Breastfeeding or not, you are a great mum!

5 min read

by Madlena Szeliga madlena@mokee.eu

Each baby is different and so are the mothers. While acknowledging the benefits of breastfeeding we cannot let mums who feed their babies with formula feel less of a good mum. And vice versa.

Oh, how we love to judge. It’s so nice and easy to have a strong opinion. We know best, don’t we? And we seem to think that they are usually wrong. And if by ‘they’ we mean young mothers, we can skip the ‘usually’. People tend to think they are wrong. And know nothing.

 

As a mum of 2 myself, I’ve heard it all - he is too hot, he is too cold. Let him cry a little (it will make him braver and more self-dependent), don’t let him ever cry (otherwise his brain will be damaged forever). He should wear a hat, he shouldn’t wear a hat. You just can’t get it right.

It’s the same with feeding. My first son was formula fed and when we’ve shared a picture of him being fed by his dad, one of the first comments we got was: “The bottle already? Where is his mom?”. It felt horrible.

A lot of close and not-so-close friends came with genius pieces of advice:

“Try harder!”

“You should drink some ginger tea.”

No one really asked, why I wasn’t breastfeeding. The truth is - neither I nor my son knew how to do it. He was (still is) very impatient and would cry if the milk was not pouring into his mount immediately. I was stressed about him not eating. One thing led to another, and the milk was gone.

This is just a bunch of judgmental things I’ve heard through the first year of his life:

“He will have a terrible immune system” - not true, really. He is the healthiest boy I know.

“He will learn to speak later than his peers” - again, they couldn’t be more wrong. He was speaking in full sentences by the age of 1.5.

“The bond between you two will not be as strong” - can’t imagine a stronger one, trust me.

“You’ve chosen the easy way” - only if you call preparing formula at 1am, and then at 4am easy.

“Mother should always do what is best for the baby. And breastfeeding is the best” - while I agree that breastfeeding is the most beneficial way to feed a baby, I have to stress this - a mother must do what is best for her & the baby. And sometimes the best she can do is to feed with love, but using a bottle.

 

My second son was exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of his life. Exemplary, right?

The truth is, he just knew how to do it from the very beginning and it suddenly got easy for me, too.

You would think this time there won’t be any judgmental comments in the air. But of course, there were.

Some would say: “So how much longer are you going to be breastfeeding?” with a strong suggestion that it’s high time to quit - I still am breastfeeding & he is over 1 year old.

But I’ve also heard: “I would not give up my freedom for so long” - meanwhile I feel as free as a bird, being able to go with my baby anywhere not worrying about food preparation facilities.

“You will never sleep at night” - while the studies show that breastfeeding mums get 45 minutes of sleep more each night.

“Your breasts will never look good again” - we will see about that, but I don’t really care.

And the worst one, from another mum: “I find breastfeeding repulsive” - and this is just very, very sad.

 

It seems like there is no right way to be a mum. You are always doing something wrong. But I really think it’s the other way round - any path you take as a mother, you can be a great one! Breastfeeding or with a bottle in your hand.

It’s very similar really. Seating in a comfy chair, with a baby looking at your face. Day and night. Every 3 hours (or less). You are being close & together.

Think about this for a while, please. And never criticise a mum, who is doing her best.

by Madlena Szeliga madlena@mokee.eu

Each baby is different and so are the mothers. While acknowledging the benefits of breastfeeding we cannot let mums who feed their babies with formula feel less of a good mum. And vice versa.

 

Blog 1 Breastfeeding or not, you are a great mum!
08 Aug 2020

Breastfeeding or not, you are a great mum!

Breastfeeding or not, you are a great mum!

5 min read

by Madlena Szeliga madlena@mokee.eu

Each baby is different and so are the mothers. While acknowledging the benefits of breastfeeding we cannot let mums who feed their babies with formula feel less of a good mum. And vice versa.

Oh, how we love to judge. It’s so nice and easy to have a strong opinion. We know best, don’t we? And we seem to think that they are usually wrong. And if by ‘they’ we mean young mothers, we can skip the ‘usually’. People tend to think they are wrong. And know nothing.

 

As a mum of 2 myself, I’ve heard it all - he is too hot, he is too cold. Let him cry a little (it will make him braver and more self-dependent), don’t let him ever cry (otherwise his brain will be damaged forever). He should wear a hat, he shouldn’t wear a hat. You just can’t get it right.

It’s the same with feeding. My first son was formula fed and when we’ve shared a picture of him being fed by his dad, one of the first comments we got was: “The bottle already? Where is his mom?”. It felt horrible.

A lot of close and not-so-close friends came with genius pieces of advice:

“Try harder!”

“You should drink some ginger tea.”

No one really asked, why I wasn’t breastfeeding. The truth is - neither I nor my son knew how to do it. He was (still is) very impatient and would cry if the milk was not pouring into his mount immediately. I was stressed about him not eating. One thing led to another, and the milk was gone.

This is just a bunch of judgmental things I’ve heard through the first year of his life:

“He will have a terrible immune system” - not true, really. He is the healthiest boy I know.

“He will learn to speak later than his peers” - again, they couldn’t be more wrong. He was speaking in full sentences by the age of 1.5.

“The bond between you two will not be as strong” - can’t imagine a stronger one, trust me.

“You’ve chosen the easy way” - only if you call preparing formula at 1am, and then at 4am easy.

“Mother should always do what is best for the baby. And breastfeeding is the best” - while I agree that breastfeeding is the most beneficial way to feed a baby, I have to stress this - a mother must do what is best for her & the baby. And sometimes the best she can do is to feed with love, but using a bottle.

 

My second son was exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of his life. Exemplary, right?

The truth is, he just knew how to do it from the very beginning and it suddenly got easy for me, too.

You would think this time there won’t be any judgmental comments in the air. But of course, there were.

Some would say: “So how much longer are you going to be breastfeeding?” with a strong suggestion that it’s high time to quit - I still am breastfeeding & he is over 1 year old.

But I’ve also heard: “I would not give up my freedom for so long” - meanwhile I feel as free as a bird, being able to go with my baby anywhere not worrying about food preparation facilities.

“You will never sleep at night” - while the studies show that breastfeeding mums get 45 minutes of sleep more each night.

“Your breasts will never look good again” - we will see about that, but I don’t really care.

And the worst one, from another mum: “I find breastfeeding repulsive” - and this is just very, very sad.

 

It seems like there is no right way to be a mum. You are always doing something wrong. But I really think it’s the other way round - any path you take as a mother, you can be a great one! Breastfeeding or with a bottle in your hand.

It’s very similar really. Seating in a comfy chair, with a baby looking at your face. Day and night. Every 3 hours (or less). You are being close & together.

Think about this for a while, please. And never criticise a mum, who is doing her best.

by Madlena Szeliga madlena@mokee.eu

Each baby is different and so are the mothers. While acknowledging the benefits of breastfeeding we cannot let mums who feed their babies with formula feel less of a good mum. And vice versa.

 

0

8 amazing facts about breastfeeding

3 min read

by Madlena Szeliga

Breastfeeding can be hard, magical, easy, old as the earth, impossible or rewarding. But it also is surprising! We are sure, that even if you have breastfed one, five, or more babies you don’t know all the amazing facts we gathered.

Breastfeeding is like a gym & saving programme and really good health insurance packed in one.

1) Forget about the gym

Breastfeeding helps you burn 600 - 1000 extra calories a day. The calories are used to produce milk. It’s just like running for an hour.

 

2) Many flavours to it

Your breast milk changes according to what you ate. Its smell and taste reflect your diet. If you eat the variety of products, you will expose your baby to many new tastes and will make sure your kid is not a picky eater.

 

3) White is just an option

Breast milk comes in many different colours. It can be white, but also blue, green, yellow, pink, or black(-ish). Colours of breast milk rainbow:

YELLOW
The colostrum and transitional milk are yellow or orange.

WHITE
Usually, mature milk is white.

BLUE
Mature milk can naturally have a bluish tint to it like very thin skim milk.

GREEN
If you eat a lot of green foods (for example spinach o seaweed) your milk can turn green.

PINK
After having a lot of beets, or eating artificial food colouring your milk can turn pink. However, pink or brown colour of your milk can also be a sign of blood in your breast milk. The reason can be simply sore or bleeding nipples, but sometimes this is a sign of more serious health problems.

BLACK(-ISH)
Some medications, like minocycline, give your milk a slightly black tint.

 

4) Mind your health

Breastfeeding mums have a lower risk of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, heart disease, stroke, type-2 diabetes, and postpartum depression. The longer a woman breastfeeds, the lower the risk gets.

5) Save, while you can

Breastfeeding is money in the bank! You statistically save £700 a year (compared to the cost of formula - average cost per week is £13.52).

6) It’s (almost) always on the right side

3 out of 4 mothers produce more milk in their right breast. No matter if they are right- or left-handed.

7) Give yourself some more sleep

Against the common opinion studies show, that breastfeeding mums sleep on average 45 minutes more a night, than mums who feed babies with formula.

8) And it’s not that popular

Even though the benefits of breastfeeding are well known and scientifically proven, globally, only 40% of infants under 6 months are exclusively breastfed.

