Antistretch Butter

18 Sep 2012 Welcome and info

Earlier this year we launched our online shop http://shop.betterbirthing.org.uk and this last week we had one of the anti stretch butter reviewed for us by Rowena Roberts. Below is her review and since it is such an excellent review we thought that for the remainder of September we will offer a special price on the anti stretch butter in our online shop with 20% off the product! So why not sit back with a cup of tea, read the review then skip on over to our shop and order yours today! It is so much more than an anti stretch butter as Rowena mentions, you find yourself bonding with baby, creating wonderful oxytocin and just taking time out to enjoy your pregnancy. So without further ado, below is our latest review, many thanks Rowena:

It’s great to live in this world of information, where practically anything you need to know is there at your fingertips (once they’re on a keyboard and you’re logged into Google). But it can be a little overwhelming, too.

Take pregnancy. Over the past 22 weeks (and counting), I’ve been instructed on all sorts of activities and rituals that I should or could be undertaking in order to prepare my body for bump, birth and beyond. Possibly the weirdest tip to date was from my mum, who told me that throughout pregnancy I should take a soft-bristled hairbrush and brush my nipples a few times each night. Supposedly this will toughen them up in preparation for the rigours of breastfeeding. If you have a weirder pre-bedtime activity, let me know!

Far more soothing has been my latest habit of rubbing Vital Touch Natalia’s perinatal anti-stretch butter into my body. I thought that I would quickly get bored with this task, as I’ve always been rather impatient and negligent when it comes to beauty regimes, but in fact I’ve found it enjoyable and, in a strange way, reassuring.

The fact is that pregnancy makes you slow down and pay more attention to your body in so many ways. Looking after it is no longer something that you’re doing purely for selfish or superficial reasons, as a solitary guilty pleasure, but is part and parcel of your task to give your little sprog or sproglette a pleasant and nourishing experience in the womb. If you feel good, the chances are that baby feels good, too. What could be better than that?

Back to the butter… I’ve taken to rubbing this into my belly and surrounding areas while lying in bed every evening. This is a different experience from my other new routine of applying shea body butter after showering, which should be good for my dry skin, but is a speedier (and slightly stickier) undertaking as I get ready for the day ahead.

With the anti-stretch butter I take my time, using it as part of a bonding ritual with my burgeoning bump, sometimes humming or chatting to the baby as I do so. It helps that the butter is beautifully scented with essential oils of mandarin, lavender, neroli and frankincense – all highly soothing aromas. When I looked up details on these oils (thank you again, Google), I was interested to learn that frankincense is often used in different religions to anoint newborn infants, or people who are transitioning into a new phase of their life. How very appropriate.

Initially quite hard when you scoop it out of the jar, the butter quickly softens on contact with warm skin and rubs in easily, without any lingering stickiness. It’s ethically produced, hand-blended and made from natural ingredients, so you don’t have to worry about unscrupulous business practices, or any hidden nasties on your skin.

The product information claims that it boosts skin elasticity and improves the appearance of stretch marks. While I can’t testify to its effect on stretch marks just yet (fingers crossed!), it certainly seems to eases the tightness that I have started to feel occasionally around my belly. Perhaps this is purely psychological; perhaps it’s more to do with the effects of massage, who knows. Either way, it feels good to me – and perhaps that translates into my sproglette feeling good, too. As expectant mums, we can but hope.

By Rowena Roberts, freelance writer and first-time mum-to-be

www.rowwrites.com

To sleep…. perchance to dream! Week 1!

16 Sep 2012 Articles of interest, General

  A bit of a personal post this week regarding my own family. Those that know and follow me will know I have 2 darling daughters, ages 5 years and 8 years, well at those ages one would tend to think that they went to sleep perfectly each night and that I never had any issues at all…….. WRONG, well until now that is!

My 8 year old tends to get herself rather excited by life and what has happened in the day and finds it hard to settle down and go to sleep. She has pretty much always been that way, not crying and running out of bed type but rather unable to switch off and dream and so would lie awake in bed for hours just awake.

Last year when moving to our new home my daughters opted to sharing a room with bunk beds, how is that related I hear you say? Well…. my youngest, who pretty much used to take herself to bed and fall asleep was now sharing with my eldest who couldn’t do that!!! (warning sirens) So began the nights of my eldest keeping awake my youngest and believe me when I say we have tried it all!! Charts, singing, stories, baths, warm drinks of every variety…. early bedtimes, punishments, praise etc and…. NOTHING! We were both becoming worn out and tired, and with my OH having a new job that demanded him to get home later, it was often that we only managed to sit and eat dinner at 9:30pm, after settling them. Close on a year after our moving and this going on for nearly 9 months it dawned on me!

