Breast vs Bottle: Feeding Preferences for You and Your Baby’s Needs

Breast vs Bottle Feeding Preferences for You and Your Baby's Needs

Telling a woman how to mother her child is a social taboo. Whether it’s on the subject of reusable nappies, teething practices, or addressing the age-old question; to swaddle or not to swaddle, moms know their kin and are inherently cognizant of their infant’s needs. So when someone else presumes to tell her how to do her maternal job, they are – essentially – undermining what she is physiologically dispositioned to do.

The same can be said for fathers. What responsible dad would knowingly put their child’s safety at risk? It is fair to assume that they have read the same books and attended all the prospective parenting classes their partners have. How dads choose to raise their offspring is something they’ve given more thought than you might have when you passed a wailing child and decided to share your unsolicited opinion. 

I defend parents vehemently because it is incredibly difficult raising children. Barring the physical and financial responsibilities, kids are emotionally demanding as well. Managing the stress of keeping it together for your family is already a challenge without having to worry about the criticism of people who aren’t in your situation. Anyone selfless enough to nurture the upbringing of another should be commended.

Having said that, there are a number of contentious subjects that have the parenting community divided. Feeding time is one of them. 

Not too long ago, science and society dictated that a woman’s breast be the primary source of food for a newborn. When baby formula was developed, it presented a user-friendly alternative for the modern family. Bottle feeding, however, is still shrouded in judgment. 

This can leave parents who find themselves in unconventional circumstances feeling a little bit stuck as to what to do. After numerous chats with mothers, fathers and a few medical professionals, I’ve generated some information that might help chip away at preconceptions so that prospective parents can make better decisions for their families.


Up until only nine decades ago, this practice had been the only way to ensure our children didn’t go hungry. With the feeding ritual so ingrained in our history, it’s no wonder that when baby formula was introduced, it came under a lot of fire. 

There is an undeniable closeness you will feel with your newborn if you are able to breastfeed. Having spent nine months growing the little miracle in your body creates an inexplicable bond that is only deepened when you continue to nourish them with your breast milk.

The health benefits are pretty impressive too. When you breastfeed, you are passing on critical immune factors and white blood cells to your baby. This has proven to supplement the effectiveness of vaccines, as well as protect against infections, diseases and allergies. 

Mamas can look forward to healing quicker when they opt for this eco-friendly option, as the oxytocin released when your newborn suckles helps your uterus contract. You’ll be saying bye to the baby weight too; 400 calories from baby feeding daily, in fact.  

As beautiful as the experience of connecting with your child through breastfeeding can be, cracked nipples, spontaneous lactation, and even being bitten by your baba can be incredibly frustrating.


Did you know that affluent families were employing wet nurses well into the 20th Century? Proof that unconventional feeding practises were normalised way before baby formula was introduced.

It was Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley who wrote, “Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.” While a group of parents are embracing feeding their babies with breast milk, there is another group that have embraced the bottle.

There’s no denying that single-parent households have existed for as long as sabre-toothed tigers were attacking cavemen out on the hunt. But there are now homes run by two men, couples unable to conceive children and individuals keen to give back by supporting a foster child shouldn’t feel left out. Bottle feeding allows these types of parents to get involved and connect with their child where biology might have hindered such experiences in the past.

When the world was introduced to baby formula, some argued bottle milk was a ploy by pharmaceutical conglomerates to get our children addicted to, and dependant on, Genetically Modified Objects (GMO) straight out the womb. The ingredients and preparation methods have certainly been refined over the years, but the stigma still remains.

Once you’ve made the decision to bottle feed your child, you’re going to have to stick to it too. Switching from breast milk to powdered milk is incredibly unstable for your infant’s digestive system.


There are a million and one conscionable reasons a parent might want to breastfeed their child. Equally, there are as many reasons a mother or father would see the need to bottle feed with baby formula. If the caretaker has considered the health and developmental outcomes of their actions, then it really is up to the parent to decide what is best for the child. 

While we all might have opinions about how things should be done, I would stress that it is important to respect the choices parents make.




