Minimeltdowns – Guilt, guilt guilt!

#minimeltdowns

Guilt guilt guilt….. those three magic words

It’s been a little while since I checked in with everyone at the #minimeltdowns blog epicentre. How are you all doing? More importantly… has anyone made any baby steps towards getting help? I really hope so. Thoughts and actions all count.

Our son is now one year old and I’ve made the somewhat controversial decision, not to just have some ‘me’ time, but to be completely selfish and be ‘me’ from time to time. Idyllic as it sounds, it’s not without its various hurdles (let’s call them sleeping policemen so as not to over dramatise). Guilt, guilt, guilt is spray painted in blood red all over those, my sleeping policemen.

The sciencey bit…

Guilt is an emotion. It is one of those core, internal, innate states of being. Subtly different from a feeling, which is more the sense of being that arises from that core emotion (more on that in later blogs 😀 ).

Guilt is, of course 🙁 , pretty much classified as a “negative” emotion, along with some of our other old favourites, agony, grief and loneliness – oh, the joy of parenthood! (Fischer, Shaver, & Carnochan, 1990)

For simplicity’s sake, let’s think of guilt as remorse over a past action or thought. Also – now this may blow your mind – it’s usually as a result of an interaction with somebody or people. It infrequently happens just with your thoughts and actions alone.

“That teeny weeny voice inside my head berating me for what I’d done wrong that day'”… sound familiar?

If we all feel guilt to a certain extent, how can we then turn it into something positive?

I have some good news (especially for those wellbeing sadists amongst us 😈 ). It has been found that the basis of guilt is also the ability to feel others’ pain and the desire to maintain connection with that someone else. That’s not the worst news I’ve had this week.

Negative guilt really gets in the way of maintaining healthy relationships while at the same time holding ourselves and our wee ones/family/friends to unhealthy standards.

Used in a positive way, guilt helps us feel empathy, connect to our child/partner/best friend, and get busy making those needed (read needed NOT needed and wanted – let’s not give ourselves too much to do) changes.

I’m sitting here writing this blog entry whilst gently recovering from a night of cocktails and dancing with my new parent friends 😀 . Over the course of this past year, I would usually have felt guilt, grief and potentially agony (especially if the headache had kicked in 🙁 😉 ). I’m actually now actually sitting here, enjoying a relaxing cuppa with my lovely husband in the sunshine, chatting through last night’s frivolities and antics and feeling re-energised for the week ahead with my little, gorgeous boy.

Previous #minimeltdowns blogs….

Minimeltdowns – Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Pre and Post Baby: A Closer Look

Minimeltdowns – Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Pre and Post Baby: An Introduction

 

Minimeltdowns – Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Pre and Post Baby: A Closer Look

#minimeltdowns

A bit about me

I started writing this blog as I feel both emotional and mental health of new parents is a much discussed, little done about topic. I want this blog to inspire understanding and action. I am by no means an expert in perinantal (peri meaning around and natal meaning birth) mental health. However, I feel that talking from experience makes this blog meaningful in a different way.

Why #minimeltdowns? I experienced my first mini meltdown post birth at about 14 weeks. There was nothing mini about it. In fact, it was pretty devastating and resulted in a broken phone, a flooded car engine and 12 hours where I could not talk to my husband or care for my baby. I know for a fact that other new mum friends were experiencing similar feelings and the label #minimeltdowns was the one term that we seemed to feel comfortable using to explain what was actually going on.


A relaxing exercise to try

I would like you to count very slowly from 10 to 1 in a moment.

Close your eyes, try to focus completely and utterly on your breath, envisage the in breath and the out breath.

How does that feel? Perhaps a small sense of calm in your busy day? Now, imagine how helpful those 10 seconds could be when you’ve not slept for 3 nights, your baby is screaming for its 7th feed of the day, it’s only midday and you are quite literally at breaking point.

Admittedly, it does take some practice but it can be transformational in bringing your stress level down a few notches and giving you that bit of extra head space and energy to resume willingly with the 8th feed of the day.

We did this exercise at the coffee morning and the calm in the room was, quite literally, amazing.   Even the 30 plus babies in the room had quieted and stopped fussing as much by count 7.


COFFEE MORNING GET-TOGETHER – WHAT WE TALKED ABOUT

Did you know?

It is estimated that 2 in 5 new parents experience mental health issues (figure from the Royal College of Nursing study carried out on 2,000 new parents in 2015).

