Staying Healthy In Winter

New Zealand winters are not always pleasant… it gets rainy, windy and COLD! And because of how dry the air gets, it’s much easier for nasty viruses to spread. Looking after your family can be a lot more difficult when someone is sick, but luckily there are some vital steps you can take to help minimise the chances of you or your little ones falling ill. Here are some of our tips to share to help you and your family stay well and healthy this winter!

  1. Wash your hands

Did you know that viruses can survive on unwashed hands for 30 minutes, and up to two days on surfaces? Hands are one of the easiest ways for a virus to spread, so making sure to wash your hands thoroughly and frequently is hence one of the BEST methods of eliminating all those nasty germs you might have come in contact with.

A good rule of thumb to follow is to wash your hands for the duration that it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice. Be sure to wash every part of your hands – not just your palms, but the backs of your hands and between your fingers as well!

Another good habit is to avoid touching your face when you have not washed your hands, because if you touch your eyes, nose or mouth while a virus is on your hands, you are likely to become infected yourself. Maintain good hygiene practices and be sure to wash your hands before preparing or eating food, after coughing or sneezing, after changing your little one’s diaper and after using the bathroom.

  1. Hand sanitiser when you’re on-the-go

When you are out and about, it can be a challenge to find a bathroom or a basin with soap to wash your hands properly. That’s where hand sanitiser comes in handy! There’s no need for water, it’s small and portable, fits in your bag, and it’s quick and effective – meaning you can use it just about any time, any place!

When you’re choosing which hand sanitiser to purchase, make sure you select something that has been scientifically proven to eliminate germs effectively. When applying your sanitiser, use a liberal amount and rub all around your hands for at least 20 seconds until they are dry.

TOP TIP: Our Haakaa Healthy Hands Sanitising Spray is perfect for those looking for an alcohol-free alternative to standard hand sanitisers! It’s safe and gentle enough for the whole family to use, including your baby, AND it can last for up to 24 hours, so there’s less need to reapply throughout the day! It kills nasties on contact with its unique formula, won’t dry out your skin and has no powerful smell – an absolute win!

  1. Eat well

Making the right food choices can have a significant influence on your immunity, so be sure to fuel yourself with a healthy, balanced diet this winter! Good immunity-boosting foods to incorporate into your everyday life include leafy greens, egg yolks, mushrooms and fish.

It is widely thought that vitamin C boosts your immune system and helps to minimise the chances of getting sick. However, this is not necessarily true – research indicates that there is no evidence to show that taking vitamin C prevents infection from viruses. Nonetheless, vitamin C still supports several essential roles in your body, including your normal immune function. Plus, it can help speed your recovery if you do get sick – so make sure you get some good sources of it in, such as oranges, kiwifruit and tomatoes!

  1. Wear a mask

Although they may seem uncomfortable, it is widely recommended to wear a mask as they can be incredibly helpful in slowing down the spread of a virus. They can filter out particles in the air when you inhale, including the droplets in the air that contain viruses.

  1. Take care of yourself

Healthy habits like getting plenty of sleep, ensuring you are well hydrated, being physically active, and managing your mental health can all help minimise the risks of you getting sick. Too much stress on your body and mind can make you more prone to falling ill, as it suppresses your immune system. Take some time to relax and put your wellbeing first every now and then – it will do you good in the long-run, mama!

TOP TIP: Take a look at our self-care blog post for more information and ideas about making time for yourself.

We hope our tips prove useful this winter and help you and your family stay well and healthy. Remember - if you can’t look after yourself, it will be even more difficult to look after somebody else! All the best and stay safe mamas. x

With love, from the Haakaa team.

Majit Himel
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Let's Chat About Postnatal Depression

*This article is written by midwife & perinatal mental health specialist Aliza Carr from Bumpnbub. However, please note this is general advice only and does not replace advice from your health professional. If you are experiencing a mental health condition, you should seek personal and professional help.*

Postnatal Depression

Becoming a mama is something that many women dream about for a long time before falling pregnant. It can be so exciting to dream about all things parenthood, what bub might look like, and the future you envisage for them. 

As a midwife that has worked with hundreds of parents-to-be, I know that there is often so much focus and time spent thinking about the labour and birth (and rightfully so!).

However, I’m so passionate about opening up the discussion around what the ‘fourth trimester’ or postpartum period might look like, and ways in which education can help to make this transition easier. I also want to help parents to recognise when things deviate from the standard, such as when they experience postnatal mental health issues. 

There are a variety of mental health difficulties and conditions that women can experience during the perinatal period (pregnancy AND the postpartum period). These include depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD and postnatal psychosis. 

Some of the common mental health triggers in pregnancy include a traumatic birth, previous mental health conditions, unplanned pregnancy and inadequate support. This is where I believe antenatal education can play a crucial part. 

Women experience such a huge array of emotions around their birth - these feelings can include joy, empowerment and a sense of achievement. But for some women, these can be feelings of trauma, fear and anxiety. It is important for you to reflect on this, knowing that it is okay to have these feelings. The physical and hormonal changes our bodies endure post-birth are likely to cause strong emotions, including one such unexpected feeling - depression.

Have you heard about the ‘baby blues?’ If you have had a baby recently, you may remember feeling ALL of the emotions around day three postpartum - crying for no identifiable reason, extremely overwhelmed and utterly exhausted. As many as 70-80% of women will experience the baby blues after they give birth, and this can last up to 2 weeks or so postnatally. Your mind and body have gone through such a huge process and shift, and this is completely normal mama. During this time, prioritise your mental health with lots of self-care and asking for help when you need it. 

What is Postnatal Depression? 

Most women will have heard about the baby blues, but when does this morph into something more serious? According to research and my own experience as a midwife, the most significant barrier to mamas seeking medical help is not knowing what is ‘normal’ vs what is ‘abnormal’ and feeling a sense of guilt around their emotions. 

It is estimated that roughly 1:7 women and 1:10 men will experience postnatal depression (these statistics are also likely underreported). Postnatal depression is classed as a diagnosis of depression within the first 12 months of a baby being born - which is another vital aspect to note. Some women may not experience any symptoms right away, but these may develop later on.

It can be incredibly isolating and scary as a new parent and knowing that you are never alone, and there is always help is a comforting thought. 

So what are some common symptoms of postnatal depression?

  • Losing interest or lack of interest in your baby
  • Fatigue (a feeling of heaviness) 
  • Hopelessness
  • Sadness
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Sometimes extreme thoughts such as that of suicide or self-harm or harming your baby (if you are experiencing any of these symptoms or know of someone that might be, please seek help from a medical professional ASAP)

Lack of sleep is completely normal after having a baby, and this can make you feel flat and irritable. It is important not to confuse this with PND. A good indication that you might be going through PND is if you find it difficult to sleep, even when you are tired and have the opportunity to rest. 

