Breastfeeding – why all the guilt?

Blog

I’ve become quite a fan of the Huffington Post – perhaps it is the lazy in me that enjoys the ping of an RSS feed, not requiring me to have to go to the newsagent.  I love information/articles/opinion pieces arriving on my computer without my having to go looking too hard.  However, in the past couple of days a Huffington Post article has really troubled me and I keep thinking about it.  For anyone who hasn’t seen Sarah Cawood’s post I attach it here, http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/sarah-cawood/what-if-breast-isnt-best_b_1667459.html
(more…)

Read post

Safe sleeping for babies

Blog

A baby’s sleeping patterns, or lack of, seem to be a major preoccupation of new parents these days.  I often hear that loaded question, “does your baby sleep through the night?” and am fascinated by the answers.  On most occasions I will challenge a group to find out what sleeping through the night means to each of them.  The answers are very varied – from a five hour stint of midnight to 5am, all the way to a twelve hour uninterrupted 7 til 7.  The majority of Mums are happy with a sleep through from a late-night (dream) feed til morning, i.e. the 7 or 8 hour stretch that we need to feel revitalised!  The question is, how can we optimise good sleeping and what are safe practices?
(more…)

Read post

Initial thoughts returning from MAMA

Blog

I’m sitting on a train heading back from Scotland to London and I’m really glad I have a long journey ahead of me. Time to reflect on a very busy three days, time to read through the copious notes I wrote during the sessions at the MAMA conference (www.mamaconference.co.uk) time to plan how I am going to get back there next year!   My first thoughts are more general.  How wonderful it was to have the luxury of so much time to spend with other doulas and people working in the world of birth; the chance to meet so many people who I have only ever met via forums, Facebook pages and emails; and hear some of my idols, for want of a better word, speaking.
(more…)

Read post

World Doula Week – Survey results

Blog

Happy World Doula Week! Now, there is no reason why you would necessarily know that it is World Doula Week, unless you are an avid fan of all things doula, but WDW is drawing to a close and I wanted to reference it! The exciting thing for me about WDW is it gave me the opportunity to revisit all my doula client information in order to complete a comprehensive survey by Doula UK to look into the effectiveness of doula support.

Members of Doula UK were asked to provide as much information about the clients they had supported, both birth and postnatal, in order to see just what a difference can be made by having emotional and practical support during that time. In over 1100 clients the results showed that the necessity for instrumental intervention or caesarean was only 12% as opposed to 37.3% (national figures from the Department of Health). And, breastfeeding results were stunning, with 93% initiating breastfeeding (as opposed to 74.1%), with 70% still exclusively breastfeeding at 6 weeks, agains t a 47% national rate. I felt incredibly proud to have contributed (or rather that my clients contributed) to those figures.
(more…)

Read post

The Birthplace Study, 2011

Blog

I wanted to give you all a summary of the Birthplace Study, which was published towards the end of 2011. It was a major study undertaken to assess the provision of services to women in labour. On the whole it was extremely positive. The media, of course, were rather sensationalist about the home birth statistics, which showed an increase in adverse perinatal outcomes for the baby in first time mothers. However, it is worth noting, having spoken to several midwives about this now, that all perinatal outcomes were listed together, from the very mild to the very serious. And, the other thing that midwives wanted to point out is that transferring to hospital from a home birth does not necessarily indicate a major problem requiring blue-lit ambulances, it can just be a decision by the mother that she requires more pain relief, or a concern that Mum is “failing to progress” satisfactorily. Anyway, I will let you read the summary (which I have adapted from a presentation by Julie Frohlich, the midwife in charge of “normalising birth” at St Thomas’s Hospital, where I sit on the Maternity Services Liaison Committee) and come to your own conclusions.
(more…)

Read post

Caesareans and “One World Birth”

Blog

Alto Films who made the brilliant documentary, “Doula!  The Ultimate Birth Companion” have set up a new website, http://www.oneworldbirth.net/ One World Birth is a free video resource about birth issues aimed at professionals, campaigners and parents who want to keep their finger on the pulse of what is happening in birth today.  There is a wealth of video clips on all topics birth-related with interviews from some of the most respected individuals in the world.  I am loving dipping into the videos and hearing so many opinions that echo my own about how women have become so fearful around birth.  I have been particularly saddened to hear of and read birth stories recently where women have felt so unsupported, out of control, bullied and cajoled into making decisions they don’t agree with.  No wonder the c-section rate is at almost 30% in London and the induction and intervention rates so incredibly high.  I appreciate that having a doula is not an option for everyone, or may not be something a couple feel comfortable with, so I am always happy to work antenatally with a couple – to spend time talking, listening, preparing and supporting them in the run up to the birth.  Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if that is something you feel would be of benefit.  I will happily tailor-make a package to suit you.
(more…)

Read post

Baby Led Weaning

Blog

I have taken the following extract from www.babyledweaning.com which has a lot of information if you need more …

What is baby-led weaning?

Weaning is the process of moving from a diet consisting only of breast milk to one which contains no breast milk. For practical purposes, in the UK, it can also be taken to refer to the transition from full formula feeding to a diet with no formula.

For most babies the introduction of solid foods marks the beginning of weaning. Baby-led weaning is an approach that allows the baby to initiate this move and to play an active role throughout, and it is feasible for most babies (Wright et al 2010).

Why is baby-led weaning a good thing?

If babies are not presented with opportunities to develop new skills at the time those skills are emerging, their development can be hampered. And, if their keenness to explore is blocked, they become frustrated. Babies will pull themselves to their feet and walk as soon as they are able – no earlier and no later – but only if they have been given the opportunity to do so. They are rarely allowed to show their readiness for solid foods in the same way; instead, the choice is usually made for them.
(more…)

Read post

Aromatherapy oils

Blog

I have promised so many classes over the years that I would let you know about my favourite Aromatherapy book. I have relied on “The Fragrant Pharmacy” by Valerie Worwood which has an excellent chapter on Babies and Children. We had a workshop with an Aromatherapist when training with Peter Walker who was at pains to explain that it is important not to overload a baby’s senses with lots of fragrances, especially chemical ones, and interfere with the Mother/baby smells. A lovely tip I learnt recently is to sleep on your baby’s blanket during pregnancy, take it with you to hospital so that your baby can be wrapped up in your smell after birth – especially lovely if you have to be separated for any reason.

Read post

Nappies and chemicals in baby-products

Blog

I have attempted to research into the tricky area of chemicals used in our everyday products. As many of you know I have been fairly vocal about how irresponsible some of the bigger brand name companies are in continuing to use chemicals in their products. The difficulty I have come up against is that there are plenty of environmentally responsible websites out there who make the subject very sensational, and I feel that most of us suffer a great deal of eco-guilt, particularly when it comes to our babies. So, I wanted to find specific information and give you some alternative choices.
(more…)

Read post

Mastitis

Blog

Mastitis is a subject that has come up several times in the past few months, so I thought I would pass on some of the information gleaned from my doula course about it.

Mastitis – inflammation of the breast tissue – is a painful condition that sometimes affects breastfeeding women. It can occur with or without the presence of infection, and is almost always attributable to poor milk flow. Its onset can be sudden; generally you will feel “achey” and feverish as if developing ‘flu’ and part of your breast will appear swollen, red (sometimes shiny) and feel hot and painful to the touch.
(more…)

Read post