We ran an Emotional and Mental Health for New Parents get-together a few weeks ago at our local pre and post natal coffee morning. There were 30 new parents at the coffee morning. That means that around 12 of us could be suffering with a mental health issue. What I found fascinating about this study are two things:

  1. how common these feelings actually are amongst new parents
  2. we are not necessarily seeking help – under half of new parents with emotional/mental health concerns don’t seek help… hoping that the feelings would simply go away. I find this so sad.

We structured the coffee morning around three key questions and had fantastic input from Rebecca Hirons, a clinical psychologist specialising in perinatal mental health.


What do people mean when they talk about
emotional/mental health concerns for new parents and how can we better identify these issues?

There is so much pressure to be happy and excited about the birth of your little bundle of joy. As new parents, we often feel like we have to be on top of everything, commonly feeling worried that you’re a bad parent if you’re struggling with your mental health.

The spectrum of emotional and mental health issues facing new parents is huge, ranging from the hormonal tears and the frustration of sleep deprivation, to pre and post natal anxiety disorders and depression (including perinatal depression, perinatal anxiety, perinatal OCD and postpartum PTSD). These feelings are common to both mum AND dad.


How can we identify if what we are feeling is normal or something more serious?

Official guidelines say that if you have felt low for most of the day for a period of 14 consecutive days then you could be experiencing something more than the normal post baby emotional rollercoaster. It is much easier said than done to try and recognise this.

I’ve put together a summary of the discussions that were going on in the room when we talked about this hugely important topic.

‘Normal’ new parent experiences Maybe time to talk to a medical professional
Not having the energy or time to feel enjoyment from usually enjoyable activities but recognising that when things get a bit normal, they’ll be a welcome distractionLosing interest in normal things that give you a happy vibe and not seeing how you could enjoy them again
Baby brain!Finding it difficult to focus, concentrate or remember over the medium term
Feeling anxious about the new situation you are inPanic attacks (a racing heart, palpitations, shortness of breath, shaking or feeling physically ‘detached’ from your surroundings)
Feeling very happy and very quickly feeling very sad but understanding why this isAbrupt mood swings
Becoming easily frustratedFeeling disproportionate anger
Feeling too tired or too emotional to chat to everyone all the timeWithdrawing from friends and family over a period of a few weeks
Thinking “how on earth can I know how to look after a little human being”Persistent, generalised worry, often focused on fears for the health, wellbeing or safety of the baby
Leaving your baby to cry and wishing someone else could look after them for a whileHaving thoughts of harming your baby or yourself

Finally, something important to bear in mind….. if there is past history of feeling mentally unwell in a close family member or importantly if there has been a mental health issue pre/post baby with your mum or sister for example, you could be more vulnerable.


What are the impacts upon
family life?

We concluded that sleep deprivation is a hugely disruptive in the first few months. It makes it so hard to know what feelings and behaviours are common to new parents and what feelings and behaviours are more serious.

  • The relationship between mum and dad is so important but is so hard at the same time. The transition from just the two of you to, boom, now there are three of you can, quite literally, be shocking.
  • The confidence of mum and dad can be easily eroded over a couple of weeks with many new parents questioning their ability to care for little one.
  • Self-confidence can plummet and that combined with recovery for mum, trying to maintain a household, body image fears, establishing feeding and routines…..

My advice, take some time to talk honestly about how you are both feeling and decide what action you can take to start to help each other. How is dad feeling emotionally? Men’s mental health is frequently low on the list of priorities after baby is born. Stay vigilant…..especially when dad is sleep deprived, expected to carry on with his busy day job and is seeing mum struggling but often feeling powerless to help in any meaningful way.


What
help is there is out there, why aren’t people always accessing help and is it actually any good?

Most of us concluded at the coffee morning that our greatest challenge is recognising what is normal and what is not. Do we need help? Do we want help? Do we feel comfortable asking for help?

The first port of call is the GP, and it is also worth having a chat with the health visitor (both of whom can be fantastic but neither of whom is usually a mental health specialist and can also be time pressured). Here is an interesting thought, they are both there to help but may not always be able to identify what you need.  How can you ensure you get access to the help you need?

Why don’t we seek help? Often it is because we don’t feel we really need it and hope that the situation will change when things get a bit easier. Things will certainly change, but why take that risk? New parents can also feel unwilling to disclose or discuss their problem because of fear of stigma and negative perceptions of them as a parent. Maybe you simply don’t feel comfortable talking about it with anyone. Maybe you don’t have confidence in the medical system.

