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FERTILITY & THE ROLE OF NUTRITION

Nutrition Series Part 1

My first pregnancy occurred shortly after my husband and I got married, and it was a beautiful and very quick surprise. We were absolutely thrilled and immediately started planning for our new family of three. Sadly for us however, we lost our baby in the early stages of pregnancy. I'll always remember that never-ending moment when my obstetrician was trying to find the heartbeat and couldn't. Our joy turned to grief in that one instant and life as we knew it changed forever.

The shock of our loss led to a very long road of three years of “unexplained infertility”, during which we tried just about everything possible to help us conceive. You name it, we did it. Charting my cycles and taking my temperature every morning, acupuncture and Chinese medicine, reflexology, medication when I was misdiagnosed as having PCOS, fertility massage, vitamin supplements….the list goes on and on.

But it was at the point of finally giving up and booking an appointment with a fertility clinic when we actually conceived. It was just like all the stories you hear about people finally letting go, or deciding to adopt…like all the comments from well-meaning family and friends to “just relax” (which by the way, do NOT help when you’re struggling to conceive, if only it was that easy!!).

But throughout the journey of trying to conceive, the one thing I did focus on which has only had beneficial effects overall, was cleaning up my nutrition, and that of my hubby. It was one thing I could control and helped me stay focused on my dream to have a baby. Funnily enough when I conceived my second child we weren’t even trying to fall pregnant! I certainly wasn’t doing any of the things I’d done the first time around – but I WAS focused on eating as healthily as possible and exercising, mainly because I was just trying to get my pre-baby body back.

So today’s blog is actually Part 1 of a 3 Part Series on Nutrition which has been written for us by our wonderful guest poster Janine Watkins, The Holistic Nutritionist. Janine consults with clients on Pre-conception, Pregnancy and Post Pregnancy Care, as well as Children’s Health, Fatigue, Anxiety and Depression. Part 1 of this series will cover the role of Nutrition for Fertility, and Parts 2 and 3 will focus on Nutrition during Pregnancy and Post Pregnancy. Thank you Janine for being our guest poster!

FERTILITY & THE ROLE OF NUTRITION
Making the decision to start a family, can be one of the most exciting milestones in a couple’s life and whilst falling pregnant can seem easy for some, others will have difficulty, some will experience pregnancy loss and others, multiple miscarriages.

The role nutrition plays in fertility and a healthy pregnancy, should not be underestimated. Whilst women are often perceived as being responsible for the health and growth of a developing fetus, the nutrition status of the male, plays just as an important role.

MEN'S HEALTH
Many factors can be responsible for poor sperm health and their ability to fertilize an egg. This includes hormone imbalance, illness, genetics, lifestyle and environmental factors. Sperm are highly susceptible to oxidative damage, due to their polyunsaturated fatty acid component (40%). This oxidative damage affects sperm motility, membrane fluidity, number and DNA damage; increasing risk of infertility, miscarriage and impaired embryo development.

This is where the role of nutrition has a direct role on the male reproductive system. Men can include foods rich in Selenium, Zinc, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Folic Acid, Omega 3’s and antioxidants for sperm production, protection and quality. These include walnuts, almonds, egg yolk, sunflower seeds, spinach, cabbage, fresh fruit and vegetables, red meats, chicken, oysters, mushrooms.

Also important is maintaining a healthy weight and reducing intake of trans fats, due to their association with decreased sperm quality and cardiovascular health. Trans fats are found in processed foods and many bakery items; pastries, croissants, pies, sausage rolls. Research has shown obesity in men increases risk of infertility due to lower testosterone, sex hormone binding globulin and lowered sperm count.

WOMEN'S HEALTH
Whilst numerous factors also play a role in women’s fertility; age, hormonal imbalances, genetics, thyroid status, Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome and Endometriosis; weight is also a factor. Both those considered underweight and obese, significantly decrease their chances of falling pregnant and carrying full term (Underweight 32% increased risk). Obesity also carries increased risk of miscarriage, birth defects and doubles the risk of gestational diabetes, hypertension and pre-eclampsia. Obesity in women also increases the risk of delivery of infants with a large birthweight, due to reduced insulin sensitivity in the pregnant mother, increasing the availability of glucose to the fetus, which may increase fetal growth.

If you have been diagnosed with a pre-existing medical condition, including PCOS, Endometriosis or obesity, additional nutritional support is required.

So what nutrients are required for fertility and is there such a thing as a fertility diet?
In fact there is. A detailed study conducted over 8 years (The Nurses Study II) examined the diet and lifestyle of 116 000 female nurses and their ability to conceive and produce a healthy baby. Those with a “high fertility score”, ate a diet high in vegetables and fiber and low in trans fats and animal protein.

Other dietary recommendations include:
Eliminate:
Caffeine - linked with endometriosis, alterations in hormone levels and increased conception time. Caffeine also hinders the body’s ability to absorb calcium and iron. Alcohol - increased risk of miscarriage, adverse effects with IVF egg retrieval, impaired sperm motility and lowered sperm counts.
Sugar – Increases risk of gestational diabetes.

