Perinatal Anxiety and Depression

Today, pregnant couples all over Australia are lucky enough to have many choices about how and where they can birth their baby.

Today, pregnant couples all over Australia are lucky enough to have many choices about how and where they can birth their baby.

Early skin-to-skin contact, off to a good start!

The first hour after birth is crucial for your baby’s early childhood development as well as bonding and attachment with you. Studies have shown the importance and benefits of skin to skin during this golden and precious undisturbed hour after the birth.

The first hour after birth is crucial for your baby’s early childhood development as well as bonding and attachment with you. Studies have shown the importance and benefits of skin to skin during this golden and precious undisturbed hour after the birth.

Perinatal Depression and Anxiety week is this week , 11-17 November. Did you know that dads can also get baby blues?

As time progresses, we as a society have made great progress in understanding women’s emotional state following childbirth, especially in delicate areas such as postnatal depression, so much so that as a society we are able to better recognised early signs of struggles and are able to provide support much quicker and provide the necessary assistance to start addressing this issue.

As time progresses, we as a society have made great progress in understanding women’s emotional state following childbirth, especially in delicate areas such as postnatal depression, so much so that as a society we are able to better recognised early signs of struggles and are able to provide support much quicker and provide the necessary assistance to start addressing this issue.

Building Your Village – Strategies To Thrive During Your Postpartum Period

Up until now, the fourth trimester or otherwise known as the postpartum period was seldom talked about. Today, this post partum period has been recognised as crucial not only for the healthy development of the baby, but also for the healing of the mother after birth and the transition to parenthood for both mother and father/partner alike.This is why we are collaborating with experts in the field of perinatal mental health and wellbeing to continue to offer support and confidence to new parents who may be feeling challenged or even overwhelmed with the complexities and emotional journey that becoming new parents brings. We are working together with Rachel Bridge, a psychologist and author who shares our passion and values in supporting families on their postpartum journey by providing much needed resources and strategies to cope during this very fragile time in a new parent’s life.

Up until now, the fourth trimester or otherwise known as the postpartum period was seldom talked about. Today, this post partum period has been recognised as crucial not only for the healthy development of the baby, but also for the healing of the mother after birth and the transition to parenthood for both mother and father/partner alike.This is why we are collaborating with experts in the field of perinatal mental health and wellbeing to continue to offer support and confidence to new parents who may be feeling challenged or even overwhelmed with the complexities and emotional journey that becoming new parents brings. We are working together with Rachel Bridge, a psychologist and author who shares our passion and values in supporting families on their postpartum journey by providing much needed resources and strategies to cope during this very fragile time in a new parent’s life.

Stepping into Parenthood

Rachel Bridge is a Perinatal, child and family psychologist and author.She is also one of our Calmbirth expert contributors that prepares Resources for our Calmbirth couples on topics ranging from the postpartum period, setting expectations & parenting to name a few.

Rachel Bridge is a Perinatal, child and family psychologist and author.She is also one of our Calmbirth expert contributors that prepares Resources for our Calmbirth couples on topics ranging from the postpartum period, setting expectations & parenting to name a few.

Mothering the Mother – In the absence of a Village

“As a professional working in the field of perinatal and parental mental health and parenting, I, in no way thought that I was above the mama experiences of unmet expectations or the all mighty ‘mother guilt’…I just thought since I knew the risk factors of perinatal mental health difficulty, I know the approaches that are helpful, I teach the skills and have experienced the journey with so many beautiful and inspirational mamas…. I thought, surely I would have this sorted!!!!!!! wow!!!!!!! was I in for surprise. TGhe intensity of the feelings bought on by these little beings is something I could have never prepared myself for. The rawness of the emotions felt as a mama caught me of guard like a blast of cold wind. the endless unconditional love, the mama bear like protectiveness, the self doubt, the sleep deprivation, the hormones, the relationship adjustments and the self and role adjustments have been and continue to be the most challenging, rewarding journey of my life”.

