2019 was my third year doing The Bump to Baby Chapter and it was a wild one. Wild like in this above photo wild, surviving the nights, managing 2 young children at home, writing blogs and scheduling emails at 2am with a baby on my boob, or walking around with her on my shoulder whilst teaching an antenatal session… you see, wild!!! The groups who I have taken Delphi to when she was just 6 weeks old and those who I was pregnant when teaching to those who were due the same time as me, will always be a memorable part of my life. You see TBTBC is a massive part of my life and sometimes this year, my mama life and my TBTBC life had to merge in more ways than I was use to.
Despite this or, maybe, because of this, it has been the best year yet. We’ve grown our community of new Mums and Dads, started new things and made some wonderful friends along the way.
So other than getting a newborn to sleep with a 3 year old in the house, here are some of the (less astounding) achievements of 2019.
1. How can I not start with welcoming baby Delphi into the world- my fourth and last baby. Her birth was amazing, like super amazing. Not because it was free from challenges but because I just felt so calm and in control of my choices throughout pregnancy and my birth. As well as a beautiful baby and a family that is now completed, I also got some incredible birth photos too thanks to Chui King Li. I’d recommend to anyone to take photos of your birth.
2. Speaking of new editions… we’ve welcomed 5 new midwives to the team this year to cover my maternity leave. That’s Mia, Bunty, Hannah, Sue and Oli who have been amazing this past year. I would not have.been able to keep a family of 4 children a float and TBTBC alive without you wonderful midwives keeping the ball rolling. And of course, Debbie, who is always keeping the plates behind the scenes spinning.
3. With new midwives comes new possibilities…. We’ve branched out to The Roastery in Quedgeley and Jacks Cirencester this year. Meaning that we are now spreading all our midwifey knowledge and helping parents further afield to get prepared for birth and their baby. This makes me want to do a little happy dance 💃🏼
4. Speaking of further afield… We have now launched an online course which means that women all over the world can feel better prepared for what to expect in labour and what to do to stack the odds in their favour to get a great birth. This course has been purchased across the globe (insane I know 😳) in Hong Kong, Australia and the USA. 🤯
5. The launch of the post natal courses. Some amazing things have come from these courses like the awareness created for PND from mother Laura. The amazing work of Helen who is a sleep wizard and Olivia, a cranial osteopath who helps a lot with baby’s that are struggling with the adaption to the outside world. Both Helen and Olivia have taught me and lots of mamas this year so much about babies. Like why they don’t sleep and reasons why they might’be colicky/Refluxey. I can’t wait to continue these courses into 2020.
6. Lastly is the blog, whilst it hasn’t been as active as I would have wanted- the blog is often the plate that comes crashing to the ground- it has had over 35,000 visits this year from readers across the globe. Educating mamas on pregnancy, birth and the newborn time was my goal when I started this little venture, and thanks to this little blog I’ve managed to reach more than I could have ever managed. We have also landed ourselves in the Top 10 UK Midwife Blogs too which is amazing.
I really couldn’t have survived this year without having such an incredible team – the midwives, Debbie and our lovely venue owners. Most importantly though, thank you to all those who have come to an antenatal class or hypnobirthing day with us. Thanks to those who have purchased an online course, who have wrote a blog for the site or came to a buggy walk. Thanks to those who have shared a post, commented or told a friend about us. You guys keep the cogs on turning over here as the community that you create is so uplifting, supportive and empowering 💥 👊🏼🙌🏼💥👊🏼🌟💥 so THANK YOU for supporting me so that I can keep on supporting you ❤️😘
Happy New Year to you all … now let’s have a drink 🥂
If you’re a pregnant mama and want to get involved in our Great Big Bump to Baby Chapter community then head over to the website for how.
Christmas time is a time for lots of family and friends to visit. Having a baby brings even more reasons for visitors as everyone wants to meet your new arrival, plus you want to show off the new tiny, beautiful human that you’ve created.
It’s one of those things though that looking back, Mums often say that they wish they took it slower or managed visitors a bit better. So here’s some of my top tips for managing visitors. I’ve put a Christmas spin on it as everything is better with a festive twist.
