Banting and Fertility

banting-and-fertility There seems to be a lot of conflicting information out there on the health and safety of the Banting / Low carb high fat / Tim Noakes diet for fertility, pregnancy and breastfeeding. As we embark on this meal plan, I am looking for answers as much as I am savouring the food. At the end of the day, I have to work out nutrition that will be healthy for me and nurturing for both Nicky and new life.

To understand why we are doing this diet, I will list my motivations.

1) My husband is diabetic. If you read “The Real Meal Revolution” it says that carbohydrates drive up your blood glucose concentration. So reducing them can help. In the ten days of this diet his blood sugar levels have stabilised and he has lost some weight (1.9kg) too.

2) My reservations about fat and heart disease were given another perspective by this article: The cure for heart disease and the great cholesterol lie. Dr. Dwight Lundell, a heart surgeon, says he says the reason heart disease is a problem is because of inflammation of the artery wall.

What are the biggest culprits of chronic inflammation? Quite simply, they are the overload of simple, highly processed carbohydrates (sugar, flour and all the products made from them) and the excess consumption of omega-6 vegetable oils like soybean, corn and sunflower that are found in many processed foods. Take a moment to visualize rubbing a stiff brush repeatedly over soft skin until it becomes quite red and nearly bleeding….I have peered inside thousands upon thousands of arteries. A diseased artery looks as if someone took a brush and scrubbed repeatedly against its wall. Several times a day, every day, the foods we eat create small injuries compounding into more injuries, causing the body to respond continuously and appropriately with inflammation. 

3) There are a lot of success stories out there, and bloggers are writing about it. Sharon van Wyk, the Blessed Barrenness, has lost a lot of weight and is still losing.

Having looked at some motivators, let’s now examine some information regarding this diet and our reproductive processes.

1) According to this study, a low carb, high protein diet improved outcomes for IVF patients. Those whose daily protein intake was higher than 25% had better outcomes for pregnancy and live births.

2) Inè Reynierse, the blogger behind “Low carb is lekker” has documented her twin pregnancy on the diet. She pointed out that a lot of recommendations that you think are good are actually bad because they are loaded with sugar e.g. low fat fruit yoghurt has 80% sugar. Two slices of wholegrain bread have six teaspoons of sugar. She also has a list of what you need during pregnancy from wellnessmama.

3) A post on Breastfeeding Magazine cautions against a low carb diet because in the early stages of the diet when carbs are omitted, the fat burning stage of ketosis could be dangerous for your baby. They recommend that you only do the diet after baby is six months and starting solids or start the diet gradually. Since Nicky is two years old and I am still having carbs for breakfast, I guess I’m good.

A few years ago I wrote a post which listed requirements for fertility so I thought I’d go through that and check how the Banting diet rated.

1. No alcohol. Not an issue for me since I hardly ever have any, but I’ve noticed the odd cup of white wine in the food. RMR (The Real Meal Revolution) p 50 has a “drinking disclaimer”: they say while dry wines, most spirits, low energy beers and a few other drinks are ok from a carb perspective, alcohol is toxic and there are a lot of bad things about it. So if I really wanted to remove it from some of the meals I could. But I certainly don’t drink the stuff neat.

2. No caffeine or coffee. Coffee is listed as ok in Low Carb Living for Families and part of the shopping list on Low carb is lekker. For me, coffee is pretty easy to eliminate (except of those sleep deprived days.. okay who am I kidding, I am sleep deprived every day… maybe it will be harder than what I thought…) We are having rooibos with xylitol.

3. No sugar. I think all diets universally say cut down on the sugar and this one is no different. What is useful about this one is that they advise to use xylitol or stervia rather than the other sweeteners out there.

Low carb living for families p 115 Pizza

Low carb living for families p 115 Pizza

4. No dairy. THIS is my biggest issue with the Banting diet. There is a lot of cream, yoghurt and cheese. I have decided not to have the Saturday pizza any more because it is so loaded with cheese. In RMR they do say if dairy does not affect your weight, stick to full fat products. They say on pg 51 “Although dairy is good for you, it does contain carbs and can be a stumbling block. In your Banting begining, perhaps avoid eating too much dairy. Butter is still good!”

