Our Top 10 sensory toys for babies – The Nurtured Nest

Our Top 5 sensory toys for babies - The Nurtured Nest

When you first have a baby the choice of toys on the market can be overwhelming. Here are my top 5 sensory toys for babies that will provide hours of entertainment as well has helping babies development. Please note that I am not affiliated with any of the products shown.

Muscal Instruments

There are so many different choices out there, from shakers, drums to bells and much more.

Musical instruments not only help to develop your babies hearing but they also teach cause and affect, improve motor skills and as your baby gets older can be a used as a great game to teach babies about stop and go. 

Light shakers with small handles are great for small hands whilst older babies will enjoy banging on a drum or shaking a heavier instrument. 

juggling scarves

We love juggling scarves in our Baby Massage and Baby Yoga Classes. 

Throw them in the air and let your baby watch them fall, give your baby a tickle with them, play peekabo, or teach colours. 

The reason I really like these is because they are safe for babies to chew and can be easily washed in the machine afterwards. 

 

baby safe mirrors

Babies love faces. They like to analyse your face from birth, and mimick your expressions as they get older. 

Did you know that babies don’t recognise the cute baby in the mirror as them until around 8 months old. 

Until that age your baby will just enjoy smiling and babbling away to the baby in the mirror.

Sensory balls

Sensory balls are such great fun and grow with your child.

They make a great tactile toy for young babies as they explore the different textures.

As their co-ordination develops they can be used for passing back from one hand to another, rolling and eventually throwing. 

Babies can also enjoy posting balls down tubes or down ramps. 

lights

One thing I’ve noticed in my Baby Massage and Baby Yoga classes is that babies seem to love lights!

Light projectors can both stimulate and soothe your baby. Fast moving coloured lights are great for stimulation. If you are going to use these baby will probably only enjoy them for a few minutes before becoming over stimulated. 

Slow moving gentle lights can be great at soothing babies. We sometimes end class with a soothing water projector. 

Moving lights can help to aid your babies visual development as their eyes track the moving lights.  

MummyNatal Birth Story – Becs and Ethan

Becs on the birth of Ethan. A water birth at a birthing centre

Effectively, it all happened really quickly for me. I lost my plug at 2am and by 6am was having hard and fast contractions. The birth centre told me to stay home, but I listened to my instincts (like you told us too!) and by the time I arrived there at 8:15 I was 10cm dialled and ready to go!!

Most of the preparation I did went out of the window due to the speed of the labour, but knowing I had a sound track, nice home comforts, electric candles and birth affirmations all packed in my bag all empowered me and meant that I knew exactly what I wanted in all situations. We didn’t have time to put on the sound track or light the candles, but the one most simple trick you gave us got me through all that time – Concentrate on your breathing.
 
I quickly worked out that each contraction lasted five deep breaths. The first and last were bearable, in between that they were super intense. Knowing that there would only be three and that they would last no more than 60 seconds got me through each one – getting me closer to meeting my baby.
 
I gave birth to Ethan at 10:18 in the birth pool (as per my birth plan) with the help of some gas and air and a midwife that followed my guidelines. More than anything else, you taught me to be assertive and to know what I wanted. When we arrived I think the team could see that I had done my research and so were happy to go with my plan.
 
You may remember in class I really liked the tree visualisation. I made my fiancé learn a similar script and he was all ready to prompt me until I told him not to talk to me!! 🙈 As a thank you present after birth he bought me a necklace which is engraved with the part of the verse I found most useful. We now really laugh about that part of the story!!
 
That’s a bit jumbled and I’m happy to give you any more details, but mostly I’d like to say thank you for helping me to deliver my healthy baby boy completely naturally and in the way I had envisaged. He weighed 7lb 1pz and is a little dream boat – even if I am biased 😂
 
 Thanks again and looking forward to massage!

Becs xx

 

MummyNatal Birth Story – Ellie on the birth of Emily

Ellie on the birth of Emily

A water birth at a Birthing Centre

Well my due date had come and gone as I typically expected, and on the Thursday the midwives were starting to talk about booking me in for an induction the following week, which I’d already decided and discussed with my regular midwife that I did not want. As long as baby and me were fine I wanted to wait and let things happen naturally.  Unfortunately, this wasn’t my usual midwife and she didn’t really listen to what I wanted, but I stuck to my guns and was adamant that as long as we were fine, I was not going to have an induction.