I teach relaxation in my antenatal classes and I have seen how adults just drift off and take a moment to relax and when we are done, they seem more chilled and ready to be calm. So…. with some amazing music and some creativity I began!

Week one and it began with a basic principle of getting my girls to lie comfortably in bed, me making them aware of just how comfy and sleepy they feel, and then taking them on a reflection of the day that they have just had and within 20 minutes they were both asleep! I stand this week totally amazed at how easy it is and how relaxed and different I feel afterwards too. So why not give it a try? Here are some guidelines as to what I have done in week 1:

Find some music, preferably piano music (if you are interested I am in the process of laying down some child relaxations for sale) and start…..

‘Lie comfortably with your arms by your side and your feet and legs quietly next to each other…… and start with some deep breaths in……and out……… and in……and out… (you can do this a few times) As you breathe think back on your day….. think about school, playing with your friends, perhaps something that you have learnt…….. think on feelings that you felt in the day…happy….sad……angry….excited and think on the rest of your day….coming home…..(add in some specifics to your child here).

Now as you lie in your bed and begin to feel how comfortable it is….start by tensing up your face…..make it tight and tense before breathing out and relaxing until it is all soft and loose …….. and now move to your shoulders……pull them up hold them and then release………move onto your arms…..hands and fingers…..releasing and relaxing each time. …… start to realise how sleepy and relaxed you are feeling……. now move to your tummy….. down to your legs and to your toes…..letting go of anything that feels heavy…..and take some more breaths in….and out………in……..out…. just stay here all comfy for a while and think on how loved you are…. how mummy and daddy love you so much and how happy you make us…….think on how you need to sleep now before you start another exciting day….. now as you feel right now remember it as you slowly and quietly open your eyes ready to kiss mummy and go to sleep’

I then tuck them in, kiss them and sometimes they tell me how sleepy they feel before i turn the music a little softer and say goodnight.

Now remember I am NOT a trained therapist at all, this is just something that I have found works for me. If you have any serious concerns about sleep and your child then please consult a GP or specialist. I would however love to know if this has worked for  you as well as it has for me?

As I embark on week 2 I will let you know how it goes and will post another mini-script to aid you should you want to try it too.

All of the best and sweet dreams

xxx

Doula? A what?

14 Aug 2012 Articles of interest, General

Forgive me for my quietness blog wise, I have been rather busy with Better Birthing developments and having a much deserved holiday too.I am back in full swing now and hopefully this blog will be growing along with our plans for the business.  Here is the first of our new series:

I am often asked as a doula what I am and why or even how I am needed or can help a woman in labour. It’s a question that gets asked over and over in my antenatal classes and one I actually began thinking on myself. Just what do I do as a doula?

Now we all know the stats and research but just to keep it fresh in our minds:

A Doula is a Greek word meaning “woman who helps women”

Benefits of a doula include:

A worldwide study, involving more than 1500 women, found that mother’s who received Doula support were the ones with the shortest labours. Other benefits found in this study by Klaus et al. include:

  • Greater than 50% drop in caesarean births.
  • 30% reduction in the mother’s need for medication.
  • 60% reduction in epidural requests.
  • 40% reduction in forceps delivery
  • Better attachment and bonding between mother and baby.
  • Reduced need for medical intervention.
  • Reduced incidence of post partum depression.
  • Improved mother and baby well-being.
  • Positive feelings about labour and birth

Those are the findings of research gone and the evidence, however I started to look at the basics the true meaning of the root word ‘Doula’ and thus came up with this post.

The word stems from the ancient greek word ‘doulos’ which actually meant slave and was used as the lady of the house would turn to her head servant to help her during labour and birth. Since then the word has become synonymous with birth partner, labour support person and is pretty much known worldwide.

When I started out as a doula in the 90′s this was not so and often I had to explain to midwives, clients and others just what it was and what I did. At some point in almost all of the labours that I attended someone in staff would ask ‘just what are  you and how do you help?’ Now it is a more common term and most if not all of midwives and birth professionals know what a doula is, but just what do we do?

I began to look at my own practice and reflect on what I offer and what I do, so what follows is unique to me, remember each doula will have her own unique way of working, some will offer some things such as massage or aromatherapy and others wont, you need to remember this when booking a doula and find one that matches what you are looking for. Generally speaking a doula is not a medical person and although each will have various degrees of knowledge they should all have understanding of labour and how a woman’s body works during childbirth.

I like to walk alongside a couple and instead of prescribing what to do and what is best, I prefer to show couples all possible choices they may have and then allow them to make informed choices. Since I am also an antenatal teacher, my own clients get a mini-session with me explaining hormones of birth and some basics to do with breathing, positions and managing through contractions.  My own beliefs are that birth is natural and that each mother can give birth in the way she as meant to, she just needs to have the tools to discover her own special birth truth. While I love home births and waterbirths, I know that some mothers may not find home a comfortable and safe place as it all depends on circumstance and your background too. What I do stress more than anything is that it is your birth and it is as unique as you are and that it should be a wonderful event that is memorable.