Be clear on times and who. Mary would have been sat there trying to get to know the baby she’s just birthed and in walked 3 Kings. Now I don’t know about you but in the presence of kings I would be worried about whether I would be leaking blood through my PJ bottoms or if my nipples were on show in front of a King. Both highly likely scenarios after having a baby. When you want to sit their with your boobs out trying to figure out breastfeeding, stay in your PJs all day with a disheveled mum bun or when you want to just have a nap when baby is sleeping, it’s good to know exactly who’s coming over, what time and when they’re leaving too.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask for things. Lots of people when planning their visit ask to see if you need anything. Rather than being polite and saying no and then ending up with Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh., ask for a certain size of baby clothes that you need, or ask for a lasagne if you’re struggling to find the time to cook. I bet Mary wished that she had an easy meal to cook for the next few weeks rather than some Frankincense to carry home on her donkey.
3. Let people do the things… You’ve just had a baby. You’re job is to enjoy your baby, get to know your baby, feed, cuddle your baby and rest up. This comes first over entertaining 3 wise men. It shouldn’t be up to you to be making the teas and baking the cakes. Get your friend and family to make the tea and more so, Mums and Mother In Laws are always happy to put the washing away or unload the dishwasher!
4. Make use of the visitors too. If your family is coming over for the morning and you know they’re going to want to cuddle the baby, don’t be afraid of using this time to take a shower, get yourself dressed or even take a nap. You can’t pour from an empty cup after all so looking after no. 1 is important.
5. If it all becomes a little overwhelming have a safe space in your house where you can go with your baby. You could always take the baby upstairs to feed so you can get a little time out or space. Having a baby is busy and over Christmas especially it can be that bit more hectic.
6. Don’t be afraid to say no. Even if your guests are Kings, Wise and are from afar. You and your baby are the most important beings at this moment and if you don’t want someone visiting or holding the baby, then it’s ok to say no!
Have a conversation with your other half before baby arrives to see if you’re on the same page when it comes to visitors. It’s one less thing to think about when baby gets here.
As I lie on the floor trying to write this, with my 7 month year old daughter crawling all over me, clawing at my note pad, shrieking in my ear and doing her best to be impossibly cute, I’m ashamed to admit to how I’ve felt before; especially when I now know that I’ve never loved anyone more.
What follows may read asbrutal, but I feel that for fathers their expectation is to be strong (especially when mum has been through so much with pregnancy, the birth and thentheweeks and months that follow). Thereality is that it isn’t easyfor eitherand there doesn’t seem to be much out there to help a dad in need.If my words can resonate with one dad in distress, thenI’lldeem it totally worthwhile to have laid my flaws bare for all to see.
Our daughter Vesper was born in the early hours ofFebruary 3rdat Gloucester hospital.Avery difficult pregnancy for Olivia was followed by a ‘holistic’ birth plan that went out the window, a 34 hour labour and pretty much all the drugs we could legally get our hands.However, all of the pain and tiredness quickly subsideswhen you have a beautiful baby girl in your arms.
The first few days were bliss. We were inundated withfamily & friendswhobroughtbabygrowsand champagne en mass at an approximate 1:1 ratio. We didn’t have a clue what we were doing, we were making it up as we went along and we were smashing it.As the days went by Ikept that appearance up, butthe reality wasthatI wasstarting to struggleandwasfeeling very underwhelmed about being a father.
My own mother told me that ‘there is nothing that can prepare you forthe love you will feel for yourchild’. I could see that Oliviawas indeed feeling this, but Iwasn’t. I was flat,at timesfeltambivalenttowards my daughter, was easily frustrated when I couldn’t sooth her anddidn’t feel any physicalbond with her whatsoever.
When we decided to begin our family,neither Olivia norI were particularly broodybut both knew that one day having a family would be important to us.Having been together for 9 years, married for 4 and with Oliviabeing35 at the time, we both felt that it was now or never. When Vesper finally arrived (this cuts me to even think about let alone admit tooin writing) I thoughtthat I had made a mistake. I felt like I hadn’t consideredit properlyand with it rapidly becoming clear how difficult parenting was going to be, thatI’d prematurely robbed myself of my freedom at the age of 30.
There were three thoughts that would keep me up at night (other than a crying baby):
1.How am I going to provide for my family, especially when I feel like I’m falling apart?
