Can you tell us a little bit about yourself
I’m Alexandra, I’m a writer/content creator/marketeer and The Memo’s Head of Content, but right now my boss is a onesie-wearing newborn who has me on the clock 24/7. She’s also known as my second child, Inès, born in late March. I also have a son, August (4 in May) with my husband, Christian, and we all live together by the beach in Sydney.
You’re the Head of Content at everyone’s favourite Baby and Mum store - THE MEMO! What’s it like working and writing about so many products and brands.
Yes! I have been with The Memo since just before it launched.
Co-Founder Phoebe Simmonds and I were in a book club together (I lived in Melbourne at the time) and I had worked with the other co-founder Kate Casey at MECCA, and they told me their idea for an online parenting store that essentially cut the crap, the noise and took the confusion out of getting what you need for a baby. I had just had August and was one of those people who had felt entirely overwhelmed by the big baby stores, leaving them more confused than when I went in and (usually) in tears. I was someone who prided themselves on a half empty bin on garbage day, and generally hate waste, so I could not have been more all for The Memo and their curated edits. Kate and Phoebe knew they wanted stories and education to be a big part of The Memo so I started writing blog posts for them from day one. The articles often related to whatever I was going through at that time in my own new parent journey (if you read the article about teething, you’ll know I was going through it). It was always important to their vision that The Memo be as much a community and content resource that would educate and inspire as well as provide only the best in baby. The parenting game has evolved so much in the last three years, it’s an exciting time to be part of it. The conversation around the emotional load of motherhood, the realities of fertility, and the ingenuity in products that really get what it’s like to parent in 2023 is all at its most interesting and vibrant. I love that through The Memo, I get to be part of that and help make parents feel more seen, more prepared and more supported.
You’ve just given birth to your second child, a beautiful girl Ines.
How are you feeling, what is it like being a mum of two.
Early in my second pregnancy I was so emotional about having another child. I know every parent thinks their child is the best, and I’m no different. I’m totally obsessed with August, and it was a super busy time in our lives - we were both working full time and renovating a house on the weekend, so I was almost pre-mourning that he would soon not be my only child. I worried that we were running out of time as a family of three, and I genuinely didn’t know how I would ever love anything as much as I loved him. I had many wise friends tell me your heart just gets fuller, and they were absolutely right. Now all three of us are just as obsessed with Inès. August is almost four, and a big talker, so it’s easy to communicate with him about what he needs, or what the baby needs. He definitely feels like a big part of this having a baby thing, and it’s been my absolute joy to see him fawning over her.
What was it like being pregnant the second time around (with a toddler in tow) Did you do anything differently. Any tips or advice.
Second pregnancy hits different! I was so sick with August, but Inès gave me a dream pregnancy (so much so, it took awhile to sink in that I was pregnant). We were in Greece when we got the results from the NIPT test, which is when we also found out she was a girl, and we just felt so lucky. It was a magic moment I won’t forget. I felt great right up until 35 weeks, when I had my last work trip to Melbourne, and once I got back, it really hit. I was so uncomfortable, so much bigger than last time, and so ready for it to be over by the end. Sometimes I didn’t know if I was more capable in my second pregnancy because I felt better or because I had to be. You can’t just go to bed at 7pm when you’ve got a 3-year-old with a bed and bath routine to get through. However, I was smart enough to call it when I was really struggling and tell my husband I needed an early night or to tap out of parent duty.
What was in your hospital bag.
I was preparing my hospital bag for a VBAC, but we ended up last minute switching to a planned C-section, so I had my Bunnie Caddie with the little things I’d need in the birth suite. I love the Bunnie Caddie because it makes it so much easier for someone else to grab you something. You can’t get out of a bed after a C-section, so you do a lot of asking for things. The most useful things I had in there was the Bink Mama Bottle (I was SO thirsty coming out of recovery, I drank litres). Brillo Beauty The Wash and The Lotion for my first shower. You have to wash with an antiseptic wash before you go in which is very drying and not nice feeling, so just having a great body wash (scentless too) and a lotion to put on your arms and legs made my skin much more comfortable. I also had Silverettes, and I put them straight on and wore them whenever I wasn't feeding and had no nipple damage (I won't get too graphic but VERY different to my first experience). Postpartum Disposable Undies, the hospital likes you to wear their pads for the first bit so they can monitor your blood loss (they weigh them do like to work with pads they know). The hospital pads fit inside the disposable undies and give an extra layer of protection. A long button down shirt for wearing back in the maternity ward. I was detached from all the cords and drips early the next day, but for a while there's a lot going on. You want to get out of the hospital gown, but you still need everything accessible. A button down is the best way. Finally, a bit of a wild card, we took a white noise machine this time and it blocked out the hospital noise, soothed Inès and helped all 3 of us sleep.
