Infant Swimming & it’s benefits.

Of course as everything starts on instagram, so will this blog post too. Since my first child, I have occasionally been posting snaps on instagram of us at baby swim lessons, and of course without fail, every single time, I will receive a message probing all about swimming with babies, are they too small? Do they cry? Is it safe? What age can I start? So here below I’m going to list all the pro’s of taking your little babes swimming, unfortunately I won’t be listing and of the cons as there aren’t any (not in my opinion anyways). So let’s dive (pun intended) right in.

Q1. At what age can I begin to take my baby swimming? 

Technically speaking, you can take your baby swimming from any age, I mean they were basically grown in utero in their own private swimming pool, right? Many mothers obviously are not usually up for taking a newborn baby swimming at a couple of weeks old and of course you will find that neither are *swimming lessons* provided for infants so young. I’ve seen in some countries they have swimming lessons starting around 3 months old, over on my side of the world they had a starting age of 4 months and so that’s when I started to take my babies swimming. Most importantly you should both be happy, fit and well before wanting to partake.

Q2. What about the chlorine in the pool?

Due to delicate immune systems, doctors usually recommend that babies are kept out of pools or chlorinated lakes until 6 months of age. However, if you are lucky enough to find a pool near you (as I did) which is 100% baby friendly then go ahead. By baby friendly, I mean the pool where we take lessons are for 0-3years old ONLY (so not a public pool). Filtered 24/7, only has natural salt in the water and no chlorine. The specific pool where I take my children is made specifically for baby swim lessons, therefore if you can’t find such a thing near you, then I’d advise waiting until 6 months.

Q3. What if my baby cries?

Usually, you will find that if you introduce a baby young enough to the water then very rarely will they cry. It is also advised that if you do plan on taking your baby swimming from an early age then you can start by practising at home in the bathtub, by filling up the water pretty high and giving them the right support underneath their neck etc. in order to let themselves accomodate with the ‘free’ feeling in the vast amount of water and the upthrust which they may feel at the beginning. If on the other hand you do get a negative reaction from baby the first time you take them to the pool, then I advise to take them out immediately and either after calming them down try again within that session or taking them home and trying again the next week. Either way, negative association and forcing a child into the pool will never reap positive benefits, it will only reinforce negative behaviour and stabilize fear (which we don’t want to happen).

Q4. Does it really help my babies intelligence?

YES! YES! YES! Cross-patterning movements builds neurons throughout the brain, but especially in the corpus callosum, which facilitates communication, feedback, and modulation from one side of the brain to another. Down the line, this improves:

  • reading skills
  • language development
  • academic learning
  • spatial awareness

When swimming, your baby moves their arms while kicking their legs. And your cutie is doing these actions in water, which means their brain is registering the tactile sensation of water plus its resistance. Swimming is also a unique social experience, which furthers its brain-boosting power!

Q5. How does it physically help my baby?

Physically speaking, of course it is an exercise and it helps muscle tonus, stronger neck and spinal control as well as facilitating arm and leg movement. From a personal point of view, both of my kiddo’s started sitting upright on their own at 5months old and I have a little hunch that swimming played a role in this super baby strength!

6. Learning to swim helps prevent drowning.

As a mother, I obviously want to respect my childrens wishes and needs and never want to force them into doing something which they do not wish to do. However, I have always said that swimming is an obligatory thing that they will have to learn and they don’t have a choice. Why? Because swimming is a key life skill, it can be in so many occasions the line between a positive to a negative outcomes, which as a parent I do not even want to go there and think about. Therefore even if they didn’t like swimming I would have made them learn at a time they could understand it’s importance. However, lucky for me this is not the case, as I started swimming with them so young, I have two water babies who absolutely love the water. However, if this is not the case for you, I do urge you to try and push your child in a positive way to learn just enough swimming to maybe be able to save themselves one day. (Children really do fall in fountains a lot, take a google).

So anyways guys, that’s my intake on swimming today, if you did have any more questions, mail me or drop them in the comments below and I’d be happy to answer them.

PS. INCASE you did need another reason to take your baby swimming, then I PROMISE you, they sleep so gooood after a swim sesh and literally will never miss a nap, they also will sleep for a couple of hours. So if you needed motivation, you got it.

Just keep swimming!

