Monday, 1 August 2016

World breast feeding awareness week - Our Breastfeeding Journey

This post is supported by Medela


Breastfeeding is one of those things that you start out thinking it should be really easy as it is a natural thing but once you do try, it can be so different for everyone. When I had my first baby, 5 years ago, I set out to breastfeed. I had absolutely no fear that it would be anything but super simple and natural as that’s what our bodies are supposed to do as new mums, provide food for our babies.

I had huge boobs and a baby with a tiny mouth and from the first night as a mum, my nipples became very damaged and I was in a lot of pain. It was like my baby was attacking me on a 3 hour basis, I was in pain, nipples bleeding and miserable. It wasn’t easy but I was determined.

I used my Medela breast pump around the clock, giving my nipples time to heal, only offering the breast every second feed and serving up expressed breast milk in a bottle otherwise. The Medela pump was truly my saving grace, I spent endless hours on that pump, keeping my milk supply going and knowing I was giving my baby the best stuff even if it was from a bottle.



Baby P was thriving, but my nipples didn’t heal easily. It wasn’t a nice time as I was in so much pain when she fed, I couldn’t feed in public, I just couldn’t relax but everyone kept telling me her attachment was fine. People would empathise with me and tell me it was ok not to breastfeed anymore but I was too determined, I had to get this right.

It went on for quite a while, I was searching for an answer as to why breastfeeding wasn’t getting any better until after a couple of months, a nurse just put it down to a logical issue; big boobs/small mouth. That is when things started to turn and everything started getting better, it was like a huge weight had lifted off my shoulders and I could relax and stop looking for an answer on how we could fix this issue, I could know that NOTHING I was doing was wrong. As her mouth grew a little bigger, it all started working better and we finally got it and went on to feed until Princess P was 15 months old. I was proud.

Second time around, it was all so much easier and it all worked from the get go and now, third time around, my milk came in on the second day, it was like a super power. Haha. I have had no sign of damage and we have rocked it with ease. It truly is amazing how different of an experience breast feeding can be for so many people, even different from child to child and how easy it could of been for me to quit that first time around if I hadn’t had the right support. Believe me when I tell you I had a lot of mixed messages from a lot of different people and I had to be super strong in my own beliefs to keep going. I know I would have definitely benefitted from the MyMedela App back then and I’m very grateful I’ve had it by my side this time. The MyMedela really is a personal digital companion, providing practical advice, tips and tricks from experts on pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding. I've loved the advice and tips, it is such an incredible resource for new mums. 

As we move into World Breastfeeding Awareness Week – here’s some insight for you from the team atMedela that conducted a survey with 4000 Australian Mums to discover attitudes towards experience with breastfeeding and where mums go for advice.  Results reveal many women put pressure on themselves to breastfeed because of health benefits breastfeeding provides, yet most go on to experience associated challenges. The survey also showed that to assist in their parenting journey, mums bypass their own mums’ wisdom in place of advice from Midwife/Doctors and online support tools and apps.

Reassuringly, 9 in 10 mums do experience breastfeeding challenges – which is great to know that you’re not alone. From the respondents, 90 per cent cited issues with milk levels (22 per cent) and sore nipples (20 per cent) as most popular problems. Plus common issues like mastitis/engorgement, health, latching, sore nipples, tongue tie.

Like myself, despite challenges, most mums persevere to continue breastfeeding. In fact, according to Medela’s survey, a high proportion (52 per cent) feel pressure to continue breastfeeding. Of these women, the overwhelming majority actually put pressure on themselves to breastfeed, as opposed to feeling the pressure to breastfeed from factors such as partners, society, media, celebrities. The survey further reveals that while most respondents (61 per cent) agree there is a lot of online information and advice available, mums still feel satisfied with the access to information and advice required. The majority of mums do not turn to their own mum for advice first anymore, with the 24/7 convenience of sourcing information online or via Apps it can be easier to “google it”. I know I spent endless hours online myself, trying to find a solution to my breastfeeding issues with Miss P.

