Category: New mum

Mothering the month

New mumNewborn

My Scarlett squidge is five weeks old and we’ve navigated our first month as mummy and daughter together. The changes she’s gone through already are just awe inspiring and we’ve really been getting to know each other and how the both of us are going to work. Essentially that’s what motherhood is, for so long this little bundle has been nurtured within me and now I have the honour of learning what every little twitch, flail and grumble actually mean, as she desperately tries to help mummy get her shizzle togehter! So here are my top ten tips for surviving one of the hardest but most precious months of my life, and the only month this little miracle has ever known.

  1. No matter how well meaning people can be, there is inevitably going to be someone who says the wrong thing at the wrong time and the wrong place when you are literally at your lowest ebb, sore and aching after birth, despairing at lack of sleep with throbbing nipples that feel like they’re going to drop off, and a baby who you love so much but are struggling to understand. My advice…. you can either smile and nod, whilst your inner monologue is hurling expletives left right and centre, or instead be strong and do yourself a favour and remove yourself even if only temporarily, from these voices for you and your newborns sake … if they are worth it these people will totally understand, if they are not then they you don’t need them anyway. 
  2. There will be days when for absobobbinglutely no reason your gorgeous angel will turn into psycho demon and there is literally nothing you can do. It is ok to not be ok. It is ok to walk away for ten minutes shut the door and cry. Cry because you feel like a failure, cry because you can’t bear that you don’t know what to do, cry because life has suddenly turned upside down and it’s scary. Then wipe those tears and get back to being a mummy, because even though you’re crying you wouldn’t change a thing.
  3. If you are breastfeeder you will experience a new novelty, the older generation of man … most likely in his eighties, balding, incontinent with rotting teeth, will be irrevocably drawn to your alluring nipple as you sweaty faced, sick in hair try to feed your writhing child. If the older man is your thing then this could be your moment, if not stare them out, keep feeding but use the death stare … and as a sleep deprived mummy this one should be pretty powerful right now.
  4. Don’t even bother to put your little one in your favourite baby grow at the start of the day… like seriously… they know. It’s like newborns are programmed to soil, sick or snot on your beloved faves, so if there is a special occasion that you want your bonny babe looking stunning for, it is literally a whip it on two seconds before said occasion job.
  5. Buy snacks and have them stashed like a squirrel with it’s nuts around the house. You will be ravenous from feeding but will also have a little one hanging on to you like a baby monkey so you need to be prepped. Think easy tear packaging… I’m learning how to use my teeth to tear those packets open or unscrew bottle tops!
  6. Master that sway, that rock, or that swirl… this is your signature dance move for the rest of your life. You will find yourself doing it ALL the time even if little one is fast asleep on daddy in another room. I was in a queue doing the crazy Mumma rock when I was asked if I was trying to get past… just had to explain, that no, I was just in fact one of those mummy deranged creatures.
  7. If someone tells you they’re  tired, and they don’t have children… Calmly pick up your MUSLIN filled with sick, remove your feeding bib, put your screaming baby in the pram as they fart and you realise they have done an explosive poo and walk away. It is not worth it!
  8. People will now think that they have the ability to touch your baby or comment on the way they are behaving. What have I learnt… they don’t. Be polite if you can, snarl if you can’t.
  9. Your baby is always crying for a reason, you just need to figure it out and remember cuddles are always the best. I have never had so many cuddles in my life and every single one of them are so, so precious and special.
  10. Your mummy friends are your lifeline, they are the 3am whatsappers, the spare nappy lender, the shoulders to cry on… I’ve literally never felt so supported and it’s just fab. Then there’s your own mother … she can be your guardian angel, she’s been there before, she loves you and wants you to be ok, she will help you through those long nights, those screaming fits (yours and babba) and will never ever judge you for what you say when you’re tired and stressed. It is at this point you will realise that a mother’s love for her child is unconditional and this you one day will do exactly the same for this little one you sway, rock and bob in your arms right now.

And there you have it, the first month and it’s nailed. 

Lottie Keble- Wyatt a.k.a Just The Girl Fitness is bringing a new exercise class called BABIES AT THE BARRE to Cheltenham. She will be hosting a Barre exercise class for all mamas who have young babies. Cheltenham and Gloucester Sling library will also be there to provide you and support you with choosing a sling that suits you and your baby. The launch of these new classes is on 25th June at the Wholefood Market Cheltenham. For more info or to get your tickets visit here.

Ask A Midwife- Yes that exists

Ask A MidwifeNew mumNewbornPregnancy
In response to your ‘Ask A Midwife’ Qs we have put together a few of our favourite ‘Yes That Exists’ myth busters…

Baby brain.. You’re swearing at your husband for drinking all the milk (see below ‘hate your husband’) he swears blindly he hasn’t drank it all. Then you find it in the cupboard where you left it after making yourself a bedtime brew. My baby is now over one and I still find myself asking silly questions and saying daft things like, “Does Ireland have beaches?” Your mind is so full of important things like keeping a human alive that Geography, kitchen orientation and other unimportant information just falls straight out.