I am a property developer and the last time I got paid (orsold a house) was May 2017.Building houses is not conducive to making a fast buck. Throwa baby into the mix,living on a building site at home aswelland you’ve got all the ingredientsneeded for one stressed out dad.
2.For how long is Olivia going to expect me to be the bread winner?
For 8 months I’dbeen living offborrowed money andprior to having Vesper,Olivia was the only one actually bringing any money into the household bank account. Olivia and I are both self employed and before having Vesper,Olivia was adamant that she’d be backpart time after 4-6 weeksand that we would split childcare. I had no reason to doubt her ambition, but low and behold it became very clear that she wasn’t going togo back to work for a long time. This put a further unexpected pressure on things.
3.How am I supposed to bond with my daughter?
By all accounts at the time Vesperdidn’t need me.Olivia had all of the ‘tools’ and I seemed so bad atcalming Vesper, who could only be soothedby her mum.Asa dad, that really fucking hurts. Whenyour daughter screams as if she’s in painwhenin your arms, and thenyou can hear the sigh of reliefin her voice as she’s handed to her mum, it makes you feel really crap.
No 1& 2 could have been easily solved had Olivia not buried our heads in the sand about the money subject and been a bit more realistic about what was achievable.A bit more careful planning and some frank conversations before probably would have saved me a whole world of pain.
Number 3 however was going to prove a bit more difficult to crack.Iwastrying to finish the house I was building so that I could sell it, claw some money back, pay off debts, keep the mortgage payments going and give us a bit of wiggle room. I’d borrowed over £1m to build this house and so it didn’t feel like I could take my foot off the gas. It was tearing me apart. I was torn between that and being there to support Oliviawhile alsofinding time to bond with my daughter. It felt like an impossible situation.
It came to a climax after a particularly shit day on site. I always tried to come home earlier than Ihad before having Vesper to help Olivia, whichoccasionallyirkedme asI was underpressureto get the build finished.Olivia hadalso had a bad day and asked me to take Vesper for an hour so she could have a bath and relax, as was often the case when I got back from work.
Vesper was really fractious and I just could not calm her. I tried tiger in thetree;put heron her back, on my knee, between my legs, on her own, swaddle, cuddle, bouncing. You name it, I tried it. The more stressed I got, the more stressed she got and the whole thing just compounded itself. After 20minutesIlost my coolandscreamed ‘what do you fucking want!?’
I was immediately appalled with myself for screaming at a baby. Then my phone vibrated and it was a text from Olivia asking me to bring Vesper to her.She had heard everything.Olivia was crying in the bath and I felt like a monster.It was my lowest point as a father.
It was the culmination of a tough couple of weeks, and although Olivia and I had spoken quite a bit about the fact that I was clearly struggling, neither of us were able to make any sense of the situation, or what we could do about it. My mental health was not in a good place and I needed some help.
I’vestruggled with my mental healthbefore and so I’m very fortunate that I have noissuewhatsoever in confiding in others, and neither should anyone reading this. Mental health can be a killer if left untreated, so there is not a single good reason tonottalk to someone.
Ourmidwifewas dueoverfor one of her finalcheck-ins a few days later and I told her everything. She put me in touch with an amazing man called Mark Harris. Mark is a male midwife and he also runs a program for dads called ‘Birthing For Blokes’. I took the dog for a walk onCleeveHill just behind our house and spoke to Markon the phonefor over an hour. Speaking to Mark was the catalyst for putting things right. Not only was he able to impart some insightful knowledge, but he also pushed me in the direction of some ‘self help’ which ultimately hasgivenmeabeautiful relationship with my daughter. One I was afraid I might never achieve.
Someone reading this might resonate 100% with what I’ve said. Otherswon’t but might feel that things just aren’t right and being a Dad isn’t quite what they hadexpected. Whateverthe situation, below are a fewof my takeawaysfromlearning ‘on the job’for any dads in need:
1.You’renot alone.Part of the reason I felt so bad is that I was ashamed that I was the only Dad in the world who wasn’t bonding with their child. I felt like I was broken.I waspunishingmyself for my feelings, butMark reassured me that my situation was not unique in the slightest and that he spoke todads like me on adaily basis.Knowing this was the single most important fact that helped me becomea better dad.
2.The love you have for your childmighthave to be unearthed, worked forand polished like a rough diamond.
