Thursday, April 15, 2010

Surviving those first few weeks with your newborn

Bringing your new baby home: Five Top Tips for Survival.

Congratulations! You’ve nurtured your baby for nine months, prepared for labour and birth, and now you are ready to bring your beautiful miracle home. Those first few weeks will fly, so you will want to enjoy them as much as possible. There’s no doubt that the early days can be incredibly challenging, particularly if you are establishing breast feeding too. But there are ways that you can make the experience one to remember – for the right reasons! Your first few weeks can be the beautiful baby-moon you hoped for if you follow these tips and keep an open mind.

Great nutrition is my number one tip. It is so important, as you may experience some sleep deprivation and being as healthy as possible will help you weather the storm. If you are breastfeeding your baby it is imperative that you are getting optimum nutrition. Your baby will be depending on you for his nutritional requirements too.
So keep healthy snacks at the ready. Have nuts, seeds and dried fruits mixed up in a container. I package them up in little zip lock bags, so they are easy to grab whenever I sit down to breastfeed the little one.
Healthy muffins, cooked in large batches and frozen take very little time to defrost and can be a saviour when you’re starving. Keep in mind that you can make savoury muffins too. Experiment with adding nuts and seeds, and you’ll have a high protein healthy snack. Small yogurts, cottage cheese, cheese cubes, hummus dip and vegetable sticks all work as fabulous healthy snacks. Having them ready to go will mean that you’ll never have to reach for a candy bar or other heavily processed, unhealthy snacks. A quick smoothie made with fresh fruit, yogurt and milk (you can use rice or almond milk if you are lactose intolerant) is a great way to keep you full and hydrated. Be sure to drink plenty of water – you’ll need it.

Don’t skimp on the multivitamins and other supplements now. Fish oil is an excellent source of omega three fatty acids – essential for your baby’s brain growth, and for your health too. My midwife suggested I could take up to 10000mgs a day (that’s ten capsules!) particularly if I started to feel “blue”. She explained that recent studies suggested that fish oil worked extremely well for women with post-natal depression.
Make sure you have the freezer filled with healthy casseroles and soups ready to warm up for an easy meal.

Everyone will want to meet your new bundle of joy, so here is my second tip: limit the number of visitors you have in the first few weeks. There is truly nothing like a newborn, and yes, it is wonderful to share your joy, but having visitors can be exhausting, and the last thing you need is to add to your fatigue. Limit your first visitors to close family and friends. Great aunt Ethel, whom you see once a decade, can wait until the baby is a little older. If you feel you can’t say “no”, have someone else do it for you. They just need to say: “The new family would like to have some uninterrupted time getting to know each other, but they’d love to see you in a few weeks”.
Alternatively, set a date for your baby’s naming ceremony or christening and tell them they’ll get to meet the new baby then.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to have time to yourselves. When I had my fifth child I made it clear that our family needed time alone, and I am so glad I did. It was a magical time.

If you do have visitors, ask for help. Ask them to bring a ready cooked healthy meal or snacks. Alternatively, they can take away a basket of laundry or bring a duster to help out with the cleaning. When asked what you like as a gift, consider asking for meals, chores to be done, or paying for a cleaning service.

You will be spending a lot of time sitting with your baby, particularly if you are breastfeeding, so have an area of the living room set up for you and baby. That way you won’t feel that you are tucked away, you can still feel like you are in the land of the living, a part of what is going on in the household. Personally I found it really helped to have one area that was always tidy and ready for me and the baby. I had a comfortable arm chair, a table with a drink bottle, snacks, wet wipes, a book and the TV remote all ready for whenever I sat down. Whenever my little one went to sleep, I’d take the time to quickly tidy the area, ready for our next sitting session.

My last tip may seem obvious, but it is very important: have your partner or another trusted loved one at home for at least the first week. Having a new baby completely dependent on you can feel isolating at times, so it is good to have help at hand. Sometimes you need someone to fetch something for you, to heat up some soup, or to hold your little one while you shower. Or you might just need a hug. It is good to have someone understanding and caring with you. You should try to get as much rest as possible, so knowing you have a backup if the baby wakes before you are ready is a bonus.

Enjoy the first weeks with your newborn. Your tiny, perfect miracle will never be that small again!

An Article I wrote:Getting Pregnant after the age of forty

Getting Pregnant after Forty:

“Impossible”, I hear you say? Well, actually it isn’t. In fact many more women are embarking upon their childbirth journey after the age of forty, just as I did, giving birth to a beautiful healthy boy, at age 41 and a half.

Getting pregnant and staying pregnant after the age of forty doesn’t have to be as difficult as we are led to believe. Many women are able to get pregnant within six months of trying to conceive. For some it takes longer. It took me seven months. But there are many secrets to gaining a healthy pregnancy at any age.

