Categorized as: Parenting Tips

5 Tips for a Healthy & Happy Pregnancy for the Modern Mum

By Guest Bloggers Lisa Marshall from Aussiewell.net.

Although it’s normal for expectant mums to worry about keeping their unborn babies safe while pregnant, the stress isn’t good for you or for bubs. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can protect your little one and make your experience carrying him or her even more enjoyable. Here are a few tips for the modern mum to put your mind at ease and pave the way to a healthy, happy pregnancy:

5 Tips for a healthy & happy pregnancy for the modern mum

Image via Pixabay

Maintain a healthy diet

It’s good advice for anyone, but it’s especially important for pregnant mothers who need their strength and growing babies who need nutrients. All of your food groups — fruit, vegetables and legumes, grains, milk products, and meat products — should be represented daily. However, make sure you read the NSW Pregnancy Dietary Guidlines here, as there are types of each food and means of obtaining it that you should avoid. Always eat breakfast to curb hunger and prevent snacking on high-fat and sugary foods throughout the day. Eat plenty of protein to help your baby grow and fibre to help your digestion. You can easily make a lot of healthy switches that will cut calories without sacrificing a satisfying, hearty meal: leaner cuts of meat, low-fat dairy products, and wholemeal over processed goods, for example.

Don’t forget to inform your other health care providers

Obviously your GP and gynaecologist will be aware of your pregnant state, but be sure to make your other physicians aware as well. Your skin only allows for so much absorption, but check with your dermatologist to find out if any part of your care regimen may have adverse effects, especially if you’re taking any oral medications. Tell your dentist as well — he may want to consult with your GP for certain aspects of treatment. If you’re seeking mental health care, make sure your therapist knows you’re pregnant and adjust medication as needed. Never make any dramatic changes to your health care routine without consulting a doctor first.

Wear sensible shoes

Wearing the wrong shoes during pregnancy can not only be uncomfortable, it can actually be dangerous. While carrying, your body releases a hormone called relaxin, which can loosen ligaments and increase your risk of joint injuries like sprains.  Combined with the swelling some women experience and the weight gain that changes your body shape, posture, and centre of gravity, your feet have a lot of extra pressure. Stick with comfortable, supportive shoes to reduce your risk of injury, improve your posture, and increase your general comfort.

Watch your back

As your baby grows and your weight increases, there’s also an additional strain on your back. The spine can sometimes get dragged forward with the weight, causing the joints to deviate from their natural alignment and cause major back pain. Lessen the effects and get your posture back to normal by making a point to sit and stand up straight, elongating your spine from pelvis to head. While walking, lifting, or doing other physical activities, draw in your abdominal muscles around the baby. You can even do some belly dance exercises to keep up spine flexibility!

5 Tips for a healthy & happy pregnancy for the modern mum

Image via Happy Fit

Stay active

Your fatigue may be trying to keep you down, but don’t let it! Stay active and moving (as approved by your doctor). If you have a daily routine — like running every morning, for example — talk to your GP about how, and if, you can continue safely. Yoga and meditation are really great also as they help calm and focus your mind. There are a range of pregnancy Yoga studios around too, so do a quick google search for your closest studio. Get some exercise every day, and when possible do it outdoors for some fresh air and sunshine. Go on a nature walk with your spouse or a mate, take your dog to the park for a relaxing game of fetch, or take a stroll through your favourite part of town. Swimming is another great option; it can work every muscle including your heart, plus the buoyancy will take some of the pressure off your joints.

Don’t let your mind run away with you and prevent you from fully enjoying your pregnancy. Keep these tips in mind and consult your doctor as needed, and you’ll be able to embrace the experience with open arms.

Lisa Marshall wanted to start AussieWell.net after meeting some of her long-distance online friends on a trip. Being from the States, they had a lot of “typical” questions about living in Australia, and so Lisa decided to provide a newcomer’s guide — a go-to for any and all info on moving to or living in the country. Now that she invests a lot of time in her site, she continues to think about the safety, wellness, and overall lifestyle advice she can spread to Aussies and their visitors.

5 Things I Love About You, Part 2…

5 Things I Love About You, Part 2…

To show my kids that it’s the little things that matter, I am writing down 5 things I LOVE about them each month. Why not make your own list for your child?  This is a great way for you to record the moments, rather than focusing on the milestones. What will your 5 little things be?

Charlie

  1. I love that you are FINALLY interested in and enjoying your sisters.
  2. I love the way you pretend you didn’t get a morning cuddle so you can sneak another one.
  3. I love your ever growing vocabulary, especially some of your more colourful descriptions, “mum, the girls are freaking me out.”
  4. I love the way your inquisitive little mind works and the way you are 100% sure I have all the answers.
  5. I love your good news/bad news game. “The good news is I had fun mum, the bad news is I didn’t catch any fish.”