There are three main types of help out there:
Self-help
Talking Therapy
Medication

I believe they are all very good…. but you may not find the one or the combination that best suits you straight away. It may not always be obvious, easy or immediately effective. But don’t give up. There will be the right combination of help for you out there.


ACTION – DO SOMETHING TODAY

Your GP is generally the first port of call as they are the gateway into accessing the help you need.


SELF-HELP RESOURCES

Self-help can be extremely powerful in combination with any course of action.

This list is a summary of websites to take a look at: a mixture of advice, self help and information.

https://www.covwarkpt.nhs.uk/iapt – for services in Coventry and Warwickshire and the IAPT national directory

https://www.mind.org.uk/ – a great go to for information and advice

http://www.mentalhealthmatters.com/ – offers a fantastic helpline (although services may not be available in your area)

http://www.dadsmatteruk.org/ – resources specifically for dads

http://www.pandasfoundation.org.uk/ – information and local groups

https://www.covwarkpt.nhs.uk/dont-panic – self help resources

https://rethinkyourmind.co.uk/– self help resources

 

Previous #minimeltdowns blogs….

Minimeltdowns – Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Pre and Post Baby: An Introduction

 

Minimeltdowns – Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Pre and Post Baby: An Introduction

#minimeltdowns

Welcome to my first #minimeltdowns post. A bit daunting to say the least but here we go….

My aim in starting this blog is simple – to help you to understand, to talk and importantly to action.

I’m extremely passionate about mental health and having recently given birth I wanted to be able to use my experiences to help other people. We ran an Emotional and Mental Health for New Parents get-together a few weeks ago at our local post natal coffee morning. The feedback was good, so I wanted to start this blog by sharing what we talked about and signposting you to some resources that may help.

You’re busier and more stretched (don’t take that literally mums) than you probably ever thought possible, I get that, which is why I’m going to keep things brief but helpful. I am however going to point you in the direction of the full article for the details and the resources that go along with this post.

2 in 5 new parents experience mental health issues

Poll of 2,000 new mothers and fathers, The Royal College of Nursing (RCN)

There were 30 new parents at the coffee morning, which means that around 12 people who came could be suffering with a mental health issue. That’s huge but it is sadly the reality.

What is even more heart breaking is that half of these new parents are not seeking any sort of professional help.

The spectrum of emotional and mental health issues facing new parents is huge, ranging from the hormonal tears and the frustration of sleep deprivation to pre and post natal anxiety disorders and depression (including perinatal depression, perinatal anxiety, perinatal OCD and postpartum PTSD). These feelings are common to both mum AND dad.

Official guidelines say feeling low for 14 consecutive days is a sign that you should seek help.

There is help out there, it may not always be obvious, easy or immediately effective, but it is SO important to seek help. For information on how to do this, click here.

What’s next?

For further information and links/resources see Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Pre and Post Baby: A Closer Look

And of course, look for the next instalment of #minimeltdowns

The Top 3 Reasons Why People Attend a Private Antenatal Course

During the past year we’ve been listening to our clients and finding out why they attended Bump2baby Reality antenatal courses, and why they’d advise other parents-to-be to come along. Many people attend so that they can meet other people going along the same journey (a brilliant reason) but there are other reasons too.

Here are the top 3 reasons.

  1. You will learn much much more than you expect to during our antenatal courses. Not just about the stages of labour and pain relief but also how your birth partner can help you the most – the do’s and don’t of being a birth partner. We also ensure that you’ll feel knowledgeable about all types of birth, whether thats a normal birth, an assisted delivery or a caesarean section, because although we promote normal birth (and we’ll show you relaxation and breathing techniques that work) we know that sometimes your baby will have his or her own idea of how birth is going to go! Combine all this with top tips on soothing babies and coping in the early days following birth and you have a well rounded, fun and informative antenatal course!
  2. Support following birth. We are passionate about continuing to support you after your baby is born – home visits to help with feeding, a first aid course and a weekly coffee morning where you can access professional support, a cup of tea or coffee, and a shoulder to cry on if needed! Plus the warmth from other Mums and Dads that is always present at our coffee mornings.
  3. Increased confidence. Becoming a mother or a father is a huge change and many new parents can feel inadequate when they compare themselves to others. Bump2baby Reality encourage you to be you, to know that we are all individuals and each baby is an individual too. During the antenatal course you will start to investigate your support network and learn ways to cope with this new challenge.

