Fighting Flu Season With A Newborn

It seems that every other person who comes through our doors at the moment has a holiday cold or flu story. So many Christmases and New Years were ruined by snot, coughs, fevers, vomit and aches. Some of ours were too! Argh! It’s proving a rough winter…. and sadly it’s not over yet! With the kids now back in school, we all just seem to be waiting for round 2 to strike….(*crosses every finger and toe*)

Getting sick is no fun for anyone, but let’s be honest, as a parent of a little one, you’d face 20 flus back to back if it meant that your babies could escape it. Especially if they are in their early months. Small tiny bundles with their shiny new immune systems + a flu ridden season = high anxiety!

While it’s impossible to shield them from all germs, (it’s inevitable they will get a cold at some point!) there are still plenty of things you can do to try and keep trips to your doctor to a minimum this winter.

  • THE FIRST TWO MONTHS: If you can avoid crowded places during this time, then do! Not always easy if you have more than one kid and need to pick up, drop off, run errands etc. But the truth is, pre the first round of immunizations at two months, it’s better to be cautious and limit mass public exposure. If someone else offers to help you with your schedule, LET THEM! If you do venture out, try wearing the baby, as people are less inclined to coo closely when baby is attached to you.
  • JUST SAY NO – Everyone wants to come and meet the new baby in the early adorable weeks, and are working to their own busy schedules. BUT, don’t hold back in telling family and friends to wait. Especially if they have had anyone in their house struck with any bugs. Even if they promise just to pop in and have no cuddles….just say no!
  • KEEP ON NURSING – If you are choosing to breastfeed and are able, studies show that breastfeeding can help keep some winter bugs at bay. Even if you are sick yourself, keep nursing! Thank you magical milk antibodies – that extra line of defense can really make a difference!
  • SUDS AND SANITIZER- Plant hand wash, anti-bacterial wipes and sanitizer all over the house for you and guests to use – and keep extra in your car and purse should you need it on the go to clear up a sneaky sneeze, or wipe down a shopping cart, etc.
  • LOOK AFTER YOU – that ol’ chestnut or new motherhood myth! But in this case, it’s really true. Prioritize your own health, rest, and keep boosting your own immune system to try and fend off those unwelcome germs. If you do get struck with a bug (hugs from us), ADMIT DEFEAT! Don’t try to be a super hero and keep doing it all. Step back, accept help if offered – if possible pump your milk and have someone else take over the feeds – consider wearing a face mask, and avoid sharing any beds, pillows, blankets etc. until you have been symptom free for at least 5 days.

    Wishing we could wave a magic wand and get rid of all the yuck that is flying around, but the best we can do is wish you luck and send you all our positive vibes and energy for a happy, healthy 2018! Take care out there, guys!

Viral Video: Contractions

A loving aunt recently made a quick video for her niece, an aspiring midwife, but it’s gone far beyond its intended audience, it’s gone viral! And it’s not hard to see why! It’s honestly one of the best visual explanations of contractions and labor that we’ve ever seen. And oh so simple.

Liz Chalmers, using just a ping pong ball and a balloon, first demonstrates the difference between Braxton Hicks contractions and labor contractions, and then shows the ‘arrival moment.’

It is utterly addictive viewing – and the perfect tool for understanding what’s happening inside during labor. Chalmers said it was something she was taught in a workshop called ‘Stomp Out Boring Childbirth classes.’ (High five to that, and LOVE the name!).

This simple visualization can go a long way in helping moms-to-be stay calm and focused during delivery – because understanding what their body is doing, and why, can help them feel in control.

Like people often feel about childbirth, it looks seemingly impossible at first to get the ping pong ball out of the balloon….you sit there just waiting for the balloon to pop! But it doesn’t. Slowly, steadily and surely, that little ping pong ball makes it way down the neck of the balloon, which first ‘thins’ out just as a cervix does, and then starts dilating until one last push…. And voila. A ping pong ball is born.

Like Chalmers suggests, it’s not just a great exercise for moms-to-be, it’s also a neat and unintimidating way to show older kids how babies arrive – and just how phenomenal the female body is!

Here’s hoping that Liz makes some more videos after this triumph! What a cool aunt.

The Third Trimester

Welcome to T3!

The rest of the world thinks your pregnancy is flying…. whereas you have never known, days, weeks and months to drag soooo long! Am I right?

Just think of poor elephants if it helps at all – they’re pregnant for nearly TWO years!  You can do a few more months….or maybe it’s only a few more weeks you’ve got left now? How exciting!

This final chapter certainly doesn’t come without its challenges though. Here’s a few of the things you might be in the midst of…or that might be coming next! Hang in there mama-to-be, you’re doing great.

Backache – You might have already felt some discomfort in earlier months, but now all that extra weight is really adding the pressure to your back. As well as your breasts. Did you know that by the end of a pregnancy, breasts can grow by as much as 2 pounds? Discomfort in your pelvis and hips isn’t all that uncommon either – that’s just your ligaments loosening up for labor. Practice good posture, sleep on your side with a pillow tucked in your legs, get a better bra, wear low heels, try a heating pad or speak to your doctor if you really find yourself struggling.