I had just assumed that I would love Vesper sodeeplyand unconditionallyfrom day one. This is what I had been told was the norm. I thoughtthat the sleepless nights, the crying,the burden it puts on your relationship with your partner, etc would alljust fade into insignificance.Imagine mydespairwhen I didn’t have the feeling of unconditional love that I had been promised.
What I can say with the benefit of hindsightisthat I now know that it’s the struggleand the fight to have a relationship with your child that makes the love that much sweeter.It’sthe struggle that makes the reward soworthwhile. Seeing your daughter smile, or hearing her giggle for the first time is so much sweeter when you’ve had to battle a few lows to get there.
3.Being stressed, stresses your baby!If Olivia had had Vesper for a whole day, I felt it my duty to take heras much as possible in the evening to give herbreak. Sadly I wasn’t able to separate the work stress or financial worries from home life, which would lead me to being ill equipped to look after a baby. I learned that it’s much better if I just say ‘Darling, I really don’t thinkI’min the right place to sooth a screaming baby right now’.
Olivia would sometimes take Vesper when it all got too much for me and Iwould sit with them bothand just be there for Olivia, which was actually a great help for her having spent all day alone.
4.It’s good to talk.The single best thing you can do is also the single hardest thing to do. We live in a generation where for some reason talking about the state of your mental health to a medical professional is so much harder than walking into a hospital and showing doctor a nasty cut, or having lumps and bumps examined. It’s especially bad for men!
I can’t tell you why that is, but what I can tell you 100% without exception that telling someone you’re having a shit time of things, will always help. Swallow you’re pride, tell your partner, tell a friend, see a councillor, tell that guy at work you’ve never said more than ‘alright’to. For God’ssake, just tell someone.
The issues I had were far more complicated and wide reaching than I could ever hope to explain in a single blog post, which is why I have simplified them for this piece of writing. My biggest concern was that for a long while I couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. It’s a journey and will require self learning, but hopefully something in this post will be the catalyst for someone in need to take that first step.
As with all good stories, this one had a happy ending. I finished buildingthehouse, renamed it and called it ‘Vespers’. The house then sold in 4 weeks. I have the most beautiful relationship with mydaughter who I love unconditionally. What I had always wanted. While being dad is still at times the most challenging thing I’ve ever done, I feel so well equipped to handle it now that my mental state of mind is in check. I’m now able to understand Vespers needs, know how to make her smile and how to sooth her when she cries. As we wean her off breast milk, it’s now my job to settle her to sleep every night as it’s much easier to do it without the smell and temptation ofOlivia’s milk. I look forward to bed timeeveryday as I get to sing to her, stare into her eyes and watch her drift off to sleep in my arms.
I know of other fathers who have experienced similar and allowed their frustrations to manifest as shouting at a baby. I also know that they have been too ashamed to talk to anyone, and their partners don’t want others to know about it either. It is not my place to approach them and to explain that I’ve had the same, and thatit’s behind me. I want this biggest lesson from this to be that dads (and mums for that matter) must feel that they can approach anyone and tell them all is not well without fear of persecution.
At the end of the day, no one would dare deny that parenting is the most challenging experience one can go through, but also without doubt the most rewarding when you come out the other side smelling of roses.
For any dads in need, feel free to drop me a line. It might be best thing you ever did.
I get many messages on which types of workouts are safe/not safe during pregnancy. I was going to do an instagram post on this topic but it would eventually disappear down my grid and be of no use to anyone. Plus, I have A LOT to say about it – 2200 characters wouldn’t cut it! ￼Therefore, I’ve written this article for you, about things to consider, when training during pregnancy.
To answer a very important and common question first:
Am I able to start strength training for the first time, whilst pregnant?
Often we are told not to take up a new sport, whilst pregnant but this is a bit of a myth. There is no reason why you shouldn’t take up strength training during pregnancy, I’ve had pregnant clients start with me, that have never stepped in a gym before. BUT (and it really is a huge BUT), my advice would be to go to a specialist PT, even if only to get you started. I recommend a specialist PT as not all PTs are qualified in pregnancy fitness and even some of those that are, the theory has been thin and it’s more of a tick in the box. Whether you are pregnant or not, if your PT is not talking to you about how you breathe during working out and vitally, if you are pregnant or postpartum, how to engage your TVA, then to put this bluntly, you need to find a new PT. That’s not to say your PT isn’t good but their strengths may lie elsewhere, just as I wouldn’t train an athlete or prep someone for a physique competition, as that’s not where may strengths lie. My strengths lie in pregnancy, postpartum and menopause support and I am passionate about helping all women throughout these various stages of our lives.