Friday came and went with no signs of movement.  I kept as mobile and active as I could by walking the dog and doing my birth ball exercises that Kayleigh had shown us in class.

Saturday daytime passed without any indications, although I did notice that my mucus plug had started to come away, but as I knew this didn’t necessarily mean anything was going to happen immediately I didn’t get my hopes up too much.  However, come the evening, about 8pm I started to get some tightenings. Nothing too severe, just enough to be uncomfortable so I just carried on as usual. As the evening progressed and turned into night the tightenings were getting more intense and sometimes enough to make me pause and take my breath away.  I continued to use the birth ball movements and mindfulness breathing techniques to keep relaxed and encourage things to move along. These continued for pretty much most of the night and were uncomfortable enough to stop me from sleeping but they never progressed into a pattern and finally petered out about 9am when I got some sleep.

Again, Sunday morning was fairly uneventful with the odd tightening, but by this point I’d accepted that this might continue for a little way so just concentrated on staying mobile and relaxed.  As the day progressed, so did the tightenings. By the afternoon I was doing lengths of the road walking up and down having to pause and lean on neighbours garden fences whilst quietly humming to myself to wait for them to pass – I must have looked rather amusing!  I’d decided by this stage that they were definitely contractions and were falling into a regular pattern. I eventually retreated inside and set up camp in the living room with my birth ball and a variety of music, sometimes lively and sometimes quiet, just whatever took my fancy at the time and it even involved some dancing too!

About 8pm I retreated up to the bath.  I tried several different positions depending on how I felt.  I continually used the mindfulness breathing in between each contraction to keep relaxed and vocalisation during to give me something else to focus my attention on and away from the sensation of the contractions.  When we first tried the vocalization in class I honestly felt a bit silly, but when the time came I really connected with it and enjoyed the feeling of having no inhibitions that it gave me.

My contractions stubbornly remained at about 4 to 5 minute intervals for quite a while (the birth centre at the hospital had said to try and get to every three minutes if possible before coming in); then at about 10:30pm they jumped to being under three minutes and suddenly intensified – I told my husband, Rich, I definitely needed to head to the hospital at that point and to call ahead to let the birth centre know we were on our way.  

My contractions became a bit irregular during the journey, but we’d discussed during class that travel could slow things down again so I wasn’t concerned, and as soon as we arrived at about 11pm they were back on track and getting much stronger.  

I had my one and only internal exam when I arrived at which point the midwife said I was 5cm dilated and did I want any gas and air which I gratefully accepted.  I was lucky enough to be the only person using the birth centre that night so it was just me, Rich and our fabulous midwife Mel. It was a lovely relaxed atmosphere, and very intimate feeling.

I climbed in the birth pool about midnight, and instantly felt the relief of the warm water and being able to move into whichever position I felt comfortable in.  Things progressed at a fair rate, and as Rich reported later I was coming out with all sorts of noises, including an impression of Chewbacca from Star Wars at one point.  I really think the exercises and discussions we’d had during class really helped me feel comfortable and confident in myself and my body to do its job, and I just went with it.  I really took advantage of the breaks in between contractions to rest and gather myself, and even found myself chatting and laughing along with Mel and Rich’s conversations.

It turned out that baby was in a hurry to arrive after keeping us waiting a week, and instead of birthing just the head, everything arrived at once and all of a sudden my baby was lying on the bottom of the birth pool at which point I reached down and pulled baby up to my chest where we rested for a few minutes before looking down to see that we’d had a little baby girl!!  Baby Emily was born at 03:49hrs, weighing 8lbs.

Unfortunately, I’d torn rather badly and was bleeding quite heavily.  My plan A had been to have delayed cord clamping, a physiological delivery of the placenta, skin to skin contact and a quiet ‘golden first hour’, but my midwife Mel was rather concerned about my level of bleeding and was keen to get me out the pool and down to theatre to repair the tear as soon as possible.  This meant having the injection to deliver the placenta, and to cut the cord a little earlier than planned. She explained everything to me clearly and ensured I understood what was going to happen. She still took the time to enable Rich to cut the cord and she also knew that having skin to skin contact as soon as possible was important to me, so they kept Emily on me as long as possible, after which I handed her over to Rich for him to continue skin to skin whilst I was in theatre.  Even though the plan for immediately after Emily’s birth hadn’t quite gone to plan, I felt the team did everything they could to ensure that I was kept informed and still in control of what was happening which meant that it didn’t take away from the positive experience I’d had giving birth to my beautiful baby girl. Oh, and the tea and toast afterwards when I was in recovery was amazing!!!

