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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Black smoothie

I love smoothies, they are the cheats way of getting your 8+ fruit and veg a day, they are delicious AND nutritious. I am on a bit of a smoothie bent this winter, which is good because all of the other food I am eating is a bit barren veggie wise.

This is what I am drinking at the moment.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Our beautiful hypno birth

In the week leading up to ‘birth day’ we had been getting a few practice or prodromal labours. The first one was on Wednesday and it seemed so genuine we even filled the pool! They were a really great opportunity to practice my relaxations and I spent a lot of time circling my hips on the birth ball visualising my cervix opening like a blossom or in the bath practicing my deep relaxation and visualising baby in the perfect birthing position. My husband had been amazingly supportive through the week, helping me with my hypnobirthing visualisations, practicing his acupressure and giving me foot rubs, We did a little rebozo technique as well as some other positioning techniques because we knew baby was tending towards posterior and wanted to get an anterior presentation if possible. I spent a lot of the time visualising my healing room which is a space deep within your subconscious where you feel warm and safe, the process of reaching this healing space was a scripted relaxation process which began by building the details of my 'healing room' one by one and then stepping into it. I found this a very powerful way of going really deep into relaxation and positive visualisation for a peaceful birth.

Photo by Jorinde Rapsey 

Even though I expected baby to be late and had even worked out a second possible birth date based on my longer cycle I found I was getting crabby and short tempered to the extreme so after 3 days I took a dose of my homeopathic constitutional remedy – Sepia 1m - and instantly my mood improved, I felt a sort of release of all the grumbles I had been storing up and was really able to engage in my relaxation. 

On Saturday morning at 2am I started having surges again and at about 3am I realised I wasn’t going to sleep so I got up and practiced my breathing on the birth ball, I really enjoyed each surge at this stage and found it very easy to relax into them and breathe. I hadn’t woken my husband but he got up shortly after and made me a chamomile tea. I decided to have a bath at that stage and listen to my labour track list  which had Marie Mongan’s Rainbow relaxation and relaxation tracks as well as some ocean and thunderstorm soundtracks which I found very lulling.We really felt that this was just another practice. My husband reminded me to embrace it instead of resenting it. Good man.

I was so deeply relaxed in the bath I didn’t ‘come to’ until almost 8am when I decided to go back to bed, except instead of settling down the surges picked up intensity. My husband popped in from the lounge and we realised the surges were spaced at 4 minutes and close to 60 seconds long. We called our midwife even though I felt like it may still be a practice. When she arrived I was on the birth ball breathing and relaxing. She said I was so relaxed and quiet it was hard for her to time the surges, our student midwife took my BP and checked the position which had gone from almost full posterior to partial spine showing. We felt very positive about this. She didn’t check my cervix as I had specified I didn’t want one unless necessary.


Our midwife said she was pretty sure we would have baby today but that she would be back in a couple of hours. She suggested I get some breakfast and go for a walk so My Husband made me some scrambled eggs and marmite toast which I wolfed down.

I really didn’t feel like walking so I had a shower instead. Even though I was lucid and moving around I felt very dreamily relaxed. It was at this point I decided I really should go for a walk so I got dressed and headed outside. My husband offered to come but I said I would be fine alone and would text him if I needed him. It was amazing and sunny outside and I found that walking really helped me work through each surge. Listening to the relaxation track really put me in the ‘zone’ or ‘labour land’ and the walk was very surreal, I had my eyes mostly closed and was using my surge breathing throughout so I must have looked very interesting!