Reema OXOXO

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Travel Tips #momhacks

As a mother who is obsessed with all things ‘mommy’, I have come to realise how many parents/mothers are so frightened to travel with children. Remotely for the reason that it may be a tough journey, it is hard, they’re not sure how to deal with it. It’s also particularly for that reason, that I see many people in the Romanian culture not taking their kids whilst young on vacations, preferring to either stay home for the first ten summers after they have a child or leave the children with a nanny/grandparents and go on holiday without their little counterparts. My opinions aside, I or should I say we – me and my husband, have never and have agreed to never leave our children behind when we go on a vacation (until they become teenagers of course and then make the choice to not come with us). Purely because as a couple that travel A LOT, we believe that travel is education – the beauty is not just waiting for you at the destination, but it is also within the travel itself. Children become who they are from their experiences and I am a strong believer that if you are blessed enough to visit other parts of our beautiful world then when they view it too, it benefits and educates their tiny souls in more ways than we can imagine. In our family, we LOVE the journey, and I’m truly not exaggerating here, it’s one of our favourite parts of all the countries we go to and some of the best memories we have, have been made on the journeys. If I really had to give you a sincere con with travelling with babies, it is the amount of baggage you have to carry, or so the amount it seems that you do. Then again, we have two babies, double the trouble. So without further ado, let me bullet point my top tips for you in order to keep your travel as smooth going as possible.

  • BACKPACKS – these are a sacred must, each of us has a backpack, easier to carry on our backs, for long haul walks through airports, the weight is evenly distributed, it avoids bag slipping, and you can even get trendy, sturdy backpacks if you’re a fashionista.
  • BABY WEARING – Boy oh boy, we would not have survived all those countries without our baby carriers. Ergonomic of course for healthy baby hips, comfortable and it means your hands are free. The way we do it, is one baby each and that’s basically where they stay for most of our journeys. Sincerely, I’m not sure either of us remember life without a baby carrier. Purchase yours today by clicking the link HEREIf you need to know more about carriers, which is the best for you and all about ergonomic carriers, then you can take a browse through my previous posts, or you can click HERE
  • ORGANIZATION – in those backpacks you’re carrying around, make sure you know what is where and in which compartment, making life a ton easier when you need to whip out some diapers or some water.
  • CRYING BABIES – if you’re waiting in a line at security, or any line for that matter of fact and your baby starts crying. Don’t panic, in fact try soothing your baby in your usual way because any ways chances are people will let you go first and then you can get your baby sorted out. It’s a win/win for both you and your baby. Ps. Don’t tell anyone I said that.
  • EASY CLOTHING – here’s the thing, all these people that travel so super trendy with nice normal clothes and accessories etc. FORGET THAT. A simple tracksuit, that’s comfortable, easy to open if breastfeeding, easy to sit and run and carry and sweat and cool down in. Ok, that’s gross, but you get my point. I mean anyways tracksuits, sweatpants etc. are so in nowadays, so if you’re reading this blog post and it’s 2017, then you’re in luck, grab yourself a new travelling outfit.
  • BABY CLOTHING – dress them in light, cotton layers, that are also easily breathable and don’t over layer them like dumplings on your buffet plate. If you’re babywearing, they’ll have your body heat anyways and if they’re in the pram, a nice comfortable tracksuit/other outfits plus a blanket will do the trick. When they’re hot they’ll kick it off, when they’re not they’ll snuggle in. Much easier than taking a jacket on and off.
  • SAY NO TO THE WHEELS – avoid trying to take a pram on the flight, it ends up being a hassle and if it is a low cost flight you’ll end up watching your pram in the middle of nowhere near the plane wondering if it’ll even make it to your destination. If you can, check the pram in and pick it up on the other side. If you don’t have a carrier, or baby prefers the pram then learn to open and close it with one hand if travelling alone.
  • SNACKS – I know many moms are against food bribery, I’m all about food bribery, just keep it healthy and you won’t have a problem.
  • TOYS – pack a multitude of SMALL toys that are also light in weight in contrast to one big toy. Once baby gets bored of that one big toy, then what are you going to do? Small toys can be constantly rotated through the journey keeping baby occupied when needed.
  • BOOKS – a couple of light weight books is always a good thing to bring. Raising baby bibliophiles in our family means that we never go anywhere without books.
  • CHILL– just always go AHEAD of time compared to other passengers who travel without babies, that way you’ll never be in a rush and you can go at the pace of your family. The most important advice I can give a mama friend out there is to stay relaxed. I’m at my most relaxed when I travel and my babies feel that vibe, so luckily they’re just as relaxed when travelling too. These experiences are always fun so as long as you empathise with them and fulfill their needs, you’ll have the sweetest baby jetsetters to accompany you on your journey. GUARANTEED. 

So pack your bags, pack your babies and enjoy the ride!

Ergonomics and baby wearing (ft. ISARA)

ERGONOMIC: Yet another term used forever by mama’s all around the world and especially by baby wering mama’s, ergonomic is the next new hip word used on the market (literally). But what exactly does this mean?

ERGONOMIC DEFINITION: An applied science concerned with  with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely —called also biotechnology, human engineering, human factors

ERGONOMICS IN BABY WEARING: If you apply the above definition to a baby carrier then that means the carrier should be consistent with the following points;

  • Fit the wearer comfortably and distribute baby’s weight evenly on his or her body.
  • Support baby’s, hips, spine and pelvis
  • They should be designed to seat the baby in the ‘M’ position – whereby the bottom is in the centre, lower than the height of the knees and their hips are spread open.

ISARA baby carrier is one of the leading baby carriers worldwide, as not only are they consistent with all the ergonomics when it comes to baby wearing, they are also approved by the International Hip Dysplasia institute, as well as this, they go above and beyond with their product(s). Only organic cotton, adjustability to suit all baby sizes, funky patterns and prints, and even more coming soon. If you are looking for a baby carrier, then it is a MUST to check them out @www.isara.ro

Choosing the perfect ISARA baby carrier for you.

SEPTEMBER, apart from being one of my favourite months of the year, cue sweet potato pie and the wonderful weeks of autumnal summer, is also a month that many of us mothers can relate to. September signifies new beginnings, new starts and new things. New schools, new school years, new nurseries, new lunchboxes, new backpacks for the older children and for the younger children, new growth spurts, new adventures, new baby groups and new baby carriers. 

Picking a baby carrier can be tricky if you’re not sure what you are looking for but as any baby wearing mama will tell you, it has to fit like the perfect shoe for both YOU and your sweet baby. As well as this, it must follow certain safety standards, be ergonomic, easily adjustable and easy to use whenever needed (which is nearly all the time when babies are going through a growth spurt). Luckily ISARA has got that covered for you, so you don’t need to look any further, however, if you’re new to the baby wearing lifestyle, then you may be wondering where to go next. If that’s you then keep reading below because I just did your homework for you (you can thank me later).

When we’re talking baby carriers, usually we are referring to a carrier which has buckles and fancy accessories attached in opposition to a sling or wrap (which ISARA also make – we’ll cover that in another post). As I previously said in my last VLOG <- clik here, ISARA have rigorously covered all the health and safety standards as well as ensuring our babies grow with the healthiest hips, therefore when choosing an ISARA, safety definitely need not come to mind once you cross over onto their website. So to begin with ALL CARRIERS ARE ERGONOMIC. So that’s the first point ticked off your check list. However, the next step to think about when buying is the sizing.

When picking the size of your carrier, ISARA have 2 sizes; Standard size and toddler size.

The standard size: Approx. 1 month old (4kg) – 20kg  (does not need a newborn insert) 

Toddler size: 8kg – 20kg 

Keep in mind that if you have 2 children e.g. a newborn and a toddler then one standard size can be bought to fit the both of them, instead of the usual scenario of buying two separate baby carriers. The toddler size varies in length of vertical panelling so that larger children can have a more comfortable sit, however the standard is just as comfortable for them too, albeit the panelling being slightly shorter to fit smaller infants.