As a new parent with postnatal depression, it can feel very daunting, and women often voice a lot of guilt around telling others how they are feeling and that perhaps they are not coping. One of the most important aspects to postnatal mental health conditions is being able to voice your concerns to a trusted partner, friend and or medical professional. 

You are NOT alone, and by seeking help, you are doing the best possible thing for yourself and in turn, your baby. Something we as health professionals always reiterate is this does NOT make you a bad mother in any way. Just like millions of women in the world, you need some help, and that is 100% okay. 

Postnatal disorders are treatable through counselling, psychiatric evaluation and when necessary, medication. There is no shame in seeking help for yourself, mama. I encourage you to share your feelings with someone as this is the first step in ensuring you do not feel alone in navigating your motherhood journey. If you want more information and helpful resources (and great helplines to call), please see below.

Here are some helpful resources for postnatal depression:

Beyond Blue: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/online-forums/depression/postnatal-depression-7914A5B18D21#qpecunHzvGGEbv8AAOnT_A

The Gidget Foundation: https://gidgetfoundation.org.au/

PANDA: https://www.panda.org.au/

PADA: https://pada.nz/postnatal-depression/

Lifeline: https://www.lifeline.org.nz/

Plunket: https://www.plunket.org.nz/being-a-parent/looking-after-you/parent-mental-health/postnatal-depression/

Majit Himel
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Why You Should Haakaa

Any breastfeeding mama knows just how valuable breast milk is – there’s a reason it’s called liquid gold! Your body is amazing and puts so much effort into producing food for your bub, and so that’s why for many mums it’s super important not to let a single drop go to waste.

This is where the Haakaa breast pump comes in – it’s a world-first innovation that’s designed to let mothers express and collect more breast milk than they would otherwise usually let down. Created by a mum right here in New Zealand, the Haakaa is loved by parents across the world, and is even recommended by professionals! Because it’s so simple to use and so effective, it has made a significant impact on many mothers’ breastfeeding journeys. Today we’ll be sharing some of the many reasons why you should pump with a Haakaa (if you aren’t doing so already) and how it can help you through the early stages of motherhood!

How does the Haakaa work?

The original Haakaa is based off a one-piece silicone design. This creates continuous suction once attached to the breast, drawing out your breast milk (hands-free, might we add!) and collecting every drop of your let-down.

The Haakaa breast pump helps you collect both foremilk and rich hindmilk. Because it’s only a piece of silicone, there’s no electricity nor any cords required, making it so easy to integrate into your daily routine! It’s silent, lightweight and portable so you can express breast milk anytime and anywhere that’s convenient for you – whether that’s at work, sitting in the car or even on a day trip!


There’s no set time frame for when you can use a Haakaa, really – you can use it as soon as you feel comfortable after birth. However, if you are experiencing any difficulties or have any concerns regarding the expression of breast milk, it is recommended that you see a lactation consultant or other health professional.

To help you choose which Haakaa pump to use, check out our blog which features a handy comparison table!

Now without further ado…

Why should I Haakaa?

  1. Relieve engorged and uncomfortable breasts.

As a breastfeeding mama, you may find that there are times when your breasts become fuller and firmer because of your body producing more milk than it can hold. It can be painful, and can happen in one or both breasts – some mothers describe it as feeling like a balloon about to burst!

You can help relieve this engorgement by letting your baby feed… but sometimes there are moments where bub just isn’t hungry, or you don’t want to wake them up from their slumber because you can finally get some peace and quiet. 😉

The Haakaa silicone breast pump is the perfect solution for these tricky situations. It can help you draw out all the extra milk so you can safely store it away for another time, allowing you to build up that stash of liquid gold! Relieving discomfort AND making sure none of that breast milk goes to waste? #winwin

By relieving those engorged breasts, you also help reduce the chances of clogged milk ducts and getting mastitis. Any breastfeeding mother who has had this infection knows how nasty it can be – you’ll run a fever and have flu-like symptoms, your breasts become tender, and feeding can be painful, making you not want to do it at all! If you do happen to get mastitis, it is important you seek treatment from your GP.

  1. Build a breast milk stash.

Having a stash of expressed breast milk in the freezer, ready-to-thaw, can be so convenient for many parents. It’s perfect if your baby needs to be fed while you’re away from them – for example, if you’re at work, or on a date night with a partner. It also allows someone else to help and take over when bub is wailing to be fed in the middle of the night, letting you get some thoroughly well-deserved rest after a long day!

Breast pads can be useful in helping you stay dry and comfortable, especially if you have some extra leakage from the other breast while bub is feeding… but at the end of the day, all that let-down ends up going to waste. By using the Haakaa to help collect every drop of your liquid gold while you’re feeding, you prevent that wastage from happening! Simply pour into a safe storage container afterwards, and over time, you’ll start to see just what an impact saving that extra breast milk has.

TOP TIP: Our Silicone Breast Milk Storage Bags are perfect for keeping your liquid gold stash safe and secure. It’s free from the nasties commonly found in plastic, and it’s completely reusable, so it’s way better for the environment than those single-use milk storage bags!

  1. Allows you to follow a schedule when you’re away.

Any breastfeeding mama knows that for your body to keep up with its production of milk to meet the demands of your bub, you have to set and follow a regular breastfeeding schedule. But there may be times where you’ll be away from your baby when a feeding is due – leaving you with full, engorged breasts. So what can you do then, in those awkward scenarios?

This is where the Haakaa breast pump comes to the rescue! It can help draw out your breast milk while you’re apart from your baby, relieving your engorgement and helping you avoid those embarrassing stains and leaks. Because it’s cordless and lightweight, it’s super portable, making it perfect for taking with you on-the-go when you know you’re going to need it!

Majit Himel
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Debunking Baby Myths

Things can often get incredibly overwhelming as a new mum, which is why we try to take on board every bit of advice and piece of knowledge we get from others. However, just exactly how much of what we hear about babies and motherhood is actually true? What's fact vs. fiction?

Today at Haakaa, we're here to help you break down some of those common baby myths!

Myth #1 – You will instantly fall in love with your baby.

Truth – You might feel like there's something "wrong" with you if there's nothing inspiring affection when you first see or hold your baby, especially considering how excited you've been throughout pregnancy to meet your little one. The truth is it's more common than you think for mothers not to feel this instant, gushing love for their newborns. While some mothers might fall in love with their new bubs at first sight, it is also perfectly normal if you don't feel the same way. Bonding with your bub is a process that happens over time, just like it is with any other person you meet. The closeness will come eventually, so don't worry mama!

Myth #2 – Your newborn can't see.