Would you like to know more? Listen to our podcast about breastfeeding and become an expert! Availabe on Spotify:

by Madlena Szeliga

Breastfeeding is like a workout and saving account at the same time. Here are eight surprising facts about breastfeeding that you probably never heard about. Find out now!
Blog 1 8 amazing facts about breastfeeding
06 Aug 2020

8 amazing facts about breastfeeding

8 amazing facts about breastfeeding

3 min read

by Madlena Szeliga

Breastfeeding can be hard, magical, easy, old as the earth, impossible or rewarding. But it also is surprising! We are sure, that even if you have breastfed one, five, or more babies you don’t know all the amazing facts we gathered.

Breastfeeding is like a gym & saving programme and really good health insurance packed in one.

1) Forget about the gym

Breastfeeding helps you burn 600 - 1000 extra calories a day. The calories are used to produce milk. It’s just like running for an hour.

 

2) Many flavours to it

Your breast milk changes according to what you ate. Its smell and taste reflect your diet. If you eat the variety of products, you will expose your baby to many new tastes and will make sure your kid is not a picky eater.

 

3) White is just an option

Breast milk comes in many different colours. It can be white, but also blue, green, yellow, pink, or black(-ish). Colours of breast milk rainbow:

YELLOW
The colostrum and transitional milk are yellow or orange.

WHITE
Usually, mature milk is white.

BLUE
Mature milk can naturally have a bluish tint to it like very thin skim milk.

GREEN
If you eat a lot of green foods (for example spinach o seaweed) your milk can turn green.

PINK
After having a lot of beets, or eating artificial food colouring your milk can turn pink. However, pink or brown colour of your milk can also be a sign of blood in your breast milk. The reason can be simply sore or bleeding nipples, but sometimes this is a sign of more serious health problems.

BLACK(-ISH)
Some medications, like minocycline, give your milk a slightly black tint.

 

4) Mind your health

Breastfeeding mums have a lower risk of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, heart disease, stroke, type-2 diabetes, and postpartum depression. The longer a woman breastfeeds, the lower the risk gets.

5) Save, while you can

Breastfeeding is money in the bank! You statistically save £700 a year (compared to the cost of formula - average cost per week is £13.52).

6) It’s (almost) always on the right side

3 out of 4 mothers produce more milk in their right breast. No matter if they are right- or left-handed.

7) Give yourself some more sleep

Against the common opinion studies show, that breastfeeding mums sleep on average 45 minutes more a night, than mums who feed babies with formula.

8) And it’s not that popular

Even though the benefits of breastfeeding are well known and scientifically proven, globally, only 40% of infants under 6 months are exclusively breastfed.

Would you like to know more? Listen to our podcast about breastfeeding and become an expert! Availabe on Spotify:

by Madlena Szeliga

Breastfeeding is like a workout and saving account at the same time. Here are eight surprising facts about breastfeeding that you probably never heard about. Find out now!
0

Breastfeeding Week: full guide to breastfeeding

4 min read

by Becca Smith @beccasmith_tomlins

There’s so many things to think about when having a baby and a question you will often get asked when pregnant is whether you are going to breastfeed.

To be honest you probably won’t be sure until you have your baby – there’s so many factors that can impact whether you can breastfeed such as having a difficult birth, the health of your baby and your own milk production. Keeping an open mind whilst pregnant can help in managing your expectations.

I really wanted to breastfeed but when my son was born he went into intensive care because he had a traumatic birth and had low oxygen levels. So the only option was for him to be bottle fed as he was too sick to breastfeed. I also pumped, so he had my own milk and he was topped up with formula. Eventually when he was better and we came home I ditched the bottle and exclusively breastfed him for 6 months and didn’t stop breastfeeding him until 11 months.

If you can and do decide to breastfeed, here is some helpful advice. If you have any medical questions, please, do ask your health visitor or GP.

Breast milk is amazing…

Your body produces milk specifically for your baby. It’s amazing how the milk is designed just for your baby. It has incredible benefits including protecting your baby from infections and diseases.

Breastfeeding can help to reduce your baby's risk of:

  • diarrhoea and vomiting, with fewer visits to hospital as a result

  • sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

  • obesity

  • cardiovascular disease in adulthood

Some studies have also found that breastfeeding for at least 6 months may reduce your baby's chance of getting childhood leukaemia. But more research is needed into this. You can read more on the NHS website.

There have been numerous research into a protein found in breast milk that can kill cancer cells too. It’s your baby’s first food so it’s the first thing their gut digests. There’s research which also shows that this is important in shaping the bacteria in the gut which could help stop your baby from allergies and help support their long term gut health. Recent studies emphasize the importance of the “window of opportunity” in early life.

Breast milk can help your baby and you

There’s been a lot of studies on the benefits of breastfeeding for babies but also the impact on the mothers. Breastfeeding lowers your risk of:

  • breast cancer

  • ovarian cancer

  • osteoporosis (weak bones)

  • cardiovascular disease

  • obesity

When breastfeeding you can have skin on skin meaning you and your baby can bond and have time together. Studies have shown that breastfeeding helps you bond with your baby.

Does breastfeeding hurt?

Lots of midwives and nurses say that breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt. And if it does, it means the baby is feeding wrong or in the wrong position. My experience was that it did hurt in the first week or so but then it really didn’t and it was very easy. A nurse told me once that it probably will hurt as your breasts have never done it before. My advice is to buy lots of nipple cream – use it and use it a lot, but don’t worry, it’s normal and the pain usually goes after a few days.

Relax…

It’s important to relax when feeding your baby – this will help with your milk supply. Sitting in a comfortable position will also stop you injuring yourself. Lots of pillows and indeed a nursing pillow could help- check out moKee’s Nursing Pillow or make sure you have a comfy seat in the nursery with moKee’s nursing chair!

Is breastfeeding more convenient than formula?

For me, breast milk was so much easier than formula. I could feed my sons whenever they wanted without having to sterilise bottles or boil the kettle. But some women find it difficult or hard to breastfeed so formula will be the only option or simply more convenient for them. Whatever works for you, is what is best!

Mastitis – what is it and how can I avoid it?

Mastitis is when your breast becomes red, hot and painful. It's most common in breastfeeding women and usually happens when you haven’t fed for a while and your breast can become engorged. I got mastitis with my second son and it was very uncomfortable and very painful. My son slept on my breast which caused my milk ducts to get blocked. It came on very suddenly. I felt very cold and was shivering and felt very faint. I knew almost immediately what this was and knew that I had to drain my breast of milk in order for it to get better. So I sat for 4 hours (in a toilet cubicle) and tried to get my son to feed as much as possible and I then hand pumped. It worked and I got better. If you feel like you are getting mastitis please get medical help and contact your GP.

Pumping

During the first few months of motherhood you will probably be with your baby 24/7/ But there wil be times when you need to be apart. Whether it’s work, a dentist’s appointment or you want to go out and see your friends for a meal – it’s important that you feel comfortable when leaving your baby if you are breastfeeding.

For me, a pump was the most important piece of baby equipment and by pumping I was able to leave my sons with my husband and I could have a meeting or go for lunch. I used to pump and store the milk in the freezer so there would always be available milk for my sons.

What can’t I eat or drink when breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding is thirsty work so you may have to drink an additional 700ml of water every day. But now you are free to what you like apart although the same rules about fish apply. Limit shark, swordfish or marlin to one portion a week. Don’t eat more than two portions a week of fresh oily fish, but you can have as much canned tuna and white fish as you like.

When it comes to alcohol the advice from the NHS is that “an occasional drink is unlikely to harm your breastfed baby.”

They go on to say “never share a bed or sofa with your baby if you have drunk any alcohol. Doing this has a strong association with sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).”

Share your stories of breastfeeding with us at our Instagram @wearemokee!

Listen to moKee Birth School Online podcast on Spotify and find our more about breastfeeding. Use tips & guidance from Sophie Martin, known as The Infertile Midwife.

by Becca Smith @beccasmith_tomlins

There’s so many things to think about when having a baby and a question you will often get asked when pregnant is whether you are going to breastfeed. Here's moKee's guide to breastfeeding and some helpful advice. Find the answers to your questions and use tips from experts!

Blog 1 All you should know about breastfeeding
01 Aug 2020

All you should know about breastfeeding

Breastfeeding Week: full guide to breastfeeding

4 min read

by Becca Smith @beccasmith_tomlins

There’s so many things to think about when having a baby and a question you will often get asked when pregnant is whether you are going to breastfeed.

To be honest you probably won’t be sure until you have your baby – there’s so many factors that can impact whether you can breastfeed such as having a difficult birth, the health of your baby and your own milk production. Keeping an open mind whilst pregnant can help in managing your expectations.

I really wanted to breastfeed but when my son was born he went into intensive care because he had a traumatic birth and had low oxygen levels. So the only option was for him to be bottle fed as he was too sick to breastfeed. I also pumped, so he had my own milk and he was topped up with formula. Eventually when he was better and we came home I ditched the bottle and exclusively breastfed him for 6 months and didn’t stop breastfeeding him until 11 months.

If you can and do decide to breastfeed, here is some helpful advice. If you have any medical questions, please, do ask your health visitor or GP.

Breast milk is amazing…

Your body produces milk specifically for your baby. It’s amazing how the milk is designed just for your baby. It has incredible benefits including protecting your baby from infections and diseases.

Breastfeeding can help to reduce your baby's risk of:

  • diarrhoea and vomiting, with fewer visits to hospital as a result

  • sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

  • obesity

  • cardiovascular disease in adulthood

Some studies have also found that breastfeeding for at least 6 months may reduce your baby's chance of getting childhood leukaemia. But more research is needed into this. You can read more on the NHS website.