Most importantly, I think we have to make new mums more aware that breastfeeding isn’t always easy and it's ok if it doesn’t come naturally. We need to give ourselves time, both baby and mum need to learn and it takes time and sometimes pain. But it’s ok to ask for help and utilise the information and support around us. Becoming a mum is hard enough and feeding our babies can be one of the biggest, most worrying stresses in the world as we just want to nourish them and for them to thrive. That's why I think Breastfeeding awareness week is so important;

Medela have said - “Breastfeeding Awareness Week is an opportunity to educate the wider community about the challenges mums face and the pressure they put on themselves to give their child the best start in life and to remind mums that they are not alone in their journey.” 

For mums who do feel like they are alone and want to reach out to some instant support and advice The MyMedela app is awesome, it’s by Medela Australia and it’s a personal digital companion providing practical advice, tips and tricks from experts on pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding, whilst post birth, acts as an efficient tracking tool to monitor babies progress in key areas such as breastfeeding to suit mums’ needs today. I highly recommend checking it out and utilising it on an everyday basis.

If you need a burst of breastfeeding inspo – please check out this clip to remind you that everyone’s breastfeeding experience is different and some great tips to keep in mind:

Keep your heads up Mumma’s! Your doing a brilliant job. x

Saturday, 23 July 2016

RECIPE: Activated nut & seed nibble mix


Trail mix is an awesome thing to have in your bag for when you are needing a little pick me up or are starving for a little snack. It’s also a great one for little fingers as a snack when out and about or as an energy hit for your bouncing teenagers. Perfect to hit the spot for those breast feeding Mumma cravings too! I like to make a big batch of this every so often and keep it in the pantry in a glass jar. It’s super simple to make but the soaking and dehydrating does need some time. Nuts and seeds are great foods; they are rich is good fats and proteins although nuts contain enzyme inhibitors so thats why many cultures soak them before they are eaten. Soaking them; activates them, wakes them up, brings them to more of a live food state and absorption of nutrients, minerals and proteins is much higher. It also gives them more crunch, I think they taste way better! You can learn why soaking your nuts and seeds is so important here.

RECIPE: Activated nut & seed nibble mix

Ingredients
1 cup almonds
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sultanas
1/2 cup inca berries
Pinch salt

Method

Into separate bowls or jars, place the nuts and seeds with a pinch of salt in each. Fill with water to cover seeds and allow to sit overnight or for 24 hours to activate.

Once time is up, strain and rinse the nuts and seeds very well, until water runs clear.

Place nuts and seeds onto trays and into the dehydrate to dry out (not cook) for 12 hours. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can use the oven on very low heat with the door open. Just keep in mind that you have to dry them out well as, if not, they can go mouldy.

Once the nuts and seeds are dry, mix together with your sultanas and Inca berries and store in an airtight container and jar for whenever you need a nibble.


Thursday, 21 July 2016

SCHOOL HOLIDAY FUN: Our Sydney weekender!

I'm one mother that absolutely loves school holidays. Why? Because my favourite 5 year old baby sitter returns to help me out with the 2 that are stuck to me 24/7. Haha yes my princess P is a superstar and I really do miss her throughout the week when she is at school and I believe that our Mr 3 misses her even more. So when school holidays hit we went into a little hibernation for the first week and just enjoyed hanging out at home, resting after a huge school term. Once the Daddy of the house returned home from 5 weeks away for work we ventured up to the city for a weekend getaway at the Novotel Sydney Olympic park. It was amazing! We stayed in the executive spa suite which looked over ANZ stadium and the rest of the city. With a HUGE spa and the most amazing buffet breakfast, there were definitely no complaints, we felt like royalty.



Friday night saw us walk 5 minutes across the road to see the one and only Disney on Ice; WOW! The amazing costumes, beautiful princess stories and incredible ice skating, we were in awe. The kids were mesmerised, P couldn't get enough of the singing and dancing and Sunny just starred in amazement, we all really enjoyed the show. Elsa from Frozen was definitely the favourite and Belle from beauty and the beast really brought back memories from my childhood, I loved that movie as a little girl.

At Disney On Ice

Elsa - Frozen


We had a lovely sleep in on Saturday morning and then ventured down to the delicious buffet breakfast served at the Novotel. The kids faces were priceless when we told them they could eat as much as they wanted. They definitely ate their fare share and didn't ask for any snacks until lunch time! The Novotel had fun games for the kids to play at breakfast like straw building and activity sheets so we could really enjoy a nice coffee and not need to rush out of there with crazy children like usual as they were very content and entertained.