Towards the end of the walk the surges were getting so intense I had to stop to really relax into them. The last 100 metres were pretty full on and I started to get that teary transition feeling. I got home and went straight to bed and lay on my side to re-centre. I had barely noticed time passing but I had been gone for a full hour and my dear old husband was getting worried With the next surge my waters broke and I could feel baby shoot down into the pelvis. I swore at this stage more from being startled than from labour and decided to go sit on the toilet for a spell. We decided it was time to get our midwife back and she arrived shortly with our student midwife. The waters had meconium in them but we weren’t that worried as baby was 41 weeks and meconium in the waters at this stage is very normal at this stage. We checked baby’s heartbeat which was lovely and strong and calm and our midwife noted that baby had turned nicely into anterior and descended well into the pelvis. My breathing was getting very vocal at this stage and I was very conscious of keeping my jaw relaxed and allowing my cervix to relax. I still didn’t feel as relaxed as I could be – I was working hard! But my husband said I was very relaxed and quiet.

I decided to get into the pool, the midwife told me it was a bit hot but it felt perfect to me, she was probably more worried about the baby than me but at this stage, didn’t realise how close I was to birthing my baby. Everyone was bustling around setting up the things they needed but I concentrated on being in my own little world. To me the surges were all consuming and I didn’t feel I was relaxed but again my husband and the the student midwife tell me I was very loose and limp and they could see me relaxing my jaw with each surge. My husband was fabulous, using the hypnotic anchor of touching my shoulder and saying ‘deeply relaxed’ to refocus me.

My midwife breathed with me to help pace my breaths and at this stage I could definitely feel a change in the surges to an intense downwards pressure so I transitioned to my birth breaths to breathe the baby down. I still had no idea that baby was so close so when with the next breath baby dropped down into the birth canal I let out a huge roar. At the back of my mind I was ecstatic because I never got to experience this stage with my first son and I knew I would be seeing my baby very soon. As baby started to crown my midwife put her hand over my perineum to help me ease baby out bit at a time, this combined with breathing rather than pushing is most likely what kept me from tearing and made the last two surges very smooth. I put my hands down and I could feel the head, perfectly placed at this stage I am pretty sure I said ‘my baby, oh my god my baby!’ before telling everyone I was going to lie back to birth the rest of him. I floated back and within two more surges the rest of baby came out perfectly and my midwife helped me scoop him up into my arms. I had a quick peek and saw that he was another wee boy, it was amazing that I was the first one to hold him and I got to check his gender. He was so alert and quiet, looking around at his world. I felt such a wave of euphoria and felt so relaxed and calm and centered. It was such a different experience from the first birth which felt very detached at this stage and I felt very removed from the whole process. I latched him almost immediately and just enjoyed a few moments in the bath while everyone prepared for us. After I had held and cuddled the wee man for a good 20 minutes our student midwife was very excited to help my husband cut the umbilical cord which was lovely and empty and after I got out she gently helped me birth the placenta which was facilitated by latching our little boy, almost the second after he got a good suckle going I could feel the afterpains intensify and the placenta came away. I was informed it was a very healthy placenta and had come away perfectly.

Compared to my first birth experience this birth was an amazing, calm and serene experience. My midwife commented that she didn’t even need to be there as we did all of the work ourselves.

Photo by Jorinde Rapsey

To learn more about hypnobirthing you can read about it here

Saturday, June 16, 2012


I have become a convert to hypnobirthing. When I was pregnant with my first son I was rather sceptical of natural birth, I was keen for any pain relief possible and any mention of a pain free orgasmic birth made me cringe. After a less than spectacular first birth experience which resulted in an intervention cascade and a painful traumatic 21 hrs (you can read about it here) I was willing to check out my options. Turns out that pain medication and a safe healthy birth aren’t always compatible.  So when a friend of mine started to talk about hypnobirthing I was ready to listen, and what she was saying made sense. She had used hypnobirthing for her first labour and was so convinced that she decided to become a hypnobirthing tutor, I feel super lucky that she did otherwise there is no way my second birth would have been anywhere as peaceful and as easy as it was.

