Author - Pauline Du Preez

August 2018 Newsletter

NEWSLETTER - August 2018

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Boot camp has always been seen as ‘military style’ training but these perceptions are starting to fade rapidly as boot camps are evolving into the most fun and safest training solutions out there, especially amongst women. Because of this evolution of boot camp workouts, they are quickly becoming massively popular. They provide you with a fun, engaged, full body workout in a short amount of time, therefore, providing you with an excellent return as we’ll discuss below.

 

Just what is a boot camp workout?

Boot camp workouts can vary but generally include a mix of strength training, mobility training, functional training, running, HIIT, boxing, and the occasional fun games here and there. This all inclusive training package has multiple great benefits to it and therefore puts this type of workout in high demand.

A well-structured boot camp workout can help you meet the recommendations for physical activity in healthy adults. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that healthy adults include aerobic exercise and strength training in their fitness plans therefore a boot camp workout is the perfect solution.

 

What are the benefits of a boot camp workout?

The goal of a fitness boot camp is to provide a full-body workout that helps builds strength and endurance. Here are some of the benefits. Boot camp workouts:

  • Enhances and improves muscle tone
  • Promotes fat loss which results in higher metabolic rate and slimmer bodies
  • Offers long-term fitness as aerobic endurance is improved
  • Require little or no special equipment and offer planned workouts.
  • Helps with social engagement and creates a sense of camaraderie among the participants
  • Are great for mental health as it boosts serotonin and dopamine levels – our “feel good” hormones. It helps improve your mood
  • Offers varied workouts so you’ll never get bored

 

Boot camp with a bump?

It is highly recommended for women who are pregnant to join a fitness program and boot camp is, of course, at the top of that list. If you are thinking of joining a boot camp, great! Here are some rules:

  • Clear it with your doctor first. Pregnancy is a great time to start experiencing the functionality your body has to offer but if you are older than age 40, haven’t exercised for some time or have certain health conditions, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor before starting a boot camp class or any new exercise program.
  • Always inform the trainer about your pregnancy so that they can guide you through the workout effectively by applying the necessary modifications.
  • Keep your heart rate at moderate levels and never be gasping for air during a workout.
  • Because your center of gravity changes, your balance may be compromised, so avoid activities that have a high risk of falling
  • Skip the burpees. The exercise is not typically not recommended starting around week 20 because it raises your risk of strains and sprains
  • (Towards the end of your pregnancy) Be careful not to overstretch or extend your body past its normal range of motion to reduce or else you may end up with muscle and ligament strains.

 

Reasons to consider boot camp while pregnant

  • Daily exercise boosts your energy levels, which can be lower than usual during pregnancy. You can be an active and happy mom with the help of exercise.
  • Good sleep is vital for any mother. Exercising for only 30-45 minutes per day can help you sleep better while you’re pregnant.
  • Reduce stress and awaken more feel-good hormones with regular exercise.
  • Increased blood flow with regular exercise may ease some of the discomfort associated with pregnancy
  • Regular exercise helps improve your self-image, which can suffer when you start to gain weight.
  • It is also believed that regular exercise helps boost your child’s brain functioning.

 

Best boot camp move?

Planks. They provide a safe way to strengthen your deep core muscles during pregnancy. These muscles support your low back and reduce low back pain as your baby grows and your center of gravity shifts forward. Planks, elevated bridge work, side lying ab work, and seated breathing exercises are all great for pregnant women and may be incorporated into your boot camp workout.

 

Signing up for boot camp

Adventure Boot Camp is a local outdoor training solution and have more than 60 locations nationwide. You can find your closest Adventure Boot Camp by following this link to find out more:

https://www.adventurebootcamp.co.za

Boot camp may not be for everyone but if you’re looking for a high-energy workout that offers variety, fun and accountability, boot camp may be just what you need. Stay active 😉

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July 2018 Newsletter

NEWSLETTER - July 2018

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Original article by Meg Faure

A fussy baby who cries a lot each day, has to be one of the toughest challenges for new parents.  It leaves you feeling helpless when you can’t sooth your baby. I recommend that moms do the 7 S’s of Soothing:

Sensory

Develop ‘sensory eyes’ to read what may be causing your baby to be over stimulated, such as a loud and busy room or the smell of strong perfume. Remove your baby from the stimulus or change to a more calming environment.