There have been numerous research into a protein found in breast milk that can kill cancer cells too. It’s your baby’s first food so it’s the first thing their gut digests. There’s research which also shows that this is important in shaping the bacteria in the gut which could help stop your baby from allergies and help support their long term gut health. Recent studies emphasize the importance of the “window of opportunity” in early life.

Breast milk can help your baby and you

There’s been a lot of studies on the benefits of breastfeeding for babies but also the impact on the mothers. Breastfeeding lowers your risk of:

  • breast cancer

  • ovarian cancer

  • osteoporosis (weak bones)

  • cardiovascular disease

  • obesity

When breastfeeding you can have skin on skin meaning you and your baby can bond and have time together. Studies have shown that breastfeeding helps you bond with your baby.

Does breastfeeding hurt?

Lots of midwives and nurses say that breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt. And if it does, it means the baby is feeding wrong or in the wrong position. My experience was that it did hurt in the first week or so but then it really didn’t and it was very easy. A nurse told me once that it probably will hurt as your breasts have never done it before. My advice is to buy lots of nipple cream – use it and use it a lot, but don’t worry, it’s normal and the pain usually goes after a few days.

Relax…

It’s important to relax when feeding your baby – this will help with your milk supply. Sitting in a comfortable position will also stop you injuring yourself. Lots of pillows and indeed a nursing pillow could help- check out moKee’s Nursing Pillow or make sure you have a comfy seat in the nursery with moKee’s nursing chair!

Is breastfeeding more convenient than formula?

For me, breast milk was so much easier than formula. I could feed my sons whenever they wanted without having to sterilise bottles or boil the kettle. But some women find it difficult or hard to breastfeed so formula will be the only option or simply more convenient for them. Whatever works for you, is what is best!

Mastitis – what is it and how can I avoid it?

Mastitis is when your breast becomes red, hot and painful. It's most common in breastfeeding women and usually happens when you haven’t fed for a while and your breast can become engorged. I got mastitis with my second son and it was very uncomfortable and very painful. My son slept on my breast which caused my milk ducts to get blocked. It came on very suddenly. I felt very cold and was shivering and felt very faint. I knew almost immediately what this was and knew that I had to drain my breast of milk in order for it to get better. So I sat for 4 hours (in a toilet cubicle) and tried to get my son to feed as much as possible and I then hand pumped. It worked and I got better. If you feel like you are getting mastitis please get medical help and contact your GP.

Pumping

During the first few months of motherhood you will probably be with your baby 24/7/ But there wil be times when you need to be apart. Whether it’s work, a dentist’s appointment or you want to go out and see your friends for a meal – it’s important that you feel comfortable when leaving your baby if you are breastfeeding.

For me, a pump was the most important piece of baby equipment and by pumping I was able to leave my sons with my husband and I could have a meeting or go for lunch. I used to pump and store the milk in the freezer so there would always be available milk for my sons.

What can’t I eat or drink when breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding is thirsty work so you may have to drink an additional 700ml of water every day. But now you are free to what you like apart although the same rules about fish apply. Limit shark, swordfish or marlin to one portion a week. Don’t eat more than two portions a week of fresh oily fish, but you can have as much canned tuna and white fish as you like.

When it comes to alcohol the advice from the NHS is that “an occasional drink is unlikely to harm your breastfed baby.”

They go on to say “never share a bed or sofa with your baby if you have drunk any alcohol. Doing this has a strong association with sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).”

Share your stories of breastfeeding with us at our Instagram @wearemokee!

Listen to moKee Birth School Online podcast on Spotify and find our more about breastfeeding. Use tips & guidance from Sophie Martin, known as The Infertile Midwife.

by Becca Smith @beccasmith_tomlins

There’s so many things to think about when having a baby and a question you will often get asked when pregnant is whether you are going to breastfeed. Here's moKee's guide to breastfeeding and some helpful advice. Find the answers to your questions and use tips from experts!

0

The 4-month sleep regression - how to survive

4 min read

by Becca Smith @beccasmith_tomlins

Here at moKee we have talked about sleep and importantly how to get as much of it as possible and making your baby sleep… well like a baby. Once those early newborn days are gone you will get into a good pattern and your baby will probably be sleeping well.

But then…

Your baby suddenly doesn’t want to sleep. Up every hour? Not going down for naps at the right time? Or at all? Fighting sleep? I bet most mother’s recognise this and it’s usually at about 16 weeks – the 4-month sleep regression.

The word regression is thrown around a lot and new mum’s talk about it a lot! Regression means “a return to a previous and less advanced or worse state, condition, or way of behaving.” And this is exactly what happens at around 16 weeks for newborns. But don’t worry as it is entirely normal and it doesn’t last forever.

What is the sleep regression?

Your baby will suddenly not want to nap or sleep through the night and this can start at any time from 3 months but usually around 4. It happens because your baby is going through a big development such as mastering rolling over. Babies are also simply more awake and are no longer a newborn. They want to see the word and are inquisitive.

 

How long should it last for?

The sleep regression usually only lasts a couple of weeks but make sure that you don’t pick up bad habits. Try to keep to your usual routine and your baby will quickly get back to sleeping like an angel as they once did.

Some tips for getting back to your routine

  • Don’t rely on feeding! It’s easy to rely on giving your baby a bottle of milk in the night. I did this and it got us into a whole lot of trouble. My son then relied on food and expected it in the middle of the night. Try other ways to get them to sleep such as singing them a lullaby or simply holding them and letting them drift off. This isn’t a good option either but better than feeding them more milk!
  • Don’t let your baby get overtired! Babies need 12 to 17 hours of total sleep, including night time and naps. So if your baby is up most of the night try to give them some rest in the day – you don’t want to swap night with the day but an overtired baby simply will struggle to go to sleep.
  • Routine, routine, routine! Stick to your routine and your baby will remember it and look for those cues for bedtime. Remember, the 3 B’s. Bath, book, bed. This has always been our routine in our household and it still is even with my eldest almost 5. Whatever works for you, but stick to it!

 

Will it happen again?

Yes! Babies go through many sleep regressions. At 8 months your baby will probably regress with their sleep because they are developing quickly now. They’re learning to crawl, their learning to feed themselves and they’re probably trying to pull themselves up and cruise.

And again at 9 months and 10 months they will probably regress. I remember sleep between 8-12 months wasn’t great but in the middle of the night when you are tired and emotional just remember that it doesn’t last forever and everything is just a phase. My 20-month-old now sleeps solidly for 12-13 hours and a few months ago I wouldn’t have thought that could be possible!

Just remember to stick to what works for you and don’t get worried about it. It’s all very normal and nothing lasts forever. What are your sleep tips you want to share with other moKee Mums? Let us know in comments!

by Becca Smith @beccasmith_tomlins

The 4-month sleep regression is tough for all parents. Here is our survival guide for anyone preparing or going through their baby's sleep pattern shift. The sleep regression usually only lasts a couple of weeks but make sure that you don’t pick up bad habits. Try to keep to your usual routine and your baby will quickly get back to sleeping like an angel as they once did.

Blog 1 The 4-month sleep regression - how to survive
22 Jul 2020

The 4-month sleep regression - how to survive

The 4-month sleep regression - how to survive

4 min read

by Becca Smith @beccasmith_tomlins

Here at moKee we have talked about sleep and importantly how to get as much of it as possible and making your baby sleep… well like a baby. Once those early newborn days are gone you will get into a good pattern and your baby will probably be sleeping well.

But then…

Your baby suddenly doesn’t want to sleep. Up every hour? Not going down for naps at the right time? Or at all? Fighting sleep? I bet most mother’s recognise this and it’s usually at about 16 weeks – the 4-month sleep regression.

The word regression is thrown around a lot and new mum’s talk about it a lot! Regression means “a return to a previous and less advanced or worse state, condition, or way of behaving.” And this is exactly what happens at around 16 weeks for newborns. But don’t worry as it is entirely normal and it doesn’t last forever.

What is the sleep regression?

Your baby will suddenly not want to nap or sleep through the night and this can start at any time from 3 months but usually around 4. It happens because your baby is going through a big development such as mastering rolling over. Babies are also simply more awake and are no longer a newborn. They want to see the word and are inquisitive.

 

How long should it last for?

The sleep regression usually only lasts a couple of weeks but make sure that you don’t pick up bad habits. Try to keep to your usual routine and your baby will quickly get back to sleeping like an angel as they once did.

Some tips for getting back to your routine

  • Don’t rely on feeding! It’s easy to rely on giving your baby a bottle of milk in the night. I did this and it got us into a whole lot of trouble. My son then relied on food and expected it in the middle of the night. Try other ways to get them to sleep such as singing them a lullaby or simply holding them and letting them drift off. This isn’t a good option either but better than feeding them more milk!
  • Don’t let your baby get overtired! Babies need 12 to 17 hours of total sleep, including night time and naps. So if your baby is up most of the night try to give them some rest in the day – you don’t want to swap night with the day but an overtired baby simply will struggle to go to sleep.
  • Routine, routine, routine! Stick to your routine and your baby will remember it and look for those cues for bedtime. Remember, the 3 B’s. Bath, book, bed. This has always been our routine in our household and it still is even with my eldest almost 5. Whatever works for you, but stick to it!

