Category Archives: Postpartum

Respecting the 4th trimester and your postpartum body …

Respecting your body in the 4th trimester …. we read so much about the 1st, 2nd & 3rd trimesters of what to expect … however have you considered the 4th trimester and what YOU need to have in place to support you?
Your body is expected to do this amazing feat … to feed your baby, to do nights which might be very disturbed … to get out there and get back in shape (hey what???) yup the pressure women place on themselves that they need to lose the baby weight and get back into those pre-pregnancy jeans asap is immense.

In my role as a doula and pregnancy & postpartum yoga teacher … I have heard some scary stuff … I need to get back to where I was pre-pregnancy … I need to start running …. STOP 

Consider this … your body has just worked exceptionally hard for 9 months nurturing & nourishing a baby … your pelvic floor has carried your growing baby(ies) … you have these amazing hormones whizzing around your body … why do you have to jump back onto the hamster wheel?

I see ladies come along to class struggling with discomfort in their pelvis, pain in their lower backs, misaligned pelvises, there pelvic floor feels like it is non-existent, they haven’t eaten breakfast or been able to have a hot drink … they are struggling from having had a c-section … remember this is major abdominal surgery that can take quite a while to heal from … you want to feel that what you are engaging in is nurturing and nourishing you … yes there will come a point when you feel that you can start that “buggy fit” class and that you are ready …. but what happens x number of months, years down the road when you are suffering with pelvic leakage, prolapse …. this is the time to gently reconnect with your body, to be gentle and learn what it can do and what it needs … nurture and nourish your pelvic floor ready for your next baby or for the next stage of your journey.  Just because x or y says you should do it doesn’t mean it’s right for you at this moment … take the space to nurture yourself until your baby is at least 6 months … respect your body, respect the amazing concoction of hormones.  

There are many cultures who honour the postpartum woman … with periods of lying in … special foods, herbs, treatments to keep the body warm and nourished, massage … sounds divine … I so wish when I had had my babies that I had had this … after trying to get up and out after having an amazing VBAC birth with our second baby I ended up in the local supermarket bumping into someone who had only that morning opened the email to say “M had arrived earth side … welcome & all were well and doing fine” … imagine the shock on her face to see me coming through the doors … she was catching flies … I must add that I struggled to do what I needed to do and ended up going home and doing an online shop and promising myself that I was going to be gentle … it was too soon and too much … I ended up online shopping and taking a couple of weeks to myself … I learnt the hard way … and I chat about this a lot in class … but again social expectations are that we should be bouncing back and up at it … and also the pressure we put ourselves under.  

Take the six weeks to connect with your baby, start those gentle breaths we connect with in class … reconnect with your abdominal muscles and pelvic floor, respect your body, your baby but ultimately respect YOURSELF … you are enough and you do not need to be super woman … your are nourishing & nurturing yourself and a baby … enjoy … have those pyjama days, snuggle with your baby, don’t pack your days running form an activity in the morning, lunch with a, b & c and then another activity in the afternoon.  Pace yourself … have space to spend time at home … to enjoy your baby … connect to what your body needs … 


Claire runs Well Woman Happy Baby classes … she is based in Northampton from The Space in Boothville.  She has over 15 years of supporting women and is passionate about pregnancy and the postpartum period.  The classes are a combination of postnatal mummy yoga to realign and reconnect, baby massage & baby yoga plus a whole host of different techniques to support you and your baby.  There is a always a cuppa and some treat  that is created by Claire … plus the amazing support of those in class with you.  Classes are kept to a maximum of 4 mummies and babies.  Very bespoke to you and your little one.  
Claire encouragés you to listen to your baby, to journey together and if you need to baby wear in class she will adapt the class to facilitate this and it might just surprise you that you will do a relaxation with your baby fast asleep on your chest and it will be the most amazing experience … come and explore but be prepared to be here for a good few months … so build this into your postpartum care budget … it will be money well spent on you both.  Happy mummy, happy baby = happy daddy.

The ladies and their babies who come along really benefit from these amazing classes … 

“I found these classes invaluable my pelvic floor took a real hammering in labour and I have journey for 7 months working really hard to gain stability, balance and strength back.  I couldn’t have done that without your classes …. thank you I am very grateful!”

“I find the WWHB invaluable! And H loves them!”

“Please don’t stop ….. the progression from pregnancy yoga to WWHB was fab for us, J loved it and invaluable for me taking those first steps into mummy-life xx”

“Definitely keep them, I loved them with Z and N!”

“These sessions have been so important to me! I love them and have had a welcoming and safe place to come every week. I tell everyone I meet!”

“I can’t wait to have another baby just so I can come back to you Claire!”


Tongue tie

For families in Northampton here are a few contacts wo might be able to guide you in the right direction for tongue & lip tie.

This information is from the following link


Suzanne Barber
Qualifications: Registered Midwife, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant
Area covered: Generally 30 miles radius of Bedford.
Tel: 07547 897876
Professional indemnity insurance provided by Hiscox Insurance Company Limited
Additional information: Clinics on Saturdays in Leicester, Thursdays in Hatton, Warwick and daily in Bedford. Flexible times available in Bedford. Online booking system available through main website. Home visits by request.

Petra Traynor
Qualifications: Registered Midwife and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.
Area covered: Northamptonshire, Leicestershire & Bedfordshire.
Tel: 07983 267512
Professional indemnity insurance provided by Hiscox Insurance Company Ltd
Additional information: Saturday mornings in Northampton. Saturday afternoons in Leicester (new venue from May 2016) Home visits for all above areas available upon request and considered for families within a 40 mile radius of Northamptonshire.

Diana Warren
Qualifications: Registered General Nurse (RGN), ABM Breastfeeding Counsellor, Neonatal QIS, Local Breastfeeding Peer Supporter
Area covered: Warwickshire, West Midlands, Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, referrals from all areas welcomed as clients to attend clinic in CV13 0HX
Tel: 07910 608179
Professional indemnity insurance provided by Hiscox Insurance Company Limited
Additional Information: Regular clinics held for babies up until 9 months old. Please contact Diana via website link or telephone number as above for further information or to book an appointment.

When love feels heavy


From the webpage …. makes an interesting read … enjoy 

Before I was a parent, I was the perfect one. People told me my life would change. People told me I would be tired. That parenthood would be the greatest and hardest thing I would ever do.

Yeah yeah yeah.
I know. I know.
I knew everything.

My family would just smile and nod at my ignorance, and I wonder now if they were scared for me.

I recently sat in a friend’s baby shower. I was surrounded by women making light hearted jokes about new parenthood, about sleep depravation, and pregnancy cravings. They exchanged recommendations for swaddle blankets and butt creams. Underneath the small talk and “oohing” and “ahhing” over tiny gifted baby clothes, sat the realness, the hardness of motherhood. I could feel that every mom in the room, behind their sleepless sunken eyes, knew what that meant; they had felt that weight, but they only had the heart to give gifts and hugs and congratulations. I sat there in silence, when all I wanted to do was talk and talk and talk about how new motherhood really can be. To let her in on all the real secrets of being a mother.



From the website page with links to follow the author on Facebook & Twitter or to sign up for their blog posts:

I recently saw a post on a facebook group I’m on, offering services for a “Twilight Nanny.” She stated that by 6-7 months old a baby should be sleeping through the night, with the assumption that weaning from the breast should have already occurred. If this was not the case for your family, then she could be hired to assist parents with sleep training their baby.

This ad created quite a stir on the page, with many people asking her to explain just how she could make such a statement as “Babies should be sleeping through the night by 6-7 months old.” After all, science clearly shows otherwise. It is in fact normal and healthy for babies to continue to wake during the night for many years, and in fact, most adults wake a few times during the night too.

I decided not to join the discussion, but to write this post instead.

The woman who posted the ad was clearly surprised at receiving such a negative response, and claimed that she had never had such a response to an ad before. She said that if a weaned baby was waking, it was a case of learning the difference between a cry of real need, and one of attention (which would go unanswered by the parent). And this is the point where I had real empathy for her.

You see, looking back seven or eight years, I would have been making all the same claims. I was qualified in childcare and well practised at sleep training babies. And I truly believed that it was important for babies to learn to self settle, to have a healthy and uninterrupted stretch of sleep and to not be over indulged and spoilt with attention every time they cried.

I could have easily been a “Twilight Nanny” myself.

Thankfully for myself, my son and the numerous children I have cared for since then, my way of thinking was changed dramatically.

Rather than listening to the mainstream and soaking up the word of Supernanny and my colleagues, I began doing my own reading. I took responsibility for my actions and I found out what exactly the effects of Cry it out techniques and letting a baby’s cry go unanswered were.

And the findings? Not good.

Leaving a baby to cry themselves to sleep goes against nature. A baby is thrown into a situation they are not equipped to deal with – nature has given them the ability to communicate their needs by crying (as a last resort) and when that brings no relief, they are stumped. This results in a surge of the stress hormone cortisol flooding their brain and potentially causing lasting damage. They become more anxious, less secure, more clingy and less happy. As a result of the baby focusing so much attention on being heard and getting their needs met, something which should come naturally and promptly, their brain can’t focus on the important developmental progress that it should be working on. As a result they are not able to develop to the best of their ability.

Other issues include (but are not limited to):

  • Increased behavioural difficulties.
  • Loss of trust and connection in the parent child relationship.
  • The baby sleeping for longer and deeper, which is contrary to nature and increases their chances of SIDS.
  • A lower level of self worth and belief that they are lovable and worthwhile.

The trouble is that we are so conditioned to believe that some cries are more valid than others. That hunger and wet nappies trump loneliness, fear or the need for attention. But that belief is just not valid.

Babies have spent the past two million years or so being held close, sleeping with their parents and never being alone. They are evolved to be cared for and to be with others. Babies emerge from the womb as unfinished beings. Their brains are undeveloped in order to ensure safe passage out of the womb – any bigger and their heads would be too large for them to get out – and in order for them to survive this period they need to have a forth trimester, remaining attached to the mothers body and feeding as and when they need to, imitating the conditions of the womb as closely as possible as they work through this vital development.

So it is no wonder then that they cry out for attention when placed alone. They sense something is terribly wrong in their world, they feel vulnerable and their entire being screams to “fix it!”

By ignoring this need or passing it off as unimportant we are going against millions of years of evolution.

Attention is most definitely a valid need.

I have no doubt that this Twilight Nanny, along with all the others who subscribe to the practice of sleep training, care deeply for the children they work with and have their best interests at heart. After all, I always did when I was doing the same thing. We are all on a journey, and always learning and changing, hopefully for the better, but we should take every opportunity to be open minded and be responsible enough to inform ourselves of the consequences of our actions. Whatever the topic, it is important to always do our research and find our own answers, rather than blindly following methods without question. Much harm can come from that and we all deserve better.


If you enjoyed this article I would love it if you clicked the share button below, thank you!

To get the latest articles on Natural Parenting straight to your inbox, sign up to follow the blog!

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Find me on facebook and twitter.

Sacred Pregnancy … raw, emotional and a journey everyone should undertake (if they are ready)

IMG_1350   IMG_4246

So for a few months I have been busy beavering away with a couple of online courses … Sacred Pregnancy so that I can offer 8 week mama classes, 4 week couple classes and 2 day mini retreats plus postpartum services.  I have loved every aspect of it even if it has challenged me at times and trying to combine studying with running my own business, looking after my own tribe and everything else that needs your attention has had its moments.  .

But then I decided that I would go on Retreat and spend 6 days in the depths of Snowdonia at Cae Mabon and delve into me … my god did I know what I was trying to undertake … probably not but the layers had to be peeled away and stripped back to the bare bones.  I knew it wasn’t going to be a pretty sight but I wasn’t on a holiday I was on a journey of self discovery and sisterhood.  Boy I got that in heaps!!

edit-5748 - Version 2

Sacred Pregnancy for me has been like coming home … it calls to me … actually it shouts to me … so much that I would be stupid to ignore it … there are some wonderful aspects that I have just loved and others that have challenged me but I have been determined to overcome them, embrace them and find me.

This journey is about finding you and the most amazing Sisterhood! You have to be ready to face this … it’s heartbreaking, honest and SAFE! Safe? …. as in the space that is created by the community of sacred women and the facilitators.

My SP journey started online with Sacred Pregnancy … this challenged me with the artwork … I am not an artist but I decided that I could do this … take my time and meet every task. I had a few family challenges along the way but wow … just WOW! I thought I had worked through so much especially the birth of our first … but low and behold the first day on the live retreat completely floored me and when we introduced ourselves, who we were, our birth stories, I couldn’t quite believe how emotional I was and how raw it felt, our oldest recently turned 14 so I think it was closely linked to this …

The first day was very emotional … I knew what was coming but it didn’t prepare me … I was on the most amazing rollercoaster that was phenomenal. So on day 3 after the intro, the releasing … I felt so at peace and there was a sense of serenity that just washed over me. It was like unpeeling layers and I was revealing me … the real me … where had I been? I was buried under layers and layers – no actually years of being teacher, wife, mummy and finally I found ME!

IMG_4278 - Version 2

What was my highlight? Well there were quite a few …. if you can imagine a group of women celebrating life, then think out of the box … it was awesome … but for me it was the Roundhouse dance.

We were asked to dance solo in the Roundhouse with the fire lit. It was amazing. It’s been several years since I have done any performance dance and I was a little nervous. Holding back until the very end, nervous about the music Anni would choose for me … but I should have believed in the Universe …


Photo:  Josie

It was amazing … I felt free … I didn’t have any inhibitions and loved every minute listening intuitively to the music, moving as my body wanted to … interacting with the rhythm, lyrics, setting the mood for the dance.   Anni choose Eva Cassidy’s version of Time after Time and this was perfect. I really wish it had been videoed as I could remember certain movements but not the whole or the music! One of the ladies on retreat asked if I had done professional dance! Wow that was awesome … I was a gymnast until 22 years old and it’s been over 20 years since I really danced properly but I loved every single minute and am going to build it in that I dance every day!
What an amazing experience. I can’t believe I was so resistant to doing this when I was on the online course. I kept putting it off and off! Never again!

The live retreat was so much more … exploring, fighting, resistance, give and finally acceptance for who I AM!


I so loved this journey and can’t wait to support other women in their journeys … to finding themselves. It’s so powerful and at times so overwhelming that I did wonder if I would survive. I had a couple of nights that were disturbed (my apologies to my room mates!)


but I felt so serene on day 3 and everything seemed to come together. I loved the honoring day … it was magical and I so miss Cae Mabon … and the beautiful Sisters I met and befriended. I know I am not always easy to get on with but there was a real connection with some beautiful women. Thank you for being there for me!

I can’t wait to share this wonderful journey with the women who wish to connect with themselves and their babies … strip away the layers and find the real you before you embark on the journey from maiden to motherhood and as a couple to see each couple find their roots so that they can build on this as they move from being a couple to a family.  It’s truly Sacred and to be Honoured!

Photos courtesy of:

Josie Gritten –

Jakob  –

& personal photos of Claire


Postpartum Depression – Mums & Dads

Observe the mother for signs that she may be developing postpartum depression (PPD) or anxiety (at least 1 in 5 new moms in the United States do). Know the difference between normal new mom stress and a postpartum mood disorder. Be gentle and compassionate with the mother. Ask her what kind of support would help her feel better. If she wants peer or professional assistance, this page has a list of local and national postpartum support organisations. To better understand what a mother with PPD is experiencing, her friends/family may find it helpful to read Brooke Shields’ memoir, Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression.

Watch the father for signs of anxiety or depression as well. Postpartum anxiety and depression occur in fathers, too. Like mothers, fathers need sleep, good nutrition, exercise, and alone time to stay well. This page has a great list of resources both for fathers experiencing postpartum depression themselves, and for partners of women experiencing PPD. Additionally, Postpartum Men Online Forum is an online community that these men may find helpful.