Pregnancy Yoga Video!

Pregnancy_yoga_sample_for_website_First_FrameI  am so excited to be able to finally release Mother Nurture Yoga’s first Pregnancy Yoga Video. This was filmed when I was 39 weeks pregnant with my second child and the editing and voice over were a labour of love (with a newborn and 3 year old fighting for my time!) But I am so happy with the final video and hope that it will benefit lots of women during their pregnancies, particularly those who are not able to attend a designated prenatal yoga class.

View a 3 minute sample of the video now!

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mother Nurture Yoga hits the headlines

This article was recently published in the Hills News, Parramatta Sun and Blacktown Sun:

DSC_4448

Caroline Bagga practising yoga at 39 weeks pregnant

Extra: Babymoon retreat

 

Pre-natal yoga instructor Caroline Bagga will host an educative “babymoon” and retreat in one this October.

Hosted in conjunction with midwife Sarah Tooke the retreat will offer parents-to-be antenatal education, pregnancy yoga, active positions for labour and parenting skills.

Mrs Bagga, who teaches classes in Carlingford and North Parramatta, said the concept would “kill two birds with one stone”.

“This course is designed to prepare you mentally as well as physically for an empowering birth experience,” she said.

Ms Tooke said the retreat was ideal for busy couples who found it hard to get to the hospital-run classes.

The Childbirth Education and Yoga Retreat is on October 25 and 26 at Wisemans Ferry. It costs $520 each and includes accommodation and meals. Book by August 25 for the early bird price of $480 each.

Details: Click here or email caroline.bagga@gmail.com.

The story Extra: Babymoon retreat first appeared on Blacktown Sun.

http://www.hillsnews.com.au/story/2494950/extra-babymoon-retreat/

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

When birth doesn’t go according to plan

I love hearing the birth stories from the ladies who attend my Prenatal Yoga classes but too often I am told about things that went ‘wrong’, and I hear that wistful note in a new mother’s voice: “It wasn’t quite how it was ‘meant’ to go”.

In our society, we are told that ‘a healthy baby and a healthy mother’ is all that matters. But what happens to YOU is equally important. Just because medically the birth went ‘well’ doesn’t mean it was a ‘good’ birth experience for you. Emotional birth trauma is very real and impacts more women than we realise because the ‘healthy baby, healthy mother’ mantra silences many women, who keep their feelings of deep sadness, regret, anger, shame, grief, blame, numbness or disappointment to themselves. I know, because I experienced it with my first birth, although I didn’t have a label to put on it at the time. During my preparations for my most recent birth, I came across some great websites and articles which really helped, and I hope they may help some of you too.

But before we get to that, here’s another thought. The irony in this article’s title is that birth IS unpredictable and rarely goes ‘according to plan’. Having a birth plan is often as worthless as the paper it’s written on. A ‘birth intention’ or a ‘birth wish’ would be much more appropriate. So the best thing you can do during your pregnancy is to prepare to give birth-in-awareness, not to achieve a specific birth outcome. And this is where Pregnancy Yoga comes in as it teaches us to be in the present moment, to observe our minds and connect with our bodies, using our breath at the bridge between the two.

If you feel that you have had a ‘bad birth’ here are some tips for healing which I have taken from http://www.birthtalk.org:

  1. Get validation. Talk to other women and support groups. Realise that you are not alone, your feelings are OK and your response is normal.
  2. Get your notes. Ask for a debrief with your hospital and/or Obstetrician. Going over the notes with someone qualified can give new insight and understanding.
  3. Write your birth story. This can help you to express the story in your own words, especially if you find it hard to talk about it.
  4. Get some different information. Actually this point applies to everyone….start reading more broadly than “What to expect when expecting”! I love the suggested reading list on the birthtalk website. 
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Beautiful Home Birth of Alysha Grace Bagga

This gallery contains 3 photos.

This birth story was a long time in the making. After a failed induction for being ‘post dates’, my first daughter Samaira was born by ‘emergency’ caesarean. The whole experience scarred me in more ways than one and I swore … Continue reading

Gallery | 1 Comment

natural birth imageI’m 35 weeks pregnant with my second child and currently investing a lot of my head space on preparing for a beautiful natural birth. It’s been a long journey since my first birth which started with a post-dates induction and ended in an ‘emergency’ c-section. Since then, I’ve talked to many experts, read books, watched DVDs and generally educated myself about birth. I feel that I’ve done/am doing everything I can to ensure I have the best possible chance of giving birth the way I want it to happen. Much of this information is sadly not provided in the standard hospital ante-natal classes or the books that most women read in preparation. So I wanted to share this information with you in a simple and concise article.

So here it is…my top five tips for having a natural birth:

1)      Choose your birth place and support team with care

The key to a strong support team is continuity of care from people you trust and who understand and support your wishes. Most women put the most thought into choosing their Obstetrician and the hospital that they want to go to. But that’s not enough – during a ‘normal’ labour these factors are almost completely insignificant. If everything is progressing smoothly the OB won’t come in until the end and you honestly won’t notice the colour of the wallpaper. Of course if there is a true emergency then you will be thankful for the hospital’s fantastic medical facilities and your OB’s expertise.

But in a normal birth your main care provider for the majority of the labour will be a midwife, and unless you’re lucky enough to be assigned a specific midwife then it’s luck of the draw on the day as to who happens to be on shift. While most midwives believe that birth is a natural occurrence (as opposed to a ‘medical event that needs to be managed’) the chances are you won’t have met the midwife before and they may or may not provide support and convey information in the way that you would like. They will also be looking after multiple women at the same time which means they will be in and out of the room throughout your labour.

And so the main role of support person falls to your husband/partner, which is a big ask for someone who has never experienced birth before and probably feels like a fish out of water in the hospital labour ward. Make sure your husband/partner is well educated about labour and birth (see Tip 3), understands your birth wishes and how you plan to deal with the ‘pain’ of labour. But be realistic about the support that they are actually able to able to offer you – don’t expect them to suddenly turn into the world’s best masseuse for example!

You may like to consider hiring a Doula and/or an independent midwife who can provide continuity of care throughout your pregnancy, labour and birth. A doula – a non-medically qualified birth support person – can provide the emotional and physical support that you need both at home and in the hospital. Many of them are skilled in massage and have strong emotional intuition. They know how the hospital system works and can tactfully help you to navigate that to safely achieve the birth you want. They can provide the emotional coaching that you need if things start to ‘go wrong’ or get tough for you. For example, if they see you in pain your husband/mother/friend might start to waver and suggest pain relief, whereas a doula on the other hand would have the skill to refocus your awareness internally and press on acupressure points to provide natural pain relief. And even your husband is the most amazing support person in the world, if the labour is long it will become difficult for them to sustain the level of support that you will need throughout so they can tag-team with the doula. A caution here though: choose a doula with enough diplomacy, skill and experience of working in the particular hospital you are going to give birth in. The labour ward is no place for egos and a battle of wills between members of your support team.

An independent midwife would also be wonderful (and in some regards the best option as they are medically trained which enables them to weigh up medical advice with emotional support while remaining accountable yet unconstrained by the particular hospital’s policies) but it depends on being able to find one with visiting rights to your particular hospital and having the budget to pay for it (usually they are about five times the price of a doula).

In terms of the birth place, your choices are usually: Private hospital, Public hospital, Birth Centre or Home Birth. Most women make the choice based on a number of factors including their level of private health insurance, proximity of hospitals, personal recommendations and where they feel most comfortable. The latter point is very important because environment plays a significant role in how your birth experience unfolds – put simply, if you feel safe and comfortable the ‘love hormones’ of birth (oxytocins and endorphins) will flow as they are meant to. If you feel threatened or anxious then these hormones will be overtaken by adrenaline which will create pain in your body. If you are choosing a hospital birth don’t be afraid to ask for their policies and intervention rates – you may be surprised. This will differ by OB too, so make sure the place of birth and your primary care provider is supportive of your wishes.

Further reading: http://www.findadoula.com.au

2)      Prepare your body for birth

Physically you can prepare your body throughout your pregnancy. Pregnancy yoga is great for strengthening your body, in particular your legs and back, which will help as your baby grows.

Getting your pelvis ready for birth is critical. As the hormone ‘relaxin’  loosens up all your ligaments you may find your pelvis becomes unstable. The extra weight of the baby also tends to play havoc with your lower back. Both these factors can mean that it becomes harder for your baby to find it’s way out. Find a good Osteopath and visit regularly, particularly from week 32 to help fine-tune your pelvic area.

Your uterus will be working really strongly during labour so you can help this amazing muscle by taking supplements such as Raspberry Leaf (from third trimester) and visiting an Acupuncturist who is specialised in providing pregnancy support. The purpose is to ‘tone up’ your uterus and increase the blood supply. Acupuncture has the added benefit of helping to get baby into the right position and can be an effective form of natural induction if started early enough (see tips 4 and 5).

3)      Prepare your mind for birth

Knowledge is power so if you are a first-time parent, make sure you complete a comprehensive course in childbirth education. Most hospitals offer ante-natal courses but there are also some great independent midwife-led courses which can potentially provide a more objective view than the information provided by the hospital system. Understand the theory of pain and how your body’s hormones are supposed to work during labour.

Courses such as Calmbirth and Hypnobirthing are also growing in popularity as women come to realise that birth is both a physical and mental event. If you are in the right state of mind you can enter “Labour La La Land” where everything just seems to flow and you become oblivious to time and external happenings. As far as I can tell, most of the content in these courses is based on ancient yogic teachings about achieving mind-body connection through the breath, therefore increasing the hormones that help manage pain (oxytocins and endorphins) and decreasing adrenaline in order to produce a more efficient and “less painful” labour.  Try a few different breathing and meditation techniques then find one that works for you, stick to it, and practice it regularly. If you find it hard to practice by yourself, go to a regular prenatal yoga class which will give you the opportunity to practice relaxing and breathing through potentially uncomfortable sensations.

Surround yourself with positive suggestions/affirmations, birth stories and women who are of the same mindset. Your mind has the potential to be your biggest ally during labour – you just need to train it in advance. Practice ‘being present’ in the moment – right here, right now. The realisation that labour is a temporary event can be massively liberating. Like eating a hypothetical elephant, if you can just deal with one contraction at a time you will eventually get there.

 

Further reading:

  • Guide to Childbirth, Ina May Gaskin
  • Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering, Sarah J Buckley

 

4)      Get your baby into the right position

Many of us nowadays work in office jobs that involve a lot of sitting around during the day, and then in the evening we come home to lay back and relax on the sofa. This sedentary lifestyle is contributing to a rise in babies who are in a posterior position. Without getting too technical, this means that your baby’s spine is against your spine, as opposed to the ideal Anterior position with their face being towards your spine – and this means a longer and harder labour with strong back pain.

It is good to start thinking about this from an early stage so you can create good habits, but from around 34 weeks the concept of ‘Optimal Fetal Positioning’ becomes critical, especially if this is your first baby, because bub will become engaged in your pelvis ie. locked into position. If it is not your first baby the baby is unlikely to engage but it is still good to get them used to lying in an anterior position (spine outwards).

So how do you get baby into the ideal position? Basically lots of leaning forwards instead of backwards. If you are sitting then ensure your spine is upright or you can lean forwards (onto a table for instance). You may be advised to crawl around on your hands and knees or scrub the floor! Many prenatal yoga poses are on hands and knees for this very reason (and are a lot more pleasant than scrubbing the floor!!) If you want to relax then lie on your left side. For example, if you want to relax watching TV then lie along the couch on your left side rather than reclining in a lazyboy chair.

Further reading:

 

5)      Say no to induction (unless it is medically necessary)

I guarantee this is the most controversial of my tips. Let’s be clear – I’m not talking about scenarios where it is medically necessary and beneficial eg. pre-eclampsia or fetal distress. I’m talking about a scenario where the woman is ‘overdue’. I am a firm believer that your baby will come when it is ready. Shockingly, a large number of inductions for post-term pregnancies result in a cascade of intervention which ultimately ends in an ‘emergency’ c-section. A study of 28,626 women by the University of Adelaide found that induction of labour was associated with a 67% increased relative risk of cesarean section (compared with spontaneous labour).

Most private hospitals have policies that only allow you to go past your due date by 1 week with public hospitals allowing you up to 10 days. Remember that a normal gestational period is 38 – 42 weeks, and most first births deliver around a week after their due date. Therefore most inductions happen before what is necessarily ‘full term’ ie. between 40 and 41 +3 days. These policies are primarily for the hospital/OB’s scheduling convenience and insurance policies, although they will probably tell you it is for the safety of your baby. Yes it is true that there is a higher incidence of stillbirth the longer you wait – however that statistic is based on a very tiny base rate – a UK study found that at 40 weeks the risk is 1:926 while at 42 weeks the risk increases only slightly to 1:769. Most studies and health professionals agree that up to two weeks ‘overdue’ is usually absolutely fine as long as there are no other risk factors and the baby is well monitored.

This risk can also be managed by monitoring amniotic fluid levels, baby’s movements and heart rate. Know your rights and know that you can refuse an induction IF you want to. You may not want to, but the point here is that there are other options if you’re not comfortable with an induction at 41 weeks. Tune into your intuition (this is good practice for your upcoming journey of being a parent!) and don’t be pressured into making any decisions that don’t feel right. A mother’s intuition is rarely wrong and if you can put your mind to rest by some additional monitoring, there’s absolutely no rush to get baby out. The best thing you can do is relax and enjoy the final days of your pregnancy.

 

So that’s my top tips. Some of them may challenge your thinking but ultimately I hope that at least one or two of them will benefit you in creating your own ideal birth experience.  Remember though, often when the action starts, the birth plan that you envisaged can go out of the window. And that’s ok as long as you feel happy that you have done everything you can, that you were in control and comfortable with the decision-making process. Happy birthing!

If after reading this article you are inspired to try a Pregnancy Yoga class I offer Prenatal Yoga classes in Carlingford at 9:30am on Saturdays.  See www.mothernurtureyoga.com.au for more information.

Link | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Announcing Sydney’s first dedicated Prenatal Yoga Retreat!

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Over the past year I’ve been teaching prenatal yoga to Sydney’s Mums-to-be and it has really inspired me to develop this day-long Pregnancy Yoga Retreat. I’m super excited to share this with all the beautiful pregnant mummies in Sydney! The first retreat will take place on Saturday 6 July in West Pennant Hills. It’s a gorgeous yoga centre hidden away in suburbia, overlooking stunning gardens and a nature reserve. Leave the hustle and bustle of daily life far behind and participate in yoga, meditation, pranayama (breathing exercises), group discussions and a super fun belly painting session. There is also the option for pregnancy massage and individual time out to simply enjoy a cup of tea in the grounds of the yoga centre. Check out my new website: www.mothernurtureyoga.com.au for more information

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Secrets of Sleep School

As a dedicated yoga practitioner, my views about how to raise my child naturally aligned to the ‘attachment’ style of parenting. For nine months, I carried my baby in a sling, fed her to sleep, co-slept and generally tried to be gentle and sensitive to her needs. The idea of controlled crying to ‘teach’ her how to go to sleep horrified me. Why would I let my baby cry herself to sleep and collapse from exhaustion, when I could just ease her into a peaceful slumber?

This worked well for us for a while, but things started to fall apart after a two-month trip to the UK, followed by a series of cold/flu type illnesses and a house move. While it was not a problem to share my bed with my baby per se, it soon became apparent that she had developed a sleep association, needing to be fed back to sleep every time she woke…which was after every 45 minute sleep cycle. We both became exhausted and cranky. For a couple of months I cruised in survival mode, doing what was necessary to get by. But I knew a major intervention was needed and I simply didn’t have the energy to do it by myself.

I had used the Tresillian Parents’ Helpline a few times and had always been pleasantly surprised by their compassion and sensitivity towards both the baby as well as the parent. I asked my Early Childhood Centre to refer me to them for some help, and five weeks later we arrived at the Penrith Tresillian centre for a residential stay.

The whole experience was amazing and I can’t praise the service highly enough. From start to finish, we were gently and expertly guided to help my daughter, Samaira, to sleep longer, in her own bed, and to self-settle.

I knew it was going to be tough, and I was prepared for some hard work. What I hadn’t quite realised was how much I needed to change my own behaviour in order to help Samaira change hers. It was a really emotional journey which took me outside of my comfort zone but ultimately helped me to become a better and more confident mother.

Day One

My husband, Samaira and I arrived at 9am on Saturday morning. We were shown to our room, given a tour of the facilities and discussed the problem and our goals for the stay. It was then time to put Samaira to bed. We were shown how to wrap her – in a square sheet, with the top edge folded down, put the left arm under the fold with her hand up near her face, bring the left side of the sheet over her body and tuck it under, then repeat with the right side. We popped her into the cot, which was in an adjoining room to ours, and although ugly, was very practical with tall legs and a side that dropped completely down – so much easier on your back! Because my husband was only able to stay during the day for the weekend, he was shown how to lay his hands on her to comfort her, before leaving her to give her the opportunity to fall asleep by herself. Samaira responded well to the ‘hands on’, but got upset when he left the room. The nurse sat with us and distracted me with the booking in forms while my husband went in and out of Samaira’s room to reassure her that we were still there. After 20 minutes, he stayed with her until she was asleep. The sleep was a short one – only 35 minutes – and she really needed to go back to sleep again, but we decided we weren’t quite ready to tackle the re-settling process just yet.

Lunch was served in the dining hall from midday. With 19 families staying at the centre, it was quite hectic and overwhelming. There were so many highchairs, so much noise and so many rules. The food was not going to win any Michelin stars, but we didn’t have to cook or clean up, and they made a big effort to accommodate our (many) dietary requirements due to Samaira’s food allergies.

After lunch, we repeated the same settling process. It took another 20 minutes for Samaira to drop off to sleep, although this time she stayed asleep for just over an hour. Instead of laying my hands on Samaira, I stood in the doorway and sang to her. I had had success with this in the past and I wasn’t quite ready to shut the door on her and walk away while she cried. The nurse suggested we re-settle her when she woke, but after a few minutes of crying I went into the room and she was standing, her nose was dripping and she had done a poo. I didn’t have the heart to try, and to be honest, I questioned whether she really needed it as she had not had more than two 45 minute day sleeps for several months.

That afternoon, we popped out to the nearby Westfield to stock up on food supplies and have a coffee, before heading back for dinner and bath time. The evening sleep took slightly less time to re-settle, and this time I was outside the door, but reassuring her with my voice and popping into the room if I felt her crying was getting louder. Another mum from the room next door came and sat with me. She had arrived with her nine month old girl the day before, and had a very similar story to mine. She reassured me that she had felt exactly the same last night as I was feeling now, but she was already seeing some good results. To be honest, I had already gone through quite a few tissues and I was feeling less than happy about the situation, so it was great to have this glimour of hope.

Samaira woke five times that night. The buzzer in the room got quite a workout as we called the nurses to help us to re-wrap and settle her. The nurses suggested that we feed her once before midnight, with an optional post-midnight feed if she needed it, as long as it was more than three hours later. She had both feeds but the second feed she was not really all that hungry, which gave me the confidence to drop it the next night.

Day two

By now, we knew the drill and were starting to feel more confident about how to wrap her and settle her. We were starting to get better at interpreting her cries and I was feeling a bit better about not running straight in to comfort her. Samaira was starting to take less time to settle and was managing to go to sleep without us in the room. In the afternoon, she went straight to sleep without a peep and slept for an incredible 1 hour and 40 minutes! However, putting her to bed in the evening was quite difficult and I was shocked to see her sitting up, and then standing, in her cot. Previously she had been wrapped in a ‘Love to Dream’ swaddle, so she wasn’t able to sit or stand. The sheet wrap we were now using was fairly easy for her to get out of and it didn’t take her long to get up onto her feet. The nurses encouraged us to leave her for a bit before going in to re-wrap her and lie her down again. She eventually went to sleep on her side, which was also a new position that she hadn’t previously been able to get into.

The other mums staying there were really friendly and supportive, and it was nice to be able to talk to other people who truly understood how tough it is to have a baby who doesn’t sleep well. But not all the children were there for the same issue; some had problems with eating and behaviour, as well as sleep issues – including getting too much sleep (and therefore not eating enough), bad day sleeps and night waking.

That night, we were offered a ‘time out’, whereby after she had had her first feed, we could give her to the nurses to look after. She woke at 11pm and then I took her into a spare room further down the hall and waited until she had settled back to sleep before going back to bed myself. Ironically, and annoyingly, I found it hard to sleep and was back at 5:30am just to see how she was. She had woken twice more but slept soundly until 7am, on all fours with her bottom sticking up in the air!

Day three

Samaira is such an active and sociable baby that she doesn’t tend to display very obvious tired signs. So today I kept an eye on the clock and removed her from the stimulation of the toys/people after a maximum of three hours. Once in her room and having a cuddle with me, she would then start to realise she was tired and rub her eyes or pull her hair.

Today, she slept for an hour and half in the morning, and the same again in the afternoon. Clearly she was starting to like this sleeping business! Both sleeps were easy to settle, so I felt happy we were starting to see results.

However, the poor little girl had gone hoarse from all the crying, and she seemed to be considerably more subdued than usual. The nurses reassured me that this was normal, as her body was realising how much sleep it had missed out on and the more sleep she got, the more she craved it.

We had a real breakthrough that night, with Samaira waking only once for a feed and managing to self-settle back again when she woke briefly the second time. I was finally starting to get some sleep myself too – a whopping four hours of undisturbed sleep!!

Day four

We were well and truly into the swing of things now, with Samaira having some great day sleeps. I was due to go home the next day, but was asked if I would like to stay an extra two nights. In the end I decided I would as I wanted to build my confidence and had still not done any re-settling during the day. As it turned out, this was a great decision as that night was a real shocker, with Samaira waking five times. This was a really exhausting night as we got to bed late after being offered a night out – our first night out as a couple in nine months! We got dressed up and went in search of a nice restaurant. Let’s just say that Penrith is a little short on fine dining options, so we ended up at the Penrith Panthers – not quite the romantic, candle lit dinner I had imagined, but nice nonetheless!

Day five

I felt really down today as we had done all the hard work but seemed to be going backwards. After a good discussion with one of the nurses, I realised that I had been doing more and more of the ‘hands on’ over the last day or so, and she was now expecting me to be there when she woke. All I had done was to substitute rocking or feeding her to sleep with putting my hands on her. So I decided that I needed to be more consistent if I was really going to help her, while remaining flexible enough to respond more appropriately if she really needed it. It was a fine line, but now I had a much clearer plan in my own head which gave me the confidence that I knew how to respond and didn’t have to turn to the nurses for their opinion anymore.

Samaira decided to give me the opportunity to practice my re-settling skills during both her day sleeps, and amazingly both attempts were successful.

That night I didn’t have to leave my bed once – she slept the whole night without even a feed, waking briefly twice but managing to self-settle back again quickly. I couldn’t believe this was my baby!

Day six

Our last full day today, and I felt on such a high after last night. The morning sleep re-settle was a failure, so the strategy in this case now is to give her three day sleeps, instead of two longer ones.

Samaira seems much more her usual self today and enjoys her first experience of playing in the sandpit. As it’s our last night, my husband and I were offered another night out, so we decided to go late night shopping. Samaira slept well again that night.

Back at home

It’s time to go home today and I feel ready and confident. We say our goodbyes to the other mums and the nurses who have helped us so much. Samaira sleeps in the car on the way home, so we go for the three day sleeps again today.

I always knew that it would be hard for the first day or so when we got home. For a start, Samaira was back in her own environment, and back in our room, so it was inevitable she would test the boundaries somewhat. In addition, we are temporarily living with my husband’s parents, and I knew they would find it difficult to hear her cry, which makes me feel guilty.

As predicted, the first day is challenging, but after a while everyone gets used to the new routine and Samaira settles into a pattern of waking once during the night for a quick feed, and sometimes a second time when she will need settling back to sleep. We moved her cot into the spare room and that really helped…it was also great to have our room back so we could have the light on and talk in bed!

A typical day

We have been back for over a month now and everything is still going well. Every day is slightly different, but the overall routine is working well for us. Tresillian are able to offer ‘typical’ routines depending on your baby’s age, but stress that the most important point is to watch for tired signs. I was a bit concerned that I might feel like a prisoner in my own home, but this hasn’t been the case and we are still able to get out and about.

A typical day for Samaira looks something like this:

6:00am Wake up, morning feed and snuggle in bed
7:00am Breakfast
7.30am Play with grandparents
8:30am Breastfeed on the second side, followed by more play
9.15am Sleep
10:30am Out to playgroup/walk/shops etc
12:00pm Lunch
12:45pm Breastfeed
1:30pm Sleep
3:30pm Play/shops/walk etc
5:00pm Dinner
5:30pm Bath
6:00pm Breastfeed, story
6:30pm Bed
11:00pm Breastfeed
4:30pm Wake, needs settling

Samaira is so much happier now. Her appetite is much bigger, she feeds without being distracted and we both enjoy the time we spend together. She used to get upset if I took even one step away from her, but she will now quite happily play by herself while I leave the room. And instead of spending hours rocking/patting/feeding her to sleep, I now wrap her up, give her a cuddle, pop her into bed and leave the room.

Wrapping Samaira remains a somewhat controversial point amongst my mummy friends, all of whom have worked hard to get their little one out of the wrap or swaddle. The Tresillian attitude however, is that as long as they are wrapped with their arms up and can get out of it, they are safe. It is simply a cue that it is sleep time, and if they wear themselves out fighting to get out of it, then all the better. One of the nurses even told me that she wrapped her children until they were 2 and half! I guess Samaira will grow out of it when she is ready, but I’m in no rush to lose it as long as it continues to work for us.

While I don’t regret parenting Samaira in the way that I did, with hindsight I would have made the changes sooner as it has made such a positive impact on our lives. I feel deeply appreciative to live in a country that genuinely cares about the well being of families and provides such fantastic resources. More importantly, I can never repay the kindness and patience of the amazing nurses who helped me on this journey.

Five myths about Tresillian

1)      They give you the first night off, so they can go hard on the baby with you out of the way. I was offered a night out with my husband on my last night staying there. I was also offered ‘time out’, where they looked after Samaira overnight. This was on my second night. It was not compulsory and I could take her back at any time.

2)      They let babies cry themselves to sleep. Before I went, people told me horror stories of mothers being locked out of their baby’s room while they cried for two hours. Maybe in the old days but this certainly isn’t true now. Tresillian don’t advocate controlled crying. Instead, they sit with you and help you to identify what the cry means and how best to respond to it. For instance, if they are at full volume crying, you will need to go into the room to comfort them more frequently and stay longer than if they were just grizzling.

3)      You have to be desperate to go there. I was, but you don’t need to be. They welcome everyone and let you stay extra days if you haven’t quite achieved your goals or don’t feel confident to implement the changes when you’re back home. The nurses also said to me several times that I was welcome to go back again at any time if I needed their support again.

4)      All the babies are there because they can’t self-settle. People get referred to Tresillian for all sorts of issues for children between 0 and 5 years old. While I was staying there, there was a baby as young as 7 weeks who couldn’t sleep during the day, and a 2.5 year old who had behavioural issues.

5)      Tresillian is for first time mums who don’t know what they are doing. There were several mums there who had more than one child (and one single super-dad!). In fact, there was one lady who had been to Tresillian with all of her previous three babies. Each child is unique so the nurses help you to develop an approach that works for your child.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment