What should I pack in my hospital bag?

So, first things first, while they are commonly known/thought of as ‘hospital bags’ I think it is useful to think of them as ‘birth bags’ instead. This is because regardless of where you choose to give birth (or where baby decides to be born!) it is really handy to have a bag or two which has all the things you will need for birth and the period immediately afterwards. I have had a birth bag for all my births, even though five of them have been planned home births!

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Should dads always cut the umbilical cord? Shouldn’t more mums do it?

cutting the umbilical cord_quote from blog_1As with many other aspects of pregnancy, labour, birth and parenting, the choice around who should cut the umbilical cord is exactly that – a choice. Lately, however, an increasing number of expectant dads that we meet in our BabyNatal classes are telling us that they feel that they are expected to cut their baby’s umbilical cord.

And this may be great for those dads who are genuinely excited to do it and want to do it, but what about the dads who, for whatever reason, don’t? What about the mums who would actually prefer to cut the cord themselves but feel that they might upset their partners if they ‘take this away from them’? What happens, in general, when we don’t want to or feel able to conform to the (in this case ‘unwritten’) norm? Continue reading

Six things you should know about your baby’s umbilical cord

Baby with a cord tieIn our BabyNatal Practical Baby Care classes we cover newborn appearance, and a key part of your baby’s appearance after birth (besides the fact that they are so cute, cuddly, beautiful and absolutely perfect) is that they will have some umbilical cord still attached to their tummy. Umbilical cords are not the typical thing that’s shown on TV, where babies who are meant to be newborn are in reality a few months old, so unless you’ve had a baby already or had the pleasure to be the birth partner for someone else, chances are that most of us haven’t seen one before and don’t know much about it.

So if you’ve ever wondered what the umbilical cord is all about, here are some answers for you… Continue reading

Why you should learn about wearing your baby!

IMG_1705If you’ve been to a Natal class or workshop before, you’ll know that we’re not about pushing a certain way of doing things or a certain product. We’re about information, options and choice, and we love to explore the babywearing with parents, and just how easy, fun and helpful it can be!

When you book onto a BabyNatal Practical Baby Care class or Colic and Calming class in your area, you can even have a go at babywearing for yourself!

But why are we so passionate to talk to parents attending our classes about babywearing? Because babywearing has some amazing benefits for you and for baby, and here are our top 5… Continue reading

Giving birth? Use your B.R.A.I.N.

If you’ve been to a class from The Natal Family before, and especially a MummyNatal one, you may have heard us mention the acronym B.R.A.I.N. But what does B.R.A.I.N. stand for, and why is it useful?

B.R.A.I.N. stands for:

  • Benefits
  • Risks
  • Alternatives
  • Intuition
  • Nothing

As you know, acronyms are a good way to help us remember and quickly retrieve a sequence of points or steps when we need them the most. In this case, the acronym B.R.A.I.N. can come in handy during labour and birth.
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A journey of infertility & loss

If I wind the clock back 15 years Steve and I were setting off on a journey into parenthood and were very excited about our plans. I would simply stop taking the pill and pregnancy would surely follow within a few months. We were healthy, I was taking my folic acid and was eating as healthily as I could. I envisaged at least three children if not more, twins run in my family, so I had even allowed myself to imagine that exciting prospect. Being a mother was the one thing that I had always been certain about doing in life and Steve felt very much the same about the prospect of being a Dad. Continue reading

Your placenta. Your choices.

Did you know that the placenta is the only organ in our body that is made to be ‘disposable’? Yes, of course, there are organs that we can live without, but the placenta is the only one that our body ‘disposes of’ when it’s had its use. Created with fertilisation, just as the baby is, it has a lot of very important jobs during pregnancy.

When the baby is born, so is the placenta. It’s no longer needed inside mum’s body.

But does this mean that it can no longer help? Should it just be discarded as the ‘disposable’ organ that it is?

Well, not everyone thinks that that’s the case.

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Is labour painful?

We’ve all seen our fair share of movies where mum is on a hospital bed, in stirrups, sweating, screaming and crying, as her baby comes into the world, haven’t we?

No wonder we grow up expecting that birth is going to be just like that.

No wonder we expect it to be excruciatingly painful.

No wonder we think we’ll be the woman screaming in pain before her baby is delivered into her arms.

Expectations are set for us, but what’s the reality?

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Do you have a postnatal plan?

Whatever you personally feel about them, most people have heard of a birth plan, which I like to describe as things about your birth which are important to you. Birth is such an important part of our journey into parenthood, it makes sense we will all have different feelings/priorities, and that we need to be able to communicate those.

So what is a postnatal plan? Well, the same sort of thing, but focused on that other REALLY important time, just after the birth of your baby. Those first hours, days and weeks are a crucial time for you, your immediate family and your baby, to adjust and all get to know each other. Continue reading