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8 things you should be discussing in your antenatal class!

Antenatal classes, often referred to as prenatal or childbirth education classes, provide valuable information and preparation for expecting parents. However, there are certain aspects of pregnancy, childbirth, and parenthood that may not always be covered in these classes. Here are some of the things that you may not hear discussed in your group.

Postpartum Recovery: While antenatal classes may discuss labour and delivery, they might not delve into the details of postpartum recovery. Recovery can be challenging, with issues like postpartum bleeding, soreness, and emotional changes. It’s essential to be as prepared as possible for what to expect during the postpartum period. Speaking to a midwife at your regular check up or post birth is a good chance to discuss what aids you might need. Remember to inform your partner so that they can be a part of your recovery.

Breastfeeding Challenges: Most antenatal classes cover the benefits of breastfeeding but they might not thoroughly address potential challenges like latch issues, engorgement, or the emotional aspects of breastfeeding. It’s important to know that breastfeeding can be difficult for some mothers, and seeking support is crucial. Identifying tongue tie early on is also crucial to an easier latching process for both baby and mum. It’s a hugely emotive subject and do not feel pressured into doing anything that will make you uncomfortable, your baby just needs milk whether it’s breast or bottle.

Mental Health: Antenatal classes may briefly touch on the topic of postpartum depression, but the emotional challenges of parenthood, such as anxiety and feelings of overwhelm, can be more extensive than discussed. Added to that is the sleep deprivation which can go on for years and years, not just a few weeks. Being acutely tired can really affect the way you think and behave so reach out for support where you can, ask your support network to watch the baby when you need to nap. And please leave the washing and tidying up and sleep when your baby does! It’s essential to be aware of the signs of postpartum depression and seek help if needed. Click here for more information regarding post partum depression.

Relationship Changes: Antenatal classes often focus on the baby’s arrival, but they may not delve into the potential impact on the parents’ relationship. Becoming parents can bring new challenges and adjustments to the relationship, and it’s important to be prepared for these changes. All couples will have to adjust to the new dynamic of 3 in the family unit and it’s well documented that men tend to feel shoved out [particularly in those first few months. Keep the communication between yourselves open and non-confrontational. You WILL find a new rhythm and life before 3 will be difficult to imagine!

Handling Unsolicited Advice: You may receive a lot of unsolicited advice from well-meaning friends, family, and even strangers once you’re visibly pregnant or have a baby. Antenatal classes may not cover strategies for politely navigating this influx of advice. There is not a one fit manual to parenting, so go with your gut, do your own research and you can always, diplomatically, thank people for their advice and then roll your eyes when they’re not looking!!

C-Section and Intervention Births: While antenatal classes often focus on natural childbirth, it’s essential to understand that not all births go according to plan. Learning about cesarean sections (C-sections) and other interventions is important, as they can happen even if you intended to have a natural birth. It is hard to accept the plan changing once labour kicks in and it is a great chance for your partner to be the one who is able to steer the conversations so that you feel safe and informed of any interventions that may be required to assist your baby arriving safely.

Childcare Skills: While antenatal classes cover infant care basics, they might not go into advanced topics like baby wearing, sleep training, or introducing solid foods. These are aspects of infant care that you might explore as your baby grows and there are wonderful resources available online and in local communities to help guide you through these areas.

Realities of Parenthood: The day-to-day realities of parenthood, such as the constant need for nappy changes, feedings, and round-the-clock care, may not be fully conveyed in antenatal classes. It’s important to be mentally prepared for the demands of parenting. It is mundane, full on and at times can feel like groundhog day and it’s ok to admit that you’re not enjoying every second of parenthood. Don’t suffer in silence, resentment can build up especially when you’re already exhausted! Make sure you ask for help and have regular breaks where possible. If you don’t have a huge network around you to ask, explore the baby groups in your area hanging out with other parents in the same boat will make you feel more supported and less alone.

Remember that antenatal classes serve as a foundation for childbirth and early parenting, but real-life experiences can vary widely. Don’t hesitate to seek additional information, support, and resources outside of the classes to help you navigate the unique journey of parenthood.

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To Snoo or Not To Snoo, is that even the question?

Happiest Baby Snoo Bassinet Smart Sleeper Cotbed

To Snoo or Not To Snoo or can you afford one anyway?! When we are talking about baby kit, this is one of the most expensive pieces on the market today. It costs more than most luxury pram travel systems, so you are not alone if you are wondering whether it is worth investing in one.

The Snoo cot is a popular and innovative baby bed that is designed to soothe and calm newborns through a combination of gentle rocking and white noise. American based Happiest Baby launched the hugely popular Snoo Cot in 2016, which may surprise you, as it’s only recently become a hot product! The Snoo has been designed utilising 20 + years of experience of its pediatrician owners and bases it’s technique on the infamous 5s method by American Dr Harvey Karp. It claims that by 9 months, most Snoo babies are sleeping for 9 hours or longer. As a sleep deprived mama of 2 waking-through-the-nighters my initial thoughts are show me where to sign!

Here’s how it works:

Improved sleep for baby: The Snoo’s unique design has been shown to improve the quality and length of sleep for newborns. It mimics the sounds and movements of the womb which can help the soothing process when baby is fussing. The cot reacts to a crying baby by increasing the rocking motion and gently playing calming white noise which has been proven to help babies drift off.

Reduced risk of SIDS: The Snoo’s design includes a swaddle that secures the baby onto its back, which is the safest sleeping position to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Peace of mind for parents: The Snoo comes with a built-in app that allows parents to monitor their baby’s sleep patterns and receive alerts if the baby is crying or needs attention. This can provide peace of mind for parents and reduce the stress and anxiety that can come with caring for a newborn. I can tell you, as a new mum that my ‘biological’ notifications were all I needed to be alerted to my baby crying! Also sleeping next to the baby for the first 6 months, as recommended by the Lullaby Trust for safe baby sleep is way more effective than an app! Monitoring sleeping patterns however is useful especially if you’re too tired the next morning to remember what happened in the night!

Resale value: Snoo cots have a high resale value, so investing in one and looking after it can be a smart financial decision which should see you recoup at least around 50% of your original outlay. All of our Snoo cots for sale come in their original packaging with the swaddle sets and have received rave reviews from our buyers!

Overall, while the Snoo cot may be a significant investment upfront, it can provide many benefits for both baby and parents, making it a worthwhile investment for many families in my opinion.

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My fourth trimester

“Trust your instincts” they said, trying to reassure me as a first time mum. Well I can assure you of this, when I was new to motherhood, my instinct wasn’t very strong at all. In fact my ‘inner voice’ was pretty much silent. “You’ll know what to do” they repeated. But did I? Sitting in a newborn haze, staring at a tiny being napping on my chest, I’d wonder “what now?”

My instinct did tell me this much: I wasn’t struggling with PND. My baby easily latched on. We were bonding. I was very lucky with that, but I knew what I felt was fear. Fear of doing it all wrong.

Mother Nature is very generous. She gives us around nine months to prepare our bodies and minds. But the reality of motherhood doesn’t truly hit home until that little human launches into the world. In my case after 25 hours. With the help of forceps.

But Mother Nature can also play tricks on us. Hormones – a whole heap of them. Weeping with sheer exhaustion, relief, love, pain, worry, hunger. Oh the hunger! The best thing I ever tasted was the cuppa and hot buttered toast after labour. But then it was time to be discharged. I was officially the chief carer of a little baby. My son. My very longed-for child.

How would I describe that first night at home? It went surprisingly well. Apart from not feeding him because he didn’t wake up (I assumed he would if he were hungry…!) Suffice to say, the midwife checks over the next ten days were welcomed. I didn’t know what to ask, so I just answered their questions to me: “Yes, he’s feeding. Yes, we’ve seen meconium. Yes, my milk has come in. Yes, my stitches have dissolved.” I ticked their mental health questionnaire, hovering over the question about feeling anxious. Of course I was! But is that not normal? Am I overly worried? Should I say something? No. Best to just stay quiet, I thought.

Life as a family of three changed the day my husband went back to work. It’s fair to say the bubble burst. We were now a daytime family of two and my anxiety took to a whole new level. I don’t naturally turn to others to ask for help and, being honest with myself, I struggled to know what I even felt so unsure about anyway. I had a bond with our NCT ‘friends’ who were in the same boat, but I didn’t yet feel I could turn to them. Our WhatsApp messages consisted of ‘Baby arrived safely’ texts. Accompanied by a gorgeous photo and a name announcement (we’d all played our cards close to our chest on that, in case anyone took our name before each baby was born!) Without a shadow of a doubt I’d turn to that group of girls for support now, but not back then. We were all newbies. None of us really knew what we were doing.

Next milestone: the six week check up. That’s when I learned about the ‘well baby’ clinic run at my GP surgery every Tuesday afternoon. Straight away I booked us in. There wasn’t anything wrong with my son, nor with me, but I instinctively knew I should go. When we arrived, the entire waiting room was full to the brim with new mums, tiny babies and massive prams. Some babies sleeping, some being bounced and shushed, some being fed, others just gently snuggled in. Some mums, like me, had gone on their own, others with partners or grandparents. Based in Willesden Green, there was a wonderful diversity to the families and I suddenly didn’t feel alone or anxious anymore.

In fact from that day it all started to make sense. I realised I was a fully fledged member of the New Mums’ Club – a secret order only revealed once you’ve given birth. I suddenly became aware of people in a way I’d never noticed before. A mum walking her baby at the same time each day to push them to sleep. A dad at a check out, squeezing a bag of nappies into the already full shopper of his pram. An exhausted mum, juggling a tray of coffee and cake whilst steering a buggy round the cafe with a screaming baby in her arms. Pre New Mums’ Club, it never would’ve dawned on me to simply make eye contact with any parent, just to shoot them a reassuring smile, a virtual high five or a kind look of “I feel your pain, but hang in there!”

The term ‘winging it’ is batted around a lot these days in reference to motherhood. There is no manual, and let’s be honest, sometimes there is no instinct. Not initially anyway. Learning on the job is the name of the game from day one, and it continues as we enter unknown territory for toddlers, teens, adolescence and well, even into adulthood! You’ll feel uneasy, you’ll question your methods, you’ll compare yourself to others and you’ll feed that underlying fear of failing. But you are not alone! There are millions of us all trudging along the same path. So next time you spot one of us in need, reach out, connect, lighten the load by whispering the secret code of the New Mums’ Club: “No, I haven’t got a clue either…!”