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!
We’re no strangers to weekend getaways and are always keen on the more secluded and farm-like stays, which often include accommodation that is fairly basic, self-sufficient and partially off the grid at times. Our latest getaway, however, took this to a whole new level of comfort, style and eco-tourism – to a most beautiful, sustainable destination in a private fynbos nature reserve in the Uilkraal Valley, just outside Gansbaai: Farm 215.
We don’t often think of the impact of our travels – not only the environmental impact but also the socio-cultural and economic impact that tourism has on an area. Spending time at Farm 215 and seeing what they have done and continue to do there has made me think about travel in a new light.
That all being said, no level of comfort has been damaged in the creation of this eco-friendly and sustainable space.
We stayed in the ‘Fynbos Suites’ which are secluded and private modern suites that make you feel like you’re just hanging out luxuriously in the middle of a fynbos farm.
Their sunsets are to die for – either from the restaurant, the 25m infinity pool, the suite’s bath or deck.
And most especially, what makes this place so unique is the immense vastness of protected fynbos. A most beautiful hiking trail had us breathing in the fresh, fynbos air – magical!
It was a perfect way to start off the madness of the silly season with a bit of nature and R&R. Quiet, peaceful and rejuvenating.
Tread lightly, breathe deeply and let nature take the lead.
Having a baby is quite scary. Getting pregnant, being pregnant, growing a healthy baby … it’s all a big deal and then the time starts to draw near when you need to think about getting the baby out. I found it completely overwhelming and terrifying. I intended to have a natural birth, missed the antenatal class that actually dealt with details of the birth (it overlapped with our baby shower) and was armed with Dr Google information. Our baby came 2 weeks early and it was a wild ride, ending with an emergency c-section after 13 hours of natural labour and a very drugged up new mom who felt like she needed to sleep for a week.
With all of the anticipation and uncertainty around birthing a tiny little human that you’ve made in your own body (it’s still a bizarre concept to me), you can at least be prepared for your hospital stay. Having something that is certain and planned can help to ease the anxiety that comes with this exciting time of a new mom-to-be’s life.
What I found:
A lot of the experience is a bit of a blur to me, but I dug out my research from when I was pregnant and freaking out about the birth and pieced together bits of my memory and created a downloadable checklist for you. It’s based on a 3 night’s stay in hospital in a private room. I’ve left some space for you to add some extra items that I might not have thought of or maybe didn’t find necessary but you do. (I’d add some earphones if you’re sharing a room, because I’m sure it can get pretty noisy and when you’re needing a nap you’ll want to be able to.)
I included nursing vests as I found these far more useful than nursing bras. The first 2 days I couldn’t fathom getting changed into pyjamas, never mind putting on a bra so those nursing tops with the built-in support and clip-off straps are amazing and comfortable.
I added in maternity panties and large cotton panties because those maternity panties are not amazing. When you get up for the first time after a c-section (I’m not sure if this happens with natural birth as well), there is a scary amount of blood and the maternity panties are good for this. Once that calmed down I wanted to be in normal panties – just make sure they are quite large and stretchy to be comfortable when you’re still so round and also tender.
Don’t underestimate the amount of maternity or maxi pads you’ll need. Rather have more than less. The hospital provided me with a pack in my welcome pack as well as some newborn nappies, a newborn hat and a few toiletries as far as I can remember.
Don’t bother with any nipple cream other than Lansinoh and remember your breast pads else you’ll stain your bra/top with the oils from the nipple cream.
I’ve been told that the squirt bottle and ice pad is a life saver after natural birth but we didn’t go the whole hog with that so I can’t tell if it’s true or not. Pack them just in case!
Juice was an essential item for me. I was insanely thirsty for some reason and I asked every visitor to bring me juice! It might have been the pain meds that had me so thirsty. The hospital does supply some juice and water, but I needed far more than they were giving me.
To be honest, I waited about 2 days before attempting to dress my baby. He was wrapped up so nice and snuggled in the wraps provided by the hospital that I didn’t feel the need to. Depending on what size you think your baby is going to be, pack a size smaller and bigger in case he/she comes out bigger or smaller than you expected! Our baby needed Premature sized clothes of which we had none.
