Is there anything I should do to prepare for labour?
I often get asked what mums should do to prepare for labour so thought it would be useful to share my advice with you all.
Being well informed can really help. Gather as much information as you can. Read books, join an antenatal, hypnosis or exercise class and talk to your health professionals. Many women fear the unknown about labour which can cause anxiety, tension and uses up valuable energy which can make labour more painful and exhausting. If you know what to expect, you can have some idea about what you would like for yourself.
Consider writing a birth plan. For some women it is important to have written personal a birth plan. It can be helpful if you bring your written wishes with you, especially if you have a midwife in labour you’ve not met before. Usually at a glance at a plan, as midwives, we can see what is important to you - it can be difficult to explain what is particularly important to you in between contractions! Many women keep a copy of their plan in their maternity hand held notes. Keeping an open mind is a good idea, as sometimes you might either choose to do things differently or need to if problems occur, but it’s good to have an idea of what you would like / would like to avoid in advance.
Keep a list of important phone numbers in your handbag or near the phone. Include your hospital or midwife, your birth partner or birth companion, and your own hospital reference number available for when you contact the midwife/hospital.
Have your bags ready. Only about 5% of babies actually come on their due date, so it is always a good idea to have your bags packed or homebirth items ready to go.
Stock up at home for when your baby has arrived. You may not want to do much more than rest and care for your baby, so do as much planning as you can in advance. Stock up on basics such as toilet paper, sanitary pads and nappies. If you have a freezer, prepare some meals in advance and freeze them.
Hope this helps.
Importance of good dental hygiene for babies and young children
Babies are born with a preference for sweet-tasting foods and a baby’s sole source of nutrition for the first few months of life, breastmilk or infant formula, tastes sweet (with the sweetness coming from the carbohydrate lactose). But once weaning onto solids starts, whether your baby’s teeth have started to appear yet or not, it is important to limit the amount and frequency of sugars in their diet. Controlling sugars intake will help to ensure a baby eats a more balanced diet and does not put on too much weight, and will help reduce the risk of dental caries (decay). You can’t remove sugars from a baby’s diet completely and actually sugars can be a really useful source of energy in babies, especially with their small stomachs and high energy requirements. But it’s all about getting the balance right, introducing them to lots of different tastes, avoiding high-sugar foods and drinks, and giving sugar-containing foods and drinks at the right times.
Foods containing sugars should be eaten at mealtimes and should be avoided between meals to keep the risk of dental caries to a minimum. Milk and water remain the preferred drinks for babies and toddlers, but you can give diluted fruit juice as well occasionally at mealtimes. An advantage of fruit juices with vitamin C is that they help the body to absorb vitally necessary iron, but as they contain naturally occurring sugars they should be used sensibly. Try to introduce your baby to a feeding cup or beaker instead of a feeding bottle as early as possible to avoid prolonged contact of sugars with growing teeth.
Cleaning your baby’s teeth needs to become part of their daily routine as soon as teeth start erupting. Use a pea-sized amount of children’s fluoride toothpaste on a soft toothbrush or cloth, cleaning using small circular movements, front and back, in the morning and last thing before bed. Get your toddler used to going to the dentist too - start them off by coming with you for your check-up so that they can get used to the environment – dentists try hard to make children feel comfortable and will often give out stickers too!
For more information on diet and dental health have a look at the following links:-
Bye for now.
How to get a good night’s sleep during pregnancy
Constant trips to the loo, nagging heartburn, backache, sore hips, or simply a grumpy bed partner, can all make a good night’s sleep difficult to come by when you're pregnant. There are however some things that you can do to help:
- Try to get some fresh air and exercise during the day, like walking, swimming or yoga.
- Have a soak in a warm bath before you go to bed. If in the last three months of pregnancy, add a 2-3 drops of lavender oil to your bath water. Lavender is known for it’s relaxing qualities. This may help you wind down before bedtime.
- Have a w arm milky drink before you go to bed or, if in the last three months of pregnancy, try camomile tea.
- Make sure your bedroom is not too hot - open a window. It helps, though, to have warm feet, so consider using a hot water bottle or bed socks.
- Gather together a number of small pillows and use these to help get comfortable. Try a pillow under your bump, another between your knees and a third in your back.
- An extra layer of padding underneath you can also help with comfort. A folded up quilt or soft blanket on top of your mattress under your bottom sheet can be nice.
- Practise relaxation exercises. When you are ready to sleep, breathe slowly and deeply, and try to clear your mind by visualising a favourite place. Make sure your muscles aren’t tense by working from head to toe making sure all your muscles are relaxed.
- If you can, rest during the day to make up for the sleep you’re losing at night – but beware that you’re not sleeping so much during the day that you are not really tired at night.
- If you are having difficulty getting to sleep, or are waking up very early, consider whether you are really tired. If you have stopped work and are leading a more leisurely life for a while, you may not need so much sleep as before.
- If you wake in the night or very early in the morning and cannot get back to sleep, try to accept the situation. Read a good book, listen to music through headphones, think about your baby, write shopping lists or poetry – and enjoy this private and peaceful time.
Hope this helps!
Amber - HiPP Midwife
Are organic foods better for your baby?
It’s Organic September - time to celebrate everything about organic! I’ve worked with HiPP for over 12 years now and during this time I have read a lot about organic farming and organic food production and in my opinion there are four main reasons why it is better to choose organic:
1. Babies are more vulnerable than adults to the effects of unwanted chemicals found in non-organic foods and will benefit from foods containing no GM ingredients or harmful pesticides.
2. Organic food is food as nature intended, and often tastes better
3. Organic foods are often higher in essential nutrients e.g. vitamin C and antioxidants
4. Organic foods are better for wildlife, animal welfare and the environment.
Some official UK bodies are yet to be convinced on the benefits of organic foods, but there is growing evidence in Europe and internationally that there are nutritional benefits in choosing organic versus non-organic foods.
The following websites give more information on organic foods and I hope once you’ve had a look at these you will agree that organic foods may well be better for all of us, our wildlife and our environment -
What do you think - do you believe organic foods are better for you and/or your baby? Have you changed your mind on this recently? Or do you think organic foods are an unaffordable or unnecessary luxury? We’d love to hear your views.
All the best,
How big a problem is being obese or overweight for children?
Not a week goes by without hearing something in the news about the rising problem of obesity in this country. It’s something we should all be concerned about, especially when you hear how many children are affected. Around one third of all children in the UK are currently above a healthy weight and this number is increasing year on year. It’s estimated that by 2050, two thirds of children will be obese or overweight.
There are of course some serious consequences of being obese, including an increased risk of coronary heart disease, strokes, diabetes and other health problems. Most parents are understandably keen to ensure that the eating patterns their children develop are healthy ones and I’m often asked by parents if the amounts of foods their babies are eating are normal or whether they are eating too much and at risk of becoming overweight. As I said in my last blog, making sure your baby is active is important too.
Starting weaning at the correct time and not too early (recommended weaning age is 6 months, although some babies may need weaning earlier, although not before 4 months) is key to reducing obesity risk. Once weaning has started, you should encourage your baby to eat a varied, balanced diet; unhealthy eating can ‘programme’ young children’s tastes for the rest of their lives. Weaning babies on pureed junk food, chocolate bars, crisps and fizzy sugary drinks just isn’t an option!
For more information on a good diet to feed your baby, have a look at these links:
Your health visitor will advise you on how often you should get your baby weighed to check they are gaining weight at the correct rate, and if you have any concerns you should have a chat with them.
Goodbye for now.