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Breast Milk Popsicles for your Teething Baby

Get creative with your breast milk! We all know the incredible benefits of breast milk for our little ones, but bet you didn’t know about this one yet. You can make popsicles, also known as “momsicles”, to help ease the teething pain.  How awesome is that??

All you do is freeze your breast milk in a popsicle mould and your little one can suck on it to help soothe uncomfy gums. Your baby will love it! What’s more is, you can add delicious fruit once your baby started with solids.

Here’s a simple recipe and some guidelines to know about:

Why Breast Milk Popsicles work:

The cold helps numb the pain and the added pressure on gums feels good and provides a nice distraction. PLUS AN EXTRA BONUS! Your child is also getting a super yummy nutritious snack. (Just make sure you always keep an eye on your baby when he/she is nibbling.)

What You Need:

  • Liquid gold 😉 Freshly pumped breast milk
  • Popsicle mould (start with one that baby can hold on to)
  • Fruits(you can add this if your baby has started with solids. Use fruit your baby is already been introduced to)
  • Freezer

(That’s it!! Easy-easy)

How to Do It:

  • Pump breast milk into a bottle (if you’re using fruits and veggies, add them to a blender with the milk).
  • Pour your milk or blended mixture into a popsicle mould.
  • Cover tightly with a lid or plastic wrap.
  • Freeze until solid (It takes a few hours)
  • Serve! If your little one can’t hold a popsicle yet, help them gently rub the icy treat on their gums.

A few tips:

  1. Run the popsicle under warm water before handing it to baby. Jump-start the thawing process so baby can get a taste of the milk as soon as he starts gnawing on it.
  2. Don’t do this on an empty stomach. If baby is hungry, this might frustrate her because the milk comes out slowly as she works on it.
  3. These popsicles can remain in the freezer for up to 6 months.  Make sure that the container is sealed tightly and that you label with a date. Store in the back of the freezer to prevent any thawing when the freezer door opens.  
  4. Breastmilk that has already been thawed should not be used for this recipe as it it not recommended to re-freeze breast milk.

Need a Pump?

Check out our selection of Breast pumps to help you catch and save your precious milk. Click here!

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Baby Massage and its advantages

baby wearing pink bathrobe

Baby Massage is an excellent way to boost your baby’s development and plenty of praises have been sung about all of the various benefits, in this article we will go through some of the advantages of massaging your baby.Massaging even for a few minutes enhances the sleep cycle and promotes better appetite and improved agility. A mother’s touch is the first way of communication with her baby, massaging is one way in which mommies give their babies a sense of security through their touch. Baby massage can be great for dads, too, some dads may miss out on a lot of the hands-on care of their babies, especially if they are at work and their baby is breastfed. A regular massage with dad can become a routine, perhaps at bedtime, that helps to bring your baby and partner closer together.

Why should I massage my baby & how can infant massage benefit my little one?

It can help ease your baby’s tummy troubles and teething pains, boost their muscle development, calm them  when they are fussy, and soothe them to sleep. But the advantages don’t stop there: All that stroking and touching make it easier for you to bond with your newborn:

  1. Relieves stress, relaxes muscles: Massage relieves stress in babies by stimulating the release of oxytocin, a feel-good neurohormone, and decreases the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. It relaxes muscles, stimulates their growth, and even works particularly great with colicky babies.
  2. Stimulates nervous system: Massage is beneficial to the baby’s nervous system since it greatly improves the baby’s motor skills development.
  3. Helps baby sleep better: Babies sleep better when they are massaged. This has several benefits from faster muscle gain to improved immune response. Infants who are massaged just before bedtime produced more melatonin – a sleep-regulating hormone.
  4. May improve the quality of life for differently-abled babies: Massage could be a way to soothe babies with Down’s syndrome or cerebral palsy. Premature babies show better motor development when massaged regularly. They even gain weight faster than premature babies that are never massaged. In fact, massaged premature babies have shorter hospital stays. Babies born to depressed mothers, when massaged, cried less and showed greater emotional and social development as they grew.
  5. Could help improve blood circulation: Massage improves the blood circulation and also decreases the level of discomfort caused by gas or acidity, congestion, and teething. Massage stimulates the nerves that pass through the digestive tract, thus benefiting the digestive system.
  6. Way to deal with postnatal depression: Massage could be an effective way to deal with postnatal depression among mothers. Depressed mothers showed improved mood and behavior when they massaged their babies regularly. Research has also shown that fathers who regularly massage their babies develop improved self-esteem. They also display increased involvement in baby’s care and interact with babies more frequently.
  7. Boosts psychological and social development: According to a 2012 report by Asian Nursing Research Journal, stimulation of the baby’s sense of touch has a positive effect on the baby’s psychological and social development along with strengthening the baby’s bond with the parent.

When is the best time to massage my baby?

Try to pick a time when your baby is between feeds. A good time to massage your baby is when she is awake, but settled. If your baby is quietly alert and interested in her environment, it means she’ll be ready to interact with you.

If your baby is sleeping and feeding often, you may wonder when this golden time for massage is going to come around! You’ll get to know when your baby is most content to have a massage. You may like to make it part of your baby’s bedtime routine, perhaps after a bath and before a bedtime feed.

A massage before bedtime will help your baby to wind down after the stimulation of the day and become calm, ready for sleep.

Setup for Massage

Buy a baby massage oil or cream, or use an edible oil (like olive, grapeseed or coconut oil). If your baby has eczema, it is best to use her prescribed cream or emollient during the massage.Choose a large, safe surface where your baby can move around, such as the floor or a bed, and lay down a blanket or towel. (Experts do not recommend using the change table, because your baby can easily roll off.)

Make sure the room is dark, soothing and free of distractions. (Relaxing background music is fine.) Undress your baby to just her diaper, you can also perform massage over PJ’s or a onesie. (Skip the oil, though.)

Ask for permission before your baby massage, It may seem funny, but professional massage therapists check in with an infant beforehand, and parents should, too. Ask, “Would you like to have a massage?” Then rub your hands together and wiggle your fingers in front of her face, this also helps create a routine for baby massage.

Note:  Some babies take a few sessions to get used to the baby massage. Don’t give up—introduce toys, sing songs, change your baby’s position (from the back to the tummy, or sitting up), or just focus on her favorite body part. Remember that when it comes to your baby, you’re the expert, and that if you’re relaxed, she’ll be relaxed, too.

How to massage baby step by step

baby laying on bed while woman massaging his back

Step 1: Massaging the legs

  • Start with the baby’s feet, rub some drops of oil on your palms and begin massaging the baby’s soles. Massage the heels up to the toes with your thumbs. Then, using your palm, stroke the bottom and top of the baby’s foot. Slowly, make circles with your thumb all over the bottom of each foot and then to the toes. Do not pull any toe like they do in adult foot massage. Instead, lightly massage each toe right to the tip. This will help stimulate nerve endings during your baby massage.
  • Lift one of the legs and make gentle strokes on the ankle and slowly extend it towards the thighs. Gently stroke from the foot up to the thigh. You can also massage both legs at once if your baby is calm and relaxed.
  • You end the leg massage by gently grasping the thighs with both your hands. Slowly stroke toward the heart from foot to thigh.

Step 2: Moving to the arms 

  • The pattern of massaging is quite similar to that of the legs. Hold the baby’s hands and make circular strokes on the palms. Slowly make small strokes on the baby’s fingers, moving towards the tips of the fingers.
  • Turn the baby’s hand around and now gently massage the back of the hand with straight strokes towards the wrist. Then, gently massage the wrists in a circular motion, like putting on bangles.
  • Move your strokes slowly towards the forearm and then towards the upper arm. Massage the entire arm with gentle circular motions as if you are wringing a towel.

Step 3: Chest and shoulder massage

  • Make gentle strokes in tandem from the left and right shoulder towards the chest of the baby during your baby massage. You can then trace your hand back to the shoulder. Repeat the motion gently. Next, place both your hands at the center of your baby’s chest and rub outwards from the body – towards the lateral side.
  • Make gentle strokes outwards from the bottom of the sternum, the chest bone, across the chest, as if tracing the shape of the heart.

Step 4: Time for tummy massage

  • Next comes the baby’s stomach. Remember, this is a delicate area, and therefore you must avoid even the slightest of pressures. You start your stroke from the top of the belly right below the chest bone. Place your palm gently below the chest bone and make clockwise circular strokes across the belly – all around the belly button. Do not apply any pressure and let your hand gently glide across the belly.
  • Continue the circular motions in a clockwise direction while avoiding the belly button. In young babies, the belly button/navel can be sensitive and delicate since they would have recently shed their umbilical cord stub.

Step 5: Massaging face and head

  • Massaging the face and head can be challenging during your baby massage, since babies tend to move a lot. But it is as important as massaging the other parts of the body. Begin by placing the tip of your index finger at the center of your baby’s forehead and slowly stroking along the outline of the face towards the chin. From the chin, move your finger towards the cheeks and massage the cheeks gently in a circular motion. Repeat the strokes a few times.
  • After massaging the face, start massaging the scalp with the fingertip like you are shampooing the baby’s hair. Use gentle pressure from your fingertip and do not apply any extra pressure since the baby’s skull is delicate.
  • You can even massage the baby’s forehead gently by moving your fingers outwards from the centre of the forehead.

Step 6: The back

  • The last step is to turn your baby around and massage the back. Place your baby outstretched on the tummy with the hands at the front and not on the sides.
  • Place your fingertips on the baby’s upper back and trace clockwise circles while slowly moving the strokes towards the buttocks.
  • You then place your index finger and middle finger on either side of the upper spine and very gently move the fingers all the way to the buttocks. Repeat the strokes a few times. Do not place the fingers on the spine. Instead, place two fingers on either side of the spinal groove and run them down.
  • Massage the baby’s shoulder blades with gentle clockwise circular strokes. Make the same gentle strokes at the baby’s lower back and buttocks. End the massage with this last stroke. Apart from the above-mentioned baby massage techniques, there are a few other effective massages for the baby that work great in certain situations or conditions.

How often should I Massage my baby?

There is no restriction on how less or more you can massage your baby. It is great, though, to have a fixed baby massage routine since it helps your baby reap all the long-term benefits of massage. If your baby faces certain adverse medical problems, then consult the baby’s doctor about the ideal massage routine.

References:

Virpi Huhtala et al.; Infant Massage Compared With Crib Vibrator in the Treatment of Colicky Infants; American Academy of Pediatrics
Baby massage: tips and benefits; NCT
Russel M Walters et al.; Developmental Changes in Skin Barrier and Structure during the First 5 Years of Life; Research Gate
The benefits of infant massage; Michigan State University
Daphna Yasova Barbeau and Michael D. Weiss; Sleep Disturbances in Newborns; National Center For Biotechnology Information (2017)
Michelle Fletcher; The Many Benefits of Infant Massage; Pacific College of Oriental Medicine
Glover V et al.; Benefits of infant massage for mothers with postnatal depression.; National Center For Biotechnology Information (2002)
Ayşe Gürol and Sevinç Polat; The Effects of Baby Massage on Attachment between Mother and their Infants; Asian Nursing Research
Enjoy Baby Massage; National Health Service, UK
Relieve Infant Colic With Massage; Pacific College of Medicine
Three Ways to Relieve Infant Constipation; Akron Children’s Hospital
Neu M et al.; Benefits of massage therapy for infants with symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease; National Center For Biotechnology Information (2014)
Chien-Heng Lin et al.; Effects of infant massage on jaundiced neonates undergoing phototherapy; National Center For Biotechnology Information (2015)
Hsu CY et al.; Local massage after vaccination enhances the immunogenicity of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine; National Center For Biotechnology Information (1995)
Teething; University of California, San Francisco

Abdallah B, Badr K, Hawwari M. 2013. The efficacy of massage on short and long term outcomes in preterm infants. Infant Behavior and Development36(4):662-9
Ahmed AS, Saha SK, Chowdhury MA, et al. 2007. Acceptability of massage with skin barrier-enhancing emollients in young neonates in Bangladesh. J Health Popul Nutr 25(2):236-40
Ang JY. Lua JL, Mathur A, et al. 2012. A randomized placebo-controlled trial of massage therapy on the immune system of preterm infants. Pediatrics 130(6):e1549-58
AWHONN. 2013. Neonatal skin care. 3rd ed. Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, Evidence-based clinical practice guideline. Washington: AWHONN
Bennett C, Underdown A, Barlow J. 2013. Massage for promoting mental and physical health in typically developing infants under the age of six months. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (4): CD005038 onlinelibrary.wiley.com [pdf file, accessed January 2014]

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How you can benefit from Collagen during pregnancy and postpartum

What is collagen?

Designed by nature, collagen is the most abundant protein found throughout the body, especially in our connective tissues, skin and bones; in fact, collagen makes up one third of the protein in the human body, and certain types of collagen are actually stronger than steel.  Essentially, collagen acts to increase the strength and elasticity of tissues in the body. Over time, things like diets high in sugar, smoking, UV exposure, autoimmune disorders, and aging breaks down collagen in our bodies.

Collagen not only gives skin its structure; it is found in our connective tissue, cartilage, bones, joints, blood vessels, organs, hair, and nails. It’s no surprise then, that collagen supplementation during pregnancy can be beneficial to support the immense amount of changes in the body.

Both pregnancy and breastfeeding require a heightened nutrient intake – if there isn’t enough of a particular nutrient available in the body, mommy is the one who goes without, so it is crucial to support your body through this period of drastic change.

The physical changes of pregnancy can be simultaneously beautiful and also frustrating for women.  One of the biggest concerns women have is to do with skin, in particular, on the body.

As pregnancy progresses, the skin on the belly, hips, thighs, and breasts expands, and many women develop stretch marks – a very normal occurrence during pregnancy. Post-pregnancy, loose skin on the stomach is very common, and skin may never go back to its original elasticity. Despite popular belief, creams and lotions can’t prevent or treat stretch marks and loose skin.

So, how is collagen specifically helpful during pregnancy and postpartum?

Bone, Joint, Hair, and Skin Health.

Due to intense hormone shifts and common nutrient deficiencies that accompany pregnancy and breastfeeding there is concern about increased risk for osteoporosis. Women also report experiencing hair loss, dry skin, and joint pain.

  • Bone Health: While 90% of our bone is laid by the time we are 18, we have until we are 30 to build up our complete bone length and density. After that we can only retain it or lose it. During pregnancy and breastfeeding, women are at risk of bone resorption. This means your bone density may be compromised. Nutrition plays a strong role in bone building and retention at all times, especially during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Research shows that hydrolyzed collagen has properties which support bone health through stimulation of bone-forming cells and optimal calcium absorption. Therefore, a daily collagen supplement may in turn reduce a woman’s risk of osteoporosis later in life.
  • Hair and Skin Health:  Peptide collagen is a dream for the skin. Facial skin can undergo significant changes too – think extra pigmentation, breakouts, and texture changes. Many facial treatments and products are unsafe during pregnancy (think Botox, retinol use, fillers etc.), so for those who want to look after their skin safely, collagen is an excellent option.  Consistent intake of hydrolyzed collagen has been found to have a positive influence on the strength and moisture content of your skin and hair. This is of prime interest during pregnancy as hormone and micronutrient shifts can lead to dry skin/hair, as well as hair loss, in the later stages of pregnancy and up to a year postpartum.
  • Joint Pain: There is a hormone released during pregnancy called “relaxin”. This is important for relaxation of the muscles surrounding the uterus as the baby grows, as well as during delivery. However, it also leads to joint pain and weakness in other areas of the body. Collagen has been shown to help reduce joint pain in non-pregnant individuals leading to the hypothesis that it could do the same during pregnancy and the early days of postpartum.

Sleep

  • Glycine levels in the body support quality sleep and neurological functioning. Glycine is the amino acid of greatest abundance in collagen. While this is a non-essential amino acid, meaning the body can make it, research has shown that even when protein recommendations are met, the body does not always make glycine in optimal amounts.
  • Sleep is something that is hard to come by for a women in her third trimester of pregnancy, and in the first few months of motherhood. Ideally, when a mom is able to sleep, it is quality sleep. For this reason and more, it may be beneficial to include a collagen supplement in their diet. One scoop of Sproos hydrolyzed collagen offers 2180 mg of glycine.

Gut Health and Immunity

  • Amino acids are used in the body for more than just building body proteins. They are also the basis of creating enzymes for digestion and antibodies to support immunity. Hydrolyzed collagen provides amino acids that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capacities which support optimal gut health and immunity. Glycine specifically, the amino acid mentioned above, may help guard against many chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic disorders.

Recovery from Labour and Delivery

  • Wound healing is optimal when there is adequate vitamin A, vitamin C, zinc, and high-quality (aka compete) protein. Whether a mom is recovering from a vaginal delivery or c-section, there is important healing that must take place. Collagen can be part of a healthy, balanced diet including other high-quality protein sources to support optimal recovery post birth.

But is it safe?

Now you may now be thinking, “Okay, I see the benefits, but is it safe?”

Natural Health Products are always challenging to discuss with respect to safety during pregnancy and breastfeeding. This is because ethics prevents the conducting of direct research with them. We do know that collagen is simply a supply of amino acids, so the main caution is to ensure that you are not using it in quantities that lead to an over-abundant intake.

All peptide collagen (aside from marine collagen) is safe during pregnancy, but it is always best to check with your doctor or midwife before starting any supplement or medication.

The O-Babystore stocks Yummy Mummy Lifestyle products.  The Collagen Protein is packed full of vitamins and nutrients to support a woman’s heath during pregnancy and postpartum, breastfeeding and assist in the development of baby too, available here

References

  1. Daneault A, Prawitt J, Soulé VF, Coxam V, Wittrant Y. (2017). Biological effect of hydrolyzed collagen on bone metabolism. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 57 (9): 1922-1937. Retrieved from:
  2. https://www-tandfonline-com.proxy1.lib.uwo.ca/doi/full/10.1080/10408398.2015.1038377
  3. Hyde NK, Brennan-Olsen SL, Bennett K, Moloney DJ, Pasco JA.  (2017). Maternal Nutrition During Pregnancy: Intake of Nutrients Important for Bone Health. Maternal and Child Health Journal. 21:845–851.Retrieved from: https://link-springer-com.proxy1.lib.uwo.ca/content/pdf/10.1007%2Fs10995-016-2178-7.pdf
  4. Kovacs, CS. (2016) Maternal Mineral and Bone Metabolism During Pregnancy, Lactation, and Post-Weaning Recovery. Physiological Reviews.96(2):449-547.Retrieved from: https://www-physiology-org.proxy1.lib.uwo.ca/doi/full/10.1152/physrev.00027.2015
  5. Razak MA, Begum PS, Viswanath B, and Rajagopal S,. (2017). Multifarious Beneficial Effect of Nonessential Amino Acid, Glycine: A Review. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. Article ID 1716701, 8 pages. Retrieved from:https://doi-org.proxy1.lib.uwo.ca/10.1155/2017/1716701.
  6. Stechmiller JK. (2010). Understanding the Role of Nutrition and Wound Healing. Nutrition in Clinical Practice. Vol. 25 (1): 61-68. Retrieved from:https://journals-scholarsportal-info.proxy1.lib.uwo.ca/pdf/08845336/v25i0001/61_irutronawh.xml
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All natural Merino Wool – The Super Wool

What Exactly is Merino Wool?