The vaseline is necessary for baby’s first sticky black poo… it’s quite a shocker and the vaseline helps.
You’ll spend a lot of time trying to get the hang of breastfeeding and your baby will need to feed A LOT while there so a nursing cushion is a must for comfort.
And that’s it! There’s a lot that you are going to discover and figure out for yourself and a lot that you don’t see coming, but at least you can be prepared for your hospital stay 🙂
It takes some getting used to – being called a ‘mom’. You’re just your normal self for all your life and then you’re another thing all of a sudden. Like you’re supposed to know and understand this new thing that you are and just ‘be it’.
Maternal instinct is a very real thing and unconditional love for another human being is also a very real thing, but it doesn’t make you automatically know all the ‘mom things’. You don’t always know what to do when the baby is screaming, you don’t know how to rearrange your life around the dysfunction of sleep deprivation, you don’t know how you’re keeping it all together in the chaos. You don’t know if everything you do is the best that is possible for your little human and for yourself and for your marriage and for your career and, and, and…
I finally feel like I’m in a space now where I understand it. A space where I just am a mom without trying to wrap my head around it. It doesn’t define me, but it is me. It’s been in me my whole life. My love for my baby has filled a space that I didn’t know was there to be filled.
I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while now – since I had my baby 6 months ago, in fact! I love to tackle those awkward topics that nobody really wants to talk about (did you read about the labour haemorrhoids?) and if you follow me on social media, you’ll know that I’m always keen to show honest real life, not just the highlights version. So let’s talk about how to visit a new mom.
It’s often a situation where a someone just doesn’t understand what a new mom is going through and their visit causes more stress than support, or it’s someone who knows that things are chaotic when a new baby is born and don’t know how to visit without it being awkward so they rather just don’t. So here’s the deal with visiting a new mom. Call it the unwritten (now written) rules.
Never just pop in. It’s a continuous cycle (24 hours, day after day after day without a break) of 2-3 hourly stretches with very little sleep within any of those. Every tiny moment where mom is able to be apart from her baby is used for things like showering, napping, going to the toilet or eating a meal – never all of those in one stretch, though, it’s a case of prioritising which of those is most important. Every hour of the day is precious and a pop-in when she’s planned a quick shower or a nap is not going to go down very well to say the least.
Bring something useful. Ask her for a shopping list of things you can pick up from the grocery store or pharmacy. She’s not able to get out to buy anything and someone offering to pick up a few things is a massive help. Offer to get the awkward things too, like nipple cream, or maxi pads – she will be so damn grateful!
Be flexible. Don’t be offended if she cancels with you last minute. She may have been able to create a little gap in the day to take a much needed nap and that is more valuable than pure, solid GOLD. There is no schedule that you can fit into, you just need to go with the flow and be okay with it.
Do something helpful. Wash some dishes, make tea, throw a load of clothes into the washing machine etc. Do so in a helpful way without making her feel like she doesn’t have things under control.
Be okay with boobs. If she is breastfeeding, you will see boobs at some point – guaranteed. Don’t be weird about it. It’s not easy and most of the time there’s a lot to do with a boob out and a crying baby and fumbling and that’s just how it’s going to be. Offer her a cup of tea while she’s feeding.
Wash your hands. Always wash your hands before going near the baby. Tell her that you’re going to wash your hands before you touch the baby so that she knows and don’t need to worry about any germs you may have brought in with you.
Bring food. She’s not going to have the time or inclination to cook and a meal that she can keep in the freezer and bring out whenever it’s necessary is hugely helpful! Do a bit of research into what’s okay for breastfeeding. Newborns have gas and colic and all sorts of nightmarish things that are exasperated by certain foods like spicy foods, onions, garlic, dairy…
Those newborn days are so hectic and the support and help is really so appreciated (as long as it doesn’t cause additional stress – that’s really so avoidable.) Now you know!