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!
I’ve always been quite an active soul and since having a baby I have really struggled to get back into being as active as pre-baby times. Tired, no free time, back to work and a baby attached (most of the time screaming in my case) all contributed to a difficult time in trying to stay active.
The best thing that we invested in was a decent jogger pram from Thule which means that we can pop out quickly for a walk/jog easily. Living in Hout Bay, we don’t have many flat or pram-friendly roads around (bearing in mind I am also pregnant so options are particularly limited) so I’m always on the lookout for somewhere nearby for a good walk.
These are my top 3.
1. Sea Point Promenade
My all-time favourite spot is the Sea Point promenade. It’s 11km of easy, flat, very pram-friendly surface to walk/jog/whatever on. It’s easy to get to, there is loads of parking and the view (accompanied by the fresh sea air) is hard to beat.
2. Constantia Nek
This is substantially more challenging, but not impossible. There is a decent jeep track all the way up the mountain from the Constantia Nek parking lot. Parts are quite steep, but definitely doable. I took the husband with as well to take over some (most of the) pramming because of my pregnant heart rate on the hills. It’s great to feel like you’re out in the mountains on a hike with as little hassle as possible.
3. Bantry Bay to Camps Bay
This is another beautifully scenic route. It is relatively flat (some hills here and there) and can get quite busy on the weekends, but is pram-friendly and easily accessed. This coastal road walk is about 3km long .
Who knows what’s going to happen with another baby in the mix soon, but that’s a problem to solve for another day! In the meantime, we will continue to enjoy our beautiful walks wherever we find them.
If you know of any other great pram-friendly spots, please do let me know in the comments.
You may have seen these before and wondered what the fuss is about and if they actually work. I got one for Baby Number 1 and had no idea if it was something that would make life easier or just another baby gimmick. But boy, I am glad that I had not only one, but two of them for my wriggly little worm because they were quite a life saver for us.
Coming home with a newborn is quite terrifying and I remember worrying so much that something is going to happen to him in his sleep, like a loose blanket suffocating him, or worrying that I haven’t wrapped him up properly and he won’t sleep properly because he’s uncomfortable… the list goes on.
Swaddling is a must for newborns and really just helps to prevent the startle reflex, regulate their body temperature, helps them to sleep and makes babies feel secure after being snug in the womb for 9 months. I can’t actually tell you how many times I googled the best way to swaddle a newborn because every single time I had thought I had done it wrong (sleep deprivation is a real thing, guys!). What’s quite unique about the Love To Dream swaddles is that babies can still self-soothe by sucking on their hands, which traditional swaddling doesn’t cater for.
When Luca grew into his Love to Dream Swaddle UP (we only had from Stage 2), life got a whole lot easier. We just zipped him in and went to bed without worry. Sigh. If only I had known about these sooner and bought him the smaller stage as well… hindsight…
Nonetheless, we are prepared this time with the Stage 1 and 2 and Love To Dream has kindly sponsored an original Swaddle UP to give away! Entry mechanism is below and entries close 8 April, so get to it!
*The Love To Dream range is currently available at selected Kid’s Emporium stores, Bub Hub and online at Takealot.
You all know that I’m all about a healthy lifestyle and particularly so during pregnancy. I was quite fit and healthy when I got pregnant the first time and maintained a fit pregnancy right up into the third trimester and it did wonderfully for me. Now, having not quite having lost all my baby weight yet before getting pregnant again, it’s even more important for me to be dedicated to a fit pregnancy (again).
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to sit on the couch eating pickles on ice cream (well, you can if you want to, but you don’t have to) for fear of harming your baby with your daily exercise routine. Obviously this is all dependent on your specific pregnancy and if your doctor says you’re okay to continue with exercise into your pregnancy.
I’m not a sports professional in any way, but here is what I learnt from my first pregnancy and am taking with me into my second:
Myth 1: You can’t run when you’re pregnant
You can. If you’ve been running before you fell pregnant, you can continue to run during your pregnancy. The goal now is just maintenance and you should forget about chasing speed and distance, you’re now a plodder 🙂 The key is to listen to your body and never push yourself. I do some light jogging (when it’s cool) and walk when my heart rate goes into the endurance zone. It’s also important to make sure to run on a good path where you’re unlikely to trip or lose your balance (which will go out of whack for a while).
