September 2018

E is for Exercise (after baby)

This particular topic requires the expertise of the rather lovely Jodie Evans – Physiotherapist, local Mum of 2 and ex TBJ customer. Jodie teaches local Pilates classes and runs sessions that you can take your baby along to, you can find more information on her Facebook page ‘More Core Pilates’ or send her a text 07387388671

A Caesarean section is major abdominal surgery and your muscles need time to recover.

It’s so hard to find time to focus on yourself with a new baby. You have less time, certainly less energy and your core (deep, corset tummy muscle) and pelvic floor muscles, don’t seem to be co-operating anymore.
– Firstly, listen to your body. Everyone heals at slightly different rates, and has varying pain levels.
– Walk. Gradually increase the time/distance of your steady walks, as your pain and energy levels allow. The fresh air will certainly help you, and fingers crossed will send your new bundle off for a nap
– Pace yourself to avoid increasing pain levels. Often your muscles can’t function as they should do when you’re experiencing pain. Your core muscles and your pelvic floor, which are already weak from the stresses of 9 months of pregnancy, aren’t ‘firing up’ due to pain initially.
– Wake up these core and pelvic floor muscles. Take very short periods of time (3-4x/day if you can) to attempt to ‘wake up’ your pelvic floor and deep tummy muscles. The more often you attempt to tell these muscles to work, the quicker they are likely to respond. However, they won’t have much endurance to begin with, so little and often is the key.
*These exercises should be given to you by the NHS. It would be extremely beneficial to see a physiotherapist to check that you’re ‘engaging’ your core muscles properly.
Your post-surgical advice is usually not to lift anything heavier than your baby for 6 weeks. Advice then usually follows to gradually return to low impact exercise after approximately 6-8 weeks, and to reserve high impact exercise such as aerobics, running and resistance/weight training for a gradual return after 12 weeks. However, it’s important to be aware of the changes your muscles go through post-injury/surgery to plan your return to exercise.
Warning, now bear with me for a little heavier reading ….six weeks post-injury/surgery your healing tissue is fairly mature, but as you stretch and stress your new scar tissue, it stimulates additional fibres to help strengthen and support the healing tissue/scar. This happens until the tissue meets the demands you place upon it. This period of healing takes place roughly between 6-12 weeks post-injury/surgery (although can continue for considerably longer) and is often referred to as the ‘remodelling phase’. Throughout this phase the scar tissue is becoming stronger, and can withstand more stresses that you place upon it.
It is due to these healing times that I don’t recommend postnatal ladies to join my Pilates classes until they are 12 weeks post C-section.
I totally appreciate how frustrating it can be when you wish to return to exercise, and all of its wonderful benefits ASAP. However, it’s also important for your body to heal, and pushing yourself too soon may mean that it takes you longer to get to your end goal. Enjoy the slower pace initially, and lots of cuddle time with your new arrival

C is for Colic

Looking back on the early weeks with my babies, I’m always wearing rose tinted glasses. I can’t recall the tiredness, the crying or the grumpy moments when I’d had enough of being a Mummy. But my diary reminds me when I go back in time and revisit how I felt. In the same way that the pain of contractions can’t quite be recalled in precise detail, those moments of total frustration at not knowing why your baby is crying or gribbling can be easily forgotten. But they were very real at the time, the sense of feeling totally overwhelmed, tired and tearful. Not being able to see the wood for the trees is an expression that springs to mind.

What I can recall is having a coffee with Hannah and crying into my flat white about how tired I was, why Bertie cried so much at night. How I had run out of ideas on how to help him fall asleep, worrying I was getting it all wrong.

I’m not sure if it was the white noise app set up on a sonos speaker (total impulse purchase by my husband!) the lavender infuser, the baby massage oil after his bath, or the position I held him in after his last feed. But he just started to settle, the crying in the night just stopped. I had some sleep and the whole family benefitted.

Bertie (or my other 2) never actually had colic, so I can’t begin to imagine how hard it is for those parents dealing with a baby who cries constantly. It must be so exhausting and worrying. Hence this blog on colic, to try and offer a bit of sign posting in the right direction.

Firstly it’s totally normal for babies to cry. Up to 2 hours a day in fact. But when it’s more than that, and the bouts of crying last longer than 2 hours, then its often labelled as colic. Colicky babies tend to be very red in the face when they cry, pulling up their legs to their chest and clenching their fists.
It can start as early as a few weeks, but its normally settled before they are 6 months old (phew!)

So what can you do? Well there are lots of suggestions/ideas/thoughts out there on what might help.

In terms of products, you could look at Infacol or Colief to help. These are liquid medicines that are given in little droppers straight into babies mouth prior to a feed. They help break up wind and ease gripe pain and are available in supermarkets and chemists.

Holistic therapies such as cranial osteopath and reflexology may benefit your little one hugely. Especially if you had a an instrumental delivery (forceps or ventouse) We have some local recommendations if you need them, just get in touch.

Your GP or Health visitor may be able to help, sometimes just having someone to talk to or suggest something else that you could try is helpful.

There are supportive organisations online too, Cry-Sis are one who offer a downloadable PDF of information as well as a helpline that you can call for free advice.

Try a sling, it allows you to carry baby, keep them close and upright. Check out Cheltenham’s sling library, offering you the opportunity to hire a sling and try before you buy. You can find them on Facebook.

Look for your family and friends around you to help – sometimes all you needs is a half hour break. Time to have a shower. Pop to the shop. Have something to eat. Identify the times of day that perhaps seem worse than others (its normally tea time/early evening) Arrange some support for that time. Perhaps get someone to help out with dropping round some dinner, or hold the baby for you. Or take the pram out. There is always someone willing to help.

Have a moan/chat/cry with your antenatal mum mates. Those WhatsApp groups that Baby Journey encourage are rife with activity in the depths of the night.

Finally, write it down. Or just make notes if you can. Then like me, you’ll read them back one day and appreciate that these things are only ever a phase, and that nothing is ever permanent. Which should be every new parents mantra. It certainly is mine.

Jules x