Period Pains vs Labour- THE TRUTH

Where to begin? I’ll start with a summary of my perspective (which I think could really help you out if you’re concerned about labour), then I’ll delve into it from a couple of angles…

Period pains are worse than labour.

More accurately, period pains are worse than the pain of surges (that’s contractions, if you’re new round here). Here’s 3 reasons why…

  1. Duration. I dunno about you, obvs, but my period pains begin the day before it arrives. They begin as a low level rumble, building up for the main event. On day 1, they can be overwhelming. I almost always pop a couple of paracetamol (paratroopers as they are affectionately known in my fam). And they are there ALL. THE. TIME. They start to ease off after about 24 hours on a good cycle. In labour, even if it goes on for 24 hours, most of the time you’re not having surges. During that time, you might be entirely pain free (this was true for me for lots of both my labours). Even if surges are really challenging, between them there is rest and recovery. Not so with the period pain.
  2. Purpose. I mean, yes, periods have a purpose, but it ain’t so profound as moving the human you grew out of your body. There’s massive benefit to keeping our eyes on the prize when our bodies are up against it- think about how anyone running a marathon may struggle, but find capacity to cope. Would they find the same resilience if it was an unmeasured, untimed, unrecorded solo run round where they live that no one would know about? Doubt it. Context is important.
  3. Focus. When you’re in labour, no one expects you to be doing anything else. It’s unique in that sense- the rest of life is on pause, and you’re able to employ any and all coping tools available to you. We teach couples 3 breathing techniques, massage styles, movement tactics, optimal postures for comfort, environmental cues for pain reliving hormone activation etc. When you have your period, life just goes on and you’ve gotta function as a mother, an employee, a business owner, wife, friend, whatever. You’re not helping yourself in the way you can in labour.

Hang on. I’m a hypnobirthing teacher, and I’ve used the P word (pain, I mean, not period- that’s not as taboo) loads of times. What’s the crack here? Aren’t we meant to avoid speaking about it? Yes. And no.

I do firmly believe that we should avoid talking about pain whilst IN labour- I don’t think there is any benefit to framing our experience of the surges with the p word. Instead, I suggest to our clients they think of the intensity of the sensations or the strength of the surges- more neutral, less scary, agreed?

But in the run up, I am honest with the women I work with- I don’t believe that all women can eliminate pain in labour. Yes- we can all reduce it SIGNIFICANTLY. I mean, SO MUCH that if we all understood this, our birth culture would be transformed within a generation. But eliminate? I don’t think so.

The pain we equip women to wave off is the created pain- that which exists as a result of fear and tension, suboptimal postures and crappy environments (in terms of all the senses, the people in it, etc). That’s a HUGE chunk.

But what’s left? The fact that you’re getting that human you made out of your body. “BUT YOU WERE MADE FOR IT!!”, cry the purists! Yep. But you weren’t made to sit down slouched for most of your waking life, to consume the type of food that’s available to us, to be so poorly hydrated, to be exposed to so many other unnatural substances.

We can’t be living thoroughly modern lifestyles for decades, then turn up for birth like, “BUT I’M AN ANIMAL!” and expect pain free. Periods can be painful. (Interestingly my crunchy friends who don’t use conventional sanitary products report less pain). Sex can be painful (notice that fine line there though between pleasure and pain). Exercise can be painful (same again).

I’m not going back on my advice to avoid the P word in labour. I’m not scaremongering you about the discomfort levels. I’m saying we should think about this absolutely logically and intelligently- not just choose the parts of the picture that suit us. Because if you expect hypnobirthing techniques to give you the same absolute relief as an epidural, and that’s not what you get- then what? You begin to feel confused, concerned, to blame yourself even- for not doing it right or trying harder. Ugh.

Our number one assertion is that ANYONE WHO IS GIVING BIRTH SHOULD ONLY KNOW HER POWER. No matter how it goes, you should be genuinely perplexed as to why no one is queuing up to kiss your feet, not second guessing your own worthiness because you didn’t live up to some unicorn-esque expectation.