Night sweats… Around night 2 after having baby, I woke up thinking I’d peed the bed my mattress was so wet. However the smell of BO was unquestionable. Change in hormones around day 3 are responsible for this (and many other things nb… see ‘hate your husband’)

After pains… These are the feelings you get after baby is born and your uterus is contracting down to its pre-pregnancy size. can get painful the more children you have but they are normal. Just stock up on your Paracetamol and Ibuporfen, especially while breastfeeding as this can trigger them.

Under rib pain… During my pregnancy, especially during my third trimester I would always get this same pain underneath my rib. I also hear lots of other expectant mamas talking about it too. It gets worse in the evening and the only way to relieve it is by stretching out on the floor. It’s annoying but not serious.

Breastfeeding can hurt… Breastfeeding isn’t suppose to hurt? Who else calls B@*$@*??? Your nipples are a very sensitive area and unless you are use to something attaching onto your nipples at least 8 times a day then of course you are going to have some level of discomfort. Pain can sometimes be a sign of poor attachment (and other complications) so always ask a midwife or feeding consultant to watch your feed. Otherwise time and plenty of Lansinoh will be your healer. It does get easier!

You may hate your husband.. Showers on his own, toilets on his own, gets a hot cup of coffee to drink on his lunch break (whats that again?) at work. Although your hormones may be telling you to throw the towel (or kettle) in/at him, guys also need encouragement and support in their new roles after having a baby as it’s a major life change. Although they may show their struggles in different ways, it can be apparent nonetheless. Make time for yourself as a couple, even if it is something as small as eating dinner together or popping out for a coffee or walk together whilst baby sleeps in the pushchair.  And just like breastfeeding, time and plenty of lansinoh will be your healer. It does get easier!

If you have a question that you want answering or a childbirth rumour you want to know if true or not then you can ask us here… Ask a Midwife. All posts will be anonymous and we will answer your questions in a similar format as above so follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to keep an eye out for your answer.

A book love…

New mumNewborn

I have always loved reading – being able to escape life to my own imagination for a few hours. Lets face it, nothing beats curling up with a cup of tea and a good book, especially in this wintery weather or as a child embarking on any adventure you could imagine through the black shapes on a white page. Preferably with plenty of blankets and an open fire, if possible.

It didn’t take me long to realise that this love was something I felt was important to pass on to my son, Llewellyn. Here are 5 ways you can ignite a love of reading in your child.

 

  1. Create a Reading area, nook or corner.

As soon as I knew I was pregnant, I started creating an area in Llewellyn’s nursery where we could easily ‘cwtch’ up with a story before bed. For me it was probably the most important part of his nursery. I wanted to make a reading nook that was book themed to make it slightly set apart from the rest of the nursery and hopefully make the whole reading and stories tradition more fun and interesting for my son. And cosy, cosy, cosy.

 

  1. Read bedtime stories to your children.

I started to read to Llewellyn from pretty well the moment he was born. To begin with, it wasn’t a set routine, but either during a feed or at whatever part of the night I felt was ‘bedtime’. I realised we were going to need a lot more books when I could mostly recite The Gruffalo by the time Llewellyn was 6 weeks old. Now I start reading a book at bedtime while I am getting him into his pyjamas as it tends to keep him, more or less in one place.

 

  1. Make the stories fun and interactive for young children.

Stories are fun especially when you’re a child, they’re full of make believe and impossibilities to the adult mind, therefore reading shouldn’t be a chore or a struggle. I try to make the stories as fun as possible for Llewellyn. I’m not particularly good at making books interactive, all my voices get mixed up and pointing stuff out makes me feel patronising (it isn’t of course) so I struggle.  Flap books I can do. I generally let Llewellyn choose the book but, if he is playing about at bedtime then, I will pick one out and face it towards him so that he can look at the pictures as well when he wants. If he is sat on my knee and turning the pages, I read whatever page we are on, it must sound very odd to anyone listening but Llewellyn is happy with it and I don’t want tired tears over a page.

 

  1. Have books easily accessible to your child.

We have books everywhere, in baskets on the floor in Llewellyn’s room, in his going out rucksack, in another basket in the living room, on the dining room table, bath books. Llewellyn is definitely growing up with books and whether they are his own that he picks up and lifts the flaps or ours that he pulls out of the bookshelves, he spends a good deal of his day playing with books.

In December, we went to the Nutcracker on Ice at Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland and Llewellyn loved it for about 40 minutes and was interested in everything that was going on in front of him, jumping about, clapping with the audience and laughing. But then he got bored, (as all children are prone to do) so, I had a rummage in his rucksack and brought out a drink, a snack as it was nearly lunch time and some toys…. this kept him amused for all of 5 minutes. I then produced 2 tiny Fisher Price board books that are about colours, shapes, sounds or numbers. They’re very colourful and I can definitely recommend sticking them in any changing bag for distraction. He was glued to them for the rest of the show, opening them up flipping the pages, turning them upside down… maybe he just likes cardboard and it has nothing to do with it being a book.

There have been a few nights when Llewellyn has woken up and wanted to play, I’m not really up for this, I like my sleep and like most mothers it has become rather sacred. However, I will read a book with him, preferably a flap book so he mostly does it himself and is exhausted within 20 minutes if not sooner. Books are definitely my go to parenting ‘tool’ for most occasions. Perhaps because we began reading him stories from the beginning they work for us. We also don’t have a lot of TV in our home.

