What To Pack For A Beach Holiday With The Kids

“You only have 18 summers with your children, make each one of them count.”

We came across this line somewhere in the sometimes very insightful internet (and geez, it makes us emotional when it’s put that way!). So it’s finally here! Summer holidays is all about spending quality time with the family and yes – we totally agree that traveling with kids comes with its own challenges. To help you out, we prepared a list of things you need to pack for the perfect beach holiday – an efficient checklist you can review just to make sure you’ve got it all covered and that you have less to worry about when you head to a holiday in the tropics and ultimately, to make this summer count.

FIRST THINGS FIRST.

The most important stuff to double check before heading out the door…

1. Passports, driving license, other forms of identification, documents (like birth certificates to prove your relation to your children if you don’t carry the same last name), visas, flight tickets, keys, medical insurance cards, extra passport sized photos.

*Pregnant women may be required to show a letter from your doctor that you are fit to travel, it’s worth checking the airline’s policies on how many weeks into the pregnancy they allow on board, usually it’s at 28 weeks, or if your bump is big early on.

Pro tip: Back up all these documents by first, taking photos of them on your phone and saving them on a specific album so it’s easy to find when needed. Second, email scanned copies/ photos of those documents to your inbox and again save in a folder. These copies will come in handy if anything (hopefully nothing!) gets lost.



2. Credit cards, cash in the currencies you will be needing (plus some extra that are widely accepted/ changed locally). Remember to call your bank before you travel to advise them of your movements so they don’t block your transactions, and to activate international cash withdrawals too, you don’t want bank issues getting in the way of your fun beach holiday!

3. Pens for filling out forms- we know it’s basic but don’t we always forget?

FOR THE FLIGHT.

Long haul or short haul, pack these in your carry on, or the kids’ carry on if they’re big enough to make sure you have the smoothest flight possible…

1. A blanket, hoodie, cardigan or whatever item of clothing your child prefers to keep themselves warm when the cabin temperatures get cold. Travel pillows, ear plugs, sleep eye mask, and socks all dependent on how long your flight is and if you travel business/ economy. Comfort is key!
2. Entertainment – books, sketch pads, a journal to write about the upcoming holiday, pencils, crayons, activity books, stickers, games, small toys-keep them occupied! For music and screen time, you might want to bring headphones as some airlines do not have small ones for kids.
3. Snacks – for when you’re on the go and someone gets hungry or for when there are unexpected delays. Depending on how young your child is, packing feeding bottles, cutlery/ sippy cups, pacifiers (if your baby uses one), might be necessary too.
4. Hand sanitizers, tissues and wet wipes, a change of clothes – short/ long haul, it’s always smart to carry these on. A toiletry kit, if it’s a long haul. If travelling with a baby, you’ll need to pack diapers (one per hour) and rash cream.
5. Refillable water bottles for each and everyone, formula and water (if applicable).
6. Extra bag for shopping so you don’t have to use plastic – we prefer collapsible/ foldable ones, they don’t take much space and are lightweight.
7. First aid and medication – preparation is essential!
8. Phone/ tablet chargers and adaptors. And speaking of phones, DO plan ahead how you’re going to stay connected during the holiday, check overseas packages with your network provider as not all places have free wifi. Downloading apps ahead of time can also be useful – for example: travel guides, currency exchange apps, maps/navigation, food delivery and transportation apps specific to your destination.
9. For babies and smaller kids, a lightweight buggy or stroller, a sling, and breastfeeding necessities and nursing covers.
10. An extra outfit for you, for when diaper leaks or messy burps happen (like, always!).

Pro tip: Something extra for yourself – carry on a book or ipad for music and movies, face mask, small makeup kit (don’t forget the lip balm), moisturizer, hand cream, hand sanitizer, a scarf, sunglasses, tampons, hair brush, hair elastics.



Beach Holiday with Kids

FOR THE BEACH AND BEYOND.

Let the beach holidays begin! We tried to keep this short because we believe in travelling as light as possible so here are just a few more things that you must not forget to pack for your vacay:

1. Sun Protection – hats, sunglasses, sunblock, swimming costumes.

Looking for some swimsuit for yourself? Check out our selection here and we’ll help you get sorted for days of lounging around the pool or beach.

2. Check which of the following you may need to bring on your own depending on what your accommodation provides: baby life jackets, snorkeling gear for kids, buoyancy devices and beach toys.
3. Camera – we all have our own preferences when it comes to capturing memories, some bring cameras, some are fine with their phones but what we find useful when going to the beach for summer holidays are things you can use in/underwater: GoPro, underwater camera, or phone waterproof cases.
4. Vitamins, first aid and medication, allergy medications, mosquito repellents
5. A bag for wet clothes – could be the one mentioned above in “FOR THE FLIGHT”
6. The right footwear for your activities – reef shoes, flipflops, hiking or running shoes.
7. Stay fit during your vacay, pack some activewear for a run on the beach or a yoga session.
8. Portable crib, bath time necessities (baby bath tub, there are inflatable ones), car seats, again check with your accommodation to see which ones they can provide.

And that’s it! We recommend saving this link to your phone too so that you can just pull it up anytime you are going away, did we forget anything? Let us know in the comments! We wish you safe travels and a whole lot of fun this summer!

P.S. – If you are looking for inspiration on what to wear during your beach holiday, have a look at the Vacation Wardrobe that we curated for you featuring tunics for the beach, sophisticated dresses for romantic dinners, and more.

Beach Holiday with Kids

Four Ways to Have Fun with Your Baby

Your baby is finally here, what a wonderful feeling! Life is busier than ever with your new baby, in fact at times you may feel exhausted. This is totally normal! Finding ways to incorporate and enjoy precious time with your new baby is a must. Along with feeding, changing, burping and doing laundry, finding activities to enjoy with your baby helps him or her develop and grow and will help mommy to enjoy and de-stress. New babies explore with their senses; taste, sight, smell, sound, and touch. There are simple and fun activities to incorporate into your day to make things fun for you and baby.

1. Explore Together: Sights, Tastes & Sounds

  • Let’s stroll: take a walk outside, get fresh air for you and baby. It doesn’t really matter where you go, but getting out for fresh air and a change of scenery is good for both mommy and baby. So whether you are visiting a favorite coffee shop, a marketplace, or a local park, both of you will feel stimulated and refreshed with a simple change of scene.
  • Diva time: explore mommy’s closet. Yes, explore items in your closet! I know it may sound strange, but babies love different sensations and sights. Play peek-a-boo with a scarf, let baby touch different textures. Show them sparkles and glittering fabrics; fun for mom and baby too.
  • Walkabout: take a walk about your home or yard. Point out things to look at, let baby touch items, look into mirrors (babies love to see their reflection), turn lights off and on, or play music and just share your home with baby.

2. Get Moving: Babies Love to Move

  • Yoga motions: there are many baby and me yoga classes, books, and tapes to get you and your baby started in a shared exercise program. It’s great to help moms get back into shape, and feel refreshed. Babies benefit from bonding with mommy, as well as increased movements, and body awareness.
  • Dance party: turn on music and dance with baby, rock, sway, and bounce; babies enjoy movement. Laugh, smile and just move, great for your baby’s development and uplifting your mood. Change the melody and the movements, just have fun and be a little silly.

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3. Mommy & Me Time

  • Storytime: share reading with your baby. Read a colorful storybook. You don’t even have to read word for word, baby won’t know! Showing colorful pictures and talking is enough for baby. Remember babies attention spans are short so spending time cuddling and reading to a baby can be short and sweet. After reading to baby snuggle and read for yourself. Reading to your baby builds their language skills and provides time to connect with your baby.
  • Splish splash: splash in the sink, bathtub or baby pool, fun for baby and cool and refreshing for mom.

4. Get Artsy: Keepsake Moments:

If you love taking photos, making crafts, or just making memories to share as your baby grows, there and many fun ways to incorporate your interests and your baby. Here are a few ideas for you and baby to “get artsy” together. You can find many more great ideas with directions on Pinterest.

  • Mini photoshoot: use props to set the stage for a baby photo shoot. Create a cute backdrop or setting and snap some photos of your cutie pie. Fun for baby and a photo-loving mom.
  • Finger painting: let baby smush and mush their finger (and toes) in the paint and let them go wild on paper or canvas. This is a special keepsake for mom, and fun for baby
  • Baby journal: jot down notes, save mementos and makes memories for you and baby by keeping a baby journal. Add baby “art” and photos and save it as a special keepsake.