Your top 3 products whilst pregnant from The Memo
This wasn’t a pregnancy where I had time to do much relaxing, so the things that served me best were the things that helped keep me going. The Bink Mama Bottle and Straw, was always in arms length, and I really liked adding some of the hydration powders for a bit of an extra boost. I wore the TheRY and SRC pregnancy tights a lot to support my growing bump and hips. And thirdly, I used the Malo Himalayan Salt Massage Ball a lot in my third trimester to ease some of my aches. It’s great to get someone else to use on your back and hips, but I could also use it on the balls of my very swollen feet.
Your top 3 postpartum products you’re currently using from The Memo.
There are so many boob accessories now that did not exist when I had August. I have a lot of milk, and can be quite leaky, so I’m loving the Haakaa Lady Bugs to collect leaks between feeds that I can pop in a bottle for an additional feed. On that note, the Mumma Milla Leakproof Bralettes are so great for me because I’m covered for leaks when I’m out and when I’m asleep. Nothing fun about waking up covered in milk. Thirdly, the TheRY Recovery Tights, particularly when it’s a day I have both Ines and August on my own and have to be a bit more active than you ideally would be in the first six weeks postpartum. They just give that extra bit of support in your movements.
We love that The Memo is so inclusive of the Mum, and really encourages postpartum self-care. Why do you think we need to look after the ‘Mum’ and not just the baby.
Going through pregnancy, giving birth and adjusting to the huge changes during postpartum are some of the biggest events of our lives, and it feels that for generations we didn’t acknowledge that. The way society talked about new mothers was more to do with “how well they’re doing”, and that related to how clean their house was, how well dressed their baby was or (ugh) how quickly they “bounced back”. We didn’t prepare women for postpartum, but now, that’s definitely changed with people sharing their postpartum experience and brands creating products and services to support women going through it. At The Memo we believe knowledge is power so we do a lot of talking about postpartum so people are aware and can prepare, because there is nothing more isolating than feeling like you’re the only one finding a new baby hard.
We’ve heard you’ve loved wearing our Leakproof Maternity Bralettes! We are so thrilled. What do you love about them.
Breast pads are great, but they can be quite bulky, plus, they're one more thing to remember, so when I first found out about Mumma Milla’s Leakproof bras, I think it was in a new product meeting at The Memo, I was thrilled. I thought they were pure genius, and now that I’m back breastfeeding 10 times a day and giving both the Day and Night Bralettes a good workout, I am all about them. The fabric is really soft and comfortable, I love the shape of the Day Bralette under clothing, and both styles are easy to feed from.
Has breastfeeding been different the second time around for you?
Any tips for mums-to-be about to embark on this journey.
Establishing feeding the first time was really tough. I left the hospital with bleeding nipples and felt like I just had to make it work. The reality was, my milk hadn’t come in because I’d lost so much blood and my body needed to recover before it started making milk. I put myself through hell pumping, recording feeds, constantly feeding when there wasn’t enough there. After 48 hours at home, my milk was in and I had an abundance, but it was a rough, rough start to motherhood. If I could have my time again, I would have let my body rest, continued attempting breastfeeding every three hours, but I would have given him formula to take the pressure off and make sure he was getting enough. My other piece of advice is to buy the bits for your boobs. Silverettes are a must, I can’t believe what a difference they made. Body Ice for pain relief when engorgement happens and nipple shields if you’re having pain or latching issues. They were the difference between being able to feed and not with my first.
Your go-to postpartum outfit.
My friend Leigh Campbell recently wrote an article about finding her style and dressing for the life she has, not the one we’d like to have (the one with the fabulous heels and cocktail dresses), and I’ve really applied that to my wardrobe. Mum life means comfortable, soft clothing that’s easy to move in, easy to clean, and easy to get your boobs out. I live in good quality shirts and soft knit cardigans worn with baggy high-waisted jeans or recovery tights. Great sneakers, great flats and I have a great trench that goes over all of it, and makes me feel put together even when I haven’t showered and most likely have baby vomit on me somewhere.