This is not the most fun I’ve had with you, I won’t lie. I’m not loving this version of you. I don’t look like the person I’ve always known – I feel fit and strong, but you don’t reflect that. I see fat and swelling and jiggling. I worked out during this pregnancy, thinking I’ll come out of it the same as the first time, but things don’t always happen as expected.
You’ve created and birthed two humans in two years, had your abdomen sliced through three times to make this all possible and I sit here looking at you with far less admiration than you deserve. I’m supposed to love you and appreciate you, but through a month of pumping and leaking and bleeding and squeezing into my ‘fat clothes’, I’m struggling.
But amongst all of this, I reflect on what you’ve done and I really do think you’re amazing. You can do anything. You are powerful. You are strong. I do love you, just not right now, not like this.
We haven’t had much time as a family of 3 and with Baby B arriving in just a few short weeks, we wanted to capture some of these fleeting moments before they’re gone. We decided to do a relaxed shoot at home and Luca stole the show, as expected. I still think of our toddler as a baby and now we have another smaller baby on the way – life is about to get a little bit more hectic!
Here are some of my favourite images from our recent shoot with Hannah Mentz at 35 weeks pregnant.
I find that a lot of discussions and focus for pregnancy is around preparing for birth. Women put so much effort into preparing for birth (which is largely out of our control at the end of the day) and not nearly as much effort into preparing for what happens after birth (which is much more in our control)! I’m talking about looking after MOM here. We get so caught up in looking after the needs of the baby that the mom, who’s done all the grunt work and has undergone an incredible body and emotional change, gets left out of the picture.
Here are my tips for looking after yourself postpartum, because it is actually SO important. (I ran the topic past anyone who cared to contribute on my Instagram stories and most of what I have here is backed up by other moms who’ve been through the postnatal period, so it’s legit, guys!)
If you’re looked after and feeling good, you can look after your family better.
In the weeks before birth, start stocking up on healthy freezer meals. If anyone asks “Let me know if there is anything I can do for you”, say “Thanks so much, a meal for our freezer would be amazing if you’re keen on that”. Cook an extra batch of whatever you’re making every now and then and chuck it in the freezer. Freeze leftover soups, muffins, whatever. When the baby arrives and you’re too exhausted to make food, you’ve got what you need right there. You can also consider meal delivery services or meal packs to make dinners a lot easier to deal with.
“Sleep when the baby sleeps”. Although this is true, are you also going to clean when the baby cleans, shower when the baby showers, or cook when the baby cooks??? Beef up on your domestic help if you have it and call on family and friends to help out from time to time, like ask if a friend can pick up some laundry to have done at the laundromat rather than you trying to find time to do a load of washing, hang it, fold it, have it ironed etc. Time is precious here and when you have an opportunity to sleep you want to be able to do so without worrying about everything else that’s being neglected.
Look after your belly. After everything that it’s been through, it’s probably looking very different to what you remember! Don’t stress about this now, the swelling will go down, the fluid retention will subside and once you’re back up and running again it will change again for the better.
Look into investing in a belly binder or belly wrap. It provides lower back and abdominal support in those early days and helps to compress and support recovering muscles post-birth, while shrinking the uterus back to its original size. It also helps to slim down the belly a lot quicker. I’ll be using the Upspring Baby Shrinkx Belly Postpartum Belly Wrap this time around (available from Breastpumps and Beyond)
Now is also a good time to use skincare products that are designed to treat stretch marks, skin tone and cellulite as it will help immensely with recovery. If you’re looking for natural/vegan products, I recently tried out Natralogic which is natural, cruelty-free, toxin-free and gentle on your pregnant and postpartum skin.
Have your essential toiletries fully stocked: Haemorrhoid cream (just get some, guys, you won’t be sorry if you find yourself in a situation that you desperately need it and can’t get out of the house), nipple pads, nipple cream, maxi pads (loads of these), constipation remedies (that first poo after what feels like 100 years after birth I’m sure is worse than actual labour)
Have comfortable post-birth underwear ready. With everything still a little tender for a while, you don’t want anything digging into you. There are a few good finds in this department:
Feeding camis: These are cami tops with inner support and drop-down straps that I basically lived in for a long time after birth. You can buy them online from one of my favourite local maternity/nursing clothing brands: Cherry Melon. You might as well stock up on nursing clothing here as well at this point!
Underwear: Comfortable nursing bras are really important (have a look at Mama Noo for some really pretty options, also available online). For panties, some moms have said that they are quite happy with the mesh panties while in hospital, but on leaving, they would love to have “real” ones. Mama Noo has recently introduced a post-birth brief as an alternative to those oh-so-unflattering mesh hospital panties – they’re washable or disposable and affordable enough for you to not mind throwing spoiled ones away and popping on a new pair – definitely worth considering!