Increase intake of foods high in:
Zinc – required for reproduction and ovulation. Deficiency may result in miscarriage, stretch marks, prolonged labour, cracked nipples, congenital malformation and postnatal depression. Foods include brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, chicken, turkey, tahini.
Vitamin E – hormone balance, health of ovaries and an antioxidant. Foods include tahini, egg yolks, almonds, sunflower seeds, olives.
Folate – may protect against neural tube defects, spina bifida, required for cell growth and the formation of DNA. Foods include chicken and lamb liver, spinach, cabbage, chives, watercress, hazelnuts, limes.

Whilst there is no magic food in particular that will guarantee falling pregnant, a well balanced diet with key nutrients, will support the reproductive system in both partners and during pregnancy.

MANAGING STRESS
Difficulty conceiving often increases levels of stress but stress has been shown to decrease sperm quality and chances of conceiving, increases blood pressure and in severe cases, the risk of miscarriage.
When planning for pregnancy, ensuring adequate time to implement dietary changes and lifestyle advice should be followed; a minimum of 3 months. Eating a balanced diet provides nutrients for both reproductive and overall health. Numerous factors play a role in fertility for both men and women and seeking the advice of your GP is always recommended

- Janine Watkins, The Holistic Nutritionist

To connect with Janine, click here to find out more about The Holistic Nutritionist

SIGN UP TO OUR NEWSLETTER TO BE THE FIRST TO READ PART 2 OF OUR NUTRITION SERIES: NUTRITION DURING PREGNANCY

Love,
Cathy

 

BREASTFEEDING TIPS & FREE NEW BABY CHECKLIST

“Happy mummy, happy baby” - I’m a passionate believer in this mantra. I for one am totally pro-breastfeeding but I also believe that Fed is Best and that every mama needs to do what’s right for her and her bub, whether that be breastfeeding or formula feeding. But working that out as a new mum is easier said than done, especially when you have the crazy hormones and mama guilt to add to the mix!

How I would feed wasn’t really even on the radar during my first pregnancy. Most of my focus went into the kind of birth I wanted (which I didn’t get... but that’s another blog post!), decorating his nursery, choosing countless adorable outfits and making sure I had all the essentials. I did endless research on finding the perfect pram and car seat and had everything set to go for his arrival. I’d read the most popular parenting books, seen most of my friends have babies and thought I was as prepared as I could be. (I was also adamant he wouldn’t watch a screen for the first 3 years of his life – ha, I really had no idea!)

I planned to breastfeed and that was that. It looked easy enough and seemed to be the most natural thing on earth. I had my breastpump and a few bottles ready (so hubby could do some feeds), breastpads, feeding bras and lanolin cream. Ready to go.

But oh the PAIN!!! The toe curling, every-single-muscle-in-my-sore-body-clenched-in-agony pain!! What the hell was that about? It made the recovery of my last minute c-section feel like an absolute walk in the park! Before I’d even been discharged I ended up hooked to a hospital grade pump to give my boobs a rest because they were actually bleeding. I still remember being horrified to see blood in my son’s mouth. And wow, the engorgement. At one point I think each boob was actually bigger than my head. Yup, here’s the photographic evidence:

I don’t think I’d be exaggerating in saying that for me, it was probably the single most difficult thing I had to cope with in the early days of being a new mum. But I persevered, despite having to deal with a poor latch, flat nipples, thrush, blisters and blebs, and a baby that was a complete and utter milk-sucking barracuda. I used to dread each painful feed. I remember sitting on the couch one night in guilty tears after sending my hubby to the shops to buy formula, but then being unable to give it to my son due to the guilt. My hubby thought I was crazy. I was crazy. Crazy on pain, lack of sleep and guilt for not being able to do this most natural of things and feed my baby! And yet despite all this he was happily gaining weight and that kept me going. But it took almost 8 weeks before we finally managed to feed pain free.

I think it’s super important to talk about the fact that breastfeeding can be unbelievably hard and that it doesn’t come naturally to everyone. I wished the midwives had talked about this in our antenatal classes. I wish I’d been a little more prepared. In the end my breastfeeding journey with my son ended around 6 months due to some other medical issues and by then we were already combination feeding. But with my daughter I knew what was coming. I asked for help early and we managed to successfully breastfeed for almost a year before she decided she’d had enough one morning and that was that. But that’s just my daughter, headstrong and already knowing what she wanted at that age!

So at this juncture I’d like to introduce our guest poster, the lovely Jessica McCarroll. Jess is the owner of First in Breast Dressed, one of the boutiques here at The Nursery Collective and her passion is “supporting Mumkind, one feed at a time”. She’s also a second-time Mum and we’ve asked her to share what she would have told her first-time Mum self about breastfeeding. We hope you enjoy her tips!

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BREASTFEEDING: Tips from a second time Mum

"Firstly I would tell myself to stop and smell the roses and chill the fridge out! Hindsight is a wonderful thing and here are some of my hints and tips for breastfeeding success now that I’m a second-time Mum.