Explore our website to discover more about Bump2baby Reality, or visit
our Antenatal Courses page to find out more about our antenatal classes in Leamington, Kenilworth and Rugby.

5 THINGS TO DO WHEN THINKING ABOUT GOING BACK TO WORK AFTER MATERNITY LEAVE

 

Bump2baby Reality welcomes a guest blog by Sally Dhillon, Career-Mums www.career-mums.co.uk helping parents to return to work following a career break.
They run Relaunch your Career workshops in Leamington, Solihull and Birmingham and personal return to work coaching sessions by Skype.

Maternity leave passes so quickly – I remember being so focussed on my little one, that I quickly forgot that I used to hold down a responsible job and have a rather full life. So if you’re maternity leave is approaching the end, here are 5 things you should do when thinking about going back to work:

Workout what you want from work

This is an ideal time to review your career and understand what you want. With changing family circumstances your attitudes to work may have altered and you may find that what you needed, enjoyed and challenged you previously just doesn’t make sense any more. Ask yourself these questions: • Why do I want to return to work? • What did I get from doing my job? What do I need from it in the future? • Can I continue to work in the same way as before my maternity leave? • When is the right time for me to return? Make the most of your Keeping in Touch days – see them as a trial for being back in your workplace – that’s putting your employer on trial to ensure you are comfortable continuing to work there. If you need to change anything, say, your hours or work, don’t be afraid to state clearly what you want.

Find childcare that cares for your family

Finding childcare that works for you and your family members is essential to a successful return to work but can sometimes feel like a huge challenge. There is a range of childcare options available depending on your requirements and your budget, from family member, childminder, nursery, au pair or nanny. Look at all the options available to you, keep an open-mind and tune-in to what feels right for you and your family (partner, child and siblings). Find child-care that fits with your budget, any need for flexibility and that feels right – if you are not confident that your child is being properly looked after by your standards, then you are not going to be able to focus on your work.

Discuss domestic changes

One of the most overlooked areas when preparing to return to work, is dealing with the domestic workload. The chances are that whilst you have been on maternity leave you have picked up additional domestic chores and I’m constantly amazed at how much laundry and cleaning a tiny new human can create. This is an ideal time to discuss with your partner how the domestic burden is going to be shared out between you, or alternative methods for getting things done, such as hiring a cleaner, outsourcing the ironing or getting in a gardener. It’s also worth thinking about having a “good enough” home, rather going for show-house perfection.

Get a Grip on Guilt

As new mothers we are socially conditioned to feel guilty. Guilty about going back to work, guilty for taking so much time off work, guilty for wanting to meet up with friends without the offspring in tow, etc. After finding good child-care, guilt is the second-most reported problem that working mothers face. As soon as our children “sniff” that we might be feeling guilty about something, such as being left with a child-minder for the first time, they will rise to the occasion and make sure they make the most of it. Be confident about your choices and your reasons for returning to work. In your mind, re-think/re-frame any guilty feelings as less emotional dissatisfactions and see whether this makes a difference to how you feel.

Do what it takes to thrive

Develop a plan to not only survive your return to work experience, but to positively thrive and become a flourishing family. Find out what is important to you and your family and make sure you spend time every week doing this – whether it be spending special family time together, being productive in your work, having adult-only social time, making time for your hobbies. Learn from other families – what works for them? How do they organise their time to ensure they have time for each other.

Preparing to return to work after maternity leave can feel overwhelming. Ask your family and friends for help or contact us at www.career-mums.co.uk.

Join our free Facebook group “Career-Mums Club” for daily support and inspiration for helping you juggle work and parenting.

Career Mums

Parent Guilt

When you become a Mum or Dad you gain a whole new emotion… parent guilt.

You’ve spent your life up until now imagining what life will be like having a baby, or being pregnant. We all have a preconceived idea of what kind of parent we will be. I always thought I would be the mum that was super chilled and baby ate only healthy food. But here, 18 months on, that’s not me at all. I also said my baby would never have a dummy, she does. I faltered on day 3, post-birth and gave her one in favour of having a moments peace.

Being a parent is hard. Every single day having to look after this little bundle is the hardest job you’ll ever do. But you always knew that; no one ever thought it would be easy. I don’t know about you, but I never expected to feel so conflicted about even the tiniest of things.