 

  1. Find books that interest your child.

I believe there are books everyone can enjoy. I know plenty of ‘non-booky’ people who barely ever pick up a book but they do if they watch the first Harry Potter, Hunger Games or Lord of the Rings and want to know what happens next (back in the day a bit, I know). The books we ‘learn to read’ through are never particularly interesting in my experience and I think it is important to find books that are interesting to your child, whether it’s flaps and different textures, books with more pictures so that pages of words are not so daunting, books about sport, animals, history, playing outdoors and adventures, how to build ‘X’, how ‘Y’ works or films (behind the scenes or the next in the series).

 

It’s a matter of finding the right book and style of writing for your child.

 

 

Alice  – 20 something mum to Llewellyn, military wife to Tom, dog-mum to Zoubi and homemaker.

She has recently launched her business Storytale Decor. The idea was born during the creation of Llewellyn’s nursery when she couldn’t find exactly what she wanted and set about making it for herself.

Avid reader (of course), lover of pilates and the great outdoors.

Personal IG: @aliceefskinner

Business IG: @storytaledecor

Etsy Shop: www.esty.co.uk/shop/StorytaleDecor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StorytaleDecor/

 

Teddy’s Birth Story: A Dads edit

Birth StoriesDadsNew mumNewbornPregnancyThe Great British Birth Off

I returned home from work and the flat was in chaos. After spending the previous night in hospital following a false start to labour, my wife Rosie’s nesting instincts had well and truly kicked in.

 

Stressing about how underprepared we were for our impending arrival, she’d left piles of personal items in every room that needed washing, ironing or putting away. Despite being told by the midwife that it would almost certainly be another 10 days or so before our contractions would start in earnest, Rosie wasn’t convinced.

 

To allay her fears (and leaving the boring jobs for later), we lay on our bed researching TENS machines online and downloaded a free contraction tracker App on my phone. It was 8pm.

 

While testing the App out for the first time, Rosie suddenly clutched her bump and let out a quiet moan. The pain intensified for around 30 seconds before subsiding.

 

Don’t worry, I’m sure it’s just Braxton Hicks” I said confidently, given the midwife’s recent prediction.

 

But six minutes later, she had another cramping pain in her belly. Like clockwork, the pain grew progressively stronger for another 30 seconds before easing off.

 

It can’t be real labour,” I said hopefully. “It’s way too early!

 

But sure enough, six minutes later, it happened again. Nine minutes. Seven minutes. 10 minutes. Six minutes. Six minutes. Six minutes. Each separated by a consistent contraction of sixty seconds.

 

Still think it’s Braxton Hicks?” Rosie asked…

 

At this point we called the Birth Centre, who confirmed that the baby was definitely on its way.

 

But then they gave us the bad news. Since we were only 36 weeks pregnant, we wouldn’t be allowed to have our baby in the midwife run Birth Centre as we’d planned. The baby was officially premature so we would have to give birth on the labour ward instead. Rosie was visibly upset but she didn’t have time to wallow as another, more intense contraction took hold.

 

Once the contractions are three minutes apart and have been like that for an hour, then you should come in,” the midwife said calmly before signing off.

 

For the next two hours Rosie ensconced herself in our bedroom, with the windows open and the lights off, as the sun slowly retreated behind the horizon.

 

In complete darkness, she breathed her way through every contraction while (out loud) I counted down from 100 (a distraction technique our antenatal instructor had recommended) and massaged her lower back.

 

In between contractions I sprinted back and forth from the kitchen, preparing some fish cakes and boiled courgettes for supper. If we really were in labour, she would need some sustenance to keep her energy levels up.

 

I even managed to slowly but surely finish all the jobs she’d left for me to do, while dutifully rushing back to the bedroom at the start of every contraction to start the timer App, count down from 100 and massage her aching back.

 

At midnight, we called the midwife again. The contractions were more powerful than ever and had been consistently three minutes apart for about forty minutes. Kneeling on the bed with her head buried in a stack of eight pillows, Rosie could hardly speak when the midwife asked to talk to her.

 

It’s time to come in…right away,” we were told.

 

This was it. Action stations…

 

I ran to the nursery to pick up our hospital bags and car seat, before hurriedly loading them into the car. As I rushed back in, I found Rosie at the kitchen sink washing up the dishes from our supper. I couldn’t help but laugh…even in the midst of labour, she refused to let her domestic standards slip. She grabbed the kitchen worktop and breathed her way through another intense contraction.

 

After what seemed like an eternity, we finally made it to the labour ward. Between contractions, the midwife did a quick examination and confirmed that Rosie was already 5cm dilated, before adding that the baby would be with us by the morning. This baby wasn’t hanging around…

 

So Rosie was quickly wheeled off to a surprisingly large and dimly lit room, with a new midwife ready and waiting to take us over the finishing line. It was 1am at this point and we were told that the next cervix examination would be scheduled for 5am…a lifetime away.

