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By Baby Intuition, May 25 2018 04:36PM

Everyone has fears, but what triggers some people to consider ending their own life?

I was privileged to listen to Jonny Benjamin and Neil Laybourn this week. Jonny has written a book ‘A Stranger on the Bridge’ about his life and the reasons why he wanted to end his life in 2008 and how Neil, taking time to talk to him, on Waterloo Bridge stopped him from jumping.

Jonny described the voices in his head and how he thought he was actually living, his version of the Truman Show, he explained that there is now an actual medical term called The Truman Delusion

This got me thinking ‘is this how new parents feel in the early months of parenthood’ ? They are certainly living in a parenthood bubble in which they have little control. Adel wrote ‘million years ago’ because ‘not in a million years’ did she expect the life she now lives. Tears flow down my face when I hear her sing this because I remember the person I used to be, I have no regrets but I do accept parenthood changes everything and we cannot predict how it will affect us. Most parents never truly feel prepared for life with a new born baby no matter how much antenatal prep they undertake. It is the birth itself that turns a single person into a parent. Followed by fluctuating hormones, emotional ups and downs and lack of sleep. It is well recorded that the triggers for depression are lack of sleep and high anxiety both of which are inevitable as a new parent.

The key to a happy life is achieving the right balance of pleasure and challenge, but I’m not sure I’ve met a new mum who has considered putting her own well being before that of her baby. Is it selfish for the voice inside your head to be screaming ‘what about me’? Absolutely not! A baby, babies, children and teenagers need a happy family around them and finding quality time for you is an essential part of your parenting tool kit. Deciding what your ‘thing’ is can be the challenge, but it will be out there.

Jonny Benjamin told us that he still has relapses, but he can now read his trigger signs quicker. Lack of sleep being the main one, then he reacts positively by reaching out to his support group and stops pushing himself too hard.

New parents also need more sleep and less anxiety, but how do we achieve that?

We have all heard the mantra ‘sleep when baby sleeps’ but there never seems to be time to cook a nutritious meal, get the washing done or tidy the house in the hour gap your baby may provide. Traditionally our extended family would be round the corner, to lend a helping hand but we are far removed from that now. The NHS are trying to get enough midwives to be able to offer one to one care to a new mum, (which we know reduces anxiety) but right now we are a very long way from that too! So how do you get maximum sleep when a new born babies natural state is only to sleep deeply when laying skin to skin. The Infant Sleep Information Source is the best place to go for the evidence behind babies and their sleep patterns.

If friends or family are not able to offer you a listening ear to enable you to talk about your worries or time to sleep, reach out to one of our Postnatal doulas, as we offer mother-centred support and across the country doulas are available at Doula UK and Neighbourhood Midwives provide private postnatal one to one care.

If you need more clinical support contact your GP or your Health Visitor. Wandsworth have a team of midwives and Health Visitors who support mothers who feel overwhelmed by their birth and early days with baby, they are available on 020 3513 6264

We also have Cedar House running local support circles for parents on Fridays in Balham.

Do not be ashamed to reach out, there are lots of people out there who can be ‘your stranger on the bridge’

Here is a wonderful link to a MIND video explaining why some people feel depressed it's far more normal than we realise.

By Baby Intuition, Mar 1 2018 01:19PM

One of our BF specialists, Jenny, looks at the perfect gifts for the breastfeeding mum.

A common question from expectant parents in antenatal sessions is “What equipment do I need to buy for feeding?”.

The answer is, as is so often the case, “it depends”.

If you’re planning to breastfeed then the only equipment you really need is your breasts and your baby. However there are a few items which you may also find helpful to have on hand:

Most breastfeeding mums find a nursing bra more comfortable, accessible and discrete than a conventional bra. You can be measured for a nursing bra in the last couple of weeks of pregnancy.

You may find that breast-pads are useful in the early days if your breasts leak milk, during or between feeds, as your body adjusts to producing milk for your baby. You can use either disposable or washable breast-pads and it is worth shopping around as some are more discreet than others. Take a look at the luscious ones available at

Muslin cloths are useful for wiping up excess breast milk and baby sick.

As you’re probably becoming aware, pregnant women and new parents are a massive retail opportunity and you may already feel like you’re being bombarded with recommendations and adverts for “must-have” breastfeeding products. Here are a few commonly mentioned such products:

Nipple creams – specifically formulated for use before, during and after breastfeeds and many new mums swear by them. However, there is no evidence that using a nipple cream makes feeding comfortable; the level of comfort or discomfort is more attributable to the way your baby is positioned and attached at your breast. No amount of nipple cream is going to compensate for a poorly attached baby. Sore nipples may benefit from having a bit of breastmilk dabbed on them between feeds and lots of air.