Other services that I offer doula clients are a few visits antenatally and 24/7 telephonic support as well as 2 postnatal visits too. I do offer full postnatal services but that is a whole other post that I will write. I do assist couples with birth plans as we look at options and help with breastfeeding support too.

During the labour I am with the couple/mother from when she feels that she needs me, generally I usually end up encouraging, ensuring all physical needs are met and being there for the couple. As labour intensifies, more often than not I am found holding the mother’s hand or rubbing her back and just being with her as she needs me. I stay with the mother after the birth and get that all important skin to skin and breastfeeding going and make the mother comfortable, which usually involves making a cup of tea.

For me it is all about being there and just letting the mother know that someone she trusts and knows is there, of course the massaging and holding hands and speaking positive affirmations is part of this but I always feel the most important part is the being and the confidence that a mother gains just having a constant safe person there is amazing.

For more information on my services or to book please go to www.betterbirthing.org.uk or email claire@betterbirthing.org.uk

Support for Breastfeeding Mums – keepbritainbf#

21 Jun 2012 Articles of interest, General

This week’s Keep Britain Breast Feeding post is about support, who to go to, why it’s important and when to ask for support. Dont forget to enter the competition for the hunt at the bottom of this page. Leave a comment telling me where you find/found your support.

I did not want this week’s post to be a list of who to go to, where to find contact numbers, lets face it with the internet and Google, twitter and Facebook, we are all pretty able to find information out fairly easily.  What we don’t always know how to do is to ask for help and actually admit we need support from someone! We are strange like that, especially as women. We won’t say ‘Oh I need help badly, I am really finding this hard’. Instead we will keep quiet and battle on, keeping things inside of us all the time that we may be surrounded by people in the same situation and people who can and will help us…. if we ask! It may be something as trivial as ‘is my baby getting enough milk’ or ‘Why is my baby not taking both breasts, he did yesterday?’ What ever it may be you have help around you.

One of the main aims in my own antenatal sessions and when supporting a woman is to show her that she has the skills and ability to find this support and to recognise good support and the support that drives us mad, like the aunt going on about baby being hungry because he always has his hands in his mouth! Here is a little anagram  devised for mums to help them with support in those early days of breastfeeding:

S – Safe – is it a place/person you feel safe in or with. You may not feel that standing in the busy chemist is a ‘safe’ place for you to be describing your cracked nipples or concerns about your baby’s bowel movement. You are given so much advice when you are expecting and even more when your little one arrives, becareful who you listen to. Find a person that you consider ‘safe’ and trust and use them as a starting point and sounding board. You do NOT have to take all advice that you are given and it really helps to have someone who you know their background and can lean on them.

U – Use - Use your instinct and trust it! We often overlook the fact that we actually know what we need to do as we are so swayed by books, articles and advice from all around. Trust your instinct and listen to it,  more often than not you will know if something is right or needs outside help.

P – Person- Find a person just one, a breastfeeding buddy who you can buddy up with and call and compare notes so to speak.  Call each other, encourage each other and meet up often for tea and a good laugh or cry! There is truth in the saying ‘ a problem shared is a problem halved!’

P -Professional – There are tons of professionals that can help you out.  A good place to start would be your local La Leche League, most have meet ups and they are great for meeting other mums and reconnecting with the ‘real’ world. You can also find breastfeeding cafes and bumps and babies sessions in your area, the NCT run a few and they are really excellent for their support.  Of course you can talk to your GP, health visitor or a breastfeeding counselor in your area who can either help you or point you in the right direction.

O- Open- Be open and honest with yourself. It is normal to need a little help with breastfeeding in those early days and NOBODY is judging you at all.

R- Rest- Get some rest! Motherhood can and is tiresome and often when you are tired things appear as HUGE problems when in fact they are manageable, you just need to be rested and have a clear mind.

T – Talk – Talk talk talk talk! To your partner, friends, professionals and never feel that any issue is too small or too silly. It is all relevant and it is better to talk it out and work it out.

Thank you for reading and happy breastfeeding!

Dont forget to enter the #keepbritainbf hunt below and to visit some of the other wonderful blogs out there by leaving a comment telling me where you find/found your support.

For extra entries:

Go to the Better Birthing Facebook page and “like” and  ”share” the hunt with your Facebook friends.

Tweet the following: I’m taking part in the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger hunt via @betterbirthing #keepbritainbf

Leave a separate comment for each thing you have done.

