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Is my little one ready for solids? When and how to start giving baby food

There comes an exciting time in your baby’s (and your) life when she’s ready to try the ‘real’ food. You’ve been probably looking forward to this moment for some time now and waited until the recommended 6th month mark. But then not every child is the same- one develop faster, other slower. So you wonder : is my little one actually ready for solids?

In this post I’ll advise you on when and how to start giving baby food.

1. Signs indicating your baby is ready

There are few things to look out for that will determine if the time is right. Your baby might be ready for solids if she:

a) can hold her head up and sits well. Your baby should be able to be confident in upright and sitting position even if she has to be supported. Many babies start to eat on their parents lap and only progress to the highchair when they can sit up by themselves.

b) has good hand coordination. If she’s looking at the object (not necessarily a piece of food) and able to grab it and then put in her mouth by herself, it’s a green light for you mum.

c) developed curiosity about what other family members are eating. If she’s staring at your dinner and trying to reach for the food (or is pointing at it), it probably means she wants to grab a bite too!

d) is able to swallow. Your baby should be making chewing motions, moving food smoothly to the back of her mouth and swallow. Although choking on the food is not uncommon during first trials (or even later), make sure you know what to do if she doesn’t cope on her own. As your little one learns how to swallow properly, you may notice less dribbling.

e) has gained on enough weight. Most babies are ready to try first foods when they’ve doubled their birth weight. This usually happen around the 6th month. By then many babies will also grow one tooth or more.

2. What foods are good to start with?

Think of healthy food packed with nutritional value such as:

  • cooked or steamed (until soft ) vegetables, for example carrot, potato, sweet potato, butternut squash, broccoli or cauliflower
  • soft fruits: banana, avocado, strawberries, melon/ watermelon, pear (if it’s ripe enough), small pieces of orange or blueberries

When it comes to harder fruits, such as apples it’s always best to grate them and offer it to your baby on the spoon (it reduces the risk of choking).

It’s also a great idea to blend different fruits and vegetables together so your baby could taste different combinations. Or give your little one a couple of different pieces of foods at the same time; this way he’ll have opportunity to explore and eat what he enjoys.

Baby porridge/ rice and other cereal mixed with your baby’s usual milk is another great option for your baby’s first foods. Buy cereal rich in iron, as it’s very important in your child’s development.

Other foods you can give to your baby include:

  • starchy foods such as wholegrain bread, pasta, rice, quinoa, crackers (unsalted)
  • soft cooked lean meat ( turkey, lamb, corn-fed chicken) and certain fish (salmon, cod, mackerel and sardines are good for your baby, however you should limit it to maximum twice a week as they contain minor toxins).
  • Hard-boiled eggs (the yolk is the healthiest)
  • dairy products, such as natural yogurt, cheese
  • beans, lentils, peas and corn

3. What texture should my baby’s first foods be?

It’s really up to you how are you planning to offer your baby’s first foods: either blended, mashed or cut into soft ‘finger’ foods. What if your peanut doesn’t have any teeth yet? Not to worry, his hard gums will do the job just right. Try experimenting with different textures and flavours to see what your baby likes.

If you decide to start with purees (like I did), try to move on to mashed or solid foods sooner than later. This will not only help your little one learn how to chew but also speed up his speech development as eating finger foods forces your baby to exercise his jaw muscles.

4. How many times a day shall I serve my baby solids?

When you first start serving your baby solids you should give her just a few spoonfuls or chunks of food once a day. The whole idea really is just to get your baby used to the fact she will now get more than your breast milk or formula.

Remember, until your baby is 12 months the milk she’s having (either from breast or a bottle) will be the main source of nutrition so it’s no point for you to stress out about the amount she’s eating.

As we know, not every baby is the same, some need more some less food than others. But as long as your baby’s weight gain is in healthy rate, you can relax.

What’s more, for many babies the process of weaning means actually experimenting and playing with the food- with my baby girl was exactly like that. She loved to take all kinds of food to her mouth, half of which ended up on the floor or spread around her face and hair. She haven’t really fed properly until she reached about 11 months!

As time goes on, your baby’s appetite will naturally increase; you can start offering three meals a day at about eight or nine months. By the time your baby is 1 year old, she should be having three meals a day ( with some healthy snacks between meals).

5. Which foods shall I avoid?

a) Honey. Your baby should not taste honey until she’ reaches her first birthday. The reason behind is that it can contain bacteria that younger babies digestive system cannot deal with.

b) Whole nuts. They’re a hard no-no until your little one is about 5 years old- for obvious reasons they can lead to choking. However, smooth peanut butter is fine.

c) Certain fish such as baby shark, swordfish, marlin or raw shellfish- they contain high levels of mercury leading to serious sickness and food poisoning.

d) Certain cheeses- some of them can lead to food poisoning because of the unpasteurized milk they’re made of. These include brie, Camembert or soft blue-veined cheese.

e) Tea or coffee- Caffeine will disturb from getting a good night sleep and prevent absorbing iron from your baby’s food

f) Sweet/ fizzy drinks and sweets- As we know, sugar is bad for teeth and overall health (you should not have it too, your baby is watching you!).

6. What ‘gear’ do I need?

There are certain things you have to buy: a high chair, some good bibs, plastic spoons.

You can get either a traditional high chair, which is also the cheapest option or a bit more expensive, but also much more functional high chair like this one here. It has 3 reclining positions so you can start putting your baby in it before he even sits properly. It’s also foldable so it won’t stand on your way when not in use, plus it has a very useful basket underneath where you can put toys or other things your baby just randomly plays with during the day. The tray is removable and adjustable so you don’t have to worry about your child growing out of it any time soon.

When it comes to bibs, you would think you don’t need any recommendation, right? After all, you can get them basically in any larger shop. Well, I thought the same and I was using traditional bibs for almost a year until I went to visit my friend who has a baby almost the same age as mine. She got these excellent bibs from Amazon, that have pocket at the bottom. This leak-proof pocket made a difference during our meal times, especially since I started giving my baby girl finger foods. Before most food she didn’t mange to eat landed on the chair and the floor but after I bought those bibs the food leftovers just gathered there and it meant less cleaning for me= yaay! Plus, they’re made of silicone so are easily washable with warm water and they fold nicely so you can put them anywhere you want.

Another essential piece of ‘gear’ (that unfortunately you cannot buy) is smile, encouragement and lots of patience!

Bottom Line

If you’re lucky your baby will love eating and experimenting with all kinds of food, but if you’ve got a fussy eater (just like I do), you’re gonna have to try all kinds of entertainment to make her eat at least few spoons. From puppet show, changing voices, making silly faces to playing a classic ‘spoon airplane’, there are many ways to make eating fun, you just have to find your own path.

Good luck mamas and take it easy!

