Q&A – Real Stories from Real Mums – Mummy Gemma from Sydney Australia

1. How many children do you have & how old are they?

One son, Ari, who is just over 6 months old.

2. What are your 5 must have baby essentials?

1) Coconut oil – both Ari and I use it daily!

2) Baby sleeping bag – we use a cosy Merino wool Go-Go bag which was a hand-me-down gift from my best friend, who used it for her two children. It keeps Ari perfectly cosy at night because he can’t toss off covers. I attribute his magnificent sleep at least partly to this.

3) Himilayan salt lamp – a huge chunk of pink salt with a simple globe inside. It’s permanently switched on in our bedroom, giving off both a very soft, cosy golden pink light and beneficial negative ions into the space. I’ve used it from the moment Ari was born. It was even plugged into the socket in our room in hospital so we could avoid the fluorescent lights. Every midwife who came in remarked on how beautiful the light was. It gives off enough light to change night nappies etc… but is also soft enough to sleep with. Another tool that I believe has helped establish fantastic sleep for us from the get-go.

4) Beco Gemini baby carrier – hands down the best carrier we’ve tried (and we’ve tried a lot!) Very comfortable for both me and bub and a stylish design. I’ve pimped ours up using drool pads/bibs found on Etsy.

5) An Australian lambskin – so warm, toasty and cosy and another great sleep aide! It must be like lying on a giant teddy bear! It also has a lovely, precious, heirloom quality about it – one day Ari may use his lambskin for his own children!

3. What are your 5 must have Mummy essentials?

1) Coconut oil – for food, for skin, for everything. Coconut oil contains very high levels of lauric acid which is a hugely important component of breast milk, so it supports your breastfeeding while nourishing you.

2)Garden of Life whole food products – I virtually lived on their bars during the first crazy weeks, and still use them a lot now to help avoid the almost inevitable meal-skipping of early motherhood and as my supplements. I order the Perfect Food chocolate covered greens bars, Super Seed bars, Organic Fruits of Life bars, Icelandic Cod Liver Oil and Living Multi Optimal Women’s Formula. I also always have one of the Garden of Life protein powders on hand: RAW meal, RAW protein or Perfect Meal. As a naturopath, I have to say that these are some of the very best whole food products I’ve used: everything is organic, raw, sprouted, and they use nourishing, healthy oils. Unfortunately they’re not available for retail in Australia, so I order mine from www.iherb.com  as well as our coconut oil and many other grocery, supplement, baby and personal care products that aren’t available in Australia. You can get $10 off your first order with iHerb if you use the coupon code QEP896, and international shipping is free for orders over $40. All good!

3) Nursing singlets – I’ve actually found that Target make the best ones for me, and their maternity bras are also awesome!

4)A good selection of podcasts – Ari likes long walks outside, so I subscribe to several fabulous podcasts and listen to them on my iPod while we walk. This way I get to engage my adult brain while still chattering away to Ari in the carrier while he gets his fill of trees, birds and sky. My favourites are Radiolab, This American Life and TED Radio Hour among others.

5) Coffee – need I say more?

4. What is your fondest memory of being pregnant? 

The first time I felt Ari kick, I was standing in a long line at Woolworths feeling completely grey and exhausted and pissed off. It completely turned my mood around. I was listening to a Radiohead song, and this inspired Ari’s middle name -Thomas, after Thom Yorke. It felt like the first communication we ever had.

5. Can you give us 5 words to describe your labor?

Empowering, strong, arse-kicking, disappointing, humbling.

6. What’s the funniest thing your baby has done to date?

Ari cracks me up daily, so this is a really hard question to answer! Currently, I find his uncontrollable giggle fits about car horns honking, his insistence on rubbing in his own coconut oil after a bath and the totally bizarre look he gets on his face when he tries a new food to be particularly funny!

7. What’s your profession & do you plan on returning to it now that you’re a Mummy? 

I’m a naturopath and health writer and my last term of employment was a contract in writing nutrition and herbal medicine study curriculum for a private college. I may do some further projects with them, but at the moment my professional energy is being channelled into my own upcoming web project. I’m a single mum, so I will be needing to create an income soon and I’m excited about discovering ways to do that from home while engaging and sharing my true passions.

8. What advice can you give to expectant mothers? 

Throw aside the books on pregnancy and read up on newborn care instead. Provided that you’re healthy, pregnancy takes care of itself. But before you know it, you’ll have a tiny cub to look after, and not every aspect of that comes naturally!

9. What’s the thing that you least expected about motherhood? 

The love. I knew I would love Ari, but not in the walk-through-fire, Mumma-bear, heartbursting way that I immediately loved him.

10. What’s your favourite weekly activity that you and your baby do together? 

Mums and bubs yoga was absolutely my favourite, but Ari is getting bored with that, so it’s time to round that up and move on to something new. I have connected with many amazing mummas and their kiddies there, and we all catch up a couple of times a week. A very important community for us all. Ari is very physical and energetic, so I think he’ll really love the local community baby gym and music classes that we’ll be starting soon.

11. What does it mean to be an “eco friendly” Mummy? & How do you keep it green? 

Specific to having a baby, I think there are lots of ways that I ‘keep it green’. I use absolutely minimal products both in the home and on our skin and those that we do use are very eco-friendly. Aside from inevitable hand-me-downs and gifts, I only buy safe and eco-friendly toys from places like the Flying Penguin in Newtown. I try to get as many of Ari’s clothes as I can second-hand – he just grows out of them so quickly it seems insane to buy them new all the time. A baby carrier is one of the best eco-investments as it encourages you to walk a lot – great for baby, great for you, great for the environment. We use Baby Beehinds modern cloth nappies around half the time, and Naty disposables when we’re out. I’d like to work on moving towards 100% modern cloth, but they can be tricky, cumbersome and a bit smelly on the move! 

12. Even on the hardest day (when you’ve had NO sleep) what still makes you smile? 

Chunky baby thighs!

13. Do you need to stick to any kind of diet or cut any foods out due to breastfeeding and if so why?

My milk supply is low so I eat a lot of foods to help promote milk production. These include quinoa, pecans (which I soak overnight in water with Himilayan salt and then dehydrate in a slow oven), oats (again, soaked overnight in salted water then rinsed and cooked into porridge), slow-cooked chicken broth, fresh nettles and lots of very high quality dairy foods. I also drink some revolting herbal infusions of Goats Rue and Blessed Thistle to help production. It’s all worked wonders. Thankfully I haven’t had to cut any foods out, more that there are specific foods I need to focus on right now.

14. What’s your favourite healthy meal that you serve to your family? 

Too hard a question for me, as I’m an avid and passionate cook. I will say though, I love the simple economy of a delicious garlic and butter roasted chicken eaten hot on the night, turned into salads, soups and sandwiches through the week and then all the bones and scraps thrown into a stockpot with vegetables for a slow-cooked broth for the following week. It’s very hard to find decent chook in Sydney though.

15. What’s the thing that happens that makes you think & or say “Oh no not again!”

Pooh explosions.



Q&A – Real Stories from Real Mums – Mummy Olivia from Sydney Australia

Having a cuppa with Yasemin Trollope from Good Health magazine, PRIMPED.com.au, and The Happiness Cocktail


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