4 Ways To Ensure You Practice Self Care During Pregnancy

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Friends, family, strangers, experts, books...all will tell you many things about pregnancy, but sometimes it’s about taking things into your own hands and focussing on what’s right for you. Self care during a time when your body is not only keeping you alive but also creating new life is so important and also something that is entirely personal.

Throughout my journey to motherhood I’ve slowly learnt a few key lessons about practicing self care during pregnancy and ensuring I put mine and my babies well being first. I’m sure I have more lessons to learn in the last few weeks as I near my due date but for now here are my tips on looking after your mind and body as best you can during this exciting and crazy time:

Listen To Your Body

The most important thing you can do during pregnancy is listen to what your body is telling you...reset your boundaries when exercising, eat when you’re hungry, sleep when you’re tired. This all sounds simple enough but when your body is going through so many changes and everything you’ve known it to need or have the ability to do is adjusting as it makes room for baby, taking a step back, understanding, and being ok with what your body needs is so important. Plus don’t forget the many symptoms and side effects of pregnancy, so many; I would suggest choosing one book or app that will help you understand the changes going on that aren’t visible, yes there’s a reason you might be short of breath or losing your balance! Knowledge that what you’re experiencing is normal can help put your mind at ease and remind you not to put pressure on yourself to be functioning exactly as you used to.

Focus On Your Own Experience

I can’t express this strongly enough, although pregnancy may seem to be a pretty standard experience, the journey of every Mama-to-be is as unique and different as you are. Yes sometimes it’s nice to share and compare pregnancy experiences, this can actually be helpful, especially if you can be real and confide in someone about the not so great parts! But it’s also best to always remember that your road to motherhood is uniquely yours and while someone else's experience may have had one outcome yours could be completely different. This is especially true when it comes to getting sucked into a google search about any symptoms you may be having, don’t do it! I had a really scary experience in the first trimester of my pregnancy and let’s just say that nothing anyone said or wrote online was going to help me, what was most important in that moment was the support of my partner and doctors.

Ignore Unwanted Comments/Advice/Stories

People commenting on how big you are, like it has ever been ok to pass judgement on your weight, or how small you are, because you really need to be worried that your baby isn’t as big as it should be. Advice about what you should be prepared for when your baby arrives, which are almost always negative...how about you can deal with whatever your situation is as and when it happens. Or the good old, I heard a friend of a friend had this happen during pregnancy or have you heard this can happen during childbirth. Yes, we all know the details of labour, no need to mention it again! For some reason as soon as you’re sporting a baby bump anyone and everyone feels it’s their duty to pass judgement, give you advice or worst of all tell you horror stories, whether they’re already a Mum or not. Well my only advice is ignore it all and remember that one key fact about how everyone’s experience is different. You can’t predict what you’ll face but you’ll approach those hurdles if and when they arise like the strong Mama you are. And of course feel free to speak up if someone really oversteps the mark with their comments, you may not have heard but pregnancy hormones are uncontrollable!

Invest In Relaxing

Lastly, don’t feel bad about putting your feet up and taking some time to yourself. You should be making the most of relaxing while you can and before your life changes forever, sorry I hate both of those phrases when other people say them to me but I guess they are true! Your body is doing an amazing thing and indulging in a little you time and some R&R is not that indulgent at all when you consider the ever expanding list of pregnancy symptoms you’re dealing with. Set aside time to enjoy being with your partner as well; go out for dinners, go to the movies, enjoy a day at home on the couch. Basically do whatever makes you comfortable, relaxed and happy...this is a time when being selfish isn’t such a bad thing!

This article was originally published on The Green Hub

Wardrobe Lessons I've Learnt During Pregnancy That Apply To Everyone

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During different stages of our lives we learn lots of new things, and while my wardrobe is a big part of my life I didn't expect that pregnancy would teach me valuable lessons about it! Navigating a changing body of course presents it's challenges when it comes to what to wear but it's also been about thinking to the future and what this new season of life will mean for my wardrobe and how it works for me and my lifestyle. So here are my top 3 lessons learnt, all of which can be easily applied to any wardrobe out there:

Wash, Wear, Repeat 

It really is ok to wear the same pieces over and over again! And if you love them you'll actually enjoy it. Having my go to outfits has been so much less time consuming and easier to manage, and knowing I'll look and feel good in whichever one I choose to put on is so helpful especially in this time of change. But I do also have to admit my realisation that I'm definitely not a complete minimalist, and probably never will be! I like choice, and that too is ok. Only fitting into one Winter coat has felt a little limiting, although it hasn't really affected my ability to change up my outfits. Layering is so key, wearing different jacket/top combinations under my coat and different scarves/beanies on top of my coat has helped so much. Jeans have been a little harder as they've always been my vice and favourite item of clothing, so getting by with only 4 pairs has been challenging. I definitely appreciate my denim collection more and can't wait to fit back into my beloved jeans again!