MummyNatal Birth Story – Kayleigh on the Birth of Cora

MummyNatal Birth Story - Kayleigh on the Birth of Cora

A water birth at home

 I really enjoyed having the opportunity to experience MummyNatal as both a teacher and as a pregnant mum. The time to completely relax and talk all things pregnancy and birth related each week was a welcome break from busy life with a toddler. I also got to really feel the benefit of our amazing birth ball movement section. 

I love being sent birth stories. Reading them is probably one of my favourite parts of my job. Hearing how mums use all of the skills that they’ve learnt in MummyNatal in their births and how unique each mum and birth is. I had promised myself that no matter what journey my birth took I would share it truthfully with you.

So put the kettle on and grab a couple of biscuits as my birth story is a long one.

On Wednesday 24th Jan at 41+5 (by scan dates) I saw my lovely community midwife for an appointment. I’d been having some on and off tightenings and a bit of a show so I asked for an examination to see what was going on. The midwife examined my cervix and said that things were starting to change and she offered to perform a membrane sweep, which I accepted. On the Wednesday night I felt a bit crampy but didn’t think much of it and went to bed.

On Thursday morning I woke up to some mild tightenings and the beginning loss of my mucus plug. As my first labour had progressed quite quickly we decided to send my daughter into nursery for the full day thinking that today would be the day. My husband took the morning off of work and we went for a walk along the river into town. On the way back from town I noticed that the tightenings had become more intense and a couple I had to stop walking to breathe through. They continued for the rest of the day but didn’t increase in intensity (we hadn’t timed them). My husband went to collect my daughter from nursery and my tightenings completely stopped. I managed to help bath her and put her to bed before they started up again. The tightenings carried on through the evening. I was struggling to get comfortable anywhere so sat on my ball where I found rocking side to side (cheek to cheek) most comfortable.

Throughout the night on Thursday the tightenings that continued. Some I slept through, some woke me and a few I had to get out of bed and breathe through. 

I woke up on Friday morning and it was like Thursday had never happened! The tightenings had stopped! By this point I’m extremely tired and well and truly fed up. I’m 42 weeks (by scan dates) and I’m wondering if this baby will keep me waiting for another week or more. I had been induced with my daughter and started to question whether or not my body knew how to go into labour. I had to sit down, calm myself down and tell myself to stop negative story telling. Nobody is pregnant forever and she will come when she’s good and ready. 

My husband took Friday off of work and my daughter went to nursery for the day. We decided to have a relaxing day and go for another walk and have some breakfast in town. I had the odd mild tightening but nothing that I really noticed if I wasn’t paying attention. Friday afternoon I saw the midwife again where we discussed a plan for post dates monitoring beyond 42 weeks. I had agreed to go into triage daily for CTG monitoring to listen to baby’s heart beat. She gave me another examination and there had been a small change but my cervix still wasn’t favourable. She gave me another deep and we went home.

Friday evening my husband went out to pick up a take away for us and as I went to take a bite of my burger I had a contraction. This was definitely a contraction and not a mild tightening. My daughter was sat in the back to back position (with her spine against mine) so I felt a lot of pressure in my back. I found it most comfortable to stand leant over the sofa arm and to sway my hips through them. They weren’t lasting too long and weren’t very close together (I managed to eat my burger). They continued throughout the evening and into the night. By 3am they were 4 minutes apart and although not really intense close enough for us to think we should call the birth centre and let them know. 

The birth centre decided to send a community midwife out to got to us around 4am. She arrived and did my observations. She examined me and said that I was only a cm dilated and my cervix was still posterior and that I was certainly not in labour! This came as a bit of a shock as I was most definitely feeling something. She felt my tummy and said that baby was in a back to back position and that is what would be causing the contractions without much dilation. The midwife left at around 5am and now feeling very disheartened and tired I ran a bath to try and slow things down enough to try and get some sleep. One I lay down the contractions became further apart and I was able to doze in between them. 