 

 

Because we were around five days short of the pivotal 37-week mark, two monitors were strapped onto Rosie’s bump, and the room immediately filled with the sound of our baby’s heartbeat. The atmosphere was intense and the room was baking.

 

With every contraction I continued our ritual of counting down out loud, while massaging her back. I could see on the monitor an erratic graph, which tracked the progress of every contraction. So I used this to let her know when each surge had reached its peak. All the while, she breathed heavily on the gas and air (her new best friend) as I rushed back and forth to the water fountain to keep her fluids topped up.

 

Given how little sleep she’d had over the past two days, I soon started to stress about her energy levels. So, I encouraged her to try and eat some of the snack bars and sweets that we’d brought in our hospital bag. But all she could manage were two Jelly Babies…

 

Luckily we’d also bought some energy gel sachets (popular with long distance runners), which she did manage to suck on between contractions. I just hoped for her sake that this birth wasn’t going to turn into a marathon itself.

 

At 3am, during a particularly powerful surge, I felt a gush of liquid against my leg as Rosie’s waters finally broke. We convinced the midwife to examine her again and helped Rosie onto the bed, at which point she whispered…

 

I think I’m gonna be sick.

 

We managed to grab a cardboard sick bowl just in time as she projectile vomited twice, filling the entire container. Unfortunately, we weren’t quick enough at finding a second bowl though, as she threw up again, this time on the edge of the bed, the floor and my shoes. By this point of labour, and already covered in various fluids, I was beyond caring. I covered the wet patch on the bed with a hospital incontinence sheet and wiped her chin with my handkerchief.

 

The midwife donned her surgical gloves to investigate the state of Rosie’s cervix. 6cm dilated.

 

I could see the disappointment on Rosie’s face but we reassured her that an extra centimetre of dilation and the breaking of her waters were two massive positive developments in the space of just two hours. So, she stood back up, leaned against the bed and resumed the cycle of contractions.

 

Before long, I started to notice a subtle change in her behaviour. She began hopping from one foot to the other to manage the pain. Meanwhile, she began making long guttural mooing sounds during each surge; a sign (I’d read) that we were nearing the pivotal transition period of labour.

 

It was at this stage that she started doubting herself. Repeatedly she asked for an epidural. We thought this might happen. So, as we’d agreed before the birth, it was my job to remind her of all the reasons why she didn’t want one.

 

You see, an epidural can massively slow down labour. Plus, it increases the chances that you will need either forceps, a ventouse or even a Caesarian to get the baby out – all things I knew for certain she wanted to avoid.

 

I reassured her that she was doing an incredible job. That she was being so brave. That she had already progressed so far. And that, with her waters broken and her contractions getting closer together, everything seemed to be speeding up.

 

I knew should could do it naturally. And she knew it too.

 

Sure enough, at 4am, within an hour of her last cervical examination she began to feel the overwhelming need to push. The midwife couldn’t believe it and questioned whether the baby might have rotated into the wrong position.

 

Again, we convinced her to check how dilated Rosie was. So the midwife donned a clean pair of gloves and disappeared down below.

 

When she re-emerged, the look on her face was a picture. “10 centimetres,” she said. “This baby’s ready to be born.

 

She couldn’t believe it. We couldn’t believe it. It was all happening so fast. Rosie had gone into labour only eight hours earlier and now we were about to come face to face with our new son or daughter. Incredible, and with just two paracetamol and gas & air to get her through.

 

With each contraction, our midwife coached her through the process and gradually the baby edged closer and closer towards its escape hatch.

 

I’d sworn to myself that I would stay up at Rosie’s shoulder throughout the birth and never look down at ‘the business end’ of proceedings. But like a moth to a flame, I couldn’t help myself. I was transfixed as I saw a mat of black hair start to emerge as the baby crowned. It was the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen.

 

You’re amazing! Keep going! You can do it! You are incredible!” I repeated, in a state of total awe for my wife and the wonder of childbirth.

 

After the head was born, the midwife instructed Rosie to pant, with short, sharp breaths. She followed her advice to the letter and in no time at all, our little one shot out and we were presented with our new baby boy.

 

Covered in a waxy white substance, his head slightly cone shaped after squeezing so quickly through the birth canal, we couldn’t believe it. He was utterly perfect; a healthy, happy seven pounds.

 

“Do you have a name?” the midwife asked.

 

“Teddy,” she said…

 

I couldn’t take my eyes off him…I still can’t.

 

Giles is a first time dad and creator of London dad blog YOU THE DADDY , giving the guy’s perspective on pregnancy, babies and parenthood. You can also check him out on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest!

Little Dot’s Six Steps to Baby Shower Success

New mumPregnancy

Baby showers have taken off in the UK like beard trimmers in a barber’s shop. With this increase in parties, there is a shift in the size, style and type of baby shower bashes that people are throwing.

 

Welcoming a new life into the world is about as big an event as you can get. So a baby shower is a great way to high-five the end of the journey for mum’s-to-be with friends and family. Not to mention some well-deserved recognition for carrying her little lodger/s for almost a year.

 

If you are looking to nail a baby shower, here is Little Dot’s six steps to success!