“As a professional working in the field of perinatal and parental mental health and parenting, I, in no way thought that I was above the mama experiences of unmet expectations or the all mighty ‘mother guilt’…I just thought since I knew the risk factors of perinatal mental health difficulty, I know the approaches that are helpful, I teach the skills and have experienced the journey with so many beautiful and inspirational mamas…. I thought, surely I would have this sorted!!!!!!! wow!!!!!!! was I in for surprise. TGhe intensity of the feelings bought on by these little beings is something I could have never prepared myself for. The rawness of the emotions felt as a mama caught me of guard like a blast of cold wind. the endless unconditional love, the mama bear like protectiveness, the self doubt, the sleep deprivation, the hormones, the relationship adjustments and the self and role adjustments have been and continue to be the most challenging, rewarding journey of my life”.

Birth Trauma…

The birthing of a baby, and the birthing of a mother and of a father, is a significant transitional event in our lives. . A mothers experience of birth, can go onto shape her experiences of motherhood in its entirety. Her experiences of self, her experiences of her relationships (particularly the relationship with her baby), and her experiences of the world and how she feels supported, or unsupported in her journey of motherhood.

The birthing of a baby, and the birthing of a mother and of a father, is a significant transitional event in our lives. . A mothers experience of birth, can go onto shape her experiences of motherhood in its entirety. Her experiences of self, her experiences of her relationships (particularly the relationship with her baby), and her experiences of the world and how she feels supported, or unsupported in her journey of motherhood.

Postnatal Isolation

The messages are flowing, the visitors are frequent and there are huge smiles all round. You’ve just given birth to the most spectacular little human you have ever seen! Life is hectic and tiring, yet somehow you still feel a sense of energy and excitement when you gaze into those sparkling, curious eyes.

Quite quickly your new life settles into its new pattern. Partners go back to work, family and friends visit much less often, and the messages become a slow trickle rather than a tsunami. You are now feeling far more alone than you had ever expected. Who do you talk to? Who do you share your little victories with? What about navigating those inevitable challenges that come along with caring for a baby? Nobody told you how hard this really is.

The messages are flowing, the visitors are frequent and there are huge smiles all round. You’ve just given birth to the most spectacular little human you have ever seen! Life is hectic and tiring, yet somehow you still feel a sense of energy and excitement when you gaze into those sparkling, curious eyes.

Quite quickly your new life settles into its new pattern. Partners go back to work, family and friends visit much less often, and the messages become a slow trickle rather than a tsunami. You are now feeling far more alone than you had ever expected. Who do you talk to? Who do you share your little victories with? What about navigating those inevitable challenges that come along with caring for a baby? Nobody told you how hard this really is.

Breastfeeding in the first days and weeks of life…

Dr Pamela Douglas is in conversation with Melbourne neonatologist Dr Danielle Freeman about breastfeeding in the first days and weeks of life and avoiding formula use in the days after the birth but still keeping baby safe.

Dr Pamela Douglas is in conversation with Melbourne neonatologist Dr Danielle Freeman about breastfeeding in the first days and weeks of life and avoiding formula use in the days after the birth but still keeping baby safe.

Postpartum Bleeding – What to Expect

Vaginal bleeding (known as Lochia) is a normal part of giving birth, whether you have a vaginal birth or a Caesarean section birth. Lochia is made up of tissue, blood and mucous.

The bleeding is due to the placenta detaching from the wall of the uterus (after the birth of baby), where it was held in place by blood vessels that ran between the uterus and placenta. This leaves the blood vessels open, which causes the bleeding, whilst the uterus works hard to clamp them shut post birth and renew the lining of the uterus.

Vaginal bleeding (known as Lochia) is a normal part of giving birth, whether you have a vaginal birth or a Caesarean section birth. Lochia is made up of tissue, blood and mucous.

The bleeding is due to the placenta detaching from the wall of the uterus (after the birth of baby), where it was held in place by blood vessels that ran between the uterus and placenta. This leaves the blood vessels open, which causes the bleeding, whilst the uterus works hard to clamp them shut post birth and renew the lining of the uterus.

Getting To Know Calmbirth Educator Karen Jones

My name is Karen. I have worked as a Midwife for almost 30 years.

About 7 years ago I decided to take a position as a Community Midwife in Aboriginal health. My AMIHS (Aboriginal Maternal Infant Health Service) position allows me to see women in the antenatal period and up until 6 weeks post-partum. A job which is both challenging and extremely rewarding.

