A sweet announcement and my Top 10 Baby and Mama Products

Ultrasound

Hello everyone. The ones that follow my blog have read the news already but to the ones that don’t I’m over the moon to share that from this summer on I’m going to be a mama of three! I can hardly believe it. If it wasn’t for the ultrasounds I don’t think I would. We are not 100% sure yet about the sex but it is probably a girl. And Tila wants to name her Elsa! I wonder why – any ideas? :)

This is also the main reason behind my absence. I don’t know why but I handled my first two pregnancy better than great but this one was something else. I refuse to blame it on my age (at 33 I’m still technically a teenager after all) but I was extremely sick in the first trimester and have even developed a giant cold that dragged for more than a month!

But it’s over now (yaaay!) and I’m feeling great and super excited about the little avocado in my tummy, all the crafts I have lined up to share, the plans I have with my blog and another news that I want to share with you very soon!

I know you’re used to reading DIY posts from me but having a third newborn in a few months I thought it would be the perfect timing to share my favorite products for the mama and a new baby minus the unnecessary clutter we so love to heap up before the baby is even born; especially the first time around – I would know, believe me. Let’s see:

Fav Baby and mama essentials

1. Onesies from Petit Bateau are the best! I still have them from both Tila and Talan and they have many more life left in them. None others that I tried by now can’t compare with the quality of Petit Bateau. You will never regret the investment.

2. I tried a couple of as-natural-as-possible baby wipes with both of my kids but when I found the WaterWipes I stopped looking. These truly are as natural as they get. They are just cotton wipes plus (boiled) water and 0.1% of grapefruit seed extract, nothing more! And most importantly – no sign of any nasty chemicals! They are also quite thick, super soft and just the perfect size and moist enough to actually do their job properly; even at the messiest “events”.
And thanks to their gentle composition WaterWipes are suitable from birth and even for cleaning baby’s face. They promise not to irritate skin so they’re also perfect for babies prone to eczema and/or nappy rash.
If you’re from UK or Ireland here are the retailers near you, other countries check on Amazon (US, DE, FR).

3. My second one, Talan, was born in winter so a winter muff was a must! I bought this super warm and cozy one from Voksi that can be, thanks to special openings for the harnesses at the bottom, easily installed into a car seat and the pram. And I love the fact it’s made of natural materials like wool, cotton and feather which is something that is truly hard to find these days.

4. I found this baby carrier right here on Babyccino Kids blog. It’s so soft and comfy for the mamas as well as for the babies – they lie in it in a natural, pouch-like fold so it can be used immediately after the birth and it can also be worn in three other positions appropriate for babies up to 2 years but to be quite honest I’d recommend a woven type if you decide to carry after the age of one because they don’t stretch and hold the baby nicely up in place when they get heavier. You can order your Combi Cotti over this email: meeloomans(at)gmail.com

5. I absolutely adore Aden + Anais and I think everyone that ever owned at least one of their pieces does. Their swaddles are an absolute magic and they are the only thing that made my babies sleep! Swaddling calms babies down so amazingly that it’s the number 1 thing that I would recommend you buying. You can read more on swaddling here.

6. Besides the big swaddling blanket we also have their musys, smaller muslin squares that Talan uses as security blankets. He absolutely loves them and can’t fall asleep without at least one besides his face. It’s the cutest thing ever to see him rub one against his cheek. We also used them under his head to cover his pillow when he was a newborn. And on top of everything their designs are super cute too! And they just came out with a small clothing range for babies last year. Needless to say I want their every single piece!

7. If there is something you shouldn’t scrimp on it’s the Baby Monitor! I learned that the hard way. Trust me, you will hate yourself for the strange voices or sudden noises and beeps in the middle of the night or even wore – nothing! Your baby will scream his heart out and your monitor will stay silent. That are just a few features of cheap monitors. So after the third one I decided to get this one from AngelCare that also comes with an under-mattress movement sensor pad that sensors babies movement. And the monitor only turns on when there are any actual noises so you don’t hear every single breath, the transmission is perfect and the battery lasts remarkably long.

8. Now a few things for mamas. There are are few nursing bras I changed over the course of my three pregnancies but the brand I swear by is Amoralia. They truly do the carrying, keep the shape, give comfort and last for ages! My favorite two models are Cupcake Nursing Bra and the Second Skin Organic Nursing Bra, which is prefect as a sleeping bra.