Lily

  1. I love the way you scoot like a demon
  2. I love the way you are obsessed with your Pa.
  3. I love the way you are MAD about food, especially ice-cream and frozen peas (?!?).
  4. I love the way you have learnt to drop your bottom lip.
  5. I love the way you are so independent and content.

Evie

  1. I love the way you start each day by asking after each and every family member all the way from your brother to the possum that lives in Ouma’s roof.
  2. “Coocoorie”, this apparently means Dolphin. Evie uses this word so often that Charlie and Lily have now taken to referring to Dolphins as “Coocoories” too!
  3. I love that you are crazy about dance class.
  4. I love your cheeky, naughty smile.
  5. I love the way you have come out of your shell, no one would believe you used to be the shy quiet one!Could you please however go back to being my star sleeper. Your new propensity for noise isn’t so cute at 3 am.

Love from Mum   xx

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10 Baby sleep aids that will help you get more SLEEP!

10 Baby Sleep Aids

Sleep! It’s the one thing every parent needs, wants and desires, but nine times out of ten, doesn’t get enough of. Anything that helps your baby sleep, helps you sleep and in my books thats a MAJOR win! Below is a list of sleep aids that have helped my children settle faster, sleep better and most importantly sleep in!

Many of these amazing products are available in stores and online. My favourite online retailer for all things ‘sleepy’ is Sleep Tight Babies. You can visit their store by clicking HERE.

1. Ergo Cocoon and Ergo Pouch

New born babies love to be tightly wrapped or swaddled when they sleep it gives them the feeling of being in the womb. There’s just one problem- they wriggle… thus they squirm their way out of the wrap, get cold and wake. This can also present a safety issue if baby becomes tangled in the discarded blanket. I had huge issues ensuring my first born stayed wrapped for his sleeps, no matter how skilfully and tightly I swaddles him he still managed to escape. At my twins baby shower my sitter gave me an Ergo cocoon baby swaddle. Made from organic cotton baby can have arms in or out and they come in a range of options suitable for different temperatures. My girls loved them and so did I. No more baby origami for me at 2 am! Hooray!!!

When your baby grows out of the cocoon there are plenty of bigger options. My favourite for winter is the 3.5 tog Egro Pouch.

2. Airwrap Mesh Cot Bumpers

Creating a safe sleep environment for you baby is essential. The SIDS foundation offers information on how to best prepare you baby’s cot. They do not recommend the use of fabric cot bumpers, however my children always seemed to find ways to get their little limbs fought in between the cot rails! Then I was introduced to the Airwrap-Mesh Cot Bumper. This clever creation is supersedes traditional cot bumpers, its breathable mesh fabric allows maximum airflow and reduces risk of over heating or suffocation whist protecting baby from tangling limbs in-between cot rails. The thin collapsible fabric of the Airwrap Mesh ensures that it cannot be used as leverage to climb out of the cot. The AIRWRAP 4 sides mesh fits most cots including larger brands like Boori.

3. Baby Shusher

Now this is pure genius. How many times have you stood over a cot at night “patting” and “shushing?” Well now the shushing part is taken care of thanks to the Baby Shusher. It turns out that it’s actually very noisy inside your belly, in fact your baby has been snoozing in utero whilst listening to noises produced by your blood flow, voice, tummy and lungs that hit about 95 decibels (about the same as a very loud vacuum cleaner!) This portable, easy to clean shusher produces a rhythmical sound that will break your baby’s crying cycle and engage their own calming reflexes. The Baby Shusher has a timer and of course a volume control.

4. mimijumi bottles

Full tummies = sleepy babies. It’s a frustratingly simple equation that has been befuddling mum’s for centuries. Is he or she hungry??? One benefit of co-feeding (breast and bottle) is that you can express milk for your baby and offer a bottle at night when you supply may otherwise be low. This means you can gauge exactly how much of the feed your baby has taken. This strategy also allows for your partner to offer your baby a dream feed at night. This will allow you to get more sleep!!! Hooray!

(If you are thinking. “what on earth is a dream feed?” you need to read Save Our Sleep by Tizzie Hall- see below).

5. Save Our Sleep, by Tizzie Hall

This book divides mothers. I myself thought it was excellent. You can read my blog about it here. I am a ‘routines’ kind of mum and had no idea how to get my baby into a routine. I thought this book was a godsend, however I did adjust it to my own liking. I think that most things in parenting are a bit like this, you take someone else’s idea and adapt it to suit your child and your family. Whether you are a Tizzie Hall fan or not, the bottom line is if you want sleep you need to pick a strategy and stick to it! Babies need consistency to develop regular patterns.

