Sunday, February 9, 2014

I'm moving... Follow me!!!

I started African Babies Don't Cry on the 19th August 2011 with my first post on Green Juice, and whilst I still love green juice, most of my interests have changed.  I don't even have a baby anymore, I have a three year old, and so I wanted a blog that was more fitting for the slightly older me.

Enter, The Erudite Mom, I am moving this blog the cheaparoo way, meaning I am literally starting a new blog and begging you all to follow... :D

So come along, head over to The Erudite Mom, and follow, like and share!!!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Help My Son Win A MamAmor Doll!

A personal request for help to vote for my son to win a MamAmor doll :) Every vote counts, and we are nearly there!

These dolls are gorgeous, and I know Jesse will treasure it for years to come.

Click here and comment on my (Christine Powell's) post on their event wall to vote.

Jesse and myself thank you in advance :) 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

30 Before 30 Challenge - How I Got On

Welcome to the December 2013 Carnival of Natural Mothering!  

This article is a part of the Carnival of Natural Mothering hosted by GrowingSlower, Every Breath I Take, I Thought I Knew Mama, African Babies Don't Cry, and Adventures of Captain Destructo. This month's topic is Natural New Year's Resolutions. Be sure to check out all of the participants' posts through the links at the bottom of this page.

On my birthday last year I posted this list of goals, or to-do's that I wanted to accomplish before my next birthday, i.e. before I turned thirty. It was a mostly fun list, because I love making lists and setting goals, but I wasn't too serious about it not too hard on myself when I did not achieve them. Despite this half-assed attitude, I surprised myself by how much I did get done, take a look!
1. Start my diploma in nutrition - this one is not going to happen this year, mostly because instead I have started a diploma in metaphysics. I will postpone this goal until after I have completed my metaphysics diploma, which will be in the next two years or so.

2. Find a daily routine and rhythm that I can stick to and be proud of - as I take on more and more paid work I am finding we are getting into our routines. I now work six morning a week as a bookkeeper, mostly from home but sometimes onsite at a farmers office. Jesse comes with me, and I have hired a nanny to look after him whilst I work. Next year we start homeschooling, so this goal will be even more important!

3. Write and publish a small ebook - this never happened, see above about taking on more and more paid bookkeeping work. I just haven't found the time or inspiration yet.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Carnival of Natural Mothering Call For Submissions! Theme: Natural New Year's Resolutions

I am honoured to be one of the hosts for the monthly Carnival of Natural Mothering which goes live on the first Tuesday of each month, and I hope you will join us for the next carnival in December 2013!

Check out the October and November carnivals here.

December 2013 Carnival


Carnival Theme: Natural New Year's Resolutions

We will all soon hear people around us resolving to change in the new year. But, one of the keys to natural living is to appreciate that we don't need a new year for a fresh start. Each day, we have the chance to make better choices and form healthier habits. In December, we want to hear about your natural resolutions, regardless of the time of year you decided to change. Tell us your success stories (e.g., you reduced your family's exposure to GMO's), your future plans (e.g., you are going to work to stop yelling) or even about how you embrace each day's potential for building new habits

Signup Deadline:  Saturday, November 30, 2013


Carnival Date:  Tuesday, December 3. 2013


To participate, just add your blog to the linky below.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Postpartum Sitz Bath DIY

This blog post is the first of many guest posts in my new series on pregnancy, birth and babies here on African Babies Don't Cry. If you would like to chat about guest post opportunities on this blog, please contact me

By Lyndsay of Our Feminist Playschool

There is nothing more relaxing than a hot bath - especially for a mama who has given birth. An easily prepared combination of herbs can add to the natural healing qualities of warm water; a Sitz bath following birth can help ease bruising, tears and abrasions that often accompany many vaginal (and Cesarean Section) births. The ingredients needed for this simple Sitz bath can be found in local health or bulk food shops, equally, one can acquire these herbs from any accredited online herbal shop.

This recipe is meant to be made in large batches.