Feeding cushions – shaped to fit the mother’s body and position the baby high at the breast. In many cases, it is not necessary to have a special cushion and you can create the effect with any normal pillow or cushion. But if you feel you need one take at look at these, at least you can use them as a bag if baby prefers the laid position (no pillows required) for breastfeeding

Breastpump – not all women who breastfeed will choose to express milk and/or use a breastpump. A decent breastpump is not an inexpensive piece of equipment and therefore you can probably wait to buy until you know you will definitely need it. If you need to express in the early days you always have the option of hand expressing, borrowing a hospital breastpump or buying one same-day in the shops or on-line. Here is a local supplier, Kanari Pharmacy with a same day hire facility

Nipple shields – silicon covers worn over the nipples during breastfeeding are not a standard piece of kit, but rather something that might be tried in certain circumstances e.g. with a baby who struggles to maintain a deep latch or a baby who has been bottle-fed initially. Generally, it is suggested that you use nipple shields under the supervision of a skilled breastfeeding supporter as there are a number of factors to consider in their use. Medelas come in small, medium and large so worth consideration.

Gel pads – can be used warm or cold to relieve the symptoms of engorged breasts. The same effect can be achieved by using a hot or cold water soaked flannel.

Feeding cover – a structured material drape that you wear when breastfeeding which affords some privacy. The same effect can be achieved by wearing layers (e.g. camisole top under layer and over layer) or an open shirt/cardigan or by draping a muslin cloth over your shoulder. If you’re anxious about feeding in public.

You can obviously buy as much or as little equipment as you wish in advance, but I’d suggest waiting and seeing what you actually need. Here are a few ideas of useful gifts for new mothers, some specific for breastfeeding:

The gift of a home-cooked meal or more. Note Cook give 10% discount off thier frozen meals to new parents.

The gift of friendship, support and practical help.

A baby sling – keeps baby skin-to-skin which promotes bonding, encourages milk supply and provides security & comfort for your baby whilst you get on with things. Wear my Baby is the perfect place to start and meet local mums

A decent breastfeeding bookPinter & Martin sell the best evidence based ones.

In the event of ante natal anxiety around first few weeks at home with baby or problems when baby arrives, consider a consultation with one of our breastfeeding counsellors , we charge £100 for 3 hours of support spread over two or three home visits. Email [email protected] to book a home visit.

By Baby Intuition, Sep 2 2017 06:08PM

Then join me for a ‘mums to be retreat’ between Friday 16th March and Monday 19th March 2018 at 5 star Almyra Hotel in Cyprus

I was delighted to be approached by my local travel agent, Travel Matters, to be part of a wonderful retreat long weekend designed especially for new parents to be

I will be hosting the weekend with a fantastic colleague Nadia Rafaat of

We have been working alongside each other for three years with a shared passion to support new parents before, during and after birth.

FRIDAY: Nadia and I will meet you on arrival for a welcome drink, followed by dinner. You will have the opportunity to chill out in the Almyra bar before retiring to your room to catch a cozy night’s sleep before waking up to a wonderful yoga class - your choice of course : )

SATURDAY: Nadia will introduce you to the practice of Mindfulness, explore its many aspects and attitudes and you learn how Mindfulness will support and enhance your pregnancy, birth and parenting experience. You will practice physical skills for labour, working with the breath and the body to explore a range of Mindfulness-based techniques and birth skills for eliciting and maintaining an open and relaxed mental/emotional state during the labour and birth process.

These classes will be broken into two x two hour sessions after which you will have the option of a massage and spa treatment for one hour. We will have dinner as a group, providing the opportunity to develop friendships and ask Nadia and I any inquisitive questions about birth and babies.

SUNDAY: Another opportunity to try yoga before breakfast. We will then begin my ‘Bringing Baby Home’ workshops broken into two x two hour sessions. I will explain the support provided by the NHS and the alternative sources of support available within your community that can enhance your experience and build your confidence as a parent. I will explain the complexities of how a newborn baby feeds to enable you to differentiate between baby’s feed, sleep and play cues. I will also provide an understanding on the many early developmental stages to enable you to recognize why your baby may be crying. Knowing these developmental stages will enable you to soothe your baby and create a calm environment for mum, partner and baby.

Late afternoon there will be an option of a pedicure treatment and a facial. We will have our final dinner followed by a retreat closing session with Nadia and I over a virgin cocktail !

MONDAY: Breakfast at leisure, check out and depart the hotel. Nadia and I will be on hand to say good-bye.

This long weekend - truly will be treat for you to share precious information with your birth partner or a close friend or relative who wants to accompany you for the weekend. They are welcome to join the birth and parenting sessions and/or make use of the hotel facilities and join us for yoga, breakfast and dinner.

I hope to meet you very soon

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