This is so important for mother and baby and father and baby.
Watch this video on research done in Canada about it.
Results from a Study on Mother-Infant Skin-to-Skin Contact. St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia
Some would argue that with a balanced diet there is no need for anyone to take supplements. In the west we eat a variety of foods that should provide for all our nutritional requirements. However I believe that there are times when the right supplements can make all the difference. Those times are pre-conceptually, during pregnancy and after birth during breastfeeding.
Pre-conceptually (which is the year before conception) it is important to detox the body and build up stores of the right minerals to prepare for growing your baby. The basics for de-toxing being stopping alcohol, smoking and drugs (I'd include anthroposophic drugs in that) and cleansing the body of residual chemicals. Of course avoiding chemicals in the environment is also important too - so change your toiletries and stop using things like antiperspirant. Good pre-conceptual nutrition advice can be obtained from nutritional therapists and fertility experts whom you can find on Born Together.
The basic supplements to take from the moment you decide you want to have a baby are
All these are available from Biocare, see the link below for a discount code.
Magnesium is a mineral so many of us are lacking in our diets. It is primarily found in green vegetables, along with calcium, however our soil is so lacking in this mineral that it one that you will probably need to supplement. Take 1 100mg capsule per day pre-conceptually and then during pregnancy. Magnesium is necessary to allow the cells to relax and get rid of their toxicity. It is a fantastic supplement to take to prevent menstrual cramps and since I've discovered it I always take it instead of reaching for the paracetamol. If works faster and better, take 2 capsules every hour until the cramps subside. During labour magnesium can make a huge difference to the effectiveness of contractions. At the onset of labour take 1-2 capsules every hour - it will help the uterus to relax and the contractions be more effective.
After labour when the womb is contracting magnesium will be your new best friend. It will help your womb to contract back without the intense pain that some women feel is worse than labour itself.
Calcium is the one mineral you will be told you need during pregnancy to grow your baby's bones. \whilst this is true the best place to get it is not from cows milk - despite what we are told from health professionals or the milk marketing board. Think about it, where does a cow get its calcium from to provide milk for it's calf? Grass! Green vegetables have a lot of calcium in them in a soluble form which if how our bodies like it. Our tap water also contains a lot of calcium. When I was in Goa recently I was amazed that the kettle was completely fur free. No calcium in Goa's water. In the UK because of the chalk used in the filtration process our water is very calcium rich. The Biocare Ante-natal formula contains the right amount of calcium for you during this time, I'd also advise it to be taken after birth.
Lacking Good Essential Fatty Acids are the reason so many of us get 'pregnancy brain' that forgetfulness that strikes most women during pregnancy and afterwards. This is because your brain is a fat rich organ that needs EFS's to work. During pregnancy and breastfeeding your baby will get its EFA's from your brains stores if you do not have enough in your diet. Breast milk is also EFA rich and so it is worth supplementing during breastfeeding too.
Of all the companies I have looked at Biocare have the best quality supplements and they are British made too. We do not yet sell them in our stores but you can buy direct from them and get 10% off when you use the code 5870. Call 0121 433 3727 to place and order. A carriage free order is £25.
Last spring I visited the Love Food Spring Fair at Brunel's Old Station just next to Temple Meads Station. It was a great event. The children and I spent the whole afternoon eating great food, visiting the stands, doing arts and crafts – I think they made some bread - and talking to friends we bumped into. I'd been to the Love Food Festivals at Paintworks a few times already and always felt that it was exactly the right 'vibe' for a family event, so I approached Lorna the organiser of all the Love Food events and asked if she'd be interested in collaborating and organising an event for parents and parents to be.
Lorna has fantastic event organisation skills and I have contacts in the world of parenting and birth, so together we decided that Love Baby was definitely something that would be a success. The Love Food events always have a lot of family visitors but I wanted to also appeal to those people who haven't had children yet, people thinking about having children or who are pregnant.
Our listings site Born Together was set up to let people know about the experts in the world of pregnancy birth and parenting who can make a really positive experience to your parenting journey. It's these practitioners that will be at Love Baby on Sunday.