Truth – Newborns might not have the clearest vision, but your baby can definitely see. You may notice that your new baby's eyes move in a strange, jerky fashion, as they slowly adjust to having control of their eye muscles. Did you know the for the first few weeks of your baby's life, they see everything in black and white? From as early as two weeks, they will start to see in colour and can be able to differentiate red from green.

Myth #3 – Baby walkers can help your baby to walk sooner.

Truth – The reality is that walkers can pose quite a danger to your baby. By preventing your baby from crawling and forcing them in an upright position, walkers hinder your baby's development and prevent them from learning how to balance by themselves. Your little one will lose the opportunity to learn essential motor and perceptual skills, and it may even interfere with their muscle development. This is because their body weight is being put on their legs and hips when they aren't necessarily ready for it.

Furthermore, walkers make it more likely for your little one to have accidents like falling down the stairs, as babies can't see their feet, or they may help your baby grab dangerous things that are typically out of their reach. For the best interests of your child, you should avoid using walkers.

Myth #4 – There are good and bad baby bottles/nipples.

Truth – As every baby is unique and has their differences, it may take some trial and error to find the right baby bottle for your little one. There isn't always necessarily a list of "good" or "bad" bottles – there are just bottles that might work for some babies and bottles that won't work for others. Some babies will accept teats more quickly, while other fussier bubs might want something that exactly replicates mum's breast (like our Gen. 3 Glass Baby Bottle). Babies will also have different styles of sucking, which can cause leaks or varying flows from other bottles and nipples. At the end of the day, there's no better way to find out what fits your baby's individual needs than simply trying different bottles out!


Myth #5 – Your baby needs a bath every day.

Truth – You don't really need to bathe your baby every day. That's because babies don't get sweaty or dirty the same way as older people. In fact, because of how sensitive and delicate your little one's skin is, bathing them too much might end up drying out their skin! To avoid this, you should aim to bathe your child around two or three times a week. In between baths, you can just wash their face, neck, hands and nappy area to keep those parts clean.

Myth #6 – Picking up a crying baby will spoil them.

Truth – There is no way that you can spoil a young baby. Crying is one way your baby communicates with you, and by doing so, your little one is letting you know that they need something. As a result of this, it's vital for you as their parent to respond to them. Over time, observing and learning from the cues your baby gives will eventually help you a lot in figuring out what exactly your baby is trying to communicate!

Myth #7 – Teething causes fever.

Truth – You might be told that teething can cause fever in your bub, but the truth is this isn't actually the case. The main reason why your teething bub might get a fever around the same time those little gnashers start coming in is that teething tends to start between 6-24 months. This period is also the time that babies are more likely to get infections. If your child gets a fever, you should see your doctor as you might otherwise overlook an illness that might require medical attention.


Myth #8  – The length of your baby indicates how tall they will be as an adult.

Truth – Guessing how tall your child will grow later on is unfortunately not as simple as looking at their height and size at birth. It's simply not possible to predict how your child will grow and develop throughout their lifetime as there are so many factors that come into play when determining their sizing at birth. You might be able to estimate how tall they will be by accounting for the average height of the baby's parents, but even that might not always be entirely accurate!

Myth #9 – Your baby will inherit the same allergies as you.

Truth – While genetics might play a part in determining what your baby is allergic to, they will not be the main reason for them. You can use your genetics to help determine what to look out for, and which certain foods/substances to be wary of, but it doesn't necessarily mean that your little one will react to those things the same way your body does. In fact, it may even be possible for your child to have allergies that are the complete opposite to yours! The best way to find out for sure is to go to the doctors to get an allergy test for your child.

Myth #10 – The heartbeat of you and your baby synchronise together.

Truth – Now this "myth" is actually true! According to scientific studies, a mother and her baby's heartbeats can synchronise together simply by looking into each other's eyes. This might be because the mirror neurons inside our brains, which allow us to empathise and replicate each other's expressions, send a signal to other parts of the brain that tell the heart when to thump. It just goes to show how truly special and deep the bond between mother and child is, and we think that's beautiful. 🥰

 

Majit Himel
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Tips for Teething

Teething can be an exciting stage for parents to watch as it marks another step in their bub’s growth and development. However, this stage can also be painful for your baby and frustrating for parents to manage. Gums can swell and become sore and uncomfortable as teeth grow out of them – so what can you do to help soothe your little darling? We’ve compiled a guide to help you identify when your child is teething, as well as how to take care of them during this uncomfortable period of their early childhood.

How can I recognise the signs of teething?

The first tooth usually comes in at around 6 months. However, as every baby is different, your child may start to teethe earlier or later. It is common for teeth to emerge symmetrically, with the right and left teeth growing at similar times. The lower centre teeth tend to come through first. As the tooth starts to ‘erupt’ and move beneath the surface of the gum, swelling of the area may arise.

When larger molars come through, they may cause more discomfort to your baby due to the larger surface area not being able to come through the gum tissue as easily. Some of the common symptoms of teething include:

  • Chewing on objects to relieve pressure
  • Loss of appetite because their mouth hurts
  • Increased drooling, which can also cause a rash around the mouth
  • Ear pulling on the side which the tooth is growing from
  • Difficulty sleeping due to the discomfort
  • Irritability or crankiness
  • Slightly elevated body temperature – known as teething fever.

If your baby is in a lot of pain, has bleeding gums or pus coming out, seek professional medical help from a doctor or nurse.

What should I do when my baby starts teething?

Once you know your baby has reached this stage, be sure to take care of those new, growing teeth. You can look at our guide on looking after the oral health of your baby to protect those smiles. During this time, your baby will probably be a lot grumpier than usual – this is normal! Teething causes a lot of discomfort and it won’t be a particularly fun period for either of you. The good thing is that there are many solutions to help your bub feel better while they grow into their new gnashers.

How do I soothe a teething baby?

One remedy to help ease the discomfort of your teething baby is to give them healthy food to chew on – but only if they’ve already started solids. This can be pieces of apple or carrot, or a stick of chilled, peeled cucumber. You could also give them frozen fruit for added cooling relief!

TOP TIP: Pop some fruit (fresh or frozen) into the silicone pouch of our Fresh Food Feeder and Teether, seal it tight and give it to your child. They can chew on the pouch to relieve their little gums, while the holes only let small, digestible pieces to pass through. This also allows them to practice their hand-eye coordination and encourages self-feeding. The end of the feeder also acts as a teether with ridged edges that your child can safely chew on once they’ve finished the food.


You can also rub your baby’s gums to try help soothe the pain using gentle pressure. Be sure to wash your hands and use a clean finger before you massage them.

