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Pre & Postpartum breathing techniques

1:49 pm|

The best way to assist healing and growth of the body is to bring our nervous system into a state of rest, where the body feels safe to release the appropriate hormones create surplus energy for mumma as well as the bub/s. Practice breathing low and slow, regularly, when you are feeling rushed, anxious or both. Start by giving yourself 3-5 minutes upon waking and the same in the evening before bed to connect to the breath and draw it in very slowly through the nose and channel the breath to the belly, this will also feed blood and nutrients to the belly which will assist in the healing and detoxification post birth. Words: Nic Laidlaw from @balancedstudio

My non-toxic baby guide to disposable nappies: How do your nappies rate?

8:53 pm|

Emily is a mother to baby Isabella, who is beginning a journey to find non-toxic baby products in a world full of disappointingly unsafe chemical filled ones. We’ve re-posted her article on disposable nappies:

I’ve been meaning to look into nappies for as long as my blog has existed. There have however been a few things that stopped me from getting to it so quickly- firstly, nappies don’t have an ingredients list on them and so it is much more time consuming and difficult to investigate and assess their toxicity status. Secondly, I was petrified of what I was going to find – and rightly so… I had an idea that some were bleached with chlorine which is definitely not good, but I had no clue that it’s common for a nappy to be fragranced or have a lotion impregnated top sheet (think endocrine disrupting phthalates) and that some are even held together with glues containing formaldehyde!

I wish I could say that Isabella has been in cloth nappies from the get go, but to be honest, we struggle keeping on top of our washing in our house as is! I wish I could say that Isabella has been in eco nappies for all her life… again, it’s not the truth. I was so scared of her nappies leaking, being wet and causing nappy rash that she was in Huggies for much, much longer than I care to admit! Early on, before I started investigating chemicals in baby products and before this blog was even thought of, I did an absorbency test with a glass of water, a Huggies and an Aldi nappy. I was purely just interested in which absorbed the water best and stayed drier. The Huggies nappy won hands down (the Aldi one when squeezed, released a little puddle of water into the nappy again!) After that, I wrongly just assumed Huggies must be the best out there!

I then started this blog and investigated the chemicals in all sorts of baby products, never venturing into nappies because of the fear of finding out what truths might lie there. I’m all for easy substitutes when there is a safe, non-toxic alternative which performs as well. I just wrongly believed nappies were different and the eco nappies weren’t up to scratch – and some aren’t! But there are some awesome choices too!

I feel like at the moment, I’m in the best position I’ve ever been to test nappies. (READ: Over Christmas, Isabella got gastro for 10 days and so I started breastfeeding her day and night. Now, she breastfeeds almost continually each night and I haven’t got around to night weaning her again. – we previously used the Jay Gordon method successfully if anyone’s interested, though it’s never easy and you have to be really ready to do it.) Anyway, at the moment, I have a super hydrated baby who feeds all night and is in the same nappy from 7pm- 7am. Those morning nappies are HEAVY and we’ve had our fair share of leaks I navigate the brands!!s a!

Absorbency in a nappy is important to all of us and so I have carried out an at home absorbency test on a whole range of nappies (the results and photos are below!). I would never go back to a mainstream supermarket nappy now and am kicking myself a bit for not having investigated nappies earlier. We’re all on a journey and sometimes we just have to go at our own pace. I wish I’d been able to get to this point earlier, but it’s important to not beat yourself up and to use that energy to promote action instead. I’ve since found some truly awesome nappies and would NEVER go back to the others now I know more.

How is a nappy structured?
The ingredients of what makes up a nappy varies dramatically between brands, however the essential structure is the same.

A nappy consists of an absorbent core sandwiched between two layers. The inner layer sits right against the baby’s skin and is designed to be soft and to stay relatively dry and the outer layer is waterproof to prevent leaking. The absorbent core is designed to pull moisture in and keep it away from the baby. It is made up of a fluff material (wood pulp, bamboo etc.) and also chemical crystals called SAP (Super Absorbent Polymer). The fluff material distributes the liquid and the SAP absorbs it and locks it away from being squeezed back onto baby.

SAP: is in the absorbent core of every single nappy I have come across. The reason why SAP is used is because it has an amazing ability to absorb liquid- it can suck up 300 x its weight in water. Research is being done to create a plant based SAP, but for now unfortunately it’s all petroleum derived. It has never been proved in studies to be toxic or harmful to humans – whether this is just because there have not been enough studies done on it as it has only been used in nappies since the 80’s, I am not sure. SAP was linked with Toxic Shock Sydrome when it was used in tampons, though this is because of bacterial build up when left for hours rather than actually the SAP ingredient causing it.