In the RMR meals I see there is a lot of cream added to the food. In Low Carb Living for Families there is more cheese (e.g. the pizza). For me I don’t mind adding the odd bit of milk to food but overdoing on the cheese is too much.

Why is dairy so bad for fertility? It has artificial components that mess up your hormones and if you are lactose intolerant it is hard to digest. It also creates a “dampness” or mucus that hampers your energy flow and creates stagnation. (Angela Wu – Fertility Wisdom).

5. No wheat. Since we’re cutting out carbs, wheat would definitely be off the list.

At the end of the day you want to eat fresh food instead of processed junk, and RMR helps with that.

I had a look at Angela Wu’s food suggestions. She looks at food from an Eastern perspective. She believes it is important to have food that will create a “warm womb”. In other words, you want to eat cool/ neutral/ warm foods and not the extreme hot or cold ones.

If you want to know which foods to steer for, stick out your tongue. Mine is pale, which means I have a cooler constitution. A red, cracked tongue means you are overheated and have a warm constitution. Purplish means you are stagnant. One of the things I really liked about my homeopath / acupuncturist Dr P was that he would always look at my tongue and ask about my cycle before sticking needles in me. He seemed to value the feedback my body was giving, which is important.

Lamb stew and broccoli RMR p134

Lamb stew and broccoli RMR p134

Chicken Tikka Masala RMR p146

Chicken Tikka Masala RMR p146







So I have to bump up the heat. Ginger and garlic are extreme hot foods, but she says cooked the ginger will aid digestion and garlic will help for its antibiotic properties. Lamb is also great for a cooler constitution. These foods are very present in the RMR. Garlic is in just about everything (the kind you have from the actual garlic, not your spice bottle) and I grated ginger for the chicken tikka masala (p146). All on the warm list are these vegetables: bell peppers, chives, onion, parsley. Button mushrooms and cauliflower are cool, and white mushrooms are cold, but I reckon there are enough hot foods to balance it out.

Haddock and Cauliflower RMR p176

Haddock and Cauliflower RMR p176

Warm meats are beef, chicken and turkey, while lamb is hot. Eggs and dairy are neutral.  Yoghurt is too cold. I feel that too and much prefer my warm oats for breakfast. Ocean fish are cool but at least not cold. And you can spice them up!

For more on her book I think you should just read it!

And now back to that recipe book that started all this. I’ve just read in this week’s YOU magazine that “The Real Meal Revolution” co-authored by Tim Noakes, two other chefs and a nutritionist has now sold 100 000 copies. It certainly challenges conventional food beliefs. After cooking from it for a week I will say it was definitely tasty, but it is written by chefs. This means at times you have to put your stew in the oven for two and a half hours or marinade your lamb for half an hour. Few are quick! They are labour intensive. Delicious, yes, but also time consuming.

So what is my conclusion?

For my husband, it is definitely working. For myself, I still want to have my oats for breakfast. It’s too soon to see if this diet will work for me. I might have to tweek it a bit and reduce the dairy and change up a few things. But for now the food is really tasty and I feel like we are on the right track to health.



Buy a Bandana and Support Leukaemia patients

bandana-support-sunflower-fund I have been meaning to get a bandana for about two weeks now after receiving three emails about it, but I keep forgetting. This Friday I had completed my grocery shopping and was about to leave when I checked my list one more time.

Bandana. Don’t forget the bandana.

Nicky-and-dad I unclicked Nicky out of his car seat again and told the car guard sheepishly that I was going back in. (He helps us every week).

So why was this bandana so important?

The bandanas are for the Sunflower Fund. This is a fund created to support the bone marrow registry. Bone marrow is needed for those with blood disorders such as leukaemia. The money from the bandanas goes towards the tissue typing (DNA tests) for new donors which costs them R2000 per person.

How to help:

1) Buy a bandana from Pick n Pay / Round table

2) Sign up for the bone marrow registry. They particularly need “people of colour”, as it currently does not completely reflect our population

How to donate bone marrow: Give a blood sample (two test tubes) which is sent to a lab for tissue typing. It only takes minutes and then your details will be placed on SA Bone Marrow Registry.