Next we’re talking MATERIAL – You’ll see over at the ISARA site, that they offer 3 options to choose from; Organic cotton (certified), classic cotton and woven wrap. Actually at this point in time, the site needs a little update as ISARA officially does not do any other cotton except for organic cotton anymore. The FOXY print before was constructed of classic cotton but now even that is organic cotton. awesome right? The other option is  the carriers made of woven wrap. Each mama will have their own preference from their own research, so that should be easy in that sense. I believe the two different materials make a more slight difference depending on the baby in some cases. Eg. preemie’s, more sensitive babies, babies who like to mould into their mommy’s more may prefer the woven wrap material, as it is slightly softer, more breathable and more ‘breakable’. However, on another extreme if you were going straight in and buying for a 2 year old toddler then maybe you’d prefer, as I did, the organic cotton. It’s a littleee more rigid than woven wrap (in a good way), it holds the weight of a child very well, especially little bodies that love to wriggle, squirm and GROW, and the best part is the next and last point when choosing your carrier…

PATTERNS & PRINTS: This is the easiest and most fun part when it comes to choosing your ISARA baby carrier! ISARA have a wide variety of funky patterns, prints and colours. Some more vibrant, some more gentle, some with images and some without or if you’d like something more calm and simple, they also have unicolour carriers, it’s your choice!

So choose a carrier for you and your baby, even better choose a carrier WITH your baby and enjoy the many adventures and memories you’ll make together in your ISARA carrier! Also don’t forget if you’re an instagram user to use the hashtags #isarassc #isara #loveisara #isaraxlcg so the team over at ISARA can follow your adventures too!

Benefits of Skin – to – Skin with our babies.

As I’m always that mama blogger that just loves throwing those baby terms and phrases out there, if you follow me on instagram then you would have seen that I recently posted a picture of me naked  with my baby girl. Thus inspiring me towards this blog post so I could talk (or type) about the pure intimacy, the closeness and the benefits of the now more commonly heard term: skin – to skin.

 

So what is Skin – to – Skin?

The definition of skin – to – skin (also known as kangaroo care, or kangaroo mother care (KMC) is holding a baby bare chested against the care givers bare chest from birth and as much as you can throughout the first few months of life.

More importantly: What are the main benefits of skin – to skin?

  1. Keeps baby warmer, regulates breathing and heartbeat and keeps blood sugar levels higher.
  2. Mothers who practise skin to skin find that they recognise their babies needs much more easily (in my case this is true, I’ve always known what my babies wanted purely from instinct from the strong maternal bond)
  3. Babies who are kept close via a sling or kangaroo care are most likely to breastfeed exclusively and for longer (very true)
  4. The physical contact of skin to skin will increase the mum’s supply of the happy hormone OXYTOCIN – happy mum, happy baby!
  5. Skin to skin stabilizes a baby’s body temperature for them, no machines in the world can let you know if your baby is too hot or too cold, it we can only keep our baby in a median average temperature, however, when practising skin to skin a mothers breasts have the ability to recognize the baby’s needs temperature wise and adjust accordingly. A cooler fact? A twin mother’s breasts will adjust accordingly to each baby if one child is placed on each breast. Our bodies know what’s best for our babies!
  6. Easy transition from the womb – studies have shown that babies who are held skin to skin are more physiologically and emotionally stable than babies who are placed in incubators. They also demonstrate better neurobehavioral outcomes such as less crying, lower pain response and better breastfeeding.
  7. Studies of babies having to go through clinical procedures, such as preemies in the NICU, show that skin to skin definitely helps pain relief and that the duration of the pain is shortened by the close contact. Researchers are hoping that in the new future, findings from these studies will be taken into consideration and that a real breakthrough will be made in newborn care, especially for those who have to go through any types of painful procedures.

As you can see nothing is better for our newborn babies than a mama’s body. Just as through the whole pregnancy a mother’s body changes accordingly to adapt and grow a child within her, skin to skin proves that a mothers body also knows’ best during the fourth trimester of childcare and the transitioning from the womb to the outside world. As well as all the benefits, kangaroo care can be just fun in itself, so whilst your babies are tiny, skin to skin as much as you can and enjoy the bond that will be formed between you and your tiny loved one(s).

Unpacking my ISARA

Hey guys, I’ve post my VLOG where I’m unpacking my oh so wonderful ISARA baby carrier. I’m truly IN LOVE with it, as I’m sure you will be too! So click play and see what came out of the box!

Love R,

The Benefits of BABYWEARING

When we are welcomed to parenthood, we are also welcomed to a whole new world of phrases and terms to do with child raising, it’s almost like learning a new language, right? A term which has become increasingly popular and continues to do so amongst this generation is BABYWEARING. Although it is fairly obvious what this term means (wearing our babies) what is not immediately obvious are the scientific facts, the studies and the wonderful benefits of this practise during the early years of raising our little loved ones.