Disposable nappies; what to look for when choosing:
Non-toxic ingredients.
Chlorine Free: Chlorine is often used to bleach the paper liners and wood pulp in nappies. This process can leave traces of a toxic chemical called Dioxin in the nappy as well as releasing it into the environment during the bleaching process in manufacturing. Dioxins are carcinogens and are linked to many health problems. There are lots of chlorine free nappies available, so it’s just not worth going there – for your baby’s health or the environment.
Fragrance free: Fragrances are frequently used in nappies to block odour. They often have endocrine disrupting phthalates in them which are linked to a whole host of negative health effects. These are

Top Tips For A Non-Toxic Summer

9:41 pm|

Summer is upon us…warm days, beach expeditions, swimming pools, bright, hot sun, long evenings – and mosquitoes! I absolutely adore this time of the year and now that Isabella is a full-blown walking toddler rather than a baby, there are so many activities we can do. It’s just so much fun. Last year, Isabella was under 3 months old and so we were pretty much limited to sitting in the shade by the water etc. which was indeed exquisite in itself. Though in that bubble, I hadn’t really had to research much about summer-specific products because we couldn’t participate in many activities.

This time around, I’ve had a very steep learning curve trying to find non-toxic products – sunscreen, insect repellents, swimming aids and paddling pools are unfortunately often chock full of toxic ingredients and materials. It’s a minefield out there! I’ve been really shocked. It’s taken me weeks and weeks to find the best, safest and most effective products on the market.

Sunscreen:
This is a huge but important topic and one which there is very little general understanding about…I had no idea myself about how SPF ratings were assigned and how sunscreens actually worked!

There are two types of UV radiation from the sun that we want to avoid:

UVA radiation which causes skin cancer, lowering of the immune system and accelerated skin ageing.
UVB radiation which causes sunburns.
SPF Ratings:
SPF ratings only tell us about how effective a sunscreen protects against UVB radiation and not UVA…Somehow as long as we don’t look burnt, it doesn’t matter about getting skin cancer to the ratings agency! So it’s definitely important not to fall into the trap of thinking that just because your sunscreen is SPF 50, that you don’t need to reapply it regularly to you and your child.

How do sunscreens work?
There are two different types of sunscreens; ones that use chemicals to absorb the UV radiation and ones that use an ingredient to physically block the UV and scatter it.

Chemical absorbers tend to be chock full of endocrine disrupting chemicals and should definitely be avoided – not just for your baby, but also for the rest of the family too. They tend to just block UVB radiation and are pretty light on with the amount of protection they give for UVA.
Physical blockers such as zinc oxide give a much better protection from both UVA and UVB radiation.
Disappointingly, I have found that even the sunscreens which have a physical absorber in them, such as zinc oxide,  often contain additional ingredients in them which are definitely not suitable for young children. ‘Broad Spectrum’ are the words to look for to make sure the sunscreen protects against UVA as well.

 

Here are my top tips to help you avoid the surprisingly toxic nasties lurking in summertime children’s products, so that you can make safe choices for your children and families.

Insect Repellents:
I literally spent weeks researching insect repellents. It’s one of those products, like sunscreens, where not only do you need to have a safe, non-toxic ingredients list because you are rubbing the contents all over your biggest organ, your skin, but you actually need something which performs a function effectively as well, in this case repelling mosquitoes. Depending on the area where you live or where you travel to, a repellent’s effectiveness can be absolutely essential if for example, there is a risk of catching Malaria or Zika.

No repellent is 100% effective and all repellents have pros and cons. Ultimately, you are trying to choose a product which repels insects and yet is mild enough to rub over a large surface of your child’s skin. It’s a pretty tough ask to find something that ticks both those boxes! There are however products out there which are much safer than others and are still effective.

In my perfect world, I was going to find a mixed essential oil solution which was super natural and effective – I was however in dreamland! Essential oil blends are often in much higher concentrations than they would normally be in a personal care product and so allergies can be serious. There is also very little testing that has ever been done about the effectiveness of essential oils in repelling mosquitoes…Definitely not something you want to rely on if you’re heading to a Malaria area… or even Queensland with Ross River Fever around! It’s not to say essential oils aren’t effective, but different species of mosquitoes respond differently to different products. I’m just letting you know that unfortunately we can’t just trust the first product with a great ingredients list that we come across.