6. Groblind

My children ALWAYS sleep better in a dim or dark room. Learning to differentiate between nighttime and daytime is something a baby must learn. Thus walks outside in the sunshine during awake time and dark cool rooms for sleep time are a perfect way to help your baby learn the difference. But how to make a bright room dark? We can’t all afford to install traditional block out blinds and what about when you aren’t at home? Gro Blind is the solution. Gro Blind is portable and easy to use. It attaches directly to the glass using suction cups, this ensures a tight fit that really does block out the light. Especially handy when travelling this nifty little product fits easily into any suitcase and is relatively inexpensive.

7. The Sleepy Tot

My littlest Evie LOVES her dummy. There is only one problem: she looses it in the middle of the night… there came a point where I was waking twice a night to fish a dummy out from under her cot. Then I was given a sleepy tot! This clever little bunny holds up to 4 dummies at a time and can even be attached to the side of the cot for extra safety and to ensure the bunny itself doesn’t end up under the cot. The bunny is light weight, breathable and easy to clean. I owe a lot of nights sleep to this little bunny!

8. Brolly Sheets

Ahhhhh toilet training. What fun for mum. The Brolly Sheet made the journey to nappy free nights a whole lot easier for my son. This clever piece of highly absorbent material is tucked under the mattress on each side like a mini fitted sheet. If there are any accidents during the night you simply slip it off and the bedding underneath is fresh and dry. This will save you from a giant pile of washing and make you life a lot easier!!

9. Sleep Trainer Clocks

My 3 year old Charlie has been waking early, very early. We are talking 5 am, its still dark outside early. That was until I purchased a sleep trainer clock. These magic clocks can be set to a “bedtime” and a “wake time.” The clocks change colour when it is time to get out of bed. My sone receives a small reward for staying in bed until the clock changes colour, we now have a 6.30 wake up and I can tell you that extra 1.5 hours is heavenly!

10 . Sleep Consultants

So what do you do if you have bought every book, blanket and contraption on offer and your baby still won’t sleep? You call a sleep consultant! I have worked with Amanada Bude from Groovey Babies Sleep Consultants for some time and highly recommend her. Sometimes you just need to call in the experts!

Sweet Dreams Mum’s!

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Au Pair! How To Get The Help You Need

Au Pair! How to get the help you need

This year our beloved nanny is leaving us to move overseas. After 3 years of having her as an integral part of our family we will be hard pressed to replace her. I have decided that I need more help than I am currently getting in order to juggle work and family thus I have decided to hire an au pair. An au pair is a nanny that comes from an overseas country and lives with your family, caring for the children and providing other help (such as cleaning and grocery shopping) in return for accommodation, food and board and the chance to immerse themselves in Australian family life. Many want to travel and learn english and see this as a perfect way to do so. I must admit that up until recently I hadn’t even heard of such a thing. I just thought au pair was a fancy word for a nanny. The more I leant however the more I realised that this is just what our family needs. The main differences between a nanny and an au pair are that an au pair lives with you, a nanny does not, and the cost: au pairs earn approximately $250/week for around 35-40 hours work, or $6-7/ hour, nannies earn around $20-$25/hr.

Friends of ours, Pete and Meg, have had au pairs for many years- four in fact. I was luck enough to sit down with Meg and pick her brain on how to successfully choose, hire, integrate, train and keep a great au pair!

Meet Pete and Meg!

They have 4 amazing boys!

Leo age 7

Patch age 5

Jules age 3

Ethan 2 months old

Pete (Dad) – Current job requires shift work of evenings, weekends and nights– also studying for an exam which requires at least 20 hours of study per week outside of work hours    :[

Meg (Mum) – On maternity leave but works 1-2 half days / week locally

When did you decide to get an au pair? We decided we needed to get an au pair when Pete had first set of medical specialist exams brewing which just happened to coincide with our 3rd baby being born.  As Pete became a ‘trainee’ again he had to take a major pay cut so having an au pair seemed much more attractive financially than paying for a private nanny or for childcare.

