5 Things You Need To Know About The Birth Confidence Game (aka Bait and Switch)

The Confidence Game in birth is alive and well. I'm writing this blog post in response to an email from a client. Up until now this client has received total support and confidence from their caregiver regarding their ability to give birth naturally. It has always been a valid option for them.

Today when they went to a regular, scheduled hospital appointment, they faced a different person to last time. A person who through their 'counselling' instilled the first seed of doubt in their choices. A person who made it clear that they held the medical degree (and hello how many medical professionals don't ;)

Given my client's (totally valid) choice to have a natural birth, which was based on an analysis of benefits, risks, alternatives, using intuition, she wondered should she now be scared?

What were the consequences?

The consequence of this change in caregiver support meant that she had the support of midwifery care removed. She was scheduled for extra weekly and fortnightly tests. Plus she has been told she now has time limits on her labour!!! 

She wrote to me to ask if this was standard practice, or just a one-off supportive Dr?

My answer is this. Welcome to the Birth Confidence Game (also referred to as the Bait and Switch). 

The Bait and Switch is when you are lured in to selecting a care provider who you believe is supportive of the style of birth you aspire to, but then when you get later in pregnancy, or are in labour - your choices are no longer respected. Previously unmentioned limits are applied, you are treated differently, you are told things that make you doubt your body's ability to birth your baby safely, the seeds of doubt are sown with leading questions.

The reasons for care givers being unsupportive of you having a natural birth may be many.  Sure there may be risks (but having done your research you already know about that). They may be inexperienced and scared of supporting you through something they know nothing to very little about. They may have been privvy to a bad experience in the past and still be scared by trauma. They may even have just heard bad stories from colleagues. The possible reasons are endless and irrelevant.

No expecting parent wants to put their unborn child at risk at any cost.

So here's what you need to remember when facing the Confidence Game:

1. It's still your choice - your body, your baby, your choice - ALWAYS

Your choices are still the same as they were before - you just need to find a more supportive caregiver.

2. Everyone has their own filters.

Filters influence how they view the world. Filters say that Home Birth isn't safe, or that women with GD shouldn't birth in the tub. These are not evidence-based but learned from experiences (and I have experienced both of these so they are all possible)

3. Ask for the evidence or the policy. If a care provider is waving statistics at you, or stating that this is policy -  ask for the research/policy and ask to take a copy home with you. If they can't provide you with evidence/policy refuse to budge until they do.

4. Get Independent Support. Hire a doula (you can Contact Me here), an independent midwife, or whomever will support your right to birth the way you really want (and not just take what's on offer)

Have you been affected by the Confidence Game In Birth? If so comment below and let me know. 

 

 

How To Rock Your Next Birth After Trauma (+ Create Your Own Battle Magic And Find Fillory)

How To Rock Your Next Birth After Trauma (+ Create Your Own Battle Magic And Find Fillory)

With your first birth you may have had a 'what will be, will be' attitude (or not). This time around you find yourself like Alice in The Magicians. Alice is a magician who knows that she has the power to beat the beast. She is the only one with the power to attempt it. 

She and her lover use probability magic to determine their best chance to beat the beast, and the answer is to visit Fillory. Fillory is a magical land filled with talking animals and other magical beasts. It is a land of abundance.

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The Three Words That Mark The Transition Into Motherhood (That No Expectant First Time Mumma Ever Wants To Say)

The Three Words That Mark The Transition Into Motherhood (That No Expectant First Time Mumma Ever Wants To Say)

I can't do that' was the reply from one lovely Mumma. 'Why not?' I asked with curiosity. 'It's not what we do in our culture is it?' she said. She was so right and I was so grateful for her pointing out the obvious.

It left me on the one hand saddened, knowing that as culture we expect women to DO IT ALL. In the movies they pop on a dress, heels and cook a three course meal two days after baby is born to entertain all the guests, in a sparkling clean, spotless kitchen.

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The Hidden Birth Package Deal Nobody Is Talking About

The Hidden Birth Package Deal Nobody Is Talking About

When it comes to birth, it seems pretty straight-forward. You go in to hospital, you have a baby, happy days begin. So how is that expecting couples, who are going in to have their baby and asking for one thing, are getting another. It's a bit like going to vegan restaurant and being served bacon - ya what?