Hydrate. Be prepared to be very thirsty while breastfeeding. Have a big bottle of water on hand and also look into something like “Jungle Juice” that’s said to help milk supply but is also a really nice break from so much plain water.
Extra PJ’s for night sweats. Why did nobody warned me about post-birth night sweats? Well, here’s your warning (you’re welcome). The extra fluid you’ve been carrying around while pregnant, is all going to come out after birth and very often in night sweats. This means that you’ll need extra PJ’s to change into when you wake up drenched in sweat.
C-section wound care: Women tend to be very scared of c-section recovery, but I honestly don’t remember it being that bad. Pay attention to your doctor’s instructions about wound care and follow them to a T. You’ll likely be taped up straight from surgery and can leave this on for a while while the cut starts to heal (it’s waterproof and meant to be kept on for a long period of time). Once the cut has closed, you’ll probably also have been given some micropore tape to aid in post-surgical scar formation. A fantastic option here as well, which I’m definitely going to try out this time around (this ain’t my first uterus slice by along shot), is a “C-panty”. This is a panty designed for c-section recovery, providing compression (to reduce swelling) and has a silicone panel in the scar area which also aids with scarring. (I’ll be using the Upspring Baby C-panty, available from Breastpumps and Beyond)
Don’t stress about exercise or your postpartum body. Argh, we are all under so much pressure to “get our bodies back” soon after birth. For some people it happens naturally, for others it is a struggle. This is not a struggle you need to worry about right now. You literally have the rest of your life to put things back into some sort of shape, if you choose to. My biokenticist does, however, suggest that you at least get going on those kegel exercises as soon as you feel ready and get checked out for diastasis recti before starting any exercise again. But listen to your body – everyone heals differently.
Baby blues and postnatal depression. With all the hormonal (and life) changes you go through after birth, it’s totally normal to feel a bit down for a week or two. If this persists or start later on, however, then this may be a sign that you should check for postnatal depression and make a quick visit to your doctor to suss it out.
Good luck to all the moms-to-be! You’re about to embark on an incredible journey. Look after yourself too while you’re on it 🙂
*Disclosure: Products sponsored for this post are Upspring Baby Shrinkx Belly Postpartum Belly Wrap, Upspring Baby C-panty and Mama Noo Post-birth brief
The husband surprised me with some time out at a spa, to help relieve some of the pregnancy aches, pains and lack of sleep of late (1 billion husband points to him on this one!). One of the treatments was floatation therapy, which I thought was going to be a bit strange but was actually so incredibly relieving on my aching muscles!
So what is it, exactly?
It’s basically a warm pool, heated to body temperature, in a dark room lit in candlelight style and highly salted with Epsom salts to allow for floatation. I went to Life Day Spa for my treatment where it’s a pool in a private room and not a tank, some places have special tanks for this.
(If you’ve ever been in the Dead Sea – I have, it was so weird – then it’s the same weightless floating you’ll experience there, but in a relaxed treatment setting and not surrounded by a million tourists doing the same.)
What does it do for your body?
“Floatation Therapy allows you to escape the added weight of pregnancy by floating in a weightless environment, thus taking the strain off the body and spine. It promotes excellent sleep, a lovely sense of well being, and can help with all the aches and pains normally associated with pregnancy.”
The weightlessness really did took all of the pressure off my spine (such a relief), the quiet was very welcome and the Epsom salts soaked into my sore muscles.
I was sceptical, but it was wonderful for my pregnant body 🤗
I’d highly recommend this treatment for sore, pregnant (or not) bodies.
So we all know the importance of eating healthy foods during pregnancy, staying away from refined sugars, alcohol, caffeine and foods that are dangerous for pregnancy, but have you thought about what’s going into your body through your skin?
It’s probably best to think about it a little bit, do a little bit of research and then stop because what you’ll find in your everyday skincare products is quite frightening. Given that our skin is our biggest organ, it absorbs a large amount of chemicals and toxins through our skincare products.
Look, this post is not meant to frighten you, but rather to make you aware of this, especially during pregnancy when you’re trying so hard to keep your body in the best possible condition to grow your very own little human. If you want the low-down on why you should be using natural skincare products, have a look at this post by Natralogic, which goes into detail on it all.