How did you find your first au pair? We found our first au pair through a local agency which supplied demi-au pairs – this means they are half time.  Being half time the hosts supply room and board only and are not required to pay the au pair in exchange for 20 hours work.  These au pairs are usually attending “language school” which requires them to be able to get to a bus route and commute to school.  This situation did not suit us we quickly realised we really needed a full time au pair.    Our first full time au pair was found through an online agency.  The agencies I registered with were Au Pair House and Family Match.  She was from Germany and stayed with us for 9 months with a bit of travel time in between.  It took her  about 3 months to settle in and get comfortable with the language and our routine.    Two out the next three au pairs came from Germany as well.  I found them through Au Pair WORLD which is an online bank of billions of nannies and au pairs.  Each of our au pairs had their strengths and weaknesses but overall the girls were extremely helpful and loved being part of the family. The children loved them and they loved the children – the au pairs all cried when it was time to leave. I found the girls whom had previously spent time in an English speaking country and had work experience in hospitality or childcare settled in very quickly.  I also found that the girls, although teenagers, were very mature and very family orientated.  I also found that if the girls had worked hard in a café they knew how to stay busy with the family.   Our current au pair is from America (which is where I am from) and I have found that this has probably worked the best so far as far as communicating needs and cultural understandings between the two of us – plus I like the fact she understands AND laughs at my jokes.

What’s the best part about working with an au pair? The best part of working with an au pair is that you can divide and conquer and work as a team.  A good au pair will know with time what you like and how you like it and be able to do things to your expectation without being asked.  A super au pair  will go beyond what is asked and do things that obviously need doing but never get done (i.e. tidying the linen closet).  The down side of having an au pair is saying goodbye to them as they really do become part of the family and they grieve going home.  The other negative thing is the constant searching and training.  The turnover can be quick if the girls only agree to six months.  I found my girls took a good 2-3 months to really work things out and hence before you know it it was time to find a new one.

What are your top 12 tips for finding and keeping a great au pair?

  1. Put it out there exactly what you want – put the bar high and see whom responds. Spell out exactly what you would like – even include time outs for yourself to go to Yoga or the gym.
  2. If you decide to go through AP WORLD:  Once you commit to finding an au pair dedicate at least 4-6 weeks of searching and communicating with them.  Come up with a standard questionnaire to ask them and then compare the answers.  Sometimes the potential au pair will find a better offer with another family just when you thought you had her.  This is a time consuming task – but if you commit and get back to the girls asap you will find one quickly.
  3. The au pairs know they have to pay their own way to get to your country. As a family decide what you are willing to pay and stick to your budget.
  4. Look for an athletic or sporty au pair – some one energetic.
  5. Look for an au pair that is close their family and I recommend meeting their parents via Skype.
  6. Get at least 2 references from families/employers that they have babysat or au paired for.
  7. If it’s your first time hosting an AP I would recommend getting one that has either been an au pair before or who has been a full time nanny.
  8. Plan out their day and the routine for them.  Make a checklist for them of everything you expect of them  – add some jobs to the list if they can’t find anything to do so they aren’t left wondering what to do.
  9. Download a ‘Nanny Contract’ from the web with a confidentiality agreement attached. The au pairs get together on their days off and naturally debrief with each other however it’s not nice to hear your family news from another host mum via their au pair.
  10. A communications book with emergency contacts and a dairy for the daily plan and instructions like what to cook for dinner or specific chore requests is also very helpful.
  11. Upon arrival take the first week off work to get them settled in – take them to the bank and set up an account for them so you can do automatic transfers.  Take them to get a sim card for their mobile and any other electronic support they need to keep in touch with back home.  Show them the local FB page for au pairs so that they can meet new and local au pairs on their days off.  Remember they are often jet-lagged and home sick the first few weeks.
  12. I would recommend hosting an au pair that does not have a boyfriend back home. This can be a big issue and cause a lot of home sickness and tears!  Also make sure they are arrive to work fresh and ready to work and  are not tired from skyping late at night – consider shutting the internet off after 10pm if it becomes a problem.
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First day at daycare!

First Day At Daycare!

In just 2 weeks time my baby girls will be tackling another of life’s milestones: their first day at daycare. I am so excited for them as I know that they will thrive in the stimulating and loving environment that the centre I have chosen provides. I must admit when I sent my first child, Charlie off to daycare for the first time I was a little less confident in my decision and after coping a bit of flack for my decision to send him in the first place I wasn’t exactly keen to ask others advice on how to go about it all. To ensure my twins transition smoothly into this new environment I have asked an expert for her advice! Teegan is mother to 2 year old Harper (pictured left and below) and has 11 years experience in childcare, here she shares her top tips for parents approaching their kid’s first day at daycare.

First day at daycare: 5 tips for a smooth transition!

The start of the new school year is almost here, and for many children (and parents) it can be an exciting, anxious and emotional time. I have spent all of January, for the last 11 years, helping parents and children settle into their new daycare room. To ensure a smooth transition and to make the situation as easy as possible, I have listed my top 5 tips for a less stressful first day.