Myth 2: Only do light exercise
Again, if you’re cleared to exercise, there’s no reason that you can’t do moderate exercise. In fact, it’s good for you to exercise moderately every day during your pregnancy. Avoid the high intensity workouts which spike your blood pressure. I would recommend that you start adding prenatal yoga into your routine from the early days, though. It really helps to loosen and tighten the right areas and can help with preparing you for natural birth. It’s nurturing and meditative as well and good for those mad pregnancy hormones!
Myth 3: Stick to light exercise, like stretch classes at the gym
It’s probably a good idea to stay away from stretch classes. When you’re pregnant, your body produces Relaxin, which helps the body to relax the cervix and ligaments during delivery. This means that you can likely stretch much further than you’re used to and can overstretch, causing injuries.
Myth 4: Ditch the weights
You don’t need to stop using weights, just use lighter ones. Lifting heavier weights can spike your blood pressure so use lighter ones with more reps to maintain muscle tone.
Myth 5: Don’t work your abs during pregnancy
You can, but you’ll need to modify the exercises for pregnancy. Maintaining core strength will help with the belly weight and back pain later on, but you do need to be careful. Lying on your back after the first trimester can restrict blood flow and you also want to avoid exercises that can cause diastasic recti (where the abdominal wall separates). So make sure to do the research properly on this one and avoid crunches and normal plank exercises. Best to approach a professional here!
And there you have it – my top 5 myths that I’ve busted along the way in my pregnancy journeys. So now you can lace up your takkies, slip on some gorgeous new maternity active wear and hit the gym!
It’s all a lot more enticing with good quality workout gear, let me tell you. I’m wearing Fit Mama maternity active wear and it is honestly amazing. It’s been made with the growing bump in mind and their range has varying support levels for different types of activity, so you know that you have the right support for what you’re doing. I feel great in it, I’m supported and it also looks great!
We recently travelled with our 8 month old to Australia. It was a great idea that we had when I was still pregnant and once the baby came we started to think that we’ve made a terrible mistake! It’s hard enough dealing with a baby at home in your own space and now we must all trundle onto a plane, squished amongst other people trying to sleep and “have a relaxing flight” while dealing with not-so-quiet, not-so-keen-on-sleeping tiny human… it was something I really struggled to wrap my head around.
That all being said, we did it and we all survived and I’ve got some long-haul travel tips to share with you as a result!
If your baby is small enough, be sure to book bassinet seats. I think that they cater for up to 11.8kg. It’s an awkward setup for actual sleeping as it’s difficult to transfer a sleeping baby from your arms up into the bassinet without a glitch, but once he’s in and settled, you’re free!
If you’re booking bassinet seats, they’re often right by the galley. Book the seats furthest from the entrance of the galley as it can get quite noisy there and at night people are coming in and out, sending spotlights of blinding light onto your sleeping baby.
Use a good travel agent to make sure that you get the right seats, are checked in on time and that everything is booked correctly. It doesn’t cost any extra and takes away a whole bunch of stress. We use Nicci Hayden from Travel Counsellors and she’s great!
Allow a few extra days either side of your arrival at your destination and home to cater for jet lag. Don’t go back to work the next day (or few days) when you arrive home – that is a terrible idea.
I’m a super organiser. So packing is incredibly stressful for me because how do I know that I have everything that we might possibly need? My husband and I were both hit with a stomach bug just before we left and I was having sleepless nights about the baby getting it on the plane and dealing with that and running out of nappies and soiling his clothes etc. I worry too much! We had a 2 hour flight from Cape Town to Joburg and then a 2 hour wait before our long haul flight there which was 11.45min. The long haul flight on the way back was 14 hours. Qantas doesn’t allow carry-on baggage for an infant, but does allow a nappy bag for nappies and baby food. We had one nappy bag with all his food, bottles and cloths and used one of our carry-on bags for toys, extra clothes, toiletries etc.
Here’s what I packed for each flight for him:
2 packs of wet wipes – 1 in his food bag and 1 in his nappy bag
Silicone bib for feeding
20 nappies (way too many, but I was thinking of a possible diarrhoea situation)
2 changes of clothes (short sleeve and long sleeve baby grows)
2 large muslin cloths
1 baby blanket and his sleepy doo-doo (taglet)
3 toys that make use of multiple activities, e.g. those soft and squishy baby books that have things to touch and crinkle and feel etc.
Toiletry bag with Panado, syringe, aqueous cream, Telement drops (a drop on the dummy helps him to suck it when he’s screaming his head off), saline nose spray, thermometer.