When it comes to babywearing so many questions arise; which carrier should I use? What’s the best make? What does the term ‘ergonomic’ even mean? When can I start wearing my baby? Is it safe? When should I babywear? Whilst ALL of these questions won’t be answered in this specific post, one question which I will be answering is;

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BABYWEARING? 

  • OXYTOCIN LEVELS: When a mother gives birth, many people don’t realise the importance of keeping the newborn as close to the mother as possible and at nearly all times for at least a minimium of 6 weeks post-partum. Why? Is this the first time you’re hearing this? Most probably. So here’s the theory, a female body for 9 months forms and carries a child around, it creates this baby and all of a sudden after 9 months gives birth and many societies or cultures expect the mother and baby to stay away from each other in some form or the other from very early days, it is expected of many societies and cultures that the mother let varying guests hold the baby e.g. friends and families. Whilst of course we must accomodate to the fact that we are a civilised species and that we cannot hoard our babies and not let anyone touch them we must also for a second stop and think, what should our reactions be as mammals? We are mammals and we still sport many mammal instincts and characteristics in today’s day and time (of course). Not many realise that this constant distancing from the baby decreases our oxytocin levels. Why is that a problem and how does babywearing help? Lowered oxytocin levels means a ‘lowered level of happiness’. Thus increasing depression, which manifests into post-partum depression and in extreme cases post-partum psychosis, as well as pschosomatic illnesses in mothers. This is nothing new, think about all other mammal species, they do not let ANYONE or ANYTHING even touch their babies for the first 6-8 weeks. Babywearing helps increasing this scenario as oxytocin levels are increased through physical contact with the newborn. Thus having a postive domino effect on the relationship between mother and infant. Stronger maternal bond -> better understanding of baby and it’s needs as well as easier breastfeeding -> better care. 
  • NEEDS ARE MET: Babies who are carried are generally calmer because all of their primal/survival needs are met (we are still mammals at the end of the day). The caregiver can be seen, heard, smelled, touched, tasted, felt, giving especially newborns the closest feeling to being in utero as possible. This makes the transition from in utero to out in the open world a much smoother, easier and less traumatising one for newborns. As well as this, the caregiver is able to provide feeding and the motion necessary for continuing development e.g. neural, gastrointestinal and respiratory health (hopefully the caregiver NOT being a smoker) and to establish balance (inner ear development).
  • HUMANIZATION’: Infants are ‘humanized’ earlier. Instead of spending their first days in anxiety, trying to figure out the giant world around the, and wondering/crying for their parents (generally specifically the mother). Infants feel safe, secure and content thus allowing them to develop socially and concentrate their energy and rapidly growing brain on other things such as studying facial expressions, studying body language and energies as well as learing languages.
  • ESTABLISHING INDEPENDENCE: One thing that many people DO NOT realise is that babies who are baby worn actually are more prone to establish their own independence then those who are not. Why? Because babies who are babyworn spend the lives in a secure state, rather than in a state of panic or anxiety due to separation (separation anxiety), This constant state of being content and secure manifests into a child with confidence in themselves rather than a child that is fearful, therefore the domino effect being that a child with confidence feels ready to establish his/her own independence from an earlier age and explore the world around them – continuing to grow and become an independant adult.
  • ATTACHMENT AND LOVE: This one a more obvious benefit of babywearing, carrying your baby around almost always ensures a growth of a strong bond inbetween the caregiver and baby. Being that close, and feeling the someone so dear to you, so close to you all the time can only result in a feeling of closeness, physically, emotionally, mentally and full of love.

These are the main benefits of baby wearing, covering some of the maybe not so obvious reasons as well as physiological reasons on why babywearing is such a healthy practise when it comes to raising our children. Although I covered these few points, yet in detail, there are many other reasons as to why we babywear and how we use babywearing to help us in every day life. Please don’t forget to subscribe to my youtube (Life of a Chocolate Girl ) to learn everything you need to about babywearing and lots more!

3 reasons why the ‘baby weight’ is harder to lose the second time round.

You've probably heard from your friends and family, or you're probably living this right now, it's something you're sure wouldn't happen and lo and behold it IS happening to you. You are just not seemingly able to lose the baby weight this second time round.