9. After I gave birth to Talan I tried the Belly Band that help you get your tummy and hips back in shape sooner but I just found it too uncomfortable right after the birth. So I bought these Shaping Briefs from H&M and they were amazing! I just loved the feeling of everything being held in place if you know what I mean. They were super comfortable but at the same time they squeezed my abdominal area with just the right amount of pressure. Plus they made my tummy go back quite fast! I’m definitely getting a whole pile of them before summer!

10. The last but certainly not the least is this CushionChane from Ballab. It has three press-on buttons at the ends so by buttoning it up together you get a donut-shaped cushion and can use it for things like a resting place for your baby, as a sitting cushion after the birth and if you take it apart you get a really long cushion that can be used to help you sleep while pregnant, as a nursing pillow, support for babies during tummy time or back support when the baby starts to sit up on its own and so much more. And they look great as long couch pillows!

I am not a big fan of using cosmetic products with small babies or even children (even I reduced them to an absolute minimum) but there are times when they help with conditions that other things don’t. So there are two more products I wanted to mention: the Diaper Ointment from Burt’s Bees that works absolutely amazing on nappy rashes (nothing else helps the way this baby does) and the Siriderma Skin line for skin prone to eczema that we use since Talan had the eczema all over his body for the first year of his life, now he only has problem areas like his chin during winter. You can read more about it here.

I hope I helped at least someone with this list but I would be super happy if you shared some of your favorite’s! Are there any other products that you can’t live without and I should know about?

-Polona

To read more from Polona, go to her cute blog Baby Jungle!

Pregnancy Yoga DVD by Nadia Narain

Nadia's pregnancy yoga

I’ve mentioned Nadia before (here), and in that post I wrote a little bit about how she supported me through my pregnancy with Marlow and how she transformed the way I view childbirth. I am certain it is because of her yoga classes and support that I was able to give birth in a way I had always dreamed about doing. Nadia’s classes are both empowering and beautiful, offering both the emotional tools as well as physical endurance to feel strong, grounded and capable of giving birth.

I’m actually just about to head over to one of her (non pregnancy) classes this evening (!), but I wanted to quickly write to let you know that her new pregnancy dvd is finally out and I’m so excited to share about it with all of you lucky pregnant mamas. Her Everyday Yoga dvd is awesome (my husband does 20 minutes of yoga with her dvd nearly every morning before work!), and is such an easy way to squeeze in yoga from your home whenever it is convenient. How wonderful for pregnant mothers to be able to practice yoga in the same way, from the comfort of your home and without having to pay for each class.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!
Courtney x

Organ donation and one mum’s incredible story

Last month at our ShopUp event, I had the pleasure of meeting fellow London mum, Louise Hannon. We started talking about children and life in London, and she told me her incredible story about her son’s illness, his life-threatening surgeries at Great Ormond Street Hospital and his heart transplant through organ donation. We spoke about organ donation and how important it is to spread the word about it. Did you know that, according to statistics, more than 90% of us would consider donating our organs and yet, here in the UK, only about 30% of us are registered? It all comes down to spreading awareness.

Here in the UK, more than 10,000 people need a transplant and three people die every single day waiting for one. In the US, there are more than 120,000 needing a transplant and 17 people die each day waiting for an organ. Also, one organ donor can save up to eight lives!

I was so moved by Louise’s story, we asked her to share her story with us and she very kindly agreed. Here is her story, a rather brief re-cap of a very tumultuous past 18 months:

On 28th January 2014, my six-year-old son Joe had a life saving heart transplant at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital. This was due to the amazing generosity of a lady who, through organ donation, chose to save other’s lives in the event of her death.

Louise and kids

Up until summer 2013 he had been a non–stop little boy, full of energy, who loved being outdoors, playing football and climbing trees. We had just moved to South Australia when he suddenly became unwell, and Joe received a diagnosis of ‘Dilated Cardiomyopathy’ – serious heart failure that would most likely require transplant in order for him to survive. We were utterly devastated and struggled to deal with the news especially being on the other side of the world away from friends and family. Calling our parents back in the UK to tell them the news was incredibly hard and the first of many difficult phone calls we had to make to them over the following months.