Taking time to enjoy your baby, and not just provide for its basic needs, will keep both of you healthier and happier. Try lots of different activities, and discover which ones you and your baby enjoy most.

Fun with Baby

Summer Heat Safety Tips for Expectant Moms

You’re expecting! How exciting!! With everything you’ll want to do while waiting for your new bundle of joy, taking care of yourself should be number one on your list. Being pregnant comes with lots of changes. One of the more noticeable is a higher body temperature which can lead to difficulty regulating heat. Yes, a pregnant woman’s body temperature runs a bit higher than normal, so making sure you take precautions to keep cool and comfy is necessary as summer approaches.

Increased skin sensitivity and perspiration add to some of the changes expecting moms experience. Your body has a bit lower tolerance for heat and humidity. Here are some safety tips that will help you and your growing baby keep cool this summer.

Beat the Heat

Expecting shouldn’t keep you from enjoying your favorite warm-weather activities. A bit of extra planning (moms do lots of planning) and you can enjoy yourself and keep cool and comfy all throughout your pregnancy.

Hydrate! Pregnant women perspire a bit more so taking water or cold drinks with you will help you to stay hydrated and keep your body cool. Drink water, tea, or low sugar sports drinks that replace electrolytes throughout the day to help your body beat the heat.

Plan outdoors activities and exercises for the coolest part of the day, either mornings or evenings. It’s recommended that expecting moms stay indoors during the hottest part of the day.

Water fun! Carry a mister or spray bottle for a refreshing spritz. Take an extra shower or soak your feet in a foot bath to keep cool indoors. Enjoying activities that include water outdoors can provide exercise or relaxation. Swimming or floating is great, but remember to be cautious of the sun and heat. Wearing a hat and sun protection is a must poolside.

Stay cool with our water-resistant jeans

Skincare Extras

As the heat and humidity rise expecting moms may experience an increase in skin sensitivity and perspiration. They need to take extra care to avoid overexertion.

Wear sunscreen for added protection, being pregnant may make your skin a bit more sensitive to the sun. Physicians recommend a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher applied 20 minutes before going outside.

Dress for the weather! Select fabrics and styles that work well in the heat. Wear lightweight and fast drying fabrics to reduce heat rashes and help you feel cool and dry. Fabrics like cotton, bamboo, blends containing a large amount of either, and jersey are good choices. Their breathability and moisture wicking qualities will help keep your body cool and dry, the best way to beat the heat and look great.

Siesta Time

Make time for rest and self-care. With so much to plan for, taking time daily to unwind and relax is good for you and baby.

Put your feet up! Increased temperature can lead to swelling feet and legs. Expecting moms should elevate their feet, when possible, to reduce the likelihood of swelling. Avoiding salty foods will help reduce swelling caused by water retention.

Avoid overexertion in your last trimester. Allow yourself to delegate household tasks that start to become more difficult, especially if the rise in temperature adds to the difficulty.

Take a nap! Yes expecting moms often feel tired and may have difficulty sleeping through the night. Allow yourself to rest throughout the day. Your body and baby will appreciate the extra ZZZZZs.

Waiting for your baby is an exciting time and we hope following these tips helps you enjoy summer while taking care of your baby and yourself!

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Why Mayarya uses Vortex yarn to keep moms looking great — and feeling cool!

At Mayarya, we strive to provide the very best products made out of fabrics that have the qualities our savvy customers desire. So, why have chose VORTEX yarn to use for our products. That’s easy: we want our customers to have the best style options, color choices, and fabrics possible and VORTEX yarn has these qualities and more.

Unique yarn qualities: spinning without a twist

VORTEX yarn is perfect for busy moms. Its unique spinning process, that doesn’t twist the yarn, makes it durable enough that rubbing against a diaper bag or purse won’t cause pilling. This unique design allows it to accept dyes and weaves of all varieties, making it highly versatile.

It looks and feels soft and silky while holding its shape, making it a great choice for both simple and sophisticated styles. Detailed patterns printed on it are clear and crisp, producing prints and colors without that “fuzzy” look. And we love that!

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Wearability

The one-of-a-kind processing of VORTEX yarn makes products made from it soft and silky to the touch while also holding shape. Along with its delightful texture, clothing made with VORTEX yarn is super moisture absorbing so you stay cool and comfortable regardless of the weather or what you’re doing. Perfect for warm summer days, or being active outside, wearing VORTEX yarn products means you’ll never feel sweaty or sticky. These unique style qualities make VORTEX yarns superior, which allow us to provide our customers high-quality products. Sounds pretty great, right?

Durability

VORTEX yarn is woven to produce products that can handle repeated washing, making it great for moms that wash load after load (after load!) of laundry every day. VORTEX yarn’s unique construction makes the fibers strong and resistant to wear, ensuring that washing items over and over will not affect the fabric’s look or durability. Its fibers are shortened and naturally stable, making it the perfect fabric for a busy mom’s wardrobe.

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We choose VORTEX yarn!

Wash it time after time. Wear that diaper bag slung over your shoulder with the strap rubbing in the same spot. Sweat it out in the summer in your favorite styles. You won’t see a breakdown in the fabric’s durability. You won’t see piling. And you won’t feel sticky and uncomfortable. VORTEX yarn is wash-resistant, piling-resistant, and moisture absorbing, making it the perfect choice for your maternity wardrobe — and beyond.

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Tulum Maternity and Nursing Dress

Happy Mother’s Day Giveaway!

Happy Mother’s Day!  In order to celebrate this special day, we would love to offer a free giveaway to all the hardworking moms-to-be and moms! 

Date: May 9th – 14th 2018 

All orders above USD50/HKD400/SGD60/AUD60 will receive a Free Maternity Support Tank in White

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Shop Now

How to get this offer?

- There is no code or no need to add this gift in your shopping cart.  Just simply mention your preferred size (S, M or L) in the below comment box at the checkout.

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General Terms & Conditions

  • Applicable globally in all our site regions

  • The giveaway products are non-exchangeable and non-returnable

SHOPNOW1

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Back to work? Five tips on expressing milk as a working mom

Time to go back to work already? It seems your new baby just got home and you find yourself having to return to the office.! Yes, it feels too soon for some new moms and if you’re a nursing mom, you may feel a bit overwhelmed. But you can do it! Here are five tips to help you navigate expressing your milk on the job.

Tip 1: Purchase a quality breast pump — or two!

Returning to work can be stressful especially for new nursing moms. Having the right tools to help you on the job is essential. Most moms agree that having a breast pump you feel comfortable with using is key to expressing at work. The better relaxed you are, the better milk collection will be. Most nursing moms suggest keeping a pump at work and at home. And if you’d like to truly relax while expressing, try a hands-free pumping bustier.

Tip 2: Plan ahead — talk to your employer

Communicate with your employer to let them know you plan to pump at work. It’s helpful to speak to your employer prior to going on maternity leave. Check to find out about their workplace policies and guidelines for nursing women. Most employers try to accommodate nursing moms. Here are questions to ask before you return:

Is there a private lactation room? Or a private office or space were you can comfortably pump?
Is there access to a refrigerator or freezer? Will you need to bring a cooler to store and transport your milk?
How will your employer accommodate breaks for expressing? Do you need to share a schedule of planned breaks? Do you need to schedule with a manager? Is it possible to flex your schedule to accommodate breastfeeding?

Tip 3: Get ready — preparation starts at home

There are several things you can do to start to prepare which will help you and your baby make a smooth transition. Here are some suggestions to get you prepared.

Start using your breast your pump and become familiar with it. Be sure to express when you’re away from baby at first (a few weeks before) then add some pumping time AFTER your baby has nursed (even if you get just a little milk). This helps improve the amount of milk you produce as you go back to work.

Pump and freeze! Aim to have at least 16 ounces of breast milk frozen before you return to work. This will provide enough milk for your caregiver. If possible, have your caregiver arrange feeding times around your nursing/pumping times. Both you and your baby will appreciate this pre-planning.

Plan how much milk you need daily for your baby. Here’s an easy guide that may be helpful: the average three month old takes 5 ounces per feeding. Multiply this by the number of times your baby nurses each day that you will miss while at work and you get the amount of milk you need to save for each day. So, if baby nurses 6 times daily you would multiply 6 x 5 oz = 30 oz.