  1. Pack your child’s comforter- bring every single one that you have if possible. For younger children this can mean a blanket, teddy, toy, dummy or all of the above. For older children you can pack a picture of the child’s family in their bag, write a note and place it in your child’s lunchbox, draw a smiley face on their hand to remind them of you, or think of something special to do that only you and your child share.
  2. Try to transition your child into care if time allows. Visit the centre with your child at playtime or a mealtime and sit with them while they are in their room. Encourage them to play with the other children while you sit back and watch. Try to make each visit a little longer than the one before.
  3. Don’t make their first day a long day. Children may start off the day fine and happy, but as the day progresses and other children start to be picked up from care, children can become quite anxious and start to fret. Separation anxiety is quite common at first and children need reassurance that mum or dad will be back soon to collect them.
  4. If you have older children it is beneficial to discuss what will be happening. Read stories about daycare, talk about daycare with your child, encourage them to talk about any fears they may have and try to get them to list some things that they are looking forward to.
  5. Know that every child is different. Some children will run into their new Centre and not look back. Others will cling on to your leg screaming. All good things take time, so it’s important that you as a parent stay as calm and collected as possible and allow your child the time they need to settle in to care. Show your child that you trust the staff by confidently handing your child over to them and saying goodbye.

At the end of the morning, when the kindy drop off is done, there is one thing you should know- no one will judge you if you need to sit in your car and cry- we’ve all been there and done that. You’ll be in good company- just turn your head and look at the car parked next to you ;)

Teegan runs Harpers Place a fantastic directory for all things ‘kids’ on the Gold Coast. You can read her blog and check out her website by clicking HERE!

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Nappy Pants Review: Which brand is best?

Nappy Pants Review

My twins girls are now 13 months old. Recently they have decided that nappy changes are boring and they will no longer cooperate in anyway with me or anyone else who tries to change them. Strategies for nappy change avoidance include:

  1. Running/crawling away
  2. Going into a crocodile like death roll and /or
  3. Kicking and screaming

All of these little ‘tricks’ make nappy changes a nightmare. So I decided to try nappy pants or pull ups.  Basically these are just nappies that you can pull onto a child like pants in a standing position instead of lying them down. Some have re-sealable tab sides other don’t. So basically if you need to clean up a ‘mess’ you still have to do things the old fashioned way, but wet nappy changes can be done standing, which for some reasons seems more acceptable to the average 1-2 year old? (Don’t ask me why?)

There are 2 major issues with pull ups:

  1. The price. They are significantly more expensive than normal nappies.
  2. The absorbency. They are far less absorbent than standard nappies of the same brand.

In order to assess whether they were worth the extra expense and of course whether they performed as well I have put them to the test. When I went to my local Woolies I was overwhelmed by the range of nappy pants available, so I decided to do a nappy pants review to help mum’s figure out what they are all about and whether they are worth the $$! In order to conduct the nappy pants review I trialled 3 brands of nappy pants for a week each.

  1. Woolworth’s Select Brand, Once Upon A Time Nappy Pants $11.00 or $0.48c /ea
  2. Baby Love, Toddler Nappy Pants $27.00 or $0.52c /ea
  3. Huggies, Toddler Nappy Pants $21.49 or $0.69c /ea

Nappy Pants Review, The results:

1st place : Huggies

2nd place: Woolworths Select

3rd Place: Baby Love

Why was Huggies the best?

Not surprisingly I found that you get what you pay for, with the more expensive nappies out performing the cheaper ones in both functionality and performance. The Huggies nappies had re-sealable side tabs which meant the nappy could be re-used if it was not wet or soiled. The others did not. This meant that I went through more of the other nappies each day which increased the cost. This is especially important in summer when the children are spending a lot of time nude in backyard or in the pool. Thus although a nappy has been removed it doesn’t mean that it is not perfectly reusable.

The Huggies nappies also kept the twins skin dryer and I noticed less skin irritation during this week. Importantly there were no “blow outs” or wet pants or wet bedding when using the Huggies nappy pants, although I must admit I still think a traditional Huggies nappy is best for nighttimes.

The others:

The Woolworths nappy pants where very effective during the day, but both twins wet through their clothes at night in these nappies. In the Baby Love nappies both twins wet through both day and night. We also had poo all through a car seat on one very pleasant car trip. Although the Baby Love nappies feel very soft to touch their absorbency was a major issue and the lack of side tabs actually made them difficult to put on and take off, thus why they came last on my list.

Huggies now sell the nappy pants in large boxes which reduced the price per nappy to $0.63 cents and I have noted regular specials and bought up big! This has brought the price down even further. If you are a mum struggling through every nappy change then I highly recommend you give the Huggies nappy pants a go!

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5 Minutes With Birthing and Baby Expert: Amanda Bude From GroovyBabies!

Introducing birthing and baby expert Amanda Bude from Groovy Babies!