Saturday morning at 42+1 (by scan dates) I woke up to the loss of lots and lots more mucus plug. The tightenings were still there but I was thing to carry on as normal as I was aware that I could have a few more days of slow early labour.

At 1pm my husband and my daughter went for a nap. In this time things started to intensify. I got into a birth ball hug, put my music on and tried to just let the contractions come and go. I rocked from side to side and forward and backwards and completely focussed on the sound of my breath. I must have been like this for 2 hours as the next thing I know my husband and daughter are awake and it’s time for us to go into hospital for my daily CTG monitoring. I text a friend who will be watching my daughter whilst we go to hospital and let her know that we are on our way. She jokes that I’ll relax as soon as we’ve dropped my daughter and my waters will go. I’m now finding it uncomfortable to stand still so I ask my husband to help me put the TENs machine on and I hurry everyone into the car. We pull out of our road and POP! I shout to my husband to turn the car around. He’s confused and I say that my waters have gone. 

We get home and my husband calls the hospital. The Midwife on the phone says that someone will call back and I vaguely remember shouting to my husband that someone needs to come now. As my waters went my daughters head dropped and I could feel that she was very low. 

In the 40 ish minutes from calling the hospital to the Midwives arriving the contractions continue to intensify. My husband starts to fill the pool. The breathing techniques I’d been using start to become less effective and I move from a birth ball hug to sitting on my ball and using vocalisation with each contraction. The release from vocalising on each out breath is amazing and really helps me to focus. 

The Midwives arrive and I ask them to read my birth plan. I had asked for no examinations so I get into the pool whilst they are reading. On getting into the pool my contractions completely stop which was a much welcome break. After some time they start back up again and have increased in intensity. After a few contractions in the pool I ask for gas and air. This really helps me to focus on my breathing and to relax me. I continue to use vocalisation during contractions and I use the mini body scan during the rests. paying particular attention to my mouth, hands and pelvic floor. At some points I tell myself out loud to rest. 

I feel my jaw start to shake and know that this means I’m entering transition. I tell the midwife that I’m in transition and that it won’t be long. 

Shortly after my body starts to push. The feeling of my contractions change and I don’t want to use the gas and air any more. With each contraction I visualise energy coming up through my knees, through my body and to my mouth and then I breathe that energy out all the way back down. 

The midwife asks me if I can feel the baby’s head as she is unable to see. I say that I can feel baby’s head but then it keeps popping back in. This happens for a few contractions as the urge to push disappears before the baby’s head has crowned. I then have a very intense contraction and feel a stinging sensation and her head is born. I tell the midwife who reminds me to reach down and catch her with the next contraction. With the next contraction Cora is born.

I sit back in the pool holding my baby in shock that she’s actually here. 

After the 3rd stage of birth and a quick stitches check we head upstairs to bed for a cuddle, her first feed and some Pizza.

My husband goes to collect our eldest daughter who comes into bed with us for cuddles.

Baby Cora Elizabeth born on the 27th January at 5.25pm weighing 10lbs 4oz

MummyNatal Birth Story – Hannah on the birth of Alexander

MummyNatal birth story - Hannah on the Birth of Alexander

An Emergency Caesarean

Hi Kayleigh, not sure where to start…I’ve had the baby! No name yet we are still deciding. He was born this morning at 7.23am weighing 8lb 2oz by c-section.
 
I did so well to begin with. I started having contractions at about 3am on Tuesday morning, however they were in my back as he was not in the right position and I was having them quite regularly. I stayed at home for a few hours, on my exercise ball, put candles on and had a bath etc. I phoned the hospital who said to come in to check and I was 3-4cm dilated. So they moved me to the labour ward and I had the most amazing midwife Bethany who having read my birth plan said how she was all about the natural ways of giving birth etc and had natural births. She was definitely all onboard with the tools and techniques that you had taught me and I told her all about you. For about 16 hours I used gas and air, focusing on my breathing and visualisation, meditation etc and so many of the tools you had taught me including saying my mantras etc, I was very calm and focussed. Bethany and Ash were giving me massages too which helped loads. My contractions were getting more painful and I hadn’t dilated as much as they would have liked so I asked if I could have some pain relief, I asked for an epidural and Bethany could see that it was the right decision as despite doing everything I could, focusing on my breathing not lying in bed, walking around and on my exercise ball. 
 
