Take some time to look through the other competition entries. Some are laugh out loud funny, some are really quite emotional and tear jerking. I wish I could give a bag to all of the entries as they are all first class!
So over here at The Bump to Baby Chapter HQ we try really hard to give you all the info at antenatal class so you can be badass parents 🌟💎 but as one of the dads pointed out at last antenatal class you pick up so much as you go.. We would like to know#whattheydonttellyouatantenatal this can be from pregnancy hacks you’ve discovered from friends or new mum hacks like getting a bag in a rucksack style so your arms are always free 🙌🏼 (thank you for Tiba and Marl ). Or anything else you feel would have been worth knowing 👍🏼
This my dear friends is a photo comp so tag us The Bump to Baby Chapter with the hashtag #whattheydonttellyouatantenatal and we will pick the winner November 30th 2017. You can also email your entries to email@example.com. Prize will be an amazing Tiba and Marl changing bag worth £120 (full terms and conditions below.)
❤️So get yourself snapping and we look forward to seeing your pics ❤️
In the mean time check out the gallery of entries above, click on the images for captions and you never know what new top tips you may gain!! If you want to know what IS covered at antenatal class then why don’t you come along to one of ours, details here. For a limited time only we are offering a mini course consisting of 5 tips to a positive birth sent straight to your inbox. This will start on the 16th December so if you want in on this then you can sign up here.
Terms and Conditions
By entering to the competition you agree for The Bump to Baby Chapter to use the photos and captions across The Bump to Baby Chapter social media and on The Bump to Baby Chapter website. The photos will not be shared with any third parties. This competition is no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Deadline for entry is midnight on November 30th. The winner will be messaged within 7 days of this date- if no response within a further 7 days then the prize will got to the runner up. The prize is a Tiba and Marl changing bag in Gold, although colour and style of Tiba and Marl bag is subject to change.
I will set a scene for you…. A gentle walk across the countryside holding hands admiring the wonderful views, followed by your favourite curry, maybe some candle light, your favourite songs playing in the background. You may then watch a funny film followed by a massage with some essential oils and then an ‘early night’ hem hem.
Lots of you may see the scene as a relaxing and chilled date night, where as mothers approaching their due dates will be sure to recognise these umm.. activities as ways to induce birth. All fun ways to try when you are term to encourage those first contractions.
But have you ever considered using some of the ways to induce labour for coping strategies. Now I am certainly not recommending a spicy curry as a way to deal with tightenings, as that will surely not end well. But how about using the same date night theme for coping strategies for early labour? If there is any a time where we deserve that date night it would be in early labour… It makes total sense…
The hormone oxytocin is produced from anything that makes us feel loved, happy and relaxed. Which would be everything mentioned above in our date night setting. Just as a reminder, oxytocin is the hormone that will encourage our uterus to tighten in labour. It also encourages our bodies to release endorphins, which is our own naturual morphine. So anything that means we will have more oxytocin in our body is a good thing, right?
A night in with the other half is the perfect way to do this… Oh and did I mention that practice is the key to perfecting this strategy for coping with early labour. Yes that’s right? Tell your partners that weekly date nights have been prescribed to you… Midwifes orders. In our busy lives we forget how to relax, yet when we start labour we want our minds to relax to allow our bodies to get on with what it knows.
So let us look at planning those date nights in. When you plan your date night appeal to all of your sense:
Smell – Light a nice pregnancy candle, or use a pillow spray or your favourite (pregnancy safe) essential oils. You won’t be able to take a candle (other than LED ones) into hospital but a pregnancy candle will be a great help to your birth environment at home. In hospital there are essential oils for your use.
Sight- Look at your environment. Turn the lights to dim. Dim lighting always makes us feel more romantic, whilst in labour dim lights encourage melatonin which again acts up on our uterine muscles to cause tightenings. When you go into your hospital setting take some home, familiar comforts with you. Your own pillow or a nice photo/picture.
Feel- Massage and touch are great ways that directly encourage oxytocin. I am sure you will agree that this is ESSENTIAL to practice this with your partner in pregnancy.. maybe once a week, actually twice a week…. Every day…?
