WHAT IS THE FINNISH BABY BOX CONCEPT?

finnishbabybox

Guest Blog: Susanna Heiskanen of Tuutu Baby Box

Did you know that in Finland, expectant mothers are given a special baby box by the state - a starter kit of clothes, baby items and toys that can even be used as a bed. This beautiful tradition dates back to the 1930’s and some even believe it has helped Finland achieve one of the world’s lowest infant mortality rates.

Today on the blog, we have the lovely Susanna Heiskanen, co-founder of Tuutu Baby Box, the first Finnish designed and Australian made Baby Box, sharing with us a little bit more background about this wonderful concept.

What is the Baby Box Concept?

The Finnish baby box has been around for over 75 years. Over 3 million boxes have been given to families by the Finnish government over the years. It was written into Finnish law in 1937 that expectant mothers were entitled to a baby box and in 1949 this was expanded to include all expectant mothers unrelated to their socio-economic circumstances.

Why has the baby box been so popular with the Finns? One of the reasons is that the box really has everything you need as a parent. Having receiving the box you would not need to buy a thing if you did not want to – the box doubles as a bed and the content is enough for the first few months and beyond. The box also promotes equality amongst parents and kids. Everyone has the same start in life and you can tell what year children were born in based on the clothes they were wearing. There are some products in the box such as muslin wraps that have been there since the beginning.
The baby box was introduced together with the Neuvola program. Neuvola is a midwife driven anti and post-natal clinic system that everyone is entitled to. It was a condition of receiving the baby box that the mother has to attend the prenatal program that educated mothers about breastfeeding, vaccination, safe sleeping practices and many more useful topics. The Neuvola system is still going strong and it reaches nearly all expectant mothers and their children under school age.
Image from Finnish Labour Museum Werstas

What are the benefits in using the baby box?

The baby box promotes safe sleep practices and the clothing and products included are all useful and something that you would have had to buy if you had not received the box from the government. The crucial early pregnancy care with free essential goods makes the box such a great preventive public health care initiative. The parents are also more likely to attend post-natal care after receiving the box and having already attended the pre-natal care.

Has the infant mortality rate dropped because of the baby box scheme?

Believe it or not, there has never been a clinical study in Finland or any other country (at the time of writing this) investigating the benefits of the baby box. The drop in the infant mortality rate in Finland is linked to better anti and post-natal care through the Neuvola system that together with the baby box has addressed some of the issues that were linked to high infant death rates. The baby box was a freebie for the parents, that in turn motivated them to attend to the anti- and post-natal care.

What about Australia?

There are already countries like Canada, USA and UK who have pilot programs to study the benefits of the baby box concept. These countries have higher infant mortality rates than Australia and it’s hoped that the baby box concept will help to address some of the underlying causes. Countries like Scotland are rolling this out as a nationwide scheme and the rest of the UK is trialling and providing baby boxes in geographical areas where the infant mortality rate is high.
At the time of writing this blog there are no large-scale study programs underway in Australia. There are few pilot programs in different States and we will follow these trials with interest. It would be a great thing to be able to provide the right start in life to all babies in Australia and we hope that the government will consider having the baby box scheme adopted here. If such a program is developed the hope is that it also has an educational part attached for the parents as it does in Finland through the Neuvola program.

Although the Finnish Baby Box comes with all the required necessities we know how confusing it is to decide what you need to buy your baby. We have taken the stress out this and offer a free checklist for parents based on the Finnish model listing the basics you need to purchase when shopping for your baby.
FIND OUT MORE about the TUUTU Baby Box range HERE and enjoy FREE SHIPPING in Australia!

TUUTU are proud to be Gold Sponsors of the 2017 Cloth Nappy Awards, run by the Australian Nappy Association, supporting their love of sustainable products such as cloth nappies that are included in the Tuutu Baby Box. Find out more about the awards here.

Susanna Heiskanen

After more than 10 years on the corporate ladder, and two baby boys, Susanna was ready for a new challenge and starting her own business was exactly that.  Susanna thought the Finnish Maternity Package that the government was giving to expectant mothers was a great idea and that it would be something she would love to endorse in Australia. “Although the infant mortality rate is low in Australia, more can be done. With this in mind we have designed an Australian version of the package and we are passionate advocates of our products and mother and baby wellbeing. We hope that Tuutu Baby Box is something you will love and it will be multifunctional for you and your child, just like the original one in Finland was meant to be.
- Susanna Heiskanen (Co-Founder)

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THE EASTER EDIT

Our Favourite Easter Products and Exclusive Discounts!

Easter is just a hop, skip and a jump away and there is so much more available for our precious little ones besides chocolate! (although we love our Easter eggs too!)

We are so excited to bring you our first Easter Edit which is choc-a-block with beautiful and unique Easter themed products available from our wonderful Nursery Collective boutiques. And because we love a good Easter sale, we also have some ah-mazing and exclusive Easter discounts available for Nursery Collective customers...so make sure you read ALL the way through to get the details of which boutiques you can use the code TNCEASTER to grab some amazing discounts and start hop-hop-shopping!

OUR FAVOURITE EASTER DECOR & TOYS

SLEEPY SNOOGU BUNNY - MODIMADE

Make Easter hunting a lot more friendly and last beyond the silver wrapper this year with the Sleepy Snoogu Bunny from Modimade!
Ethically made by in Cambodia, these gorgeous bunnies make the perfect chocolate-free Easter gift!

SHOP VIA INSTAGRAM HERE
Link to Modimade at The Nursery Collective

RABBIT POUFFES BY LITTLE FRENCH HEART

These gorgeous rabbit pouffes are perfect for little people! They can be used as a cushioned seat or opened to magically unfold and become a chair or two separate floor cushions. Designed in France by artisans of childhood, L’Oiseau Bateau, the pouffes are made to be downy soft with gorgeous fabrics ~ satin and microfibre. They are not only oh-so-soft but a beautiful addition to a child's bedroom or the family living space. Easily cleaned with a damp cloth and a practical soft furnishing for a child’s space.

You can shop these pouffes here at LITTLE FRENCH HEART
Link to Little French Heart at The Nursery Collective

CROCHET BUNNIES, EASTER WAX CRAYONS, SMILING BUNNY WOODEN PLATE - LITTLE LEAF KIDS

These cute Mini Crochet Bunny's are the perfect nursery or newborn gift! They measure 20 cm from tip of ear to toe and come in two colours; Grey or Ivory. These are a handmade product and the eyes and nose are hand embroidered for safety. Made of 100% Australian cotton. SHOP HERE

Tinta Crayons Easter Egg crayons are beautiful, moulded eggs that will delight children. The 6 half-eggs are packaged in a beautiful box, sealed with a matching Easter egg tag. SHOP HERE

These stylish shallow Wooden Plates make snack time more fun! They are made from a light Beech wood, perfect for children or outdoor entertaining. The perfect Easter plate! SHOP HERE
Link to Little Leaf Kids at The Nursery Collective

HANDPAINTED WOODEN EASTER EGGS - FEATHERWOOD DESIGNS

Looking for an alternative to chocolate, but still want to enjoy the excitement of an Easter Egg hunt this year?