Even if there is (probably some) residual pain, if you are prepared, you can perceive it in an entirely different way than you imagine. You can learn to own the sensations rather than them owning you- to be inspired and encouraged by your own capacity and strength, and to welcome what you feel.

When I think back to when Rory was born what I remember is certainly my power. I know, intellectually, that there was pain, but it was a tiny part of a much bigger, and very profound experience. I never once considered asking for the gas and air- not because I’d set myself any kind of challenge to do it without drugs, but because I’d cultivated a perspective where I didn’t want to eliminate the sensations- there were other ways to handle them.

Saying that, there are all sorts of reasons why you might opt for other forms of pain relief, and we support that, without judgement (because who the F are we to judge anyone for anything?). All we care about is informed choice.

To be frank, if I could get a 24 hour epidural on day 1 each month, without having to consider the impact on a labour or a baby, I’d probs go for it. Someone make that a thing.

If you’d like to know more about working with us, you can see our courses section here. You can find us on Instagram and Facebook 

Do It Like A Crunchy Mother – DIY Deodorant

So for some crazy reason last week I decided to have a go at creating my own natural deodorant, and test it on one of the hottest week’s of the year… I mean, I could possibly could have chosen a better time of year to try this, but hey – in for a penny in for a pound and all that!

I’ve been using a natural deodorant (a salt crystal one) for over a year now after opening my eyes to the ingredients used in my previous deodorants which I chose for their promise of supreme sweat protection, they seemed to function well only there were negative effects which can come hand in hand with the high level of effectiveness these ingredients offer. The brand I bought most religiously contains these three ingredients which I didn’t feel comfortable to continue using after looking into them:

  • Aluminium Zirconium Tetracholohydrex Gly – used for its ability to prevent sweat leaving the body by obstructing pores.
  • Dimethicone – a silicone based polymer which forms a plastic like barrier over the skin, it is known to dry skin out over time.
  • Hydroxyisohexyl 3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde & Alpha-isomethyl ionone – fragrances which can care irritation to skin.

At times my skin would feel very irritated or stingy/itchy, other brands caused little pimple and redness, it was also difficult to remove the layer of product with gentle washing, so began to explore more gentle options. 

Also more recently I have become more aware of the questions surrounding the use of aluminium in products such as deodorant. Although there has been NO evidence based connection between the use of antiperspirants and breast cancer currently, it has been raised by some scientists that there MAY be a link. There has been research which suggests that regular use of aluminium based deodorants may have an estrogen-like effect on the body, and as breast cancers can be ‘fed’ by estrogen some scientists have suggested that aluminium based deodorant may contribute to the development of breast cancer or have a direct effect on breast tissue. The fact that there is no clear answer on this either way, leaves me preferring to choose not to use it until it is proven safe. (more info on this can be found at breastcanceruk.org.uk)

There is also research which shows that using antiperspirant deodorants can increase the smell causing bacteria living on your underarms whilst killing off the beneficial bacteria, so although you think you’ll smell less the opposite can be true, and at best you may not smell but are altering your body’s natural colony of healthy bacteria!

So decided to try making my own to reduce the nasties being put on my skin on a daily basis, and I figured I could reuse a glass jar and save myself some money in the process – win win if it worked! I’d already had a search for DIY deodorant recipes and there are loads, with varying ingredients. I opted for a super simple one with ingredients which can all (bar the optional essential oils) be found in most kitchens. I went for a small quantity to try in case it needed tweaking but it can of course be scaled up if you find it works for you:

5tsp coconut oil

4tsp arrowroot

3tsp bicarbonate of soda (you can use more if needed, or less if you have very sensitive skin)

And a few drops of your chosen essential oils

Simply mix all of the ingredients together! In warmer weather you may need to store it in the fridge / a cool place as the coconut oil can melt, then apply with clean fingertips as needed and leave to sink in for a few minutes before getting dressed.

The big question… DID IT WORK?!