I had the epidural and felt really good. Bethany’s shift finished and she left so I had another midwife who was really lovely but wasn’t as hands on as Bethany. I started getting really bad back ache as the baby was lying on my nerves in my back and once again I was dilating really slowly but doing everything I could and also being told that I was doing really well, all the midwives were being very positive but I think they were being a bit too positive and I picked up on a few things when they were speaking to colleagues etc that I wasn’t  getting very far. The next midwife arrived and again she was very lovely, I was getting really tired and hungry by now but finally after probably over 24 hours I was 10cm I started to push but because of the epidural and the pain in my back which was getting worse I wasn’t getting very far and finding it difficult to push and they had also given me the hormone drip which I was fine with as they explained it to me. So after about an hour of pushing and not getting anywhere but the midwife saying I was doing brilliantly the doctor who had been monitoring me as well said they would try forceps etc so we went to the theatre and they couldn’t do it and that’s when I had a c-section it went really well and I was really pleased. 
 
Throughout the 30 hours I felt very positive and all the midwives including the doctors and the other healthcare providers were great, went through everything with me and I felt I was listened too and they gave me reasons why they were doing things. I feel like despite my birth plan not going to plan I had a very positive labour and I really think that it was down to you teaching me all the tools and techniques and making me feel empowered so I just wanted to say thank you so much! As I know I wouldn’t have had a positive birth experience if I hadn’t gone to your classes. Thank you so much for all your advice too, it’s been so helpful throughout my pregnancy and it’s such a shame I won’t be able to go to your classes anymore. 
 
About an hour after the baby was born I started breastfeeding and so far so good again I think because I have been using my breathing techniques and not getting stressed and staying relaxed.
 
Hopefully once I’m up and running I will be coming to your baby yoga and massages classes xx

MummyNatal Birth Story – Hannah on the birth of Evelyn

MummyNatal Birth Story - Hannah on the birth of Evelyn

A Home Birth 

On Tuesday 14th March at 18:14 I welcomed my third baby into the world.

A girl, we have named Evelyn was born at home, in our front room into a birthing pool we had hired, weighing 8lb 5oz, and I am able to look back on the experience and not only be proud of myself, but also know how amazing it was.

I had attended one full course (Jan/Feb) and a couple of additional sessions of the MummyNatal course with Kayleigh at The Nurtured Nest.

The course provided me with time that was dedicated to this pregnancy away from busy home life and allowed me the time to connect with my baby, and focus on what I wanted for this labour and birth.

The mindful breathing techniques and the reminder of the power of mind body connection were invaluable tools during my labour.

In the early hours of Tuesday morning I woke having tightenings and I had decided that I didn’t want to get caught up in timing things, so just pottered around the house, relaxed over the back of the sofa and used breathing techniques learnt at Mummynatal.

We my mum and partner joined me at about 5:30am, I told them that I thought I was probably in early labour and tightenings felt like they were lasting 10-20 seconds and coming every 12 ish minutes but that I hadn’t timed them.

They decided to secretly time me to get an idea of when to call the midwife. We discovered that in reality they were lasting almost a minute each time and were coming between 4-6 minutes.

I believe that the breathing techniques really helped with this as I was able to rest and relax so much in between that I wasn’t feeling the beginning and end of the tightenings. I used a few different breathing techniques at different stages.

In the last stages of labour before my waters broke, I found that the mini body scan was really helping as the tightenings had intensified and I was starting to hold tension in my face and shoulders. Being able to do the scan allowed me to really focus on relaxing each part of my body including my
Tummy, pelvis and bum, and after a few times of doing this my waters went pop…..

I knew that this meant baby would soon be on her way. With previous births it had been 13 minutes and 23 minutes respectively between waters breaking and baby delivering, so after a few more tightenings I decided to get into the pool.

The MW called for a 2nd midwife to attend, and I was asked if a student could also come. I was happy for this and continued to breath through the tightenings. I wasn’t having the urge to push as with previous births and I began to question why and if it meant something was wrong.