Understand how to freeze, thaw, and store your breast milk safely. Purchase added supplies to keep in the office, too: extra nursing pads, clean up supplies, an extra bra, and blouse are a few to keep in mind.

Tip 4: Collection schedule — when and how often

Keep track of your baby’s nursing schedule and plan with your employer to keep lactation breaks as close to this schedule as possible. This will make it simpler to avoid becoming engorged and help you to express. Dress in easily adjustable clothing. Nursing accessible clothing is a must!

Tip 5: You CAN do it — success is achievable

You can do it! Returning to work may add some challenges for a nursing mom but with a bit of planning, proper equipment, and support you can! There WILL be challenges. You may produce less milk than you expected, maybe you spill an entire feeding, or you forget supplies at home (thanks mommy brain!). But stay committed and you can be a successful nursing mom at work and at home.

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Why is my baby crying?

Preparing for the birth of a new baby is an exciting time, especially when you consider all the planning involved for meeting the needs of your new bundle of joy. Then all of a sudden, your little one is here! Night feedings, burping, diaper changes and your sweet baby’s crying are all new experiences. New parents report being concerned about not knowing why their babies are crying, especially in the first few months of life. Lucky, it’s totally normal for your baby to cry. But interpreting what your little darling is trying to communicate can be challenging — and stressful. While it’s not a perfect science, experts can agree on the most common reasons for your bundle of joy to cry and fuss: remember it’s your baby’s only way to communicate. Here are six of most common reasons your baby may be crying paired with a few tips to help any new mom or dad better understand and soothe their crying baby.

1. Feed me! I’m hungry!

Babies communicate their basic needs through crying and a babies little tummy is small and fills up quickly so they need to eat often. Whether your baby feeds on demand or you’re scheduling their feedings, keeping track of how often your baby is eating and how long they are feeding each session is helpful for ruling out whether a cry is for feeding or something else. Keep in mind nursing moms will find they need to feed baby more often than those using formula.

2. I’m wet, dirty, and uncomfortable! I need a diaper change!

Needing a diaper change is another common reason for an infant to cry — or scream! Depending on your baby’s discomfort, he or she may let you know with a hearty cry. Some infants are more sensitive than others but all new babies have sensitive, and often, dry skin. Make sure to check and change your baby often. Not only will it reduce your baby’s crying but it will also help keep diaper rashes in check.

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3. I’m tired or over-stimulated!

The world is a big place for a new baby. Everything is new, different, and stimulating. Every moment your little one is awake he or she is learning, exploring, and growing. With so much going on, a little one will need a lot of sleep. Babies that become overtired will struggle to stay awake, often fussing off and on or outright crying. Swaddling your baby may soothe them and help them get to sleep before they become overtired. Some babies relax with a warm bath or quiet rocking. Moving to a quieter, darkened, less stimulating room can help, too.

4. My tummy hurts from gas!

Babies take in air when nursing or feeding, which causes air to be trapped in your child’s stomach. This causes gas. A good burp or two mid-feed can help prevent gas pains. Burp your baby by lightly patting her on the back in various positions. Some babies have trouble passing gas, because of slow digestion or food sensitivities or allergies which can cause prolonged pain and longer periods of crying. This is often referred to as colic. Contact your child’s physician if you think she may have colic.

5. I want to be held!

Your baby has been warm and snuggly in your belly for nine months, and all of the sudden they find themselves coping with new sensations. Light, temperature, and sound may make your baby fuss. Crying happens and some babies just feel cranky. Cuddling and holding your baby provides warmth and comfort. Babies love feeling and hearing their mommy’s (and daddy’s) voice. Holding and cuddling your baby helps them feel safe and secure.

6. I feel sick!

Being around new people and places can expose your little one to respiratory or digestive illnesses. You know your baby best. If crying is prolonged, incessant, or is paired with other symptoms, contact your child’s physician. All new babies communicate with a cry, but having a good idea of why your baby may be crying can help you navigate his seemingly sudden wails.

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Dressing-up the Bump by Inspector Gourmand!

Author: Inspector Gourmand. A French living in Hong Kong, she serves you the crème de la crème from best food in town to best places to sleep in Hong Kong and abroad. With baby on board, life is changing and she’s sharing with you all – her stories, her first times, her first fails and hardly learned tips. Go follow her Instagram and read her blogs (http://inspectorgourmand.com/) for her fun, quirky and absolutely helpful tips on awesome food, pregnancy and beyond!

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Reaching 5 months pregnant, my piggy face had reached full development and my self-esteem dropped to new lows.  My clothes were either no longer fitting or making me look like a Michelin man. It was the time to invest in a few pieces, especially for work.

But not that fast! You see, making a baby is an expensive business. Bills are literally falling from the sky and you start getting WAY more mindful about your spending. So, don’t go out there without a plan. I warned you…

Start with large clothes…​​

…from “normal” stores. Before 5 months, the famous “is she fat or pregnant” period can be challenging and wearing tight cloth is not always to your best advantage. I found that wearing wide tops and dresses ​were helping during those harsh times. It was also the best excuse to go check out the nearest Zara store to treat myself with a few “fashionable” items. I got warned by mama friends that if you get too tight in it you can forget about wearing them after birth as fabrics loosen up. Watch-out!

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If you are a fancy business women…

…find a quality store. You will need a few pieces to keep your dignity at work. In Hong Kong, I found it all at Mayarya (yes, the inspector is a fancy business woman too). It’s a Hong Kong-based online store who specializes in maternity clothing of excellent quality with reasonable prices. Most of their collections are wearable post-pregnancy, which I think is awesome – You know why? Because that flat belly is not gonna get back that fast!

Think long term…

…to avoid having nothing to wear post-pregnancy. Most brands, including Mayarya, usually sell maternity clothes that cover both pregnancy, breastfeeding and ugly belly phases. Consider buying your pregnancy’s “cute week-end dresses & tops” with breastfeeding friendly set-ups. I am sure this will be very helpful to keep our pride in check during the maternity leave. I think enough challenges are coming ahead, let’s try to at least look good.

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If you are broke…

…just ask around! You can’t believe how happy your mommy friend will be to know that you are joining the gang. Don’t hesitate to ask if they have a few leftover cloths from their last pregnancy or know anyone who recently gave birth. You can also post an SOS message on popular Facebook groups like Hong Kong Moms and see if anyone is willing to give away or sell at a super cheap price.

I think you got it, Mayarya was my go-to-brand. I bought more than 12 pieces and I am proud to say that I am a 100% satisfied customer. Mayarya’s Instagram account is a must follow. Like no others, the brand has successfully built a community where mothers and mothers-to-be share their inspiring stories.

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Thank you, Inspector!

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Ask The Expert: Pregnancy back pain (and what to do about it!)

Feeling a little less limber than you once did? You’re not the only one! Pregnancy affects your body in so many ways, and as your bump grows heavier, your posture can start to suffer, leaving you uncomfortable, and at worst, in pain. We ask Chiropractor Dr Michelle Zhou McCulloch of UP!health for her advice on keeping yourself fit, flexible and free from pain, all the way through pregnancy and beyond.

Is back pain just part of being pregnant?

Absolutely not! However, according to statistics up to 50% of pregnant women will end up with some sort of back pain during their pregnancy, and it becomes even more common in subsequent pregnancies; so if you’re in this group, please be reassured that (unfortunately) you’re not alone.

Many pregnant women will first visit a chiropractor when they start to experience spinal discomfort or pain, typically during the second trimester, as the bump grows larger. In many cases this can be really quite debilitating – particularly if you’re busy working, or have a younger child to care for. But rest assured that there are effective treatments available to combat this, so you don’t have to just put up with pain.

What are the most common complaints that you treat during pregnancy?

Lower back pain and pelvic pain are common, with the sacroiliac joints most often affected. Sacroiliac joints in the pelvis are held together by strong ligaments that help to keep us stable. But during pregnancy a number of factors, including hormonal changes, can cause these joints to stretch and loosen, causing weakness in the pelvis that often results in that familiar pain in the lower back area.

Another associated factor is your growing bump, as this shifts your centre of gravity forward, putting even more strain on your lower back when it’s already working overtime. Your abdominal muscles also stretch to accommodate your baby, which weakens your normal core muscle support, causing yet more strain to the spine and pelvis. All in all, it’s really no wonder so many women experience this type of pain!

So what can be done?