One of the most popular things parents will give their babies during this stage are teethers. As the name suggests, they’re specially made for the purpose of helping your teething babies! At Haakaa, we have a wide range of teethers with unique and whimsical designs to keep your baby busy. We understand the importance of keeping your precious ones safe, which is why we have kept all of our teethers non-toxic, super soft and perfectly sized for your child’s little hands and mouths.

Our Natural Rubber Owl Teethers are the ideal solution for those young ones who are allergic or sensitive to rubber. They are manufactured by removing the natural protein found in rubber, making the material allergen-free! Plus, as a one-piece design, there’s no chance of any nasties growing between the cracks or edges.

Haakaa’s Silicone Palm TeetherSilicone Ferris Wheel Teether and Rabbit Silicone Teether are super colourful, fun and easy-to-hold teethers for your child with ridged ends that can safely fit in their tiny mouths. Their quirky shapes will no doubt entertain even the fussiest of babies for a long time to come! Our silicone teethers are all easy to clean as well – just boil in plain water.

TOP TIP: You can put our Silicone Palm TeetherSilicone Ferris Wheel Teether and Rabbit Silicone Teether in the freezer to provide added cooling relief before giving them to your child!


Hopefully our solutions will be able to help your baby cope as their teeth grow in. Keep an eye on your child, be aware of their behaviours, regularly take them for check-ups and make sure they’re happy and healthy. Soon, in what will feel like no time, your baby will be talking and eating all by themselves with their new set of chompers!

Majit Himel
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8 Natural Pain Relief Methods During Labour

*This article is written by midwife & perinatal mental health specialist Aliza Carr from Bumpnbub. However, please note this is general advice only and does not replace advice from your health professional. Seek personal and professional help for your pregnancy, labour and birth journey.*

Congratulations, mama! For 40 odd weeks, your beautiful body has nurtured and protected a tiny growing human being. You’ve survived crazy cravings, discomfort, lack of sleep, waves of sickness, visited the bathroom ten too many times, and now it is time to welcome the new little love of your life. 

And while I don't like to focus on pain in labour, especially for women early in their pregnancies, I do feel it's something important to talk about so you can be informed of your options. Just remember that even the best ‘plans’ may not go according to plan. Every woman should be entitled to whatever she needs or wants during her labour and birth. Sometimes this includes pharmaceutical pain relief from the get-go, and other times it includes an entirely drug-free and natural birth! There are so many pain relief options for mamas, so let’s discuss a few non-pharmaceutical options I love to work with, with my own patients. 

1. Shower or bath 

Many women find being in warm water during labour very soothing and a great way to manage contractions. The warmth of the water helps relax muscles, as well as allowing a woman to be more buoyant - taking some pressure off her body and pelvis. 

2. Heat pack 

A hot water bottle placed on your back, stomach or groin is a helpful source of pain relief for many women throughout labour.

3. TENS machine

>A TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) machine is a small electrical device that reduces pain signals sent to the brain. You attach the pads to various spots on your lower back, and can increase the strength of the electrical impulse with a small handheld device as your contractions get stronger. TENS is most effective in early labour, particularly for lower back pain - so keep that little machine close to you, mama. 

4. Counter pressure/acupressure/massage 

You don’t need to be a professional masseuse to provide massage in labour – a loving, nurturing massage on a woman’s body in labour is sometimes all a mama may need. Studies show that massage can actually help lower anxiety, lessen pain during childbirth and shorten labour time. Ask your midwife to show your birthing partner some great points for counter pressure on your lower back and hips - this can be a lifesaver as contractions increase in strength. 

5. Nitrous oxide gas

Nitrous oxide inhaled through a handheld tube provides short-term pain relief for labouring women. The feeling that a lot of women describe it as is like being on laughing gas which causes an inability to concentrate on the pain.

Nitrous oxide poses no risks to the health of the baby but can cause nausea or dizziness for some labouring mums. Mamas can start breathing on the gas as soon as they feel a contraction starting and keep inhaling until the contraction ends. In between contractions, mamas will breathe normal air. It wears off within a few seconds after a mama stops inhaling the gas. Many mamas find the gas a great option as well, for biting down on the tubing while inhaling. Many women say this helps them through the height of a contraction. 

6. Regulate your breathing 

When you’re experiencing the tightening up of a contraction, you naturally may want to hold your breath while waiting for the pain to subside. It’s important however, to breathe in a way that relieves the tension without slowing down labour. If regulated breathing isn’t working, take in deep breaths and let it all out! Feel free to be as loud as you need, mama! You’re about to give birth to a small human after all. 

7. Moving around/changing positions 

One of the most widely advised pain relief techniques during labour is simply to stay active. Lying flat on your back in bed is often the worst position for pain during labour but if that’s where you are situated, try to move around where you can.

Try standing, using gravity to your advantage. Lean on the back of a chair or, wrap your arms around your partner’s neck for more support. If you’re tired of standing, try straddling a chair, or resting on all fours with your knees hip-width apart (keeping your pelvis open for baby). Rocking back and forth can also help the baby move further down the birth canal. I have included an image below of many other great positions for labour. 

8. Sterile water injections 

Intradermal injections of sterile water provide a non-pharmacological pain relief option.

A small amount of sterile water is injected in four places just under the skin that covers the sacrum, the lower part of the back. It’s been shown that the sterile water injections stimulate the nerves, which quickly send messages to the brain and interrupt the slower messages from inside the body – this has been called the ‘gate control’ theory of pain management. This is highly effective for women who have a posterior baby (baby’s back is against mum’s back) which can cause immense back pain through contractions. 

For those women it works for, the relief has been immediate. The catch is that it does sting - it has a sharp, wasp-like sting, which lasts about 20 seconds. However, the vast majority of women who experienced severe back pain reported that it’s worth the sting and likely prevented them from opting for an epidural.

Majit Himel
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The Importance of Open-Ended Play

There are now more options than ever when looking for toys for your little one! When you go into a department store, you will see shelves upon shelves of different toys: there are the ones that make all sorts of noises with the press of a button, interactive puzzles for your child to solve, animatronic pets, and so much more. It can be incredibly challenging to make a choice when you have a plethora of possibilities to decide between… so which toys are the best for your child's growth and development?

One of the most extraordinary things about children is that their creativity and imagination knows no bounds. Have you noticed that they can even be entertained by even the simplest of materials for hours on end? Research has shown that the most valuable toys for your little one's brain development are those that offer open-ended play. Not only do they engage the imagination for hours of fun, but they also enhance social and emotional intelligence, benefitting their learning and intellectual growth!

In today's blog, we'll be delving into the importance of open-ended play and how you can provide the opportunities for it during your children's playtime.

What is open-ended play?