YES!! We have had a mix of warm – hot weather recently (I think its been flitting between about 20-28c) and I have a chunky 16 week old who is worn in a sling quite a lot, so the potential for sweat is pretty high to be fair. I’ve found this to be just as effective as my last deodorant – perhaps even slightly better! On the really hot days, especially if wearing Lenny in the sling, I’ve sweated a little, and amount which feels healthy for my skin yet not uncomfortable – there have been no big underarm wet patches! And at the end of each day my underarms have either smelt of nothing at all, or slightly reminiscent of the essential oils I used. I’m calling this a successful first run. I may include a small amount of shea butter next time I make some to offer some moisturing/nourishing properties – I reduced the amount of bicarb compared to some recipes as it can be irritating to sensitive skin, I’ve not had any issue even after shaving, but I think it may be nice.

So that’s it – I guess I’m an official deodorant dodging hippy now haha Perhaps my little experiment will give some of you the push you need to try out making your own skincare products – I find it really rewarding to use things I have made myself for so many reasons. It really is super simple, and as someone who used to think I was a serious sweaty betty I’m very impressed with the results. Let me know if you try it, or have any other recipes/suggestions you like me to try!

 

Love,

Steph x

NEW Fundraising Partnership: SOSDAP

We have our Motherhood Night Out at Henry Burgers and This Mother Is Enough: Brunch with Lauren Derrett (herself a domestic abuse survivor). Details about the events and exactly what will go to the charity can be found by clicking the relevant links.
Thank you, as ever, for your solidarity in being the change we all wish to see in the world.
#doitlikeamother #doitlikeamotherhood

Do It Like A Crunchy Mother – Dental Care Gone Green

Dental Care Gone Green

Twice a day, every day, we brush our teeth. Four or more times a year we replace the toothbrush we use. Our toothpaste of choice is scrubbed around our mouths around 60 times a month, and although it’s largely spat out, I bet over a year a reasonable amount is consumed – and with a child that amount will be much greater despite a parents best intentions! Why I didn’t question the ingredients sooner I don’t really know – I suppose like with many things its assumed safety / necessity, but I decided a while back that it was time to make a change. We only ever used a tiny smear anyway, but I began to wonder if there was a more natural, or healthy alternative.
The first one I tried was Lush Tooth Fairy – a powder which you dip your wet brush into and use as normal. I personally didn’t love this, I wasn’t a fan of the taste and if I’m honest its probably still stuffed at the back of my bathroom cabinet unless Matt has got rid of it!
There were a couple of others we weren’t won over by, then we tried Aloe Dent Whitening which has no harsh chemicals, and has a great taste and texture – so that’s what we have been using for a while now as we are really happy with it, but I’m now on the scout for something which doesn’t require a plastic tube – I think I’ll have an experiment with making my own and come back to you if I find something I love!
One of the main factors for investigating more eco friendly brushes was seeing a photo online which was captioned to explain that each and every toothbrush ever made, is still on the planet somewhere – many of them have made it into our oceans and are causing marine life harm. It was a real eye opener. I worked out that we would get through well over 300 toothbrushes in our life (all being well on the longevity scale!), and decided it was an impact I was no longer prepared to have on the earth.
So the search began. There are loads of eco friendly toothbrushes available now with widely varying price tags, from the more mainstream brand the Humble Brush, which is made from bamboo with nylon bristles. They are sold in Waitrose as well as other highly street retailers for around £4, so they’re a great easy to access option.
We have been using the Environmental Toothbrush for ages now as we are able to buy them in bulk for a really reasonable price (they work out at under £2 a brush! They’re available online for around £3 too), they come in soft/medium/firm bristles as well as a kids sized brush. Their bristles are also nylon – so they’re obviously not 100% degradable but as with the humble brush you can simple snap the head off to put in the bin, and put the main part of the handle into compost.
If you want a fully compostable brush (and aren’t vegan!) you could look at wooden / bamboo brushes with boar bristles such  as the Naturborsten brushes which come in adult or child size and cost around £8.
We also tried the Jack & Jill biodegradable kids toothbrush but found the bristles too soft and they frayed too easily so we have returned to the kids Environmental toothbrush.
For Florence we use Organic Children’s Mint & Aloe paste, I wasn’t keen on the Aloe Dent kids one – the strawberry flavour wasn’t very fresh smelling, and the orange bubbles left a right mess on her clothes if she missed the sink!