 

  1. Get the party started! Begin the baby shower with an impressive baby shower invitation that will get everyone excited about this fab event. Pick a stylish theme that you can carry through the whole party and if you really get it right, the mum-to-be can continue with it after the baby is born.
  2. Budget! Sorry to say the b word! If you’ve offered to take up the mantel of organising a baby shower you might want to decide if you think you can manage it by yourself, or if there are friends who can help. Do you want invitations, buntings, banners,  balloons, cakes, table centres and favours for guests…? All this needs to be totted up into your BSB (baby shower budget).
  3. The Place to Party! Where you choose to host the baby shower can really help with the flow and the fun, as well as alleviating some of the pressure off the hosts and the mum-to-be. I recently wrote a blog about afternoon tea for a baby shower and I highly recommend it. Maybe you would prefer a cool cafe, a trendy restaurant, but ideally not the mum-to-be’s house. We want her to chill and enjoy her baby shower, without worrying about cleaning and tidying before and after the party.
  4. Style it! If you want to score points for your sophistication and style, continue the chosen theme into the decorations. Little Dot Baby Shower does stunning, matching baby grow buntings and large banners. Mix this with some coordinating confetti, balloons and pinwheel decorations and you have a perfect party to blow away your mum-to-be’s expectations.
  5. Things that make you go Mmmmm! Want mouth watering cakes and a choice of hot drinks? Perhaps some sparkle for the guests who like a bit of fizz? Then afternoon tea maybe your perfect party pick. If you are hosting a house party, acheeseboard and nibbles can make the ideal menu (although bear a thought for any gluten free guests). Your baby shower bunch can pick at as little or as much as they want. Refreshing pregnatinis (alcohol free cocktails for baby bellies) are also a great shout and you can always add a bit of something harder for those who enjoy a tipple! I am a firm believer in alcohol at baby showers. It’s not the kind of event where your guests will let themselves totally go and swing from the light fixtures, so it can help to take off the edge for those who are unacquainted.
  6. Get Your Game Face On! Ditch the Price is Right (suitable only for frugal old ladies) and head for some fun with Guess the Baby, where guests secretly bring in a baby pic of themselves and everyone has to guess who’s who. Top of the Baby Charts working in teams to guess as many songs as you can with the word baby in the title. Play-Doh Baby, where your party are each given a ball of Play-Doh and have to mould a baby. Prizes for best/worst/funniest. Don’t Show us Your Teeth, a word association game where guests take it in turns to say something associated with baby, whilst totally covering their teeth with their lips. If you show your teeth, you’re out!

 

Have a good crack at all of these and you can give yourself a huge foam-hand pat on the back for a perfect party mix. The guests may not say you’re Wonder Woman, but has anyone ever seen the two of you in the same room…? Exactly!

 

 

Beth from Little Dot Baby Shower knows first hand that having a baby is a huge moment in life and an extra special cause for celebration. She is mother of her own not-so little dots Teddy and Isabella. Beth does lots for the charity Kicks Count by selling charity sweaters for the mamas who are in need of more sleep. You can visit her website or follow her on…

Facebook @littledotbabyshower

Instagram @littledotbabyshower

Twitter @littledot_baby

The Birth of Oatcake

Birth StoriesNew mumNewbornPregnancyThe Great British Birth Off

I wrote my birth story down for my own blog ‘Oatcake Adventures’ a few weeks after our little Oatcake arrived, with my ‘mama hat’ on. When Beth asked me to put together a little something for The Bump to Baby Chapter, I thought it would be appropriate to revisit some of my pregnancy and birth with the ‘midwife hat’ on! Though to be honest, only 2 months after giving birth to the little man, it’s likely to be impossible to separate myself from something so innately personal, but I’ll give it a go..

Despite having helped many women to birth their babies, hypnobirthing remained somewhat of a mystery to me until I fell pregnant myself. I had supported just one mother who had used it, and if I’m honest, her MP3s filling the room about her vagina opening like a rose bud in bloom, made me chuckle a little inside.. but hey, a first time mama- birthed her baby like an ABSOLUTE boss, with no drugs, so there’s got to be something right about it! So, when a friend of mine, who teaches hypnobirthing, approached me about teaching us when I fell pregnant, I was initially pretty skeptical. I definitely knew I wanted as few interventions as possible, and was pretty set on having a home birth and I knew that a lot of research pointed towards hypnobirthing as a way to help achieve this. So we decided we would give it a go!

There are so many misconceptions about hypnobirthing, and I was party to pretty much all of them- which is pretty awful for a midwife I know, but I’m on a mission to spread the word so watch this birthing space! You can hypnobirth and have all the pain relief options in the world if you want! You can hypnobirth through a planned or emergency c section. Just as you can hypnobirth your way through a water birth in your living room. You can hypnobirth and be CEO of a global corporation, you can hypnobirth and be a vegan who only wears handwoven clothes. It doesn’t discriminate about who you are or how your little one makes his way into the world, but it totally alters the way you perceive it. FYI I totally hypnobirth my way through life now, so you probably don’t even need to be pregnant.. just saying.