This is so common, the reason is that there are HIDDEN PACKAGE DEALS - unwritten rules associated with certain decisions. Rhea Dempsey calls it 'This goes with that births' (like the Sussan Ad for those of us old enough to remember).

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How to Be A Parenthood Co-creators (Rather Than Pawns In Some Crazy Hunger and Sleep Games).

 How to Be A Parenthood Co-creators (Rather Than Pawns In Some Crazy Hunger and Sleep Games).

Once upon a Monday...She felt like she had to do EVERYTHING! She felt so unappreciated. She daydreamed in envy back to the days pre-baby. She had no idea how easy she had it then, until now. She once enjoyed copious amounts of FUN and FREEDOM.

Pre-baby she used to spend her weekends indulging in painting and scrapbooking. Postpartum her paints and papers were packed up in boxes in the garage.

Once the CEO in charge of her life, as well as a Manager of a national company, she was respected and well paid. Now she was engulfed in a 24 hour cycle of monotony... rinse and repeat.. Her life now revolved around when the baby slept (or didn't) and gosh there was hell to pay if he didnt..

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3 Relationship Stages Every Mumma Needs To Know About

3 Relationship Stages Every Mumma Needs To Know About

I was watching the Kardashians the other day.. I find them truly fascinating. What amazed me the most was that Kim (pre-Kanye) was in this episode expressing how she had fallen out of love with her husband (sports player can't remember his name).

She wasn't interested anymore. DIDN'T WANT TO SPEND TIME with him and didnt know what to do. Wasnt feeling the LOVE..

It had me asking the question - How many of us know that there are 8 STEPS TO BECOMING US? 

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4 Reasons Why Dads Gain BabyWeight And What You Can Do About It

There is an issue affecting men that nobody is really talking about. Well not in public anyway. The issue is that Dads are gaining weight after the birth of their baby.

They despise it, it frustrates them, they want to do something about it, but they also want to be a good Dad and partner.

They often don't know what to do... or they don't feel that their family is supported enough without them...or they're not really sure if they can safely take a break from their caring role long enough to take action (without getting resentful glares on their return).

I see this happening a lot.  So what is going on?? 

The truth is there are likely a range of factors at play, most of which are largely out of Dad's control.

1. Time vs. Money

Dads are often faced with constraints of time and money. Spending the time and money on expensive, solo activities that were a part of his life pre-baby are often not possible anymore (or at least not as often). Often the Dad is faced with being the sole provider postpartum (at least in the short term) meaning less disposable income for the family.. and when he's not at work he's expected to share the workload at home equally with his partner.

'I want to look good, but I have to be there for the family, so gym time is usually put aside so the family stuff gets done. This means gym time sometimes doesn't happen."

2. Deep Sleep Is A Distant Memory

He is likely not getting much sleep. Newborns right through to toddlers (and even children) often wake in the night, sometimes numerous times (research shows that sleep deprivation can affect the thyroid gland and sleep deprivation is strongly associated with weight gain due to changes in appetite hormones called leptin and ghrelin).

3. Good nutrition takes time and effort

pre-baby at least one partner would have the time and energy to make nutritious food. Post-baby is a whole different world. Shopping with a newborn takes effort. Cooking while breastfeeding can be dangerous. So many reasons why it's harder to eat well with a baby. 

4. Relationship Stages

I recently finished my certification with Elly Taylor, doing her Becoming Us training. Her model of Relationship Stages sets out three distinct stages of relationships. Coming Together - Growing Apart - Growing Together - they are a part of the model which explains how we go from being two distinct individuals to being a family.

Now given how long it takes to give birth to a baby after conception, and that in many couples a relationship is started pre-conception, it is really common for new parents to either be in the Growing Apart or Growing Together stage in their relationship by the time baby arrives.

What effect does the relationship stage have on the postpartum Dad?

Quite simply, don't be surprised if a couple who are 'Growing Together' or 'Growing Apart' experience conflict. This conflict may affect how easy the Dad finds it is to negotiate exercise and diet (without extra conflict or even just the fear or expectation of conflict).

If we assume that the couple are in the Growing Apart Stage, the Dad will likely be spending more time on his individual growth, conflict is more common and that is before Dad starts to negotiate 'individual time' to exercise.

If the couple are in the Growing Together Stage, the Dad will likely be channeling his personal growth into growing the couple and the family, and this becomes more important than solo activities.

