We asked our resident feeding guru Liz Brierley to give us (and now you) her top five tips for establishing feeding your newborn. You’re welcome.
Once you’ve recovered from your first response to finding out your pregnant (whether that is absolute euphoria, total terror, or somewhere in between…) it’s inevitable that your mind will begin to turn to The Birth.
So, for some people, this is the moment when you will turn instinctively to Google; reading thousands of (potentially horrifying) birth stories, watching a myriad of (potentially horrifying) birth videos on YouTube. For others, it’s time to put together a playlist, sign up to pregnancy yoga and put your feet up - what will be, will be. And for some it will be time to plunge their heads into well and truly into the sand - ignorance is bliss.
Our advice? Trust your instincts. It’s something you’re going to have to do a lot now you’ve become a parent. So whether you’re down the library, reading every book going, or turning up the white noise in your head and putting off the birth plan until tomorrow - your means of coping is the right means of coping to begin with for sure. During the course of a healthy pregnancy, moving into motherhood can be as slow a transition as you need it to be, and you are in charge of that emotional and psychological move.
But when you are ready to start thinking about what is inevitably coming your way, consider signing up to an antenatal class in your local area to provide yourself with a number of key coping strategies for pregnancy, labour an the fourth trimester (the newborn phase). The first thing is a social network of other new parents to be - due around the same time as you - your new tribe - who will be there on WhatsApp for you from the get-go. The second is the information and (hopefully) wealth of experience that your course leader(s) can impart. It’s never too early to understand your options.
At Bump to Cradle we offer antenatal classes in a relaxed environment, with discussion and a sense of open forum at their core and practical, evidence based information provided by the experts on hand at every session. So regardless of your instinctive approach to pregnancy, birth preparation and the fourth trimester, you will be able to find relief.
The specialists you will have contact with include a midwife, a women’s health physio, a paediatrician, an obstetrician, an anaesthetist, a GP, a mental health specialist… and more. Pop over here to find out more and book a course today to help you and your birth partner prepare.
Achieving work-life balance is one of those things that we all constantly struggle with - whether we are mothers or not. Keeping the plates spinning and making sure we ‘service’ each part of our life with the necessary regularity and zeal is tough regardless of how many muslin cloths you’re packing in your handbag… but achieving balance when your still working during pregnancy is a whole new ballgame.
So here’s our Top Tips for how to feel like you’re doing a great job of being a pregnant woman at work - because, let’s face it, you are already totally bossing it.
We all know the importance of drinking plenty of water for great skin, lustrous hair, combatting fatigue etc. when you’re not pregnant. So now throw into the mix the fact that you’re carrying around an extra person (whilst simultaneously growing that person) and we’re sure you’ll appreciate that now is the time to invest in a good water bottle, refill it throughout the day and keep on slurping! It’s the simplest thing you can do to help keep your brain firing throughout those long meetings, last lessons and desk-sessions.
Dress like a mom.
If you follow the coolest mums on Instagram, then you’ll already know that mum-jeans are actually super-cool and that flats are the new black. So whilst you’re still pursuing the 9-5 make sure you update your work wardrobe accordingly to feel comfortably you throughout your pregnancy. Our top tips within tips are - Flat shoes will help protect your relaxin-soaked ankles and your back, a decent pair of black maternity jeans will see you through thick and thin and don’t forget to get measured properly for a couple of new bras, because you’ll never stay focussed with an underwire digging into your new C-cups!
Clock off early
I know, I know, this is easier said than done. I’ve had THOSE jobs too. The ones where the last one out of the office gets to wear the badge of honour and anyone who leaves before 7pm gets a slow career-suicide head shake from the on-lookers. But seriously, it’s not just you anymore, and if you want to make it right through to the final weeks before you head off into your mat leave, then you need to pace yourself. So whenever you possibly can, get home early, get your feet up and catch some zzz. You’re going to want to bank some of those now, before things get really serious!
Snack Healthily (and often)
We know it’s not new news, but these days, whilst emailing, you are also burning stacks of energy creating a new life within - and not to mention training your body for the most intense marathon EVER. So be snack-wise now, if not forever, and reap the benefits of sustained energy levels, a happy gut and the correct quota of vits + minerals by having lots of fresh fruit, chopped veg and yummy dips, nuts, seeds and dried fruits to hand throughout the day.