The aim of the day is to give people the chance to talk to Practitioners, attend worskshops and find out what is available in Bristol. I am so pleased that these are being headlined by the ladies at Relaxed Birth & Parenting who deliver fantastic ante-natal classes and Doulas.
For more information please visit the Love Baby web site. bookings for workshops are being taken by the Bristol shop on 0117 924 5080. The first 100 visitors to our stand will get some freebies from Weleda and Earth Friendly Baby.
Entry and workshops are all free. There will be stalls offering books, clothing, massage taster sessions and other goodies for purchase, as well as some lovely food. Close Parent will be doing a sling and nappy offer as well as providing Close carriers to use on the day. Hippychick will have Hipseats to borrow too so please leave your buggy at home or in the car, as it will be very busy!
On Monday I went along to the launch of the Bristol Peer support scheme. The project Co-ordinator is the fantastic April Whincop who really is the baby whisperer of breastfeeding. There is nothing April does not know about breastfeeding and nothing she won’t do to help a mum in need.
The project will run in 12 wards in Bristol that have not seen an increase in breastfeeding rates (UK rates have increased in general). All pregnant women will be contacted by a Peer supporter when they have had a baby and given the support they need to initiate and continue breastfeeding. Some of the 12 Peer supporters are already well establised breastfeeding supporters, others are mums with personal experience who want to make a difference.
It was great to go along to the 2 launches, 1 in South Bristol last week and this one in Southmead. There were lots of Health Visitors and Midwives who came along to lend their support.
I was there because we are involved in the young mums project which will be providing all Bristol teenage mums (regardless of where they live in Bristol) with a nursing bra. A decent comfortable bra can make all the difference to breastfeeding. We will be providing both Bravado and HOTmilk bras to the girls. Feedback so far has been great and we hope that the campaign is a success.
I also managed to get 100 Aden & Anais muslins from them to give to the girls when they have had their baby. Those certainly got the aah factor at the event.
Read more about the project in the Evening Post
We are really excited to let everyone know that Big Mama Slings will soon be part of the Born family. Becky, who owns and runs Big Mama Slings. and I met at a La Leche League meeting in Bristol 7 years ago when our boys were babies. Since then we've grown our businesses and have similar ideas about how we want to make a difference to parents, so when we were looking for a Buyer for our business Becky immediately sprung to mind. In the time I've known her a lot of our new product ideas have come from emails Becky has sent me, so I know that Becky has her finger on the pulse when it comes to finding fantastic baby products that are fun, ethical and green.
In the new year Big Mama Slings will be incorporated into Born, until then we will continue to run it as a separate company.
With Becky's product and sling expertise we look forward to growing our business and will keep you updated on further developments.
Our first Sling Master classes will be launched soon so watch both this space and our Facebook page for info.
I had an Independent Midwife for Jacob's birth. Of course ideally we would all be able to choose one to one midwifery care (like they can in New Zealand) but until then to get the care all women deserve we have to pay for it (that's a whole other campaign) but int he meantime please support this one to make sure we keep Independent Midwifes in theUK - read below for lots more info and action points. Eva
It is crunch time and we really need your help if independent midwives are going to be able to practise in the UK in future. If you feel you can write in support of the value of personalised, high quality midwifery care throughout pregnancy, birth and after the baby is born that an independent midwife is able to provide, then please could you let the government know
For several years the government's new policy that all healthcare professionals have indemnity insurance has been put on hold. Last year the government commissioned the Finlay Scott Review to look at the feasibility of indemnity insurance as a condition of every healthcare professional's registration. The Review has now been published and recommends that Indemnity insurance should become mandatory and a requirement for registration. However it also recommended for those groups for whom the market does not provide affordable insurance or indemnity (independent midwives), the relevant Departments of Health in the four countries of the UK should decide if the continued availability of this service is necessary; and, if so, should seek to facilitate a solution to the problem. (See more information in the letter below)
The Departments of Health are due to respond imminently to this Review - and their responses will be a perfect vehicle through which to address this anomaly with solutions from policy-makers.
