Online support and services in the time of Covid 19 social distancing

Recommendations around social distancing and reducing the risk of spreading the corona virus means that my usual venues are closed, and face to face sessions are not possible.In order to continue supporting parents and families within the community I am offering my service online in a number of different formats. Mondays at 10 to 11 - virtual coffee morning for parents in the community to chat (free) Mondays 11:30 to 12:30 - Virtual Antenatal chat and support session (free) Wednesdays 10:30 to 11:45 - online baby massage, 4 session block ( £25) all hand outs included as well as time to chat with other course participants I also offer my other services via Zoom; Babycarrying and sling consultationsOne to one baby massageGroup baby massage sessions if you have a group of people who'd like to do it togetherPostnatal supportAntenatal support Please get in touch If you would like to discuss arranging some socially distanced support. ...
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Home with the kids during Covid 19 social distancing

With the recent news that schools are closing to most pupils to help slow the spread of Covid19, you may be thinking about how to keep your children entertained. Give your children time to enjoy life, this is a time of change and uncertainty, and more than anything they need some time to talk and relax. Be kind to yourself and remember that children learn through all sorts of experiences, not just formal education… time spent cooking, gardening, being creative, playing in the fresh air, supporting more vulnerable members of your community all teach your children valuable lessons Here are some resources that I have gathered from various posts and shares across social media that can help you have fun with your children, and maybe give you some inspiration in the coming days and weeks: Khan AcademyEspecially good for maths and computing for all ages but other subjects at Secondary level. Note this uses the U.S. grade system but it's mostly common material. BBC...
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A typical Monday Morning…

My typical Monday morning involves me spending a few hours volunteering at a local breastfeeding support group. When my daughter was born, over 10 years ago...(time really does fly, when I tell you to hold on to those little moments I really do mean it, because before you know it they are big and full of ideas and determination) .... I had always intended to breast feed her, it was something I knew from the moment I was pregnant, I had a vague understanding of the benefits for my baby, and a better understanding of the benefits to me. I knew that there was a link between breast feeding and reduced risk of breast cancer. My mum died of metastasised breast cancer 5 years previously and reducing my own risk was an important if somewhat selfish factor in deciding to breast feed. I had done some antenatal classes and they included breast feeding sessions, they were lead by midwives or breast feeding “experts”...
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Why did I become a doula?

My own experience of becoming a mother taught me the value of what real support looked like. My own parents had passed away many years before my children were born and I was very lucky to have wonderful support from my partner, his parents and a great community of friends. I had worked in IT for years and after the kids were born had started volunteering in a children's centre as a breastfeeding peer supporter. Over the years through volunteering I met many families that didn't have the level of support I did, for all sorts of different reasons. That's when I changed direction and began training with the NCT to become an Essentials antenatal and Postnatal practitioner. But I could see that this would not give me the skills and knowledge to do everything I wanted to. So as a 40th birthday treat to myself I signed up for two courses. A Developing Doulas doula preparation course, and a Slingababy...
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Business Mum’s in the Frame

Abi from Abigails Photography featured me in her MUMS in the Frame series for International Womens Day. You can read the blog HERE I really love how Abi introduced the piece on Facebook: Today's blog post comes from the lovely Donna from Doula D. I met Donna at the NCT parenting course last summer (Donna was the course tutor). Both Paul and I found the course really good and we used some of the techniques Donna taught us right there in the labour room (Donna, it was as if you were there with us). What Donna doesn't know about pregnancy, childbirth and being a new parent, isn't worth knowing.Donna offers an array of services from expectant parents classes right through to baby massage and a whole lot more in between.Friendly, re-assuring and supportive: Donna is passionate about all things parent and baby and is definitely in the right business. Go check out her website and Facebook page. Don't forget whilst you are there...
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“Holding space”

I often say that part of my role is "holding space" for people, as a doula I don't just do this for my clients its something that I do in all walks of life, giving people time and space to discuss, think, discover, ponder, appreciate, digest and work through all manner of things. I'm not providing solutions, or remedies, I might signpost or help people to explore things but ultimately I'm listening, being a sounding board, not judging or making assumptions. Sometimes by talking about things with some one who can do this, we can see new ways forward, unpick things, get a different perspective, find solutions and acceptance. I have over the years really benefited from this kind of compassionate listening, from people who have held space for me at times when I really needed it. I am fortunate that amongst the people I have trained with I have a people whom I can talk to like this now. Sometimes...
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Becoming a mother…

Becoming a mother, Barclay et al (1997) At a postnatal group today we were thinking about finding some balance and me time, and how difficult that can be with a young baby. We also discussed Barclay's research (1997) on becoming a mother and considered how this represented the experiences of the group (research linked in the comments). For this research women in the first few months of parenthood discussed how they felt about their experiences and some common themes were identified.The image above shows these themes and feelings associated with them. In our discussions today there was a consensus that perhaps we are not always prepared for some of the realities of parenthood. We discussed that perhaps more honesty might be needed in the way motherhood is presented in the media, social media and by friends and family. This honesty in turn could make women feel safer to talk about how they are feeling, and their experiences of motherhood. There can be many barriers...
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Cuddling your baby builds their brain

We've been discussing brain development a lot recently in the various groups I support and run, and about how reposonsive care can have a positive impact on how your baby's brain develops. But how often as parents have we heard the following? "You'll spoil that baby if you keep picking it up all the time" "You're making a rod for own back if you pick him up every time he cries" "She'll never learn to self soothe if you're always picking her up" "You're feeding again?" New parents often have an instinct to pick up their baby when they cry, to spend time cuddling and snuggling them, to hold them close, talk to them, soothe and calm them but can feel wary about this because of comments from others. The 2016 study by Charpak et al "Twenty-year Follow-up of Kangaroo Mother Care Versus Traditional Care" looked at the impact that kangaroo care had on the overall health outcomes of premature babies. The results of the study showed...
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The 4th trimester

The fourth trimester describes the concept of allowing your baby to get used to life outside the womb. Before your baby was born, they were enveloped in a world of subdued light, constant but muffled sounds, constantly held and supported, never experiencing what it is to be cold or hungry. Compare this to their environment now, a world of bright lights, unfiltered noise, fluctuating temperatures, sensations of hunger and thirst, and periods where they may not be held and supported. Your baby’s expectations of life post birth are that it will be like life before birth, they have no other experience to compare it to. In those first weeks following birth they are getting used to their new environment, and it can be very overwhelming, everything is new except you, you are their comfort their protector, they know they are safe with you.  This is a time to empathise and communicate with your baby that you understand it’s hard but that you will be there for them, helping them to feel safe...
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