 

Will it happen again?

Yes! Babies go through many sleep regressions. At 8 months your baby will probably regress with their sleep because they are developing quickly now. They’re learning to crawl, their learning to feed themselves and they’re probably trying to pull themselves up and cruise.

And again at 9 months and 10 months they will probably regress. I remember sleep between 8-12 months wasn’t great but in the middle of the night when you are tired and emotional just remember that it doesn’t last forever and everything is just a phase. My 20-month-old now sleeps solidly for 12-13 hours and a few months ago I wouldn’t have thought that could be possible!

Just remember to stick to what works for you and don’t get worried about it. It’s all very normal and nothing lasts forever. What are your sleep tips you want to share with other moKee Mums? Let us know in comments!

by Becca Smith @beccasmith_tomlins

The 4-month sleep regression is tough for all parents. Here is our survival guide for anyone preparing or going through their baby's sleep pattern shift. The sleep regression usually only lasts a couple of weeks but make sure that you don’t pick up bad habits. Try to keep to your usual routine and your baby will quickly get back to sleeping like an angel as they once did.

0

Coronavirus: a self-help guide for postnatal depression

3 min read

by Becca Smith @beccasmith_tomlins

We are thankfully all more aware of the term ‘postnatal depression’. Thanks to society being more open and transparent we hear from many important public figures who talk candidly about their depression after giving birth. And there’s a lot of support out there for mothers, much more than what was available just a decade ago.

There’s no doubt that right now with the global pandemic, births are just not the same experience as they used to be. There is evidence that suggests depression could be higher in mothers due to the coronavirus’ impact on births. Partners only being able to come for the last stages of labour, limited visiting hours and having limited time in hospital. These can all have an impact on any woman who has just given birth.

One in five women will experience post-natal depression and it’s important to recognise the signs. Whether you are worried about your own mental health or a partner or friend, it’s important to get help. The NHS has a brilliant website which explains where you can get help in your area.

What is postnatal depression?

It’s different for every woman and can impact them in many ways, It can start at any time, from the moment you give birth. This may develop slowly or come on pretty quickly.

There is a difference between feeling down and having post-natal depression. I definitely got the ‘baby blues’ when many women feel tearful, anxious in the first week of giving birth. This is very common and I put this down to feeling very, very tired. Labour is labour – tiring. So if you start to feel blue, make sure you are getting enough rest and ask for help. ‘Baby Blues’ won’t go on for more than 2 weeks but if it does, seek help as this could be the beginnings of Postnatal depression.

Symptoms

The main symptoms include:

  • a persistent feeling of sadness and low mood,
  • loss of interest in the world around you and no longer enjoying things that used to give you pleasure,
  • lack of energy and feeling tired all the time,
  • trouble sleeping at night and feeling sleepy during the day,
  • feeling that you're unable to look after your baby,
  • problems concentrating and making decisions,
  • loss of appetite or an increased appetite,
  • feeling agitated, irritable or very apathetic,
  • feelings of guilt, hopelessness and self-blame,
  • difficulty bonding with your baby with a feeling of indifference and no sense of enjoyment in their company,
  • frightening thoughts – for example, about hurting your baby; these can be scary, but they're very rarely acted upon,
  • thinking about suicide and self-harm.

Where can I get help?

In the UK, the first point of call in seeking help is your GP or health visitor. They can listen to your feelings and discuss the best way forward for treatment. Mind is a great charity which offers a lot of advice and help too. Post Natal Illness is a organisation run by people who have suffered from postnatal depression. The Mental Health Organisation has in-depth information for people who suffer and also for friends and family too.

The impact of COVID - 19

There are amplified risks of depression during this time simply by not seeing friends and family as much, it means it can be for some a very isolating time. There is, of course, the risk of the virus. Some parents will feel increased anxiety around this and want to make sure that their newborn does not catch it. It’s important to make sure you express these feelings to health visitors.
 
Not having your parents to come and see the new baby can be really very upsetting. Also from a practical level – you won’t have as much help. In the very early weeks of my first son’s birth, my parents and my in-laws were very supportive in helping me to care for him and giving me rest. If you cannot see loved ones but they want to help why don’t you suggest they cook some meals for you and leave them on your doorstep? Food is very important after birth, especially if you are breastfeeding so it’s a really helpful way for loved ones to help from afar.

It’s important to talk about emotions accompanying pregnancy and after you have your babies - particularly important at this time with Coronavirus and the restrictions this pandemic has had on birth and pregnancy. We've invited Lucy Cavendish, the experienced psychotherapist, to join moKee Birth School online and talk about the emotions accompanying pregnancy. Listen to moKee's podcast on emotions accompanying pregnancy and how to deal with them.

by Becca Smith @beccasmith_tomlins

One in five women will experience post-natal depression and it’s important to recognise the signs. Whether you are worried about your own mental health or a partner or friend, it’s important to get help. The chances of getting postnatal depression during a lockdown are much higher. This article aims to help new mums get through the COVID-19 lockdown.

Blog 1 Coronavirus: a self-help guide for postnatal depression
13 Jul 2020

Coronavirus: a self-help guide for postnatal depression

Coronavirus: a self-help guide for postnatal depression

3 min read

by Becca Smith @beccasmith_tomlins

We are thankfully all more aware of the term ‘postnatal depression’. Thanks to society being more open and transparent we hear from many important public figures who talk candidly about their depression after giving birth. And there’s a lot of support out there for mothers, much more than what was available just a decade ago.

There’s no doubt that right now with the global pandemic, births are just not the same experience as they used to be. There is evidence that suggests depression could be higher in mothers due to the coronavirus’ impact on births. Partners only being able to come for the last stages of labour, limited visiting hours and having limited time in hospital. These can all have an impact on any woman who has just given birth.

One in five women will experience post-natal depression and it’s important to recognise the signs. Whether you are worried about your own mental health or a partner or friend, it’s important to get help. The NHS has a brilliant website which explains where you can get help in your area.

What is postnatal depression?

It’s different for every woman and can impact them in many ways, It can start at any time, from the moment you give birth. This may develop slowly or come on pretty quickly.

There is a difference between feeling down and having post-natal depression. I definitely got the ‘baby blues’ when many women feel tearful, anxious in the first week of giving birth. This is very common and I put this down to feeling very, very tired. Labour is labour – tiring. So if you start to feel blue, make sure you are getting enough rest and ask for help. ‘Baby Blues’ won’t go on for more than 2 weeks but if it does, seek help as this could be the beginnings of Postnatal depression.

Symptoms

The main symptoms include:

  • a persistent feeling of sadness and low mood,
  • loss of interest in the world around you and no longer enjoying things that used to give you pleasure,
  • lack of energy and feeling tired all the time,
  • trouble sleeping at night and feeling sleepy during the day,
  • feeling that you're unable to look after your baby,
  • problems concentrating and making decisions,
  • loss of appetite or an increased appetite,
  • feeling agitated, irritable or very apathetic,
  • feelings of guilt, hopelessness and self-blame,
  • difficulty bonding with your baby with a feeling of indifference and no sense of enjoyment in their company,
  • frightening thoughts – for example, about hurting your baby; these can be scary, but they're very rarely acted upon,
  • thinking about suicide and self-harm.

Where can I get help?

In the UK, the first point of call in seeking help is your GP or health visitor. They can listen to your feelings and discuss the best way forward for treatment. Mind is a great charity which offers a lot of advice and help too. Post Natal Illness is a organisation run by people who have suffered from postnatal depression. The Mental Health Organisation has in-depth information for people who suffer and also for friends and family too.

The impact of COVID - 19

There are amplified risks of depression during this time simply by not seeing friends and family as much, it means it can be for some a very isolating time. There is, of course, the risk of the virus. Some parents will feel increased anxiety around this and want to make sure that their newborn does not catch it. It’s important to make sure you express these feelings to health visitors.
 
Not having your parents to come and see the new baby can be really very upsetting. Also from a practical level – you won’t have as much help. In the very early weeks of my first son’s birth, my parents and my in-laws were very supportive in helping me to care for him and giving me rest. If you cannot see loved ones but they want to help why don’t you suggest they cook some meals for you and leave them on your doorstep? Food is very important after birth, especially if you are breastfeeding so it’s a really helpful way for loved ones to help from afar.

It’s important to talk about emotions accompanying pregnancy and after you have your babies - particularly important at this time with Coronavirus and the restrictions this pandemic has had on birth and pregnancy. We've invited Lucy Cavendish, the experienced psychotherapist, to join moKee Birth School online and talk about the emotions accompanying pregnancy. Listen to moKee's podcast on emotions accompanying pregnancy and how to deal with them.

by Becca Smith @beccasmith_tomlins

One in five women will experience post-natal depression and it’s important to recognise the signs. Whether you are worried about your own mental health or a partner or friend, it’s important to get help. The chances of getting postnatal depression during a lockdown are much higher. This article aims to help new mums get through the COVID-19 lockdown.

0

moKee Birth School online:
being a Doula

3 min read

by Suzi Smith  

 

Read the blog post or listen to the podcast on Spotify:

Hazel from TwinningitUK, talks to the moKee Birth School Online about being a Doula.

 

WHAT IS A DOULA?

A Doula is a trained person (non-medical) who is brought in to help support the woman and family at the time of birth and post-birth. The Doula’s aim is to do whatever is possible to make the whole family have the best experience when it comes to birth and to enjoy those precious moments. Since the lockdown , the majority of the work is carried out virtually as Doulas aren’t currently allowed into hospitals or people’s homes during labour or in the postnatal period.

