

Below is an interview with Life of Style founder, Melissa Cannizzaro about how to choose the perfect nursing chair.

ANNA: New mothers spend a large amount of time in the nursing chairs, particularly in the early months. What are the main types of nursing chairs you recommend? (Ex. Rocking, gliding, stationary, reclining, etc)

MELISSA: A rocking chair would be the best option, especially in those first few months when your days are consumed with the feeding and sleeping routine of a new baby. A comfortable rocking chair will offer respite to a weary body whilst giving you the chance to rock your baby gently to sleep if you need to. I didn't have a rocking chair when I had my girls and I found that when nursing them I would find myself patting, bouncing or swaying them in a stationary chair to soothe them – not ideal! 

ANNA: New mom’s often get sore backs, is there a particular angle, height, cushion, armrest, etc to look for?

MELISSA: There are definitely a lot of aspects to look for in a nursing chair. You want the right height armrests to allow room to move or to place a pillow under your arm if need be, you want the right seat padding so that your toosh is comfy, the right density in foam in the backrest to allow back support yet comfort and the right amount of rocking motion so that you don’t feel like you about to launch off the floor. I have a lot of customers comment that some other rocking chairs/arm chairs backrest only go as high as their shoulders. I think it’s pretty important to be able to rest your head back and relax so this is definitely something to look for. A lumbar pillow is also something that can provide extra lower back support for those long nursing nights. All these factors have been considered in Life of Style’s range which is why our products have a top layer of duck feather in the seat cushion, a higher backrest and a come with a complimentary lumbar pillow.

FRIENDS! Don't forget to leave me some comment love on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Also, please tag a girlfriend in the posts if you think she's interested in the content from AnnaKooiman.com

Read More
Baby Blue Dress for Baby Boy on the Way

I had the pleasure of filling in on Studio Ten today for their entertainment hosts/reporters. We chatted Janet Jackson, Star Wars, Christian Bale, Harrison Ford, and more! It was fun spending some time in the hair and makeup chair for this flirty and feminine look! I was never allowed to wear my hair up in the past... so this was an extra special look to go along with my extra special addition.... the bump! I will be 21 weeks along this Friday. 

Scroll down to watch the behind the scenes video and also a couple clips from the show today! The dress is by Eliza J. I got it from a little boutique here in the Double Bay neighborhood of Sydney. I found the same dress for you linked below... but only in a deeper blue and black. I love the scallop detailing and off the shoulder sleeves. I decided to wear the sleeves up this time to cover a little more in the chest region! LOL The funky earrings and white link bracelet are from JCrew in the US. The shoes feature a feminine ruffle, stiletto heel, and lace up back. They are by an Aussie designer, Tony Bianco. I think he is my new favorite! Look him up!

Read More
Anna Kooiman Announces Pregnancy on Aussie Morning Chat TV Show

I'm pregnant! My husband and I are expecting a baby boy. He is due on January 26, 2018.... which is Australia Day! How about that!?! All the scans/ultrasounds have gone great so far and I am crossing my fingers for a healthy, non-dramatic pregnancy. The first 13 or so weeks I was incredibly exhausted and off and on nauseous... but I am feeling great now! Happy to have my usual energy back!

I had the privilege of sharing my news on my favorite Aussie morning chat show, Studio 10. They were so sweet! And the reveal was kinda funny! I had been concealing it for almost 20 weeks! The hosts were initially asking me if I was hiding something in all my social media pictures I had been posting recently. The photos from my Asia trip were quite funny... hiding behind friends, a hat I was holding in front of my belly, even standing behind a sumo wrestler in Tokyo! hahahaha Then when I made the big announcement the producers gave the crew the go ahead to blow gold confetti all over the set. It was quite spectacular and 100% a surprise to me! This show has been so good to me since moving to Australia. I regularly appear as a guest host on the show. Also, when I'm lucky I get to fill in for their entertainment hosts/reporters are on assignment or vacation. They have really made me feel at home. Tim and I plan to have the baby in Sydney. It's nice to be getting to know a new TV family along with Tim's incredible extended family and friends here in Oz.

Scroll down to watch the TV clip and also to #getthelook If you like the off shoulder black dress. earrings and shoes... they are from Kookai (a store I recently discovered here in Australia). The white link bracelet is from JCrew in the US.

Read More