Letting Go

I love the idea of a good wardrobe clean out, staying on top of what you love most, what you might be neglecting, what needs mending and focussing on only filling the gaps you might have is so important. But in saying that I've realised the importance of holding on to things as well...because they could be exactly what you need in a new season of your life, you just don't know it yet! Holding on to those items you feel your love affair has ended with can be difficult if you have space constraints, and of course I'm not suggesting a hoarding situation here, but certain timeless, good quality, easy to wear pieces are worth the trouble of keeping as they could be easily reintroduced into your wardrobe down the track. I've had an almost exclusive relationship with clothing that covers my chest over the last few years, meaning crew necks make up most of my wardrobe, which is going to prove problematic should I be lucky enough to breastfeed! The struggle is also real with getting shoes on these days and I dream of a couple of pairs of boots I should've kept that would've been both comfortable and easy to get on right now. You never know when or how your style may change out of necessity!

Life and Style

Practicality, although a rather unsexy word to use when it comes to your wardrobe is actually the key to your clothes working for you and never having one of those I have nothing to wear moments again. The fusing of your personal style with your lifestyle is an art form that will ensure you have the perfect wardrobe...so as you can imagine it's not always that easy to perfect, especially when both are moving targets. Really thinking about exactly how an item will work for different scenarios that play out in your lifestyle will help you determine how much wear you can actually get out of a garment. Working with a slightly more limited wardrobe these last few months has meant everything that fits me has had to be practical and cover all of my lifestyle scenarios with ease. Always consider things like how easy a garment is to care for, how well it goes with other pieces in your wardrobe, can it cross over and work for multiple lifestyle needs, does the colour work with your palette and compliment you with and without make up on (yes I'm assuming the make up brushes won't be coming out as often in the coming months!). Don't sacrifice your style but always ensure your clothes suit your lifestyle.

Baby Registry Must Haves For The Sustainable Mum

Becoming a Mum opens you up to a whole new world of products, whether they’re baby, maternity, postpartum or nursing related it can be very overwhelming trying to determine exactly what you’ll need once your bundle of joy arrives. It's also pretty common that a lot of the necessary products aren’t very helpful when it comes to living sustainably and reducing your waste! So for all of you eco Mamas out there I’ve compiled a list of the must have items that will help you start your new adventure with a baby as sustainably as possible.

Modern Cloth Nappies

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This is a big one and the most obvious contributor to that waste factor I mentioned, yes your baby will go through approximately 2,500-3,000 nappies in its first year on earth, wow! Thankfully there are amazing and easy to use solutions out there these days in the form of modern cloth nappies (or MCN’s as I’ve discovered after reading a few too many Mummy blogs!). The initial cost may seem like a large outlay but in the long run you’ll be better off and will also be saving half a wheelie bin of rubbish from ending up in landfill every week according to Pea Pods. Their adjustable sizing system for nappy covers, bamboo inserts and 100% biodegradable bamboo liners mean these nappies will last your baby from newborn right through to toddler all while being sensitive on their delicate skin and much better for the environment.

And if you’re struggling with the idea of reusable nappies there are more environmentally friendly disposable options, like Thank You Nappies that use sustainably sourced wood pulp in their lining and no chemicals. Plus your purchase helps provide maternal and child health care for Mums and Bubs in need.

www.peapods.com.au

Plastic Free Dummies & Teethers

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I imagine babies aren’t the best at keeping track of their stuff, making dummies one item that you could easily go through a lot of! And with so much plastic already out there in the world why would we unnecessarily add more to it, not to mention risk our babies putting hazardous materials in their mouths. Hevea Planet has a simple solution, offering pacifiers and teethers made entirely of natural rubber sourced from rubber trees, which makes them not only safe for your baby but also completely biodegradable. Babies can go through 10-20 pacifiers in a year so to help reduce waste Hevea Planet also runs an upcycling program to bring new life to used products.

www.heveaplanet.com

Reusable Breast Pads  

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If you’re planning on nursing your baby then breast pads are a must, but just like with other feminine hygiene products they can create a lot of waste depending on your flow. Look after the planet and your sensitive and hard working nipples by using washable breast pads like these ones from Breastmates. They’re made from super absorbent bamboo to prevent any embarrassing leaks and provide the most comfort! They can be thrown in the wash, and the dryer if you need them in a hurry, plus according to Breastmates they get better and more absorbent with age. What’s not to love!