Open-ended play is a form of play where there's no limitations, boundaries or fixed answers. With no instructions, rules or guides, there is absolutely no fear of doing anything the "wrong" way. This type of play allows children to express their creativity freely, with endless possibilities!

For example, take a pile of wooden blocks. To you, they may be just that. But to a child, they can be the building blocks to a village, castle, car garage, skyscraper, and so much more!

During open-ended play, children can fully engage their imagination as they are free to make their own decisions while exploring more about the world around them with the objects they are given. 

Other examples of open-ended materials and toys include:

  • Cardboard boxes
  • Playdough
  • Sand
  • Paper

Why is open-ended play important?

The nature of open-ended play stimulates curiosity and allows your child to become absorbed in their own imagination. They become fully engaged in learning, enabling them to stretch their cognitive skills when thinking critically to lead and make choices. This type of play is especially beneficial while their brains are still rapidly developing, and will eventually support them when they become adults. It can also become a fantastic opportunity for you to teach new concepts and language skills, as it promotes interaction and encourages conversation while you play together. 

When you and your child engage in role-play, whether that's pretending to be pirates sailing the seas and hunting for treasure, or lords and ladies at a grand palatial ball, you assist with their social and emotional development. That's because when they pretend to be a different character, they can explore and express a range of emotions that differ from what they would usually feel. It also helps them to read the emotions and social cues of others, based on your reactions and expressions while you play. This opens up the opportunities to learn essential concepts such as empathy, cognitive flexibility and self-regulation as well as developing memory skills. They will also learn to play more cooperatively with others, which is so incredibly important for those later stages of childhood!

How do children learn from open-ended play?

Open-ended play offers a wide array of opportunities. Because the materials come with no specific directions, guides or rules, they can be used any way your child wants! Those materials can be moved, carried, combined with others, redesigned, ordered, taken apart and reassembled as many ways as your little one wants to.

Unlike battery-operated toys that only require your child to push a button and reduce their role during playtime to that of an audience, open-ended toys get your child thinking and learning and discovering. Playing with these materials requires your child to be actively involved in finding all the ways these toys can be used, and what to do with them. By discovering what the outcomes of their decisions and actions are for themselves, they are able to learn much more efficiently than with other toys!

How do I facilitate open-ended play?

There are many ways you can encourage open-ended play, or even join in playtime, with your children. Some examples of things you can do/toys you can play with are:

  • Playing on playgrounds
  • Creating pictures with art supplies
  • Playing dress-up with props and costumes
  • Inventing games with items found in nature, such as shells and pine cones
  • Creating their own little world with wooden blocks and figures
  • Imaginative play with small props like tea party sets and play food
  • Building with loose parts and bricks

If your child asks you for help during playtime, you can encourage them to solve the problem for themselves by asking open-ended questions. This encourages them to think about the answer, further promoting their development and growth.

At the end of the day, let your child take the lead – this is what makes it "open-ended" play after all! There should be no goals set - instead, it's all about exploring the different ways to have fun. Relax mama, and allow mistakes and mess to happen as your child goes on with their train of thought. Open-ended play not only gives a chance for your little one to grow and learn and develop as their own person, but it also makes for beautiful memories where you can bond with your baby.

Majit Himel
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Caring For Your Baby's Skin

There's a reason why "baby soft skin" is such a commonly used phrase – everybody knows just how soft and smooth a baby's skin feels! Your bub's skin is incredibly delicate and sensitive, which means you must take extra care and precaution to protect it. Here are Haakaa's tips to help you gently care for your little one's skin and how to address some common skin issues that may arise.

How often should I bathe my baby?

Baths are not only a fun time to bond with bub, but they're also important for cleaning your baby – especially as they can come in contact with all sorts of nasties before they even learn to crawl! However, it is advised not to bathe your baby too often as it can strip oils away from their skin and dry it out. 

You should aim to bathe your baby a few (two or three) times a week in warm (not hot!) water. To make sure your baby doesn't get cold, pour water over your little one throughout. Try to keep bath time short, as they might start to feel even colder as the water begins to cool down.

When bathing your bub, use a mild baby wash and gently clean any areas with a soft washcloth. Do not excessively wash or rub any areas as this can cause damage to the skin barrier, especially around delicate areas such as the face. 

TOP TIP: Our Oatmeal Bath Milk is the perfect addition to bath time if your little one suffers from dry, itchy skin. It's made with all-natural ingredients and gentle on bub's skin as it works to ease inflammation and lock in moisture. Plus, the relaxing scent helps to soothe your bub before bedtime!


What kind of skincare products should I use with my baby?

Your baby's skin is super delicate because it's so thin and permeable. This means it will absorb more of what you apply to it, so it's vital that you only use gentle and mild skincare products that are specially formulated for babies! 

When choosing which products to buy, check the label carefully to find out which ingredients have been used, directions for applying the product and any age guidelines it might have. It will also be worthwhile to patch test any baby skincare products first, before making it a part of your child's routine. You can do this by applying a tiny amount onto a small part of their skin (arm or leg) and waiting at least 24 hours to see if any irritation, rash or reaction occurs. 

How can I deal with baby eczema?

Eczema is a skin rash that can show up as dry, scaly skin or tiny red bumps that can blister, ooze or become infected if scratched. It often occurs in babies who have allergies, or a with a family history of allergies or eczema, and usually appears on bub's forehead, cheeks, or scalp. However, it can also spread to other parts of the body.

There isn't really a "cure" for eczema, but there are things you can do to control it and ease it until it eventually goes away. Avoid bathing your baby too frequently and gently moisturise their skin to reduce the dryness – especially after a bath to lock in that moisture. Dress them in loose, cotton fabrics so that they're comfy and their skin can breathe. If eczema persists and shows no signs of easing up, you can visit your doctor who may be able to prescribe medication for your baby.

TOP TIP: Our Restore & Adore Lotion Bar is made with 100% natural ingredients that have been specifically selected to help counter inflammation and ease dry skin. Best applied with a gentle massage after bath time, our lotion bar will help to keep your little one's skin silky smooth, with an all-natural fragrance both you and bub will adore.


What should I do if my baby gets nappy rash?

Many mums are familiar with the dreaded nappy rash – when a red, itchy and sometimes sore rash develops around your little one's nappy area. It can cause your baby to be unsettled or irritable, but luckily most minor cases will go away on their own. While we hate to see our little ones uncomfortable, there are a few steps you can take to help soothe nappy rash and prevent further irritation.

You can help your little one by keeping the area clean and dry, changing their nappies often and offering plenty of nappy-free time. You can also apply a nappy cream to moisturise the skin after each change (remember to only put the new nappy on once the skin is dry)!