How about these gorgeous hand-painted, wooden Easter Eggs, perfect for play or your easter decor! Each set comes with three eggs in your choice of colour theme and contains two small eggs (3.5cm tall) and one large egg (5cm tall) with an optional extra eggcup

SHOP HERE

Link to Featherwood Designs at The Nursery Collective

BUNNY TEETHER,  TEETHING EGG AND KNITTED BUNNY - AVIDIVA

OB Designs Natural Teether Toy BONNIE BUNNY DINGaRING. The natural wooden teething ring, luxuriously soft plush toy body and gentle rattle make this an ideal gift for newborns and teething bubs. SHOP HERE

The Teething Egg has a unique shape and great design. It’s easily graspable and naturally safe. A non toxic and BPA free product made from food grade TPE.  Its design and firm, supple texture provides baby with relief from teething pain. SHOP HERE

Natures Purest Organic Cotton Grey Stripe Knitted Bunny - a beautiful companion for any newborn and made from 100% organic cotton. SHOP HERE
Link to Avidiva at The Nursery Collective

OUR FAVOURITE EASTER SLEEP PRODUCTS

Fjäder FEATHER PORTABLE BED - BUBNEST

In Sweden the Easter tradition is to decorate bare birch twigs with colourful feathers to encourage nature to blossom and turn winter into spring - "påsk ris". Therefore feather means Easter for the Bubnest team! (photo  of Easter Bunny baby in a Fjäder nest courtesy of @thebosnianaussie)
 
The Bubnest is an organic, breathable and soft portable bed for bub to rest anywhere anytime, home and away from home. You start with the nest tied up and finish with it open at the end as bub grows. The mattress is thick enough to be comfortable  on any flat surface. All nests are made from 99% Organic certified cotton inside and out, and handmade with love. SHOP HERE

Link to Bubnest at The Nursery Collective

BUNNY LOVE BLANKET - BAE & BEAR

This 100% cotton, beautifully soft, knitted baby blanket is the must have monochrome easter gift for any little styler!

Measuring 90x110cm with Black & White reversible design it's perfect for the cot, pram and moses basket.

SHOP HERE
Link to
Bae & Bear at The Nursery Collective

ORGANIC KANTHA QUILT - FRECKLE BABY

This organic Kantha Quilt makes a beautiful Easter Gift!
It is light weight and double sided and packs down small for nappy bags and unfolds large to 41"x41".
Perfect for swaddling, laying out for tummy time, and great for the carrier and stroller.
Completely hand stitched and now only $18.

SHOP HERE
Link to Freckle Baby at The Nursery Collective

OUR FAVOURITE EASTER BUNDLES

EASTER BUNNY BUNDLES & ORGANIC BUNNY COMFORTERS - BAMBOO LULU

The Easter Bunny Soothing Duo Bundle is a perfect all natural Easter baby gift. The comforter is a simple design, hygienic and made from 100% organic cotton (Oeko-Tex Standard 100). The teether is made from food grade silicone. It is also hygienic - resistant to the growth of mould & bacteria. This teether has lots of soft, bendy edges on which baby can chew safely. Set contains: 100% Organic Cotton Baby Comforter - choose from Pink or Blue check. Size is approx 20cm. Nature Bubz Swiss Cross Silicone Teether - choose from Mint or Marble. Size approx. 9cmx9cm. SHOP HERE

Organic Cotton Baby Comforter - Toddels - Rabby Red. Their shape is simple - long ears that babies love to chew on or play with. This is the larger of the 2 sizes available, suitable for babies from 9 months old. SHOP HERE
Link to Bamboo Lulu at The Nursery Collective

BUNNY BAMBOO BIB & BURP CLOTH SET - TOWELLING STORIES

This set is made from ultra soft, thick and naturally anti-bacterial bamboo and cotton (base) terry toweling, featuring a gorgeous bunny print! The bib is large in size to help keep baby's clothes clean and the absorbent terry towelling means you can wet the bib and use the back as a face washer as well. Two clasps do up behind the neck for extra security and it can be adjusted to a larger size. The rectangular burp cloth has a circular cut out for around the neck to make burp time easier and mess-free. SHOP HERE
Link to Towelling Stories at The Nursery Collective

OUR FAVOURITE EASTER CLOTHES & ACCESSORIES

BUNNY PLAYSUIT ROMPER - MY TINY WARDROBE

This Newborn/Baby Girls/Toddler 'Bunny' Romper makes the perfect Easter outfit, yet it is so versatile for any season/occasion as all babies love bunnies! With soft elastic around the legs and snap studs for comfort, easy dressing and nappy changing, this is the perfect romper for a growing baby! The top knots from My Tiny Wardrobe also make the perfect accessory for this gorgeous romper and are available in 7 colours! SHOP ROMPER HERE and TOPKNOTS HERE
Link to My Tiny Wardrobe at The Nursery Collective

SLEEPY BUNNY HAREM PANTS, LITTLE CHICKS LEGGINGS, MY FIRST EASTER BANDANA BIB & PINK BUNNY BURP CLOTH - LITTLE FIELD HANDMADE

Little Field Handmade have so many gorgeous Easter clothing items! From their Harem Pants, Leggings and Shorts in the Sleeping Bunny Print and Little Chicks Print to their keepsake My First Easter Bandana Bibs and Pink Bunny Burp Cloths. All items are handmade with love and available from size 0000-4. SHOP PANTS, LEGGINGS AND SHORTS HERE, BANDANA BIBS HERE and BURP CLOTH HERE
Link to Little Field Handmade at The Nursery Collective

OUR FAVOURITE EASTER BABY BAGS & ACCESSORIES

NOA CHANGING BAG - STORKSAK

Storksak’s Noa is an award winning, perfectly practical baby bag, boasting a range of chic shades on the outside, in a wipe clean coated canvas fabric. Ideal for a short trip, the Noa also includes a separate matching handy Mini Organiser bag, featuring five pockets and a large zipped main internal compartment. The gorgeous pastel blue and pink versions make this the perfect Easter baby bag!
SHOP HERE
Link to Storksak at The Nursery Collective

MOLLY PINK CHANGING BAG & WAVE FAWN CHANGE STATION - BABYMEL

The Molly Pink Changing Bag is a pretty and practical satchel style bag that is perfect for everyday use. The front flap with magnetic popper closure keeps your valuables safe allowing quick and easy access while the numerous pockets allows all your essentials to be perfectly organised. Made from wipe clean, water resistant material and finished with complementary faux leather trim, the Molly is the ideal bag for parents on the go. SHOP HERE
The handy Wave Fawn Change Station looks like a stylish clutch bag with so much more to offer! Perfect for popping out and storing everything you need for changing your baby in one place. With wipe clean, water resistant finishes, padded for baby's comfort and plenty of pockets for storing nappies, wipes and creams it also has comes with a useful removable mesh zipped pouch for those smaller valuables. Strap it to your stroller, wrist or just drop it in your changing bag. SHOP HERE
Link to Babymel at The Nursery Collective

OUR FAVOURITE EASTER MUM & BUB ACCESSORIES

EIRESS & IDABEE BY EIRESS TEETHERS AND NECKLACES

Eiress has a beautiful selection of pastel gorgeousness on offer for both Mum and Bub this Easter! FOR BUB there are the ELLIPSE PASTELLA (also available in a RATTLE) and ELLIPSE SPRING teethers as well as the MIA range of teethers that look good enough to eat!
FOR MUM, check out the beautiful pastel necklaces ELLEVIL PASTELLA, ABACI PASTELS and KOVE PASTELS to put the perfect finishing touch on your Easter outfit! All products made with 100% certified food grade silicone and free from BPA, phthalates, cadmium, PVC, latex and lead. Click on the items names to shop now!
Link to Eiress at The Nursery Collective

OUR EXCLUSIVE EASTER EDIT DISCOUNT OFFERS - USE CODE TNCEASTER!

To celebrate our first Easter Edit we have 27 of The Nursery Collective boutiques and services offering some fantastic Easter discounts exclusive to The Nursery Collective customers so you can get your shopping on! Simply use the code TNCEASTER when shopping at the brands below to grab your discounts! Full details are below - happy shopping! 

ABBY ST. CLAIRE are offering FREE SHIPPING on domestic orders of their beautiful chunky knit merino blankets!
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

AMBEROCKS are offering 20% OFF STOREWIDE on their beautiful, genuine Baltic amber jewellery!
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

ANIKY are offering 15% off their beautiful and unique Baby Book - Precious Little Moments.
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

BABY LOVES SLEEP are offering 15% OFF STOREWIDE! The SLEEPY HUGS sleep suit is for easy swaddle transitioning when the swaddle wrap no longer works!
Valid from April 10 to Easter Sunday!
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

BABYMEL are offering 25% OFF STOREWIDE on their beautiful modern nappy bags, accessories and backpacks!
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

BAMBOO LULU are offering 15% OFF YOUR FIRST ORDER on their affordable bamboo and organic clothing & accessories!
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

BORN MATERNITY are offering 20% off ALL ORDERS OVER $50! Affordable, comfortable maternity wear that is also stylish!
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

BUBNEST are offering FREE SHIPPING on domestic orders of their snug portable baby beds! All made with certified, organic cotton.
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

BUBS FIRST are offering 2 CHANGE MAT COVERS FOR $50 - normally $30 each! These wipeable change mat covers are practical & stylish!
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

EAST & CO are offering  40% OFF STOREWIDE to the first 5 customers who use the code TNCEASTER! Get in quick to grab some beautiful handmade décor items & accessories . Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

FIRST IN BREAST DRESSED are offering 15% OFF STOREWIDE on their fabulous breastfeeding items and accessories!
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

FRECKLE BABY are offering 25% OFF STOREWIDE on their beautiful, organic baby products! Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

GRANDAD PAT'S TREASURE TROVE are offering 10%  OFF STOREWIDE on their engraved custom-made family height charts!
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

JUST BECAUSE PRINTS are offering 20%  OFF ALL PRINTS - the perfect décor item for your nursery, kids room or living room!
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

LIL FOOTPRINT HAMPERS are offering 10% OFF STOREWIDE on their natural, organic hampers! The perfect new gift for a new mum and bub, or for yourself!
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

LITTLE LEAF are offering 25% OFF STOREWIDE on all their items - clothing, accessories, the lot!
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

MOCKED are offering 25% OFF STOREWIDE on their gorgeous leather moccasins and baby shoes!
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

MY TINY WARDROBE are offering 15% OFF ALL NEW ITEMS - including their gorgeous Easter items!
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

THE NATURAL GIFT BOX CO. are offering 20% OFF ALL ORDERS OVER $80! Their fabulous mummy & baby boxes make the perfect gift!
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

NIOVI ORGANICS are offering 25% OFF STOREWIDE on their beautiful range of organic & ethical clothing .
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

PEPE CORNER are offering 25% OFF STOREWIDE on their beautiful handmade clothes for your babes!
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

RENEE'S GOODIES are offering 15% OFF STOREWIDE on all pregnancy, lactation & breastfeeding goodies!
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

STORKSAK are offering 25% OFF STOREWIDE on all their uber fashionable nappy bags and accessories!
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

TOWELLING STORIES are offering 15% OFF STOREWIDE on their range of apron-style baby bath towels and accessories!
Valid until Midnight AEDT Monday the 10th April
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

TREE HUT VILLAGE are offering a special NO FEES for any lenders for transactions made over the Easter period! Tree Hut Village is a parent to parent baby equipment hire platform. Valid for transactions made over Easter.
LINK HERE

 

 

 

MY TRAVEL TOT are donating 20% of their profits to the Royal Childrens Hospital over Easter - a beautiful reason to shop for one of their functional foldable travel quilts for tots on the move - the perfect Easter blanket for your picnic or egg hunt!
SHOP HERE

 

 

 

COWBOYS & CONFETTI are donating 25% of their profits to the Royal Childrens Hospital over Easter  - a beautiful reason to support this gorgeous brand and grab one of their beautiful Milestone baby blankets!
SHOP HERE
 

 

 

HAPPY SHOPPING AND DON'T FORGET TO USE THE CODE TNCEASTER TO GRAB YOUR DISCOUNTS!

 

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Up Close & Personal with Sarah Renae Clark

How one mum used her PND experience as inspiration for her business

Today we are closing out our monthly focus on Anxiety, Depression and Mental Health in early Motherhood with a special interview. We are pleased to welcome Sarah Renae Clark to The Nursery Collective, a creative business owner, illustrator and designer - and a mother who has battled with Post Natal Depression. Her story is raw and yet so inspiring, read on to see how she turned this experience into an truly positive new path...

Hi Sarah and welcome to The Nursery Collective! Can you tell us a little about yourself? How would you describe yourself to others and what do you do for a living?

I’m a full time mum and business owner in Melbourne, Australia. A few years ago, I married my best friend and now we’ve got a beautiful little boy, Zac, who is about to turn 2. I’ve always been a creative person and have started a number of businesses over the years, from doing balloon animals for children’s parties to designing websites. Most of my businesses have only ever been side-hobbies while I worked full time, however everything changed when Zac was born. I stopped full time work and gave up most of my side jobs too. After a few months, I started working on some new creative ideas and eventually started my “Sarah Renae Clark” colouring book and printables business.
My business has already grown far beyond the hobby that it started, so now I’m looking at new ways to build it further and grow it into a full time income without the full time hours so I can continue to be a stay at home mum to my beautiful son.

What has your motherhood journey been like so far?

Motherhood has been a real rollercoaster for me! I was that super confident pregnant lady who read all the books and was convinced that motherhood was going to be amazing. Then, I had an incredibly traumatic labour and my son ended up in the special care nursery for a few days. I was unable to feed him and couldn’t get up to see him for the first day because my body was still in shock from the labour. He was discharged a few days after me, so we spent our first few days as parents without our son at home, which was challenging.

The first 2 months weren’t much easier. I wanted to breastfeed but Zac wasn’t able to, and that’s something nobody had prepared me for during my pregnancy. When he was finally able to start feeding, it was agony. I wasn’t mentally prepared for the challenge, so I pushed through and dreaded every feed, feeling like I was a failure when we had to use the formula.

After 2 months, things got easier and Zac was able to start feeding without causing me pain. Things really picked up at that point, except that I was struggling with post natal depression (PND) and didn’t realise it.

PND looks so different for everyone. For me, it was the feeling of being overwhelmed by what seemed like nothing. I felt lonely, even after spending hours with friends. I just wanted a break, but a break didn’t make me feel any better. I lived in constant fear that something terrible was going to happen to my family. I saw the worst case scenario in every situation and would let my mind run off in crazy day dreams that would completely overwhelm me with the feeling of grief or fear over a situation that didn’t exist. I couldn’t drive the car without picturing a fatal car crash and imagining my child growing up without me – or worse – me without him.

Zac was such a good baby that I felt guilty for feeling sad or overwhelmed. I even felt guilty that I wasn’t “sad enough” to call it PND. Eventually I was able to identify what was going on and work through the PND, which meant I was finally able to start enjoying motherhood and spending time with my son. It still pops up every now and then, but I can easily recognise the negative thoughts and I choose not to allow them to take over again.

What has been the biggest challenge so far, and how have you overcome it (or what are you currently doing to overcome it)? I believe you used your struggle as an inspiration in setting up your own business?

I think my biggest challenge has been not feeling guilty. It’s something that comes up in every aspect of my life as a Mum – from feeling guilty about not spending enough time with my son, to feeling guilty about going out with friends for a coffee while my husband was at work. A lot of my guilt was connected to my PND and to the high expectations I set for myself. Even now, I still struggle to take a break without questioning whether there’s something more important I should be doing… but I’m working on it!

One day, I decided to let myself have some creative time and started working on a colouring book. Adult colouring had just become popular, and I needed something creative to keep my mind active and help me to stay positive. I decided to post the colouring book on the internet, and was really surprised at the positive response I received! So I worked on a few more books and started selling them on Etsy. A few months later, I decided to look at getting them published and that was the beginning of everything for me. I have now self-published more than 10 adult colouring books and I sell a huge range of colouring pages and other printables on my website.

I started getting a lot of feedback from customers who were using colouring to get through similar mental health issues, disabilities or even loneliness. I saw an opportunity in the market to create a positive colouring book that actually catered specifically to people who were looking for encouragement. Because of my own experiences as a mum, I created my book “A Year of Coloring Affirmations for New Mothers” full of colouring pages with positive affirmations aimed at helping new mums through the ups and downs of motherhood.

I included all of the encouraging words that helped me to get through my hard days. One of my favourites came from a good friend of mine, who told me “if you’re out of your pajamas by noon, it’s a great day”. I still laugh, but it definitely got me through a few days where I would be crying because it was lunch time and I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet… my husband can verify this!

I also released a second affirmations book called “Coloring Through Cancer” for my own mum who has been fighting breast cancer on and off for over 15 years now. Both of these books have had amazing support from my community and I get constant emails from people who have been encouraged by their messages.

 Coloured by Raychell Henry

What has been the biggest blessing of motherhood?

My son has been such a blessing to me. He makes me smile every day and he makes every moment worthwhile. I would do it all again in a heartbeat for him. I’m also very blessed to have an amazing husband who has supported me through motherhood and through starting my own business. He works full time, but still helps with so many aspects of my business and I love watching him spend time with our son.

Is it difficult managing your time between being a Mum and running your own business?

I’d love to say “no, it’s easy, I have a great routine and my schedule helps me to keep a great balance” – but unfortunately, it’s not the case. I do have a great routine, and I believe it’s essential to keeping your sanity as a working Mum, however even with the best routine, it’s hard to feel like you’re giving your child and your business the attention they both need. I am constantly assessing my time and changing my goals to work smarter, not harder. I try to find new ways to automate my business and set up long-term plans so that I’m not overwhelmed with the day-to-day workload and can spend more time with my son.

Unfortunately I don’t have family that live close by, so most of my productive work happens during my toddler’s nap time. As any mother knows, nap time can be unpredictable, so sometimes my entire day can be thrown off course.

I use a yearly diary as my to-do list, so I can allocate jobs to certain days of the week based on their priorities. This means that I’m not looking at a huge list each day, instead I can just focus on the plan for today. This has probably been my biggest key in not getting overwhelmed. If my day is looking busy, I re-assess and move tasks to another day before I’m even half way through the day. My goal is to finish each day feeling like I’ve accomplished what I set out to do, not feeling like I didn’t get my list done. Some days, this means just pushing the entire list to another day so I can spend the day with my son without feeling guilty.

Working from home and raising a toddler isn’t an easy combination, but I love it. It takes a lot of commitment and you need to love your job. The key is to find your balance, set achieveable goals, and know when to say no (to your work, not your children). I’d love to have more time for my business, but family always comes first for me and I would drop my business in an instant if I had to make that choice. Knowing this makes it much easier to put work aside or say no to certain opportunities when I know they will take too much of my time away from my family.

Coloured by Emma Turnbull

If you could share some advice for other new mums who might be experiencing PND or other mental health issues, what would it be?

Find someone to talk to and stop feeling guilty. I went through months of PND before I spoke up. I never spoke to someone because I didn’t feel like I was “sad enough” to call it PND. I felt guilty for not being a good enough mum, guilty for not keeping the house clean, guilty for annoying my friends with all my baby talk, and then guilty because I had such a “good baby” and had no reason to be upset!

I didn’t call people to talk to because I didn’t want to constantly bother the same people. Instead, I’d just lie down next to my baby and cry. It wasn’t until a friend spoke up about her own PND experience that I realised I was feeling all the same things. She was the first person I spoke to, and then to my husband. As soon as I identified what was going on, the daily battles became easier and I was able to start working towards recovery.

Nobody expects you to do this alone, so find someone to talk to. If you don’t have friends or family, don’t be afraid to call a helpline or local service. You are not the first person to go through what you are going through, and there’s no shame in feeling like you can’t cope.

Thank you so much for sharing your story Sarah!
CLICK HERE TO CONNECT WITH SARAH AND HER WEBSITE AND TO DOWNLOAD YOUR OWN FREE COLOURING BOOK!
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Dealing with PND & Anxiety in early motherhood

By Amanda Cavallaro (The Anxiety Wellness Queen)

The transition into motherhood can be bitter sweet for many. The excitement of starting this new beginning with your new bundle of joy not only brings about a learning experience but significant challenges and changes to your life. For many mothers, these challenges and changes are difficult to adjust to and they find themselves dealing with emotional, psychological and physical struggles.

Postnatal Depression (PND) and Anxiety are common mental health conditions new mums experience during this transition. PND can often be difficult to identify due to the typical ‘Baby Blues’ that so many women experience postpartum, unfortunately this can make things confusing. PND is commonly suffered by a new mum following childbirth and typically arises due to a combination of psychological challenges and adjustments, hormonal changes and result of fatigue or trauma.

Postnatal Depression affects up to 1 in 7 women and symptoms usually develop between 1 month and up to a year after the birth of their child.

Common symptoms of postnatal depression include, but are not restricted to:
- Low Mood
- Feelings of inadequacy
- Feelings of guilt or shame
- Emotional ( you might find yourself crying a lot more than usual )
- Feelings of anger and irritability
- Fear of being alone
- Insomnia
- Reoccurring negative thoughts
- Loss of interest (of things you usually would be interested in)
- Changes in appetite
- Feeling unmotivated
- Withdrawing from social situations
- Thoughts about harming yourself or your baby
- Feeling unable to cope
- Loss of concentration
- Loss of confidence and self esteem
- Feelings of anxiety, stress and panic

Awareness and Treatments of PND has come such a long way over the years and it has really been fantastic for women to feel heard, understood and given the proper care, support and treatment during this difficult time. Treatments for PND vary depending on a person’s individual needs and situation, either way addressing this early on is very important in the recovery process.

Likewise, Anxiety is also another very common issue women are dealing with in motherhood. Unlike PND, perinatal anxiety is only newly spoken about although women have been dealing with the symptoms and stress of it for many years! Depression and anxiety often work hand in hand and are interlinked in many ways.

Anxiety, alike depression does not discriminate age, gender or culture and the symptoms and severity differs from person to person. A woman who has experienced anxiety prior to pregnancy is at a higher risk of also experiencing it during her pregnancy and motherhood. Some of the common symptoms of anxiety may include:

- Irritability
- Panic Attacks (which include racing heart, sweaty palms, shortness of breath, feelings of nausea etc..)
- Hot or cold flushes
- Dizziness
- Tightening of chest
- Fast breathing
- Feelings of restlessness
- Excessive worry
- Excessive Fear
- Obsessive thinking
- Catastrophising
- Avoidance of situations, people or places that make you feel anxious
- Obsessive Compulsive tendencies
- Dry Mouth
- Tingling in hands and feet
- Problems sleeping
- Muscle tension

The most common cause of anxiety has been debated about for years although it really comes down to a combination of genetics, life experiences and environmental factors that contribute to the onset of anxiety. The most reassuring thing is that both anxiety and depression ARE treatable and there IS hope and a light at the end of the tunnel even though it may not feel like it at the time.

Below are some tips that you can implement to help manage your anxiety and depression

1) SUPPORT
During this difficult time the support of your family, friends, professionals and partner is very important. Once again, every woman’s needs are so different therefore ensuring you have the care you need to tailor to your needs and wellbeing is what really matters. We are so lucky that technology has come such a long way, giving us access to online education and support groups as well.

2) ASK FOR HELP
If you don’t feel right please reach out and ask for help. Speak to your GP, Maternity Nurse or health care professional and just let them know what your concerns are, that will then enable them to discuss all options with you and direct you to receive the appropriate help. And there are many options out there!

3) KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
Learning more about and understanding what you’re going through really does help in the treatment as it removes a lot of the fear of the ‘unknown’.

4) PRACTISE SAYING YES
The world we live in often portrays the message that as a mother we are super hero’s that need to do everything by ourselves (YES in regards to mums being amazing superwomen and a big NO to having to feel like you need to take on the world on your own) this is just a reminder that its ok to say YES every now and then, if people offer help in those early or even later stages of motherhood just say YES! Yes to a home cooked meal, a hand around the house, a nap while someone looks after bub, yes to dropping the kids at school and picking up some milk for you. We all have those bad days and you are at no exception - You can’t do it all and by no means are you expected to!

5) TAKE SOME TIME OUT
Making sure you put aside some much needed you time is SOOOO important. It doesn’t have to be anything $$ or major, just some time for you to recharge, regroup and become ready for whatever the day throws your way. This could be a nice warm bath when everyone goes to bed or putting your feet up with a nice hot tea or coffee when bub is taking a nap. There is no need to feel guilty for taking some time away - as they say you cant pour from an empty cup!

6) REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
Motherhood is really portrayed in a very fairy-tale like way these days in magazines, TV and social media. We are shown the ‘expected’ way to look, act, feed, feel and think. Those expectations have had such a huge negative impact on women all across the globe. This is just a reminder to have realistic expectations of yourself during this time, its ok if you don’t get 35 loads of washing on today, its ok if you don’t have your hair washed today, its ok not to have a picture perfect looking house, its ok to have an all day pyjama day sometimes ( I loveeee those days!) For goodness sake, you have a lot on your plate, don’t be too hard on yourself you are doing the best you can. Listen to your body and what its telling you, it will give you the cues.

At the end of the day its important I reiterate that you ARE doing the best you can so please don’t be too hard on yourself, motherhood is one of the hardest jobs in the world!

- Amanda Cavallaro (The Anxiety Wellness Queen)

CLICK HERE TO CONNECT WITH AMANDA AND HER WEBSITE AND TO DOWNLOAD HER TOP 10 TIPS TO MANAGING YOUR STRESS & ANXIETY

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If you're a new or pregnant mama, please join our Facebook support group over at Find Your Village – a truly supportive community of new and experienced mamas where you can vent frustrations or share your excitement in a space that is free from judgment. Whether you are suffering from anxiety or sleep deprivation we are here!

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Behind the Brand – The Parents Village

Featured Business - The Parents Village

Today we are interviewing two amazing Aussie Mums in business - Kirsty and Lana from The Parents Village! These lovely ladies have created a very special business and support network for new parents, which was borne out of their own experiences as new mums.

Hi Kirsty and Lana and welcome to The Nursery Collective! It’s a pleasure to have you on our blog! Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves and your families?
Kirsty is a Psychologist and Careers Counsellor who is married with two boisterous beauties - aged 3 and 5. Lana is Social Worker and Counsellor, who is also a married mum of one little delicious dictator - aged 2.

I am very passionate about mums having a support network, a village if you like to help navigate the early days of motherhood. Can you tell us about the idea behind The Parents Village – what led you to start your business?
In our lives before kids we thought we had it all together – we were independent, career focused, high achieving, spontaneous, super social and in control.
We were like…”we’ve got this!” During our pregnancies, we were inundated with loads of advice from friends and family – everyone had their two cents to offer. But we both felt like few people gave us an honest, raw ‘heads up’ about all that needed to be considered, prepared for, and embraced after childbirth.
The combination of sleep deprivation, hormonal fluctuation, and loneliness on top of the huge responsibilities of caring for a newborn left us feeling overwhelmed and isolated. We desperately felt the need for a “village” to learn from, lean on and laugh with.
Our little bundles of joy brought us “poop-losions, and “spew-namis”, litres of dribble, endless loads of dirty laundry and tons of tears (theirs and ours). They also brought us abundant love, unimaginable joy, laughter and wonder that is beyond comprehension. Children seem to break and then make us…teaching us the hardest lessons in letting go and embracing the unpredictable, whilst honing our multitasking skills, all on minimal sleep!
And so in 2016 we formed The Parents Village in our living rooms. United and motivated by our mutual experience of being completely “motherwhelmed”, bloody exhausted and craving a village.

I’ve always wondered how it would be like to go into business with a friend. How do you find working together?
We just love working together. We had known each other for many years before we went into partnership (through Kirsty’s brother who is a close friend of Lana’s). We have so enjoyed getting to know each other on a deeper level, sharing and supporting each other with our own experiences of motherhood and building this beautiful village together. We always say we are like Yin and Yang as we have different skills, gifts and expertise and ways of seeing things, but all with common values, so the working relationship flows so well and we are always in admiration and appreciation of the other for bringing something different into the working relationship and our services.

Can you tell us a bit about the different services you have for new parents?
We currently provide six main services that start prenatally all the way to postnatal and beyond.
Birthing The Parent is a prenatal workshop that helps couples prepare for the challenging and rewarding experience of becoming a parent. Centered on the transformation into parenthood, this interactive workshop empowers couples to better manage changes to their body, mind and relationships and adjust to their new role and identity.
Mama Nurture supported others groups were created with the knowledge that Mamas need nurturing too! New mamas bring their Bubs (0-6months) to our facilitated mothers group led by qualified counsellors. In these groups we foster Connection, learning and sharing as we weave in common themes, challenges and joys of adjusting to motherhood in a supportive environment.
Mama Blessingways facilitated by The Parents Village are a beautiful celebration and honoring of a woman’s transition into motherhood. This divine ritual will showers the mama- to- be with affirmations, blessings and practical support to build up her mind, body, and soul, together with her closest female family and friends.
Counselling Services at The Parents Village help clients to process all the feelings and challenges that come with pregnancy and new parenthood. We offer a space for you to explore and better understand yourself and your relationships, so that you can make positive changes, achieve growth and gain fulfilment.
Birth Story Healing sessions help mothers (and their partners) process, reframe and release any trauma they might have attached to their childbirth experience. We support our clients to gain deeper insight and create new meaning from this transformative rite of passage, so they can heal and move forward.
Careers Counselling & Coaching is a service that helps our clients explore their work options, renovate their resume, realise their full potential and find their true calling! We empower our clients to navigate work and family life before and after baby so that you can achieve a meaningful and sustainable career balanced with parenthood.

Wow it sounds like you've covered everything a new parent might need! To end our interview, if you could both offer one piece of advice to new and pregnant mamas, what would it be?
Forget about the superficial stuff, pretty nurseries and the best pram on the market… what really counts are the people who will be around you and your new little family particularly in those early weeks and months…that first year and beyond. Be sure to start to round up your village when you are pregnant so you have that support network readily available when bub arrives. No parent should feel they should do this parenthood thing alone… it isn’t how us humans we were made to be.
Also you don’t have to be the “best” Mum… All you have to be is “Good Enough”.

Thank you so much Kirsty and Lana for your time and for sharing your beautiful business with us! You can click here to connect with Kirsty and Lana at The Parents Village and here to follow them on Facebook.

It's so important to find your support networks when you are expecting and as a new mum! You can join our Facebook support group over at Find Your Village – a truly supportive community of new and experienced mamas where you can vent frustrations or share your excitement in a space that is free from judgment.

Don't forget to join our mailing list to receive your FREE download of "Your New Mum Checklist" - all the checklists you'll ever need when planning for baby, all in the one place.

 

Using Mindfulness in Pregnancy

By Amanda Cavallaro (The Anxiety Wellness Queen)

“Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – are caused by too much future, and not enough presence”.  Eckhart Tolle

The modern life we live in can be quite complicated at times. Our attention is demanded in so many different areas that we find ourselves constantly on the go. Trying to keep up with our busy schedules, work, kids, family and friends invites stress and anxiety right through our doors! Even when we find time to relax, our minds are always wandering. Pregnancy and motherhood is one of the most precious, intriguing, rewarding, empowering yet fearful and stressful times in our lives. Therefore caring for your mental health and emotional well being should be placed high on your priority list!

It is amazing how far mental health awareness has come, to shed light, support and educate women and their loved ones about important issues such as Pre/Postnatal Depression. Women are becoming more knowledgeable and aware to look out for signs that may be of concern, thus receiving the care they need and deserve. Pre/Postnatal Anxiety, is another pressing issue. The statistics are continuously increasing and it is now estimated that 1 in 3 women will experience anxiety. Regrettably it is one of the most common mental health conditions in Australia today. Fear and anxiety often happens when you are physically in the here and now, although your mind is wandering in the future. Thankfully research is beginning to demonstrate the positive effects of practices such as mindfulness during pregnancy, to help reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety.

So...What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the awareness of being in the present moment by paying attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them. It’s the practice of slowing down the mind rather than letting it wander in so many different directions. Unlike some of the other practices, the beauty of mindfulness is that with awareness you notice your thoughts and you then allow them to come and go without any judgement and interpretation. It’s important to understand that learning how to be present in your life takes time and practice! You have most likely practiced mindfulness on several occasions without even realizing.