I digress. If you are pregnant, don’t just copy instagram or youtube videos, speak to a specialist that can write you a programme and explain the fundamentals to you. Most gyms will have a PT that will be able to get you started safely.
Ok, here are my TOP 5 areas for you to focus on, should you start or continue to strength train during pregnancy. NOTE: With the exception of the first one, Relaxin, you should be doing these anyway, regardless of whether you are pregnant or not.
Relaxin starts coursing through your body early on in pregnancy and while at the end of pregnancy, it is there to help prepare your joints, tendons and ligaments for birth, it may affect some women earlier or more intensely. Even if you feel strong and sturdy, you don’t really know what’s going on inside of you. Be kind to your body – don’t over do it. Lower your weights and increase your reps instead of trying to go heavier. The last thing you want to be doing is throwing your back out or worse, suffering fromSPD.
It’s imperative with training anyway but even more important during pregnancy, that you EXHALE (breathe out) on exertion, i.e. the hardest part of the exercise = the part of the exercise that goes against gravity. E.g. with squats, breathe out on your way up; with bicep curls, breathe out as you curl up and with deadlifts, breathe out as your drive up. Long breaths out through your mouth and deep inhale through your nose on the eccentric part of the movement. It is the opposite to normal breathing so pay attention and ensure that you’re doing it right.
TVA – LOCK IT IN!
Thetransverse abdominis (TVA) helps with the process of breathing, by assisting in exhalation and compressing the internal organs. However, its main function is to activate the core muscles and stabilise the pelvis and lower back, prior to any movement of the body. So, it’s pretty important! Therefore, on the exhale mentioned above, you want to ensure that your TVA is switched on when you’re exhaling too. This engages your core and pelvic floor and keeps them protected and strong. To lock in your TVA, squeeze below as if you are stopping yourself from weeing and pooing (sorry :)), then immediately after that, zip up from your pubic bone pulling your belly button into your spine. Your TVA is now on. Relax it as you inhale, switch it back on as you exhale.
Diastasic Recti (DR) is commonly referred to as ‘ab separation.’ Everyone will have DR during pregnancy. How much will differ from woman to woman. We are told that it should “go away” or “return back to normal” by the time we are 8 weeks postpartum but this really isn’t always the case.
The first thing that I want to say about DR is that I don’t believe that it is purely based on doing things right or wrong during pregnancy. I say that because I know super fit mums, with rock solid abs, that have adhered to all the advice to avoid DR and have still had it quite badly, even at 3 months postpartum (but have gone on to repair them). I’m not an expert on the effects on the anatomy during pregnancy but this is what I’ve witnessed for myself. I do think your body type plays a part in how much your abs separate during pregnancy. For example, I didn’t have much ab separation at all, even during pregnancy, because I have a super long torso. Add to that a wide hip canal and there is plenty of room for baby to grow and nest lengthways, without having to push out width ways. I am all body! In contrast, someone with a short torso is more likely to have ab separation as there isn’t much room for baby to spread out length ways so mama has to grow width ways. In this instance, you can do as much as you can to mitigate the negative impact of DR but you are still likely to get it. If you’ve already had a baby and already have diastasic recti, please do not panic. It is a vicious rumour that your abs should come back together completely. In fact, you may have had some separation before you were even pregnant. Contrary to what we are told, 1 to 2 cms of DR is actually ok to live with. What matters is a little thing called ‘tensegrity’ or ‘tension integrity’ – I promise I’m not making these words up.If the gap is firm, then that is actually fine. When you’re pregnant, it’s not just your abs that separate, it’s your organs, fascia and everything else swimming around inside of you. Therefore, it seems crazy that we should expect everything to go completely back to how it was pre-kids, doesn’t it? And the more children that you have, particularly close together, the more likely you are to suffer. If the gap is more than 2cms and/or loose to touch, i.e. your fingers sink in, then you’re more at risk of problems such as lower back and pelvic floor issues to more serious issues such as prolapse or hernias. If you have any concerns about DR, get in touch with a Women’s Health Physio. If you are local to Cheltenham,Louise Rahmanouis your lady and the top of her field. You couldn’t be in better hands.
So, what can we do to minimise the risk of DR?
Breathing correctly, as mentioned a lot already. Breathing correctly during exercise ensures that you don’t put any unnecessary pressure on your intra-abdominal wall.
When you wake up in the morning, roll on to your side and push yourself up to get up – don’t use your abs to sit up.
Avoid exercises that put unnecessary pressure on your intra-abdominal wall, such as planks, crunches, sit ups, double leg raises, hanging knee raises and high impact jumping, particularly jumps where both feet come off the floor and land at force at the same time. Jumps also put unnecessary pressure on your already compromised pelvic floor. Which brings me nicely on to…
I’ve left this to the end on purpose, even though you may feel it’s your biggest area of concern. The reason for this is because, if you follow all the guidelines above, you’ll have been taking care of your pelvic floor without even realising it. Woo hoo!
Breathing: the quality of your breathing mechanics doesn’t just affect your lungs. It travels past your lungs and down into your diaphragm. Therefore, it has the potential to improve your pelvic floor, bowel and bladder function.
TVA: lock it in and you are working your pelvic floor before you even start an exercise
DR: Minimal DR means less risk of pelvic floor issues
Regarding fitness, what I would add to the above is this:
PRIORITISE YOUR GLUTES!
Modern studies show that youcannot have a strong core or pelvic floor without strong glutes. FACT. Our glutes are set up to be idle, despite being our biggest muscle group, because we mostly sit on them all day and stretch the muscles. Therefore, work them! Activate them with bands as a priority and make hip thrusters your best friend. For inspo, check out these videos on myyoutube channel.
So, there you have it! My top tips for training throughout pregnancy! I hope you’ve found this useful. If you know anyone else that would benefit from reading this article, please use the share button to pop it on your facebook.
Please note, this article is written by Nicky Ryder from Fit Inside Out, based on experience, evidence and training from Burrell Education. There is no one size fits all when it comes to our anatomy and physiology. Some women continue to do marathons, crossfit, HIIT and other high impact exercise during pregnancy and do just fine. It’s unlikely that they are doing these things for the first time though and many of them will have professional support and guidance. If in doubt, follow my guidelines above and listen to your body.
This has got to be one of the biggest highs in life EVER!! Who else can remember those moments after their baby was born? You see this little being that you’ve made and grown for the first time.. you smell her little head, watch her screwed up little face trying to look beyond the swollen nose and eyebrows to work out if your baby looks like Mum or Dad.
The couple of hours after Delphi was born was amazing. We were left in the room in skin to skin, with dim lights just to get to know this brand new baby girl. It was a magical time all round as Rob got his hands on a coffee for the first time that night (it was about 5am!). The midwife threw in some toast too so it was pretty much perfect.
I’m under no illusion that it’s always this magical and always this early. After long births or ones that have had intervention, it can be really overwhelming and tiredness can become all consuming. But there will be a time, maybe a couple of hours later or a couple of days, if baby is in SCBU or if you’re feeling shattered where you can enjoy this time.
I did hypnobirthing with one couple who focussed more on this time than the birth itself. She thought to herself that no matter how Birth happened she wanted to do everything in her power to ensure that she got her “Baby Bubble”. She delayed weighing, wanted dim lights and uninterrupted skin to skin. It’s these moments that you could argue means so much more than the birth itself.
This Golden Hour has so many benefits such as helping with bonding, breastfeeding, helping your baby adapt to life in the big wide world. The rush of love can happen now or it can happen in the next few days, never beat yourself up if this doesn’t happen straight away as birth can be overwhelming.
Any pregnant Mums thought about this time and how you’d like it to be?
What was your first couple of hours like with your baby? Join the conversation here.
Whoever said breastfeeding was a walk in the park LIED!! Well at least for lots of women anyway.
That latch that midwives go on about sooooo much is so important because…
▪️ If the latch isn’t quite right your nipples can become sore and even cracked.
▫️ Your baby won’t be getting enough of a milk supply if the latch isn’t quite right which means that your baby may not be getting enough milk and this can also in turn reduce your supply.
Both the above can make breastfeeding VERY challenging.
Look at the way the mother in this photo is holding her baby. Just like we do when we grab a drink we tilt our head back- so the best way to hold your baby whilst feeding is by not holding the back of their head… Sounds like an alien concept though, right? Growing up we are encouraged to “hold the baby’s head!!!!” where as during breastfeeding this isn’t the case and supporting them by their shoulders and neck instead is a better way to encourage and support feeding.
We know how important feeding is to new parents and their babies, be that breast or bottle. So we’ve roped in Infant Feeding Specialist Midwife Sue to come and share her tips with you at antenatal class. You know lack of support is thought to be the biggest reasons why mothers choosing and wishing to breastfeed end up stopping, which is why we have your back ❤️ we think if you want to do it, it helps if your breastfeeding journey starts in pregnancy so it’s always included at antenatal.
Another tip for pregnant mothers is to head over to a breastfeeding support group in your area whilst you are on maternity leave before baby arrives. This is so that when you need to go there for breastfeeding support, you have already met some people there, you already know where you’re going and where to park. By doing this you’ll really be helping your sleep deprived & emotional future self.
Winner of 🌟The Best Pregnancy Support Service in Gloucestershire 2017🌟, The Bump to Baby Chapter has something for everyone.
🌟For expectant couple wanting to know all you need to know about labour, baby and those early days we have midwife led antenatal courses.
🌟For a second or third time mother wanting to birth without fear after a negative birth experience. There’s hypnobirthing one day classes for the busy Mum.
🌟Free blogs with tips on birth and baby for all
🌟Buggy walks in Cheltenham for new mothers to bring the sisterhood in motherhood.
So whatever stage of pregnancy and whatever number baby have a look at the page, website and get involved 🌟
Some days the let down reflux doesn’t play the game... and some days you just get a whole lot more than you asked for 😆 💦 👶🏼
It was 7am this morning, after a night shift. I usually feed Delphi overnight so my boobs were, needless to say, FULL. I had nothing more to do during my shift, no more “tasks” no more writing in the notes, everyone was happy and the night had gone well. I was chatting to this new Mum and her 1 day old baby started to cry, watching his little fingers move around and root around like a little bird looking to feed was just too cute 🥰 My head went immediately back to my little baby as I thought how this was her just a year ago looking so tiny in the clear hospital crib.
Meanwhile... low and behold... my right boob was also thinking the same as the let down reflex kicked in and I popped my hand up to feel, you guesssed it, a leaky boob. I folded my arms to cover it, said my goodbyes and went to the toilet to shove some tissue down my bra like my Year 7 ‘desperate to grow a pair’ self. 🍉
So the let down reflex ...
Def: When your boobs decide to release your milk.
🍉 Happens when oxytocin is high- think skin to skin, smelling your baby’s head, when your baby lets out a cry, when you see your baby rooting around for a feed.
🍉 It’s back to the old oxytocin vs adrenaline play off again, so if you’re feeling stressed or busy, your let down reflex can be slow or inhibited. For example, if your baby has been crying for a while and/or if your baby is struggling to latch on and you’re feeling the pressure. This can reduce your milk coming.
In my case, my boobs didn’t leak all night because I was busy. The minute I stopped, felt chilled and thought of my baby ... 🥛 💦
What you can take from this...
🥛 If you’re feeling stressed when feeding your baby then take 5 ⏰. It will be easier for everyone if you pass baby to Dad, go and make a brew then come back and start again.
💦 Anything that increases your oxytocin is good for milk supply. In the early hours/days with your baby it is soooo important that you have plenty of skin to skin with your baby. In the first 24 hours especially, it is more beneficial that your baby has done lots of skin to skin and you’ve been with your baby than how much colostrum your baby has actually had. Plenty of skin to skin in the early days will be great for your milk supply in the up and coming days.
🥛 Breast pads are a must. You may find that when you’re out and about with your baby in the weeks/months after baby then sometimes even the sound of someone else’s baby crying can start your let down reflex.
Anyone got any experiences to share about the let down reflex?
Breastfeeding as well as formula, bottle and combi feeding is something that we always cover at antenatal with our lactation expert and midwife, Sue.