1 cup of Calendula Flower (astringent, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and immunostimulant)
1 cup of Plantain Leaf (antibacterial, anti-inflammatory)
1 cup of Red Raspberry Leaf (anti-inflammatory)
1 cup of Shepherd’s Purse (astringent, collagulant)
1 cup of Epsom Salt (magnesium)

Mix all ingredients in a clean bowl and keep stored in a mason jar until needed.

When needing a herbal soak, boil 3 cups of fresh water and pour over 1 ½ cups of mixture. Let steep for at least 15 minutes. Strain and add to bath. For immediate postpartum discomfort and before you feel comfortable sitting in the bathtub: add strained mixture to a small container that you can sit in for 20 minutes. You can also add the liquid to a squeeze bottle and use when needed (before and after washroom visits, or in the shower). Freezing cotton pads soaked in the mixture can also be helpful in relieving pain and swelling.

Dry mixture can be kept (sealed) indefinitely and the strained liquid can be stored in sealed mason jar for up to 3 months.

This also makes an amazing babymoon gift, easily packaged in a glass jar with instructions attached with ribbon.

About the author: 

Find me on Twitter, Facebook and over at ourfeministplayschool

(photo credit)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Most Women Don't Actually Need A Doula

This blog post is the first of many guest posts in my new series on pregnancy, birth and babies here on African Babies Don't Cry. If you would like to chat about guest post opportunities on this blog, please contact me

Guest post by Leigh of  Diary of a Durban Doula

Most women don't actually need a doula...

Most women don't need anyone.

I am a doula. You might be shocked when I say that most women don’t need a doula. I would go even so far as to say that most women don’t need anyone to help them to give birth. Women have the knowledge and power and ability to birth beautifully all on their own.

But I’m still a doula. I am a doula because most women have forgotten their innate wisdom and the exquisite power of their bodies. Women choose birth settings that offer a sub-optimal setting for a physiological birth. Women trust drugs and tools and pieces of paper over their own bodies. Sometimes they are necessary, but when we trust our bodies before we trust tools and drugs, often we end up not needing them.

You can't blame them for their misplaced trust. Society tells us that women’s bodies are inherently defective. The fact that over time breasts will be affected by gravity, that over time hair will start to turn silver and wrinkles will appear – these are processes to be feared and averted at great cost.

Vaginas are ‘dirty seeping wounds’, and vulvas require surgery to approximate the proportions of digitally altered images. Body hair must be removed – look prepubescent if possible. And those two terrifying words: Thigh gap.

So when someone you trust tells you that your baby is getting too big, that your pelvis is too small, your body will never go into labour on its own, that you aren’t dilating fast enough, that you need an episiotomy because you aren’t pushing hard enough – you believe them.

When someone tells you that the body that nourished a baby for all this time on the inside can’t nourish the baby on the outside, and that the belly that kept this little bundle warm for so many months should be replaced by a Perspex bubble, you believe them.

That is why I am a doula.

My job is to help a mom trust her body, and her baby; to see her body not as an emergency waiting to happen, but as a beautiful flower blossoming and releasing new life, to remind her of her lineage. When she thinks she can’t go on, my job is to show her the strength she already has that she has possibly never accessed.

I know my job is done when a mom secretly believes that really, if it came down to it, they could have done it without me, but it was just nicer to have me around.

Giving birth naturally was the best thing that ever happened to me! It was the most affirming and empowering experience of my life, and as a doula, I would love to help other women to experience something similar. We seem to have the idea that a positive birth experience is the exception and not the norm, whereas I firmly believe that with some extra preparation from all parties involved, birth can be great experience for many more women. My aim is to give families evidence based information so that they can make real choices about pregnancy, birth, baby care and beyond. 

To this aim I run a website at Giving Birth Naturally and my doula blog Diary of a Durban Doula I also distribute all my favourite baby products that you often can't find at the usual baby shops at my online shop: 

I have the most wonderful husband, to whom I have been married for 7 years now, and we have two gorgeous girls. I am qualified as a ballet teacher, and I have my Masters degree in History of Art, so that is what I do as my 'day-job', but working with moms and babies is a calling for me so everything is a means towards that end! I trained to be a doula though WOMBS (Women Offering Mothers Birth Support) in South Africa, and I am a chronic researcher so I am always trying to stay up-to-date with the best evidence based practices!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Natural Heartburn Relief In Pregnancy on the Body Enlightenment Blog

I am honoured to have a guest post on the Body Enlightenment blog on natural heartburn relief today.