After a month in Adelaide Women’s and Children’s Hospital Joe was repatriated back to London in a medical jet in the hope that he would receive a heart transplant more quickly in the UK. However, Joe’s heart transplant did not come as quickly as we had all hoped and he continued to decline despite the maximum IV drugs he was on. It was frightening to see how quickly his heart was giving up and the effect this had on him as he lost huge amounts of weight and would lie listlessly on the bed unable to really talk to us. We were desperate to get the phone call each day to say a heart was available. We were also aware though that when a heart did come that meant a family somewhere else would be experiencing tragedy and this was such a difficult process to reconcile ourselves with.

We were told his only option now was to undergo open heart surgery for a ‘Berlin heart machine’ to be fitted to keep him alive until transplant. He had a number of serious complications whilst on the machine requiring further surgery including pneumonia and bleeding into his lungs. There was a huge amount of uncertainty as to whether he would pull through and we literally held our breath for weeks willing him to fight and get better. Our four months in intensive care was an awful experience of watching him suffer horribly. I naively hoped that, though unconscious, he wouldn’t suffer pain. I hoped that it was only us suffering as we watched and waited to see if he would recover. The reality was that he was often conscious and very distressed, unable to speak or swallow due to the breathing tube in his throat. We would watch him cry and feel completely helpless. This was the hardest part of the entire ordeal.

photo of Joe after his stroke

His biggest complication arising from the Berlin heart machine was the severe stroke he suffered on Boxing Day, 2013, which is one of the most significant risks associated with the Berlin Heart machine. After the first brain surgery to relieve the bleed in his brain we were told he would not survive and we asked my parents to bring our three year old daughter up to the hospital to say goodbye. They operated for a second time as a last ditch attempt and he miraculously survived, but was left paralysed down his left side. A heart finally became available a month later and Joe had his long awaited transplant. We then began the arduous road to recovery, involving rehab to help him learn to walk again and use his left arm. Joe spent a total of six and a half months in hospital, enduring thirteen operations and a further six weeks in a children’s neurodisability rehab centre.

joe in hospital

He is truly a living miracle and we are hugely proud of all that he has battled through at such a young age. We are slowly coming to terms with what has happened to our family in the last eighteen months and the far reaching effect this has had on all our lives. We never thought something like this would happen to us. We had coasted along in life ticking off our plans for career, children, and travelling, believing we were in control of our lives and future. As Christians, this experience has taught us we need to rely on God who is the only one who has ultimate control and it has been a hard test of our faith.

Joe takes lots of medicines every day and will do so for the rest of his life. He can now walk short distances and has returned to his old school part time. Day to day life holds lots of challenges for him that can leave him angry and depressed. He is much more volatile as a result of his stroke and tires easily. We also live each day knowing that a heart transplant is a palliative option, not a cure, with the average life expectancy being ten years. As we near the first anniversary of our son’s transplant we think about the woman who donated her heart to him and the family she left behind. To see our son in the garden kicking a football around again or playing with his sister reminds us of the incredible gift she gave us. (Below are some photos of Joe since coming home from the hospital.) 

Louise and family

joe

louise with kids

Please consider signing up online for organ donation, for yourself and your children that in the unfortunate event of an untimely death, a second chance at life for others can be brought out of tragedy. Signing up for organ donation costs nothing but could mean everything to another family facing their worst nightmare.

To read more about organ donation and to sign up in the UK, click here. To sign up for organ donation in the US, you can click here. For international registry, click here.

Louise, thank you so much for sharing your story with us, and we wish you all the best with your two beautiful children.

Glasses for Sara!

sara_glassesWith two very nearsighted parents, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Sara started to complain about not being able to read the letters on the digiboard very well from the back of the classroom. So I took her to an optometrist, and sure thing: he measured a 1.25 nearsightedness.

I remember very well, that when I was about 10 years old, I had so much trouble reading the blackboard and the subtitles on the television that my mum scheduled an appointment with the schoolnurse for me. Admittedly, the whole aspect of having to wear glasses was appalling to me at the time — gosh, how I disliked that poor schoolnurse when she told me that I very much needed a pair of glasses. Glasses were definitely not as cool then as they are nowadays!

Thankfully, glasses are considered to be very fashionable and stylish these days and Sara was beyond excited when she was told she could pick out a pair. So we got her this darling purple beauty, which I think look so, so good on her. (But which also make her look so, so much more grown-up!)

