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Rebuilding Mothers Confidence… By Beccy Walsh.

We can look at women all around us and think they are confident competent women. But what’s going on behind the smile… becoming a mother can often knock our confidence. We go from working in a job which we know to becoming a mother for the first time or even a mother to two or three and suddenly not really knowing what we are doing.

Finding people to help you navigate this journey is key. Recently GBSN has been awarded money from the lottery to help rebuild mothers confidence after the lockdowns due of Covid 19, (thank you Elizabeth for your amazing grant writing skills, we know this is no easy task). We completely understand that becoming a mother at this time has been difficult. We rely heavily on our family and peers to help us in motherhood, and through the last 18 months we have had big chunks of time where this was not possible.

At GBSN we like to help mothers find their feet and become the mothers they are hoping to be. It’s not all about breastfeeding; everyone involved in the groups, whether it is a breastfeeding counsellor, peer supporter or another mum, has experience and hopefully some helpful tips to encourage you to find your confidence in motherhood.

Obviously we can’t always make it along to groups so here are some pointers to help you find your way:

  • To start with the most important thing is to look after yourself, feeling over tired and overwhelmed is not a great place.
  • Try to sleep when your baby sleeps. If you can’t sleep at least use this time to rest, sometimes just sitting quietly can be just as helpful.
  • Eat well, good nutrition is a great way to make ourselves feel good. (Obviously you have to keep the chocolate at hand for the extra boast!).
  • This might seem a bit obvious, but shower daily and get out of your pj’s. Our self care can drop down the list and by doing something as simple as getting showered and dressed in those early days can make a big difference.
  • Set realistic expectations; we can scroll on social media and see others doing what seems so much more than us but remember they are only showing us the good bits; how often do influencers or even friends share the tough days…?

We are human and can not be the best at everything so always remember this. By having realistic expectations you will enjoy more of your day and take the good from the small things.

Pregnancy and motherhood change our bodies and outlook: don’t stress about what you think you have lost by motherhood, embrace the changes.

Don’t self blame, we are always learning no matter how old your baby or child is or how many years you have been a parent. Each year and each child is new to you. We may make mistakes and this is ok.

Just make the changes that will help you become the women and mother you are wanting to be. Take a break from social media if you need to, if you feel that’s too extreme just go to screen management in your phone and you can set a time limit to your social media apps. This may help you prioritise a rest or maybe even some exercise. Get the endorphins flowing.

Just remember we are forever changing and finding our new selves.

Thank you to the National Lottery for the grant. This will help GBSN run our in-house groups for October and November and in hand help local mums.

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Perinatal Mental Illness 

Perinatal mental illness By Beccy Hooper…

 

It is possible that 1 in 7 women suffer with a form of perinatal mental illness – Perinatal meaning the time around your birth!

Mental illness whilst pregnant or just after giving birth is very difficult to admit; we feel that we should be happy with what is going on in our lives, or that we should be coping with our new job; in extreme cases we might have thoughts such as our babies may be taken from us as we can’t cope!

But we have to remember that these feeling and thoughts are just that.

It can often be difficult to ask for help, but it’s so important, and means that you can start the enjoyment of motherhood.

There are different extents to this mental illness, such as:

  • Full depression
  • Anxiety
  • OCD
  • Postpartum psychosis

 

No one really knows the true cause, it could possibly be because you have suffered with depression before becoming pregnant, or it might be biological – the hormones in our bodies can change through pregnancy and affect our mental state.

 

Many mothers may start feeling the baby blues, the symptoms of this can be:

  • Feeling sad and low,
  • Tearful for no reason
  • Worthless
  • Hopeless for the future
  • Tired and unable to cope

 

Full depression can be the symptoms above as well as feeling very hostile towards your partner and baby! Also, you may find it difficult to concentrate.

One treatment that is offered for this is cognitive therapy, which is talking through the anxiety you are feeling; another option is medication in the form of anti-depressants, or possibly a combination of both.

 

A simple way to help ourselves through this time is to keep a mood diary, which can help track your ups and downs.

In addition, make sure you get up and shower and dress every day, this can help make you feel better.

And the most important thing is to be kind to yourself, maybe lower some expectations you have on motherhood and the way your baby should be.

 

For more information go to www.mind.org.uk

 

And remember other mums can really help…drop-in groups are a great way to meet mums and to support each other.

 

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Last Week Saw Icon Week… By Beccy Walsh.

Last week saw ICON week…..

Between the 27th September and the 1st October the NHS, local authorities and healthcare organisations from across the country put together information to help make all parents and those around them aware of how easy it is to loose control around crying babies.
ICON was started back in 2018 after DrSuzanna Smith PHD visited a fellowship in the USA and Canada which was concentrating on prevention of abusive head trauma.

Let me explain what ICON stands for….

I infant crying is normal and it will stop.
C comfort methods can sometimes soothe the baby and the crying will stop.
O it’s ok to walk away for a few minutes if you have checked your baby is safe and the crying is getting to you.
N never shake or hurt a baby.

It is more likely that parents under huge strain will struggle with a crying baby. What ICON likes to focus on is the fact that babies cry and this is ok. They also like to help parents understand that it is ok to struggle with this and therefore if it is safer to walk away for a moment to gain control, then do so.
Through the first lockdown ICON started an intensive social media campaign focusing on the increased pressure for families and higher risk to small babies.
Throughout the hospitals in this time, health professionals worked at implementing ICON within the maternity units especially to men. They found that they were able to speak or at least hand out the ICON leaflet to most fathers within 10 mins of speaking with them.

Quite often once we have read more about handling a situation we can control our ability to handle it better. The ICON leaflet explains how to soothe a crying baby, it starts with the obvious: are they hungry, wet, unwell. If these are ticked off then it lists calming techniques to help: talk calmly or sing, let them hear a repeated or soothing sound, skin to skin, go for a walk outside, or try a warm bath.
It then goes on to explain what to do if these have not helped. Something you must remember is that just because this didn’t work you have not done anything wrong. Just try to focus on this rather than becoming angry with yourself or your baby. If need be put your baby in a safe space and do something calming for yourself, this maybe listening to music, doing some exercise or phone a friend or relative that can help care for your baby or talk you through what to do.
Once you feel calmer then go back to your baby, we all know how hard it can be when our babies don’t stop crying. But we must think about the consequences of handling our babies roughly… if a baby is shaken it can cause blindness, learning disability, seizures, physical disability and death. Walking away for a minute will ultimately be the better choice.

We so often focus on the health of our babies, which is obviously important but our health as parents is very important too.
Always remind yourself this phase stops. Infant crying will stop in the end, comfort can help both you and your baby, it’s most definitely ok to walk away for a moment and never shake a baby!

For more information go to https://iconcope.org/about-icon/

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Back To Work And Feeding… By Beccy Walsh.

Back to work and feeding

You maybe thinking it’s time to go back to work; what does this mean for you and your baby? You might be thinking this is the end of breastfeeding, but it doesn’t have to be!
You can still breastfeed and return to work. For some this maybe a feed in the morning and one at bed time, for others you may still be pumping during the day for the next day as well as breastfeeding when you are home. Whatever you’d like it’s possible.

With well established breastfeeding your body will cope with the change in routine, being able to carry on breastfeeding will continue the close bond that you have with your baby. This will help comfort and make your baby feel secure within your relationship with each other. For many mothers and babies this would have been the first time you have spent long periods of time away from each other. Being able to feed when you are together will make both of you feel happier with the new situation.

The WHO guidelines are to breastfeed up to two years old to help fight against infections such as gastro-enteritis, respirating infections, urinary tract infections and ear infections as well as long term risks such as eczema, asthma and diabetes. By carrying on feeding even if it’s just the morning and evening feeds will help lower the risk of any of these.

You may want to express during the day, if so you will need to discuss with your employer about a place to express and store the milk. Some larger companies may even have a mother/baby room available to you.
The approved code of practice which has been put in place by the Health and Safety Executives asks employers to provide a suitable facility for mothers to be able to rest and be able to express and store breast milk.
If you are expressing milk through the day here are some helpful tips on storing your milk….

For babies under six months you will need to express enough milk for up to four feeds during the day. After six months if you have introduced solid food you may find the need for breast milk will go down, your baby may just make up for it during the evening and night with an extra feed.

Make sure all equipment is sterilised before expressing, and once you have expressed you will need to store the milk at the back of the fridge to keep it at 4 degrees. When transporting the milk home or to your child’s place of care you will need to keep it chilled in a carrier.
Milk can be stored for up to five days in the fridge and six months in the freezer. When defrosting the milk make sure it slowly defrosts in the fridge and use as soon a possible, you must not re-freeze breastmilk.

Ultimately the goal is to carry on your breastfeeding journey for as long as you would like. For some this is until maternity leave is over, for others this journey is longer. Whatever you choose, we are here to help you navigate through it.


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Black Maternal Health Awareness Week… By Beccy Walsh.

Black Maternal Health Awareness week…..
This week is hosted by ‘Fivexmore’ which are a group set up by two women: Tinuke, who is a mum of four and Clotilde, who is a mum of two.  Both these women are founders of support groups and spaces for mums; they work to help wellbeing during pregnancy and birth.

 Fivexmore was set up to support mothers through campaigning work and recommendations which focus on empowering black women to make informed choices through pregnancy and birth. They are committed to making sure petitions are signed and sent to local governments to change the disparities between black and white women. 


The awareness week is to help all people understand that black women are four times more likely to die in childbirth than white women. This is often because they are not given the same level of informative care during pregnancy and birth. 

Throughout the week the focus is on empowering black women to make informed choices and to advocate themselves throughout their own pregnancy and birth. It’s also to educate health professionals with their practice in supporting black mothers. 


Throughout the week each day will focus on a different theme and resources will be shared on the website and instagram account. 

The 13th September started with encouraging everyone to write or tweet their local MP asking to sign the ‘Black Maternal health pledge’.

  The 14th will encourage everyone who works with maternity services to get involved in supporting all women within pregnancy and birth.

 The 15th is all about health; this is focusing on good practice and wellness strategies to encourage better mental health.

The 16th is celebrating D’lissa Parkes who would have been 32 years old on this day but unfortunately she died during childbirth due to the lack of care.

Please read the blog shared here so you understand why all of this is so important:


https://www.fivexmore.com/blog/dlissa-parkes this day is about the untold stories and focusing on fertility.

The 17th will look at the WHO world patient day.  This years theme is based on “safe maternal and new born care” this is to encourage best practice for all women, helping the risk and harm to women and babies to lower and ultimately disappear. 

The last day is the 18th September and on this day there will be an online event which will share the early findings of the black maternal experience survey that has been held. 


Please go to fivexmore website to read up on what we can do to help

 https://bestcirencester.files.wordpress.com/2021/09/93d31-blackmaternalhealthawarenessweek2021.pdf