Thursday, 16 August 2018

Why breastfeeding is bestfeeding

Amazing sugars in breastmilk
International Breastfeeding Week (1 – 7th August) has come and gone. Apologies for not posting something sooner, but here goes …

Before getting pregnant or giving birth, the thought of breastfeeding can be very alien. During pregnancy however, the physical and emotional connections with your unborn breaks down barriers so that by the time you hold your baby for the first time, it’s just the most natural thing in the world to nuzzle him to your breast and breastfeed. Your baby’s instincts help him to target your nipple and you don’t need to teach new-born’s how to suck. Once breastfeeding is established your breasts fill regularly and it’s a relief when your baby empties them for you.

Not all women want to breastfeed. In my ante-natal classes I remember one mom who was adamant she wasn’t going to breastfeed because she didn’t like wearing a bra and having heavy, uncomfortable breasts. She was trendy woman who wore stylish clothes made by her dressmaker.

At one class, when I was giving moms the chance to listen to their baby’s heartbeat with my stethoscope, and showing them where to feel for baby’s head, this mom made an announcement.

“If you tell me this baby is a girl, I’ll breastfeed.” (She had three boys).

“It’s a girl,” I said. I was right, and true to her word, mom breastfed her daughter for more than a year!

Before you have your baby, or if you’re already breastfeeding, you’ll read every article about the topic you can possibly lay your hands on. It’s important to do this so that you can deal with problems when they arise, and keep motivated not to stop breastfeeding when things get tough.

I’m sure you’ve read about the numerous benefits of breastfeeding, but to recap here are just a few:
  • Breastfeeding helps to protect your baby from infectious illnesses because it’s alive with natural antibodies. These literally ‘immunise’ your baby.
  • New research from scientists at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, have found that the carbohydrates (natural sugars) in breastmilk could work against biofilms. In other words, they’re part of the ‘antimicrobial protection brigade’ for babies and could reduce the need for commonly prescribed antibiotics. In particular, the journal of Infectious Diseases reported, the sugars in breastmilk have the potential to protect against group B strep infections.
  • Group B infections can cause severe illness in new-borns (called early onset) or babies older than three months (late onset). Some of these are sepsis (infection of the blood) pneumonia or meningitis. Real nasties.
  • Breastmilk lines the gut and helps to prevent allergies.
  • Breastmilk (especially the first milk called colostrum) is a natural laxative. Breastfed babies don’t get constipated.
  • Breastmilk removes waste e.g. bilirubin and helps to prevent ‘baby-jaundice’.
  • Breastmilk is always the right amount, at the ideal temperature and perfect formula. Breastmilk changes as your baby grows and his nutritional needs change. Colostrum, the first milk, is like condensed milk it’s so rich and creamy. Mature milk is very creamy. As your baby gets older, the ‘foremilk’ or first-milk is watery and satisfies baby’s thirst. When mom’s hormones gear into action, the hind-milk is the creamy milk that satisfies baby’s appetite. The first breast is the first course, second breast, a top-up ‘dessert’ feed.

Benefits for mom:

Breastfeeding is oh, so convenient – and economical. It also comes in reusable, multi-purpose containers. Good for the environment!

Here’s a biggie. Breastfeeding burns 1,000 calories a day and helps mom lose pregnancy weight with very little effort and amazing rewards.

Recommended reading: The Motherly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League. Read it like a novel.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Cherish this time with your children

Don’t give up and lose the chance

I enjoyed baking last Saturday. I made muffins, a sponge-cake, biscuits and cheese-puffs. But there were two things missing: my Kenwood ‘chef’ (the motor burned out – not surprisingly after 40 years hard work) and my kids. When they were small, I used to wait until they were all otherwise occupied, then I would sneak into the kitchen to bake – but as soon as they heard the whirring of the mixer, they scrambled into the kitchen with their chairs to ‘help’ me.

They vied to spoon in the flour, break the eggs and measure the vanilla essence. Mostly they fought over ‘licking the bowl’ that was divided into quarters so there was no fighting – which there invariably was. Back then I longed for the day when I could ‘do my own thing’. Now that the kids have all left the coop (and are probably longing for peace and quiet of their own) I have the liberty (well sort of …) to do my own thing.

Bringing up children is hugely sacrificial. Time, money, ‘space’, sleep and privacy don’t belong to you anymore. You have no choice but to share these with your family. Everything you do, from the time you open your eyes in the morning till you flop exhausted into your bed at night, is for your kids.

But he rewards are out of this world. They make every sacrifice worthwhile.

Here’s a poem I found in my diary, written by my daughter when she was a teenager.

Say something, picture it as a marathon
Keep it to yourself, and once your plan is in action
Share it with the one who shows an interest in your progress.
Don’t be afraid to be weak
Don’t be too proud to be strong
Just look into yourself and seek
And if the return to yourself is the return of who you are,
That’s OK.
If you want to laugh
Or if you need to cry
Just believe in yourself
Believe and don’t deny
Don’t care what people say
Just follow your heart
Don’t give up and lose the chance.

My advice to all you mom’s out there? Cherish every moment with your children, listen to what they have to say, laugh with them and enjoy discovering the world around them, with them. Hold onto memory jolters – their scribbles, drawings and photographs. These will be as rare and precious as diamonds one day, that I can promise you.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Teaching your children the basics of life-skills

Why I never learned to play tennis

I remember my first tennis lesson in junior primary. There I was two-feet-and-a-tickey high standing on the tennis court with an enormous heavy wooden tennis racket in my hand. When we were told to swing our rackets, mine was so big and cumbersome, it just hit the ground with a thud and I could hardly lift it to hit the ball.

This was the early 60’s when tennis rackets were made of solid wood. The one I was holding belonged to my dad. Looking back, this was probably because:
  1. I remembered we had to bring a tennis racket to school just before leaving that morning
  2. My parents knew that I had no ball-coordination or interest in sport, and would never make a tennis player
  3. Baby number four had just arrived and there was no time or money for extras
  4. All of the above.

Sometimes we expect our children to be little adults – to be responsible and to remember things that we think are important. But they have other things on their minds and children are easily distracted. They live for the here and now and don’t anticipate or prepare for tomorrow.

These skills take a lifetime to learn – sometimes even adults don’t get them right.
How can we teach our children the basics?
  • Give them a daily age-appropriate responsibility – like taking out the trash, brushing the dog, setting the table or bringing in the post
  • Allow them to do things when they ask to – like washing the dishes or feeding the dog. Hover in the background to keep an eye on things
  • Give them little projects – the Crazy Store or other craft shops have reasonably priced ‘I-made-it-myself’ kits
  • Teach them to follow-through and keep working to the end of every project they start
  • Let them help you with cleaning and baking
  • Keep their toys in plastic containers that are easy to pack away when they’re finished playing. This can even help with mathematical skills by packing their toys into categories
  • Let your children play creative games – have paper and crayons, a dressing-up box, blankets and cardboard boxes available to stimulate their imaginations
  • Give them the freedom to climb trees, play in the sand, make-up a puppet-show, start a band or give you a concert
  • When they get older, teach your children to mind-map and to write to-do lists
  • Encourage them with deserved praise – children love compliments!


Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Top pregnancy tips

18 Top Pregnancy Tips:

Your body has been perfectly designed to cope with pregnancy changes. Just relax and enjoy every phase of the next nine months.

ü  Choose your health-care provider carefully
ü  Exercise (especially swimming) is relaxing and prepares your body for the birth
ü  For back-ache, sit in a chair the wrong-way-round and get your partner to give you a massage

Looking good:
ü  Don’t cut your hair very short – it can make your face look rounder than it really is
ü  Buy one or two smart outfits that you can mix and match
ü  Pamper yourself. Get your legs waxed and go for pedicures

ü  Enjoy your beauty sleep. Do things with your partner you won’t have the time to do later
ü  Go to bed early
ü  Enjoy sleeping on your tummy while you can!