Apparently donating the bone marrow is not that bad, like donating blood.

Of course the less painful option is just adding that bandana to your grocery cart. I’m sure you’ll be better at remembering it than me…


Nine Ways to be Mindful When You’re Sleep Deprived

(I wrote this post a few weeks ago for a parenting site that did not use it in the end. I decided to put it on my blog, adding in some finishing touches. I am still going through quite a bit of sleep deprivation, so the topic is still very relevant to me. Nicky has been sick this week and his naps are all different (he has now gone back to two naps). He is also clinging to the boob again, but I think it is part of not being well. Hope he gets better soon! In the meantime, enjoy this article).


ways-to-be-mindful-when-sleep-deprived It is a sad fact that the parents of young children often have to deal with frequent night wakings and not a lot of sleep themselves. Bearing in mind that mindfulness means “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations” (according to Google), how does one be fully present when all you want to do is go to sleep?
Parenting is not for the faint hearted these days, and we are constantly reminded about the effect we have on those in our care. The pressure to raise the perfect child, to say the right thing at the right time, to be on the ball, offering appropriate redirections for misbehaviour; well; it all takes a lot of energy and patience.
I have to say I rather appreciate “Great Parents are Made, Not Born.” In other words, we learn from our mistakes. I’m hoping you can learn today from some of my mistakes and together we can become better parents, learning how to power through the days we just want to be over.
The incident where I had a rotten, sleep deprived day began with our attempt at transition to our (recently just turned two) toddler’s own bed. The idea is that he would sleep in his own bed for the first part of the night and then I would take him to our bed for the rest. Since he is still not sleeping through, it makes more sense to have him close than to walk up and down to his room.
However, I did not count on myself lying there, awake, unable to sleep until he cried at about midnight. This meant I got no sleep during the first part of the night. Then, he attached himself to my boob continuously until about 2am. I was too tired to make the mental connection that I should have switched sides earlier. As soon as I did that, he had his fill and fell asleep. He woke up again during the night (I think it was about 4am) so the night was far from over.
I was so tired and grumpy the next morning; I really did not want to get up out of bed. But since my husband does not drive due to epilepsy, up we got to take him to work at 7:30am. And so my bad day began.
Looking back on my day, I can identify positive and negative choices that I made.

Good decisions:
-Reading to Nicky, giving him attention at the beginning of the day.
-Going to a support group of moms that morning (ironically the topic was sleep: a great place to vent).
-Cancelling other plans in the afternoon, not trying to load the day too much.
-Going to sleep early and letting my husband watch Nicky.
-Putting him in front of the TV at the end of the day when I could feel my patience running very thin. This might not sit well with the general idea that screen time is a no-no, but rather a few minutes of that, than me losing my temper again.

Bad decisions:
-Not checking that the gate was closed when I came back from the meeting. Our gate has been a bit temperamental lately and you have to check that it closes properly. Leaving it open puts all our lives at risk. I should have known better.
-Shouting at Nicky when he threw water out of the bath. We normally get out together, but on this day, I just needed time to myself to get dressed first. Of course he took the opportunity to get my attention with a whole lot of water. I was aware that I set this bad situation up, but I lost it anyway. It was a bad mother moment.
-Working at nap time when I should have slept.

So how could I have turned this situation around, to be more present when my body was failing?
1) Acknowledge and respect the need for sleep. Part of mindfulness is accepting one’s feelings and bodily needs. I’m the one who chose to ignore my need for sleep. I chose not to nap when he napped. The desire to sit in front of the computer and “get things done” at nap time was where my ego should have taken a hike so as to meet my physical need for sleep.

What if I’d been in a situation where I couldn’t sleep, such as work? Again, I think part of the battle is to be aware of how sleep slows our mind and just to take things slowly would have helped. I think as parents we put way too much pressure on ourselves to “do it all”, and perhaps, scaling back on the tasks of the day would have helped.