I work alongside an Aboriginal Health Practioner. Together we support all pregnant Aboriginal Women, as well as those Non Indigenous women having Aboriginal babies.

What we quickly realised in our community, was that breast feeding rates amongst our clients were extremely low.

 Some of the reasons for not breast feeding identified were

“My mum, sister, aunty didn’t breast feed so why should I”
I won’t have enough milk.
Its “shame”

My name is Karen. I have worked as a Midwife for almost 30 years.

About 7 years ago I decided to take a position as a Community Midwife in Aboriginal health. My AMIHS (Aboriginal Maternal Infant Health Service) position allows me to see women in the antenatal period and up until 6 weeks post-partum. A job which is both challenging and extremely rewarding.

I work alongside an Aboriginal Health Practioner. Together we support all pregnant Aboriginal Women, as well as those Non Indigenous women having Aboriginal babies.

What we quickly realised in our community, was that breast feeding rates amongst our clients were extremely low.

 Some of the reasons for not breast feeding identified were

“My mum, sister, aunty didn’t breast feed so why should I”
I won’t have enough milk.
Its “shame”

The Calmbirth Conversation Podcast Episode 12.Support in Perinatal Mental Health.Creating a Safe, Private environment in the fourth trimester

Calmbirth Director, Karen McClay chats with Perinatal, Child and Family Psychologist,  Rachel Bridge about creating a safe, calm and private environment in the fourth trimester.

Calmbirth Director, Karen McClay chats with Perinatal, Child and Family Psychologist,  Rachel Bridge about creating a safe, calm and private environment in the fourth trimester.

Breastfeeding on Demand

It’s World Breastfeeding Week! This year’s theme is: “Protect breastfeeding: a shared responsibility”. The theme highlights the importance of support – right from a nuclear level through to a more structural level, to enable women to achieve their breastfeeding goals, so that babies and infants can reach their optimal health.

It’s World Breastfeeding Week! This year’s theme is: “Protect breastfeeding: a shared responsibility”. The theme highlights the importance of support – right from a nuclear level through to a more structural level, to enable women to achieve their breastfeeding goals, so that babies and infants can reach their optimal health.

The Calmbirth Conversation Podcast Episode 13. Support for breastfeeding, baby sleep and attachment

In episode 13 of the Calmbirth Conversation Podcast, Calmbirth Director, Karen McClay talks to the Founder of Possums & Co & Medical Director & lactation consultant, Pamela Douglas about how the work of Possums & Co helps prepare, educate and support families in the challenges of the first 12 months of their parenting journey with breastfeeding, baby sleep and cry fuss problems and parent mood and attachment.

In episode 13 of the Calmbirth Conversation Podcast, Calmbirth Director, Karen McClay talks to the Founder of Possums & Co & Medical Director & lactation consultant, Pamela Douglas about how the work of Possums & Co helps prepare, educate and support families in the challenges of the first 12 months of their parenting journey with breastfeeding, baby sleep and cry fuss problems and parent mood and attachment.

The Calmbirth Conversation Podcast Episode 14. COPE – Emotional Support For The Challenges Of Becoming A Parent

In Episode 14 of the Calmbirth Conversation Podcast, Karen McClay talks to Dr. Nicole Highet who is the Founder & Executive Director of COPE, the Centre of Perinatal Excellence and how COPE is providing support for the emotional challenges of becoming a parent. 

In Episode 14 of the Calmbirth Conversation Podcast, Karen McClay talks to Dr. Nicole Highet who is the Founder & Executive Director of COPE, the Centre of Perinatal Excellence and how COPE is providing support for the emotional challenges of becoming a parent. 

The Calmbirth Conversation Podcast Episode 15. The Golden Month

In Episode 15 of the Calmbirth Conversation Podcast, Calmbirth Director, Karen McClay talks to Dr Carla Brion & Nadia Parisi about the Golden Month – an in-home postpartum service they have created based on Traditional Chinese Medicine & Ayurvedic practices to nourish and nurture women in the postnatal period. 

Dr Carla Brion is a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncturist & Women’s Health Specialist while Nadia Parisi is a  Women’s Health Massage Therapist, Fertility, Prenatal & Postnatal Yoga Teacher, Holistic Pelvic Care Practitioner – two dynamic women who are here to break the mould, shake things up & bring women the care that they really need. It takes a village to hold the mother. “We want to  re-shape the postpartum care in our community, for our daughters & their daughters to come.”

In Episode 15 of the Calmbirth Conversation Podcast, Calmbirth Director, Karen McClay talks to Dr Carla Brion & Nadia Parisi about the Golden Month – an in-home postpartum service they have created based on Traditional Chinese Medicine & Ayurvedic practices to nourish and nurture women in the postnatal period. 

Dr Carla Brion is a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncturist & Women’s Health Specialist while Nadia Parisi is a  Women’s Health Massage Therapist, Fertility, Prenatal & Postnatal Yoga Teacher, Holistic Pelvic Care Practitioner – two dynamic women who are here to break the mould, shake things up & bring women the care that they really need. It takes a village to hold the mother. “We want to  re-shape the postpartum care in our community, for our daughters & their daughters to come.”

Mothers Milk Bank Charity – Giving parents the ‘choice’ of donated, screened, and pasteurized breast milk.

Mothers Milk Bank Charity is thrilled to be collaborating with Calmbirth to spread the word about our service and give parents the opportunity to learn about how they, as mothers, can donate their breastmilk milk as well as obtain donor breast milk as an ‘insurance policy’ just in case they need it.  
We will be working together, providing pregnant women samples of their naturopathically designed lactation cookies and supporting women on their pregnancy and breastfeeding journey.

Mothers Milk Bank Charity is thrilled to be collaborating with Calmbirth to spread the word about our service and give parents the opportunity to learn about how they, as mothers, can donate their breastmilk milk as well as obtain donor breast milk as an ‘insurance policy’ just in case they need it.  
We will be working together, providing pregnant women samples of their naturopathically designed lactation cookies and supporting women on their pregnancy and breastfeeding journey.

Rally your postpartum village

As the African proverb tells us- “it takes a village”. Not just to raise a child but even more importantly to nourish new parents to grow and heal.

As the African proverb tells us- “it takes a village”. Not just to raise a child but even more importantly to nourish new parents to grow and heal.

The Postpartum Pledge…

Today was a light bulb moment

Before heading off to a gorgeous winery with friends to celebrate our mumma to be, I had organised a little guessing game of ‘if you guess the DOB/gender you win a bottle of wine from the Yarra Valley’

As I was writing on the answer cards I thought up the idea of numbering each card. The number on the card represented what week postpartum each friend was going to be a go to support person for our friend in the early postpartum.

Today was a light bulb moment

Before heading off to a gorgeous winery with friends to celebrate our mumma to be, I had organised a little guessing game of ‘if you guess the DOB/gender you win a bottle of wine from the Yarra Valley’

As I was writing on the answer cards I thought up the idea of numbering each card. The number on the card represented what week postpartum each friend was going to be a go to support person for our friend in the early postpartum.

Happy IBCLC Day!

I have been an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant for 5 years now and will be re-certifying my LC certificate this year. 

Being a Lactation Consultant has been hugely rewarding in my career as a Maternal and Child Health Nurse, having early access to women and their feeding journey within the first week of birth.

I have been an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant for 5 years now and will be re-certifying my LC certificate this year. 

Being a Lactation Consultant has been hugely rewarding in my career as a Maternal and Child Health Nurse, having early access to women and their feeding journey within the first week of birth.

Your Hospital Bag – What to Pack

As a midwife, there is nothing worse! Read below 👇

There is nothing worse than seeing a partner or support person frantically rummaging around through a large suit case trying to find the one thing the woman wants or needs whilst in the throws of labour.

As a midwife, there is nothing worse! Read below 👇

There is nothing worse than seeing a partner or support person frantically rummaging around through a large suit case trying to find the one thing the woman wants or needs whilst in the throws of labour.

Let’s talk visitors

Bringing your baby home from hospital is a BIG deal! 

So it’s okay to feel hesitant, unsure, overwhelmed, or unexcited by the concept of visitors in the early postpartum period.

