I actually can’t remember the details of what I packed last-time in my hospital bag, but I’m pretty sure I packed things that I didn’t actually use or that weren’t helpful! I’m a notoriously bad packer, extremely indecisive and I end up taking way too much.
This time around I don’t want to take so many unnecessary things, I’m also going to deliver in a public hospital so I will need to take a few extra things that I didn’t need last-time.
I’ve compiled a list of the key things I’m taking and the brands that I love to use. I would love to hear what else you packed in your bag and if you think I’m missing anything.
With Gracie I had a lot of issues with my milk supply due to my medical complications and I was never able to establish a decent supply, despite all my efforts. This time around I’m hoping that I won’t have anywhere near the same issues and want to encourage the supply as much as I can. I’ve got a few packs ready to go of this beautiful nursing tea and will be taking a packet with me in my bag.
So happy that I’ve recently come across Kristin’s beautiful products. How cool does this cord spray sound. It contains antiseptic and healing herbs to help dry, disinfect and protect baby’s cord as it heals!
I recently saw Lynne to talk all things breastfeeding. I had a terrible breastfeeding journey last-time due to my medical complications so I’m taking Lynne’s number with me incase I need her help during my hospital stay and beyond.
We’ve a history of eczema and hives in our family I wanted to be more careful what nappies I used this time around so I’ve done some research and got some Ecoriginal Nappies as they’re free from odour blockers, Dioxins, Phthalates, Lotions, Fragrances.
Kimmy Smith is fitness blogger, former professional netballer and corporate lawyer and more importantly mother to two gorgeous girls and pregnant with her third!
I recently caught up with Kimmy to chat all things motherhood, fitness and health!
Can you tell us a little more about your story?
I feel like I have had two lives! I spent a large portion of my life before children playing professional sport. I played professional netball for 11 years, finishing my career with 5 years at the NSW Swifts, I was also a member of the Australian netball squad. At that time, I was also working as a corporate lawyer, so my life was pretty crazy! I ended up burnt out and completely exhausted. So I retired from netball, quit law and started working with a local group fitness business in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. I loved it and it really helped me to transition from elite sport. I fell pregnant with Allegra in 2012 and because I owned a group fitness business, I trained every day. I ran up until around 25 weeks and I literally counted down the days till I could exercise after I gave birth.
Allegra was a big baby – 4.3KG and I shouldn’t had rushed back into exercise and ended up with a pelvic organ prolapse as well as some other complications from birthing such a big baby. Perhaps because high intensity was all I knew, I was determined to get back into running and high intensity training. I also identified myself as someone who was ‘fit’. I had built my netball career around being the fittest player on the court, so I pushed my body to the limit to return to that level of fitness my ego needed!
When I fell pregnant with Samara, I knew that I wanted to do it different. I wanted to care for my body and I wanted to create a new way of moving that embraced all the changes that were happening to me. Not just physically, but mentally. This was the beginning of the creation of the Fit Mummy Project – although at that time it was just a seed of an idea!
What led you to focus on pre and post natal fitness?
When I had Samara, I tried to take it easy and allow my body time to repair. I did a lot of research into postnatal fitness and exercise options and found a lot of generic information. After Samara I was also struggling with incontinence. I couldn’t find information that didn’t make me feel like something was fundamentally wrong with me.
I was a healthy woman. Yes, I had suffered some postnatal complications and yes my body needed extra support, but I was still healthy. And I definitely wasn’t elderly! I also noticed that a lot of the messages around ‘bouncing back’. I didn’t want to bounce back. I had worked really hard to embrace the changes that had happened to my body. I wanted to create a new ‘strong and healthy’ body rather than giving birth and then doing my best to look like I’d never been pregnant.
It was this that led me to my focus on pre and postnatal fitness. I created the Fit Mummy Project with the view to:
Supporting women to create a strong and healthy body after baby.
Providing positive and safe workouts that would embrace the changes to their lives and their bodies.
Providing the ability to do high quality strength, fitness, barre or yoga workouts from the comfort of their own homes in just 15 minutes a day.
Creating a way of moving that embraced mindfulness and a holistic approach to postnatal fitness.
My focus started with postpartum and as the Fit Mummy Project has grown and evolved, I am now beginning to include prenatal workouts and exercises.
You’re currently pregnant with your third baby, congratulations! What has been your biggest challenge so far this pregnancy?
Thank you! I’ve had a lot of challenges with this pregnancy. I had quite bad morning sickness which I really struggled with. My incontinence has been a lot worse this pregnancy which is a combination of pregnancy hormones, a weak pelvic floor and everything just being so stretched already!
But I think my main challenge has been taking care of my own health this pregnancy. Before I fell pregnant, I had the intention of really enjoying this pregnancy. But that just hasn’t happened. I think taking care of the girls, running a business and just generally trying to juggle our lives means that I get to the end of each day absolutely exhausted! So it’s been a real challenge to slow down and nurture myself during this pregnancy.
What advice would you give to a pregnant woman looking to keep fit during their pregnancy?
My main advice is always to listen to your body. When we are pregnant, we develop this incredible intuition. Listen to the signals your body is sending you and begin to move in a way that makes you feel good. One day this might be a gentle restorative yoga class, another day it might be a higher intensity strength workout. When you listen to your body, you will begin to move in a much more mindful way.
Secondly – the aim during pregnancy is to feel healthy and strong. It isn’t to get fitter. So don’t exercise to the point of exhaustion. Find exercise that makes you feel energsied and strong, but that still leaves you with enough energy to go about the rest of your day! Your body is already working overtime to grow a whole human!
Thirdly – go and see a Women’s Health Physio and learn how to properly engage your pelvic floor and transversus abdominis (your deepest abdominal muscles). Learning how to properly engage your core will help to protect your back during pregnancy, can help you to avoid some common pregnancy complaints like pubis symphysis pain and can also help you to birth your baby. It will also help with your postpartum recovery.
You have developed a wonderful app called the Fit Mummy Project app. Can you tell us a bit more about the app?
Thank you! I have combined everything I spoke about above into the Fit Mummy Project App, so I’m really proud of it. The Fit Mummy Project App is the complete postnatal fitness + yoga App for Mums. It has over 35 workouts that Mums can do from home in just 15 minutes a day. It includes early postnatal, strength, fitness, yoga, barre workouts as well as guided meditations. You can start the workouts from 6 weeks with the early post natal and keep using it all the way up to 4-5 years (and beyond!). It has a range of different level workouts for all fitness levels and really provides a holistic approach to postnatal wellbeing.
Since I launched it last year, I have been amazed at how much Mums have embraced this App! I think because it delivers high quality workouts direct to your phone and it’s all aimed at Mums. I also wanted to make it accessible and affordable to everyone, so I think Mums really appreciate that it’s a once off cost, rather than an ongoing fee.
As Mothers we are all incredibly busy and tend to put our needs last. What are your top 3 tips to help women include exercise within their day?
My tips for including exercise into your day are:
Try to do it first thing in the morning. If your baby / kids are sleeping through the night, set your alarm to wake up 15 minutes earlier. I use the Fit Mummy Project App to do a quick workout and meditation combination which helps me to feel energised and calm for the rest of the day.
Make exercise a priority. I add my workouts to my diary and try to do them first thing. I know that if I get started with work or housework, exercise often gets missed. I try to do it as soon as I drop the girls at school / kindy or as soon as I put them down for a nap.
Include your little ones in your workouts! Try the Fit Mummy Project App Pram Workouts and include a workout into your daily walk. If you’re meeting a friend or a group for a play date, make it an active one. Go for a walk together (try the circuit above). Take the kids to a park where you can work out while they run around. All chip in to hire a nanny so you can exercise while someone is keeping the kids under control.
This time around I’ve taken a completely different approach to pregnancy. Before falling pregnant with Gracie I did discover I had the auto-immune condition hashimotos and that I was insulin resistant. I was quite over weight and managed to lose over 20kg before conceiving. As I had a healthy pregnancy I didn’t really think I needed to do anything additional for my health.
It was only after having a traumatic labour and post-partum complications, combined with Gracie’s gut health issues did I start to realise that I should have probably have been more focused on my own gut health pre and post pregnancy.
One of the complications I suffered post-partum with Gracie was my thyroid completely crashed and I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Over the next couple of years I struggled to lose the extra weight I had gained from my thyroid dysfunction but it didn’t matter what I tried I could barely shift a few grams and the weight would creep up again.
I would like to add that unfortunately the majority of mainstream medical practitioners do not treat patients with hashimotos when their thyroid levels are still within range, when really this is the window of opportunity to prevent even further damage to your thyroid. If you have been diagnosed with hashimotos I would really recommend getting a second opinion or seeing an integrative practitioner for further support.
After getting to the point of despair I decided to go and see Dr Min Yeo an Integrative Medical Practitioner based in Sydney.
Dr Min did a couple of things that no other doctor had done in the past couple of years, she firstly tested my insulin levels and my thyroid antibodies. The results came back that I was insulin resistant again (the pre-cursor to diabetes) and my antibodies were extremely high and therefore so would the inflammation in my body.
We decided that I would follow Auto Immune Paleo protocol to reduce the inflammation in my body and hopefully ‘reset’ my system. I followed AIP strictly for several months and was able to lose around 8/9 kilos and this in turn resolved my insulin resistant issues and my thyroid antibodies went dramatically down – yay!
Once my weight was down and insulin levels back to normal we wanted to focus further on my gut health to make sure everything was nicely balanced before conceiving. I did a Faecal Microbial Analysis (FMA) at Bioscreen. These tests aren’t cheap, but I was keen to get tested after the journey we have been through with Grace (I think it cost around $400 and you aren’t entitled to a medicare rebate unfortunately). It takes a few weeks to get the results back and there is literally pages of information and results to go through. From the results Dr Min was able to work out what I needed to take to help re-balance my gut flora with certain supplementation/herbs. I also started on the usual pre-natal/conception supplementation and other supplementation for my general health and wellbeing.
Now I’m pregnant I’m on slightly different supplementation and one of the main differences is that this time around I’m taking a probiotic which I will make sure I take for the entire pregnancy and post-partum. I’m also having weekly chiro sessions as I suffer from chronic back pain and it’s got a lot worst since falling pregnant as well as a lot of ligament and pelvis pain and I’ve found its helped immensely. I’m also doing weekly pilate classes which I started last year as I have had pelvic floor weakness since having Gracie and I’m trying to regain my strength and keep on top of things throughout this pregnancy.
I would love to know from the other Mums out there what you did differently in your next pregnancies for your health.
Please note, this post is not intended as medical advice. If you have health concerns about yourself or child please seek medical advice.
I’m so excited to share this interview with the amazing Alexx Stuart of Low Tox Life. I’ve personally followed Alexx for many years and absolutely adore listening to her podcasts.
Alexx has helped empower and educate thousands of people over the years, helping them to lower their toxic load and discover real food. In this interview Alexx discusses more about herself, tips in transitioning to a low tox life and more.
I hope you enjoy listening to this as much as I did!
You can find more about Alexx and Low Tox Life here.
As many of you would know Dr Leila Masson has made a huge impact on the success we have had with helping Grace get back on track and improving her overall gut health, so I’m very excited to share this interview with you all.
Dr Masson is a paediatrician with a Masters of Public Health from Harvard and has extensive training in nutrition and environmental health. Dr Masson has a special interest in biomedical treatments for children on the autistic spectrum, a holistic approach to behaviour and learning challenges, as well as assessment and treatment of children with allergies and other paediatric health problems, she also lectures around the world on children’s health.
You’ve recently relocated back to Berlin (unfortunately for us!), what are you currently working on?
I am writing a book on anxiety in children to help parents figure out the cause and find effective, natural treatments. I have also given lectures on nutrition in children, in particular the benefits (and risks) of a wholefood plant based diet. Berlin is the vegan capital of the world right now – with lots of research going on about plant based nutrition. It is very healthy if done right – but there are still some families that eat a so-called vegan pudding-diet high in processed grains and sugar, which of course is not healthy.
I will return to Sydney in December as the medical director of the National Institute of Integrative Medicine’s Kids Clinic in Bondi Junction. So keep an eye out for an announcement on my FaceBook page and my newsletter (you can sign up for it atdrleilamasson.com)on how to book an appointment.
As an Integrative Paediatrician how would you describe the main difference in how you treat patients compared to mainstream paediatricians?
My approach to children’s health, developmental and behaviour problems is to look for a treatable cause – so for example if a child with a diagnosis of ADHD spends hours a day on a screen and does not get enough outdoor exercise I would address the child’s lifestyle first. Another big focus is nutrition – children who eat an unprocessed wholefood diet with plenty of vegetables, little sugar and no artificial additives are generally healthier compared to children who eat a standard Australian diet which is high in fats, sugar and processed foods.
What are your top three tips that parents can adapt to assist with good gut health in their children?
My top tips for gut health are: minimise sugar and processed flours like white bread and white rice; eat plenty of vegetables as the fibre is a prebiotic which feeds the good gut bacteria; and offer a little bit of fermented food every day – such as kefir, yoghurt, sauerkraut, kimchi – these foods provide probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria for the gut.
What are the main deficiencies you come across in children and what can we do about them?
The main nutritional deficiencies I find in children are:
Low iron – which can be caused by not eating enough iron rich foods (meat provides iron, but so do green leafy vegetables and you can increase the absorption by adding vitamin C, for example a bit of lemon juice or tomato).
Low zinc – the soils in Australia are quite low in zinc and therefore foods grown in Australia may not provide enough zinc for a growing child. We need more zinc when we grow, so especially children and teenagers are at risk of low zinc which can cause symptoms such as irritability, frequent infections and acne in teenagers.
Not enough vegetables – very few children get the recommended 5+ servings of vegetables per day. A serving is the size of the person’s fist – so a child should eat at least the equivalent amount of 5 times the size of their fist. Just doing this could prevent a lot of constipation, improve the gut flora and in the long term reduce the risk of bowel cancer.
Sleep or lack of it has been an ongoing issue in our house, what steps can parents take to encourage a good nights sleep for their children?
Turn off all screens at least 2 hours before bedtime as the blue colour from digital screens interfere with melatonin production and will make it difficult to go to sleep. Do not eat sugary foods for dinner, as they may wake up the child. It is ok to lie down with your child – don’t be scared of a cuddle. I have a whole chapter on sleep in my book Children’s Health A-Z which is available as an e-book on amazon and as a printed book on fishpond.com – this will give you lots of tips on how to help your child to settle to sleep and have a good night’s sleep.
What’s Leaky Gut Syndrome and why is it becoming more common for children to suffer from it and how do we heal it?
Due to processed foods and an unhealthy gut flora some people’s gut lining becomes inflamed and leaky. There is increased permeability of the intestines. Food that are meant to be fully digested are absorbed only partly digested and can cause reactions, such as tummy aches, diarrhoea, and irritable behaviour. The first step is to clean up the diet (another chapter in my book!), work on the gut flora and correct any deficiencies, such as low zinc which is needed to heal the lining of the gut.
What advice would you give parents who suspect their child has food intolerances?
Keep a food diary and write down everything your child ate each time he or she has a reaction. This way you can figure out what foods are causing the reaction. Avoid those foods just while you are cleaning up the diet, improve the gut flora and heal a leaky gut if that is part of the problem (it often is).
In your opinion what do you think is causing the prevalence of food allergies and intolerances in children in today’s society?
Some of the risk factors start very early in life: being born by C section affects the gut flora. Instead of a flora that resembles the mother’s gut flora the baby’s gut flora will be closer to the skin flora of the hospital staff that attended the birth. That is why many doctors recommend to give babies born via C section a probiotic with bifidobacter. The next big influence on the gut flora is what goes into it. Babies who are breastfed exclusively have predominantly bifidobacter which do not cause inflammation. Even just one bottle changes that and it can take weeks to repair. There is controversy of when to introduce high allergenic foods such as peanuts. WHO and Unicef recommend to breastfeed exclusively for 6 months and to introduce solids from around 6 months, as this appears to be the best protection against allergies. Breastfeeding should be continued until 2 years of age as it modulates the immune system and reduces the risk of allergies.
The average diet of children in Australia lacks nutrients, fibre and is filled with sugar and processed flours and artificial additives which can all affect health in general, and gut health and immune health in particular. So if you would like to prevent allergies and sensitivities in your child clean up the diet and improve the gut flora.
Dr Masson has also written a book, Children’s Health A to Z for New Zealand Parents. I have it, it’s a fabulous book and a must for every parent if you’re interested in natural health for children!! It covers all the common health problems children and families encounter as well as how parents can support their children’s health and wellbeing through a healthy home, sleep, nutrition and outdoor play.
‘Healing Gracie’s Gut’ is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
I am mummy to a sensitive little tot who has many, many food allergies and intolerances.
My husband Scott and I have been on quite an eye-opening journey on our quest for health and healing.I’m thrilled to say that we have seen amazingly positive changes in my daughter’s health by overhauling our diets and lifestyle.The results have been slow but overwhelmingly positive!
Our success has motivated me to begin a little blog (My Petite Pantry) to share the recipes I have developed along the way.I have great hope that my recipes will help to nourish, comfort, and delight other families with similar struggles… especially the breastfeeding mummies out there who sacrifice so much for their allergic and/or intolerant babes.
Anyway, to stop beating around a bush let me tell you ‘the story so far’ of my sweet Lila Daisy, the sparkliest little girl I have ever met, who also happens to be the little girl who calls me ‘mummy’.
My pregnancy with Lila was a mixture of joy and awe at the miracle taking place inside my body.I simultaneously experienced moments (AKA months) of horridly unglamorous morning sickness like many women before me.I also spent much of this time concentrating my mind on positive birthing stories and quieting unhelpful fears that tried to plant themselves in my head. Much to my own scepticism I took a hypno-birthing course and did all the homework diligently.
Long story short, the birth was a dream come true and I even got to finish delivering my own baby!With a rush of overwhelming love, relief and heady euphoria I held my baby girl for the first time, and all was right in my world.
Over the following hours and days my husband and I soaked up the miracle that was our ‘Daisy girl’, but slowly things began to unravel.
She didn’t take the breast until six hours after birth and did not feed well from the start. Our breastfeeding story is a novel in itself so I will try to give you a brief summary that results in only a little yawning! I ended up with chronic Mastitis in both breasts that resulted in four months of oral antibiotics, and two re-hospitalisations (during which I received intensive antibiotics via IV for 72 hours – each time).The antibiotics resulted in a rather extreme thrush infection in my breasts requiring three months of intensive antifungal treatment.
You might be wondering what this has to do with my little girl.You see, she was exclusively breastfed the entire time, so she was technically medicated too. More and more the research shows just how detrimental both antibiotics and anti-fungals are to our entire microbiome, and unfortunately my little girl was not an exception, in fact she was of the most vulnerable, and her poor little body continues to suffer terribly from the damage that was done.
From four weeks of age we noticed our little girl begin to show signs of extreme gastrointestinal distress.Her nappies varied from dark greeny brown to frothy fluro green and always had an unhealthy dose of mucous.
In the hours following her first vaccinations she developed a high pitched scream and level of distress that will haunt me forever.After speaking to a ‘nurse-on-call’ we ended up presenting at our local hospital with a nappy full of jelly-ish blood, and a floppy, unrousable child who would suddenly burst into bouts of hysterical rigid screaming that could not be comforted.Unfortunately life with a newborn continued to be a high stress time in which our daughter suffered and we would receive no answers.
At six months of age – and six months of numerous doctors, hospital visits, IBCLCs and Osteopaths – she continued to suffer from extreme sleeplessness (she would wake in distress every 2-20 minutes *every single* time she slept), reflux, passing blood, gut lining, and mucous in nappies, extreme gastrointestinal distress, constipation, vomiting, eczema, and poor weight gain.
Finally a paediatrician advised me to trial a dairy free diet guaranteeing that CMPA(cow milk protein allergy) was her problem.After a month on a dairy free diet (and a reduction in bloody nappies) her level of distress hadn’t reduced at all.In the subsequent months we removed soy, gluten, eggs, nuts, and fish.Removing these foods made very little improvement to her reflux and distress.During this time her constipation got to a point where she was on quadruple the dose of 2 laxatives at once – used alongside suppositories – to no avail.At this point she was completely dependent on enemas to pass a bowel motion and her distress had my mummy heart in shreds.
During that time my mum mentioned a compounding pharmacy that made a product to help babies with “extreme unexplainable colic”.I promptly visited this pharmacy and spoke extensively to the pharmacist who referred us to their in-house Naturopath.
At this point of utter desperation I was willing to try anything, as long as it wouldn’t result in greater distress for my little girl.
The Naturopath listened to our story attentively and gave us a clear plan forward.Meanwhile, he scared the pants off me about the reflux and laxative medications that we had been administering to her, thankfully he gave us natural alternatives that worked SO much better than their conventional versions.
After multiple evaluations he recommended a new diet for Lila (and I, as her breastfeeding mother).This allowed us to carefully (and successfully) trial Lila on eggs, nuts and fish but required us to remove corn, rice, legumes, lentils, nightshades, mushrooms, yeast, garlic, ginger, and apples, as well as dairy and soy.This change in diet made the biggest, positive change for our Lila so far and she began to gain slightly more weight, her eczema reduced, and her vomiting ceased.
Unfortunately I knew that things were still far from right with my little one and at 12 months of age I took her to see an Integrative Practitioner (both a qualified GP and Naturopath) with a special interest in gut health and allergies. He initially prescribed some melatonin drops to help her settle at night (at that stage it was taking over 3 hours to settle her).He also ordered a comprehensive stool analysis, multiple blood tests, and urged us to remove any preservatives and additives that remained in Lila’s diet.
The result from the stool analysis was rather alarming and found that Lila had an overgrowth of some particularly nasty bacteria.One strain of bacteria was of particular concern because it eats away at the intestinal wall.These perforations in the gut lining cause food proteins to leak out into the body (where they aren’t welcome) and, to put it simply, allergies are born.Unfortunately, until we could heal Lila’s gut we were to expect more food sensitivities to appear and her symptoms to either stagnate or keep spiralling.
As overwhelming as this was to discover it was a relief to know a little about what was going on.To my despair treatment involved round after round of antibiotics.Going against my gut, we proceeded with treatment. This part of the story gets rather foggy for me.But the gist of what happened is that after 5 courses of antibiotics, and a child in an absolute world of pain, I pulled the plug on her treatment.With nothing else to offer us our Doctor decided to take a ‘wait and see’ approach and I delved head-first into managing and treating what I call ‘Lila’s labyrinth’ on my own.
At eighteen months of age she had been failed by medical professionals more times than I care to recall, and I had a gutful of condescending language and useless (if not damaging) treatments.My approach was simple.I followed my mother’s intuition.I kept a diary of what we ate, where we went, and how she was each day (sleep, poo, reflux, behaviour, sinuses, development, and skin condition).I weaned her off all alternative supplements for her sleep, reflux and laxatives, and managed her symptoms the best I could through diet and lifestyle. Over time we honed in on triggers and adjusted our lifestyle accordingly.Lila began to gain weight, sleep better, her eczema all but disappeared, she was able to pass bowel motions without assistance, and her reflux became manageable.
At two years of age we took Lila to a birthday party where she came in contact with dairy and soy.Over the next three days we watched a complete unravelling in the health and happiness of our little girl.Her reflux came back with a vengeance, as did her eczema.After much crying and complaining of a sore tummy she passed shreds of gut lining, blood, and mucous in subsequent nappies, but most terrifyingly she experienced a series of worrying episodes that I would later learn were “most likely allergy-triggered absence seizures”.
This reaction resulted in a midnight visit to the Royal Children’s Hospital and a thorough assessment by one of today’s leading gastroenterologists.Relieved and nervous we felt that we would *finally* get our little girl the medical diagnosis that she (and we) so desperately needed.
Fortunately/unfortunately no such diagnosis was found.Instead the gastroenterologist told us to keep “doing what we are doing”.That her allergies are “real, alarmingly unusual, and may or may-not diminish as she grows”.It was concluded that the level of antibiotics and antifungals that she has received was essentially like an “atomic bomb to the gut” and we should expect improvement to be very slow.Moreover she impressed the need to be “extremely vigilant” that Lila doesn’t come into contact with any dietary or environmental triggers, that is, until a controlled trial is scheduled in a few years time.
So, where are we now?We eat a meticulously careful, ‘from-scratch’, whole-food diet that is free from dairy, soy, grains, legumes, lentils, beef, potato, eggplant, apples, preservatives, additives, and seed oils.Our diet optimises healing foods and whole-body nourishment whilst also catering to the needs of the fussy toddler palate.
If she receives an allergen we fill her with preservative free organic prunes and plenty of filtered water.This flushes the offending proteins out of her body as quickly as possible, minimising the amount of time these proteins can damage her body.
She has regular magnesium salt baths to help her body with detoxification and all household products and toiletries are as clean, pure, and homemade as possible.
I manage this whilst I continue to read medical journals, papers, and research during the twilight hours.I’ve come to learn that education is key, especially in the area of gut health where the research is still rather new and many doctors are often fairly ‘green’ on the topic.
Now to you reading this story, if this world of gut-health and healing is new to you, or if it feels overwhelming, please know that there is a fabulous, loving community of mums out here who are willing and happy to offer support and advice.Mostly, I urge you to educate yourself.I know that for most of us mother’s time is scarce, BUT whenever you do find a little time, grab it with both hands, and read the latest literature out there.I’d also encourage you to keep an open mind to the very powerful ability of food to be your, or your child’s, medicine.
Last of all I’d love to leave you with one of my delightfully allergy-friendly recipes.
This lovely little recipe is simple, quick, and perfect with a cup of your favourite tea.
Do you ever feel that you’re making progress and then something hits you out of the blue and you feel like you’re actually going backwards?! This is how I’ve felt the past few weeks with Miss Gracie’s niggly issues.
Shortly after I published how I cleared Gracie’s Eczema I started to notice to my horror mild eczema developing on the back of her legs and went into full mother panic mode!! I think I jinxed myself writing this piece!
Since completely clearing her eczema nearly a year ago she’s never had a flare up and whereas before there was a more obvious connection to why, this time around I’m totally baffled.
We were just in the process of starting to reintroduce some foods (I can’t see a connection with these foods yet) so that has now gone on the back burner. I’ve now stopped giving her Mutaflor (specific probiotic to help chronic constipation) for a couple of weeks to see if that makes a difference, but again so far it seems to be getting worse not better so I’m thinking of just reintroducing this again!
To make everything else compounded we have just gone to get a second opinion with a Paediatric Gastro for her chronic constipation issues that just aren’t getting any better. The Gastro felt her stomach and said that she was ‘very’ full of poo and that we would need to clear her out. She will also need to be on laxatives throughout the entire summer (we’re currently in winter in Australia).
When discussing how it all started his attitude towards Grace having a sensitivity to dairy was as I imagined it to be – disregard! As her allergy testing came back negative, in his mind he thinks there isn’t an issue and that it’s a coincidence and to do with introducing solids. I knew this would be the mindset of a doctor in the mainstream and this is why I normally choose to see only doctors in the integrative/functional space, but sometimes you get to the point where you can see things aren’t improving and you need to exhaust every avenue to get back on the right track.
I did explain that our issues initially started when we transitioned to cows milk and that within hours of consumption she would break out in hives, eczema and then the chronic constipation started. Was I just imagining this? Was there another reason? Either way poor Gracie is literally full of poo and it needed to be cleared, so I have spent nearly the whole week of last week clearing her out. What should have taken one day, had taken three days and this mamma is strained and stressed.
So now we are going to wait for her next check-up with her Gastro and see how her eczema is then and look to book in to see an Integrative Dr to work alongside her current treatment plan to try and get to the bottom of her current eczema flare up.
So that’s where we are currently at, checking, waiting, hoping and writing food diaries!!
I was talking to the lovely Kara of Little Foodie Guide the other day and mentioned that it’s Gracie’s 3rd birthday coming up and that I’m looking for party food ideas so the majority if not all of the food she will be able to eat.
Kara has kindly provided me with some awesome ideas to share with the HGG community – amazing!!
Kara says as little Gracie’s birthday is coming up, I wanted to compile a list of allergy friendly party food to share with all of her lovely allergy parent followers. We don’t have any food allergies in our family, but this is the food I have made for my son’s birthdays in the past. I’ve also had the honour of being asked to cater for several friends’ birthday parties. These days our kids know at least one child with a food allergy, so to take the stress out of your next party, I hope you’ll find this list useful. All of the party food here is healthy, gluten free, dairy free, egg free, peanut free (plus tree nut free options), and refined sugar free. Just as important – it’s all easy to prepare, fun, and colourful!
Rainbow fruit platter – on a large platter, create a colourful rainbow out of sliced fruit.
Berry and yoghurt ‘sundaes’ – layer berries and coconut yoghurt in little clear cups or glasses. Sprinkle some gluten and nut free granola on top.
Fruit skewers – put chopped fruit onto icypole sticks (or skewers for older kids). A little dipping coconut yoghurt, or tahini, or melted raw chocolate would be fun.
Sliced fruit with nut or seed butter. Banana slices topped with almond butter, or apples with tahini.
Bliss balls – there is an abundance of recipes out there, or start experimenting yourself with seeds, coconut, cacao, dates, dried apricots, chia seeds, coconut oil, cinnamon, sweet potato, and any other allergy friendly ingredients you have.
Mini smoothies – blend some dairy free milk, fruit, and vanilla extract. Pour into cute cups or bottles with colourful straws.
Water is all kids need but infused water is lovely special party drink. Fill a jug with water (still or sparkling) and add in fresh lemon slices, mint, cucumber, and strawberries.
Savoury finger food
Meatballs and dipping sauce – mix some beef mince with grated carrot and zucchini, roll into balls and pan fry. They can be served warm or cold with a lovely homemade tomato sauce.
Antipasto platter – most kids love a platter with all kinds of interesting bits and pieces that they can choose for themselves. Cold meat like roasted chicken or ham off the bone, roasted veggies, olives, artichokes, sundried tomatoes (check ingredients for allergens for all of these unless you cook everything, or make your own marinade yourself).
Sushi or rice paper rolls – both are simple to make once you master the art of rolling.
Dips and veggie sticks – make your own hummus or other dairy free dip, or use cashew cheese, in individual cups with carrot and cucumber sticks.
Salmon and sweet potato patties – put some lovely fresh salmon, cooked sweet potato, and coriander or chives into a food processor and blitz until combined. Form into balls and cook in a pan or oven.
Kale chips – pull the leaves off a bunch and coat in olive oil, add a little sea salt and pepper. Bake in the oven until crispy.
Roasted veggie chips – finely slice some sweet potato, pumpkin, and beetroot. Coat with olive oil or coconut oil, and bake in the oven until crispy.
Make it fun: Use individual pots or mini buckets the kids can take home with them, use cookie cutters to cut out fruit, use icy-pole sticks, and paper patty cases.
Think of the environment: There’s no need to use a whole lot of disposable plastic just for a couple of hours of fun. There are plenty of eco-friendly options available like bamboo or paper that you can recycle. Kids can eat off regular plates too, or just keep it all finger food so they can pick and then go and play. Mess is inevitable!
Don’t overcomplicate it: Kids are happy to eat almost anything particularly when they’re with other kids, and there’s lots of chaos and giggles. Relax, enjoy, and cherish this special day – your child is one year older.
Kara is a mum on a mission to help kids eat a range of colourful and nutritious foods. As a professional nanny, she gained a wealth of experience cooking for the tiny picky eaters and the mini food lovers alike. She created her blog, Little Foodie Guide, as a hub for parents and experts to share real food recipes, tips, stories, and support. She is dedicating this month to kids with food allergies and intolerances, and June will be all about party food, so check back for some more ideas and recipes.
On a side note I also wanted to share that I’ve created a Facebook Support and Chat group for parents who are going through similar issues and it would be great to connect with you all over there.
I understand this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea to read, but when you become a parent things that never crossed your mind sometimes end up being your day to day worries with your child – cue my life right now!
I’ve not really mentioned this openly over on my social media accounts, but the past few weeks have been very, very difficult at our home. After Grace had a 24 hour gastro bug which was horrific in itself, she’s not been the same since.
Unfortunately when a child who already has a sensitive gut like Grace gets Gastro, it completely upsets their system and we are still feeling it weeks afterwards. I feel like we’ve gone completely backwards with treating her chronic constipation, every couple of days she’s becoming blocked and it’s affecting everything, including her sleep (which we didn’t think could get any worst!) and eating.
As I mentioned in previous posts, Grace is on supplementation twice a day as well as a small amounts of laxatives for this. Everyday I monitor her bowel movements to try and see if I need to give her more or less. At the moment I’m trying to get her supplementation and laxative amount just right, which is becoming a near impossible task.
The older she gets, the more I’m starting to notice the psychological aspect of all this, and the vicious cycle it’s all becoming. She gets a flare up of constipation which obviously makes her uncomfortable and sore from straining and basically holds it in for the fear of being in more pain, which of course only makes matters worse.
When we first started our journey to sort out her issues it was really obvious that food intolerances were the root cause. However nearly two years down the line I’m starting to question everything as I don’t understand why she is still suffering with it, especially as we’re so careful with her diet.
We’re seeing her Integrative Paediatrician next month, which really can’t come soon enough. Initially when we first started seeing our current doctor she said we could test her gut flora. We decided to wait and see if we saw improvements, which we did, but even before the gastro hit we had started to plateau – I now think this will be an essential thing for her to get tested.
All we can do now is hope and pray that her gut starts to settle down with the help of the prebiotic food I give her and the supplementation….. and roll on May!
I’m really interested in connecting with other parents whose child/children suffer from chronic constipation and the reasons why. So if that’s you please send me a private message or comment below so we can connect.
Gracie absolutely loves doing yoga with her Nanna, it’s become their thing! I know Yoga is good for your general well-being, but I’ve recently been reading more into the benefits around doing Yoga for gut health and, as you know, we’re all about good gut health here! I’ve teamed up with Flavia Munn to share some tips on Yoga poses beneficial for Children.
Downward Dog time!
Flavia Munn is a Yoga teacher based in London (and also an award winning Journalist) who as a child suffered from frequent constipation, bloating and was also prone to anxiety. She found things did improve with age, but when she took up yoga in her 20’s the bouts became rare to never.
Flavia says there are many postures you can do to improve bowel issues. But really it is yoga itself that’s doing the work. Yoga asanas (postures) stimulate the rest and digest part of the nervous system, known as the parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS).
Here are a few tried and tested poses that may help your child with gut conditions:
Cat-cow with lion breath – On hands and knees, round the spine and look to the belly button. Then, arch the spine, look forward, open the mouth and stick the tongue out to let the air out in a lion ‘roar’. Even teenagers laugh at this…in the end.
Breathe fully – Make it fun by suggesting they are blowing their bellies up like balloons and then letting the air out. Anything working with the breath helps to relax the body. It’s the exhale that works the PSNS so aids relaxation and digestion.
Wind-releasing posture – Lying on their backs get them to pull one knee into the chest, with the other leg out straight. Repeat the same on the other side. You can always make fart references as who doesn’t find that funny?! This does literally release trapped wind!
Twist again and again – Lying on their backs, take the arms out to either side (in a T-shape) and then bring both knees into the chest and over to one side. Repeat on the other side. Move the knees from one side to the other like windscreen wipers. Twists help to stimulate our digestive organs.
Go upside down – Kids do this naturally. Handstand anyone? But a simple downward dog (inverted V) or legs-up-the-wall are very calming. They can do legs-up-the-wall by lying on their back with either feet flat on wall, or bottom up close to the wall and legs straight up the wall. Try playing some (soft-ish) music they like or reading them a book to keep them in position.
Also, if your child is at an age that they understand they have gut problems, try not to make it a big issue. Be relaxed, even about not going for a while, as tension will get no-one anywhere, least of all to the toilet.
To find out more about Flavia and her wonderful classes go here