Tree of life App

Have you ever heard of a “brelfie”?


A BRELFIE is a selfie chosen to make breastfeeding even more beautiful than what it already is.

How does it work ?

The app allows you to add a magical Tree of Life to their pictures, and the effect is nothing short of stunning.

You can either download pictures from the internet or use the app’s Tree of Life sticker pack.

You can also add other magical effects.

How to use the App

Moms have been sharing their BRELFIES on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with the hashtags.



Why share this ?

Moms are sharing not only to highlight the beauty of breastfeeding but also to reduce the outdated stigma of breastfeeding in public.


Tips to Help Prevent Stretch Marks

Stretch marks look like indented streaks in your skin and can appear red, purple, or silver in appearance.

Stretch marks most often appear on the:

● stomach





Stretch marks are common in pregnancy, but anyone can develop stretch marks at any phase of life.

Even if you’re at increased risk of stretch marks, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk and treat the stretch marks you already have.

How to reduce and treat stretch marks

1.Control your weight…

One of the most helpful things you can do to prevent stretch marks,whether you’re pregnant or not, is to maintain a healthy weight. Stretch marks occur when your skin pulls apart quickly due to rapid weight or loss.

Some people develop stretch marks during growth spurts, such as during puberty.

2. Stay Hydrated…

Drinking enough water may help keep your skin hydrated and soft. Soft skin doesn’t’t tend to develop stretch marks as much as dry skin does.

3.Eat a nutrient-rich Diet…

Stretch marks can also occur if you lack nutrition in certain areas. Eating foods that boost skin health may help.

Your diet needs to include foods rich in:

●vitamin C

●vitamin D

●vitamin E



One way to make sure you’re getting a variety of nutrients is to choose unprocessed foods in various colors.

4.Include Vitamin c in your Diet…

Collagen plays a large role in keeping your skin strong and elastic. It helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and it is important for preventing stretch marks.

Vitamin C is an important nutrient for the development of collagen and can be found in many fruits and vegetables.

5.Soak up some Vitamin D…

Results suggest that maintaining healthy levels of vitamin D may reduce your risk of stretch marks.The easiest way to get vitamin D is through exposure to the sun.

6.Eat Food Rich in zinc…

Zinc is an important nutrient for skin health. It helps to reduce inflammation and plays an important role in the wound healing process.

7.Treat Fresh Stretch Mark when the appear…

If you can’t totally prevent stretch marks on your skin, you can work to minimize their appearance so they are not as noticeable.


Some people are more likely to develop stretch marks.

Risk factors include:

  • being female
  • having a family history of stretch marks
  • being overweight
  • being pregnant
  • gaining or losing weight quickly
  • using corticosteroids
  • having breast augmentation
  • having certain genetic disorders


Pregnancy is one of the most common times when women notice stretch marks. In fact, it’s estimated that 50 to 90 percent of pregnant women will develop stretch marks before delivery.

Some experts believe that hormones during pregnancy may make you more prone to stretch marks. The hormones may bring more water into the skin,relaxing it and making it easier to tear when stretched.

The best way for pregnant women to prevent stretch marks is to gain pregnancy weight slowly.

If you do develop stretch marks during pregnancy, you may be glad to know that they will eventually fade.


Preventing stretch marks may be difficult, but there are many treatments that may lessen their appearance.

■Retinoid cream

Retinoid cream is a topical medication. The cream helps rebuild the collagen in your skin.

■Laser Therapy

The lasers can help stimulate collagen or elastin in your skin to grow. There are various types of laser therapy.

■Glycolic Acid

Glycolic acid creams and chemical peels work to help lessen the appearance of current stretch marks, but they do not keep new ones from forming.

Stretch marks often fade to become less noticeable with time.

Preventing them can be difficult but keeping your weight in check, staying hydrated, eating a healthy diet, and seeking treatment soon after the marks appear may help.

Pregnancy Education month

February’s Pregnancy Education Month campaign highlights how childbirth education empowers parents for a better birth experience.

Birth is the most natural process on earth and yet studies have shown that one in every four women describes giving birth as traumatic and up to 20% meet the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder. It has also been shown that women who fear childbirth experience longer labours and were more likely to need an emergency caesarean.

‘There is a link between a lack of knowledge, fear and the experience of childbirth,’ says Lynne Bluff, national co-ordinator for the Childbirth Educators’ Professional Forum (CBEPF), which is partnering with Bio-Oil and hospitals nationally for the ‘Empowering Birth’ Pregnancy Education Monthcampaign.

Good childbirth classes, says Bluff, will equip parents with the pros and cons of all the available childbirth options as well as practical tips and techniques for the birth and afterwards. Childbirth educators are usually nurses and midwives and parents who can share both professional expertise and personal experience. Classes are offered at many hospitals, clinics and private practices.

‘We believe that when parents are informed, any type of birth, from homebirth to caesarean, can be an empowering one. It shifts from a potentially overwhelming experience to one that is fulfilling, positive and, ultimately, beneficial to mother and child,’ says Anna Guerin of Bio-Oil. ‘There is simply no substitute for evidence-based information provided by qualified and experienced professionals. With quality childbirth education, parents are empowered and properly prepared in a warm and supportive way,’ says Bluff.

Over 300 private hospitals and clinics around South Africa are running Pregnancy Education Month activities in February.

For details, or to find a childbirth educator in your area, visit

Research and References

· Antenatal education appears to alleviate post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms after childbirth – The effects of antenatal education on fear of childbirth, maternal self-efficacy and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms following childbirth: an experimental study. Appl Nurs Res. 2016 Nov; 32:227-232. doi: 10.1016/j.apnr.2016.07.013. Epub 2016 Jul 30. Gökçe İsbir G1, İnci F2, Önal H3, Yıldız PD4. (

· Educational interventions may reduce fear of childbirth with double the effect of hypnosis; Interventions for reducing fear of childbirth: A systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials. Women and Birth, available online 7 November 2017, Vahideh Moghaddam Hosseinia Milad Nazarzadeh bShayesteh Jahanfarc, (

· Women who fear childbirth experience longer labours ((Salvesen Adams, University of Oslo 2013, published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology)

· Improved maternal mental health (National Childbirth Trust, 2010)

· Decreased use of epidural anaesthesia during childbirth (Ferguson, Davis & Brown, 2013)

· Greater satisfaction for the parents and parent-infant relationships after birth (National Childbirth Trust, 2010)

· A blended mindfulness and skills-based childbirth education intervention is associated with improvements in women’s sense of control and confidence in giving birth – Effectiveness of a Mindfulness-Based Childbirth Education pilot study on maternal self-efficacy and fear of childbirth. Byrne, Hauck Y, Fisher C, Bayes S, Schutze R. J Midwifery Womens Health. 2014 Mar-Apr; 59(2):192-7. doi: 10.1111/jmwh.12075. Epub 2013 Dec 10. (

· Attending prenatal classes is one of the factors found to be favouring breastfeeding – Breastfeeding Determinants in Healthy Term Newborns, Colombo L1, Crippa BL2, Consonni D3, Bettinelli ME4, Agosti V5, Mangino G6, Bezze EN7, Mauri PA8, Zanotta L9, Roggero P10, Plevani L11, Bertoli D12, Giannì ML13, Mosca F14, Nutrients. 2018 Jan 5; 10(1). pii: E48. doi: 10.3390/nu10010048. (

· Increased breastfeeding initiation and continuation (Schrader-McMillan, Barlow & Redshaw, 2009)

· Women who fear childbirth experience longer labours ((Salvesen Adams, University of Oslo 2013, published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology)

· The World Health Organisation (

Empty Arms – miscarriage, stillbirth and infant loss conference

Book your place now.

About the event

The Empty Armsmiscarriage, stillbirth and infant loss conference is organised by Amanda Loots who is based  in Kimberley. 

Amanda is a birth doula as well as a mommy who has endured her own loss and will be training as a Bereavement Doula at the end of Febraury. 

The aim of the event is to create a space for couples that have experienced  loss, to come together and share their experiences. 

It is a place for family members to learn how to support their loved ones who have suffered this kind of loss. And in doing this we aim to create awareness of the number of families who experience this type of loss each year and the importance of breaking the silence by allowing these families to speak of their loss whilst finding healing and support within their communities.

Guest speaker

Samala Kriedemann is a Social Worker and mother of 4. The birth of her last child, which was an incredible waterbirth inspired her to enter the birthing world and use her Social Work experience to support mothers as they transition into motherhood. 

She studied to become a birth doula and her very first client as a doula had a stillbirth at 39 weeks! 

With her exstensive Social Work background she was aware just how much this mommy was going to need support!

 She began searching for a baby loss support group and could only find 1 and this was in Johannesburg.

 As a trained Social Worker she came to the realisation that she could  start a support group in Pretoria. And a year and a half ago she started the Mothersof Angels Support Group with 4 mothers.

 To date the support group has assisted almost 40 mothers and is growing all the time.

 After hearing these mothers’ personal stories of their births,their losses and how so many mothers suffered added trauma during their births due to the the lack of necessary support during their births she studied to become a Bereavement Doula and received  her International qualification with Stillbirthday University in America. 

Since then she have been assisting mothers’ as they birth their stillborn babies or have to go through a medical termination due to fatal diagnosis.

What is the role of a Bereavement Doula?

A bereavement doula supports the couple through their labour and birth. Your bereavement Doula will  receive your baby and clean the baby. She then dresses baby and presents the couple with their little one.

 She will take photos, help them say goodbye and then assist with arranging a funeral home to come and collect the baby.

  In South Africa, we have an old law which states that any baby born pre 26 weeks that does not take a breath is considered medical waste and is disposed of as such. So basically baby is incinerated with other medical waste such as amputated limbs.

A Bereavement Doula is trained to assist clients that want to have their pre 26 week baby taken out of the hospital and buried or cremated.

These families are assisted in this process, giving them an opportunity to have their baby’s ashes and some kind of farewell ceremony.  

For more information you can contact :

So much for the birth plan … When Labour doesn’t go as planned . 

It’s taken me 15 months to write this post. If you’ve learnt anything about me , you’ll know that I often pen my thoughts almost immediately.  I like to write while the emotions are raw and tangible.

So, why has it taken so long for me to write this post you ask ?

I’m not sure … I’ve tried to write it many times. Each time I start I read it back and something sounds wrong.

Today I’m ready .

I’m ready to share my story of a birth that went wrong. 

A little background info 

As the mom of 6 before bear, I was quite seasoned in the child birth department . There really wasn’t much I haven’t experienced.

Needless to say ..when it comes to labour I’m quite fussy and know my body well enough to take the lead and do what comes naturally.

6 natural births with the longest labour being my first of 5 hours and the shortest being my youngest at 20 minutes ,I knew bear was popping out real quick once active labour began.

Call me spoilt but I’ve only experienced contractions once. For the most part my births have been 20 minutes to half an hour of active labour where the pain is in my thighs and lower back. 

So I did not expect anything different with bear.


Towards the end of my pregnancy I started to have slight complications with bear and after 2 weeks of bed rest and a few weeks of stressing I was fully prepared when my gynea suggested an induction at 38 weeks.

Super eager to meet my bear and even more eager to end this pregnancy now . ( we all get to those dreaded last weeks where you waddling and resembling a beached whale)

Hospitals and Mahan

A date was set , Facebook updated and I fully expected with an induction starting at 7am to have delivered my beautiful baby boy by 10am latest.

We got to the hospital and were ushered into a cold clinical room. In all my deliveries I’ve never felt so isolated.( I’ve had 5 of my bears at a government hospital and Kiki at a private hospital.)  But this was too somber. Not that it mattered as is only be here a few hours.

I undressed and papa made himself comfortable as we waited for the nurse to administer the drug for induction.

I remember declining the enema, as i had never been given one before birth of any of my bears, and I remember the nurse making a large deal about it.

Just after 8am they finally induced me and it wasn’t till almost 11am that I saw my gynea.

And now what ?

 Up until this point …. nothing. 

Here i was expecting to be holding my baby and I wasn’t even feeling a twinge.

Papa was working from the chair and I spent most of that morning uncomfortably trying to walk up and down the 3 flights of steps to get a little contraction action started.

By lunch time I was starving, people wanted to know what was happening and aside from the occasional nurse poping in to prod and poke at me my gynea was MIA.

Drips and more 

At about 2pm a nurse finaly came and broke my waters.  Excitedly I waited for contractions , eager to meet my little boy.

As each half hour passed I started to get more and more anxious. Why wasn’t it working. I’d had an induction before and Sbear was born in less than an hour. Every part of me was screaming that something was wrong.

I started to worry about bears heart rate. What was the consequence of him still in my womb after the waters had been broken so long and where in all of baby’s nappies was my gynea?

A nurse appeared just after 3pm and hooked me up to a fetal monitor. Now I couldn’t move. I was stuck on my bed….waiting. the whole time I was crying, small sobs of worry and frustration. My mind convincing me I was not going to deliver a living baby.

And then ..

Around 7pm the mysterious gynea appeared with a solution . 

He attached a now hysterical, crying me to a drip to get the contractions to move faster. I still do not understand why this was not done sooner.

The next few hours were consumed with an occasional nurse proding, a non existent gynea and me attached to a fetal monitor and drip sobbing my heart out.

Unable to move, freaking out with the drip in my arm (I’m petrified of needles), tired, cranky with no food or coffee, I wanted to just go home.


Just before 12am I started to feel slight contractions-16 hours since I set foot in the hospital. At 12.15am I had the nurse reluctantly after I kicked up a fuss remove the drip. I needed to move. Being restricted was emotionally draining and I needed to get myself together for birth.

At 12.40am I felt my familiar leg cramps and had papa find a midwife. I remember neededing to push thinking that papa was about to deliver bear and praying that with his waters breaking early,a disinterested gynea,  the long traumatic labour and drugs from the induction he would be ok. 

We were hardly in the delivery room and a perfect bear was delivered at 12.40 am on 22 September 2017.


I don’t understand why it took my gynea so long or where he was. All I know is that it was the most isolated ,uncomfortable birth I’ve ever experienced.

Mom’s if I can offer any advise from this experience it would be this …

  • Trust your body, it knows what to do naturally.
  • Insist in writing a birth plan.
  • Hire a doula or enlist someone to be your voice. Often in labour youre exhausted, and dont have the energy to insist on certain treatment.
  • Get references on moms that have used your gynea for birth.

Angel … a tribute to miscarriage

You can read my poem at Pregnancy Loss Australia 


Judy dooley
An angel went to heaven,

My heart is beyond sad.

A beautiful little baby

Cradled in Gods hand.

His wings are made of gosmer

He wears a silken gown

And every time my heartbreaks 

He sighs a little frown.

He leaves me little gifts 

Sometimes a sign or two

Just to say, “Dear mommy

I’m thinking of you too! ”

So, although i cannot hold him

Or call his gentle name

I see him all around me:-

In wind and sun and rain.

He’s the mornings rising sunlight

The moon within the sky

He’s the rainbow after raindrops

And the light that caught my eye.

He calls me through the wind,

The ocean and the trees.

I sense him all around me 

And hear him in the breeze.

I see him in the flowers 

That smile in summertime,

And although I never held him

His heart is always mine.

An angel went to heaven

I never knew his name, 

But I’m his dearest mommy

And love him all the same.