Sound- ‘If music be the sound of love, play on’ Music is incredibly powerful for our emotions. Who else plays Beyonce loud in their headphones when you want to feel like you are a strong, powerful woman… guilty! Likewise who puts on Ray LaMontague when you’re feeling nostalgic. Yes my music choices may not be on point but you get the idea. It’s amazing how many people discover their birth soundtrack months after birth and are left in floods of emotional, happy tears whilst sitting on the kitchen floor. Get yourself soundtrack, there are docking stations at the hospital or if in doubt get your own device and some headphones ready to go when the time comes.
Lastly taste… Food again can hold us so emotionally. Who reaches for the biggest bar of Galaxy when needing a little pick me up? I’m not saying during childbirth you will be able to scoff your favourite takeaway and the largest bar of chocolate but having some of your favourite snacks with you will help keep your energy levels up. Your uterus is a muscle and needs energy to contract. Most importantly keep hydrated.
As you would have used these date nights in as a way of relaxing. Your body will then began to associate all the smells, sights, tastes and sounds with those feelings of calm and relaxed. Therefore just playing that soundtrack or smelling that smell in labour will be enough for your body to start to release the oxytocin and give you effective tightenings and lots of endorphins. The more you put into this the more you get out so try and get in as much as possible. Although many of you will already have a favourite soundtrack (maybe your wedding song) or a favourite smell (your go to bath bomb, or candle) that you can just tap in to.
So for all those who are partial to a ‘to-do’ list here is a short one I have put together for you…
Get together with your partner and schedule in some regular night-in date nights.
Find your favourite smell/ essential oil.
Find a good picture/photo. Holiday picture, happy place, family.
Create a soundtrack.
Get some massage oil (again a nice smelling one.)
Compile a list of your favourite snacks for the hospital bag
Keep the format the same and appeal to all (or as many) of your senses.
Schedule in some more regular relaxing time on your own. Using a similar routine (ie. Bath, dim lighting, smell, music, hypnobirthing cd)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
They say that many moons ago you would put your baby to sleep in what ever you had available, be that a drawer, an empty cardborad box. Maybe a flower pot..? Maybe not! Now we have recommendations that have been shown to help reduce the risks of cot death in newborns.
1. Keep baby in a cot or moses basket in your bedroom for the first six months
The safest place for baby is in your bedroom for the first six months. You may have spent time and money on decorating a nursery, but there will be plenty of time to use it. Any way, you need somewhere to store all of baby’s new clothes and toys! It’s not unusual for babies not to settle in their cots, so don’t panic if it takes time to settle them. They’ve just spent nine months being rocked and soothed in your womb. See our previous blog on how to sooth a crying baby.
2. Put your baby on their back
When putting your baby down for a daytime nap or at bedtime, its safest to put them with feet at the bottom of the cot, on their back. Once they are rolling over, you won’t need to keep rolling them back. Well wishing grandparents may tell you otherwise as old recommendations were to put baby on their front, or side. This can actually restrict baby’s ability to move their head around freely from side to side, hence why baby’s back on the bed is best.
3. Make sure baby doesn’t over-heat.
It’s tempting to wrap baby up in loads of blankets, particularly as in hospital they keep them well wrapped with a hat on. However, it’s really important to make sure they are not too hot. Never have a hat on when inside, and adjust layers to suit the weather and temperature of the house. A rule of thumb is one more layer than you. The ideal temperature for baby to sleep in is approx 18 degrees.
4. Don’t let people smoke around baby.
We know it sounds obvious, but its always best to remind friends and relatives to refrain from smoking around baby. And ask that they wash their hands before picking baby up to avoid nasty smells and toxins transferring onto baby.
5. Avoid using cot bumpers and pillows.
Every store you go into has beautiful cots and baskets adorned with lovely bumpers, however, its best to avoid using these in order to keep baby safe. Nothing else should be in your baby’s cot other than her blankets and these should we tucked in well either as a swaddle, under the baby or around the mattress of the cot so there is no loose ends.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Leaky boobs. A friend once said to me that the first time we met I had a big wet patch on my boob. We are still friends to this day so be sure to know that you can still have/make friends even with leaky boobs.
Your neighbours/ plumber/ postman your cousins cousins will know what your nipple looks like. I once answered the door mid feed to a fundraiser, after a chat about Guide Dogs, I went back to the sofa sat down to continue baby’s feed and there was my nipple there. Peaking out over my vest top.