Luckily, I did find a natural, low toxicity, really effective insect repellent which could be used on children in a high risk area. I also found some beautiful non-toxic products which can be used on babies from 6 months in areas without disease risk. They do exist – phew!

Pool Inflatables:
It’s time for Isabella to learn to swim. She is absolutely fearless about most things and water is no exception. She does however have a body with a very dense constitution and like her dad, seems like she’d sink rather than float unless she puts some effort into it. Given that we live in Australia by the beach and are never far from a pool, it makes me very determined to get her water confident and swimming as early as possible.

For Christmas I wanted to get her some floating arm bands or a ring for swimming to give her more independence and also a paddling pool. Again, I was shocked to find a lack of safe alternatives.

PVC is everywhere when it comes to learn to swim aids – and inflatables in general. To make PVC flexible and bendy (like pool inflatables), hormone disrupting phthalates are used and can actually make up 30% of its weight! Phthalates are therefore in anything where flexible PVC is present. They are entangled within a plastic rather than bonded, so they can leach out easily when exposed to heat or solvents. Just think…an inflatable pool toy sitting out in the

The Non-Toxic Christmas Toy Guide

10:53 am|

Christmas is almost here…wow! This year has sure sped by! It feels like yesterday that it was last Christmas and I had a 4 month old who had just started to hold, chew and play with toys. Now I have a 14 month old who is tearing about, shape sorting, pulling things along behind and wanting toys to cuddle. The exponential development in the initial years is just incredible! It seems Isabella learns to do a new thing every single day.

Toys have been a huge source of enjoyment for Isabella this year. At certain periods of time, some toys have been incredible and taught her so much and then as she learns new skills, she has moved onto new favourites. Luckily I can buy toys a bit ahead of where she is at, and she can enjoy them in whatever capacity she can now, and I know that as she gets older, she’ll still be able to play with them. But in the first year, I found that I definitely had to buy baby toys as well as toddler toys…which has meant that I’ve done my fair share of toy shopping!

Unfortunately, I didn’t know about what made a safe toy and what didn’t in Isabella’s first months. As I gained knowledge, I found myself playing reverse-Santa and taking all baby Isabella’s toys away as most had potentially harmful chemicals in them called endocrine disruptors!  These chemicals are BPA and phthalates – BPA has been strongly linked to breast cancer and phthalates are linked to asthma, low sperm count and undescended testes amongst other disorders.

Having taken all of Isabella’s toys away once before, I’m very careful when it comes to new purchases. Even as Isabella gets older, still so much goes in her mouth and she could also breathe in fumes from paints/glues and flame retardants in foam. To be honest, now that I’m in the swing of it and have found where to shop, it’s become easy and enjoyable. By buying great products, not only is it better for my baby, but it’s better for the environment too.

When choosing safe toys for Isabella, I’m looking for them to be
made from the following:
Natural rubber:
I’m in love with natural rubber almost as much as Isabella is. I love how it doesn’t leach chemicals and she loves the soft, grippy, squeaky, rubbery feel. Such a winner.

Organic natural fibres:
Unfortunately we don’t know which textiles contain chemicals and which don’t unless we buy organic natural fibres. For dolls and teethers, organic cotton/hemp is a beautiful, safe option.

Silicone:
A great, safe material for teethers and toys.

Safe plastic:
No BPA, phthalates, lead or PVC. These can be plastics 2, 4 and 5 and also ABS plastic.

Wood:
Maple, walnut, poplar, ash, beech and birch can all create gorgeous, safe toys. Some woods naturally contain harmful toxins, so just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s always safe!

Bath Toys: 

With bath toys, not only is material important, but it’s also crucial for safety that the toy doesn’t have any holes in it which squirt water or make the toy squeak. These create a hidden mould trap which is impossible to dry out.
Here are our favourite non-toxic toys at home which have been favourites when Isabella was a baby, as well as the ones we currently use and ones that are on the way for Christmas (shhh!) – as well as what is on the wish list from family!

 

Guest Post from: My Non-Toxic Baby, Emily is a mother to baby Isabella, who is beginning a journey to find non-toxic baby products in a world full of disappointingly unsafe chemical filled ones. You can read more of Emily’s wonderful posts at http://www.mynontoxicbaby.com.au/

Do you feel selfish for taking care of your needs?

1:15 pm|

WHEN WE NEGLECT OUR NEEDS, WE ARE FAR MORE LIKELY TO OVERINDULGE IN SOME WAY.
We might binge eat at night because we have been restricting food all day.