Sleep

Regular sleeps help to reset our ‘sensory load’ and prevent over stimulation – watch your baby’s awake times to ensure that she settles to sleep before becoming overtired. A newborn’s awake time is only 45-60 minutes – that’s a very short time before the next sleep is due. If your baby sleeps well in the day, she is way less likely to be fussy in the evening.

Swaddle

Tightly wrapping your baby in a stretchy blanket has been proven to calm young babies significantly and help them sleep well.

Suck

Sucking a dummy or thumb will help to settle your little one as there are so many touch receptors that provide soothing input for fractious little ones.

Sounds

Sounds such as white noise, e.g. the sounds of waves or radio static absorbs other sounds and is very calming for your baby. Lullabies and nature music help with calming and sleep.

Snuggle

Little babies seek to be held and snuggled – I think the best way to do this is with a wrap-style baby carrier. If your little one is fractious – pop her into the carrier and pace the floor until she settles.

Stick to one strategy

The last thing an over stimulated baby needs is a lot of quick changes and each intervention you use is a stimulus for a short time, until your baby gets used to it. Try any of the above strategies for at least 5 minutes before trying the next.

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June 2018 Newsletter

NEWSLETTER - June 2018

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Original article from www.attachfromscratch.com

Paternal Bond is life-long relationship between child and father.

Everybody talks about maternal bond, the attachment between mother and a child. While the mother-child bond is super important, the father many times is kinda left out from all the baby touching, bonding, kissing, feeding.

When does the father bonding begin?

There are 3 stages when fathers can bond with their children.

  1. Womb bonding happens during pregnancy. According to the studies, ultrasound can play an important role for a paternal bond. Talking, singing, touching mother’s belly also help for a father to create a bond with a baby.
  2. Birth bonding happens right after birth. It depends on how much father is involved into the labour and whole pregnancy process.
  3. “First soccer practice – age” bonding. If it happens later, don’t sweat it. Better late than never, because the relationship a father will have with his son/daughter will influence child’s life greatly.

TIPS for creating paternal bond

Unfortunately, babies do not come with “instructions how to use”. For many dads a screaming baby with a full diaper might seem like mission impossible. Talk about bonding when the father is scared to hold the baby.

But with the right guidance you will see that there is nothing more natural and pure simple than bonding with your child. So, read these tips and start bonding!

  1. Daily routine care.

Even if you had a long day at work – find few minutes and get involved into:

  • diaper changing,
  • playing,
  • holding (wearing),
  • rocking.
  • baby massage. In fact, recent study shows that baby massage not only helps to bond but also reduces stress for dads.

Babies like company, so just be near your child. Keep him company by giving baby a lot of eye contact and facial expression.

  1. Talk.

According to the study babies (starting when they are 30 weeks in the womb) can distinguish between parents and strangers voices. To fathers luck, their voices are more recognizable than mother’s because of their lower tone which is easier for babies to recognize.

Of course, your baby won’t understand a word you are saying in the beginning, but he will definitely get familiar with your voice tone. Try baby talk – short and simple words or imitate the noises your baby makes.

  1. Hold.

Going for a family walk? Volunteer to carry a baby in a carrier. ‘Baby wearing’ is very beneficial for both: a child and a parent (this case – father).

Skin-to-skin contact is also very important to paternal bonding. Have your newborn lay on your naked chest while you rock in a chair.

  1. Bath.

Taking a bath together with your baby might seem scary because of all that slippery skin and baby fussiness, but with the little mommy help you guys off to fun bath times!

  1. Don’t give up.

Even if a baby screams non-stop and his diaper changing situation is turning into a bomb explosion – you can still do it. Baby needs to trust that you can help him in all situations.  Practice and practice. The more you change that diaper – the better you will get.

  1. Be a good partner to your spouse.

Happy wife – happy life. Try to give her breaks as much as possible, be sensitive and caring.

