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Why introduce your baby to water at an early age?

We asked Rachel Hope, owner of Turtle Tots, an award-winning UK baby and toddler swimming franchise located in Melbourne's South East, and it turns out there are so many more physiological, social and emotional benefits than we even thought...

Rachel Hope, Turtle Tots (Award-winning UK baby and toddler swimming franchise) Melbourne South East

Rachel Hope, Turtle Tots (Award-winning UK baby and toddler swimming franchise) Melbourne South East

Babies have a natural affinity with water, having of course been suspended in fluids in the womb for nine months. When babies are born they are hard-wired to learn by watching those around them and, as soon they become able, by attempting to copy their actions. Being in the water together from a young age teaches your baby that water is a wonderful place to be and they will naturally mirror and mimic your actions, so exploring the underwater world together in a gentle, safe and supported way is how babies best learn to swim. 

5 reasons why water is important for kids, and one for you too...

Better Eating & Sleeping habits

Activity in water will increase lung function, cardiovascular output and stamina and improves eating and sleeping habits of your baby. 

Bonding

Getting in the water with you baby helps to build strong bonds of trust, respect and communication from the early weeks and months of life (and one of the reasons why our carriers are designed with face-to-face carry positions).

Essential Lifesaving Skills

Getting children in the water early is vital to learning lifesaving skills. If they're familiar with water at an early age, by the time they are around three years old, they will have learnt to paddle and will most likely have mastered some basic strokes to be able to turn and swim to hold on in an accident.

Healthy Family Routine  

Water play is something the whole family can enjoy together and you can be incorporated it into your family routine right from the start.

Physical development

Buoyancy helps to exercise and strength muscles, develop muscular symmetry, improved joint mobility and neuromuscular development like early coordination and sensory awareness. Winning!

And One for you... Post-Natal Fitness!

As a new mum, getting in the water provides a gentle, toning workout that can help to regain postnatal fitness in a safe, supportive environment. Moving with your baby against the resistance of the water helps to tone and strengthen your core muscles weakened by pregnancy and childbirth. Exercise is also a wonderful way to reduce the impact of the 'baby blues' - it is a very effective treatment for depression and anxiety, as it changes brain chemicals including endorphins, the 'feel good' hormones.

Thanks so much Rachel for your expertise and support of Frog Orange. Check out Turtle Tots they are seriously thought leaders in the world of water and babies. Plus, we were lucky enough to be invited to one of Rachel's classes for participants try a Frog Orange and here's what she said...

They all liked that they were so light and stretchy and their movement in water wasn’t restricted. The babies all looked super comfortable too
— Rachel Hope, Turtle Tots
Frog Orange visits Turtle Tots in Melbourne

Frog Orange visits Turtle Tots in Melbourne

Love 

Victoria x

Top 5 Beach Holiday Destinations, as voted by you...

Behold the 5 TOP BEACH HOLIDAY DESTINATIONS as voted by you... hold onto your towels holiday makers, you're about to get inspired.

We needed some inspo. We just couldn't decide where to book our winter escape (with a 4,3 and 1 year old), so we checked out the comments on our recent Facebook comp with Minnow Designs and Fly LegsUp where over 250 people told us their favourite beach holiday destination. 🌴🍹⛱👙There were some amazing places in there (especially for young families) so good in fact, we just had to share them with you.

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Raratonga, the hub of the Cook Islands and your 5th most favourite beach holiday destination! Rarotonga has so much to see yet remains unspoilt - no traffic lights, no McDonalds and no building taller than a coconut tree. 

Lorne is our 4th most popular beach holiday destination! Being a Victorian I've spent many amazing holidays at Lorne - it is as beautiful and relaxing as the pictures. 🍄💦👏🌱

A favourite amongst Australians and coming in at number 3. A perfect destination for almost anyone who loves the water, climate, cocktails or relaxation. ✈️🌱💦🍄🍹

As a family we drove to the Gold Coast from Melbourne every year for almost a decade (back when flights were waaay too expensive and Ansett was around). God we loved those holidays and my sisters and I still talk about them (and somehow the car trip even seemed fun). Looks like the Goldie is still going strong and for a reason too - those beaches are just amazing

Being a want-to-be-awesome-surfer, but in reality just a little bit average, I have always wanted to go to Hawaii! And now I know it's awesome to take the family, we're on our way. Apparently, there's no place on earth like Hawaii. The fresh, floral air energises you. The warm, tranquil waters refresh you. The breathtaking, natural beauty renews you and there are six unique islands which offer distinct experiences that will entice any traveller. WINNER!

