Posts tagged anna kooiman mom
Nursery Themes that Create Baby Zen

Pulling together your first born's nursery - it's kind of a right of passage as a woman. Do you feel me? I was super duper excited about decorating our nursery from pretty much the pregnancy get go. I had these visions like you see in the movies. You know the type. Where the mom to be is heavily pregnant, painting the walls, while wearing cute overalls or something else cliche, with a big basketball showing through. Well, that didn't happen exactly! In fact at the end of pregnancy my basketball had turned into an overgrown beachball. People would often say things like, "Are you sure there aren't two in there?!" Haha! I had loads of fluid in my legs and feet. The last thing I felt like doing was painting!

But... I did manage to pull together what is very close to my dream nursery! It is so special. I spend a lot of time in there breastfeeding Brooks in the wee hours of the night, so it better be cozy. And if we want a zenned out little bubby, it better have a relaxing vibe. Tick. Tick. Tick! Check out the personalized baby bunting, teepee, play mat, and crib set by Hoot DesignZ. LOVE! We also have a salt lamp and a paradise iDream app going in there 24/7. Sometimes I wish it was my little nook for taking naps!

I went with the classic, baby blue as the main color, complemented by navy and black. Similar to our Central Park wedding, I knew I wanted the nursery to have a travel theme. Travel is near and dear to me because my husband and I dated internationally in some of the world's most amazing cities before he moved to NYC and then we moved to his home country, Australia. I focused on finding accessories that featured planes, trains, globes, maps, etc. I found an amazing company here in Oz that specializes in custom nursery designs. After telling the owner of Hoot DesignZ my ideas, she gave me several different fabric options. They were all great. How to choose!? I decided on the one you see here because I had read the contrast would be good for our little one's vision development.

Below you will find a Q and A with the owner of Hoot DesignZ, Rhonda Daniel about how to pick the perfect nursery theme for you and your baby. If you're looking for info about the French inspired, rocking nursing chair by Life of Style, click here. If you like the crib and change table from the Spindle range at Incy Interiors, click here.

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An Easier Way to Swaddle, What Works with our Baby Escape Artist

An easier way to swaddle. Doesn't that have a nice ring to it!?! This post should hopefully help you find the best way to swaddle your baby. I think I have seriously discovered the secret to swaddling a baby in a way that is easy for parents, won't wake up the baby, won't scare the baby, and won't allow the baby to wiggle out!

When my baby boy, Brooks was born I had stocked up on about a dozen muslin wraps I planned to use for swaddling. While in hospital, my husband and I tried the swaddle method we had learned in our parenting classes. After Brooks wiggle out, we had a midwife show us another method. Well, we quickly realized we had an escape artist on our hands. Brooks would wiggle his way out every time. Because of all the SIDS warnings from our instructor and all the baby literature we had been reading in the months leading up to his birth, we thought we better find another way. As new parents of course we were concerned he could wiggle out, kick up the muslin, and God forbid something horrible happen. It wasn't an unhealthy fear, but something we thought we had better sort out. Along with the safety hazards, I also realized every time I would take Brooks out of the swaddle to change his diaper, I would end up waking him, by having to move him around so much as wrapping him in. Some of these small failures may have been because I was new at swaddling, but I just thought, there has to be an easier way.

I tried another method which involves a velcro swaddle. Although it kept Brooks nice and snug and he was unable to wiggle out, any time I would undo the velcro, he would get quite a fright from the loud noise. 

Finally... a break came that would help all three of us get some extra shut eye! Some Aussie friends of my hubby's gave us what they called a summer, newborn, sleep suit. They swore by it, so we thought we would give it a try. It was dummy proof! We would just put our newborn in the suit, and zip him in! Brooks slept very well in it. His little arms were up by his face rather than in a straight jacket at his sides. He was able to soothe himself by still sucking on his hands, albeit through the light fabric.

The sleepy suit as we now call it is called Swaddle Up by Love to Dream. We loved it instantaneously and haven't looked back since. As the weather turned a little cooler and Brooks grew, we moved up to a size medium and a thicker fabric. He just started rolling a couple weeks ago so we are now using a version that allows the wings to zip off, allowing his arms to move freely. We initially just unzipped one side so he could get used to the new sleepy suit. He now has both arms free and is certainly sleeping like a baby! There is also a twin zip feature that allows caretakers to unzip the sleepy suit from the top to get bubby out, or from the bottom up to change his/her diaper while minimizing disturbances in position. 

