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hypnobirthing in reading

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Why should I join a Hypnobirthing group?

When you’re expecting a baby it can be a pretty scary time, the more you find out the more you realise you need to find out and so it continues until you’re in a cold sweat of panic. You can attend the classes and learn the hypnobirthing, you can work with your partner to achieve a positive mindset for birth - I’ve totally got you for that. But what about when that baby is in your arms?….

What about when the dust has settled and it’s just you at home with this baby, when you take your first solo expedition to the shops with the baby, or want to try a new baby group. It can feel really overwhelming and sometimes it’s easier to just shut yourself away with the baby.

Calm Births Hypnobirthing Reading

This is why hypnobirthing groups are amazing. Of course we’re just throwing random groups of people together so, let’s be realistic, you’re not always going to gel with your group and that’s just human nature. But often you will, and like my groups pictured here sometimes it really does work.

Something really magical happens when you gel with your antenatal group, you make friends and you go through a life changing event together which binds you in such a special way. You have a group you can Whatsapp at 3am because you’re feeding the baby and wondering if anyone else is, or you really want to try this new baby yoga class but want to go with someone else, or you just want a cup of coffee with someone who’s going through the same thing as you.

Calm Births Hypnobirthing Reading

I made my antenatal class friends over 10 years ago and we are all still very good friends, I count myself very very lucky to have made such amazing friendships. We have been through lots together, including the early days of leaky boobs, second and third pregnancies, the juggle of returning to work. I couldn’t have done it without my amazing group of Mums, we all learnt together what we were doing (well, it’s an ongoing process!!)

So when I designed the Calm Births course I tried to make really sure that it encouraged new friendships, the classes are informal and light hearted, with lots of group activities and breaks so that you can get to know each other (in a non-cheesy, cringey way!!) . I know a lot of people go for the traditional antenatal classes because ‘that’s where you make friends’ - but we’re proving that you can do that with hypnobirthing too. There is a choice!

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Calm Births meets: Allison Dench from Magic Photography

This month I have had the pleasure of meeting up with the lovely Allison, the owner of Magic Photography. I am just wishing I had known Allison when I was pregnant and my babies were small, as she takes the most beautiful (non cheesy) bump and baby photos. She also does the cake smash shoots which I just think are so fun!

Calm Births Hypnobirthing Berkshire

Here is what Allison had to say when we met, including her rather lovely Calm Births Discount!:

1) Tell us a bit about you, how long have you been a photographer? Where is your studio based & where do you do outside sessions?

I am a mum of two and have been a photographer for 8 years now, originally doing weddings but now focus solely on portraits. I have a home studio in Burghfield Common, near Reading where I mostly do bump, newborn and baby sessions up to age one. I also do older children and family shoots in the Burghfield area, normally in Wokefield Common and Hosehill Lake near Theale, between April and November. 

 

2) What kind of shoots do you do that Calm Births customers might be interested in?

Primarily Calm Births customers may be interested in maternity (bump) shoots and also newborn shoots which are very popular now in the UK. As their families grow and get older they may consider a sitting shoot after baby can sit up unaided between 6-10 months old, a First Birthday Cake Smash or a family shoot outdoors.

Calm Births Hypnobirthing Berkshire

 

3) How does a typical maternity shoot go?

I do two types of maternity shoots, either in the Studio or outside on location. I normally do shots of both mum-to-be on her own normally holding her beautiful bump, close-up shots of the bump and I have a whole host of long maternity dresses that she can use to make her look amazing. We also do some couple shots and if they already have children we also include the children in some of the shots. They are free to bring any little cuddly toys or their scan photos to work into their photo shoots, I try to make them as personal as possible. In the studio we can also go for a more natural look or a more dramatic look playing around with the light. Outdoors, it is more of a lifestyle shoot where we use the countryside as a beautiful backdrop.

Calm Births Hypnobirthing Berkshire

 

4) Photographing newborns must be lovely but tricky, how does it all work and what age does baby need to be?

Newborn shoots are always amazing but yes they can be quite tricky at times and they can take between 3-4 hours as we take breaks when baby needs to be fed or changed and there is pretty much always the odd accident! In order to get the babies posed they are best done within the first three weeks after birth as they are still very flexible and normally quite sleepy. I normally try and do some shots of baby on their own, some in props and then some with the parents. They are mostly done with baby being naked or semi naked, I am a bit of a prop addict so I have a lot of little outfits, hats and headbands to enhance the sessions but I try to keep it quite simple as the focus will always be the baby! I normally book babies in before they are born so based on mum’s due date and once baby is born I will be informed so we can book in the actual session date.

 

5) Those cake smash pictures look brilliant! They must be pretty messy but fun! How does that work?

First Birthday shoots are a big favourite of mine, the babies are so cute and most absolutely love the cake! We sometimes have to be very quick as they can be quite mobile by the time they are 12 months old. We normally plan the session beforehand with the parents in terms of colour scheme or theme so I can then order the cake to match. They don’t tend to eat a huge amount of the cake and we mostly have to help them get messy with it but it is lots of fun and a fantastic way to celebrate a first birthday. We can start off with doing some family photos and classic portraits first, we then do the cake smash and finish it off with a lovely splash in my bath tub prop to clean up.

Calm Births Hypnobirthing Berkshire

 

6) How much can clients expect to pay, and are you offering any promotions at the moment?

I offer a range of digital image packages. Maternity portraits start from  £175, Newborn Shoots start from £375 and Smash and Splash Shoots start from £225. Family shoots start from £325. All the details can be found on my websitewww.magicphotography.co.uk. If clients book both a Maternity and Newborn shoot they get 10% off the Maternity Shoot. I am happy to offer all Calm Births clients a £30 discount on any Full Shoot (Bump, Newborn, First Birthday Shoot or Family Session) or £20 off any mini shoot (Mini Bump Session or Smash and Splash Session). If they book a Maternity and Newborn Session I am happy to offer a 15% discount on the maternity shoot. I can be contacted either via my website, by email at info@magicphotography.co.uk or by phone on 07740929136. 

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The Hospital Bag.

"What should I pack in my hospital bag? "

This is a question that looms in the minds of many Mums to be  - there is so much information out there about what you absolutely must have in your hospital bag. There are lists on Pinterest, there are pages on websites, there are helpful friends and family telling you what you MUST have - it can all feel a little overwhelming and can become quite a thing to fixate on and worry about.

The struggle is real..

The struggle is real..

In my years as a Midwife and after three babies of my own (who were born at home, but still all had a hospital bag packed from 37 weeks just in case) I have learnt what is actually essential in your bag - it's so easy to get carried away with this, with all the various lists out there on the interweb! So thought it might be helpful to share my basic hospital bag list - this is the stuff you need, everything else is just extras. Keep it basic, you're not going to Outer Mongolia. 

For Mum:

Your handheld notes - you will definitely need these.

Maternity Pads - these are the massive surf board ones - it's very important to use these and not the regular sanitary pads as they are designed for the Midwives (and you) to be able to monitor your blood loss after birth, if it's all absorbed in a pad it's more tricky. 

Comfy PJ's / Nightie that you can snuggle into after birth, preferably ones that you can snuggle baby into the front of too for some lovely skin to skin cuddles (and to breastfeed if you are choosing to)

MASSIVE comfy pants - literally buy a size or two bigger than usual of pants like you're Granny would wear. You'll appreciate it trust me. It also helps to house those massive pads!

Normal toiletries (shower gel, deodorant, toothbrush/paste, hairbrush/band) - even if you plan to go straight home after baby has been born (you'll be recommended to wait at least 6 hours), a shower and a teeth clean will feel like heaven afterwards.

Lip balm - it's really normal for your lips and mouth to get really dry if using gas & air.

Snackage - This should be the first priority in my mind!!!! But seriously, do take little snacks that might take your fancy during labour to keep your energy up, like jelly babies or snack bars, and also juice cartons or energy drinks. Don't forget, you're not planning on going to the Moon to have your baby, so there will always be a little shop/vending machine you can use if you need to! 

Nipple cream - obvs only if you're planning to breasfeed! But buy a good one like Lansinoh because in my experience nothing else even comes close.

An open mind - this is so important. To enter into labour and birth with an open mind and a 'go with the flow' attitude will serve you so well. Trust in the process and your body, trust in nature to take it's course and be open to however it all pans out. There is no right or wrong way to give birth. There is just birth. 

For Baby:

Nappies - obvs. Put a whole pack in. Trust me on that one.

Clothes - obvs again, but don't underestimate how many clothes a small thing can get through in a short space of time! To be totally safe take 5 or 6 of: vests, babygrows and hats.

Muslins - again you will not believe how many of these you might get through, put at least 5 in.

Baby wipes/Cotton wool - it is known to be better for baby's skin to use cotton wool and warm water to wipe their bottom and the hospital will have top and tail bowls for you to use for that. However the first few meconium poos are a nightmare to wipe, and in those instances baby wipes are much easier! 

Vaseline - if you cover baby's bottom and bits with vaseline after each clean, it makes the poo not stick to the skin and therefore much easier to clean. You're welcome.

A boob / A bottle - If you're not sure how you're planning to feed, you will already have a boob with you and you can always send someone out for formula! (This is where those muslins come in handy for dribbly feeders and also modesty)

Phone charger - to keep the juice on your phone for those all important calls & social media announcements!

Love - to give in abundance.

For Birth Partner:

Change - for car parks or vending machines

Toiletries - you might be there for a while and want to freshen up yourself, so pop in a spare toothbrush, deodorant etc.

Spare t-shirt - it gets REALLY hot in hospital, and you might feel a bit gross if you're there for a while!

Snacks - hell hath no fury like a pregnant woman when you've stolen her snacks. Keep your own stash!!

Phone charger - because you'll be taking a zillion photo's of your new baby!

Encouragement - telling your partner that they are loved, safe and doing an amazing thing will really spur her on and help her. You can't say these things too much in my opinion.

Just in case the thought of getting everything together is a bit stressful, I've put all the things you'll need for labour and the immediate postnatal period together in a convenient bag for you! You can read about your pre-packed birth bags here. x 

 

 

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Ask the Midwife

It is a sad but true fact, that in many NHS Trusts throughout England, maternity services are unable to offer women the continuity of care they need and deserve due to lack of staff and funding. I'm pretty sure I can speak for all Midwives when I say this hurts them as much as it hurts you, as they all know and understand the benefits of continuity of care, but for reasons beyond their control, are unable to offer it. I say this as a former Midwife, who loved nothing more than the picturesque ideal of 'Call the Midwife' where we could build a close relationship with the women in our care, and be with them at the births of their babies understanding their worries, needs and wants.  What happens now, in most areas (although there are a lucky few areas who have amazing community teams who can actually offer the ideal) is that women see a different Midwife at each antenatal appointment, and yet another one (or more) at the birth of their baby. 

Calm Births Hypnobirthing Berkshire

This could very easily turn into an essay on how damaging that is for a Woman's experience of birth, but I am not here to slate our NHS - our Midwives, support staff and Gynae staff do amazing jobs under really shit conditions.

There is a problem for our women though, in that due to that lack of a close relationship or easy access to a Midwife, many women are sitting at home fretting about what they deem to be 'silly' questions about their pregnancies. There are dedicated phone lines in the maternity units, but women often feel daunted by calling them as the lines are busy, or they feel that their question is too small. This can really ruin a woman's experience of pregnancy, particularly for those who are anxious. 

Something I have discovered recently though is the most amazing tool for women designed by Midwife Hannah Harvey. Her very clever app: 'Ask the Midwife' is designed to combat this - it is a tool for women to ask any question they need to about pregnancy to an actual Midwife and get a very quick and evidence based response. I had a chat with Hannah recently and this is what she said:

Can you describe the Ask the Midwife App to me Hannah?

"Ask The Midwife is the UK’s first health advice app designed and run be registered midwives for women and their families. You can download the app, ask any questions you have about pregnancy, birth and beyond and get a fast, professional and friendly response from a registered midwife."

Can you tell us a bit about you and how you came to do this?

"I have been a Midwife for 5 years, and have always had an interest in digital health and how it can benefit women and families. A study showed that 84% of women use the internet for health advice in pregnancy, and most of the time this isn’t from credible sources. I wanted to create a solution that would mean everyone had access to professional advice online, to dissuade people from using Google and parenting forums as a source of information. In my local trust I developed Facebook groups and a Twitter page to improve maternity user experience in our NHS Trust, and won an innovation award for it in 2014. Following on from that, I wanted to be able to offer digital health services to users across the whole of the UK, and hopefully internationally at some point as well. This is how Ask The Midwife was born!"

Why do you think this App is needed right now?

"We live in a time now where everyone has smart phones, and people use social media and digital services like apps and web sites all the time. Digital Health is a brand new phenomenon, but one that is taking off at a drastic rate, because it is fast, easily accessible and credible. We have already been able to offer reassurance and guidance to so many expectant parents, and it is becoming evident how much a service like this is needed, by how quickly the app has taken off and how many people are using it."

Is any question too small or silly?

"No question is too small or silly for us. We actually get lots of questions that I have never been asked as a Midwife in clinical practice, which suggests to me that there are questions that women feel are too silly/small to ask face to face, so it is really great to see them being asked via the app. It means we are providing a service that is really needed, and people are able to get their anxieties and worries out to a professional and have the reassurance they need. If you think your question is silly, it isn’t. We will always be at the other end of the app waiting to answer any questions you have, bog or small."
 

How can people get the App, and what will they pay for it?

"The app is free to download on iOS. We are planning to launch Ask The Midwife on Android and on our website in 2017. Once you have downloaded, you get one free question and then after that you can pay anything from £1.99 for an Ask - up to £24.99 for one months unlimited use."
 

You can find out more at the Ask The Midwife website - and take advantage of the January sale, with unlimited access for £17! 

 

 

 

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How to save your baby's life..

Your baby choking... turning blue.. your worst nightmare right? And one of those horror stories that we have all heard about happening - would you know what to do? 

I recently met up with the lovely Rachel Moffatt, who is the founder of Ladybird First Aid - a company devoted to helping parents learn life saving first aid techniques for their children so they know exactly what to do to help their babies. Here is what Rachel said..

The lovely Rachel Moffatt

The lovely Rachel Moffatt

Can you tell me a bit about yourself, and how you got into your business? 

My name is Rachel and I live in Henley on Thames with my husband and 2 children, Jack ,3 and Ella, 1. I originally trained to be a Paediatric Nurse but didn’t complete my training and switched to a Degree in Biology (2:1 Hons) instead. This was a firm foundation for embarking into the Corporate World.

It wasn’t until I had my own children that I myself wanted to participate in a basic Baby and Child First Aid course.  However, I struggled to find one as I had a baby and toddler in tow and it was at this point that I realised how helpful it would be if the trainer could come to your own home in the evening or weekend to teach the class. I started researching to see if anyone offered this in my area but to no avail and so, with my academic and business background, I thought I’d set up my own business to teach first aid, making it as easy as possible for people to participate. I retrained as a First Aid Instructor and I can now offer an array of Certified First Aid courses, including adult courses, but I specialise in Paediatric First Aid.

How long has the business been running, and roughly how many people do you see each week?

Ladybird First Aid has been running for nearly a year and half now and it varies how many people I teach each week.  Sometimes I can teach just 1 class a week, sometimes 5 classes. There may be 4 people in a class, sometimes as many as 20.  It varies which is nice. Babes in arms are welcome too in classes so, if I’m lucky, I get cuddles whilst teaching which is always a bonus.

Tell me what Ladybird First Aid is all about, and what you do for people.

Ladybird First Aid offers parents, grandparents, carers and parents-to-be, baby and child first aid classes in towns and villages in and around the Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire borders as well as in the comfort of your own home.In just 2 hours you learn what to do in the vital minutes whilst waiting for the emergency services to arrive.  This includes CPR, recovery position and choking. We also cover burns, head injuries and meningitis plus more… the 2 hour classes can cover babies (birth to aged 1) and children (1 -11 years), just children or children and adults – the choice is yours. The aim of the 2 hour classes is to give parents more confidence and not to scare them; they are nice and friendly and informal! Ladybird First Aid also offers Certified First Aid courses such as 12 hour/ level 3 Paediatric First Aid (Ofsted and EYFS recognised) courses and goes into Primary Schools and Nurseries to teach and as well as running courses on weekends and evenings for Childminders and Nannies.

Calm Births Hypnobirthing Berkshire

 What would an average session look like?

An average session is 2 hours and is in someone’s home in the evening when their children are in bed. Often parents encourage grandparents to participate in the course with them, especially if they are helping with childcare and I frequently receive requests from NCT groups getting together to join in the course. The class can adapt to whatever size room is available; as long as there is enough space in which to practice CPR, we are OK. The classes are always informal and questions are encouraged as we go along. Also, if there is anything specific people wish to cover, this can be accommodated too such as anaphylaxis or using a defibrillator. For larger groups we will hire a venue such as a village hall.

Which areas do you focus on particularly? 

In a nutshell Baby and Child Basic Life Support and especially choking as that is what lots of parents fear most.

 Do you suggest that people refresh their skills after a certain amount of time?

Yes, ideally once a year as I’m afraid that people forget First Aid and what to do! I always remind people that if you are in the unfortunate position where you have to call 999/112, the Emergency Services Operators are fantastic and will talk you through what to do, but obviously if you have done the course, you are that one step ahead.

What is the best way for people to get in touch with you to learn more or book on?

Contact me directly by emailing rachel@ladybirdfirstaid.com or calling 07812 164350

Ladybird First Aid is offering any followers of Calm Births a 10% discount on home or local venue 2 hour classes if the class is taken before 2017. I still have day and evening slots available in December so contact me to book.  My next open/local venue 2hr baby and child first aid class is in Henley on Thames on Wednesday 7th December, 10am – 12noon and there are still spaces available.

You can also find Rachel on Facebook or her website which is: www.ladybirdfirstaid.com 

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