Milk doesn’t make milk. Water makes milk
There are many old wives’ tales out there about increasing your milk supply and believe me I’ve tried them all! I absolutely believe that Placenta pills (yes I had my placenta encapsulated), Lactation Cookies and Nursing Tea have helped my milk supply this time around. There is one thing that the experts all agree on, however, drink as much water as you can! Trick yourself into doing so by any means needed. For me, that meant ditching the bottled supermarket water and treating myself to an awesome re-usable drink bottle. The breastfeeding Mum needs more hydration than the average woman. The exact amount is up for debate, but as a general guide 3L per day is going to get you there. If you are dehydrated, it is much harder for your body to function including producing milk. So get drinking!

Relax
How easy does that sound? But really no matter how many times you have contorted yourself into every uncomfortable position known to man, the best way to get that milk flowing is to relax. Sitting up not your thing? Feed your bub in side lying. Feeding not going amazingly? Try reclining in your feeding chair or lounge and let bubba do the work. I have seen some amazing videos about the ‘breast crawl’. These little creatures that you now call your own will not willingly starve themselves and it is inherent in their nature to find the breast. Ever wondered why your areolas and nipples become darker? It is literally to help babies find their ‘target’. Laid back nursing or biological nurturing was always the most successful way for me to feed my first born. Remember this is a skill you are both learning together, it takes time, practice and above all patience.

Seek Professional Advice: STAT
Did you know there is a difference between a Lactation Consultant and an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC)? I do, because I want to become one and my goodness there is a lot of work that goes into becoming an IBCLC. Entrust your breasts to the best! Explore your options, even if you are feeling house bound and unable to get to an appointment, some IBCLCs offer Skype consults. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. In the same token damage to your nipples should be looked at ASAP. Use nipple cream and fresh air to help heal and pre – cooled hydrogel discs to ease the pain. Then book yourself into your local Women’s Health physiotherapist for laser treatment. Laser works by stimulating healing to the area, and can improve pain even after just one treatment. Most public hospitals have a Women’s Health physiotherapist, otherwise there are more and more private practices with Women’s Health as their specific focus.

From me to you, these are my top three pieces of breastfeeding wisdom."

As another second-time Mum I totally agree with the tips Jess has shared. The game changer for me was seeking professional help. I waited almost 6 weeks with my first, however with my second I saw an IBCLC at the hospital and organised a few follow ups in the first 2 weeks. Experimenting with positioning was also key – the rugby hold was my saviour in the early days and as my daughter got older she liked to sit on my lap legs astride and have both boobs on offer, having little sips between both until she got her full feed, the little monkey! I also had less mum-guilt the second time around and told myself that I wouldn’t beat myself up about it if we ended up bottle feeding and that in itself made things easier.

Jessica is offering all our readers a 10% discount on her fabulous products! Just enter TNC10 at check out. You can shop First in Breast Dressed HERE on the directory.

SIGN UP TO OUR NEWSLETTER TO RECEIVE JESSICA'S TOP 5 NEW BABY CHECKLIST: (available to all subscribers for one month from posting date)

I hope this blog post has given you some insight and I sincerely hope that you may be one of those lucky mums who has no problems at all and doesn’t feel one iota of pain! It is possible! But if you’re not, being prepared for what lies ahead is half the battle won, and both Jess and I wish you every success in your feeding journey.

Remember – Fed is Best, and a happy mummy equals a happy baby.

Love,
Cathy x

You can shop our Feeding Essentials section HERE

 

 

 

 

 

DRESSING YOUR BUMP

Spotlight Blog Post - Lisa from Bump Style

Most maternity dresses are marketed as clothing that can be worn through all stages of pregnancy and post pregnancy. In some cases that may be true, but for many of us, our body shape changes so much during this time that it won't be as simple as one dress does all. Something that is flattering when your bump is small may not be so flattering (or comfortable) when you are at full term. There is also the need for easy access during the nursing period and the desire to hide the belly that hasn't yet disappeared.

Here is a quick guide on how to dress your bump during the various stages of growing and nurturing your little one while keeping in mind comfort and style:

FIRST TRIMESTER
This is the stage where you are most likely hiding your bump until you get the all clear at the 13 week scan. For most women, you can get away with wearing regular clothing so long as it’s not body con. For me the only additions to my wardrobe at this time were maternity jeans that sat lower than my regular jeans. Loose tops and flowy dresses are the best option to cater for your tiny bump.

SECOND TRIMESTER
You've got the all clear from the obstetrician and this is where you start to show and you are comfortable announcing your pregnancy. For me, my bump was most often mistaken for overindulgence at lunchtime rather than a little bubba during the second trimester. So wearing anything tight fitting was not an option.
At this stage, stick to maternity clothing that will fall over your bump and help define the gap between your breasts and your belly. Wrap dresses and empire waists are very flattering during this trimester.
I love the Mynt 1792 Wrap Dress because you can adjust the wrap and change where you place the tie to sit above your belly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another great choice is the Camilla and Marc Cocktail dress with an empire waist and pleats that will fall over your growing bump. If you are a petite girl, you can move straight to the body con stage as it will be obvious early that your bump is not from too many cheeseburgers.

