Plant Based Mum Blog

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Best foods for breastfeeding

It’s important to follow a healthy diet to ensure you are living your best life, even more important when your choices feed your little one. On the blog today I thought I would share my top food choices as a breastfeeding mama. 

Avocado 

Safe to say I am pretty much addicted to avocado. I ate it almost everyday when pregnant with my baby boy, and I continue to love it. Avocados are a great option when breastfeeding as they are high in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins E, K and B6. 

Oats

Oats are a well known galactagogue - a form of food or herb that promotes breastmilk supply - which means they are a perfect choice for breastfeeding mothers. So enjoy your oats for breakfast mamas! 

Salmon

While some mamas choose not to consume meat or fish, as a pescatarian I personally love salmon. Salmon is rich in omega-3’s and makes a good source of protein for when you need that energy most. 

Brown Rice

Brown rice is a staple food in our household. As a busy Mum of two I often have little time to prepare lunch, so I will simply throw some ingredients together and pair with brown rice for a satisfying, high fibre meal.  

Chickpeas 

Chickpeas make a great edition to any meal - simply throw them in to a pasta or rice dish and you will be benefiting from the goodness of zinc, iron, high fibre and all that plant based protein.

Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are so yummy and filling. They are a good source of beta-carotene, vitamin B6 and fibre, so they make an excellent edition to any mamas diet. 

Spinach

Cooked spinach should form an essential part of your diet, whether you are breastfeeding or not! The benefits are just too good! Spinach is a good ‘ol original ‘superfood’ - it ticks off many vitamins and minerals in one neat green package - vitamins A, B6, C, E and K, magnesium, folate, potassium, copper and iron, just to name a few.

Oranges

Whether a breastfeeding mum can enjoy her oranges (or orange juice for that matter) really depends on the baby. Some babies, particularly those with reflux, can be sensitive to citrus, but some will tolerate it just fine. Oranges are well known to be one of the best sources of vitamin C, a good source of fibre, and they contain a range of other important vitamins and minerals, such as folate. 

Berries 

Again this depends on the baby, if you have a baby with reflux you probably want to steer clear of berries (such as strawberries, blueberries and raspberries). Berries, however, are a great source of antioxidents and fibre - and they make a yummy edition to any breakfast! 

Water 

Although not a ‘food’, plenty of water is absolutely essential for breastfeeding. I tend to keep a bottle of water with me at all times, one in the car and a couple on my bedside table so that I remember to fill up. 

Disclaimer: I am by no means a doctor or dietician so please do not take my post as medical advice, the above is purely my personal thoughts on breastfeeding nutrition.

Thanks for reading! 

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The Fourth Trimester

My baby boy recently turned three months, and I have cherished this time in our fourth trimester, bonding and getting to know one another. 

The concept of the fourth trimester is no secret. It is a term used by medical professionals and parents alike, and entails the first three months after the birth of your baby. It is an important and almost sacred time to bond with baby, and to nurture your little miracle as they transition from the safety of the womb to the big wide world. 

During this time in particular, baby has a primal instinct to be close to mum. Skin on skin, especially for the first few weeks, is a good way to introduce baby safely to the world - he, or she, can hear the sounds and see the sights all while having the comfort of being close to mummy - and it also helps to build supply, helps mum and baby rest and recover from birth, and keeps mum and baby relaxed through the release of hormones.

As much as the fourth trimester is a time to rest, it is also always nice to venture out into the sunshine and to get some fresh air, even when baby is oh so little. When you are out and about baby will still want to be close to you too. A wrap or a carrier is perfect for this (and is also good for keeping germs at bay when your baby is oh so little!). I personally love going on outdoor adventures with my little ones, and enjoy keeping baby close using my ergo carrier (or you could simply use a homemade babywrap). My baby boy is always so comfortable in the carrier, and often falls asleep for the whole outing as he is soothed by my familiar scent, warmth, voice and presence. 

The fourth trimester is also a time for you to really get to know your baby - and get to know yourself as a mother. A time for you to learn your baby’s unique likes and dislikes - how do they like to be held, do they experience wind and need to be burped often or not, what type of carrier do they enjoy being in (if at all) - the list goes on,...and every baby will have different preferences, as well as every mother having different preferences too. There’s no right and wrong, it’s all down to you and your baby. 

Additionally, the fourth trimester is a time where the whole family can bond, especially in the first weeks home with baby - Dad and baby, and baby and sibling(s) too. It’s great for siblings to have some (supervised) time from the get go to get to know their new brother or sister. 

Lastly, and most importantly, the fourth trimester is about learning to trust your own instinct and experience the amazing role of being a mother. Remember to have confidence in yourself - you are your baby’s mother and no one knows baby better than you!  

Thanks for reading!  

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Newborn Must Haves

My baby boy is now three months old, and although I think in ‘official terms’ that now makes him no longer a ‘newborn’ *wipes tears* he will always be my baby. Time to share my newborn “must haves” - a selection of the items I found I personally couldn’t do without during the first three months. 

Rattle and Toys

My little one is at that stage where he loves to grip rattles so I keep one in the nappy bag and one near the change table to encourage this skill. He also loves the noise they make and enjoys turning his head toward the sound.

Bibs 

Let’s face it, the first three months and beyond are messy for a baby (and for a mummy!). My little one has minor reflux so a good bib is never far out of reach in this household. For us, My Little Love Heart Bibs are the bibs of choice. Australian made with bamboo fibers, these bibs are soft and gentle for my newborn’s sensitive skin and by buying Australian made you are supporting local trade - win win. 

Swaddles and Sleep Bags

Swaddle wraps and sleeping bags help baby to sleep and keep them warm safely. Swaddles also come in very handy as burp cloths, and could even be used as make shift change mats in a pinch too. Our favourite sleep bags are from ErgoCocoon, these are made from organic cotton with super easy access for those middle of the night nappy changes. They also allow you to transition to ‘arms free’ once your baby has grown to this stage, so their range of sleep bags can grow with your little one.

Our favourite swaddles are from Aden and Anais - they are made with bamboo fibers so they are beautifully soft and gentle on baby’s skin. As a bonus, this company was founded by an Aussie and they have many gorgeous designs available.

Wipes 

With my youngest having eczema, Water Wipes are the wipes of choice in our household. As the name suggests they are made using purely water with a dash of essential oil (grapefruit), so they can be used from birth. No nasties on sensitive skin is always a good thing. You can also make your own version of ‘water wipes’ - keep an eye on the blog for more on that later. 

Creams 

This mummy loves Moo Goo for her own beauty needs but we also use Moo Goo for baby too. My little one is at the stage where he has started to get cradle cap so Moo Goo Scalp Cream has been our cream of choice to help combat this. 

Nappies

As much as we would love to do cloth diapers all the time, I find it somewhat impractical when we are on the go and also with a busy toddler. We have recently tried Eco Original Nappies and we love them - good for the environment and for baby’s bot! 

Bouncer

When baby is a little older they love sitting in their bouncer! Bouncers are a great way for baby to look out at their surroundings, chat to mummy while she finishes her breakfast and/or just have some fun between feeds and nap time! Our favourite bouncer is from BabyBjorn - and my tip would be to pick one in a neutral colour so you can use it for any brothers or sisters that may come along or you can lend to friends/a family member once baby has outgrown it.

Books for Baby

It’s never to early to start reading to baby. Reading to your baby helps immensely with language acquisition  and can also help with motor skills too - especially if you choose soft books with textures that baby can explore!

Baby Bath Products

Bathtime is a great opportunity to bond with your baby, for both mums and dads. You can chat to your baby, sing him/her songs and help them splash a little while you bathe them. We love the Skip Hop Moby Smart Sling Bath. We used it for our daughter when she was a baby, and now use it for our son. This bath gently cradles your baby and has two different ergonomic positions - so you can use it from newborn right up until 3/4 months (or possibly older if you have a small babe).

Baby Carrier

I’ve always loved using baby carriers. Look at countries around the word and how they nature their babies - they keep them close and often use baby carriers when on the move. We use the ErgoBaby Performance Baby Carrier as we find it is great in all weather conditions and will withstand exercise and hikes with baby.

First Aid Products

One of the most used products for our newborn (and one that will no doubt be used time and time again throughout their childhoods) is our Cherubbaby Thermometer. Being able to take your newborn or childs’ temperature efficiently and easily helps you to monitor the overall health status of your child. This thermometer is the only one I would recommend to my friends and family - it is simple to use, gives temperature alerts, delivers readings fast and is hospital grade.

First Aid Training is also of upmost importance for any new parent, grandparent or carer. We completed a course with Tiny Hearts First Aid with our family when we were pregnant with our baby girl a few years ago, and we will also be attending a refresher course very soon. Tiny Hearts First Aid offer free training across Victoria, Australia, they stock child first aid kits in their online store and have some great online fact sheets and training resources - such as this video on YouTube.

What are your ‘must have’ newborn items? 

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Postpartum Essentials

Admittidly I let my health slide down the priority list after my first bubba was born. As a result, my first postpartum recovery was longer than it should have been - both physically and mentally - but, as the saying goes once you know better - do better! It was so important to me to look after my own health this time to ensure a quick recovery from birth, a good supply and a healthy Mum!  

Nutrition 

For me it all starts with nutrition. Your body can’t start the massive job of healing tissues, supporting the reproductive system as it returns to ‘normal’ and making the milk it needs to nourish a beautiful growing baby without being adequately nourished. Ultimately it’s important to start focusing on nutrition and wellness prior to conceiving but it really comes into the spotlight again in the ‘fourth trimester’ (or those three healing and bonding months after giving birth). I knew my body needed plenty of water, some sunlight (haha I am making myself sound like a plant here!) and good food to heal from the massive miracle of pregnancy and childbirth. Even before I had two under two I knew that preparing and cooking meals was going to be next to impossible (let’s not kid ourselves here!) so I pre-ordered some delicious, and super nourishing, meals and smoothies from My Goodness Organics to last me the first few weeks home from the hospital, stocked the cupboards with healthy snack options, and also made sure to always have a bottle of water with me. 

Exercise 

It is a task to get out of the house with two little ones, even more so in those early days as your newborn feeds every few hours. I always feel better once I get out of the house and get a little sunshine and exercise, so I knew I had to concentrate on this again this time around (once I received the all-clear from my obstetrician postpartum). My husband and I made it a priority to go for a walk around the block every afternoon (apart from when it is raining, or when there is a heatwave - which is more likely because it is summer here). I also manage to get a good amount of exercise in by heading to different parks and walking trips over the weekend.

Rest 

Lastly, that brings me to the point of rest. As a busy Mum of two it is sometimes hard for me to get my rest in, but it was particularly important in the first 6 weeks after the birth to not only allow my body the respect and recovery it deserves, but to have that quiet time to bond with the baby. I was lucky to have friends and family around to take our gorgeous toddler on adventures and play with her at home to help her have a fun filled month - which really helped her adjust well to becoming a sister (without the sibling rivalry) and it also afforded me some one on one time with my newborn, plus some downtime to rest. 

If you are reading this and are pregnant or in your early postpartum stage congratulations and I wish you a happy and healthy recovery!  

Disclaimer - I am not a medical professional, so please do not take my post as medical advice for your postpartum, this is purely my own experience. 

Thanks for reading! 

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What's In My Nappy Bag - Part One

The humble nappy bag, it seems so trivial. But, when you're on the go with your little one, you can't leave home without one. I thought we would share a few of our favourite products from Itty Bitty Green's nappy bag. Check out the details below:

Wipes

Wipes are an essential in any nappy bag. They have a multitude of uses; from being instrumental at a nappy change, to wiping baby's messy face, to cleaning her fingers before she puts those germs in her mouth again! With my baby having eczema, many of the standard wipes irritated her skin, so I was keen to find something that would be safe, but also get the job done. I'd read about Water Wipes when they first came out in the UK and I'm pleased they're now here in Australia. Water Wipes are approved by the Allergy Board of UK and are made up of, you guessed it, water (99.9%) and also grapefruit seed extract (1%). You can purchase these from your local Safeway or Coles stores and selected pharmacies.

Muslin Cloth

The muslin cloth, or wrap, is a great edition to a nappy bag. It can be used as a swaddle for naps on the go when baby is tiny and can be used as a burp cloth, or cloth for weigh-ins at the nurses office, once baby is a bit bigger. Bubba Blue's Organic Muslin Wraps are made from organic cotton fibres, free from chemicals and also friendly on sensitive skin. You can pick up a pack of three wraps for around $30 from any leading baby store.

Nappies

Disposable nappies are great for times where you are out and about with your little one. Ecorigionals disposable nappies are biodegradable and are free from chemicals or fragrances. 

Moisturising Cream

Given that my little one has eczema it is important that we moisturise her skin at every nappy change, even if that is on the go. I have tried multiple creams to help cure her eczema (more on this later!), and Little Innocents Organic Baby Intensive Moisturising Cream is one of the best. Little Innocents products are Australian Certified Organic, and the majority of the baby range can be used from birth. You can purchase the Little Innocents range from Chemist Warehouse at selected stores nationwide.