XXX

Best toys for babies development

In those early days with your newborn baby it is hard to imagine finding time between feeding, changing dirty nappies and sleeping for a playing session. Besides, why exactly should you fit this extra slot for games and toys even though your baby’s brain is too tiny to understand anything?

Well, according to psychologists, it is never too early to start engaging your little one in playing and exploring the world. You may think your baby is not even interested in what you show to him, but in reality he’s absorbing much more information than we can expect.

Reaching milestones and gaining necessary skills reflects in a big part from the opportunities that baby receives. That’s why choosing the right toys and activities that match to your little one’s age is so important; it’s up to you as a parent to pick something that will draw his attention.

Are you confused when you enter the shop or browse through online world of toys? Don’t worry, that’s why I’m here for you. I prepared a list of best toys for babies development. I divided them accordingly to the age so you will know what you need once your peanut progresses to the next stage.

Toys for age 0-3 months

Your baby doesn’t do much of a movement yet and she looks so cozy in your arms but it’s important to give her opportunities to wiggle and stretch as much as possible through the day. This way she will develop and strengthen her weak muscles.

It’s a great idea to start tummy time from the first month of baby’s life as earlier you will start the better for the baby. She will most likely not lift her head so soon but could slightly turn the head looking for your face. When she turns 3 months you will notice how much the tummy time has been beneficial for her development; her neck and arms muscles will be strong enough to lift her little head.

My picks for these months are:

Activity mat. Having one of those is a must have for your newborn baby. The clip-on overhead toys might be over-stimulating for your little one until she’s about 2 months old so until then I’d suggest taking them off and placing the mat on top of a rug so your baby is comfortable and safe during tummy time.

Music-playing device. Since baby’s hearing gets developed earlier than other senses, music will catch his attention and stimulate his brain.

The play mat from Fisher Price combines best of these two worlds. It comes with the toys including a mirror (so also great for your baby to stay on her back and stare at her own reflection) plus a little detachable piano that your baby can kick during tummy time and later on use as a toy when she can sit by herself (you may find songs coming from this device quite annoying but at least you will get some well-deserved rest for a minute or two).

• Mobiles. High-contrast black-and-white decorations will be the best pick for your little one. The reason for that is that babies don’t really see colors until they reach about 3 months of age. The black and white graphics will help the early vision development. This mobile from Amazon gives you an option of changing the cards according to age as well as changing the distance of the cord once your baby’s vision improves.

Toys for age 4-6 months

Starting from the age of 4 months babies become especially interested in faces and other circular designs, like spirals. Why? Because their eyesight is developing in a full speed. From about 5 months they also begin to learn cause and effect, so they may be amazed with shaking toys such as rattles and, obviously, put them in their mouth.

My picks for these months are:

• Soft sound-making toys. For example, light soft blocks or balls will be useful for babies that are in the journey of discovering cause and effect. Any sound that the toy will make will be a great entertainment for your baby.

• Teething toys with a rattle. A toy like this will satisfy your baby’s needs and curiosity so you get a package of 2 in 1. Although the teething process doesn’t usually start until 6 months, gum pain may bother your little one earlier. Plus the rattle with a handle will force your peanut to exercise her hand grip while shaking the toy around will strengthen her arm.

Toys for age 7-9 months

After 6 months have passed your baby is probably ready to sit unsupported. If she’s still not doing it independently, you can encourage her to strengthen her abs and spine muscles by showing her how to reach the toys that are lying in front of her. Once your baby is confident enough, she’ll be using her free hands to play with different kind of toys and entertain herself for a short time (hopefully for a long time but who are we kidding).

My picks for these months are:

• Books. Board books and cloth books are safe for little curious hands and they would be really hard to damage. Your baby will love this interactive one as it’s super soft with different textures to explore and it makes noises too!

Stackable cups. From building a tower to simply putting them inside of each other, they are multi-purpose; with age your child will be discovering new ways to play with them. They don’t only help baby to practice hand-eye coordination, but also can be used to teach him the idea that items still exist even when you can’t see them. To do so just hide smaller objects under the cups (always under your supervision) and then lift up each one of them making it a game of discovery.

• Balls with holes. Or any other easy to hold ball so your baby can keep developing his grasping skills.

Toys for age 10-12 months

By now many most babies will be crawling and starting to pull themselves into a standing position in preparation for cruising. Your little one might also be mastering the act of picking up small objects between the thumb and index finger. At this age, babies memory is working on more advanced level and they’re able to understand simple words. They’re also more tolerant to various stimulation.

My picks for these months are:

• Household items. Exploring at this age will be your baby’s new favourite activity. Many babies seem to enjoy everyday use objects much more than any toy out there. That’s why its good idea to give your little one pots and wooden spoons (so he can bang on them, for example) as well as empty cereal boxes or plastic food containers. You may find out that there’s no need to buy too many toys after all.

• Activity tables. They encourage development of motor skills and hand-eye coordination thanks to the colourful, engaging buttons. They’re also perfect for entertaining a baby who’s just learned or is in a process of learning how to stand since their strong supportive legs will ensure your baby’s safety during playtime. This one is great as you can remove the legs and make it a ‘sit-down’ toy.

• Plush toys. It is common at this time for many babies to grow attached to objects such as plush toys or comforters and want to hang on to them, especially when upset or sleepy. Giving one of them may reduce the separation anxiety that a lot of babies develop after 6-7th month.

Toys for over 1 year olds

Your baby’s biggest achievement around the one-year mark is definitely walking (however some babies won’t be ready to take first steps without help until they reach 15 months). Thanks to the observation, they also start to use some objects in their intended use, for instance they will take a phone pretending to talk( so you get the green light to buy a toy phone).

Older babies, at about 18 months age, will most likely start to show interest in more engaging activities that will take his motor skills to the next level. He may be enjoying kicking the ball around or drawing on a paper with a thick crayon.

My picks for 12+ months are:

• Push/pull toys. Pulling around an animal on a string or pushing anything with wheels will provide loads of amusement for your walking toddler. This one is a great choice for walking lessons but also for learning first words.

• Cars and trucks. Wheeled vehicles will encourage baby to become more independent by exploring the surroundings by himself.

• Large blocks. Not only building a tower of blocks (and knocking it down right after) is a fun way to play but can be also beneficial to your baby’s brain. Some scientists have found out that young children who play with these toys will be much smarter at maths in the future. Now imagine you are the one who’s raising the next Einstein!

• Baby art supplies. Any toddler will be super entertained by the finger paint—just make sure the drawing tools you buy are non-toxic and big enough for those little hands: Palm-grip crayons, sidewalk chalk and dot markers are the best choice.

Hope you enjoyed my recommendations. At the end, I believe that the parent is the best entertainment for the child. Toys however give this extra opportunity in creating the vital bond between a carer and the baby.