What can Dad's do to lose weight with a newborn>

The best thing to do is to come up with an agreed plan. Part of the Nest Building Plan (the Plan that I use with couples as part of my Birth Support Package), sets out exercises or activities that are appropriate for each parent (or both to do together).

A daily walk with baby is a great low impact way to start improving your fitness. Gentle activity alleviates stress, and lifts mood.

The key here is not so much the activity itself, but coming to agreement about who will do what, and how often.

Babywearing is a great way for Dad's to spend some time with baby and get exercise. Click here for more info on safe babywearing.

It's then up to that partner to make the time to make it happen on a regular basis (and their partner to support and encourage them).

 

What's Love Got To Do With It? (The Secrets Of Becoming Us)

What's Love Got To Do With It? (The Secrets Of Becoming Us)

People say nothing can prepare you for parenthood, but that's not true anymore.

Welcoming your new or next baby, or even the one who will complete your family, is a time of transformation.

Knowing how to work as a team with the changes and challenges that are common to most mamas, papas and partners can deepen your connection and strengthen the foundation you are building for your whole family.

Becoming Us prepares, guides and supports you through the first few years of parenthood so you can grow a family that thrives.

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What Is Earphones At Bedtime (And Why Every Mumma Needs To Try This Tonight)

What Is Earphones At Bedtime (And Why Every Mumma Needs To Try This Tonight)

Mary Houston's Earphones At Bedtime Free Yoga Nidra series is truly lifechanging... and better still you don't have to a thing to benefit.

How it works is that she sends you a downloadable sound file (MP4) that you can save to your phone. Then you simply listen to it as you are falling asleep. The course lasts for 3 weeks, and you receive a free meditation each week.

Mary's voice is very easy to listen to (unlike some meditation downloads) and you listen as you drift off to sleep. The best part is that you can still benefit even if you are asleep! I highly recommend this to exhausted, stressed out Mums!

The biggest difference that listening to the Yoga Nidra made to me is that what little sleep I get (as the mother of a young toddler) I wake up feeling more rested. When I'm only getting 5 hours a night of sleep I need every hour to count!

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Breastfeeding Not Welcome At The Hospital

Breastfeeding Not Welcome At The Hospital

A friend of mine posted the following on Facebook and I saw red. When you read it you will understand why.

I took our baby to our local Health Campus as she has been projectile vomiting since 4am this morning, she's has had about 6 hours sleep in the past day and a half. She is screaming in pain and not to mention hasn't had a proper feed since lunch time yesterday and a temp of 38.5.

They seemed quite concerned that she was dehydrated so they wanted her to stay in over night, fine by me as I only want what's best for her, except! They refused me to stay with her, I kinda figured that her being only 4 months old and still breastfeeding it wouldn't of been an option for her to stay over night without me but it was.

I asked if I was able to please stay because I was worried about her and that she's never spent a night without me as I'm still breastfeeding. The Dr replied with: formula is just as good, she either stays here with us or you can both go. 

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My Biggest Postpartum Secret (It's So Unsexy ;)

AssetsYou see it everywhere in the media. Celebrities barely 12 weeks postpartum with no signs of a post-baby belly. I knew the saying '9 and a half months to gain it, 9 and a half months to lose it' so I was not worried about becoming fit immediately after birth. I was also breastfeeding, and although everyone says this helps you lose baby weight that wasn't particularly true for me.

How would you like your postpartum M'am?

After the birth of my first baby I was a little bruised, had a few stitches and was exhausted in many ways, but I was physically OK. I went into my second birth with expectations of much the same postpartum. Boy was I wrong! Every birth and every baby are different.

Second time round I had a longer pregnancy, coupled with a precipitate delivery and a slightly larger baby. Who knows what it was exactly, but I noticed very quickly that when I got up to walk after giving birth, I felt like my ovaries were falling out!! It was painful (not just uncomfortable), and at first I thought I was overdoing it, until I spent all day doing nothing and was still sore when I walked.

Belly bound!

I used a Newborn Mothers Belly Band to gain initial relief and wore it 24/7. I had this idea that with patience and time and doing my Pelvic Floor Exercises (Kegels) that my body would somehow feel better. I put it out of my mind in the short term. This was a really comfortable way to do day to day activities, especially having to pick up and care for my baby. I dismissed how supportive my Belly Band was until I thought I'd go without it one day and within a few hours I put it back on.