When you go into labour stressed out, tense or fearful then your body does not function as it should. Based on our current societal conditioning we are programmed to think labour is painful and usually needs medical assistance. What happens when we hit the fear response is that the body goes into fight, flight or freeze mode taking blood and oxygen away from non essential organs such as your uterus and diverting it to essential organs such as the heart and lungs. This causes the muscles in the uterus to fatigue and not work as well as they normally would. We also release adrenaline - which blocks endorphins and tenses all of our muscles making it harder for the involuntary muscles responsible for labour to do their job. A fearful labour takes place in sympathetic system, this is 'the emergency room' of our body and is basically your flight or fight or freeze response. When we are in this mode we release adrenaline and block oxytocin which in turn makes labour slower and more painful. Hypnobirthing uses the body's natural hormonal processes to both enhance labour and remove pain, flooding the body with endorphins is the trick to a pain free labour. To do this we must activate the parasympathetic nervous system.

Every principle and practice of hypnobirthing is about reaching a state of very deep relaxation so that the uterine contractions are as effective and as pain free as possible. Nothing is forced, in a proper hypnobirth, there is no purple pushing, there is no panting and screaming. It is quiet(ish), controlled and effective.

After my first birth experience anything that would give me the skills to birth more effectively sounded great. Talking to my husband we realized this would be a really effective way of being proactive about birth and address our fears effectively. We signed up.

The basics of hypnobirthing are broken into three main approaches

  •       Learning to achieve and maintain deep levels of relaxation through self-hypnosis & breathing techniques
  •       Positive repositioning of birth in our subconscious through various techniques such as visualisation, affirmations, fear release and self-hypnosis.
  •       Education about normal, healthy pregnancy, labour & birth, and practical physical approaches to birthing effectively.

These techniques together become a powerful birthing companion, they enable you to birth well as well as giving your birth partner really practical ways of assisting

Hypnobirthing is actually just a fancy name for what women have been able to do for centuries, at its simplest level it is essentially just deep relaxation free from fear. Many women ‘hypnobirth’ naturally as part of their labour coping mechanism. Hypnobirthing as a formal technique was developed by Marie Mongan as a response to what she saw as a social and medical undermining of women’s ability to safely birth without intervention. Many people think that hypnosis is the premise of stage shows and kooky 1970’s psychiatrists, I have to admit when I first heard the term, people quacking like a duck on stage passed through my mind. I couldn’t shake the Derren Brown associations. However hypnosis is simply a very powerful way of talking to your subconscious which is already used by high performance athletes, powerful business professionals and performers. We actually engage in self ‘hypnosis’ on a daily basis with our self talk, how often have you heard that using positive self talk will get positive results? Hypnobirthing is no different. We didn’t walk  into a room of swinging pendants or spiraling circles. We simply learned how to access deep relaxation and self hypnosis on our own!

Surge breathing during early labour.
A dark space helps promote melatonin which in turn helps to promote oxytocin

So what is hypnobirthing?

Aim: to give mum and birth partner tools and techniques to approach birth positively & confidently;  birth is calmer, safer, easier and more comfortable.

Philosophy: Birth is a natural, normal, healthy life event, and for a healthy mum, baby and pregnancy, it does not need to be over medicalised. Interventions are not necessary during a normal healthy pregnancy and birth, women’s bodies are not destined to malfunction, birthing with the body is achievable for up to 95% of all mothers.
This is about families at an incredibly special time having the best possible birth for them!

Goal: Gentle safe birth for mum & baby: Both mum and baby are healthy and happy. One is not at the expense of the other. Trust in birth!

Calm + relaxed = parasympathetic system = endorphins = effective, manageable contractions

Obstructions to a relaxed calm and safe birth: Anxiety, fear and tension

Fear, anxiety and tension triggers the sympathetic nervous system response which is FIGHT/FLIGHT/FREEZE

-          Adrenalin no endorphins
-          Tension in birthing muscles
-          Less blood/oxygen to birthing muscles, the uterus is not a defence organ
-          Contractions less effective and more painful
-          Mind sends message to body that it’s not safe to birth
Fear + tension = sympathetic nervous system = longer more painful birth+ higher chance of intervention

Hypnobirthing classes are designed to give us the tools to keep mum and baby calm throughout labour and birth

They teach:

-          How to achieve and maintain very deep levels of relaxation
-          Breathing techniques
-          Self- hypnosis, positive imagery, visualisations, affirmations, fear release to change         negative beliefs/ideas (often held subconsciously)
-          Anchors: touch, smell, words to deepen relaxation
-          Light touch massage, acupressure
-          Education: physiology, nutrition, exercise, DVDs
A huge thanks to Carolyn for providing these hypnobirthing notes.
The whole focus of the classes was about giving us the skills to birth well, they gave me the skills to relax deeply enough and my husband the skills to actively assist in a meaningful and practical way. The classes themselves were really calming, they were my serene spot in the week. Since I stopped doing yoga re-learning to relax was difficult for me and the classes offered some effective tools to do this.  We spent a lot of the time doing deep relaxation and visualization exercises as well as learning about the physiology of labour. I couldn’t help compare these classes to what I learned in my antenatal class and there were
significant differences.  Traditional antenatal classes often tell you that being relaxed makes for a better labour but there is very little info on how this is actually done. Most antenatal classes seem to prepare you for the medical model of birth. Whereas hypnobirthing explains how your body works in labour and how to optimise that.  A relaxed body enables dilation to progress more smoothly and which exercises will allow this to happen.

We  were given a CD with relaxation tracks of hypnotic music and Marie Mongan (the creator of hypnobirthing) talking you through the relaxation process as well as birthing affirmations. For hypnobirthing to work effectively you really need to engage in the process, much of the work done is about re-writing your expectation of birth. Cultural stereotypes like women screaming  in hospitals in lithotomy with useless looking husbands being cursed at while authoritative surgeons did all the hard work are prolific. They sit deep within our psyche and build the expectation that birth is painful, traumatic and most of all – beyond us. This is simply not the case. There are a small percentage of women who are unable to have safe births without intervention. But for the majority of us, when we are given the correct information, tools and support, birth can be powerful, calm and effective. I knew that to have a birth like that I really needed to believe in my body 100% and as such threw myself into relaxation exercises completely. Every night I listened to my rainbow relaxation, at work when I was typing emails I had my birthing affirmations playing on loop. During the evenings my husband and I practiced light touch massage, acupressure, setting hypnotic anchors and deep relaxation. We did visualization exercises together and while he watched movies I listened to my tapes. Because my first birth had been so traumatising I had a lot of work to do to undo my subconscious fears. Our hypnobirthing tutor was amazing at leading us through exercises that helped us break down those expectations. I started to trust my body and was looking forwards to labour, which was completely unexpected. I literally felt like a veil had been lifted.

Relaxing in the shower an hour before birth

As our guess date drew nearer I felt more connected with our baby and the impending birth, I felt so much more prepared than I had for my first birth. My husband was a changed person, he had been anxious about birth and had even asked to not be there. After classes ended he was confident and so calm. When we first started classes we were settled on a hospital birth, without question, but as classes progressed and as we realized we were entirely capable of birthing this baby, we realised a home birth was what we wanted. I didn’t want to be offered drugs, given multiple vaginal exams or hooked up to sensors. I wanted the freedom to birth without an arbitrary timeline and without being bossed into interventions that were not necessary. I didn’t want to relive that feeling of helplessness and fear.  So we made the decision to switch to a homebirth and it was the best decision we made. How did it go?

You’ll have to check out my birth story which I’ll be posting up soon.

Our first feed out of the water.
With special thanks to Jorinde for these beautiful photos

My first birth story

Our first son was due on 12 June, 9 days after the expected due date my husband and I were getting pretty keen to see the wee mite!  Each day we would wait and see if this was the day and each day - nothing.  I was getting a bit impatient. Getting calls every day from anxious friends and relatives did nothing to help my mood! we were given an inducement date of 25 June unless the baby made an earlier appearance and told not to worry.