When we picked up her glasses from the store last week and she put them on her nose for the very first time, she experienced that feeling that I remember so very well — the revelation! So much light, colour and detail to be seen! To be able to read the street signs! The pavement looks so much bigger! A whole new world! So sweet. Next day, she was so proud to show her glasses to her class, her teachers and her girlfriends. And I’m so very proud of her!

xxx Esther

Our little bath time zoo

zoocchini

It must have been over four years ago that I got cute animal towels for Sara and Pim, and we’ve been using them ever since, day after day. Sara the elephant and Pim the lion — it quickly became a tradition after each bath. So when Ava started to walk, we got her the zebra towel, and now we’ve gotten Casper the monkey — making our little zoo complete!

zoocchini2

I love how these towels (from Zoocchini) are so royal in size, made from thick cotton, and have adorable details like ears and tails. There are even little pouches in which the kids can stick their hands/paws.

Sara’s towel is sadly beginning to fall apart (not strange after all of these years of intensive use!), and when I told her it might be time to replace it, she said that she wasn’t sure it would be worth the investment — after all she might be getting too old to have an animal towel for bath time… Eeks! I figured it was time for an immediate  group photo before it’s too late!

xxx Esther

PS I might be getting the replacement elephant towel anyway, just in case. And otherwise it will be nice for the grandchildren! ; )

NAÏF care, skincare for babies

Naïf Babycare is a new line of baby skincare products that was started by two young and cute Dutch dads, Jochem and Sjoerd. See above how very Dutch they are, with their bakfiets!
After their first babies were born, they discovered a huge gap in the market: a high quality range of pure, natural skincare products which is safe and nurturing for baby’s sensitive skin. So they quit their (high profile!) jobs, worked very hard with a Swiss laboratory, dermatologists, and basically every baby skincare expert they could find, and developed a beautiful line of products. Using only nature’s best ingredients, and formulated to perfection, of course!

Casper and I have been trying out some of the Naïf products and we really love them! The shampoo is wonderful to use, so soft and gentle. The nurturing cream is great too, it’s our number one cream for dry cheeks, but our favourite Naïf product must be the massage oil. It is just the right kind of oil — in between oily and dry, very soothing, with a lovely scent. Just perfect!

xxx Esther

Jonas Paul eyewear

With two very nearsighted parents, it is not so much the question of if, but when one of our children will need their first pair of glasses. I still remember when I was ‘diagnosed’ for nearsightedness by the school nurse at the age of 11, and being so sad and angry about the fact that she told me I had to start wearing glasses… (At the time, glasses were definitely not cool, and I already had braces to complete the look.) I also remember the revelation when I put my first pair of glasses on my nose — wow! I could see!
Thankfully, nowadays glasses and the nerdy look are glamorous and chic, and there are wonderful choices available for little children as well: enter Jonas Paul eyewear.

Cute NY based couple Ben and Laura Harrison launched Jonas Paul Eyewear soon after their son, Jonas Paul, was born with a rare visual impairment. Unable to find suitable and stylish eyewear for Jonas, Ben started started designing his own line of frames, trying to bridge the gap between adult and children’s styles. And he has succeeded so well! I love the darling styles of the frames, both of the prescription frames as the sunglasses. I couldn’t help ordering the Ruth sunglasses for Sara. Sooo cute!

And when the moment comes that my kids need glasses, thankfully there is nothing to feel sad about anymore. Yay!

xxx Esther

Head Lice woes

Lice – they are the bane of my life! I even dream of them. I guess because we live in a big city, lice are unavoidable. I have tried lotions, potions, shampoos, some of them ecological, some of them positively radio-active! I even managed to spend a crazy amount of money on a real jar of Hellman’s mayonnaise (difficult to find in France) because I read somewhere on the internet that I could get rid of lice with it.

This weekend the schools in our area decided to organise a collective delousing campaign. We were all asked to delouse our children on the same weekend. The hope is that this will stop the lice circulating — at least for a while. I am interested to see if this is successful, but it is really nice to see how everyone got on board!

So here are some tips I have gotten to prevent lice. (Once you have them, I find that the only thing that really works is brushing the hair with a fine tooth comb in front of a good movie!)

Lavender essential oil: Lice seem to be sensible souls who do not like the smell of lavender, so I drop a couple of lavender essential oil drops onto the girls’ pillows. That way their hair smells good and I think it does help to keep the lice at bay. I have also been told that teatree oil helps.