From attending the Mummynatal course, I was able to realise quickly that this was just a negative thought, and that there was nothing wrong, and my body and baby knew what it was doing.

Being aware of the mind body connection enabled me to realise that the walking from the kitchen to the pool, hearing the conversation on phone, being asked questions or knowing people were on there way could have all slowed things down while my body assessed what was happening.

I was able to leave these thoughts, and push to one side and really focus back on my breath and breathing techniques. The midwives arrived, and I felt the urge to begin pushing. I had already decided that I didn’t want to be guided and instead would follow my body.

At this point I asked for some gas and air, as felt like I needed something extra to really help relax me. After a couple of tightenings using it, I heard the midwife say she could see her head coming down. I put my hand down, and continued to listen to my body. I felt her head being born, and shortly after her body delivered and I caught her and brought her up to my chest for skin to skin.

My total 2nd stage was timed at 24 minutes.

We stayed in the pool for delayed cord clamping and first feed, and then I got out to deliver the placenta.

All in all it was an amazing experience, I feel very lucky, and we are all completely head over heels in love with her.

MummyNatal Birth Story – Lindsay on the Birth of Joni

Lindsay on the birth of Joni

An Elective Caesarean section

With my second baby I planned a VBAC. I was under a consultant after having an emergency section the first time around. Everything was going as it should, baby was head down and I was just waiting for that first niggle. A week before due date I had some reduced movement. So I went in for monitoring, I had been having growth scans throughout pregnancy too. Because it was my second episode of reduced movement in the 3rd trimester I was referred for a scan. They estimated the baby to be quite big and advised that VBAC was not a good idea in this case and a planned section would be safer.

I had a couple of days to come to terms with it and use the skills I had been working on in class to calm myself down and think clearly. It’s not what I had been planning and I felt so disappointed. But if I weigh up my first birth of 2 days of forced contractions, the difficulty they had breaking my waters, being the most tired I’ve ever been and THEN having an emergency c section. It was a no brainer. (I then started getting contractions the night before my planned section… but that’s another story!)

I walked into theatre, I had a full face of make up and freshly washed hair, I had my own music playing, I got skin to skin in theatre and my daughter latched on whilst I was still on the table. It’s not what I envisioned when I initially thought about having babies and ‘giving birth’. But It was so unbelievably calm and – enjoyable seems like the wrong word…but it really was. I used my breathing techniques and zoned into my music whilst my baby was brought into the world.

I didn’t cry when my son was born, I think I was just too tired, too stunned and just relieved we were both ok. The minute I saw my daughter both my husband and I burst into tears. I think I was more in the moment and more in control and felt safe.

The recovery is tough I cannot lie about that, but I think it was easier second time as I was more at peace with what had happened and it wasn’t so much of a shock. I have also had an amazing experience with breastfeeding this time so I really don’t feel like having a c-section gets in the way of that at all and there were many more reasons I couldn’t feed successfully the first time.

The contractions I did experience gave me the sense that things would not have progressed quickly. And could have potentially ended in an emergency again. In going for the planned section I feel like I took control of the situation and was able to experience a calm and beautiful birth even though I didn’t give birth in the traditional way.

Joni was born weighing 8lbs 14oz.

 

MummyNatal Birth Story – Katy on the Birth of Skyla

MummyNatal Birth Story - Katy on the Birth of Skyla

A Water Birth at the Midwife Led Unit 

*Warning contains strong language*

I’m 37 weeks exactly, It was a Gorgeous sunny day on May 26th my first day of maternity leave. I had been to get my nails done for a pre baby pamper then waddled home for tea, cake and online baby shopping.  As I struggled to get off of the the sofa. I felt it! That oh my god I have wet myself, Hold on! That’s not! What! My waters had broken. First thing panic! No I’m 37 weeks this is too early. I haven’t finished the room, I haven’t even enjoyed my mat leave! Quick ring my mum. I tell my mum my waters have gone and ask what should I do (hubby at work). I get to the birth centre and call my husband. Ring ring ring voicemail, ring ring ring voice mail! Of all the times not to answer your phone! 20 mins later “hello are you ok? MY WATERS HAVE GONE! Oh shit really! Yes get home now! My hubby doesn’t drive a car so I jump in my own car and drive myself to birthing centre.