 

 

 

 

 

 
THIRD TRIMESTER
You are into the final stretch and you are starting to glow. Your hair is thick and shiny, your skin is clear and people are always asking when are you due, This is also the stage where clothing starts to get uncomfortable if you are wearing buttons or zips and you don't want to look bigger than you already feel. This is the time to ditch the flowy fabrics and embrace form fitting stretchy materials.

My go to during the 3rd trimester was the maxi dress as it was the height of summer and my little incubator had me sweating. The Isabella Oliver Maxi Dress was stylish, comfortable (no zips or buttons) and kept me as cool as possible. I could also hide my hobbit feet!

 

 

 

 

 

POST PREGNANCY
If you are like me, I was lucky to get out of my PJ's most days after my son was born... But I did have my niece's wedding to go to, so finding something that didn't bother my c-section scar, hid my swollen belly and allowed easy access for nursing was not the easiest of tasks. If I had my time again, I would recommend to myself a wrap dress or a specially designed nursing dress that gives you easy access.

My top choice in nursing dresses are the Naomi or April Nursing Dress by Tiffany Rose. Both have a tie waist that can be adjusted to suit your changing waist and have an easy lift panel to allow you to discreetly nurse your bubba.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you Lisa! To connect with and find out more about Bump Style and their amazing collection of Maternity and Post Pregnancy dresses for hire CLICK HERE

And don't forget to check out Bump Style on social media: Facebook and Instagram

Based in Melbourne, Lisa is a single Mum to her 11 month old son Finn

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And if you're a new or pregnant mama, please join our FB support group Find Your Village

With love
Cathy x

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HYPNOBIRTHING

Guest Post - Kerry Sutcliffe, The Hypnobirthing Mum

As a pregnant woman hopefully you are feeling excited about the upcoming birth of your baby but you may also feel nervous, worried or even fearful of childbirth. We often hear how painful or scary birth is from TV, movies or from family and friends, but what if you were told it doesn’t have to be this way? What if you could give birth in a calm, positive and empowering manner! Well hypnobirthing can help you achieve this!

WHAT IS HYPNOBIRTHING?
Hypnobirthing is an approach to birth that prepares the mother, baby and birth partner towards a positive birthing experience.

The hypnotherapy aspect of hypnobirthing concentrates on eliminating any fears we associate with birth in order to break the fear-tension-pain cycle. Alongside the self-hypnosis skills that hypnotherapy teaches, techniques including relaxation, breathing and visualisation are also incorporated so that both the psychological and physical elements of birth are covered. These techniques are designed to reduce the level of stress hormones and act as natural pain-relieving methods in order to achieve a calmer, gentler birth. In fact, did you know that endorphins which are a hormone naturally released by a woman during birth is up to 40 times more powerful than morphine – and hypnobirthing can show you how to condition yourself to release these!

WHAT ARE THE OTHER BENEFITS OF A HYPNOBIRTHING APPROACH TO BIRTH? 
Hypnobirthing is viewed by some as an unscientific or hippie-like thing to do. However, a recent study evidenced a range of benefits from this type of approach to birth, which showed advantages to both mother and baby including:

• Significantly reduced rates of epidurals and caesarean births
• Less perineal trauma
• Shorter second stage of labour
• Shorter hospital stay following birth
• Reduced need for pharmacological interventions
• Decreasing the fear associated with childbirth
• Less likelihood of newborn requiring resuscitation

So hands up who would like a birth like this!!!

WHEN SHOULD YOU DO HYPNOBIRTHING? 
Pregnant women can attend hypnobirthing classes, such as those run by The Hypnobirthing Mum, at any point during your pregnancy. The ideal time is between 20-30 weeks so that you have time to practice the techniques and alter your mindset towards one that views birth in a more confident manner, however with the right level of determination and enthusiasm a mother can attend anytime up to 37 weeks.

WHAT IF THINGS DON'T GO ACCORDING TO PLAN?
Sometimes there are special circumstances that mean you may not have the birth you wished for - but hypnobirthing mums are great at managing this! Mums who undertake hypnobirthing classes are provided with information regarding the choices they have during birth, giving them the comprehensive knowledge needed to make informed decisions about their birthing experience. When you are informed and educated you are more able to make good, considered decisions about changes to your birth preferences (should the need arise) during your birth.

Hypnobirthing mums and birth partners are prepared to calmly manage whatever path their birth takes and can positively approach any given situation ensuring they know that they gave their baby the best possible birth from the circumstances they were given. There is even a course from Hypnobirthing Australia™ specifically designed for caesarean births!

When a mother and her birth partner can approach childbirth feeling prepared with the right knowledge, information and tools this results in a positive and confident mindset that can lead to the beautiful births that so many women hope for – and which CAN be achieved!

About the author
Kerry Sutcliffe is a Certified Hypnobirthing Practitioner and Childbirth Educator (HPCE) based in Sydney. She is a hypnobirthing mum to 3 gorgeous children – Hollie, Bethany and Jack – and doing a hypnobirthing course was “without doubt the best thing I did to prepare for birth and welcome them into the world!” Three calm and positive birth experiences led her to being a passionate advocate for this approach to birth and she now runs ‘The Hypnobirthing Mum’ where she delivers the Hypnobirthing Australia™ programmes to pregnant women and their birth partners. Kerry loves teaching this approach to other women and would love to hear from you if you are interested in hypnobirthing so that you too can start your journey towards a wonderful and beautiful way to meet your baby!

