Plant Based Mum Blog

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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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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?  

Recipe of the Quarter - Lentil, Pumpkin, Spinach and Pine Nut Pasta

Being pregnant means that nutrition is at the forefront of my mind, even more so than normal. 

Our recipe of the quarter is a nutrient packed, comforting pasta. This vegetarian pasta is filled with all things good for your pregnancy, including folate (lentils), fibre and potassium (pumpkin), magnesium, zinc, calcium, iron, vitamins A, C, and K (spinach) and vitamin E (pine nuts). Read below for details.  

Lentil, Pumpkin, Spinach and Pine Nut Pasta  

Ingredients 

  • 100g spelt or wholemeal pasta per person

  • 110g dried red lentils

  • 1 small butternut pumpkin (washed, de-seeded, cut into chunks)

  • 2 big handfuls spinach (washed well)

  • 75g pine nuts

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 small garlic gloves (optional - some people, like myself, really go off garlic when pregnant)

  • Black pepper and parmasen to taste, if required

Method 

  • Cook pumpkin in the microwave for 5-10 minutes on high until soft.

  • Cook pasta until al dente.

  • Add the pine nuts, washed spinach, garlic and remaining olive oil into a frying pan and lightly fry whilst waiting for the pasta to cook.

  • Once the pumpkin is done, add to the fry pan and mix gently.

  • Drain the pasta and add the mixture from the fry pan.

  • Serve with parmasen and black pepper to taste.

Bon Appetit!  

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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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What I Ate Wednesday

Welcome back to What I Ate Wednesday. I always feel a bit silly writing these posts as I am such a creature of habit my meal plans don’t tend to change that much. Anyway, I thought I'd share with you what I ate today (Wednesday) as I haven’t posted on this topic for a while. 

Breakfast: Bowl of buckwheat cereal topped with fresh blueberries, strawberries and peaches and a dollop of organic vanilla yoghurt. Two slices of sourdough toast with vegemite. Bottle of water. 

Morning snack:  Whole apple. Half bottle of water.

Lunch: Homemade buddha bowl with quinoa, cooked egg, avocado, capsicum, cooked spinach, carrot and cooked salmon. Bottle of water.

Afternoon snack: Whole banana. Wholegrain muesli bar. Half bottle of water. 

Dinner:  Pumpkin, Spinach and Pine Nut Pasta. Two squares of Lindt dark chocolate with almonds for dessert. Bottle of water.

Thanks for reading! 

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Recipe of the Quarter - Creamy Green Pasta 

It is such an exciting time in our household, as my husband and I recently announced to friends and family that we are pregnant with our second child! We are beyond thrilled!! I love researching and trying out new recipes for dinner, and now that I am pregnant again it is extra important to ensure I am getting a good amount of nutrients and protein into each meal. Healthy protein is so important for the development of baby’s cells, tissues and muscles and a range of vitamins also assist in baby’s overall growth and development. This creamy pasta dish offers a range of nutrients, and is one of my new favourites. 

Creamy Green Pasta 

Ingredients: 

  • 250g-350g buckwheat or spelt pasta

  • 1 punnet organic mushrooms, washed well

  • 2 large handfuls washed organic baby spinach

  • 1 cup washed organic broccoli

  • 1 cup frozen peas

  • 1 bunch of organic asparagus, washed and chopped

  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese

  • 1 cup vegetable broth

  • 1 cup non-dairy milk of choice

  • 1 clove minced garlic

  • Pinch of salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil

  • Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon

Method:  

  • Add vegetable broth, non-dairy milk and pinch of salt to saucepan and bring to boil

  • Boil pasta in saucepan according to packet directions

  • Meanwhile, heat 1/2 teaspoon olive oil in large fry pan. Add garlic, frozen peas, mushrooms, asparagus and broccoli and stir until cooked (you can par-boil broccoli and frozen peas beforehand if you prefer)

  • Add cooked pasta to pan

  • At the last minute add baby spinach to pan and remove from heat, stir to combine ingredients

  • Add parmasen, lemon juice to taste, serve and enjoy.

Bon Appetit!  

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