For weeks we had old sheets on the bed, waterproof mattress protector at the ready, we had collected piles and piles of old towels from family and friends and had lavender scented candles dotted around the house, all in preparation for my dream Hypno-Homebirth.  But after three days of reduced movements, we opted for an induction, in hospital, on the consultant led ward- almost as far away from the original ‘plan’ as we could get. Now this was probably part my midwifery training and part my hypnobirthing mind- meant that we felt confident to make decisions at a time and in a way that was right for us. Baby’s movements are a really important indicator that they are safe and well, so its super important to notice if things change. Oatcake had had a few episodes of going pretty quiet in my pregnancy already, so on the Tuesday night we were offered an induction. We did some research, asked lots of questions and weighed up the benefits, risks, alternatives, listened to our instincts and decided to turn down the option of induction at this stage, i.e. Do nothing. In hypnobirthing this is called using your BRAIN. A method I now use when making every decision in my life now, from picking baby wipes in Waitrose (it’s my local supermarket, I’m not a supermarket snob I swear.. but they do sell fresh sushi so…) to putting an offer in on our new house (!!), so ultimately it’s an investment in your mind not just your birth!! Another 36 hours passed, we had a scan and some monitoring, and the induction was offered again. This time, after the same process of decision making, we opted for the induction.

We took some time, headed home for a few hours to sort out the house, and our heads (!), read as much research as we could on inductions for reduced movement and returned that evening confident we’d made the right choice to be induced. After further monitoring  that night, I was induced at 11am the following morning.. and it all kicked off.

The TENS machine was an absolute delight, I might just put it on again now for a laugh I liked it so much, I would totally recommend getting your hands on one if your preparing to pop out a small human any time soon. Probably even if your not. Gas and air, also went down a treat, though temporarily made Leon’s reading hypnobirthing scripts the most hilarious thing in the world.. I just remember thinking- ‘does he know how much of a nob he sounds?’ and crying with laughter in my head, but hey! However you get your oxytocin hits is fine by baby! Needless to say, after another hour, the scripts were much welcomed once again! Incidentally I should point out here, I studied KG hypnobirthing and there was categorically no mention of the aforementioned blooming rosebud vagina. Strictly relaxing and chat about trees and butterflies. Which was great. Because I still just find the thought of the Rose thing hilarious.

10 hours later, 40 minutes of pushing (which by the way is way easier than just contracting), baby Oatcake arrived in my arms. Circumstantially, (being induced, in hospital, strapped to a monitor and laying on a bed) the birth was absolutely nothing that I had hoped for, but as an experience, for my mind, my body and my now my memory, it was all I ever wanted and more. I felt in control, I felt supported, I made my own decisions and totally rocked it! I’m convinced the sheer determination to make it great, made it so. It’s completely changed me as a mother, a midwife and a human. And now I’m on a mission to get people talking positively about birth, and get women to look forward to birthing their babies- pregnancy and birth has shown me strength within myself that I could never even fathom existed. Birth isn’t something to be afraid of, with preparation, support and a strong will, we are capable of amazing things! However your baby comes into the world Ladies, you are all rock stars and I salute you!

Oh and ps. We didn’t actually name our poor child Oatcake. His name is Otis. The cake part is just an affectionate nickname.

Megan is a midwife in training and mother of a little Oatcake, Otis. You can visit her blog here and her journey through motherhood in pictures here.

Post Natal Recovery- Top 5

New mumNewbornTop 5 Tips

Congratulations on your new little bundle of joy. Although your tiny baby can be so demanding it is so important to think of your own recovery. Your body has grown a baby for 9 months, it will take some time to adjust to now not growing a baby. You will need to be in full working order to care for your baby so it’s important to remember yourself … You can’t pour from an empty cup.

 

  1. Eat well. Have a diet iron rich to replenish any blood lost through childbirth and the weeks after. Being low in iron can make you feel pants as well as making you more susceptible to infections. Also, eat high fibre and drink plenty of water. It will help with the dreaded first poo. Foods to eat: almonds, apricots, prunes, wholemeals, red meat, spinach, seafood, beans, dark leafy veg.
  2. It’s OK to not be OK. The baby blues can happen at about day 3. It is caused from hormones, sleep deprivation and feeling overwhelmed. You may cry if the toaster burns your toast and your partner forgets to put a sugar in your tea. If these feelings last it could be something more such as post natal depression or anxiety. Now we are lucky to be part of a culture where these issues are spoke about. Speak to a mum friend and more often then not they may be experiencing similar feelings. If they aren’t then speak to someone else about it. You will find someone who will say. Yes I know what you are going through. It will immediately elevate any mum guilt or rubbsihy feelings just to know someone is feeling the same. It is also important to tell your GP, health visitor or midwife how you are feeling. They will not frown upon you or judge you in anyway, they will understand and are there to help you. It is Ok to not be Ok.
  3. You can use tea tree or lavender in your bath to help with healing your stitches. Just a couple of drops. It is also very relaxing. Arnica tablets can be used to help with bruising. The British Homeopathic Association says you can take a a high potency powder/crushed tablet of arnica at the start of labour, one in labour and then for 3 days after. It helps with reducing swelling and bruising from childbirth.
  4. Stock your cupboards with sanitary towels. The ones that resemble adult size nappies or super thick mattresses are the best for your new Bridget Jones style pants. You will be grateful for the padding when you sit down.  Bleeding after childbirth can last for up to 6 weeks. Although it does reduce in the first couple of weeks. You may find that if you go for a walk or have a busier day then your blood loss may be more than a day when you stayed at home.
  5. After pains exist. You will have your baby and then your uterus, that has accommodated a baby in, will need to reduce back to its pre pregnancy size so will continue to contract after your baby has been born. Some mothers don’t notice them, where as some mothers (more commonly when it is baby number 2 or more) will feel as though baby number 2 is on its  way. Have some paracetamol to hand as it may last a couple of days, especially while breastfeeding as this is when it happens most. It is a good sign though as it means your uterus is going back to its pre pregnancy size but it is not something that many mums are aware of. Baby brain also exists so a take a note on timings for pain meds and also baby feeds.