#TRAVEL TIP
If you're going on an adventure with your baby, take a Frog Orange. Without stiff structured parts it rolls up to fit in the smallest of pockets and weighs only 600grams. It is a fully functional infant carrier for use both IN and OUT of the water, so you can rock it at the airport, hotel, cafe and at the beach. For more information click here

Happy travels!

Love Victoria x

Our Beach Survival Guide...

The mid-year holidays are upon us and many of us are dreaming of warmer weather, relaxing family time and a change from the daily grind. 

 
This is Ava. She is four and leading the beach shenanigans by teaching her younger sisters how to get as sandy as possible... 

This is Ava. She is four and leading the beach shenanigans by teaching her younger sisters how to get as sandy as possible... 

 

Recently I was chatting to a group of friends and we were laughing about how motherhood had changed our lives. No more relaxing breakfasts out, no more spontaneous strolls down shopping strips browsing in stores. Instead our mornings are spent at the park, we have our lunches at 11am and our dinners at 5pm and life seems to be loosely scheduled around our baby’s sleeps. Who would have thought going to the supermarket alone could be so liberating!

Jokes aside, life is just more complicated as a parent, but still lots of fun. We discussed how holidays and simple outings just seem to work better if some planning takes place, not excessive amounts, but it helps just to have a bit of an idea of what you need to pack to make life easier for everyone.

I love the water, as do my kids, but an outing to the beach is probably one that draws the most eye rolls from parents because there is just so much to take.

The thought of finding the ideal spot on the beach whilst holding a million items from your baby to beach bags, shade tents, inflatables, buckets, spades, all whilst your older children are yelling out at you because they have hot sand in their thongs and they need to stop right then and there to clean it out!

This is me sometimes, but I promise, it’s still fun.

Having always holidayed by the beach since I was a small child, I have the beach outing down pat. Here are my tips for a fun day by the water, as a mother of 3 girls 4 years and under.

  • Apply sunscreen before you leave. If you wait till you get to the beach you will have at least one child taking off before you can apply it properly. Australian guidelines recommend that you also reapply sunscreen every 2 hours even if water resistant. Hats off to you if you make it past the 2 hour mark!
  • Take lots of cold water in a freezer bag so that it is easy to stay hydrated. The kids always like a gulp of water that isn’t salty! It’s also handy to wash any little scrapes.
  • Take hats with a drawstring tie so that they don’t blow off constantly and are not easily removed by little hands.
  • Take snacks and fruit in containers so that they can be sealed easily to keep it free from sand or flies. You can also store wrappers in them so they don’t blow away and pollute the beach.
  • Of course, take a Frog Orange baby carrier for water to ensure your hands are free when in the water with baby. This takes the stress out of a beach outing for me as I can have my youngest safely sitting on my front and can have my hands free to help the other two kids.
  • Take another adult. Not imperative, but does make things a lot easier.
  • Don’t worry about the sand. We all know sand is annoying. Go to the beach, enjoy and know that there’s absolutely no possible way you are going to be able to keep sand out of your beach bag, or off all of your things. Keep your expectations low - this always works.

Kids love the beach, the water and the fresh sea air. As a mother, what I love most about a beach holiday or a day at the beach is when it’s all over. All three kids are completely exhausted and are in bed early. Then it’s my time to relax, glass of wine in hand.

Love Victoria x

Designing the Frog Orange Baby Carrier for Water.

What was your inspiration for the Frog Orange Baby Carrier for Water?

