Using Trauma to Shape Calm in Motherhood and Breastfeeding.

Written By Alice Bingham on behalf of Medela Australia

Just under two years ago, I had a wild experience with my third birth.

I went between three hospitals in just one day.

I had an ambulance with sirens, a 20hr breach labour which then transitioned to an emergency c- section under general anaesthetic and welcomed our baby girl at just 35 weeks. All while having heart symptoms going on and a possible Pulmonary Embolism.

I ended up spending the week in hospital with heart monitors on myself and tests run all week, all while trying to care for our newest addition who had a few health things going on herself with being a premie. It was quite the experience, one that I will never forget. When I look at my happy little 21-month old now, I pinch myself that we are both okay and doing well.

In fact, we are expecting our fourth child in February 2021.

This has had me reflect a lot on my experience with birth and breastfeeding my third baby in 2019 – how can I use this to prepare myself and my baby for a beautiful breastfeeding experience after a year where nothing’s gone to plan?

A reminder to embrace the chaos with presence.

The first 12- weeks of any newborn’s life can be a bit of a blur for any mum. And mine was no different. I had two little ones to care for, and was also recovering from a c-section and a feeding schedule for our preemie baby.

I was given the Medela Symphony pump immediately and was told to pump a minimum of eight times in 24 hours.

So, I was very grateful for the Medela double breast pump in the hospital as it was fast and efficient, which I needed as the feeding routine was extremely exhausting for me.

On day three, my daughter’s blood sugar level remained low. I asked to speak to a Lactation Consultant and a Paediatrician to see if a different feeding routine would help her blood sugar levels stabilise. Our current schedule of 10 minutes on the boob topped up with expressed breast milk, then pumping again wasn’t working. The team and I decided to change her feeding schedule to give her expressed breastmilk (EBM), then 5 minutes on the boob and then double pumping again for top-ups. I would also set alarms for breastfeeding and alarms for pumping using my Medela Harmony breast pump. The beauty of pumping was it made me sit down, which is essential for recovery.

My two children, then 3.5 years and 18 months, would also come and sit with me or play on the floor near me. Some days they would all be crying at once; I just had to take a deep breath and remind myself I was doing my best. The days were long, but the weeks would fly by, it was all a bit of beautiful chaos. And this is one of the most important lessons I’ve learnt with motherhood and breastfeeding – embracing the chaos, with mindfulness and presence.

For any other mum or mum-to-be who may be finding motherhood and breastfeeding difficult – I hear you.

But if you can take time to find your breath and come back to this moment, it’s one of the most powerful ways to find strength, peace and joy in these moments of chaos. I found great comfort in journaling too. A simple way to practice gratitude and reflect on the day. Plus, my journal is filled with many raw and wonderful memories of those postnatal days. I often look back on these pages to see how far I have come.

Lean on your support army wherever and however you can

The year 2020 has brought some great uncertainly for a lot of us in the Australian community, with restrictions and lock downs. Postnatal after our third child, we required a lot of appointments once we left the hospital. We ended up seeing lactation consultants, had daily weigh-ins at the hospital, saw midwifes and child health nurse practitioners for the first 12 weeks of our little girls’ life.

This had me thinking after everything happening right now, would we receive the same support if we required that care again with this child? During this pregnancy I haven’t been allowed to have my children at antenatal appointments or my husband at the scans or appointments. I also had to have emergency surgery a few months ago when pregnant, we were given some news that meant our baby may have not made it, I would have loved to have had my husband there with me, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, he was not allowed at the hospital with me. So, I had to take the news by myself and just chat to my husband over the phone during my hospital stay.

Thankfully, this baby is still doing well though post-surgery and as I write this, I am 26 weeks and filled with gratitude.  There have been some positives though, during this pregnancy, I have been lucky enough to have the support of my own midwife. She has been able to come to our home for visits for my check-ups, if I have my other young children at home. Plus, David can be here as well.