“Am I wrapping her warm enough? Has she had enough to drink/eat? Is she stimulated enough? Is she developing right?”

I bet you’ve thought those things at least a few times? I always worry that I will miss something and constantly feel guilty for situations I can’t control. It’s either me being at work, letting her watch CBeebies, checking my phone ever so often or letting her eat a biscuit; to name but a few.

But with the new year I’ve decided I will have a new mindset. I’m not going to feel guilty for everything, because I’m doing the best I can. And we all are. None of us are trying to do a bad job, we are all muddling through the best we can to get to bedtime.

So even though the parent guilt is inbuilt in our psyche, try and take a deep breath and think

You’ve got this.

You’re an amazing Mum or Dad and your baby will be just fine.

Why don’t you join us at Coffee Morning on a Wednesday at Leek Wooton Village Hall and catch up with other new parents making their way through parenthood one step at a time? We would love to have you and it’s a great way to meet mums and dads with babies the same age as yours.

Find us on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.

My Birth Story using Hypnobirthing Techniques

Hypnobirthing is not something that can be ‘sold’ to you. You need to have the desire to explore it and want to learn more! Here is a stunning birth story from one of our clients who did just that. After attending an antenatal course and a 3 hour hypnobirthing workshop with Bump2baby Reality she was empowered to make the right choices for her and her baby. Her partner was able to support her physically, emotionally and environmentally during the whole journey.

We hope this story will inspire more women to explore using hypnobirthing for their labour and birthing journey.

“My birth story, I hope it will inspire another mum to be to go down the hypnobirthing route and have as much a pain free delivery as possible.

I went to work as usual on Wednesday morning and it was not until around 10 am that I started feeling some tummy pains. Not having had any Braxton hicks before, I had no idea whether they were contractions or just an upset tummy. I put it down to something I must have had last night and didn’t think any more about it.

It was not until after we had dinner and were watching TV that the discomfort came back. They were more like sharp pains very similar to having gas! As we went to bed at around 11:00, I leaked a bit of fluid on the bed. That raised the alarm for my partner and in spite of me reassuring him that I felt fine and doubted baby would arrive this early, I was in my 35 weeks, he insisted upon packing my hospital bag and a second one with baby essentials (ready just in case).

By 1a.m. I kept having the upset tummy sort of pain and called the hospital to have a better idea of what was happening. The midwife at the end of the line concluded that it must be a tummy bug since all I felt like was going to the loo, which I had been couple of times already! I was told to call back if ever anything changes. Based on this advice, I persuaded my partner to go back to sleep as if anything was to happen that night, he needed as much rest as he could possibly get. I stayed in our living room (downstairs), sat on my birthing ball and for some reason decided to listen to my hypnobirthing mp3s. I still didn’t think that I was in labour. The hypnobirthing mp3s always managed to make me feel relaxed and fall asleep in no time. I kept listening to them and as and when I felt any pressure/surges I would get on my ball and visualise beautiful air balloons flying away as I exhaled. I suppose the amount of practice that I had put into practicing hypnobirthing, made it all seem so natural. I didn’t need to think about visualisations, it just came to me at that point. Surprisingly I even managed to nap in between the surges.

At around 3:30 am, I noticed some blood as I went for a wee and I started to get concerned. I woke up my partner and we phoned the hospital again with the latest update. We were told to come in this time as the situation looked more serious. By the time we got our belongings ready and reached the hospital it must have been around 5a.m. I was initially seen by the midwife who had me hooked up to a machine to measure the “contractions” and then had a vaginal examination done by the gynaecologist. They both confirmed that it was a “show” and I had already dilated 3 cm to 7 cm maximum. At this point the doctor said – you are going to have your baby today, you are already in labour! We pretty much got freaked out as we hadn’t prepared ourselves for the arrival of our baby at that early stage. We were then taken to the labour ward and electro straps were put around my belly to monitor baby’s heart. Helen, I remembered you told us that the hospital had mobile straps which permitted moving around the room and I asked the midwives to get me those. I wasn’t too happy at being asked not to move around and to stay in one place. It is more easily said than done during surges. I found walking around the room helped me to be on top of the pain and whenever the surges got intense I would ask my partner to apply pressure on my lower back or massage my back as I leant against the bed or furniture. This simple gesture brought me much relief as the pressure applied stopped the pain from escalating. He also put on the hypnobirthing mp3s which allowed me to have small naps in between the surges. The night shift staff was changing and before leaving the midwife told us we weren’t having the baby that day as I wasn’t feeling the contractions yet and was too relaxed. I chose to ignore her comment and kept on practicing my ‘up’ breathing.