Enter The Shapewear

The Belly Band was ideal until the time came when I wanted to do some serious exercise, and then I was back to square one as even a gentle jog was more than uncomfortable. It was about this time I discovered Spanx and I decided to try them when running.

It was just what I needed. I was able to exercise and run again. They were dead unsexy but after waiting so long to get back into exercise I didn't care. They allowed me to exercise enough to be a little fitter.

Where Can I Find Support?

Check out the Assets range in Target (designed by Sara Blakely who created Spanx) this one for example is only $15: http://www.target.com.au/p/assets-by-sara-blakely-remarkable-results-high-waisted-panty-nude/52383960

Where Can I Learn More About Pelvic Floor Alignment?

Lisa Gillespie has a free course: 5 Days Of Pelvic Alignment which you can find here: http://www.lisallc.com/blog/are-you-a-pelvic-floor-statistic/?mc_cid=e3a7bd7700&mc_eid=c1c6eee3e1

Questions, comments, want to share your unsexy postpartum secret? Get in touch!

Breastfeeding Not Welcome At This Drs Surgery

It is such a crazy thought that in this day and age that a woman could be told to cease breastfeeding by a doctor! That's what I thought. However this happened to a friend of mine (photo credits Belle Verdiglione Photography). Here is her story: BreastfeedingNotWelcomeGPS1

My baby and I needed to go to the doctors this morning and after a pretty lengthy, wait my other child was starting to get unsettled so rather than subjecting a full waiting room to her crying, I decided to feed her.

Not long after I was called in to see the doctor who took one look at me and told me I needed to take a seat back in the waiting room whilst I finished feeding her or feed her after he had seen me.

I was there about my eye, yet he didn't even give me the chance to tell him what the problem was.

There was no way the fact I was feeding her would have been in the way of my consult (in fact me feeding her would have made my consult quieter and easier).

I am fuming and can't believe this discrimination still happens. This is not only wrong on so many levels but I am pretty sure its illegal too!

BreastfeedingNotWelcomeGPS2

I wanted to share my friends story because I am saddened and angry that this is happening.. Let's all work together to normalise breastfeeding. Shame on this Doctors surgery. I know that they have been sent a letter of complaint already.

We need to get the word out there that it's the law that women can feed their babies anywhere. Yes even in a Doctors Surgery!

The irony is that even the ABA suggests you seek support through your GP if abused for breastfeeding:

What can mother do if she is verbally abused for breastfeeding her baby?

Thankfully this type of incident is uncommon, but if it does happen, it can really rock a mother's confidence. It may be essential to normalise breastfeeding again after the incident. To normalise breastfeeding, a mother may like to consider:

finding emotional support through your family, your GP and/or counselling

calling the Breastfeeding Helpline- 1800 686 268

attending her local ABA group meeting.

The ABA quite clearly explains the law:

What is the law?

In Australian Federal Law breastfeeding is a right, not a privilege.

Under the federal Sex Discrimination Act 1984 it is illegal in Australia to discriminate against a person either directly or indirectly on the grounds of breastfeeding. Direct discrimination happens when a person treats someone less favourably than another person. For example, it is discriminatory for a waiter to decline to serve a patron who is breastfeeding.

I plan to add updates to this story as I hear them and I really look forward to a positive outcome from the surgery involved. I applaud my friend for speaking up and for writing a letter of complaint.

xx Kelly

What Are Your Odds Of Having A Waterbirth At Rockingham Hospital?

If you live in the local area you will know that if you're baby is on it's way - Rockingham Hospital is the closest hospital to go to. What Are Your Odds Of Having A WaterBirth In Rockingham Hospital?

If you are a local you will have heard the rumours (yep they are true) that there is only one birth pool there (to be shared amongst the 5 labour and delivery rooms).

So to begin with you have a 20% chance of getting a waterbirth (unless they are too busy and women are labouring in other rooms - in which case your odds just dropped further). One pool... 10 women in labour (10% chance of accessing the birth pool).

Who Is Supporting You When It's Time To Push?

If you are labouring in the birth pool (because you were lucky enough to get in there), you will have a beautiful midwife with you the whole time.