Braids: I told my 93-year-old grandmother about my lice issues and she looked at me incredulously and asked why my girls’ hair was not braided at school. I had never figured out why, in the olden days, all the little girls had nice, tight braids… It prevented lice!

Cleaning linen, and everything in the house: It is such a pain, but it helps. Every time there is even an suspicion that someone might have lice, we wash and clean our bed linen and towels and spray the sofa and armchairs.

Apart from that, I just freeze when I see anyone scratching their heads and throw my hands up in despair! I am interested: Do other countries also have the lice problem? How do you deal with it?

– Emilie

P.S Above is a photo I took of Violette pretending to be scratching her head and having lice. She got a bit annoyed with me because she was in the middle of measuring something, but I think the annoyed expression goes with the theme…

Organic children’s shampoo and conditioner

My oldest daughter Sara was pretty much bald when she was born, and didn’t have much hair until she was two. But now that she’s eight, she has a head full of it — there is so, so much of it. (So don’t despair, mamas of bald baby girls!) Because detangling all of that hair after washing it is no fun, I have been on the lookout for an organic conditioner that is made especially for children, and I have finally found a great one.

Organic Children makes conditioner with smoothing plant oils and proteins which leaves hair silky soft and shiny and easy to detangle. It is gentle on delicate children’s skin (it is even suitable for children with eczema and psoriasis) and there are no nasty parabens, phthalates etc. I also love the Organic Children shampoo, with natural bubbles from Yucca. There are different natural fragrances available — we love ‘Berry Smoothie‘ which is perfect for fine and straight hair and smells so good you want to eat it up.

xxx Esther

Chickenpox

Here in the Netherlands (and I believe in most parts of Europe), no vaccine is given for chickenpox. Which means it is a very common childhood disease here, and all parents know that at one point their child will come down with it. At least, they hope they do, because apparently getting chickenpox as an adult is seriously no fun!

Ava still hadn’t had the chickenpox at the age of 3 ½, so when her little girl friend from across the street showed signs of the disease, I decided to let her go over for a playdate. As the virus is highly contagious, I deliberately exposed her to it, in the hope she would develop the disease and get it over with. (After having had the disease, you’re immune for the rest of your life). And sure thing — after an exact incubation period of two weeks, I discovered the first blisters on her back.

Chickenpox is mostly completely unharmful, but it is a very uncomfortable disease. First there’s a fever and flu-like symptoms, and then hundreds of tiny blisters develop all over the head and body, and they itch! The whole thing usually takes no longer than a week, and thankfully Ava was her usually happy self just before Christmas.

But then of course, again exactly two weeks later, Casper got it too! He was suffering for a week as well, and the worst part were the blisters on his nappy area — the poor boy. But now, after a month of dealing with the chickenpox, I am proud to say that our entire family is chickenpox immune.

Did your kids get a vaccine against chickenpox? Or did they get over it the natural way? (Or maybe they still need to get it?) Would you deliberately expose them like I did? I’m curious to find out!

xxx Esther

PS The photo is of Pim as a baby, just after he had the chickenpox at age one. Casper’s age!

Baby Bear Shop organic bath!




Marlow still fits in our laundry room deep sink and it’s my favourite way to bathe her. No crouching over, no wasting water, and having her up at my level makes it easier to wash and rinse her. (I think it’s her favourite way to be bathed too – she always points at the sink asking to get in it!)

We have recently discovered the Baby Bear Shop range of organic bath products and love the Wishy Wash baby wash/shampoo and the natural Baby Bird bar soap. It has a very delicate, natural smell and a gentle sudsy-ness. Perfect for sensitive baby skin. I also love their gorgeous packaging (made from recycled paper!) and that they plant a tree with every order placed.

xx Courtney

Some thoughts about weaning your baby

After the physical act of birthing a baby and the initial days of discovering your baby and getting into some sort of a rhythm, to me weaning a baby is the next major event in the first year.  After the first hectic months have passed, when finally there’s a bit of a routine with the baby and (breast)feeding goes smoothly, then the next moment of insecurity comes… Weaning! Solids!

Out come the baby guide books again (all of them!), and there you are — back in the land of the unknown. When to start? What foods to introduce first? How to cook it? Or steam? The insecurity hits again.