TOP TIP: Our all-natural Baby Bottom Balm has been specially formulated to keep your little one and their skin happy! It's made with only simple, natural ingredients known for their ability to gently soothe skin and prevent discomfort, such as coconut oil and halloysite clay. Simply apply after each change, or at least every night before bed, or at any sign of redness. 


How can I get rid of cradle cap?

Cradle cap is particularly common in babies from three weeks up to a year old. It appears as thick, scaly, dry and crusty patches on your little one's scalp, and although it may look severe, it's harmless for your baby. Although it's unclear what causes cradle cap, it does not need to be treated as your baby will naturally outgrow it over time. However, if you want to, you can gently massage a simple oil or moisturiser onto the cradle cap and leave it for a while to help your baby's skin recover faster. 

TOP TIP: You can also brush your baby's head with our super soft Goat Wool Baby Hair Brush to help get rid of cradle cap and remove dried skin. The luxuriously soft woollen bristles not only keep their scalp stimulated, but also soothes and relaxes your child. It makes for a perfect nightly ritual to settle them down to sleep!

 


How should I wash my baby's clothes?

To protect bub's sensitive, delicate skin, you should always wash their new clothes before they wear them. You might not think much of the laundry powder or liquid you use to wash your clothes, but these can irritate your little one when they're used to wash baby's blankets and clothes. You should only use fragrance and dye-free detergents.

TOP TIP: Soapberries are a fantastic option for washing baby clothing and sheets. They're an incredibly gentle and hypoallergenic laundry solution, as well as being naturally antibacterial. They're also eco-friendly, as they break down in compost once you're done with them, protecting the planet your little one will inherit. 

 

 

We hope our tips and tricks prove useful for keeping your bub’s skin in tip-top condition!

Majit Himel
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Date Night Ideas With A Baby

The first few weeks after bringing your newborn home can be super hectic. Your whole world begins to revolve around your new baby, and you become so immersed in feeding them, changing them and soothing them that you barely have any time left for yourself!

When you’re raising a child together with your partner, it becomes more important than ever to maintain that connection while you support each other through the beautiful, shared journey of parenthood. Even though your life has been completely turned upside down with baby in the picture, do try and make time for each other as often as possible. It can make you a stronger team as you work together to raise this new little person in your lives!

Below is our guide to date nights when you have a baby that’ll help spice up your relationship and keep that fire going.

How can I have date night with a baby?

Although it might seem tricky, there are a few different ways and strategies that you can try to make time for date night with bub in your life as well!

-       Pump milk or prep formula.

 One common way to make time for date night is to ask for a little assistance from close friends or family. With some careful planning and by preparing bub’s milk beforehand, you can let someone else look after your little one while you and your partner step out for a bit for some much-needed alone time.

-       Bring your baby with you.

 If you can’t find someone to look after your baby for date night, you can also bring your little one with you! The best time to take bub out with you is after they’ve just been fully fed and their diaper freshly changed. This will leave you with at least 30-60 minutes of a happy, peaceful baby, in which you can focus on quality conversation with your partner during this time.

-       Plan a date night at home.

 There are plenty of fun and exciting date ideas that you can have with your partner at home too! Plus it comes with the convenience of having everything you need to for bub right there when you need it.

What are some date ideas outside with a baby?

  1. A short outdoor hike with bub in tow can be a fantastic idea for you and your partner, especially as doctors recommend walking for postpartum recovery. Enjoy the fresh air and scenery as you explore nature with your family – something that would have been much more difficult just a few months earlier when you also had a bump to carry! Be sure not to overexert yourself and pick an easier route in case you suddenly need to hurry home with your baby.
  2. If you want to go out for a special treat with your partner, get dessert together. It’s faster and much more lowkey than a full course dinner, giving you plenty of time afterwards to care for bub while still allowing you to enjoy that little bit of indulgence! Plus, sharing a dessert with your loved one is always romantic.
  3. A lazy brunch at a café with your partner and your little one is one of our favourite ways to enjoy a date. After a nap and a feed, you can head out for some lovely food and your favourite barista-made coffee while your little one is happy, satisfied and fuss-free.

What are some date night ideas at home?

  1. Having an indoor picnic and movie night at home is always an excellent idea, and it makes for an exceptionally easy home date for new, tired parents! Grab your favourite dinner from your local restaurant to takeaway and pop by the shops for some nibbles and maybe a special bottle of vino. Then you can settle down in front of the TV and stream a marathon of your favourite movies, or even finally get around to that to-watch list of movies you haven’t seen yet!
  2. A home spa day can also be a golden date opportunity for you and your partner to finally relax together. Looking after bub can be exhausting (even though it’s worth it!), so what better way to spend some quality time with your partner than taking a moment to enjoy the peace and quiet? Put on some calming, ambient music, give each other a massage, and try some DIY spa recipes to refresh your skin as well as your mind.
  3. No time to go out to a bar? Instead, you can make some fancy drinks right at home and sit outside while enjoying the beautiful weather. Not only is less crowded and quieter than a typical night out, but it also allows you to conveniently care for your baby! (Plus it’s so much cheaper!)

We understand how difficult it can be to make time for dates with a new baby in your life, but at the end of the day, it’s so worth it. Communicating with your partner is one of the best things you can do as the both of you navigate through the journey of parenthood together. It’s so easy to get distracted as your little one starts to become your number one priority, but take the time to appreciate and remember what you and your partner love about each other!

Majit Himel
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Everything You Need To Know About Colostrum

Mama, colostrum is something almost magical and is often referred to as ‘liquid gold’ - because it’s honestly worth its weight in gold! So why is this stuff so good, you may ask?

Colostrum is the special milk that mothers, and all mammals, produce during late pregnancy, and more specifically, in the first few days after your baby is born. It is produced by the mammary glands in your breasts and mamas can begin to make it from about 16 weeks pregnant! 

Up until now, the only option for antenatal expressing of colostrum is into single-use plastic syringes. However, this is less than ideal as these syringes cannot be reused and harm the planet. Plastic also has the potential to leach harmful chemicals into your precious liquid gold! 

Haakaa is extremely excited to announce the launch of the first-of-its-kind Silicone Colostrum Collector! These are made of 100% medical grade silicone and collect your droplets of hand-expressed colostrum off your nipple with a gentle vacuum effect. You can also remove the nib and express larger droplets directly into it! 

This incredible device can be frozen, stored in the fridge, or heated – and it makes the perfect drop-feeder for newborns. Just boil to sterilise, then you can reuse it over and over again! 


Colostrum is rich and thick in consistency, and it might be a clear or yellow colour. This is from a nutrient called beta-carotene or Vitamin A (also found in carrots!) which helps with eye health. It can appear as little beads of fluid on your nipple when you stimulate your breast. Some mamas may have pink or brown colostrum which can mean there’s some blood in there. Don’t be concerned, as this is harmless. 

