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Super power number 1: Making baby food, even while you sleep.

If you’ve every been pregnant or if you are pregnant now, you’ve probably noticed a metamorphosis in your bra cups, a process known to some as nature’s boob job.  The physical changes (tender, swollen breasts) may be one of the earliest clues that you have conceived.  Many experts believe that the colour change in the areola may also be helpful when it comes to breast feeding, helping the baby find the right place to latch on with its limited visual capabilities.

Perhaps what’s even more remarkable than visible changes is the extensive changes that are taking place inside of your breasts.  The developing placenta stimulates the release of oestrogen and progesterone, which will in turn stimulate the complex biological system that helps to make lactation possible.

Before you get pregnant, a combination of supportive tissue, milk glands and fat make up the larger portions of your breast.  The fact is, your newly swollen breasts have been preparing for your pregnancy since you were in your mother’s womb!

When you were born, your main milk ducts had already formed.  Your mammary glands stayed quiet until you reached puberty, when a flood of the female hormone oestrogen caused them to grow and also to swell.  During pregnancy, those glands will kick into high gear.

Before your baby arrives, glandular tissue has replaced a majority of the fat cells and accounts for your bigger than before breasts.  Each breast also becomes markedly heavier than before.

Nestled among the fatty cells and glandular tissue is an intricate network of channels or canals known as the milk ducts.  The pregnancy hormones will cause these ducts to increase in both number and size, with the ducts branching off into smaller canals near the chest wall known as ductules.

At the end of each duct is a cluster of smaller sacs known as alveoli.  The cluster of alveoli is known as a lobule, while a cluster of lobule is known as a lobe.  Each breast will contain around 15 – 20 lobes, with one milk duct for every lobe.

The milk is produced inside of the alveoli, which is surrounded by tiny muscles that squeeze the glands and help to push the milk out into the ductules.  Those ductules will lead to a bigger duct that widens into a milk pool directly below the areola.

The milk pools will act as reservoirs that hold the milk until your baby sucks it through the tiny openings in your nipples.

Mother Nature has it all worked out.  Your milk duct system will become fully developed around the time of your second trimester, so you can properly breastfeed your baby even if he or she arrives earlier than you are anticipating.

If you want to learn more about breastfeeding take a look at the Natural Transition main site. You’ll find some really great information to help you prepare for breastfeeding as well to help you to trouble shoot any problems you experience. Keep an eye out for my own lactation history which I will post soon. It has been far from easy, but seriously- so worth it.

If you have a question about making breast milk, why not post it here as a comment? I’ll do my best to give you a straight forward answer.

Wearing Your Baby- Not Just a Fashion Accessory

Babies need a lot of attention and there’s a great way you can have your baby with your all day, hands free. Imagine being able to cook, clean, shop, and play with your other children all while you baby is safely snuggled up against you. Well you can do that and more with the art of baby wearing.

Most people have seen the large backpack carriers that used to be very popular, but babies can now be worn in lots of different positions using several kinds of popular carriers.

There are many different types of carriers that you can get. The kind of carrier you want depends on how you want to carry your baby. There are tons of different choices; so research before you decide which kind you want.

Being worn in a sling is good for your baby. Here are just a few benefits your baby gains by being worn during the day:

  • Most babies cry less when they’re being worn; up to 50% less. This is because they’re always close to Mum. They’re also constantly getting new images to process and understand, so they’re less bored
  • The constantly changing stimuli when being carried helps to stimulate your baby’s brain and promote neural development.
  • Babies who are worn by their parents tend to form a stronger bond with them; this is because they always feel safe and secure.
  • Being able to feel Mum’s heart beat and body functioning helps the baby’s biorhythms develop faster. This means they get on a schedule faster and easier

Baby wearing is not only great for your baby; it’s great for you too.

  • Wearing your child gives you the comfort of having them there with the convenience of being able to use both your arms.
  • With a baby sling, you can breastfeed your child without using your hands.
  • You don’t have to haul around and annoying stroller or car seat when you’re out.
  • You get a great weight-bearing workout from carrying the extra weight.
  • Being with your baby all the time helps you learn their normal cues. Then you can anticipate when they’ll need to be fed, changed, or cuddled.

While baby slings and carriers are considered safe for you and your child,  there are some precautions you should take.

  • If you carry the baby on your hip or to one side, change sides and directions regularly so you don’t cause yourself back and hip problems.
  • Make sure you’re using a carrier or sling that is appropriate for the age of your child and the way you carry them.
  • If you don’t feel confident with it practice with a doll or teddy bear before you start carrying your child. This will help you learn to watch their head and to take other precautions to keep them from being injured.
  • Don’t wear your baby while in the car; they should be in an appropriate car seat.

If done safely and properly, wearing you baby in a sling or carrier can be a great way to bond with them, comfort them, and get all your chores done all at the same time.

The naturaltransition.com shop has a good range of baby carriers at variety of prices starting from just $39.95AUD. I happily ship overseas at cost price, so feel free to take advantage of our struggling Aussie dollar. I have tested all of these carriers with my own and only sell those that I have found to be easy to use and comfortable to wear for long periods of time.

Cloth Nappies- Easy On Mum, Baby and Land Fill

It used to be that nappies (or diapers for my American friends) were such a hassle; mothers had no choice but to use cloth nappies, clumsy pins, and annoying covers. Then they invented disposable nappies and most mothers thought it was a miracle. Now, about 80% of babies use disposables. But are disposable nappies really better? Before you go grab a pack of Huggies, catch up on some of the benefits of cloth.

Figure out about how many nappies you use in a week and multiply it by 52. Next time you go to buy nappies, look at how much they cost. You’ll find that it’s a lot of nappies, translating to a lot of money. The average parent spends two to three thousand dollars keeping their baby’s bottom clean up to age three. Now take a look at the cost of cloth nappies, even our most expensive premium cloth nappies cost no more than $800 (Aussie dollars) for a full time stash. Sure, that’s a bit of an outlay, but you don’t have to buy them every week. Cloth nappies have a small added expense of doing extra laundry every week, but it still doesn’t compare to the cost of disposables.

Now, go back to the number of nappies you calculated earlier and times that by how many other people in the world use disposables every year. Pretty big number isn’t it? In the U.S. alone, 18 billion are thrown into landfills every year. Not only do they take up tons of space but they are not biodegradable. Plus, they’re just sitting there full of hazardous waste. Urine and faeces can contain harmful bacteria; which can work their way into the environment and even your water supply. Sure, animals poo where ever they want and it’s seen as nature at work, but all the animals in an area don’t dump their poo in one place like disposed of disposable nappies.

When I was a baby, my Mum used cloth. Not because they were cheaper or environmentally friendly, but because that’s what everyone did in the ’70’s and because the disposables she did try made me break out in a horrible rash O.K- disposables have come a long way since then, but lots of babies still suffer nappy rash because of them. If you switch to cloth nappies, you may find that some of your child’s nappy rash is actually caused by the irritation from disposables. Even if your kids aren’t allergic, nappies contain toxic chemicals including dioxin, which can cause cancer, birth defects, liver damage, skin diseases, and genetic disorders. And you know those absorbent crystals you see when you rip open up a diaper? Those are the same chemicals removed from tampons because they were linked with toxic shock syndrome in women. Sure, the chances these chemicals might harm your child is low, but have there been any studies to show they are safe?

Most mums choose disposables because they think cloth nappies are annoying and inconvenient. What they don’t realise is that cloth nappies have changed since we were kids. Nappy pins have been replaced with convenient snappies and Velcro-like materials (Velcro itself isn’t flexible enough). You can also get fitted nappies to help keep out leaks. If you don’t like those annoying plastic covers, you can get lovely woollen ones; these are especially fun because you can find them in great colours and pattern. Wool is also more comfortable than plastic covers, but works just as well, so long as you don’t compress it too much (no onesies to sleep in).

For anyone who is good with a sewing machine, I made some no cost modern cloth nappies out of recycled curtains and bed sheets. They work really well. I just got sick of sewing them and bought Cushie Tushies instead. I still use my home made pocket nappies when I haven’t done the washing for several days. I used the Rita’s Rump Pocket diaper pattern which you can find here

And I watch this sewing tutorial several times, because I’m no sewer and this made it easy.

And here is the finished product expertly modelled by my little monkey, Andrew.

andrew_rrp

If you just like the convenience of disposable nappies, you need modern cloth all in one’s. They are just like a disposable only washable. No folding, no pins, change them every 4 hours, don’t change them overnight. I use them just the same as I used disposables with my older children and never have leaks. You don’t even soak these nappies, they go straight into the wash. You’ll find my favourites in the NaturalTransition.com shop. I am happy to take international orders so feel free to take advantage of our struggling Aussie dollar. Postage is charged at cost and by sea mail, it’s really inexpensive 😉

So, why not save the environment, save some cash, and help your kids stay healthy by using good old dependable cloth nappies.

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