 

Look after yourself and make sure your cup is at least half full.

Cesarean Section Recovery… Top 5 Tips

New mumPregnancyTop 5 Tips
  1. It’s ok I am wearing really big knickers.

If you have not already converted to the Bridget Jones style pants then now is the time to hop over. Larger pants that you can pull over your scar will stop the elastic rubbing across your scar. If you do find clothes are rubbing you can pop a sanitary pad across your scar.

2. Keep it dry

It is ok to bath and shower as normal just keep it to just water and ensure that the area is dry after (pat dry with a towel). Keeping the area dry will prevent any infection.

3. Watch out for signs of infection.

When you get discharged home contact your GP or tell your midwife if you feel feverish or fluey, if you notice your scar is red, smelly, really painful or is oozing as these can all be signs of infection

4. Family, friends & hospital staff

Accept peoples help while they are over. Let them make the cups of tea and don’t be afraid in asking someone to pass the baby up to you or to change a nappy as bending over may be painful. In the hospital your partner will go home whilst you stay the night on the ward. Your ward midwives and maternity care assistants will be happy to help you, you will have a call bell that we (as midwives) encourage you to use on your first night after a cesarean. You will need help changing the nappy and having baby passed up to you after your cesarean. It is there for YOU so make use of it. 

5. Move around

By the following day you should be able to get out of bed into the chair. Take it slow but getting out of bed will help get your blood circulating, even if it is just from the bed to the chair. Stay on top of your pain relief by taking it at regular intervals. 

For an honest story about one mamas cesarean section experience from Gloucestershire hospital see the birth story from local girl Kate. Too posh to push..? You can decide.

Those early days… Top 5 tips

New mumNewbornTop 5 Tips

The first few days for baby…

  1. Baby led feeding. Scrap any type of feeding routine, you can not over feed your baby in these early days. A lot of baby’s will lose up to 10% of their birth weight. This is normal. Anything over this your midwife will advise you accordingly.
  2. Keep your baby warm. As a rule of thumb your baby should have one extra layer of than you. Baby’s also lose a lot of heat through their heads so make sure baby has a hat on when you leave the house, especially in the Winter months.
  3. Night number 2 is typically a restless night. Use our previous Top 5 tips to soothe your baby. Just think where they were and they are now. A womb is dark, muffled and warm, they are now in a bright, noise world so it may take them a couple of days/weeks to adjust.
  4. Dry skin. A lot of baby’s skin is dry, more so if your baby was over due. The best thing to do is absolutely nothing. Not even olive oil or baby moisturiser. A baby’s skin has a certain ph, putting cream/oil on it can disrupt this balance.
  5. Give your baby cuddles. This point is my favourite and also quite an important one. You can’t spoil or over cuddle your newborn, no matter what your relatives might say! A baby doesn’t have ‘wants’ only ‘needs’. Even if that need is a cuddle, your baby is wanting to feel secure in this big scary world and wants to give you as their mum the privilege of doing that with a cuddle. Make your baby feel loved with contact, talking to your baby and lots of snuggles. This will help your baby feel secure now and also later on in life. 

 

 

The first few days mum…

  1. Accept help and support. The transition to parenthood is not always smooth, so take all the help and support on offer! Stay the extra night in hospital if you feel you need some extra help with feeding or just that extra night to recover. If friends and relatives offer to cook a meal, walk the dog or just to hold the baby while you have a bath – say ‘yes please’.
  2. Utilise a mummy support network. If you have attended antenatal classes (or pregnancy yoga, swimming, Pilates etc), make use of your new friends who are probably going through a very similar experience as you. Create a whatsapp, Facebook, text group and get nattering through those night feeds! Book dates in the diary to get you out of the house for a cuppa or buggy walk.
  3. Learn about what happens after the birth. Most of us are so focused on the birth that we forget to ask what happens post birth. Educate yourself on what happens to your body after giving birth, so there’s no surprises.
  4.  Speak up. Be honest with yourself and your partner! The postnatal period can be a very emotional time and we all manage very differently. If you are feeling low or need some extra help, speak with your partner or a friend and make use of your midwife and health visitor, they are there to help.
  5. Take it easy. Most importantly, try not to put pressure on yourself to achieve anything other than spending time with your baby and looking after yourself. It doesn’t matter if you stay in your PJ’s all day.