Partner’s comment – There was a lot of activity outside as we were by the nurse’s station and there were other ladies shouting in pain – I took it on me to control the environment and closed the door and took note every time a midwife change occurred – confirming who is supposed to be the dedicated one looking after my wife. I also asked for a birthing ball and to be made aware of any medical advice they had as the wife was not in a frame of mind to take notice. I had to choose my timing to share the information and the right encouraging word with mother to be.

As the surges became more intense, I was asked to lie down in bed since the midwives couldn’t get the mobile straps to work. They asked me whether I wanted the gas and air. Lying down was quite uncomfortable for me and I thought I would give the gas and air a try, if it helps to take the discomfort away then why not. But to my utter surprise, I actually felt more pain when I was on it. I gave it a go three times before deciding it just wasn’t for me. The visualisations were giving me much more relief whereas the gas and air was just accentuating the pain. As the surges became more and more intense, I felt like pushing but lying on the bed wasn’t making it any easier. I kept going with my visualisations and as you mentioned before Helen, there were times I did have to switch between visualisations and it helped to have practiced more than one (and almost every day since our hypnobirthing course). With each surge I had to push myself up from the bed and soon my arms ached and it started tiring me out. The midwife asked whether she could do another vaginal examination, to which I agreed. She sounded surprised as she said I was 9 cm dilated and baby’s head was only 3 cm away and she could feel it. She told me I was so quiet and calm she had no idea I had reached that far and asked me whether I felt like pushing to which I replied positively.

Knowing baby’s head was coming down gave me a massive encouragement and I climbed down from the bed and told the midwife, I will need the mobile straps now. She got them strapped on, which she couldn’t do earlier as they weren’t charging and they had to change the machine. I asked her to lift the bed as I wanted to use it as a support to squat. As the next surge came, I kept telling myself, I am expanding, I am getting larger and larger to make space for my baby, I am expanding and baby will slide through. I also used the J breathing that we were taught and imagined baby turning in the right position at the right time when coming out. The midwife then told me she could see the top of baby’s head and it seems she has lots of hair. My partner was still massaging my back and applying pressure points. With the second surge, I hummed as I breathed out and baby’s head appeared. I had my eyes closed as I didn’t want to be distracted by what’s going on around me. I could hear the joy and exclamation that baby had already opened her eyes and was looking around, and then I heard her first cry. The midwife held baby’s head as I concentrated on the third surge and baby’s body slid out. I had no tearing and didn’t require any stitches. Baby self-latched and took to breastfeeding instantly as soon as we made skin to skin contact and she was very calm. As I thanked the midwife for looking after me, she replied, on the contrary thank you for allowing me to see such a wonderful delivery, it is probably only the second time that I have seen such a calm delivery.

Partner’s comment – Mother was a very strong and determined to have stayed calm. I was not too sure of what to expect and my positioning with respect to applying pressure on mother’s back. The midwife Laura was great in always communicating that she will work around us at all times and as a team our wonderful baby girl was born.

Get the most out of your midwife

pregnant lady talking to midwifeGetting the most out of your midwife is essential when you are carrying precious cargo! We don’t have long with our community midwives and that time is precious. You want to make sure that you’ve had your baby checked, and that you’re well too. Here are some tips to maximise that time.

  1. Take a list of what you want to ask in, but be realistic, midwives only have 15 minutes’ max (unless it’s your first appointment) so don’t expect them be able to answer 40 in-depth questions.
  2. Ask her if you are supposed to be doing anything at this point of your pregnancy. From being offered the whooping cough jab to taking an appropriate multivitamin, it’s useful to know if you can do anything to help you and baby.
  3. Record the heartbeat. If you want others to hear baby’s heartbeat, you can record it on your phone, just make sure you know how to do it before you get in to the room.
  4. Ask about hospital tours. Warwick and George Eliot do walks around Labour Suite. Coventry have tours around Lucina, the birthing unit, but not Labour Ward. Top tip – book in early for all hospitals.
  5. When you are 20 weeks plus you can ask for your MAT-B1 form for work (it officially confirms you will be taking maternity leave/shared parental leave) but midwives can only issue one copy. Remember to ask for it at your 25-week appointment (if you haven’t already) and take a copy before giving it in.
  6. As you get closer to the end, ask your midwife to confirm the phone numbers for the hospital are on the front of the notes so you can call as and when the time comes.
  7. If you are unhappy with your midwife, for whatever reason, you can change your care. Call the community number and ask to speak to either a supervisor of midwives or the community manager to change your midwife. Just so you are aware, it may involve you having to register at another doctor’s surgery in some cases. Ultimately try and enjoy the appointments if you can. They are special times where you can focus on baby and hear them.

It is best that you leave the listening into baby, to the midwives as they listen for intricate parts of the heartbeat. Having your own heartbeat monitor is fun, but please never replace seeking medical advice if your baby slows down or stops moving.

It’s All About You

baby feetThe Bump2baby blog is having a bit of a relaunch, we have loved having the Decaff Diaries tell us all about life as a new mummy, we thank our Decaff Diary mummy for all of the top tips and sharing the ups and downs of becoming a new parent, but now we’re adding something new into the mix. You!

Without our lovely mums we wouldn’t be where we are so with the blog we’re hoping to make it yours. Clare and Helen will be asking you about things on the Facebook Group and Page and we want to know your experiences. There is a wealth of knowledge amongst you all and now we are hoping to pass it on to other mums out there!

So to start it all off we both asked:

What was the best piece of advice you were given either in antenatal classes, by your friends and family or by midwives/doctors about labour and birth? What is your top tip you would like to pass onto other mums to be?

Well, you all came up trumps (thank you!!) and we found out some fab tips. Our top 2 are:

  1. Most of you mentioned that being told to go with the flow and take it as it comes, or embracing the “chaos”, was the best piece of advice you were given. B2B wholeheartedly agrees with that. It does wonders for the birth experience and also supports your emotional wellbeing as well.
  2. Maternity pads came in a close second, the resounding message was that you cannot buy too many! So make sure you’re well stocked and that you are prepared to wear two at the same time… no not next to each other, from your belly button to your bum, the post-birth period is not to be reckoned with!

We had a lot of other fab little tips as well including pre-cooking lots of food and having it in the freezer ready for after the birth. Stews and casseroles are going to be great now that winter is ahead but equally a lighter dish like a spag bol would be lovely in the summer months. Another tip was to have some treats like chocolate bars in your hospital bag, also having 2 bags packed and ready – one as an “urgent” bag and the other as a “the days that follow” bag. Before going home, one mum recommended practising again and again how to use the car seat! It’s much easier without your precious cargo inside waiting to go home.

Some of the tips talked about coping with labour itself, such as keep your head calm and also counting through your contractions. Once you are in established labour you could count and know that, for example, 7 is when your contraction is at it’s highest, but by 14 it’s over. Always remember to trust your body, women were designed to give birth and your body knows what to do!

A little more light heartedly, one woman said not to bother with a labour outfit, because the chances are you won’t even care what you’re wearing, or not.

For when you’ve given birth, being able to pour water on yourself when you’re having a wee soothes any sore stitches down below, one mum mentioned using a sports bottle as it has a better aim for when you’re passing urine. Just something to bear in mind.

Finally, a mummy told us a fantastic metaphor for labour. Imagine paddling through a pool with a pool float between your legs… it will feel like it takes forever but you will get to the end. When you are in labour and feel like it will never end, remember you got to the other side of that pool eventually. Another mum said just to remember that when you are in labour you are so lucky to be able to have a baby, knowing that many out there would wish to be in your position, so spend a moment taking stock of what is happening… you’re becoming a parent!

So what do you think of these Mum’s tips? We love all of them, are there any you would add?

Decaf Diaries Life as a New Mummy Episode 6

coffee cup and diaryOur mummy blog continues, read the trials and tribulations of the past 4 weeks from weaning, baby on the move and sleepless nights plus the fun of staying away over night with friends! We hope you enjoy….

Friday 1st April

“While we’re in the mood – cold jelly and custard…”

The kitchen looks like a scene from CSI – possibly not helped by the plastic sheeting and remanence of the beetroot risotto. Weaning suddenly switched up a notch a couple of weeks ago, with a sudden desire to try everything (particularly if mummy happened to be eating it). So fish pie, bolognese, lentil stew and random risottos are now on the menu. My only concern is the discovery that Weetabix appears to exit in pretty much the same form as it entered!

Friday 25th March

“So fresh, so clean…”

Following the success of our last cross-country jaunt, we thought we’d brave a night away in London over Easter to visit old friends. After dinner in the hotel restaurant, husband set off for an evening out while I looked forward to an evening in the hotel with LO, comprising of a bath, kindle, chocolate and an early night (how times change!).

Now that our little mountain goat is on the move, nappy changing has to be done a) swiftly and b) within easy reach of all equipment – which is probably why, in my haste, I ended up rubbing on Morrison’s mild n’ minty and not Diprobase. At least it improved the aroma of the room from cauliflower cheese, after a little post-dinner reflux. Wednesday 16th March

“I feel the sky tumbling down…”

We’ve moved onto a more absorbent night time nappy recently – which I’m sure weighs in at about 2kg come 7am – but at least the leaking seems to have stopped.

Unfortunately, the added weight was more than the nappy-bin handle could sustain this morning, and it was in slow-motion horror that I watched a cascade of dirty nappies tumble down the stairs.

Thankfully, I could administer much needed sugar having stashed some emergency mug-cake mixes after a previous nappy-based incident!

Monday 21st March

“Bump, bump, bump…”

We’re on the move. Suddenly the world needs exploring (albeit in reverse and not that quickly) but there are places to go and things to see and rolling is not enough!

The LO has been watching her playmates for a while now and decide to launch into action this week, resulting in a quick trip to the local Swedish furniture store for safety gates and other such supplies.

It’s difficult not to develop an irrational fear of corners when you begin exploring the world of baby-proofing your abode. As it happens, she managed to fall into the path of a stray musical instrument and bump her head this afternoon, resulting in a nice purple bruise to explain to daddy. So, on realising not every point or rough edge can be protected against, we have rubber-ended the coffee table and left it at that (for now).

Monday 14th March

“Ah, sugar, sugar…”

Having made a good start to weaning I thought we’d cracked it – how foolish! A series of coughs colds and teething meant we were back on the milk feeds and cold fruit purée for a couple of weeks, disrupting the well-organised, wholesome meal plan.

Currently, the devil’s work that is fromage frais, is the only thing to tempt her from tightly clamped lips – “Homemade cauliflower cheese – urgh, not hungry thanks. Ooh, Petit Filous? Don’t mind if I do!” Mummy 0, baby 1. But as I’m fairly certain one cannot survive on curdled dairy alone, I persist.

It occurred to me that she likes her reflection at the moment (at least it works for cleaning teeth). So sitting with the bathroom mirror on the kitchen table, we managed to eat a few spoonful’s of carrot and lentils – just like the good little baby in the magic window! Ha ha – mummy 1, baby 1 (for now).

Sunday 6th March

“Take your mama out…”

I think I’ve definitely earned my scout’s badge in organisation this weekend: everything packed for a Mother’s Day weekend away at premier inn in Cambridge with room to spare in the boot!

There was only minor incident before we left when husband was getting the LO to ‘sign’ my card – with a Sharpie -which then required assistance as she had managed to doodle over her entire face and looked like an extra from Braveheart! Luckily there isn’t much in this world which can’t be erased, cleaned or improved with a wet wipe!

Lesson learnt: she is quicker than you think!

Wednesday 9th March

“Sisters are doing it for themselves…”

Finally beginning to feel like a human being again after the cough-cold-conjunctivitis trio have played their encore!

So for International Women’s Day yesterday, I did a load of washing, ironing, cooked an apology Toad-in-the-hole (I was really so grumpy in the morning) and took care of the baby. How we have moved on!

However, I should add that I actually enjoyed (most of) these tasks, as it meant I got to spend the day with my gorgeous girl – who has just mastered rolling, blowing raspberries and sloppy kisses. So although I didn’t discover a world cure or get paid for anything I accomplished yesterday, I did go to bed with a smile.

Friday 4th March

“The 7 stages of sleeplessness”

CONFUSION: but I’ve changed and fed you AND you’ve had Calpol! DENIAL: that clock does not say 3:20am JEALOUSY: you had how much sleep? MARTYRDOM: sleep is for the weak! DESPAIR: I’m never going to sleep again – ever! ACCEPTANCE: that clock does say 3:50am HOPE: it’s fine – I’ll nap in the morning when she does, or, we’ll watch Babytv til our eyes bleed!