A tip that I have learnt breastfeeding my third is that my eldest 2 children love feeding me chocolate as they think they are providing their baby sister with a chocolate milkshake. All shaken up in Mummy’s boobies.
So you do the last feed of the day and get ready to enjoy your evening run/gym session/ night out with friends (if you’re lucky!) but you go with one boob representing a watermelon, and the other a spaniel’s ear.
Another tip, (especially for the lazy mams like myself) is asking your partner for a cup of tea as the baby’s “feeding.” When really you’re just enjoying a nice cosy cwtch on the sofa and want a cuppa to watch the end of Eastenders with.
You finally feel ready for an evening out. You have been craving a glass of prosecco, a G&T and a glass of red and can’t decide which order to have all 3 in. Until the reality hits that you are breastfeeding and baby would not appreciate a proscco, gin and red wine milkshake.
A good old milk squirt. In babys eye, in your own eye, in your mouth. A friend (who shall not be named) once told me she tried feeding her baby at the doctors surgery in the waiting room. She unclipped her bra, popped out her boob ready to feed and squirted milk all of the man sitting next to her.
Hearing another baby cry equals leaky boob. That’s right, it doesn’t even have to be your own baby and baaaam a wet patch.
Doubt that your baby isn’t getting enough and that doubt happens all the freaking time. Everytime baby cries, even when she has had a good feed. Your head is saying no no she is full, she may have wind, she may just be tired. Your boobs are there screaming, she is still hungry.
And lastly, to end on a high. When your baby wakes up in the morning. All warm and snuggly. And you bring her in your bed for a morning sleepy breastfeed and cuddle. You just can’t beat it.
No we’re not talking about the S that put baby there in the first place, or the old fashioned ‘Shower, Shit, Shave’ moto. If anyone’s not heard of this and thinks its some kind of backward cleansing routine this was the norm back in the day for what to do before going into labour; Have a shower, an enema (something in your back passage to make you poo) and a bikini line shave, preferably not in that order.
We are talking about the magical S’s that comfort babies when all else seems to fail. We’ve been there- considering all sorts of reasons why baby is crying; too hot, too cold, hungry, sore bum, who knows?! Sometimes baby’s just realise they are out of the comforts of their mummy’s tummy and they just don’t like it. It’s what we call the fourth trimester. There is this theory that us baby humans have heads so big that we have to be born before we’re quite ready. Just think most other mammals come out walking… Now imagine pushing out a walking , talking 1 year old… No thanks, I will take the sleepless nights.
Skin to skin- I always try this first. It can also help if baby is so upset that he/she doesn’t want to feed. It regulates their breathing, heart rate and temperature. Just don’t forget to keep the nappy on. The only thing that can be worse with a crying baby, is to be covered in wee and baby poo.. holding a crying baby.
Sssssshhhh- The sssshh sound creates the sound of being back in the room. If baby is crying really loud you need to Ssssh louder than them and then reduce it as they are quiet. We posted last week about an app that does all your Ssshing for you. I used to try hairdryers and also the vacuum cleaner. This was the only type of cleaning I did with a newborn, hoovering my baby to sleep. My bedroom carpet has never been so clean.
Swaddle- If skin to skin isn’t working then go for the swaddle. There are lots of youtube videos on how to swaddle. We can also show you how to swaddle at antenatal class. Thin sheets are always better to swaddle as you don’t want your baby getting too hot. This makes baby feel all cocooned like they did in the womb. Have a look on our Facebook page for more safe swaddling tips.
Suck- Babies find comfort in sucking so either let your baby stay at the breast for comfort or try a dummy if you’ve chosen to use one.
Sway- So this is where you cuddle your baby in your arms and sway, walk, swing, jog lightly on the spot. Create any movement that will make your baby feel like she has the motion of being back in your womb whilst you walk around Mothercare. You know you’ve nailed the sway when its so ingrained into you that you don’t even have to be holding your baby to be swaying. You just stand… talking… swaying.
And now mamas do all at the same time… ! You feel a bit crazy but with these little magic S’s you will have your baby settled, soothed and soundly sleeping in no time. Now spread these tips like wildfire, as you never know who you might save from ‘The Witching Hour’.
For more ways to prepare for life with a newborn come and join us at our antenatal classes.
Start thinking about packing a hospital bag around 32 weeks, aiming to have everything sorted by around 36 weeks, just in case baby puts in an early appearance. Pop the bag (or bags) in your bedroom where it can be easily accessed, then as you think of items, they can be added easily without a last minute rush forgetting things.
Choose a good sized holdall to take into hospital and an extra bag for all of baby’s things (or alternatively, one big bag or suitcase for everything). Don’t forget to have a section for partner’s stuff (or ask them to prepare their own little bag of goodies, e.g. clean underwear and clean t-shirt (labour can get hot and sweaty for partners too), snacks and drinks, toothbrush, pair of flip flops, a magazine/book, phone charger.
What to pack for mum
There’s no strict rules as to what you should or shouldn’t pack. Take whatever you think you will need and most importantly, items make you feel comfortable and at ease. Some ideas include: lip balm or Vaseline, flip flops and/or slippers, a pillow, dressing gown, old nighties/t-shirts, socks, hairbands, music (on phone or CD), isotonic drinks, a big towel, toiletries, hairbrush, comfy bras, big old pants x5, maternity pads (lots), flannel or sponge.
What will baby need?
There’s no need to pack the kitchen sink and the changing station too! Some essentials to pack for baby include: baby grows (long sleeves x5), baby vests (short sleeve x5), cardigan, pack of nappies, a couple of hats, blanket, going home outfit, cotton wool balls or wipes.
Don’t forget to pack a couple of plastic bags for dirty washing.
Lastly . . .
As your due date approaches, ensure you always have your hospital notes to hand, should you need to grab them quickly. Double check the parking facilities at your local hospital and even do a ‘practice run’ with partner. It’s always a good idea to have some change in your bag for parking/vending machines.
Now put your feet up and wait until baby is ready to meet you!
My first tip in bathing your newborn is DONT. Unless you have a worse than usual poonami situation going on then it’s not necessary in the first week. A good old ‘Top ’n’ Tail’ will do. Here’s why…
That icky, cheesey white coating that they are covered with is called ‘vernix’ if I could bottle it up and sell it as a moisturiser I could quit my job as Midwife now. It is a natural moisturiser and forms a barrier on the skin to protect against infection. So as tempting as it is don’t wash it off.
Newborns struggle to regulate their body temperature. Have you ever seen a baby with goose pimples when they are cold? When a baby is cold they use their (brown) fat stores to heat themselves. Some baby’s have less brown fat than others, especially if your baby was born early or was a low birthweight. Exposing a newborn to water will cause heat to evaporate off their body making them cold.
Due to the way babies are still in the fetal position in the early days, it makes it harder to dry a baby properly. This can cause infection in hard to reach places such as their armpits, and their umbilical cord.
After the first week or for those who have their new Shnuggle bath and just can’t wait to use it here are my top tips on bathing a newborn…
Definitely leave bathing for at least 24 hours to give the vernix the chance to be absorbed.
Fill the bath to its max level with cool boiled water. Check temp with your elbow, it shouldn’t feel too hot or too cold.
Preparation is key to success. Get everything ready, cotton wool, towels, clothes and nappy.
Hold off the products for the first few weeks. Yes they smell yummy but anything other than water upsets the pH balance on their skin.
Face first. We are a cotton wool companies dream as we say say one piece per wipe. So wipe the eye from inner eye to outer, then get another piece whether you are doing a different eye or the same. One wool for one wipe. Prevents against infection. Then dry baby’s face.
Put them in the bath for a short amount of time, a couple of minutes is plenty.
Make sure baby is dry paying particular attention to any crevices; under the neck, armpits, groin and the umbilical cord. Bacteria likes wet, dark places.
Get them dressed, swaddle in a towel then if needed, cradle them over the bath supporting their head and neck to wash their hair. This way they are not losing so much heat from both their head and body being exposed at the same time. Towel dry their head/hair, again to avoid losing heat.
Then give your baby a big shnuggle as they probably cried a lot!
Get your partner or hubby to take some snaps as you enjoy the precious first time bath and tag us with #bathtimeshnuggle for your chance to win a Shnuggle bath and more for your baby. For more details on the competition or to see that gallery then click here.