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Wakeful Babies – Should you worry?

Are you worried if your baby is sleeping well? Don’t feel guilty or be worried if your baby is not sleeping well because according to studies, wakefulness is a normal survival mechanism of babies to make sure they are getting enough food to grow.

The sleep patterns of your baby change as they grow from a newborn baby to a toddler. Sleeping patterns also widely vary from baby to baby so don’t compare the sleeping patterns of your baby to another.

So how much sleep does your baby need?

Babies who are small need to wake up at night to feed. They are physiologically programmed to wake regularly at different intervals to refuel. As a breastfeeding mother, you need to make sure that your breasts are emptied to maintain your milk supply thus satisfying your baby.

Babies do not have control over their sleep. If your baby is crying, it means that he really needs something. Remember that your baby needs your touch and presence most of the time and that it is very important to his well being as a toddler or newborn.

Your baby knows when you are absent. If you are out of sight, your baby won’t know when you will return. You can reassure your baby through physical contact and by making sure he sees you.

What it means when he cries

Crying is your baby’s way of telling you that he needs something- whatever that is. By ensuring that you attend to your baby when he cries, you help him to learn to trust you and you help him to develop his self-esteem.

For more information about the sleeping and feeding habits of your baby, you may want to check out Australian Breastfeeding Association.

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How Breastfeeding Protects Your Baby From Pollutants

If you are worried about how environmental pollutants affect breastfeeding, then this article is for you!

How exactly are the pollutants tested?

There are several ways to determine the levels of pollutants in our human body. Doctors can examine urine, blood, hair, and surprisingly, breastmilk.  Any substances that can be found in breastmilk reflect how exposed women are of reproductive age to a certain pollutant and does not necessarily mean that breastfeeding or the milk is bad.

Breastfeeding is safe and the BEST way to feed babies

By breastfeeding your baby, you provide an effective and safe nutrition for him. Again, breastfeeding is the normal way to feed your baby. Don’t worry too much about environmental pollutants. Keep in mind your baby will be put to more health risks if you don’t breastfeed and give him the best kind of nutrition he deserves.

Your milk protects your baby from environmental pollutants

Your breastmilk is the best defense against harmful environmental pollutants.  It contains immune protective factors that can lessen the harmful effects of the pollutants your baby is exposed to.

When is your baby most at risk from these pollutants?

It is during pregnancy when your baby is most at risk to these pollutants and not when he is being breastfed. Once your baby is born, the best way to protect him is by making sure you breastfed to foster normal growth and development. Compared to formula milk, breastmilk can limit the damage of fetal exposure.

How to limit exposure to pollutants

  • Breastfeed
  • Don’t smoke and don’t drink if possible
  • Don’t use pesticides
  • Don’t take too much animal fats
  • Eat more fruits and veggies
  • Don’t expose yourself to harmful chemicals
  • Avoid contact with smoke and ash
  • Avoid bringing contaminant residue in your home

In Summary

We live in a world where there are too many enviromental pollutants. If you want to protect your baby from these pollutants and defend him against it, you need to make sure that you breastfeed him. Do remember that the advantages of breastfeeding far outweigh the risk of intaking possible pollutants.

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Knowing When Your Baby is Hungry

Why does your baby cry? It may be because he is simply hungry. In the early weeks it is perfectly normal for babies to be fed every two to three hours. So if your baby hasn’t been fed for nearly 4 hours then it’s just natural for him to cry and ask for it.

Babies regulate and digest the composition of your milk through sucking and by how often you feed him. Keep in mind that their feeding patterns will change as they grow and as they become more active. Needless to say, the more energetic they become, the larger quantity of milk they will be needing. In order to avoid cries for hunger, it is best if you learn to identify the different hunger signals of your baby such as squirming and rooting for your breast.

Is my baby hungry or thirsty?

Regardless if your baby is hungry or thirsty, he should be able to regulate the type of milk he needs. The composition of your milk changes as you feed your baby. The fore milk can be compared to a skim milk and this type of milk quenches your babies’ thirst. As breast feeding continues, the fat content in your milk increases until its composition resembles the composition of a whole milk. During this period, your baby will get satisfied when he sucks longer and when he gets the fatty milk in your breast.

Keep in mind that your baby needs to finish one side of your breast first. But if he gets satisfied with only one side, try expressing a little more to be comfortable. You may also want to play with him and wait for a nappy change before you give your other breast. By doing this, he’ll go longer before he cries for another feed.

Observe your baby

Don’t impose a strict feeding schedule but instead watch your baby and his hunger signals. As adults, we eat and drink according to when we need it and not on a predetermined schedule and so should your baby. Most babies in the early weeks will feed 8-10 times a day and possibly more if your baby is experiencing a growth spurt!

It is also important to remember that by following your baby’s lead and observing his hunger signals, your milk supply will catch up with the right amount of supply your baby needs.

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Getting Sick While Breastfeeding

Should you stop breastfeeding if you are sick? The answer is no. According to experts, it’s better to breastfeed your baby even if you are sick than not to breastfeed him at all. A small amount of drug won’t be hazardous to your baby. Actually what’s harmful is if you stop breastfeeding for days just because you are sick. Breastfeeding interruption may result to permanent weaning or when your baby won’t take your breast again.

Except for some serious maternal illnesses such as HIV, doctors almost always never discouraged mothers to stop breastfeeding even when sick. Even when a mother has an infection due to viruses, she should not stop. The only way to prevent your baby from being infected is by continuously breastfeeding him. Though the baby may get sick when his mother gets sick, the risk of the baby acquiring the sickness is greater when breastfeeding stops. For mothers who have HIV, breastfeeding is almost always not recommended.

Breast Problems

  • Having Mastitis which is a common breast infection shouldn’t stop you from breastfeeding. In fact, your mastitis is more likely to heal faster if you continue breastfeeding.
  • Even a surgery does not require you to stop breastfeeding. Make sure the incision is not done around your areola so you can still continue breastfeeding even after the surgery.
  • Though mammograms are definitely useful it’s difficult to read it if a mother is lactating or breastfeeding. Consult with your doctor if an ultrasound or needle biopsy can be done instead of a mammogram. Remind your doctor that breastfeeding is important to you.

Illness in the Baby

  • If your baby has diarrhoea and is vomiting is it best to continue with breastfeeding.  Babies who are breastfed regularly rarely experience intestinal infections.
  • There’s a myth that says milk should not be given to babies or children with respiratory illnesses. Keep in mind that this is just a myth and not fact, so make sure that you continue breastfeeding even if your baby has respiratory illness.
  • Babies who are breastfed tend to be jaundiced. This is normal, and can last up to 3 months of age, however the yellow colour is hardly noticeable. If you are concerned about your baby’s jaundice please consult your doctor.

Keep in mind that a sick baby requires more breastfeeding. Instead of feeding him less, feed him more! If you do have any concerns though about breastfeeding your baby when you or your baby are sick please see your doctor.

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Treatments for Breastfeeding Problems

Are you having some breastfeeding issues? If yes, then this article will help you find out what treatments are available for some breastfeeding problems.


Engorgement can be prevented by making sure that your baby latches on well and is drinking well from the beginning.  But in case your breasts become engorged, wait for 2-3 days and the engorgement will itself die down without needing any further treatment. Even if your breasts are engorged, you should make it a point to continuously breastfeed your baby.
However, if you think the engorgement of your breasts are severe to the point that it’s giving you extreme discomfort then try using cabbage leaves to decrease the engorgement. You can also try using ice packs or other treatments but cabbage leaves prove to be the most effective in reducing the swelling of your breasts. Who would have thought cabbage leaves could be so useful!

  • Crush the cabbage leaves using a rolling pin if the leaves cannot accommodate your entire breast.
  • Wrap the leaves around your breast and let it stay for around 20-30 minutes. Repeat twice a day until the swelling subsides.

Herbs to Increase Your Supply

Some plants contain pharmacologic agents similar to Maxilon and Motillium in Australia. If you don’t want to ingest drugs such as the ones mentioned above, you can use herbs to increase your milk supply. The only good thing about using herbs is that the baby is less likely to suffer from any side effects. Try to get a hold of Fenugreek or Blessed Thistle and follow the dosages per the pack.

If you are hesitant to use these herbs, it’s better if you just consult with a naturopath. Other plants that can increase your milk supply are raspberry leaf, fennel, and brewer’s yeast. Keep in mind though that the effectiveness of these herbs is not yet proven.

Nipple Ointment

It has been said again and again that the best treatment for nipple soreness is prevention. If your baby is in a correct position when breastfeeding and if they latch on well then nipple soreness can be prevented. But in case you experience nipple soreness then ointments such as Lanolin can be useful. Regardless of the ointment prescribed, ensure that you apply the ointment sparingly after each feed. Once you feel better, gradually decrease the application of the ointment until you don’t need it anymore.

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Why Your Baby Bites When Breastfeeding

While biting can be a bit of a problem for some mothers, some mums don’t experience this at all. When you are breastfeeding correctly and correctly positioned, he won’t be able to bite since his tongue is over his gum and teeth. However, if your baby is not actively feeding then expect him to bite a little. Biting usually occurs at the start of breastfeeding and when your baby has had enough.

The Teething Baby

If your baby is teething then expect that they will like to bite and chew. You may want to give your baby something hard and cold to chew on. You may also want to rub his gums before feeding him to relieve his discomfort.

There are some babies who like to rest there newly erupted teeth on their mother’s areola. This can be a bit painful even if it’s not a bite. During times like this, it will help if your baby is in the right position and attached correctly. Ensure that when you are feeding him, you hold him close to your chest and that his chin is on your breast.

If your nipple is sore due to your baby biting it, you can rub some milk onto it, and make sure you change your breast pads if they are damp.

Biting Baby

Some babies bite primarily because your milk does not express quickly enough or at the end of a feed if they have had enough and is now playing on your breast. If you think that your baby often bites because he is impatient, then try to express a little before you feed him. This helps your milk to flow straight away when feeding him. If your baby does bite, take them off your breast and tell them ‘No’ firmly. Hopefully they will then realise it is not the right thing to do.

Baby who doesn’t want your breast

Some babies tend to refuse breastfeeding because of the discomfort they feel during the teething phase. Instead of breastfeeding him, you may want to directly express your milk via a cup, spoon, or a syringe when feeding him.

There are instances when some babies don’t want to be breastfed anymore. This is called self weaning and can be devastating for some mothers. Talk to an Australian Breastfeeding Association Counsellor to help you get over the many emotions you might feel caused by weaning.

In Summary

Biting is a temporary stage each baby experiences. Don’t worry too much if your baby bites. Just remember our tips above and you should be able to continue breastfeeding without further problems.

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Preparing for Breastfeeding

Your body goes through a lot of changes when you are pregnant. By the time you are almost ready to give birth, your breasts may already have colostrum which is also known as your pre-milk which your baby needs in the first few days. Below are some things you can do to ensure you are ready for breastfeeding.

Prepare Your Nipples

The key to avoiding sore nipples is to learn how to hold your baby. If you are having a hard time making your nipples stand out, you may want to encourage it before your baby starts feeding. You may also want to clean your nipples regularly. No need to use soap because the little bumps on your areola clean and moisturises your nipple. But if you have very dry skin, using lanolin for your nipples is helpful.

Prepare Your Mind

Keep in mind that aside from your body, your mind also require preparation. Nursing is learned and you need to make sure you educate yourself about breastfeeding even before your baby is born. Check out Australian Breastfeeding Association or read good breastfeeding books. You might also want to meet your local breastfeeding specialists to learn more.

Prepare Your Wardrobe

You don’t really have to buy a new wardrobe. You can just use your regular outfit and pull your top up to nurse. Do invest in a good nursing bra and probably best to get fitted for one as more than likely your size will have changed. If you are like me you won’t want to show off your belly so I used to always put stretchy singlets under my top which I could then pull down, but my tummy was always covered. If you want to avoid leakage, go for bamboo breast pads and place them in your bra. Added to the fact that it’s cheap, compared to disposable breast pads, bamboo breast pads won’t irritate your breasts as they have antibacterial properties.

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Storing and Expressing Breastmilk

There may be a number of times that you might need to express and store your breast milk. The reasons could include:

  • If your baby is premature or cannot suck well.
  • If your baby is in the hospital and you can’t be there for each feed
  • If you’re hospitalised and your baby can’t be with you for each feed.
  • If you’re returning back to work, studying, or other commitments.
  • If your breasts feel full and a bit uncomfortable.

As a mother, you should make it a point to store breastmilk in your freezer in case of emergencies. Keep in mind that babies who rely on breastmilk alone are less likely to get allergies or other infectious diseases.

Below are some tips to encourage your milk to flow while you are expressing.

  • It’s important that you are relaxed when expressing your milk. Ensure that you are in a quiet, relaxing area, away from any distractions. You may want to breathe slowly and deeply and perhaps listen to soft music.
  • Some mothers express easily after a warm shower.
  • Massaging your breasts also helps. Start by stroking down towards your nipple and rolling your nipples between your fingers.
  • Having someone who can support you can also help you express your milk better. Try to seek the help of one of your friends or relatives. You may also want to consult an ABA counsellor for more ideas on learning how to express.

How much to express?

This depends on the reason why you are expressing. If it’s just to reduce the engorgement of your breast, then just express enough until you feel comfortable again. If however, you have mastitis, then ensure that you feed your baby as often as possible to get rid of blocked ducts causing mastitis.

Storing your breastmilk

  • Ensure that you store your breastmilk in a closed container
  • For 6-8 hours it can be kept at room temperature, however if there is a fridge available best to keep it there.
  • Milk can also be stored in the fridge for 3-5 days on 4ºC or lower.
  • If your freezer compartment is in the fridge it can be kept in there for up to 2 weeks. If you have a freezer with a separate door, up to 3 months, and in a deep freezer 6 – 12 months. You need to make sure your freezer is at -18ºC or lower.

When you decide to use your breastmilk it is probably best to thaw it in the fridge.

Once this has been done you can either keep it in the fridge for up to 24 hours, or at room temperature for 4 hours or less. Never re-freeze breastmilk once you have thawed it out.


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Things to Do Before Your Baby Arrives

Once your baby’s born, your first few weeks with them will be exhausting but definitely magical. If you want to make things a little bit easier for you as a new mum, below are some things you need to do before you bring your newborn home.

  1. You need to stock up. Your baby will most likely use 10 nappies a day and the last thing you want is running out of supplies. Ensure that you stock up on nappies and wipes in advance. You may also want to stock up on rice, tea, coffee, washing powder to help you get through the first week of being a mum.
  2. As you will be taking care of your baby most of the time for the first week, you won’t have the energy to even cook. Make sure your fridge / freezer is well stocked. This is where the convenience of ready to cook meals is much appreciated.
  3. Don’t forget to buy a nursing bra. Make sure that you purchase a well fitted nursing bra. Try out different styles and sizes to find the best one you’ll be comfortable wearing.
  4. Pamper yourself before you give birth. You won’t be able to pamper yourself much once your baby arrives.
  5. Schedule or settle bills before you give birth. You may also want to register for the baby bonus or paid parental leave.
  6. You may want to get a stroller and set it up before you give birth. It is also important that you know how to collapse it and adjust any straps.
  7. Organise the car seat and make sure that it is put into the car ahead of time. You might want to have a professional fit it to ensure that it is done correctly.
  8. Though not necessary, you may want to buy or create baby announcement cards and baby shower thank you cards.
  9. Don’t hesitate to ask for help from your friends or family members. If they’re not sure what they can do to help you out, suggest some cleaning or that they cook some meals for you that you can freeze. Don’t reject any offers of babysitting too. Remember that you also need rest.
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Colouring Your Hair During Pregnancy

Since there are very few studies that provide a clear answer as to the safety of colouring your hair during pregnancy, the general consensus is that only a small amount of colouring hair products won’t harm your baby. Many pregnant women who want to colour their hair also take comfort in the fact that many have coloured their hair during pregnancy with no reported harmful effects.

According to OTIS also known as Organisation of Teratology Information Specialists, animal studies were carried out at doses 100 times higher than what humans would normally use and still it didn’t affect fetal development. This and the fact stated above that many are using it point that hair colouring is safe so long as the chemicals used have minimal contact on the skin.

Though hair colouring has no known harmful effects to fetal development, many find it best to just get streaks, highlights, or frosting rather than over all hair colouring. Doing so will further lessen the amount of chemical that reaches your skin.

What about fumes?

No one likes to breathe in fumes from hair products. The ammonia of hair colouring products make some feel ill. If you don’t like the smell of hair colouring products, try going for salons that have hair colouring products that are free of ammonia.

Is it also safe to use hair straightening products?

OTIS also cited a study conducted in pregnant women which use hair straightening products. The study didn’t show any increased risk of low birth weight but the study failed to address the risk when it comes birth defects. As mentioned above, OTIS advises minimal use of such products.

Is it safe to use henna or vegetable hair colours?

If you plan to use henna or vegetable hair colours ensure that you have read the ingredients of the box because sometimes even though the packaging of the product says natural, some manufacturers still use synthetic additives.

Instead of using chemicals that may be harmful to your pregnancy, some women prefer to use henna. However, there are some disadvantages to using one. For instance, since it contains metallic salts, it is very difficult to remove. Henna also takes longer to apply. There are some hair salons that offer henna hair colouring. If you really want to colour your hair and you don’t want to use chemical hair colouring products then henna is your best bet.

Some tips when colouring your hair if you are pregnant:

  • It is better to colour your hair during your 2nd trimester. By then, all the important initial fetal development stages are complete.
  • If you are not going to colour your hair yourself, go to a salon that is well ventilated to avoid the fumes of hair colouring products.
  • Go for hailr colouring products that are ammonia free,
  • Try to opt for henna hair colouring products.
  • Do a test patch to check if you have any allergic reactions to the product.

If you think colouring your hair will make you feel good and will help you lessen the stress of feeling unattractive during pregnancy then by all means colour your hair, just ensure that you go for natural products and follow our tips above!