When I had my fist baby, I did a lot (a lot!) of research, like I’m sure most, if not all first time mums do. Still not entirely sure what to do, I decided to follow the advise most doctors were giving at that time: I started solids after exclusively breastfeeding for 6 months. Ignoring the fact that Sara was already litterally grabbing the spoon out of my hands if I was trying to eat (which I did all day long because I was so hungry because of all of that breastfeeding)!

I started with baby rice because the guide books said so (and none of my babies liked it). Then I introduced vegetables first (I read somewhere that otherwise the baby would develop a sweet tooth!), repeated this for three days before introducing the next ‘ingredient’, so allergies could be discovered immediately. And then after that (although it wasn’t completely clear exactly when as to avoid the dreaded sweet tooth), I introduced fruits. All of this was exclusively home cooked and organic, and carefully frozen in mini batches, meticulously labeled.

I remember my mum raising an eyebrow but cleverly not interfering (she had simply mashed up a banana for my first bites when I was around four months old).

Thankfully Sara was a good eater and the whole process went well. So for the second child, I repeated the process. So far, so good. My third baby however, refused to eat. After her first taste of baby rice, she decided that food was not her thing, and she refused to open her mouth again! (I wrote a post about it here.)

It’s funny how things change. How I have changed! Even though I try to cook meals for Casper whenever possible, I do end up squeezing shop bought baby food in his mouth an awful lot of times. (Hey — it’s organic!) My old me would be appalled. Also, the general advise has changed — I understand that nowadays, doctors say to start earlier — at 4 months, 3 even! — and to introduce all sorts of food at the same time, peanut butter and all.

So what is wise? To me, it seems sensible to wait until your baby shows an interest in food. When he follows your spoon with his eyes when you’re eating, and is grabbing for objects and bringing them to his mouth, it might be a good time to start. Possibly with a mashed banana! And also: cooking for your baby is fun (the BabyCook is a big help I find!), and surely very healthy, but there are plenty of great, ready-made baby food products on the market that are yummy and can bring stress factors down dramatically. Finally, mashing half an avocado with half a banana and mixing it with a spoon of full yoghurt is the easiest home-cooked baby meal I have in my repertoire.

I’m very curious about your thoughts and experiences about weaning in general. And if you’d like to share your fool proof baby food recipe — yes please!

xxx Esther

Recipe: Home-Made Deodorant! (Yes, you’ve Read it Right!)

I’ve already shared this recipe on my blog but it’s so amazing I just have to post it here as well. I’ve tested it during the hot summer days and it works like a charm. It’s natural, organic and like I said – it’s a recipe but it’s not food, in fact it’s deodorant! Yes, organic and home made from things you probably already have at home and it really, trully works. That’s something I had problems finding – a natural deodorant that actually does its job.

But if you’re skeptical you can simply try the baking soda first, since coconut oil is an ingredient that only makes it easier to apply and to help moisturize the skin and the essential oil is optional and you can easily skip it – it only makes it smell nicer.

You’ll need:

About two empty deodorant containers or small glass jars
6 tbs coconut oil
4 tbs baking soda
4 tbs of arrowroot or cornstarch?a few drops of essential oil (if you’d like to add a little fragrance)

Melt the coconut oil on a small fire and add the rest of the ingredients, mix well, wait so it cools down a bit pour into jars or containers and wait for it to cool down completely (you can put them into a fridge).

Voilà! That is all!

-Polona

Breastfeeding in public?

This weekend I was sitting in a park in Paris with Courtney and Emilie, feeding Casper. The three of us were talking about breastfeeding in public, and Courtney then took this photo of Casper and me which started up a discussion: Could we post this photo? Would we post this photo?

When I had my first baby I was much more shy about my boobs than I am today. Yes, I would breastfeed in public, but first I would find a dark corner somewhere and I made sure my boob and baby were covered with a scarf completely. I had the feeling breastfeeding in public was frowned upon, and it should be done in private.

Now, 8 years and 4 babies later, I don’t feel that I have to cover myself completely anymore. I’m so much more comfortable! I feel I am breastfeeding my baby, which is a very natural and beautiful thing to do, and I think I shouldn’t have to be shy about it. I also have the feeling that these last years, breastfeeding in public has become a bit more acceptable; people are getting used to it now and the general feeling about it seems to be more relaxed. Which is so great!

So, I decided to be bold and bare (!) and post a photo of me feeding Casper in a public park in Paris. Is it too much you think? Do you breastfeed in public? Would you? I would love to hear your thoughts about it.

xxx Esther

PS Joanna Goddard, who just had her second baby (a beautiful little boy called Anton), wrote a great post about breastfeeding in public here.