Paternal Bond is important

We know that mother-child bond is very important but what about father-child bond?

The Benefits of Paternal Bond:

  • increases child’s physical and mental development greatly
  • reduces stress for fathers and babies
  • helps children to be more successful academically
  • reduces drug and alcohol use as well as involvement with crime
  • makes child more social and psychologically stronger.

A father who is bonding with his child shows deep commitment to his family, therefore the relationship between partners gains more trust, becomes deeper and jumps to a whole new level – a parenting level.

Hormones and Chemistry

You think only women have hormones during pregnancy and after birth? Well, here are some news, for you guys too.

According to the study, fathers experience an increase in their levels of these hormones.

Study also found that father’s testosterone levels decrease by one-third immediately after they become fathers, providing a calming effect that may make them less likely to stray from home.

So, it is natural that during women’s pregnancy her partner losses little bit of his strong male attitude and gains more nurturing nature which of course helps a lot for paternal bond process.

So according to the science a father who is involved closely during pregnancy, birth and early infancy will be helped my Mother Nature and its hormones to become sensitive and protective father that not only child and mother will benefit but also the whole society.

This father transformation is one of the most difficult but the most rewarding challenges a man will ever experience. So be confident, get support and feel safe to experience successful paternal bond.

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May 2018 Newsletter

NEWSLETTER - May 2018

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Original article by Isabelle Dagenais (http://www.motherforlife.com)

What is the foundation of a mother and child relationship? If you bet on unconditional love, read on and find out that even this love can face troubled times.

As for every other aspect of maternity, we don’t know what personality our child will have. We all dream of a lovely baby who only cries when they need something and who can easily be calmed down and you might get lucky… But others will have a child who suffers from colic, gastric reflux or other medical issues. Some babies have “intense needs” and cry for hours every day and no one can satisfy them. This situation can cause suffering and give you a feeling of worthlessness, especially if it happens regularly.

Nevertheless, we must adapt to their ways of showing their needs! Adapting to the temper of our child may take some time, especially if they do not meet our expectations. In this case we must forget about the ideal baby… and one day, we will accept them and things will be better!

What also helps is to realize that we are not responsible for our baby’s temper. If you doubt that babies are born with their own temper, ask the mother of twins and she will tell you how different they were from the beginning. It doesn’t mean that we have no impact on our child! Of course, our perception of the situations, our emotions and reactions influence our child and that is why we should take good care of our emotional state.

Mother-child relationship

Each mother-child relationship is unique and begins long before our child is born.

Remember the time when you desired a child or your thoughts when you realized that you were pregnant. Not to mention your pregnancy and labor…

  • Did you want a child?
  • How did you react to the news?
  • What physical and psychological state were you when you were pregnant?
  • How did the delivery go?
  • How was your first contact?
  • Do you adapt easily to your child’s temper?

Each of those steps was influenced by thoughts and emotions… Each of those steps is part of your lives and of your relationship with your child.

Regret and guilt

Many of you regret some thoughts, emotions or reactions. You wish things had been different and you are afraid of the consequences on your child or on your relationship. Or you feel guilty and you want to fix the “wrongs” that you think you have caused to your child.

Is there a thought or a reaction that you had related to your child and you still couldn’t forgive yourself?

If you have regrets or if you are feeling guilty, it is important to try to forgive yourself and to accept what you have been through. Remember that you acted to the best of your knowledge and that you had no bad intentions. Make peace with the past to avoid dragging this energy into your relationship with your child. Your guilt could influence your behavior or make you feel even guiltier when your child will go through tough times.

To begin feeling better, I suggest an exercise that is in my book. Write a letter to your child and express your regrets, your emotions, your deceptions and the way you feel as a mother. Avoid censorship so that it is truly liberating and once you are done throw the letter away!

Relational challenges

Most people believe that because we wanted a child, our relationship with them will be wonderful! We believe that our love will protect us from problems and conflicts. In fact, love will help us to remain engaged in this relationship when disagreements will occur.