2) If you need to self-medicate to get through the day better, do so. Having a cup of coffee to wake you up or chugging back a pain tablet to curb that blinding headache from lack of sleep will certainly help on days like these. A block of chocolate also works wonders.

3) Change your environment. Going outside and playing in the dirt is grounding and there is something about nature that is calming. Also, putting on a classical CD will also help. I used to put those on when I was teaching to calm myself down, never mind the kids.

4) Be aware of how much shorter your fuse is when you’re tired, and make a plan before you lose it. You may have less capacity to be “fully present”, so don’t set yourself up for a disaster. If a toddler is surrounded by water and his mom is ignoring him, don’t be surprised if the water is thrown. Use it as an opportunity to play and pour water back on top of him. “I know you want to throw water out of the bath, but it doesn’t belong on the bathroom floor (ours is carpeted so it is so much worse when wet), it belongs in the bath.” (I am using Gary Landreth’s play therapy method of Acknowledge the Feeling, Communicate the Limit and Target an Alternative – ACT). And, if you do lose it, make a plan to prevent it happening again.

5) Be aware that you won’t remember everything, and be more vigilant at checking. Check that your child is safely strapped in. Check gates, doors and alarms. Take things slowly and remember that your brain is slower today.

6) Be gentle with yourself and forgive yourself the mistakes you will make on this day. The feeling of failure only makes things worse. Be kind to yourself and acknowledge that you are human, and you will do better next time because of the lessons you have learned today.

7) Balance the acceptance of your child’s erratic sleep with a plan to improve sleep in your home. Part of the bonus of going to the mom’s meeting was finding out about a book on sleep by Elizabeth Pantly which I will be studying for better success (you can see my notes on it here – you’ll see in the end I did my own thing (Sippy cup and holding) but it is always good to get ideas). I will also be bringing him to bed earlier rather than waiting all stressed out for him to cry.

8) Pray. This should be an automatic response when you are in the depths of sleep deprived despair, but sometimes it isn’t. If you quiet yourself when you are in a better emotional place, some answers to your problem will come. For me, during the time that Nicky has been sick, I have received the message not to push the weaning, that it is the wrong time, as well as some encouragement.

9) Let Go and Let God. Whatever your religious persuasion, there comes a point where you have to let go and try and see the bigger picture, even if the greater plan is just to help other moms going through the same problem!

There are kids, of course, who just won’t sleep no matter what you do. My mother gave me some good advice: she said when you reach the point of acceptance that you will not sleep, that is usually when sleep occurs.

I hope this article has showcased my mistakes sufficiently for you to avoid making them yourself.

Our challenge going forward is to make the effort to be more present and accepting of ourselves and our limitations. Because when you can accept yourself and your own mistakes, it makes it a lot easier for your children to deal with theirs.

At the end of the day this is a rite of passage for parents, and to know that you have crossed over to the other side is something to be proud of.

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

Oriah Mountain Dreamer – The Invitation.

Seven Warning Signs Your Dog has Had Enough of Your Toddler – And What To Do About It

seven-warning-signs-dog-and-toddler-what-to-do It has been said that you should “pick your battles”. At the moment I am focusing on two main discipline issues with Nicky.

1) Don’t throw your cutlery or bowl when you are finished your food.

2) Don’t hurt the dogs.

Now throwing cutlery is easier solved. I can re-direct him to throw a ball, and recently he has been giving me his spoon. I also think it is a cry for attention: “I’m finished mom! You need to help me with this bib!”

Dogs, on the other hand, are an ongoing problem.

We have two dogs, Coffee and Milo.  Milo is probably the one we should be more worried about (he is not as tolerant of Coffee) but he has more sense. He normally goes straight away and hides under the desk in the study in the mornings. Coffee, on the other hand, is a social dog and wants to be in the middle of everything. Unfortunately this means she is the prime target for Nicky to climb, hit, kick her or even ride his cars all over her body.

Readers of this blog have already seen the picture of him driving cars under her tail. She seems to tolerate that well enough, although we have to keep an eye on him.

