Sunday, December 26, 2010

Turning an ordinary dress into a breastfeeding one

I got invited to two weddings just after my baby was born, on what was certain to be a really hot March day in Kangaroo Valley - both weddings were in the same area two weeks apart. I didn't have any spare cash to buy something nice, and I really wanted to wear a cool summer dress. So I turned this linen maternity dress that I'd made into a breastfeeding dress.

First I dyed the dress, as since it was white it wasn't suitable for a wedding at which I wasn't the bride ;)
I happened to lose the beautiful sapphire blue natural dye which I got from Winterwood, just as I was about to do the process (I later found it in a really obvious place). I rang a friend to see if she had any dye spare. She said no, but didn't I suggest in the book using turmeric? Of course, I'd forgotten :)
I used onion skins instead of turmeric, and the colour turned out beautifully. The uneven coverage and vintage-y hue really suited the dress, which looked kinda old fashioned anyway - sort of Greek, as though it should be worn with a crown of ivy or something.

Then it was a simple matter to undo the stitching at the top of the shoulders. I neatened up the edges, and sewed on a button (these were blue as I originally intended the dress to be blue, but if I'd had time I'd have tried to find something of a more golden colour to match the onion skin dye colour). I used buttons sourced from an old shirt, and ribbon for the button loops from a nightie (you know how they often have ribbons sewed on each shoulder meant for hanging the garment up?) so I didn't have to buy anything at all for this project. Actually I did the button loops before the dye job, which I don't recommend as in this case they went a greenish colour in the dyeing.

How the dress works is, you undo the button at the shoulder and just let it fall down while you breastfeed. Of course you could use Velcro or something more practical, or go completely unpractical and beautiful by using ribbons tied at the shoulder. I could undo mine by myself but needed my husband to do it up afterwards for me - although once I managed by myself by putting the baby down on my lap for a moment.

This was really easy and got so many compliments! Everyone said they could tell at once that I'd made it myself - though I choose to believe that is because nothing like it is on sale - as far as I know.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Keeping warm in red

Isn't it strange how baby tops are all made to be so short in the length? If you are EC-ing, you probably know what I mean when I say it is so hard in a cold climate to keep baby's kidneys warm when you aren't putting onesies on her.

I wanted a long vest or even knitted dress to put on Umi and keep her back and midriff toasty. But couldn't find anything. So I adapted this great online pattern for a vest, turning it into a knitted pinafore dress.

The original pattern is for a vest which buttons up on one shoulder and also buttons up the side. My active baby won't sit still long enough for this, so I knitted two pieces the same and sewed up both sides and across both shoulder seams. I did include the garter stitch on each side which looks great. I cast on 40 extra stitches and gradually decreased to make the A-line skirt.

Umi lives in this! It keeps her tummy and bottom warm even if she is not wearing a nappy. And when we go out she wears it over a pair of orange bell-bottomed trousers. Actually I made them from an online free pattern too, so here is a link to that.

Monday, August 2, 2010

What to do with old babysuits - cover hot water bottles!

I recently bought two hot water bottles as three of us were vying for the use of our one bottle. But I didn't have covers for them and there's no time to knit any.

Just then I noticed a big bag full of baby clothes ready to take to the op shop. I picked out two cute fleecy ones with feet. With appliques and ribbons etc they were never useful as babysuits; in fact I don't think Umi wore them. But they are great as hottie covers!

Just fill the hottie, pop into the suit, and do up the press studs over it. The neck of the bottle can stick out from the neck of the babysuit. I find size 00 fit perfectly!

It makes the whole family feel like they are cuddling up to a cute little baby at night.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Making leggings for easy infant pottying

Recently a friend with an older baby brought around a bag of clothes that included no fewer than six pairs of baby tights. Now, tights are no good for infant pottying (just another thing to try and take off with one hand), so I was about to take them off to the op shop. Then I thought...we really need some more Baby Legs. They're those stretchy leggings you can get for about $20. Our one pair is always in the wash.
A few snips and a bit of simple stitchery later, Umi had some new Long Socks.

To make, simply cut off the legs of the tights. The longer the better.
Then cut off the top elastic at the waist of the tights. This seems to be, very usefully, the exact length you need to cut in half and use as the top elastic of each sock (depending of course on the girth of your baby's thighs).

The elastic is usually folded in half, so fold this over the top of each leg and stitch in place. If the elastic isn't easy to re-use, just use some fold-over-elastic (the kind Spotlight sells for making lingerie).

These are even better than Baby Legs because you don't need to add separate socks. Or if you prefer leggings you could cut off the feet. You don't really need to hem them - the ribbing seems to hold OK along the bottom, in a kind of bootleg cut.

For those in colder climes, it's easy to knit some in simple rib stitch. Here are a pair a lovely friend made for us (thank you Ruth!)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Infant pottying out of doors, revisited

I got a few comments a while back about how to conduct infant pottying out of doors!
People seemed to think I meant it was OK to leave baby poo just lying around in spaces others are using. I didn't really mean that! I was talking mainly about wees. Babies surely should be able to pee on bushes, just like dogs (and little boys) do. I also don't really see that much of a problem with baby poo out in the bush if you cover it up afterwards with lots of earth.

When you're out and about in more frequented areas, and your baby signals that she wants to poo, however, you do need to have something up your sleeve, so to speak. Sometimes baby will give you enough notice to get to a public toilet. However, last week I went to pick up Torsten from preschool, and was sitting on the front step waiting for the doors to open when suddenly Umi announced (with a few ladylike grunts) that she wanted to poo. There was no toilet available. I was nonplussed for a moment, then remembered I had a plastic bag in my backpack. I fished it out, opened it up, and let Umi poo in it. Then I tied it up and took it home. I have no idea what the other parents thought of the process - I was too shy to meet anyone's eye! :)

A better idea would be to carry a couple of sheets of newspaper for this purpose. Not only would it be easier to aim a pooing bottom on to a spread-out sheet of paper, it would also be easier to dispose of later, and more environmentally responsible.

By the way, when I said I was nonplussed, I meant in the English sense of being perturbed, and not in the American sense of being not perturbed! That usage really nonplusses me!!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Elimination Communication goes mainstream?

I was so amazed to read an article on EC in Practical Parenting magazine this month! The intro paragraphy-thingy described it as a 'growing trend' - this was totally news to me! But very happy news all the same.
The article also referred to it throughout as Potty Training or Toilet Training, which I think might be misleading - I reckon EC should involve you learning about your baby, rather than teaching her to do something. However, whatever it's called, if it's brought more into mainstream Australian consciousness I couldn't be happier!
Recently I became aware that even people who seem like they have an open mind can be totally outraged by what they perceive as giving babies a complex about eliminating. It doesn't make sense really - the real complexes surely happen when toddlers and their psychological complexity are involved. With newborns and tiny babies, on the other hand, it's simply about the basic human need to eliminate. No obsessing or complexes required.

Monday, April 12, 2010

On not having blogged for a while....

Oh dear, somehow all this time elapsed without a single blog post. I'm sorry to those loyal followers who kindly signed up to follow this blog!
Living with a 3-year old and a six-month old can really swallow up your time. But it should be no excuse really.
One of the mums from Torsten's preschool (hello Vanessa!) cornered me at the local markets to tell me she had stumbled across this blog. Funny how I always imagined it was somehow invisible to anyone who might actually know me!
I am looking forward to blogging about How to Turn a Maternity Dress into a Breastfeeding Dress. Just waiting on some view-able pictures really. Stay tuned!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

E-C-ing in the great outdoors

Of course this is easier when there isn't anyone around, somehow.

However, after five months of this, I've now become so accustomed to it that I don't hesitate anymore to quickly whip off Umi's nappy in public parks, friends' gardens, and any other green space, and let her relieve herself. Baby wee (and even, usually, baby poo) is so innocuous - I can't imagine anyone being offended. However I suppose there ought to be some kind of social protocol around it; asking if it's OK to E-C while there are people standing around. Any ideas?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dug out from 'drafts'

I had these photos of things I got ready for Umi when she arrived in our family. But then she really arrived, and I never published the post :(

A kind lady in my craft group made this cat from fuzzy handmade felt. And I sewed the little doll. Afterwards, I realised it is a really good idea to put a little bell inside, if the doll is going to compete with noisy commercial toys for my baby's attention. I'm going to do that now.

Easy nappy covers made from soft fleece.

This one didn't stretch widthways- I made that silly mistake of cutting the fleece with the stretch going the wrong way. So we've put it on Wibble Wobble the doll.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Cargo Bike - great way to get around

Our house is just a little bit too far from the village for Torsten to comfortably walk. However, it's too close really to justify using the car to take him shopping. And the stroller is now Umi's property.

The Cargo Bike! With room for two kids and the shopping, plus a great rain cover - there is no longer any excuse for not getting exercise!
Andrew has been going on about this for a long time now - maybe a year?
Now that we finally have it, I really wish I let him buy it earlier. He is finally getting on top of that post-baby flab (it's not only female bodies that undergo a change during pregnancy), and Torsten loves it. He can even read mini-books on the hop (see photo).
I get a good amount of exercise too, trying to keep up on foot with the stroller...