Top 5 Superfoods For Mothers

Robyn’s Top Superfoods For Babies

The Benefits Of Making Your Own Baby Food

Top 5 Superfoods For Mothers

From the moment of conception, your body is changing. It is a 9-month-long journey that doesn’t end there. Birth is akin to a marathon and breastfeeding, especially long term breastfeeding (and the World Health Organisation, WHO, recommends at least 2 years) is akin to being a super-athlete! It should come as no surprise then that super-moms need super fuel in order to shine.

Moms have Super-Powers

Oxytocin is the hormone released when you reach orgasm. It is known as the love or bliss hormone. It is also present during childbirth, as well as every time you breastfeed. Consider yourself in a perpetual state of after-glow when you are breastfeeding. It’s the hormonal super-power we are gifted as mom’s to counterbalance the sleepless nights and consistent energy demands of motherhood. It is no wonder moms (even tired ones) have an unmistakable radiant glow about them. The demands of growing your baby and then the continued demands of nourishing your baby from your breast are all-too-often overlooked. You’re burning hundreds of calories and you’re doing it multiple times a day.

If you think about it in that way, mamas are super-athletes and as all good super-athletes know: you have to take in top quality nutrients if you want to functional optimally on a daily basis!


My baby is just over a year and these have been my Top 5 go-to superfoods to keep me feeling strong, energized and happy throughout pregnancy, birth, post-partum and the first year.

Organic Spirulina with no trace metals

I start my day off with 500ml of water and 10-15 spirulina tablets.

The importance of hydration and protein requirements throughout the pregnancy, post-partum and breastfeeding years cannot be overemphasized.

I like to make sure I get off to a great start so I’ve made it a habit to get at least 500ml of water in straight away along with my spirulina protein boost. If you start your day off with high quality, absorbable protein such as spirulina it helps to curbs sugar cravings. Whilst you need to keep your calorie intake high for good milk production, if you want to protect your waistline it’s best to avoid the sugary-treats. Whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding you are growing a baby so you need good quality protein.

The Green Alkaliser

The Green Alkaliser is a combination of wheatgrass, barley grass, moringa, baobab and hemp protein powders. I love the it and chase my spirulina intake with a glass of this energising super-fuel. I take 1-2 T either plain in water or juice. The green powders are excellent for alkalising and energising the body, providing the body with a broad spectrum mineral base from which to draw upon, as well as baobab for good calcium and prebiotics, plus more readily absorbable protein in the form of hemp protein powder.

Super Chia

For breakfast I have Super Chia with hemp milkNot only is Super Chia loaded with 8 different superfoods giving you a wide range of vitamins and minerals essential to growing a healthy baby including protein, calcium and those important omega 3’s; but it has one extra special feature that tops all the rest and is essential for busy super-moms: it takes less than 5 minutes to prepare! All you do is add water or your favourite nut/seed milk to your Super Chia. Stir until well mixed and wait 5 minutes to thicken.

Organic Hemp Seeds

Organic Hemp seeds are probably the most versatile of all the superfoods; I eat and I use them daily. Growing a baby and breastfeeding a baby requires a lot of good fats – ie. essential fatty acids or EFA’s which hemp seeds provide . It contains omega 3 and 6 EFA’s in a unique, near perfect ratio for human nutritional needs. They contain all 20 known amino acids and contain 30% pure digestible protein as well as being a good source of lecithin which supports hormone balancing and 

building baby’s brain, as well as being the essential antidote to Mom’s ‘baby brain’ fuzz. I usually make a hemp milk and pour it over my Super Chia or use it as a base for smoothies. I often make a savoury hemp sauce  and pour it over veggies or as a salad dressing.

Super Berries

Berries are low in sugar and high in antioxidants providing the perfect energy boost when you need it. Antioxidants help keep you looking and feeling young so you can keep up with your lively little ones. My favourites are Soaring Free Superfoods Goji Berries , Golden Berries and the new Berry Delight Super ShakeI generally snack on gojis and golden berries whenever I need a pick-me-up during the day, and I love making a Berry Delight smoothie to enjoy with my family in the mid afternoon, to keep us going till dinner. The pure delicious zing of strawberries, raspberries and acai powders awaken the senses just when you need it most.

Read the full article to find out more about TOP TIPS for recharging as a breastfeeding mama & what superfoods are best for your little one.