Since the first moment I found out I was pregnant with my first child there have been plenty of days (and nights) that I have wished I had access to a birthing and baby expert. Why won’t he sleep? Is he eating enough? How do I wrap him? Is he teething? The list was endless.  My local child health nurse, lactation consultant and midwife all tried to give me information, but I found that this was not the help I needed. What I needed was someone to come and show me how it was done on a real day to day basis. I eventually found my way, but I would have gotten there a lot faster and with a lot less stress if I had know about this amazing lady!

When I met Amanda I was surprised to find a midwife with a difference, she didn’t preach about the best way, she described the real, everyday way. Then I found out that like me she was a mother of twins! (AHHH HA!) Moreover she was a midwife and twin mother who wasn’t able to breastfeed her twins (due to an allergy that both twins have). I believe that it is this life experience that makes her truly unique. She has experience both sides of the coin. A normal healthy pregnancy and birth of a single baby that fed well and a twin pregnancy, where the babies were unable to breastfeed.

Let’s spend 5 minutes getting to know Amanda:

Tell us about you training and qualifications? 

I am a busy mum of 3, a 6 year old and twins nearly 5.

I am a registered nurse, a registered midwife and a reproductive medicine (IVF) nurse specialist.

I also hold a diploma of  the IMI Maternity and Child Sleep Consultant Program, making me a “Maternity and Child Sleep and Settling Consultant.”

I’m also a Certified Infant Massage Instructor (CIMI) with Infant Massage Australia and a HypnoBirthing® Childbirth Educator, certified and affilated with the HypnoBirthing® Institute, a Reiki Practitioner and a NLP Practitioner.

Wow! What a list!  Tell us a bit about HypnoBirthing®?  

It is the international gold standard in childbirth education classes that combine techniques of breathing, relaxation, visualisation and deepening.  HypnoBirthing  teaches women to relax quickly and completely with uterine contractions, and to use visualization to help facilitate the cervix opening and thinning, and calm baby descent.  Women and their birthing companions are taught that fear and tension lead to increased levels of catecholamines, which ultimately causes increased pain during labor.  The positive effects of visualization are thought to be similar to those achieved by athletes using mental imagery to prepare for competition.  Rather than using multiple types of breathing and imagery to distract the laboring woman from her discomfort, HypnoBirthing allows a woman to become deeply focused upon the birthing process.

Our Facebook page went nuts when I posted an image of a CD: HypnoBirthing® Affirmations For Caesarean Deliveries that you provided? Tell us a bit about this?

Just because you are having a C-section does not mean you cannot be empowered. Having a baby can cause parents to have some serious fears. If you couple those fears with that of the major surgery of a C-section you have a parents who are stressed, worried, and not relaxed to welcome their baby into the world.HypnoBirthing® can assure that mums having a c/s can do so in a calm, informed and peaceful manner.

Nerves and stress can impact the mother’s ability to take anesthesia and impact her surgery. Using the breathing techniques can help facilitate the body accepting the anesthesia easily. It allows a Mom to relax and use hypnosis effectively. Breathing deeply can be a quick way to calm oneself to be consciously present in the moment without stress. This is an effective tool for parenting, breast feeding, and life. Parents who use hypnotherapy for pre- and post-surgery preparation find their anxiety is reduced. They are calm, and confident which promotes healing and a speedy recovery. Hypnosis will help to reduce pain and discomfort after surgery. It will help reduce bleeding during and after surgery which is helpful for mothers recovering from birth. Many mums report that it reduces the need for post operative drugs so they can breast feed without worry of drugs passing through to the baby.

Once the baby is born, whats the most common thing parents ask for help with?

Is my baby getting enough food?

When will he sleep through the night?

 What the most common issue for parents these days?

I think parent’s these days work way to hard on being the “perfect parent”. This is as much of a bad thing as it is a good thing!

I think the thing that is lacking the most it that parent’s are not taught about how biologically baby’s sleep. This is a huge area of stress for new parents! Why won’t my baby sleep? If parents can be educated to understand how babies sleep they have a lot more confidence and success in achieving healthy sleep patterns for their baby.

How do you help parents that contact you?

As a starting point I offer a free 15 min phone consultation. My survey’s showed simply that as mums we just want to chat to an expert and a mum. We want to hear that voice on the other end of the line and be reassured.

What if someone needs more help?

Depending on their goals and needs I can offer anything from 60min expert chat to my complete sleep packages- via home visit, phone, skype and email.

Where do most of your clients come from?

I have clients in NT, QLD, WA, NSW, TAS and VIC! With skype and phone consults there is no limit to who I can help.

When parents are looking to co-feed (breast and bottle) what should they look for in a bottle?