From a primitive and survival stand point, really, it’s only YOU that your baby wants and needs ✨

A baby’s first environment is their mother. 

A mother is also born. 

Bringing your baby home from hospital is a BIG deal! 

So it’s okay to feel hesitant, unsure, overwhelmed, or unexcited by the concept of visitors in the early postpartum period.

From a primitive and survival stand point, really, it’s only YOU that your baby wants and needs ✨

A baby’s first environment is their mother. 

A mother is also born. 

How To Be A Good Villager Postpartum

To the family and friends that make up a new parents’ village,

There are few things that are more exciting than when one of your loved ones grows a new family member. There is a special responsibility that comes with being close to new parents, and ones that may well bring a shift in your relationship. You are entrusted to listen without judgement, to love them through their transformation into parenthood, and to pursue them through it. You are part of their village, and whether it’s their first baby or their thirteenth, there are lots of ways you can help. If you are new to the village (or a village veteran!) and want some tips, know that your thoughtfulness has already brought you halfway there! See below for more great ways to love on new parents.

To the family and friends that make up a new parents’ village,

There are few things that are more exciting than when one of your loved ones grows a new family member. There is a special responsibility that comes with being close to new parents, and ones that may well bring a shift in your relationship. You are entrusted to listen without judgement, to love them through their transformation into parenthood, and to pursue them through it. You are part of their village, and whether it’s their first baby or their thirteenth, there are lots of ways you can help. If you are new to the village (or a village veteran!) and want some tips, know that your thoughtfulness has already brought you halfway there! See below for more great ways to love on new parents.

Breastfeeding on Demand…

Did you know that how often your baby needs to feed is based on your own unique breastmilk storage capacity and milk synthesis rate? Neither of these factors are up for manipulation and are unique to each mother/baby dyad.

Did you know that how often your baby needs to feed is based on your own unique breastmilk storage capacity and milk synthesis rate? Neither of these factors are up for manipulation and are unique to each mother/baby dyad.

Let’s talk about prolapse

Did you know that about 1/2 of women who have had a child will have some level of prolapse? 1 in 5 women will need to seek professional support. That’s 20%!

I am one of those 1 in 5 women. And I’ve decided to share my story because just like with physiological birth, I feel like our ‘system’ does not support women’s pelvic health. There is not enough awareness, conversation, preventative strategies out there to support the needs of women in this space.

So I’m starting this conversation – with my prolapse story.

Did you know that about 1/2 of women who have had a child will have some level of prolapse? 1 in 5 women will need to seek professional support. That’s 20%!

I am one of those 1 in 5 women. And I’ve decided to share my story because just like with physiological birth, I feel like our ‘system’ does not support women’s pelvic health. There is not enough awareness, conversation, preventative strategies out there to support the needs of women in this space.

So I’m starting this conversation – with my prolapse story.

“Are you planning on breastfeeding?”

It’s part of the antenatal clinic checklist. To discuss a woman’s feeding preference.

“Are you planning on breastfeeding?”

The most common response I was usually given: “If I can”.

In Australian, our breastfeeding initiation rate at birth consistently sits above 95%. Data from the ABS (2020-2021) shows that by 2 months of age the rate of exclusively breastfed infants falls to approximately 75%, and then to approximately 66% at 4 months of age. What does this tell us? That women want to breastfeed. Yet something is happening in the early weeks and months, that results in this decline.

It’s part of the antenatal clinic checklist. To discuss a woman’s feeding preference.

“Are you planning on breastfeeding?”

The most common response I was usually given: “If I can”.

In Australian, our breastfeeding initiation rate at birth consistently sits above 95%. Data from the ABS (2020-2021) shows that by 2 months of age the rate of exclusively breastfed infants falls to approximately 75%, and then to approximately 66% at 4 months of age. What does this tell us? That women want to breastfeed. Yet something is happening in the early weeks and months, that results in this decline.

Embracing Change and Intimacy Postpartum

So, yesterday I posted a blog about Sex during pregnancy and now I want to discuss intimacy postpartum which can be even more awkward and terrifying to talk about…because you might not be ready physically and emotionally to go there – as you’ve just had a baby and adjusting to motherhood, your postpartum body and rollercoaster of emotions.