PPS Following up on our discussion in the park, Emilie sent me this link — a fabulous poem by Hollie McNish which helped me decide to indeed post this photo here. Nobody should have to feed her baby in a public restroom.

Hatch-To-Hospital Box


I love the idea of this new hospital box from maternity label, Hatch. It’s a box of luxurious hospital necessities for new mothers to wear after they’ve given birth. The box contains a knee-length nightgown designed to feel like your softest t-shirt, as well as a grey jersey robe, a pair of Cosabella black briefs (full coverage, but still pretty), and a pair of luxurious grey cashmere socks.

I think it would make for a lovely gift to give yourself as you’re gearing up for labour… or for your husband to give to you! I don’t know about anyone else, but the outfit I wore after giving birth was always the last thing I thought about before I went into labour, and I often ended up snatching my husband’s t-shirt and throwing back on the outfit I wore into the hospital. There was nothing special about it at all. I sort of like the idea of adding a bit of luxurious comfort to the equation, and feeling that bit more elegant in the special first days after your baby is born. (Not that I will be doing it ever again! But still!)

x Courtney

Mum & Baby yoga

As I mentioned in this post, I took my first yoga class when I was pregnant with Marlow and after just one class I knew it would become an important part of my life from then on. I don’t know what took me so long to start up yoga, but I am so thankful I finally did. I loved taking pregnancy yoga classes when I was pregnant, and I am so convinced it helped prepare me mentally and physically for the birthing experience I had always longed for.

When Marlow was 8 weeks old we started taking yoga classes together. Once a week the two of us hop on a bus and head over to Triyoga in Primrose Hill for the Mummy & Me yoga class with Nadia Narain. It is always a highlight of the week for both of us! I love that I get to practice yoga even though I have a little baby who still can’t be left with a sitter, I love that every Wednesday I wake up and my muscles are slightly sore from the previous day’s work out, I love being surrounded by other mums with young babies and chatting to them about motherhood and baby stages, and I love ending the class with a little dance with Marlow – a special time for the two of us to share with each other. Marlow loves the bit at the end when we sing songs (Incy Wincy Spider is her favourite!), and she loves checking out all the other sweet babies in the room —  I’m certain that she loves our yoga class as much as I do.

x Courtney

p.s. Marlow’s romper in the photo above is from Marie Puce.

A Little About the Right Type of Sunscreen

Usually I write about cute clothes, darling shoes, best toys, I even throw in a few recipes and some fun DIYs here and there but today I’d like to talk about something a little more boring but far more important than all that – about choosing the right type of sunscreen. The sunny days that finally arrived already call for good sun protection (Spring apparently doesn’t really exist anymore). But there’s a catch about them which I didn’t know for a very long time. I only took care that the sunscreen doesn’t contain any parabens and has the highest SPF filter possible but that is actually not enough:

There are two types of sunscreens – the ones with Physical UV filters (good!) and the ones with Chemical ones (very bad!).?The main problem about Chemical Filters is that they penetrate the skin and absorb the UV light from there until they eventually release free radicals which can be even more damaging than the rays themselves! They can cause not only greater skin ageing but also skin cancer! Yes, sunscreen itself can cause the things we always thought (or at least I did) only the sun can!? While Physical Filters (also Mineral Screens) stay on the skin and don’t absorb but reflect the UV light! They act as a barrier between the skin and light. So be careful and look for the sun protection with Physical Filters like Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Dioxide.

I tried a few different ones already and some of them were really awful – they were just impossible to spread and left white or even yellow marks on clothes that never got washed off but I finally found two I really like. UVbio is the best sunscreen I have ever tried by far but it’s quite expensive and the other one I also like is from Lavera and it’s a lot more budget friendly.

-Polona

Silver Sense, clothing that’s kind to skin

I met up with my friend Lindsey from Urban Mums recently and she was telling me about (and showing me) her baby’s terrible eczema. Eczema so bad that his skin, at times, became infected and needed medical treatment. Poor little baby boy. It turns out he is allergic to dairy and gluten, and that feeding him a specially formulated baby milk free from these allergens will keep his eczema at bay. His eczema has thankfully mostly cleared up… but still, Lindsay has to be really picky about the clothing and fabrics her son wears so that his sensitive skin is never irritated.  Enter Silver Sense clothing.

