Two very important topics that we cover in our BabyNatal Practical Baby Care classes and in our BabyNatal Sleep workshops are co-sleeping and baby-sharing. Whilst these terms are often used interchangeably, we like to make a distinction between the two and clarify that bed-sharing is a form of co-sleeping.
What is co-sleeping?
Co-sleeping refers to the practice of sleeping in the same room as your baby. This can be achieved in several ways. Some popular options are for your baby to sleep in:
- a bedside crib;
- a bedside crib or co-sleeper – with these, you can normally take one side down, so that they are effectively attached to your bed;
- a Moses Basket;
- a cot or cot bed;
- the same bed as you – this is called bed-sharing.
So you’re having a baby. “Forget about getting any sleep in the next 18 years”, they say. But is it really that bad? Probably not. We are pretty sure that you will most definitely get some sleep, but it’ll probably be interrupted sleep. If you’re not used to it, sleeping for short bouts and being woken up a few times in the night can really affect you at first. It can affect your mood, how easy/hard you find your days, and your general wellbeing. But not all is lost, as there are ways to cope with interrupted or lack of sleep when you’ve just welcomed a new baby into your family.
Will my baby wake up often in the night?
At first, your young baby will wake up for a feed every few hours. This will happen both during the day and during the night. When they’re still very little, your baby may go to sleep for the night anything between 9pm and 11pm (or even later), wake up around 2-3am for a feed, and then maybe again at 5-6am. But remember, your baby is an individual with their own personality, and all babies are different! Your baby could be following a pattern similar to this, or one of their own, and that’s all to be expected. Although this may seem like a lot of waking, there a few things that you could try to work around that. Continue reading
If you’re a new parent, you’ll have probably been advised by your midwife or Health Visitor to give your baby plenty of ‘tummy time’. But what IS tummy time, exactly? How do you do it, and why is it so important?
What is tummy time?
Tummy time refers to the practice of allowing your baby to spend some time on their tummy whilst awake and under your (or another adult’s) supervision. We emphasise the fact that your baby needs to be awake, as, for safety reasons, your baby always needs to be placed on their back when sleeping or about to go to sleep. Continue reading
One of the questions our teachers often receive from new mums who have attended their classes is when a new mum should expect her first period after the birth of her baby. Unfortunately, this isn’t a question with a straight answer! Everyone really is different, and while some women report having their period as early as 5 or 6 weeks after birth, others may not see it coming back for a couple of years!
So let’s dig a little deeper into this topic, and we’ll explain what happens to a new mum’s body after birth.
When not breastfeeding…
Women who do not breastfeed report their period returning anything between 5 weeks and 3 months after birth. While it is possible that if a woman’s period returns this early after giving birth, she may not actually be fertile for the first few cycles, this is definitely not true for everyone! In fact, if a woman’s period returns 5 weeks after the birth of her baby, there is a possibility that she may be ovulating and be fertile 2 weeks before that, so effectively only 3 weeks after giving birth. It’s always worth remembering that because you do not know when your period will return (but you’ll be ovulating approximately 2 weeks before the first day of your period) you may want to use contraception in case you are fertile. Unless you’re planning another baby very soon, of course! Continue reading
If you’ve recently been to one of our classes or have come across our websites MummyNatal and BabyNatal, you may have noticed that we have a team of amazing teachers all over the country. Thanks to our regular teacher training courses in Leeds and Wiltshire our team is always growing, and with more teachers joining The Natal Family every year, we are able to expand our reach and help more and more families across the UK. But why do so many parents, and mums in particular, want to train with us? If you’re curious about training, these are some of the reasons you may want to consider.
- You want the freedom and flexibility to work around your family
It’s no secret that for most of us everything changes when we start a family. You now have a new child or children in your life, and you simply want to be there for them. Unfortunately, a lot of 9-5 jobs don’t give parents the freedom and flexibility that they need to be able to earn a living whilst also caring for their children. What happens when they’re ill? Or when they start school? Who’s dropping them off and picking them up? Who’s taking them to after-school activities? Who covers for half term and long holidays? Not to mention all the favours you need to ask from your employer if you want to attend the Christmas show, Assembly, or Sports Day! Becoming a MummyNatal or BabyNatal practitioner (or even better, training in both programmes) allows you to create a business that works around your family. Not the other way round. Continue reading
We all know that vitamin D is important and that sun exposure can do wonders for our vitamin D intake. But is there more to it? What does vitamin D actually do? Is it recommended that expectant mums and new babies take supplements? And if so, why? What can too little or too much vitamin D do? We have tackled some of these questions in this blog post.
What is vitamin D and where do our bodies get it from?
Vitamin D helps us keep our bones, teeth, and muscles healthy. According to the NHS Choices website, in the UK from about March/April through to September, most people who regularly spend time outdoors can get enough vitamin D. This happens because our amazing bodies can create vitamin D through direct exposure of our skin (just think forearms, hands or lower legs) to the sun (without sunscreen). This is especially easier in the hours between 11am and 3pm. Short bouts of exposure of 10-15 minutes are enough for light-skinned people, but people with darker skin will need to spend longer in the sun to produce the same amount of vitamin D. For the rest of the year though, from October to March, we just can’t get enough vitamin D from sunlight alone. So if we can’t get it from exposure to the sun, where else can we get it from? Continue reading
In celebration of World Breastfeeding Week this August, we put together a few fascinating facts about breastfeeding that we hope you will enjoy!
- Colostrum is ‘liquid gold’
During pregnancy your breasts start producing a small amount of milk, ready for the birth of the baby. This early milk is called colostrum, and you may or may not notice little drops of it leaking from your breasts towards the end of your pregnancy. If you’re not, don’t worry, as your body is producing it, even if you can’t see it!
Colostrum is the milk that your baby will have for the first 3 or 4 days before your ‘full milk’ comes in. Not a lot of it is produced, so if you express it into a bottle, don’t worry if you can only see a little of it – this is all your baby needs. Remember that their stomachs are tiny! Colostrum is thick and sticky, it may appear buttery yellow in colour, and it’s full of antibodies. That’s why it’s also nicknamed ‘liquid gold’. The antibodies that colostrum contains provide your baby with protection against infections that mum has built up an immunity to. Continue reading
In our BabyNatal Practical Baby Care classes we talk about the ‘Golden Hour’, which is the term used to describe the first hour after the birth of a baby. We love talking about what typically happens during this time, and one of the things that we encourage parents to consider, if at all possible, is to have skin-to-skin contact with their babies.
Having skin-to-skin contact simply means having your baby’s bare body on your bare skin (normally on your chest). If your baby has literally just been born, they may still be partially wrapped in a towel, which helps them stay warm.
Skin-to-skin contact isn’t just for the first few minutes or hours after birth though – when you’re at home with your baby in the first few days and weeks of their lives, you can continue to take some time to enjoy skin-to-skin contact with them – and it’s ok for them to be wearing a nappy… because you just never know! In order to keep yourself and (especially) your baby comfortable and warm, you can always cover yourself with a light blanket or large muslin, depending on the temperature in the room you’re in. Continue reading
With the hot weather due to make another appearance anytime soon and lots of families planning their holidays, we feel it’s important that parents are aware of the latest recommendations to protect their babies and young children from the sun and heat.
The first thing to remember, and why this topic is so so important, is that babies can easily overheat. Something we discuss in our BabyNatal Practical Baby Care classes is that young babies don’t yet have a way to regulate their own body temperature. This means that if we cover them too much, they have no way to cool themselves down on their own. They literally rely on us, the parents, to remove some layers of clothing or shade them from the heat! Continue reading
On 19th June 2017 The Natal Family will join in the celebrations and social media hype for the second International Father’s Mental Health Day. Watch out for #IFMHD on social media from the 19th June for a week – lots and lots of great content that focuses on key aspects of fathers’ mental health will be shared online.
Why do we need an awareness day for father’s mental health?
Because 10% of dads are reported to experience perinatal postpartum depression. And while there is still a lot of stigma attached to mental health for both men and women, it looks like, as a society, we have a long way to go when it comes to recognising the signs and symptoms of postnatal depression, especially in men. Continue reading