Be Prepared for the Christmas Rush

Are we in the middle of a Christmas Baby Boom?

Over the last month or so I have had a lot of enquiries for HypnoBirthing and BabyCalm courses, often from friends of mums and dads who have had calm births and now have calm babies, thanks to these courses. However, I can’t fit everyone in and it upsets me to have to turn down people who I know I could help to have easier births and a happier experience of early parenting. It hurts especially when I am unable to help people who have been referred to me by happy clients (who are like family).

So, I beseech you, do not be afraid to contact me earlier than you think is necessary. If you call me when you are 35 weeks pregnant, I may not be able to fit you into one of my classes, and if you contact me when your baby is 12 weeks old I may not be able to fit you into a BabyCalm Mother & Baby course.

Do feel free to contact me in your first or second trimester – if you’re the first to book a HypnoBirthing course of BabyCalm Antenatal Workshop I may even reschedule it to a day that suits you. By the same token, do feel free to book a BabyCalm post-natal course in the first few weeks of parenthood or even, as some do, before your baby is born. I keep my courses small so that you have chance to ask the questions you need answers to and so that you can get to know the other parents well, which has led to lots of groups of friends being made.

Alternatively, if you have a group of friends in a similar position as you i.e. pregnant or a new parent, I may be able to schedule a course for your group – you can but ask!

I hope this helps anyone considering booking a course. I am already taking bookings for 2013 courses so do contact me if you think you’d like to make a future booking.

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C-Sections and Soothing Crying Babies

My media appearances are a bit like buses with several in one day today. Check out the latest (July) copy of Practical Parenting Magazine to see my articles about C-Sections and Crying Babies.

HypnoBirthing can be adapted as childbirth progresses; it can even be used in an elective c-section. HypnoBirthing is not prescriptive about how/where your birth should be but it does give you the confidence to make the decisions that are right for you and your baby as your birth experience unfolds.

Meanwhile, massage can be used to soothe a crying baby. In Practical Parenting I detail what specific strokes could soothe your baby (and you).

What do I need to buy?

Due to popular demand, I’m adding to my Hospital Bag post with what else you need to have for your baby. I remember being so bamboozled by the array of items that I left it to about 35 weeks to start buying and only then after a panic-ridden call to my mum who used terms such as romper and sleep suit as though I should know what these meant. Here’s a run-down of what I think you need.

Baby Clothing

  • Body Suits –these are like 1980’s bodies that some of us are old enough to have worn. Can be short or long-sleeved and have poppers at crotch
  • Romper Suits – like a jumpsuit with arms and legs but no feet. Buy ones with poppers down the middle.
  • Sleep Suits – like a romper suit with feet.
  • Socks
  • Booties
  • Hat – either woollen for winter or sun hat for summer although newborns should never be in direct sunlight.
  • Grobag – This is a sleeping bag for babies. I highly recommend them. They come in 1.0 tog for summer and 2.5tog for winter www.gro-store.co.uk/sleeping/grobag-baby-sleep-bags.html

Changing Kit

  • Try to have a nappy changing station both up and down stairs. You don’t want to be rushing upstairs several times a day to change nappies, especially if there has been a leakage.
  • Nappy sacs
  • Baby wipes – avoid any with alcohol or added moisturiser. You baby’s bum doesn’t need anything extra. Try Huggies Pure
  • Cotton Wool – use cotton wool in preference for at least 6 weeks. Wipes can be too drying initially.
  • Nappy cream, such as Sudacrem or Bepanthem.
  • Changing Mat
  • Nappy Bucket. You don’t need an expensive ‘disposal system’, you just need a cheap plastic bucket.
  • Top’n’Tail bowl – opinion is divided on the usefulness of these bowls. I personally found them useful.
  • Change bag – there are some gorgeous change bags available, with gorgeous price-tags. Personally I used a satchel I already had which my husband didn’t mind being seen out with.

If using cloth nappies you will need:

  • Cloth nappies x 24
  • Nappy wraps x 5+
  • Nappy liners
  • Nappy Grips, if your nappy doesn’t come with fastening

If using disposables get a few packs in but don’t overdo it because babies grow quickly. Mine were in Size 2 within 10 days.

Out and About

  • Pushchair/Pram – Ensure it suits your lifestyle. Will it get onto a bus, will it fit in your car, will it manage steps you use every day? I’d advise you go to a showroom and wheel a few around. Take some shopping to hang off the handle bars and see how they manoeuvre. You will need to buy a cosy-toes or add blankets.
  • Sling/Papoose – You can opt for something like a soft structured carrier, a ring sling or a wrap-style. The BabyCalm Shop has lots of styles and designs and videos of how to use most of them too: BabyCalm Shop 
  • Car-seats – I’d highly recommend an ISOFIX seat so you know it’s installed correctly. This is one of the few things you must buy brand-new.

Bath time

  • Some people just use the kitchen sink or you can buy a basic bath for £10. I used a Supabath  to avoid bending whilst other people use Tummy Tubs
  • Hooded Towels
  • Small sponge
  • Bath wash

Feeding

If you are breastfeeding you will need:

  • Maternity Pads – I would highly recommend Johnson’s Nursing Pads; they are by far the most comfortable .
  • Muslin squares
  • Breast Pump

If you are bottle feeding you will need:

  • Formula
  • Bottles
  • Steriliser
  • Bottle Brush
  • Bibs

Bedtime

  • Initially most people go for a Moses basket or crib. Your baby will not stay here for long (mine lasted about 2 months) so this is the sort of thing that is worth buying cheap or borrowing, albeit with a new mattress.
  • Bed-linen. If you are using a Grobag you just need sheets.
  • A swaddling blanket will keep you baby feeling cosy and stop them waking themselves when they experience the moro/startle reflex.
  • You don’t need a cot at this stage but there can be a long lead-time so it is worth ordering sooner rather than later. If you have space I would recommend a cot-bed which will see most children through to about 4 yrs old.
  • If you are bed-sharing you can get away with not buying most of this equipment.
  • Monitor – you don’t need all of the fancy functions but I would advise you to buy digital. We initially had an analogue monitor but when next door had a baby their monitor interfered with ours.

Saving money

So much of what you buy now will only last you a few months. Most items can be bought cheaply at supermarkets (most supermarkets have special baby offers every month or so), from eBay (and sold on again in due course), from NCT Nearly New Sales and of course borrowed from friends. I hate to chuck away baby items; I want them to have another life. I think most parents feel like this so make sure all of your friends/family know that you are happy to receive their second-hand items. For larger items I have always found www.kiddicare.com really competitive price-wise and they deliver next day.

Oh, and remember, you will be inundated with presents. Let people know what you’d like, be specific. Your baby will always be well dressed. My childrens’ wardrobes are bulging and yet I have only really bought underwear for them. Family and friends will keep you stocked up – just hope they have good taste!

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Good luck!

The gentle touch

Last week I completed my Infant Massage Practitioners Course. I had a ball with lots of babies and mums helping us out with our techniques. I took Baby Massage classes with my son a few years ago. It was my favourite part of the week but in my sleep-deprived fog I hadn’t realised the breadth of benefits for both baby and mum & dad – here are just a few of the benefits I learned about last week:

For Baby

Phot by o5com

If mums come to Baby Massage for a specific reason it will usually relate to digestion, as I did. Massage can soothe colic, alleviate trapped wind and aid constipation, as well as helping to stimulate the circulatory and nervous systems. Embarrassment should be left at the door of classes because the effects of massage can be immediate and many a trump may be heard! Massaging the gums may also help teething so that everyone can get a better night’s sleep!

Touch is baby’s first language, and it is their most advanced sense at birth. Massage teaches positive loving touch, especially important for babies who have spent time in hospital. The act of massage helps babies to feel loved, respected and secure – someone loves them enough to do this loving act. A baby who enjoys a daily massage as part of their routine will feel especially loved.

Ultimately massage will promote relaxation in your baby, reducing fussiness and improving his and your sleep, a win-win for all concerned.

For Parents

Massage can alleviate the effects of Postnatal Depression, helping mum to have a more positive interaction with her baby. It generally helps parents to understand their baby’s non-verbal communication cues. It can be a great way for parents to understand how their baby responds to something that feels really good.

Massage enhances parents’ confidence and competence in handling their baby; this is especially true with fathers who may be all fingers and thumbs with their young baby.

The action of massaging their baby can have quite a hormonal effect on a mother. Massage stimulates the production of hormones that promote both lactation and nurturing instinct – quite a hit for mum and baby!

What I noticed during my time with the massage guinea pigs was that almost all the babies became really excited when their mum’s massaged them initially (lots of squeals and shrieks) and then gradually became really chilled out, to the point of falling asleep in a few cases. The mums and babies maintained such strong eye contact, just enjoying this special interaction, often oblivious to everything else. It was pretty special to be part of it and I’m looking forward to working with many more mums, dads and their babies in the future.

Have you tried Baby Massage – what was your experience of it?

How did I get here?

My first HypnoBabyI was wondering how I got here – not in a birds and the bees way but how I got to be a HypnoBirthing Practitioner, Life Coach and soon a qualified Infant Massage Practioner. I’ve never had a master plan but if I’d had one I don’t think any of those things would have been in it.

I qualified as a Life Coach in 2004 and promptly ditched the illustrous (ahem) career in the City. Two babies later I felt I wanted a new challenge without leaving the Coaching behind because I found that great fun. Frankly the list of roles that interested me was almost endless but there were some common themes, particularly pregnancy, birth and babies.  One evening I was lying on the floor in a Yoga/Pilates class. I was supposed to be doing a relaxation/visualisation, possibly a beach scene (isn’t it always?) but my mind was elsewhere. Suddenly the future was clear. I didn’t have to choose one role, I could choose a whole group of roles that I knew I would find fun. I started with HypnoBirthing because it had helped me through both of my pregnancies and felt passionately that other parents could benefit from it. It also works well with the Coaching since I now specialise in Parent Coaching. As for Infant Massage, I’m just qualifying and I’m really looking forward to seeing all those babies…