Unfortunately this is happening to me too. I seem to go in cycles of finally managing to lose a couple of pounds, only to pile it STRAIGHT BACK a couple of weeks later. I find that as I'm nearing the 4 month marker I've started wondering to myself if I EVER will get back to the way I was or if I'm alwayd going to remain 8lbs+ my pre-pregnancy weight. What makes it worse is that I keep comparing myself to my first pregnancy and how I lost the weight quicker that time round, finding that the more I compare myself, the more frustrated I was getting. Then at some point I snapped out if it and I really thought to myself. 'Hang on, if I lost it the first time round, then surely I'm doing something different or wrong which means I am not losing it the second time round.' And there was my answer. I was doing something different. NOT wrong, but different. Not only did this revelation ease my impatience, it also opened my eyes to the fact that maybe we should just stop comparing. If you aren't losing your baby weight the second, third and fourth time, then for sure you're doing something different too. Below I'm going to list the differences and why, they're actually real reasons. 

1. It's your second (or more) birth: 

2. We have less time and so we are eating more: 

3. Getting to the gym is harder: A personal one for me, I find that with two children, getting to the gym is MUCH HARDER than it was getting there with my first. I mean after spending the whole day with my first, daddy would walk through the door after work, I'd put him on baby duty and run to the gym, not a feeling of guilt in my soul as this was my hour. However, having two babies it goes something like this. Stay with the baby the whole day, daddy walks through the door with first child (he's been to nursery all day). I obviously choose to spend my evenings with him doing something fun rather than running off to the gym as he's already been away for 8 hours and I'm not wasting my few precious hours that I could have with him, sweating it out in the gym. #sorrynotsorry

So literally, there you go, 3 legit reasons why I cannot get back to my pre-pregnancy weight as fast as I did after my first & also 3 reasons why it doesn't even matter anymore. Life is different, the circumstances are different. I'm a mama, just like you, doing it all alone. So let's not be too hard on ourselves and of course, try and make the healthier choices when we can, have patience and slowly but surely everything will fall into place. 

Supplements whilst pregnant and breastfeeding.

A question I have been asked a lot during both my first and second pregnancies and during my time breastfeeding after, is, is it safe for me to take protein powder? Do I take/use any other supplements during these precious times. It is at this point where my answer is always, ‘yes and no.’ The lines surrounding this subject are very important especially as it concerns the health of a baby, therefore, if you are thinking of taking protein and or supplements, it is important to know the ‘rules’ as well as how, when and how much is safe to use. On this blog post I will outline the basic – yes and no’s to what can be taken and what is a no go, however, I will be also uploading a VLOG, so that I can expand and talk about in more detail what supplements I take, what stages I take them and most importantly why I take them.

Prenatal Supplements: YES. Prenatal supplements are extremely important to take during pregnancy, even if you have a healthy diet and lifestyle, a prenatal will help cover any bits missed when it comes to getting a full dose of essential vitamins and minerals that you will need to take care of yourself and your growing baby. On another note, whilt breastfeeding many women choose to just continue with their prenatal vitamin, however, experts suggest that it is actually important breastfeeding mother make the transition from a prenatal vitamin to a postnatal vitamin. This is due to the fact that whilst nursing, the nutritional needs of a mother and baby are different to those of a pregnant woman and that certain vitamins are needed in different quantities such as Vitamin D.

Iron Supplements: YES. Many woman after giving birth are temporarily anaemic due to the massive blood loss. Iron supplementation is very important for some new mothers, yet maybe not as important for others, this widely varies from mother to mother, their birth stories and their general diets. One group of mothers it is important for regardless are those who have had a c-section, as iron supplementation is extremely important for the post operation recovery.

Probiotics: YES. During pregnancy the hormone oestrogen slows down everything that is happening within our digestive tracts, leading many mothers to continue to suffer even after birth constipation, wind, stomach cramps etc. Probiotics help to maintain a healthy digestive tract over the long run and results can be seen even from the first few days of taking them. Depending on the specific probiotic, most are safe for use during breastfeeding and even have been proven to help with maintaining a healthy digestive tract for baby too. No more colic! Although when buying an over the counter probiotic make sure to verify that it is indeed BREASTFEEDING SAFE before buying. 