In the meantime, I’ve been trying out some of the Natralogic natural maternity skincare products and am really loving them. I wish that I’d found out about them earlier in my pregnancy. They are 100% natural, vegan and safety approved for use during pregnancy. I’m currently using the exfoliating creme (gentle enough to use every day), the tummy creme and my personal favourite is the toning massage oil that focuses on problem cellulite areas (all of these are actually available together as a starter pack which works out cheaper than buying them all separately!). I haven’t had a chance to try the nipple creme, but it’s waiting for me for when Baby 2 arrives soon… These products smell and feel amazing and I am honestly loving them, especially knowing that I’m not putting any nasties into my baby-growing body at the same time.
Because what you put ON your pregnant body is just as important as you what you put IN.
Guys, I’m on baby number 2 in 2 years (still brewing) and I found myself saying this recently when I was sent some very clever baby products from Tommee Tippee. Which is ridiculous. The clever things were there, but I just didn’t know about them. Tommee Tippee has been around for 50 years, they know their stuff and continue to develop baby products that make people say “they didn’t have such clever baby things in my day”.
This blog post is dedicated to bringing some of these clever things to your attention, so that you don’t miss out like I did the first time around 🙂 Having a new baby is difficult enough and there are amazing products out there that are designed to make it easier.
This is super helpful, especially now that winter has hit us in full force! It’s a colour-changing nursery thermometer that also acts as a nightlight. You can see at a glance if the room is too warm or too cold and what the exact temperature is. The GroEgg Shells are really cute animal shells for the GroEggs that transforms them into sweet little glowing animals.
This one is an energy efficient LED night light that can be used as a main light or night light. It screws into a lamp or ceiling light fitting (be sure to check your current fitting to make sure that it matches and can hold a wide bulb). We need to find the right light fitting before we can test this one out, but it will be great for the new baby’s slowly-coming-along nursery.
I’m particularly excited about this one! The GroFriend is a cuddly, fluffy sleep aid that plays soothing sounds and white noise to help your baby sleep. Any mom will tell you that this kind of sleep aid for newborns (and beyond) is so useful and worth getting. The GroFriends take a step further with their “Cry Sensor” which activates when the baby stirs in an attempt to soothe the baby back to sleep! Genius.
These are portable blackout blinds that suctions directly onto glass with suction cups. This is great for travelling with babies when you don’t know how dark the rooms will be and also for at home if your current curtains aren’t dark enough.
One of the things that terrified me when having a newborn was the fear of blankets coming loose and suffocating the baby. Even when I had a decent stretch of sleep I found myself waking up all the time to check that everything is still in tact in the cot. The GroSnug sorts this out as it’s a sleeping bag and swaddle that allows you to easily swaddle your baby without fear of loose blankets.
The material used for this one is designed for quick-drying while still being super soft for newborn skin. Since being through the baby battles with Luca, I now know how important the bath and bedtime routine is to prepare your baby for the wind-down to sleep and I can’t wait to try this out – the shape is made to recreate the calming and sooting effects of swaddling.
Now don’t say I don’t tell you anything useful, okay?
Sorry, my title is somewhat misleading – you’re not going to get a detailed account of why I’m making this decision about the upcoming birth of our little girl, but that is exactly what I want to touch on in this blog post.
I really don’t understand why society puts so much pressure on moms and moms-to-be to do things in certain ways. At the moment, natural and drug-free birthing is all the rage (yes, there are trends in birthing too) and I feel like I have to justify my decision not to do that when people ask me how I plan to give birth. Please, I mean no disrespect to anyone hoping for this kind of birth – I wanted a natural birth the first time around that ended in a c-section – but my point is: have the birth that you want, it’s none of my business!
Let’s quickly take a look at what society dictates for us moms-to-be and new moms… We must put our bodies through hell (whichever way you do it, it’s not easy) and then quickly “get our bodies back” and post on Instagram a gorgeous bikini pic on the beach, holding our few month old babies with some motivating caption about “bouncing back from pregnancy”. We must breastfeed until the baby is at least 1 years old (but not too far past that and try and keep it out of the public eye because that also becomes undesirable for others to see), but also not keep ourselves away from the real world out there and be back at work as quickly as possible to juggle the multi-tasking, pumping, sleepless life of a working new mom. Be sure not to let the nanny raise your child though!
Because that is what people want to see.
Guys, this is nonsense. The pressure is unnecessary.
Stop justifying your decisions about your own body and your own children. Nobody else is going to live your life for you, so you’re the one in charge here! As a mom, you will always do what is best for your entire family and you of all people need to trust your own gut and your own decisions.
Fed is best. A safe birth is best. Your decisions are what’s best and there is no need to justify any of it.
It’s the end of May already, which means we are well on our way into winter and that also means the best winter accommodation rates in the Western Cape!
You all know that we are the actual best at weekend getaways, so I’m here to motivate you to book your next one now while the prices are just right.