Through their temper, their behavior or their attitude, a child can trigger unwanted emotions. Sometimes, our relationship with our child may be difficult if we are constantly forced to face our limits and our flaws. It is as if some situations were getting to the worst of us. Most of our scars, limits and flaws will be highlighted on this road to motherhood. It is, therefore, necessary to learn to do some soul searching to understand the way we feel and learn from the situation. Blaming our child is never an option.

By taking full responsibility, we build strong foundations to this relationship that we care about so much. Whether we have a baby, a young child or a pre-teen, the goal is to build our relationship every day, to accept their temper, to tolerate a behavior that displeases us, to express compassion for their distress and to do so even if we don’t understand!

In conclusion, I want to share this inspirational quote:

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April 2018 Newsletter

NEWSLETTER - April 2018

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Original article by Vanessa McEwan, Dietician

Your digestive health is directly impacted by the foods you eat and the lifestyle you live.  By taking steps to improve your digestive health, you’ll help your digestive system to function more efficiently, improving your overall health and sense of well-being.

Try these tips for better digestive health:

  1. Eat less refined sugar.  Among the many issues caused by refined sugar i.e. (inflammation, weight gain, hormonal imbalance…), it also promotes the growth of “bad” bacteria and upset gut flora balance.
  2. Take a quality probiotic.  Probiotics are the same kind of healthy bacteria naturally present in your digestive tract.  They combat the effects of antibiotics, enhance nutrient absorption and strengthen the immune system.

When choosing a probiotic, look for these qualities:

  • Probiotic supplements should contain 5-10 billion CFUs (colony forming units).
  • Encapsulated pills are better than liquids because they help the bacteria survive the acidic stomach.
  • Multiple strains of bacteria (different strains offer different benefits).
  1. Eat a high-fibre diet.  Include whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes.  High fibre foods keep your digestive tract regular, making you less likely to get constipated. They can also help prevent digestive conditions such as diverticulosis, hemorrhoids and IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).  In addition, it can help you achieve or maintain a healthy weight.
  2. Stay hydrated.  Drinking plenty of water is good for your digestive health.  Fibre pulls water into the colon to create softer, bulkier stools, allowing them to pass through more easily.
  3. Limit foods that are high in fat.  In general, fatty foods slow down the digestive process but it is important to eat the correct type and amount of fat in your diet to supply the body of EFA (Essential Fatty acids).
  4. Exercise regularly.  Regular exercise helps keep foods moving through your digestive system and helps you maintain a healthy weight.
  5. Eat regularly. Make time to eat.  Aim to sit down for your meals and snacks and NOT to eat on the GO.  By eating the correct foods and portion sizes regularly you will experience less hunger pains and cravings.  Your metabolism will improve and you will maintain a healthy weight and digestive system.

What you eat and the quality of your digestive health are intertwined.  Following these strategies will help make sure it’s a HAPPY relationship!

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March 2018 Newsletter

NEWSLETTER - March 2018

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Original article from Nimue Education SA

Male beard growth is stimulated in the follicles by testosterone as well as the even more powerful male androgen hormone, Dihydrotestosterone.

An analysis of fashion pictures shows that beardlessness began among young men in the 1890’s, during World War I, since beards harboured lice.

Today shaving one’s beard on a daily basis is still a very common practice. A practice that in many cases has many side effects to certain inflammatory conditions such as:

  1. Ingrown Hairs
  2. Pseudofolliculitis barbae (also known as razor bumps/ razor rash)

Ingrown Hairs:

Ingrown hairs develop when the hair curls and grows back into the skin due to incorrect shaving techniques. Individuals with coarse or curly hair have a bigger risk of developing this condition. Shaving a beard can promote development of ingrown hairs and is a big contributing factor. When there’s an ingrown hair, the skin reacts as it would to a foreign body. Typical signs of an ingrown hair are:

  1. Development of bumps which are small, solid with a round shape
  2. Development of pus-filled lesions
  3. The affected area becomes darker, possible post inflammatory hyperpigmentation
  4. Inflammation of the affected area accompanied by itching and pain
  5. Presence of embedded hairs

Pseudofolliculitis Barbae:

Pseudofolliculitis Barbae is an inflammatory disorder caused by persistent irritation, inflammation of the hair follicles and ingrown hair formation after shaving. The condition usually covers part of the beard area (where the individual shaves).