I can't recommend these enough! The only downside I can see is the price tag. It will run you about $60 a pop! But I have to say, it has been a lifesaver for me. I can easily see why it won the award of Most Popular Swaddle award last year from the Mother and Baby Awards in Australia.

Below you will find a Q and A about swaddling methods with the founder of Love to Dream, Hana-Lia Krawchuk.

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Modern Moms Dress to Impress with Breastfeeding Friendly Fashion

I love fashion - beautiful dresses in particular. But it can be a massive challenge trying to feel feminine and fabulous when making sure I have easy access to 'the girls' in order to nurse my baby boy. I've made a conscious effort to seek out fashions to make this special time in my life a little easier. Because let's face it. It can be stressful to have a crying hungry baby out in public, trying to feed in peace. I believe wearing stylish nursing clothes will help me stick to my commitment to breastfeed Brooks. It seems every credible health (including WHO) or parenting website I go to recommends babies get human breastmilk for at least the first 6 months of their lives. So let's explore a few ways to stack our wardrobes with flattering clothes and accessories that take the stress out of it.

Although there are certainly days when I don't venture out of my activewear, don't wash my hair, or put on a stitch of makeup - for the most part at least once a day, I like to look halfway put together. It is easy to lose our identity as new moms. Putting all our time, energy, and effort into our bubbies, forgetting about what makes us feel like ourselves - particularly when we don't physically look or feel like our old selves. Nursing fashion has come a longgggg way! Even my friends with kids a few years older say they can't believe how the market and industry has evolved.  Nursing tops and bras have too. Medela offers several styles. At least one has holes complete for helping mamas pump!

Below you will find a Q and A with the founder of an amazing clothing retailer dedicated 100% to helping new moms look and feel great while nursing their babies. Verity owns Breastfeeding Wear Australia and has impeccable taste that won't break the bank! The fashions are all breastfeeding friendly, but not necessarily designed for nursing. You will want to wear these threads even when your infant grows out of the breastfeeding phase!

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How Pumping Helps Keep the Breastfeeding Commitment

I have been exclusively breastfeeding Brooks for 12 weeks now. Pumping has helped me get some necessary 'me time' that makes me the best mom I can be. I try to pump once a day to make sure there is some milk in the refrigerator for my husband to give Brooks if he gets hungry while I'm out and about for a couple hours. I have heard loads of moms complain about how having a newborn can be isolating. I believe it is very important to have a bit of time each day to myself. Activities that have helped me feeling good? Going for a coastal walk, enjoying lunch with a girlfriend, shopping at the local boutiques, or getting a small pump or swim on at the gym.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusively breastfeeding newborns for at least 6 months, in combination with solid foods until 12 months, and continuing longer if mother and baby desire. The benefits for baby seem to be endless. Which is why I have made the commitment to exclusively breastfeed for at least 6 months. But that's exactly what breastfeeding is... a commitment. I love how it helps me bond with my baby boy, Brooks, but as every new mom will tell you, there are a lot of challenges associated with it. Many women complain about cracked nipples, clogged milk ducts (and even sometimes getting sick with mastitis), overall breast soreness, and the need to never be too far from baby. Some moms have even said they feel chained to their baby by breastfeeding. Pumping can help new moms gain independence while still ensuring their babies reap the rewards of their mother's milk.

I love thinking about breastmilk like a superfood... made by me! It is such a special phenomenon. It makes me feel like super woman! Breastmilk contains antibodies to protect our babies from infection and disease.  It also contains nutrients that help with gut and brain development.  It is easiest and best for babies to digest and absorb.  I am making the commitment because babies who are breastfed are less likely to develop ear infections, respiratory infections, diabetes (type 1), allergies, eczema, asthma, and obesity. 

Below you will find a Q and A I did about pumping basics with one of the leading pump brands, Spectra.

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

 

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Sporty Preggo Spice! Comfy Kicks and Jackets

Sporty Preggo Spice!?! I'm in my final trimester and have never wanted to wear comfier clothes. But I still want to look cute! If you happen to be pregnant, I imagine you get where I'm coming from. I was drawn to this reversible jacket from Cupcakes and Cashmere instantaneously. You can wear it to the gym or even dress down your favorite stretchy LBD. These fuschia ADIDAS Originals have been some faves for a while now. They put the FUN in funky and keep me feeling fresh for long walks around New York City! I love this jumping picture. Still not peeing myself when I jump! LOL But I hear that's coming soon! ;-/

This week I've been showing off a few ways to style the bump while wearing non-maternity clothes. It can get a bit pricey to purchase a whole new wardrobe... particularly when you're only going to be wearing it for a few months. So for my moms-to-be.... I hope these posts give you some ideas to pinch some pennies!