Connect with Kerry here:
Website
Facebook
Instagram

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BABY TRAVEL TIPS!

Guest Blog Post - Eva from Tree Hut Village

I used to fly a lot as part of my corporate life and I was never afraid of flying. Especially not of short trips to Sydney or Adelaide (by the way Adelaide is seriously underrated – it’s the city I secretly have a crush on).  Since quitting my job and having a baby I’ve stayed home a lot more and for some weird reason I’ve started to become scared of flying. When I’m scared I need to be prepared (ask me about what I’ve done for labour prep...).

I read about this lady who travelled the globe with her baby and I have never been more in awe of someone’s achievements  than when I heard about her. The sleep deprivation, the lack of routine, the sourcing of food – I thought it would be all too overwhelming. Danielle from “Bubs on the Move” recently wrote a blog post about flying with kids and she mentioned that it is exhausting but you’ll be exhausted anyway so why not on holiday. Fair point.

So we travelled and I like to be prepared. I read a lot of blogs and seriously overpacked my hand luggage. I HATE flying with lots of luggage so travelling with a bub wasn’t on the top of my favourite things to do. We flew from Melbourne to Sydney (baby was 4 months), Melbourne to Auckland (5 months), Melbourne to Hamilton Island (5 months), Melbourne to Munich (10 months), Munich to La Palma (10 months) and back of course.  From all of this flying I have the following tips for fellow parents who are travelling with one baby (if you travel with more than one let me know how you handle it – you have hero status in my books).

1. Try not to pack too much into your hand luggage
I packed for every single possibility and ended up forgetting a sleeping bag, a book and almost my mobile phone and glasses on a few planes. Plus, lugging it all around is a nightmare.  I don’t even want to mention screening points – I might have had a meltdown on my trip to Europe (travelling solo..). It took forever to unpack it, push it through x-ray and I didn’t know that you had to take off the carrier too. Where’s my additional set of hands?? It pushed me over the edge – if I was failing at the first hurdle how was I going to cope with the whole flight??

2. Let your baby suck on something during take-off and more importantly during landing
It will help to prevent ear pain. Use a dummy, boob, bottle or even your finger – anything works as long as they are sucking on it for the entire time of the descent. I’ve always made the mistake of starting too early and by the time we were into the landing he was over it..  Not helpful!

3. Take a stroller that you can put into the overhead compartment or take a carrier
I love baby carriers and I’ve taken it everywhere. My little one couldn’t really sleep in it during the flight but at least I had my hands free when walking through the airport. A stroller would have been a godsend when I was travelling by myself. It’s either that or taking less carry on.

4. If your baby is less than a year old take a feeding pillow
Yes, very bulky but worth it. My baby slept the whole time on that feeding pillow (V-Shaped pillows worked best, as they prevented him from being too uncomfortable when lying on the arm rests).

5. Take your own food
They say they carry baby food but it’s really only those purees in jars. Your baby might want more. I recommend the pouches you can get and perhaps some rice crackers. Also, best thing I’ve done was bake savoury muffins to take with me (check below to get the recipe).

6. Don’t worry about liquids so much
If you have a baby you are allowed to take liquids with you within reason and if it's clearly baby related.

7. Take some toys
This is obvious but take a few toys and preferably ones that don’t make any noise. That’s a tough one I know but a mirror works wonders. Also an all-time favourite: water bottles. Babies love them.

8. Beware of baby’s leaky water bottle
We all love our babies’ water bottles. Whatever your favourite one is – take it with you. One thing you should be aware of is that water bottles often leak when you’re on a plane because of the change in pressure – even the most awesome ones have leaked. Put them in a plastic bag so that you don’t ruin your bag’s contents like I did.

9. Be friendly
Strangers love babies. I made lots of new “friends” and your little one will love the interaction with other passengers. It passes time and you get to talk about a few interesting things with interesting people. Embrace it.

10. Book a night flight
If you can – book a night flight. Especially for long haul flights. The more active your little baby is the more grateful you will be for longer stretches of baby sleep. You might not sleep but as mums and dads we are used to that anyway right

11. Take additional documents for identification
If you are travelling solo and your partner / your baby doesn’t have the same citizenship/passport as you take the birth certificate and also a letter, signed by your partner, that it is ok to take the kid overseas without him / her. You might be able to leave Australia but you might have some issues getting into another country which is a hassle you don’t want after flying for 20 hours

12. Flight attendants are awesome
Really there is not much more to be added here. They are so lovely and helpful and you will get an extra blanket and some extra care because of your little one. If not from them then definitely from other passengers.

13. Other passengers
Don’t worry. Babies cry and everyone knows that. I know it’s stressful when your baby cries. I get so frazzled! You are well prepared. As you know your baby is either hungry, tired or bored.. You’ve got this – your baby will stop. A few cuddles, distractions and it will be ok. If nothing works walk up and down the aisle. One word is to be said here for all mums who are still breastfeeding – it’s pretty much the silver bullet. It worked every single time.