After a hair has been shaved, it begins to grow back. Curly hair tends to curl into the skin instead of straight out of the follicle, leading to an inflammation reaction. Pseudofolliculitis Barbae can make the skin look itchy and red. These inflamed papules and pustules can form if the area becomes infected. If left untreated over time, this can cause keloid scarring in the beard area. Pseudofolliculitis Barbae can further be divided into two types of ingrown hairs: transfollicular and extrafollicular.

  1. Transfollicular

The hair has exited the follicle but then re-enters. While shaving, sharp edges are created. When the hair grows again, it curls and re-enters the skin.

  1. Extrafollicular

The hair does not exit the follicle and because of its natural curly nature, it curls back into the follicle causing fluid build-up and irritation.

Prevention and Treatment

  • Regular exfoliation helps to remove dead skin build-up which may block the entrance/exit of the hair follicle.
  • Nimue facial treatments are great for deeper exfoliation and lightening any scarring and post inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
  • Electric razors should be avoided.
  • When using a wet razor, a single blade or wire-wrapped blade will prevent shaving too closely and changing the blade with every shave will ensure that no bacteria is spread, and the blade does not become blunt.
  • Shave in the direction of the hair growth.
  • Shave every second day, rather than daily.
  • Softening the beard first with a hot, wet cloth or shave while showering in hot water.
  • Picking and scratching the razor bumps must be avoided as this can lead to scarring and infection.
  • Severe transfollicular hairs may require medically attention.
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February 2018 Newsletter

NEWSLETTER - February 2018

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Original article by Meg Faure

Bonding has been defined as “The emotional and physical attachment occurring between a parent or parent figure, especially a mother, and offspring, that usually begins at birth and is the basis for further emotional affiliation.”

Bonding plays a critical role in your baby’s emotional development, which in turn is the basis for all future relationships. One cannot underestimate the importance of attachment and bonding.

The cycle of love

Bonding is more than a warm fuzzy feeling – it is a critical, deep emotional involvement with and trust in another person. It is a journey of getting to know, trust and rely on another person. There is a misconception that bonding occurs like ‘love at first sight’. The reality is that it is a process that develops over time. Bonding may begin in pregnancy or even before conception; it may occur like a flash at birth or may in fact take months to develop.

Falling in love in pregnancy

Some parents have waited a long time for their little one and being pregnant brings wonderful feelings of joy. For many pregnant mums, the hormones and expectancy lead her into a love relationship right from the start. In this case, you may begin dreaming of your baby and as you rub your tummy feel the swell of love for your baby. This process has been fast tracked by technology – we know we are pregnant way before women in the past years did. By 17 weeks most parents have seen their little one at least once. We share early photos of our baby in the womb and so begin to bond early. When your baby beings to move and wriggle you may feel love for this little person. In fact, many mums mourn the end of those fluttery feelings after her baby is born.

For others however, pregnancy may be difficult, unwanted or scary. Antenatal depression is being recognized more and more and we now know that it is not uncommon for a woman to feel very ambivalent towards her baby. Likewise, Dads may experience depression and anxiety in pregnancy and this will impact on their bond with their baby at that time.

The good news is that this is not reason to predict a poor or inadequate bond at a later stage. Most parents will go on to bond well with their little one later.

Falling in love in the delivery room

The moment we meet our babies we expect to feel overwhelming love. For some parents, this is the experience, as they look at this tiny, beautiful, helpless being they are flooded with feelings of love. Natural delivery of your baby will facilitate this emotional response as all the hormones released by birth create a flood of endorphins that give you a high. If the delivery is difficult or very long or either mum or babe are in danger, the feelings may be very different. Exhaustion and despair if things don’t turn out well can negatively impact on those love juices. Your feeling may be of gloom and being overwhelmed and this will mean you don’t feel like you are bonding. On the other hand some mums have a wonderful birth experience and meet their perfect baby and yet feel no love or great fascination with their baby.

Once again the good news is that this immediate emotional response does not predict your relationship with your baby and love and bonding may come later for you.

Falling in love after a period of months

For other parents, love is a long slow journey. There are no A-Ha moments, just a gradual development of a love relationship. If this love develops within the context of a caring, consistent relationship, it is no problem at all for your baby.

It is vital that mums know that not everyone is overwhelmed with love at the sight of their baby. If however, you never feel love towards your baby and your mothering role is a process of acting out the motions and you are overcome with depression or anxiety, you do need to get help for Post Natal Depression as this condition may impact on your baby emotionally.

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January 2018 Newsletter

NEWSLETTER - January 2018

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Original article by Meg Faure

Science and wisdom tell us that play is vital for a child’s development. The problem is that as a busy parent, it may feel like an enormous challenge to find the time to play or you may find that you are unsure about how to play with your little one. In chapter 10 of Baby Sense, we talk about 4 guidelines for stimulation and we use the acronym T.E.A.T:

1. Timing

Play with your little one when he is well rested and not hungry, preferably in the calm-alert state. This is the state that is best for learning and making brain connections. You will know your baby is receptive to activities, when he is calm, making eye contact – reaching for toys and showing interest in the world.

The opportunity can present it self in normal daily activities such as nappy change time, bath time or mealtime. In addition, it is worth setting aside 15 minutes a day to get onto the floor and focus 100% on your child.

2. Environment

To focus happily on play, you will want a space that is firstly safe – without hazards such as plug holes, loose book shelves and open water. Try to de-clutter the space and not have too many toys on offer. Put your mobile device away and get onto the floor with your child and offer 3-5 carefully chosen activities or toys. In this way the play environment is conducive to fun and learning.

3. Activities

An activity is simply an interaction with your little one that enhances development and is fun. Games such as peek-a-boo or reading a book together, learning a new nursery rhyme or finger painting are all examples of activities that spark interest as well as teach vital skills. 

4. Toys

Carefully chosen toys are a fabulous way to spark your child’s imagination and teach skills. Toys should be matched with your child’s age. The best toys require one of two things from your baby:

  • A toy may spark imagination – such as a doll, a toy phone or a pretend kitchen. These toys are brilliant for encouraging language, creativity and collaboration with you. You and your little one can take on roles and pretend play together.
  • A toy may enhance skills – such as a ball, shape sorter or a puzzle. These toys demand a certain level of interaction from your little one. Watch for interest in a certain area and offer a toy that will provide just the right challenge to your child.

Enjoy playing with your little one and know that through appropriate timing, a stimulating environment and the right activities and toys, you can spark your child’s brilliance.

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December 2017 Newsletter

NEWSLETTER - December 2017

Original article by Meg Faure

Summer is around the corner and we are all looking forward to spending more time soaking up the warm rays in the long sunny days. Summer means wonderful new experiences for your baby as you spend more time outdoors and may even go to the beach or swimming pool.

Now the thought of taking your baby near water should bring to mind the critical safety elements one need to consider in summer. Obviously, all babies need to be closely monitored whenever near water. In addition, the long sunny days and water play bring the risk of exposure to the sun.

Why is it important to prevent your baby’s skin from exposure to the sun?

  • Exposure to the element has similar effects on baby skin as it does on adult skin but your baby’s skin is considerably thinner and thus more susceptible to dehydration as water is easily lost through her skin.
  • Baby and toddler skin also has much less brown pigment (melanin), which protects us from UV light. This means that if a baby gets sunburnt or overly exposed to UV rays, the long-term risk of Melanoma cancers increases dramatically.
  • Sunburn is a painful condition and since your baby’s new skin is more susceptible to sunburn, you will want to prevent any chance of this otherwise you will likely have a very bad night’s sleep.
  • Exposure to water and swimming pools will cause baby’s skin to dry out quickly and it is therefore necessary to ensure that you moisturize babies skin on a regular basis, even in summer.