Both zonked out after a hard labour

 I was getting pretty restless at home and couldn’t sit still, by Sunday I was practically pacing the house. I felt like a warthog, breathless and enraged! I should have realised at this stage that it was a sign baby was on the move but I just thought it was impatience from having to wait 12 days for baby to arrive. We went to bed at about 11 and my husband drifted off to sleep almost immediately while I was tossing and turning, I just couldn’t get comfortable. I was also getting this cramping which was pretty sore, which meant I couldn’t relax. At about midnight I finally clicked - baby was ready!  I shook my husband awake and told him things were starting to happen, he just looked startled at first and quite sleepy but he got up to make me a hot water bottle and get some paracetamol for the pain.  We lay in bed together for about an hour before the contractions started to get quite painful and regular, we called the back up midwife (my primary midwife was on her weekend off) who told us to wait until they were 5 minutes apart and 1 minute long in duration before calling her again.

 My husband and I set about getting ready, I think we must have both been a bit shell shocked as we had expected the baby 2 days later, we did the oddest things.  Hubby got the recycling ready while I spent a good 20 minutes looking for a hair tie.  Pretty funny in retrospect but I was fretting at the time. I was getting more and more anxious as we seemed unable to Sort Our Shit.  Things seemed to really get full on at this point and it was only about 40 minutes before it was time to call our back up midwife again.  At this stage I was in a lot of pain and I felt ready to go to the hospital but when she checked to see how dilated I was it was only 1 cm – arrgh! I sensed she felt the visit had been a waste of time, which made me feel a bit guilty and stressed out. I was lying on the bed moaning in pain while she looked disapprovingly at me. She suggested I wait a few more hours and have a bath. The bath definitely helped me cope which was a relief as I was very sore by this stage. Finally at 5am the contractions were close enough together that we headed to Queen Mary to have our baby.

Straight away the backup midwife ran me a bath in the birth pool and I hopped in, while she sat down and wrote some notes. At this stage I was already so tired that I was falling asleep between contractions, after an hour or so in the pool she wanted to check how dilated I was, I was pretty horrified to find I had only come along about half a centimetre after all of that work! I discovered in retrospect that having a bath in early labour can slow things down so my slow progress was explained. We decided at that point to try breaking my waters, which definitely helped as I went from about 2.5 centimetres to 4 centimetres straight away. My pain levels also went up after having the Artificial Rupture of Membranes and I started to feel fearful of each upcoming contraction. I was offered pethidine at this point but turned it down because I didn’t want to have a drugged up baby. I was using gas for each contraction which made me feel pretty out of it but definitely helped me to cope. By 10am my midwife was back on call and she popped in to see how I was doing, I was pretty exhausted and was disheartened to find I was only about 6 cm along, but I kept plugging along.  

My husband was really helpful during labour making sure I remembered to keep hydrated and use the bathroom frequently.  The fact that he kept calm and relaxed really helped me focus and keep from getting too tense. What I didn’t know is that underneath all of his calm he was stressed out to see me in so much pain. We also had a student midwife, and she was amazingly helpful, especially since my midwife was overseeing another of her women in the room down the hall and couldn’t always be with me a lot of the time.

It got to be about 4pm and my midwife suggested I consider some different ways of coping with the pain as I was getting exhausted and hadn’t dilated any further. She gave me the option of Pethedine or an Epidural.  We ended up deciding on an epidural as it had less chance of affecting the baby, she got a lovely anaesthetist in who went over all the possible side effects before asking me to sit on the edge of the bed and curl forwards while he stuck a jolly great needle in my back.  I couldn’t see it so I wasn’t bothered but my husband went quite pale at the time.  The epidural was great at first as it allowed me to get about 45 minutes of sleep but it wore off at about 6pm and by that stage I was fully dilated and my midwife wanted me to push – it was agony! Pushing made the contractions much more painful and it felt really futile as I could tell the pushing wasn’t doing any good, my baby wasn't moving. He was a posterior presentation which meant that me lying on myback was the absolute worst positioning possible.

My midwife wouldn’t let me use any gas so I could focus on the contractions, which was pretty upsetting at the time, but it was the best chance of getting the baby to move because of his positioning. He didn’t want to budge which is not a surprise as he was having to move uphill over the lip of my pelvis. I was yelling with each contraction because we were spine to spine and the pain was excruciating. My midwife kept having to remind me to keep my head down and focus the energy down but I was in so much pain during contractions I felt I couldn’t bear to. I was quite tearful at this stage and obstetricians kept popping their heads in to see how things were progressing, I could tell that I was beginning to become a point of concern. Baby’s heart rate had dropped a little and we were starting to discuss things like forceps or ventouse. I got scared, seeing the monitor drop made me worry about my baby.

It was decided to move forwards and help baby out things moved pretty quickly, I was warned that a caesarean was likely before being wheeled into surgery where I was given a spinal block. A spinal block is a very similar procedure to an epidural except all sensation is deadened, the relief was almost instant, I was still contracting but couldn’t feel anything at all from the chest down. There were about 8 different people in the small room but they were all so friendly I wasn’t too intimidated. Except for the lead obstetrician, she was brusque and dismissive. She was so unpleasant that I must have completely blanked her because I don’t remember her at all, but my husband did.  Turns out I was lucky to have her as she was the only obstetrician on deck that was happy to try a forceps delivery in such a presentation. She tried to rotate baby's head with the ventouse and ease him out but after a couple of unsuccessful tries she decided to use forceps. You could hear the pop as the ventouse lost suction! She used the kielland forceps and after pushing a few times our son was born! They put him on my chest straight away but almost as quickly he was whisked away again. The cord was cut by my husband and our baby was rushed to be checked over, I could hear his cry and he got a 9 on his apgar which was a huge relief. Talking to my husband afterwards he said that cutting the cord had felt so brutal he hated doing it.

Once they moved me back to the delivery suite my wee man started nursing straight away which was great sign. I couldn’t move because of the spinal block but I was ecstatic to hold my baby at last!

I spent the night gazing at him in the little plastic fish tank crib, and because I couldn’t move the nurses had to bring him to me to feed every time he cried. I wasn’t able to hold him even though I could see him. We were separated by a little plastic wall. The few times he slept I wasn’t able to because I had the morphine itches from my spinal block. My whole body was crawling and I felt vile. My husband had to go home so I had no support and no one to talk to. I was lonely, exhausted and I felt a bit lost. I was ravenous because I hadn’t eaten in almost 24 hours but the small tub of apple puree I ate came back up almost immediately.

When my first visitor came in the morning I was only just able to stand, I hadn’t showered and I was trying to negotiate breastfeeding with a canula on my arm and one thin pillow on an uncomfy hospital chair. I was still really happy though, I had my beautiful baby at last.

Puffy face from IV fluids and an assisted delivery

This is the birth story I wrote a week or so after our first son was born. I went through to edit a few bits and pieces as this was written for a parent centre leaflet and I didn’t want to be too negative. But so much is glaringly obvious to me now that I know what a normal physiological birth looks like. For example, I spent most of my labour lying down or in the bath, I clock watched, I had excessive levels of anxiety from the beginning and towards the end I gave up and let the hospital take over. I took a very passive approach to my birth and as such I had almost every standard intervention. Interventions which are considered to be 'life saving', yet I am convinced if I had not started on that route I would have had a much more successful birth. I had an almost text book intervention cascade (except for a chemical induction) which started from something as little as AROM and gas. I was lucky to avoid a caesarean, and I didn’t even realise it at the time. If I had known that an epidural could have affected my blood pressure and directly impacted my baby's stats, as well as preventing my posterior baby from turning I would have taken a different route. My first birth was a lesson to both of us led us to pursuing a different way the next time around.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Icecream - Good for what ails you

My big boy is going through a notoriously picky eating stage, he has gone from being an adventurous devourer of everything to a selective grazer. I try not to stress out about it, everyone tells me it is a totally normal stage relating to palate and autonomy but I still get anxious and worry about nutrition. I swore I would never become one of those mothers who sneakily find 101 ways to hide spinach in everything but I am heading in that direction.