Life Happens So Smile

Circus Queen

Mummy Constant

Edspire

Mummy is a gadget geek

Top Tips for Breastfeeding #Keep Britain Breastfeeding

13 Jun 2012 Articles of interest, General

For this weeks  Keep Britain Breastfeeding post, we asked April Hunter, a local La Leche League leader, doula and breastfeeding Mum to give her top tips for breastfeeding. Hope you enjoy reading this as much as we did. Scavenger hunt details are at the bottom of the post!

There are several things that are said about breastfeeding and the early days of having a baby that are sound familiar and true. Certain phrases are said so often that we subconsciously accept them as truth, and allow them to influence our early decisions and opinions and expectations about breastfeeding.

So much of our success at breastfeeding depends on the information we have, and the support system around us. It can help to renew the mind and shift certain thought patterns that may have crept in during our pregnancy as we’ve read books, surfed the internet, and spoken to other parents.

Breast is not “best”

Yes, you have just read that. You’re reading an article about breastfeeding and it says breast isn’t best? Isn’t that the mantra? Isn’t that the phrase that’s supposed to motivate a mother to breastfeed no matter how hard it gets? Remembering that it’s “best”?
Unfortunately, this slogan is one of those well intentioned phrases that has simply played right into the hands of the formula industry and has likely been responsible for many mothers throwing the towel in early on in their breastfeeding experience.

When you say something is “the best”, you elevate it, you put it on a platform, and you set it up as a goal to achieve, but usually the underlying connotation is that only the few can actually take hold of it and own it. The rest of the masses settle for what’s normal, and in terms of infant feeding, we end up with a situation where breastfeeding is seen as something super moms do, and bottle feeding is what the rest of us do. Bottle feeding is thought of as normal, breastfeeding is for the few elite who are lucky enough to be “able to”.  So when a new mother runs into problems, and hears “breast is best” she thinks “ok yeah, maybe…but I think I’m just going to have to admit that I’m not a supermom, I’m just normal”.

Instead of thinking that breastfeeding will give your baby “extra benefits” the reality is that formula feeding can put your baby at risk. So throw out the word “best” when it comes to feeding your baby. Breastfeeding is Normal. It may not be culturally normal in the UK yet, but it is the biologically normal way to continue the process of providing for and nurturing your baby. A woman’s body does a pretty amazing job growing a baby from a few cells into the gorgeous bundle in your arms, it’s not going to just pack it in now when it comes to feeding. Breast is not “best” it’s just normal!

Breastfeeding is not necessarily “harder” and bottle feeding is not necessarily “easier”

A new mother who has just given birth sits on the maternity ward. She is struggling to latch her baby on, and across from her, she see’s another new mother pull out a bottle and simply stick it her baby’s mouth, the baby seems to feed enthusiastically. For a split second the first mother can’t help but think “wow that looks so easy” as her baby slips off her breast, again.

Here is something to think about. The main food for babies the first year of life is meant to be breast milk, and if a mother is not breastfeeding, she is advised to give formula in this time period. So that means that for at least 12 months, mothers have to give their babies either breast milk or formula.

Breastfeeding can indeed get off to a tough start. It’s not always easy. However, once the early days have passed, and mother and baby have gotten the hang of it, many mothers find it’s easier than they had imagined. Even if it takes a mother up to 12 weeks to really feel confident feeding both at home and out and about, (many mothers get the hang of it much quicker), it means that she has 9 months ahead of her of ease. No bottles, no sterilizers, no big heavy baby bags full of milk to transport, much money saved, and of course, less risk of baby being ill, constipated, etc.

Now, if a mother decides to bottle feed, avoiding those first few weeks of learning how to breastfeed, she may have had a technically easier time in those first few weeks, but she still has ahead of her 9 months of bottles, sterilisers, having to calm a baby down who’s already had their bottle, and of course the higher probability of illnesses and infections.

So taking a look at the big picture of 12 months. Is bottle feeding really easier or breastfeeding harder? It’s a very relative generalization to say one way is “easier” or “harder”, and it helps to look at the big picture.

There are a lot of assumptions made about bottle feeding. It is often said that bottle fed babies sleep for longer*, are more settled, and less hungry. One of the best things a mother can do is right from the start realize that all babies are different.  There are formula fed babies who do not sleep well, and breastfed babies who will sleep all night long. Much of a baby’s behaviour is down to their personality, and not just how they are fed.

*Formula fed babies may sleep longer, but it is not as a result of being full and satisfied from their bottle, it’s a result of the fact that their little bodies have to work quite hard to digest formula, which results often in them being physically exhausted.

You really can “know” your baby is getting enough.

