What will help with my morning sickness?
Information taken from the incredible book, The Essential Guide to Using Complementary Therapies During Pregnancy by Denise Tiran
Sickness affects up to 90% of mums-to-be. It may occur at any time of the day or night, be constant and may last much longer than the first three months. Being tired, hungry, anxious, prone to travel sickness or if you’re expecting twins may make it worse.
Heartburn, food cravings or aversions, excessive saliva or headaches often accompany the nausea. In a few mums the vomiting can become severe (hyperemesis gravidarum), which usually requires you to be admitted to hospital.
Here are a few suggestions to try at home. If these don’t work you could see an acupuncturist, osteopath or homeopath. If your sickness persists, tell your midwife or doctor.
- Eat foods you can tolerate but avoid fried or fatty foods. Don’t get too hungry – eat carbohydrate foods eg bread, crackers, potatoes, cereal or pasta to maintain your energy levels.
- Get as much rest as possible so you don’t get over-tired – and consider taking time off work.
- Try gentle exercise such as yoga or pilates, or relaxation – listening to music or doing visualisation
- Try a special DVD or app (www.morningwell.com) which uses a link between your ear’s balancing mechanism and the vomiting centre in your brain. Pulsations, unheard under the music, cause sound waves to bounce on your ears, acting on this balancing mechanism to reduce your nausea.
- Wristbands (Seabands™) – measure 3–4 fingers up from the crease on your inner wrist till you feel a slight indentation. Wear the bands on both wrists with the buttons over this point; press 20–30 time when you feel sick.
- Ginger biscuits are not the answer – use grated raw ginger to make a tea, or buy ginger capsules. In some mums ginger increases nausea or causes heartburn. Don’t use it if you’re taking blood thinning drugs, aspirin or tablets for high blood pressure.
- Peppermint tea may help, but avoid it if you have epilepsy or a heart condition, and don’t use mint if you’re taking homeopathic remedies as it can stop them working properly.
- Camomile tea or slippery elm tablets may also be of use but you should only take these on the advice of a qualified medical herbalist practitioner.
With homeopathy, you need to choose the remedy which most closely matches your symptoms. It’s best to consult a qualified homeopath who can prescribe the most appropriate remedy for you
If you’d like more support with your pregnancy please visit our antenatal support group, with plenty of tips from our midwife and aromatherapist Jeanette Dean
Here’s the link
Cal and the Team
The gentle caesarean
It almost seems like a contradiction of terms doesn’t it?
The gentle caesarean.
There doesn’t seem to be much gentle about having several layers of skin and muscle cut and a baby pulled from its sleepy 9 month home. But believe it or not, the way caesareans are being done is changing, and hospitals are increasingly recognising the need for a more person centred caesarean birth.
Statistics show one in four births will end in caesarean section and this can be for a number of reasons, failure to progress in birth, breech baby, health deterioration of mother or baby, a baby that is measuring on the large size, all sorts of reasons. For many women, having a caesarean is not the ideal birth choice and for many, ending up with a caesarean birth has been the beginnings of them believing or feeling like they have had a ‘traumatic birth.’
Birth Trauma is real and recognised and can have a huge impact on the way parents enter their new role. For this reason, it is vital services are improved for those who are having caesarean births.
So what is the gentle caesarean?
In some sense, the gentle section is about giving women more control and a less clinical experience of an instrumental birth. This is more viable if the birth is going to be a planned section rather than an emergency section but still then, certain measures may be observed.
The gentle caesarean allows women to stipulate what they would like for their birthing process. At birth, the drape can be dropped so mothers and fathers can see the baby being born if they wish. Cord clamping can be delayed and the birthing partner can cut the cord if they wish. Specified music of choice can be playing in the background and low level lighting can be requested if possible to create a more calming and less clinical environment. Mothers can request that the birth partner tells them the sex of the baby, and request immediate skin to skin with the baby rather than baby being passed straight to the birth partner. The element of choice and decision making and control is passed back to the parents rather than clinical impositions being given to parents. This is proving to improve birth outcomes and reduce levels of post natal depression amongst women.
Maybe one of the most important parts of a gentle section is the way in which the baby is born. Instead of the baby being delivered quickly, the baby is gently eased out of the opening and almost walks its way out of the womb, an experience which takes longer, but is less distressing for baby as they are born gently and slowly. Whilst this may not always be possible, it is well worth discussing this with the hospital staff pre-birth and making arrangements from there. Amongst the backdrop of covid 19, there may not always be the options available, but a positive birth experience should be something that all parties strive for together, both midwives, surgical staff and parents. Ensuring that options are discussed thoroughly is key.
If you would like any more information on the gentle caesarean, please feel free to ask our antenatal course midwives via our facebook group or join one of our pregnancy coffee evenings, details of which can be found here via the link below.
Cal and the BNB Team
The Birth Plan
We have all been asked that question, do you have a birth plan – but what actually is a birth plan and are they worth having.