We might go on a shopping spree and get into debt because we told ourselves we’re not allowed to have nice things.

We might become power-hungry because we never gave ourselves the love and attention we deserved.

Our needs find a way to get met somehow, consciously or unconsciously. We may as well give ourselves what we want so we don’t sabotage ourselves later on.
AND THE TRUTH IS, WE DON’T NEED THAT MUCH.

When I first started listening to my body and eating only when I was hungry, I realized how little I actually needed to eat, which made me see how little I actually need to buy, which made me see how little I actually needed to earn, which finally allowed my nervous system to rest after years of adrenal fatigue.

We don’t need very much. But we don’t know what we need unless we pay attention to ourselves. It is not selfish to pay attention to yourself to discover what you need, as this is an essential step to taking your power back from the illusion that overindulgence is natural.
IMAGINE THE POSITIVE IMPACT WE WOULD HAVE ON THE WORLD IF WE STARTED BUYING AND EATING WHAT WE NEED, NOT WHAT WE ARE TOLD WE NEED.

Imagine how less waste we would produce, how many resources we would save, how many weight- and stress-related ailments we would avoid.

It is not selfish to discover and tend to what you need. It may be what is most needed now to heal the wellbeing of all life on the planet.

Many of us were raised with the instruction to finish our food because people are starving elsewhere. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we ate less so there were more resources available to others? Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could somehow create a world where we are not stuffing ourselves to bridge an economic disparity, but rather we are reclaiming our power as conscious consumers and taking responsibility for our global community?

Taking care of yourself, learning about yourself, understanding what you need, and tending to your own inner garden makes you fit to help others. It allows you to tap into your heart and discover your gifts. It allows whatever you contribute to be an overflowing from within.

And you’re far less likely to overindulge.

Many of us are so abundantly comfortable and blessed, and we have so much to be grateful for. This is no reason for self-denial. This is no reason for self-hatred, guilt, or feeling unworthy. We are allowed to feel good, to receive the gifts Life has to offer, and to let the glowing light within our hearts to be nurtured. In this way, our light gets brighter and we inspire others to kindle their own.

“Don’t be discouraged by your incapacity to dispel darkness from the world. Light your candle and step forward.” – Amma

Our guest writer is Allison Dryja.

Allison is an international Embodiment Counselor who empowers women by helping them love and listen to their bodies. You can download a free copy of her Emotional Eating Survival Guide here.

Allison works with women who are ready to eat with self-kindness, embrace their femininity, access their intuition, and rekindle a loving relationship with their body. Allison teaches yoga internationally, offers intuitive tarot readings, and holds sacred space in ceremonies, rituals, and retreats around the world

WHAT TO DO NOW SO YOUR BABY CONFIDES IN YOU AS A FUTURE TEENAGER

12:35 pm|

Last week my teenage son came to me with a personal problem that had been worrying him.

The topic was embarrassing for him. Yes. It would have taken a lot of guts for any guy to talk about it. And yet, he did. To me. His mum.

He trusted. Me.

He knew I wouldn’t judge him. That he’d get honest answers. That I’d go out of my way to do whatever I could to help him heal/ sort out/ come to some resolution.

This sharing was familiar territory. We’d practiced over the years sharing some of the hard stuff. In fact it started right back when he was a baby.

I was stressed with a lot of things going on personally. It was a chaotic time.

And yet I knew I wanted my beautiful baby to feel connected and close to me.

It was a priority.

I saw him as a complete human being in a little body. Fully aware and yet in a body that’s very immature and not able to communicate easily yet.
I treated him with this respect. I listened and responded. I had him close to me. I delighted in him. Together we navigated how he wanted to be in the world. Lots of experimentation. Me listening and learning as best as I could. Both of us getting frustrated. Me stuffing up.  Apologising. Reconnecting. Him learning to trust me.

Over the years we built on this. Sometimes going forwards. Sometimes backwards. Yet I never gave up. I would find a way to work through problems. To reconnect with love and fun. To repair the ruptures.

Are you worried about how YOUR baby will turn out as a teenager? Are you scared that you might stuff up now and never be able to repair the damage?

Do you crave to have a relationship that is full of deep respect and love? An ongoing connection that brings the deepest joy and fulfilment?

What you do NOW really matters. You can set up this beautiful trusting relationship right from the start. In fact you’re already doing it.

I’m here to remind you to keep doing it. And HOW to keep doing it.

Its all about relationship. Keep the focus here.
The latest neuroscience tells us that the way we respond to our baby & young child literally wires their brain. Yes. Neurological pathways are formed through the experience of your responsive connection. The way you are with her…. Is how she understands the world + how she learns to communicate.