So, understanding that sun care is vital, what should you do:

  • Do not take your baby outdoors over midday – the reflection off water and ambient sunrays are way too risky to manage well.
  • Use multiple measures of protection than relying on one measure over the other. Multiple measures include avoiding the sun wherever possible, the use of long sleeve garments that are lightweight and sun hats together with sun cream.
  • Protect your baby by staying under a shade
  • Use a well-researched baby-friendly sun cream and be vigilant with reapplying. On this point, remember that because your baby’s skin is thinner than your skin it is more likely to absorb ingredients from sun creams so carefully consider using a reputable brand, who test their products and do not use harmful ingredients.
  • For babies less than 6 months, protect them by avoiding the sun, clothing them well, use sun hats and stay under the shade.
  • Do not apply sun cream to a baby who is less than 6months as their skin is still sensitive.
  • You can apply sun cream on the skin of a baby who is 6months and above but try a certain area first for example the back of the hand as a test sign. If the child does not react to the cream, you can continue use.
  • Your baby’s delicate skin loses moisture 5 x faster than adult skin, in conjunction with adequate sun protection it is essential to follow a regular moisturizing routine.
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November 2017 Newsletter

NEWSLETTER - November 2017

Original article by Meg Faure

In my practise and the work I do with moms, around half of babies I see (admittedly they are the more fussy of babies) have been diagnosed and/or are being treated for reflux. To put this in perspective and offer some advice, lets look at what we know about reflux.

What is reflux?

‘Reflux’ is short for Gastro-oesophageal reflux – which is basically regurgitation of stomach contents. It occurs in many babies and for by far the majority, who suffer from ‘reflux’, is actually not something to worry about.

Many babies posset or bring up milk curds and stomach acid. Some actually vomit or spit this up and others simply swallow it down and you would hardly know they have posseted if you didn’t notice a little swallow or gasp as the curds come up. In fact, so many babies regurgitate small amounts of milk curds that we could almost consider it ‘normal’ in the population. By far the majority of these babies continue to gain weight and thrive, even though they are bringing up a portion of each feed.

For other babies, the ‘reflux’ is a medical condition (GERD – GastroEsophageal Reflux Disease), which does require intervention. These babies are not thriving and are very unwell, many suffering from repeated lung infections and significant discomfort and pain due to the oesophagitis that develops when stomach acid burns the food pipe. These are the cut and dried cases and are very unusual.

A number of babies, however, are not ill with the reflux but are irritable and it is hard to discern if they are simply irritable babies or if the reflux is causing such great discomfort that it needs to be treated. These babies are thriving and not ill but are miserable. They fall into a very grey area and the question arises about whether they should be treated medically.

Should we be medicating?

The medical treatments for reflux generally involve neutralising or blocking stomach acid production or thickening the milk that the baby ingests.

In cases where babies are unwell, not thriving and have breathing problems or lung infections, due to the GERD, treatment is necessary.

For all other reflux, in otherwise well babies, the new thought is not to medicate as the treatments that alter stomach acid may lead to other issues with digestion.  If you can manage reflux conservatively in these babies, it is a way better route to go:

  • Smaller feeds
  • Limiting length of feed
  • Interrupting feed to burp your baby
  • Keeping baby upright for a little period of time after the feed
  • Raising the head of the cot for sleep time

Sensory threshold

Looking at reflux from a sensory perspective can be useful.

Sensory sensitive babies have a tendency to hyper respond to all sensory input – they are easily woken by sounds, cranky at bath time due to the change in temperature, fussy with new teats and dummies, become over stimulated in a busy setting etc. These babies have a low threshold for all sensory input. It stands to reason that interoception (sensory input from within the body) will also cause these babies to react.

So for babies with a low threshold, the mild burning or discomfort of ‘normal’ reflux makes them very irritable and they hyper respond to interoception from the oesophagus that another baby may not notice.

Sensitive babies are more likely to over react to reflux.

Before jumping into medical treatment if your baby is generally well, do the following:

  • Find out your baby’s sensory personality
  • If your baby is thriving, try not to medicate but rather manage the discomfort by not overfeeding and by raising the head of the cot.
  • If your baby is irritable look to the sensory world to calm them, before jumping into meds.
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