From lactation biscuits to probiotics for babies, Australia’s largest health and wellness retailer Healthy Life has revealed some natural health hacks to help new mums navigate the exhausting and perplexing world of a newborn.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, September is the most common month for babies to be born in Australia with three of the five most common birthdays landing during the month, including the most popular birth day - September 17.
To provide a helping hand to the Australian women who are about to give birth to their September baby, Healthy Life Nutritionist Natalie Santalucia has recommended some of her favourite natural products to help new mums find their feet and their milk.
“Ask any new mum and they’ll tell you that nothing, and everything, is normal with a newborn. Whether it’s getting some help with milk flow or concerns about baby’s gut flora after a caesarean birth, sometimes it can be hard to know what’s ok and frustrating trying to find solutions. While breastfeeding mums should be mindful about what they put into their bodies and not everything is recommended for precious newborn babies, there are some useful products around that can help make the crazy first few weeks of motherhood run a little more smoothly,” Natalie said.
Breastfeeding is one of the hardest parts about being a new mum but there is help at hand, according to Natalie.
• Weleda makes a galactagogue tea – Weleda Nursing Tea – containing anise, fennel, caraway, fenugreek and lemon verbena leaves which can support lactation and help soothe digestion. Any tea with fenugreek, nettle, anise and raspberry leaf can also help with milk flow.
• The Herbs of Gold Breastfeeding support tablets are a good option for non-tea drinkers.
• Lactation help also comes in snack form with Franjo’s Kitchen’s lactation cookies and crackers. Full of natural galactagogues such as oats, brewer’s yeast and flaxseeds plus superfoods such as chia seeds and coconut oil, the biscuits are designed to be nourishing and delicious while loading mum and bub up with vitamins, minerals and good fats. Another tip is to add brewer’s yeast, ground flaxseed meal or flaxseed oil to a smoothie or morning beverage as these are all good galactagogues that can increase milk supply.
• For tender and cracked nipples, Weleda Nipple Care Cream draws on the naturally soothing and moisturising properties of aloe vera, marshmallow, calendula and chamomile to offer some relief in those early weeks of breastfeeding. Because it’s all natural, it doesn’t need to be removed before feeding.
Probiotics are ‘for life’ but are they for babies?
As we learn more and more about the importance of gut health, probiotics have become the go-to product for everything from building immunity to skin health. Natalie said they have the same effect in babies and children as adults.
• Our gut is populated by billions of strains of bacteria and it’s important to keep the right balance. A gut imbalance can be caused by environmental or other factors and probiotics can help maintain a healthy immune system and gastrointestinal immunity, which is important for digestive function and can relieve upset tummies. They may also help in the management of allergic conditions like eczema and dermatitis, help restore healthy intestinal microflora during and after antibiotic use, and may help to reduce the occurrence of upper respiratory tract infections. Many mums say that when their little ones are in day care, they recover quicker from snotty noses, coughs and colds or don’t get as many illnesses when they consume probiotics.
• Probiotics are good for everybody and can be consumed in either supplement form or in fermented foods and drinks. They are important whilst mum is pregnant and for bub after birth. The bacteria destined for a baby’s gut microbiota is primarily found in the birth canal, meaning that babies born by caesarean may be exposed to less of their mother’s microbiome. Some research has shown links between caesarean births and a higher incidence of asthma, allergies and other conditions. Bubs can consume probiotics from birth by mum applying a little to her nipple before feeding, adding to expressed milk or formula, and later to water and food.
Baby bath time
Baby skin is so new and precious, it’s important to be extra careful with it. With rashes, eczema and other skin conditions so prevalent in those first few months, it’s good to have an arsenal of trustworthy products handy, Natalie said.
• Made from organic and natural ingredients, Dr Bronner's Unscented Baby-Mild Castile soap is created with baby bath time in mind. It has a soothing double dose of olive oil and the lack of fragrance and essential oils keeps things simple to avoid exacerbating sensitive skin.
• Ensuring baby’s skin stays as smooth as a baby’s bottom, Jojoba can be applied after bath time. Jojoba is a plant that produces a golden liquid wax that mimics the skin’s own natural oils and with a balance of vitamins A, D and E, essential fatty acids omega 6 and 9, antioxidant properties and docosenol – a saturated fatty acid naturally contained in jojoba – it’s gentle on babies’ skin. The Jojoba Company makes a special baby oil with lavender, which can be used on the scalp to help remove stubborn cradle cap. Their Jojoba Co Baby Pack makes a lovely gift for a new mum.
• With the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance, Weleda’s White Mallow Baby Derma face cream and body lotion is suitable for babies, especially those with hypersensitive skin. White Mallow has been used since ancient times to help calm, sooth and restore balance to sensitive skin. Its anti-irritant properties can gently alleviate itching and irritation while promoting healthy skin development.
No more nappy rash
No matter what nappies you use or how well you care for your baby’s bottom, nappy rash is sure to rear its ugly head at some point. The good news is that it’s easy to stop it in its tracks with some soothing, natural cream or a bit of air time, Natalie said.
• Calendula is known for its powerful healing and anti-inflammatory properties, which is why the orange flower is at the heart of Weleda’s baby care range. Weleda Calendula Nappy Change Cream uses lanolin and zinc oxide to protect delicate baby skin, and organic calendula and chamomile extracts to soothe.
• Harnessing the natural healing power of nature, Sven’s Island Bubba Calm Baby Cream draws on Kohuhu leaf extract, which contains strong healing properties, and sweet chamomile flower and oat kernel extract for added anti-inflammatory protection.
• Allowing baby some nappy-free time in the fresh air or sun can also work wonders.
Colic is a word that is often used to explain uncontrollable crying in newborn babies. While there are many reasons why a newborn cries, the culprit can be gas or an upset tummy, which can be soothed with some natural remedies, according to Natalie.
• Just as chamomile can have a calming effect at bed time, it can also help to soothe an upset tummy. A weak tea of dill or chamomile can be given to babies in very small doses to help aid digestion and support sleep. Sipping on Pukka Tea Three Chamomile, Planet Organic Tea Chamomile or Simply Organic Dill, may also help mum relax.
A teething baby can be a mum’s worst nightmare but there are natural solutions to help ease the pain, according to Natalie.
• When a baby starts teething, all they want to do is suck on something so it’s good to know that whatever they put in their mouth is 100 per cent natural and chemical-free. Makeuwell’s natural rubber soothers are made from renewable and sustainable resources and there are no nasty ingredients such as BPAs, artificial colours or chemicals. They are also available in different sizes and come in cute shapes.
• Weleda makes a teething powder from homoeopathic ingredients that can calm baby’s gums and provide relief during teething.
For more information on Healthy Life, visit their store on Ground Level near Coles.