I arrive at the birthing centre and the midwife confirms my waters have gone. No contractions and I’m feeling fine so I’m advised to go home rest and call us when you start to progress. Great I thought, oh bugger I’ve got an early break no pain bet nothing happens and induction and c-section it is.

Get home and I forget the best man from our wedding is popping over. Oh hi Mike. are you ok? “Yeah how are you?” “Good I’m in labour but don’t worry I feel fine come in.” Now I’m starving I could do with a walk to get this labour going I’ll pop to the co-op (also need birthing snacks and drinks).

It’s about 9pm. My waters went at 7pm. Is that a contraction or just achy pregnancy body who knows carry on. Get home and I have some snacks! (I need my strength if I’m pushing a baby out this weekend). I jump up! Shit I haven’t got the Moses basket ready! Shit we haven’t finished packing! Frantically throw what I hope is the right basket sheets and blankets in the washing machine and finish my bag.

At 11pm I have a relaxing bath ouch ….. ouch ….. ouch I think my contractions are started ouch OUCH OUCH yes my contractions have definitely started. My contractions came all of a sudden and every 1-3 mins from the beginning. Ok get out of bath breath remember what Kayleigh taught you.

Get on the ball roll though hips and breath I close my eyes and use my visualisation technique. For me the visualisation technique was the best I would imagine my baby coming in to the world and my hubby holding the baby for the first time. I would think about the end goal of my tiny perfect baby. For me this was the best way to deal with the pain of the contractions and kept me so calm throughout.

It’s about 3am and I think wow I’m doing so well I can handle this my hubby is amazed how calm I am. I call the birthing centre and tell them my contractions are very close and I’m bleeding a little they say give it another half an hour or so  as it’s your first baby you will be ages. I though bugger you I know my body so well from Kayleigh’s classes and doing my body scan I know I need to get to the centre this baby is coming.

Again the hubby doesn’t drive (nightmare) ring round finally someone answers. Mike to the rescue we need a lift baby is coming. I’m really starting to feel it now I’m pacing my flat and changes to simple breathing and silence. I can no longer visualise but can focus on the silence and breath.

In the car I admit the screaming starts. This baby is coming now! We should of called an ambulance. I can feel so much pressure it’s coming I’m going to give birth in the car! Poor hubby rubbing my back and telling to remember my classes. I was scared!

We’ve arrived run to doors fall to my knees and shout my baby is coming now! Rush me to the examining room I’m throwing my knickers off down the corridor. I lay down and  I hear ok Katy you’re 10cm let’s get you in the pool now! Once my feet dipped in that water I felt a massive sense of calm came over me I could focus again on my breathing. I took the gas and air to take the edge off I hear those words you can push now. My amazing hubby remembered I wanted a quiet room and that’s what they gave me. It was so nice to have such a calm environment I was able to push my baby out it near silence and there she was after an hour of pushing my beautiful baby girl in my arms!

After being cleaned up and a few stitches I lay in the lovely double bed with my baby. I thought to myself wow! I managed to get the 10cm all by myself with no drugs just though the power of visualisation and breathing. I’m so freaking proud of myself. I really don’t think I could of remained so calm with out Kayleigh’s classes. She taught me the power of breathing and knowing your body.

Skyla Elizabeth Storey born 27th may at 37+1 at 7lb3 So in love! Latched 20 mins after birth and still going.

Home the same day just in time for a take away curry yum!

MummyNatal Birth Story – Kayleigh on the birth of Jacob

MummyNatal Birth Story - Kayleigh on the Birth of Jacob

A speedy water birth at the Midwife led unit

After being highly anxious about having to be induced with my son like I was with my daughter 3 years ago, he decided to make a speedy appearance in our lives 2 days after my due date. 

I was not prepared, in fact I would go as far as to say I was in denial that I was in labour — I mean I went shopping after calling the midwives adamant that it was going to be the long haul of labour. How wrong I was!!

 
My contractions started at around 8.30am on the Saturday morning. I thought they were Braxton Hicks and didn’t want to bother the midwives but when they weren’t easing and becoming more regular I called the birthing centre. They said to keep track and to come in when they got stronger or closer together. I really thought it would be a long process so I said to my husband that we should pop into town to get a few bits before heading to the hospital. 