A complete system, that is easy to assemble. Importantly the bottle should mimic nature and the breast-feeding process. The baby should have to suck, avoid free flow bottles where the milk just pours out- I used to hate how my babies would choke and drip milk everywhere! The 1,2,3,4 systems of never ending teats never matched their needs!

At what age do you suggest parents introduce a bottle?

It’s important to introduce at least one feed at around 3-4 weeks and continue to do this, (even if its once a day) in order to establish co-feeding. You don’t want to end up in a situation where you need to leave your baby for the first time and have never previously given them a bottle.

If you had one piece of advice for a new mum what would it be?

Your instincts make you the expert on your baby, trust yourself!

If you would like to contact Amanda you can visit her website by clicking HERE

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Gardening and kids: Teaching kids where food comes from?

Gardening and kids: Teaching kids where food comes from?

I remember many years ago (before I had children) watching an episode of Jaime Oliver’s School Lunches documentary series and being mortified that young school aged children where so clueless when it came to food. Two things in particular really shocked me:

A- the children couldn’t identify simple vegetables like tomatoes and,

B- when asked where food came from they all said the same thing: the shops. (CRINGE!)

I was reminded of this recently when my son asked me what a custard apple was when we where strolling through Woolworths. We have always played “name the vegetable” and “who’s that fruit?” on our shopping trips but I got to wondering if my kids truly understood where food comes from? Thus I set out on a mission to ensure my kids know exactly where food comes from and exactly what each fruit and vegetable is called and more importantly, what it tastes like.

My plan had 2 parts:

1) Gardening and kids

I wanted to get the kids involved, let them get messy and make food and “farming” a game. Charlie and I went on an adventure to the nursery, he chose his own plants and together with some help from his best friend Madden we planted out herbs, veges and fruit trees. We have been watering them everyday and have even picked and eaten some of our produce. Charlie’s favourite game is to pick off a leaf of mint and smell it! We have even started cooking in the kitchen together, he gets to pick the herbs and add them into the food. We even made mint and lime cordial by freezing the mint into ice cubes.

2) The good old reward chart.

Some may not agree with it but bribery works a treat for me and so the “healthy eating and trying new things” sticker chart was made. Charlie had not been a fan of vegetables at all before the reward chat. Since its arrival on our kitchen wall he has tried 5 new veges and is regularly eating things he previously wouldn’t have touched! Importantly we have a “taste it” rule, he has to have a good sized taste of everything, if he then decides he doesn’t like it he doesn’t have to eat it.I don’t like to force feed, I’d like my kids to love food instead of me having to ram it down their throats! At 3 years old this concept is a bit out there but it seems to be working, slowly but surely Charlie is deciding he likes more and more foods.

Overall our little foray into the world of farming has been a great success. Whether you live in an apartment or have acres and acres of land there are so many ways to teach your kids about food. Most cities have community gardens where you can get your kids involved or you can always plant a seed in an recycled egg tray and watch the fascination blossom on your child’s face as their own little garden beings to grow.

Happy gardening mummies… P.S sorry about the mess!

If you would like more tips and fun ideas on kids and gardening check out this great acitivity list.

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How to make a baby video: Creating a time-lapse pregnancy video!

There is nothing more special than your first pregnancy. It’s such an exciting time in your life and although that last trimester might feel like it takes 100 years – in retrospect the time really does fly by.  Some very enthusiastic parents have started a trend that is taking off. Pregnancy time-lapse videos. Although some of the ideas in them are a little cheesy the idea is brilliant! I really wish I had done this for my pregnancies! I did have some great images of me taken whilst pregnant but it would have been great to be able to see the changes that my body went through!

Take a look at some of the best baby time-lapse videos:

Introducing…. Amalie Amaya

9 months in 1000 pictures stop motion

9 Months of Pregnancy in Under 2 Minutes

Want to do it? Here are a few tips on how to make a baby video:

1. Choose a location that has a clear background and isn’t pilled with junk! Against a wall works best.

2. Use the same camera and shoot from the same spot. Choosing a location where you can rest the camera on something and leave it there works best.

3. Decide whether you will wear the same clothes or not. If you choose to, leave that outfit only for the pictures.

4. Set and alarm reminder in your phone to remind you to take the pictures.

5. Try to take the pictures at the same time of day for lighting purposes. Monday and Thursday evening just before bed tends to work well.

6. Don’t worry about how you look. No make-up, messy hair? It all adds to it! If you have to do yourself up before every shot you will find you will give it up pretty quickly!

7. Take at least 10 shots each time and ensure you back up your photos, nothing would be worse than loosing them! Ensure that you save them in folders marked by month, inside the folders they should automatically collect in date order. This will help when you go to edit your video.