14. Be prepared for things to happen
My little one knocked his lip on a table one hour before departing to Europe. He bled like nothing I’ve ever seen before. I honestly can say this was the worst part of our whole trip. I looked away for one second and then I heard him cry. I applied some pressure and made sure he was ok. The bleeding stopped and we went on the plane. At least it took my attention away from being nervous about the flight and he was giggling minutes afterwards (phew).

15. Take it slowly
I’m a 24/7 sort of person. I don’t sit down – much to the dismay of my husband. Relaxing is hard for me and I usually want to go and see 10 places in 7 days. Allow yourself to relax for a few days before getting stuck into your travel plans. Your baby will be grateful for it and so will you. Sleep deprivation is always hard but with a baby and jetlag on top it’s a nightmare. Get adjusted and then go for it and keep exploring these new countries!

I have written a list of things to pack in your carry-on luggage along with  my savoury muffin recipe for long haul flights. Head on over to TREE HUT VILLAGE, register and I’ll email you the file.

Enjoy travelling with your little one. It’s a lot of fun. Please share your story with us.,I would love to hear how it all went for you. Short trip or long trip? Near or far? Let me know!

Merry Christmas and I hope your travels bring you closer to your loved ones.
Eva x

To connect with and find out more about Tree Hut Village and their amazing parent-to-parent community that provides a secure and reliable way to lend and borrow baby equipment, CLICK HERE

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Find Your Village - a community for new Mamas x

Hey Mamas,

When I wrote my original blog post "Finding Your Village as a New Mum" the spark of an idea was lit. As a new mum I had spent a lot of time late at night browsing the net, trying to research the various problems I was facing with a newborn. Luckily for me, the nature of the expat community I live in meant a lot of other new mamas were doing the same, and we were able to support each other virtually through various Facebook groups and forums. I was also amazingly lucky to have a solid support network of friends in "real life" but I also became incredibly close to some virtual friends I made on these groups.

In this spirit, I've started a new Facebook group called Find Your Village - a community for new and pregnant mamas to find support, give each other advice, ask questions, vent away and most importantly, feel safe doing so. Sometimes we also want to remain anonymous but still reach out, so we have "Village Posts" where we can post on behalf of those wanting to post anonymously.

So if you are a new or pregnant mama, please join our tribe over on Facebook and "find your village". We hope you can make some real and lasting connections during this incredible stage in your life.

HERE'S THE LINK - JOIN US!

If you haven't already done so, don't forget to sign up to our Nursery Collective mailing list so you can be the first to hear about our blog posts, as well as receive any special offers.

Please feel free to share this post and the group with any other mamas or mamas-to-be in your life.

With love
Cathy x

HOW TO SURVIVE CHRISTMAS WHEN YOU’RE PREGNANT

Guest Blog Post - Ellen "The Stylist Mama"

Christmas is such a joyful time to spend with family and friends, but can sometimes feel a little stressful and overwhelming if you are pregnant, or heaven forbid - about to pop. Add the Aussie heat, and a few too many belly rubs and you are no doubt over it! Follow these little steps to make sure your Christmas is remembered for all the right reasons, after all - I’m sure you'll be spoilt regardless!

Keep hydrated and snack on the Christmas goodies!

Ok, so you can’t indulge in some fancy bubbles, or eat anything raw or questionable (goodbye seafood and the ham!) but you can snack on lots of hot meats, and of course the veggies, and no doubt, most of the desserts! Think of the positives, like how fresh you'll be feeling over the days that follow - no hangover here!

Mix Christmas up!

So obviously there will be no “unsafe” foods on your plate, but why not use that as a great excuse to change the menu and enjoy a really traditional Christmas lunch or dinner? Research cookbooks and blogs for some interesting recipes - think egg nog, Christmas Turkey and Roast Pork, and Apple pie, or a gingerbread house for dessert!

Gift Ideas!

Depending on where you are at in your pregnancy will determine the gifts you receive from your loved ones. My one and only piece of advice… Be SELFISH! Go for it, while you can afford the time! Ask for massage vouchers, mani/pedi vouchers, maternity bars, hair salon vouchers... anything that makes you feel divine! Maybe even a magazine subscription or a few new “travel size” perfumes, something fresh and exciting will always pick you up on your yucky days!

Keep the pressure off yourself!

Finally, take it easy! If it’s all too much to think about hosting or going to a Christmas get-together, keep it low key and book a restaurant, or better yet - get away. A small little road trip or short plane flight to somewhere where you can just relax and spend time with your partner is sometimes better then any family Christmas. If you book a restaurant, its a very easy way to entertain and sometimes works out to be more valuable then having leftovers in the fridge for weeks!

Whatever you do, enjoy your Christmas! Remember that very soon your little baby will enter the world and Christmas will become all about them - so take the time to soak up all the excitement and anticipation!

