It might be that your buggy isn’t just handy out and about! In the early days consider whether your set of wheels will fit in doors in the daytime. This can be handy whilst you are moving around, having baby up high and able to give them a little shoosh whilst they settle.
After 18 months of trying for a baby, we found out I was pregnant one weekend when I was suffering from a stomach bug and had spent the weekend being sick. It was all very emotional – for more reasons than one! At about 12 weeks we went along for our first assessment with the midwife. I remember being bamboozled by all the questions but when asked about where I wanted to give birth, I was absolutely sure that it would be in hospital. The midwife mentioned home births but I think my reaction went something like “only crazy people have home births!” Everything was going very smoothly with my pregnancy and I was surprised (I was totally paranoid throughout my pregnancy) to be told I was low risk so should be able to give birth in a midwife-led unit. We excitedly decided that we should go and have a look at the hospital so went along to the Saturday tour of the labour ward. My only experience of midwife-led units before was of one where my sister gave birth 4 years ago. She had a private room afterwards with a double bed so her partner could stay and amazing care and attention for several days afterwards. The tour didn’t start well – there were about 12 couples waiting in a warm corridor and eventually a member staff appeared and said “oh has no-one come to show you round?” So half an hour late, we were shown round a very busy birthing unit. I was shocked at how dated and also how clinical it was. Naively, I’d expected it to be much less like a hospital. After looking at the higher risk unit (not really much different to the midwife-led unit) and the post-birth ward which was so open, noisy and impersonal and being told that they expect you to be released 4 hours after birth, the final straw was all the people with the beer and cigarettes outside the maternity unit. I remember being what can be best described as terrified – I didn’t want to give birth here. My husband was incredibly supportive and wanted me to be happy. So we looked at our options. There was another local hospital, but although newer it didn’t seem much different and was further away. So I started to investigate home births. My midwife seemed delighted when I mentioned it and couldn’t have been more positive, telling me about how they’d been building up the community midwife home birthing team in the area and giving me all the information about it. I also spoke to a few people I knew who’d had home births and everyone was so positive. I also went to antenatal classes and afterwards I spoke to the course leader who was also very positive. People told me about the statistics around homebirth including how it was actually pretty much as safe as being in hospital. Another fact that stuck with me was how much less likely it […]
Once your baby is born osteopaths can help to support a mums posture which may be strained due to feeding positions and recovery from the hormonal changes of pregnancy and labour. Ask other mums for a recommendation, a good osteopath will not treat you or your baby if they feel there is nothing wrong. www.osteopathy.org
A bit of science: new borns and babies up to 3 months do not produce Melatonin which helps us to sleep. Getting your baby and yourself out and about in daylight to start aiding melatonin production. When putting your baby into their Moses basket/ cot ensure the room is dark and at about 18 degrees centigrade. The contrast between daylight and dark will help to stimulate the production of the hormone Melatonin.
Babies do not usually have sleep problems, we do as parents.Follow your babies lead and sleep when they nap. Draw the curtains, lie down , sigh out and relax each part of your body in turn. Talk with other mums , chat with your partner , your health visitor or your GP. Check out this link for more research based info: www.isisonline.org.uk
Babies are all consuming and leave little time for daily chores. The cleaning can wait, nursing and cuddling your little one, letting them know they are loved, teaching them what love and security feels like releases a love potion, Oxytocin , for all the family, mums, dads and babies to enjoy.
Just when you feel you’ve got some kind of pattern or order , our little ones have a growth spurt or have another developmental leap. Chances are if you feel things are running a little out of control after a period of calm this is what they are up to. Hold tight it will pass!
Feel the love and give your little bundle a massage, exchange a massage with your partner and let the hormone of love, Oxytocin , flow
Parent from your heart. Believe in your self and trust your instincts. You know what feels right for you and your family unit. If it’s hard to share how you feel get someone you trust to drop some hints.
Even though your baby can’t speak yet, they will be watching and imitating your behaviour. Check out this fab video that demonstrates how social babies are.
Babies and parents do not dance like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, but instead mostly dance frequently stepping on toes apologising and enjoying the fun of dancing.The message here is that we don’t always understand our babies and its Ok to apologise and start again.
Your baby’s brain development is constantly making connections! It is known that their brains actually make 200,000 connections every minute at the peak of their growing. So hang in there they are working really hard on that smile, cooing and sitting. Ref: South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust
Did you know,when your baby is born their brain is only a quarter developed. So all your love and nurture will actually shape your baby’s brain and development
In the early days when you may be worrying how much milk your baby is getting, the answer often lies in your baby’s nappy contents. This leaflet spells out what to expect in your baby’s nappy, colour, consistency etc. which tells you your baby is getting enough milk. http://www.nct.org.uk/sites/default/files/related_documents/What%27s%20in%20a%20nappy%20%28ENGLISH%20VERSION%29%20FINAL%20WITHOUT%20BLEED.pdf
For lots of research based information about the benefits of ‘kangaroo care’ with preterm babies check out Kanga Wrap who also sell wrap slings that support a charity for women in Delhi India www.kangawrap.co.uk/kangaroocare.htm
A bit of homework whilst waiting for baby! Give your breasts the once over, be familiar with any lumps or bumps and changes that may have occurred. Check out where your nipples are facing, a little to the left or right, up or down, recognising this will help you position your baby when breastfeeding. Here’s an informative link: http://www.breastcancercampaign.org/about-breast-cancer/breast-cancer-risk-factors/pregnancy-and-breast-feeding
This fab little video clip shows a baby finding it’s way to mum’s breast in the first hour after birth. A great example of a baby’s natural instincts.
It’s ok,not to be okay! The early days are often exhausting and thankless. Don’t feel bad if some days you feel like pressing pause and spending some time on your own. Being a mum is probably the toughest job you’ll ever do, be kind to yourself x
Week 2 with Mini Me So I thought it was time to share with you my top tips for labour. You may be wondering why given that it wasn’t exactly straightforward but every labour is different, and mine was no exception. Firstly don’t bother looking up how to know when you are in labour. I didn’t have to worry about this given that I was in the hospital the whole time but contractions were not what I expected them to be like. Also people say you’ll know when you are in labour. If I had been at home, I would have had no idea. If you feel something unusual, call the hospital and check in, just incase. Secondly, take the pain relief. It’s worth being aware of your options and if you really want to, write a birth plan but don’t expect it to go the way you plan. Childbirth is unpredictable and unless your child is super advanced and has x-ray vision, they cannot read your birth plan so will do whatever they want anyway. Moving on, many people go on and on about having a natural birth. It doesn’t matter, there are no heros for not taking the pain relief and being a martyr. Your baby doesn’t care. Don’t rule anything out. Especially if you are induced. The midwife told me being induced is about 3 times more painful than naturally going into labour, however I have no way of knowing if this is true, I just know it hurt. I had to have an epidural to bring my blood pressure down but I would have it again. And don’t believe everything you read. I have a mobile epidural so I could still feel when to push. Just take whatever you need. And don’t forget to squeeze your husbands fingers very very hard. That also helps. Thirdly, be nice to the staff. During my labour there was a lot of medical staff in the room including the most senior people working that night but screaming and swearing at them isn’t helpful. Midwives especially put up with an awful lot but remember they are just doing their job and they are trying their best to help you. If the epidural doesn’t’ work on the first three attempts, it’s not because they’ve done it on purpose. They commented after to me about how polite I was which was nice. Don’t get me wrong, you need to deal with the pain somehow but try and think beforehand how you could do this without shouting at the midwife. Finally, don’t beat yourself up when things don’t go as planned. I was gutted when breastfeeding didn’t work out, all the pressure that is put on you means if it doesn’t work you will feel awful. Don’t. It doesn’t work for everyone and in some cases like mine there is a physiological reason that is out of everyone’s control. Give it a go but don’t blame yourself if it doesn’t work out. I felt […]
I’ve been taking Hannah swimming since she was 9 weeks old, once she had had all her jabs. Her swimming pants were nearly bigger than she was, they were up under her armpits and she looked like she’d been taking fashion advice from Simon Cowell! (see attached photo) Neil and I are both very confident swimmers and it’s important to us that Hannah is confident and safe around the water, even if she turns out to be rubbish at swimming, so we decided to start her young. Thanks to some fabulous teaching she has been able to hold on the the side on her own for a quite a few seconds since she was about 9 months and is confident at being underwater and can kick herself to the surface. She even managed a ‘2 foot swim to mummy with arm floats’ at only a year old. After some research we chose to go to a ‘Birthlight’ Baby Swimming Class which is method of teaching that primarily promotes safety and confidence in the water. Of course there have been tantrums, mostly when she has been too tired or teething. There were also some bumpy phases when she was learning to crawl and walk but these pass. The most important thing is that I remain calm and relaxed in the water and if the class is getting all too much for her I just take her to one side and we just cuddle or splash in the water.
Be ready for your brain to turn to mush slightly after baby is born. Don’t panic this is totally normal and will pass. The hormones help relax mums brain into a gentle mode, to help her switch over to thinking about the basic needs for her and her baby. You may find it hard to remember things so a pad and pencil is a handy aly. Especially when it comes to recording who bought what present!
So tempting to pick or rub, but this is temporary and will go away. Gentle brushing with a baby brush may help lift it a little and invigorate the scalp. It will pass
We all love the smell of baby products but nothing smells better than real baby smell. Avoid perfume products that people buy you, and instead indulge yourself with them instead.
In simple terms being close and responsive to your little ones needs. This develops over the earlys weeks and months as you get to know your baby. A baby learns how to love by receiving love. The more you give the more you get back x
Sometimes early days can feel like a confusing time. You could try keeping some notes or a little diary to help you remember what you want to discuss with your Midwife or Health Visitor. You may find that this helps order your thoughts x
It may sound obvious but are you drinking and eating enough? It is easy to forget yourself in the early days with a baby. Try to snack to keep energy levels up and keep a drink alongside you for every feed. Perhaps get your partner to prep some snacks or a sandwich the night before to help you through the following day.
If things are stressing you out, explore your options with someone you trust. You don’t have to be a super mum! You are good enough!
Tiny feet, tiny toes, so much washing, time just goes x Give in to this tiny moment and enjoy it! Before you know you will be buying your little one’s first pair of shoes
If your baby is premature, many neonatal units encourage ‘kangaroo care,’ or skin to skin for baby and mum. It doesn’t have to be in the first few hours, it can really help, in the first few days and weeks. If things are getting a bit busy and baby seems unsettled perhaps some quiet time ‘skin to skin’ might have a calming effect. Xx
Worried about giving your little one there immunisations. You can always chat about your concerns with your Health Visitor or practice nurse at your GP surgery. Check out this link: www.immunisation.nhs.uk
Most mums have moments when they would like to stop the bus and get off. Meeting up with other mums can’t change the lack of sleep and the beautiful chaos of early days, but it can help you feel a little more normal.
Finding yourself in a confusing mix of feeding combinations is not unusual in the early days. Maybe you are mixed feeding, using nipple shields, topping up, expressing? Why not write down what you are doing and see where you could simplify things. You could share with your Midwife, Health Visitor or Breastfeeding Counsellor for a bit of support
A couple of tips for reflux self help. Sucking and milk itself acts as an antacid so may give the baby some comfort Expressing before a feed to slow the flow may mean the baby takes less volume and feeds more on the hind milk.
This is where there appear to be no outward symptoms, but baby may appear to be in pain especially when lying down or might have a persistent cough. If any doubt a trip to the GP might be a good idea
Having a new baby is like an adventure to a foreign land. You may have prepared but when you arrive it may take a while to orientate yourself. Check out this lovely article at www.birthbliss.wordpress.com http://birthbliss.wordpress.com/2010/09/02/recipes-for-starting-labourlabor/
It’s not exactly you but if you slip your own soft, unwashed tee-shirt over baby’s mattress, she may be comforted by your familiar smell as she sleeps.
Falling asleep on the breast is one of the easiest ways for most babies to settle. This will be self limiting and as babies get older they can learn other ways of self soothing and falling asleep.
Babies don’t know the difference between day and night. At night keep the lights low and attend to your little bundle quietly, saving play and chatter for daytime. Melatonin, the sleep, inducing hormone, isn’t produced until,12 weeks old so until then babies are usually dependent on us to sooth them to sleep.
Swaddling in a muslin or light sheet , to prevent overheating, can help to calm a baby whose startle ( Moro ) reflex jerks them awake . How to swaddle safely in a hip friendly way. http://www.hipdysplasia.org/developmental-dysplasia-of-the-hip/hip-healthy-swaddling/
The calming repetitive, rhythmic sounds of lullabies really can help babies relax and fall asleep. Singing also releases Oxytocin (the cuddly love hormone) in the singer which helps to calm mum and dad. Music that incorporates heart sounds or ‘white noise’ also has calming and sleep inducing effects.
If you were scared, upset or distressed, a cuddle and being held in loving arms would probably be just the thing . Loving, Cuddling and holding your little one cannot spoil them . For more info check out http://www.llli.org/faq/spoil.html
Sore, achy and bruised, nether regions. You could try arnica cream to ease the bruising and take gentle sitz baths (herbal) Most importantly a quicker recovery is likely to come to those who manage to rest. x Check out: http://voices.yahoo.com/the-sitz-bath-post-birth-healing-comfort-new-645557.html?cat=52
Oouch! Getting your underneath as comfy as is possible whilst breastfeeding will help you rest and help you focus on learning to breastfeed.
Why not watch this video clip from Best Beginnings with your partner and use it to help start a discussion about how you both feel http://vimeo.com/11715262
A fab video from Best Beginnings that brings tears to your eyes. A dad cuddling two of his triplets! Dads just shows you can get involved with skin to skin to! http://vimeo.com/16655242
Take a peek at the video on this page that talks about how a premature baby develops http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/Pages/soothing-crying-baby.aspx
Take a peek at this NHS video clip that suggests how to look after your baby’s umbilical cord, until it falls off! http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/your-baby-after-birth.aspx#close
When a baby suffers with severe wind, colic or is generally grouchy, it’s easy to blame yourself and think it’s something you are doing. Probably not and even if they still cry when you work to soothe them, you are helping!
A crying baby is distressing and exhausting. Check out this link for some practical tips on how to soothe your little one during their colicky time of the day http://www.babycenter.com/0_colic-how-to-cope_1369745.bc
Make whatever you eat count! Plan to eat a good breakfast of things like scrambled eggs on wholegrain toast or porridge. These are better at storing energy than sugary cereals that spike and crash, making you more sleepy. Check out: http://www.babycenter.com/0_best-foods-for-new-moms-energy-boosters_1458856.bc
Sometimes baby’s have spots on their face at birth or suddenly break out at about 2 weeks. This is called Milia. Don’t panic it will pass as your baby gets used to living in the outside world. If you are worried ask your Health Visitor or GP to check it out.
Whilst waiting for baby, ask friends and family with children who and where they found support. What made the difference? Plan your support now, ready for your big arrival x
Hey be kind to yourself! It takes 40 weeks for a baby to make its way into the world, so it makes sense your body will take a while to get back to its original shape.
Keep things simple with Skin to skin in the early hours, days and weeks All baby’s find their own style of breastfeeding. Remember if it feels ok and there is no clicking or lack of suction, then you are on the right track.
Sleep, such a hot topic in the early days with your baby. Everyone seems to ask about your baby’s sleep pattern and you probably feel that everyone else seems to have a baby that sleeps more than yours.Check out the link below that gives research based information about how babies actually sleep and provides safe sleep strategies. http://www.isisonline.org.uk/how_babies_sleep/
Every day is different! As you gaze and wonder at your baby as you feed and cuddle them, take a moment to think how far you have come and pat yourself on the back. Keep up the good work, you are doing a fab job! x
All babies are good babies! If someone asks you if your little bundle is ‘good’ it is worth thinking about what good means. If your baby cries often to tell you what they need, its the only way they can communicate which makes them a great baby! If they wake often in the night, its because they are growing big and strong. Check out www.thewonderweeks.com
The story and the journey continues. No matter where you are at, on your parenting adventure, look at how far you’ve come rather than how far you have to go x Celebrate the new year and look at all you have achieved
If your baby has started to become more constipated, why not ask your health visitor or nursery nurse to show you some baby massage moves that might help get things moving a little Check out http://www.iaimbabymassage.co.uk
A small note pad and pen can be one of the most invaluable items in the early days with your baby. Handy for writing down questions for your midwife when she pops in. Also useful for making a list of who has bought what gift or just jotting down your baby’s progress. Keep by your side whilst feeding when you have a little thinking time.
With cold nights ahead check out The foundation of sudden infant deaths for the latest information and research about how to help keep your baby warm at night http://fsid.org.uk/page.aspx?pid=416
Heard that phrase recently? They are probably not criticising you but just offering their own experiences. This probably worked for them and their baby but if you don’t feel comfortable with it just say thanks and do it your way!
After about 7 months your baby’s development means they prefer the security, comfort and protection of those they know and are more wary of strangers. This is a developmental phase, means your baby is firmly attached to you. This clingy phase will pass usually after a few months Check out www.simplypsychology.org/attachment.html
Finding time to share your building frustration with someone you trust, can sometimes help you avoid becoming physically unwell. Unresolved stress is known to lower your immune system and lead to colds and flu. Check out www.simplypsychology.org/stress-immune.html
Letting off steam can be really liberating, whether that be tears, tantrums or leaving town. Realistically its not always that easy when emotions are running high. Keeping the lines of communication open can be hard but is the best medicine and sometimes prevents an explosion.
Post birth, mums are vulnerable to catching infection especially in the front bottom region. Good hand hygiene is essential to prevent mums getting infections. Wash hands before and after changing sanitary pads. Stay well and Here’s how http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=vYwypSLiaTU&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DvYwypSLiaTU&gl=GB
In the early weeks and months babies, like us , have a range of emotions but cant tell us why or how they are feeling Frans Plooji of the wonder weeks, describes these emotions as The Three C’s: Clingy, Cranky and Crying. Here’s more info By Frans Plooij 2011 http://www.modernmom.com/blogs/frans-plooij/the-three-c-s-clingy-cranky-and-crying-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly
What Can Your Baby See? Find out here. By Frans Plooij on April 20, 2011 http://www.modernmom.com/blogs/frans-plooij/your-baby-can-see-this
A little dot of nail varnish on one of their nails might help you identify who is who in the early days. Not long and you will know them by their little characters x
For those little ones born too soon , Kangaroo care has many benefits for mums and teeny tiny ones. Special care staff will be there to support you. Your baby knows your scent, touch and the rhythms of your speech and breathing, and he will enjoy feeling that closeness with you. http://www.unicef.org.uk/BabyFriendly/Health-Professionals/Going-Baby-Friendly/FAQs/Breastfeeding-FAQ/What-is-Kangaroo-Care/