8. Many cameras now have automatic sequence shooting options so dig out your cameras manual and check out your options.

9. Choose a fun song to go with your shots. Make sure its something that is fun and meaningful to you.

10.  Dont forget to take a shot when your bub arrives!

11. Edit your video! There are lots of programs that can help you to put your video together fairly simply. Vimeo  and Smilebox are great free options. Sequence by Mac is $34.99 and is for those who want to take their editing to the next level! There are also several apps for iPhones that take you through the entire process.

12. Finally, enjoy watch your video with your family and friends and marvel at what your body is capable of!

I hope this article on how to make a baby video has been helpful? You can read more of my blog by clicking HERE!

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Amber Teething Necklaces: WARNING

Amber Teething Necklace: Warning

I have always loved the look of the very trendy amber teething necklaces that I have seen many a bub wearing. I have been lucky to have kids that cut teeth without a whimper. A bit of dribble, bright red cheeks and a few days later- teeth! So I have never had the need for one. I constantly hear from other mum’s that they are amazing, but I have never really understood how they supposedly worked. Last week I was looking for a gift for a friend’s child’s first birthday and saw an amber teething necklace. Tempted to buy I decided to find out what all the fuss was about first and came across something pretty disturbing…. The Australian Competitor and Consumer Commision (ACCC), Kidsafe NSW, the QLD Office of Fair Trading and NSW Health have all recently put out warnings about the risks of using amber teething necklaces in children under 3.

What is an amber teething necklace?

Amber is a naturally occurring mineral, a fossilised tree resin, or sap. Amber teething necklaces are made from polished chips of this resin. The necklaces come in a range of colours from white-yellow to beige or brown. Manufacturers claim that the darker the amber, the more therapeutic its properties. The purity and location of the source of the amber is also said to effect its quality.

How do they work?

Amber is said to have healing properties and when worn next to the skin, these benefits are supposedly passed on. The warmth of the skin reputedly releases an element called Succinic acid contained in the amber. The Succinic acid is meant to be absorbed through the child’s skin and into their blood stream. It is this which is said to deliver the relief from pain associated with teething as Succinic acid reportedly  has an anti-inflammatory effect.

Unfortunately it seems these claims about the benefits of amber teething necklaces are not scientifically based. Amber in fact needs to be heated to over 200 degrees celsius before any Succinic acid can be released and considering the normal body temperature of a baby is around 36-37 degrees then any transfer onto the skin seems very unlikely. Further more, the amount of Succinic acid contained in a necklace the size worn by children is so small that even if it were able to be absorbed through the skin it would have no effect.

Why the concern?

A recent surge in the popularity of amber teething necklaces has also seen a surge in the number of chocking incidents and other injuries associated with the necklaces and this has prompted government authorities to issue public warnings.

Choking and strangulation are the two major risks involved with small children wearing amber teething necklaces. The necklaces do come with knots in the cords between each bead, but there is still a risk of one of the beads breaking off and the baby inhaling it especially if the necklaces is worn long enough for the baby to chew. Babies  have very narrow wind pipes and if obstructed with even the smallest object, air cannot flow into or out of their lungs. This is obviously a very serious risk. The other risk is that children can be strangled by the necklace. The necklace can become caught on household furniture or play equipment (to name a few) and could literally strangle the child.

What should I do?

Many parents and their children LOVE these necklaces. I say believe what you want to believe, if the necklaces work for you, or you just like them as a fashion accessory then go for it. Just make sure you do so safely.

A few general tips:

1. You should always read the manufacturer’s instructions and follow them carefully. You should also keep instructions. If you experience any problems with the necklace you should contact the manufacturer and let them know so that they can improve the product.

2. Each time you put the necklace on you should inspect it checking for any broken or shattered beads or fraying of the cord. If the necklace is starting to deteriorate in anyway throw it away.

3. Importantly you should never allow your baby to chew on the necklace. This could potentially weaken it and your child could dislodge and swallow or inhale a bead.

The Australian Consumer Commission has given safety guidelines to parents currently using the necklaces, these rules should be followed at all times when using the necklaces:

Consumers using this product are advised to:

  • always supervise the infant when wearing the necklace or bracelet
  • remove the necklace or bracelet when the infant is unattended, even if it is only for a short period of time
  • remove the necklace or bracelet while the infant sleeps at day or night
  • not allow the infant to mouth or chew the necklace or bracelet
  • consider using alternate forms of pain relief
  • seek medical advice if you have concerns about your child’s health.

You can read the warnings about amber teething necklaces here:

http://www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au/amber-teething-necklace.htm

http://www.productsafety.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/981051

Remember always check with your child health nurse or doctor if you have any questions regarding your babies health and wellbeing

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