It has been said that successful breastfeeding requires 90% confidence, and only 10% skill. However you often hear this: “you just don’t know with breastfeeding” from an  inexperienced mother, or a mother who’s never breastfed. Bottle feeding mothers often get excited over the number of oz. or millilitres a baby managed to down in one go, measuring it as a mark of a baby taking enough food to grow and thrive. All mothers want their babies to thrives, and breastfeeding mothers cannot measure the milk going in, in the same way, and this may lead to feeling of uncertainty and anxiety over how much milk is actually getting to their baby.

There are several signs that a breastfed baby is getting enough. The first indication that the baby has fed well is when it passes it’s meconium, which is a black tar like poo. The colostrum, or “first milk” the mother feeds her baby is especially good at helping this pass through. Then parents can start to look forward to several wet and dirty nappies. As well as weighing the baby, if a baby has 3-4 dirty nappies a day in the first few weeks, of a mustard type colour with little seed like curds in them, they can be confident the baby is taking plenty of milk.

Breastfed babies feed often, and for varied lengths of time. It’s important to not try and breastfeed a baby in the same way you’d bottle feed a baby. Many parents worry that because their baby does not seem to be conforming to a bottle feeding like routine, that they are not getting enough milk. It’s helpful to read books like “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” in order to get a realistic expectation of what the first few weeks can be like, and to understand what’s normal when it comes to breastfeeding.

Thank you for reading. 

Please complete the following to enter the competition for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Grand Prize:

Leave a comment on this blog telling me your top tip for breastfeeding

Look at some of our other blog contributions and dont forget to enter on their sites too! You can register using the Keep Britain Breastfeeding link to the right at the top of the page.

My Mummies Pennies

My Gorgeous Boys

The Secret Life of Kate

Twinkle Mummy

The Lactavist

We are all aware of the nutritional and health benefits of breastfeeding but there is much more to it than that! The act of breastfeeding is much more than mere feeding, that is the tip of the iceberg, to better understand this I am going to start by looking at, what I consider to be, the most magical hormone we possess, OXYTOCIN!

Oxytocin is a hormone found in both men and women, it was discovered around 1906 by Sir Henry Dale and he named it oxytocin from the Greek words meaning ‘ quick’ and ‘childbirth labour’, which were some of the effects that this hormone had on women. Later he discovered that oxytocin was also involved in breastfeeding and promoted the expulsion of the milk. Since then, continuous research is being carried out around this miracle hormone and its effects on us. It has been named the hormone of love, calm and connectedness. Some of the effects of an increase of oxytocin are a drop in blood pressure, it promotes healing, increases circulation in the skin and the digestive system becomes more effective.

How then is all of this linked to breastfeeding I hear you ask?

When an infant breastfeeds a chain of events occurs:

  • the breast is stimulated by the infant sucking,
  • nerve impulses are sent to the brain
  • oxytocin production is increased

As this is a reflex action, when it occurs enough times a pathway is created in the mother, so that when she sees her baby, hears it or even just thinks about it she may get a tingling in her breast from the pressure of the milk. Therefore increased oxytocin equals increased milk flow!

Now that you have had a brief introduction to oxytocin let us look at the benefits of it when breastfeeding and how these are  reasons to breastfeed.

According to Kerstin Uvnäs Moberg (The Oxytocin Factor), there are 9 effects of oxytocin in breastfeeding:

  • controls the expulsion of milk
  • stimulates milk production
  • Redistributed heat in the mothers body to warm the infant
  • Increases the mother’s ability to extract nutrition
  • Reduced blood pressure and stress hormones in the mother
  • Creates calm in mother and baby
  • Makes the mother more interested in bonding
  • Induces social memory and calmness in the infant
 (taken from The Oxytocin Factor)

So increased breastfeeding, increases oxytocin and looking at the effects above, I would say therefore benefit all involved. Just looking at the last few points I found it fascinating that when nursing, a woman experiences a warming of her own body and her skin temperature can rise (or fall) around 2-3 degrees Celsius depending on the needs of her infant. We all know that infants need warm, care and protection to survive and this skin to skin contact when breastfeeding provides this, especially if an infant has been in high care and may need a little extra TLC.

Babies that experience this close skin to skin contact are generally, calmer, relaxed and tend to cry and fuss less. Breastfeeding is then vital to create a solid boding foundation for mother and baby and that all important attachment between them. Infants that experience this close attachment experience an emotional bond and are said to be more confident, able to cope with change, higher IQ, able to concentrate for longer and are generally more well rounded when growing up.

What better benefit for breastfeeding do you need, than a happy, healthy, content and calm baby and mum?

Thank you for reading. 

Please complete the following to enter the competition for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Grand Prize:

Leave a comment on this blog telling me one thing you love about breastfeeding or are looking forward to about  breastfeeding.