However, when the time comes to push if you are in that pool in Rockingham Hospital you must:

  • STOP..
  • Hold that baby in (hah like we really have a choice)
  • Climb out (have you ever tried to move with your legs spread and a watermelon inserted in your vagina)
  • and push that baby out safely on land.

Those of us who are in the industry know that this is the point where women who are strong and knowledgeable and supported refuse to leave the birth pool (unless they choose to).

Who Is Supporting The Midwife?

It's far to easy to blame the midwife but we know that the hospital policy does not support her.

I have heard of midwives turning a blind eye to these women who refuse to leave the birth pool when pushing.

I have also been witness to a birth where the midwife told the woman that she would lose her job if the pushing woman didn't get out to have her baby (which may be true who knows?)..

Sadly the Hospital Policy does not support midwives to allow waterbirth.

Is This A Battle You Really Want To Fight In Labour?

My point is this is not the battlefield... when you are ready to push your baby out is no time to be having a debate about the pro's and con's of waterbirth (as opposed to immersion during labour).

Research shows that having this kind of discussion at that point in labour is counterproductive and can result in a drop in hormone levels needed to birth (due to an increase in fear hormones) and increased length of pushing stage (it's simple fight or flight stuff).

What Is The Solution? 

The solution is a change in policy to allow women to BIRTH their babies in the water at Rockingham Hospital (and any other state hospital where there is a birthing pool). You can help!!!!

Please take the time to sign our petition to the Minister to get change underway now and increase the odds of having a waterbirth at Rockingham Hospital!

https://www.change.org/p/hon-dr-kim-hames-waterbirth-allowed-in-wa-public-hospitals-now/

So, if you don't want to sit there wondering if you could have done things differently, if you want to learn what ALL your options are, and how to take charge of your birth, let's talk.

Contact me to set up a complimentary Better Birth Chat for those women who are ready to get the birth they really want.

 

H is for Hyperemesis Gravidarum

H is for HG The Modern Doula
H is for HG The Modern Doula

What is HG?

Hyperemesis Gravidarum (or HG) is every pregnant woman's worst nightmare. It's a bit like extreme vomiting, nausea, and weight loss and it's certainly more than a bit of morning sickness. Whilst most women experience some morning sickness in pregnancy, while HG is quite rare (some estimate 1 in 100 pregnanies). I know of a few pregnant women who have suffered through HG for their entire pregnancy.

What can I do if my pregnant friend has HG?

Part of the problem is others trying to be helpful and telling a Mumma to just eat ginger (let me tell you nothing repulsed me more than the smell of ginger when I was pregnant or dry biscuits for that matter). We need to start educating each other on HG and start being more empathetic and practical with our support (instead of offering solutions). So if you know someone suffering HG ask them what you can do to help. Acknowledge that you don't know exactly what they are going through but offer to provide practical assistance (assuming you know them well enough).

How do I know if it's HG or just morning sickness?

There are a few differences between the two. With morning sickness you sometimes have vomiting, with HG you get severe vomiting. Morning sickness generally settles down at about 12 weeks, whereas HG often continues (sometimes up until the moment of birth). HG often results in severe dehydration and you are unable to keep any food down (as opposed to morning sickness where you can usually keep some food down).

If you are thinking you may have HG there's a checklist you can download here that you can take to your care provider as well (Rhodes Index of Nausea, Vomiting and Retching).

Is there anything that will help cure HG?

If you think you are suffering from HG be sure to talk to your care provider. There are treatments available for the symptoms, though there's no known cure.  You may be given medication (your care provider will work with you to balance possible side effects with benefits).

If the medication doesn't help, or you get dehydrated you may need to go to hospital for treatment (although this sounds scary, you will feel alot better just by not being dehydrated and not nauseous).

What can I do if my loved one is suffering with HG right now?

There is a great printable brochure you can download from the HELPHER website: http://www.helpher.org/downloads/hg-loved-one-brochure.pdf which can help you to help your loved one through this really difficult time.

Further reading

If you want any further information on HG the HELPHER website is my go-to resource: http://www.helpher.org/
 

So, if you don't want to sit there wondering if you could have done things differently, if you want to learn what ALL your birth support options are, and how to take charge of your birth, let's talk.

Contact me to set up a complimentary Better Birth Chat for those women who are ready to get the birth they really want.

Is Breastfeeding Really Welcome Here Pt 2? (Reply From The Melbourne Town Hall)

In my last post I explained about the horrible situation that left me in tears on the steps of the Melbourne Town Hall. Below is the reply from the City Of Melbourne who employ contractors to run the Town Hall. I'd love to know your thoughts. Have they gone far enough? Should the Melbourne Town Hall be made a Breastfeeding Welcome Here Venue? Is there anyone in Melbourne who would like to go feed their baby on the front steps and let me know if things really have changed or if this is just lip service!

Dear Ms Evans,

Further to my email to you on 10 June 2015 I can advise that the matter you raised with regards to your interaction with a staff member at The Melbourne Town Hall has been investigated.

The City of Melbourne fully supports the right (as set out by the Australian Human Rights Commission) of every child to be breastfed ‘anywhere, anytime’ and we are aware that it a child’s legal right to do so. I understand that this position was not made clear during your conversation with the doorman on the steps of the Town Hall and that you felt discouraged from feeding in this location. This matter has been discussed with the person you spoke with and while it is understood that no offence was intended, City of Melbourne’s position on breastfeeding has been emphasised with our Town Hall contractors, who employ the staff member in question.

I trust that this will result in a more sensitive and informed approach in any future interactions our contractors may have with breastfeeding mothers in this location. I apologise for the offence you suffered as a result of this interaction and thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.

I am pleased to hear that you enjoyed the Homebirth Australia conference at the Melbourne Town Hall and hope that you will visit again soon.

Kind regards,

Ian.

Ian Sumpter | Acting Manager | Customer Relations

Tips For Travelling In Bali With A Toddler

2015-04-28 17.25.20 I recently went on holiday to Bali and we took our son with us (15 months). I thought I would share some tips that I found made our trip a little bit - no actually ALOT easier.

What To Buy Before You Leave Australia

I was eternally grateful for the following items that we brought from home:

  • Naty Nappies - they don't even seem to sell these in Bali so we were so glad we bought heaps with us.
  • Wotnot Wipes - no sign of these for sale either.. BYO!
  • Probiotics - we bought Bioceuticals BabyBiotics with us (wrapped in an ice pack) and this seriously saved us all from the dreaded Bali Belly (yes we all had some Babybiotics at one stage).
  • Toddler Food - we took organic fruit purees and a few other packaged toddler food items with us. These were handy for snacks and what we didn't use we declared at Customs at the Airport on the way back through and were allowed to bring home.
  • Sanitary Protection - this is something that I didn't expect to need and boy I wish I had bought some from home. No sign of organic pads anywhere that I could see and good luck in buying a Juju Cup! Seriously BYO just in case.
  • US Dollars - you will need these at the airport to buy an Entry Visa (this is not included with your airfare so don't get confused)
  • Babywearing Equipment - We took a Bali Breeze and for that I am so happy we did. I still sweated in that carrying around a 12kg toddler in the heat but I still think that it beat trying to navigate a pram up and down the many stairs and narrow paths. I also found it quite reassuring having my son close all the time I didn't need to worry about his whereabouts.

What To Buy In Bali

  • Bottled water - buy a heap when you first get there. You are going to need it for rehydrating all the time as well as brushing teeth and many other uses you haven't even thought of yet. Don't trust tap water - ever. Just take bottles of water everywhere.
  • Clothes - the clothes over there are super affordable and designed for the local climate, so be sure to bring an empty suitcase and buy some locally made clothes. Even the coolest clothes I had brought with me from home did not compare to the cool local clothing.
  • A Massage - I had a totally amazing massage for about $15. Highly recommended.
  • Shoes - you can get some cheap shoes in Bali but beware the ultra-cheap runners - I have heard stories of them lasting one wear before starting to fall apart.

Have you travelled to Bali? Do you have any tips to share? I absolutely loved my time with the Balinese. It's a different lifestyle and such a different culture. Well worth a visit if you haven't been there.

 

Is Breastfeeding Really Welcome Here? (My Open Letter To The Melbourne Town Hall)

Dear Sir/Madam, To whom it may concern:

Firstly, I'd like to say thank you for the wonderful experience that was the Homebirth Australia Conference 2015! It was a beautiful venue and the catering was one of the best I have experienced.