Superfoods Defined: An in depth Q&A with Peter & Beryn on the brand, the concept & the lifestyle




Eco-friendly Tips and Tricks for Your Next Beach Trip


“Leave only footprints, take only memories,” or so the saying goes. This is true for any activity you might be doing outdoors, whether you’re camping for the weekend or heading to the beach for the day. Although we like to soak up the sun during our summery festive season, we still need to remember to respect the environment while we do it.

Local public and private beaches are always sites of great littering during the December/January holidays, and we’re collectively outraged when we see images of trash pollution after the holidays not acknowledging that the ice lollie packet we discarded absentmindedly forms part of the problem.

If you are part of the problem, you need to be part of the solution. We’ve penned a few plastic-free, environmentally responsible tips to pack into your beach bag for the next time you want to take a dip in the ocean:


Living Eco String Shopping Tote

Luckily, you don’t have to comb through the internet to find earth-friendly products anymore. There are sites, just like ours, that have an extensive selection of hemp, upcycled and repurposed products for you to utilise. An eco string tote is the ideal beach bag because you can use your bamboo beach towel to line the bag, then shake the tote out to ensure no sand is carried home with you.


I’m sure you know NEVER to buy lunch at the beach, instead bring your own. This way you won’t have a trash pile of single-use plastic that you have to throw away. If you pack your baby carrots and cucumber slices in Tupperware, you can give it a wash and use it the next time you need to prepare a packed lunch.

Slide your watermelon cubes, finger sandwiches and juices into an insulated cooler bag so everything stays cool and you don’t have to buy a melting plastic pack of ice.

When I plan trips to the beach, I always warn my friends that we need to set up close to the water because I dig a deep hole and use the under layer of sand to keep my bottles of wine and ciders cool. We ALWAYS pack the empty bottles up and take them home because they make for great candle holders, and I package my homemade ice tea into them.

CaaOcho Natural Rubber Sensory Rainbow Ball


Your kids are bound to want to play in the sand, so why not make sure it’s in a way that honours the earth? The little ones can lounge on EverEarth EAZAir Chair, which are made of sustainably sourced materials like bamboo and beech wood. Sandcastles can be built using biodegradable spades and buckets. Instead of a standard inflatable beach ball, a Natural Rubber Sensory Rainbow Ball is a great substitute.


Water-based or added shimmer; either way, synthetic sunscreen can be extremely toxic and should be thrown in the trash can now. Opt for a protective skin balm that is made up of restorative minerals and oils that nourish your body while blocking the harmful sun rays. Sunumbra has a line of great chemical-free sunblock lotions that are safe for you and your children to use. Apply before you leave the house and reapply every 30 – 60 minutes. If you don’t want to sizzle in the sun like a strip of bacon in the pan, wear a wide-brimmed hat and rent a beach umbrella.


FTN is pretty clued-up when it comes to eco-friendly living but even we have to admit that we don’t know it all. If you have any suggestions that we didn’t cover, let us know what knifty green hacks you use at the beach by commenting below.

10 Reasons I Fell in Love with Hiking (and so Could You)

Your Plastic-Free Lifestyle Checklist

Zero Waste Travelling Tips for the Eco-Warrior


The Arrival | Month 9

Month 9

We were sitting in our OBGYN’s office on a Monday afternoon. Usually, our appointments start with a bit of banter (her wit was one of the reasons we loved her), but today was different.

“Sorry, guys. We have a bit of time crunch now – we need to get going right away”.

She had just got the final blood and urine results back, and they confirmed what she had suspected for the last few weeks: my wife had preeclampsia, and even though her due date was still a month away, we had to get the baby out of her sooner rather than later.

“Oh, so later this week or early next week?” I asked.
“More like later today” she replied.

My wife and looked at each other as the panic crept across our faces. We had nothing planned. We didn’t have a babysitter for our son, we hadn’t arranged to take leave from work and our hospital bag wasn’t even packed.

“It’s going to be okay. Go home, pack a bag, and come straight back here. We’ll talk more when you get back”.

So we rushed home, my wife calling her mother, my mother, our neighbour and our Doula. This was the moment that our support team was going to come into play in a BIG way – and we were so fortunate that they did.
Our neighbour came down to help my wife pack and to stay calm, the moms came around to babysit and by the time we got back to the hospital, our Doula was waiting for us there.

Our OBGYN raced home to settle her family and came back to talk us through our options. Ultimately, we decided that C-Section was the wisest route – but I can’t imagine making that decision without the support of a doctor and Doula who we trusted.

We called my wife’s best friend who was supposed to be our birth photographer but who was in Durban on a family holiday at the time to break the news that she was going to miss it.

She told us that she was NOT going to miss this, and got on to the first plane back to Cape Town.

Again, we were blown away by the support we had around us.

She managed to get to the hospital a few minutes before my wife was wheeled into surgery.

And then everything was a blur. Our Doula helped me support my wife while she was getting her epidural, and then I watched as my second son arrived in the world, and I cut the umbilical cord. To me, it seems like all of that happened in moments, and before I knew what was happening, I was sitting next to my wife, who had this tiny little person sleeping on her chest. It was well past midnight by then, and let me tell you, that was the craziest, most emotional, exciting and nerve-wracking 8 hours of my life.



Baby Showers | Month 8

baby showers

Here’s a question: Aren’t baby showers just the weirdest tradition?

Firstly, I question the timing of it all. Why would you throw a party for a heavily pregnant woman, who is uncomfortable, probably quite anxious and maybe going through some hectic hormone swings? It just seems that you are stacking the deck against you there. No wonder we’ve heard horror stories of teary moms-to-be (or moms) who lose their cool at their baby showers because it “wasn’t what she wanted”.

I think the party should happen after the baby arrives, and actually, it shouldn’t be a party. It should just a be a bunch of people bringing a pack of nappies, who are constantly telling the mom she’s great while they hold the baby and clean the place up. If they want to rub the mom’s feet while they are there, it wouldn’t hurt. A cup of tea would be great too.

After all, the first few weeks after the baby arrives can be the toughest, emotionally and physically – and that’s when we need the village to arrive en masse.

Of course, moms-to-be also have to get over the idea of allowing people into your messy house while you look and feel your worse. We all need to get better at accepting the village’s non-judgmental help – if it exists.

Unfortunately, men are even worse in this regards. I don’t understand why, in this modern age, baby showers are still an exclusively women affair. Sure, we want men to be involved, present and engaged parents… except when we celebrate the impending arrival of his child?

It makes no sense.

So, the second thing I would suggest is that we make all baby showers, whenever they are held, a celebration of all the members of the family: mom, dad and siblings. After all, their lives are all going to change soon.

And I definitely think that older men and fathers need to be as supportive as in the way I described earlier. The village can’t just be a collection of caring women doing the hard work. That’s just ridiculous. The guys need to dig in too, with words of encouragement, doing the housework, and, of course, making some tea.


Doula’s | Month 7

My wife was entering her third trimester when she told me that she wanted to hire a doula, so I did what every rational, intelligent person would do.

I Googled the word, “Doula”.

In case you are like me and had no idea how to spell “doula”, let alone know what they do, here’s a short description: They are a non-medical support for a pregnant mom leading up, during and after birth. After a quick 5-minute speed read where I discovered what a doula actually did, I asked the question that every rational, intelligent person would do.

I asked if we really needed another person in the delivery ward.
(Side Note: In general, asking your pregnant wife if she really needs something is probably not going to lead to positive outcomes).

In my defence, it seemed like we had over enough people to deal with the… simple… task of giving birth. We had an amazing OBGYN, access to great health care and I’d be there. I mean, what support could a Doula offer that I couldn’t?

In case you haven’t guessed, this is one of those moments when present-day me looks at me back then and just shakes his head. I could not have been more wrong. Firstly, I’m not sure there is such a thing as too much support during a pregnancy and birth, definitely for my wife but also for me.

We agreed to meet our potential Doula before making a decision, and it was during that conversation that I realised something: this was my first time being a partner in a birth, so there were loads of things that I simply didn’t know.
Seems obvious, right? Well, up to that point, I arrogantly thought I had it all under control. The other reason why I agreed that we needed a Doula was the fact that she made it clear that she was not replacing me in the delivery room – merely offering support. And when the day arrived, suddenly and unexpectedly, she knew how to keep both of us calm, and how to help me support my partner.

Really, I cannot emphasise how important her role was.

Even just having a person to stay with my wife, while I handled the hospital admin, and making the calls to family and work to let them know what is happening was a godsend.

Most importantly because she had knowledge about what was coming, wasn’t filled with anxiety (like me) or about to go into surgery (like my wife), she was the right person to properly advocate for my wife and the way we wanted the birth to happen.

Luckily, our OBGYN was great and was completely on board with our wishes, but I can see how in that moment it would be easy to be swayed by a doctor who you might not agree with completely.

Of course, our relationship with our Doula didn’t end there. She regularly came by to check in on mom and baby afterwards. In fact, we’ve become friends with her and her family since then. That was an added extra – but don’t be surprised if it happens to you too!



Lowlight | Month 6

It’s no secret that pregnancy is a stressful time. Not only are you dealing with this massive impending change to your entire life, but you also have a partner who is at best constantly uncomfortable, and at worst…well, we don’t really want to think about that, right?

There’s also a lot of anxiety in both the early and late stages of pregnancy – if you spend too much time reading up on all the things that could go wrong, you’ll end up covering your partner in bubble wrap and never letting her outside.

Except that would be the wrong thing to do.

Unfortunately, in pregnancy, like the rest of the life, bad things will happen no matter how hard you try to avoid it. I generally try to avoid writing about low points in my life – but, hey, sometimes it’s nice to know that other people have bad luck too, right?

So here goes.

My wife is in the middle of her last trimester, and everything was going pretty well. Mom and baby were healthy, all the growth curves were being matched and all our plans were coming together.

She had had her baby shower – and being the modern, caring and loving women that she is, decided that I deserved something similar. Smaller, but similar. She organised a brunch with my family at a popular restaurant over-looking the city and managed to convince my toddler and I to get up and go.

It was quite a surprise to arrive to find my family there (plus gifts!). It was even more of a surprise – a shock actually – to see my heavily pregnant wife miss a step on the short brick stairway and go rolling down. I was carrying our 18-month-old, so my brain was able to move faster than my body… which was not at all.

I gave my toddler to my mom while my brother, some waiters and I helped my wife up and made sure she was okay. She was scraped and bruised in places because being the uber-mom that she is, she cradled her stomach instead of trying to break her fall. Luckily my brother is a doctor, so he could do some quick checks to make sure she was genuinely okay.

Fortunately, she was. But those 2 seconds helplessly watching my wife fall down those stairs is definitely in top 5 worst moments of my life.



Body Changes | Month 5

Month 5

We had a strange experience a few weeks after our baby boy was born (granted, pregnancy and birth is really just a collection of strange experiences). Before Eli was born, a photographer friend of ours was kind enough to spend some time taking some great photos of our family, with an obvious focus on my heavily pregnant wife. A few days later, Eli arrived unexpectedly and in the madness that comes with new baby, we totally forgot about the photos.

So, we were a bit of surprised when our friend sent the fantastic photos to us. We were even more surprised when we looked at the photos.

Let me be clear, I have tread VERY carefully here.

You see, after the birth, my wife lost an almost incredible amount of water-weight (which was one of the symptoms of the pre-eclampsia – that’s for another post), but these photos were all taken before the birth…
We both hadn’t realised the toll the pregnancy put on her body. Sure, we knew that her feet had swelled and ached, and that she had to wear stretchy preggie pants, but despite that, I thought she was pretty much okay. Those pictures were a sign that I was wrong, and that the mother of my children was tough as nails, because she must have been so much more uncomfortable than she was describing.

The strangest thing was that neither of us noticed the very obvious differences. To me, she looked as beautiful as ever throughout her pregnancy, and she rarely complained about feeling extremely tired or sore.

Now that I think about it, she was constantly itchy as her skin started to stretch out, so there was a lot of rubbing of the pregnant bellies. The heartburn seemed like it was pretty bad as well – I think we pretty much funded Gaviscon’s CEO’s new yacht.

When the morning sickness was bad, there wasn’t much I could really do to help, other than keep our toddler out of the way. When her feet were sore, all I could really do was massage them, until she started to feel too sensitive and then that had to stop.

Ultimately, I couldn’t do much to bring relief to all the aches, pains and discomforts that comes with being pregnant, other than to offer a helping hand when she was getting off a chair, and to offer a cup a tea when she sitting down.

Luckily, I had been told that a good cup of tea can work wonders.



Telling People | Month 4

Month 4

At some point during a pregnancy, you might feel the urge to tell people about it. I know that, traditionally, that only happens after the first trimester – but that always seemed a bit silly to me. Now I’m not saying that you should go and reveal the news to the person who sat next to you in school 20 years ago – but I do think it’s valuable to let some close people know about it early on. (That being said, you might be very close to the person who sat next to you in school 20 years ago, so definitely include him or her… even though that is a little bit weird).

Firstly, telling people who love you and care for you that you are going to have a baby is a very exciting moment. Who told my mom on Christmas Day, by giving her a bunch of framed photos of us and our first son. But instead of a photo, one frame had a piece of paper with “Grandson Coming Soon – August 2015” written on it.

It took her a few moments to work out what was going on, but the joy on her face when she clicked is actually quite indescribable. Same goes for my brother and sister, who looked over her shoulder to figure out what the hell we gave our mom that would render her speechless.

It was a wonderful moment.

We weren’t ready to tell the world just yet, but we felt that it was important to have the support of those closest to us. I understand why many people want to wait until they are through the “dangerous” first trimester. They don’t want to build up expectations, and if anything goes wrong, they don’t want to go through painful conversations over and over again when people ask, “How’s the pregnancy going?” or “When are you due?”.

But here’s the thing – if anything does go wrong, that is the moment you will need your people around you. People who won’t ask difficult questions, but who will love you and care for you – and maybe even act as a buffer between you and the rest of the world for a while. It’s also great to have people whose opinion and knowledge you trust as you navigate those early days. The whole pregnancy is a physically and emotionally taxing time for both mom and dad (especially if they have a young kiddo already) but you can take much of the strain off you by making good choices in those early days. Do it that, you need the right advice and support.

Of course, you can get a lot of the advice and connections you need from websites and online forums – but there is something about sitting down with someone who is willing to guide you, and more importantly: listen to your complaints, that is incredibly comforting.

So – don’t hold back. Find your inner circle, let them in on the “secret” and hopefully, you will find all the support you need!



We’re Pregnant | Month 3

I always found it strange when heterosexual couples announce a pregnancy by saying “We’re pregnant!”. It’s pretty obvious that they aren’t both pregnant, so…what were they doing?

And then we discovered that my wife was pregnant – and I eventually started to understand. You see, it’s an unfortunate biological fact that the male of species has very little to do when it comes to actually making sure that the new life that’s forming in his partner has the best chance of success.

His partner’s body does all the hard work, goes through all the beautiful and painful changes, and unless he has advanced medical training, a doctor will be providing all the real support for the mother’s and child’s health.

So, it’s very easy for a guy to start to feel a bit removed from the whole process, which is a shame, since partners of pregnant women do play an important, albeit a background one.
We might not be able to stop the morning sickness, but we can hold the hair back while the worst of it is happening. We can’t stop the itchy skin and stretch marks from a rapidly expanding belly, but we can apply lotion. Our bodies can’t provide nutrition to our baby, but we can make sure that the mother of our child eats well (and has a cup tea nearby whenever necessary).

It’s not a glorious role. No one tells expectant dads that they’re doing great, they don’t get a “pregnant glow”, they’re not told how brave they are. No one gives up their seat. They might not even be thanked.

And that’s okay.

This is the time to serve your partner, which means you don’t do it for the thanks, you do it for her.

That being said, it is important to give men a sense of partnership in the pregnancy. It’s a great way to encourage the active participation before the baby the arrives, and can really help create a sense of connection after the baby is born.

That’s the other thing: men have to realise that fatherhood doesn’t start the moment you hold your child. It starts the moment you find out your partner is pregnant. You can make sure that your relationship with your little one starts off well by caring for its mom while she’s pregnant – and continuing do so well afterwards too.