When it comes to physical therapy, one, or a combination of therapies can be considered for treatment of pregnancy and postnatal back pain. Some of the more commonly utilised therapies include chiropractic, physiotherapy, osteopathy, acupuncture, massage and clinical Pilates. As a chiropractor, my following advice is focused predominantly on the management this type of pain from a chiropractic perspective.

Pre-pregnancy

I advise any woman who is thinking of conceiving to have a check-up with a chiropractor before they fall pregnant – this is especially important if you already suffer with back pain. A thorough assessment of your alignment and posture, along with a few readjustments where necessary can highlight any potential issues before they become major problems, and can actually go a long way to prevent you from developing the dreaded backache once you do fall pregnant.

During pregnancy For pregnant women who are experiencing pain, chiropractic adjustments are gentle, drug-free and safe when administered by a qualified practitioner. Look for government-registered practitioners, and don’t be afraid to ask your chosen chiropractor if they are experienced in working with pregnant women.

Some recent studies have shown that chiropractic treatment during pregnancy can actually reduce your labour time by as much as 24% for first-time mums, and 39% for subsequent births, which makes it an important tool as you consider your birth plan.

If your OBGYN has given you the all clear, then exercise that strengthens the core, such as pre-natal Pilates, can be helpful to maintain strength and a good posture through the different stages of your pregnancy. Gentle workouts are also great energy and mood boosters, which really helps when you are feeling heavy and tired! I encourage my pregnant patients to practice a lot of self-care; make sure you are being easy on yourself and don’t hesitate to pamper yourself with massage when you need it.

Post-pregnancy

As a part of your recovery, I’d recommend a posture and spinal alignment check after your delivery. This can be scheduled at around four weeks after a vaginal delivery, and six-eight weeks if you had a C-Section. If you are unsure as to whether you’re ready to see a chiropractor yet, make sure you get the okay from your OBGYN first. Your chiropractor can also help you to maintain good posture when carrying your newborn, or breastfeeding, for example – both things that can commonly cause aches and pains.

Once you feel ready and have the doctor’s go-ahead then you can also resume some gentle exercise – but please take it slowly, as overdoing things in the early days can often cause more harm than good! Post-natal Pilates is great for re-training the core, while gentle yoga helps keep the body supple, and is a great relaxation technique for some very much-needed me-time.

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Gadgets, Gizmos… And Good Old Fashioned Bribes! Five Hand Luggage Essentials For Smooth Family Travel

Let’s be honest: travelling with young children can be challenging at best, with tantrums, tears and lost teddy bears all threatening to derail the most carefully-laid plans. Here are five must-pack items to make everything run just a little more smoothly, and get your holiday off to the right start.

For Reluctant Sleepers

A true stroke of genius that’s perfect for kids that struggle to wind down on planes, the Jetkids BedBox is a three-in-one product that will have everyone feeling well rested at arrivals. The design is reminiscent of a certain other famous ride-on suitcase, and allows ample space for kids to stash their toys, books and coloring for the journey. But the real magic happens once those cabin lights are dimmed. The case is designed to fit the vast majority of economy class seats, transforming them into a cozy flat bed that will have kids lulled to sleep quicker than you can say “business class”. Suitable for kids from newborn all the way up until seven, this is a savvy investment for families that love to travel.

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For Screen Time

When faced with a long-haul flight, even the most diligent parent will often relax a little on screen time. But as well as being pretty uncomfortable, standard-issue airline headphones usually have poor sound quality, which can result in kids turning up the volume to potentially dangerous levels. Enter Buddyphones, who produce ultra-safe, volume-limited and thoroughly kid-proof children’s headphones, which fold neatly into a drawstring bag for travel. The entire range limits volumes to levels approved by the World Health Organization, and are built to be twisted, sat on and generally abused by kids without damage. Squabble-free sharing is made easy with a built-in headphone splitter in the cable, and the headphones all come in bright colors, with fun stickers to personalize their cans.

  • Available in the USA via Buddyphones; US$24.99-89.99

  • Available in Australia via Try & Byte; AU$35-65

  • Available in Hong Kong via Baby Central; HK$199-249

  • Available in Singapore via Stereo; SG$39-59

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For Little Legs

Picture the scene: A late-night connection in an unfamiliar airport. Everyone is tired and grouchy, and your gate-checked stroller won’t reappear until your final destination (and even if you’ve asked for it to be delivered at the plane door, it’s quite likely to end up on a baggage carousel, what feels like kilometers away from your arrivals gate!). Save your sanity and some backache too by investing in an ultra-lightweight, travel-friendly stroller that can be stowed in the overhead bin, ready to deploy as soon as those seatbelt lights are switched off. The innovative Goodbaby Pockit is the world’s smallest stroller, folding in two easy steps to a handbag-sized unit that weighs less than 5 kilograms! Suitable from six months (or newborn, if combined with a suitable infant capsule as a travel system) up to four years, you will more than get your money’s worth out of this stroller.  

Pockit Stroller

For Freshening Up

When filling your hand luggage for a trip, it’s important to consider worst-case scenarios. Spillages, smears and – let’s be honest here – travel sickness can easily render outfits un-wearable, so ensure that your carry-on contains spare clothes for everyone in the family (Moms – make sure you pack a soft bra, as spills easily soak through outer layers… our Easyfit Sleep and Nursing bra is perfect as it’s super-comfortable, and packs into a tiny space!). Pack plenty of wet bags to seal off any outfit emergencies – these can be re-purposed as laundry bags later on in your trip. Super-cute Planet Wise wet bags are designed for reusable diapers, so you know they’ll keep everything well contained, making laundry a cinch at the end of your journey.

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For A Little Bribe

It’s always amazing just how many snacks kids will consume, and with airplane meals often of questionable quality, it’s essential to pack a few tasty treats that can be distributed little and often, keeping hunger at bay and behavior at its best! But sugary snacks plus young kids can be a recipe for disaster, and so stealth health is the key to success. Ella’s Kitchen was founded by a UK dad who wanted to feed his children healthy and appealing food – without the junk. The range now includes baby food purees, cereals, sweet and savory snacks, and even gluten and lactose-free options, meaning you’ll find something for even the pickiest eater here… without fear of a sugar crash tantrum at 36,000 feet.

Available worldwide from all major supermarkets and health food stores; costs vary by product.

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Family Relationships: Breaking The Happy News

Picture this: you’ve just taken a pregnancy test and it’s positive! You and your partner are absolutely thrilled – who’s the next person you tell? Your mom? Your best friend? Your in-laws?

 

For many couples, news of a much-wanted pregnancy can come with a side order of family drama that’s guaranteed to cast a shadow over what should be one of the most joyful moments of their lives. So how do you share your news in a way that provokes the most positive response? And what should you do when the response really doesn’t go the way you hope? Read on for some real-life pregnancy announcement stories… and how not to break the news to your family!

Pick Your Moment

Laura and Ben decided on what they thought would be the perfect place to announce their new addition to the family – Laura’s sister’s wedding. Laura explains, “We figured that a wedding is such a happy occasion anyway, and all the family would be gathered in one place, so it made perfect sense to us to make the announcement then.” Sadly, Laura’s sister and her new husband didn’t feel the same way. “My sister was totally furious with me – she felt I’d hijacked her wedding day, which of course made me feel terrible.” She continues, “ She actually didn’t speak to me for nearly six months, until just before my son was born”. Picking the right moment to share your pregnancy is vital to help ensure a positive reaction, as Laura says, “If I could go back in time and do it again, I would have just kept everything low-key”.

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Manage Your Expectations

While it’s understandable that your pregnancy is the most exciting thing happening in your world right now, try not to take offence if your family don’t respond exactly how you’d like them to, straight off the bat. For example, when given the happy news of his only child’s first pregnancy, your author’s loving dad responded with a rather confusing, and some might say, pretty insulting, “Oh really?? Was it planned?” To clarify, at this point I had been married to my husband – a guy Dad absolutely adores – for nearly ten years, so I can only put his response down to the fact that he was unprepared, and so simply went with the first thing that came out of his mouth, filter-free. Incidentally, he’s a great Granddad, and managed a far more normal reaction second time around, although by then I’d braced myself for something just as inappropriate!

Make The Right Choice For You

Have you ever heard the phrase “You can’t change other people, but you can change your reaction to them”? When Ellie’s mom learnt of her impending grandparent-hood, her reaction wasn’t one that Ellie – who isn’t married to her long-term partner – had anticipated. “She burst into tears and started wailing about how she was too young to be a grandma, and asking me how she tell was supposed to tell her work colleagues that her unmarried daughter was ‘knocked up’. To say I was hurt would be an understatement.” The conversation blew up, resulting in Ellie storming off and a now-strained relationship with her mom. She’s since made a conscious decision to minimize contact until she feels stronger. “My baby is due in five weeks and I haven’t even told her the due date.” She continues, “I feel like by not engaging with her, I’m protecting my own feelings a little more – I have enough to think about right now, and so I am choosing to focus on the positive.”

Like Ellie, a conscious decision to focus on the positive will help to reduce the impact of any negative reactions; after all, you and your partner are the only people who really matter when it comes to creating your own happy family.

Congratulations, and enjoy your pregnancy!

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Ask The Expert: Sex After A Baby  

Mayarya sits down for a chat with Midwife and birth educator Sofie Jacobs of Urban Hatch (urban-hatch.com) about regaining intimacy after birth.  

Q: How soon after birth is considered “normal” to re-start your sex life?  

A: There’s no such thing as “normal”! Every couple is different. The key to finding the right time is to talk to each other. Timescales can vary from just a few weeks after childbirth to six months or more – all are entirely normal. There should never be any pressure – just an open discussion about each of your wishes. After all, feeling understood and supported really are the most vital ingredients to feel turned on.  

Q: What would you say to a new mother who feels insecure about her post-natal body? 

A: Firstly, try not to worry! It’s very rare that a new mother wouldn’t have concerns of some sort after having a baby. Your body changes so much in such a short space of time that it’s important to allow yourself time to heal and also to get comfortable with yourself. Many women worry whether their partner will still find them attractive, but explaining your insecurities to your partner offers a good opportunity for reassurance and intimacy – you’ll soon realize that they don’t see your body with the same critical eyes that you may do.  

Q: What impact do new-mom hormones have on your sexual relationship? 

A: Women will experience a lot of hormonal highs and lows after having a baby, so it’s quite natural to feel low in mood, tired and teary – hardly emotions to get you in the mood for sex! 

It’s also worth noting that your body prioritizes stress hormones over sex hormones, and that having a newborn baby can be a time of stress as you both adjust. To help regulate your hormones, try to ensure that every meal includes protein, healthy fats and fiber, and avoid the quick fix of a sugar high.   

On top of your fluctuating hormones, you’re also dealing with reduced sleep, as well as lots of emotional and physical demands, all while navigating your new life as a mom. After a while, you’ll begin to feel more secure in your new role, and you may surprise yourself when your libido returns, as strong as ever.  

Q: Will my partner view me differently? 

A: Very often partners can also suffer from a lower sex drive after welcoming a new baby to the family. And while seeing you as a mother may be part of the adjustment period, there’s also stress, worry and exhaustion to add into the mix, making a sky-high libido pretty unlikely. Often partners are concerned about hurting you, or waking the baby, not to mention the risk of an unwanted pregnancy so soon after you’ve given birth. 

On the other hand, some partners may feel sexually frustrated or rejected during the post-birth period, and while it may sound like a cliché, talking really is the best medicine in these scenarios so you can be mindful of each other’s perspective.  

And an important point: while you may feel that having sex is something that you just need to ‘get over and done with’, it’s very important to feel both emotionally and physically ready first.  

Q: My partner and I seem to bicker constantly – how can I rebuild intimacy after birth? 

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A: I’ve seen a lot of couples feel overwhelmed by life with a new baby and this can result in them feeling isolated from each other. It’s easy to fall into feeling disconnected from your partner during early parenthood, so regardless of whether you feel able to have full sex, finding moments of intimacy is important to strengthen your relationship. Put aside time to simply snuggle, kiss each other goodnight, have a quick embrace when they arrive home, or share a shoulder massage or foot rub. All of these things allow you to physically connect with each other, enabling sexual intimacy to become more natural.  

Of course, from now on, sex will become something that works around the demands of parenthood. But while having children means sex becomes less spontaneous, it doesn’t have to be boring! Scheduling a night or two each week for sex can actually do wonders for your relationship, giving you both something to look forward to.  By prioritizing intimacy, you allow your relationship to thrive – even in amongst the craziness of family life! 

Q: Will sex feel the same after birth? After giving birth, you may feel disconnected to your pelvic floor and core, and it is quite normal to need help in getting that connection back. Discuss your pelvic floor with your healthcare professional at your six-week postnatal check, and remember that if you are struggling, a few appointments with a women’s health physiotherapist may be all you need.  

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A: The pelvic floor muscles are essential, both for bladder control, but also for your sexual pleasure. And while it can be hard to remember to do your exercises every day, if you can remind yourself – say, when you’re washing up, or cleaning your teeth – your multi-tasking will result in greater sexual satisfaction in the long run. It’s a win-win! 

That said, it’s important to get these exercises right, as a pelvic floor that is too tight can have as much of a negative impact on someone’s sex life as one that is too weak. My message to all moms who aren’t exactly sure how to do their exercises is to get themselves checked – ideally by a women’s health physiotherapist or midwife who understands core and pelvic floor functionality.  

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My Story of Natural Childbirth With Epidural (Of course!)

Author: Kitty Lo, Mayarya Women. You can take a look more for her writing here.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably going into labor soon or you’re just downright curious. I will not skip the gory details so if you dare, do read on! Actually, i felt like it was not as gory and scary as I anticipated.

So, it was Christmas Eve and we had a simple family dinner at a local Chinese restaurant. I remember that it was gloomy and raining when we were driving back home. When we reached home, I retreated to bed because carrying an extra 25-pounds does tire you out. I was scheduled for an induction on boxing day because my baby has to be taken out on the estimated due date even if he doesn’t want to come into this world just yet as I had gestational diabetes. Me, out of all people when I had been eating healthy, working out but what the heck, that is a story for another day.

I was reading up on failed inductions because I have been told that it does happen and if it does, there is a possibility that I had to do the Caesarean delivery to take my baby out. I was so ready to push and do it the natural way that I was praying and hoping that my baby would come out just before boxing day(26/12/17). I was watching this video of vlogger documenting her whole induced labour & delivery and getting stressed out about mine, texting mum and close friends that I was going to do c-section and getting upset about it.

In that exact instance, i felt a gush of liquid coming from down below but i was in a lying down position so it was more of a trickle…… i stood up and went to the bathroom to check it out. When I sat on the toilet bowl, the liquid wouldn’t stop rushing out…. so i had this thought in my head like, OMG, I can’t believe this is happening and I screamed from the toilet… “I think my water broke!” and Kyle, (my husband) replied… “Are you sure? Should you check with your mum?” I replied… “I’m pretty sure my water broke hun”, he was on the phone at the time, hung up and quickly ran towards me.

I think he started to have this moment of panic. You know how you feel so ready for something and yet, when it happens, you are absolutely NOT ready. My husband’s hospital bag was NOT packed, we did not have any CASH, somehow, i misplaced my wallet…. it was a big hoo-ha moment until we gathered ourselves for the drive to the hospital. I remember shaking, I was standing up but my legs felt like jelly. I was feeling all sorts of emotions; scared, happy, excited, panic, you name it. At this point, I did not feel any pain at all and I kept asking my mum, “When is the pain going to start?”, “Is this normal?”, and “What is happening?”

When I got to the hospital (A&E), I was dramatically wheeled into the labour room. And, this part, NO ONE TOLD ME and I’VE NEVER READ ABOUT IT ANYWHERE! I did not know how much it was going to hurt when the midwives or the obstetrician checked me to see how much I have dilated. I swear, their fingers had entered regions of my down below that no man has entered before. It was SOOOOO deep!! I think this was more painful than the delivery itself, i kid you not. When the midwife checked me, I was only 2cm dilated (you had to be 10cm to be able to start pushing). So, they told me this was going to take a while as I was not having contractions just yet…. They hooked me up to a machine and I was having contractions but very far apart – about 14 minutes in between and I honestly did not feel the contractions just yet.

I was then checked into my hospital room and changed into a pink hospital outfit(it was pretty cute), there was also a bed for my husband so we slept soundly throughout the night. The nurses came in twice during the night to check on my contractions and blood pressure. I had such a good sleep.  Things started to get interesting at around 7am…. I started feeling a bit more pain but it was still manageable, I can only describe it as a menstrual cramp like feeling and informed the nurses. They said that the doctor should be here by 8am. He came in at around 8.30am and checked me AGAIN to see how much I have dilated. THIS, I SWEAR WAS THE WORST! I hate it so much. I was only 3cm dilated, after a full 8 hours sleep.

My doctor said that I was to be induced at 9am in the labor room. In my childbirth plan, I mentioned that I wanted epidural as my main choice of painkiller and I wanted it quickly. (This was the best & smartest thing I did)  It was in my medical notes and my midwives asked me if i wanted epidural the night before but i was not feeling any pain at the time. So I opted out. When I was in the labor room, they started attaching a drip into my veins to start off my labour and the doctor did a quick check before he carried on with his daily work schedule as I had a while to go. He said that it should take another 4-6 hours or so for the real work(pushing) to start if all goes well. He advised me to use the epidural now if that was what I  really wanted. Mind you, if you are dilated 7-8cm and if you wanted the epidural then, it will no longer be an option and you will just have to bear with the intense pain. I was feeling moderate, regular pains in my lower abdomen when he asked and I immediately said YES! Perfect timing! They rang the anaesthetist up to the labour room.

At 9.30am, I was feeling a considerable amount of pain at closer intervals and Kyle could see everything as I was hooked onto the machine and you can see a peak and trough whenever there was a contraction. He was very intelligent in a sense that he quickly learnt how to read the machine and the discomfort on my face. Luckily, the anaesthetists came in just in time to save the day. The use of epidural, especially the process of injecting it into my system was a dangerous procedure that could cause spinal puncture and leads to paralysis, headaches, numbness among other life-threatening risks. I was briefed for about 15 minutes before I was made to sign a waiver form that will release the hospital and the doctor of all liabilities if anything goes wrong. The epidural, is a HUGE ass injection that goes right into the spinal cord and the tricky part is that, when it gets injected into your system, you CANNOT move at ALL. Otherwise, you will be at risk of all of the above.

I was worried about that as I was extremely scared of needles. But, I was feeling an 8 out of 10 pain intensity at this point, I needed the epidural to take me through the next couple of hours, or so I thought. When he injected the epidural, Kyle was kneeling in front of me, comforting me, telling me to look at him and not to move. He was my rock, literally. The anaesthetist used the lowest minimum possibly effective dose so as to ease the pain but not to totally eliminate the pain.  If we used a higher dose, I would feel too numb to push when I am fully dilated. I was told that the medicine kicked in at around 20 minutes. I remember looking at the clock and did a mini countdown in my head. Finally, the epidural kicked in and helped eased the pain effectively. I could still feel pain but it was manageable.

At around 1015am, the most intense,agonising cramps that I’ve ever felt started at a regular 4 minutes apart and I had tears in my eyes. My husband was with me the whole way, we were breathing together throughout and he adjusted my breathing techniques that I learnt from pre-natal yoga classes (Ujjaiyi breath) according to my contractions. Breathe IN 3 seconds, Breathe OUT 6 seconds – OMG, it did wonders! It really helped calmed me. The cramps started to feel like intense, diarrhoea, “i-need-to-poop” kind of pain so I excused myself to use the loo and tried to poop and pee. I did let it out but nothing was helping the pain go away. I asked the midwives if I could increase the epidural or if could i push now. Then, the midwives checked my cervix at around 1030am and I was dilated at 7-8cm. So, it was time for them to call the doctor to come up to the labour room. It was nearly showtime. EEK!

My husband unintentionally became the best labour coach anyone could have asked for. He filmed himself saying to our little baby, “Little Keyon, look at how much your mum is suffering because of you”, and I literally had tears in my eyes. My husband said to me, “Babe, we don’t need to have many kids if you are going to suffer like this.” I could not reply, I just smiled. He is just the sweetest, sweetest person who loves me so damn much, how did I get so lucky.

While waiting for the doctor to come up, the midwives continued to monitor the fetal’s heart rate and my contractions. One of the midwives pressed my lower abdomen and asked if i needed to pee AGAIN, i felt the urge but nothing was coming out. OK, this was the second MOST painful thing that happened to me during delivery. They had to use this tube to take my pee out and insert it through my pee-pee hole. I think…. I could not see what they were doing but it hurt!! AND it hurt even, after delivery for another week or so. They thought that i could not feel much because of the epidural but I could feel EVERYTHING!

FINALLY, the doctor arrived and I said i really needed to push because the pain now, was unbearable and he checked my cervix(again) and yes, I was finally a 10! Good to go! They brought in this HUGE bright LIGHT to shine down on my down below and told me to spread my legs widely. They propped my bed up and they had these foot pedals I can step on to lift my butt even higher. I was shaking so much because I couldn’t believe it was happening. After 9 months of waiting to meet my baby. After a whole night of anticipating in my hospital room and the longest 2 hours of my life, breathing through my contractions with tears streaming down my face. As i put my feet up the pedestal, my thighs could not spread apart as I was shaking so badly. I was asking kyle, “What’s wrong with my legs? I’m shaking soooo much”, he reassured me and told me he would be there for me throughout the whole way.

At 10.55am, everything was in place, everyone was ready. The doctor told me to push when I felt the contractions. Honestly, I did not know what “PUSH” meant, I thought I was pushing but the doctor said my face was doing all the pushing. It was pretty funny at the moment. I can’t imagine the face that I was making. He instructed me to use my core and push DOWN but i still did not get it. I was being so thick…… Then, he inserted 2 fingers into my down below and said, “TRY TO PUSH MY FINGERS OUT”, I did and it was working! I kept using the same muscles and I was initially afraid to poop but at this point, I just did not care. After working through 10 minutes or so, the doctor said he could see the baby’s head coming through the birth canal and I just needed one last push. He asked me if he could cut me open a little bit down below as he could already see the head. I gave him my go ahead and trusted him. After a couple of seconds, I felt this pooping sensation as I pushed. I honestly thought I’ve embarrassingly pooped… But i heard crying sounds in that same instance and it was the most beautiful sound I’ve heard.

My baby was out! They handed him to me right away. He came out at exactly 11.14am. When I held him in my arms,  I did not feel any more pain, even as they were stitching me up.  All I felt was love, a kind of surreal, unconditional love that you never knew existed. He was crying as I was holding him. I had tears in my eyes so did my husband. It was such an emotional moment and perhaps, the most emotional one of my life. Kyle kept saying “Babe, you did it. You did such a good job.”, it was really nice of him to be so encouraging and I said, “No, we did it! Thank you for being here with me.”

The entire birthing process was such a positive experience for me, for us. My baby got cleaned up and the midwives passed him back to me. He was so tiny, yet so precious. It was such a perfect moment and to this day, I still can’t believe he came into our lives. After going through this hand in hand with my husband, my love and respect for him grew even stronger. We are so blessed to be parents of little Keyon who has already brought so much joy to us.

I am so excited to share more stories, tips and advice on pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood. I know this is a really long post but I hope you enjoyed it! If you’re going through childbirth soon, I wish that you have a smooth delivery. Stay calm and be positive!

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The entire birthing process was such a positive experience for me, for us. My baby got cleaned up and the midwives passed him back to me. He was so tiny, yet so precious. It was such a perfect moment and to this day, I still can’t believe he came into our lives. After going through this hand in hand with my husband, my love and respect for him grew even stronger. We are so blessed to be parents of little Keyon who has already brought so much joy to us.

I am so excited to share more stories, tips and advice on pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood. I know this is a really long post but I hope you enjoyed it! If you’re going through childbirth soon, I wish that you have a smooth delivery. Stay calm and be positive!

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It’s A Mum’s Life: How to feed your baby (and keep your sanity intact!)

So you’re having a baby? Congratulations! With the appearance of that faint blue line come so many decisions. Find out the gender, or wait for a surprise? Planned C-section or natural delivery? Yellow or cream cashmere booties? And, the real biggie: breast or formula feeding?

You may believe that this is just another relatively straightforward parenting decision to make in conjunction with your partner – perhaps after a chat with your midwife or OBGYN following an assessment of your preferences, lifestyle and maybe even a quick flick through your preferred baby book… sorry to break it to you, but the breast vs. formula debate runs much deeper than that!

With this one, seemingly innocuous, decision, you’ll be categorised one way or another. With the choice of how to feed your baby, you could be judged for making a political statement, condemned as a wilful exhibitionist or dismissed as selfish and feckless. It’s bare-knuckle match with other parents, healthcare professionals and even strangers in the ring. Pick a team; it’s going to get dirty!

Your so-called support network of other parents, friends and family members will all have opinions based on their own decisions, regrets, old wives’ tales and often crazy theories. Want to hear about the cousin’s baby who developed digestive issues from a formula milk diet? Or the friend-of-a-friend whose breast milk was insufficient to feed her baby? No? Well, you will hear those tales, and many more like them, regardless of whether you wish to! Thought your baby = your decision? Think again!

New parents invariably find that others have strange views on what is – and isn’t – acceptable for their infant. A mother choosing to formula-feed her newborn is often condemned for “not making the effort” to nurse her child. After all, we are constantly reminded, “breast is best” so shouldn’t she be ensuring that her baby gets the optimum start in life instead of selfishly suiting her own needs?

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But not so fast! Skip forward to a few months down the road, however, and a breastfeeding mum may find that she is met with disapproval, or even outright disgust, for nursing her toddler. There is often an implication of something inappropriate about nursing a child beyond an ill-defined and unscientific “socially acceptable” age – at which point mums may feel that bottles are the only acceptable method to feed their baby in public.

Ah yes, feeding your baby in public. Another topic to invoke the breast vs. bottle battle, erode the confidence of new parents, and further muddy the waters of this endless, and, let’s be honest, pretty pointless, debate.

“It’s perfectly natural!” argue the breast feeders. “If it offends you so much to see a lactating breast, look elsewhere!”

“Bottles are more convenient!” cry the formula feeders, “Why shouldn’t women reclaim their bodies after childbirth?”

In fact, both sides of the debate have sensible points to make. However, the topic has become so fraught with emotion, defensiveness, and downright ignorance, that rational discussion is almost impossible. A quick browse online will show you just how polarising the topic of infant feeding is!

If this is all sounding a little daunting, then take heart. Your child will grow up healthy, happy and well nourished no matter how you choose to feed them. If you are worried about making the right choice, consider the adults around you. Can you tell who was breastfed as an infant and who was formula fed?

So how about we all pledge to politely ignore the judgments, comments, and, yep, sheer nosiness of others, and have the courage to raise our kids our way. In a few short years, we’ll all be wrestling over homework, video games, and chores, and wondering what all the feeding fuss was about. And please, at that point, do try and resist the temptation to share your own words of wisdom…

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How to announce your pregnancy, celeb style

So it may be just about time to reveal the bump. The secret bump only very few know about. But just how shall you do it?! Who will you tell first? How big should the ‘announcement’ really be? Well however you want to share your news with the ones you love, here’s some helpful inspo for you from some of our favourite celebs:

  • Queen Bey (let’s start with the big guns!)

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You would have been living under a rock if you never hear about the excitement that was Beyoncé’s twins! And this incredible announcement was 310% Instagram worthy! Those flowers, the mismatched underwear and the all important veil. It was pregnancy bliss. And let’s be honest, there are really no more words we can say, other than “Awww, we love you Queen Bey!”

  • So the Queen’s announcement is certainly one of the best, so it’s not surprising that since it hit our screens that many more have tried to re-create it in their own way. One of our faves would be this effort from writer and comedian Zoe Foster Blake.

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Zoe had the flowers, she found a veil, and she gave us a giggle. Would you be able to recreate the work of the Queen?

  • Olivia Wilde went matchy matchy!

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Another memorable photo that’s been recreated a few times recently, this had major ‘aww’ factor and is a great idea to steal for its simplicity!

  • Stacy Keibler went for a different angle altogether.

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Let’s be honest here, not all pregnant mummas feel up to having their photo taken, especially in the first few months. From all the morning sickness, to the constant fatigue, photos that are going to be publicly shared probably aren’t really your thing right now. That’s why a quick and easy announcement like this is brilliant!

  • Serena went for a bumpie.

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The Bumpie is another very simple way of sharing your special news. And we’re loving how casual Serena is in this famous image. Whether she meant to actually share it or not, we’re so glad she did! Although some may view this as a ‘no frills’ approach, it’s a handy bit of inspo if you don’t have someone else around to take a photo!

  • Eva Longoria had all hands on bump!

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Although we’re not entirely sure whom the hands belong to, we love how this photo makes us feel inside! We’re really feeling the love!

  • Michael Phelps and his wife left it up to the kids.

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There is just so much joy in this photo and we can’t get enough of it! It’s highly likely that two seconds after this was taken, this child actually realised he was going to have some competition and lost the plot, throwing the pregnancy test in the air. But hey, at least they got ‘the shot!’

How did you announce your pregnancy? What inspo would you steal from these celebs?

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Baby Essentials – what every baby will need in the first year

As soon as the pregnancy test gives you a positive result, it begins. The baby shopping. And once it starts, it never ends! The baby industry is incredible, there is a product for absolutely everything and it doesn’t come cheap either. The choice in most of these baby stores is so overwhelming and confusing. If you don’t buy the most expensive car seat are you putting your unborn child in danger? Which brand of nappies are the better choice? Do you really need that wiz-bang swing contraption that people ‘swear by’? What do you actually need?

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  1. Cot – obviously baby will need a place to sleep (that is when they finally go to sleep!) a cot, although a simple set up, it needs to be safe! Always check stickers and info attached to the cot to ensure it compiles with all of the safety guidelines.

  2. Pram – a good pram can last you and your baby anywhere from birth to about 5 or so years. There are hundreds of brands to select from and making the final selection is pretty tough, but do your research, and again focus on those safety guidelines.

  3. Car Seat – Most hospitals these days won’t even let you leave without a reverse-facing baby seat professional installed in your car. Again, there’s a lot of safety guidelines that need to be followed when making this purchase. But spending the most doesn’t always bring a higher level of safety. Again, do your research on this and work out of you need a capsule or a convertible seat.

  4. Changing table/mat – baby will need a lot (and we mean a LOT!) of nappy changes in their first few years. Investing in an area to make this as easy as possible is a good idea.

  5. High Chair – once the solids begin, so comes the mess. A high chair is a great way for baby to learn to sit at the table for meals. They can see the world from a whole new perspective.

  6. Nappies and wipes – whether you head down the disposable or reusable path, you’re going to need a whole lot of nappies and wipes! Find the brand that works for you and your baby and then do your shopping. You might be surprised with how often they are on sale. Buying in bulk will save you more in the long run.

  7. Feeding equipment – even if you’re planning to breastfeed, a few bottles can come in handy at times. Along with a sterilizer (not just for bottles, but handy for toys, and dummies too!) and a breast pump.

  8. Clothing – when it comes to dressing babies, their needs are only simple: they prefer comfort over style. Always keep this in mind when shopping for a new outfit. Lots of buttons can be tricky too. Aim for zip closers. Starting a collection of sizes can be helpful too when those sudden growth spurts occur.

What are your baby essentials missing from this list?

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Top picks for hiding your pregnancy

“Come on girls, let’s get a drink!” – it’s a line you’ve really come to enjoy. A night out on the town with your besties, while sipping cocktails and sharing some laughs. These occasions are always so much fun! Except right now it’s just a little different. You have a secret. And you want to keep it a secret just a little while longer. Instead of excitement at the thought of what the night will bring, your first reaction is one of terror. How will you say ‘no’ without offending them? How will you decline, without them catching on?

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We’ve all been in this position: secretly pregnant while masking a severe case of morning sickness and discovering new ways to disguise a small, but almost noticeable bump. So here are our top tips/excuses/lies/escape plans when moment like these occur:

  1. The ‘I’ve just started a new detox/diet/cleanse’ – everybody loves a new diet and fitness craze. And these days there are so many new ones popping up all over the place, no one can keep up – ideal for you pregnant lady! Mostly all of these fads will require zero alcohol, and adjustments to your eating habits, a nice little disguise for all the early changes you’re going through. For extra points, signing up to, or having some info available to ‘promote’ your diet to your friends will definitely help your cause.

  2. The ‘I have to drive home’ – this one is always a real winner! It’s simple, doesn’t require much of an explanation and will get you over the line every time. Not only can you use the driving card for avoiding a drink, but it means you can also leave early to ‘pick up your Husband’s Aunt’, and catch up on some extra sleep!

  3. The ‘we’re saving hard right now’ angle – another oldie, but a goodie! When you think realistically how much one night out on the town costs, missing a few nights here and there can really add a few extra dollars to your savings account – an excellent point to share with your fellow night owls. Savings don’t always have to mean something big like a car or a house. You could be saving for a new designer bag or weekend getaway. The more creative, the better!

  4. The ‘my drink looks alcoholic, but it’s not’ – a few times at a bar, I actually asked the bar-keep to make me something that looked alcoholic, but wasn’t and boy did that work a treat! A mix of juice infusions, sparkling water, ice and there was the world’s best looking cocktail! Although it tasted like rubbish and still cost the price of a real cocktail, it was very convincing.

  5. The ‘whoops, I spilt my drink…’ – this one you can really only pull out the one time, so make the most of it! You can play this two different ways: the slow spill, which is spilling your drink at intervals slowly. So that essentially instead of sipping your beverage, you’re spilling, which can go completely unnoticed. Your other spill ploy is the major whole drink spill. This can be used as an exit strategy too, if you’re extra crafty.

How did you hide your early pregnancy from those closest to you?

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The worst questions and most unhelpful ‘advice’ you’ll receive from strangers once you become a mother

As soon as your bundle of cries arrives, you’ll feel like you have an instant target on your back. To some members of the public, they see a mother and feel it is their human right to shower that said new mother with unwanted thoughts and unhelpful advice. No one asks for it. No one really needs it either, but still it goes hand in hand with having a child. Here’s what to expect and how to avoid more of these ‘attacks’ in the future.

  1. The bags are forming under your eyes, sleep is something rare these days. Enter the “gosh you look tired. You should be sleeping when baby sleeps. I know the best way to put a baby down…” the speech goes on. And you actually believe in this moment you could fall asleep. Strangers always feel the need to onboard their ‘this is how and when a baby should sleep’ comments. They are never ground breaking or helpful. And it’s highly likely these people also never had a sleeping baby, or they actually never had a child at all. Ear plugs and headphones are a welcome purchase to keep in the nappy bag for these people.

  2. “Are you feeding?” My, what a question! Am I feeding my baby? What kind of person do you think I am for not feeding my new child… most of the time we know this question is actually a double barrelled inquisition into if we are actually breastfeeding or not. This is no one’s business whatsoever and as a new Mum, you should never feel like you need to respond to this question. A quick exit from this point is more than acceptable.

  3. If they open with a “back in my day…” RUN! Do anything you can to leave! You do not want to hear what comes next. Most likely this phase is followed by a “you girls have it so easy these days” line. And boy that never goes down well with a new mother just surviving with 2 hours sleep, a child screaming while hanging onto her boob, covered with at least 5 spots of fresh vomit on her top! Yeah, it’s ‘so easy!’ Do anything you can to end this ‘lecture’.

  4. Probably one of the worst things you’ll be asked, especially in those first few weeks is the “when is your next baby due?” – while pointing at your prominent stomach. Come on, what the actual?! Can these people not see a freshly birthed newborn sitting in the pram? It is actually physically impossible to already be about 5 months pregnant with a baby only a few weeks old! For most of us, it can take a number of months for that belly to deflate, comments like this do not help a new mom in any way!

  5. “What’s the child’s name?” – I never get the reasoning behind this question. Are they really interested? Do they plan on greeting my child by his name next time we encounter one another, (which is probably never!)? My favourite part of this question is the follow up “oh they’re naming kids with some funny names these days” – a nice back hander on my well-chosen name. I’m training my child to start kicking people in the shins when they start commentating in this manner on his name. Hopefully then they’ll get the message!

What other annoying questions and advice have you received as a new parent?

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My boobs will never be the same again

I remember when my boobies first ‘came in’. I was in my early teens and they just appeared all of a sudden, along with a horrendous batch of pimple face and bad-boy crushes. I ever so proudly paraded around in my size 32A/70A (AU 10A) bra and so very arrogantly took the modest size and perk-ability for granted. Boy I miss those days. So do my boobs.

Today they are post-child-birth-knockers and they’ve really seen much better days, let’s be honest. And it’s looking like by next week they’ll edge in on my hipbones, totally the type of boob any female dreams of…

The old ‘fun bags’ look like their best days and are so far behind them. They’ve stretched and shrunk so many times in the last year, it’s shocking to think they belong to a girl in her early 30s and not her late 80s! And although I feel like I could almost throw them over my shoulders, just to keep them in the same spot, it’s not a realistic approach to the situation.

A boob job is out of the question for me at this stage in my life, so I have found the best solution to be finding good, supportive bras. Not only post-birth, but before pregnancy and during too! Your boobies need a LOT of support, no matter what size they grow to be. The thing to remember though is that during pregnancy, birth and breast-feeding, your ‘girls’ will go through so many amazing changes and because of this, this isn’t a one-bra only solution. You’ll need to add a few to your wardrobe and of course we’re going to point you towards some of our (super comfy!) designs.

During pregnancy, even from the very first day, (yep, it can be that soon) your boobies will start to feel tender and sore and the last thing you want to be doing is throwing on is something with uncomfortable wire! Trust us when we say invest in a good quality, wire-free bra. Our top-pick is the Mayarya by Amoralia cupcake maternity and nursing bra. It’s wire-free, made from super soft cotton and it actually looks really nice, which is an excellent bonus!

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Post-birth those boobies of yours will be ready to retire, especially if you’ve been trying to establish breastfeeding. In the first few weeks post-birth, we highly recommend sleeping in a bra. I know, it sounds ridiculous, but it will assist you in getting a comfortable nights sleep. Enter our Easyfit Sleep Maternity and Nursing Bra. Made from the finest and softest fabric of Micro Modal Air, it is so smooth and light against sensitive skin. Exactly what you’ll need!

If you’re nursing, you’re going to need a bra that is easy to pull down to feed, but also provides on going support for those tired and overworked boobies. Something like the No-wire lace push-up maternity & nursing bra (insert link in title) is ideal. The attractive lace design and stretchy fabric will grow with you too.

How are your boobies? Have you been kind to them lately?

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The most simple tasks, become the most difficult when you’re a new mum

Just recently I was in a foreign town busting for the toilet. And when I say ‘busting’ I mean just about to wet my pants, as I’ve not all that long ago given birth and my bladder just doesn’t have the same stamina it once did. So I made a mad dash across half the city trying to locate a toilet, until finally, there it was: the world’s smallest, most inconspicuous toilet. And I was thrilled, I actually hadn’t been this overjoyed in quite some time (perhaps I need to get out of the house more, but that’s another blog for another time!). However then I looked down at the baby in the pram that I’d been running around with all over town and thought how the f%$@ do I go empty my bladder, with a baby…?! Do I leave the door ajar, so baby (and any walkers by, hello!) can still see me while I ‘go’? Do I pull him out of the pram and cradle him in my arms? Or do I hope that he will keep sleeping just outside the cubicle while I take the quickest of dashes to the loo?

After sharing this major debacle with some of my other mum friends, I realised I wasn’t alone. One mother actually didn’t quite get to the toilet in time and from that day forth she always carries a spare pair of knickers in the nappy bag. But it turns out once you become a mum, it’s not only just going to the toilet that becomes a challenge.

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Wanna see a movie? Nice idea, but unless you have yourself a babysitter locked in, heading out to see a movie, going to the theatre or any other outing that requires a little bit of ‘shhhh’ is something you won’t be doing any time soon.

A long lunch that turns into dinner, into just ‘a quick drink’, into rolling in home at 3am, is certainly something you won’t be involved in for a long while either. Because a) that little clutch bag you used to wear wouldn’t be big enough to carry the large amount of nappies, wipes etc you’d need for an occasion away from home for that long and b) can you really be bothered, it’s hard enough to wash your hair most days!

Which brings us to the beauty routine. Or lack of. If you haven’t yet opted for a ‘mom cut’ you’re most likely the pin-up girl for top-knots. And make-up you ask? Umm unless you’ve mastered the art of applying your mascara while feeding, rocking, and singing a lullaby, I’d kiss that luxury goodbye too!

Always hitting that snooze button, because you’re really not a morning person? Well don’t read on… Babies bloody love mornings! 2am in their eyes is the optimal time of the day to just ‘be alive’. This baby is now your ruler on the sleeping time zones in your household. Which means the next time you’ll enjoy a sleep-in will be in about 20 years time.

What else is missing from this list of those ‘little luxuries’ you can no longer participate in as a new parent?

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