People often ask if they’re as good… now I can’t speak for everyone, but we have found our teeth are as healthy as before, with much less of a negative heath / environmental impact. My dentist looked worried when I visited last year as he asked about what we use – I told him and he said I should worry more about my oral health than the environment as it is important (of course!) and said I should think about swapping to an electric toothbrush to help, then he looked inside my mouth and said he was impressed as my teeth were great, as were Florences 😀 so I’ve stuck to the bamboo brush and have had no issues.

Fancy making the change? There are so many options available, have fun experimenting and finding what makes you feel good whilst keeping your family’s teeth sparkling clean!

Steph x

Three surprising ways to know which phase of birth you are in…

OK, before I get started I obviously have to add a HUGE caveat, that this is by no means medical advice and that these things won’t apply to everyone- every birth is different, every mum is different and there never has been and never will be a one-size-fits-all measure of how close you are to meeting your baby. However, what I’m sharing is patterns that I have noticed in many of the births I have attended over the years. So, maybe read on and see- if you’ve given birth before, did these apply to you? If you haven’t, maybe you will see similarities when you do.

Let’s get started…

  1. The pattern of your surges (for those who aren’t into hypnobirthing- these are the powerful waves created by your uterus to birth your baby).

I don’t mean the timing of them. Traditionally, we are told that for first babies when your surges reach a pattern of 3 minutes from the start of one, to another, with each one being a minute long- that your cervix is probably 4cm dilated and that this means you should call the midwife. Well- as with everything this may be right for some, but not others.

What I have found to be a slightly more accurate way of telling is actually how each one feels. When each one feels consistently as strong as the last one and they are coming frequently and on a regular basis (i.e. not a 5 minute gap, then a 2 minute gap).

Often, when the cervix is still thinning out (click here to find out more about the changes that happen to your cervix throughout the birth)- surges are irregular in their length and strength, with one feeling particularly intense and long and then another feeling milder and shorter. Once the thinning of the cervix is complete, then you often find the surges become much more regular. This is normally around the same time as the cervix reaching approximately 4cm  (NB I could probably write an entire thesis on just how useless a measure of 4cm dilatation genuinely is but, for now, it’s the measure that is used in most UK hospitals to determine the onset of ‘established labour’, so this is why I am using this language here).

2) How much are you talking?

So, this one often comes next. Once the cervix has finished thinning out and is really beginning to open up, mums often ‘go within’. Meaning, that they are totally aware of what is going on around them but that they don’t really take part in conversation and respond in the usual way. For example- you may go from saying “Do you know? I really fancy a drink. I think I packed some elder flower cordial in the pink bag over there. Could you be ever so kind and pour me a drink please?” to “Drink… please.”. This is simply a sign that your body and your brain are focusing on the birth. Just think, when you’re exercising it becomes difficult to talk, you just focus on doing that next squat or getting to the next milestone. It’s the same in birth- talking takes energy (mentally and physically) and your body knows that all the energy you have has to be ploughed into the birth, so speaking  becomes low on the priority list.

3) How sleepy are you?

Of course, if the birth has been going on for a long time you will probably feel tired but even if it hasn’t many mums reach a point in the birth when they feel extremely sleepy. This is actually a really good sign and not necessarily a sign of exhaustion. What happens, often just before the baby begins to really descend into the pelvis for the downwards (or pushing) phase, is that the cocktail of hormones within the body bring on a sense of sleepiness. We often want to fight this- feeling as though we have to be alert and awake for the birth. But the best thing to do is to breathe through the surges and then rest, rest, rest in between. If you suddenly find yourself falling asleep- it could be that you are nearing this particular phase of the birth. Exciting!

So, there you have it. The three things that I have noticed over the years, that can give an indication to how close you are to meeting your baby. I’d be so interested to know if you experienced any of them (I think experienced all of them when I gave birth) and I’ve seen so many mums go through similar births too- and of course a whole host of other experiences that would certainly throw each of my musings out of the window!

 

 

If you’d like to learn more about birth, we have a whole range of resources- from more blog posts, to weekly relaxation classes, to whole hypnobirthing courses (groups and private). Just get in touch to find out what might suit you- Southend area (keri@doitlikeamother.co.uk or steph@doitlikeamother.co.uk) or Upminster area (chloe@doitlikeamother.co.uk).

Do It Like A Crunchy Mother – Barefoot Shoes

I remember distinctly the childhood ritual of visiting Clark’s for supportive, well fitted school shoes. It was a big thing to my mum that our first shoes were ‘Proper Clark’s Shoes’ and the same went for our school shoes in our younger years. It’s a common misconception that we need support from our shoes to enable them to function at their best – to prevent fallen arches or to support young ankles, but in evolutionary terms this doesn’t add up – why would our bodies be built to need external support? Why would the muscles, ligaments and bones of healthy feet not function in harmony enabling children to walk when they are ready?

Anyway, when our first child was close to walking the inevitable question came up… ‘When are you taking her to Clarks for shoes?’ I mean its become such a ritual in our society now that they even provide you with a photo of your child modelling their first pair! But we had no plans to go, and found myself explaining our decision to many people who were surprised that we weren’t looking to buy her ‘supportive’ first shoes. Now I can’t even remember how or where I first heard about barefoot shoes, but once I knew of their existence nothing made more sense when it came to choosing her shoes!

What’s all the fuss about then?

For a start, we actually walk best when we are barefoot – our feet are extremely sensitive, and move at 33 different joints when we use them. These tiny movements and the feedback on our soles from the ground help our minds create a mental image of the terrain helping provide more stability, our toes can spread to help us balance and grip, and when we regularly engage the various muscles of the feet, it gives them opportunity to become stronger improving gait, improving body alignment, increasing strength and arch support, and decreasing the risk of joint problems.

(Image courtesy of VivoBarefoot)

Many of the issues people experience with knee and foot pain now begins with footwear choice. The standard shoes available for both children and adults now are narrow (especially in the toe box), rigid soled and heeled – yep, even men’s and kids shoes. I’m not talking stilletos, but most shoes have a degree of incline which puts an unnatural strain on your body. Over time this style of shoe actually changes the shape of your foot, causing the toes to bend inwards, leading to bunions and other issues.

(Image courtesy of VivoBarefoot)

There is even research which shows a positive correlation between walking barefoot and brain development. The feet are the most nerve rich part of our bodies which means they offer a lot of opportunity for children to build neural pathways increasing their brain power!

Most of us have probably noticed the change in a toddler’s ability to walk when they are in shoes (or particularly wellies!) vs when barefoot… they are far steadier when barefoot and able to utilise their body to its full capacity, to me it makes perfect sense to allow them to spend as much time as possible barefoot especially in the first year or two of walking. Of course there are times when this isn’t practical – in cold or wet weather, or when walking on particularly sharp terrain for example. So what’s a Mother to do when her child needs shoes, but she no longer wants to choose the typical restrictive shoes available in most children’s shoe shops?

Barefoot shoes allow the foot freedom to spread, flex and keep their natural shape within a thin soled, wide toe boxed, flexible shoe, and are the closest thing to walking barefoot when shoes are a necessity. Brands differ in width, flexibility, sole thickness and style, but all barefoot shoes meet the criteria of:

–        Flat – no heel rise at all

–        Flexible across the whole sole including the heel area

–        No structured arch support

–        Wide toe box allowing freedom of movement for toes

So called ‘barefoot friendly’ shoes may meet most of the criteria but not to the same degree, for example they may be a little less flexible or have a slight heel rise, they are still better than stiff structured shoes for young feet.

We have now gone through a fair few pairs of shoes, most of which have been barefoot, or barefoot friendly (I’m not gonna kid you that she’s never worn a pair of less ideal shoes – she wanted Nikes like her Daddy’s for example, and has had some smart shoes which were for weddings / parties only etc but for the most part I try not to allow those to be worn often) and have tried shoes from as little as £5 to as much as £50ish and surprisingly they’ve all performed well.

I’ll be coming back with some more detailed reviews for you at a later date, but I’ll leave you with 3 of my fave brands for kids today. Not all shoes from these brands are BF or BFF, but the ones we checked for the criteria above, have performed brilliantly!

H&M – many of their baby / toddler shoes are BFF, especially their little summery pumps/canvas shoes. We paid about £6 for a pair last year which were brilliant, lovely soft flexible soles, wide toe box, adjustable ankle Velcro. They washed well in the machine too.

Livie & Luca – a pricier option, but especially for girls they have some lovely smarter / dressier options. They’re actually a little too wide for Flossie’s narrow feet but they’re adorable!

Kinder Feet – my absolute faves. 100% barefoot and handmade in the UK with ethical & eco-friendly materials. They come with the thinnest of Vibram soles on their new outdoor version (Gummi shoes), and soft leather soles on the original shoes which are best suited to new walkers or as indoor shoes. Flossie’s very first shoes were all leather Summer Moccs made by Eva who runs Kinder Feet, and I was so excited to trial soled shoes after asking several times if/when she would be making them. She’s just outgrown her last pair and is already requesting new yellow ones to replace her ‘comfy heart shoes’!

And as a little extra I have to add that I LOVE my Vivo boots!

Hope this gives you a good starting point… Happy shoe shopping,

Steph x

Honesty is the policy you should take notice of…

H O N E S T Y… wowzers gals. What a response to my instagram post about Words I Said To My Children.

People often tell me they appreciate my honesty, and to be honest with you (🙄😂) I get it. When I was a new mum, I wanted to sneak into other families homes in the middle of the night and see what their reality was like. Wanted to, but NEVER DID, just to clear that up.

I didn’t wanna see just the highlight reel. But I also didn’t wanna be told it was a constant shit show. I wanted the whole truth.

That’s what we offer you. That’s what the brand has come to be. A group of women sharing what’s worked for them, what hasn’t, what’s available, what’s helped, and using their INCREDIBLE COMBINATION OF SKILLS (I know, but it’s the truth again) to ease your way.

If you want antenatal education, postnatal or life shizzle, or help with your biz, whatever it is, we will lead with open hearts and open mouths- we have plenty to say and we love to share it.
But we know it’s for you to digest and choose what to do with it. To do it like a mother, you do it YOUR informed and empowered way.

On that, Chloe has actually done a FANTASTIC LIVESTREAM in the community group today about why you shouldn’t feel compelled to blindly conform to recommendations in your maternity care. Hearing it from a midwife is SOLID GOLD. #doitlikeamother

Do It Like A Crunchy Mother

I’m not one to pigeonhole myself into a box, however it’s becoming clear that I am currently the more ‘crunchy’ branch of the DILAM tree. I’m loathe to put myself in this box because there just isn’t any one parenting style I feel I fit 100% – as with everything if life there is a spectrum and we take what works from different approaches….however I definitely fall more into the crunchy side than not!

So ‘what the heck is crunchy anyway?’ Well, I found load’s of definitions online and they varied from gentle, to condescending, right through to laughable! I think the best description I’ve been able to find is this – “A crunchy mom is a woman on a quest for more information.  A mom who is environmentally, health, and socially conscious. She cares enough about her family to question the status quo. She recognizes that there are a variety of approaches to individual problems and refuses to be locked into a single perspective. She seeks to learn more about why things happen and tries to discover the root cause of the problems she observes. With this knowledge comes responsibility, to our families, other moms, and our communities. When we know better, we do better. She is not afraid to speak her mind when necessary to help or protect someone. A mom who fosters a strong, positive bond with their children through natural living. “ (Thanks www.crunchymoms.com). Or as my friends and family might say of me (in what I hope is a loving way!)…  ‘an eco-warrior / hippy mum’

Crunchy is going to look different for everyone – I guess for me it encompasses: empowered birth, homebirth, breastfeeding, bedsharing, babywearing, cloth nappying, choosing barefoot friendly shoes, shopping locally and ethically where possible, actively trying to reduce our waste and eco footprint, using natural remedies where possible, providing gender neutral options for clothing / toys / books etc, exploring alternative education options and generally questioning if ‘normal’ is best for our individual family – often it is, but not always. For others it may also include placenta consumption, elimination communication, growing produce at home/an allotment, vegetarian/veganism and more.

At first I was worried that letting this out would quash our super cool, approachable, and open to everybody vibe at DILAM. Fearful that people would see this as me preaching, or thinking that I would be judging them if they didn’t have an interest in making the same choices that I am… But what I am doing is working for us, and I figure that aspects of it will work for other families too if its is brought onto their radar.

And for the record – there is no judgment. I’m well aware that some of the stuff I do (at least initially) requires research and/or planning ahead, commitment, and can be more time consuming – and in our busy lives as mothers, we have to focus on what is most important to us and our families! At the same time, the more I speak about the things which are important to me, the more I see sparks of interest amongst people who currently feel that these choices are out of their reach for various reasons (when usually they aren’t!). My aim is to talk about what works for our family, and other families, and give you ways to make these things easier to try, should you want to.

I also want to point out that although there are choices I make to try and live in alignment with the way I feel about the world, that I’m far from ‘perfect’ at it, if there is such a thing. I’m just your average mother who is busy working and raising a family whilst also growing, learning and changing our families habits slowly as I go, because that’s really the only way. I understand that not everything here will be for everyone – there are so many things which on paper are great but do not work for our family, at least right now, so don’t be afraid if not everything works for you either. Cherry pick and enjoy the experience! Once the initial barrier is broken, most changes are super easy to maintain (trust me it’s true – I don’t have the time or energy to add difficulty into my life!)

So here’s to discussion, questioning, alternative approaches, reducing waste, raising our babies in a way which is ethical, collaboration and supporting each other in the process. Lets Do It Like A Crunchy Mother!!

I’m currently available for Private Hypnobirthing Courses in the Southend area to support you on your journey to an empowered, positive birth.

For Pregnancy Relaxation Saturdays 11-12 at The DILAM HQ in Chalkwell.

And for Cloth Nappy Workshops which run one Saturday a month 1.00-2.30pm at the HQ.

Keep your eyes on Instagram and Facebook for more exciting things to come,

Steph x

 

Feeding Friday – Rhiannon

An interview with Rhiannon about her experience feeding her babies. Sometimes just knowing that the hurdles can be overcome (or will pass in time!) is enough to help you complete another day when things are feeling hard.

What did you know about breastfeeding before got pregnant?

That my mum had breastfed me & my brother successfully. that it was always something I would do and a lot of people are unsuccessful for various reasons. I wanted to do it due to the bond with baby, benefits to baby and convenience to me.

What did you learn whilst you were pregnant?

It’s very demanding in the early days. it does feel like you are constantly feeding but due to size of baby’s stomach, this is normal.

What sort of start did you have?

Ridiculously sore nipples. they were black from blisters, bleeding, skin falling off. my mum got me nipple shields, which made me feel like a failure, but within 2 weeks, my nipples had toughened up and I continued without until my first was 14 months. second time round, I had no problems with nipple pain, but the after pains when feeding was like contractions for about a week.

When, if ever, did you feel like things settled down?

First time round, by 2 weeks when nipple pain had eased and I felt more confident in feeding positions that I could feed discretely in public eye.
second time round, I feel straight into it without any problems.

Were you well supported by…. midwives partner family etc?

NO. It’s always been a question asked so a box can be ticked on paperwork and then no questions. the tea lady in hospital when my son was about 16 hours old asked if she could offer a piece of advice and said to put more of the ariola in his mouth, which was a great help and I was very appreciative. Second time round, my midwife did ask at my home visit if I was having any problems to which I replied no.
The midwives and health visitors at home praised me for feeding well due to both of my baby’s weight gain.

Did you worry about feeding in public? How did you overcome any issue with that?

First time round it took a few weeks to find clothing and positions to feed discretely before I felt 100% confident in public. I was always well prepared with a speech should anyone comment on me feeding, however hardly anyone ever noticed. I found wearing a vest top with adjustable straps underneath my bra line under a baggy top meant I could keep my saggy belly covered and helped feeding discretely.

What was the best / worst piece of advice you got about breastfeeding?

Ensure you are kept well nourished and especially hydrated to maintain milk production. Baby’s bellies are size of a marble at birth so will feed little and often; this does calm down after a few weeks.

How did you find the experience emotionally?

Loved it. The bond and convenience is amazing. I didn’t begrudge being the only one able to feed my babies. I felt it meant there was never a delay when they became hungry. that feeling when they latch on and stare lovingly into your eyes is something that no one can ever understand.

How did you know it was time to stop?

Honestly…you just know. They become settled into a routine with food and cups of drink and they would go to sleep at night without crying out for the comfort of the boob.

What’s the one thing you wish you had known at the very beginning?

Using nipple shields in the early days doesn’t make you a failure…it just means your nipples aren’t used to being sucked so vigorously.

Would you do anything differently if you were to have another baby?

Nope. Managed to successfully breastfed twice now and would do again. Perhaps try expressing with a bottle earlier to make returning to work a little easier.

If you’d like some support along the way, we have groups available the HQ – just follow the facebook page here for details of the sessions. If you’ve got a story you’d like to inspire another mum to be with, just get in touch with me at steph@doitlikeamother.co.uk

The Top 5 Blog Posts of the Last Year

So I am pretty PUMPED to be nominated for 3 categories in the Essex Mums Awards 2018. Best Support Group, Best Blog, and Special Contribution to the Local Community.

I swear- it’s not just a vanity measure. Raising our profile means we can reach more families with support, education and empowerment. You can vote for us by clicking here. It is super quick and easy, please remember to hit all three categories and you will feel my gratitude radiating hard from wherever I am.

I thought it’d interesting to check out which of our blog posts have made the biggest impact this year, and share the cream of the crop with you.

So here are the top 5…

At FIVE…

When Your Friends Call Bullshit on Your Birth Prep, Show Them This

Viewed 246 times. I went to town on how the style of hypnobirthing we teach works, and why your friends and family needn’t worry. It’s still great (I know I wrote it, but I just re-read it, and it really is…), show it to the doubters and ease their minds, and your life. You don’t need to be fielding their Qs and comments.

At FOUR

Birth Of An Absolute Mother   

Viewed 349 times, this is the birth story of a woman whose transformation through education and support was UNBELIEVABLE, even to me 5 years into my hypnobirthing adventure.

At THREE…

The Fucking Judgement That is Slowly Chipping Away At Us- Just Stop It.

390 views of this. I may have said a thing or 2, with forgiveness and compassion (honestly…) about the impact of mum vs mum culture. (Which ps is totally preened by the patriarchy, bu that’s another tale…)

At TWO…

The One Thing Everyone Puts on Their Birth Plan That They Really Shouldn’t 

669 views of Midwife Chloe’s slice of truth- the woman is SO RIGHT. Is this on your birth plan?

And our NUMBER ONE post…

Let’s All Wear The Same Sized Bra  

This one was viewed 795 times and is my personal favourite too, because it was inspired by one of my gorgeous and wise clients at Pregnancy Relaxation Group.

So there you go. If you like what you see from us, make sure you’ve joined our Facebook Community Group

We have really upped our game in there recently, and you’ll get enormous value, from our livestreams, tips and insights, and sense of connection. Add your friends too.

We are over on Instagram too…

Keri, Chloe M, Steph, Chloe W, Chloe T-B And yaaaaaaaaassssssssssssss it is super weird that 60% of the team is called Chloe right now. I hear you.