About a year ago this video was doing the rounds on Facebook and it really alerted me to the way dogs try and communicate that things are not ok, even though you think they are. If we stay alert and see what they are saying then maybe we have a chance of preventing our worst nightmares: fatal dog bites. And it has happened.

Watch the video:

As you can see, the video gives us the following signs to be aware of:

1) Avoidance: this is what Milo does – he runs away. Smart dog.

2) Alert: Coffee puts her ears up and looks agitated.

3) Tongue flicks  / licks- watch my video to see Milo doing this as Nicky approaches.

4) Whale eye: I know Coffee is really upset when her eyes are enlarged.

5) Pacing: Another sign of agitation.

6) Growling and

7) Showing teeth: I remember this happening with Milo. We went through a really bad patch with him. I think he has learnt now to keep away.

Here’s another video about how a bite could have been prevented. The dog is cornered and he is turning, showing he wants space, stiff and flicking his tongue too:

What I do to deal with the situation:

1) Redirection. Just like any other toddler misbehaviour, I redirect. Since the number one thing he wants to do is climb and move, bringing the scooter around normally works. That way he can climb on the scooter and move around without bothering the dog. (Of course you then have to watch that he doesn’t ride over her tail..)

2) Separation. This is often my last resort after I have repeatedly told him “No!” Just putting the dogs in another room for a while and distracting Nicky with something else is another way of dealing with the problem.

Here is a video I made showing Nicky, Coffee and Milo together outside. You’ll see Milo is very relaxed at the beginning (panting, blinks) and then when Nicky moves towards him you’ll see that tongue flick or lick. A slight tension and then Nicky turns around and walks the other way towards Coffee. Coffee is listening for her buddies next door and also sniffing the air. But her ears are up on high alert either way. Milo looks relaxed again at the end of the video.

toddler-and-dog2 I think in conclusion the best plan is to be very aware of the interactions between your toddler and your dog as well as their limitations so that if there is any problem you can catch it before it escalates. That way you can protect the ones you love in a way that acknowledges their temperaments and builds canine and human relationships in the generations to come.

Nicky’s First Salon Haircut

toddler-first-salon-haircut I was driving back one morning from dropping off my hubby when I was handed a pamphlet for “The Pear Tree“, a venue where you can get your hair and nails done while someone looks after your kids.

This appealed to me on a lot of levels. I only have the maid once a week on a Friday, and basically that is mostly taken up by the morning grocery shop (which Nicky joins me on while she vacuums). Then it’s nap time which I like to use to work, but I can also use that time to pop out. Once Nicky wakes up there really isn’t much time before she has to go again. Plus these days she isn’t that reliable (Friday she cancelled again).

So I was glad last Thursday to book appointments for both Nicky and myself without having to worry too much about childcare. For R50 they will look after your kid while you sit in their coffee shop or get your hair done. They also have fitness classes (pilates and yoga).

My hair was cut by the very capable Mavuso. He has a lot of experience and has worked for Gary Romm for two years as well. He has also cut a lot of kids hair. He is a father to three kids as well. I think this is the first time I’ve had my hair properly styled and it felt nice.

Nicky played very happily in both the indoor and outdoor playgrounds. He apparently spent a lot of time in the sandpit and got a bit sunburnt (oops I forgot to put sunscreen!). They even fed him. They took him to come have a look where I was as well.

Then his time came for his haircut. We have done our own thing twice before but he has been looking a bit unkept. At the start they strapped him into this high chair and he cried as Mavuso cut at the back. But TK gave him a lollipop pretty soon and that helped a lot.

At the end of the day it was a fun outing and we both looked much better.

This evening I cut hubby’s hair and now we are all looking good.

Here are some pics of us with out new haircuts:

heather-step .Nicky and H Nicky-and-Heather

Nighttime Nursling (from No-Cry Sleep Solution)

One my biggest problems at the moment is lack of sleep. Nicky is regressing to waking up EVERY TWO HOURS FOR BOOB! I am exhausted.

So let’s look at some ways this book suggests to cure night time nursing.

no-cry-sleep-solution-toddlers-night-nursing 1) Pantley’s Gentle Removal Plan:  At the end of nursing during the day say: “All done, Milk is all done. Bye bye milk.” Then during the night, get him off the boob when he is relaxed. When he falls asleep without the boob, say the same phrase.

