the bespoke bebe

the bespoke bebe

What the blog is all about

This blog is a space for my thoughts and ramblings on the subject of natural childbirth and hypnobirthing. Enjoy! Check out for more on hypnobirthing and baby massage

My Top Ten Tips For a Fab Birth!

natural birthPosted by dani Tue, August 06, 2013 16:08:42

I was thinking about how amazing my own birth was and it really was amazing! I actually enjoyed it despite my daughter being 10lb 3oz and didn't even need a paracetamol...... because I wasn't in pain. Obviously it's this kind of birth experience I hope all the ladies in my classes are working towards but there are some rules..... it doesn't just happen...... I didn't just happen to have a 10lb 3oz baby pain free by chance. This leads me on to my top tips to achieve a fab birth I think if you follow these rules you can greatly increase your chances of having a better birth so with that in mind here they are!

1. The very most important rule of the lot.... BE INFORMED! Get proper antenatal education and i'm not just talking about the kind where you discuss when to have an epidural! Obviously I think HypnoBirthing is the best but whatever antenatal your doing, research it get clued up.... choose a class that will teach you to breath properly, get into good birth positions, and get confident. Talk to the teacher before you book your class ask all the questions you need to. We all know it's an expensive time when your expecting a new member of the family but the fact is you WILL benefit far more from a decent antenatal class and some good books then a designer baby grow so be wise with your pennies!

2. BREATHE! Ok so we all know how otherwise we would just collapse in a big heap so this sounds a little obvious, but the key is to breathe properly....... and that is something that a lot of us aren't good at. The trick is to learn breathing to keep you calm and keep baby an the uterine muscles well supplied with oxygen. Breathing really can make all the difference so learn to do it PROPERLY!

3. Fail to prepare and prepare to fail! And with this statement in mind (and sounding a little like my mother before my exams) I will say this.... you MUST PRACTICE whatever techniques you are learning (hopefully HypnoBirthing obv) if you simply go to classes and don't put the work in you wont get the results you dream of...... (again sounding like my mother) you must put the work in to reap the reward, which is well worth it, and lets face it you only have to practice birthing relaxation and breathing not go on a 12 mile run every day so my advice is DO IT get practicing and get the birth you want..... I practiced like mad for my birth and loved every minute of it!

4. PERINEAL MASSAGE..... yes yes I know your all going all embarrassed and no one wants to talk about it but if you want to birth over an intact perineum and avoid the stitches then this is the one for you! Make sure you do it everyday with olive oil..... even if you don’t like the feeling it's only a few weeks and its much better that loads of stitches!

5. Whilst we're talking about avoiding the dreaded stitches lets introduce the next rule DON”T PUSH! Yes you DID hear me right, don't push...... “surely I read that wrong?” I hear you all cry, but really don't push, don't wear yourself out by holding your breath pushing like mad and turning purple, let your body do it for you let your natural expulsive reflex bring your baby down and simply breathe! Team this up with perineal massage and your on to a winner.

6. STAY AT HOME for as long as possible before moving to the birthing centre! This is to reduce your stress indicators. Lots of people feel panicked by being in hospital the lights and the smells can all contribute to this, your much more likely to stay calm and relaxed at home (which is what we want) so stay there as long as you can! Think about taking things from home into the birth centre like pillows and blankets that make you feel comfortable and relaxed or try a home birth and don't leave home at all!

7. Visualisation is simply mentally picturing a scene..... sounds simple right? Well it is the trick is just to find the right one for you. When going into relaxation visualisation can really help us focus, whether it's visualisation for breathing or just to help you stay in your calm place VISUALISE...... enjoy it, use images you can imagine and draw to the front of your mind easily, use visualisation to your advantage and practice it with your relaxation techniques!

8. OPEN YOUR PELVIS again this sounds obvious but practice (there I said it again) birth positions that actively open your pelvis like squatting or kneeling positions that will open the pelvis and shorten the birth path so baby can have an easy decent...... think about making use of position that utilise gravity to help baby move down and never NEVER NEVER lie on your back unless you absolutely cannot avoid it!