Just like pregnancy and birth is different for every woman so is her postpartum journey and even though intimacy is important your focus might just be on recovery, healing and nurturing your baby.

So, take your time. Some things you may want to consider are:

So, yesterday I posted a blog about Sex during pregnancy and now I want to discuss intimacy postpartum which can be even more awkward and terrifying to talk about…because you might not be ready physically and emotionally to go there – as you’ve just had a baby and adjusting to motherhood, your postpartum body and rollercoaster of emotions.

Just like pregnancy and birth is different for every woman so is her postpartum journey and even though intimacy is important your focus might just be on recovery, healing and nurturing your baby.

So, take your time. Some things you may want to consider are:

The After Pains in the Postpartum Stage

Let’s talk about a topic that often gets overshadowed in the glow of new motherhood: After Pains.

What are After Pains, and are they normal?

After Pains, also known as postpartum contractions or uterine contractions, that may feel like period cramping, are a natural part of the post-birth process helping to shrink the uterus back to size. They occur a few days after childbirth and can last a few weeks, it may not be the most comfortable experience, and may feel weird because you have just had your baby yet feel like you are still having contractions. They tend to come on most significantly when you’re breastfeeding, as your body releases oxytocin. but they serve a crucial purpose. Here’s why you have them and why they are normal:

Let’s talk about a topic that often gets overshadowed in the glow of new motherhood: After Pains.

What are After Pains, and are they normal?

After Pains, also known as postpartum contractions or uterine contractions, that may feel like period cramping, are a natural part of the post-birth process helping to shrink the uterus back to size. They occur a few days after childbirth and can last a few weeks, it may not be the most comfortable experience, and may feel weird because you have just had your baby yet feel like you are still having contractions. They tend to come on most significantly when you’re breastfeeding, as your body releases oxytocin. but they serve a crucial purpose. Here’s why you have them and why they are normal:

The Postpartum Journey…

I want to talk about the postpartum period that can leave you feeling quite fragile, lonely, and unprepared for.  I know when it was time for me to leave the hospital and go home, I cried because I knew I would be on my own without the support of my village. Recovering from a C Section birth, struggling with the challenges of breastfeeding my baby, having the three day blues, and having to learn to adjust to motherhood and the flood of emotions that come with the joy and self-doubt. To put it simply, I was unprepared for the lack of sleep and learning to read my baby’s cues and the loneliness that can come from being a new mum.

So here are a few tips or lessons learned to help you navigate the fourth trimester.

I want to talk about the postpartum period that can leave you feeling quite fragile, lonely, and unprepared for.  I know when it was time for me to leave the hospital and go home, I cried because I knew I would be on my own without the support of my village. Recovering from a C Section birth, struggling with the challenges of breastfeeding my baby, having the three day blues, and having to learn to adjust to motherhood and the flood of emotions that come with the joy and self-doubt. To put it simply, I was unprepared for the lack of sleep and learning to read my baby’s cues and the loneliness that can come from being a new mum.

So here are a few tips or lessons learned to help you navigate the fourth trimester.

Connection through Conversation – Perinatal Mental Health Week 12th -18th November

Connection through Conversation – Perinatal Mental Health Week 12th -18th November

At Calmbirth we believe having a strong connection to your baby, body, birth support partner, birth and caregiver during your pregnancy labour and birth are vital to achieving a positive birth experience. But we also believe that this connection needs to continue right through until the postpartum period and into your transition to becoming new parents whilst seeking and budling your village.

Connection through Conversation – Perinatal Mental Health Week 12th -18th November

At Calmbirth we believe having a strong connection to your baby, body, birth support partner, birth and caregiver during your pregnancy labour and birth are vital to achieving a positive birth experience. But we also believe that this connection needs to continue right through until the postpartum period and into your transition to becoming new parents whilst seeking and budling your village.

Mastitis

We all know that for some women breastfeeding can be challenging at the best of times for many different reasons but throw mastitis in the mix and it can be more than just challenging because it also becomes painful.

We all know that for some women breastfeeding can be challenging at the best of times for many different reasons but throw mastitis in the mix and it can be more than just challenging because it also becomes painful.