 I just got back some New York City snaps from a few weeks ago (I was about 26 weeks pregnant. I'm now 31!). The photoshoot was with Anton Lombardi in collaboration with KK Bloom Boutique.

About this look, KK Bloom Boutique owner, Kendrick Allen, says, "The sporty look is a great trend that has taken the fashion world by storm. It's comfy and cute, while seeming effortless. Pairing a LBD or really anything basic under an oversized varsity jacket and sneakers will allow you to be comfortable during a very uncomfortable time." Kendrick adds, "The perfect little black dress is essential in every woman's wardrobe, especially when you're pregnant. You can dress it up or dress it down depending how you accessorize it or layer it. Look for something form fitting and a lot of stretch (to show off that beautiful bump). Susana Monaco is a perfect brand because her dresses are made with a stretchy, high quality, supplex fabric. Susana is great pregnancy and post pregnancy." If you like this look... Scroll up and down this post for the sporty jacket, funky purple ADIDAS, and a few great Susana Monaco little black dresses I've handpicked from Shop Style.

Friends! Don't forget to find me on social media and leave me some comment love! Also, share with a friend if she is expecting!

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Turning a JUMPsuit into BUMPsuit

If you follow me on Instagram you've probably realized I don't mind a good jumpsuit! Ha! I love them! But is it okay to make a JUMPsuit into a BUMPsuit?!

This week, I'm collaborating with an American stylist showing off a few ways to style the bump while wearing non-maternity clothes. It can get a bit pricey to purchase a whole new wardrobe... particularly when you're only going to be wearing it for a few months. So for my moms-to-be.... I hope the next few posts give you some ideas to pinch some pennies!

 I just got back some New York City snaps from a few weeks ago (I was about 26 weeks pregnant). The photoshoot was with Anton Lombardi in collaboration with KK Bloom Boutique. About this look, owner, Kendrick Allen, says, "The jumpsuit is a great way to chic up your wardrobe during pregnancy. Be sure to find one that has a lower inseam to give room for the baby bump. A lot of people are scared of florals, but if you add a touch, you can spice up your outfit taking it to the next level." Merlot and florals are both huge this season. Kendrick says they make one of her favorite combos! 

Scroll down to get a few looks I've handpicked from Shop Style.

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Preggo LBD Wins in 3 Ways: Floral Kimono, Blush Velvet Blazer, & Mango Leather Jacket

Preggo!? Here's a way a great Little Black Dress can win in three ways! Floral kimono! Velvet blush blazer! Mango leather jacket! 

Over the next few days I'll be showing off a few ways to style the bump while wearing non-maternity clothes. It can get a bit pricey to purchase a whole new wardrobe... particularly when you're only going to be wearing it for a few months. So for my moms-to-be.... I hope the next few posts give you some ideas to pinch some pennies!

 I just got back some New York City snaps from a few weeks ago (I was about 26 weeks pregnant). The photoshoot was with Anton Lombardi in collaboration with KK Bloom Boutique. About this look, owner, Kendrick Allen, says, "The perfect little black dress is essential in every woman's wardrobe, especially when you're pregnant. You can dress it up or dress it down depending how you accessorize it or layer it. Look for something form fitting and a lot of stretch (to show off that beautiful bump). Susanna Monaco is a perfect brand because her dresses are made with a stretchy, high quality, supplex fabric. Susana is great pregnancy and post pregnancy."

Friends! Don't forget to find me on social media and leave me some comment love! Also, share with a friend if she is expecting!

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Preggo Go To: Long Sweater and Maternity Leggings

Over the next few days I'll be showing off a few ways to style the bump while wearing non-maternity clothes. It can get a bit pricey to purchase a whole new wardrobe... particularly when you're only going to be wearing it for a few months. So for my moms-to-be.... I hope the next few posts give you some ideas to pinch some pennies!

 I just got back some New York City snaps from a few weeks ago (I was about 26 weeks pregnant). The photoshoot was with Anton Lombardi in collaboration with KK Bloom Boutique. About this particular look, owner, Kendrick Allen says, "Adding length and a little cold shoulder is super cozy and extra flattering."  For me, it's pretty basic. Leggings and a long, loose top is a no brainer. Unfortunately it's not just our bellies that get bigger... our bums too! The longer top is great on days we aren't feeling like attracting echoes of Sir Mix a Lot!

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