9. You have two choices in pregnancy you can either worry about what may or may not go wrong...... or you can DITCH THE FEAR and enjoy it! Besides which there is a very good reason for getting confident and ditching the fear..... when your scared your body goes into fight , flight or fright, blood travels away from the uterine muscles and they cease (your body's way of trying to slow down or stop labour if you were being chased by a predator) it's your body's defence mechanism to protect baby by slowing your labour but the bad news is this also makes birth more painful....... but we aren't being chased by predators we're just hanging on to fear we don't need to so ditch the fear and let your body work as it should, that way your birth will be faster and your uterine muscles more effective plus you'll feel more in control!

10. Here's one that is completely missed by lots of expecting parents GET EXCITED, yes I've been there and I know there is a lot to sort out when your expecting, you can worry about money and being away from work and sometimes just get caught up in the morning sickness and little niggles of pregnancy BUT remember that your body is doing an amazing thing and start thinking about how EXCITING it will be to meet that little person and get to know them..... in fact start doing it right away! Talk to your baby and interact with them in utero it makes pregnancy even more exciting and helps you get in a great mental space for birth! So go ahead get excited!

So there they are my Top Tips for a Fab Birth........ Make use of them!

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When in doubt remember to breath!

hypnobirthingPosted by dani Mon, July 29, 2013 15:09:49

Inhale slowly ….... and now exhale....... good now your ready to read! As an antenatal teacher I am always, without fail asked about why breathing is important...... often the immediate response to learning about breathing correctly for labour is “well I do breath everyday and I am still alive so how hard can it be?”. The answer is it can be quite tricky to teach your body to breath CORRECTLY without consciously thinking about it!

“But does it actually make any difference what so ever?” I hear you all cry.... and the answer is YES, absolutely without a shadow of a doubt breathing properly in labour (and the rest of the time)makes all the difference and here is why.

When we're scared and our bodies are tense, we rush our breaths.... we gulp air.... and this leads to our bodies using the sympathetic nervous system “The panic room” which triggers our fight or flight response which makes all the blood in your body go to your arms legs and brain and in short not to the uterus. In this state all of our muscles become tense, we feel more pain and we release adrenaline.... and here's the important part..... with increase in adrenaline our oxytocin rate goes down..... now that is much more important than it sounds, oxytocin is the hormone we produce which governs our contractions during labour and a decrease in this means contractions slowing down and labour slowing this our bodies way of protecting baby if you are in a dangerous situation, slowing labour down until you reach a place of safety. That means a longer more painful labour..... Lets face it no one wants that! so we're starting to see why regular slow breathing is really important!

But I think by far the best incentive to practice breathing for labour is the amazing benefit you and your baby get from breathing properly. Firstly and most importantly slow controlled breathing helps you remain calm and in control! If you are breathing in a slow controlled way it's more difficult than you would think to get in a panic....... This means you can stay much more relaxed and combine your breathing with other relaxation techniques like massage, visualisation and hypnosis. Here is the best bit! When your body is relaxed you will have a shorter more comfortable labour. Increased oxygen means more energy and strength for mum, baby and those all important birthing muscles (which are pretty good at doing their job given the chance). Your body will function with the parasympathetic nervous system “your calm space” which allows your whole body to be relaxed and lets your heart rate slow and the muscles of the sphincter relax..... and all this actively aids child birth! Thats right just from a bit of breathing! By far the best reason to practice calm controlled breathing is that when you and your uterine muscles are given a plentiful supply of oxygen so is baby! Now this leads me onto the subject of pushing...

Keeping in mind the idea that we want the uterine muscles supplied with oxygen continually why on earth would we hold our breaths, put our chins on our chests and push, push PUSH? Well I'm going to let you all in on a little secret.... I have birthed pushing with my first daughter, which was frankly exhausting.... and I have birthed my youngest daughter without (I had an amazing HypnoBirth)which was amazing ! And you guessed it I breathed her out... I didn't push once and the upshot of it was that I managed to have a 10lb 3oz baby without so much as a paracetamol or a stitch.... Breathing baby's down rather than the dreaded pushing keeps oxygen going to baby, which I think we would all agree is rather important! If you think about it, it makes perfect sense that breathing throughout labour will make baby happier and better oxygenated than holding our breaths pushing and panicking.... However a word of caution to this tale....

You can't simply decide to breath calmly through labour or to breath your baby down, you have to be willing to put the work in and practice, practice, practice..... but in my opinion (and knowing the difference having birthed with controlled breathing and without) it is well worth the time and effort...... I think all those marvellous benefits are not bad for a bit of humble breathing! Now inhale........

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Breastfeeding , Boobs and Abersoch Beach

breastfeedingPosted by dani Thu, July 25, 2013 12:31:55
This morning I was reflecting on my mini break over the weekend, it was hot hot hot and we were on Abersoch beach so as you can imagine there were a lot of people running around with not much on (really not much on in some cases). So this got me thinking about boobs.... yes you heard me right BOOBS! I was wondering why no one bats an eyelid at ladies flashing their boobs and pretty much everything else on the beach and yet I keep hearing stories of ladies getting slightly scornful looks (and in some cases full blown tutting) in cafes and restaurants for breastfeeding their babies. Why should this be?

By way of introduction to this subject I will share my own experience with my babies. I breastfed both of my babies and not purely out of being au natural! I must confess I really like my sleep and the thought of waking myself up to traipse downstairs in the dark and faff about with sterilisers did not appeal in the least! i preferred to take the lazy mans approach and feed them from the comfort of my bed. I was lucky that both my babies took to breastfeeding almost instantly and i had no real problems but i do remember feeling very self conscious with my eldest daughter when I needed to feed her in public and recall an instance when I was asked to stop feeding her at a family meal in a country pub by a rather large red embarrassed looking landlord! I did as I was asked but on reflection wish I had made more of a fuss ( it may be wise to point out that nothing was on show in fact I think my mum may have been showing more cleavage than me).

With my second daughter I fed her wherever I liked and if I felt there was a particularly anti breastfeeding vibe about a place I simply wouldn't go again, this was probably impart due to the instance with my elder daughter.... I was determined I would never feel embarrassed or ashamed about feeding in public.

By attitude is just don't give a fig about what others think about you feeding your baby in public, go ahead and do it anyway! The alternative is a very grumpy hungry baby! And in answer to those who are offended I say get over it, its just a boob you see more every time your on a night out, on a beach or in a newsagents.

The question is why on earth does anyone think discrete breastfeeding is offensive? Looking around Abersoch beach on a sunny saturday I certainly couldn't figure it out...... frankly there were some far more offensive sights on that beach than I ever see when mums give their babies a feed. Harking back to my own experience I wonder if that landlord would have been as offended if I had whipped out a copy of the sun and left it open on page 3? i suspect not!

Better still get one of these hats for baby

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A Royal Hypnobirth

royal babyPosted by dani Wed, July 24, 2013 18:59:50
The Royal baby prince George is finally here! The media hype has been intense and it has left many of us wondering if all the hype and media speculation was worth it........

Kate is rumoured to have done Hypnobirthing a method which is wonderful for relaxing calm births, I see the evidence of this everyday with the mums who attend my course and tell of their fabulous birthing journeys and of course my own experience with Hypnobirthing. I for one hope that Kate had a marvellous birth experience and one that she will look back on positively, but the question remains did we really need to be bombarded with images from outside the hospital twenty four hours a day? was this an intrusion of the royal couples privacy?
I think there are numerous elements to the answer. Kate and Wills will most certainly have been prepared for and unsurprised by the level of media attention (I think they may have had a hint after the level of interest in their wedding). I also think (and I am speculating here) that they probably didn't care less about the media, in my experience new parents minds are focused on one thing only and that is their fabulous new baby!

Perhaps the level of media attention was still too high, and for me I felt some of the excitement was lost as reporters camped outside the hospital to tell us that nothing had yet happened...... It was for me watering the event down by pure saturation. I felt the royal birth would have been better covered by fewer reports which had rather more to say!

The real joy of the event for me was not only a new prince, but that perhaps the royal birth and all this media hype has opened the eyes of many women to a new and calmer way to birth. I suspect Kate's alleged ties to Hypnobirthing have already increased interest in classes and I think that can only be a truly wonderful thing by allowing more women to learn about fantastic birth techniques and more importantly feel positive about giving birth rather than frightened!

In my final rambling thought on the subject I asked myself about the true importance of one birth on the 22nd of July 2013 (I mean obviously this particular baby will be our future king) but was this particular birth more important than the hundreds of other births also celebrated on this day?..... and my answer is .... not in particular, all the babies born on that day and every other day of the year are just as important, just as significant and just as deserving of celebration.

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