Should I lose weight before knee replacement surgery

Written by
Fuel Your Life

Maybe you or someone you know needs knee replacement surgery and have been told to lose excess weight. For many this can be a point of frustration.

Generally, when people try to lose weight, they use both dietย andย exercise. However, for many people who are preparing for knee replacement surgery, whether it be due to osteoarthritis or a serious injury, exercise is often painful and limited.

For many, achieving pre-operative weight loss goals can often feel as though they are going into battle with one hand tied behind their back. The truth is, exercise only plays a small role in the weight loss puzzle. Diet plays a much larger role and the reality is that weight loss can be achieved through diet alone.

Whether or not you should lose weight prior to knee replacement surgery is fairly individual, however if you are carrying excess weight, you would very likely benefit.

So, what are the benefits of losing weight prior to surgery?

Dietary Habits

Although people usually lose some weight immediately following knee replacement surgery, many people struggle to maintain the weight loss long-term. Learning how to improve your diet for better weight management before surgery, can help with establishing good habits that will help you long into the future.

Reduced Pain

Losing weight can reduce the amount of pressure on your knee joint. In fact, studies have found that every 1 kilogram of body weight lost leads to a reduction of up to 4 kilograms of pressure on the knee joint! Weight loss has also been found to reduce inflammation and pain.

Reduced pain and physical disability generally result in increases in activity levels, improved physical fitness and consequently increased strength surrounding the knee joint.

Home Faster

Weight loss prior to surgery can result is a shorter hospital stay and/or less time in a rehabilitation facility. Resulting in a safer, comfortable, and satisfying recovery.

At home, people are more likely to:

  • Avoid post-surgical infection and readmission to hospital
  • Get better sleep
  • Eat foods they like.

Losing weight before knee surgery can seem like an impossible task, especially since it can be difficult to exercise. However, with the right mindset and dietary strategies, weight loss can be achieved.

For specific, tailored advice that suits your individual lifestyle, speak to one of our Dietitians here at Fuel Your Life.

MY KNEE SURGERY COVERED UNDER PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE?

To find out if you’ve got the right level of cover with your health insurance speak with a member of the Care To Compare team on 1300 76 76 00.

Care To Compare can help you find a health insurance policy that covers you for what you need. When you compare and buy a policy through Care To Compare, 100% of profits are donated to charities like the Red Dust who work together with remote Aboriginal communities to deliver health and well-being programs for youth and families.

Rebates for osteopath treatments

Written by Care To Compare

Private health insurance can provide rebates in addition to the rebates you might be eligible for from a range of government agencies.

Private health insurance and OSTEOPATHY

Osteopathy rebates are generally available under Extras Cover. The benefits available will depend on your level of cover and may have an annual cap.

Some health funds offer better osteopathy benefits than others.

Some osteopath benefits may be combined with other services like chiropractic and physiotherapy under an annual cap.

Here are some things to think about when you buy or review your private health insurance:

  • Who needs cover? Is it for you, your partner or your family?
  • What type cover do you want?  Extras only Cover (to cover osteopathy), Hospital Cover or both Hospital and Extras Cover?
  • What benefits are included? Our team can help you compare policies side by side so you know what benefits are included.

When you see an osteopath as a private patient there may be a gap payment. A gap payment is the difference between what your health fund will cover and the fee charged by your osteopath. Your osteopath has no control over what rebate your health fund will provide.

If you need some help to figure out the best health insurance with psychology benefits or psychiatric services please contact our team on 1300 76 76 00.

MEDICARE AND OSTEOPATHY

Medicare rebates for osteopathic services are available for patients with a Chronic Disease Management (CDM) plan. The governments CDM program enables a doctors (a General Practitioner) to refer patients with a CDM plan for up to 5 allied health professional consultations in a calendar year.

Your doctor needs to facilitate the referral to an osteopath as part of your CDM plan. Your doctor will decide if you would benefit from osteopathy as part of your plan.

If eligible, your osteopath will provide regular reports back to your doctor so they can review and revise your overall CDM plan.

