As many of you will know, I am passionate about breastfeeding, creating awareness of the benefits thereof as well as helping moms with breastfeeding challenges in my volunteer capacity as a La Leche League Leader.
Each year Word Breastfeeding Week is celebrated during the first week of August in over 176 countries. A different theme is picked each year and the 2016 theme is about how breastfeeding is a key element in getting us to think about how to value our well-being from the start of life, how to respect each other and care for the world we share.
After spending some time reading through the goals and how breastfeeding supports these goals I thought it would be a great opportunity to share this info here on my blog. All info shared here is from the World Breastfeeding Week website.
I would like to state that this is not intended to judge any moms who chose not to breastfeed or who couldn’t due to circumstances they faced. This is merely to bring to light some of the incredible benefits on a whole other level that we may not ordinarily consider.
In September 2015, the world’s leaders committed to 17 goals aimed at ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring prosperity. Together, they form the
Sustainable Development Goals.
We all have a part to play in achieving these goals by 2030.
Breastfeeding is a natural and low-cost way of feeding babies and children. It is affordable for everyone and does not burden household budgets compared to artificial feeding. Breastfeeding contributes to poverty reduction.
Exclusive breastfeeding and continued breastfeeding for two years and beyond provide high quality nutrients and adequate energy and can help prevent hunger, undernutrition and obesity. Breastfeeding also means food security for infants.
Breastfeeding significantly improves the health, development and survival of infants and children. It also contributes to improved health and well-being of mothers, both in the short and long term.
Breastfeeding and adequate complementary feeding are fundamentals for readiness to learn. Breastfeeding and good quality complementary foods significantly contribute to mental and cognitive development and thus promote learning.
Breastfeeding is the great equaliser, giving every child a fair and best start in life. Breastfeeding is uniquely a right of women and they should be supported by society to breastfeed optimally. The breastfeeding experience can be satisfying and empowering for the mother as she is in control of how she feeds her baby.
Breastfeeding on demand provides all the water a baby needs, even in hot weather. On the other hand, formula feeding requires access to clean water, hygiene and sanitation.
Breastfeeding entails less energy when compared to formula production industries. It also reduces the need for water, firewood and fossil fuels in the home.
Breastfeeding women who are supported by their employers are more productive and loyal. Maternity protection and other workplace policies can enable women to combine breastfeeding and their other work or employment. Decent jobs should cater to the needs of breastfeeding women, especially those in precarious situations.
With industrialisation and urbanisation the time and space challenges become more prominent. Breastfeeding mothers who work outside the home need to manage these challenges and be supported by employers, their own families and communities. Creches near the workplace, lactation rooms and breastfeeding breaks can make a big difference.
Breastfeeding practices differ across the globe. Breastfeeding needs to be protected, promoted and supported among all, but in particular among poor and vulnerable groups. This will help to reduce inequalities.
In the bustle of big cities, breastfeeding mothers and their babies need to feel safe and welcome in all public spaces. When disaster and humanitarian crises strike, women and children are affected disproportionately. Pregnant and lactating women need particular support during such times.
Breastfeeding provides a healthy, viable, non-polluting, non-resource intensive, sustainable and natural source of nutrition and sustenance.
Breastfeeding safeguards infant health and nutrition in times of adversity and weather-related disasters due to global warming.
Breastfeeding entails less waste compared to formula feeding. Industrial formula production and distribution lead to waste that pollutes the seas and affects marine life.
Breastfeeding is ecological compared to formula feeding. Formula production implies dairy farming that often puts pressure on natural resources and contributes to carbon emissions and climate change.
Breastfeeding is enshrined in many human rights frameworks and conventions. National legislation and policies to protect and support breastfeeding mothers and babies are needed to ensure that their rights are upheld.
The Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding (GSIYCF) fosters multi-sectorial collaboration, and can build upon various partnerships for support of development through breastfeeding programs and initiatives.
Follow World Breastfeeding Week 2016 on social media:
Occasionally one has a beautiful experience that changes you, sticks with you, one that leaves a mark on your life. Yesterday was such a day for me. Let me start of by saying that the past two weeks have really been a time of seeing God’s favour and blessing poured out on us in miraculous ways. Yesterday was another example of blessing. A special friend of mine insisted on sending me for a back, neck and head massage. She’d had an incredible experience and wanted to bless me too. Along with this being a time of blessing it has also been an incredibly stressful time for me for various reasons that I won’t go into now. But the timing of this heavenly massage could not have been better.
Let me introduce you to Derdré’s Face & Body Care. Derdré met me with a smile on her face and welcomed me into her absolutely breathtaking home… down the stairs to the treatment room. I entered and my senses were met with a beautifully laid out room, massage bed in the middle covered in snow white towels, music playing softly, the aroma of soothing oils and some candles. I was left for a few moments to get undressed and ready for my massage. The next lovely surprise was the electric heating pad which made laying down on the white towels even nicer. Then it was time for the best massage of my life. 45 minutes of wow. I must admit, I find it very hard to switch off and just relax. In fact the way I fall asleep at night is to analyse and plan and think and think until I fall asleep. Sometimes I envy the “nothing box” my husband can go into. Since I’d just rushed from work to make my 1:15pm appointment I was still thinking about work and my mind was in a busy state for the first half of the massage. And then…. peace. Peace for the first time in, well, too long really! You see the thing that makes Derdré’s place such a special one is that it wasn’t just her there. It was a place that I got to experience the peace of my Heavenly Father in a very real way. The music that is playing in the background is not just the regular spa panpipes music you usually find playing in a setting such as this. It was the most peaceful worship music. The oils that Derdre uses aren’t just regular massage oils – they are biblical annointing oils and some other natural aroma fragrances. Derdré says that there is power in fragrance and that she believes that they are God’s grace in fluid form.
People will often say that you just need to quietly sit and rest in God’s presence. For a busy mom like me that is nearly impossible. My busy, planning mind aside, I have a toddler who keeps me on my toes all day long and the few moments I do get to myself are usually as I’m falling asleep (planning or thinking about something). Yesterday, for the first time in my life, I felt what it was truly like to just “be” to just rest in His presence.
I don’t want to give too much more away of my experience as I’d love for you to experience it for yourself.
If you’re feeling weary or burdened, weighed down by the stresses of life – no matter where you find yourself on the journey of life (a busy mom, a stressed out student, a career-driven individual) – I would like to encourage you to take some time out, book an appointment with Deidré, and allow yourself to get some rest.
I left there not only feeling physically amazing but spiritually and emotionally revived.
I have nothing to gain in telling you about Derdré’s other than the satisfaction of knowing that you too can find some rest and escape from the business of life. I love to promote people’s business who are really making an impact.
I’ve linked through to her Facebook page throughout my post (she doesn’t have a website).
Alternatively you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org / 082 30 7166.
She is located in Sonstraal, Durbanville
And to my precious friend who blessed me with this experience, you know who you are, THANK YOU!
Those of you that know me know that I’m passionate about health and wellness and how I feel God has placed a burden on my heart around the stewarding of my health and body and a role that I can play in inspiring other women around the same issues. The busyness of life and endless challenges of motherhood have led me to a place of dissatisfaction in terms of the choices I find myself making these days. I like to consider myself a healthy person who makes relatively healthy choices. So for the most part I think I’m doing ok. But there are other areas that I’m really struggling with.
January – April 2012 was a defining moment in time for me. It was during that time that I found myself in a place where I had great self-discipline and made choices that saw my health and body the best it had ever been. I was exercising 5 times a week (mornings before work) and I was also eating incredibly healthy (I’d just discovered Mary-Ann Shearer and the Natural Way). I could easily turn down a piece of cake, a pastry or a muffin – not because I was worried it would make me fat but because I had taken a decision to cut out sugar, wheat and dairy (once I came to learn of their negative effects on our health). The kg’s melted off me (I think I lost about 4 or 5 kgs) not because I was trying to lose weight but because I was focusing on getting healthy. Then I fell pregnant. I carried on gymming as much as I could through my pregnancy and I managed to stay in good shape. I picked up around 9kg’s during my pregnancy. After my sons birth I managed to quickly lose most of the weight, with the exception of a kg or two (I atttribute this to my endless hours of breastfeeding lol). But then my priorities changed. Taking care of my baby was far more important to me than going to gym. I did return to gym when he was about 3 months old but it was a class where he accompanied me and as he was a baby that wanted to be in my arms most of the time I’d say the gym sessions were more about me getting out of the house than actually getting any exercise. Towards his first birthday I starting missing gym. He is now two and a half and I try to get to the gym 2 -3 times a week. It doesn’t always work out and family responsibilities still trump my exercise regime. Anyway, that’s a story for another day.
The area that I really struggle with is around my lack of self control in the sugar department. As I said, I eat healthily (I try eat a 75% raw diet of veggies and fruit) but I have found that I readily accept offers of cake, confectionery, chocolates, sweets in between. And I’m finding it harder and harder to say no. Working in an office where these treats are regularly available and offered to us is an added challenge. I think my problem started when I became a mom and found that life became so busy and there wasn’t the time I used to have to prepare snacks and meals and I found myself to be hungry a LOT and so if I was offered something I would readily accept it and justify it by saying that I was really hungry and I just needed a little fix to tide me over. Of course there is also the fact that motherhood brings one challenge after the other and I found reaching for a sweet treat comforted me in times of stress. I can feel that my pants fit a bit snugger than I would like but the weight is only part of it. I know that I am not treating my body right and I’m really concerned about the long-term effects on my health.
Then comes drinking water part. This is something I struggle with. I even downloaded an app that reminds me at regular intervals to drink water. It started to irritate me (and my colleagues) and so I first silenced it and then finally deleted it. I’m still struggling to drink water. I will happily reach for a cup of tea or a juice (albeit it half juice half water) but I know that my body needs the pure thing – water to fuel my cells. It’s easier in summer I find than in winter when a cup of tea is just so much more appealing.
This morning I was at the hair salon and came to hear that the lady in the seat next to me is 42, has just had a double mastectomy and has just had her first round of chemo. The second to follow. She was there to get her hair cut short as she knows her hair will have fallen out in the next week but it would be easier to have handfuls of short hair fall out than the shoulder length hair she currently has. I saw her run her hands through her hair and the hair that remained in her hands that had just fallen out. She is just one of many people that I have come to hear of and even people I personally know who are facing a battle with cancer. Cancer is a monster, a killer and respects no one. I’m hearing of more and more cases of cancer and I really really believe that if we are to protect ourselves and our families from it then it starts with what we put in our mouths.
For me, knowledge is power. It’s not enough to say a specific food is unhealthy. I want to know why. I want to know the ins and outs, I want to know what exactly it does and the exact effect it will have on my body. That makes it much easier for me to decline the next tempting item of consumption than just merely a thought that it could be unhealthy or make me fat.
This is why I have decided that the time is now. No longer can I keep treating my body, the temple of the living God, in a way that will potentially cut my life any shorter than His appointed time. I want to be fit and healthy to be the woman that God has called me to be. The time has come for me to embark on an important journey of education and restoration.
I have decided that 1st September 2016 is going to be a start of a new season of my life where I want to commit to returning back to a place of wellness and intentional steps to stewarding my health and wellness in a responsible way. I’m secretly pleased that the 1st of September is a Tuesday and not a Monday as I find we tend to start diets and things on a Monday and if we fail in the week then we say we will just start again the next Monday. A while back I read an Afrikaans book by Aletté-Johanni Winckler called “Môre is Maandag” (translated as “Tomorrow is Monday”) where she refers to Monday as the ‘start again’ day and her journey of weight loss. For me this is not a diet that I am starting. It is a new way of life. The idea of starting on a Tuesday is psychologically appealing to me.
Ultimately I’ve realised that I can’t do this alone. I need some accountability partners and so if you feel that this is a journey you’d like to take to then I am inviting you to join me in whatever way it is that you feel appropriate or led to.
1) 100 days to Health programme
I would like to start Mary-Ann’s 100 days to Health programme (it’s a free programme online where you enrol and receive one tip daily to transitioning your life over, so that it is a gradual transition over 100 days).
For you: if you would like to sign up and do the programme with me then let me know and we can all start it on the 1st September. We can maybe create a group on Whatsapp to encourage one another. We can even practice some of the recipes we receive and inspire and encourage one another. We can find something that will fit and suit us for the life stage we are at.
2) Natural Health and Nutrition Course
I am going to continue with my Natural Health and Nutrition course through Mary-Ann Shearer. I started it in 2012 just prior to falling pregnant. During my pregnancy I found it difficult to keep up with work and studies and once Liam was born I the challenge was even greater. Ironically I have even less time now than I had before BUT I feel that the information gained will stand me in good stead to guide our family on the choices we make and will also set me up to be an inspiration to other women (I feel that this is the calling on my life).
For you: there are times when I need volunteers to do my assignments on and if you would be interested to be a part of that then you can let me know.
3) Access to cost-effective health foods
The cost of living is rising daily and food budgets are the area we are currently struggling with. Purchasing the healthier options is always more expensive and as such we find ourselves having to become more and more creative in finding solutions that are cost-effective.
For you: I’d like to attempt to create a community of people where we can keep each other informed of cost-effective options and connections. I already have already made one such connection that has enabled me to save on some healthy food options.
Eating healthily and getting regular exercise go hand-in-hand to me. This is part of my struggle is that when I exercised regularly I found myself declining the bad stuff much easier knowing how hard I was training. Now that I’m not training much these days I find it easier to put the junk in my mouth because well, its not like my exercise is making much of a difference anyway right? So I’m looking at finding a cost-effective way of keeping fit. I have a gym membership and my vitality status (which I’ve proudly managed to maintain at Diamond status for quite a few years now) depends heavily on me getting to gym as often as possible. So I’m not looking to sign up for another type of fitness club (like cross-fit or bootcamp etc – I don’t have a problem with these, just not what I want to do righ tnow). So I’m looking at exploring options that I can use to make gym more exciting or compliment my gym workout. One such option that I have been eyeing for a few months now is a 12 week Bikini Body Training guide by Kayla Itsines. Firstly I must mention that it is not for the faint-hearted as I downloaded the first week (available for free) and it is hectic and she says that it is not for people starting exercise for the first time. Secondly it is pricey at $69.97 AUD (which at today’s exchange rate translates into R668).
For you: I’m looking to share tips and exercise ideas that are easy to incorporate into daily life – specifically for moms who who are challenged to lead a balanced life.
In closing, I’d like to extend an invitation to you as you read my blog – if you feel led to join me on my journey then please get in touch with me by commenting on my blog below. I need some accountability partners and would love to create some kind of community of like-minded people around the topic of stewarding health and wellness.
One of my pet peeves is the “Hi, how are you?” that we say in passing at work, at church, at gym, at the mall etc. We ask it not because we really care but because its the polite thing to say. In fact, I stopped saying it quite some time ago – and just greet people with a “hello”. Its kind of funny because often times the conversation goes like this:
Other person: “Hi, how are you?”
Me: I’m ok / surviving / good / etc. (trying to avoid the words “fine thank you AND YOU”)
Other person: Fine thanks! – and I’m thinking – but I didn’t ask you 😉
It’s not because I don’t care that I donn’t ask – it is because I feel that we use those words too lightly. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I had to respond honestly to the “how are you?” question. Like if I said “do you have 30 minutes, pull up a chair, where do I start….burst in to tears…actually life is really really tough at the moment.”
So, if you care to know how I REALLY am, get ready for a VERY honest blog entry….
The past week or so my Facebook wall has been filled with many friends “year in review’ photos – mostly thanking everyone for a fabulous year and for being a part of it. As the year draws to a close I hardly need any additional reasons to ponder and reflect on 2014 and in all honesty I must admit that I have never been happier to see the end of a year come.
2014 has, without a doubt, been the hardest year yet. Yes, it has been dotted by a few joyful moments – Liam’s first birthday, his first steps, his first words, and I must give thanks to our Heavenly Father for his ongoing provision in the most difficult of times and for a husband whom I adore. But other than that it has been a remarkably difficult and lonely year. We have faced more challenges in health, finances and emotions than I could ever imagine possible. In fact I can’t believe we are still standing…. well maybe we are sitting more these days…sigh.
I am usually so full of inspiration and dreams for the coming year but I am just too tired and too scared of empty dreams and hopes again. Somehow in the next 24 hours I hope that changes. Oh how I long for 2015 to be our turnaround year. Proverbs 13:12 says “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Oh Lord, please hear the longing of my heart.
The greatest irony for me is that in a time in history where connecting with people has never been easier, I’ve never felt lonelier. Have Facebook status updates replaced our need to enquire of people? We have this false sense of insight into people’s lives. Never before have we been able to “see” so much of peoples lives, but at the same time know so little of what is really going on in their lives. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram only allow people to see the best, sparkly, glamorous parts of our lives. The parts we want to show off. All too often I find myself oogling over other people’s lives – as shown on Facebook – only to forget that they are only showing the best bits. I see where you’ve been on holiday, what you ate while you were there, the cute swimsuit your little one wore on their first trip to the beach, and think I know exactly what is going on in your life…so I have a false sense of knowing how you are. And so we don’t call each other to chat and life gets really busy and we stop meeting together. Before I know it, the long list of friends that I have made over the years (I mean real people friends and not my Facebook friends list) have merely become acquaintances and I can’t really remember when last I saw them in real life, never mind had a conversation with them. Maybe this sounds foreign to you but it is my reality.
Do you know what is REALLY going on in your friends lives? Do you know what is going on in my life? Do I know what is going on in yours? The truth is that so many times I wish I could put up a post where I could share my heart and cry out… but then I realise that it’s not appropriate and that I would doubt the authenticity of the responses that come because they would be in response to my cry and not because someone was just thinking of me and wanted to know how I am. Don’t get me wrong – I am guilty of this too.
There is a sticker I’ve seen on the taxi vans that drive around that says “When days are dark, friends are few”. I never understood it until 2014 but that has sadly been my experience. We’ve been so busy ‘surviving’ the year that I think either people have just given up inviting us or are tired of hearing about our troubles – after all I’ve come to realise that people around us (the ones who have opened up and allowed us to see beyond the Facebook posts) are also dealing with some pretty hairy stuff. They are also coming to terms with challenges and struggles in life. So it feels like we’ve lost a lot of people along the way this year. Maybe they already have their “real” relationships and we just don’t fit in anymore.
Over the past few weeks we have been trying to reach out and connect with various people in an attempt to rebuild and reconnect and in some instances build new friendships. Amongst the dreams and goals I have for 2015,I hope to build some deeper relationships. To really “live” life together with friends and to authentically encourage, uplift and do life together. Maybe they will be old friends or maybe they will be new friends. But I think that will be my top priority for 2015 – authentic relationships with a few close people.
To the friends who have stuck with us, prayed with us and enquired of us – thank you – each whatsapp, call or email this year has counted – more than you know.
I wish you and your families all the best for 2015 and hope that at some point in the year we can connect and enquire of one anothers lives.
I just finished reading a great book, called Moms’ Night Out by Tricia Goyer. It was inspired by the movie “Moms’ Night Out. As a busy mom who really doesn’t get out much at all I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I lived vicariously through the characters and found it hilariously funny.
One of the things I’ve learnt to grow to love on my now 21 month journey of mommyhood is the joy of books. Ironically I’m quite sure I’ve done more reading now than ever before. Granted it takes me ages to actually finish a book – but my determination and passion for what I’m reading gets me through even if I only end up reading 10 minutes a day.
All of the books I end up reading these days are non-fiction and range from health, nutrition and parenting matters. I can’t actually remember when last I read a novel. That’s probably one of the reasons I enjoyed this book so much.
The main chararcter Allyson arranges a night out for her and two of her fellow mommy friends. It had been ages since they had last enjoyed a night out which allowed them to get dressed up and leave the husbands and children at home. Allyson planned the perfect evening. Well, in theory! All that was needed was for their husbands to take care of their children for three hours. What could go wrong?
Let me quote a blurb from the back of the book:
Moms’ Night Out is an endearing true-to-life comedy that chronicles the story of how three harried moms, their husbands, a sister-in-law with a misplaced baby, a tattoo parlor owner, a motorcycle gang, and a bewildered cabbie all learn to celebrate the beautiful mess called parenting.
The story isn’t far-fetched at all and it sums up beautifully the bond of friendship, the incredible journey of motherhood and the reality of parenthood.
I watched the trailer for the movie a few months ago and so when I had the opportunity of reading the book I was thrilled. I love reading a book, allowing my mind to create the visuals and characters and then watch the movie later and see how they match up.
The DVD is set for release next month (December 2014) in South Africa.
I thought you might enjoy watching the trailer:
Along with the book I also received the Moms’ Night Out devotional, by comedian Kerri Pomarolli. This devotional is inspirational and funny. I find the stories in it a great way to start my day and bring a smile to my face.
i’d really like to recommend this book to all moms – especially the ones currently dealing with the fun and madness of the toddler times. I look forward to watching the DVD next month!
Wow, I couldn’t have said this better. I can absolutely relate to this post. Being a mommy is absolutely all consuming and exhausting, but there is nothing better than holding your sweet child and knowing that you are the one person in the world that can comfort and love them the way you do. Each moment is a precious gift from the Lord above to be treasured.
Ever since we brought our new daughter home, her older brothers have been the first to tell me when she is crying, whimpering, or smelling a little suspicious. “Somebody needs you,” they say. I have no idea how this little saying started, but at first it sort of annoyed me. I could be enjoying a quick shower… “Mommy, somebody needs you. The baby is crying.” Or, sitting down for a second, quite aware that the baby was beginning to stir from a nap…. “Mama, somebody needs you!” Okay! I get it already! And not to mention that the newborn’s needs pale in comparison to the needs of 2 little boys. Somebody always needs a snack, a band-aid, a different sock, ice cubes in their water, a NEW Paw Patrol, a stream of snot wiped, a hug, a story, a kiss. Some days never seem to end, and the monotony of being “needed”…
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For all my friends out there battling to make sense of baby and toddler sleep – or the lack thereof 🙂
Before I posted this, Adam peeked over my shoulder, saw the title and said, ‘”Oh my god, stop writing about infant sleep. No one cares.”
If this statement applies to you, SORRY NOT SORRY THIS IS MY LIFE, ADAM!
Now for our regularly scheduled mom post.
I know that many of you don’t have babies yet, or have babies that are younger than Olive – I am writing this post for you.
When O was about four months old I remember taking her to a talk put on by the local library. Each week they hosted different speakers, and this particular week featured a public health nurse speaking about the unique nature of baby sleep. It sounded interesting and I needed to get out of the house and talk to real grown up people that didn’t shit their pants, so off we went.
At the beginning of the talk all…
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