Silver Sense specialises in clothing which helps to ease the itching, inflammation and distress caused by eczema and other skin conditions in a natural way. Their clothes are made from soft cotton fabrics which are blended with real, natural silver fibres. I had no idea… but apparently silver fibres have powerful antimicrobial properties that help fight the symptoms of eczema and other skin conditions! How cool is that? (You can read more about it here.)

I love all their cute products, both for babies and children up to 8 years. Lots of fun stripes, and cute colour combos. And Lindsey says the products are really great in person, super cute and nice fitting… and yes, soothing on her baby’s skin. Brilliant!

x Courtney

Addicted to green smoothies!

My sister recently suggested I read Green for Life by Victoria Boutenko. She said the book had changed her life! (How’s that for a recommendation?!) Ms. Boutenko is a raw foods pioneer and natural health advocate. She writes about the immense health benefits of eating more greens — how they eliminate toxins in the body and correct nutritional deficiencies. She suggests that the easiest way to consume sufficient amount of greens is to make and drink green smoothies.

And thus began our addiction to green smoothies!! We make them every day. It’s such an easy way to eat spinach, kale, chard and other extremely healthy green vegetables. She also argues that we should be eating more of the green parts of vegetables — the green bits of strawberries (just throw the whole strawberries, stems included, into your blender!), the greens of carrots, beet greens, etc. I don’t think I’ll ever toss those green bits away again! Plus, it’s so much easier to throw it all into your blender without removing the stems.

In addition to the greens, we also add sweet fruit like bananas, mangoes, strawberries, apples, etc. So the smoothies are not only extremely healthy, they’re super yummy! My kids are as addicted as I am! Here is one of our favourite sweet green smoothie recipes from the Green for Life book:

1 cup chard
1 cup spinach
10 strawberries, stems included
1 mango, peeled
1 apple
1 banana
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cups water

And another recipe we also like (a bit less sweet – more healthy tasting!) is this one which we’ve sort of created ourselves:

2 avocados
1-2 cups of spinach
1 bunch of mint, stems included
1 bunch of parsley, stems included
1 apple
2 kiwis
1 cup apple juice

Try it! It’s delicious! And please share your green smoothie recipes. We would love to have more options!

x Courtney

Boob design to the rescue!

There’s something so contradictory about the first weeks after giving birth. Of course there is that wonderful, magical feeling of bliss — the birth, that beautiful, earthy smell, seeing and holding your baby for the first time, admiring every detail of him (her), spending your days on the couch, in bed, being so proud, feeling the love, the connection between your loved ones, changing miniscule nappies, dressing that tiny wrinkly newborn in those tiny little outfits you so carefully piled in anticipation for the big day, hearing him, smelling him, learning everything once again. Amazing.

And then there’s the part no one ever really talks about. The pain! Piles of enormous pads between your legs. Walking as if you’ve been horse riding for 3 weeks straight!
Being so tired, so drained. Being angry, being sad, being emotional. The tears! The confusion! The frustration. Endless hours of breastfeeding, every 3 hours, every 2 hours, every hour. Cracked nipples, strong afterbirth pains that make you cringe, the thirst, the sweat, and then, the engorgement. Boobs the size of melons, so big, so hard, and so painful.

I wish I had these Relief Pads from Boob Design when I was suffering from engorgement after the birth of my children. Especially after Ava it was pretty bad! It took a whole week — my boobs were huge, painful, hot, they were red and white and purple and I had to ‘sleep’ sitting up which wasn’t so agreeable to start with! I SO needed these pads. Made out of 100% organic cotton and filled with natural flax seed, the Boob Relief Pads can be chilled in the freezer to soothe or heal tender and swollen breasts, or help relieve blocked ducts. They can also be warmed in the microwave or oven to warm up your breast before nursing, stimulate milk flow and prevent blocked ducts. And, they have a healing effect when breasts are inflamed or if you have mastitis.

Boob Design gave me a pair when we met at the Playtime fair, and even though my boobs are now doing fine, I still like to warm my pads in the micro and stick them in to my bra every now and then. It’s just so soft, warm and comfortable! They can also be used to pre-warm baby’s bed or push chair, or to stick around your neck for some relief after carrying a baby around for too long. All in all, if you’re (planning on) breastfeeding, I definitely recommend getting a pair!

xxx Esther

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