The old saying goes, “it takes a village to raise a child” so now in lockdown it’s harder than ever. People are having babies and all they have is the person that they live with to support them. There are no visits to the clinics, no baby groups. I am finding that more than ever, people are needing that extra support.

A Doula is not medically trained and doesn’t give medical advice, they are not there to deliver the baby. They offer evidence-based information to families and help cut through things that are not evidence-based, such as people basing information on experience rather than evidence.

As an example, a Doula will give you evidential information about the facts around having a vaginal birth after a c section or they can signpost you to relevant information that may be needed. They’ll look at the facts rather than what happened to a friend.

When it comes to birth, lockdown aside, Doulas can be present at the birth of your baby. The role of a Doula is to help and support the mother and to support the family. The role of the Doula is not to take away anything from your partner. If the partner feels worried about being pushed away during the birth, reassure them that a Doula is there to enhance their experience too.

Doulas are trained in relaxation techniques, massage techniques and setting the mood in the room and holding the space. Having a Doula present means that they can enhance the experience of the mother and her partner. A Doula can do simple tasks such as go and get refreshments so that the woman is never left alone and the partner can stay present with her. It’s a key thing and back to lockdown, women are going to the hospital on their own and lots of hospitals say that the birth partner doesn’t come until the woman is in established labour which is really tough.

If it’s your 1st or 10th birth and you have worries, the Doula’s role is to signpost you where you can find the information about your birth. A Doula can help you plan your birth wish list and during labour (with your permission) they will tell the Doctors and Midwives what you’d like if you’re unable to communicate.

Post-natal, Doulas may visit the first day a family is back to help them find their feet within their new family dynamics. It’s a big change. A Doula’s role is not to look after the baby, that’s for a maternity nurse or the parents. A Doula is there to empower you, show you how to do something, make sure everyone is comfortable and sometimes they’ll even cook for you! They’ll help you navigate feeding the baby, changing the nappies, etc... but remember that they are not there to do it for you, they are there to empower you.

Doulas are usually on call from 38 weeks and right up to 10-14 days overdue. You draw up a contract on expectations because generally when you go into labour you want to know all of the details before and what they’ll be doing to help you.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

How expensive are Doulas?
Doula’s start from around £500 for attending a birth and some postnatal support may be included in that but postnatal support is usually extra but this is all written into the contract. Doulas can charge more, depending on their level of experience and what they’ll be doing for you.

When should you start looking for a Doula?
Start doing research around 5 months into pregnancy. Arrange interviews with them. There are some excellent Doula websites, for example, Nurturing Birth or Doula UK, go on their website and go through Doula profiles. You need to gel with that person. You will remember that person forever so ensure that you connect with them. Meet up with a few, even if for a 30-minute coffee to see if you can both work together.

Do Doulas only assist hospital births or can they do home births?
Doulas can help with hospital births and home births. Doulas never deliver the baby, that’s the job of a Midwife or Doctor. In the States and Europe, Doulas are very common for someone to have. It’s quite new in the UK still but is certainly much more talked about in the past few years and the value of a Doula is beginning to be really recognised.

Can you have a Doula for the first two days at home?
Normally you’ll have a Doula for a few hours after birth. A Maternity Nurse is someone who can stay with you 24/7 and look after the baby. However, some Doulas may be willing to stay for longer periods of time with you. This is something you should try and discuss before the birth and have drawn up in your contract.

From your experience, what would recommend to have in your hospital bag? (Must have's) there are a lot of different views.
Snacks for yourself are very important. In warm weather have a cool spray. Something that you like the smell of that is comforting. Your favourite music, a book because labour can be long and boring! A pillow from home is the ultimate essential!

What if my baby is late?
You’ll be on call up to an agreed time after your due date. It is worth considering having the option of shared Doula support. This means that if you go well beyond your due date and beyond the time that was agreed with your primary doula, then you could have access to another Doula to support you.

What if the Doula doesn’t make it to the birth? Do I still pay?
Some babies come really quickly and you can’t get there in time. When you sign up, a retainer fee is paid. ALL Doula contract agreements are different so you may still be liable to pay the balance. However, it may be worth discussing if the doula can offer you some additional postnatal support in place of being unable to attend the birth (for reasons beyond anyone’s control).

Can they give feeding advice?
Yes, Doulas will have basic feeding knowledge and can help advise on feeding. However, if you are having feeding issues then they will likely refer you to a breastfeeding specialist if it is not something that can be quickly addressed with doula support.

I’ve heard doulas reduce the risk of intervention. Is this true?
Yes, research shows that having a Doula present can reduce the risk of Caesarean/instrumental birth. Research has also shown that it can reduce the need for painkillers or epidural and also a reduced rate of induction of labour. Research also shows an increased likelihood of successfully establishing breastfeeding. There are a wealth of benefits of having a Doula. Not just for emotional support, but for physical benefit also.

Can I have a Doula for my c-section?
Yes, absolutely. Doulas can definitely be present for a caesarean (so long as the hospital are ok with this). A Doula will be up to speed with caesarean research so she can be there to ensure that you have the best c-section experience. More and more options are becoming available now for C-sections, such as gentle caesareans, delayed cord clamping and much more which has shown to have benefits to both mother and baby. A doula will be able to advise you where you can find more information on this and what questions you may need to ask.

Did you consider having a Doula during your birth? How much does it cost? What are the advantages? How having a Doula can help you? Hazel, also known as The Twinning It UK, as the quest of moKee Birth School online explains what a Doula is and answers to the most common questions to help you understand its role. Find out more now!

Blog 1 moKee Birth School online: being a Doula
11 Jun 2020

moKee Birth School online: being a Doula

moKee Birth School online:
being a Doula

3 min read

by Suzi Smith  

 

Read the blog post or listen to the podcast on Spotify:

Hazel from TwinningitUK, talks to the moKee Birth School Online about being a Doula.

 

WHAT IS A DOULA?

A Doula is a trained person (non-medical) who is brought in to help support the woman and family at the time of birth and post-birth. The Doula’s aim is to do whatever is possible to make the whole family have the best experience when it comes to birth and to enjoy those precious moments. Since the lockdown , the majority of the work is carried out virtually as Doulas aren’t currently allowed into hospitals or people’s homes during labour or in the postnatal period.

The old saying goes, “it takes a village to raise a child” so now in lockdown it’s harder than ever. People are having babies and all they have is the person that they live with to support them. There are no visits to the clinics, no baby groups. I am finding that more than ever, people are needing that extra support.

A Doula is not medically trained and doesn’t give medical advice, they are not there to deliver the baby. They offer evidence-based information to families and help cut through things that are not evidence-based, such as people basing information on experience rather than evidence.

As an example, a Doula will give you evidential information about the facts around having a vaginal birth after a c section or they can signpost you to relevant information that may be needed. They’ll look at the facts rather than what happened to a friend.

When it comes to birth, lockdown aside, Doulas can be present at the birth of your baby. The role of a Doula is to help and support the mother and to support the family. The role of the Doula is not to take away anything from your partner. If the partner feels worried about being pushed away during the birth, reassure them that a Doula is there to enhance their experience too.

Doulas are trained in relaxation techniques, massage techniques and setting the mood in the room and holding the space. Having a Doula present means that they can enhance the experience of the mother and her partner. A Doula can do simple tasks such as go and get refreshments so that the woman is never left alone and the partner can stay present with her. It’s a key thing and back to lockdown, women are going to the hospital on their own and lots of hospitals say that the birth partner doesn’t come until the woman is in established labour which is really tough.

If it’s your 1st or 10th birth and you have worries, the Doula’s role is to signpost you where you can find the information about your birth. A Doula can help you plan your birth wish list and during labour (with your permission) they will tell the Doctors and Midwives what you’d like if you’re unable to communicate.

Post-natal, Doulas may visit the first day a family is back to help them find their feet within their new family dynamics. It’s a big change. A Doula’s role is not to look after the baby, that’s for a maternity nurse or the parents. A Doula is there to empower you, show you how to do something, make sure everyone is comfortable and sometimes they’ll even cook for you! They’ll help you navigate feeding the baby, changing the nappies, etc... but remember that they are not there to do it for you, they are there to empower you.

Doulas are usually on call from 38 weeks and right up to 10-14 days overdue. You draw up a contract on expectations because generally when you go into labour you want to know all of the details before and what they’ll be doing to help you.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

How expensive are Doulas?
Doula’s start from around £500 for attending a birth and some postnatal support may be included in that but postnatal support is usually extra but this is all written into the contract. Doulas can charge more, depending on their level of experience and what they’ll be doing for you.

When should you start looking for a Doula?
Start doing research around 5 months into pregnancy. Arrange interviews with them. There are some excellent Doula websites, for example, Nurturing Birth or Doula UK, go on their website and go through Doula profiles. You need to gel with that person. You will remember that person forever so ensure that you connect with them. Meet up with a few, even if for a 30-minute coffee to see if you can both work together.

Do Doulas only assist hospital births or can they do home births?
Doulas can help with hospital births and home births. Doulas never deliver the baby, that’s the job of a Midwife or Doctor. In the States and Europe, Doulas are very common for someone to have. It’s quite new in the UK still but is certainly much more talked about in the past few years and the value of a Doula is beginning to be really recognised.