If you have time to help can you please send an email to your MP and copy it to your relevant Department of Health. Could you also print your letter and send it as a hard copy to your MP and Department of Health as although slower, receiving lots of letters is more effective. Please feel free to use any information on this page, and/or include your own feelings and experiences.
Find your MP by clicking on: http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/ and click on his/her website to find their email and constituency postal address. Don't use the House of Commons address for MP's at this time of year as it is in summer recess.
Departments of Health:
Mike Lewis Senior Policy Manager
Professional Standards Division
Department of Health
2N10 Quarry House
Chief Nursing Office
St. Andrew's House
Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing
The Scottish Parliament
Minister for Health and Social Services
Welsh Assembly Government
Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety
Please inform and pass on this email to as many other friends, family and supporters such as local NCT groups, Women's Institute, etc as possible. Without positive government intervention independent midwifery will become illegal in the very near future. If a solution is provided, it could benefit maternity services in the UK for decades to come.
Thank you for your support!
RE: Finlay Scott Review
I'm writing to ask for your help in giving thousands of families greater opportunity to have safe positive pregnancies and births with support into early parenting.
The Government recently heard from the Finlay Scott Review, which had been asked, to look at indemnity insurance as a condition of professional registration. The Review recommended that the Government should make indemnity / insurance a requirement of every healthcare professional's registration. However it also recommended for those groups for whom the market does not provide affordable insurance or indemnity (independent midwives), it should decide if the continued availability of those services is necessary; and, if so, should seek to facilitate a solution to the problem.
There are currently approximately 100 independent midwives in the UK, providing high quality, one-to-one care to families throughout pregnancy, birth and early parenthood. It is this kind of genuinely personalised care, from their own midwife, that growing numbers of women want. It has significant public health benefits in terms of increased normal birth and breastfeeding rates and saves money.
Taking on independent status is also something which offers great advantages to midwives themselves, empowering them as frontline workers, to work closely with women and with more flexibility in their working lives crucial if the drain of midwives from the profession is to be reversed.
The barrier to independent midwives providing this service is that they cannot be indemnified or insured. This is due to the number of independent midwives currently being too small to enable the risk to be pooled and spread in a way that produces an affordable premium. There is simply no insurance available for independent midwifery services. This is standing in the way of more pregnant women benefiting from this type of care and enabling more midwives to work this way.
In 2013, independent midwifery will be made illegal under EU law if a solution is not found. EU legislation by then will require all health professionals to have indemnity insurance.
The benefits of finding a mechanism to indemnify or insure independent midwives will be: independent midwives will be able to provide care within the NHS with improved public health outcomes, reduction in costs and increased choice for women
The government is due to respond imminently to the Findlay Scott Review. The Review recognises that a potential problem arises from its recommendations but also acknowledges that the government could intervene to provide an affordable solution.
Please support my request to recognise the importance of this service for the safety and wellbeing of mothers, babies and families by calling for the indemnity/insurance issue to be resolved by the Department of Health.
Read the article here. Also great to read her talk about how important it is to prepare for the birth. On Born Together you will find lots of ways to prepare you mentally and physically for your birth. I'd recommend a Relaxed Birth and Parenting Class accompanied by a Hypnosis class or at least listen to these Natal Hypnotherapy CD's. If your bath isn't big enough consider hiring a pool from Born in Water.
Catherine will be in our Bristol store on 22nd October between 2-4pm to talk about how having a Doula is beneficial during pregnancy, birth and postnatally. To book a slot please call the shop on 0117 924 5080
At each birth I attend, I'm reminded of this quote;
“It is by logic that we prove, but by intuition that we discover.” Henri Poincaré
I first heard the term Doula when I was newly pregnant with my third child. I did some research, and was struck by what a good idea it seemed, 'to mother the mother'.
I went on to have my third baby at home, a beautifully simple birth.
I was aware of the peacefulness in the room that day (having had talkative and distracted midwives in the past). And the absolute faith I had in my midwife, whom I'd been fortunate enough to get to know. She gently encouraged me to trust my intuition.