Braxton Hicks – This is the warm up guys! Mild contractions which are preparing your uterus for the big day to come. It can be ultra-confusing trying to figure out if this is a drill or not, because they may feel a lot like labor. One real difference to keep in mind between BH and labor is that contractions gradually get closer and closer together – and more intense. Don’t feel embarrassed to call your midwife or health care provider if you need reassurance!

Breasts again – Close to your due date, you may start to see colostrum – baby GOLD- leaking from your nipples. This yellowish fluid will nourish and fuel that newborn bundle in its early days.  It’s not glamorous, and it’s not ideal in public, but get yourself some absorbent breast pads for inside your bra and you’ll be just fine.

Discharge – Again, it’s not glamorous, but pretty normal in this phase. If you are worried about the volume, don’t hesitate to call your health care provider. Close to your delivery date, you might also see a thick, clear or slightly blood tinged discharge – this is your mucus plug, a sign from your wondrous body that your cervix has begun dilating in prep for labor. Hooray!

Fatigue – You regained your energy in the second trimester….only to see it dwindle once again. You might also find yourself short of breath thanks to your uterus rising up under your rib cage. Sorry lungs! It’s frustrating as well as exhausting, but try to embrace this slowing down – eat healthy, nap often and stay calm!

Urination – It’s not just your lungs getting squashed, your bladder is getting more of a squeeze nowadays too. Laughing, coughing, sneezing, or exercising…. It’s all a bit more of a gamble in T3 as chances of leaking increase. Avoid pre-bedtime drinks to minimize night time bathroom visits, and try a panty liner to absorb any day leaks.

Veins – not just varicose veins caused by increased blood circulation and pressure on your legs from baby, but also hemorrhoids – swollen veins that form around the anus. You can make yourself more comfortable with the help of support clothing, warm baths, ointments, and even stool softeners, but don’t worry, this symptom will soon improve after delivery.

Swelling – Tight rings? Puffy ankles? Bloated face?  Again, blame the pressure.  To reduce swelling, put your feet up whenever you sit for any length of time, and elevate your feet while you sleep. If the swelling is sudden however, seek medical attention as it may be a sign of preeclampsia.

Following months of body changes and hormone surges, it’s quite the finale isn’t it? You might have rolled your eyes when people told you how much they miss being pregnant….but believe us, one day, you will look back and miss all those kicks and waddles too. While you are in the thick of it, it’s all too easy to forget the wonder of it all. WHAT A JOURNEY! And my goodness, it’s worth it!

Best of luck Mama – those first cuddles and snuggles are almost in sight!

Christmas Survival as a New Mom

Congratulations on your new winter arrival! The streets are glowing with festive lights, big baggy jumpers are in fashion for the next few months (phew!), and the radio keeps telling you ‘it’s the most wonderful time of the year!’ Looking down at that squidgy newborn face, you find it hard not to agree. It truly is wonderful.

But, if you’ve just had a new baby, you might also feel like it’s going to be the most stressful time of the year. Yeah sure, your house is loaded with adorable ‘Baby’s First Christmas’ paraphernalia, but it’s also running on very little sleep….and if it’s anything like ours was in the early weeks, it’s also quite likely a train wreck.

And maybe any other time of the year you might be ok with that….but this is Christmas y’all. The time of year where family descends from all directions. Or perhaps worse when you have a newborn, the time of year where you are expected to travel to family!

Yes, you absolutely are bursting with pride and want to show off your baby, but perhaps not just yet. I mean, how are you supposed to host or uphold family traditions if you can barely hold yourself up? There’s a good chance you might fall asleep in your dinner listening to another one of Aunt Cheryl’s stories. Or you might even miss dinner altogether if your new tiny boss is demanding a feed of his / her own.

The truth is, with Christmas comes a whole bunch of expectations……most of which are self-inflicted.  It’s easy to feel like a hot mess when you scroll through social media this time of year – it’s just perfect shot after perfect shot of family holiday pictures. Many women might feel the pressure to ‘get it all together’ and be the yummy mommy type that earns praise daily in the media, but in our experience, this whole ‘let’s go on with the show’ mentality earns no medals in the long run!

If you can get it all together for Christmas, feel good, and want to host, then by all means go for it! You’re awesome. But please don’t feel forced in to faking it if you don’t feel ready. The holidays are just as much about taking time off to recharge your batteries – and you certainly won’t do this by being a crowd pleaser with a newborn. Do what works for you!

You might feel like a Grinch saying no to family events at this time of year, but you know what, people might surprise you.  ‘No’ might not be half as scary or as guilt-inducing as you thought. Remember, many of these people will be parents too. They know.

You might feel terrible for not decorating the house the way you wanted to for ‘Baby’s First Christmas’, but hey, guess what, baby’s not judging, baby’s snoring!

And you might feel terrible for not putting on a traditional dinner spread, but that’s not what you will remember in years to come. You’ll remember how perfectly tiny they were, not how perfectly tired you were.

Our advice, for what it’s worth: Stop worrying about getting Christmas perfect this year….you’ve already done perfect. You’re cuddling perfect right now!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!