Here is an excerpt:
My first pregnancy symptom is heartburn, and it is one of the ‘side-effects’ of pregnancy that I suffered most with, I know I am not alone here so I have compiled a list of 5 natural heartburn remedies which are pregnancy safe, as well as a few preventative measures.
Continue reading at the Body Enlightenment blog >>>

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Toning Down The Holiday Madness

Welcome to the November 2013 Carnival of Natural Mothering! 

This article is a part of the Carnival of Natural Mothering hosted by GrowingSlower, Every Breath I Take, I Thought I Knew Mama, African Babies Don't Cry, and Adventures of Captain Destructo.

This month's topic is Incorporating Natural Into the Holidays. Be sure to check out all of the participants' posts through the links at the bottom of this page.

The holidays, that crazy time of year when normal rules and family values seem to go flying out the window, sigh.

I am not a fan of this time of the year. It always seems SO chaotic, SO expensive, and SO over-stimulating, and so this year I am taking a huge step towards toning it down.

I took a bit of time to take a long hard look at the past few holiday seasons and listed what I thought caused the most upheaval: 
  • I always feel that I spend too much money on Christmas gifts which leaves me panicking about finances in January and February the following year. 
  • We seem to fall out of our good routines with meal times and bed times.
  • We spend far too much time in shops, and sweltering in mid-summer heat in vehicles whilst we travel to the shops. 
  • Mindful eating and diet restrictions go out of the window, Jesse eats no sugar and we limit processed food and refined carbohydrates but seem to get a bit lax over the holidays. 
  • Most of my family work for themselves, and so we can’t take time off and everything ends up being such a rush. 

I then tried to think of the reasons why Summer is my favourite time of the year:
  • Those lazy family days spent braaing by the pool side. 
  • It’s too hot to go to the beach for just the day, but I love it when the family rents a cottage by the beach, and we can get on the beach in the early mornings and late afternoons. 
  • I love all the time spent with family, and the best days are definitely those Sundays when we have nothing else to do but relax by the pool. 
  • The abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables, it is when our veggie garden is the most prolific and this makes eating yummy salads and smoothies so easy. 
  • Its Watermelon season! [Definitely warrants its own point ;)] 

I thought this would make coming up with a plan to combat holiday exhaustion and over-stimulation much easier, but it left me a bit panicky, because the obvious answers to spending too much money on gifts and too much time shopping is to plan ahead and either hand-make gifts or purchase gifts all year long, such as one gift per year.

I find myself in November having done nothing of the sort and I have no idea what to either buy or very quickly make for all my family, but I am putting aside some time this coming weekend to scroll through my gifts and gift wrapping Pinterest board for some ideas!

I am also going to be putting aside ONE day for shopping and will leave my 3 year old with his gran so as to hopefully get it all done. I have chosen a weekday for this, and I’m hoping that’ll mean the shops won’t be too busy. The only way to get all my shopping done in one day is to plan ahead and make lists, which I have already started. I’m also going to try and do as much online shopping as possible, because that is definitely the easiest!

To combat the loss of routines and over-stimulation, and I make sure we do not over book our calendar this year. I am penciling in plenty of time for relaxation and down time.

I have also prepared a meal planner for November, which includes everything, breakfast, lunch and dinner with snacks too! I will prepare one for December too and this will hopefully help us avoid too many meals out and takeaways.

Does it sound like I am organised? Because I definitely do not fell it, lol.

I would love to hear some of your gifting ideas, and how you tone down the holiday madness, comment below :) 
Bloggers, visit GrowingSlower to sign up to be a part of next month's carnival. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Favourite Books of the Natural Parents Network Volunteers!

I am proud and honored to be volunteer with the Natural Parents Network (NPN), a community of natural-minded parents and parents-to-be where you will be informed, empowered, and inspired.

When you visit the NPN’s website you can find articles and posts about Activism, Balance, Consistent Care, Ecological Responsibility, Family Safety, Feeding With Love, Gentle Discipline, Healthy Living, Holistic Health, Natural Learning, Nurturing Touch, Parenting Philosophies, Practical Home Help, Preparing for Parenting, Responding With Sensitivity, Safe Sleep, and so much more! The volunteers who dedicate their time and energy to make NPN the outstanding resource it is also spend countless hours informing and inspiring others on their personal blogs.


Mother NatureOur Babies Our Selves

Lauren at Hobo Mama shares her review of two anthropologically minded books on motherhood and child rearing: "What Our Babies, Ourselves taught me about my baby & myself," a look into the attachment parenting our babies have been biologically primed to expect in a book by Meredith F. Small, and "Maternal ambivalence … and why it's ok," sort of the darker or more realistic side of attachment parenting based on a reading of Mother Nature, by Sarah Blaffer Hrdy. In Our Babies, Ourselves, Small writes not just as an anthropologist, wanting to observe and record human behavior and how it relates to our biological and evolutionary roots as mammals, but also from an ethnopediatrics perspective, which seeks to advise us as parents how to integrate babies' innate needs with our culture in an infant-appropriate way. It's one of Lauren's favorite books for giving scientific justification for the benefits and longstanding history and cross-cultural popularity of attachment parenting. Mother Nature, also by an anthropologist, shares experiences of motherhood as witnessed across the world and various cultures, across history and a variety of time periods, and even across species. The text is often dark and disturbing — an unflinching look at how mothers don't always live up to what we've decided (as modern Western humans) is their "nature." While we might aspire to be self-sacrificing and perfectly nurturing, we have to acknowledge this salient truth: What babies need and what mothers need or want can be in conflict. Mothers don't always live up to the ideals of "maternal nature" — and, Lauren would argue in this review, that can be perfectly acceptable. You can purchase the books from these Amazon affiliate links: Our Babies, Ourselves and Mother Nature. Be sure to follow Lauren on Hobo Mama,, her newsletter, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +.    

The Hour That Matters Most
Julia at A Little Bit of All of It shares her review of The Hour That Matters Most, a book that explains why the family dinner around the table is so important. She loves this book for providing families with the tools they need to get family dinners on the table and get to know your family on a deeper level as well. The book is available from Amazon. You can also find A Little Bit of All of It on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+

The Other Baby Book
Julia also shares her review of The Other Baby Book, her absolute favorite baby book. She loves this book for presenting information on how to parent your baby outside of the mainstream and for the gentle, sometimes humorous way it is written. The book is available from Amazon.      

I Love Me

Joella at Fine and Fair shares her review of I Love Me!, a children's book of Affirmations filled with simple but powerful phrases that help children build self-confidence and shape a positive world view. She loves this book for its simplicity and uplifting messages; it quickly became a favorite both in her home and to give as a gift!

Mama Talk
Joella also shares her review of Mama, Talk About Our New Baby, an attachment parenting friendly way to introduce to older siblings-to-be what it will be like to have a new baby in the house. She appreciates the inclusion of breast feeding, baby wearing, and co-sleeping, which she found absent from mainstream "big sister" books. This book was instrumental in preparing her daughter to welcome to her new baby brother into their family and home! Be sure to follow Joella on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and tumblr

Sometimes I Like to Curl Up in a Ball
Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children shares her review on Sometimes I Like to Curl Up in a Ball, a picture book by Vicki Churchill and Charles Fuge. The book has been a favorite with all of her children and is one she often gives to other families. While it works for families of all styles, it particularly appeals to attachment parenting families and those exploring the joys of toddlerhood. You can purchase the book from Amazon. Be sure to follow Mandy on her blog, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Mandy at also shares her review on Parent Effectiveness Training P.E.T. by r. Thomas Gordon. Styled on non-violent communication, the book is a wonderful guide with effective techniques for communicating with your children and others. It is one of Mandy's favorite, and most recommended, parenting books. You can purchase the book from Amazon.    

African Babies Don't Cry : Book Review : Evie’s Kitchen by Shazzie
Christine at African Babies Don't Cry shares her review of Evie's Kitchen by Shazzie, a raw food recipe book aimed at young children and packed with natural parenting tips too. Shazzie is a raw food chef, and nutrition expert, I found her chapter on supplementation especially helpful. If you are wanting to incorporate more raw food into your child's diet then this book is a great resource! You can purchase the book from Amazon or  Detox Your Follow Christine on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.


Christine is also a huge fan of  The Body Ecology Diet by Donna Gates.  This book is the ultimate reference book if you are looking to correct intestinal flora issues, such as Candida. Donna Gates has been researching on the topic of Candida for years, and I would call her the ultimate expert. The Body Ecology Diet, which is not a diet, but a lifestyle WILL correct your intestinal flora imbalances leaving you symptom free! You can purchase the book from Amazon.    

2359098221_c691bb491bWhere's The Poop

Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama is a research bug, lover of all books, and someone who has a hard time putting a good book down! Today, she shares two of her favorites; Beyond the Rainbow Bridge and a collection of books about...poop. Beyond The Rainbow Bridge, Nurturing Our Children From Birth to Age Seven is a beautiful book by Barbara Patterson and Pamela Bradley. First, it is a very concise book compared to a lot of parenting books. The authors cut right to the chase and get to what really matters without a lot of fluff and fancy philosophical BS. Although their approach to parenting is heavily influenced by the work of Rudolph Steiner, the way that they share information on development, discipline, play, and health is palatable for any parent whether interested in Waldorf or not. There is so much more that I adore about this book and it really has inspired me to retool my mothering ever so slightly. I think that it is a worthwhile read for any mama who wants to create a more harmonious and gentle environment for her child(ren). By implementing many of the techniques offered by the author as well as gaining a better understanding of development and play, an opportunity to better connect with and mindfully engage your child opens up. In the post Books About Poop, for Children and The Adults in Their Lives, Jennifer shares her top 10 books about poop! Come on! You know you are curious. And trust her, these books are all great reads and lots of fun! Who doesn't love poop?

We hope you enjoy reading the above book reviews as much as we enjoyed writing them. At Natural Parents Network, we are always looking for new authors and volunteers in the areas of editing, social media, and volunteer support, so please, contact us if you are interested. We take great pleasure in the close-knit community we have at NPN, and we'd be happy to welcome you in. Just a few hours per month can help other mamas in a huge way! You can connect with the NPN family on Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Carnival of Natural Mothering Call for Submissions! Theme: Incorporating Natural Into the Holidays

Following on from the success of The Tuesday Baby Link-up, we have decided to move forward and invite our participants to take part in something a little more formal, a lot more fun, a blog carnival!
We will no longer be hosting the link-up.

The first theme was Natural Birth Choices and we had a great time reading all about your Natural Birth Choices in the October carnival! We hope you will write again for the November Carnival of Natural Mothering. Keep reading to find out how to sign up!

November 2013 Carnival

Carnival Theme: Incorporating Natural Into the Holidays

As we approach the holiday season, it is easy to get swept up in preparations and anticipation. How do you bring your natural lifestyle into the holidays with you? Whether it's eco-friendly party prep, special treats that are also healthy, traditions that involve aspects of nature, or the natural techniques you use to stay calm and focused during the busy months ahead, we would love to read your stories and suggestions that focus on all that relates to a natural lifestyle during the hustle and bustle of the holidays.

Signup Deadline: Wednesday, October 30, 2013

To participate, just add your blog to the linky below.

Carnival Date: Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A couple of days before the carnival, we'll send you an email with the html code to include in your post. Please schedule your post for November 5, 2013 before 9 am Pacific. Be sure to visit and comment on the other participants' posts on carnival day!

Sign up for November's Carnival! 

Add your blog name, blog url, your name, and email address to the linky below. We'll email you with instructions for posting a couple of days before the Carnival goes live. (We reserve the right to remove posts that are off topic or don't follow the natural values of the carnival.)