I knew that I wanted to help other women have the birth they wanted, to know the exhilaration I'd been lucky enough to experience.
Attending births as a Doula is both humbling and a great privilege. I have found every birth I've attended incredibly moving; the strength amongst the women is an ancient lore. You know that there is something bigger at work. The love and companionship I witness between the couples is inspiring, the love in the room is sometimes palpable
The strength of a labouring woman never ceases to amaze me. She looks like a little girl one moment and an invincible warrior the next. Her absolute truth, power and beauty are exposed. Her self.
My role is to reassure, to hold both emotionally and physically, to be kind and patient, respectful and supportive. I offer massage and I remind the mother that she has all she needs to birth her baby.
A good Doula needs patience, empathy, to be sensitive, but not over-sensitive; a labouring woman knows what she does and does not want! A Doula needs to be human, honest,considerate and reliable.
Post-natal support involves listening to the mother, hearing her birth story (repeatedly, if that's what she needs) offering herbal tinctures, tonics, nourishing food, foot massage.
It is my role to support with breastfeeding, to field visitors, ensure that the mother can rest and bond with her new baby. I put the flowers in water, do a little shopping, pick up prescriptions.
The comments I've had back is that my presence has been reassuring, familiar and calming.
I've been told that I helped instill confidence, explained medical procedures in layman's terms. That I was on “their side”.
In the words of Sheila Kitzinger; “it is not just continuity of care, but continuity of carer that's important”.
Don’t jump in the puddle!
How many times have you heard these statements being yelled at children? Or indeed said them yourself? The word ‘don’t’ used to be one that I’d frequently speak to my kids until I got to understand a little more about the workings of the subconscious mind, and then I realised that kids don’t hear the word ‘don’t’ but they do hear what comes after it and will do just that! They are not doing it to intentionally aggravate you, it’s just that the subconscious mind does not understand the word 'don’t' , it is impossible to tell anyone not to do something and expect them to follow your instructions or at least not think about it. I’ll give you an example: If I said I’d give you £100 but only if you don’t think of elephants dressed in tutu’s walking around a circus ring, I know that I’m keeping my money, because right now your subconscious mind has gone off and conjured up that exact image.
So whenever you say to a child Don’t do ‘x’ they’ll just hear the ‘x’. What needs changing is the language we use with children so that we are taking responsibility rather than expecting them to. So instead of ‘Don’t run’ say ‘stop’ or ‘walk’, or ‘stand still’ (not ‘stop running’ or ‘don’t run’), if you don’t want your child to jump in the puddle, take their hand and say ‘let’s walk over here’ and lead them to where you want to go –take their attention away from the puddle by diverting their attention. To begin with it really takes conscious effort to change the way you speak to your children and at first I would start a sentence saying ‘don’t’ then catch myself then re say what I wanted rather than what I didn’t want. Luckily because children don’t hear don't they didn’t realise that mum was doing this. In time – about a month (because that’s how long it take your brain to rewire) you’ll be doing it without thinking and noticing all the other mums saying don’t and you’ll want to tell them ‘don’t say don’t’ too!
Having a baby moon is easy. You stay in bed, keep your pyjamas or nightie on, or better still stay naked (except for your pants as you’ll need something to hold you massive maternity pads in place!) and have lots and lots of skin to skin contact with your baby. In cultures where a baby moon is common practice, the mother is looked after by her mother and other friends, she is fed and watered and massaged as she has important work to do; feed and getting to know her baby. It is a once in a lifetime time for mum and baby and sets the foundation for their life together
In western cultures the idea of a baby moon unfortunately isn’t regarded with as much reverence. However there are links that suggest that not taking time out after having a baby to do this can lead to post natal depression, exhaustion, illness, and of course not being able to establish breastfeeding successfully.
Immediately after birth your adrenalin levels will be very high (adrenalin is necessary in the 2nd stage for the fetus ejection reflex to happen). On around the third day after birth your Adrenalin dips – usually coinciding with your milk coming in. Often known as the ‘baby blues’ you can get very weepy, tired and defensive. So think again about spending the first couple of days inviting all your mates round to wet the baby’s head because by day 3 you will want to crawl into a hole if you haven’t rested and taken it easy. It’s a classic come down affect and one you should be prepared for.