Look at some of our other blog contributions and dont forget to enter on their sites too! You can register using the Keep Britain Breastfeeding link to the right at the top of the page.

A new addition

My Thoughts on Things

Tea with Felicity

Smiling Like Sunshine

Fi Peacock’s Blog

For extra entries:

Go to the Better Birthing Facebook page and “like” and  ”share” the hunt with your Facebook friends.

Tweet the following: I’m taking part in the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger hunt via @betterbirthing #keepbritainbf

Leave a separate comment for each thing you have done.

Keeping Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt

5 Jun 2012 General

It has begun!

Those of you who don’t know, this month is the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt. You stand the chance of not only learning some awesome and amazing facts about breastfeeding, but there are also some wonderful prizes up for grabs too!

To enter you need to visit www.keepbritainbreastfeeding.co.uk and register then follow the blog posts over the next 4 weeks.  There are some excellent bloggers taking part and I just know that we will all learn valuable information from them and each other.

So what are you waiting for….? Lets get hunting and learning

Early Days Series – Part 2

29 May 2012 General

One of the many many questions that I get asked about time and time again in classes is how to bath baby and how often. Hopefully this blog will help you out a little with these and some other questions, please feel free to pop an email to me if you have any more questions on this or any pregnancy or early days topic.

First let me bust a myth! You do NOT need to bath your baby within moments of him being born! Yes, you may like to wipe his face with a towel but you have no need to bath him and ‘clean’ him up as the vernix left on his body is excellent for two reasons, one is it aids in keeping his body temperature warm and two, it smells familiar for baby, which is excellent as it enables baby in not feeling so distressed in this weird new world, giving him a familiar smell of a quiet cosy womb. Just cuddle your little one and keep her close with skin to skin in those first hours.

Once you get home with baby you will of course need to bath her, so lets look at what you may need in order to do so.

Equipment

Bath – this can be a stand alone baby bath or a built in one in the nursery. Check before hand that you can reach it comfortably and remember a bath filled with water can be really heavy to move to empty, so ensure you know how you will get the water out after if there is no drain.

Cotton Wool -  This is the best to use to clean baby, softer than a face cloth, buy in bulk and you can use this for nappy changes too

Shampoo – This is a personal choice but most will recommend just using warm water for the first weeks until baby’s skin has adapted to our harsh environment, but it is totally your choice if you wish to use shampoo.

Towel – A nice fluffy clean towel to dry baby and a toweling nappy to help if baby does not like the water you can swaddle her in this and place her into the water before taking it off slowly

Clean Nappy – Make sure you have 2 nappies ready for after the bath and any bum cream that you may chose to use too

Clean clothes – Keep these handy as you’ll need them after the bath

Step by Step

First get all you need for the bath ready, make sure it is all there with you as you wont be able to leave baby unattended in the bath or on a changing station! So prep and grab all you need beforehand, then get your water ready. The water needs to be warm and not too hot, the old way of testing this was with your elbow, however elbows tend to be quite touch so rather use your wrist and test the water temperature on the inner-side of your wrist. You can get some excellent bath thermometers these days with little duckies on them too. Fill first with cold water then add the hot to avoid scolding baby. Also check that the room temperature is not too hot, cold or that there are no cold breezes blowing through windows.

Then start by washing baby’s face, take some cotton wool and holding baby in your arms wipe each eye (using a separate piece of cotton wool for each eye) then wipe behind his ears and under his neck too.

Then start by undressing baby down to his nappy, you can wipe under the arms and legs – use this time to talk to your baby. Let him know you love him and make eye contact, excellent for forming those important parental bonds that baby needs.

Wrap baby up in the towel while holding baby gently you can wash his hair by holding him over the bath and using cupped hands just gently drip water over his head. If you chose to use shampoo, please  remember to wash it out properly.

The take off his nappy and you can place baby in the bath, holding him firmly so that he does not slip around and do NOT let go of him or leave him unattended. Allow baby to splash about and again talk to baby making the all important eye contact before taking him out and drying him properly.

Snuggle baby and dress him and if he wants, feed him too.

To top and tail baby you just wash baby’s face, take some cotton wool and holding baby in your arms wipe each eye (using a separate piece of cotton wool for each eye) then wipe behind his ears and under his neck too, then change his nappy and voila!

How often you wash baby is upto you, in summer some babies may be hot and enjoy a nice relaxing bath, but really they do not get that dirty when tiny. However, some babies prefer to be bathed as part of their bedtime routine. Remember parenting is based on choices that fit into your lifestyle and way of thinking!

For a detailed look at this, watch out for our YouTube Video giving a full demonstration of this process on our channel http://www.youtube.com/user/betterbirthing.