Elisha Goldstein, a mindfulness expert, talks about practicing mindfulness in 2 ways – Formally and Informally. When practicing formally, you are ‘Intentionally’ setting aside time in your day to practice. By focusing and meditating on your breathing, your emotions and your thoughts with awareness. Informal Mindfulness practice incorporates the same sort of technique into your everyday life and tasks. You can do this by simply consciously being aware during your daily tasks.

Pregnancy and motherhood is a great time to learn and practice Mindfulness. It encourages awareness and a real sense of curiosity, it can be one of the most important tools that you learn during pregnancy and carry through to motherhood. Pregnancy can create a sense of fear and vulnerability. Mostly due to the unknown. Not knowing what will happen next, how you will feel and the constant change in physical sensations. Having the knowledge and tools that mindfulness provides can be a God send!

Mindfulness for Anxiety

Anxiety has a way of capturing your undivided attention! It consumes your thoughts, your body, feelings, and emotions. One of the common key elements of anxiety, is focusing on the future. The future, meaning a year from now, a month from now or even what could happen later that night. There is A LOT of ‘What Ifs’ involved and as a result making you feel more and more anxious. So then HOW does mindfulness come into the picture I hear you ask?

Mindfulness focuses on the here and now, the present moment. The total opposite to anxiety. It’s about training the brain to A) Slow Down & B) Discover this wonderful sense of awareness you have hidden within, removing all the chaos and enabling you to focus.

Have you ever had the experience of getting in the car to go somewhere and then before you know it.. YOU'ER THERE. How miraculous hey? The strange part is, most of the time you have no memory of the steps you took to get there, because so much of what we do is on auto pilot. With anxiety, your mind wonders constantly, mindfulness teaches you to pay attention to the moment by using awareness, observation and a sense of curiosity.

Practicing mindfulness can be experienced ‘Informally’. You achieve this by placing your focus on the task at hand, such as, eating, showering, walking, cooking etc.. For example, while eating your breakfast you may already be thinking about what your day has in store for you, what you are going to wear for the function on Saturday or what is on the menu for dinner. When you introduce a more mindful approach, you are then able to take note of the aromas from your meal, the tastes, the textures, the visual aspects, such as the colours of your food. Using all your senses is KEY and a good way to start.

Why is Mindfulness important during pregnancy?

During pregnancy, we can spend so much time thinking and worrying about what’s ahead, that we spend little time enjoying the now. Part of the reason anxiety increases so much for women during pregnancy is that so much of the process is out of our control. It is scary not knowing how things are going, what the different pregnancy symptoms are and if they are considered "normal". Women often worry about having everything organised for the nursery, wondering what will happen during the labour and how they will cope when the baby arrives. So much pressure is put on a couple to make the perfect decisions, such as birthing choices, eating healthy, exercising and taking vitamins. If there is anything you take away from today’s post I would like to highlight that taking care of your mental health needs during your pregnancy is just as important as your physical health.

Top 5 Benefits of practicing Mindfulness during Pregnancy

1. REDUCES STRESS, ANXIETY AND WORRY
Practicing Mindfulness during pregnancy has been shown to lower a mother’s stress and anxiety levels and improve overall emotional and physical health. Mindfulness allows you to alleviate the feelings of guilt and judgement by placing your focus on the present moment.

2. CONNECT TO YOUR CHANGING BODY
Let’s face it. There is so much going on during pregnancy that we often can’t keep up! Mindfulness practice allows you to tune in and listen to your body and its needs. There is no better time to be in touch with your body than now!

3. GREAT PREPARATION FOR THE BIRTH
Focus and awareness during the birthing experience is essential and ties in very well with #2. Understanding that some things are out of our control and being able to go with the flow is part of the recipe for a positive birthing experience.

4. CREATES A POSITIVE MINDSET DURING LABOUR
The first thing we hear when we fall pregnant is everyone’s horror stories! Which in turn only creates more fear and anxiety. Mindfulness allows you to notice any potential negative thoughts during your birth
without getting caught up in it all. Simply just by observing, letting it go and continuing to be present of the sensations and happenings of the NOW.

5. SELF CARE AND COMPASSION
We often judge ourselves based on expectations, social norms and feelings of fear and anxiety. Mindfulness supports self-compassion through the pregnancy process because it allows us to observe our feelings and thoughts with self-awareness. This is very important because we often hide the way we feel due to the guilt or fear of experiencing them.

- Amanda Cavallaro (The Anxiety Wellness Queen)

CLICK HERE TO CONNECT WITH AMANDA AND HER WEBSITE

 

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If you're a new or pregnant mama, please feel free to join our Facebook support group over at Find Your Village – a truly supportive community of new and experienced mamas where you can vent frustrations or share your excitement in a space that is free from judgment. Whether you are suffering from anxiety or sleep deprivation we are here!

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The Benefits of Using a Doula

Guest Post - Sam Ross (Birth Doula)

If you are anything like I was during my first pregnancy, I had no idea what a doula was or why on earth I would need one. Thankfully, with the support of an amazing midwife, I had a great birth without a doula. With my second pregnancy, circumstances meant I didn’t have the luxury of a continuity of care midwife during the pregnancy or birth. Thinking everything would be fine, I decided not to go ahead and hire a doula. Worst. Decision. Ever. Not even exaggerating, my birth was horrendous and I wish I had known exactly what a doula was and why every woman needs one!

WHAT IS A DOULA?

A birth doula, pronounced ‘doo-la’, is a pregnancy and birth support person. Doulas have been supporting women for centuries, in many different cultures.
There are many different types of doula, including antepartum, postpartum and bereavement doulas. I will be speaking specifically about birth doulas. Typically, a doula is a woman who has given birth (although not always) and is a trained professional in supporting women during labour. She knows all about natural birth processes and the interventions that go along with hospital births.

During pregnancy, a doula will help to alleviate any fears you may have about the birth and post-partum period. A doula is someone you can call on any time of day for reassurance and support.
Most doulas will also offer a birth planning session, where you will sit together and go through your ideas and preferences for the birth. She is available to educate you about labour, breastfeeding, postpartum, and provide any advice you may need from a non-judgmental, unbiased perspective.

A doula will attend your labour and birth, whether that be at home, hospital or both. Her role is strictly non-medical, purely physical, emotional support and advocacy. Doulas are very skilled in alternative pain relief techniques, giving you an endless supply of ideas to try before you ask for the epidural.

WHAT DOES A DOULA DO?

• Provides emotional support during pregnancy, birth and beyond
• Uses comfort measures including (but not limited to) massage, relaxation techniques, position change, heat packs, showering, hip squeezes, etc.
• Create a home-like environment in the hospital, by using aromatherapy, music, flameless candles, ensuring privacy etc.
• Gives clear, unbiased information to assist you in making decisions both before and during labour.
• Continuously reassures and comforts, a doula never leaves your side once labour is established.
• Advocates for the mother and helps facilitate communication between the mother and care provider
• Ensures you are drinking and eating, she may even brew herbal tea for you and make coffee for your partner.
• Provide emotional support to your partner, as well as ensuring they are hydrated, rested and fed.
• Works together with your partner in supporting you.
• Help you to get cleaned up and comfortable after birth
• Offer assistance with establishing breastfeeding
• Provide in home support after the birth.

Ultimately, the doula you hire will perform the tasks you wish of her, whether that is to remain by your side the whole time, or primarily to give support to your partner.

BENEFITS OF HAVING A DOULA ATTEND YOUR BIRTH

The benefits are plentiful. Studies have shown that women that use a doula are much more likely to have a positive birth outcome and birth satisfaction. Women are less likely to ask for pain relief medication (60% less likely to ask for an epidural).
Also, by having a doula attend your birth you will reduce the length of labour by 25% (average of 40 minutes), decrease your chance of a caesarean by 50% and lower the need for augmentation with syntocinin (synthetic oxytocin) by 40% (1).

 

WILL A DOULA MAKE YOUR PARTNERS ROLE REDUNDANT?

This is such an important point to mention, partners are often concerned a doula will replace them and push them out of the way. Simply not true, doulas are there to ensure your partner is comfortable, informed and participating (if they want to).

Some partners may feel completely overwhelmed and intimidated by seeing you in pain. They may feel completely helpless and have no idea how best to support you. This is where a doula can step in, give him some encouraging words and suggest some massage techniques or positions he can support you in. Perhaps your partner needs some space, and would rather sit back away from the action. That’s ok, especially because your doula can step in and play an active role in supporting you.

By taking the extra pressure off your partner, they will be able to eat, rest, and move the car etc, whilst feeling reassured that you’re being looked after your doula. Your partner will be more emotionally present and may actually even enjoy the incredible birth journey.

ARE DOULAS ONLY FOR WOMEN PLANNING A HOMEBIRTH/NATURAL DRUG-FREE BIRTH?

Absolutely not. In my opinion, women birthing in a hospital need a doula more than those choosing a home birth. Hospital births are difficult to navigate through without someone there to support and advocate your decisions. Doulas are familiar with local hospital policies, and can keep you informed about them. A doula will also facilitate communication between you and your health care provider, this is important especially when you haven’t met the midwife/doctor before. Ensuring effective communication can make the birth much less stressful for everyone involved.

As for women choosing to use pain medications, a doula will support you in whatever decisions you make. She is not there to sway you decision or judge your choices, she is there for YOU. If you choose an epidural, you will still need emotional support during the application of the epidural and help with it comes to pushing. It is reassuring to know your doula is there to help you ask the right questions regarding hospital procedures to ensure you have all the relevant information to make decisions should they arise.


Photo Credit: Jen from Heart of Motherhood

WHAT QUESTIONS SHOULD I ASK A POTENTIAL DOULA?

• What services do you provide?
• What is your philosophy regarding birth?
• Do you have experience with VBAC/twin birth/planned C-section?
• Do you have a backup plan in case you can’t attend my birth?
• How many clients do you take per month?

I hope this article has made you consider having a doula attend your birth, it is certainly a worthwhile investment into having a positive birth experience.

- Sam Ross (Birth Doula)

1. Hodnett ED. Gates S Hofmeyr GJ. Sakala C. Continuous Support for Women During Childbirth. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. CD003766, (2003).

To connect with Sam and her services at Sage, Birth & Beyond click here

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Love,
Cathy

 

PREGNANCY YOGA – ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW!

Guest Post - Bettina Rae

Has pregnancy been a bit of a struggle? Sickness? Aches and pains? Uncomfortable? Are you feeling afraid around what is to come?

What if there was a something you could do, today, that would ease all of these things?

Pregnancy yoga is more than just a trend. It’s a practice that can help you to connect with your baby, overcome fears around birth and motherhood, ease the typical aches and pains AND give you the tools to actually enjoy labour and birth.

Sign me up you say?

Awesome. A few things you should know first.

What you need to know about practicing yoga whilst pregnant.

Pregnancy and birth are sacred processes in becoming a mother. Life changing rites of passage. Typically in the West we don’t honour these times of transformation as well as other cultures. We often gift the mother-to-be with everything she will physically need for the baby, when what she really needs is our love , support and wisdom. There is however a growing consciousness around women and the need to return to the ‘village’ approach when birthing and raising children.

The path to motherhood involves every aspect of us as women – it transforms our physical body, our thoughts and our emotions. The way we approach these changes can heavily influence how we feel about ourselves in our new role as a Mother and how we feel about life in general. If we resist or ignore the transformation and continue on as we always have, life becomes a struggle. But if we honour and celebrate these changes it is easier to surrender and embrace our new lives as mothers. By valuing the changes we go through to become a mother we can empower ourselves in this new role.

Pregnancy yoga helps you soften and surrender to the process of becoming a mother and trust that everything will unfold exactly as it should, without needing to control or try to change the process. It is also a beautiful way to grow your own network of women going through the same experience and I thoroughly recommend joining a class if that option is available to you. The connections you make during these classes will be so valuable to you when you are in the depths of your mothering experience. You will NEED the support of other women going through the same experience to cheer you on, and to listen when you need to vent.

You may find the recommendations don’t apply to you every day and some days you feel strong and can do more than others. This is why now more than ever we need to connect mind and body and be aware of the choices we are making, for our safety as well as our babies.

  • adjust poses to accommodate growing belly and changed centre of gravity by widening stance to hip width or wider and not practicing closed twists which constrict the belly.
  • be careful not to overstretch. Hormones are already allowing your ligaments and tendons to relax more than usual.
  • avoid abdominal work that causes strain as you risk causing the abdominal muscle separation to worsen
  • move slowly especially when moving the head from high to low as changing blood pressures may make you feel faint.
  • earn and practice correct alignment of the pelvis to help with back pain, sciatica and instability of the pelvis
  • avoid deep back bends are weakening core muscles mean you do that have the muscle support to practice these poses safely.
  • after the fourth month it is recommended that you do not lie flat on your back as this places pressure on a major artery and can affect blood flow to the baby.
  • avoid overheating by wearing cool clothing and coming to child’s pose to rest when you need
  • when moving in and out of poses, use the arms to support you to avoid straining the core. Eg. rising from lying to sitting

If you’d like to dive straight into a yoga class, try this pregnancy yoga flow for beginners.

Or DOWNLOAD THE FREE ULTIMATE YOGA GUIDE TO PREGNANCY AND BIRTH.

ABOUT BETTINA
Bettina Rae is a yoga teacher, counsellor and Mama to two young boys. She runs an online yoga studio for mothers to help them through pregnancy and birth, to practice yoga at home and to reconnect with themselves after having children. Her active community of women also gather monthly for women's circles (both online and in-person) for yoga, group meditation, healing and sharing their stories. She facilitates the online program; VIVE - 21 lessons to ditch overwhelm, reconnect and truly enjoy motherhood.

Connect with her on her Facebook, Instagram or her website

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Nutrition in Pregnancy

Nutrition Series Part 2

You're pregnant and advice gets thrown at you from every angle.
Whether it be from well meaning friends, family members, or even the person standing behind you in the supermarket queue - everyone has an opinion on what is best for you; which foods to eat, which foods to avoid and which supplements to take.

So with a growing baby and being inundated with advice, where do you even start?

Firstly, lets get back to basics – Your priority is to take care of your own health and that of your baby.

Every woman experiences pregnancy differently. Even if you sail through yours never experiencing morning sickness, constipation, reflux or severe fatigue, that doesn't necessarily mean you are therefore healthier than the pregnant woman who does. You both require a well balanced diet and key nutrients to ensure the increasing demands of your own body and that of your developing baby are met. The nutritional environment in utero is now also thought to play a significant role in the health and disease risk of a child when they reach adulthood.

FIRST TRIMESTER

As mentioned, every woman experiences pregnancy differently, regardless if this is baby number 1 or baby number 5. However, there are common symptoms generally experienced in the first trimester, with varying degrees of mild to moderate severity:
Fatigue (90% experience), nausea (80% experience) and vomiting (50% experience) are the most common symptoms experienced in the first trimester.

DIETARY RECOMMENDATIONS & KEY NUTRIENTS
Ginger has a long history of use in the treatment of nausea during pregnancy. Drinking ginger tea by adding ½ tsp grated ginger steeped in hot water for 5-10 mins, may help to reduce nausea. Ginger is also available in supplementation form. Studies on the safety of ginger in pregnancy, has shown doses of 1000mg/day, to be regarded as safe.
Eating small, frequent meals, to maintain blood glucose levels and also reduce nausea, is often tolerated much easier than 3 large meals a day. Particularly, if experiencing nausea or vomiting.
Folic Acid plays a key role in reducing the risk of neural tube defects, including spina bifida. A folic acid supplement should be taken prior to conception and for the first 3 months of pregnancy. Include dark green, leafy vegetables for sources rich in folate also.

Protein is required not only for the growth of a foetus but also the placenta, uterus and increasing breast and blood cell mass. Sources include chicken, lamb, pork, nuts, eggs.
Iron deficiency and iron deficiency anaemia may occur during pregnancy, due to the body’s increasing demands and inadequate intake of iron rich foods or a woman’s iron status before conception. Anaemia during pregnancy has been associated with low birth weight, premature delivery and may impact brain development and neuro-cognition. Before reaching for an iron supplement, please see your GP. Iron rich foods include red meat, spinach and silverbeet.

FOODS TO AVOID
Strong odours: Avoid any food or drinks with strong odours. These can often trigger nausea.
Raw meats and raw seafood: Oysters, shellfish, sushi, under cooked meats.
Soft Cheese: Camembert, Brie, Ricotta.
Deli Meats: Salami, turkey, ham, pancetta
Eggs: Avoid raw eggs, soft boiled and poached. Ensure eggs are cooked thoroughly.
Processed foods/ High Sugar: Whilst fatigue may leave you craving chocolate or a sugary treat for a pick me up, as your blood sugar crashes, you will be left feeling even more fatigued.
Alcohol: Whilst there is much dispute on this topic, you have a developing foetus, receiving every item of food and drink you consume. You wouldn’t give your 5 year old child a glass of wine so why would you give this to your baby?

SECOND TRIMESTER

By the second trimester, symptoms of fatigue and nausea have generally subsided, due to a decrease in hCG levels and changes in oestrogen and progesterone. An increase in weight gain will also be noticeable and back pain may develop. (For those mothers who are concerned about gaining weight – you will gain weight! This is healthy. What isn’t healthy, is attempting to prevent weight gain in order to have a smaller baby or easier labour. Both untrue!!)

During this trimester, the gums also become spongier and may bleed after brushing. Pregnancy hormones also act to relax the muscles of the gastrointestinal tract; thereby slowing the transit time of food and increasing the chance of constipation. Nasal congestion may also occur due to the effects of increased oestrogen and blood volume. Vaginal secretions will also increase, changing pH levels, leaving you much more susceptible to thrush.

DIETARY RECOMMENDATIONS & KEY NUTRIENTS
Protein: Required for the growth of the baby and the woman’s own requirements.
Vitamin D: Required for normal brain development and structure and for bone growth and mineralization, of the foetus. Our best source of Vitamin D comes from the sun. Aim for 10 mins of exposure a day.
Iron: Demand for iron increases due to increased tissue growth, red blood cell mass and haemoglobin production. Iron stores can be monitored through blood tests and supplementation given where required. Iron rich foods include spinach, silverbeet, red meat.
Vitamin C: Combining Iron and vitamin C rich foods, aids iron absorption. Include berries, lemon, oranges, capsicum and kiwifruit.
Water: Staying hydrated is important for many bodily functions and may help to relieve constipation.
Fibre: Including both soluble and insoluble fibre, may also be beneficial in regulating bowel movements and preventing constipation. Dietary sources include fruit, vegetables, seeds and legumes.

FOODS TO AVOID
Coffee and Tea contain Polyphenols, which inhibit iron absorption. Avoid consuming with iron rich meals.
Raw and undercooked meats, raw seafood, raw and undercooked eggs, deli meats, alcohol.
Sugar/soft drinks/processed foods contribute to thrush, by increasing urinary sugar, which in turn encourages the growth of yeast in the vagina. Please see your Doctor if you are experiencing this.

THIRD TRIMESTER

As you now begin the final trimester of your pregnancy, you not only feel incredibly uncomfortable, you may be experiencing reflux (80% of women experience during pregnancy), hot flushes due to your baby radiating heat, swelling of the ankles, hands and face (resulting from an increase in body fluids and sodium retention) and leg cramps.

DIETARY RECOMMENDATIONS & KEY NUTRIENTS
Magnesium: Studies have shown women who experience pregnancy associated cramps, have lower levels of serum magnesium. Whilst supplementation may be required, dietary sources include green leafy vegetables, avocado, brown rice and bananas.
Essential Fatty Acids: are required for the growth of the brain and eye tissues. Studies have also shown a high intake of EFA’s whilst pregnant, improves motor and cognitive development. Choose salmon, snapper and sardines, which are low in mercury.

FOODS TO AVOID

Avoid chocolate and coffee, which may reduce lower oesophageal sphincter tone, resulting in symptoms of heartburn, acid regurgitation and nausea. Avoid large meal sizes.
Raising the head of the bed, may reduce the risk of stomach acid entering the oesophagus, thereby reducing the risk of reflux and acid regurgitation.
Raw and undercooked meats, raw seafood, raw and undercooked eggs, deli meats, alcohol.

 

If you are experiencing any symptoms during pregnancy that you have concerns about, please see your doctor. If you have been diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes or Pre-Eclampsia, a tailored dietary program for additional support may be required.

- 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 3 OF OUR NUTRITION SERIES: POST NATAL NUTRITION

Love,
Cathy

 

BABY SHOWER TRENDS FOR 2017

Guest Blog Post: Sherise Adkins from Occasionally

Header image via Miss kyree loves

The anticipated arrival of a brand new baby is such a magical time for expectant parents and everyone around them. A baby shower is the perfect chance for everyone to join in the excitement and celebrate this special time for the expectant parents.

Do baby showers still have a place in 2017? I say yes, absolutely!

Do you have to play games and open gifts? Not if you don’t want to!

Baby showers have come a long way over the last few years and are moving towards a more relaxed and refined sophistication. Rules are being broken (in a good way), and new themes and trends are emerging.

If you want to plan a modern, knock your socks off baby shower that the mum-to-be and all of her guests will love, the very first step is to select a theme. Having a theme in mind from the very beginning affords you a cohesive event - from the invitations, which are the guest’s very first impression, down to the favours, which will be the last thing they will remember.

Not to be underestimated, a well picked and executed theme will also give all of the guests and the mum-to-be a sense of excitement and festivity while they are there, leaving a real impact.

If this all sounds hard, rest assured that having a theme in mind will simplify your planning process. It will help you hone in on exactly what you need, and give you a way to filter out everything that it unnecessary. This will save you time and your sanity!

Now for some inspiration! Take a look at these gorgeous themes that you will see trending in 2017.

BOHO FLORAL


- Image via Style Me Pretty -

This is a whimsical baby shower theme that makes for a laid back feel. Team any combination of colourful floral arrangements, lace, floral crown, feathers, succulents, and foliage together. Add an outdoors setting and you’ll have one magical setup!


- Left image via Style Me Pretty | Right image via Pretty My Party -

TROPICAL

The tropical theme is a fresh new trend that your guests will love. With this theme you can create beautiful colour schemes and throw a shower fit for this lovely warm weather we’re having.


- Left image via 100 Layer Cake | Right image via Studio DIY -

BRUNCH WITH GRAZING TABLES


We are going to see baby shower brunches becoming even more popular. Add a delicious grazing table to the mix and you will be very on-trend. Think savoury, fresh or sweet – anything goes!


- Images via Miss kyree loves -

MONOCHROME

The monochrome theme will feature more throughout the year for those who don’t want to go down the traditional route for their baby shower. Monochrome can be sophisticated, playful or non-traditional to easily suit the mum-to-be’s personality.


- Images via Rebecca Judd Loves -

GENDER REVEAL

Gender reveal baby showers are becoming more and more popular. Apart from the excitement of finding out the baby’s gender, what makes them really great is that you can include the Dads and their mates and turn it into a couples baby shower.


- Images via Grey Likes Baby -

By running with one of these themes you really can’t go wrong. Make Mum (and / or Dad) the star and the shower will be perfect!

About the Author
Sherise Adkins is the owner of Occasionally, the Australian curated online marketplace (LAUNCHING SOON) where you can find everything you need to create the perfect occasion - from invitations, partyware and decorations to favours, gifts and more. Occasionally have done the searching for you, handpicked small makers, designers and retailers and brought them together at occasionally.com.au so that all of your occasions will be truly inspired, cohesive, and less stressful. And for a personal shopping experience, once you buy from them, the seller will send your items directly to you.

Head to Occasionally and leave your email addressed to be notified as soon as they launch!

For gorgeous party, event or unique gift giving inspiration make sure you follow them on Instagram and Facebook!

Make sure you sign up to our newsletter for more blog posts and the latest in baby, pregnancy and nursery inspo!

Love,
Cathy

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

 

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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With love
Cathy x