Merry Christmas!
xx
Ellen

Follow Ellen's blog The Stylist Mama a blog destination for all things parenting + fashion + lifestyle. The blog features stories, products and events that appeal to the modern mother, and an insight into life as a first time mama. Based in Brisbane Australia, Ellen Robbins is a full time stylist, lover, and mother of one.
Ellen's social media - Instagram , Facebook and Pinterest

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(The lovely Ellen)

 

 

 

BABY SLEEP IN THE FIRST YEAR : OUR TOP TIPS!

Getting your baby to sleep can be one of the biggest challenges as a new mum. Because if they don’t sleep, you don’t sleep. And if you don’t sleep, well… lets just say there’s a reason sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture!

When I was a new mum I started out in a completely blissful state with a baby who slept beautifully, only waking once or twice a night to feed. I was smug in the fact that I had a “good baby”. He was sleeping well and so was I. I felt invincible. This motherhood lark was easy!

And then everything changed. And went downhill. Fast.

We went from one or two wakings a night to our lowest point where he woke up every 45 minutes. All night long. For MONTHS. And I was lucky if he napped for more than 15-20 mins during the day. I was a complete basket case and would burst into tears at any given minute. My weight dropped well beyond what would have been welcome post baby, and my family feared for my sanity. But with some help from a sleep consultant, we finally managed to get back on course and eventually I had a baby who slept well, woke up happy, wasn’t overtired, actually napped, and who finally “slept like a baby”.

And all was right in my world. Not to say it was all smooth sailing from there... Illnesses, sleep regressions and growth spurts would often disrupt our routine, but now I had the tools to get back on track.

(Here's a pic of my little one with his exhausted Daddy!)

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So in todays blog post, we are bringing you some top tips for navigating your way through the highs and lows of baby sleep in the first year! Our lovely contributor Erika Lamour is an Infant Sleep Specialist at The Sleep Dept who has worked with newborns, toddlers, special needs, multiples and everything in between.

Here are her hottest tips around the most FAQ’s for new mums when it comes to baby sleep.

SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT

There are definitely foundations you can set early on to create great sleep habits, but the 0-3 month stage of your baby’s life really should be referred to as the 4th trimester. Babies are making a HUGE transition from womb to world - coming from an environment that is dark, warm and well-nourished to suddenly being exposed to light, different temperatures and hunger. Whilst it’s not a great idea to have your newborn on a time-based schedule, if you make sure your newborn is awake for no longer than 60-75 minutes between sleeps, you are on your way to creating great habits.

DEALING WITH THE 4 MONTH SLEEP REGRESSION

Ah yes... The dreaded 4 month sleep regression where sleeping patterns change and become more like an adults. Your baby's brain has matured, gone are the days where your little newborn could fall into a deep sleep at the drop of a hat. Now, they start to sleep more like us - they begin to go through light and deep sleep cycles. This means that each time your babies sleep cycle goes from deep to light, they will most likely wake up (thats every 40-45 minutes!)

While many parents fear the 4 month sleep regression, it really shouldn't be seen as a regression but more so a developmental milestone, and the best time to implement a sleep program that's right for you and your baby.

PACIFIERS/DUMMIES – YAY OR NAY?

Uh-oh! Paci's are great to settle and soothe newborns, but what happens when you are up 10 times in the middle of the night popping it back into your baby's mouth? The best thing to do is cut it - COLD TURKEY! i know it sounds scary! But if it is being used as a sleep association it WILL wake your baby in the middle of the night and when they can't find it, it may cause confusion and distress. We need to guide babies in having their own sleep associations that they create themselves. All the babies who implement 'The Sleep Dept' program get used to having no paci on night 1! Instead, replace the paci for a small comforter.

SLEEP ASSOCIATIONS

If your baby has a sleep association that means they will not fall asleep without this. The simple answer as to why this might be happening is - they haven't been allowed to figure it out on their own. When we introduce external sleeping associations, such as feeding or rocking a baby to sleep, we take that away from them. We don't want a baby to be falling asleep outside of their cot (easier said than done!). There are gentle ways that this can be done (The Sleep Dept. only uses gentle techniques and no Cry It Out methods). It takes patience and consistency, but the good news is that if we follow a plan 100%, the results are almost immediate, with babies falling asleep on their own and sleeping through by night 2!

HOW TO STOP SWADDLING WHEN BABY STARTS ROLLING?

In my experience, the best way to do this is... COLD TURKEY! It creates less confusion for your baby. I would recommend introducing a small handkerchief sized comforter, so that your baby can keep their hands busy if they need to. Again, most babies get used to having arms out in a night or two.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN MY BABY IS SICK OR TEETHING?

The MOST important thing to remember when your baby is sick, teething or going through a sleep regression is to not introduce anything new - especially a bad habit that you had worked so hard to get rid of in the first place! Of course, your baby needs you in times like these, but the best thing is to go to them. They still need to know its night time. So do what you have to do - feed them, bring a mattress into their room, hug them. Just be sure to stay in their room. All of these things pass, and if a baby is on a solid routine, it will only be a few days before they are back on track.

WHAT ABOUT TRAVELLING WITH MY BABY, WILL THIS RUIN OUR ROUTINE?

