Introducing solids to your baby as a new mum

Introducing Solids to Your New Baby As New Mum

My journey through Baby Led Weaning and Solids - By Fi Morrison

A big thank you to Fi Morrison for sharing her experience with introducing solids to her baby as a new Mum x

Our "introduction to solids" journey began over 7 months ago, when my son was 4 months old. I was eager to start him on solids, because it seemed to be another “milestone” he could meet. Another step in his development, signaling that he was growing more and more with each passing day (how I could wish those younger days back!). I eagerly did the “mum thing” by creating purees from scratch – chopping, steaming and blending countless vegetables and fruits. I did this consistently for a couple of months, but not because I enjoyed it. No, it lost its novelty factor within a week. I continued on blending fruits and veg because I thought I was giving my son the best chance for a nutritious, healthy diet. And because the thought of baby-led weaning frightened me.

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TOP 5 TIPS: HOW TO BALANCE WEIGHT WITHOUT RESTRICTIVE DIETING

By Krissy from Her Nourished (Certified Health Coach)

Today on the blog we have the lovely Krissy from Her Nourished sharing her TOP 5 TIPS on how Mums can balance their weight without having to resort to restrictive dieting. Our bodies go through so much change when we become Mums, from pregnancy to post pregnancy and beyond, and weight gain can be a major pain point for many of us. I personally had a very strict ob/gyn when I was pregnant who constantly kept my weight in check due to family history of gestational diabetes. With my firstborn I dropped all the weight plus more very quickly due to a thyroid issue and major anxiety borne out of sleep deprivation. This didn't happen with my second! However, after I stopped breastfeeding and when I knew I was "done" with having babies, I then began the slow process of working on my health and weight. My youngest is now almost 3 (where does the time go!!) and it's still a work in progress, but most importantly I feel healthy and strong, which in turn makes dealing with motherhood that little bit easier!

I love the tips Krissy has shared below - they are all extremely achievable. Especially point 3 - which Mum hasn't snacked off their kids leftovers? Make sure you read to the end to grab an amazing FREEBIE too - Your Simple Wholefoods Recipe Guide for Busy Mums!

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Postnatal Health & Nutrition

Nutrition Series Part 3 - Postnatal

The day has finally arrived and you’ve welcomed your bundle of joy into the world. You’ve taken all the necessary steps for pre-conception care and looked after yourself throughout pregnancy - now what? This period is referred to as “post- natal” and supporting your health now, is just as important as the previous stages. It is not uncommon for new mums to experience exhaustion, cracked nipples, infection, mastitis, post-partum hypertension, post-partum thyroiditis or post-partum depression; with approximately 19% of women experiencing post-partum depression in the first 3 months after childbirth.

Although there are numerous health concerns that may affect a mum post-natal, the following are perhaps the most recognized.

POST-PARTUM DEPRESSION

This accompanies symptoms of feeling disconnected from their baby, feeling down, anxiety, irritability, exhaustion, sleep disturbances or thoughts of harm to their child.
Diagnoses can be done through your doctor, who will ask a series of questions to assess mental health. It is important to remember you are not alone and there are specific support networks to help.
Supporting a mother’s nervous system through diet, should be done regardless of a PPD diagnoses. Studies have shown intakes of EPA/DHA’s (Omega 3’s), reduce depressive symptoms in pregnant and postpartum women.
Sources include salmon, sardines, flaxseed and walnuts.
B Vitamins are also required for brain and neurotransmitter function. Sources include egg yolk, anchovies, broccoli, liver, eggplant, sunflower seeds and spinach.

MASTITIS

Affecting approximately one third of lactating women, Mastitis refers to inflammation of the breast tissue. Mastitis may occur at any point whilst breast feeding but often presents during the first 12 weeks. Common causes include blocked milk ducts, breast engorgement and infection. Breast tenderness, nipple pain, cracked nipples, fever and fatigue are all associated symptoms.
Diagnoses is made with your doctor, who will examine the area, looking for signs of redness, inflammation, cracked nipples and breast tenderness.

Include rich sources of zinc, to support wound healing (Red meats, eggs, sunflower seeds, mushrooms) and if prescribed antibiotics, a probiotic is recommended to restore healthy gut flora and prevent yeast overgrowth. Also avoid high doses of Vitamin C, as may cause diarrhoea in the breastfeeding baby.

NUTRITIONAL MANAGEMENT

Whilst many mums find they will eat on the go or end up skipping meals altogether, ensuring you eat to sustain energy, to allow for milk production and to support any post-partum health issues, is incredibly important. I recommend for all new mums, to invest in a slow cooker. Unless you have a personal chef or a family member/ friend providing you with meals, finding the time and energy to prepare and cook, is often the last thing you feel like doing. Finding simple ways to still eat well, will reduce extra pressure you may put on yourself and provide nutrients to support your own health.

Good sources of protein at least three times a week should be included in the diet. Consuming 1 gram per kilo of body weight is ideal. Sources include eggs, chicken, lamb, beef, legumes and cheese.
Breast feeding will require a higher intake of carbohydrates and including oats, wholegrains, quinoa, sweet potato and chickpeas, are all ideal. Also Including fats from nuts (if you choose to eat nuts whilst breast feeding), avocado, dairy and oily fish such as salmon.

SAMPLE MENU PLAN

Breakfast – 2 scrambled eggs, 1 cup spinach, ½ tomato, 1 cup mushrooms
Morning Tea – Smoothie. Banana, coconut milk, honey, raw cacao
Lunch – Toasted sourdough topped with 1 can of tuna, ½ avocado, cucumber
Afternoon Tea – 1 cup of Greek yoghurt, ½ cup mixed berries – strawberries, blueberries, raspberries
Dinner – In slow cooker – 1 lamb shoulder, served with sweet potato, pumpkin, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower
Water – 2 litres filtered

RECIPE
Slow cooked lamb, served with veggies and a rosemary sauce

Serves 4
Ingredients: 1 lamb shoulder, 2 large sweet potatoes, 2 carrots, 1/2 pumpkin.
Method
Cut sweet potato, pumpkin and carrots into smaller sized pieces (approx. 3-4 cm in length)
In a slow cooker, add sweet potato, carrot and pumpkin. Place lamb shoulder on top. Turn setting to low heat and allow to cook for 8 hours.

Rosemary Sauce
Ingredients: 2 garlic cloves, 2 tbs lemon juice, 1 tbs butter, 2 tbs fresh rosemary, 2 tbs olive oil, ½ cup veggie stock
Remove lamb and vegetables from slow cooker. Do not wash slow cooker. Turn to high heat.
Add garlic, olive oil, rosemary, lemon juice and veggie stock and whisk with pan juices.
Add butter and stir. Serve.

If you are experiencing any health concerns post pregnancy, please see your doctor.

- Janine Watkins, The Holistic Nutritionist

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

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Love,
Cathy

 

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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

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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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