An example is ….how you respond to her when she cries for help teaches her to know that asking for help is worth it. Someone will come. She is listened to. She matters.

Over the weeks and months I’m going to be including lots of info on how to have the best relationship with your baby + child. The latest cutting edge science combined with ancient and modern wisdom.

I’ll always give you action tips. Things you can do RIGHT NOW to make a difference. It’ll be simple + easy + hopefully fun and refreshing. It could make HUGE changes in your motherhood.

I know that you can have what I’ve got. A teenager who talks to you. A teenager who confides in you.  Loves, respects and admires you (even though it doesn’t always look like this!).

SO….TAKE ACTION NOW:

  • Talk out loud with her. If she is a baby and you’re not sure what she is wanting to then say this out loud to her. Tell her you’re going to take the time to experiment with different ways of being with her to see what she likes. Get used to talking honestly and authentically with her right from the start. “Hey sweetie, you seem really frustrated and upset. I’m not really sure what you need right now. Let’s do something different and see if that helps. We’ll work this out together”.
  • Stay in flow. Let go of controlling. Let your baby & child lead. When you do this with your heart wide open you’ll discover the unique qualities and needs of this beautiful person who will be spending many years in relationship with you.
  • Take time to love cuddle play and enjoy his gorgeousness. You can’t spoil him by doing this. The research tells us that a sensible responsive approach is the foundation of a close and healthy relationship. Basically…the more love + positive attention the better!
    When you look back in 13-19 years time you won’t care about how many hours your baby slept, what the house looked like or being judged about ‘spoiling your baby or child’.

No. You’ll just be so glad you took the time to get to know him. That you stopped + noticed + laughed + connected. That you shared + acknowledged his distress as well as his joy. That you were there to soothe, reassure, to allow trust to develop.

So take action NOW and keep building a close and authentic relationship with your baby.

I have so much love + deep respect for you. Thankyou for taking the time to do your BEST as a mother. Your baby + your future together are so worth it.

Huge mother hugs,

Mama Maria xoxo

Our guest Author is Maria Golding.

Hi I’m Maria Golding, Intuitive Motherhood Mentor & Teacher. Using the latest science & body wisdom I help mothers transform their guilt and disconnection to feeling vibrantly alive & gorgeously wise in motherhood, along with the skills to help their child embody their own unique potentiality.

I’m a mother of two amazing young men, and have 30 years professional experience (in hospitals, community, schools and private practice) from pregnancy to adolescence.

What every sleep-deprived mother really needs to know

11:31 pm|

Sleep deprivation is a bitch! And if you dare complain how exhausted and crappy you are feeling, you are sure to get the same old answer: “you need to do ‘sleep training.’

You know in your heart, your baby is going through a rough patch, perhaps he’s getting molars, maybe he has food allergies, he’s in childcare all day and he needs some extra connection with you at night. You don’t want ‘advice’, at least not unhelpful advice that undermines your confidence and makes you feel as though you are depriving your child – for life! But, if you don’t want to leave your baby to cry, you are likely to be told, “you are just postponing the inevitable,” and “you are making a rod for your back.” Or, “you are depriving your baby of an important skill.” And, the ‘kicker,’ “well, you have brought this on yourself.”

Sleep is not a learned skill like riding a bike or playing a piano – it’s a neurological process influenced by many factors, for instance:

Hunger – is your baby feeding well during the day or is he distracted? Is he experiencing a growth spurt and corresponding appetite increase? Or, have you been advised to space out feeds? Consider, your baby needs a certain amount of food in a 24 hour period so if you restrict feeds during the day, he will wake more at night to get his ‘quota’.

Separation anxiety – consider playing gentle music on a low volume or safely co-sleep;

Food allergy or intolerance – do you have a family history of allergies, asthma or excema? See here for information about foods and unsettled babies.

Practicing new mobility skills in her sleep – babies process information in their light sleep. While this is an important brain process, it can affect sleep temporarily. The good news is that when she masters the new skill, your baby will sleep longer again. See here for more information about baby sleep regressions.

Teething – elevate the head of the cot – extra circulation to the head and jaws from lying flat can create pressure);

Need to suck – check your baby’s feeding history with a relevant health professional such as a lactation consultant – babies with tongue tie, for instance, may be more prone to breathing interruptions and may need to suck (breastfeed or dummy) to re-regulate breathing;

Pain – could sore ears or some acid reflux be causing wakefulness (reflux babies usually wake suddenly with a yelp as though being pricked by a pin)?