By 10.45am I knew I was in labour and that we should probably get home and head to the hospital. I was lucky enough to be able to head to the birthing centre this time so I was looking forward to a calm & relaxing space to give birth. 
By the time we got in the car the pain was quite intense and I remember thinking (and shouting) – shouldn’t there be a rest period, I am sure there is suppose to be a rest between contractions. It turns out my contractions came in 2! 2 contractions on top of each other and then a rest. 

 
We arrived at the birthing centre around 11.55am & I just about made it to the examination room where I was told I was 9cm and the baby was making his arrival very soon. They asked if I wanted the pool and they just about got it filled when my waters broke at 12.10pm. The pain was intense at this point but once I got in the water and was able to be on all fours it was much more manageable (in my head). 
 
The only people in the room were myself, my husband and 2 midwives who were amazing. They supported but not pushed me and gave me guidance on what I needed to do on the next push. I was able to listen to my body and put into practice the counting we learnt in Kayleigh’s class. 

By 12.35pm our little boy was born, in water, healthy and looking the spit of his big sister. 
 
I didn’t plan on a water birth, it wasn’t until the end of the pregnancy that I even considered using a birth pool, but I was so happy I did and that I was able to have such a natural birth (my first was far from this adventure). 
By the time my Mother-in-Law had called to say she was back at our flat trying to find the notes I thought I had left at home, I was out of the pool having some skin on skin with my son. 
 
For the rest of the afternoon I think I was in shock. I couldn’t believe he was here, and that I was able to go and have a shower by myself so soon after the birth. We made the most of the afternoon in the birthing centre, calm, relaxed and snacking before we got the all clear to head home. By 8.30pm we were home, 12 hours after my contractions started we were home with our baby ready to start life as a family of 4!

 

 
I sit here now with Jacob on my lap, almost 6 weeks after the birth, thinking about the experience and how lucky I am to of experienced a “straight forward” birth in comparison to my first. My anxiety was unfounded, the techniques and knowledge that Kayleigh empowered me with helped me have a birth that I had hoped for – abeit a little quicker than I imagined. 
 
 
 

Massaging your baby. Top tips from The Nurtured Nest

Massaging your baby - Top tips from The Nurtured Nest

 

Top Tips for massaging your baby

When and where should I massage my baby? Questions that I get asked frequently during baby massage classes. Every family is different so there isn’t a perfect time that suits everyone. Below are my top tips for finding the right time and creating the right environment for you.

The Environment

Find an area for your massage where you are unlikely to be disturbed so that you can focus all of your attention on your baby.

Make sure that the area is warm and that there are no drafts. Young babies can get cold easily and wont enjoy massage if they are cold.

In our classes we find that no or very soft lighting helps to calm babies. Bright overhead lights can be very stimulating and can make it hard for babies to relax.

Its not essential but you might like to play a piece of relaxing music to help both you and baby relax. We play the same music in class each week to help babies relax and so that they begin to associate the music with a massage. After a while you may find that your baby starts to relax as soon as the music is played if you always play the same piece.

Would your baby like a massage?

Ask them! Massage is something we do with our baby and not to our baby.

If your baby is tired or hungry they are unlikely to enjoy a massage. If your baby has just fed and has a full tummy it might be best to wait an hour before massaging them as a massage on a full tummy can be uncomfortable.

The time of day

Some people like to massage their baby after a bath, just before bed. This can be a lovely part of your bedtime routine and can help to relax baby before bed. If your baby is keen for a feed straight after the bath or wants to go straight to bed massaging your baby will not be relaxing for either of you. If this is case then try a massage mid morning or mid afternoon and see if that works better for you.

You don’t need to massage your baby at the same time each day or massage your baby every day. Pick times and days that work for you.

How long should I massage my baby for?

Another frequently asked question. In class we normally massage the babies for around 30 minutes. In a group setting this allows time for all of the babies to relax and for me to guide you through each stroke. At home you don’t need to set aside 30 minutes every time you massage your baby. If you only have 10 minutes you could focus on massaging one area of your baby. For example you could massage your baby’s legs after changing their nappy or their tummy after a bath.