I have a true passion and connection with the water and love getting to the beach as often as I can. The idea was originally from my husband Adam. He didn’t trust himself with our new baby in the water and wondered why there wasn’t a structured baby carrier for water with simple buckles. The ones available were mesh slings and they had to be wrapped and tied a certain way. 

How did you begin the design process and what influenced the design of the carrier?

My mother was a dressmaker and taught me pattern making skills, I also have a degree in sports science and very familiar with sports equipment, so I put these skills together to start working on the design. Neoprene was my first choice for fabric. It’s soft, stretchy, super strong and looks fantastic.

I love the water, the smell of board wax and wetsuits so I had a clear vision on how I could design a carrier that would appeal to not only Mums but to Dads as well. This vision included the key functional features my husband wanted like the quick release safety buckles. I love the sporty racer back design.

Besides your husband, who else did you collaborate with in the design process?

In the early stages of development, I worked with a baby-wearing consultant in Melbourne who provided some great advice on ergonomic sitting positions as well as design features I should consider.

Our carrier maintains that all-important "M" position of baby's legs recommended by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute. This is where your baby's bottom is positioned central in the carrier, is lower than their knees and their hips are spread open.

The overall design is intended to be super simple. It is semi structured so all you have to do to secure it is click a buckle, no wrapping or tying and the racer back feature ensures that the weight of your baby is distributed evenly across your back making it super comfortable. Our carriers are designed so you’re face-to-face with your baby to really connect and have fun with them and always monitor their face.

We also wanted a production partner that could deliver a super safe product, so we carefully selected our German owned manufacturer (based in Thailand) that specialize in deep sea survival suits. I spent six months preparing a prototype for production and a further two and half years working with our manufacturer. It took ten prototypes and two trips to the factory to finish with a brilliant looking carrier that is safety tested to European Standards CEN/TR 16512 (2015) and can be produced in large quantities.

What challenges did you have along the way and how did you overcome them?

I had a clear vision about what I wanted the carrier to look like, but it was a challenge to bring this to life and comply with safety requirements at the same time. That said, we’re really happy with the final product. It’s a beautiful balance between design and safety and we love the bright fun colours. 

Transcript from my interview with KidsStyleFile 30 Jan 2017

Love Victoria x

 
 

Introducing me - mother, surfer and now designer...

I have to say, I am happiest when I am in the water - the smell, the salt, how it invigorates me.

I grew up in Melbourne and as a kid we spent winter holidays at the Gold Coast, and our summer holidays at various beach spots closer to Melbourne, mainly Point Lonsdale or Portsea. I have memories of getting tossed around by waves as my dad watched from under the umbrella and my mum watched from the foreshore on her beach chair.

My best friend, who lived in our street, had a pool and we would spend hours playing games with her sisters. We even used to jump off the balcony and into the pool! Now that I am a mother, that does give me a bit of a lump in my throat and it’s certainly not something I would be encouraging my girls to try! My fondest memories always include the water.

At 35 years old, I learnt how to surf and haven’t looked back. I might be a late adopter, but I figure better late than never.. There’s something about being out there and being free, maybe it’s just that my kids can’t ask me for food when I’m out surfing!

It was my husband who originally came up with the idea for the Frog Orange baby carrier for water. He wasn’t confident holding our first-born as she was so slippery when wet! There were mesh wraps available but they weren’t very manly and you had to wrap and tie them a certain way. We wondered why there wasn’t a baby carrier for the water that just had buckles, and this was the start of a three year journey of designing and prototyping our product.  It was designed with mums and dads in mind, which is why it has a sporty look and of course, the easy to use click buckles that my husband requested. We love that it is colourful and evokes a sense of fun, whilst also being a product for safety. Our aim was to make water fun easier for families of little ones.

Today, I enjoy taking my three girls to the beach and sharing with them, my passion and connection to the water. We mainly head to the Brighton beach boxes or the pool. With three girls under 4 years of age, taking all three with me into the water is only possible if I have my youngest in the carrier. That way, my arms are free to pull the other two on their noodles.

Since we launched the Frog Orange baby carrier for water in December last year, I have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback. It’s so rewarding to see an idea come to reality and have people appreciate the product for what it is.

Love Victoria x

 
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