ü  Sip lemon water, ginger ale or supplement drinks for morning sickness. Try nibbling on cream crackers or grated apple
ü  Don’t use pregnancy as an excuse to ‘pig-out’ – it will take twice as long to lose the extra weight. Don’t snack on high-energy junk food – eat healthy.
ü  Pack your freezer with ready-made meals

Hospital tips:
ü  Pack your bag and get baby’s things together from 30 weeks
ü  Walk around as much as you can while you are in early labour
ü  Don’t write a birth plan – expect the unexpected

Baby tips:
ü  Look for your local baby clinic and find out about their services
ü  Enjoy feeling your baby kick and move – you’ll miss it when it’s gone
ü  Learn to trust your instincts


Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Looking after baby's skin

Why your baby’s skin needs special care

We used to think that baby’s skin was fully developed at birth and that it was just like an adult’s skin – only thicker, softer and silky-smooth without blemishes, scars or wrinkles!

Research has changed all that. Today we know that a baby’s skin is very different. For the first nine months a baby’s life, s/he swims in a liquid called amniotic fluid. For protection from constant moisture, the skin develops a waxy-layer called vernix, and fine hair called lanugo. After the birth, the baby’s skin has to adapt to living in air or a dry environment, to chemicals, clothes, nappies, the weather and pollution. 

A baby’s skin is delicate and fragile and unnecessary irritants can cause atopic dermatitis (skin rashes) and eczema.

Baby-skin plusses:

A baby’s skin is made to stretch and grow. Because babies are growing so quickly, their skin cells must divide and multiply faster than they ever will again to keep up with this growth. If you could take a microscopic look at your baby’s skin, you would find lots of hard-working fibroblasts. These are the ‘scaffolding’ for new cells to grow. The quick turn-over and easy-replacement of skin cells means that babies heal faster than adults do, and they’re less likely to scar.

Baby-skin minuses:

The outer layer of a baby’s skin (called the epidermis) is 20 – 30% thinner than the skin of an adult, and this makes it an ineffective barrier. This means that babies lose body moisture more easily, their skin is easily irritated (damaged) and can become infected because babies have a weak immune system.

The temperature-controlling mechanism of skin is immature in babies. Because they don’t sweat they can overheat. But they can also lose heat through their skin, putting them at risk for getting cold or becoming hypothermic.

Apart from premature and small-for-dates babies, baby’s skin has more fat cells which means that it’s easier for fat soluble substances (and chemicals) to be absorbed into their skin.

A baby’s skin can sunburn more easily because they make less of the pigment called melanin that helps to protect their skin from the ultraviolet rays of the sun.

Finally, because a baby’s skin ‘dries out’ more easily, they’re more prone to eczema.

How can you protect your baby’s skin?

While your baby needs some sunshine for Vitamin D, it’s important to protect your baby’s skin from the harsh ultraviolet rays of the sun. You can’t use sunscreen because it’s absorbed by your baby’s fat cells, so it’s important not to take your baby out in the sun at the hottest time of the day for more than ten minutes at a time. Your baby should be wearing a sunhat, be covered with a shade in the stroller and ideally have baby sunglasses for the glare.

Don’t use harsh chemicals on your baby’s skin – these are absorbed into the baby’s skin and can cause skin irritations. Only use baby-care products of the highest quality.
If your baby has ‘baby acne’ this usually clears on its own without chemicals, scrubbing or astringents.

Don’t use insect repellents on your baby’s skin.

Only use carefully formulated skin products that cater specifically for a baby’s skin.

Skin care is important throughout life. Preventing sunburn can go a long way to minimizing the risk of melanoma’s or skin cancer when your child is older. Healthy skin is the sign of a healthy body. Beauty may only be skin-deep, but the skin is the body’s outer cover that we show to the world.

Probiotic Baby Body Cream
Soothing Baby Lotion 
Pics and links attached: