My Boobs Are My Business…

It seems that no matter where I go, who I’m with or what I am doing – there is one question I just cannot get away from. Are you breastfeeding? – this is probably one of the most delicate, loaded questions one mom could ever ask another and I am taken aback every time. Why do I need to answer that question? And when did private decisions become a public curiosity? (Yes, I get the irony of me addressing this issue on my very public blog).

It did not bother me so much in the first few weeks when I could still give yes as an answer – but after my second child and second failed attempt at breastfeeding and having to answer no – only to be met by judgmental stares and be given a whole lecture on how it is impossible not to be able to breastfeed, that I am robbing my child of a healthy life and how selfish I am being – it’s become a soul crushing guilt trip.

My Boobs Are My Business... Continue reading

{Review} NooNoo Pie Tie… Snug And Free, The Natural And Flexible Baby Carrier For Babywearing {GIVEAWAY CLOSED}

There is no better feeling in the world than holding your little baby in your arms – my favourite part of the day is lying on the couch with my little Knox sleeping against my chest, taking in his scent (nothing in the world smells better than a baby!) and kissing his perfect little head.

{Review} NooNoo Pie Tie... Snug And Free, The Natural And Flexible Baby Carrier {GIVEAWAY CLOSED} baby relaxing on mom's chest

Having a busy toddler makes having these special moments rather difficult. There is just so much to do  – I’m sure all moms can agree. With the NooNoo Pie Tie you can still have baba close to you even when you are busy. Knox was a month premature and spent a week in NICU due to having some breathing difficulties. We were not allowed to touch him at all and I got to hold him for the first time when he was about a week old. Needless to say, once I finally did hold him I never wanted to let go. The lovely ladies at NooNoo Pie sent me a wrap to try out and it arrived the day after we finally brought Knox home. It must have been extremely stressful for him to all of a sudden be in such a drastically different environment than the NICU with all its beeping machines and he was crying quite a lot – that wrap worked wonders. As you can see in the photo, I got the wrap horribly wrong the first time around! Luckily, through NooNoo Pie’s amazing hands-on approach, they guided me in the right direction… Continue reading

Merry Christmas – Our Family Traditions

Christmas is such a magical time of the year… and definitely my favourite.

We do things a little differently in our home… Cole (my husband) and I don’t believe in religion. Cole is an Atheist and I am what I like to call “Spiritual“. I believe in a greater power – my personal belief is that this greater power is nature and energy, but before we get off topic, let’s leave that as a post for another time. All you need to know is that I respect everyone’s different religions and beliefs, and that I am raising my kids to learn about all of them in order for them to be open minded and to make their own choices. So, we do things differently because we don’t do the religious part, for us it is family time, a time to reflect, a time to be grateful, a time to be together and a time to give. Santa Clause is a big fat man in a red suit with a long white beard who delivers presents on his sleigh to the kids who’ve been good throughout the year and we have our own little family traditions. Also, Cole never had the joy of Christmas growing up – his parents are Jehovah’s Witnesses and do not believe in celebrating Christmas, so it is extra special as it is something he’s always wanted when he was little. Christmas is a big deal in our home and it’s all about making memories with each other and the kids.

One of my best Christmas memories from growing up was spending time in the kitchen with my sisters and mom baking and cooking up a storm. Cut-out sugar cookies from my mom’s Huisgenoot cookbook and Peppermint Crisp Tart were our specialties. For a solid two days our kitchen counter would be covered in flour dust, frosting drippings and chocolate shavings as we made every shape cookie imaginable and carefully decorated each one with an variety of colored frostings and sprinkles. As my sisters and I got older, my mom let us have free reign of the kitchen and it was so much fun getting to do the planning and baking by ourselves. My mom always had a entire menu planned out and we each had our own contributions.

Merry Christmas - Our Family Traditions

Family Recipe – Peppermint Tart

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I’m Still Here…

Hi Everyone! Remember me?

I know I have been quiet as a mouse, but following the birth of my baby boy and his stay in NICU I have just been completely focused on my family.

First of all I would like to thank all of you for your kind words of encouragement, support, love and patience. It really helped so much to get me through a difficult time – I can never express enough gratitude.

Knox is finally at home with us and we are all completely in love with him! It was so odd when they finally took all of his big tubes off – he didn’t look anything like I thought he did once the swelling went down and we could see his face properly, I also saw his hair for the first time as they could finally take the cap off that held all the tubes in place… so odd that I only really saw my son properly about 5 days after he was born.

I'm Still Here...

From this…

I'm Still Here...

To this…

I'm Still Here...

After they let me hold him for the first time he improved so much that they let me try nurse him the next day, from there on the recovery has been unbelievable… all he needed was a loving touch, something we were not allowed to do at all for the first couple of days as he might not have been able to handle the stimulation.

I'm Still Here...

Holding him for the first time, my heart have never felt so complete.

I'm Still Here...

Mikayla is handling having a baby brother so well, I was worried that she might feel left out or excluded. I did not think she understood the situation properly, but once again i completely underestimated my daughter and she astounded me with her intelligence and compassion. I really need to stop doing that. She only got to see Knox for the first time through the window of the NICU on day 5 (kids are not allowed in the NICU) – she was smitten. She cried every day that I came home without him and got excited every morning that I left for the hospital because maybe… just maybe. The night before we thought he might come home we started preparing everything at home, Mikayla was adamant on washing his bottles – the perks of Montessori!

I'm Still Here...

She kisses him every opportunity she gets, she sings him lullaby’s and tells him stories – you cannot comprehend the cuteness! When she holds him she has the proudest look on her face… I feel sorry for the girlfriends in Knox’s future (not as sorry as I feel for the men in Mikayla’s).

I'm Still Here...

So far everything is going fine, I am a little bit more sore this time around than with Mikayla – I had a c-section for both. I guess it has to do with going over scar tissue again or something, I’m not sure.

I will probably still be a bit quiet for the next week or two, but I am working on a couple of competitions as well as some rad articles and reviews, so watch this space xxx

So much love for you all!

I'm Still Here...

My Issues with Maternity Leave in South Africa

I have one month left at work until I have to go on maternity leave, I say have to because apparently I do not have a choice in the matter. Let me explain – like most of the companies in the fashion industry the company I work for has a shut-down period from 19 December 2014 until about 14 January 2015 in which we all have to take our annual leave that we have built up throughout the year, my plan was to work up until the last day when we would all break up (I would be 38 weeks pregnant). To me this meant more time with my baby after birth. I was however informed that, by law, I have to go on maternity leave at 36 weeks, that’s an entire month before my due date and means that I have only three months maternity leave left after my baby is born.

The maternity leave issue has been bugging me for a while now. According to the Basic Employment Act, mothers are entitled to four consecutive months of maternity leave – first off, even if your maternity leave only kicks in after the birth of your baby, four months is not nearly enough time to bond with a newborn (you can read my article on bonding with my first child here). Secondly, I am one of the many unlucky women who will not be receiving a salary from my company during this time. Luckily our baby was planned and we have been fortunate enough to make provisions, but it is still going to be a major financial setback for us. Many women cannot afford to not receive a salary for that amount of time and are thus forced to go back to work earlier. You can claim from UIF, but the amount you receive is nothing short of a joke… at least it is better than nothing I suppose. I have asked the opinions of a couple of South Africans through various social media network platforms as well as forums – most of the feedback is pretty much on par with how I feel, but some of the comments just blew my f*#@! mind.

According to Economist Dawie Roodt – longer maternity leave is not an option for South Africa. “The current duration is far too much already. When the politicians start to force the employer to keep a position open for a longer period for an employee, they are essentially penalizing and taxing the employer,” –  I wonder if Mr Roodt has children, or how long his wife took maternity leave (if she works at all). He then went on to make the following statement – “When UIF is being paid out for a longer period, it means someone else is paying for you to be on maternity leave.” Okay, I understand, but I am paying for some asshole in Pollsmoore Prison to receive a meal and a bed every night for killing/raping/murdering/stealing or whatever. I am also paying for my president to build lavish homes (Nklandla) and for his wives to go on insane designer shopping sprees. I am paying towards a government that is crumbling and that has become a source of comic relief to us. Surely, paying me UIF is a small price to pay compared to all the money we fork out that seems to disappear into thin air.

My Issues with Maternity Leave in South Africa

A senior policy consultant at the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Pietman Roos, said if maternity leave was extended, employing women would be seen as a risk to companies. “It’s a cost factor. It would ultimately affect the chances of getting a job for all women,” he said. I’m sorry, does that not constitute as discrimination?? Why are we being punished for having babies?

Many women referred to the Pick n Pay model which allows eleven months of maternity leave, nine of which are paid. The retailer gives fathers eight days’ paternity leave, even though labour legislation does not make specific allowance for leave for new fathers. If the mother and father both work at Pick n Pay, they can share the maternity leave. That is amazing – why did I not go work for them?? Makro is not far behind, offering employers nine months paid maternity leave.

South Africa abides by the ILO Convention 183, which states that a woman is entitled to maternity leave of no less than 14 weeks, but the country has not taken up a recommendation to extend maternity leave to at least 18 weeks.

Sweden is the most generous when it comes to parental leave – mothers and fathers can share 16 months at home with their baby.

At least we are not in Tunisia, which offers the shortest maternity leave of just one month.

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Baby Bump Update – 31 Weeks. Let The Countdown Begin…

Baby Bump Update - 31 Weeks. Let The Countdown Begin...

So, I am now well into my third trimester…not sure when exactly this happened – has it not only been like five days? When I give birth tomorrow or something maybe I will figure out where Winter has gone and when my daughter turned into a little toddler. I digress.

I went for my check up this morning and he is just perfect – seeing him and hearing his heartbeat completely made up for the fact that I almost vomited on everyone and passed out on the doctor’s exam table. It was also very special as I had Cole, my mom and my dad with me. My parents live 830 km’s away so they always miss out, but today they got to see their first grandson (even if it is just on a screen). We also set a date for the Cesarean, I should really get my butt in gear and start tying up all the loose ends! I am way too relaxed about everything this time around…

How far along? 31 Weeks

Total weight gain: 15 kg’s

Maternity clothes: Not quite there yet – I bought my first maternity dress, but I am still fitting into my loose stretchy clothes. Finding trendy maternity wear is exhausting, and changing rooms in clothing stores are just too depressing for me to handle right now!

Stretch marks: I have 3 new ones to add to my collection of love notes… can’t say I didn’t see that coming

Sleep: There is no such thing. It’s not all pregnancy related though. Mikayla was quite ill after having her tonsils and adenoids taken out which resulted in about two weeks of sleep deprivation, I am working quite hard at the moment and there just is not enough time in the day… Also, I am getting more and more uncomfortable and little Knox is the most active at night (Uh-oh). I know I need to slow down and relax, and I will eventually.

Best moment this week: Finding out that our baby boy will be delivered on the 19th of December… It makes it so real and final. I just can’t wait! 7 weeks to go…

Miss anything? I really miss sleeping on my tummy… you know, that drooling from the mouth, face squashing, comatose tummy nap? It’s the best.

Movement: He is so active at the moment, he is only ever really still in the mornings lately. It also now seems to be a little game to kick my stomach while I’m eating and to poke his little toes into my ribcage. He is currently in the breach position, but doctor said not to worry.

Food cravings: Still the same – pineapple, spinach, nectarines… I am LOVING plain yoghurt and Yogi-Sips at the moment.

Anything making you queasy or sick? The smell of Biltong and Ostrich mince.

Gender: Still a boy (phew!)

Labour signs: Not really, a couple of Braxton Hicks here and there.

Symptoms: The absolute worst is muscle and leg cramps. I get them in my legs, hands and toes – definitely not the most pleasant thing in the world (especially at 2am in the morning). My back is also starting to take some strain and my feet get quite swollen at the end of my work day. Let’s not forget the fact that I have to go pee every 5 minutes.

Belly button in or out? Still in, I doubt it will ever pop out.

Wedding rings on or off? On, but the day is fast approaching…

Happy or moody most of the time: 50/50 – I only get moody because I am really tired.

Looking forward to: Maternity leave in 4 weeks time! I will get two weeks to myself and to spend some quality time with Mikayla before baby arrives.