Protein Powder: YES and NO. When it comes to protein powder it can be a red flag on whether you take it or not. Here it is important to understand how protein powder functions to help us and know how the other added artifical substances can harm/cause damage to our growing babies. There are also so many other factors that vary depending on age of baby, stage of pregnancy and the mother herself. I will expand more in detail on my upcoming VLOG on what type of proteins are okay and what types are a NO – GO. 

 

BCAA’s: NO. The term BCAA is short for ‘branched chain amino acids’. In short they are just basic protein building blocks for our body, so you may wonder, why not for a growing foetus? In general high levels of BCAA in children under 12 years of age have shown to cause mental retardation and brain damage, an unborn foetus or nursing child can inadvertently consume extra levels of BCAA through any kind of nutrition passed from the mother to the child during the pregnancy or nursing stages. This is why it has become a general rule for medical professionals to recommend that women who are pregnant or nursing not take any kind of BCAA supplement. It’s better to play it safe than sorry. 

Fat Burning Supplements: NO. Fat burning supplements usually are just made using a stimulant or a combination of stimulants in order to increase our metabollic rate, thus causing us to burn fat easier/quicker. If you have been pregnant or nursing before, you will know even every day stimulants such as caffeine has to be restricted during these sensitive periods of time. Why? Everything we consume, our child does too and if the effect of a stimulant can have such an impact on our body then inadvertantly it would be like giving crack cocaine to your child. So that is a definite no. 

L – Carnitine: YES. Whilst there is not enough research of L-carnitine use during pregnancy, it is better to be on the safe side and to not use it, however, during breastfeeding reseach has shown that it can help a mother bring her energy levels up during this time where a lot of energy consumption goes into making milk. Moreover research has also shown that small amounts of L-carnitine have had no side effects in nursing babies, yet large amounts of L-carnitine use has still not been researched. It can therefore be concluded that l-carnitine in moderation and at smaller doses is safe to take during breastfeeding. 


 

The 10 Truths about the ‘Mom Tum’ 

Some of us in this world can give birth and within the shortest space of time can go back to looking like they never really just spent 9 months housing a tiny human being rent free. However, majority of mothers don’t seem to escape the reminders so easily and are left with marks that may make us feel as though we are the only ones who have them, when in reality, a majority of our fellow mothers feel the same way and have them too. I definitely was hit hard with the ‘mum tum’ the second time round and so I decided to write and share my 10 truths in case you share them too. 

  1. Your muscles post- partum have adapted to the pregnancy shape, so that you always look like you have a 4 month pregnancy bump, even if you’ve lost a ton of weight.  
  2. Stretch marks – they’re there and even though somehow if you didn’t notice them whilst you were pregnant, they’re still there. 
  3. Extra Skin – literally just ‘hanging there’. 
  4. Even if you have a flat tummy in the morning, after you eat you tend to look bloated and rounded out. This is due to the muscles not being as strong as they were pre-pregnancy. 
  5. Your stomach is darker than the rest of your body – if you are Caucasian or any other light skinned origin then this isn’t such a major issue and for most, not even noticeable. On the other hand, if you’re dark skinned like me, or even darker than it makes a massive difference from our darker pigment all collected together in our excess skin. 
  6. You’re still sporting you’re linea neagra, this almost always fades away however straight after birth it still sticks around for a bit. 
  7. Depending on how big your bump grew or what your belly button was like before, chances are you belly button is ‘bigger’ an ‘outie’ now or there is some considerate change. Most people generally have their belly buttons go back to normal after a while, however few people don’t. (Mine definitely changed after my first pregnancy and was bigger)
  8. If you’ve had a c-section, you may have an overhang, a dip (not everyone has these) but also a scar. Within a year most c-section scars are pencil thin, however some may end up thicker.
  9. Hairy Belly – some ladies grow hair on their bey during pregnancy, it can’t really be seen during the time of pregnancy however after baby is out and all the skin collects, you find that you have a hairy, floppy belly. Attractive right? But not to worry, it will fall out and not grow back again, or if you can’t wait until then, then you can shave it off like I did. (Shaved once and it never grew back). 
  10. Although sometimes you find yourself wishing you had your old abs back, nearly all the time all these changes fade away and in the end even if you don’t look exactly the same as you did pre-pregnancy you won’t really mind that you went through all these changes because in the end, it was all so worth it.