Recently growing from a family of 4 to 5, we were on the hunt for a bigger car. Ughhhhh car shopping sounds great but is really not that fun, so time consuming and so confusing! But with a lot of patience and determination, we found something we loved at the auctions and grabbed it. Serious achievement for us procrastinators! hah.

We caught up with old friends on Saturday afternoon and then Saturday night we spent in our divine hotel room. The kids loved being "on holidays" and we loved escaping home for a couple of nights too.

Sunday morning was slow and lovely; big breakfast once again. Really, how good is buffet breakfast???
We enjoyed hanging in the hotel and then ventured out to explore olympic park. I hadn't really thought much of staying at Olympic park before but it is such a cool place and I'm so glad we did. So many great things to do and check out with great places to eat and have a drink.


Quality time with family is important and that’s why one of the major benefits of a family stay at Novotel is the 5pm late check out on Sundays. We loved that!

The Novotel Hotel and Resort network across Australia offers family packages for weekends away, organising plenty of entertainment for the children (with family passes to some amazing local attractions) and opportunities to unwind for the parents while creating new family memories.

The staff at the Novotel Olympic park for amazing, they were so wonderful and helpful. We enjoyed our stay thoroughly and will definitely be back again soon. Highly recommend.

If you would like to check out what the Novotel Olympic Park has to offer go to: http://www.novotelsydneyolympicpark.com.au/

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

REAL MUM REVIEW: Britax Safe-n-Sound Platinum PRO SICT


Since having our little Miss Mabel we have learned so much about healthy hips and hips dysplasia in babies. It really is such a common but crucial thing to pick up in the early days of life so it can be easily healed with the right help. Our little Miss was in the pavlick harness for 8 weeks and one of the main concerns of the doctors during this time was that the baby does not spend too much time in the car as most car seats hold their legs and hips in very tight positions which isn't good. There are different little tricks you can do to position baby for best hip positioning but long car trips are not recommended. What is interesting is that a lot car seats and capsules have so much cushioning around the hips that they really aren't good for babies hips at all. Our OT recommended the safe-n-Sounds car seats for healthy hips as all their car seats seem to have great room for little children's legs and hips so are a better option for hip dysplasia babies. If baby is in a harness; it's best to get your OT to get in touch with Britax to organise a special buckle to attach specifically for hip dysplasia kids as we have done. The best convertible car seat on the market currently is by far the Britax Safe-n-Sound Platinum PRO SICT and I am really excited to share my review with you as we absolutely love it! We have many trips in the car a day as we have school drop off, pick up, after school activities, etc. Our little hip bubba has to just come along for the ride and a lot of the time she isn't happy, we had lots of tears as we travelled from place to place before we tried this seat.

We have now been in the Britax Safe-n-Sound Platinum PRO SICT for 3 weeks and let me tell you that as soon as Miss Mabel went into this car seat, we had no tears. Besides the fact that it is like the range rover of car seats, it just looks so comfortable and it gives baby room. It is a bigger style convertible car seat; looking at it, you know it has safety first and foremost in line and there is no lack of quality. It is right on point with everything a baby and child needs in a car seat and every parent can feel totally confident that our precious cargo are safe in the car in the Britax Safe-n-Sound Platinum PRO SICT. I highly recommend this seat for hip dysplasia babies as it gives lots of room around the hips and thighs so legs can be splayed and comfortable while travelling without doing any damage to the hips. I know that when baby Mabel is in this car seat, she is comfortable and I have no fear of her regressing with her hip issues.


Thats what I have to say but here is some of the nitty gritty;

- The Platinum PRO SICT is Britax Safe-n-Sound’s most advanced convertible car seat.

- It has a revolutionary dual layer head and torso Side Impact Cushion Technology (SICT™) minimises impact forces providing your child the ultimate side impact protection.

Features: 

ISOFLEX™ 
Equipped with ISOFLEX™ Connectors to provide a simple, firm connection into a vehicle with ISOFIX low anchorages in conjunction with Top Tether. ISOFIX is an alternative method of installation that may reduce mistakes that are associated with traditional seat belt installation.

SIDE IMPACT CUSHION TECHNOLOGY (SICT™) - TORSO PROTECTION 
Torso SICT™ minimises the energy impact on your child’s chest and vital organs, and reducing crash forces for greater protection.

