Thursday, 14 August 2014

Sweatshirt Sleep-sack

Ted modelling the new sleep-sack
I've been looking at sleep-sack tutorials as, now that she's getting bigger, Pickle wriggles out of her swaddles and I want her to be able to sleep in the middle of her cot rather than at the very end to make it easier to lift her for night feeds. The plan is to use her existing wraps as fabric for a sleep-sack.  I've taken a quick pattern from a friends sleep-sack with a side zip that I like but need to find some proper time to put it together.

In the meantime I managed to whip one out of a sweatshirt during a longer-than-usual nap time.  I bought the sweatshirt from the charity shop for the heavyweight soft 100% cotton and didn't realise the it had a dead bird on it until after I got it home.  Mr Duncan informs me it is something to do with a band I think I've heard of, but can't think of any of their songs.  I'm really starting to feel old now when it comes to popular music.


In any case its based on this tutorial here.  I used velcro rather than snaps as I had the roll I bought for the baby gym and I was going to use bias binding for the edges rather than zigzag but ended up hemming it all instead, which made the neck and arms a little larger than I intended.  Other than that, I'm really happy with it and might keep my eyes out for some other suitable sweatshirts to make more for when Pickle gets bigger.  I like making things for her, and the less I spend on such things, the longer I can go without having to get a new job...

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Freezer food

Here is an unpublished post I discovered from back when I was preparing for baby to arrive...


ready to freeze
In response to Marcy's comment, here is a list of the meals I've been stashing away in the freezer for those first few weeks of newborn haze.  They're pretty much all meals I've blogged before.

Bacon & Egg Pie - This can be reheated in the oven from frozen or simply thawed on the counter and served cold/room temperature.  An easy breakfast (although I *do* prefer them fresh).

Spanokopita - Bake this from frozen at approx 180C for about 45 minutes.

Chili with cornbread.  I made a super-sized batch of chilli and simply spooned chilli into small, foil lined casserole dishes (I probably should have bought some foil ones at the supermarket), and smoothed cornbread batter evenly over the top.  Then I folded down the foil and froze.  Once completely frozen I tipped them out of the casserole dishes and wrapped in more foil and returned to the freezer.  I'll unwrap, return to casserole dish and bake from frozen, loosely covered with foil at 180C until I can see that the chilli is heated through then I'll remove the foil and raise the temperature to 200C until the cornbread is nicely baked.  Actually I wont.  That will be Mr Duncan's job.

Risotto - I'm making double sized portions then freezing as described above. Same re-heating method too.

Soup, soup, soup made with home made chicken stock.  Just tip frozen block into a saucepan and thaw/re-heat over a low flame.

Falafels and pita bread.  I made about 60.  Simply microwave three or four falafels each from frozen and pop the frozen pita into the toaster.  Stuff with salad and a dollop of yoghurt.

Sausage/Bean casseroles along these lines

Quiche.  Easy to make from whatever veg or leftovers are in the fridge.  Freezes well and just as nice to eat hot or cold.  Best thing is can be eaten one handed while juggling a newborn.

Pate (and this one).  Freeze in small portions and just thaw overnight in the fridge.  Full of iron and protein and makes a quick breakfast smeared on toast. Also a one handed kind of meal.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Co-sleeping arrangements

I have been meaning to do a post on this as it took me quite some time and strategic googling to find the information I wanted when I was pregnant and trying to figure it all out.  In the meantime I wrote about it for a friend so here is a copy of the bulk of that email in lieu of a proper post. :-)

I looked at the sidecar cribs such as the Arms Length, but my research showed people complained that their little ones grew out of them too early.  And they're expensive in Australia.  We decided against the things that go between you both in the bed like the Snuggle bed as a) ours is a double and b) Mr Duncan is an 'oblivious to the world' sleeper - also they become too small quickly.

We finally decided to sidecar a cot after looking at lots of blogs etc.  I mainly went from the info on this site but I found a few other website and remember there was an ikeahacks tutorial somewhere too.

We bought a cheapie IKEA cot/toddler bed (so it would be stable with only three sides) and removed the side, but kept the height at the highest level.  The cot mattress is mashed into the side of our bed and we have jammed a cut down pool noodle on the far side to keep the mattress from moving and prevent any gap.  The noodle fits inside the fitted sheet along with the actual cot mattress.

We have the cot sitting on some old phone books to bring it up in height a bit but it is still a few cm lower than our bed.  Because they say you should sleep babies with their feet at the bottom of the cot Pickle sleeps by my head, facing the other way to me, but its really easy to pick her up and slide her across for feeds/more burps/cuddles.

As she's getting heavier to pick up I plan to make some sleep sacks soon to keep her warm and then she can sleep facing the same way as me and I can just slide her across for feeds without having to worry about blanket safety.

Most of the examples I found on the internet sandwiched the cot between the bed and the wall.  We have attached the cot to the bed with bungy cords underneath which is better for us because it means we have access to the cot without having to go via the bed.  Much more convenient for nap times, a bit tricky for bed-making.  I also bought a couple of over door baskets to hang off the cot to hold toys/books/burp cloths etc. While she is still swaddled and not moving I am basically using the other end of her cot as a bedside table - thats where my glasses, phone etc go at night.

For the first four weeks it was difficult for me to sit up or turn in bed due to the c-section, so Mr Duncan slept next to Pickle and handed her to me for feeds and put her back down/settled her.  That was a bit tricky, Mr Duncan is a very heavy sleeper so I'd have to go through a big drama just to wake him to get her up, even if she was crying.  He also falls asleep really fast (frequently mid-sentence) and I found both of them slumped together fast asleep a couple of times where he'd fallen asleep halfway through the passing her back manoeuvre.  At least she has his sleep skills!  We have now swapped sides again.  It is so good to be able to see her and listen to her breathe (I'm still having 'is she still alive' paranoias) although man, babies can be noisy sleepers!

I'm really happy with our choice as it gives the co-sleeping benefits and minimises the risks.  We wont need to transition her to a cot later and when she's a bit bigger we'll replace the side and move the cot to the other side of the room before moving her to her own room once she's no longer breastfeeding through the night (timing undecided, I *want* to bfeed her for as long as possible but also bfeeding is contraceptive and time is not on our side for any sibling conception).

Here is a link on safe co-sleeping -

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