NATIONAL DISABILITY INSURANCE SCHEME (NDIS) and OSTEOPATHY

If you are an NDIS client that self-manage an individualised funding package you need to consult your case manager to see if osteopathic services can be paid for with you package funds.

WORKCOVER AND OSTEOPATHY

If you are injured at work you may be eligible to see an osteopath who can provide workplace injury management services throughout Australia. For example, following a referral from your doctor (a general practitioner) your case manager may approve a rebate for treatments provided by an osteopath. This can include when you have been injured at work and have issues affecting your bones, muscles or joints.

VETERANS AFFAIRS AND OSTEOPATHY

Australian Veterans can access services provided by osteopaths.

Your doctor will need to provide a referral to access Department of Veterans Affairs services.

The Department of Veterans Affairs also advises that people may be able to receive osteopathic services if they have a clinical need and either a Veteran Gold Card or White Veteran Card and your treatment is for an accepted service-related condition.

MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS AND OSTEOPATHY

For people injured in a motor vehicle accident you may be able to access osteopathic treatments through Compulsory Third Party arrangements in each Australia state and territory.

Osteopaths are eligible practitioners in each state and territory motor accident scheme. It means you can consult an osteopath if you have been injured in a motor vehicle, have a neurological or musculoskeletal injury (i.e., an injury to your bones, muscles, joints, tendons or nerves) and are approved to receive rebated or paid treatments for your injury by your claim case manager.

In general, you will need a referral from a General Practitioner (GP) to see an osteopath for a motor vehicle accident unless your case manager has exempted you from needing a referral. In approving consultations with an osteopath, your claim case manager may ask if a General Practitioner has referred you.

DID YOU KNOW?

Our team can help you find a health insurance plan with osteopath benefits to meet your needs.

When you compare and buy health insurance through us we donate 100% of our profits to charity.

Gestational diabetes and pregnancy

Written by
Fuel Your Life

There are many challenges that come with pregnancy, but one of those that is most challenging and relatively common affecting 12-14% of Australian women, isย gestational diabetesย mellitusย (GDM).

Chances are, if youโ€™re here reading this blog, you might be awaiting or even have experienced the infamousย oral glucose tolerance testย (OGTT). This test is the ultimate decider in determining whether you are diagnosed with GDM or not. Many mothers can dread this test, not only due to the fact you have to drink a very sweet drink after a nightโ€™s fast but also what those results may show. But fear no more, today weโ€™re going to delve into what GDM is, who gets it, how it can affect you and your baby during pregnancy, and how a dietitian can help you successfully manage GDM.

What is Gestational Diabetes?

GDM is a form of diabetes that occurs only during pregnancy. This means there is too much glucose (sugar) in the blood. Excess glucose in the blood can have negative effects on both you and your baby. But the good news is successfully managing your GDM can increase your chances of having a normal delivery with no effects on your babyโ€™s long-term health.

The Development of GDM

The food you consume is broken down by the gut into proteins, fats and carbohydrates, along with many vitamins and minerals. The carbohydrate component of these foods is made up of many small parts called glucose, and this is what we refer to as sugar. Glucose is our bodies main source of fuel, powering us with the energy to accomplish every day activates involving muscle contractions and brain function. When pregnant, glucose becomes even more important because it is needed to fuel the growth and development of your baby.

Carbohydrates are found in nearly all foods. However, carbohydrate-rich foods are typically sweet or starchy foods (see table below). During digestion, the glucose in carbohydrates is released into the blood, contributing to our overall blood glucose level. From here, this glucose needs to be transported around the body to our muscles, where it can be used for energy. The hormoneย insulinย is responsible for moving glucose from the blood into the muscles and other organs within the body, and as glucose leaves the blood, that is how the blood glucose levels start to decrease.

Carbohydrates

The below are some of the most common sources of carbohydrates in our diet but donโ€™t forget that all of those sweet and savoury treats also contain a LOT of extra carbohydrate as well as fats and salt.

Cereals and GrainsFruit
(fresh, canned, dried, juice)
Starchy Vegetables and LegumesDairy (but not cheese)
Flours,
Rice, Pasta
Crackers,
Bread, wraps and tortillas
Cereals,
Oats
Bananas
Apples,
Pears,
Pineapple, Watermelon
Juices (fresh or pre-packed)
Potatoes,
sweet potato,
Legumes,
Lentils,
Corn
Milk (fresh,
long life,
powdered, flavoured)
Yoghurt
Custard
Ice cream

Insulin Resistance

Unique hormonal changes during pregnancy naturally reduce the effectiveness of insulin, meaning pregnant mothers usually require 2 to 3 times more insulin than they normally would. When the effectiveness of insulin is reduced, glucose stays in the blood and cannot be transported to the muscles. This is referred to as insulin resistance. This is what is happening to mothers with GDM. Their bodies simply cannot keep up with the insulin demands and does not produce enough insulin to effectively overcome the insulin resistance. Blood glucose levels will continue to rise to unsafe levels as more food is consumed. Some women in particular struggle to produce the extra insulin and have an increased risk of developing GDM, these include those:

  • Aged over 35 years
  • Above the healthy weight range
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander or Asian decent
  • Having a family history of type 2 diabetes or high blood glucose levels
  • Using anti-psychotic or steroidal medications
  • Already had GDM or a large baby before

If you fit into any of the categories above, you could have GDM without even knowing it. Many mothers do not report any symptoms. But those who do typically notice increased thirst, increased hunger or food consumption and more frequent trips to the toilet. All of which are typical symptoms in someone with diabetes.

The Effects on Pregnancy

When blood glucose levels are uncontrolled and remain too high for too long, the glucose needs to find somewhere to go. The easiest path for this glucose is straight to your baby. Extra glucose means the baby will be getting too much fuel, resulting in too rapid growth. Bigger babies can significantly increase the chances of early delivery, with complications during birth. As a result, C-sections are very common to assist in the delivery.

Testing for Gestational Diabetes

GDM is diagnosed using the OGTT as mentioned above, and although it is challenging and requires a lot of patience it is essential to ensure the health of you and your baby. This test usually occurs around 24-28 weeks into the pregnancy, where you drink a sweet drink after an overnight fast. The pathologist will then test your blood sugar levels at certain time points. If too much glucose remains in the blood, you will be diagnosed with GDM.

Managing Gestational Diabetes

GDM can be successfully managed by monitoring blood glucose levels, and by adopting a controlled eating pattern. Upon diagnosis, you will be referred to a dietitian and diabetes educator.

If you are looking or anย Accredited Practising Dietitian the team at Fuel Your Life can assist you and your GP can refer you straight to them. Fuel Your Life dietitians will always provide you with advice that is tailored to your lifestyle.

The bottom line is that GDM is a condition that can be successfully managed with a proactive approach. Fuel Your Life dietitians are here to help, soย get in touch today.

Can I get a rebate for seeing a dietitian?

To find out how you might be able to claim the costs of seeing a dietitian with your health insurance speak with a member of the Care To Compare team on 1300 76 76 00.

Care To Compare can help you find a health insurance policy that covers you for what you need. When you compare and buy a policy through Care To Compare, 100% of profits are donated to charities like theย Australasian Birth Trauma Associationย who provide a peer-led community dedicated to helping Australian and New Zealanders prevent and heal from birth-related trauma.

Support for new dads

“When you welcome a new baby into the world, there is so much emphasis on self care, support and love for mums (and babies). Rightly so. Mums have birthed this human being, experienced profound changes to their bodies, have had a huge shift in their sense of self and most often are primary carer to this new little human.

Unfortunately, partners slide a little under the radar and donโ€™t always receive the care, support and attention they need and crave during this time of transition to parenthood.”

Jasmin Kostov, Let’s Sleep

Up to 1 in 10 Dads experience postnatal anxiety and depression in the first year after their baby is born. Up to 1 in 5 new Mumโ€™s will experience postnatal anxiety and depression. Whilst the prevalence is lower for Dadโ€™s (or so the statistics show anywayโ€ฆ), we know that men in general are not as likely to talk about how they are feeling and may โ€˜bottle upโ€™ their emotions.

This highlights the importance of supporting partners during pregnancy and postnatally.

Providing opportunities to debrief after the birth experience they have witnessed, having support and education in those early newborn days and empowering Dadโ€™s to build confidence and be as involved as possible are a few key factors that can REALLY help the transition to parenthood for partners.

Here are my suggestions for how to support our partners in the transition to parenthood.

Antenatal education

Knowledge is power. Getting educated about birth and beyond makes a world of difference for parents. I honestly believe that if partners can receive some education about the birthing process, how to support their partner during labour, see a birth video, understand some different scenarios that can happen during labour and birth – this can empower partners and remove some of the unknown and โ€˜fearโ€™ leading up to to birth of baby.

Often this is where the education stops.

I wish that all parents had some education around caring for a newborn, sleep basics, feeding, how important self care is (and how to fit it in!) and what to expect in those first months as a parent. This knowledge can make the world of difference for partners that are supporting a new Mum and baby.

My antenatal/newborn package was designed just for that reason.

Debrief after the birth

All parents should be provided with the opportunity to debrief after the birthing process. It is a HUGE experience no matter how your birth unfolds. A partners experience of the birth of their baby is completely different from Mums. A partner witnesses the love of their life in quite immense discomfort and can feel helpless as they canโ€™t take that pain away for them. If there is an unexpected turn in the labour such as needing an emergency caesarean, this can create some additional stress for partners and is often a completely unknown environment for them.

Debriefing with a health professional or a trusted friend or family member after the birth of baby can help partners to begin to understand what happened in the birthing process, discuss how they felt and what they saw. This simple chat can prevent those emotions from bubbling under the surface.

Get your partner involved early on

When baby is born, quite naturally the baby and mother spend majority of their time together – especially if baby is breastfeeding. Baby is feeding frequently and having lots of cuddles with Mum. In the moment, itโ€™s not always easy to step back and reflect on how your partner is feeling and adjusting.

Providing opportunities for your partner to build his or her confidence with baby from those early days will help to strengthen and nurture that Mum, partner and baby triad. Involving your partner as much as possible is not only wonderful for their relationship with baby but also provides Mum with some time to herself (even if its just 20-30 minutes a day to begin with). Try your best to allow your partner some space alone with baby, make small suggestions if they need some help but try not to hover (after all, we all learn by trial and error!)

Some ideas for how your partner can be involved regularly from those first few days and beyond.
  • Skin to skin
  • Settling baby for a sleep while Mum has a shower/dinner
  • Offering a bottle of expressed breastmilk or formula (if breastfeeding, always express with a hand or electric pump if your baby is having a bottle, this will help to protect your breast milk supply)
  • Take baby out for an assisted nap in the pram, carrier or car
  • Change nappy and dress baby
  • Bath baby or have a shower with baby skin to skin

Words of encouragement

Those first few months with your new baby can be tiring, stressful and amazing all at the same time. Every day, I challenge all new Mumโ€™s to reflect on something that your partner has done to support you and baby. I then would highly encourage you to share that with your partner. These small comments each day can help to build confidence for partners, make them feel appreciated, involved and needed. Positivity and kindness go a long way.

Some examples might include:
  • โ€™it was so great when you gave Max his bottle today and had cuddles with him afterwardโ€™
  • โ€˜thank you for cooking us dinner tonightโ€™
  • โ€˜it was so helpful that you brought the washing in off the line todayโ€™
  • โ€˜Max loved having a nice warm shower with you tonightโ€™

I hope that these suggestions resonate with you and positively impact transition to parenthood. Our partners are so important. There is something pretty special about seeing your partner with your baby and nurturing that relationship.

About the author

Jasmin Kostov is a Registered Midwife, Registered Nurse, Maternal & Child Health Nurse, Infant & Child Sleep Coach and the Director of Let’s Sleep.

SUPPORT FOR POSTNATAL DEPRESSION

Care To Compare is proud to support the Australasian Birth Trauma Association who provide a peer-led community dedicated to helping Australian and New Zealanders prevent and heal from birth-related trauma.

DID YOU KNOW?

Asking your private health insurer to remove pregnancy cover can reduce your monthly premiums?

Top 5 myths about osteoarthritis

“If somebody says they have arthritis they are most likely talking about osteoarthritis. If you are struggling with arthritis or joint pain see your health professional to discuss some treatment strategies suitable for your situation.”

Dr Matt Corbin, Osteopath, Six Core Outcomes

Fun fact: There is more arthritis today than there has ever been and we have never been more sedentary. Perhaps it’s time we stop calling it wear and tear?

Here are the top 5 myths about osteoarthritis.

1. Scans

Scans can not and do not predict your level of pain or disability regardless of how severe the arthritis may appear on an image.

2. rest

Rest or avoiding activities completely can actually make pain worse in the long run.

3. exercise

Exercise is not dangerous. Safe, graded exposure to painful activities can actually help reduce pain by improving your strength, capacity and tolerance.

4. Surgery

Surgery is not the only answer. In fact 20% of people who undergo joint replacements donโ€™t achieve pain relief. Surgery is suggested for people who have undergone thorough non-surgical management unsuccessfully.

5. Pain

Pain does not reflect the amount of damage. Much like on a scan, the amount of damage does not reflect the level of pain. They do not always correlate.

Do I need private health insurance to see an osteo, physio or Chiro?

No. All practitioners can see both private and public patients.

Your health insurance can provide you with rebates when you visit an osteopath, physiotherapist or chiropractor. Check with your health fund what benefits are available.

Interested in Working with an osteopath?

Book an appointment with Dr Matt Corbin at Six Core Outcomes or find your local Osteopath.

What’s the difference between an Osteo, Physio and Chiro?

“The assumption is that the professions are all very different, with various techniques & skill sets. Whilst some subtle differences may exist, the truth is that we are more alike than some (clinicians) might like to admit!”

Dr Matt Corbin, Osteopath, Six Core Outcomes

If youโ€™ve ever wondered what the difference between an Osteopath, Physiotherapist and a Chiropractor is – you are not alone! It can be a confusing discussion within the healthcare system so I can only imagine how confusing it can be for patients just looking for help.

Education & Qualifications

Each profession is registered and regulated by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

Each profession is accredited after completing 4-5 years of education at university.

Each profession consists of a mixture of hands-on treatment and rehabilitative exercise designed to help those in pain.

whatโ€™s the difference?

Itโ€™s important to note that โ€˜Osteoโ€™, โ€˜Physioโ€™ & โ€˜Chiroโ€™ are professions – Theyโ€™re not treatments or treatment styles. Each is qualified to provide diagnosis, management and prevention of musculoskeletal conditions. 

In the modern age of evidence-based medicine youโ€™ll start noticing that the best practitioners will all practice in a very similar way. The secret is out – Gone are the days where a 5-10 minute appointment for an โ€œadjustmentโ€ is considered optimal health care.

Dr Matt Corbin (Osteopath) at Six Core Outcomes using manual therapy for patient.

The real difference comes between practitioners, not professions. 

The best practitioners get you moving.

The best practitioners build confidence, not fear.

The best practitioners get you off the table, and back to the activities you love.

Avoid somebody who spends the majority of time doing things to you, find yourself a practitioner who empowers you with self-care strategies to look after your own body. 

How do you choose the right osteo, Physio or Chiro?

Choose the person, not the profession. To help find your next Osteopath, Physiotherapist or Chiropractor use this checklist to help guide your decision.

Find a practitioner who:

  • Seems genuine, empathetic and understanding
  • Educates, empowers and builds confidence 
  • Works with you to find the right management plan suited to your goals
  • Promotes self-care strategies alongside hands-on treatments
  • Encourages you to ask questions during your appointment.

Do I need private health insurance to see an osteo, physio or Chiro?

No. All practitioners can see both private and public patients.

Your health insurance can provide you with rebates when you visit an osteopath, physiotherapist or chiropractor. Check with your health fund what benefits are available.

Interested in Working with an osteopath?

Book an appointment with Dr Matt Corbin at Six Core Outcomes or find your local Osteopath.

What mental health treatment is covered by Medicare and private health insurance?

Written by Care To Compare

Australians are becoming more aware of their own mental health needs and the needs of their family and friends. A great range of support services are available with or without private health insurance.

If you or someone you know lives with a mental illness a Medicare rebate to cover part of the cost of your appointments with a psychologist might be available.

Does private health insurance cover mental health?

Private health insurance can provide additional support in addition to the rebates you are entitled to from Medicare. It can help you with:

  • In-patient or Psychiatric care generally covers treatment in a private hospital. A Gold level of hospital cover is required for this, there may be a two-month waiting period, but you may be eligible to have this waived.
  • Out-patient or Mental Health careย generally covers psychological therapy when or if you are no longer eligible to claim this service with Medicare.

If you need some help to figure out the best health insurance with psychology benefits or psychiatric services please contact our team on 1300 76 76 00.

What is the mental health waiver?

The mental health waiver enables a person with limited hospital cover to upgrade their level of cover so they can access in-hospital psychiatric services without needing to serve the usual 2 month waiting period. Currently, this exemption can only be accessed by each person once in their lifetime.

Generally, you must have served an initial two month waiting period for any psychiatric benefits. Ask our team or your health insurer for the specific details that apply to your cover.

IS THERE SUPPORT AVAILABLE WITH MEDICARE?

When you speak to your preferred doctor they can help coordinate the treatment of mild mental health issues by providing practical advice, referring you to a psychologist or prescribing medication. They may refer you to a psychiatrist. Your doctor may develop a Mental Health Treatment Plan specifically for you. This can provide up to 10 sessions with a mental health specialist subsidised by Medicare. This initiative is known as Better Access.

What public support is available?

ReachOut.comย provides free online mental health services for young people and their parents in Australia.

If you or someone you know needs help please contactย Lifelineย on 13 11 14.

DID YOU KNOW?

If you or someone you know lives with a mental illness, a Medicare rebate to cover part of the cost of your appointments with a psychologist might be available.

Care To Compare proudly supports ReachOut.Com

10 tips to help your newborn baby sleep

“Each child and each family is different. Simple, holistic and family centred sleep solutions can provide positive and significant changes in the lives of families.”

Jasmin Kostov, Let’s Sleep

The newborn period is from birth right through to 3 months of age. Arguably, this is one of the biggest periods of adjustment for parents whether it’s your first child or not. You might be surprised to learn that there is plenty you can do in that newborn period to set up great healthy sleep habits.

Read my top 10 tips below to help your newborn sleep as well as possible in the first 12 weeks.

1. Awake windows

When a newborn is overtired they are much more challenging to settle off to sleep. Having a rough idea of how long your baby should be awake before having another sleep is so important. This single piece of knowledge can make for a much easier first 12 weeks. Sadly, most parents are not informed about awake windows. I wish all parents were provided with this knowledge immediately after having their baby. This knowledge can make the difference between your baby fighting sleep or going off to sleep quite easily. Look for your baby’s tired signs and and offer them sleep when you see these signs.

  • Birth – 3 weeks: 40-60 minutes
  • 4 – 7 weeks: 60-90 minutes
  • 8 – 12 weeks: 75-105 minutes

2. Darkness

From 3 weeks of age or earlier if you wish, I recommend offering your baby their day naps and night time sleep in a very dark room. Before 3 weeks of age babies are naturally quite sleepy and don’t seem to phased by darkness or light for sleep. After 3 weeks of age your baby will start to ‘awaken’. The production and secretion of melatonin (the sleepy hormone) is blocked by light and therefore, providing a dark sleep environment works with your baby’s natural hormones to help promote sleep.

A dark room will help your baby settle off to sleep and connect their sleep cycles much easier plus will prevent them waking up early in the morning when the sun comes up. When they’re napping on the go in the car, carrier or pram – don’t stress about a dark environment!

3. Swaddle

From birth right through to 4 months or when showing signs of rolling, I recommend swaddling your baby for all day sleep and night sleep. You can use a muslin/jersey wrap, love to dream, ergo bag or something similar. There are a few reasons for this recommendation.

Your baby has the Moro Reflex (otherwise know as the ‘startle reflex’) that is present until it starts to fade around 3 months and is generally gone by 5-6 months at the latest. Swaddling helps prevent your baby ‘startling’ themselves awake during sleep.

Your baby is used to a cozy, comfy space in your tummy and would have had limited space in their to move around at the end of pregnancy. Swaddling recreates this womb like environment.

Swaddling for every nap and night sleep is a positive sleep association and each time you swaddle them, they will start to associate this with sleep

4. Rough routine from 6-8 weeks of age

I regularly receive questions on what age is the right time to introduce a routine. Around 6- 8 weeks of age your baby will start to develop natural circadian rhythms and their biological clock becomes more established. Food, light and social interaction all entrain or set your baby’s biological clock. For these reasons, 6-8 weeks is a great time to start a loose routine to follow each day. This might include:

  • the same wake up time each day of 7am
  • aiming for 3-5 naps across the day and a bed time of between 6-7.30pm after a nice warm bath and massage.
  • rough times for feeds (3-4 hourly) and fit these in around your babies nap times.

5. Offer your baby sleep in their bassinet from the beginning

You might have heard the saying, start as you intend to finish. If your goal is for your baby to be sleeping in their bassinet or cot for all sleep in a few months time – then it is never too early to get started. In those first 12 weeks you might find your baby sleeps really well in their bassinet or cot for naps and night sleep (yay for you!).

If your baby isn’t as content in their own bed, just start off with settling them for 1 day nap in their cot or bassinet per day. This will help them slowly get used to their sleep environment and before long, it will be totally normal for them. Don’t stress if your baby is enjoying sleeps in the pram, car, carrier, your chest and anywhere other than their bed. This is quite normal and you can work on encouraging them to sleep in their own bed as they get past 3-4 months of age.

6. Upright time and burping during and after feeds

Offering your baby upright time during and after feeds can help aid digestion and alleviate unsettledness due to wind pain. As the day progresses, trapped wind and gut discomfort can worsen simply due to an accumulation of wind. This can play in to that unsettledness in the late afternoon/early evening that is common for babies from birth to 12 weeks of age.

Offer your baby upright time a couple of times during the feed and some back patting/gentle motion side to side and forward and back. Repeat this at the end of the feed and have an upright cuddle for 5-10 minutes after each feed to allow the milk to settle in their tummy before being laid down horizontal. Don’t stress about getting a set number of burps! Just offer them the upright time, some pats on the back and motion.

7. Combination feed option

You may have heard of the ‘witching hour’ or ‘cluster feeding’ in the late afternoon and early evening that is common for newborns. Babies will often feed on and off during this time of day and naturally this can be quite tiring for Mum. An option here for breastfed babies is to introduce ‘combination feeding’. There is a big push currently to ‘exclusively breastfeed’ and whilst I understand the benefits of breastfeeding, I believe parental wellbeing is equally as important. If you’re finding you’re exhausted by the end of the day and your baby is unsettled, there is a possibility this is due to hunger. Breast milk supply naturally is lower in the later part of the day and therefore baby can become a little frustrated and continue feeding on and off as a result.

An option here is to offer a small bottle top up in the evening to ensure your baby has a nice full tummy and therefore will likely settle for sleep a little easier. You can consider offering a small bottle top up from early on (2 weeks onwards). IF your baby has been breastfeeding well, weight gain is not an issue and you’re connected with a lactation consultant or maternal and child health nurse who has been supporting you with breastfeeding. Offering 1 bottle each day from an early age helps your baby get used to taking a bottle, allows flexibility if you need a little break or aren’t able to be with your baby for some reason and my favourite part – partners can give this bottle to baby and be involved in the feeding process. Win-Win.

This bottle could be expressed breast milk or formula depending on what you are comfortable with. If you are going to offer a bottle to your baby, ALWAYS express with a hand or electric pump whilst your baby has the bottle to signal to your body that it needs to create some additional milk. This protects your milk supply and is crucial for combination feeding to be effective.

8. Use a consistent nap time and bed time wind down routine

From birth you can start using a consistent nap wind down routine thats 2-5 minutes long and a bedtime wind down routine thats 10-20 minutes long before you put them down in their bassinet or cot for sleep. This consistent wind down routine will help signal to your baby that sleep is coming.

  • Nap wind down example: When you see tired signs, head into your baby’s room, change nappy, darken room, hum or sing a quiet song, into swaddle and settle for sleep in their bassinet/cot.
  • Bedtime wind down example: 10-20 minutes before bedtime, head into your baby’s room, change their nappy, offer a feed, read a quiet story or sing a quiet song, darken room, into swaddle and settle for sleep in their bassinet/cot.

9. Massage and skin to skin

Massage and skin to skin are both amazing for bonding and relaxation in the first 12 weeks and beyond. Massage can be a great addition to your baby’s bedtime routine. Here’s a great resource for how to get started with baby massage! You can use a natural oil such as olive, avocado, macadamia or coconut oil. Skin to skin helps to stabilise body temperature, regulate blood sugar, establish breastfeeding, reduce crying and pain, boost parent child bonding and basically just gives you all the warm fuzzies!

10. Parental self care

I know it may seem like a total stretch to think you’d prioritise yourself in those first 12 weeks, however i’m here to tell you that it’s so important! Be kind to yourself, seek support, speak with health care providers (MCHN, LC’s, GP’s, breastfeeding help lines), keep open communication with your partner, family, friends. Laughing, crying, waves of emotion, frustration, sadness and feelings of elation are all SO normal when adjusting to have a little person in your life. The challenging times will come and go and the good times will come again. It’s a marathon, not a sprint and therefore prioritising self care from early on will help prevent you from feeling burnt out.

Start small in those early days. Even a 5-10 minute shower all to yourself whilst your partner watches over the baby (you could be a real dare devil and put on a face mask too!). Within a couple of weeks you might feel okay to get out for a walk on your own for 20-30 minutes or go meet a friend for a coffee for an hour. Those pockets of self care over the weeks and months evolve into being the time that you have to fit in what fuels you and makes you feel good (exercise, hobbies, socialising – whatever it is). That’s not to say that being with your baby doesn’t make you feel good – it’s just so key to have a little time out just for you as well.

About the author

Jasmin Kostov is a Registered Midwife, Registered Nurse, Maternal & Child Health Nurse, Infant & Child Sleep Coach and the Director of Let’s Sleep.

DID YOU KNOW?

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What’s the difference between a dietitian and nutritionist?

Written by
Fuel Your Life

“Dietitians take the guess work out of nutrition. They can not only speed up your progress, but help you achieve things you didnโ€™t think possible.”

Tyson Tripcony, Fuel Your Life

We’re often asked about the difference between dietitians and nutritionists. We get that it can be confusing.

Did you know? A dietitian can work as a nutritionist but a nutritionist can’t call themselves a dietitian without extra qualifications?

Education

Dietitian’s are accredited after completing 4-5 years education at university.

Nutritionists may have limited education or no university qualifications. There is no current regulation over the industry.

Registration

Dietitians must be registered by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency before they can consult in private practice or clinical settings.

Nutritionists can register with the Nutrition Society of Australia and/or the Dietitians Association of Australia. There is no legal requirement to register with either.

Work

Dietitians can provide medical nutrition therapy to their clients and can also work as a nutritionist.

Nutritionists cannot provide medical nutrition therapy nor can they work as a dietitian without extra qualifications.

Rebates

Dietitians are recognised as the only food and nutrition specialist by Medicare, private health insurance funds, NDIS and other organisations.

Nutritionists are not recognised by Medicare and cannot offer rebates through private health insurance funds.

If youโ€™d like to work with a dietitian or nutritionist to help achieve your goals please get in touch with the Fuel Your Life team.

Can I get a rebate for seeing a dietitian?

To find out how you might be able to claim the costs of seeing a dietitian with your health insurance speak with a member of the Care To Compare team on 1300 76 76 00.