Can you think of any other developmental toys worth mentioning ? Let me know in the comments:)

Ergo baby 360 baby carrier review

When you are out and about with your baby in the pushchair it might be pleasant if your little one is generally calm or while he/she is sleeping but not so pleasant when she awakes and refuses to stay in a sitting position for any minute longer. I know this pain very well as I have a hyper-active child who screams as if I was hurting her when she’s too long in her buggy (15 minutes shopping must seem like forever for her).

That is why I decided to try my luck with Ergo baby 360 baby carrier. I spent a good amount of time researching the market. Choosing the best carrier means not only comfort and functionality but also safety for your baby. There are many brands that claim their carriers are safe and ‘healthy’ for the little ones when in reality the baby dangles in it like a string puppet. So making sure the baby carrier you are planning to buy is ergonomic is the first step to the right choice.

What ‘ergonomic’ baby carrier actually means?

Baby carrier that is ergonomic will have a wide base supporting the weight of the baby in such a way that most of it lands on the bottom not the crotch and holds your little one’s hips and legs in so called frog or M shape position. What’s more, the baby’s spine stays in a C-shape position in an ergonomic carrier.

Why would I spend money on a baby carrier if I can get a sling instead?

Well, first of all a baby sling might be a great thing but only up to a certain age. Your baby will get heavier and heavier from day 1 so having a sling will be only a good solution for first couple of months.

Another thing is that before you start using the sling you need to learn how to wrap it around yourself, And don’t get me wrong, it’s not impossible but if you are impatient just like me, you’ll find a sling really annoying at the beginning. It took me few days of watching the videos on YouTube and then trying to apply it in real life with my screaming (also impatient) baby. Obviously, eventually I learned how to do it and putting it on became much easier with time, but still I was only using the sling in the house. I didn’t even try to take it outside with me as it was cold and wrapping it around myself with a winter jacket on seemed really discouraging for me.

Baby carrier on the other hand is simple to use, with few straps and buttons to do. You can take it anywhere, and if you are in hurry it won’t give you a headache. It will last you for much longer and even if you do spend more money on it, it’s well worth the investment.

Why I chose Ergobaby 360 all positions baby carrier

So apart from the obvious ergonomic feature, Ergobaby is really functional. You can carry your baby in 4 different positions from the front to the back, parent or world facing and even on your hip.

It can be used from newborn provided that you’ll use the infant insert. Once your baby weighs about 5,5 kg you can use it without the insert until she reaches 15 kg (so that can be roughly up to 4 years old- pretty good investment for £100!). Another advantage is that it’s very comfortable; it gives a really good back support with a padded waistband that you can wrap around yourself. Once you get a hang of it, it’s easy to put on yourself (and the baby) with no help needed and will fit parents with different height or size.

One more benefit of this carrier is that it’s made of 100% cotton and can be washed in a washing machine. You have loads of different designs and colors to choose from so every mum can find something for herself. Personally, I think the design and quality is just perfect. I love how simple the adjustment is, with the flap and the buttons on the front. You can also tell the material this carrier is made of is superb quality by just touching it, so you can be sure it will last you for ages.

Get it now!

If you’re still having second thoughts, don’t! Have a look at short videos of this baby carrier on YT or on Ergobaby website where they give you full presentation of the product.

If you are unsure you’ll use it outside of the house, I suggest getting a sling first. Once you get used to carrying a baby on your chest, you’ll see there’s nothing more precious in this world than a little head resting close to your heart. From there a natural shift will be a baby carrier, such as Ergobaby 360.

The best lightweight stroller for toddlers

It is hard to choose from all the range of different strollers available on the market. I know myself- I spend weeks on researching the best strollers for my baby when she reached the sitting down milestone. For me very important feature was the buggy’s weight so it would be light enough to take it with me when travelling, small size so it wouldn’t bother us in my small apartment and the parent-facing option (surprisingly not easy to find within strollers for toddlers)

When I was walking in the park I was acting like a creepy person checking out other mothers with prams, looking at the brand of their strollers. Uppababy Vista/Cruz, Babyzen YoYo and Bugaboo are the main brands mothers prefer. But when it comes to the functionality, the look and the lightweight option the winner for me was Bugaboo Bee 5.

The best look and quality

I know this might sound vain and shallow but who doesn’t want to have the prettiest and the cutest pram? Pushing a baby in a stroller is a bit like driving a car, am I right? (Ok, maybe there is a slight difference). So you want to own a nice car (meant a stroller) without sacrificing the quality of it. That is why Bugaboo Bee is the right choice. It curved chassis and bright colours definitely makes this buggy stand out from the crowd. You have a 3-year guarantee from a manufacturer so you can be sure it will last you for long time(or even pass it to your next baby).

What’s an extra plus is that you can buy loads of useful accessories to it: cup holder, umbrella, matching footmuff and liner, travelling bag etc. Another cool thing about it is that you can change basically any part of this pram starting from the wheels, seat, frame to sun canopy so it will look like new whenever you need to.

The best size

Bugaboo Bee 5 is really small comparing to other ones available on the market. It’s great if you have to keep it inside of the flat or somewhere with limited space. It folds really easily and although it is not one hand fold, it’s simple and quick when you get a hang of it. In my case, I don’t even have to fold the stroller as it’s small enough to stay in the hall of my flat without bumping into it. I also love how fast it unfolds (making my life easier whenever I have to travel by a car ) and the fact that it’s compact enough to fit into a small car trunk. Because of the adorable size of the Bugaboo Bee, it is best for urban use. If you live in a city like London pushing it around supermarkets, narrow streets or in the underground won’t be a hassle at all!

Best functionality

Simple to operate from the back of the seat, Bugaboo Bee has 3 reclining positions from lying to sitting down. With 2 steps you can reverse the seat from world-facing to parent-facing (my daughter is not ready to leave her precious mama out of sight just yet!). This feature had a big value for me when I was choosing this stroller as most other lightweight prams are not reversible. Another advantages are the adjustable height of the handlebar (which will please even really tall people) and the extendable padded seat that grows with your child. And my favourite feature is the extendable sun canopy; it really protects your baby from the sun as it covers your child fully (no need for an umbrella).

The manufacturer says the pram is suitable from birth if you buy an extra bassinet until your little one reaches 17 kg so approximately 3-3,5 years old. The shopping basket will carry max 5 kg and in my opinion is large enough for daily shopping (however I did have trouble fitting my changing bag into it so I bought hooks and just hanged the bag around the handlebar).

Best weight

This pram is great for everyday use as well as travelling; although there are some lighter strollers available on the market, Bugaboo Bee 5 with the weight of 8.9 kg can be easily lifted by a skinny person (or a person without muscles=me). It’s not only a useful feature for travelling but also when using public transport or when the elevator breaks in your building! I did not try to lift the stroller with the baby in it but my partner did it without a problem. Putting it into a car trunk is effortless as well.

Few things that are not ‘the best’

Bugaboo bee is of course not that perfect. It has small wheels, which even though have a good suspension and shock absorption, they do struggle on uneven ground or gravel. And although it grows with your child, it does have quite narrow seat so if you have a chubby baby this might not be the best option for you. Another thing that might annoy some of you is that it’s missing bumper bar, so your child doesn’t have anything to hold on to (rest assured, the 5-point safety harness is enough to secure your little one from falling). What’s more, make sure you don’t mind bending and kneeling when out and about as the stroller seat is situated lower to the ground than most others; it didn’t bother me personally as it gives the pram extra charm- just like the Lamborghini’s low suspension 🙂 And, unfortunately, it is not cheap but you have to look at it as an investment.

So is Bugaboo Bee 5 really the best lightweight stroller for toddlers?

I would say it’s definitely one of the bests available on the market. It’s charm and quality are something hard not to like. You can customize it and change the parts when you feel like it. It really ‘pushes like a dream’, with one or both hands. Fitting it in your flat and car won’t be an issue and when taking it into crowded places you will appreciate its small size. It has decent basket and a really great sun canopy

Is it the lightest- not really, however if you would go for a super light stroller that weighs around 6 kg (like Babyzen Yoyo) it would most likely do a better job when travelling by plane but could not live up to your expectations on other level (when shopping for example) .

Remember, there is not a perfect stroller, some of them are exceptionally good in one aspect and others in something else. Finally, you should find a pram that suits your lifestyle. If, like me, you live in a busy city, often travel and appreciate quality items then Bugaboo Bee 5 is the right choice for you.

Is it worth practising hypnobirthing? Mindful hypnobirthing review

You are getting closer and closer to the big day. You start to imagine how the birth of your baby will look like, how much this must hurt and how are you going to even manage this pain. If you are already getting the most horrific images in your head, please hold your horses. Does giving birth hurt that much? The answer is yes. Can I do something about it? Yes. Does it have to be so scary? Not at all.

 

How I came across the ‘hypnobirthing’ term

When I was browsing about different stages of labour and managing the pain the term hypnobirthing popped up. I looked at the Youtube videos which showed testimonials of women who had an amazing birthing experience thanks to the hypnobirthing technique.

I’ve always been interested in psychology: complexity of our brain, how does subconscious affect our lives or how meditation can improve our lifestyle. But I was sceptic at first, I couldn’t imagine a painless birth (can you?). Since I believe in the power of mind I decided to research the topic in detail.

What is mindful hypnobirthing

In short, hypnobirthing is a mix of meditation, hypnosis and visualising techniques. Mindfulness is about being aware of the present moment, feeling all that is happening around you and bringing the attention to mundane but how important processes such as breathing, sitting or walking.

Because the idea of the most excruciating pain that labour involves has been embedded within us for ages, it is hard to change our view that it can be a positive experience. We have all watched movies with screaming women giving birth; your friends who already have kids probably told you awful stories and your mum just gave you that look when you asked about her experience.  So it’s apparent that in society persists this belief that suffering is an integral part of bringing a little human to this world.

There are courses available to attend and learn all the hypnobirthing method but for me the price was way too high (limited budget anyone?)  so I bought a book instead. It’s called Mindful Hypnobirthing by Sophie Fletcher.

How does the book help you to become more confident

The book is well written and introduce you the the world of meditation and self-hypnosis in an uncomplicated way. I really enjoyed listening to the meditation tracks from the book, especially to Sophie’s voice- it was so calming and relaxing! The CD (or the audio book if you choose it) is divided into short mindfulness part, visualisation, and longer meditation tracks. You are meant to listen to them daily, ideally from 28-30th week of your pregnancy.  Sophie gives you advice on how to write your birth plan, how to relax on a daily basis and how to shift your awareness in any situation. She outlines the advantages of water birth and using hypnobirthing  techniques at the same time (which I also intended to do) and how to prepare the room you will stay in during your labour.

There’s even track for your partner (if you convince him to listen to it you’re a winner!).

So the book gives you a sense of confidence: you will finish reading or listening to it with a feeling that you are in power during your labour.

My personal experience with hypnobirthing 

I’ve never done mediation before, although I tried few times. I even joined a class one day but came out laughing at the breathing exercises those people were doing; it just sounded so funny for me on that time! Plus I couldn’t focus at all; it’s actually difficult to clear your mind completely.

So deciding to try out the hypnobirthing was more like a challenge to me. I remember when I first listened to the track I felt weird but definitely more relaxed.  So I started doing it diligently every day, putting an alarm for the same hour. This was actually working, even my friends told me I look more calm and stopped complaining that much ( when I thought my mood swings don’t exist at all).

So when my first contractions started to appear at 4 am in the morning I immediately put the hypnobirthing tracks on and I started to do my visualisations. I have to say that at that point I was feeling as if I’m having a painful period so there was not that much to distract from. Few hours later I was in a bigger pain but listening to Sophie’s voice kept calming me down.

However my reaction to stronger waves of contraction that were about to come was not what I have planned or expected. In the hospital it turned out that I will be throwing up quite often during the second stage of labour. I could not eat anything, even water made me sick; eventually they had to put me on a water drip.

I have to admit that as much as I wanted the tracks to work during the last, most difficult stage of labour, I could not bother to listen to them. I tried to use all the advice that I learned from the book and although it didn’t work for me with every painful contraction, I believe I put the focus on a right thing when it was the most needed ( in the combination with gas and air).

Final thoughts…

So is it worth practising hypnobirthing? I would say yes, definitely. By this day I enjoy the benefits of mindfulness practice in the most stressful situations (and there are many when the baby finally arrives!). It is so important to keep the right mind while you are pregnant and during labour; I’d say any kind of mediation will be beneficial for you.

If you decide to buy the book or sign up for a hypnobirthing course make sure you don’t do it at the last minute. Your body has to get used to being in a ‘hypnosis ‘zone’ so if you start 4 weeks before your due date it won’t do much for you. The earlier you start practising the better for you.

Just because my birthing experience was not exactly as I wished for, it doesn’t mean your one won’t be positive. Nevertheless you have to be ready for anything as nobody can predict the unpredictable.

Cute and cheap maternity clothes- how to dress with a growing bump

Finding cute but also cheap maternity clothes can be a challenge, considering most of the high street shops sell overpriced goods. They often want you to pay way too much for a piece of clothing you will only wear for several weeks and then throw it away, put on the back of your wardrobe waiting for another child (like you were even thinking of it right now) or maybe for your sister/friend to get pregnant.

But then again, getting bigger and more curvy is a good excuse to spend some money on your new wardrobe, even if it will serve you only temporarily. After all, you deserve to feel and look fabulous during your pregnancy.

So, here are my tips on how to shop for some great and cheap maternity clothes.

 

 

 

 

Don’t start buying maternity clothes too early

 

I know you are getting weirdly excited to start wearing those funny-looking over bump maternity jeans but hold your horses. If you are just 12 or even 16 weeks pregnant chances are you are still not showing. In my case, people couldn’t tell I was pregnant up until 6 months!

However, as each woman is different, you may already feel bloated in your first trimester. That means you would find it difficult to squeeze into your regular jeans but your belly is not big enough to wear maternity trousers just yet.

What I would suggest is buying couple of stretchable jeggins or leggins, could be in a size bigger than you usually go for. They will fit nicely, without the need to zip or button up your growing belly.

I made a mistake of buying maternity jeans, jeggins and shirts while 4 months pregnant and didn’t wear them for weeks because my belly was growing rather slowly so the clothes were too big for me.

 

 

 

 

You will find lots of affordable staffs on Amazon

 

Amazon has everything these days, including clothing for every occasion.

They actually have a range of good-quality maternity clothes from jeans, dresses, T-shirts to bras. And the prices are attractive as well.

Some things I bought for myself :

  • Leggings: Elastic, with high waistband, available in different colors. Good from second trimester, depending on your bump size. I found these very comfortable and practical for spring/summer, especially if you prefer wearing longer shirts/ tops that cover your bottom or these warm, thicker ones for winter/autumn season.
  • Jeans: It’s worth to have at least one good pair of maternity jeans in your wardrobe. And they don’t have to be expensive at all. They’re better than leggins in terms of thickness and material, they won’t cling to your belly so tightly like most of the leggins would do. Plus, they will match with every casual style. Should be a good fit once you start showing.
  • Shirts: Very practical, come in 2-pack, made of cotton. Great for pregnancy and nursing, available in multiply colors.
  • Tops: Gorgeous long top/tunic available in different colors. Looks great with any leggins or jeans and it’s practical as it can be a nursing top as well. You can start wearing it at any time.
  • Bras: the trick with bras is that you should buy them gradually as your boobs grow (and they will!). So don’t be hectic when shopping. There is no point buying 4 bras straight away as you may find a huge difference between week 20, 28 and 34 of your pregnancy. For many expectant mums, even with the small boost, cup goes even three sizes up. However, if you really can’t wait, many maternity bras are stretchable so have a bit of space for your growing boobs; they also conveniently turn to nursing bras.
  • Dresses: they are the best for summer, when the heat make us sweat like pigs. I’ve experienced it myself, as my last trimester happened to last through the whole July and August (ironically, that was one of the hottest summers ever recorded in UK). So on that time you definitely want to use as thinnest clothes as possibles. Cotton dresses are the best option as they are breathable and loose; here you will find some cute, nicely designed dresses.

 

 

 

 

Look for second hand and outlet clothes

 

If you really want to save some money and don’t mind wearing second hand piece of clothing, visit charity shops and look for something suitable for you or ask your friends who already had babies, maybe they still keep their maternity clothes on the back of the wardrobe so you can borrow them if you are the same size.

Another option is EBay. There you won’t only find used clothes but also brand new ones with tags on; you can bid on some and pay half price (or less) for the product comparing to the original price from the high street shops.

You will find anything from smart tops (such as this one from New Look) to fancy dresses and maternity jeans from Mothercare.

 

 

 

 

Start buying bigger size clothes

 

At some point, in my last stage of pregnancy, I found it pretty annoying that there is a limited choice of nice and not overpriced clothes for expectant mums out there.

So what I started doing (and can definitely recommend) was buying ‘normal’ clothes from high street shops. Not forgetting about hunting for sale, I simply bought few items that were two (or three) sizes bigger than I was before getting pregnant.

Don’t get annoyed though coz not everything will fit on you; some designs of size 12/14 can simply look weird on you if you were an 8 before- too loose in your boob area/ too tight on your growing belly. But I was lucky enough to find a good bargain for larger trousers that would not obstruct my movements, or even a loose dress designed for not pregnant women (yay!). It all depends on your figure really.

 

 

 

 

Don’t go crazy

 

Speaking from my own experience, I know how hard is to not to get tempted by buying hundreds of new shirts/ T-shirts/ dresses and trousers since you’ve already outgrown the old ones.

Just remember soon you will be able to squeeze into your old size again, and those new maternity clothes will become useless to you. Especially that you will have your favorite, most comfortable clothes anyway and use them most of the time.

 

 

 

 

Best shoes for pregnant women- top 8 picks for different seasons

In my previous post I emphasised the importance of supportive shoes for your pregnancy journey. They can make a big difference in your posture and confidence and, therefore, alleviate any back pains you may have from the growing bump.

So here there are- 8  short reviews of the best shoes for pregnant women, my top picks for different weather/season. And you will actually like wearing them as they are not granny-looking-like, yay!

Spring

a) Skechers Memory Foam trainers

What is better than typical trainers? Memory foam trainers!

These will serve you not only during pregnancy but long after, they are perfect for getting back into shape when (or if) you find time for the gym workouts! And even if you don’t, they are still great for everyday walks or any other day-to-day errands.

Extra comfort and relief for your swollen feet guaranteed!

Features:

  • Product colour: Grey/pink
  • Material type: memory foam+ textiles
  • Sole: Synthetics
  • Fastening: Lace-ups

b) Keds slip-on sneakers

Must-have for vintage fans! Great for any occasion, whether you are going out to a restaurant or simply going to pick up some groceries.

Keds were invented over 100 years ago and with that long experience the company found loyal customers from all over the world, attracted by comfort and chic style.

Their shoes even appear on feet of Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing movie- now that’s a guarantee of a comfort and satisfaction!

Features:

  • Style: Fashion Sneaker
  • Closure Type: Slip-on
  • Sole: Gum rubber
  • Heel Type: Low-heel

Summer

a) Clarks flip-flops

These ‘higher-end’ version of flip-flops are very comfortable for the feet. They are perfect for expectant mums because they are easy to put on and allow the feet to expand.

The fit is great (got one pair for my tired feet as well), they’re very light and the colour matches loads of clothes. The soles are well padded and the toe posts don’t rub. You can adjust the fit with the Velcro strap which is also useful.

Features:

  • Product colour: Gold
  • Material Type: Leather
  • Sole: Gum Rubber
  • Hill type: Low-hill

b) Verbenas Pink Espardrilles

If you are a fan of Espadrilles, these cute pair is one of the best you can get on the market. The Verbenas brand is originally produced in Spain, they provide you with a super comfort thanks to leather and foam- like padded soles.

They are also easy to put on, without the need of bending (which we all know suddenly becomes a challenge with a growing bump). Again the color is very feminine and neutral so will go with anything you have in your wardrobe.

  • Product colour: Pink
  • Material type: Leather
  • Sole: Gum Rubber
  • Closure: Slip-On

Autumn

a) Cipriata Leather Ankle Boots

Produced in Italy Cipriata shoes is a great choice for classical (and affordable) taste. Made from genuine leather, these ankle boots are a great fit to anything you wear- from casual clothing to office look.

Available in black and brown (tan) colors, these will serve you well during and after pregnancy. Get the desired look without much effort!

Features:

  • Upper Material:100% Leather
  • Lining:
    100% Leather
  • Fastening:
    Pull On
  • Sole:
    Rubber

b) Joules Wellington Shoes

Highly durable, these wellies are a must-have for the rainy autumn days. Available in multi-colors and various design, they are very comfortable and great for swollen pregnant feet.

Made of 100% natural rubber upper with hand-drawn floral prints these wellies are also breathable and have a textile lining; they reach your mid calves so you can be sure your feet won’t get sweaty.

Features:

  • Natural rubber
  • Outer Material: Rubber
  • Sole: Synthetic
  • Closure: Pull-on
  • Heel Type: Block Heel

Winter

a) Emu Snow Boots

Is there anything more comfortable on earth than Emu shoes? Although not the cheapest, they are worth the investment. Wearing Emu feels like walking on the clouds thanks to the wool inner material. And they keep you super warm during cold winter days!

I particularly loved the fact they are so easy to put on and being so cozy I didn’t feel like taking them off even at home!

You won’t regret buying them as they will last you for years, thanks to the top quality material. Emu are made with waterproof suede and 100% Australian sheepskin lining. Do you still need more convincing, winter mamas?

Features:

  • Water proof
  • Outer Material: Leather
  • Inner Material: Wool
  • Sole: Gum Rubber
  • Closure: Slip-On
  • Heel Type: no-heel

b) Timberland Boots


Perfect for harsh snowy or wet winters, these comfortable Timberland shoes (known from its strong brand) will be a great relief for your swollen feet and provide you with safety when it comes to slippery surface.

They are great for more active women who spend a lot of time outside or have a long commute to work.

They are a bit pricey but worth the investment; available in different shades.

Features:

  • Material: Suede
  • Hill type: No hill
  • Soles: Rubber
  • Fastening: Lace-up

One more thing…

If you still feel like getting an extra support for your feet, simply buy a pair of so called ‘foot pillows’, ‘gel cushions’ or ‘comfy soles’ (depending on a chosen style of your shoes). They are cheap, invisible when put inside and will provide you with an extra comfort when you wear any type of flat shoes.

The technology used by Scholl conveys two gels that effectively absorb shock and reduce the pressure felt on your feet – a firmer gel that supports the arches of your feet and your heels, plus a softer one to ensure the optimum shock absorption.

They are great for pregnancy, especially for those of you who are still working or standing longer hours.

Check them out on Amazon

Back pain during pregnancy-third trimester struggle

Back pain during pregnancy, especially once you hit the third trimester, is a common problem among women. And there is nothing really surprising about that- you are inevitably getting heavier and the growing baby bump is pushing your posture down. What’s more, the ligaments in your body naturally become softer and stretch preparing you for labour. This can overburden the joints of your lower back and pelvis, which ultimately causes back pain.

But fear not, there are many ways to alleviate this pain and make your daily life a bit more bearable.

Here are some of my suggestions:

Exercise as much as possible

There are loads of good exercises for your back in pregnancy. The best ones are stretching and strengthening exercises, such as yoga and/or pilates; doing them regularly will definitely eliminate the pain.

Good ones are core exercises which strengthen your back. One of my favorite without the need of any equipment is called Bird Dog- it will stabilize your back and give the relief you are looking for.

How to do it:

  • Go onto all fours (hands and knees)
  • Create slight tension in your abdomen
  • Extend one arm out in front at the same time extending the opposite leg to the back (hold this position for about 8-10 seconds and repeat on the other side)

Another great and pleasurable type of sport/ exercise is swimming. It’s not only safe for you and your baby but also relaxing (since you will feel much lighter in the water than you actually are). It works out every muscle in your body and on top of that it can reduce swelling of your feet and ankles.

Also, makes sure you walk a lot, don’t stand or sit in one position for a long time. Going for a walk in the park is a great option in those last weeks of pregnancy, especially in those days when you don’t feel like doing any work out at all.  If you are still working and it’s a desk job, make sure your feet are elevated from time to time and you go outside for a lunch breaks so that you could stretch those overloaded joints.

Keeping the right posture

The right posture is one of the most important things during your pregnancy. Obviously your belly will keep ‘pushing’ your posture down so it’s not always as easy as it sounds.

However, pay attention to keeping as good posture as possible as it will reduce the pressure on your spine.

  • keep your back straight and knees bent when you reach for something from the floor
  • avoid lifting heavy objects
  • when carrying shopping bags makes sure you’ve got 2 of them to balance the weight out
  • avoid tilting your head- this will keep your head and neck in the upright position
  • when sitting keep your knees straight and don’t cross your legs
  • good support for your back when sitting at work or at home is essential – you can use couple of normal pillows or look for maternity support pillows.
  • you would be surprised how a good fitted bra changes your pregnancy back issues so makes sure you get the right one for yourself. Ask the shop assistant for help if needed.

Supportive shoes

These are so important and invaluable when you have gained few (or more like a dozen) of pounds! I’m sure you’ve already heard about the possibility of your feet growing (or rather swelling) to even a full size up. Although it’s rather difficult to avoid the swelling itself you can make your feet and ankles feel more grateful  if you chose the right footing.

Say goodbye high-heels (I’ve never been a fan of them anyway) and say hello to low-heeled shoes, flats and flip-flops with a good arch support. These will assure your spine is aligned and well-supported.

Shoe inserts can also turn out to be helpful.

Here is my review of top shoes I found to be useful while I was pregnant.

Massage

There is nothing like a good massage for tired muscles. And having it done while you’re pregnant is a heaven for your aching back, stiff shoulders or sore hips. It will also improve your mood and get those endorphins flowing around your body, making you feel like a newborn again.

You can choose a spa that offers massages specifically for future mums which means the therapists taking care of you will have a special training for dealing with pregnant women.

You could also ask your partner to gently massage your back while you sit. Combine it with some relaxation techniques such as meditation or relaxation music and you will feel much better in a blink of an eye.

Back support during day and night

Sleeping on your side, especially left side, with your knees bent and a pillow between them is the best option for pregnant women. There’s no such thing as too many pillows in late pregnancy! Try different variations: you can use pillows under your belly, between your legs, and also behind your back.

You should avoid sleeping on your back in the third trimester; the reason being is that that position puts pressure from your enlarged uterus onto your spine, back muscles and major blood vessels which can decrease blood flow around your body and to your baby.

The best comfort will give you specially designed pregnancy/maternity pillow which supports your back, belly, and legs during rest or sleep, also giving you a proper back support in sitting positions.

Alternative treatments

I haven’t tried any myself however some women swear on this method and there is enough research suggesting that acupuncture might help to get rid of lower back and pelvic pain during pregnancy. Acupuncture uses fine needles to stimulate specific pressure points in the body that correspond with various systems of physical and emotional health. This method supposed to eliminate any blockages that are obstructing smooth flow of the body’s energy, ultimately improving health and ease any pain (including back) symptoms. Make sure you tell your practitioner that you’re pregnant when arranging an appointment.

Another solution is aromatherapy. Having a warm (but not hot) bath with just a few drops of lavender oil (and maybe some candles around you) is something you will genuinely be grateful for. Guaranteed you will feel an improvement after that as combination of warm water and gorgoeus essence will relieve your muscle tension, pain triggered by stress or fatigue, and soothe your pacing mind.

Rest, rest, rest

So, apart from staying active, using the right footing or pampering yourself at a spa, what is equally important for the back pain is rest. In the third trimester you will hopefully stop working and stay at home, preparing for your little one’s arrival.

But we all know that staying at home doesn’t necessarily mean being lazy. You will have hands full with cleaning the house, washing and ironing baby clothes, preparing the nursery room or doing the last minute shopping. On top of that you still eat for two so you spend some time in the kitchen, working on your cooking skills!

Just remember that rest in this time is essential for you and your baby. Sleep at least 8 hours during the night and have an afternoon nap if you feel tired- you deserve it like nobody else. When I was in my last weeks of pregnancy, I slept until 10 am most of the days and then I still slept one or two hours during the day as I felt like I won’t have that opportunity once my baby girl is here. And guess what- I’m glad I did because the sleep deprivation in those early weeks is not a myth (unfortunately). And having that extra rest is also good way of keeping up your energy levels for the labour day!

When can you find out gender of your baby? What to expect from the ultrasound

Would you like to know if it’s a boy or a girl kicking inside of your womb? You can play games with your partner and predict the sex of your unborn child, according to some old tales, or wait for the professional opinion.

So when can you find out the gender of your baby?

The sex of your baby is usually determined between 18-20 weeks of your pregnancy and you can find it out from the second ultrasound. The accuracy is never 100%, however with the advanced equipment technicians have these days, it is rare to make a mistake.

 

Ultrasound- your first scan at 12 weeks

 

In England, your first scan, called dating scan, is available for you through NHS at about 8-14 weeks.

Although you should see your GP as soon as you’ve found out you’re pregnant (they will assign you a midwife), most local hospitals will not book your scan appointment until you reach 12 weeks pregnant. This is because miscarriages are not uncommon in the first trimester of the pregnancy ( so the hospital ultrasound department basically just wants to save money- surprise, surprise).

Therefore, the waiting time for your first scan can be irritating. But be patient; this scan is something to look forward to as it will be your first insight into how your peanut looks like. When you finally get to that room, the scan lasts for only about 20 min.

Things that will be checked during the dating scan:

  • how far pregnant you are and what’s the estimated date of delivery
  • whether it’s only one baby in your womb
  • if the baby is growing in the right place and if it’s developing in the right way
  • baby’s heartbeat
  • whether you agreed to the screening : an estimated risk of a Down syndrome your baby may be born with (this is called a ‘combined test’)- you may have to wait outside of the room for a few minutes to get the results.

Second ultrasound at 20 weeks

The other offered scan, called an anomaly scan, will take place between 18-21 weeks of your pregnancy. This scan checks for structural abnormalities in the baby.

This is a chance for you to see your little one for the second time, this time with many more details as the baby is bigger and its parts more visible to you. Moreover, the sonographer will take more time to examine the baby, giving you chance to peak at her/him from different angles.

If you’re lucky you may be able to even notice your baby moving its legs or arms! The sonographer will zoom the baby’s different developing body parts and the inner organs such as heart, lungs and brain. At the end you will be given some printed pictures of your baby that you can keep with you. However, in some places there might be a charge for the service (still worth it if you ask me).

Your second scan usually allows you to get to know your baby’s sex. Make sure you tell the sonographer at the start of the scan that you wish to find out. Also, keep in mind that there is no such thing as 100% accuracy when it comes to discovering the gender. It may happen that your baby is lying in an awkward position, making it difficult or even impossible to tell.

In addition, some hospitals have a strange policy of not telling patients the sex of their baby. Ask your sonographer or midwife to avoid disappointment.

 

Pros and cons of finding out the gender

Finding out the gender of your baby is a very individual decision so make sure you (and your partner) are not pressured by your family members or friends.

1. Some benefits of knowing whether it’s a boy or a girl:

  • Bonding with your baby. You can start creating positive scenarios about you and your child, for example if you know it’s a boy you will imagine yourself playing football with him or, if it’s a girl, playing with dolls.
  • Choosing the name. Knowing the gender of your baby allows you to pick a name earlier and start calling your little one by name even when she’s still inside of you. This helps you, again, to bond with your unborn child.
  • Preparing the nursery. Being aware of the sex of your baby simply makes your life easier when you think of redecorating that room- painting the walls blue or pink? Choosing curtains with Disney princesses or Spider-man? Same when it comes to clothing- after all you need to buy few essentials for your newborn, such as bodysuits. And yes, you can buy neutral colour of those tiny clothes but let’s face it- it’s much more exciting to shop for something that has cute pink hearts or imprinted cars than just choosing boring white
  • Enough of surprises. If you got pregnant unexpectedly, the last thing you want is to get another surprise and be guessing for the whole 9 months who is residing your womb. You’ll be better off prepared. And let’s face it- even if you say it doesn’t matter if it’s a boy or a girl as long as it’s healthy ( I was saying that for quite a long time), your mind is subconsciously settled for one or another!

2. Benefits of NOT finding out the gender:

  • Can be fun. For some people it’s more exciting to wait and play guessing games with your partner or friends and family. Plus, you get to stay ‘old-school’- you grow a baby and stay in that oblivious state just like women in times before the technology became so advanced. The moment you find out will be, undeniably, one of the most amazing things you’ll ever hear in your life!
  • Can be a bigger incentive to push. When the time comes, the mother’s deep curiosity held for so long can enhance her motivation to push. She will be desperate to hear those words in the delivery room: ‘it’s a boy’ or ‘it’s a girl’!
  • You won’t be misinformed. Imagine they told you during your scan that it’s a girl and you did everything accordingly to that gender, from preparing pink crib and cute little dresses to having only one settled name in your head. And then suddenly, when your baby finally arrives, you get to know that it’s actually a boy! Now that’s not the best surprise ever. Not knowing the sex of your baby can prevent you from getting a potential disappointment.

 

 

Is there any other scan available to me after the anomaly scan?

If your pregnancy is low-risk and is progressing without any complications, you probably won’t have more scans after 20 weeks.

From that point, your midwife will be looking after your baby’s growth by measuring its, so called, fundal height- the distance from the front of your pelvis to the top of your womb (uterus).

The regular check-up also include:

  • measuring your blood pressure
  • taking and testing your urine and blood samples
  • keeping an eye on your BMI (especially if you gain weight too quickly or too slowly)

However, if any problems or complications occur, you may be sent to conduct some extra scans. And don’t worry: there are no known risks for you or your baby from having an ultrasound scan.

 

 

Welcoming your baby

Just by visiting my website I’m sure you already made up your mind about finding out the gender of your little one. So, congratulations to all of you! Finding out the gender, sooner or later, is an unforgettable experience. It makes your pregnancy so much more realisitc and joyful:)

I’d suggest bringing someone for your scan appointment, especially the one at 20 weeks as you will want to share this moment with a close person. If your partner cannot make it (or is not around), then make sure your mum or a friend can come along- you will feel more supported and calm.

And don’t forget, you should be ready for any outcome if you want your baby’s gender to be revealed; after all, the doctors warn you they can make a mistake.

 

 

 

 

Best food for pregnancy- top 10 healthy snacks and dinner ideas

During pregnancy, it is crucial to maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet. Just because you are growing a baby doesn’t mean you can eat anything.

Your body needs additional nutrients, vitamins and minerals (more on essential vitamin intake in here: https://topprettymama.com/pregnancy-tips-for-first-time-moms-dealing-with-all-the-information-you-come-across). Lack of them may negatively affect the baby’s development.

Bad eating habits also rises the risk of diabetes, may lead to premature birth and general complications during your pregnancy. What’s more, excessive gain weight may cause your baby to grow bigger than it supposed to and slow down the labor, making the delivery more painful,

I can bet that’s the last thing you would want! So, have a look and my tips for the best food for pregnancy. It is really not difficult to find healthy food out there, it’s just a matter of choice.

 

 

Top 10 foods that are good for you and your baby:

Let me lay out few snacks that are packed with nutritional ingredients, are tasty as well as affordable and easy to get in any supermarket :

  • yogurt– especially Greek yogurt, is rich in calcium and probiotic bacteria so it’s super beneficial for pregnant women and gentle to our digestive system. Top up with some cereals or muesli and you got a perfect breakfast or a snack for the day.
  • eggs– contain necessary calcium and vitamin D, both very important in pregnancy. Additionally, they are source of choline. Never heard of it? Choline is responsible for many processes in the body, including proper brain functioning.
  • avocado– source of iron, fiber, potassium. Eat it sliced with some cheese crackers or wholegrain toast and you get yourself much more nutritional snack than potato crisps   
  • mango, oranges– contain fiber, potassium and vit C. Slice it before you leave to work and put in the container; they are great to eat on the go, any time of the day.
  • oats- rich in fiber and antioxidants. I like to have them in porridge made on coconut milk; add some cranberries (another great thing in pregnancy looking after your urinal system), sesame or sunflower seeds or mix them all, topping up with honey. Delicious for breakfast! Alternatively, look for a granola bar which contains oats, there’s plenty of choice out there.   
  • carrots– contain beta carotene which the body transforms into vitamin A; it is needed for the baby’s cell growth. Note: since it is easy to get enough of vit A from foods that we consume daily (such as tomato, milk, eggs and oranges), the doctors don’t recommend taking any supplements containing this vitamin as you may easily overdose and harm your baby) .
  • nuts (especially walnuts and almonds) and dried fruits- contain omega 3; great to eat as a snack between the meals as it kills your hunger for a while
  • banana with peanut butter– perfect combination when you’re craving something sweet. Banana is a good source of vitamin B6 and magnesium while from peanut butter you will get sufficient amount of potassium.

  • berries– are rich in antioxidants and contain healthy carbs, vitamin C and fiber. Its high levels of compounds help maintain the accurate blood flow. Making a smoothie out of them is a great idea; simply mix berries with raspberries and strawberries and you get yourself a fruity vitamin bomb! Or you can play with the ingredients; if you prefer adding some diary into it, mix berries with a sliced banana, Greek yogurt/ milk and add some honey. Yummy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

And what to eat for dinner?

 

  • Salmon= contains the essential omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are important for brain and eye development in the growing baby. Salmon is also a natural source of vitamin D. Its easy to prepare in the oven,:add some smashed garlic and oregano, wrap around with kitchen foil and bake in the oven for about 20 min. Voila! 

 

 

  • broccoli and leafy greens, such as spinach and kale= valuable source of fiber, vitamin C, K and A, as well as calcium, iron, folate and potassium. Mix with pasta and king prawns; by adding some sweet chili sauce you will make it a type of Thai food!

 

  • lentils, peas, beans, chickpeas, soybeans = rich in folate (crucial especially in first 12 weeks of pregnancy) and fiber

  • lean meat such as beef= rich in proteins, iron and vit B12. Serve with earlier mentioned beans adding some gravy for a flavor.       

 

  • quinoa– alternative to rice that provides you and your baby with double portion of proteins, more fiber and additional magnesium as well as folate. You can make a great salad out of it that will fill your stomach. Add some avocado, falafel, feta cheese and some veggies of your choice (I liked peppers and sweet corn) and salad becomes a meal.   

   

 

 

  • sweet potato= is a great source of vitamin A, B and C. Also, you will get a fair amount of fiber, potassium, phosphorus, manganese and copper. You can grill them or bake them, serving with salmon or meat; you can’t get any healthier than that!

 

 

 

 

 

How many calories shall I be eating daily?

So as mentioned before, you don’t need to ‘eat for two’ in order to gain weight and help your little one to grow. In fact, it is not recommended even if you are expecting twins!

In the first and second trimester you should eat the same as usual, so for an average woman it equals about 2,000 calories a day. The reason behind is that your energy ‘demand’ doesn’t change in the first six months of pregnancy. Only in the last trimester you’ll need an extra 200 calories a day since the mothers’ energy starts to increase; this amount is not much at all, it is like having 2 more slices of wholemeal toast with margarine or cottage cheese daily.

Keep in mind that every pregnancy and every woman is different, so the number of extra 200 calories is only based on average recommendations.

The real number of calories you need while you are pregnant depends on:

  • your height
  • your BMI (body mass index)
  • your activity (how fast you burn calories)

Final tips: don’t skip breakfasts as they are very important to maintain your energy level throughout the day and they will help you to avoid eating unhealthy snacks (high in fat and sugar such as doughnuts and biscuits).

Also, remember to eat regularly, up to 6 times a day: 4 times smaller portions of snacks/fruits/veggies and 2 bigger, nutritional meals during the day. The best meals will be based on starchy, wholemeal foods like bread, rice and pasta.

 

 

 

Convinced?

It’s really not that challenging to keep a varied diet; it often means only changing the amounts of different foods you eat rather than cutting out all your favorites.

If you still need an extra incentive to eat healthily, here’s one: you will recover after pregnancy and get into your old shape much sooner than when eating too much junk food!

So just make sure you get the best foods as often as possible; and don’t feel guilty if you have that craving for a pizza or a burger once in a while. After all, anything in moderation won’t harm you or your baby

 

 

 

 

 

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