8 pre-measured portions of formula. He didn’t need this many but I packed extra in case of delays etc. Formula containers are great because they save space. It’s difficult to predict how much milk and food he will need because you’re flying through time zones and the whole notion of breakfast, snack, lunch, snack etc goes out the window. I worked out that I should feed him every 3-4 hours, alternating milk and solids and that seemed to work out okay.
6 bottles so that I didn’t have to wash any. On the flight there I only filled a few with boiled water, thinking that they might confiscate the water but they seemed to be okay with it, so I filled them all on the way back. You can also fill with boiled/filtered water on the plane.
5 baby food pouches. We used the Woolworths ones as they’re the more natural and organic than the other brands. Again, he didn’t need this many but if a flight is delayed or cancelled you don’t want to be running around trying to find baby food. We discovered on our flight home that you can actually order baby meals and this would have been handy. It seemed like it was a little pack with a baby food pouch, yoghurt and juice at every meal that was served.
This one is key! A small roll-up changing mat bag inside his nappy bag. I packed this with just one nappy at a time, a tiny talcum powder bottle and a tiny wet wipes pack. I took this out each time I needed to change him so that I didn’t need to lug the whole bag with me each time we did a change and then put a new nappy in when we got back to our seat. Those bathrooms are tiny and awkward and this tip was a winner for me.
At the airport
You’re going to be running around at some point, no matter how organised everything is, so just accept that up front. You might have a poo nappy as you’re about to board and need to run off to sort that out quickly, or on arrival back to SA you will need to collect your baggage (even though you were told it was checked through to your final destination) and re-check it in after a delayed flight and there’s only one counter open with a queue to high heavens and you’ll need to run off to domestic departures and find someone to help get you to the front of the queue so that you don’t miss your next flight… you know.. that sort of thing!
Here’s how to make it all easier:
Get there early. If you have baby items to check in, like a stroller or a car seat, you will need to drop those off at the oversized baggage counter and that means an extra queue.
Check in your stroller. You don’t want to be lugging that around and it’s always a gamble as to whether you’re going to get it back as you leave the aircraft or if they’ve decided to send it on the baggage carousel or oversized baggage collection point. You shouldn’t need to worry about that.
Use a baby carrier. That way you have hands free and baby is contained and happy. If he likes to sleep in the carrier: bonus!
Wear layers of breathable cotton. You’ll sometimes be hot and sometimes be cold and a lot of the time have a baby attached to you or sleeping on you, so layers of breathable clothing really helps when you’re sweating on each other trying to keep a baby contained or asleep.
On the flight
Wear elasticated tights/pants that are easy to pull up and down with one hand. Even if you’re travelling with a partner, you may be in a situation where you need to go to the teeny tiny little toilet with your baby.
Don’t worry about what other people think. If your baby is screaming, he’s screaming and of course you’re going to do everything you can to make him stop, but you don’t need pressure from others added to the mix. Just ignore it. Most people are really understanding with babies on flights.
Introduce your baby. It helps to introduce your baby to everyone around him on the flight so they all go “aw sweet, what a cutie, we love him” before he potentially keeps them awake 🙂
If you’ve got an overnight flight, chances are that your baby is going to sleep through it all, hoorah! If it’s a day flight, you might have to accept that you’ll be entertaining a baby for a loooooooong time. Try to get him to sleep when he shows signs of being tired but also accept when he’s not going to sleep and just go with it. Keep him entertained with his toys. We put our little guy sitting in his bassinet with his toys for a while when we had had enough of trying to get him to sleep and just wanted to relax for a bit. Remember that it is temporary!
When you arrive
Get the baby into a routine as soon as you possibly can. If you arrive early morning, give him breakfast even if it feels like you just ate lunch. Get him to bed at the destination bedtime and go to bed early that night so that you get a few hours in before the midnight/2am wakings start.
Jet lag is a special kind of hell and you just have to go with it. We didn’t find any special tips for this (we’re on Day 6 and it’s getting better but we still don’t feel normal or well rested yet) other than to try and get him into the destination routine as quickly as possible. When he wakes up at midnight wanting to play for 2 hours, just go with it, play with him until he gets tired again and try and get back to sleep as quickly as you can once he does. Trying to force him into sleep when he is actually wide awake is just too frustrating for everyone. It will pass. It can take up to a week. We found that we had a few bad nights on arriving in Australia and are still dealing with it now coming back to SA.
And that’s all I have to share with you on this. I hope that it’s been helpful and if you’re preparing for a long-haul trip ahead – good luck, you’ve got this!