Your health and the benefits for your baby - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Pregnancy & Birth Talk>Your Growing Bump & Birth

Your health and the benefits for your baby

There is a direct link between maternal (mothers) health and the long term health of her baby. Both mothers who are obese and mothers who are severely underweight increase the risk of complications both during pregnancy as well as post birth. A mother that enters a pregnancy with chronic obesity is at a high risk of developing diabetes as well as having a baby that is extra big for his gestational age. As the study from Pittsburg university points out, the link between infant death and the mother’s weight is correlated to some degree. Other similar studies have called this the 1000 day metabolic set up. This means that in the first 1000 days of a child's life - conception to the end of the toddler years will establish a child's metabolism as well as predisposition for developing lifestyle diseases later on in life like type two diabetes, hypertension and obesity. So here are four golden rules to ensure you give your child the best start in life: 1. Prior to conception aim to reach a healthy body mass index (relationship of weight to height)! Do this by: Choosing real, unprocessed foods, lots of fresh vegetables, raw fresh seasonal fruit and nuts, and seeds. Choose high quality organic protein foods, eggs, chicken, fish and lean red meats are all good options Incorporate healthy fats like avocado, coconut fats and olive oils. Drink fresh water and herbal teas Limit sugar intake and treats to once a week. 2. Relaxation and time out. Life is so busy and fast. Take some planned time out from the rush of life. Switch off cell phones and social media. 3. Get enough sleep - aim at 7-10 hours per night. Everyone is different and has different sleep requirements, whatever yours are you will know you have had enough when you wake up feeling rested. 4. Spend time in nature and being creative. This goes a long way to a healthy and happy mind and soul. Points 3-5 are not directly nutrition related but research shows that people that have these in place tend to choose healthier, more natural foods. When we manage our stress, the body decreases the secretion of adrenalin and thus less insulin is produced which helps lower risk of metabolic syndrome (a leading cause of obesity, diabetes and infertility) To conclude, pregnancy is no longer a license to eat for two but rather an awakening of and desiring to nurture and love one’s body by choosing healthy, natural and unprocessed foods. ' Kath Megaw - paediatric dietician and co-author of Feeding Sense
Gestational diabetes - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Baby Talk>Feeding

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes affects more women than we think. The question is what can be done from a dietary perspective to assist a mom and baby with gestational diabetes? The higher the pregnant mom’s blood sugars are the greater the risk to her unborn baby. The more glucose fluctuations the greater the risk to the growing baby and the higher the insulin spikes the greater the risks. Here are some nutritional tips for an expecting mother with gestational diabetes 1. Cut ALL sugars, refined starches and white carbs out of the diet. 2. Drink only water, no fizzy drinks or fruit juices 3. Eat a range of fresh veggies, both green and orange veggies. 4. Eat only seasonal, fresh whole fruit. Avoid dried fruit, fruit juices and canned fruits. 5. Keep fruit portions to 3 per day of which berries should make up two portions. 6. Include some healthy fats at each meal and snack time. These would include tree nuts like almonds, hazelnuts and cashews. Include seeds like flaxseeds, chia seeds and sunflower seeds. Olives, olive oil, avocado and coconut fat can be included daily to add healthy and sustainable calories. 7. Protein is very important for placenta health and the growing baby as well as mom. Protein foods include eggs, all meats and fish, dairy products also include protein but make sure they are the least processed available . That means, full cream, unsweetened, no colorants or flavourants added. Yogurt, milk, butter and cream cheeses. 8. Only eat natural unprocessed grains and include a max of two portions a day. These include quinoa, oats, spelt, millet, sorghum. 9. Have three meals and two to three small snacks a day. 10. Include a protein, dairy and/or two green and one orange veggie per meal . At one meal include a grain. And distribute the three fruit portions over the day. Include a fat portion at each meal and snack. Drink lots of fresh water throughout the day! And find ways to manage your stress in a healthy way. Include some light consistent exercise as this also helps manage blood sugar and gives you a sense of well being. Kath Megaw - paediatric dietician and co-author of Feeding Sense
Support in all the right places: find the perfect nursing bra - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Pregnancy & Birth Talk>Your Growing Bump & Birth

Support in all the right places: find the perfect nursing bra

Hospital Bag Checklist - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Pregnancy & Birth Talk>Your Growing Bump & Birth

Hospital Bag Checklist

The Adjustment to Parenthood - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>Mom & Dad

The Adjustment to Parenthood

Becoming a parent, especially for the first time, is a life-changing event. Psychologists who have done research into the levels of stress attributed to various critical situations in our lives, suggest that the adjustment to the birth of a baby is not far removed from the stress attributed to death and divorce! This sounds really negative and incredibly daunting. After all, the latter two events involve traumatic loss, while birth surely involves the opposite? Upon reflection however, it becomes clear that the birth of a baby – especially the first – involves losses and inevitable changes. For most couples the confirmation of that first pregnancy is greeted with joy and celebration. Even in cases where the pregnancy may not have been planned , the news is usually accepted with positivity and acceptance. The focus is placed on the excitement of the new addition to the family and extended family become part of the anticipation and planning. Parenting books are read, ante natal classes attended, baby departments are explored and lists made of the requirements for this new little person. It is generally anticipated with joy – at times tinged with some anxiety regarding the health of the baby and the birth process. When the first scan shows the reality of the miracle which is developing in the mother’s body, the parents begin to actively bond with their baby. The emphasis is largely positive and a great deal of time and energy is put into the planning of the baby’s arrival and the hopes that the parents have for this new addition to their family. As with everything in life, there cannot be all positives. Like laws of science, you cannot have a positive without a negative. The problem for most new parents is that no-one prepares them for the inevitable negatives. When I have asked new parents, in the throes of the chaos of the first few weeks and months of their baby’s arrival, if they would have believed it if someone had mentioned that there would be negatives, they almost always say “no”! The rest of the conversation goes something like this.....” I really did think that, even though many of my friends told me that there would be terrible days, sleepless nights, hours of colic-related distress, total disorganisation etc, I just thought that it would be different for me. Further, because I have always been so organised and am so well prepared, I would sail through it. Sure – there would be challenges – but I would keep on top of it all.” The reality is that becoming a parent involves many losses – and it is o important to recognise this – and to develop realistic expectations of the road ahead. What are these losses? 1) For the mother: The loss of her pre-baby body. For many women, this comes as a shock. Many believe that, once the baby is delivered, her body will return to its pre-baby shape. For some this may be so, but for most, it takes many months to begin to fit into those pre-baby jeans and skirts. This leads to loss of self esteem, as the new mother feels increasingly unattractive and decidedly unromantic. Many new Moms also feel isolated and cut off from previous friends – especially her childless friends. Her world becomes centred around feeding, nappy changing, catching up on sleep and keeping up with chores . She loses her interest in sex- bed becomes a place for sleep only! She is just too exhausted to even think of anything else in bed. 2) For the father: He loses the partner he had pre-baby. This leads to confusion and misunderstandings. Although for many fathers, life continues much as it was – especially if he is at work all day – with adults and the usual routines, he will also be exhausted from the erratic nights and the extra demands placed on him. Often the loss of the other income ( even if only for a while) places stress on him. Many fathers have shared that they become anxious about the reality that the mother and child are so totally dependent on him at this time. Fathers have shared with me that they cannot understand the change in their partners – the transition from “lover” to “mother” seems an enormous one. While they understand the reasons, they feel cut off and confused. They also feel enormous ambivalence regarding how to get the balance between being the “hunters who bring home the bacon” and the nurturing, hands-on Dads that they hope to be. 3) For the couple: The loss of spontaneity. Pre baby it was possible to do things on the spur of the moment. To have leisurely Sunday mornings reading the papers and sipping cappuchinos. they could go out to restaurants on the spur of the moment. They now have to plan things carefully. Pack bags, bottles , prams and other baby essentials. And, even if they do get out for a meal eventually, either the baby becomes restless or they are so exhausted by the time they order the meal, that they would rather have stayed at home and gone to sleep when the baby slept!! Another issue which can cause enormous issues, is that most new parents do not have any prior communication about how they hope to parent their baby. Huge problems can emerge – as suddenly they realise that each is hoping to parent in the way they were parented. Or to parent in different ways, because of negative childhood experiences. But they did not think to address this during the months of planning for the baby’s arrival. The list of possible losses just goes on and on. But – as I said earlier, there are so many positives. And the positives will shine through – if only parents would recognise that any adjustment is challenging – and takes a great deal of effort and mature application of skills and effective strategies. To highlight the most important in my opinion: 1) Try to see the world through each other’s eyes. Try to understand how this new stage in your lives affects each of you. Show empathy towards each other. This is such a crucial factor. Many new fathers fail to show empathy towards their partners. They become judgmental when she is tired and disorganised. Impatient when she seems irrational and self centred. Her hormones have undergone huge changes- and this can lead to emotions that seem uncontrollable. Calm understanding, helping her voice the feelings which she is not expressing in an adult way – will go a long way towards helping the crisis to pass. In the same way, if the new mother tries to understand just how confusing it is for the new father, and places herself more often in his shoes, things will calm down and the relationship will be enriched. Through empathy and effective communication will come a closeness in your relationship – and this will lead to reconnecting on an intimate level. 2) Have realistic expectations – of each other, of the baby – and of this time in the development of your family. Do not try for perfection. This will lead to feelings of frustration and failure. Accept the inevitability of chaos for a while. Set very small goals initially eg to just get dressed by lunchtime! Or to make supper by 8pm! 3) Realise that, for the first few months, the baby will dictate the pace. Meeting his needs at this stage, will actually lead to the routine becoming predictable sooner. You will get your life back sooner if you accept that it will have to come second for a while. 4) Do not stop communicating with each other. As tired as you may be, try to share feelings and opinions. Listen to each other. Express negative feelings as maturely as possible. Make time to talk – even if you are exhausted and it is over a cup of hot chocolate or rooibos tea ( or a glass of wine) while the baby is sleeping – eventually. Set this as a priority. The dishes can wait and the dust on the furniture will not be held as a measure of your success in life. But your communication with the other parent will be of immense importance. I have dealt with far too many sad divorces / separations – where the source of the disconnection began with the birth of the first baby. Becoming a parent is momentous. It is life changing. But it is also the best opportunity for personal growth that I can think of. Enjoy the many, many marvellous “highs” – and balance these with the inevitable “lows”. Communicate, share, ask for help, learn and stay positive. Remember that a sense of humour is essential. Being a parent if for life – so relax and enjoy it. By Anne Cawood Anne Cawood is the author of Children need Boundaries, Toddlers need Boundaries, Children need Grandparents and Adjusting the Boundaries. For more information from Anne Cawood go to or email her at
Layette - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Pregnancy & Birth Talk>Your Growing Bump & Birth


First 24 hours - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

First 24 hours

What the first 24 hours hold with your newborn - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

What the first 24 hours hold with your newborn

Your baby’s state – The last few weeks in utero are spent in a very tight space with contained pressure from the womb walls. In addition your baby moves down a very narrow canal during birth. All this deep pressure touch is very regulating for your baby. During the birth process, your baby’s wonderful brain releases stress hormones that are important for him. The combination of the stress hormones and the deep pressure put your baby in to a very alert state for the first few hours after birth. In this alert state, your baby will make eye contact with you, look at your face intently and even mimic your mouth movements! This precious state provides a wonderful time to meet and engage with your baby. Turn down the lights so he can focus on your face Hold your baby 20cm from your face so he can focus Spend time just looking and touching and bonding with him Feeding – Within a very short time from birth your baby must be offered a feed and latch on the breast. Although you will not have milk yet, your breasts are producing a wonderful substance called colostrum. Colostrum is made during the last few weeks of pregnancy and the first week after child birth. It has three times more protein but less sugar, and less fat than mature milk. In addition this magic early milk is full of antibodies which provide your baby with immunity to fight germs and bacteria. Babies naturally latch and if left on their mother’s chest have been filmed ‘crawling’ up to the breast to latch on their own. Feeding on demand or at least four hourly (if your baby is very sleepy you may have to wake him), is vital while establishing breast milk supply. Touch - Coming from the soothing sensory space of the womb, your baby will crave your touch. Skin to skin care, which involves placing your naked baby (with only a nappy) on your naked chest, and covering you both with a blanket is a wonderful way to ease your baby from womb to world. Full term and prem babies do well with skin to skin care and your chest will act as a natural incubator to warm your baby up. Even babies delivered by caesarian section can be nurtured on mum’s chest unless they are in severe distress. Sleep – After a period of calm alert state, you and your baby will be overcome with exhaustion. You will both do well to drop off to sleep. Your baby can sleep on you or in a crib right next to your bed. Research has shown that babies who room in with their mums in the first three days, breastfeed for a longer time in the first year of life. If you are exhausted and have had a tough time and need to sleep without your baby in the same room, request he is brought to you to feed as soon as he cries. Your feelings – Your emotions are overwhelming on the first day and may vary from elation, awe and love to disinterest, feeling detached and exhaustion. All these emotions are completely healthy and normal. Do not worry if that ‘bonding’ moment does not happen for you. Many mums take weeks to connect with their babies and fall in love. Enjoy meeting your baby for the first time, cherish that newborn smell and have confidence in your ability to care for your baby. By Meg Faure
What it means to be a dad - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>Mom & Dad

What it means to be a dad

Christmas Day and birthdays used to be the ones I longed for and loved during the past 30 years. Not any more, I assure you. While they are special, the one day I cannot wait to arrive in 2010 is Father’s Day. My first as a dad. The reason? I love every second of being a parent. When my wife was pregnant, I went through every emotion there is, from excitement to fear, as I awaited the arrived of our first born. I was so excited I wrote a book about it! I was relishing fatherhood but you always hear those scare stories of when your baby arrives, things can start to crumble, get the better of you. Not a chance. Yes, there are fewer hours to lie in bed and your responsibilities change, life is different. However, it has been enhanced. At the moment, my daughter Gracie is just four months old but so much has happened, she has changed and grown so much. For me, I never wanted to miss a second. Knowing the smile you will receive when you walk into her nursery in a morning is enough to make anybody get up, no matter what the hour. Children are so innocent, so full of life and to see Gracie smiling all day every day makes me feel I must be doing something right. Knowing she is mine and seeing her develop her own personality is fantastic. Trust me, she will let us know if it has gone past 7pm. She wants to be in bed. Gracie is yet to walk or talk, crawl even. But to help a little person develop 24/7 – and see the effort pay off – is amazing. You can put a price on most things, especially material items. You can’t put a price on unconditional love. In the future, she will have dreams and goals in life that I will help her try and achieve. For now, her simply being on this planet is seeing me realise my dreams. I am sure there are downs, if you want to be picky. I suppose ‘me’ time goes out of the window as you have a responsibility on your shoulders that far outweighs your own needs. But that is what being a dad is about. Being a father is everything I hoped for – and more. I am sure there will be plenty of times I am made to think otherwise. However, that little, loving smile will soon eradicate any negative vibes. That is why I am looking forward to Father’s Day so much. Not to be pampered or receive presents. Just to be able to celebrate finally becoming a dad. There is no other feeling like it. Stevie Roden - Author of Dad’ll Do Nicely: A Father’s Pregnancy

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