Early Days Series….Part 1

17 May 2012 General

Those first days with your new baby can be exciting, exhausting and daunting. Nothing can prepare you for those first weeks but what we can do is tell you that it gets easier.  Taking care of your new baby is a 24/7 role that in those first weeks can feel a little like you are no longer in control of your life, almost like when we start a new job or learn to drive.  Take heed and know that you are not alone and hopefully some of the advice here can help make things seem a little less hectic.

1. Organise what you can before baby is born

In this day and age we have such wonderful technology that we can schedule bills to be paid and do shopping online. Before baby is born, set up all payments for the next few months, even look at setting up online shopping, most grocery stores even have a favourites option so you can just add your basics there making it easier when you shop online.

If you have the space precook a few meals and freeze them, this will ensure that you have a good warm meal and with the minimum effort. If precooking is not your thing, then buy in a few ready meals and stock up on things like tea, coffee and sugar etc to minimize having to pop out to the shops!

2. Plan some time with your partner

Once baby arrives it will feel like a large part of your time is taken up by feeding, changing baby and resting. Take some time before hand to go out on a date night, some couples even book a weekend away just to be together before your family unit grows and your little bundle arrives. Never forget that the two of you are important and you need to have time together, once baby arrives it may be a little harder to go away for the weekend just to two of you but you can do simple things like planning a romantic meal at home or just snuggling watching a movie together. Keep it simple in the early days but cherish each other often.

3. Expectations

Communication is key and it is vital! Talk before hand about both your and your partners expectations as to who does what and when.  More often than not, arguments between couples are all based around perceptions and expectations. Never presume that because your partner goes out to work they are not having a bad day while you stay home with a crying baby. Just communicate with each other and keep it open and honest.

Perhaps have a look at what goes on in the house and work out which activities HAVE to be done, which CAN be done later and which SOMEONE ELSE can do. For example, cleaning the upholstery and curtains is NOT a life and death matter  so perhaps leaving it for a few weeks while you settle will be a better idea. Walking the dog however, needs to be done daily, so work out who will do it or perhaps look at a dog walker.

4. Visitors

After baby EVERYONE wants to visit to see the baby. Do NOT feel bad to turn people away. Remember that if you have had a bad night with baby and someone visits and wants to wake baby, it is you not them that has to ‘deal’ with baby when they go home. It  may be a good idea to look at taking the first week just the three of you and immediate family.  Like a ‘getting to know baby’ week, just being together and seeing how you all fit into the new family that you are.  Learn to set boundaries and just enjoy those early weeks.

While those first few weeks and days can be really challenging, above all else never forget to cherish your baby for the wonderful miracle that he/she is.

Next week we will be looking at routine and if it is a good idea to enforce it or not. In the meantime, if you have any comments or anything you would like to see included in our early days series, please email claire@betterbirthing.org.uk. All of our topics are covered in great depth during antenatal workshops, for more information on a one-on-one workshop or skype workshop please do not hesitate to contact us.

Early Days Parenting Series – Introduction

10 May 2012 General

In my classes we not only cover the labour but also cover the early days parenting and care for your precious newborn. I believe that this is as important to couples as how to cope in labour. To start this series of blog posts on early days parenting here is an A-Z of newborn care.

A –  Arms – Fresh from your warm safe womb your baby needs to be held close in your arms to assist her with the transition to this new world. Hold her close, you WON’T spoil her, quite the opposite actually.

B –Bathing – Get the bath fully ready before undressing baby. Get all the items you need first, it will be easier for you and baby. In the early days you don’t need to bath baby fully all the time a simple top and tail will do! If your baby sleeps well after a bath, why not make it part of the night time regime?

C- Crying – Baby communicates to you through cries, it is not something she is doing to annoy and frustrate you, it is all she knows. You will over time learn the different cries and how to act to each of them.

D – Dressing – Don’t overdress baby. The general rule is one more layer that what you are wearing, remember most times they have a blanket on too.

E – Eye and Ear care – Ears are self-cleaning so NEVER stick cotton buds into them! Eyes can be bathed daily using cotton wool and water, one piece per eye. It is normal for babies to have sticky eyes and sometimes a little breastmilk in the eye can help.

F – Fun – Enjoy your time with your baby. If you enjoy her, she too will enjoy you. Don’t stress about the small things.

G- Gums- Newborns are born without teeth and use their gums to feed when breastfeeding. Her teeth are already in the gums

H- Hunger – It is very normal for a newborn to feed every hour or so, however just as we are all different so will your baby be. Some will need to feed little and often others can go for longer periods but will feed for a long time too. You will cope much better if you take time in the first weeks to have your baby near to you for much of the time

I – Illness – If your baby has a high temperature or seems unwell in any way do not hesitate to take her to the GP or clinic. It is always better to be safe than sorry but also trust your instincts too as you get to know your baby.