Baby Bump #4

I have seen some great improvises from our local hospital and the staff doing their best to support families and the post-natal care they provide for them. Now thankfully with restrictions easing, I feel a lot more positive about having our fourth child next year.  Wherever you can – call on your support networks – from experts and loved ones. But if you are having trouble – telehealth is a great avenue to find support from a lactation consultant. Or engage in online communities where you can find and talk to likeminded mums. Rely on breastfeeding aids if you need it

I think having this will give me the freedom to pop out a little more in the earlier days to my close friends and families houses. Or even to pop in the car and drive to the waterfront. Pumping with a view is oh so blissful! The Harmony Manual Breast Pump is light, compact and portable making it easy to pop into your nappy bag and go.

Being on a time schedule with breastfeeding a premmie can be challenging if you need to be back home all the time to do it. I think this will allow me some more freedom. I am highly impressed with the 2-Phase Expression technology as it can mimic your baby’s natural suckling rhythm, which is ideal for going from baby to pump for your breasts. I think this pump will make my life a little easier, with four children in five years, I am up for anything that will guide that! So, as a final prompt to myself and other pregnant and breastfeeding mums today, in this extra time of change – take life slower, more mindful and be kind to ourselves – and always call on help when need it.

Together, we’ve got this – and whatever life throws our way.

ABOUT MEDELA AUSTRALIA

Medela exists to enhance mother and baby health through the life-giving benefits of human milk. Medela has actively been supporting Australian mothers, babies, and their families in Australia for more than 19 years.

As Australia’s hospital breast-pump innovator, Medela, has launched their Harmony™ manual pump at $69.95, to their Medela Flex™ technology range which adapt to fit every mum’s personal breast shape and lifestyle needs.

Developed and clinically tested with a team of research scientists and breastfeeding mums, the Medela Flex™ family help mums produce up to 11 percent more breast milk, more comfortably.1

The Medela Flex™ technology range is now available from major pharmacies and retail outlets including Baby Bunting and Chemist Warehouse, as well as via the Medela Store Online.

For more information visit https://www.medela.com.au/

Back To School /Day Care Organisation Tips

🍎 Back To School /Day Care Organisation Tips 🏫

Do you have a child starting day care, kindy or school this year? I want to share some of my tips that can make your life as a parent easier! This year I have one school starting prep, one pre kindy and one in the toddler room. Plus we have a newborn arriving all when the school year starts. So I decided to be organised AF. Here are some of the things we already do or will be implementing and I hope they can help you too…

1️⃣A school bag station! This will the bags all in the one spot. I love the idea of having a basket or a mini locker below or above each child’s bag. That way any important paper work or cute drawings can go there.
2️⃣ A mini planner above each bag. That way you can all see as a family what is happening and when. Weather it’s a play date, school spot or who is picking which child up. A great communication tool for the family.
3️⃣ Meal prep some of the lunches for the week on a Sunday. Freeze muffins, scones, mini quiches etc so you can grab and pack. Cut up veggies and fruit in mini containers so it’s easy way to pack the lunches.
4️⃣ At the end of each day unpack the child’s bag or get your child too. That way nothing gets left in their that can get smelly. Refill the water bottles at this time too.
5️⃣ Have some after school snacks prepared as kids will be hungry between pick up and dinner! Haha I’m a professional #snackbitch
6️⃣ Lay or hang the kids clothes out the night before or for the walk. Include undies, socks, shoes, hair ties, brush l and nappies etc. that way it’s a smooth transition for getting ready. Even for yourself it’s a good idea if you are going to work.
7️⃣ Have your dinners on a meal plan so you know what you are having each night.

What are your tips? Share below 👉🏼

📷 by @ikea_australia

Hypnobirthing with Your Sacred Space.

By Alice Bingham

A few weeks ago David and I did part one of the Positive Birth Program (Hypnobirthing) with Your Scared Space. But before I tell you all about it I want to share how amazing the universe is about connecting you with people when you ask the universe to have your back.

Talk about alignment, before I was even pregnant I was having thoughts about how a fourth pregnancy would look for me mentally. Given my experience with our third pregnancy and birth, I wanted to do some research about how I can feel more emotionally supported and educated. Funny enough she came up in my feed, die to a friend recommending her. I decided reach out to Danielle from @your.sacred.space before I was even pregnant, months before if truth be told. I told her I was planning my fourth pregnancy. I knew that if we were to welcome number four, this would be our journey. After our third bubs birth, this was something I wanted for David, I and our little family.