Can you have a Doula for the first two days at home?
Normally you’ll have a Doula for a few hours after birth. A Maternity Nurse is someone who can stay with you 24/7 and look after the baby. However, some Doulas may be willing to stay for longer periods of time with you. This is something you should try and discuss before the birth and have drawn up in your contract.

From your experience, what would recommend to have in your hospital bag? (Must have's) there are a lot of different views.
Snacks for yourself are very important. In warm weather have a cool spray. Something that you like the smell of that is comforting. Your favourite music, a book because labour can be long and boring! A pillow from home is the ultimate essential!

What if my baby is late?
You’ll be on call up to an agreed time after your due date. It is worth considering having the option of shared Doula support. This means that if you go well beyond your due date and beyond the time that was agreed with your primary doula, then you could have access to another Doula to support you.

What if the Doula doesn’t make it to the birth? Do I still pay?
Some babies come really quickly and you can’t get there in time. When you sign up, a retainer fee is paid. ALL Doula contract agreements are different so you may still be liable to pay the balance. However, it may be worth discussing if the doula can offer you some additional postnatal support in place of being unable to attend the birth (for reasons beyond anyone’s control).

Can they give feeding advice?
Yes, Doulas will have basic feeding knowledge and can help advise on feeding. However, if you are having feeding issues then they will likely refer you to a breastfeeding specialist if it is not something that can be quickly addressed with doula support.

I’ve heard doulas reduce the risk of intervention. Is this true?
Yes, research shows that having a Doula present can reduce the risk of Caesarean/instrumental birth. Research has also shown that it can reduce the need for painkillers or epidural and also a reduced rate of induction of labour. Research also shows an increased likelihood of successfully establishing breastfeeding. There are a wealth of benefits of having a Doula. Not just for emotional support, but for physical benefit also.

Can I have a Doula for my c-section?
Yes, absolutely. Doulas can definitely be present for a caesarean (so long as the hospital are ok with this). A Doula will be up to speed with caesarean research so she can be there to ensure that you have the best c-section experience. More and more options are becoming available now for C-sections, such as gentle caesareans, delayed cord clamping and much more which has shown to have benefits to both mother and baby. A doula will be able to advise you where you can find more information on this and what questions you may need to ask.

Did you consider having a Doula during your birth? How much does it cost? What are the advantages? How having a Doula can help you? Hazel, also known as The Twinning It UK, as the quest of moKee Birth School online explains what a Doula is and answers to the most common questions to help you understand its role. Find out more now!

0

moKee Birth School online:
questions & answers on what after birth

4 min read

by Madlena Szeliga

Here you both (or more!) are - getting to know each other. Days & nights run without a clock, they are intense but magical. You both need to recover and learn your new roles. Everything is new, even if this is your 5th baby! You are the first & only mummy for them.
Here we gathered all the baby care & breastfeeding related questions, our participants asked during the latest Q&A session at moKee Birth School Online. We also included some questions about after birth recovery. Sophie Martin, qualified midwife (aka The Infertile Midwife) answered them all for you.

Really common to get varicose veins during pregnancy. It depends how bad the veins are, but often if they are very large, then they won’t go away after pregnancy. If you still have them at your 6 weeks check-up, mention it to your GP.

My biggest advice is to take it slowly. An old mentor told me that when you have a baby you should try and spend a week in bed and a week on the sofa. Great advice as you need to rest. If you had an operation you wouldn’t be up and about straight away, but I think people forget that when they have a caesarean. Now don’t lay down for 24 hours a day, make sure sure you do get up and stretch your legs. But rest as much as possible. No cooking and cleaning, walking the dog. Don’t lift anything heavier than your baby- if you have a toddler have a conversation that mummy can only hold the baby. Pelvic floor exercises must be done too and are really helpful. Just listen to your body and importantly get air to the wound.

I am not able to recommend this, as there isn't enough evidence to support it.

Just vitamin D.

Meconium is super sticky, thick and black but you just need warm water and cotton wool. Nothing extra.

Washing eyes? Yes. But regular bath water is fine for giving the baby a bath. Check the temperature with elbow or wrist.

Babies should be kept out of direct sun exposure. It is safe for your baby to wear suncream.

Tummy Time is where you put your baby on their tummy for short periods whilst they are awake. I usually recommend doing this on a mat on the floor but making sure the baby will be safe. This will help them increase their muscle strength.

Yes, great idea. A great way to practise the skil l- great to have some saved up, as it is liquid gold. I wouldn’t start too early before 36 weeks. But from then onwards it’s fine.

If you are planning on exclusively breastfeeding, then try to do exactly this - exclusively breastfeed. But if you want to give extra expressed milk, you can cup feed your baby and there are great videos online- the baby laps the milk so doesn’t suck. Nipple confusion comes from teats. So if you are wanting to give them extra milk and trying to avoid using a bottle, I would recommend cup feeding.

If you are planning on breastfeeding exclusively, it isn’t recommended to use bottles. However, if you are planning on mixed feeding, my main advice would be to make sure you are super happy with the latch first. If the baby is still struggling with latch, introducing a bottle is confusing for their latch. If you are feeling confident with the latch, then it could be time to introduce a bottle.

A baby will always be checked for tongue-tie after birth. Sometimes it is really obvious and sometimes really difficult to diagnose tongue-tie. A lot of babies with tongue-tie will feed absolutely fine. So initially if we suspect tongue tie, we wait to see whether the breastfeeding can be established, and assess them over a few days. If they have tongue-tie and can’t feed they would get a referral to a specialist. A lot of people assume you can’t feed tongue-tied babies but it is about individually assessing your baby.

Limit your caffeine. Be mindful about alcohol too. Alcohol does pass through breastmilk, so be mindful of consumption. In terms of foods, there are no food restrictions whilst you breastfeed. Some foods like spicy food, garlic, for example, can change the taste of breast milk but that shouldn’t put baby off.

Paracetamol, codeine and ibuprofen are all considered safe. With other medication, please check with a pharmacist, doctor or midwife.

Take all of this with a pinch of salt, I don’t think having a small amount of peppermint tea will do too much harm.

I did the session which you can read back at moKee’s website (available HERE) and there are great videos on global health media website – the WHO breastfeeding website. It has videos on hand expressing, attaching babies to the breast. La leche league, the national breastfeeding helpline are all really useful too – the community midwife will be helping you too. And there is the ‘off to the best start’ leaflet.

Listen to moKee Birth School online on Spotify. Now available as a podcast too!

by Madlena Szeliga

Here you both (or more!) are - getting to know each other. Days & nights run without a clock, they are intense but magical. You both need to recover and learn your new roles. Everything is new! Read the most common questions on what after birth and find out the answers from Sophie Martine, the experienced midwife.

Blog 1 moKee Birth School online: questions & answers on what after birth
05 Jun 2020

moKee Birth School online: questions & answers on what after birth

moKee Birth School online:
questions & answers on what after birth

4 min read

by Madlena Szeliga

Here you both (or more!) are - getting to know each other. Days & nights run without a clock, they are intense but magical. You both need to recover and learn your new roles. Everything is new, even if this is your 5th baby! You are the first & only mummy for them.
Here we gathered all the baby care & breastfeeding related questions, our participants asked during the latest Q&A session at moKee Birth School Online. We also included some questions about after birth recovery. Sophie Martin, qualified midwife (aka The Infertile Midwife) answered them all for you.

Really common to get varicose veins during pregnancy. It depends how bad the veins are, but often if they are very large, then they won’t go away after pregnancy. If you still have them at your 6 weeks check-up, mention it to your GP.

My biggest advice is to take it slowly. An old mentor told me that when you have a baby you should try and spend a week in bed and a week on the sofa. Great advice as you need to rest. If you had an operation you wouldn’t be up and about straight away, but I think people forget that when they have a caesarean. Now don’t lay down for 24 hours a day, make sure sure you do get up and stretch your legs. But rest as much as possible. No cooking and cleaning, walking the dog. Don’t lift anything heavier than your baby- if you have a toddler have a conversation that mummy can only hold the baby. Pelvic floor exercises must be done too and are really helpful. Just listen to your body and importantly get air to the wound.

I am not able to recommend this, as there isn't enough evidence to support it.

Just vitamin D.

Meconium is super sticky, thick and black but you just need warm water and cotton wool. Nothing extra.

Washing eyes? Yes. But regular bath water is fine for giving the baby a bath. Check the temperature with elbow or wrist.

Babies should be kept out of direct sun exposure. It is safe for your baby to wear suncream.

Tummy Time is where you put your baby on their tummy for short periods whilst they are awake. I usually recommend doing this on a mat on the floor but making sure the baby will be safe. This will help them increase their muscle strength.

Yes, great idea. A great way to practise the skil l- great to have some saved up, as it is liquid gold. I wouldn’t start too early before 36 weeks. But from then onwards it’s fine.

If you are planning on exclusively breastfeeding, then try to do exactly this - exclusively breastfeed. But if you want to give extra expressed milk, you can cup feed your baby and there are great videos online- the baby laps the milk so doesn’t suck. Nipple confusion comes from teats. So if you are wanting to give them extra milk and trying to avoid using a bottle, I would recommend cup feeding.

If you are planning on breastfeeding exclusively, it isn’t recommended to use bottles. However, if you are planning on mixed feeding, my main advice would be to make sure you are super happy with the latch first. If the baby is still struggling with latch, introducing a bottle is confusing for their latch. If you are feeling confident with the latch, then it could be time to introduce a bottle.