We get it. A long flight, lots of waiting around, unfamiliar surroundings - these can all affect your Bub BUT if your little one is in a great routine at home, then they should be able to easily adjust wherever they are in the world. My best tips for travelling with a little one -
1. Throw all your rules out when on the plane. It will be much less stressful for both you and Bub if you do what will easily calm your Bub.
2. Get your baby onto a routine based on the timezone you are in. Babies adjust to different time zones much quicker than adults!
3. Have your baby spend lots of time outside during the day, and start the nighttime wind down approx. 2-3 hours before sleep time.

If I’d known about these tips with my first I definitely would have been better equipped to deal with our sleep issues. I can see now that my problems started with the 4 month sleep regression which started early (yes it’s possible!) and were made worse by sleep associations and dummy use. By the time I had my second I knew what to expect …although she still loves her dummy! (we’ll deal with that eventually!)

The Sleep Dept is offering an extra EXCLUSIVE HOT TIP for all readers who sign up to The Nursery Collective mailing list. It was a tip I used from day dot with my second and made a huge difference compared to my first.

Do you want to know what the exclusive hot tip is? Sign up NOW!

To get in touch with Erika and her team and find out more about their services CLICK HERE

To shop all things Baby Sleep including blankets, wraps, sleepsuits, cot sheets and sleep pods click here

 

Brought to you by The Sleep Dept  *not incl in home consultation

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(The lovely Erika Lamour - Infant Sleep Specialist)

 

FINDING YOUR VILLAGE AS A NEW MUM – ABOUT ME & THIS BLOG

Hey there!

My name is Cathy and I’m a mum of two from Sydney, Australia. My two little loves are M and H (aged 5 and 2) and we are currently living as Aussie expats in the brash, bold city of Dubai. I’m a mum and wife first and foremost, a business owner, a first generation Aussie of mixed heritage, a lover of animals, a foodie, a classical guitarist, a bit of a crystal loving hippy with some OCD tendencies, and I’m completely passionate about my friends and family.

When the opportunity came up for hubby and I to do a stint in Dubai 9 years ago, it was scary and exciting. I had all these ideas about starting a family and living the SAHM life after spending the previous 10 years working and playing hard in the Sydney advertising scene. There was also an underlying sadness to our move, as we had only been married a short while but had recently lost a baby in early pregnancy.

In many ways I wanted a new beginning and a fresh start.

Fast forward three years and I was pregnant with my first….and along the way I had made some incredible friendships with other expat women who had quickly become my closest friends, and my new “family”. It dawned on me that it truly does take a village, not so much to raise a child, but to support a new mum, whilst she’s floundering through lack of sleep, endless nappies, even more endless feeds, trying to keep everything together whilst feeling frustrated, overwhelmed and often lonely…. did I mention the sleep deprivation?

Having a solid support network of women made a huge difference to me as a tired new mum, especially being far from home. And not only as a new mum, but during the 3 years when my husband and I battled with unexplained infertility after our earlier loss. So after my son was born, I had the added “mum guilt” of feeling I had to be grateful for every second because of the struggle to conceive. How could I complain that I was in complete, toe-curling agony in the early days of breastfeeding? How could I let myself cry during those dark months when my son decided he was going to wake up every 45 mins all night long…yes every 45 minutes.

There were days when I hated it. And days when I’d manage to get some sleep and the clouds would clear. When being a mum was the best feeling ever.

Some of my other friends were dealing with colic, reflux and other medical issues. Some had post natal depression, in fact I’m pretty sure I did too during the period my son didn’t sleep.

But our little village banded together and somehow we managed to navigate our way through.

There’s so much about early motherhood that remains unspoken before you have a baby - even the antenatal classes you attend focus on the birth, but not the aftermath. I thought breastfeeding would be completely easy and natural and was shocked to discover it wasn’t. I thought babies slept. I never imagined that being a full time Mum would be so monotonous at times and that I would often feel like I’d lost my identity. And how much strain all of the above could place on a marriage, even one that was rock solid.

But the women around me, my fellow mums and friends helped get me through in a way that only they could. I realised how much I appreciated my own mum. I understood how she must have struggled when she was a new mum in a new country, with my sister and I born only 13 months apart (kudos to you Mum )

Nowadays when I meet a new mum, I do my best to support her and become part of her village, to let her know it’s OK to stumble and vent frustration. I truly believe there’s so much beautiful, strong and feminine energy created when women support each other.

6 years on and two kids later I’m loving motherhood and also running this business.

I want this blog to bring you valuable information to help navigate the journey into motherhood. We are working on some awesome new blog posts about everything from sleep in the first year, to breastfeeding basics and tips, travelling with your baby, hypnobirthing, the importance of self-care as a new mum and much more. Some amazing women who are experts in these areas are collaborating with us – again another tribe of supportive women at work!

The Nursery Collective is a hub where new and pregnant mums can find all their shopping needs in the one place, so at times I will be featuring some of our lovely brands, as well as the stories about the women and mums behind them.

I look forward to sharing with you on this blog. Don’t forget to sign up to our mailing list so you can be the first to hear about our blog posts, as well as receive any special offers. Feel free to comment below if there is anything in particular you want us to blog about.

And lastly, please share this post with any new mums or mums-to-be in your life and become part of their village.

With love
Cathy x

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