SIDE IMPACT CUSHION TECHNOLOGY (SICT™) - HEAD PROTECTION 
Dual layer head protection minimises the energy generated in a side impact crash. The inner SICT™ layer provides 180° protection around your child’s head, whilst the outer SICT™ layer on the seat exterior absorbs immediate crash energy.

REAR-FACING FOR LONGER 
Your child can remain rearward facing until they are approximately 2-3 years old, which is safer for your child. 

ACTIVE HEAD RESTRAINT (AHR™)
Designed specifically with deeper side wings that shield and contain your child’s head in a side impact crash. AHR™ grows with your child working with SICT™ to contain your child’s head and to minimise impact forces. 

THERMO5™
This high performance fabric with Bamboo Charcoal delivers the premium comfort your baby deserves.

HASSLE FREE HARNESS 
Single handed height adjustable headrest and harness allows the seat to grow with your child without the need to remove and re-thread the harness. Reducing the risk of incorrect installation and enhancing correct harness fit. 

INFANT SAFETY CUSHION™ 
This cushion includes EVA composite material that provides support and protection for a small baby absorbing energy during a side impact crash. Specially designed ventilation holes offer breathability and comfort. Detachable wings are exclusive to the Platinum PRO SICT™ making this cushion flexible for longer use as a seat protector and cushion pad.


EZ-BUCKLE SYSTEM 
This system retains the harness buckle in a forward position and prevents the child from sitting on the buckle when boarding.

- You can see more at: https://www.britax.com.au/car-seats/britax-safe-n-sound-platinum-pro-sict/

I highly recommend this convertible car seat, it really is amazing and I feel super confident as a mum with this great product holding onto my baby on a daily basis.

In the mean time, check out this beautiful video from the Britax family; really is lovely. Enjoy!


Please note; I was gifted this product for review but all words and comments are my own. 

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

HELPING YOUR CHILD WITH READING – THE DO’S & DON’TS

HELPING YOUR CHILD WITH READING – THE DO’S & DON’TS
GUEST POST By Ryan Spencer, Dymocks Literacy Expert and State Director of the Australian Literacy Educator's Association


Reading is an important skill for children to learn, as evidence suggests that reading for pleasure from an early age can help increase brain power, boost self-esteem and strengthen language and communication skills.
Learning to read can be a complicated, developmental process, with different children often progressing at varying paces. Although tempting, parents should resist from judging their child’s reading progression by age as it is not a reliable indicator.
Here are some do’s and don’ts for parents to keep in mind when helping your child with reading.

DO:
  • Do read with your child every day
One of the best ways to help your child advance with their reading progression is to develop effective reading habits. Set aside time every day when you and your child can read together, followed by a family discussion to talk about your favourite parts of the book.

  • Do use supportive strategies
When you’re reading with your child and they get stuck on a word or feel confused, be patient and help guide them through the process. Ask questions like: Does that make sense? Does the picture give you a clue? Could you read on for more information? Asking these questions reminds your child of the various strategies they can use to figure out the broader meaning of the text.

  • Do make the reading process fun and interactive
Parents often shy away from novelty books but these types of books can help engage younger readers with useful book-handling behaviours and overturn the notion that “reading books is boring”. Books with interactive features such as pop-up displays, lift-up flaps and tactile elements are much more likely to immerse children and encourage them to read for pleasure.

  • Do give books as gifts
Encourage excitement by giving books as gifts to your child on special occasions like birthdays and Christmas. Suggest doing the same for their friends’ birthdays by getting your child to pick out a book from the bookstore. 


DON’T:
  • Don’t give it all away
Guilty of supplying the answer immediately every time your child is stuck on a word? Don’t be an ‘instant word factory’ as this is an unsustainable strategy for the long term. Give your child a chance to figure out the word on their own and help guide them to be a resourceful reader. If they’re still stuck after a while, ask them to skip it and read on. You can always drop that word into the conversation as you turn the page. This tactic essentially supplies the unknown word without shaming the child for being wrong.

  • Don’t cover the pictures
There’s a common misconception that when children are spending too long looking at the pictures in a book, they are getting distracted. This isn’t necessarily true. When a child is looking at the pictures, they are looking for valuable clues in the illustrations to help them figure out the meaning of the text. Instead of covering the pictures, encourage your child to use them by referring to interesting and important aspects of the story.

