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Self-help after perineal stitches or tears

By | The Body Space, The Support Space | No Comments

1. Do pelvic floor exercise as soon as possible to improve circulation and promote healing.

2. Walking prevents stiffness and helps reduce swelling.

3. Sit on an inflatable rubber cushion (NOT a rubber ring), or on two pillows under each thigh. (The VALLEY CUSHION is comfortable and can be hired directly from local NCT.)

4. Hot compresses (hot flannel wrung out in hot water) help circulation and speed healing. Alternatively, sitting on an ice-pack (e.g. pack of peas) reduces swelling.

5. Bath in warm, clear water. DO NOT USE SALT – as this will cause drying and itching. Mix a couple of drops of lavender oil with a couple of drops of tea-tree oil in a small amount of Olive Oil and add to your bath – this is far kinder and aids healing.

6. Do not soak for too long as this may soften the stitches.

7. Taken as soon as possible, Arnica tablets reduce swelling and bruising.

8. When opening bowls, press a clean sanitary towel against the stitches to prevent straining.

9. Sit well back on the toilet. After urinating, pour a jugful of warm water over the vulva (or use a bidet) to stop stinging.

10. Drink plenty of fluids to dilute urine and prevent constipation. Eat plenty of roughage – bran, wholemeal bread, dried fruit and fresh fruit and vegetables.

11. Use a mirror to look at your stitches – they may not look as bad as you think!

12. Use soft sanitary towels. Looped ones may be more comfortable or wear stretch pants (available from the NCT) or incontinence knickers are excellent! A little KY Jelly prevents the towel sticking to the stitches and is good when starting intercourse again.

13. Raise any continued problems at your postnatal check. Do not accept that ‘you will never be the same again’. Your pelvic floor and capacity of your bladder should be as good as before you had your baby within 3 months. If you have problems with your pelvic floor or your back, you can self-refer to your obstetric physio up to 8 weeks postnatally. After that you need a GP referral.

STITCHES SHOULD NORMALLY HEAL WITHIN 3 WEEKS

PELVIC FLOOR EXERCISES ARE VERY IMPORTANT.

DO THEM FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!

Thanks to North Surrey Midwives for sharing this post.

Newborn baby toes - Claire Walder Photography

Top tips for coping with a Toddler and a newborn

By | General, The Support Space | No Comments

Congratulations! You have a new baby on the way! How exciting! You are probably also thinking “How on Earth am I supposed to do this?” Right?

Well, here’s the thing, there are many, many women who have done this before, so you can too!

We’ve put together a list of a few tips which MIGHT help – before your baby arrives, during labour and for those first few weeks. Remember, what works for someone else may not work for you. So DO YOU!

Before Baby Arrives

  • Ensure that your toddler is part of the excitement of your pregnancy – but don’t tell them too early. 9 months is an incredibly long time for them, and they may even start to think that the baby is never coming. But do get them involved when you start to show or feel baby move – and speak about the baby often. Showing them photos of themselves as a baby may help this too.
  • Start planning for the labour and ensure that your toddler is comfortable with the people who will be assisting with their childcare. The last thing you need is worrying about your toddler when you head out the door.
  • If they are already in a nursery or other childcare setting, try to retain their routine and keep them there for at the least the first few weeks after baby comes home.
  • Encourage the toddler’s independence. Ensure that they can do as much as possible for themselves, and are also ready to help you when the baby arrives. Ask them to pass you those hard-to-reach things you drop on the floor! Praise them for how helpful they are! When the baby arrives they’ll be happy to bring you the muslin, or dummy, or a snack for themselves.
  • Stick to your toddlers routine – in a changing environment, the stability they have in their own routine will provide them with much needed comfort.
  • Cook as much as you can – for yourself and partner, as well as for your toddler. Anything that can be frozen in appropriate portion sizes will definitely help when baby arrives.
  • Prepare many little Busy Bags for your toddler. This will really come in handy when you are needing to feed / change the baby, and work a treat to distract your toddler when you’re out and about too. Change up the contents too!
  • Create a toddler area which is safe for them to entertain themselves for a little while – activities which they can distract them in times of free play.
  • Most importantly: Treasure the time you have with your toddler – as soon as you bring that baby home, that toddler isn’t your baby anymore, and they will feel even more grown up than before.

Labour and bringing baby home:

  • Take a bit of extra time at the hospital while you can. Your toddler is fine with their childcare at that point, so take a few extra hours to rest with only your baby.
  • Buy a present for your toddler from the baby. They’ll love the surprise. Coupled with this, if you receive many gifts for the baby – get your toddler involved in opening the exciting ones, or only open the others when your toddler isn’t around.

First few weeks:

  • Eat well and rest – it’s got to be about you. If you are eating well, drinking enough water and getting enough rest, you are more likely to take the little problems in your stride.
  • Be careful when lifting toddler while you are recovering. They are much heavier than you think and especially for your pelvic floor or C-Section wound – be sure to not over do it with your toddler.
  • Reject any and all unwanted visitors!  There is plenty of time for them to have their baby cuddles when you’re in the swing of things. Do not feel guilty for protecting yourself from overwhelm.
  • Forget about a routine for the baby – focus on your toddler’s routine and give them as much time as possible. Your baby will soon fit into the way things work, and will inevitably be more patient than your toddler.
  • Shop online! Don’t be pressured into having to go to the shops for items. Order online and save yourself the headache!
  • Lower your standards – no one cares when last you polished the wooden trinkets on the shelf. Spray some furniture polish around when people come over, or ask your toddler to help clean, and who cares if it’s perfect. If you can, try book a cleaner in.  Even a once off decent clean will bring you some peace.
  • Wear your baby. There are some amazing slings on the market. Baby will love being in a sling and being close to you, and you’ll have both arms free to manage your active toddler too.
  • It often helps to wake up in the morning before your toddler wakes – just to have that shower without one of the interruptions!
  • As soon as you can try get out the house once a day for a little walk. It doesn’t have to be much, but it’s amazing what some fresh air does for your brain, and the baby and your toddler will feel the relaxed vibe.
  • Keep a log of your baby’s feeds, changes and naps. It’s surprisingly easy to forget these things when your toddler is begging for another round of catch…
  • Plan what you can:  Time with your partner – book that time out, or the lie in for yourself. Book a morning where he takes the toddler out for some special time for them. Plan some duties for him to do, even if he washes the darks with the whites…
  • Sing. Sing to the baby, sing to your toddler, sing to yourself. It’s amazing how singing (no matter how awful!) can reduce your stress levels. It takes the pressure off, and your toddler is likely to be a bit more amenable after singing some of their songs too! Add some humour to your days.
  • Co-ordinate naps when possible, and when it happens, no matter how rarely – SLEEP! No excuses, no supermum-mode, no guilt. Sleep when they are both asleep! Post Natal Depression rears it’s ugly head at any sign of sleep deprivation. So SLEEP!
  • Bath time logistics: Feed baby first, then bath with toddler, then feed the other side while toddler plays. Or feed baby while toddler plays in the bath, get toddler out, then feed baby while reading stories. Or feed baby and settle to sleep, then do bath time as special time with your toddler. Ultimately – do what works for you. If changing bath time to the morning suits you best – DO IT!

A few final tips:

  • Stop telling yourself it’s so hard. It’s a phase, it will end, and when it ends you’ll miss it.
  • Chill out – you’ve got this. You’ve done it all before, now just do it again. As long as you’re all alive, with a little song and a cuddle here and there, you’re doing well.
  • Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. No matter when your friend’s baby starts sleeping through, don’t compare yourself to them. Do what’s best for your family. What works for someone else may not work for you, and that’s perfectly fine.
  • Know when to ask for help. Lean on experts. Don’t try to do it all yourself. There are friends, family, and experts who are available throughout to assist you. Doula’s, Lactation Consultants, Midwives, Health Visitors, Maternity Nurses, Sleep Trainers, Psychologists, Physiotherapists, Night Nannies, Babysitters, GP’s, and so many more. ASK for help when you need it. You’ll be stronger for it.

Enjoy this incredibly special time, it’s a time you’ll never forget.

Stacey. x

What to do if you still have baby blues?

By | The Support Space | No Comments

The term “baby blues” is such a vague and unhelpful one as it really can cause us mum to clump a whole bunch of feelings into one category.  The truth is, after having a baby you will feel almost every emotion under the sun – feeling low, feeling high, feeling overwhelmed, exhausted…the list goes on and on.  So what really are baby blues and what else could those feelings be?

Baby blues are the feelings that you get in the first week to 2 weeks after having your baby.  It can cause you to feel anxious, low in mood, irritable, unable to concentrate and tearful.  Not an overly useful list given most mums will feel that considering they just grew and gave birth to a brand new human and now aren’t allowed the luxury of sleep to recover.  The thing that’s adding insult to injury here are your hormones.  They are having enormous swings here due to the production of milk, reduction of adrenaline now you’ve given birth and the start of the oestrogen and progesterone getting more levelled out (more on this later).  So ultimately, thanks to the crazy chemistry going on inside of you, you can feel all those emotions above.

But what if it carries on past that stage?  Well here things get trickier.  The hormone element is huge and cannot be underestimated.  For example, if you are feeling things that are indicative of true depression, you may have the above but also things such as suicidal thoughts, problems bonding with your baby, feelings of unworthiness etc.  These can be due to depression (especially if you had a previous history of depression) but can also be due to a huge hormonal imbalance, such as low progesterone.  This can be more common for those who do not have a past history of depression.  It’s best to chat to your GP about these feelings and see what they feel is the best next step.  If it is a hormonal imbalance, you may need to talk to a hormone specialist directly.  It is extremely unlikely you will get your hormone levels checked on the NHS, so in reality you will need to go privately.  Here’s the link to the clinic we recommend.

Other steps you can take is to talk to a counsellor who specialise in Post Natal Depression (PND).  One of our counsellors Charity Moss, works specifically with mums and dads who struggle with PND and Labour Induced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  This is a common problem for both mums and dads but is rarely diagnosed or talked about.  Talking about your pregnancy, labour and the time following, can be incredibly powerful and can help your brain make sense of the massive shifts that have happened.  We appreciate it can be so hard to take that first step towards helping yourself and we are here to help guide you on that journey.

The Mummy Space Surrey is here for you to support you through this incredible and overwhelming journey of motherhood.  Just like you, we’re on this journey too, so understand what it takes to just get through a day with kids.  You can reach us anytime via our social channels or by filling out our contact form on our website.  Please don’t struggle alone though – we are a sisterhood and we’re here for you.

Why your children NEED you to practice regular self-care

By | General, The Support Space | No Comments

Self-care, it’s one of those things we can often put at the bottom of our to do list, but at The Mummy Space, we feel it is not only better for you but also better for your child/ren if your needs bubble up to the top of the priority list, not just occasionally but actually pretty regularly.

Of course we’re not suggesting you neglect your little one/s for the sake of getting your nails done,  but we do think your child/ren benefit from witnessing your own self care as much, if not more than you do.  Here’s our thinking…..

  1. Your daughter sees you caring for yourself and learns that she is important and she must look after herself too.
  2. Your son sees you keep fit, attend to your hobbies and get out with your friends and learns that his partner has the right to do these things too – he is a better partner for it and will have  happier relationships.
  3. All your children see you take time out for yourself, they  learn that you respect yourself and they will respect you too.
  4. You take out time to look after your fitness , then to your children,  keeping fit and looking after your health is a normal thing for adults to do – in turn they look after themselves and  it is a life long habit.
  5. You get some time out to do something you love or see a friend you value and you are a happier Mummy – your child wants this more than anything else in the world, the consequence it, they are happier too.
  6. Your partner sees you valuing yourself and he/she is more likely to value you also – you have a better relationship and your children feel more secure and enjoy a more harmonious home.

These are the reasons we feel you need to give yourself time to keep fit, see your friends and keep up with a hobby – it’s not just for your sake, it’s a really important part of their happiness and learning too.

Anna Coe

Work, Children & You. What Are Your Rights?

By | The Support Space | No Comments

Imagine your baby is 6 months old and you are living in a haze of baby sick, nappies and sleep deprivation.

You can’t imagine how you ever went to work previously, you can hardly get dressed before 11am, but you’re glad of the security of knowing that you can return to work when you are ready.

Then your boss calls you out of the blue and asks if you can come in for a meeting to “catch up”. In the meeting, he then drops the bombshell that you are being made redundant: your maternity leave cover has been doing a really good job; the business has changed since you have been on maternity leave and there just isn’t a role for you to come back to.

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