A baby will always be checked for tongue-tie after birth. Sometimes it is really obvious and sometimes really difficult to diagnose tongue-tie. A lot of babies with tongue-tie will feed absolutely fine. So initially if we suspect tongue tie, we wait to see whether the breastfeeding can be established, and assess them over a few days. If they have tongue-tie and can’t feed they would get a referral to a specialist. A lot of people assume you can’t feed tongue-tied babies but it is about individually assessing your baby.

Limit your caffeine. Be mindful about alcohol too. Alcohol does pass through breastmilk, so be mindful of consumption. In terms of foods, there are no food restrictions whilst you breastfeed. Some foods like spicy food, garlic, for example, can change the taste of breast milk but that shouldn’t put baby off.

Paracetamol, codeine and ibuprofen are all considered safe. With other medication, please check with a pharmacist, doctor or midwife.

Take all of this with a pinch of salt, I don’t think having a small amount of peppermint tea will do too much harm.

I did the session which you can read back at moKee’s website (available HERE) and there are great videos on global health media website – the WHO breastfeeding website. It has videos on hand expressing, attaching babies to the breast. La leche league, the national breastfeeding helpline are all really useful too – the community midwife will be helping you too. And there is the ‘off to the best start’ leaflet.

Listen to moKee Birth School online on Spotify. Now available as a podcast too!

by Madlena Szeliga

Here you both (or more!) are - getting to know each other. Days & nights run without a clock, they are intense but magical. You both need to recover and learn your new roles. Everything is new! Read the most common questions on what after birth and find out the answers from Sophie Martine, the experienced midwife.

0

moKee Birth School online:
questions and answers on labour

4 min read

by Madlena Szeliga

This is the day you've been longing for and fearing the most. You are going to meet your baby, but first - you need to give birth. Things may go just like you planned, but they might also surprise you. Don't worry! Ask all the questions you want. Now, and when the day comes.
Here we gathered all the labour related questions, our participants asked during the latest Q&A session at moKee Birth School Online. Sophie Martin, qualified midwife (aka The Infertile Midwife) answered them all for you. They cover all the topics - from what to wear to pain during labour.

I’m not familiar with this app. However, there are many hypnobirthing products available. Cds, downloads, books etc I recommend starting hypnobirthing as soon as possible, as practice makes perfect.

I would always say lip balm, as your lips can get dry - especially if using gas and air. Snacks - super important for you and your birth partner. I recommend packing a drink that isn’t water - something like an isotonic drink. Toiletries, maternity pads, big knickers and a couple of nighties or PJs. You also must pack things for baby, clothes, nappies, cotton wool, etc.

Wear whatever you like - there are always gowns available if you don’t want to wear your own clothes. With an epidural, doctors will need to get to your back so they will get you to pop into a gown so they can have open access to your back. But on the whole, wear what you fancy! I wouldn’t recommend buying anything new to wear for the birth, as it may get ruined.

Whatever you like. No clothes - that's fine. Don’t be embarrassed. Some women choose a bikini and when closer to the time take the bottoms off. Or a t-shirt. Whatever you are comfortable in. As long as you can take the bottoms off- so the baby can come out! For birth, in general, wear what you like!

It is good for pain relief, you are less likely to ask for other pain relief options. That feeling of weightlessness and warmth helps. It is usually only recommended for low-risk women though, so any high-risk complications it wouldn’t be recommended. We can’t protect the perineum though when you give birth. So if you want that to happen you can pop out of the pool. If you get in too early it can slow down the labour. We usually try different positions to get labour back up again. If you don’t like it you can just get out. It is a good form of pain relief.

No - you can’t have both of these. But you can get in the pool and if you need more pain relief you’ll get out before having an epidural.

When pregnant your uterus is like a balloon- the placenta doesn’t take up the whole of the uterus. When you have an anterior placenta, it is at the front, but at the top of the uterus. The incision for the caesarean is very low, near your bikini line, so won’t be near the placenta.

We wouldn’t recommend a caesarean based on the head size alone. If your baby’s weight is over the 95th centile, then you should have an appointment with a doctor. The most important thing to remember is that most women will only grow a baby big enough for them unless they have pregnancy complications like diabetes. The position of the head is very important, we want their head to be flexed, not extended.

Size is difficult to assess without working out the centile using a personalised growth chart. If 9lb 10 is above the 95th centile, then it would be recommended for you to have some growth scans during this pregnancy. If she was less than the 95th centile, then you won’t need to have any growth scans unless there are concerns about the size of this baby.

When the placenta is sat on top of the cervix this is known as placenta praevia. Sometimes it will be fully over it or just a little bit. If it is fully coving cervix it is unlikely to move at this stage. You will have scans to check the position of the placenta. With placenta praevia, the only option is for caesarean section.

A balloon induction is what we call mechanical induction. Hormonal inductions are where midwives give you drugs. The balloon tries to physically open the cervix. With the balloon induction you will have a tiny tube inserted through the cervix and on either side of the cervix, now remember the cervix is like a tube and there would be a balloon of water that sits at the top and one at the bottom. At my hospital we are only doing a balloon induction as there are loads of pros – they keep the babies happier - There are fewer cases of foetus distress. It is also far more comfortable to mums. Not painful whereas hormonal inductions you have contractions. So for midwives, we are seeing lots of pros. It doesn’t fail very often. If it doesn’t work we can then move to hormonal drugs so there’s still a chance of labour.

It depends on whether the hospital offers this service and whether you are suitable, so please check with your midwife.

Some research suggests that placentas don’t function well for IVF pregnancies after 40 weeks. This research looks at IVF pregnancies altogether - it doesn’t acknowledge that there are many different reasons that couples need IVF.

The first baby usually engages earlier than second babies, although there is no set time. To do this, open your legs very wide. Open your knees very wide. Stop crossing your feet and knees. If you cross your feet and knees it closes your pelvis. Walking up and down the stairs sideways like a crab is a good way, or sitting on a birthing ball.

Second babies engage later, and sometimes don’t engage until labour Not everyone notices that the baby is engaged, it is not always noticeable. But vaginal heaviness or feeling pressure can be a physical symptom or noticing the bump drop.

I love a TENS machine - they’re brilliant. They’re electric nerve stimulation and the way they work is they block the pain receptors. Put them on as early as you can in labour. When you start to feel uncomfortable pop it on. You can buy or rent them. Make sure you get new pads. You must put them on early. Don’t wait until full-blown labour. Get them on when you first feel uncomfortable.

When you are getting close to labour you could have it ready. You could go into labour anytime from 37 weeks onwards. If you have it beforehand you can play around with it so you know how to use it and get it all ready, so from 36 weeks would be a good idea.

PCA is patient-controlled analgesia - some hospitals use this method for their epidural, and others so don’t. So ask your midwife what sort of epidural they give.
A walking epidural is where you are given slightly milder medication which means you can still walk around whilst using the epidural. Other hospitals will give stronger medication which will make your legs very heavy, and therefore making walking more difficult.

Nursing bras are great but if you want to do skin to skin - it doesn’t work. You will have material where the baby needs to be touching you. They definitely have a time and a place- might be handy when popping out for a coffee shop! At home, I would recommend taking everything off and doing skin to skin if you can.

Listen to moKee Birth School online on Spotify. Now available as a podcast too!

by Madlena Szeliga

This is the day you've been longing for and fearing the most. You are going to meet your baby, but first - you need to give birth. Things may go just like you planned, but they might also surprise you. Don't worry! Ask all the questions you want. Now, and when the day comes. Read the most questions on labour and answers from Sophie Martin, also known as the Infertile Midwife.

Blog 1 moKee Birth School online: questions and answers on labour
05 Jun 2020

moKee Birth School online: questions and answers on labour

moKee Birth School online:
questions and answers on labour

4 min read

by Madlena Szeliga

This is the day you've been longing for and fearing the most. You are going to meet your baby, but first - you need to give birth. Things may go just like you planned, but they might also surprise you. Don't worry! Ask all the questions you want. Now, and when the day comes.
Here we gathered all the labour related questions, our participants asked during the latest Q&A session at moKee Birth School Online. Sophie Martin, qualified midwife (aka The Infertile Midwife) answered them all for you. They cover all the topics - from what to wear to pain during labour.

I’m not familiar with this app. However, there are many hypnobirthing products available. Cds, downloads, books etc I recommend starting hypnobirthing as soon as possible, as practice makes perfect.

I would always say lip balm, as your lips can get dry - especially if using gas and air. Snacks - super important for you and your birth partner. I recommend packing a drink that isn’t water - something like an isotonic drink. Toiletries, maternity pads, big knickers and a couple of nighties or PJs. You also must pack things for baby, clothes, nappies, cotton wool, etc.

Wear whatever you like - there are always gowns available if you don’t want to wear your own clothes. With an epidural, doctors will need to get to your back so they will get you to pop into a gown so they can have open access to your back. But on the whole, wear what you fancy! I wouldn’t recommend buying anything new to wear for the birth, as it may get ruined.

Whatever you like. No clothes - that's fine. Don’t be embarrassed. Some women choose a bikini and when closer to the time take the bottoms off. Or a t-shirt. Whatever you are comfortable in. As long as you can take the bottoms off- so the baby can come out! For birth, in general, wear what you like!

