Plant Based Mum Blog

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Food Allergy Week (2019)

Next week (26 May - 1 June) is Food Allergy Week. With the tag line, Be Aware, Show You Care we thought it was a great time to spread awareness about food allergy - including potentially deadly food allergies.

Did you know that one in 10 babies born in Australia today will develop some sort of food allergy?  

If you suspect your little one may have an allergy it is important to see a qualified professional (such as a GP, Pediatrician or Specialist Allergist), who can make the diagnosis. 

Would you know what to do if your loved one had an allergic reaction? This video from Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia helps to understand the signs and symptoms, and how to best respond. 

Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia also share some great tips on managing food allergies:

  • Avoiding the food trigger(s) is key - if you know there is a particular allergy stay away from this food.

  • Always read the label: recipes can change without warning and seemingly harmful products can contain allergens (we learnt this one the hard way...)

  • Be mindful of hidden ingredients (for example: mayonnaise, gelato and homemade ice cream = egg, rissoles = tree nuts, curries such as massaman curry = peanuts, some chocolate sauces = hazelnuts, etc).

  • Be aware of cross-contamination: don’t share utensils, cooking areas or come in contact with children (or adults!) if you’ve been eating their allergen...in this case a kiss from Grandma could have dire consequences!

  • Disclose allergies when eating out and check the menu carefully - if unsure, ask!

Some of our favourite allergy-friendly and kid-friendly recipes and cafes are below.

Our Favourite Allergy-Friendly Recipes: 

Best 10 Allergy-Friendly Cafes in Melbourne (and surrounds):

Visit Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia for more information on allergies and allergy management. Enjoy your allergy-friendly food!! Bon Appétit!

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The Importance of Self-Care in Motherhood

It is so important to fill our own cup in order to be the best parent we can be.

Everybody has their own unique needs when it comes to self-care and “me-time”. Some feel refreshed and re-fueled after a monthly girls catch up, others will crave weekly brunches and chit chats. For some, it’s more about that pampering ‘sesh - getting your hair done each month, an indulgent massage every now and then or having a manicure. Others enjoy time at night once the kids are asleep to curl up with a good book (or Kindle as I prefer!) and a cup of tea for an hour or two, or perhaps a movie and popcorn night-in with your partner. It’s all about what works for you as an individual. 

As a mumma of two, I am always conscious of carving out some time for self care when I can - to ensure I am refreshed and rejuvenated to bring my best self to my ever important role as a parent. Below are some of my fave ways to spend some “Me-Time”:

Exercise 

This is a must for me, and I really feel it if I let this one slide down the priority list. I tend to do a quick 30-45 minute work out every other day, mainly involving a mix of stretching/yoga to start with followed by some higher intensity exercises. I also enjoy a good walk most days, and with two little ones in the double stroller this pretty much doubles as a workout itself when climbing those steep hills! You will know what works best for your body, and what it responds best to...but a bit of exercise personally always helps me feel better!

Podcasts

I love the fact that the podcast world is full of educational opportunities. It’s fantastic that we live in an age where you can listen to some of the best minds/ideas out there all while driving to your next destination or even vacuuming the house. Some of my favourite podcasts include: No Filter, Happy Mamma with Amy Taylor-Kabbaz, Dr. Justin Coulson’s Happy Families Podcast, TED Talks Daily, Background Briefing, Dr. Karl on Triple J Podcast and ABC’s All In The Mind to name but a few. I also enjoy listening to a few podcasts specific to my line of work to keep abreast of issues, trends and initiatives in that space.

Kindle E-Books

After my little ones are asleep I enjoy reading a few chapters of a good novel to relax. I’m currently reading Notes On a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig. Recent reads include; The Mother of All Jobs by Christine Armstrong (as recommended on the No Filter Podcast), Eat Dirt by Dr. Josh Axe and Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. I love discovering new authors and books!

YouTube

When my little guy was still waking at nights and wanting to feed I would usually reach for YouTube to help me stay alert at 3am! I don’t tend to watch much nowadays, however some of the parenting vloggers on YouTube really got me through those sleepless nights and I’ve even picked up some great tips and tricks from the parenting journey’s they share, too.

Relaxing with a Cuppa

This is probably one of my favourite pastimes, whether it is grabbing 15 minutes to myself with a cup of tea and a read through my Twitter feed before the little ones wake up, or having a cuppa to wind down at the end of the day. I was lucky enough to try out some of the new Asha Tea range recently. Asha offers a variety of Australian Certified Organic and Fair-trade teas - from a ‘Morning Time’ blend (Assam and Kenyan Black Tea), a ‘Sleep Time’ blend (consisting of camomile, spearmint, lemon peel and peppermint), a super refreshing Mint blend and a blissful Green and Jasmine Tea blend (my fave!) - these blends are the perfect way to clear your mind and indulge in a little ‘me-time’ before the tasks of the day begin!

What’s your favourite way to indulge in a little relaxation and clear your mind?!

This post is sponsored by Asha Tea - a new range by Twining’s Australia.

The new range of asha tea - perfect to unwind and free your mind this autumn.

The new range of asha tea - perfect to unwind and free your mind this autumn.

Eczema Awareness Week: 14-20 May 2018

Next week is Eczema Awareness Week, and this cause has a special place in my heart - particularly when I think of new mums who have little ones that may be just starting to show signs of eczema.

My first-born suffered from eczema from the age of four months, and to this day occasionally experiences very mild flare ups if it is warm. When she first started displaying symptoms I wasn’t sure where to turn to, or what to do, to help diagnose and treat them.

Amongst all the random (and sometimes unwanted) advice and old wives tales thrown at you as a new mum it can be difficult at first to trust your own instinct and navigate your own journey as a mum. All I knew at that time was that it was important to me that I obtain advice and treatment options from qualified medical professionals, so I did just that.

I spoke to my trusted GP and we also attended an eczema workshop run by specialists at the Royal Children’s Hospital and with our treatment plan underway, my daughters symptoms and suffering was soon relieved, and she was once again a bright, happy and bubbly baby!

The Eczema Association of Australasia is running free workshops across the country next week, as part of Eczema Awareness Week. Visit www.eczema.org.au for more information.

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Starting Solids - Homemade Purée Recipes

My baby boy has recently turned six months old, and we are excited to be starting his journey with solid foods. 

Here are some of our favourite recipes for baby’s first foods:  

Sweet Potato, Parsnip and Cauliflower Purée

Wash and peel the sweet potato, cauliflower and parsnip, and chop into very small pieces. Steam vegetables until well cooked (by steaming them you are keeping as many of the nutrients in as possible). Once cooked, add to blender and blend until smooth. You can add a little breastmilk before serving to ease baby’s transition too - and for more nutrient and immune boosting power. Serve cooled. 

Broccoli, Spinach and Carrot Purée 

Wash broccoli, spinach and carrot well. Roughly chop broccoli and carrot into small pieces. Steam broccoli, carrot and spinach until cooked. Add to blender and blend until smooth. Again, you can add a little breastmilk to the pureé if you desire. Serve cooled. 

Apple, Banana and Avocado Purée 

Add chopped apple, banana and avocado to a blender. Blend until smooth and serve. 

Bon Appétit!

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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 Fun and the Chaos of Two under Two

My daughter - my first born baby - recently turned two and my son - my second born baby - will soon be five months, I still can’t believe it! I’m not sure where that time went. It feels like I only had my daughter yesterday, and yet here I am as a Mum who has enjoyed the fun, the sweet moments and the chaos that comes with having two under two. 

It has been so sweet to watch my girl become a big sister - chatting away to her brother, giving him cuddles and adoring him since the day we came home from the hospital. And it’s just as sweet to see my baby boy smiling back at his sister, and now laughing with her and trying to babble back as he get’s older.  

Admittedly, the adjustment for me was tough at first (and it probably was for my first born too) particularly in those first few weeks. But, once we found our groove as a now family of four, we relished our new normal.

So, to those mammas (and dadas!) thinking about - or about to be in the trenches with - two under two, here are some of my learnings:

Prepare in advance 

This goes beyond preparing for your new baby’s arrival in the usual way - you know the drill...new baby clothes, setting up the crib and stocking up on those newborn nappies. Help your toddler to prepare in advance by talking to your toddler about the baby (you may think they cannot understand, especially if they do not have a large vocabulary, but believe me they do!). You can help to make this big change such a special and exciting time for them. Chat to your toddler about your ever expanding belly during the pregnancy, read books together about a new baby and even get your toddler some baby dolls and toy baby products so that they can play ‘mummy’ too!

Be Gentle On Yourself Postpartum

Mamma, take your time in the fourth trimester and enlist the help of your tribe to allow you, Dad, baby and toddler the time to bond. It’s important for you, and the journey you’ve just been through bringing baby into the world, to be gentle on yourself as you heal after the birth, as you bond with baby, and as you bond as a growing family. 

Toddlers Tend To Love Familiarity 

If your toddler has a routine (even if it’s quite loose), do your best to stick to that. Baby will easily adapt to your toddlers routine, not so much the other way around! By maintaining your toddlers routine as much as possible it will give them the familiarity they crave - which is especially important with this big change in their little life. At the end of the day, you know your babies best, and what will work best for them.

Quality One on One Time 

Carve out some one on one time to spend with your toddler. This is important for both Mum and Dad to achieve. Your toddler is used to being the centre of attention - and not in a bad way, that’s just what they are used to as there was only one of them! It fills everyone’s cup to have some real quality one on one time with each child in the family. Maybe Mum can have some one on one time playing toys with toddler while baby takes a morning nap, and Dad can have some one on one time when he gets home from work (or even early in the morning before work if your toddler is an early riser). On the weekend Mum can take toddler shopping while Dad is with baby, and then Dad can take toddler to the pool for a swim while Mum is with baby. 

Enjoy Time Together As A Family 

Enjoy plenty of family outings together - from a day at the museum, to a road trip getaway, to a simple afternoon at the park - it’s fun for everyone, it helps toddler and baby to bond, and you’ll create some great family memories along the way.

With a whole lot of love and a go-with-the-flow attitude it is possible to survive and thrive with two under two.

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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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Homemade Ice Lollies

With the heatwave continuing in Melbourne, I thought I’d share a recipe for our favourite treat to help keep our toddler cool. 

Apple, Mango and Banana Ice Lolly Treat 

Simply blend 1 roughly chopped apple, 1 banana, 1 roughly chopped mango and half a cup of water. Place mixture into NUK ‘Fresh Freeze Pop’ Ice lolly molds. Leave overnight in freezer. To serve; firstly run mold under warm water, release lolly from mold and provide to toddler (tip: make sure you have a bib for them as it can get messy!).

These ice lollies can also be used for little baby once they are onto solids - or you can even freeze breast milk in the molds instead, to help ensure they are getting all those natural nutrients. As a bonus, these treats don’t only work well in the summer, but they are great all year ‘round for when baby is teething too.

Thanks for reading!  

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