When you are pregnant your body goes through so many changes as your baby grows. Once you have delivered your baby, whether naturally or via a C-section, your body undergoes further changes. Knowing what changes, you can expect helps to know what is normal and when you need to be concerned. If you give birth naturally, you may experience some perineum soreness. The perineum is the area between your vagina and rectum, it is the part that stretches during labor and in extreme cases it can tear. If you are experiencing pain in this area try the following to ease the pain. Use an ice pack on your perineum. Soak in a warm bath. If the pain is bad, you could ask your DR for some pain medication Regardless of how you gave birth, cramps are normal after delivery. This is your uterus shrinking back to its regular size and it can be painful. It should only last a few days, if you are experiencing cramping for longer than that then contact your health care provider. You will bleed for a while after the birth of your baby. This is your bodies way of getting rid of the blood and tissue that was inside your uterus. The flow will initially be heavy, but it does ease after a few weeks. Your breasts swell as your milk comes in and could be uncomfortable until your baby starts feeding. Make sure you get your midwife or the nurses to help you latch your baby correctly. If your baby isn’t latched properly it can lead to cracked and sore nipples and even engorgement which can be painful. Watch you for hemorrhoids. These are common in pregnant women and can get worse after the birth of your baby. A few tips to help manage hemorrhoids Get an over the counter cream to help relieve the pain. Increase your intake of foods high in fiber. Make sure you are drinking enough water. After delivery you may suffer from constipation. This is common but is also very uncomfortable. Your healthcare provider should be able to recommend medicine for you to take to help with the pain. It is important to focus on allowing your body to recover after the delivery of your baby. Rest as much as you can and make sure you are eating and drinking enough.
The school year starts in January in south Africa which means there are lots of babies, toddlers and kids getting ready to start school for the first time. Adjusting to the new routine is going to take time, regardless of how old your child is. It is possible to make the transition easier for your children Prep your children, even your little ones. Don’t underestimate your children, start talking to them about their new school and new routine. Explain to them what is going to happen, who will be dropping them, fetching them etc. This allows older children to ask questions and feel more secure about what is happening. Start adjusting your routine before school starts. Don’t let the morning school starts be the first morning you try get everyone ready and out the door on time. Start getting up earlier if you need to, pack bags/lunches and slowly adjust their wake-up times if necessary. Make sure the kids are getting enough sleep. If your toddler is starting school, make sure they get to bed early, so they can get enough sleep. This will make the mornings easier if you toddler wakes up without being woken up. Get up before everyone else. Waking up an hour before everyone else can make a huge difference. It allows you to get ready but also gives you some quiet time. If you are ready before your children, then you can focus on them without the distraction of also trying to get ready. Do what you can the night before. Pack bags and lunch boxes the night before. Get out clothes for everyone. You can even prep breakfast depending on what your family eats. Meals like overnight oats or muffins work well. Don’t switch the TV on. Limit distractions in general until everyone is ready to leave the house. It might seem like putting the TV will help you get things done but it will be harder to get kids to focus on eating or getting dressed if they are watching TV or playing on their tablets. Most importantly give yourself and your children time to adjust.
Returning to work after maternity leave does not mean you have to stop breastfeeding. It is possible to continue feeding your baby while you are at work. As your baby gets older their feeds get less which does make the transition a little bit easier. It does require some planning, but you can successfully breastfeed and still work away from home. What are you going to need? A good breast pumps. Electrical breast pumps are quicker than their manual counter parts, but they do require access to a power point. If you don’t have this at your office, consider a manual pump for they office. Storage containers. If you start pumping regularly you will start building up a supply that you can freeze. There are a few brands who have containers specifically for this or alternatively you can use ice cube trays or small Tupperware’s. Set up schedule Feed before you leave. Get your baby to nurse before you leave for the office, even if it means that you must feed them while they are half asleep. Pump at work. If possible, try to keep to your babies normal feeding schedule. This will help you build up a supply of milk and stimulate your milk production. Don’t let your breasts become too full. This will not only be painful but could lead to mastitis and other complications. Nurse when you get home. As soon as you get home nurse again. Co-ordinate with your child care provider so they can try as far as possible to co-ordinate feeds to coincide with when you get home. Build up a supply before you go back. Start building up a supply of breastmilk before you go to back to work. This will take the stress of from you if you aren’t able to pump regularly at work or while you get back into the routine. Remember Keep up the healthy diet. If your days are busy, make sure you have a good breakfast and pack some snacks for during the day. Smoothies are great ways to get in the nutrients you need quickly. Drink lots of water. Give your baby extra cuddles. The transition can be hard for both of you, allow time to adjust for both of you. We would love to hear if you have any other tips to add?
The festive season is all about family and friend get togethers. Aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents are all in one place for celebrations. It is a wonderful time of the year but it can also be stressful if you have a newborn baby. Dealing with lots of excited family all sharing tips, ideas and advice can be very overwhelming for a new parent. What do you do though? You can’t just skip Christmas completely, can you? If that is what ends up being best for your family, then it may be something to consider. Remember that you and your new baby are your priority and you need to do what works for you. If you do end up in a large family gathering try these tips to cope. Don’t be afraid to take a time out. If it is nap time, remove yourself and your baby to a quiet room and let them nap. If you need to nap, nap with your baby. Even if it isn’t nap time and you need a break, go for a walk or a drive. Smile and wave, just smile and wave. Everyone and their uncle is going to have something to say when your baby cries. They will suggest you do this, that and the next thing. Smile and wave! You don’t have to take everything everyone says to heart. You know your baby, you know if they are crying because they are hungry/tired or just feel like having a moan. Everyone is going to want to hold your baby. Limit the time your little one is passed around. It can be overwhelming for them as well. When they are awake and happy is a good time for cuddles but as nap/feeding time approaches limit the amount of people who hold your baby. It is ok to say no. Enjoy the help! If granny wants to help with feeding or nap time or just taking baby for a walk, accept the help. It means you can have a break and enjoy the celebrations a little as well. Set YOUR boundaries. Don’t be afraid to make your boundaries clear to your family and friends. Let them know you appreciate their input but you have decided to do it your way. Finally, try to not sweat the small stuff. Try not to get too caught up in controlling everything and enjoy the time with your family.
The key to a successful road tripping experience is preparation. If you are prepared, the trip will be a lot easier. Little ones need snacks more often than adults do and a hungry toddler is not a happy toddler. It can be tempting to pack sweets and other treat type snacks, but these are not always the best option. We have put together a list of snacks that are healthy and that your toddler will enjoy. Dry wors – this is such a great South African snack. It is high protein so fills them up nicely. It also helps ease itchy gums if you have a teething toddler. Cheese – you can cut up cheddar cheese into little sticks or you can by the pre-packed triangles of cheese. Mini Muffins – preferably homemade muffins that don’t have too much sugar in them. Pack a mix of sweet and savoury ones Cookies Smoothies in a pouch – you get a nice selection of both sweet and savoury flavours of smoothies in pouches. You can freeze the sweet ones and then your little one can enjoy a slushie as it starts melting. Dried fruit and nuts Raw veggies – this is another snack that is not only healthy but can help your teething baby. Cut up some carrots, peppers, cucumbers and beans. Mini rice cakes Avoid giving your child too many sugary snacks while you are stuck inside a car or even an airplane. Keep the treats for when you reach your destination or are about to make a stop. If you have more than one child, pack each one their own little snack pack, it will prevent fighting over snacks and it adds to the excitement of the trip. What are some snacks that you pack when you are travelling? If you found this post useful, please share with your friends. You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram or visit our online store and browse our toys and products for moms and babies.
Who else is a little nervous about the upcoming holidays? Six weeks of no school means six weeks of trying to keep kids busy. Water. If you aren’t on strict water restrictions, put your sprinkler on and let your kids run around in the water. You can also put a little bit of water in a tupperware or a bucket and let your little one play with it. Water provides hours of fun for toddlers and babies. Building blocks. There is so much you can do with a good quality set of building blocks. If you have toddlers ask them to put all the blocks of the same colour in a pile, then to separate all the different shapes. Encourage them to see how big they can build their tower. Go for walks. Get your toddler a balance bike and head out for a walk around your neighbourhood or to your park. If your baby is too small for a balance bike, pop them in your wrap or sling and go exploring. Lego. Lego is one of the best toys to keep your child occupied. They don’t have to copy the book instructions, encourage them to use their imagination to make whatever they want to. Paint a picture. Get out the paints, throw down some newspaper and let the kids go wild. If you have some old pots, get your kids to decorate them, they could even make for nice gifts for grandparents. Try not to stress about the mess, generally the messier the kids get the more fun they are having. Board Games. There are so many age appropriate board games for toddlers that parents will enjoy as well. Even the simple games like snakes and ladders can be really fun for little ones to play. You could make it fun by splitting up into teams and playing a games tournament. Do you have any games you would like to add to our list? If you found this post useful, please share with your friends. You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram or visit our online store and browse our toys and products for moms and babies.
Leaving the house with kids takes some getting used to. It is hard not to pack everything and the kitchen sink, even when you are just heading to shops for bread and milk. Packing for a few days away can seem overwhelming and the urge to just take everything with is strong but do you really need to take it all? These are our 5 top must pack items when travelling with kids. Are these in your suitcase? Baby Wrap or Sling. Babywearing makes travelling so much easier. If you are flying, wearing your baby while you navigate check ins and boarding means you have your hands free to carry bags and find important documents. It also means your baby is close to you which provides them with comfort and ultimately calms them. Toddlers don’t like to walk very far so invariable parents end up carrying them, having a sling with you makes this much easier. You can let them walk until they tire and then pop them into their sling and continue exploring your holiday destination. Thermometer. Children have this wonderful knack for spiking a fever when you least expect it (or need it). Having a reliable thermometer with you provides peace of mind and allows you to monitor your child. Remember to pack in an extra set or batteries or the charger for the thermometer. Muslin Blankets. When you are packing blankets in, pack ones your baby has already been using so they smell familiar. These Muslin blankets are great, they are large which means they can double up as a breastfeeding cover and be used as a picnic blanket. They are lightweight so perfect for the warm summer days. Sleeping sac. These come in so handy while on holiday. The holidays are all about visiting with friends and making the most of the gorgeous South African summers. This often means you are out over your child’s bedtime. Having a sleeping sac with you is more convenient than packing in extra blankets. What are some of your essential items to pack when you go on holiday? If you found this post useful, please share with your friends. You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram or visit our online store and browse our toys and products for moms and babies.
Holidays are around the corner, weeks of summer fun with family and friends. Before you had children going on holiday meant grabbing a few things, throwing them in a bag and heading out. It does become a little more complicated when children are added. There is a lot more to plan, consider and remember to pack. If you are going away for the first time with your toddler, these top tips may help make the experience easier for everyone. Make a list. Write down everything you need to pack in, trying to remember it all is doable but increases the chances of you leaving something behind. Once you have packed something in, cross it off the list. Making a list will also help with planning, you will know what you need and what you still need to buy. Pack a “spare” bag. Regardless of whether you are driving or flying to your destination pack a bag that is easily accessible that has a change of clothes, wet wipes, a spare dummy, a spare bottle and some nappies in. If you are driving make sure that this bag is somewhere that you can access it easily. Medicine is a must. Make sure you have the basic medication packed, something for nausea, diarrhea and fevers are a must. Plan to stop. This may mean your trip is a little longer than you would like it to be but regular stops can make all the difference. The stops don’t have to be long, they are a chance for toddler to run around a little bit and take a break from being cramped in their car seat. Introduce new toys. Travel is a great time to introduce new toys, or forgotten toys. These are more likely to keep their attention than toys they play with daily. Pick toys that are easy for them to play with in the car or in the confined space of an airplane. Have you traveled with your toddler before? What tips can you add? If you found this post useful, please share with your friends. You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram or visit our online store and browse our toys and products for moms and babies.
Breastfeeding is meant to be an easy and natural process. However, this is not always the case. It takes work and practice and is generally not for the faint of heart. Here are some tips to start you on your breastfeeding journey if this is what you choose. Get help early. Start researching and take a class while you are still pregnant. Habits form quickly and in the beginning you might struggle to get your baby to latch properly. You might have a fast let-down reflex, you might get clogged milk ducts, or you might even over/under-produce milk. If you can afford it, a lactation consultant will be your best investment. Be sure that you get the right latch. This is KEY. Not getting a proper latch has plenty of awful consequences like sore, damaged and cracked nipples. There is a ton of information online about how to get the correct latch, and your consultant would also be able to give you excellent guidance in this regard. Experiment with different positions. Part of getting the correct latch is experimenting with positions that make this possible. The breast crawl is excellent and intuitive for babies – they will literally latch themselves. Other positions to consider are the football hold or the cradle position. Here’s a link with more position ideas to try. Use all the props There are plenty of props on the market that can assist you on this journey. Examples of these include breast pumps, nipple shields, pillows and a good nipple cream. Again, your consultant will be able to assist you to find the correct prop for any issue that may arise on your breastfeeding journey. Expect that you may find breastfeeding a challenge. Try to stay positive and have a good attitude. Celebrate small successes. Take deep breaths. Try to relax into it. Don’t be discouraged. It takes time and it is an adjustment, but with time and practice, you will get it. If nothing helps and if you are feeling completely disillusioned, then do contact the closest La Leche League in your area for support and assistance.
Our partners often feel a bit left out when they become new parents because, there’s very little for them to do. Mom usually feeds them and all that partners can do is change a diaper or rock the baby to sleep. Some of them even find new babies intimidating. Here are some tips to help your partner get involved from the very beginning. Start by involving your partner in the pregnancy: Allow your partner to go accompany you to your antenatal appointments. Let them speak to the baby and feel kicks and movements. Allow them choices when it comes to things like choosing a cot or a pram. When the baby is born, allow them to start bonding immediately: Make plenty of provision for skin-to-skin contact, let them take the baby while you nap or eat something, let them change the baby’s diaper, let them burp the baby or simply just hold the baby. Arrange for them to have plenty of experiences with the baby. Perhaps they can deal with a fussy baby from beginning to end. Or maybe they can spend extended time alone with the baby i.e. without you, say from an afternoon to an evening. Give them specific tasks that they own: Perhaps bathing the baby every day can be their task. It’s easier for them to get their heads around “owning” an activity rather than “helping” with baby. In this way they have also have special time together and can bond. Do not micromanage: Trust your partner and allow them the space to find their way around the baby. Bear in mind that your partner’s parenting style will likely differ from yours. Give them the space they need to figure it out. Don’t be controlling about small matters. They WILL cope. When you do offer suggestions, be respectful and specific: Provide positive ideas of what they could do as opposed to what they should not do. Try not to be demanding or critical because gentle encouragement will make all the difference in the attitudes of both parties. Ask for and honour your partner’s opinion on raising the baby: Listen to their suggestions and try to understand where they are coming from. Respect and trust them in their role as parent. Remember that both of you are adjusting to a new experience. It doesn’t happen naturally for everyone and sometimes some space and gentle encouragement is needed. Do make a point to have regular alone time with your partner in order for you to discuss things that are bothering you both.