Whilst breaking the news of an impending new arrival isn’t always the easiest conversation to be had with your boss, save yourself any excess anxiety by carefully planning what you want to say and making your plans for departure well in advance of actually having the conversation. It’s so important that you feel in control of the decisions about your maternity leave and that you listen to the needs of your body and your baby when deciding when and how to head off.
Becoming a mum for the first time is no mean feat. And considering it’s ‘a natural process’ - really a simple matter of biology - sometimes the transition to motherhood can feel anything but natural or instinctive for a first time mum.
This is not new news. Apart from anything, mums themselves have been talking about this amongst themselves for a long time. And new parent chatrooms were one of the first things to spring up online - proving our point that there has long been a desire for parents, and particularly mothers, to share there experiences with each other and help and support their peers through a time of obvious hardships, anxieties and new and foreign experiences.
So we know we’re not announcing anything new here. It’s just that sometimes in the loud and extremely serious conversations about post natal depression and post traumatic stress that are increasingly (and rightly) surrounding the topics of birth and new motherhood, the smaller, not less significant but perhaps less outrage-worthy topic of The Average Mother’s Transition to Motherhood, and the struggles with identity, purpose, relationship and life changes that it brings about, can be a little overlooked.
That is why at Bump to Cradle antenatal classes, we are so keen to raise the subject of matrescence - the period of transition from woman to mother, which is by no means a straight forward one. Not that we are not interested in recognising the importance of spotting symptoms of PND and PTSD in our fellow parents and partners, but because whilst these things are issues that affect some new mothers, matrescence is something that affects all new mothers. And whilst nothing can really fully prepare you for the impact that these tiny people will have on your life, we can at least get the conversation started amongst you and your fellow classmates - your new local parenting tribe, so that you can help to support each other.
Read more about this idea and the importance of understanding the emotional and psychological impact of new motherhood at matrescence.com.
Follow us on Instagram @bumptocradle to see and hear more about this idea from us and the accounts we follow who are keeping the conversation going…
Bump to Cradle – Why did I set it all up?
It’s a new year for Bump to Cradle and with the feedback from last year (being so good!) plus now being a mum of two (more about that in another blog!), I feel even more passionately that our classes are providing an unrivalled approach to antenatal education for the new mums and dads to be of Bristol and surrounding areas!
I meet women on a regular basis - either my friends or peers or within my GP surgery setting who have just had babies, mostly all coping really well with a newborn but often hear some disappointment in terms of how they felt their labour was and how the early days were going.
They report feeling ill-prepared for when things don’t go to plan and also not well-informed about what was normal and what was not with their babies. As a result, women (and men) can sometimes be left feeling guilty about their birth experience and anxious and unsure about how to look after a newborn.
It was through my experience of NCT antenatal classes and then my first labour which didn’t go to plan, that I felt inspired to pursue the idea of some more expert quality antenatal education.
Attending antenatal classes, I found I made some fantastic friends but the quality of the information being given out wasn’t optimal in my opinion. The focus was on a natural birth, with natural feeding methods to follow with little to no information given on what the options were if these weren’t possible. Ideally, of course, lots of mums to be want these things but the reality can sometimes be different first time round and I felt it necessary to bring some classes to the table which were balanced, non judgemental and realistic in their approach, as well as being fun of course! I mean surely you can make friends AND get all the information to make you feel as prepared as possible?
What about if you are desperate to breastfeed but your nipples are so sore and the baby won't latch? Our feeding experts can speak openly about the realities of breastfeeding and can offer advice and support on this topic.
Or what do you do if your 3 week old baby will not stop crying/feeding in the evenings and it seems like colic? Our Sleep Consultants and Paediatricians can advise you.
Or if you are worried about how you will cope with a newborn and the sleep deprivation and the effect on your mental health. Our GPs (and other experts) speak very openly about how having your first child can affect your mental health and where to go for support.
The bottom line is that if women and their partners are informed about all the different options and feel supported then I strongly believe that this can lead to a better overall experience. You can never be totally prepared for having your first child but some really good antenatal classes can go a long way to help out!
The various experts that women and their partners will meet during Bump to Cradle classes are in the best possible position to give out this information and provide a relaxed environment for questions.
We have now added a venue in Southville as well as Redland so check out our classes at www.bumptocradle.com!