www.breastmates.co.nz

Organic Wraps

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Having baby close, especially in the early days, is so important and helps solidify the bond between baby and parent...and with the use of a wrap carrier you’re also giving yourself some much needed hands free time! Hug A Bub offers sling and tie wraps, so you can choose your preferred way to carry baby, all made using 100% certified organic cotton and certified Fair Trade manufacturing. As well as being better for the planet this will ensure maximum breathability for you and your baby, especially during the warmer months. Plus for every wrap purchased Hug A Bub will plant a tree in countries devastated by deforestation.

www.hugabub.com

Organic Skincare

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When it comes to bath time we all want to make sure we’re using the safest products possible on our baby’s delicate skin, so investing in organic skincare is key. This bis made easy with Australian made and owned brand Bubba Organics which offers a full range of products for bath time and changing all made locally from 100% natural ingredients, ensuring your baby care products are free from harmful chemicals and not tested on animals. Bubba Organics focuses on minimising their impact on the earth through all aspects of their business including using locally made eco friendly packaging, and as a new Mum the bottles pump functionality will be a lifesaver when you have your hands full.

www.bubbaorganics.com.au

Organic Cotton Bedding

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Putting your little one down to sleep (which hopefully happens often!) you want to be confident they’re resting peacefully with organic cotton sheets that are free from any harmful chemicals and provide maximum breathability. With the amount of time babies spend in their bassinet or cot, investing in organic sheets is well worth it and Babu has you covered on all fronts with a variety of sizes available. Using 100% GOTS certified organic cotton, bottom sheets are fitted at all four corners and top sheets are fitted at the bottom two corners for maximum safety. You’ll even find organic cotton swaddles and bath towels to ensure baby goes from bath time to bedtime sustainably!   

www.babu.co.nz

Sheepskin Rug

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When it comes to a multi use and long lasting product you can’t go past a sheepskin rug to keep your baby protected and comfortable. Used for generations as the perfect mat for playtime which can also go from your cot to your pram to a simple floor rug or chair throw down the track. Ecowool sheepskin rugs are New Zealand made from happy, healthy sheep that roam free in unpolluted alpine pastures. The natural qualities of Ecowool sheepskin rugs keep baby at the right temperature, absorbing up to 30% of their own weight in moisture without feeling cold or clammy. They’re also tanned to infant use standards and have minimal fibre loss. Tummy time never looked or felt so good!

www.ecowool.com

This article was originally published on The Green Hub

5 Sustainable Brands For Your Baby's Wardrobe

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When it comes to dressing your little one there are so many adorable options to choose from, I mean what isn't cute when it's in a miniature size?! But, as we know, not all clothes are created equal. When you consider how delicate newborn skin is, what you choose to wrap your baby in becomes all that much more important.

Naturally my first stop when I found out I was pregnant was to check out the huge variety of baby clothes out there, and of course make a few purchases. Over the last few months I've discovered some amazing brands that are not only ridiculously cute but also offer ethical and sustainable baby clothes that are reasonably priced. So here are my top 5 brands to get your little eco baby on his or her way to a sustainable wardrobe:


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Nature Baby

Focussing their range on organic cotton and merino wool fabrications Nature Baby ensures it's garments meet babies needs for softness, breathability, warmth and durability while taking care of the world in which they will grow. The brands GOTS certified organic cotton is sourced in India and produced on farms that have become self sustaining while also offering factory workers fair conditions. This is achieved by paying above the minimum wage, providing equality between male and female workers and having zero tolerance for child labour. Merino wool is locally sourced in New Zealand, where Nature Baby was founded, and is ZQ accredited to ensure it comes from happy, healthy sheep.

Feel confident with Nature Baby for your sustainable little ones wardrobe from newborn to 4 years old, plus you'll find a selection of bedding, toys and necessities for Mum. 

www.naturebaby.com


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Purebaby

With a vision dedicated to creating beautiful baby clothing while never compromising on social responsibility, Purebaby's range is created predominantly with GOTS certified organic cotton fabrics that have been dyed with GOTS certified natural dyes. The brand substitutes only natural fibres where organic cotton fabrications are not suitable, ensuring their garments are soft, durable and strong while also allowing young, delicate skin to breathe. Purebaby partners with social organisations, St Kilda Mums and Global Sisters, to give back to the community and also offer Nesting Workshops in their stores to pass on practical tips to soon to be parents. 