I'd like to bring to your attention however an unfortunate incident that occurred on the steps of the Melbourne Town Hall on Sunday 31st May.

My son had just come to meet me for his lunch on that Sunday and his lunch happened to be breastmilk. Having breastfed two children (the first for 2 and a half years) and the second for 14 months so far, and having travelled around Australia and overseas and breastfed all the time, I have never had occasion to have to think about feeding my son. It just happens. He is hungry. I am usually pretty discreet about it anyway, he feeds and we are done.

Anyway on this occasion the gentleman on the door rushed up to me and said 'you can't do that here'. It actually took me a moment to understand what he was referring to.. So I said 'Yes I can'. He shook his head at me and ushered me to move and said 'No you can't do that here'.

I said 'But it's the law, I can feed anywhere'. He said 'There's a family room inside you'll have to go in there'. I shook my head I said 'but it's the Homebirth Conference' and turned my back on him, before sitting down on the steps.

He muttered more things under his breath about me needing to go inside, about me returning to the 3rd floor to feed and about it being 'culturally inappropriate', by which time I have managed to beckon one of the conference organisers over for support. Luckily she backed me up saying that of course I could feed my son there! He then acknowledged that he was from a different generation (?)

I felt very disconcerted by your doormans verbal tirade, I was left shaking and in tears by the end, all the while standing my ground, to feed my starving baby the breastmilk he needed. I couldn't concentrate at the conference after that and ended up leaving the building after that walking around in shock.

In Australian Federal Law breastfeeding is a right, not a privilege. Under the federal Sex Discrimination Act 1984 it is illegal in Australia to discriminate against a person either directly or indirectly on the grounds of breastfeeding. Babies can be breastfed anywhere and anytime. Your doorman should not have asked me to leave or move on the basis that I was breastfeeding. I should not have been sent to the toilet (aka family room). More information can be found here: https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bf-info/breastfeeding-and-law/legalright

I wasn't doing anything wrong and I was treated most unfairly by your staff member. I would like to know that your staff since this incident will receive proper training in the law, and how they should treat breastfeeding women. Perhaps you might even consider going one step further and becoming a Breastfeeding Welcome Here Venue with the Australian Breastfeeding Association: https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/services/welcome

I look forward to hearing from you promptly regarding this matter, and I thank you once again for providing such a lovely conference venue. Kind regards,

Kelly Evans The Modern Doula

What to avoid when shopping for a maternity bra

How to choose a maternity bra One of the first things I noticed when I became pregnant was that my breasts were sore.

It wasn't long before I needed a new bra and as I found out there are a few things to look out for!

SIZE

You will probably find that you go through a few different bra sizes before your pregnancy and breastfeeding journey is over. So aim to get a maternity bra fitted for now, but know that you will probably need another few bra size upgrades (especially once your milk supply comes in). Now is not the time to make do with an ill-fitting bra - your breasts deserve the best.

NO UNDERWIRE? OR FLEXIWIRE?

It used to be that experts advised against wearing underwired bras. Now modern technology has design flexi-wire which is much safer for pregnancy/breastfeeding as it is more flexible.

The reason that the old style of underwire was not recommended was due to wire that digs into your breast tissue could harm the later development of your breast ducts causing blockages and very painful mastitis.

You can still get great support in wireless bras (even in larger sizes) so now the choice is yours.

DESIGN MATTERS

A few simple design flaws can ruin a comfortable bra. If you are looking at breastfeeding bras - always try out the release clips one handed. After all you will be holding a baby in the other hand.

Look for a wide band which can be more comfortable as it shouldn't dig in so much.

The more adjustable a bra is, the better it will continue to fit even as it gives with continued use and washing. There's nothing worse than a bra stretching and becoming too loose after a couple of washes.

BUY 2-3 BRAS

If you find a bra you really like - buy at least 2 of them so that you can alternate and wash. This is especially important after baby arrives as it is likely milk will leak and you will need to wash your bra more frequently.

START WITH A BREASTFEEDING BRA

Some people skip maternity bras (which don't have opening clasps) and go straight to a breastfeeding bra. That way they will have worn in and have a comfy bra all ready to go when baby arrives and they want that all important skin on skin.

The choice is up to you.

WHERE CAN I BUY A MATERNITY/BREASTFEEDING BRA?

Maternity/breastfeeding bras can feed found at: