All Things Mummy
The category for Mommy & Baby related posts
Birth is an experience whether it be beautiful or brutal that can awaken incredible determination, fear and love. It can be an empowering intimate and love filled experience even if it doesn’t go the way we want it to. My first birth was challenging and after 40 hours of labor I had to have an emergency c-section. Due to the shape of my pelvis my doctors informed me that I can’t birth naturally. So for my second birth I booked a c-section. Here are 5 things you should know before having your c-section.
1. Make sure you don’t assume anything. You may for example assume your doctor will sew up all the layers cut during a c-section. They don’t always do this in America. My doctors didn’t thereby preventing me from birthing naturally in the future. Now I’m older and won’t be having more children but it feels like a violation that they didn’t put me back together properly or as best they could. When I asked my doctor in post op if they sewed both layers up she said they didn’t and that they usually don’t. This is an illegal practice in Australia where I’m from so I just assumed it would be done correctly. Don’t make that same mistake and tell your doctor you require them to sew you up as if you wanted to birth vaginally again.
2. You will forget things. You have undergone a major surgery or a major physical experience and you have brought a human into the world. You are a miracle maker and you used most of your magic for this event. You don’t have energy left to remember all the things you planned before you did this. Yes of course do a birth plan but you may need to take it further. I wanted to take my placenta home. Not to encapsulate it, eating my own body part has no appeal although I understand the draw for many women and power to them. For me I wanted to bury my placenta as some tribal cultures have done for eons. Its said to help the child be grounded and better know what they want to do in life. This appealed to me since I’ve always been rather aimless and if someone told me to jump up and down naked 1000 times because it’d help my kid know their path in life, I’d do it. We had a birth plan and shared it with the doctors and nurses. This is a little unusual with a c-section but I wanted to make sure they didn’t throw my placenta away with the other innards. Still by day 2 when we were discharged I was in so much pain and so shellshocked that I was expected to be walking around after they had cut me open that I didn’t think to ask for it when we left.
My husband remembered it 4 days later and we went straight to the hospital. You can imagine him running into the maternity ward “We forgot our placenta”. Sadly they had thrown it out already without so much as a heads up. A quick call to the mother ‘Hi yes we wanted to make sure you didn’t still want this part of yourself – we have it in our notes that you wanted to keep it and thought we’d check, you know since we didn’t remind you at any point while you were here.” So my advice to you dear friends is to set a reminder on your phone for 2 days out to give yourself that extra reminder that the staff or your partners properly won’t do.
3. Don’t assume they know everything. Have some faith in your own gut and common sense.
I broke out in full body hives on day 2 and the nurse suggested it was likely from the hospital sheets because they wash them in so much bleach. Now whilst this is reasonably common (a good idea to bring your own sheets if you have sensitive skin) the nurse didn’t offer the other obvious choice which was that it was an allergic reaction to the drug they were giving me for the pain. On day 4 my skin was so itchy and angry that it was bothering me more than the incision. So I had a moment of clarity and googled it. Hives were the most common side effect listed online. I went off the drugs immediately and it started to clear up. It didn’t sit right with me when she sad it was the sheets but I just went with what the nurse said, because you know she should know better than me.
4. Give yourself time. They nurses said that I should be up and walking on day 2. Whilst I thought they were crazy I did it because that was the expectation placed on me and like all good girls I push myself even if I feel its too much if there is an expectation. My husband, as directed by the nurses, was encouraging me to walk as well so I was walking around the block on day 4. Ladies this is the best advice I can offer you. Listen to your bodies. Do not follow advice blindly. After week one I was so tired and in pain because I was pushing myself to do everything. Having gone through it now I say rest for at least a full week. Start out slowly and honor your body and the incredible vessel that it is.
5. Some ideas to include in your wish list or birth plan.
– Delayed cord clamping. My doctor did do this for me. It was only for 45 second but that’s enough.
– I requested that they put my baby on my chest as soon as possible. So she was on my chest and we were both comforting each other whilst the doctors sewed me up…incorrectly. Still having her on my chest was truly beautiful and really did calm me down. She was crying as they do as soon as she was brought out but the instant she was put on my chest she calmed down as well.
– Does your partner want to cut the cord? They can do so even in a c-section. They can’t do it whilst the cord is still connected to you because when having a c-section the environment over your open torso needs to be sterile. They can however do it once the baby is taken over to be checked and they can cut a portion of it.
As seen on HuffPost
Happy Fathers Day Dad. What I wouldn’t give to have one more day, one more moment with you. Even though you left us only 2 months ago, in that time there has been so many occasions left empty, unspoken and uncelebrated. My 40th birthday, Mothers Day, your Birthday. Today is Fathers Day, at least it is in America. As I made Scott a card with Ella this morning, I’m reminded of all the cards I’ve made you over the years. When I was going through your place only a month ago, I found a drawer with a handful of cards mostly from me. Ones I’ve sent you over the years. Cards telling you how must I trust your advise and value your opinion above all others. Cards that share all the reasons I’m glad you’re my dad, like how wise you are and how you have a unique understanding of both the male and female psyche that has helped me through many a difficult situation. A card sharing how I wish you would find peace. How I can see you haven’t yet. If I could write you one more card it would say…
I’m so happy you found peace, I’m so happy you enjoyed the last years of your life so fully. You never let a day off work pass without getting out in the world and having an adventure. Everyone who knew you thought of you as an extremely kind and fun loving bloke.
You had your regular night out every week with your best mates, amazing people who loved your dearly. You spent loads of time on your boat and in the bush on your motorbike or in your truck riding with mates. You were a father figure to girls who loved you dearly as a father and a friend. These were all things that gave you joy.
You were loved by all that knew you and a role model to so many as evidenced by the overwhelming turnout at your funeral and all the stories people needed to share. I’m so glad you’d forgiven the things you needed to forgive to find peace for yourself. I’m learning from you and forgiving the unforgiven and seizing each day. Maybe I’ll learn to whistle and I’ll hear you every time I do. Some say a life is measured by how much love you left behind, by that measure your life was one of true greatness as you were loved by so so many.
Mostly I’m sad you were taken so suddenly and cruelly by your only fear in life, the water, before I got a chance to say goodbye or hug you one more time or share a cuppa and a chat. I’m sad I didn’t make that trip home just a few months earlier so that I could have some fresh memories. Instead I will have to hold onto our phone calls like the one we had the day you drowned talking about the red moon. I find myself grasping at pieces of you like cotton candy that fizzle in your hand. There’s not enough left. I play your voicemail message on my recording and close my eyes. I try to picture you hugging me.
Sometimes I feel you and I think you are here watching over us. Maybe you are watching Ella and I squealing and laughing as we jump on the trampoline or as we all snuggle in bed together. Maybe you are flying next to us as we all ride our bikes. Maybe you are singing with us or laughing at us as we sing songs or listening as I read her a book. I hope so. I hope you can witness your beautiful granddaughter and see how kind and loving she is and be proud. I hope you can witness so many moments we have that you should be a part of.
Ella got a phone call from you the other day on her pretend phone. She seemed to have a lot to say to you. I wonder if you were actually there talking to her. This morning for fathers day Scott and I took a very rare opportunity to do something together as partners, not parents. We went surfing. As I was sitting out there in the ocean, I was thinking of you, being on the water was always your happy place but being in the water was your greatest fear and the thing that took you in the end. I made peace with the ocean and I like to think you were out there with me.
I hope so. You were the first man I ever loved and the greatest man I’ve ever known. I miss you.
This may sounds trivial but I’ve seen many parents pannick at the prospect of pulling a top over their babies head. The best outfit to take to the hospital or have ready for your newborn is the most likely to fit, is the easiest to put on and won’t hurt their sore spots.
Don’t go for the onsie or footie. Their belly buttons will be tender to the touch for the next week or 2 and as such they will be more comfortable in a top and pants that won’t rub their sore healing belly buttons. The easiest tops to put on those tiny bodies are crossover tops so you don’t have to pull anything over their heads. Instead you put it on as you would a cardigan or jacket.
So my recommendation is a crossover t-shirt. You can find these almost anywhere you buy baby clothes. They also have little mitten inserts that allow you to cover babys hands to prevent them from scratching themselves. Pair this with newborn size cotton pants with the feet built in and you have the perfect first outfit for a boy or girl.
I’ve long been thinking about a way to combine my 15 years experience as a baby nurse with my photography. I’ve done the odd blog post like ‘5 things you don’t know about how to bath your baby’. I also more often than not find myself addressing questions from new parents during my newborn sessions: breast feeding support, swaddling tips and the like. When they leave our session feeling just a bit more empowered and comfortable I am happy.
Baby nursing was my passion for many years and provided me with many wonderful adventures whilst working for people such as Ben Stiller, Matt Damon, Robert Zemeckis, Larry Paige among many other high profile clients. I learned a lot about babies, from reading every book I could find as well as training in areas such as lactation and calm birth. It truely was a privilege to do this work, helping to care for these incredible little ones. I feel I have a wealth of knowledge that I want to share with people who could benefit from it. What’s the point of knowledge if not to share it? So with that in mind I’m going to start a 2 pronged approach to my passions of babies and photography.
First, I will be posting weekly helpful tips for parents. They will vary in focus from newborns to toddlers. If you want to get them in your email then simply sign up on the RSS feed. This will be original content that I’m sharing from my vast experience, not re-posting (is that what its called?) other peoples stuff.
Second, I am going to re-organize my photo sessions so I can fully incorporate ‘newborn consultations’ into them. For many years now I have done the occasional newborn consult for sleep training or colic babies but this way I will offer it as a BONUS for my photography clients if they choose to use it. At no extra cost. To be clear the cost of my newborn session has and will not change because of this. I am simply offering my newborn clients something extra.
The thing is I want to share this, I want to help parents in this overwhelming and wonderful time. It’s scary bringing home your new baby. Knowing this little person is completely your responsibility. If I can provide some help and guidance to a mum who wants it then it is my honor to do so. Now I’m not offering unsolicited advise here. We all know how annoying it is when you’re pregnant and suddenly everyone has advise for you. No no that’s not me. One of the reasons I worked for so many high profile people is because I know when to be quiet. So there it is. I’m so excited about ‘birthing’ this new beginning. I hope you’ll find some valuable stuff in it. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about EXTREME GENEROSITY and how to live that and I feel like this is it for me.
The first time you have to give your newborn a bath can be intimidating, untested waters, if you will. I have a video of my daughter’s first bath. It shows her concentrating on the new experience with calm wonder. It’s possibly my favorite video but since she is in the buff I won’t post it. To this day she absolutely loves her baths and I think that has a lot to do with the way I introduced her to baths and continue to give them.
This is appropriate after the umbilical cord and/or circumcision has healed. Before that you are only wiping them with warm washcloths. Most older babies grow to love baths but newborns often begin life crying every time they are plopped in water.
I’ve given countless baths to so many newborns over my years as a baby nurse, here are the things I have found that make all the difference.
- TELL THEM WHAT YOU ARE DOING BEFORE DOING IT. I have found always doing this makes any experience better. Babies don’t need to understand what you are saying in order to feel empowered and comforted by you treating them with respect and telling them what’s about to happen. Or if you want to keep it simple – when they get used to hearing you speak before an action they can begin to predict when you speak that something will happen and therefore are less surprised when it does. Don’t we all like to get a heads up when something is about to happen to us. I would be seriously pissed if someone plunked me in a bath without a heads up.
- If there is just one tip you take away with you have this be it! LOWER THEM GENTLY IN THE BATH BOTTOM FIRST. Not lying down but sitting up. Would you want to fall backwards into something new that you can’t see? No of course not. You want to see what’s happening. You want to step in or sit in the water, butt first. Even though at this age you will most likely be using a hammock attachment for your bath ensuring baby is lying backwards, you can still submerge them initially in the water butt first. I’ve never seen anyone jump in a bath on their back. Aside from the fact that it would hurt, we aren’t built for that. As adults we step and lower ourselves in the water.
- DON’T MAKE BABY BATHS TOO COLD. Everyone warns us about having the water too hot. There are built in temperate gauges in many baby baths that you can use as a guide. Just be sure to make it warm enough that you’d be comfortable lying in there for 10 minutes. I’ve often been surprised by how cold mummies make the baths.
- KEEP THE ROOM WARM. Don’t have fans on. Rug them up in warm towels immediately afterwards and don’t rush to get them dressed, let them enjoy being bundled up warm in the towel in your arms for a few minutes.
- KEEP IT QUIET. Baby’s senses are already having a field day with the touch and sound of the water. Let them focus on it and don’t overwhelm them with other sounds like music, visitors or loud conversation.
Baths are a great activity to incorporate into your evening routine. When given the same time every night it helps signal to baby that bedtime is coming and helps to calm them down and get them ready for sleep. It also can help soothe sore or gassy tummies. Also keep in mind the experience of being in warm water is similar to their womb experience so it can be especially comforting.
I was cleaning out my old files on my computer and found some old Packing Lists. Back in my days as a babynurse I made them quite a bit. With them you can walk out the door not panicked that you forgot the baby bottle for the plane or some other crucial travel item for baby.
Anyway after spending 8 months out of the year traveling with babies for so many years I found these lists priceless. That and uninterrupted sleep.
The one below is for a 1 year old baby. I used it for my daughter when we went to Australia last year. I hope you find it as helpful as I did. Hopefully you use it to go somewhere fabulous. I’ve attached a couple pics of some of the fabulous places I’ve been lucky enough to visit with work. The pictures are from the Jordon, Italy, the Caribbean, including Richard Branson’s ‘Necker Island’ which was amazing!
I should note that I try to travel light so you might want to add more toys etc..Although you know they’ll end up playing with boxes or bowls or whatever looks interesting that’s NOT a toy.
Diapers (8 per 24hr day) :1.5 bags per week
Wipes (2 packs per week)
Diaper bags (2 rolls so you can have one in each room)
2 x Spit cloths
Pacifiers (a handful in a zip lock bag)
Travel bathroom pack (mylicon, destitin, aquafor, thermometer, Tylenol, hylands teething tablets, nail clippers)
Breast pump and 1 full set of 2-4.
2 bottles for storage including orange lids.
Appropriate number of breast milk bags.
Bottlebrush and detergent
Formula and any breastmilk
Toys 2 or 3
If no washing machine allow for 2 outfits per day and 1 sleep outfit (footie for each night)
If washing machine then 1 outfit per day and 3 sleep outfits
5 socks or shoes and a hat
2 -5 bibs
sleep toy (optional depending on Lucy’s instruction)
Carrier and stroller
Camera and battery
When I’m on the go I love these pouches because I can simply give it to baby and she can feed herself with relatively little mess. I also love that it helps to teach her how to feed herself in a different way than finger food does. It helps her learn how to hold sippy cups because it requires the same holding position with both her hands. Although I still have trouble getting her to drink by herself from her sippy cup she can feed herself from the food pouches quite successfully.
I don’t use them everyday as I prefer to make natural wholesome food myself but they are a great worry free option when you are out and about.
I love the organic lines. My faves are Sprout Organics, Happy Baby Organics and Gerber Organics. Unfortunately they all still have a fruit as the main ingredient (not necessarily listed as the name on the front). For example if you check the ingredients list on the back of BROCOLI AND APPLE it will have Apple listed first on the list of ingredients. I have found this applies with all of them obviously to appeal to the taste buds of the little ones. I think this is unfortunate for those of us that have babies who love veggies but it’s a growing market so fingers crossed so veggie heavy packets will be released soon. If you want a singular vegetable ‘Plum Organics’ is a good option as they have a line of just one ingredient. For example JUST SWEET POTATO. There are no other ingredients.
Apparently several companies are in R and D on how to take these pouches into other markets such as ‘post workout eating’ or ‘lunch on the run’. While seriously convenient packaging I think the challenge is in making a normal adult meal appealing in pureed form. Pureed turkey sandwich anyone?