Low iron levels – for toddlers, consider a simple blood test, as insomnia can be a symptom of low iron levels.

As your baby grows and matures neurologically through the early milestones, it’s much easier to help him sleep longer, without tears for you or your little one. Meanwhile though, this can be difficult to believe when there is so much noise about what you ‘should’ be doing. So, as some comfort to you, here are some things real life sleep deprived mamas tell us they need to know (and hear) when they are feeling exhausted and questioning themselves – you might want to print this list out and hand it to friends and family so they can support you:

I need to hear that I’m not alone and I’m not doing it all wrong!

“I feel like I’m going certifiably insane. This would all be made easier if I knew I wasn’t alone. I honestly feel as though I have the most sleepless toddler in the world right now.”

We need a safe space to lament our fatigue and a kind, reassuring ear without fear of the “Well, you bought it on yourself” & “try this great sleep trainer” comments.

“I remember feeling that when my son was waking to feed constantly, that because I wouldn’t sleep train him, it somehow meant I wasn’t permitted to ‘complain’ about my exhaustion.”

Taking care of yourself is key. (I keep forgetting that)

“The better my needs are met, the better I can deal with the nights. And, when I’m having an extra hard time dealing with it, often my iron or magnesium levels are low, so that’s something to watch out for.”

infant sleep changes constantly and there is no magic solution that works every time with every baby.

“Teething was often the cause of extra-unsettled-ness for us. There was a kind of gap of better sleep between second-last and last molars that lulled us into a false sense of security. Sleep was much better after the end of the teeth.”

It does get better and the connection you will have with your child is absolutely worth it.

They say, the two greatest gifts you can give your child are ‘roots’ and ‘wings’ By showing your child you are there for her day and night, she will develop secure ‘roots.’ As she grows beyond this intense baby stage, she will develop the confidence to ‘fly’, knowing you have her back if she starts to free-fall, whatever stage she is at.

You are doing a great job, Mama!

Every mother needs to hear this, every single day. Tell a tired mother this today.

 

Guest Author Pinky McKay is an internationally certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) . For gentle baby sleep solutions, check out her book ‘Sleeping Like a Baby’ (Non Australians can buy from Amazon), and her baby sleep seminars.

3 steps to your perfect body shape

11:21 pm|

So what is the perfect body shape? The perfect body size? What is the ideal weight for my height?

 

These questions are constantly asked by many women with many of us striving desperately to achieve its (often unrealistic) answer.

 

Your ideal body shape is not defined by a desired weight or a dress size and is certainly not determined by comparing your body to someone else’s. Like the title suggests, your perfect body shape and size is specific and unique to you; it is one that is individually yours and one that illustrates your inner-self. It is neither his nor hers; it is exactly how you feel it to naturally be.

 

Your body is as unique as you are and no two bodies are the same so how can there be a perfect body shape for all women when we are all so different? And then why is it that we strive to look like somebody else (that has a completely different set of genes, body makeup, shape and composition)?

 

Why is it that we strive to achieve an image that is outside of ourselves rather than looking within to honour and respect our bodies and its version of its perfect size?

 

Who’s version of the perfect body shape have we subscribed to? When I ask this question there are very few that can say they subscribe to their own version or to their body’s version but instead have been living up to society’s version or someone else’s!

 

So where do we begin to take back our power and how exactly do you find your ‘perfect’ body shape?

 

1 – First and foremost we must acknowledge who we are today. Lumps, bumps, extra kilos and all, we must accept ourselves as we are in this very moment. If we skip the acceptance of where we are currently at, we are forever moving forward with our choices with the message that we are not good enough and will constantly be striving to achieve a goal leaving the whole of you in the wake behind with the message that you were never good enough in the first place. Instead, as we move forward with self-acceptance we are more open to learning and to discovering of what works best for us or not.

 

2 – Once we have accepted ourselves for who we are and continue to acknowledge where we are at (and let’s not forget how far we have come!) we must then learn to self-love, deeply so! Make self-love your motivation to eat well, to exercise and to take care of your body. When self-love forms the foundation of your choices, you will always make the right choices that honour and respect your body. Self-love and listening to your body will show you what to eat, what not to eat, how to exercise, how much to exercise and more.

 

3 – From self-loving choices, your body will take on its own perfect shape. Not one from a magazine, not one from an advertisement, nor one that is unachievable but rather one that illustrates your essence, reflects your love-filled choices and one that stands proud for who she is and the abundance of self-acceptance and self-love that emanates her being. Let alone the plentiful energy and self-confidence you gain!

 

When we learn to stop looking outside of ourselves for the perfect body shape and start to look within we find that our body has an amazing ability to provide all of the answers we need. In fact, as I like to say, the body has  an inner-knowing or wisdom of what exactly it needs to live, love and nourish.

 

Through honouring and respecting our body do we find true self-love and ultimately our ‘perfect’ body shape. 

 

As women (and men too) we have a natural beauty that lies forever within and it is about finding that inner-spark to reconnect to and let it shine for the world to see! And as it shines and we live in respect to our bodies we open an often untouched path to allow our body to adapt and take on its ‘perfect’ shape and no one else’s.

 

May you walk confidently in your body for it is one of a kind and illustrates your essence so that our world may be filled with our many expressions.

 

And finally, learn to love who you are and the body you are in. Learn to never self-criticize but instead self- love. Don’t shy away from your inner-beauty. Give yourself permission to feel your beauty, for you are beauty-full.

Guest Author, Casey-Lee Lyons is a qualified Nutritionist and Naturopath, whole foods recipe developer, health and nutrition representative and wellness writer. With over 12 years experience in the health, fitness and wellness industries Casey-Lee is most passionate about inspiring others to feel their healthiest and best self.

Every breastfeed is a success

11:02 pm|

“I popped into the doctors’ to have my toddlers cough checked,” says Kate, mother of a just turned two year old. “I mentioned to the GP that I was still breastfeeding and was completely speechless when she told me, “you know there is no goodness in your milk after three months.”

On the other hand, there are mothers like Emma who are completely devastated when weaning happens early because of medical issues. Emma says, “I tried and tried to breastfeed for three months but I battled low supply and ended up with postnatal depression.  During this time, I was topping my baby up with formula and everyone kept telling me that the formula meant he wouldn’t be getting any protection from the breast milk, so it wasn’t worth stressing myself.”

Actually, however long you breastfeed or how much breast-milk you are able to give your baby, this magic potion made by mums is like medicine. It helps protect your baby against nasty bugs from coughs and colds to tummy bugs: breast milk is like a daily vaccination against every bug your baby comes in contact with: it is a living fluid containing healthy bacteria, antibodies, white blood cells, antimicrobials and cell wall protectors and proteins that offer protection against bacteria and viruses. If you catch a bug, specialised white blood cells will appear in your breast milk to protect your baby. Conversely, if your baby becomes sick, the transfer of germs from baby to your breast will trigger the production of specific antibodies. These antibodies will be deposited into your milk to boost your baby’s immunity and help her fight off illness.

And, it’s not just the milk your baby drinks that can boost her health and make her feel better – mothers the world over have used breast-milk as a cure-all for minor aches and pains:  with a few squirts, you can soothe rashes and itchy bites, relieve sunburn, unblock snotty noses and fix conjunctivitis. Some health practitioners even advise treating ear infections with a few squirts of breast milk every hour or two.

Some of the most recent research about human milk affirms that using breast-milk to fix these common ailments isn’t just the basis of old wives’ tales.  Studies into the antibacterial agents of mother’s milk reveal that breast milk has the ability to kill tumour cells and bacteria.   Your magic mother’s milk can kill 40 different types of cancer cells and has been shown to help reverse antibiotic resistance.  It’s all about a protein  in breast milk, ‘Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made Lethal to Tumor cells’ (known as HAMLET).

According to researchers at the University of Buffalo HAMLET can help treat people with those nasty superbugs that cause pneumonia, MRSA, and staph infections and when HAMLET was recently tested on patients who had bladder cancer, after each treatment, the patients’ urine was tested to reveal that the dead cancer cells were excreted. HAMLET did not affect healthy cells.

Contrary to advice such as that offered by Kate’s doctor, as long as you are breastfeeding, your milk is providing your child with essential proteins, nutrients antibodies and other protective substances and will continue to do so for as long as you continue nursing. In fact, some immune factors actually become more concentrated during the second year of life – right when your baby becomes mobile enough to play with other children and is exposed to a greater array of bugs!

If you, like Emma, find yourself confronted with challenges that may mean you breastfed for a shorter time, it may help to think of breast milk as medicine. Every drop is protection for your baby’s health.   In fact, according to a brand new breastfeeding report by Save the Children, “Super Food for Babies,” 830,000 babies’ lives can be saved worldwide if they are breastfed within the critical first hour after birth.”