Our first one of this winter season is on more of the luxury side and is a real gem in Stanford that we came across years ago while hanging out in Hermanus – Mosaic Private Sanctuary. My husband and I were just dating back then and found ourselves at this gorgeous spot on the lagoon, picnicking under the trees and saying that one day we’ll come back here and stay for a weekend.
Fast forward a few years to now: married, a busy one year old and another bun in the oven later, here we are.
We chose to stay in the self-catering Fynbos Trail Cottage and it has been a truly beautiful experience.
We chose to just hang around and run after the little one, but if that’s not your case at the moment, there are some fun activities to keep you just as busy. They offer kayaking, SUPing, quad biking, boat cruises, beach excursions… so you’ve got loads to do. And if the weather’s crappy, order your food in from the cafe, light up the indoor fire and watch Netflix or go for a massage at the Rain spa situated at the Lagoon Lodge.
If you’re just in the area for the day, their Lagoon Cafe offers lunch from their historic 1892 “Spookhuis”.
Here are some pictures from our stay, to entice you to get out and explore!
One of the most frustrating things about being a new parent is not knowing what your baby needs. If they could just tell us, our lives would be so much easier! I wonder what is going through my baby’s mind all the time and now there is a way that we can get a glimpse into that with “Baby Signing” – isn’t that exciting?
I couldn’t have discovered this at a better time. With Baby Number 2 on the way, it would be insanely helpful if we can actually communicate with Luca because life is about to get INSANE.
Signing Baby has just launched a brand-new e-book in South Africa, aimed at helping parents feel less frustrated, confused and overwhelmed during the first two years of their baby’s life. [The book is currently for sale on a launch special of R450 for a limited time (usually R550) and is so easily downloaded straight from their website.]
Gaelyn, the brains behind this book, is also passionate about giving back so 5% of each ebook sold will be collected in a “donation fund” and this will be used to donate hard copies of the book to underprivileged organisations, special schools, learning centres and the kinds of people and places who could not afford to buy the book, but need it most. Along with this is an option for you to sponsor a book at a reduced price (R150) for a charity or organisation of your choice!
I can’t wait to get stuck into this journey with my little one year old and look forward to sharing it with you as we go along. Please follow me on Instagram if you’d like to join us (on this and many other motherhood journeys) and Signing Baby!
With my first pregnancy, I didn’t invest in decent nursing or maternity underwear – I bought one or two cheapie bras, large panties and that was it. I had a really hard time with breastfeeding and also had an unplanned c-section, so having uncomfortable underwear in the mix as well was all just a big mess. I wish I’d thought about things differently before the baby arrived because by then it was too late and lingerie shopping didn’t even make it to my to-do list!
In planning things for this next pregnancy, I’m not keen to make the same mistake again and top of my list is to make sure that I’m comfortably dressed this time around and am hoping for a more pleasant baby growing and nursing experience to follow!
So you have no idea what’s going to happen to those magical “assets” of yours, but it is guaranteed that they will grow. As soon as you feel that your underwear is uncomfortably tight (usually around 3-4 months), it’s time to invest in some maternity lingerie that will see you through your growing pregnancy and the breastfeeding journey thereafter.
Measure yourself and head off to get some basics – every day bras, an active bra and some preggie panties. I tend to shop online more than going in-store and this is always my go-to for shopping, so good measuring upfront is essential. (Try Mama Noo, you won’t be disappointed.)
You may have been told to avoid underwire and this is mainly so that you don’t restrict movement or flexibility. This may not be the case for bigger-busted women, though (that’s definitely not me, lol) as you may need more support (with comfort of course), and often benefit from underwire/boning on the sides and a bra with more structure that offers more support. *However, if you’ve had a history of mastitis, underwire is not recommended.
In terms of where to start on your hooks, first check how many hooks the bra caters for. Some will have three rows and some have 5. Make sure that the hook setting you start on allows space to go bigger during pregnancy (but this is also very individual) and smaller after birth as one’s chest shrinks again after 6-12 months.
In the end…
It’s actually pretty easy! If you have any questions or issues with measuring, contact Mama Noo for some help and if you’re in the Stellenbosch area, you can even pop in for a fitting 🙂 I’ve been trying out their *sports bra over the past few weeks and am thoroughly impressed!
*It’s called the Lifestyle Nursing Bra (featured in this post’s image) and provides sufficient support for medium and high impact activity and is made from a double layer of stretch cotton for breathability and comfort. It has drop-down cups and a studded centre front for easy breastfeeding. I’m loving this bra now while I’m pregnant and am sure I’ll be wearing it way past breastfeeding days!