Enjoy it!

 

 

1, 2, 3, 4….We like our pelvic floor!!!

New mumPregnancy
By Gaynor, Physiotherapist in Gloucestershire
Recently I met a woman who told me she used to be a runner. When I asked: Why don’t you still run? The answer: “Because 60 hours of labour with my first child and a forceps delivery ruined my desire to run anymore.”
To sum up for those who still may not relate to the problem: She pees her pants when she picks up the pace.
Ladies often joke about cough pee, sneeze pee, jumping jack pee, trampoline pee, and other bladder challenges. But full-blown incontinence is no laughing matter. I’m a firm believer that a strong pelvic floor is the answer to incontinence. A strong pelvic floor not only makes the difference between wet and dry running shorts, but can also keep high intensity exercises, such as running, pain free by reducing pregnancy related pain, such as hip and lower back pain.
Many women assume it’s childbirth that causes incontinence, but In fact pregnancy itself may put strain on the bladder, thus highlighting that a c-section won’t necessarily save you.
So firstly, what are your pelvic floor muscles?
The PF muscles run between the sacrum (the triangular bone at the base of the spine) and the pubic bone (the bottom-front of the pelvis). Ideally you want the PF to be long, supple, and taut, to generate long-term forces that hold up your organs, as well as have enough motor skill to open and close your bathroom muscles as needed. When the PF is too tight, it can pull the sacrum out of alignment, bringing it forward, into the bowl of the pelvis (which tends to happen during pregnancy and child birth). Which means bye-bye strong PF muscles, Hello Pelvic Floor Hammock.  And the last time I checked hammocks are for vacation and have not promoted the notion of long-term force generation for some time. I cannot stress enough the importance of keeping your pelvic floor muscles strong and healthy.
First things first…Finding your Pelvic floor!
  • Sit or lie down with the muscles of your thighs, buttocks and stomach relaxed.
  • Squeeze the ring of muscle around the back passage as if you are trying to stop yourself from farting in front of your hunky crush. Now relax this muscle. Squeeze and let go a couple of times until you are sure you have found the right muscles. Try not to squeeze your buttocks.
  • When sitting on the toilet to have a wee, try to stop the stream of urine, then start it again. Do this to learn which muscles are the right ones to use – but only once a week. Your bladder may not empty the way it should if you stop and start your stream more often than that.
If you don’t feel a distinct “squeeze and lift” of your pelvic floor muscles, or if you can’t slow your stream of urine, ask for help from your doctor, physiotherapist, or continence nurse. They will help you to get your pelvic floor muscles working right.
Now that we’ve located our pelvic floor muscles… lets get squeezing!
1) Squeeze and draw in the muscles around your back passage and your vagina at the same time. Lift them UP inside. You should have a sense of “lift” each time you squeeze your pelvic floor muscles. Try to hold them strong and tight as you count to 10. Now, let them go and relax. You should have a distinct feeling of “letting go”.
  • Repeat “squeeze and lift” and let go. It is best to rest for about 4 seconds in between each lift up of the muscles. If you can’t hold for 10, just hold for as long as you can. Your endurance will improve over time and with practice holding for 10 seconds will get easier.
  • Repeat this “squeeze and lift” as many times as you can, up to a limit of 8 to 12 squeezes.
  • Try to do three sets of 8 to 12 squeezes each, with a rest in between.
2) Your pelvic floor muscles also need to react quickly to sudden stresses from coughing, laughing or exercise that puts pressure on the bladder. So practise some quick contractions, drawing in the pelvic floor and holding it for just one second before relaxing. Try to achieve a strong muscle tightening with up to ten quick contractions in succession.
  • Aim to do a set of slow contractions (exercise 1) followed by a set of quick contractions (exercise 2) 3-4 times each day. It takes time for exercise to make muscles stronger. You are unlikely to notice any improvement for several weeks – so stick at it! You will need to exercise regularly for at least 3 months before the muscles gain their full strength.
These pelvic floor exercises can be done while lying down, sitting or standing.
Top Tip: Remembering to do your pelvic floor exercises is harder than doing the actual exercises. The best thing to do is to get into a habit of doing your exercises and to incorporate them into your activities of daily living, for example, squeeze when you’re doing the dishes, squeeze when you’re changing your babies nappy, squeeze when the adverts are on the tele, squeeze when you’re brushing your teeth. These are activities that you engage in daily, so doing your squeezes whilst doing these activities will ensure you are doing your exercises regularly and daily. Remember: you can exercise your pelvic floor muscles wherever you are – nobody will know what you are doing!
So just some final words from me… EASY PEEZY DON’T FORGET TO SQUEEZY!!

 

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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 🌟
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The Bump to Baby Chapter4 hours ago
On the blog this Sunday morning we have Shani’s wonderfully calm birth story. Grab yourself a Yorkshire brew, in true Shani style, and have a read!! .....

“I felt immense relief, joy, love and exhaustion. Amabell weighed 6lb 12oz and I managed the birth with no pain killers or gas and air, all down to the focus Hypnobirthing had provided me with, the mind is one powerful tool!”

https://www.thebumptobabychapter.co.uk/shanis-birth-story/
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