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.

 

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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

 

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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

 

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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

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