Perhaps, instead of judging  yourself or allowing others to judge you around the length of time you breastfeed, snuggle your precious baby against your bare skin, nuzzle into that soft downy head, breathe in  and remember, ‘every breastfeed is a success.’

Breastfeeding gives your baby and you:

The first hour:–baby receives colostrum, the most effective and potent immune system-boosting on the planet. This first feed stabilises baby’s blood sugar and protects his gut.

The first day : the slightly laxative effects of colostrum encourage your baby’s first bowel motion; helps seal his gut against foreign proteins (gut closure); boosts your baby’s immune system and helps your uterus to contract, reducing bleeding and aiding recovery after birth.

The fourth day: you have now given your baby his first “immunisation” (antibody-rich colostrum), and helped to get his digestive system running smoothly. Your creamy transitional milk contains high levels of fat, lactose, vitamins and more calories than the colostrum.

The first month: your baby is receiving perfect nutrition and immunity and because mother’s milk is so easy to digest, breastfeeding means he won’t be uncomfortable due to constipation. By exclusively breastfeeding for at least 1 month you have given your baby significant protection against food allergy at 3 years of age.

Six weeks: you have eased your baby through the most critical part of his infancy –new-borns who are not breastfed are much more likely to get sick or be hospitalized, and have more digestive problems than breastfed babies.  Breastfeeding for 6 weeks means that your child now has less risk of chest infections up to 7 years old.

Two months: Your child now has a lower risk of food allergy at 3 years old and, if you immunise your baby, breastfeeding boosts your baby’s antibody response to immunisations, strengthening the effectiveness of the vaccine. Nursing during injections will also offer comfort and pain relief.

Three months: Now, you have given your baby a 27 percent reduction in the risk of asthma if you have no family history of asthma and a 40 percent reduction if you have a family history of asthma. You have also given your baby between a 19 and 27 percent reduction in incidence of childhood Type 1 Diabetes.

Four months: exclusively breastfeeding for

Detox your fears for an easier birth

10:27 pm|

Spring is classically the time to detox your life. I really believe toxins are to the body what fears are to a pregnant mind. You may not be aware of them or their effects, but left to breed and run rampant, they can cause problems in the long run.

Mental pollution comes in many forms. Hollywood images, the media or our collective emergency mindset that has turned a natural miracle into a medical event in our own minds and then makes that come true.

Stop feeding the fears. Turn off the box, put away the bad news, and please I beg you, stop listening to horror stories!!

 

Ask politely, is it a positive story? Let them know, “Shhhh…baby is listening!” Perhaps you can agree to swap notes after the birth so they don’t impact on your experience.

You are the protector of your mental space and baby’s home. Nobody has the right to disturb your peace of mind. This is where motherhood begins.

Research shows labour is not just a mechanical process but an intricate interplay between mind and body. A hormonal orchestra that is easily disturbed. By what, you may ask? By your own mind and emotions.

This is where other mammals have the advantage. They just rely on instincts and don’t let their heads get in the way. Fortunately for them, they don’t read newspapers and so they don’t know they should be afraid. It turns out being primitive serves us better than being sophisticated.

Want a pain free birth? A fascinating theory I talk about in my new book { A Modern Woman’s Guide to a Natural Empowering Birth} is Dr Read’s Fear-Tension- Pain Syndrome. Dr Read says, “pain in an otherwise uncomplicated labour arises from the sympathetic nervous system fuelled by the emotion of fear.” By removing fear, tension is reduced and pain is eliminated or minimised. Put simply, cure the fear and pain is taken care of.

Do you hold the belief that contractions equal pain? If so, you will make that a self fulfilling prophecy.

Give it a different name.  I never used the word contractions, nor pain. All I spoke of were waves and intense pressure and therefore that is all I had during my birthing experiences.

Learn the art of total body relaxation. Get yourself to such a state of inner calm that you no longer hold any fears regarding your birth and are only filled with anticipation of meeting your baby and becoming a mother.

Affirmation of the day:  “I am EXCITED about birthing my baby.” Your mind is the most powerful ally you have – USE it!

Guest Author, Katrina Zaslavsky’s book is about “A Modern Woman’s Guide to A Natural Empowering Birth”
Empowering Birth Book: Birthing Bliss Begins with Overcoming Your Fears

Further reading can be found here.

“When birth is no longer feared, numbed or endured it has the opportunity to become one of the most powerful, positive and transformative things a woman will ever experience in her lifetime.”~Katrina Zaslavsky (Birth Goddess)