If you haven’t been following this blog Alice In Healthyland for long, in a nut shell this was my experience with our third child. I had two vaginal births first off and with our third child, an emergency c section under a General Anaesthesia, I had a query PE and had some heart issues going on. We had a week long stay in hospital and my daughter was also born at 35 weeks and required some special care. All of my births have been completely different, because every pregnancy and every baby is different. My third birth, took time to process and I spent months trying to replay a few things that could of been etc. in my mind.

David and I really enjoyed the Hypnobirthing Class with Danielle, it was truly something else. Having experienced birth already 3 times I was taken back by how much I had learnt on the day. On the day we sat with 5 other couples and we explored the world of hypnobirthing. We each got our own yoga mat, ball to sit on and seats. Plus a goodie bag and a portfolio to follow the day. The day was broken up into different parts of learning from Danielle, birth videos, education on the anatomy and physiology of birth, and engaging with your birth partner. As a couple, I felt extremely close to David that day, and he really enjoyed the whole experience as well. All the men in the room were entertained and were constantly made to feel apart of the process.

It was magical, empowering and honestly like a fear release around the topic of birth. We laughed together, we got in the zone and we became educated about some topics that are often taboo.

Feeling humble for this experience and educated about this little ones journey earth side. No matter the path this little one chooses to join us, I know David and myself feel informed and supported by each other. ✨

Since the workshop, I have been implementing the tools given by Danielle into my daily practice planning for birth. I have put up birth affirmations around my bedroom. I have written in my journal what I am manifesting for our birth journey and I am playing the Hypnobirthing tracks and affirmations tracks most nights as I drift off to sleep. All part of the process to feeling positive around our future experience and feeling educated to take on the knowledge and have a say in how we welcome our little one.

At 29 weeks this pregnancy my body started to experience contractions for 3 weeks. I spent numerous days in this time at the hospital for hours a day. I found that instead of laying there anxious alone with my thoughts I would put my phone on speaker. Listen to my hypnobirthing tracks to calm my mind for sleep. To try help my little one and myself relax and welcome the calm back from the news that day at the hospital.

31 weeks with contractions.
Listening to my hypnobirthing Birth Tracks ✨
Affirmations placed around the mirror to read daily.

I look forward to our private session with Danielle in a few short weeks. I will keep you updated on how we go.

Want to get in touch with Danielle from Your Scared Birth?

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/your.sacred.space/

Website – https://yoursacredspace.com.au/

Danielle is a mumma to two hypnobubs, a Hypnobirthing Aus ™️ practitioner and she passionate about helping women empower themselves.

✨ Lactation Cookies ( . )( . ) 🍪’s ✨

Ingredients 👇🏼👇🏼

  • 80g coconut sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg or chia egg
  • 1 cup gluten free flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 3 Tbsp. flax seed
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 150g of choc chips, can use darkl
  • Optional by great for feeding – 2 Tbsp. @milky.mumma Chocolate BF smoothie blend.

🍪 Preheat oven to 180degrees.
🍪 Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
🍪 Roll cookies dough into call and place on baking paper and into the oven for 15:20minutes.
🍪 Store air tight container.

Peanut Butter + Cranberry Bliss Balls

Peanut Butter + Cranberry Bliss Balls

Ingredients 😋


½ cup 100% Peanut Butter
2 tbsp Peanut Butter Powder by @macr0mike
1 cup Oats
5 large Medjool Dates, presoaked in ¼ cup Boiling Water
¼ cup Almond Meal
¼ dried Cranberries
1 tsp coconut oil
1 tbsp Manuka Honey or Maple Syrup
¼ tsp vanilla essence

Method 😋

  1. Blitz all ingredients in a food processor until the mixture can rolled out into bliss balls. If you like them really smooth, blitz oats into a flour first.
  2. Roll into 10 large bliss balls or 20 small ones. Allow to set in fridge then store in a glass jar or container in the fridge.
  3. Enjoy 😉
    .
    Thanks to my girl @wyldefolkstudio_ for taking these snaps 📷 and letting your adorable pup “Teddy” (swipe 👉🏼) join me in the kitchen.

Peanut Butter Cookies 🍪


I am totally digging anything with Peanut Butter at the moment. Like literally obsessed. I may be eating it from the jar 🤔.
The kids and I made these a while back and you kept asking me to get my
🍑 together and give you the recipe 😂.


Ingredients 🍪

1 cup of flour (I used spelt but you can use what you wish)
1 cup oats, grounded
1 tsp. baking powder
1 pinch of salt
1/3 cup of peanut butter powder or 1/2 cup peanut butter. (I used @macr0mike powder)
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
1 egg or chia egg for vegan option
2 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Toppings of choice to decorate. We loved vegan choc, sultanas or hemp seeds.

Method 🍪

  1. In a bowl mix all dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl mix all wet ingredients.
  2. Create a little hole in the middle of the dry ingredients and slowly combine until cookie dough like.
  3. Preheat oven to 180degrees.
  4. On a baking tray roll out 12 cookie balls and then flatten with a fork. Add the toppings.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  6. Consume within 4 days. Store in air tight container.

    Notes – you can swap to cashew butter, almond butter etc. Any will work. You will need a little more milk though as these butters aren’t as oily when combining the mixture.

Vegan Blueberry Pie.

Blueberry Pie 🥧

I was #gifted a few punnets of @australianblueberries and to be honest I was pumped as we eat a punnet every few days in our house. With smoothies, snack boxes, homemade jam and did I mention snack boxes 🤪🙈. I wanted to make up something different and get creative in the kitchen after we went to the shops. I’m craving 🤰 a blueberry pie with coyo yogurt so I thought why not make one up. It was so easy to make.
.


Ingredients 🥧


2 sheets of short crust pastry(we use a vegan one)
1 large punnet of @australianblueberries
1 small red apple, grated
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 drops of green mandarin essential oil (could totally squeeze a lemon though)
2/3 cup of warm filtered water
3 tbsp. maple syrup

Method 🥧

  1. Preheat the oven to 180degrees.
  2. Line a small Pyrex pie dish.
  3. Throw in the blueberries and the grated apple into the centre.
  4. In a bowl mix, warm water, maple, spices and citrus.
  5. Pour over the apple and blueberry mix.
  6. Pop some of the remaining pastry on top however you wish to style.
  7. Bake in oven for 45minutes on 180 degrees. Then turn down to 100 degrees and bake a further 15minutes.
    .
    Serve warm or cold. We are teaming this with coyo, but you could totally serve it up with ice cream, custard, cream. Your choice. ✌🏼

Weekly Date With My Husband At Home

Written by Alice Bingham

Photographs taken of us by Wylde Folk Studio

So David and I started a “thing” a month ago, we made a decision to make a conscious effort to have a weekly date night. We have three children under four, so heading out to restaurants, bars, movies etc just isn’t quite fitting for us personally at this time. Giving everything that is happening in the world right now with COVID 19, I know so many more of you will be adapting to doing this too.

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I had this vision in my mind about setting it up, I didn’t want it to be us sitting on the couch watching Netflix or having a meal at home. Don’t get me wrong, I love doing this with the hubby but I wanted to make it more about connecting David. We have three young children, I have two small businesses I run from home, David works long hours on the ferries and  he is studying Finance at university online, our lives are crazy chaos. I did not want this to hold us back, it is important to be to work on my relationship with David. This is my WHY behind making it work, I could see us losing touch of each other and becoming robots in survival mode each day (that does sound a little hard but it is some what true).

We have made Monday night out “date night” however we will have a conversation on a Sunday night and both just map out our diaries to make sure this will work and if not change the night that week. Communicating about it is what builds up the excitement around it. When we both have this put in our schedule like a meeting or a workout or an appointment we can both get excited about it and know it is something we can look forward too. The past few weeks I have enjoyed choosing what we have done however I am going to allow David to plan some to as its always a special surprise for the other.

When I spoke to David about having a date night I was completely honest with him, I want it to not just be about the sex! Of course we are both hoping the end of the night will end this way, but I explained to him I really wanted to get creative try new things together and make it fun. Be silly, have a laugh together, bring some element of surprise into our relationships. He agreed with me that we both need this.

Our first date night I planned and I was super nervous David would be like “WTF are we doing” hahaha, but he surprised me and really enjoyed himself. I put on a guided stretching video on you tube and we did that together, we watched a relationship TED talk and did the ol adult thing (because hey thats connection right?) and to top the night off, I put on a guided meditation to fall asleep to. ALL FREE and all done at home. We had a laugh and a good chat too as we stretched.

The second week, I made raw chocolate because choccie always brings those loving vibes for us. It gets those endorphins going and we both enjoy it. We did another guided stretch, after we sat on the bed talking and just hung out no phones. It was nice. We then watched an episode of Arrow to finish the night off and we actually cuddled on the couch while watching it (haha say what).

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I think we are going to have to make damn sure we make this apart of our routine as a non negotiable, it’s all fun and games now, but I am sure we could easily slip and just go arghhh nah lets just do our work when the kids go to sleep or find something else to fill our time with and go back into the way we were. This is so important to us.

So on the day/night this is happening, we have to set the scene as we aren’t leaving the house, it has to be exciting. I make sure I have my “loving” mood essential oils in the diffuser like Ylang Ylang, Ginger, Cassia and Lavender. I always have a nice shower and make myself feel good, just as I would going out (no make up though). To set the mood of date night I always dim the lights, set up a cosy place on the floor for us and already have it planned out so we can both just enjoy it. Again, I think it is so important to pop it in the calendar so we both know it is happening and WILL be happening.

DATE NIGHT IDEAS

I have created a list of things we have done and I want us to do together in the near future and I thought I would share them with you all for inspiration. The obvious is have a meal at home together and watch a flick, this is still a beautiful thing to do but mix it up it will be fun I promise.

  • Guided Meditation – whether you want to use an app or just a you tube one, pop it on, set up a comfy space and go for it. Sit next or opposite to each other so its more special. Here is a FREE couple one I love on youtube.
  • Guided Stretching – we all hold stress and tension in our body, after a long day its nice to let go of what your body is holding on to from work, being a parent or worries in our lives. We love to do a 10minute one. My hamstrings are always tight so this guide was amazing. 10 Minute Free Stretch.
  • Make A Fort – so basically a cubby house for us adults, you can trend it up with cute pillows, throws and some treats on a platter. You can get creative and add some fairy lights. Pre write down 3 convo starters each so get the chit chatter going.
  • Watch A Relationship TED Talk together – Learn about your love language together, You never know you both might learn something new to incorporate in your daily lives. HERE you can find all the relationship TED talks to choose from together.
  • Pick 2-3 Karma Sutra Positions – Spice up your sex life and pick one of the hundreds of sex positions you have always wanted to try with your partner. It is actually a good laugh trying to get into some haha.
  • Learn To Dance – Yes you can get online couple dance tutorials or try some for free on youtube. You could even learn a Tik Tok Dance and have a good laugh while doing so.
  • Read The Same Book or Listen To A Podcast Together. You will both have something to discuss together.
  • Massage – make up a nice massage oil and give each other a massage. I love using a blend of Coconut Oil and Bergamot, Ylang Ylang and Peppermint Essential Oils.
  • Make A Dessert – get creative in the kitchen together making something yummy for you both to enjoy. Put on some music and enjoy each others company.
  • Play A Board Game – so I am so not a board game person but I love twister haha.
  • Couple Yoga or Breath Work – again there are so many FREE yoga workouts on You Tube.
  • Comedy Night – watch a stand up comedy together. Nothing beats a good laugh.
  • Write Each Other A Love Letter – sounds simple by we can not always say what we want out loud.
  • Take A Shower – Something most couples do when they start a relationship, chat about each others day and unwind.

 

 

Blueberry + Raspberry Little Bites

We have been making these twice a week of late. All my little ones love to eat them, plus I don’t mind a cheeky one for afternoon tea either. It’s so handy to have bite size foods to grab straight from the fridge that are made from wholesome foods with no added nasties!

They are really simple to create and take 5minutes prep time and then 20minutes to bake.The is perfect for your older bub or toddler for breakie, morning tea or an afternoon snack.Here is the recipe! Tag me @aliceinhealthyland if you make them. It melts my heart seeing your little ones eat my recipes!

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