It is good for pain relief, you are less likely to ask for other pain relief options. That feeling of weightlessness and warmth helps. It is usually only recommended for low-risk women though, so any high-risk complications it wouldn’t be recommended. We can’t protect the perineum though when you give birth. So if you want that to happen you can pop out of the pool. If you get in too early it can slow down the labour. We usually try different positions to get labour back up again. If you don’t like it you can just get out. It is a good form of pain relief.

No - you can’t have both of these. But you can get in the pool and if you need more pain relief you’ll get out before having an epidural.

When pregnant your uterus is like a balloon- the placenta doesn’t take up the whole of the uterus. When you have an anterior placenta, it is at the front, but at the top of the uterus. The incision for the caesarean is very low, near your bikini line, so won’t be near the placenta.

We wouldn’t recommend a caesarean based on the head size alone. If your baby’s weight is over the 95th centile, then you should have an appointment with a doctor. The most important thing to remember is that most women will only grow a baby big enough for them unless they have pregnancy complications like diabetes. The position of the head is very important, we want their head to be flexed, not extended.

Size is difficult to assess without working out the centile using a personalised growth chart. If 9lb 10 is above the 95th centile, then it would be recommended for you to have some growth scans during this pregnancy. If she was less than the 95th centile, then you won’t need to have any growth scans unless there are concerns about the size of this baby.

When the placenta is sat on top of the cervix this is known as placenta praevia. Sometimes it will be fully over it or just a little bit. If it is fully coving cervix it is unlikely to move at this stage. You will have scans to check the position of the placenta. With placenta praevia, the only option is for caesarean section.

A balloon induction is what we call mechanical induction. Hormonal inductions are where midwives give you drugs. The balloon tries to physically open the cervix. With the balloon induction you will have a tiny tube inserted through the cervix and on either side of the cervix, now remember the cervix is like a tube and there would be a balloon of water that sits at the top and one at the bottom. At my hospital we are only doing a balloon induction as there are loads of pros – they keep the babies happier - There are fewer cases of foetus distress. It is also far more comfortable to mums. Not painful whereas hormonal inductions you have contractions. So for midwives, we are seeing lots of pros. It doesn’t fail very often. If it doesn’t work we can then move to hormonal drugs so there’s still a chance of labour.

It depends on whether the hospital offers this service and whether you are suitable, so please check with your midwife.

Some research suggests that placentas don’t function well for IVF pregnancies after 40 weeks. This research looks at IVF pregnancies altogether - it doesn’t acknowledge that there are many different reasons that couples need IVF.

The first baby usually engages earlier than second babies, although there is no set time. To do this, open your legs very wide. Open your knees very wide. Stop crossing your feet and knees. If you cross your feet and knees it closes your pelvis. Walking up and down the stairs sideways like a crab is a good way, or sitting on a birthing ball.

Second babies engage later, and sometimes don’t engage until labour Not everyone notices that the baby is engaged, it is not always noticeable. But vaginal heaviness or feeling pressure can be a physical symptom or noticing the bump drop.

I love a TENS machine - they’re brilliant. They’re electric nerve stimulation and the way they work is they block the pain receptors. Put them on as early as you can in labour. When you start to feel uncomfortable pop it on. You can buy or rent them. Make sure you get new pads. You must put them on early. Don’t wait until full-blown labour. Get them on when you first feel uncomfortable.

When you are getting close to labour you could have it ready. You could go into labour anytime from 37 weeks onwards. If you have it beforehand you can play around with it so you know how to use it and get it all ready, so from 36 weeks would be a good idea.

PCA is patient-controlled analgesia - some hospitals use this method for their epidural, and others so don’t. So ask your midwife what sort of epidural they give.
A walking epidural is where you are given slightly milder medication which means you can still walk around whilst using the epidural. Other hospitals will give stronger medication which will make your legs very heavy, and therefore making walking more difficult.

Nursing bras are great but if you want to do skin to skin - it doesn’t work. You will have material where the baby needs to be touching you. They definitely have a time and a place- might be handy when popping out for a coffee shop! At home, I would recommend taking everything off and doing skin to skin if you can.

Listen to moKee Birth School online on Spotify. Now available as a podcast too!

by Madlena Szeliga

This is the day you've been longing for and fearing the most. You are going to meet your baby, but first - you need to give birth. Things may go just like you planned, but they might also surprise you. Don't worry! Ask all the questions you want. Now, and when the day comes. Read the most questions on labour and answers from Sophie Martin, also known as the Infertile Midwife.

0

moKee Birth School online:
preparing for labour

3 min read

by Madlena Szeliga

Usually, when you enter your 3rd trimester you realise your due date is just around the corner. You make all the final decisions about the labour and you try to be as prepared as possible. You can't control everything when it comes to birth, but you can make sure the things you CAN control are all covered.
Here we gathered all the "preparing to labour" related questions, our participants asked during the latest Q&A session at moKee Birth School Online. Sophie Martin, qualified midwife (aka The Infertile Midwife) answered them all for you.

It is really brilliant- start at 35/6 weeks. Massage skin between vagina and anus- get any natural based oil (coconut, olive etc) and put thumbs in and stretch it gently out. It is fantastic at reducing the bigger, 3rd, 4th degree tears.

It is similar to Epino. It’s a ball that you put in the vagina and it’s to try and stretch the perineum, to reduce tears. We don’t specifically recommend them – there’s no evidence to say they work. Anecdotally, many women have found them useful.

This is popular at the moment - it is suggested that eating 6 or 7 dates a day at the end of pregnancy, might help ripen the cervix. You can eat dates in loads of forms, smoothie, date bars etc Although there hasn’t been lots of evidence to support this, it is growing in popularity.

The midwife will be feeling your tummy at every appointment in the 3rd trimester and will be able to tell you.

When the baby is lying across your tummy this is transverse. In early pregnancy- it doesn’t matter what position your baby is in. But if you are towards the pregnancy the end then we want to try and get the baby to be head down. An External Cephalic Version (ECV) is where a midwife or Dr will try and turn the baby into the head-down position. They are generally safe procedures but needs individual assessment as to whether this is suitable for you and your baby. If your baby is breech, then is may be offered to you.

Unlikely if the head is engaged – always a small chance, as babies can do weird and wonderful things, but very unlikely.

Ideally, you want the baby at the front of the tummy. So my top tip is to stop slouching. The back is the heaviest part of the baby, so if you slouch the back comes to your back. UFO – Upright, forward, open will be your mantra! You can get a chair with no arms on it, turn it around and sit backwards. Or scrubbing the floor position – (you don’t actually scrub the floor!) But get on hands and knees, gravity will pull baby forward. Breaststroke swimming can help.

by Madlena Szeliga

Usually, when you enter your 3rd trimester you realise your due date is just around the corner. You make all the final decisions about the labour and you try to be as prepared as possible. Read the most common questions (and the answers) on preparing for labour.

Blog 1 moKee Birth School online: preparing for labour
02 Jun 2020

moKee Birth School online: preparing for labour

moKee Birth School online:
preparing for labour

3 min read

by Madlena Szeliga

Usually, when you enter your 3rd trimester you realise your due date is just around the corner. You make all the final decisions about the labour and you try to be as prepared as possible. You can't control everything when it comes to birth, but you can make sure the things you CAN control are all covered.
Here we gathered all the "preparing to labour" related questions, our participants asked during the latest Q&A session at moKee Birth School Online. Sophie Martin, qualified midwife (aka The Infertile Midwife) answered them all for you.

It is really brilliant- start at 35/6 weeks. Massage skin between vagina and anus- get any natural based oil (coconut, olive etc) and put thumbs in and stretch it gently out. It is fantastic at reducing the bigger, 3rd, 4th degree tears.

It is similar to Epino. It’s a ball that you put in the vagina and it’s to try and stretch the perineum, to reduce tears. We don’t specifically recommend them – there’s no evidence to say they work. Anecdotally, many women have found them useful.

This is popular at the moment - it is suggested that eating 6 or 7 dates a day at the end of pregnancy, might help ripen the cervix. You can eat dates in loads of forms, smoothie, date bars etc Although there hasn’t been lots of evidence to support this, it is growing in popularity.

The midwife will be feeling your tummy at every appointment in the 3rd trimester and will be able to tell you.

When the baby is lying across your tummy this is transverse. In early pregnancy- it doesn’t matter what position your baby is in. But if you are towards the pregnancy the end then we want to try and get the baby to be head down. An External Cephalic Version (ECV) is where a midwife or Dr will try and turn the baby into the head-down position. They are generally safe procedures but needs individual assessment as to whether this is suitable for you and your baby. If your baby is breech, then is may be offered to you.

Unlikely if the head is engaged – always a small chance, as babies can do weird and wonderful things, but very unlikely.

Ideally, you want the baby at the front of the tummy. So my top tip is to stop slouching. The back is the heaviest part of the baby, so if you slouch the back comes to your back. UFO – Upright, forward, open will be your mantra! You can get a chair with no arms on it, turn it around and sit backwards. Or scrubbing the floor position – (you don’t actually scrub the floor!) But get on hands and knees, gravity will pull baby forward. Breaststroke swimming can help.

by Madlena Szeliga

Usually, when you enter your 3rd trimester you realise your due date is just around the corner. You make all the final decisions about the labour and you try to be as prepared as possible. Read the most common questions (and the answers) on preparing for labour.

0