  • Don’t restrict book choice
To foster a genuine interest in reading, it’s important to let your child choose what they want to read. After all, children need to be engaged reading in order to practise reading. Once we remove the restrictions, a child’s self-efficacy towards reading increases, therefore leading to an increase in their reading ability. So the next time you’re out shopping with your child, stop by the bookshop and let them pick a book or several to take home. 

  • Don’t teach the book
Avoid treating every reading session as a learning exercise. Make the time enjoyable and entertaining instead to keep your child interested and engaged. Parents are often anxious when they feel that their child’s reading progressions isn’t advancing at the pace that they ‘should’, which then translates to the children that they are reading with. Try to relax around the reading process by changing the physical location and making it a time that is quiet, safe and warm. Other tips include reading together with funny voices or taking turns to read different characters. Don’t teach the book – enjoy it!

Can’t wait to start reading with your little ones? Choose from a wide selection of children’s books from Dymocks.


Sunday, 19 June 2016

RECIPE: Sweet Prune and Coconut Roll


What do you know, I have actually found a minute to pop a recipe up for all of  you on this somewhat, neglected little blog. When is there any time anymore hey? Recipes are not easy to create when you have 3 kids that need your undivided attention and when bedtime comes along, its very hard not to follow in their footsteps and take myself off to 'zzzzzz' land. But, I have been extremely inspired to cook lately, I think it's just because I am so unbelievably hungry all the time, let's hope it brings some winning recipe creations.

In the mean time, you will have to settle for a very simple, but pretty awesome mixture that makes a sweet prune and coconut roll. How fitting that I share this recipe as a new mum... Only 2 ingredients and very tasty. It's a great treat for little hands and also a great one for us Mama's after birthing a baby, if you get what I'm saying, prunes do miraculous things!. ;)

Enjoy friends.

RECIPE: Sweet prune and coconut roll

Ingredients
1 cup dried prunes
1 cups desiccated coconut

Method
Into the food processor place the prunes and coconut.
Whiz until all combined.
Roll mixture into a log, about an inch thick. I do this by putting mixture into a square of baking paper and rolling it tight.
Place roll into the fridge to firm up.
With a sharp knife, cut into 1 cm thick slices and store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.
Enjoy 1-2 slices as an energy snack.


A little hippy update


A little hip update; as most of you know now, our little babe has hip dysplasia and it's taken us on a roller coaster of emotions. You can read the first part of our journey here.

So over the past 5 weeks, I've been up and back to Sydney 4 times, its a 7 hour drive (8-10 hours with kids). Ihave kept my head about water for the most of it and been reassured that we're doing whats best for our little babe. It's definitely been tiring, especially with my husband away for work, but we've managed until last week when I pretty much completely lost it due to just worrying about the ultrasound results that we needed to see to find out if the pavlick harness was working. The doctors had really given us the run down on how Mabel's hips were not a mild case of hip dysplasia and that we would be in for the long haul, maybe needing surgery and a cast. This broke my heart and the thought of it was really freaking me out. I do what I do best when I get really stressed, I started yelling at my husband. Yep, poor guy, he really gets the raw end of the deal. Anyway, the little babe and I plus the crazy 3 year old went off to Sydney to find out the verdict. Was the brace working or did we need to move to surgery? Well, the little bubba was an absolute champion. She is so cool, calm and cruisy; she goes on for the ride and gets prodded and poked.
We had out fortnightly brace change, then next day ultrasounds, then in to see the orthopaedic surgeon. We had great news, these little hips got gold stars. I seriously cried my eyes out with happiness!
Our orthopaedic surgeon was shocked with the progress, it looks like the brace has been working incredibly and will be coming off sometime in the next month to see how she goes. I still can't believe it... It's just incredible how little people can heal themselves with the right help.
We are not totally out of the clear yet, we have to still do everything the same when the brace comes off so she doesn't regress and we will have a follow up ultrasound to make sure everything is staying in place. For now, we are celebrating. What a win!

Make sure you check out @HealthyHipsAustralia for endless info on hip dysplasia! And always get your bubby's hips checked, not just once. We'll update you guys again on Mabel's progress soon. x


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