We all know how important a healthy diet is at any time of our lives, but when it comes to conceiving a healthy baby, it is ALL important. As well as cutting out all junk food it is imperative to clean up your diet and exclude any chemicals and additives.

Your diet should consist of whole foods, preferable organic seasonal foods. Include plenty of fruits and vegetables, and limit your intake of processed foods, especially white carbohydrates which essentially amount to empty calories. Foods that are high in beta-carotene and antioxidants are really important for a healthy reproductive system. So look for highly coloured fruits and vegetables, especially super foods like blueberries which are very high in anti-oxidants. Other berries like goji berries are great in smoothies and will give a great anti-oxidant hit to your diet.
Go easy on fats and sugar, and stick to clean, lean meats. Fish is fantastic, but be sure to pick species that won’t be high in heavy metals – something you want to avoid when you are trying to conceive. Small deep ocean fish are your best bet such as wild salmon, trout, sardines, herring, John Dory, monkfish and halibut.
You will need to avoid trans fat, so stay away from fast food, processed snack foods and anything deep fried. It is important to consume healthy oils like olive oil, rice bran oil and coconut oil. Preferably cold pressed, extra virgin and organic wherever possible.
One of the best ways to ensure that you are doing the best for your diet is to avoids anything that comes out of cans, boxes, and plastic packaging. Try to buy your food in as close to its natural packaging as possible. Your local grower’s market is the best place to find season fruits and vegetables.

But what about supplements? Well, supplementing with certain superfoods and vitamins can make all the difference to your eggs and your partner’s sperm. Maca, a super food used for centuries by people of the Andes, is packed full of nutrients and protein and is great for fertility. Many women swear it helped them to conceive.
Sperm and egg production will benefit from antioxidants vitamins A,C and E, and zinc is imperative for renewing cell growth. CoQ10 is a vitamin like compound which plays a key role in producing energy in the mitochondria, essential for cell reproduction.
We all know that we should take Folic acid when trying to conceive, but recent studies show that taking double the dose (800mg per day) helps keep your eggs young. Dehydroepinadrosterone (DHEA) supplementation improves pregnancy chances in women with diminished ovarian reserve (DOR), by possibly reducing defects in chromosomes.You will need to dee your Doctor about using DHEA as it isn’t always available without a prescription.
Amino acids like L-Arginine and L-carnitine are also important for building protein and reducing oxidative stress.
Fish oil, a wonderful source of omega three fatty acids are essential for good health and to keep hormone levels healthy.

You may think that with a clean and healthy diet you don’t need to supplement with vitamins. Think of it as an insurance policy. You want to give yourself every chance of conceiving a healthy baby and those extras might just tip the balance in your favour.

Alternative Therapies:
If you want to stay away from the big guns of IVF and fertility drugs there are many alternative therapies to consider.

I used acupuncture before conceiving my son. The ancient Chinese system of medicine uses tiny needles to help unlock the blockages in your chi (energy flow) and in turn can help with any ailments, minor or major. For many people these blockages can cause ill-health and even work detrimentally against your fertility. I don’t know if the acupuncture allowed me to get pregnant easily, but I do know I looked forward to every session as it made me feel incredibly relaxed and happy.

Naturopathy and herbal medicines also have much to offer the over forties trying to conceive. A qualified naturopath may find that you have allergies or imbalances that need to be tweaked before you become pregnant. The chaste berry herb, also known as “vitex” has been used extensively by women to normalise hormones, and your naturopath will be able to tell you if this herb will help you too.

Reflexology involves massaging the parts of the feet to encourage benefits for different parts of the body. Each part of the feet and toes directly relates to a part of the body. Pressure applied on the feet corresponds with particular organs and glands, and can restore balance and health to those parts. Many women trying to conceive enjoy reflexology regularly, benefiting in their health and finding it extremely relaxing.

Mayan abdominal massage is centered around the ancient Mayan techniques, which reposition organs that have dropped and restricted the flow of blood and energy. This technique is especially helpful to women who may have prolapse or other stuctual defects of the uterus.

And if all else fails, then modern medicine has much to offer the over forties. It is certainly not just a dream. You too can have a much wanted baby, even if your age is over forty. Creating the perfect environment in your body is the perfect place to start.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Freya's Project

Here are pictures of Freya's sewing project that we started last year!!! I finally got it finished.I hadn't really felt motivated as the dolls were completed last year and Freya hadn't really bothered me about finishing the rest, and seeings she was no longer homeschooling, it was hard to find the time to have her help me. In the end I decided to just get it finished without her.

Well, it turned out really well. Very cute little ensemble. The pattern is Butterick 4027. Which I have discovered is out of print, but I did see some on Ebay. The fabrics are from the HEATHER ROSS' MENDOCINO COLLECTION,bought from fabricworm on