To be honest I have already been doing this for ages. Not all the time, but every now and then. He kind of settles after I have pulled the boob. But he still seems to need that initial boob. I wouldn’t talk though, I don’t want to wake him.

2) Create a New Bedtime Routine: where they fall asleep without the boob. They suggest cuddling, music, audio book.

I do have a sleep app noises I can try, I guess. (I tried it last night but he was too distracted by the IPad. He has lots of game on there he likes, especially he likes watching videos of himself) My problem with routine for bed time is that I have to pick DH up at irregular hours. There’s not much I can do about that but I have been trying: supper at 5, bath thereafter, pick up DH around 6/7. bed 8/9.

3) The Storytelling Ritual: While sucking on a sippy cup or pacifier tell a story where they are the main character.

I did try this last night without success. But I think it’s a good idea I should keep trying.

3) Set Time Perimeters: E.g from 12:00 till 6 am “the milk is asleep”. Explain mom gets grumpy without sleep. Hold, pat & comfort but insist the milk is asleep.

I like this one. But I know he’s going to cry.

4) Use Light and Dark as Nursing Cues: “We nurse when It’s light. We sleep when it’s dark.”

This is similar to 3 but the thing is we don’t really nurse much in the day anymore.

5) A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place: Don’t nurse in the bedroom. Massage, sing, story, relaxation exercise. Go to sofa for nursing if he really needs it.

Sheesh. Up and down. But maybe that might work.

6) Adding some motivation: 20 -30 prizes if he waits till morning to nurse.

Not sure he’ll get this.

7) Enlist the Help of Another Adult. Dad puts child to sleep.

We have tried this, it doesn’t work. But maybe we should persist.

I like this quote though: “Crying and fussing in the arms of a loving parent are not the same as crying it out.”

They say 10-14 days will show success. Also allow touch.

What has worked for me so far:

At the moment the real thing that I am not willing to do is ongoing nursing in the middle of the night. In other words, hanging on my boob for hours on end. So this is how things have gone. I have been using a sippy cup of tea at night with some holding as well.

-Friday night: The previous day was normal but he woke up early and wanted to hang on me in the early hours of the morning. So I just said no and redirected him to the sippy cup. Of course he cried but in the end he did drink a bit and eventually fell asleep.

-Monday night. Monday was a difficult sleep day because we had a doctor’s appointment in the morning (my DH’s annual neurologist check up in Sunninghill) so of course he fell asleep on the way back and refused to nap when we got home. That night he went to bed very early (7pm) in his own room and then apart from a few wakings here and there he was fine. Until 4am he was WIDE AWAKE and wanting to play. Of course I was not. I was VERY TIRED. So I took him off to the other room and held him and gave him the sippy cup. Eventually he went to sleep. I have to say that on Tuesday I was extremely exhausted and for the first time napped when Nicky napped.

Last night was fine because he went to bed with us (although I really tried to get him to sleep earlier) and only woke at 4am and went straight back to sleep.

I can handle that, it’s the late night wakings and NOT wanting to go back to sleep that is bad.

So let’s hope we are done with the bad nights for now.


Driving Toy Cars Under Objects

driving-truck-or-cars-under-objects Nicky loves anything with wheels, but for him there is more to playing with them than moving them back and forth. One of his favourite things to do with cars is to drive them under various objects.

He will stand next to furniture that is the right height and line all his cars and trucks up. This can be a couch or a bed.

driving-truck-under-dog-tail On the bed, our dog, Coffee, is often lying around, and he loves to drive his cars under her tail. Or should I say, hold the tail up vertically, while driving the car next to it.

driving-car-under-toy-wand He also had fun driving a car next to his light sword toy.

Another fun thing he likes to do is drive around on his scooter. Then, if we are sitting on the couch we must lift up our legs in a certain way as he drives past. He takes great care to put the leg up and down in the way he wants.

He also takes cars into the bath and moves my legs back and forth around where he wants his car to drive. One of his cars that often has a ‘car wash’ has been in the bath so many time it’s paper eyes have completely come off.

In short, this boy loves cars and I’m sure can’t wait to drive a real one. He still loves to spend time in my real car, playing with the steering wheel.

By the way, thanks for all the supportive comments on my weaning post. I will keep you all updated with how things are going.

Here are some fab pictures of myself and Nicky, at 25 months. As you can see, he is holding cars. In you want to know where I got that nice teal top from, read about my day of fashion here.


Win One of Five Dummy Sterilisers!

win-dummy-sterilisers My previous blog post and giveaway was a  big success! The winner of the soother steriliser was Stephanie, from Pretoria.

I have now been given five more soother/ dummy sterilisers to give away. They are also all green, so you don’t have to worry about the gender preferences.

Just a recap on exactly what it is:

The Milton Soother Steriliser

The foam components.

The foam used in this steriliser took them about a year to source and that it is medical
grade PVA from Belgium.  They tried it at first with one foam and then found it to be better with two. The sponges absorb the water and are pretty special because they can also be used inside the human body.

MINI1_vert Pop water and the Milton tablet in this container, and within fifteen minutes you have a sterilised dummy that will last for 24 hours.

Mini green with strap RET Another nice thing about it is that it comes with a strap you can attach to your stroller. So it really is sterilisation on the go!

If you’d like to read more about Milton and their other sterilisation products, plus why you need to sterilise in baby’s first year, go to my previous post here.

To enter, use the Rafflecopter method. The competition closes on 15 August. Winners will be emailed and also announced on the Facebook page. You must be living in South Africa to enter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Weaning – I Just Can’t Do It.

weaning-I-can't-do-it Nicky has recently turned two and shows no sign of dropping the boob. Although the day feeds are a lot less, he still needs it to go to sleep and when emotionally distressed. I keep trying to stop, but I’m weak.

Here is a list of my procrastination methods:

1) Get another sippy cup. We have a variety. I have two kinds of no spill Tommy Tippee. I have a Avent no spill with a straw. I have two with a straw that spill. I have two push top lids. We have a cute car one.

Sippy cups haven’t totally been a total waste as I now have him drinking tea out of one of the non spill Tommy Tippee (pictured above). So if that helps for a morning or evening feed, great.

2) Read another book on weaning. It’s much easier to read a book than put the information into practice. Then you feel like you are doing something. Remember that post I wrote before on gentle weaning based on two other books? Great tips, right? I wrote them all down. Did I do anything about them? Nope.

I’ve just finished another one (pictured) which is actually really good and has a really good quote about how demanding weaning is.

3) Ask everyone for advice. I asked my mom friends. I asked my sister. I asked my mother. I listened as I was told about feeding Nicky yoghurt at night, I must rub his back to get him to sleep. I must sleep train. I must, I must… aaaah! I listened and I did nothing. (Oh by the way Nicky laughs when I rub his back)

4) Create a spreadsheet to track feeds and what is prompting them. I think my DH’s love for spreadsheets is getting to me. Also the yelling spreadsheet tracker worked really well, didn’t it?

Well that idea lasted one day.

The first day went really well. No day feeds apart from nap time. One feed to get to sleep.

And then.

And then the wheels came off.

Many night feeds because he didn’t sleep. The next day he was so grumpy because of lack of sleep he needed more feeds to calm him down. We have actually had a week of bad sleep. I think he’s teething or he was too cold or something. Who knows. I just rolled over and kept the crying down with the boob solution.

5) Assemble a variety of boob substitutes next to the bed. This was bound to make me feel better, right, and feel like I had some kind of plan, right? I went and bought a bottle warmer. I have a sippy cup. I had a dummy. I had a pouch of food.

Nicky enjoyed playing with the dummy – taking the cap on and off was lots of fun for him. He had the pouch for breakfast. I never had the energy to get the warm bottle. I was weak.

Well folks, I have nothing more to say. I am sure you guys have loads of advice, but then again, I probably won’t listen to it.  I just need support.