Merino is a breed of sheep highly prized for its soft and finely crimped wool. Merino sheep,
unlike regular sheep, are a hardy breed and are well suited to high temperatures like the Karroo in South-Africa . They are able to thrive comfortably in extreme weather conditions and temperatures as their wool provides an
insulation from the cold Karroo nights during the winter months and from the hot summer days.

Why use merino wool for babies?


Merino wool has been prized as one of the world’s top luxurious fabrics and has been a favourite choice among parents for centuries. It is one of the finest and softest wool’s available and yet is also resilient and renowned for its durability- this is just the beginning of its magic… It is a natural product, renewable and biodegradable. It is ideal having your baby sleep under the natural fibres of wool to keep them warm and comfortable, and there is now scientific evidence that sleeping on or under wool actually improves the quality of sleep – it can help your baby sleep more soundly, sleep for longer and wake up less. A sleeping baby is a happy and healthy baby which in turn makes all our lives easier!


Merino wool has a unique ability to regulate temperature, a very important feature when it comes to newborns who are unable to regulate their own body temperatures during their first few months of life. It is a natural insulator,It will hold babies body heat, allow their skin to breathe and help prevent them from sweating. A baby can be prone to overheating when sleeping in synthetic fabrics, but wool will provide an even warmth.


Due to its uniquely thin fibers, this type of wool does not retain odours — bacteria cannot find a solid surface to grow on, thus making it anti-microbial and hypoallergenic-many people are allergic to different synthetic fabrics, which means they are man-made.
 
Being naturally flame-resistant, merino wool is a preferred choice of hospitals, hotels and
especially nurseries

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Product Review: Oh-Lief Tummy Wax

I enjoy my growing bump!  Stretching and itchy skin – not so much.

With my first pregnancy, I turned to the trusted tissue oil to rub on my tummy, thighs, bum and breasts to help with the itchy stretching skin as and I didn’t want stretch marks.  Yes, I had one here and there from growing up but I wanted to prevent getting any more as far as possible.  Looking back, I was satisfied with the results of the tissue oil as I barely got any stretch marks – Lucky right?  Yes, maybe but I have always moisturised my skin on a daily basis so I don’t know that also maybe aided to the results.  The human body truly is amazing, how can our bodies stretch so much and house a little tiny human and then return to what is your new “normal” body? 

Now, being pregnant again, I decided to go for a more natural and organic root when it comes to my care and also for baby, once the little one is born.  I found that I was blessed with all of the weird pregnancy symptoms, I say blessed because even though the random allergies and rashes were bad, I did not have the common morning sickness – which I feel is a bonus.  My skin is extremely sensitive, not just my tummy and the stretching bits, my legs, arms and back too. 

I started using the Natural Olive Tummy Wax from Oh-Lief – a blend of certified organic and 100% natural ingredients one of which is olive oil (I read that it’s a turbo charged moisturiser and it really is) Because of the natural bees wax, it is has a balm like texture and it melts into the skin, you don’t need much and it does not require much rubbing either.  Oh-Lief suggest to apply twice daily, and I most probably will eventually, but for now at weeks I feel that once a day is enough as I feel soft (really soft) and moisturised all day.  I used it on my entire body and it really helped with my skin irritation and sensitivity.

I have been raving about this product to my friends and family and will be using it as a nipple balm when breastfeeding when little one has arrived and, on my tummy, thighs and bum too as it promotes elasticity (Bonus!!) and I simply just love the softness of my skin after using it.

Maxine Fourie

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