The Mum Tum- the ins and outs of healthy digestive balance!

MUM TUM

We may have all seen the hash tag ‘#mumtum’ or even looked in the mirror and seen something that did not look like it did before babes. The mum tum is real, and it is beautiful. Inside that tummy we grew our babies. All of our organs and innards shifted to allow a tiny little human to develop. What we ate nourished that baby and for those 9 months (give or take) we were ‘ONE’.

The inside is just as important as having well abs!

Now, as important as physical exercise and core stability is for the ‘mum tum’, so is the internal functioning of the GUT to bring your mum tum back to life. The gut is one of the most important parts of your physical and mental health. I know, sounds odd, but the gut is the seat of all health. Everything relies on the functionality of your gut. EVERYTHING.

Luckily the gut can be pretty open and honest with us about how healthy we actually are. Basically poop is the answer! It is one of the only ways we can truly understand what is going on inside. Speaking about our own poop, isn’t really the done thing. But mummas, we talk so much about our babies’ and kids’ poop, its about time we talked about ours. Ok, if lattes and toilet humor aren’t your thing, atleast go and see someone who will listen.

Farts and Fiction

Most people have experienced an uncomfortable tummy here and there, bloating, flatulence, cramps, constipation, or diarrhea at some point in their life. And that’s all well and good, but for a lot of women (and men) this is something that has become dysfunctional for quite some time. Perhaps starting out with some strange toilet habits occasionally, then perhaps turning into something complex and or becoming dis-eased, or perhaps you float the name IBS for these symptoms. The earlier you get these things checked the better your overall health will become.

Your gut is largely responsible for critical functions of the body. From breaking down food and assimilating vitamins for basic function, to supporting your immune system, generating nutrients and absorbing essentials for hormone regulation, eliminating toxins and of course the all important brain function.

The Gut and your Emotions - how it connects. 

The health of your gut can affect so many aspects of your life. There is this pretty amazing connection between the gut and the brain called the Brain-Gut Axis. Naturopaths, doctors and health professionals have been researching the link for only about 10 plus years, but the clinical observations stand strong. For us mummas, this is huge. Anxiety and depression can indeed come back to the health of the gut. Yes, the physical symptoms are severe and debilitating, but so can the mental symptoms and there have been massive links between the two.

Fixing our mum tums can directly impact our overall wellbeing but really can impact directly on our brain, in particular the neurotransmitters (happy hormones). Bacteria in our gut can send chemical messages to your brain and some strains can actually secrete these chemicals them-self. Meaning, if your gut colony game isn’t strong then symptoms will arise no questions!

As complex as this topic is, it is important to be aware that your gut health severely impacts your overall health. Signs that your gut is unhappy can be pretty obvious; from abdominal pain, bloating after meals, reflux or the toots, but can also be less obvious like headaches, fatigue, joint pain, anxiety, depression and immune system weakness.

Most of us are aware of the idea of good and bad bacteria and just how important a healthy balance is. I am sure we all get that little Blue Bug that says ‘have you had your Inner Health Plus today, stuck in our heads, or pissing us off in the bottom corner of the tv screen watching the Today Show. He is actually right! Getting the balance of the good and bad bugs has shown to impact many aspects of health.

So, we admit it and we are getting the shits (literally) with our tummy dramas so what can we do to help?

We recommend the following as the gold standard in getting that Mum Tum back in shape sans the bloat:

  • Cut out refined, processed and fast foods. Restrict sugary foods, cakes, lollies, soft drinks, bottled juices, ice creams and pastries.
  • Limit starchy carbohydrates to one serves daily and include a palm size portion of protein rich foods at every meal and snack.

  • Eat fresh and organic as much as possible, choosing two serves of fresh fruits and at least three cups of fresh vegetables daily.

  • Include healthy oils, nuts and seeds in your diet – this is essential.

  • Drink plenty of water, a minimum of 1.5l per day depending on exercise regime.

  • avoid excessive alcohol, (do as I say not as I do ;) ), caffeine and salt.

  • Get a quality probiotic (seek medical professional advice where possible)

  • Increase prebiotic and probiotic rich foods in the diet, such as; sauerkraut, asparagus, bananas, legumes, artichokes, kefir, sour cream, yoghurt

  • Limit and rotate grains, rotating grains is one of the most important ways to Up the B vitamins and nutrients into your diet without being the wheat-laden inflammatory clog factory that we are used to. Think; buckwheat, quinoa, bran, sorghum, rye, barley, spelt, triticale.

  • Enjoy sourdough breads……

I hope this helps on your journey to a physically and emotionally happy tum, even if there is a bit of excess skin and a few new marks (tiger stripes). A happy tum... is a happy mum!

 

Shannon X

Mums and Bubs Nutritionist 

Need help with a diet plan? just download this form and fill out this diet diary, and email it to Shan.... simples! 3 week diet plan individualised just for you!!!!!! Please allow up to 1 week for it to be completed. prices available here! 

Operation Tummy Healing

Immune Boosting Tummy Gummies

As some of you may have seen via SM we had a little heath crisis 101. in the Stokes' household last week. Which ended up in my baby boy having intravenous antibiotics for around 4 days and now on a fairly hefty oral dose to boot. So needless to say, we are on operation TUMMY HEALING!

I was a little stuck without a car during the week but also got swooped by a freaking magpie when i did try to get to the shops. Which ended in a bloodied head and a tearful mumma.... so it was safer to stay home, so my gorgeous friend Claire and Nutritionist buddy Jessica dropped over some supplies to get me started on my little mans tummy.  Geee what a week. 

So, where on earth do I begin? A Virgin Gut! Yep, so i needed to gather my thoughts and 'phone a friend' and come up with a plan. Now i know that i know this stuff, this is something i do for my patients and their babies ALL OF THE TIME! But when it comes to treating yourself or your own family, sometimes you just have to outsource. So Jessica from Jescoxnutritionist came over on Saturday sweaty from the gym to a friend in need and we have combined our powers and come up with an epic plan. WIth some potent formulations and serious probiotics, I feel totally in control of this situation. Jack and i suppose Immy, Mummy and Daddy are going to be eating clean, low-inflammatory foods, taking our supplements and heaving in some Food As Medicine type meals and we will get through this. 

When it comes to gut loving foods, there are MANY! from Sauerkraut to kimchi, kefir to yoghurt, sourdough breads and all the kombucha. but i cannot tell you enough, that eating foods as close to nature intended is the most healing way of eating. Ditch the packaged foods, Ditch anything that has a number or letter or E word we cant pronounce. I am so glad jack is eating again and it will be a challenge getting my 2 year old to eat some of these but my word i will do my damnedest to try.  

Starting with yoghurt, laced with probiotics and slipppery elm and prebiotics and antioxidant rich foods.... you name it, its going in. There will be smoothies, again laced with serious nutrition, there will be 'icy poles' bursting with kefir and all the goods. There will be brothhs and gelatin based gummies and Glutamine etc. But for now I feel i have been ranting enough and i am sure you all get the importance of gut healthy right? RIGHT? Fact #1: 70% of your immune system lives in your gut. Fact #2. that is all you need to know right now! 

For now, here are some amazing Immune BoostingTummy Gummies i want to  share with you all. 

IMMUNE BOOSTING TUMMY GUMMIES

Gelatin, the main component in these gummies, is renowned for its ability to health and improve gut integrity and digestive strength, which is massively impacted after antibiotics. Gelatin works by enhancing gastric acid secretion and restoring the ever SO important 'healthy' mucosal lining of the stomach; low stomach acid with an impaired gut 'barrier' are two of the most common digestive problems. Gelatin also helps to absorb water and helps keep fluid to stay in the digestive tract, which in turn helps with POOP. We have all heard the term Leaky Gut Syndrome? Well, kids are naturally 'Leaky' until around 2 years old, and of course add a whopping dose of AB's, we can only imagine what my little Mans tummy is like. 

Gelatin is a serious source of protein. Did you know that it contains 18 amino acids, many of which are what we call “essential”, meaning they must be acquired from our diet.

Again, if you need any further information head to my blog or you can book a consultation with me and I will help with that.

But for now a recipe for seriously Yummy Tummy Gummies.

  • 3 1/2 cups fruit juice (squeezed or fresh juice, here i used orange and lemon, bursting with vitamin C)
  • 9 Tablespoons Great Lakes (Red Packet) Gelatin
  • 2 Tb honey (I used a local honey for better immune properties from a new company called 888 Bees)
  • 1 tbs Vitamin C powder (with zinc and betacarotene) this is a practitioner only product but this is optional

(I also added probiotics in there at pretty high doses at the end as this is what myself and my sons Nutritionist Jes decided was best)

Method:
Gently warm the juice (do not boil) and then add the gelatine 1 tbs at a time whilst whisking. Do not let it get too hot or it can clump
add the honey at the end and pour into moulds
once the moulds cool a little add your probiotic (best to see a practitioner for this to get the right strain for your little one)
then set in the freezer for about 10 minutes and eat. transfer to a container and store in the fridge. They wont last. 

Remember this a medicinal gummy and I have added in some prescription only supplements, but you can make these sans probiotics and vitamin C or you can make a consultation with myself at the Mums and Bubs Clinic or via Skype if you need and Operation Tummy Healing Plan. I love sharing things with you all, and I am all about helping anyone and everyone i can to feel the benefits of good health. Click here to book an appointment

Yours in Good Health

Shannon

Mums and Bubs Nutritionist

XO

 

eat yourself fertile - hormone soup recipe!

Guess what? You can eat yourself fertile! Even if you aren't contemplating doing the baby making dance just yet….. who the heck doesn't want balanced hormones, clear skin, stable moods and well, a hip hop happening reproductive system.  At the Mums and Bubs clinic, we formulate meal plans and recipes that adopt a 'food as medicine' type approach. We recommend real foods that serve a purpose and we want you to nourish that womb and give your repro system more balance than a russian gymnast. 

Sometimes we are at mercy of our hormones, and they can get in the way of our plans. Perhaps we have heavy and painful periods, perhaps we don’t have any periods at all? Sometimes its the nasty 'pre-period' bloat that gets us down, or maybe we have been diagnosed with Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, Endometriosis or have just found out there are fertility issues. These are all signs that our hormones have either gone MIA on us or are in need of some tuning up. Our body speaks to us in so many ways, and whacky periods are just one way of trying to get us to listen.

Our fertility and hormones can be ‘trained’! We can put them on a leash and be the boss again. It does take a bit of work, and we at the Mums and Bubs Clinic are there with you every step of the way. We can help you; via dietary prescriptions, lifestyle changes and clinically researched supplementations that are tailored to your needs.

So, a little sneak peak at one of our hormone controlling, super detox soups for our subscribers~

Hormone Soup:

1 head of organic broccoli

1 handful of organic spinach

1/2 cup broccoli sprouts

4 cloves of garlic

1 pinch of Himalayan rock salt

3 Brussel sprouts 

1 tablespoon of organic butter or coconut oil for the vegans amongst us. 

1 medium potato (optional)

500ml organic chicken stock/ bone broth -home made if possible (the Stock Merchant makes great stock)

How to make:

Fry off one butter/coconut oil in a saucepan, add the garlic crushed or sliced. Sauté. Add the turmeric to release constituents. Add the veggies and cover with the stock. Add more water if needed to cover it all. Simmer away for about 20 mins or until everything is soft. Blend and serve. Add some shredded chicken, turkey or top with some delish cottage cheese and a sprinkle of sunflower seeds for an added fertility booster!! 

Nutrients Found in Hormone Soup

Vitamin D is needed to help the body create sex hormones, which in turn affects ovulation and hormonal balance.  Interestingly Yale University School of Medicine conducted a study of 67 unexplained infertile women, where it was discovered that ONLY 7% had normal vitamin D levels...7% people!. In fact , the prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency has nearly doubled in the last decade. Among women in their baby making years a whopping 40% have insufficient levels.. crap!

Folate:  This vitamin helps prevent neural tube defects as well as congenital heart defects, cleft lips, limb defects, and urinary tract anomalies in developing foetus. Deficiency in folic acid may increase the risk of preterm labor, fetal growth retardation and low birth weight. Deficiency may also increase the homocysteine level in the blood, which can lead to spontaneous abortion and pregnancy complications, such as placental abruption and preeclampsia. If you are concerned about the form and dosage of folic acid in your preconception/pregnancy vitamin multi chat to us.

Vitamin E: This potent antioxidant has been shown in studies to improve sperm health and motility in men. This fact is quite cute - the meaning of the name for vitamin E ‘Tocopherol’ literally means to bear young. Vitamin E is also an important antioxidant to help protect sperm and egg DNA integrity. 

Vitamin C:  A fertility must have in the diet- Vitamin C has been shown to improve fertility in women with luteal phase defect, according to a study published in Fertility and Sterility. As for men, vitamin C has been shown to improve sperm quality AND protect sperm from DNA damage; thus helping to reduce the chance of miscarriage or chromosomal problems. interestingly Vitamin C appears to keep sperm from "clumping"  and sticking together, meaning the sperm is more motile. 

B6: Vitamin B6 may be used as a hormone regulator. It also helps to regulate blood sugars, alleviates PMS, and may be useful in relieving symptoms of morning sickness. another great use for B6 is that it has been shown to help with luteal Phase Defect.

Iron: We have all probably heard of the importance of iron and yes its true, studies have shown that women who do not get sufficient amounts of iron may suffer anovulation (lack of ovulation) and possibly poor egg health, which can dramatically impact fertility and conception at a rate 60% higher than those with sufficient/good iron stores in their blood.

Broccoli, Brussel sprouts and Broccoli Sprouts are members of the cruciferous family of vegetables. These wonderful vegetables have compounds that help the body to get rid of excess estrogen and enhances detoxification. I believe Broccoli and Brussel Sprouts are one of the real superfoods and one of the healthiest foods available to us. I recommend organic broccoli, because it can be heavily sprayed.  

***If you have a thyroid problem, make sure you always have your cruciferous veggies cooked.

There are so many factors that can affect our hormones and fertility and cause us grief. Just some of them for example can be added stress in our life, nutrient deficiencies, exposures to xenoestrogens from plastics and pollutants, inflammation, poor detoxification, inflammation a sedentary lifestyle and so many more. All of these factors will need to be addressed in one-way or another, especially when embarking on the journey to becoming a family. In our clinic we will walk you through your journey and help you achieve your goals, even if its just not to be such a nut job when Aunt Flo is due!

THYROID dysFUNKtion

How Your Thyroid Can be Affecting Your Fertility

Thyroid DysFUNKction, (not in a good 80's rap funk type way, as in funky, bottom of the school lunch box type funk) which can really be affecting your fertility. If you have been trying to have a baby for some time, and have been unsuccessful, then it might be worth getting your thyroid function checked.. Before you embark on expensive medical procedures, it is well worth your while getting your preconception checks inclusive of a full thyroid picture. This is something we see in the Mums and Bubs clinic time and time again. Couple coming in who have been trying to conceive (TTC for those in the know) for a lengthy period of time, who haven't even been guided in that direction. Thyroid function is pivotal for fertility and healthy pregnancy, surprisingly there are alarming rates of men and women have thyroid dysfunction. 

Being in the field of preconception and family planning, we are often quite surprised that some doctors and specialists rarely include comprehensive thyroid testing as part of a preconception assessment. When I say comprehensive, I mean the whole picture, not just ONE marker in a blood test, I believe the entire symptom picture inclusive of full bloods, full case history, basal body temperature charting, the works is a much needed focus in getting you and your partner baby ready!. The thyroid is is so complex and there are very technical reasons why just one marker in a blood test isn't enough in this day and age, and subclinical hypothyroidism is often overlooked, until... well there are problems obtaining that pregnancy and sadly can result in miscarriage if overlooked. 

There are many many reasons for infertility and this is a huge player. It's easy to assess with your health care practitioner, and we at the M&B clinic can easily and effectively monitor your thyroid function, or even see if this is potentially something that may be the "missing link".The good news is that most of the subclinical thyroid problems can be reversible.

What Factors Impact Thyroid Health?

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  • Genetic susceptibility
  • High levels of stress
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Infections
  • Other hormone imbalances e.g. oestrogen dominance, high prolactin levels
  • Exposure to environmental toxins – radiation, chemicals, pesticides, heavy metals e.g. mercury & fluoride

 

A More Detailed Look at How Thyroid Health Affect Couples TTC.

Poor thyroid function or thyroid dysfunction upsets your body’s natural balance of reproductive hormones and has been found that 25% of female infertility cases and 15% of menstrual cycle disorders result from thyroid dysfunction. Subclinical (not diagnosed thyroid disease) is actually huge amongst the female population, and i believe is a massive call for thorough examination, when patients present with infertility or miscarriages. So lets have a quick look at how the thyroid may present if it is not functioning. 

Anovulatory cycles   

This means that you are not ovulating i.e. not releasing an egg.  Luteinizing Hormone (LH) has the task of stimulating the ovary to release the egg.  If thyroid hormone levels are not ideal they cannot support LH to do this.  If no egg is released this well....makes pregnancy impossible. It is still possible to menstruate regularly but not ovulate so you may not be aware of this.

Luteal Phase Problems 

so, It takes 13-15 days to nurture a fertilized egg. If the second half of your menstrual cycle (luteal phase) is too short due to poor LH response and subsequent insufficient progesterone production (T3 required for progesterone release from the luteal cells), a fertilized egg can’t implant securely and will end up leaving your body at the same time that menstruation would occur. This very early miscarriage is often mistaken as a regular period, and is sadly very very common in patients with subclinical hypothyroidism.

Low Body Temperature 

Low thyroid function will also result in a lower basal body temperature.  The rapidly dividing cells in a little embryo require a specific temperature range for that division to take place.  If your basal body temperature is too low, the embryo may be unable to continue to grow.  This increases the risk of early miscarriage.

High Prolactin Levels  

Elevated levels of Thyroid Releasing Hormone (TRH) and low levels of Thyroxine (T4) can also result in an excess of prolactin (normally produced by the pituitary gland to promote lactation) and TSH both of which will have a negative effect on fertility and can prevent ovulation or result in irregular or absent periods.

Other Hormonal Imbalances   

Reduced sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), oestrogen dominance, progesterone deficiency, all interfere with proper reproductive hormone balance.  Oestrogen is a known antagonist to thyroid hormones so oestrogen dominance can suppress thyroid function.  Balanced oestrogen and progesterone levels will facilitate normal thyroid function and vice versa.

Loss of libido 

Sex drive is influenced by a number of physical and emotional factors.  Hormones can have a powerful effect on sexual desire.  When other hormone imbalances are combined with the fatiue and mood changes associated with a thyroid disorder it really can dampen libido.

Pregnancy risks

Undiagnosed and untreated thyroid problems can endanger your pregnancy and worsen pregnancy problems such as fatigue, hair loss, depression, morning sickness, preterm labour, inter uterine growth retardation, and increased risk of miscarriage.

Risks for your baby

Poor thyroid function may also put your baby at risk of a preterm birth and low birth weight.  There is also the risk of thyroid problems, impaired growth and development of the testes in male babies and possible problems with fertility as an adult.  Where severe iodine (a major component of thyroid hormone) deficiency is part of the picture, there is increased risk of cognitive problems and brain development in the baby. The Australian Thyroid Foundation also recommends you speak to your doctor about the importance of testing and monitoring your thyroid hormone levels. A healthy Thyroid hormone level is essential for the development of the foetus and sustaining pregnancy.l The latest research stated, ADHD and Autism can be aresult of iodine deficiency and low thyroid hormone level in a pregnant woman. 

 

YOUR CHECK LIST FOR THYROID ASSESSMENT

1. Do you have any of the common signs & symptoms associated with low thyroid function?

  • Inability to conceive (12+ months)
  • Miscarriage
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Period pain
  • Low libido
  • Lethargy & fatigue
  • Susceptibility to the cold / cold hands & feet
  • Inability to lose weight
  • Changes in texture of skin, nails, hair, hair loss
  • Recurrent infections
  • Constipation

BBT? what is this?

Basal Body Temperature, this is something in the clinic we take pretty seriously for couples trying to conceive, or assessing ovulation and thyroid status. checking your BBT is a very non invasive way to check for potential thyroid dysfunction.  Often, routine blood tests may appear “normal” because the problem is occurring in the cells and not in the blood.  If your thyroid function is optimal, your temperature will be between 36° and 37° C but ideally above 36.5°C, if it is below this, then time to come in and have a chat to us :)

Blood Test Jibba Jabba

For full thyroid assessment you require readings for TSH, T4, T3, rT3 & Thyroid Antibodies.  TRH may also be required.  At the Mums and Bubs clinic when assessing your fertility, ideally, your Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) level should be between 0.9 and 2 mIU/L, Thyroxine (T4) between 16-20 pmol/L, Triiodiothyronine (T3) between 4.5 – 6.0 pmol/L, reverse T3 below 250 pmol/L and 0 IU/ml for thyroid antibodies.  Your doctor or naturopath can order these tests and assess the results for you. looking at these figures, some of you may notice that the levels all appear to be well within the range, yes that is true, as natural health care practitioners, we believe these results are ideal, and outside of these results can sometimes be indicative of subclinical hypothyroidism/hyperthyroidism. Speaking to doctors, they often agree with us that, it is only when outside these markers they treat with medication, but we like to address issues before they become a "disease". This is also why we don't rely on just looking at the TSH levels in a test, as this does not give us a the entire thyroid picture. 

4.  Urinary Iodine                                                                                                                              

Iodine is a key component of thyroid hormone.  Excessive iodine as well as a deficiency of iodine can result in low thyroid function.  Urinary iodine should ideally be between 150-200ug/L.  At Mums and Bubs we can also order and decipher this test for you.

5.  Diet & Lifestyle                                                                                                                               

-Our modern western diet is a major contributor to increasing thyroid health problems.  Foods detrimental to thyroid health include refined grains, simple sugars, soy products, peanuts & peanut products, caffeine, hydrogenated oils, cigarette smoking and alcohol.  Excessive consumption of uncooked vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, turnips, Brussels sprouts may block the absorption of iodine, again everything in moderation and we at mums and bubs can assess and look at your diet to see if there is anything in excess or lacking that may be messing with your jam.

- Exposure to heavy metals e.g. mercury (amalgam fillings) and fluoride (water supply, toothpaste) as well as bisphenols in plastics may also be detrimental to the old thyroid.

-Stress management is absolutely imperative, and when trying to have a baby this is easier said that done. (Trust me, i have been there).  Stress results in elevated levels of cortisol, the main hormone released by the adrenal glands.  Increased cortisol will inhibit the conversion of T4 to the active T3 hormone and will stop the active T3 entering cells sufficiently.

-Exercise is beneficial as it will stimulate thyroid hormone secretion and increases tissue sensitivity to thyroid hormones.

So, take from this what you need and if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask us or your health care provider. 

Natural Immunisation Support

Vaccinations. Let's talk about how to naturally support our little ones before, during and after immunisations. Vaccinations are a highly debated topic, that is not what this post is about. This post is intended to support our babies before during and after their big Ol needles. Nutritionally and naturally there is aLOT we can do to help prepare the little ones for their immunisations. As we know, the needles place a huge demand on our babies immune system, therefore it's a great idea to prepare our babies and ourselves (if breastfeeding) for the lead up to the event, and after the event. What better way than gently and naturally enhance their immune systems  

Below is some basic information we give to all of our clients to help them fly through needles. 

💉 make sure your little one is free from any illness, viral or bacterial. 

💉 if you are breastfeeding, you can take some additional vitamin C, Zinc and probiotics before during and after needles

💉 if baby is old enough you can supplement with probiotics, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin D and A to support the immune system and provide additional antioxidant support. Cod Liver Oil is fantastic. 

💉 ensure baby is effectively moving bowels and if not get some support. Constipation is not ideal when it comes to post needles. 

💉 lots of cuddles and kisses for bubba

💉 wash hands thoroughly when changing nappies

💉 if possible avoid shopping centres or crowded places for a few days before and after to eliminate chance of catching anything from snotty cough ridden places.

💉 if baby is eating solids, or you are breastfeeding add vitamin, mineral and glutathione rich whole-foods such as raspberries, kiwi fruit, sweet potato, bone broth, blueberries, asparagus, avocado, zucchini and garlic to yours and their diet. 

Food really is medicine, if we eat the right foods it can unlock huge potential for disease fighting naturally and to keep us healthy and happy through immune burdens such as needles, cold and flu season and any increased demand. Eat a rainbow a day, plenty of fluids and remember we are always doing the best we believe for our families  take heart in that fact Mums and Dads....

🙅🏻(At Mums and Bubs we support you and your family with your informed choices. We do not accept bullying on this topic)t