Clothe your babes responsibly from newborn to 4 years old, plus Purebaby have you covered with beautiful nursery and gifting options.

www.purebaby.com.au


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Huxbaby  

A minimalist approach is what sets this brand apart. Focusing their range on gender neutral designs in a minimal colour palette, think black, white and grey, combined with graphics that pop, Huxbaby wants parents to buy once and buy well. As well as offering thoughtful designs, Huxbaby primarily uses GOTS certified organic cotton and AZO free dyes to ensure their clothing is of the highest quality, constructed to last and most importantly delicate on your baby's skin. This range of basics that are anything but basic will work hard for you well beyond baby number one and ensure your entire brood is clothed in timeless and sustainable style.

Dress your little minimalists in Huxbaby from 0-3 months through to 5 years old...and all over again as your family continues to grow. 

www.huxbaby.com


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Milk and Masuki

As well as their namesake brand, Milk and Masuki offer a curated selection of the best organic kids products from Australia, New Zealand and around the world, all of which align with the brands ethics and aesthetics. With a commitment to organic cotton from the outset this brand offers creativity and unique designs through their hand painted prints and are proud to be part of an ethical and environmentally friendly supply chain. Designs featuring koalas and kiwis mean you can represent your baby's homeland in a completely adorable way, plus you'll find a beautiful selection of responsible accessories for Mum so you can treat yourself too.

Clothe your kids in creativity from newborn right through to 8 years old with Milk and Masuki's unique range and more from their handpicked selection of local, ethical and sustainable brands.

www.milkandmasuki.com


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aden + anais

Standing firmly behind their preferred fabric choice, this brand has become known for it's signature muslin products which provide softness, breathability and comfort for your little one as well as durability. Beginning with the multi functional swaddle, aden + anais now offer a full range of clothing, sleepwear, blankets, bibs and bedding made out of this natural fibre they believe so much in to keep your baby safe and comfortable. Because of its aforementioned durability muslin is easy to wash and will last for years, plus aden + anais now offer ranges made from 100% GOTS certified organic cotton and a silky soft muslin which is combined with rayon made from bamboo.  

Wrap your babies in natural comfort with these infamous multi purpose swaddles from aden + anais that will last for years, plus clothing from newborn to 18 months and sleepwear up to age 4.

www.adenandanais.com


This article was originally published on The Green Hub

The 3 Silhouettes You Need To Master Maternity Style

While the thought of dressing an entirely new body shape might seem daunting it really can be quite simple when you realise there are only three silhouettes you need to rely on to see you through your entire pregnancy. And the best part is, you'll likely find a number of pieces in these silhouettes already in your wardrobe. So when it comes to accommodating your pregnant belly, stick to these key shapes to master easy and flattering pregnancy and post pregnancy style:

 

Fitted

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Perfect to stretch with your growing belly, fitted styles will ensure it's obvious that you're pregnant in the early days and avoid making you look bigger than you actually are towards the end!  

Styles with ruched waists or side seam gathering fit nicely over a pregnant belly and will also be more flattering postpartum, so keep longevity in mind if you're investing in this style during your pregnancy.

Any fitted tops you currently have in your wardrobe will nicely stretch over your belly during pregnancy and if they become too short it's easy to layer a fitted tank underneath for extra length. And you can rely on fitted dresses which are perfect for showing off that growing bump and staying comfortable!

 

Empire Line

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Probably the most flattering shape to see you through your entire pregnancy, empire line styles show off your bump while also skimming over any areas that may have also grown but you'd prefer not to highlight.

Make the most of accentuating your bust and showing off your bump with empire line tops and dresses in soft and draping fabrications. This shape will also be complimentary postpartum to skim over your belly so keep in mind the wearability of pieces once baby arrives. 

You may not have an abundance of empire line styles already in your wardrobe and if you do they may not accommodate your mid section through your entire pregnancy! You can however use belts to create this silhouette with any loose fit and flowing pieces you already have or with a top worn over a dress and tied above your belly.  

 

Oversized

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Easy and comfortable, and the most likely to already exist in your wardrobe, oversized styles will last you through your entire pregnancy and beyond. 

Best in the early days when you might still be trying to hide that you're pregnant and then once again when you're struggling to find clothes that fit! You'll likely have a stage in the middle of your pregnancy when you avoid oversized pieces and instead enjoy showing your bump off!

Use necklaces, earrings and bold lip colours to draw attention up and away from your expanding belly which will create a more balanced look. And once again layering is key with oversized pieces, either to create interest or to help extend the wearability of a top with a long fitted singlet underneath. 

 

Dressing your bump should be an enjoyable experience and a fun reason to create new looks by styling your clothes differently. Remember to embrace your changing body, even though it may not always be easy, and use your clothes to help you feel like the strong, powerful Mama-to-be that you are!