One thing that he never turns down is icecream! As a result I have developed a series of cunning ‘icecream’ recipes that help give him his 8+ a day. Currently he is avoiding meat and has an uncanny ability to detect and discard it. Which has led me to worry about his iron stores, he has a been a bit pale and tired lately and when I checked his eyelids they were a little pale so I decided to up his Vitamin C and iron intake. A tricky proposition when he has become bored of citrus fruit and refuses to eat his greens. As a result I have come up with some delicious smoothie recipes that become even more delectable icecreams.

To make these you need a blender and an iceblock mould as well as some popsicle sticks.. oh and a freezer.

Green Martian Pops – rich in vitamin C and iron

2 kiwifruit
Bunch of parsley
Kale if you have it
1 teaspoon spirulina powder
½ banana
1 teaspoon of manuka honey
Enough water to make it all blend

It’s important for optimum iron absorption to avoid adding milk or dairy products, I punched up the iron value by adding some floradix and the kiwifruit which is rich in vitamin C helps to absorb the maximum amount of iron. The banana helps make everything creamy and the honey makes it more palatable as well as making the ice crystals smaller. Sugar inhibits freezing which makes the end result easier to eat. A lot of people worry about savoury greens going into a sweet icecream but it’s amazing how well they mix in and how yummy they taste.

Coconut Yummies – a neat way of getting healthy fats in

1 can coconut cream
1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
1 whole banana
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon manuka honey
8 fish oil capsules or 2 teaspoons of fish oil
½ can mango slices or one whole fresh mango (optional)

These sound a little revolting but something about the coconut cream, banana and cinnamon manages to emulsify and obscure the fish oil. Fish oil is great for little brains and this is a handy way of getting a dose in. The fish oil I get is tested for mercury and includes Vitamin D so is a fabulous immune booster in the winter months. Cinnamon is a great blood sugar regulator as well. If you have a child with gut issues then this is a great smoothie recipe to incorporate slippery elm which helps to line and protect the GIT

Real Fake Jellytip – my son loves these because they taste kinda like jellytip but oh so much better for you. Rich in vitamin C!

3 handfuls of frozen raspberries
1 teaspoon of honey
½ cup beetroot juice
2 juiced oranges
Zest and juice of one lime

I use this mix to make red ‘tips’ on other flavours. It’s a great way of bringing back a waning interest in other icecream flavours. It is a tangy delicious combo that I find hard to resist myself.

Tummy bug pops – gentle on sore tums and great for rehydrating along with fluids

1 can green coconut water (not to be confused with coconut milk)
1 banana
1 handful of blueberries
1 teaspoon squeezed juice from some grated ginger

Ginger helps with nausea and green coconut water is ideal for rehydrating because of its similarity to blood plasma. Green coconut water is brownish coloured, and not at all creamy, it also tastes a bit like arse but made into a smoothie it’s much more palatable. Banana is gentle on the tummy and helps with tender bellies, it is part of the B.R.A.T diet and suitable for reintroducing solid foods after a bout of the guts. Blueberries are a powerful antioxidant as well as a good source of potassium which is essential when rehydrating. These are great to make up and then have in the bottom of the freezer for cases of dire rear.

Chocsicles – a probiotic powerhouse

1 banana
1 avocado
½ cup kefir or yoghurt
1 heaping teaspoon raw cacao
1 teaspoon manuka honey

Probiotics are great at preventing illnesses and restoring balance, fabulous for taking after a course of antibiotics. Freezing probiotic foods don’t kill all of the probiotics – simply slow them down. There is a bigger benefit of simply feeding the smoothie but iceblocks are a really handy way of doing it.

These recipes are all just ideas, of course there are thousands of variations you can use. I often make up smoothies with whatever is going and freeze them up in batches. Changing the colours and flavours on a regular basis keeps him interested. These iceblocks are usually served for dessert and in the bath! Sometimes they become impromptu wall crayons but most of the time they are devoured with glee.