If you have had a natural delivery your oxytocin levels will be at an all time high, giving you a ‘loved up’ feeling towards your new baby. It’s a very special time where you and your baby need to be inseparable. If you haven’t had a natural delivery it is even more important to stay close as separation will indicate to your body that the baby has not survived and therefore milk production and bonding will not take place as it should. The smell of your baby’s vernix and it’s natural desire to nurse will indicate that all is well and milk production and bonding can continue as planned. All this is not a conscious decision by your body – at this point your subconscious, innate sense of what to do when your baby is born kicks in. Call it hormones, call it genetic, it just is, mess with it at your peril! What you can be conscious about is maintaining the correct conditions for these natural instincts to run their course. Other people with their smells and sounds just get in the way and can actually do damage. Your natural scent is what baby will imprint into it’s mind, so the more they can smell you and not be confused by Aunty Jeans Channel No 5 the better.
It’s interesting to observe just how many people want to see a newborn baby. There is something magical about the first week after birth. Oxytocin the ‘love’ hormone is at an all time high and leaves you feeling very blissed out and incredibly protective towards your baby. You’ll feel like you’ve fallen in love with him/her and everyone else, including your partner falls way down the list. This energy is what people want to have a part of. They aren’t aware of it consciously, but their subconscious wants to be around it, experience and feel it. For women who have had babies they want to remember it. It’s not your baby and you’s job to give them that rush of feel goodness.
Another thing that often happens, is that people who are expecting their 2nd baby bring round their first child to see how that child is around a newborn baby. They use your baby as a guinea pig to test the waters. Remember guests need to be coming for YOUR benefit NOT theirs.
Breastfeeding is a learning experience for both you and the baby. When you first start you’ll want to sit up straight, get cushions under you and probably not want to be watched by everyone. A few months in you’ll be able to feed anywhere, lying down, on the bus or in the bath (to name a few places). It’s important to not feel watched and judged when you are new to breastfeeding, especially if the person watching is themselves embarrassed as you will pick up on that and feel anxious (Father in laws are a classic example!)
So how can you set up your home to allow you to have a baby moon?
Prepare to be home by:
I’ve written an email that if I would write to friends had I known better 12 years ago. It’s just as, if not more important that a birth plan. Please do not worry what people think of you for making the requests– whatever you do people will have a comment so you may as well do what pleases you as you’re the one who has to live with the consequences.
Imagine if all parents made these requests? In a very short time it would become the norm in our culture as it is in so many others.
“James and I are very pleased to announce the birth of our beautiful daughter. She was born on Christmas Eve at 8 minutes to 2 in the afternoon. The labour unfortunately didn’t go to plan and we ended up in St Michaels (we had planned a home birth). (You can go into as much detail as you want!) We’re home now and are in awe of her and also a little overwhelmed by it all. It’s the first time we are doing this for all 3 of us. My mum is coming over in a few days to look after us and allow us to have some time to bond and make sure that breastfeeding gets established as that’s really important to us. As is getting sleep and recovering from the birth! We have uploaded some photos here (link to your profile page on Facebook or wherever you have uploaded pictures.)
Thanks for all your love and support in the weeks leading up to her birth and I expect you are looking forward to meeting her but for the moment we’d like to stay home getting to know Maya and would like to ask that you refrained from visiting us for the first month (or write a date when you will want them to come), that is unless you fancied coming over with food, to do some cleaning or washing! Please don’t be offended, it’s just that we would rather prevent problems from happening in the first place so hope you understand. If you do come I’ll probably be in bed with her as I plan to stay there for at least x weeks which is what midwives say is necessary to allow bonding and breastfeeding. Although I must say I am already feeling like a protective she lion towards her!”