So when you’re pregnant and ‘leaking’, this is what it is - colostrum!

So what’s actually in colostrum?

Colostrum is packed full of amazing nutrients in very high concentrations, even though it is quite small in quantity itself. Did you know that when a baby is born, their stomach is about the size of a cherry? The small amount of colostrum produced is to accommodate for your newborn’s tiny digestive system. But don’t underestimate its power - this ‘liquid gold’ is small but mighty! 

Colostrum is high in protein and carbohydrates, which are vital to a newborn’s nutrition, but it remains low in fat as your little bubba may find fat difficult to digest at first. 

Colostrum contains specialised antibodies and white blood cells that fight bacteria and infection, which are made by mama and passed to bub via the feeding of colostrum. This means it also acts as a protective force and can be considered the first immunity your baby receives after birth  - how cool!

Colostrum also contains prebiotics and probiotics that help set up a newborn's gut and develop their digestive flora. It ‘colonises’ the gut with hundreds of different types of ‘good bacteria’ that sets a baby up for life. Colostrum also contains high levels secretory immunoglobulin A (SIgA) which helps to fight off viruses!

Along with the vitamin A that makes colostrum yellow and helps with eye development, colostrum is rich in other minerals too! These include magnesium, which supports your baby’s heart and bones, and copper and zinc, which helps develop bub’s immune system. Zinc can assist in brain development, with nearly four times more zinc in colostrum than in your mature milk, to support your baby’s rapidly developing brain!

What else can my colostrum do?

Along with all the incredible nutrition that colostrum provides, it also can do a few other highly beneficial things. 

  • Colostrum has a mild laxative effect which helps your baby pass its first stool called meconium. This means that it can also help in alleviating jaundice where the excess bilirubin is passed through the stool. 
  • It helps your little one adjust to the outside world by regulating their blood sugar levels. This is all connected with other systems such as their temperature control, breathing rate, oxygen levels and metabolism!
  • Mama, have you had a mucousy baby before - perhaps after a caesarean section? Colostrum can help break up this mucous and help your little one bring it all up!
  • If you are experiencing cracked or sore nipples in the first few days, rubbing some expressed colostrum onto them can help with their healing. 
  • All the premie mamas out there - colostrum is vital for your baby that came a bit early. Studies show that these little fighters do so much better with even the tiniest bit of colostrum. It is known that they retain feeds better and vomit less than if they were only fed on formula. 

When and how can I express my colostrum?

You may have friends or family that expressed their colostrum during pregnancy. Maybe you’ve even done it yourself! This is amazing for both you and your little one. 

Before you begin expressing during pregnancy, please speak to your midwife or healthcare professional as nipple stimulation can induce labour. It is recommended that you express at full-term and only if you are planning a vaginal delivery, to ensure the safest outcomes.

Expressing during pregnancy means that you will have some extra ‘liquid gold’ ready to go if your baby needs it after birth. It can also help stimulate your mammary glands that can assist with lactation and breast milk supply! 

It is strongly recommended for some mothers to express during pregnancy. This could be the case if you have gestational diabetes, as the expressed colostrum will come in handy to help regulate baby’s blood sugar levels after birth. Expressing colostrum during pregnancy may also be recommended if your baby has been diagnosed with a cleft lip or palate from their ultrasound. These babies may find it difficult to initially latch, and expressed colostrum will help both of you with your breastfeeding journey.

Here is how you can express colostrum:

  • When you begin expressing, make sure you are well hydrated and in a comfortable and safe environment - preferably sitting up so that gravity can help! 
  • Make a wide ‘C-grip’ from the side of your breast with your thumb and index finger. Begin wide to stimulate all those ducts that are around your breast. 
  • Slow and steadily roll your fingers towards the nipple. This action is firm; however, it shouldn’t cause pain. 
  • Let go completely, allowing the ducts to refill and repeat this action. 
  • Catch the drops of colostrum in your sterile colostrum collector from Haakaa!
  • Begin with hand expressing each breast for 10-15 minutes, once a day during late pregnancy.
  • Label your collector with the date and place in your container. Put them in the freezer until birth. Make sure to follow your country's guidelines around storing this safely!

You can express colostrum in the postnatal period too! You might have to do this because your little one is not latching properly, or you are separated from them as they are in NICU. Expressing changes at this point and should be done to mimic breastfeeding. Express every 3-4 hours round the clock to encourage your breastmilk supply and remind your brain that you have a new baby to feed!

Mamas with flat nipples that may need a nipple shield will benefit amazingly from hand expressing colostrum. Nipple shields cannot be used in the first few days because the colostrum is too thick to pass through the holes and not big enough in capacity to fill the whole shield. These mums will need to kick-start their supply through hand expressing. 

One of the most common queries that I receive from mothers in the postnatal ward is “I don't think I have any milk!” Well, mama, you do have milk, and you have something even better too… Colostrum! Even if you don’t see any when you hand express, just know that your baby has strong sucking forces that can get it out even better than you can. If you are unable to ‘catch’ any colostrum, stimulation also helps! Massage your breasts for 10-15 minutes each side to encourage supply. 

On average, a new mama may express only a very small amount (drops) of colostrum each time. This is perfectly normal and is plenty enough to nourish your baby. Every drop counts! At around day 3-5 of motherhood, your breasts will ‘fill up’ and become hard and full. You will also notice your breast milk change colour to white and become much larger in capacity. This is how your breastmilk transitions from colostrum to ‘true’ breastmilk. It’s amazing!

To all mums and mums-to-be, keep up the fantastic work - you are doing so great! Please remember to always speak to your midwife or healthcare professional before you express colostrum or if you have any questions.

Written by midwife, perinatal mental health specialist and creator of Bumpnbub, Aliza Carr. 

Majit Himel
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How to Use Soapberries

If you haven’t heard about soapberries yet, then listen up! These babies are a 100% natural, eco-friendly wonder that’ll change how you do your laundry and household cleaning forever!

As the name suggests, soapberries are an all-natural plant-based alternative to detergent. They are the fruit of the Sapindus mukorossi tree (closely related to the lychee fruit), and recently have become increasingly popular as people shift towards a more natural lifestyle.

Soapberries are the perfect substitute for ordinary household cleaners with long ingredient lists filled with unpronounceable names of harsh, toxic chemicals. Not only can they be used as a gentle, hypoallergenic laundry detergent, but they can also be used effectively as a bathroom and kitchen cleaner, dishwashing liquid, shampoo and more!

How do soapberries work?

Soapberries are full of saponins – a natural “soap” produced by plants to protect their seeds from nasty insects and microbes. When soapberries are placed in water, the saponins are released and create foamy suds, just like regular cleaners (except without the harmful toxins)! These plant-derived saponins work to lift the stains from your clothes without leaving any residue and are naturally antibacterial and anti-fungal.

Soapberries are odourless and hypoallergenic, making them excellent for sensitive skin. They’re even gentle enough to be safely used to wash baby’s clothes! The best part is that they’re eco-friendly as well, with ZERO plastic waste or environmental pollutants after use. Soapberries can be reused for up to 5 loads of laundry, and once you’re done with them, simply toss into the compost or garden to let them decompose naturally!

How can I use soapberries as a laundry detergent?

To use soapberries as a laundry detergent, all you have to do is pop a few soapberry shells into a small cotton bag and toss into the washing machine with your clothes. The cotton bag makes removing the soapberries from the washing machine much easier once the wash cycle has finished, otherwise you’d have to search for and pick them out one by one!

While your laundry is being washed, the spinning, tumbling motion of the machine agitates the soapberries. This releases its saponins, which then work to clean your clothes and gently lift stains. While soapberries will work both in cold and warm washes, warm water will draw more saponins out – so if you have a particularly dirty load of laundry, turn up the temperature! (Though not too hot – if the temperature is too warm, your soapberries will not last as long.) Alternatively, if your clothes require cold wash only, you can soak the small cotton bag of soapberries in warm water for 3-5 minutes before tossing in with your clothes.

You can use the same soapberries for up to 5 loads of laundry – just remember to air dry them after each cycle to prolong their life. Once the shells become thin and brittle, simply chuck into your garden or compost to dispose of. Because it’s biodegradable, there’s no waste at all!

How can I use soapberries to clean the house?

Soapberries can be boiled to create a multi-purpose cleaning liquid that you can use all around the house! People have used this “soapberry tea” or “soapberry broth” for a variety of purposes including:

  • Kitchen and bathroom cleaner
  • Floor cleaner
  • Shampoo and body wash
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Shaving cream

To make this soapberry liquid:

  1. Add 3 berries per 1 cup of water to a clean and empty pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Once boiling, turn down the heat, mash the berries inside the pot and leave to simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Turn off the heat and leave the liquid in the pot to cool.
  4. Remove and strain the berries before transferring to a jar or bottle.

As soapberry liquid is natural, it will expire over time. It can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days and in the fridge for up to a month. To keep for even longer, you can freeze the soapberry liquid into “batches” of ice cubes that you can use as needed!

How long do soapberries last?

When stored in a cool, dry place, soapberries can last for an indefinite amount of time. This is because they are simply the dried shells of a fruit. However, it is best recommended to use them within two years to get the concentrated power of the saponins (the good stuff).

We hope our article has opened your eyes to how amazing and versatile these little berries are! Who knew Mother Nature could come up with such a powerful household cleaner? Plus, they’re kinder to the environment than the plastic bottles of detergent you see at the supermarket – so if you’re looking to move towards a greener, eco-friendlier lifestyle, the choice to switch to soapberries is clear!

Majit Himel
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Baby Sun Care

Summer is fast approaching here in New Zealand. The days are getting longer, the temperature is getting warmer, and the weather is only getting better and better! Most of us will find ourselves wanting to make the most of these gorgeous days by going outside to enjoy the spectacular activities and natural beauty our country has to offer.

Heading out and about with your precious bub is an excellent way for you to get some fresh air after being cooped inside the house after a long dreary winter. It also gives your baby the opportunity to see and explore more of the world around them! While many mamas can't wait to take their babies outside, it is also vital to be cautious with the sun. Just as you apply sunscreen and wear a hat to protect yourself from getting sunburnt, you also need to take the right precautions to make sure your baby's delicate little skin is protected too!

When can I take my baby outside?

Paediatricians will usually recommend that it is best to wait at least two months after birth before taking your baby out into the big wide world. The reason behind this is to make sure their immune systems are well developed enough to cope with any germs or other nasties they might come in contact with while they're outside.

When you do take your baby out, be sure to keep them out of direct sunlight. It's best to keep them in shaded areas – whether that's under a tree, or with a cover over their pram. Because babies have super sensitive and delicate skin that can sunburn easily (and by that, we mean within a few minutes!), it's especially important to keep your bub inside between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM, as this is when the sun is at its strongest. Even if you think the weather is harmless because the day looks cloudy and overcast, harsh UV rays are still able to penetrate through the clouds and damage your precious one's skin.

Can I put sunscreen on my baby?

Many different sunscreens will advise you not to apply sunscreen on babies less than the age of six months. That is because your baby's skin is still so thin and delicate while they're in these early stages, to the point that their skin is extremely permeable! That means it can easily absorb the chemicals found in sunscreen, consequentially causing rashes, irritation, dry skin or even systemic toxicity.

The most effective way of protecting your baby from the sun is to keep them out of strong sunlight entirely. If you must use sunscreen on your child after six months because there is a risk of sunburn, it is best to go for a mineral-based one as it is minimally absorbed into the skin, but will still deflect UV rays. Try only to apply sunscreen on uncovered skin and be sure to use an SPF 30+ broad-spectrum sunscreen. Follow the instructions on the packaging and apply it thickly onto your child's skin, at least 15 minutes before going outside. Afterwards, remember to reapply every 2 hours to make sure their skin is continuously being protected.

If you find that the sunscreen you are using causes an adverse skin reaction from your child, stop using it and switch to another brand. If you need further advice about which sunscreens your child can use, it is best to consult with a pharmacist.

How can I protect my baby from the sun?

The absolute best way to protect your baby from those harsh UV rays and strong sunlight is to cover up their delicate skin! You can dress your child in loose-fitting, long-sleeved clothing that covers up their arms and legs whilst preventing them from overheating in the warm weather. If possible, choose clothing made from fabric with a special sun-protection factor to further defend your bub from the harsh sun.

Give your baby a sun hat; a wide brim is best to help keep the sun off their face, neck and ears. Some stores even carry baby sunglasses! These are incredibly helpful to protect your baby's eyes, as the melanin is still developing. Children are also more likely to look up to you as a role model of what to do, so set a good example and slip, slop, slap and wrap!

When taking your little one out in a pram or stroller, use a sunshade or keep an umbrella over them, to ensure they stay in the shade as much as possible. It's best not to use a blanket or plastic cover as this can stop airflow and make the inside of the stroller too hot! Be aware though, that sun can still burn in the shade by reflecting off surfaces such as water, sand and the inside of sun umbrellas.

In addition to protection from the sun, make sure your baby doesn't get overheated during these warmer months and help them keep up their fluid intake.

As the weather gets better, we hope you enjoy the lovely long summer days ahead! Take the time to make some beautiful, cherished memories with your little ones. x

Majit Himel
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