Plant Based Mum Blog

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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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What’s In My Nappy Bag - Part Two

With two little ones to call my own (the eldest still in nappies, being almost two), I thought I’d share what’s in my nappy bag for two bubbas.

The Bag

First things first, a good quality nappy bag is a must. I knew I needed a bag that was durable enough to be plonked down in the tanbark at a playground, or thrown into the car at a moments notice. This time around I also wanted something functional and it was important to me that it still be stylish enough to double as my own bag - something that wasn’t your obvious logo embossed nappy bag. Being budget conscious I also didn’t want to spend a fortune, but wanted something that would last. With all that in mind, I opted for the Witchery ‘Harry Nylon’ tote and it has been fantastic.

Functionality

As a busy Mum of two, I need to be able to access certain items quickly - especially when I am out and about. This is where bag inserts came in handy. I use these from Target as they are water proof (not very sustainable, but very inexpensive and practical!), or you can purchase more of an insert style such as this one from amazon.

All The Essentials

I always keep my nappy bag pre stocked and ready to go, as you’ll never know when you will have to head out. I simply fill one of my bag inserts with snacks and a couple of medicinal needs (such as panodol and teething gel) and the other with all the nappy change essentials (think spare nappies, wipes, nappy disposal bags, nappy rash cream, disposable gloves for change time, change mats and hand sanitizer).

Speaking of essentials here are a few other items we always carry with us:

Small Toys

It is a good option to throw a few small toys in to keep the little ones amused when out and about. If you have a teething baby a good teething toy is a must.

Bibs

Our all time fave bibs are from My Little Love Heart Bibs. These are handmade bamboo bibs, made in Australia.

The bibs are amazing and are the only kind I like using on my babies. Our eldest had quite bad eczema, particularly from the age of three to six months, and these were some of the only bibs that didn’t flare up her super sensitive skin. She still experiences tiny flair ups of eczema now and then, especially in the heat or if someone with strong fragrance cuddles her. I am praying that our youngest does not have to go through the pain and discomfort of eczema but time will tell.

I continue to use these bibs all the time, especially for my youngest who is just three months as he is still at that posseting stage - and in a few months time he will be starting solids too.

Change of Clothes

This is vital! All mums live in fear of a ill-timed nappy mishap so it is essential to carry a change of outfit for your little ones. We pack a whole outfit for our youngest and a change of pants for our eldest. You never know when they will be needed!

Thanks for reading!

My Birth Story - Baby Boy

We recently welcomed our second baby, a gorgeous baby boy, into the world! We are thrilled that he is here and that he is happy, healthy and thriving.

While I was pregnant I loved reading birth stories (I did with my first baby too), I found them to be so inspiring - so I thought I would share mine with you. 

Stop reading now if you are squeamish. Also a warning - long blog post ahead! 

I was induced just shy of 39 weeks due to a pregnancy condition called cholestasis of pregnancy/ICP. Obstetric cholestasis is a liver condition occurring in pregnancy, that may cause harm to the baby and increase the risk of complications. I had been diagnosed with this condition in both pregnancies, suffering from severe symptoms with my first baby, but symptoms were no where near as severe with this baby (enough to scare me though). I was so pleased to be induced both times to ensure the safe arrival of my babies.

At The Hospital 

We knew slightly in advance that I would be induced, and after a rough pregnancy (including a ptl scare) the day couldn’t come soon enough - we were so excited to meet our baby boy. I arrived for our pre booked hospital appointment a little after 7am and was shown the room I was going to give birth in - I was beyond happy when it just happened to be birth suite number 4, the same birth suite I had my daughter in!

While waiting for a midwife to arrive I watched tv and had my breakfast delivered, which I gladly enjoyed. They were quite busy at the time I was admitted so the midwife arrived a fair bit later, around 8am. She reviewed my notes with me and hooked me up to the ctg machine to start some monitoring whilst we waited for my obstetrician, who was going to "start the ball rolling" so to speak. All of this was easy, as I knew exactly what to expect given I’d been through the same process with my daughter.

My husband arrived just after 8am too, after dropping off my daughter. We were excited to meet our little guy soon. 

Induction Begins 

My obstetrician entered at about 9am and started me on the artificial prostaglandins and also hooked me up to the juice (pitocin) via a drip - no messing about here, straight onto the big guns! 

I watched a bit more TV and chatted away with my husband in between strolling the room and being monitored via ctg. At this stage contractions were very minor and not a problem at all. Before we knew it, it was lunchtime, so we ate and I had a quick nap.

After my nap the obstetrician reviewed things and the pitocin was increased. At this point I wasn't feeling much but decided to put my TENS machine on and chill out on the birthing ball, which was a nice distraction. The ctg monitoring showed contractions, but not consistent so it was decided to up the pitocin dose again.

At this point I asked for the gas and air machine to be switched on as I knew that given the dose being administered things will be starting very quickly thereafter. The midwife showed my husband where it was and he got it all set up for me, so that it reached me both on the bed and also near the side of the bed where the birthing ball was set up.

On His Way 

Before long my contractions still weren't that bad, but I all of a sudden (TMI warning here) I needed to go to the ladies room. I realized quite quickly that the baby had descended and that it was time to push. Game on! 

The midwife and my obstetrician came back into the room and saw that I was on the side of the bed swaying and now using the gas and air - they knew it was time as I had said to them at the start of the day that I hadn’t used gas and air with my daughter until I was 7cm or so dilated. I sat back on the bed, my husband sitting next to me, and now I could feel the contractions (which was actually a great thing because I did not feel them with my daughter so it made it very difficult to know when to push, and this is also what made me not want any epidural this time).

I felt my first big contraction, let my midwife/obstetrician know and then pushed. Seriously - this stage of labor is like running a marathon: you really use all your strength and it is a primal strength you never knew you had in you. 

The obstetrician saw that baby was posterior (as was my daughter) and needed some help, so I had an episiotomy and she used forceps to assist (honestly, the forceps was the most painful part of it all as I was only on gas and air, but was over so quickly). A few more big pushes and baby's head was delivered, and then in one small final push he was here!!! 

He’s Here! 

He was born in the late afternoon that same day, just after 5.30pm. He let out a cry and it was just the most beautiful sound! The obstetrician placed him on my chest and baby boy and I said hello for the first time. 

We had lots of cuddles while his daddy and I both chatted to him. He was very alert and had perfect Apgar scores, just like his sister did. While I was pushing I had heard another midwife in the room put a call out for my blood type, in case of transfusion, as I had lost a lot of blood during the birth and was close to hemorrhaging - which was a little scary, but I didn't let that get to me as I was too busy enjoying all that newborn goodness.

The midwife let us cuddle for a while before weighing him. He weighed 8 pounds at birth. He was much bigger than what we thought he would be, even the obstetrician was a little surprised! Straight after he was weighed the midwife brought him back over to me for more skin to skin and so that I could feed him. 

We cuddled and fed for quite some time (I think it was maybe an hour, but I honestly lost track of time there) before the midwife popped back, got him dressed and he then had cuddles with daddy while I had a nice shower - honestly one of the best showers of my life! We then made our way to a private room for the night and I travelled in a wheelchair just in case - I guess because of the blood loss. We got settled into our room, baby boy sound asleep in his bassinet. 

All in all, I couldn't have asked for a better birth experience.

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What’s in my Hospital Bag?

As we prepare for the arrival of our second baby, and having already had a pre term labor scare, I felt it important to ensure that my hospital bag was fully packed and ready to go. 

Here I share what’s in my hospital bag: 

Nursing Bras and tops

Two or three supportive nursing bras and tops are a must.  

Postpartum Lady Products 

As much as I wanted to glaze over what to me is the toughest part of pregnancy, birth and postpartum - the recovery stage in the days straight after the birth - I did want to share my favourite postpartum ‘lady product’; TOM Organics Maternity Pads. These are a godsend and being made from organic cotton they are not only hygienic but with no nasties. There we go, I said it. 

Snacks 

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be sleep deprived, healing, trying to breastfeed a ravenous baby, establishing milk supply AND hungry. So with that in mind I made sure to pack a range of nourishing snacks in my hospital bag so that I didn’t have to reply on a couple of salada biscuits or the junk food in the vending machine to get me through.

Spare Clothes 

In private hospitals in Australia, we generally have a hospital stay of 3 nights for a normal birth (unless you want to discharge yourself early - but who wants to give up on room service and assistance from on-call midwives when you can have them right?! I know I sound like a brat there but you should use the help you’ve got while you can). Because you’ll be staying a few nights in hospital spare clothes are an essential. After all that you’ve been through it is lovely to be able to have a nice shower and pop on a new change of clothes to feel fresh. I pack a few extra than what I will think I’ll need in case of baby spit up or other accidents. 

Technology 

As my husband was going to be home with our eldest child this meant a lot of down time for me in the hospital. I am an introvert at heart and I love spending time re charging by reading info online or watching a tv show. It was important to have my iPhone with me to share the all important news once Baby arrived and to capture pictures of those first moments. For those middle of the night feeds, or times when I was eating a meal, I knew I wanted to have my iPad with me to be able to catch up on a quick favourite tv episode. I made sure to throw in a charger as well. 

What are your must have items for your hospital bag, fellow mummys-to-be?  

Pregnancy Essentials

Pregnancy is such a special time. Although in the early (and last) days it may be a little rough, I don’t think there is one pregnant women out there that takes for granted the miracle of the life she is carrying. During both of my pregnancies I found I relied on a couple of essential items to really get me through. Today on the blog we reveal them.   

Vitamins

Vitamins are a must for your pregnancy. Personally my go-to are the Blackmores Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Vitamins and I tend to take these at night to help minimize any additional reflux I may experience. 

Snacks 

My top snacks during pregnancy are apples, bananas and wholegrain muesli bars (and let’s face it - the occasional chocolate bar!). I tend to feel much better if I always have something in my stomach, so I make sure I’m having something to eat every two to three hours. When I needed an extra boost come snack time (especially in the early days of pregnancy when snacking helped to keep the nausea at bay) I relied on Franjos Kitchen Belly Bump biscuits. Made in Australia, these gems are packed full of extra vitamins such as Omega 3, iron, calcium and zinc, and are an added source of fibre. 

Hand Sanitizer

Confession time! I am a bit of a germaphobe. Even more so when I am pregnant and have another life growing on board. I always carry a travel size hand sanitiser with me to keep those germs at bay. Not all hand sanitisers are created equally though, and some actually do more harm than good, so I stick to a natural brand - my favourite being Squeaky brand’s Natural Hand Sanitiser (the perfect size for your purse and/or nappy bag).

Stretch Mark Oil

I’m very much prone to stretch marks, and I honestly don’t mind because to me they are a badge of honour for the life I have brought into the world. Also, there are some great products on the market to help minimise stretch marks and help them to fade over time such as Badger’s Organic Pregnant Belly Oil and Weleda’s Stretch Mark Massage Oil.

Leggings

Given this was my second pregnancy my muscles (or lack thereof) certainly needed a helping hand this time around to support my growing bump. SRC Pregnancy Leggings were a wardrobe staple on my days out of the office, perfect for chilling at home or running around with my toddler. 

What are your pregnancy essentials, mummas? 

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Baby's Yummy Tummy - Baby’s First Foods

We are onto solids in our household for the first time, which is super fun and exciting. We have tried Bellamy's organic rice cereal mixed with breastmilk (which she loved!), and have also tried a few homemade purees (starting as single ingredients at first, and then moving to flavour combinations).

Flavour combinations that have been a hit include:

Avocado and Pear Puree

Mix half a very ripe avocado with a half peeled and steamed pear (mashed loosely). Add two-three teaspoons breastmilk and mash until smooth. 

Banana and Mango Puree

Cut one organic very ripe banana and one ripe mango into chunks. Blend until smooth. Optional to add two-three teaspoons of breastmilk for added immunity and nutrient boost.

Carrot and Potato Puree

Wash and peel one fresh organic carrot and one fresh organic small potato. Cut carrot and potato into small cubes and steam them. Rinse to remove starch. Puree steamed and cooked carrot and potato until desired consistency is reached. Optional to add two-three teaspoons of breastmilk for added immunity and nutrient boost.

Pumpkin and Spinach Puree

Peel and chop 1/4 pumpkin into small cubes (store remainder for mummy and daddy's dinner). Steam until tender. Finely chop a small handful of fresh baby spinach. Blend cooked pumpkin and spinach until smooth. Optional to add two-three teaspoons of breastmilk for added immunity and nutrient boost.  

Sweet Potato, Broccoli and Pea Puree

Finely chop 1/4 small sweet potato and steam until tender. Add 3 washed, organic broccoli steams/florets and a handful of peas and steam until tender. Puree or mash ingredients until desired consistency is reached. Optional to add two-three teaspoons of breastmilk for added immunity and nutrient boost.

Bon Appétit!