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Pregnancy in your words: confused

Pregnancy can be really straight-forward when all you need to do is attend your midwife appointments and then start to prepare for birth and baby.

Or it can be slightly more complicated, with additional appointments, a care plan and conflicting guidance, which can lead to confusion about what decisions to make, what questions to ask, how to plan and what to do next.

You can book a session with me to talk it through, as well as make sure you keep asking questions during your appointments so you have a better understanding of what is going on and what your options are – make a list of questions before each appointment so you don’t forget and so you can gather the information you need.

janine signature

Working with parents since 2002

For more information about pregnancy, birth and life with a baby, you can:
■ sign up for my newsletter
■ join my online membership for expectant and new parents
■ book a consultation with me
■ join the Mother Cuppa Walk & Talk Group
■ complete a digital course

Mother Cuppa Magazine
Pregnancy Essentials | Birth Preparation Essentials | Labour & Birth Essentials | New Baby Essentials | Feeding Essentials | Babyloss & Grief | Useful Information | Breathing Space

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Here’s what we talked about this week

These are some of the questions asked and conversations with parents this week.

  • baby sleep
  • toddler sleep
  • epidurals, managing them and your options
  • being induced and your options
  • moving and using positions in labour and for birth
  • birth debrief
  • how to use your breathing so it makes a difference
  • birth expectations

No two weeks are ever the same and consultations with me are booked for very different reasons.

I have worked with expectant and new parents for abut 20 years and I know there are very few solutions – it is too unique for that. What makes a difference is good information – based on evidence and experience – with good support and a good dollop of reassurance. This is what I do, this is the foundation of my practice.

For more information about pregnancy, birth and life with a baby, you can:
■ sign up for my newsletter
■ join my online membership for expectant and new parents
■ book a consultation with me
■ join the Mother Cuppa Walk & Talk Group
■ complete a digital course

janine signature

Working with parents since 2002

Mother Cuppa Magazine
Pregnancy Essentials | Birth Preparation Essentials | Labour & Birth Essentials | New Baby Essentials | Feeding Essentials | Babyloss & Grief | Useful Information | Breathing Space

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birth preparation

10 simple birth preparation steps that can really make a difference

Birth preparation can be about reading a book and attending some antenatal classes but what do you do with that information? how do you prepare effectively for labour and birth?

Having taught antenatal classes and provided birth preparation sessions for 20 years, I know how unique birth preparation needs to be – books and classes can provide information but they may not encourage you to think, question and plan.

With birth preparation, it can make a huge difference to…

  1. move – listen to your body in pregnancy so you can move and rest to be more comfortable. Use different positions so you are familiar what can work right for you – leaning, kneeling, using a ball.
  2. breathe – it’s important to know how to use your breathing and to know how to relax your body. This is a core skill you can use in pregnancy, in all births and with your baby.
  3. know how birth works and how varied it can be – a foundation of knowledge means you will have a better understand of what your body and your baby need to do, along with what helps and what can get in the way.
  4. know where the challenges can be and how you might handle them – birth isn’t easy and it might not be straightforward so it is important you know more about your options and what you can do if you need to make different decisions, if you need different pain relief, if you need to be induced or need a caesarean.
  5. talk to your birth partner – preparing and planning together can mean being able to provide better support and to work together.
  6. ask questions – on a hospital tour, with your midwife or if you see a consultant so you know your options based on what you know can be helpful during labour.
  7. realistic mindset & expectations – you can’t plan a birth but you can prepare by having simple and straight-forward strategies to use for contractions, for energy, to make decisions, to be informed and to be calm and focused.
  8. be prepared to say what you need – it’s your labour, your birth, your contractions and your instincts so it’s really important to say what you need to do to work with them, to be calm, to be informed and to be better able to do labour and birth.
  9. find out more about options and facilities – does your hospital do a tour? join the maternity voices group to ask questions and hear experiences? do you want to know more about a homebirth? do you know about induction? do you know about having a caesarean?
  10. personalise your birth preparation – what matters to you? what might your challenges be? what might you need? what’s your ideal birth? do you have any personal challenges?
birth preparation

With birth preparation there can be a focus on birth being positive, easy and enjoyable and it can be that but it can also be challenging, unpredictable, exhausting and painful – my aim is for you to be better informed and equipped and better able to manage the challenges. Sometimes labour and birth just needs to be seen as a means to getting your baby, rather than an amazing experience – it’s about endurance, going with what feels right without you experiencing harm or distress,

For more information about pregnancy, birth and life with a baby, you can:
■ sign up for my newsletter
■ join my online membership for expectant and new parents
■ book a consultation with me
■ join the Mother Cuppa Walk & Talk Group
■ complete a digital course

janine signature

Working with parents since 2002

Mother Cuppa Magazine
Pregnancy Essentials | Birth Preparation Essentials | Labour & Birth Essentials | New Baby Essentials | Feeding Essentials | Babyloss & Grief | Useful Information | Breathing Space

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Pregnancy in your words: exhausted

There is something unique about the exhaustion of pregnancy, especially in those early weeks when everything can feel like an effort and you could cry with tiredness.

Not everyone experiences it but some women can feel that every cell in their body is tired. Throughout pregnancy, tiredness can just hit and all you need to do is sleep, especially towards the end of pregnancy where you can truly feel like you are growing another human being.

It can be one reason why some women decide to finish work earlier than planned because exhaustion just hits and the days can feel tough.

If it is an option, giving yourself a little bit of time at the end of pregnancy to rest and nap as you need to – especially because night sleep can become so interrupted – can give you more energy for labour, birth and recovery.

Learning to use your breathing can also be a simple way to boost your energy as it can also ease any aches and stress.

It’s not always easy but rest when you can and when your body demands it. Early nights, lie ins, an afternoon snooze at the weekend can all make a difference, along with eating well and drinking plenty of water so you’re not dehydrated.

janine signature

Working with parents since 2002

For more information about pregnancy, birth and life with a baby, you can:
■ sign up for my newsletter
■ join my online membership for expectant and new parents
■ book a consultation with me
■ join the Mother Cuppa Walk & Talk Group
■ complete a digital course

Mother Cuppa Magazine
Pregnancy Essentials | Birth Preparation Essentials | Labour & Birth Essentials | New Baby Essentials | Feeding Essentials | Babyloss & Grief | Useful Information | Breathing Space

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make a rod for your own back

You’ll make a rod for your own back

To ‘make a rod for your own back’ is to do something that inadvertently creates troubles or misfortune in the future.
The expression is usually used when someone has done something which seemed like a good idea at the time but comes back to bite them in some unexpected way.

http://www.phrases.org.uk

I now have children at college and in university and I have been reflecting on life as a mother and on those early days, weeks and months with my babies when I felt a bit lost, like I was doing it wrong and being told I was making a rod for my back.

Becoming a mother was a huge transition – as it is for most of us. I became more selfless and I learnt to trust my instincts. Before I became a mum I was never interested in breastfeeding or co-sleeping – in fact I mocked it when I went to antenatal classes.. 

When I was pregnant, I started reading and talking to friends who were mothers and they spoke positively – although fairly realistically – about birth and feeding and my thoughts started to change. I read well – Sheila Kitzinger and Ina May Gaskin – and I started listening to my instincts. I booked a homebirth with a birthing pool and I planned to breastfeed – still wasn’t convinced by the co-sleeping though!

Armed with good information, a supportive husband and a great midwife I laboured and birthed at home – it was harder than I ever imagined but I did it. There were no complications, it was straightforward and pretty quick once it got going. Breastfeeding was tough to start with – I didn’t have a clue what I was doing or what to expect but two weeks in it clicked and we were off. And co-sleeping started on her first night – I had just grown her and birthed her, it didn’t feel right to have her anywhere else but next to me. 

But the next few weeks were a battle. My instincts were to soothe, rock, cuddle and feed my baby but the advice at the time was all about independence and routines – Gina Ford was new and popular back then. And I had so many comments saying “you’ll make a rod for your own back”, that I was spoiling my baby, giving in to her, developing bad habits. And I was asked was she a good baby?, did she sleep?, blah, blah, blah…

– “You’ll make a rod for your own back” –

When she was 8 weeks old, I was a bit demented. I felt like I was doing everything wrong, I was stressed and emotional. My husband asked what I wanted and I said I wanted to cuddle her and feed her and co-sleep and carry her – he said well that’s what we do then. I stopped battling with my baby and the world was a happier place. I still had all the “you’ll make a rod for your back” comments but, with my happier baby, I finally felt like I was doing it right and, as a family, we did it our way.

  • We co-slept – she never slept in a cot and she quite happily moved into her own bed in her room when she was ready
  • I breastfed and then combination fed her with a bottle and formula
  • I cuddled and rocked her to sleep
  • I picked her up when she cried and I carried her around with me

I did not spoil her or make a rod for my back and I didn’t create any bad habits by responding to her needs. And when my next baby came along 3 years later, I did exactly the same.

My daughters are confident and independent. They don’t need rocking to sleep and they been in their own beds for many years now! I no longer pick them up when they cry because they are taller than me so I cuddle them instead when they are upset because they are my children and I want them to feel soothed, loved and listened to if they are upset.

As my children have grown I have continued to trust my instincts, to follow their lead, to listen to them and know them and, most days, I feel confident in my parenting because it’s about winging it, making it up and doing our best.

Babies need to cling, they need to be responded to and interacted with, they need reassurance and to feel safe. With this they can thrive and become independent when they are able to.

janine signature

Working with parents since 2002

For more information about pregnancy, birth and life with a baby, you can:
■ sign up for my newsletter
■ join my online membership for expectant and new parents
■ book a consultation with me
■ join the Mother Cuppa Walk & Talk Group
■ complete a digital course

Mother Cuppa Magazine
Pregnancy Essentials | Birth Preparation Essentials | Labour & Birth Essentials | New Baby Essentials | Feeding Essentials | Babyloss & Grief | Useful Information | Breathing Space

Say hello…
Instagram | Facebook Group | Linkedin