Firstly, I think its really helpful to look at the birth plan as a set of preferences rather than a plan, this hugely helps with your mindset and with any unexpected changes during birth. Often, especially if this is your first baby, we don’t know how our bodies will cope during labour and birth and we don’t know if the plan we have will be suitable for us. When things, ‘don’t go to plan,’ this can have a really negative effect on the way some women start off their parenting journey. Some women feel, ‘robbed,’ because their birth ‘didn’t go to plan.’ Others feel like they have in some way failed because what they wanted didn’t actually happen. This is where it can be useful to think of a birth preference instead of a birth plan.
Birth preferences help us to shift our mindset from ‘this is what I want to happen,’ to ‘ideally I’d like this, but if this happens, I’m ok with that because I’ve thought about it and prepared for it.’
Having birth preferences allow us to factor in what might happen, how birth might take a different route but also, how we do still have some choices, some non negotiables that remain regardless. These non-negotiables eg no matter what type of birth I have I want this music playing in the background, help women to feel like they still have an element of choice in the birthing process and control over what happens.
So how do I write my birth preferences?
Start with your ideal birth, what would that look like, what would the room look like, would the lighting be low, would there be candles, would there be music playing, would you be in water or on a bed, will you be active, will you be wanting some pain relief, what type of thing would be helpful for your birth partner to say/do for you. Are you using aromatherapy oils, do you want baby placed straight onto your tummy, are you delivering the placenta naturally or do you want an injection to speed things up. Do you want your partner to cut the cord? Delayed cord clamping and them to tell you the sex of the baby? All these things make up your ideal birth, and only you know what that looks like.
Then start factoring in some of the things that may happen – eg you may not be able to have a water birth because there are no pools – so if that happens, what would be your preference then? If you can’t have an active birth because of complications and you end up with a c-section, what would your birth look like then? You can still have some of the non negotiables even during a c-section, eg your partner can still cut the cord, they can still tell you the sex and you can still have skin to skin straight away if that’s what you’d like.
The most important thing about birth preferences is to talk them through thoroughly with your birth partner. They will be your voice during the time when you will be busy concentrating on other things! They will be able to ensure that you get the outcomes you want, but only if they know about them before hand! Clear communication is key at this time and your birthing partner will only be able to support you fully if they know what you’d like to happen in all circumstances. Having a birth preference plan to guide and remind them at a time when emotions can be high helps them to support you best during the birth and communicate to other professionals what you’d like to happen.
There are plenty of documents available to look at via the NHS and plenty of support available through our antenatal page with birth preferences too simply join
We can’t wait to have you there with us!
Cal and the BNB Team
Baby Bonding and Brain Development
At the top of the list for child development and the development of a healthy brain is secure attachments. Children need strong attachments to atleast one primary caregiver and without them, babies and children will fail to meet many of their milestones.
There are a number of common misconceptions regarding bonding and attachment the first being that you can spoil your babay and make a ‘rod for your own back.’ Babies and children have their own thoughts and feelings and it is up to us as parents to help them to internalize these emotions and make sense of them. Indeed there is much research to suggest that children with secure attachments do better in life across the board.
The early experiences our babies have, have the potential to change the architecture of the brain. The first two years of a childs life and those early experiences impact and influence their entire lives. Babies are emotion magnets and they rely on their caregivers for this stability.
But what happens if our children are not securely attached?
Children who have insecure attachments to parents or carers, for whatever reason, tend to explore less, their play is immature, they are less well developed academically and cognitively. Children with insecure attachments may struggle to make friends and are significantly less emotionally developed. They may in the future develop marriage difficulties and parenting their own children may be more difficult too.
So how do we create strong attachments?
Caregivers can make their children’s attachments more secure by doing a number of things
- Become an expert at reading your child’s cues. Children need to know when they are off exploring they can come back to you for support and reassurance. This is called social referencing
- Children need to know they can come to you if they are hurt, ill happy etc for comfort and reassurance. Always be ready to cuddle and reassure
- Respond to cues and needs – you cannot spoil a baby if you respond when your baby signals a need then your baby will be comforted and this builds a strong attachment.
Building secure attachments is vital for building healthy brains and a child’s first educator is its parents. Let us help and support you on your parenting journey with classes and courses tailored to your needs. You would be so welcome!
Cal and the BNB Team
Baby bonding and Attachment
Bonding with your baby is one of the easiest things to do and one of the most natural in many senses. Bonding and Attachment is also vital for your baby as they grow and develop. You see brains are both born and built. Our brain as it is born is functioning and is able to navigate our basic bodily functions, it regulates breathing, sight, feeding, and we are born with many reflexes which also support this. However, healthy brains are also built, and what we do with our babies in the early days, months and years, helps build a strong and healthy brain.
Bonding and attachment is key to building a strong brain and creating firm foundations for which al other skills are learnt. And you’ll be pleased to know it’s not difficult to do. Bonding with your baby and creating a secure attachment simply means in the early days to meet your babies needs. Though this may seem constant, draining and sometimes relentless, creating a secure attachment is based on responding to your babies cues and needs. If your baby cries, it is usually for one of a couple of reasons and your job, as parent or caregiver, is to meet those needs.
Reasons babies cry
- Wet/dirty nappy
- Need a cuddle
- Uncomfortable or in pain – ie wind, colic, teething
It is our job as caregivers to work out our babies needs and respond appropriately and whilst this sometimes feels like trying to work out a jigsaw puzzle, this is exactly what we must do. The good news is that based on the research that meeting our babies needs helps to form strong, secure attachments; this means we now know we cannot spoil our babies. Based on this research, u=you cannot spoil a newborn by meeting their needs, you will not ‘make a rod for your own back,’ by cuddling and comforting them and you certainly won’t end up with a baby that is needy or clingy like many old wives tales suggest. By meeting your babies needs you create a strong and secure attachment with them which leads to healthy brain development.
There are some other key ways of building strong attachments with your little one and heres a couple. We need serve and return interactions. That is interactions which adult and baby engage in, for example
- Eye contact
- Touch – eg baby massage
Activities like these will help build interaction and this in turn creates the building blocks for future development.
For more information on bonding and attachment please see our online baby classes group which promotes strong interactions for building healthy brains from birth.
Establishing a routine for you and your baby
Routines are simply things that are done at the same or similar times every day and firstly I want to say that for the first 6 weeks or so, it is difficult to establish much of a routine as you adapt to the demands of being a new parent and getting to know your baby.
Here’s my thoughts on routines from a mothers perspective with a sprinkling of fact too.
- As soon as your baby is born people will start talking to you about whether or not you’ve got your baby into a routine and whether or not they are ‘good.’ Essentially what they are asking you is if your baby is sleeping through yet. And chances are they wont be and THAT IS ABSOLUTELY FINE.
- Firstly – all babies are different – some will sleep through and be in a ‘routine,’ really quickly as was my first who slept through at 6 weeks old (yes I was a smug mum.) My second Jessica took til 4 months to sleep through – at the time Id convinced myself I was a bit of a failure as it wasn’t as quick as Harry – what was wrong with my routine?? Gracie slept through when she was 20 months old and they all had the same routine.
- The routine you follow needs to work for you and your baby but a good routine unfortunately will not bless you with a baby that sleeps through just because you’re following the routine and I am here to tell you not to feel bad about that or like you’re doing something wrong you aren’t. And your baby will sleep through it will happen!
Sleep Routines and Managing your Expectations
I think the more we can manage our expectations around sleep in the early days as parents the better. I’ll be writing plenty more on this subject over the coming weeks too.
- Be realistic about your sleep expectations – a newborn will generally sleep 14 – 16 hours per day taking short naps of 2-4 hours on average.
- By 6 weeks a babies 24 hour body clock will be more established. They will gradually start to have their longest period of sleep over night time. By 6 months, this should be fully established but its not always the case. They will still need 14 hours sleep per day
- By 6 months babies should have developed a pattern of 1 long sleep at night and 1-2 substantial daytime naps. They should have between 12-14 hours sleep per day
We must remember though – all babies are different and in fact at 12-18 months old 50% of babies still need a parent to fall asleep and only at 18 months is night weaning developmentally appropriate.
What I am trying to point out here is that babies are supposed to wake in the night, babies are supposed to need support falling back to sleep and this is developmentally appropriate. So don’t beat yourself up if this is the case.
So what routine can I put in place?
- In the first few weeks, you’ll basically be getting to know your new baby – DO NOT STRESS ABOUT A ROUTINE! Your baby will automatically have a bit of a routine anyway – you’ll know when they need feeding for example based on hours since their last feed and before a feed you’ll change their nappy.
- A very simple routine you can start with is helping your baby to distinguish between day and night. Babies have no idea what day or night is so during the daytime, place their moses basket by the window whilst they sleep, don’t close the curtains, keep noise levels normal, don’t tiptoe around go about your daily business.
- Come night time, you’re aiming for a very low stimulus environment. Keep all lighting to a minumim – I can do everything by light of the iphone torch now! Keep interaction to a minimum and feed baby putting them back in their cot as soon as possible
- Another good thing to add to the ‘routine,’ is a bath time. Babies do enjoy a routine and they do come to associate certain things with certain times of the day if they are done regularly. Bath time is a great way of signalling to your baby its time for bed soon.
- A warm bath, fresh babygrow and feeding baby a bottle in a dimly lit calm and quiet environment like the bedroom signals to them that it is bedtime and the day is over. This will not happen overnight but doing the same things around the same time helps your baby to settle and can help them to get a better nights sleep.
Your newborn will need lots of naps and this is ok! By the time your baby is a few weeks old you’ll have worked out when they need to sleep and what works best for you! Go with this and remember they’re only teeny tiny once, don’t waste all your time and energy stressing about a routine – you cant spoil them and you cant get this time back.
If you need a supportive group of mums and some reassurance from professionals and other mums who’ve been there our group online classes for babies is for you! Feel free to join via facebook