I've just started reading a book called 'Switch - How to change things when change is hard'. It's already fascinated me and has linked up with the stuff that has recently been in the news, like Oliver James' New book 'How Not to F*** Them Up' and Penelope Leach's new book, 'The Essential First Year'. Both these books talk about the fact that babies who do not have their needs met - (those left to cry for longer than necessary, or who aren't given the physical touch a human baby mammal needs) produce more of the stress causing chemical cortisone. In 'Switch' Chip & Dan Heath, the authors talk about the fact that the subconscious mind can only deal with so much before it goes into overload, and that is why it can be difficult to get someone or a culture to change - we want an easy life and will resist change where we think our status quo will be challenged.
So, the connection for me is this - when we cause stress in the human being - be that baby or adult - we go into overload mode and begin to shut down - in the short term that means we 'switch off' - maybe go to sleep or just stop being able to take a concept in. In the long term we stop making neural connections in the brain and the human potential for growth becomes caped. It has been shown with research from the likes of Bruce Lipton, that the brain is an amazing organ that will continue to grow and expand if the conditions are right. You can have a look at his video on Born Together for the science behind it.
We live in a time when the science of parenting is now running parallel to the innate wisdom a mother. If she trusts it, that wisdom would take her away from 'scared' people to birth in a quiet dark place, she would keep her baby close to her from the moment of birth, she would feed her baby with her milk and talk to it gently and keep away anything that could cause her baby's cortisol levels to rise. That baby's human potential would become hard wired to participate in a world that was loving, safe and amazing and would create a reality that was just that.
We also live in a time where we think having stress in our life is normal. To counter the stress, alcohol, drugs, nicotine and other cortisol suppressants are seen as normal. What would the world be like if we didn't need those stress relievers because stress was not regarded as normal in our society? There are plenty of cultures where this is the case, funnily enough they also tend to be ones where the babies are born without intervention, are breastfed and share a family bed, how interesting....
Being able to tap into your innate sense of parenting does not rely on having had that experience yourself. Hang around with people for whom that way of being is normal. Do Relaxed Birth and Parenting antenatal and postnatal classes, go to La Leche League meetings, go to Naomi Stadlens 'Mother's talking' meetings at our Stoke Newington store. If you want to 'rewire' yourself and increase that capacity to create a life that is loving safe and amazing do Tracy Holloway's Life Upgrade course. Tracy will teach you simple techniques that will increase your brains capacity by clearing out the useless info you have accumulated over your life that is causing your mind and body stress- quite literally you get an upgrade of RAM and a disk defragmentation. All info on dates and times of course and meetings can be found on Born Together.
"How does this relate to us selling baby stuff?", this is explained in the 'Switch' book but is something Georgina and I unconsciously obviously knew was the right way to run our business. We give you a choice of great products that are ethical, great design and great quality because those products are less likely to cause you stress. It's simple when you join up the dots! If we sold 100 kinds of stroller (in our case even 20 would be too much) or 50 kinds of washable nappy your brain would very quickly go into overload and would give up at the first hurdle. Too much choice especially when you have a lot going on is a hindrance rather than helpful. So when you buy from us you are also buying with the reassurance that we have your cortisol levels in mind ;~)
You can check out events taking place at our stores by clicking here to go to Born Together, our online listing site.
Every Monday (excluding bank holidays) Author of 'What Mother's Do' holds Mother's Talking sessions at our Stoke Newington store. Naomi's sessions are a great way to meet other new mothers and to gain acknowledgement for the job you are doing as a mother.
Gabrielle Palmer author of 'The Politics of Breastfeeding' was a guest at the Guardian
Aromatherapy Massage now availabe in the Birthing Suite at Southmead Hospital Bristol
Midwife and Accupuncture therapist Kath Allen was in the local news recently talking about this project that she initiated at Soutmead. The article appeared in the Bristol Evening Post. Kath is also available for private consultations - find her details on Born Together
Woman's Hour interview with Dr Penelope Leach Links to BBC i-player.
Great interview that explains the science behind how and why leaving your baby to cry causes baby stress.
Dr Penelope Leach says recent scientific tests show high levels of the stress hormone cortisol develop in babies when no one answers their cries
I love Oliver James's articles. His recent on questioning the long term implications of leaving a baby to cry is great.