Why We are Drawn to the Train Wreck of Reality TV

why-drawn-to-train-wreck-reality-tv-harry-juan-pablo Two reality shows have recently finished their run on South African television and they had some pretty unique endings. The train wreck of watching people’s lives unfold on television isn’t a new phenomenon, as any seasoned ex Jerry Springer watcher will tell you. However, I have to say, that we have plumeted to new lows on “I want to Marry “Harry” “, and “The Bachelor” Season 18.  This doesn’t make them any less entertaining to watch, but you have to wonder why.

From the outset, “I want to Marry ‘Harry’” was bound to run into murky waters. Impersonating a prince with cameras, pretending to be a “Bachelor” situation with fake press and groupies entering at the right moments, well, I guess only gullible American girls would fall for that. We expected the train wreck from the beginning, but surprisingly, some of the girls bought the act. Even the girl who he chose in the end was fine with him not quite being royalty. The American public, however, did not buy into this show, and it was axed after four episodes. Lucky SA, we got to watch all eight, as “Harry” (actually Matthew) agonised over the deception. In the end I am willing to bet he is a better catch than the real Harry, the party prince who is one step away from rehab. Matthew actually came across as quite conservative and a genuinely nice person (apart from the deception). He is currently still enjoying a long distance relationship with the winner of the show. A good outcome from a dubious origin.

On the other hand, we expected better things from the latest season of “The Bachelor”. Although, I’m not totally sure why. If your requirement for a bachelor is only that he is hot and has fantastic abs, then I think you are headed for trouble. Juan Pablo was hugely popular in the aftermath of Desiree’s Bachelorette season. During his own season it initially looked like the familiar formula of romance of a man seeking his mate. (It is rather easy to be distracted from what a person is really like in far flung exotic locations on dates that most of us normal plebs would only dream about). However, when forced to spend a whole night with this man, Andi, an intelligent district attorney and, the chosen next Bachelorette, didn’t enjoy it too much. Here was a guy so busy talking about himself that he forgot to ask about her. Worse was to come for one of the final two in a helicopter ride. In a throw away comment Claire still refuses to divulge, Juan Pablo insulted her and questioned their relationship.

In final episodes of the series, unlike anything we have ever seen before, where we are normally all rooting for the lovers, there was a growing sense of unease among audiences. How would this all turn out? And could there be true happiness with this guy?

Juan Pablo chose Nikki. (In my opinion she was more of the “dumb blonde” type who would have been immune to his flaws). He did not propose to her nor did he say that he loved her. While people may be frustrated with that ending and wonder if they can really be happy, I think it is worth mentioning something that Nikki said on the final show.

She said that so often you see Bachelor engaged couples who wax lyrical about how in love they are and further down the line are broken up. Juan Pablo and Nikki are much more real in a way because they are honest about where they are at. At the time of posting this they are still together, although they will be filmed undergoing couples therapy. A promising beginning and a questionable ending.

Let’s also not forget the Oscar Pistorius Trial coming to an end on channel 199. To be honest I watched a lot of it at the beginning but by the end I had lost interest. Still, the fallen hero holds a fascination for many and we are still to see how this will end. (The odds are against him, though).

Why are we so drawn to watching the terrible undoing of people, falsely set up situations and men we clearly would never date?

1) It makes us feel better about our lives. Bridget Jones put the description of the “smug marrieds” rather well. We feel even more smug about ourselves watching desperate girls go for a man they clearly shouldn’t.

2) It makes us complacent about and / or gives us escape from our own demons. We would never shoot our girlfriend in a fit of rage, would we? We would never be that desperate for a guy, would we? We would never treat a girl like that, would we? We would never pretend to be a prince, would we? The truth is, we all have our dark sides and, given similar circumstances would have no knowing if we would have acted the same. In fact, reality television is a good outlet for those sides we would rather not recognise.

One final word or warning and application for us bloggers: do not think that the train wreck cannot happen to you. Read Mommy Odessy’s post – reflection on how her son’s death and increase in site stats are often just the “rubber neckers” having a look at the train wreck to feel better about themselves. But she has emerged a stronger woman and now has a wonderful child. Cause this train may be bruised and battered, but this train keeps on f**g chugging.