J – Jaundice – About 50% of all babies become slightly jaundiced within a few days of birth. It is caused by an immature liver having trouble breaking down an overload of red blood cells and getting rid of excess bilirubin. Frequent breast feeding will help as well as allowing baby sometime in the sun.

K- Kisses – Give your baby lots and all over! It is a form of wonderful bonding at this special time in your lives.

L- Love – Feeling exhausted, uncomfortable and unsexy in the final weeks of your pregnancy is pretty normal and will more than likely be followed by similar feelings when baby is born.  It will pass! Give yourself time and love the new you and new family that you have

M-Milk- Mothers own milk is best for your baby as it is made by you for your baby, but don’t feel guilty if you chose to bottle feed. Know your choices, the risks and benefits and whatever your choice, both methods need practice, patience and perseverance.

N- Nappies – Disposable nappies may be appalling for the environment but they are a gift for mothers. However towelling nappies are making a comeback and you can now buy “green” nappies. Don’t stockpile more than a few packs as your little one can and will grow fast.

O – Outings – At first outings may seem overwhelming and daunting, you never know when baby will be hungry, irritable, sleep or enjoy the outing. Start off with short trips to a local shop and build up, before you know it you will realise you are managing.

P- Partners – Sometimes partners can feel left out, especially when they have to go back to work. Communication is key and vital. Why not give your partner a role such as bathing baby and while they are doing that, you go and make a cuppa and put your feet up.

Q – Quick meals – Not all of us can afford to stock our fridge with ready meals but perhaps an option is to cook a few meals of your own and freeze them for later or get used to eating simple meals. If friends ask you if there is anything you need ask for a meal.

R – Routine – Some mothers and babies operate better with routine and others without it. First get used to your baby, get to know her and then work and play with a simple and basic routine if you want.

S- Swaddling – Your baby will be used to the snug warmth of your womb, so try recreating this by swaddling baby. A basic video of this will be posted in due course but you start by positioning baby on top of a blanket then wrap the left shoulder and arm with the right corner of the blanket and then do the right shoulder and arm, cocoon style. Then fold up the bottom half and tuck in around your baby, before you know it you will be  used to doing this with your eyes closed.

T -Time to yourself – This will become your most treasured possession. Take it when you can and even take time for you and your partner as it is vital.

U – Uterus – Your uterus will continue to contract for the first while whenever you breastfeed your baby.

V – Visitors – As much as you want to show off your baby, after a few visitors have disrupted baby’s sleep and feeding you may want to limit them to a minimum. Particularly during the first few days after the birth, perhaps something for your partner to do. Don’t be shy to tell people you are resting or even take a ‘babymoon’ for a week and get to reconnect as a family.

W -Wet Nappies – Your little one should have around 8 – 10 of these per day

X – Xtras – You may find that no matter how precise you are, you may have forgotten something on your baby list. Some couples even forget to take the baby car seat to the hospital when coming home, use friends and family to pick up these things if needed.

Y – Yearnings – All of the books and advice in the world will not prepare you for motherhood. You may find after a few days you find yourself yearning to escape, crying and feeling quite blue, this is perfectly normal. Talk to a friend, cry if you have to and learn to enjoy your new life

Z –Zzzzz- You will have to adapt your sleeping pattern in the first weeks. Catch up in the day while baby is sleeping, don’t worry about housework just do what you need initially but focus on catching up sleep and getting used to your new role

During the next few weeks I will be covering early days parenting topics, if there is  anything you would like to see here please email your question to claire@betterbirthing.org.uk and we will attempt to cover a blog post with that information for you.

We are taking part in this during the month of June:

About

Ponderings of a Doula

Birth is the ultimate feeling for a woman, and it should be a special event shared by those who support and love you. It is the meeting of your miracle, and a time to celebrate the life you nurtured and carried within. This is a place where women can encourage women with their own personal birth stories, please come and share yours. Please note that this is not a forum to scare mums-to-be but rather to encourage them that birth is normal and natural and wonderful. You can also use it to bounce of any questions or worries you may have. Please note that while I am a qualified doula/birth companion and antenatal teacher, I am by no means a medical doctor all advice shared and given is done so as a support person and does NOT replace your doctor or midwife.

Who I am!

Ponderings of a Doula

I am a mother of 2 with a passion for birth and pregnancy, and a desire to empower women to make informed choices. I have been a qualified doula since 2007 and have studied lactation management as well as some perinatal education modules. I am currently studying a Diploma of Higher Education in Adult Education - Antenatal Education as well as teaching one-on-one antenatal classes. I also hold a BA in English and Communication. Some of the ramblings here will be my own others will be researched, but it all comes from the heart. Check out my website www.betterbirthing.org.uk

Subscribe

mumsnet

Twitter