The one at the Cheltenham Birth Centre….

Here at The Baby Journey we love an honest and empowering birth story. So to kick off the month of February, here is the story about the arrival of a beautiful boy called Rory, from his Mum Kylie……..

I am a first time mum. I had all the hopes, fears and expectations that go along with that. I dared to hope I might have the ‘good birth’ but also had a strong dose of reality of what a first time labour might be like. I prepared as best I could…I went to pregnancy yoga (lotusbud yoga), I did the Baby Journey Antenatal classes, and I bounced on my ball at home whenever I could 😂 but most of all I remained relaxed and calm about what was to come!
On August 12th 2017 I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy called Rory weighing 7lbs 13oz. I started contracting at about midday and arrived at Cheltenham Aveta Birth Centre at 18.45 in advanced labour. I was shown straight to a pool room, given the gas and air and helped into a lovely warm pool. But most of all….I was greeted with kindness,love and warmth by the staff and there was no internal examination to endure or twenty questions! They are the experts in normality and they knew that Rory was on his way without having to perform checks to ‘make sure’. After all first labours are always long aren’t they!!? 😜
Rory was born within 2 hours of arriving, in the birthing pool. My husband was treated with respect and the same care was extended to him. He was not a ‘spare part’.
We then spent time getting to know our son while the staff continued to care for us all and we left the following morning to begin our lives as a family of 3.
If you are lucky enough to experience a positive birth like I did and many others do, then please shout it from the rooftops, tell everyone you know (especially other pregnant mums) because the fear of birth and the shame in feeling like you had an ‘easy birth’ and so don’t have the right to share your story is what is perpetuating the fear for others. Trust me it wasn’t ‘easy’ but it wasn’t traumatic and it wasn’t horrendous and it wasn’t ‘something you have to just get through’. It was the most amazing, intense, life-changing moment of my life.
And definitely worth it!!

Making time for me….

Making time for me is not something that we find mothers do very well.

To be honest we don’t do it well ourselves, and we don’t know many mummies who prioritise themselves (actually no, can’t think of any). Especially when our little ones are little. When we have a baby who wants to be held, or rocked, or jiggled, or fed. When we have little mouths to feed, faces to wipe, bottoms to clean, tiny clothes to wash (again).

There’s always something that your family needs that seems more important than that something you wanted. A soak in the bath. A few chapters of your book. A snuggle up with a magazine. A nap. A phone call with a friend. A class at the gym. An early night. A hair cut. A run. A baking session. A manicure. A swim. A craft session. A catch up on the news. A massage. Whatever that thing is that restores you, that recharges your spirit and decompresses you again so that you can be you. The best version of you, not the slightly ratty, frazzled, stretched to the max you. Somehow it seems selfish, we feel guilty, we think something else deserves that time more. It feels indulgent, somewhere we feel like we don’t deserve it and we should give that time to something else. Someone else.

It’s bonkers. It doesn’t make any sense, we all know that we have to look after ourselves. We’ve all seen the quotes “you can’t pour from an empty cup”, “self-care is not selfish”…. but there’s a little goblin of self-doubt in us that keeps us pushing ourselves to the bottom of the list.

So, here we are in mid January, it’s rainy and grey and payday is dragging its heels. We challenge you to do something this week for you, and try to keep doing it every week from now on. Don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t pan out some weeks. Just try again.

Ask your partner to support you, they love you and they want you to feel good, and they need you to look after yourself as well as you look after everyone else.

We promise to do it too. We know we feel better for it. And our families feel better for that. x

Happy New Year, Hello 2018!

So here we all are on New Year’s Eve, thinking back over the year behind us, and thinking forward to the year ahead.

2017 has been a year of amazing new relationships for The Baby Journey, and we are feeling very lucky to have so many wonderful people around us.

We’ve taught 14 antenatal courses this year, to over 500 parents-to-be, and in addition to our four-week antenatal course have launched our refresher course for those who have already got little ones.

The feedback from you all is humbling (confession: there’s often a little tear from us when we read it). Words don’t quite do it justice how moved and utterly delighted to the core we are when you take the time to tell us that The Baby Journey has helped you feel more confident as you start your adventure in Parentland. We have very special archives of the beautiful messages, birth stories, photos, reunions, birthday parties, first days at school and arrivals of new baby brothers and sisters which are very precious to us.

THANK YOU to all of you, our clients, for believing in us, taking a chance on an independent local business, and sharing your feedback with us and those you love. We are eternally grateful to you all. We will never stop trying to give you what you need, listen to what you ask for, and putting you at the heart of everything we are.

As well as our wonderful clients we are lucky to have a brilliant little team, and the start of the year saw a new midwife instructor join our happy little band of 3, and soon The Baby Journey family had gone from Hannah, Jules and Becca to include our fourth team mate Rosie. A bit like when you have your second child we were worried how our little family would manage with a fourth person in, would we all get on, would Rosie like us, would we like her, would our clients like her?

Well, we need never have given it a second thought as, just like when you have your second baby, straight away it was as if she’d always been part of the gang; we think she’s fabulous, and so do our clients. We could not be more proud of our amazing team of Becca and Rosie – these two amazing midwives and all round strong, smart, funny, lovely, positive women bring joy and light to TBJ Towers. Thank you girls for all your hard work, enthusiasm, loyalty, passion and kindness, we love you.

The last 12 months have seen us work with loads of amazing local businesses, and we have exhibited at the Cotswold Baby & Toddler Show; been finalists in the Gloucestershire Families Awards; supported local charities such as Gloucestershire Breastfeeding Support Network and run competitions, giveaways and collaborated with brilliant new and established businesses in Gloucestershire. Thank you for inspiring us, challenging us, supporting us and spurring us on, we are excited to be part of this entrepreneurial community.

We’ve also learnt the hard and powerful lesson that we cannot do it all, and to ask for help from someone who knows better than you is always a good idea. With that in mind we are very pleased to be working with the fabulous Frankie from BossMedia, as well as the very talented Andy from Lost & Found, and the endlessly patient Jon from Oomph, not to mention our most esteemed Martin whose wise words reach far beyond accounting. Thank you to our trusted crack team of go-to experts who have guided, taught, supported and liberated us.

And so, this brings us to our beautiful families, the two men and the five children who stand strong with us, behind us, cheering us on (That’s a husband and kids each, not a strange cult!). Thank you to Luke, Jimmy, Lottie, Charlie, Oscar, Eve & Bertie. These are our tribes who inspired us 6 years ago to create The Baby Journey, and who give us the love of family and parenthood that is the very core of TBJ. We love you beyond the moon and back, thank you for believing in us, and loving us, we love you.

We sign off with a massive HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all – whether you are enjoying your first NYE since your little one arrived (get that pint of water and berocca ready on your bedside table now) or snuggling up under fresh sheets with a glass of milk and a fidgeting bump, imagining who this little person will be and what next year will hold. We wish you a beautiful 2018 full of joy and adventures, we can’t wait to see you all in the new year.


Love Hannah & Jules


Neals Yard loveliness

We all get excited buying products for our growing bumps and new babies, many we realise we didn’t really need and some we have no idea how we’d cope without! When it comes to products to put ON our bumps and babies it’s usually best to keep it simple.

As Baby Journey Midwives, we are really big fans of the Seaweed and Arnica foaming bath soak. The healing properties of the arnica and the mineral rich seaweed are the perfect combination for your perineum after birth. It smells amazing and is good for tired muscles during the pregnancy too – so you might need more than one bottle!

During our classes we always look at lower back massage to help ease the aches and pains of late pregnancy and early labour. The NYR soothing massage oil is brilliant for this – so grab your birth partner and get practising. Use a small 10 pence sized amount and warm in your hand, the use small and firm circular motions at the base of the lower back, maybe try some shoulder massage too? Particularly good for easing tensions during those early night feeds.

We actually have 2 lovely consultants from Neal’s Yard Remedies to tell you about a few of the products that are great for both mum and baby, and as luck would have it they currently have a 20% off event running until midnight tomorrow. So if you’d like to order anything from the baby range or indeed any other NYR products, drop them a note telling them we sent you and they’ll also pop a little extra treat in for you too (whoop whoop!)

Over to you Katie, what are the essentials for Baby?

“Newborns need nothing more than NYRs Baby Balm to keep them free from nappy rash. If you like the idea of massaging your baby you can use the Pure Baby Oil.
When they are over 3 months old it’s nice to use the Baby Bath & Shampoo with a gorgeous blend of Chamomile and Lavender so super relaxing for the end of the day and also really good for their skin. You can keep it simple and stick to Baby Balm and Baby Bath & Shampoo. But if you like a barrier cream, they’ve got one of those two and you can be confident it’s full of good stuff. There’s also a Baby Massage Oil with a lovely blend of essential oils for a calming pre-bedtime massage and there’s a lotion too.”

Then Claire, What 3 things couldn’t you live without in your changing bag?

“Whether you are a first time mummy or you are an expanding family, we all need a few top tips for handbag essentials.
Energy remedies to roll – perfect for giving you that little natural energy boost for your pulse points.
The Bee lovely balm – amazing for those dry lips, just a little bit and you feel ready to face the day.
Hand defence spray – A natural, quick drying, gorgeous smelling hand spray – perfect for yours and little toddler hands too. My girls LOVE having this sprayed into their hands before snack and so do I! “

Katie is mum to 3 year old Leo and 6 month old Nina, and Claire is Mum to 4 year old Charlotte and 3 year old Katie. Both are Independent Consultants who work for themselves with NYR Organic, (you might be interested in doing the same, so could ask them about that too).

To contact Katie on FB – Or Insta –

To contact Claire on FB – Or Insta

Huge thanks to the lovely ladies from NYR for those top tips and product recommendations

Bringing baby home sweet home….

So, it doesn’t matter if your brand spanking new bundle of joy is 6 hours old, or 6 days old – leaving the hospital and heading home can be a big old mix of emotions.
There’s the excitement of finally going home – and then the anxious nerves wondering how you’re going to work it all out…..

So here are some of our thoughts on how to make the process go smoothly:

Car seats – make sure you know how the pesky straps lengthen and shorten. Practice with a teddy/doll before baby comes – ensuring it fits safely in the car. Look to the fire station who offer free car seat safety checks prior to babies arrival.

Painkillers. Make sure you are well covered for the journey home. Take some about an hour before you leave the hospital (if you can) so it’s as comfortable as it can be. Welcome back ibuprofen!

Pillows. If you’ve had a caesarean section, try placing a pillow over your tummy, then place the seat belt over the pillow for extra comfort.

Drive steady – make it a slow, careful and calm journey home. Even little bumps in the road can be painful.You might want to sit in the back with baby just to check on them for the journey home.

Visitors – limit how many people are going to embark on your house when you get finally get home (ideally aim for none!) Allow yourselves some quiet time to get to know this new little person. It makes tuning into their feeding ques and starting to establish feeding a bit easier.

Put the kettle one – make sure you’re well hydrated and you’ve planned for some tasty food – Deliveroo anyone?

Don’t forget the camera, record the moment you bring your little one home and over the threshold of their new family home. Magic!

and relax….. you’ve got this

Meet the team – Becca

As part of our meet the team , here’s 10 Questions with the lovely Becca….

1. Crayon- yellow. Happy colour. Useful for the sun and stars and bright cheery things!

2. 90’s jam- strawberry! 😉
TLC- no scrubs. Used to know all the words and put on shows at break time!!

3. Animal- Dog probably! If had good owner- good walks, comfy bed, lots of cuddles- being loved despite being a pain in the arse sometimes!!

4. Inspiration- Different things! Current book- positive parenting. Buddhist ethos of positivity.

5. Fight- batman- he’s batman ffs! Way cooler than Spider-Man.

6. Crisps- barbecue beef hula hoops!

7. Holiday- langkawi. Truly beautiful and exotic.
Devon is pretty good in good weather too!

8. Best mummy bits- unconditional overwhelming love! Laughter, cuddles, pride and being a family.

9. Worse mummy bits- Tiredness! Mess! Headspace! Constant whining!

10. Mantra- hurry up!!! Feel myself saying it enough to be a mantra.
Or- find a solution! Works quite well in lots of ways.

Meet the team – Hannah

10 questions and 10 answers with the lovely Hannah

*You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What colour would you be and why?

Red. Yellow. No, green. Maybe white. I don’t know. This is a really weird question. I love colours, is this some kind of strange psychological test?

*What’s your favorite ’90s jam?

Nirvana, Smells Like Teen Spirit.

*If you could be any animal in the world, what animal would you be and why?

A labrador, because I am loyal, and I love a cuddle and a stroll round the park.

*What inspires you?

My amazing parents and sisters; my wonderful husband; my beautiful children who teach me to see the world through their innocent joyous eyes; my lovely friends and fabulous business partner; all the incredible mothers and mothers-in-waiting I have the privilege to meet as a midwife and at TBJ; all the knock-out mumpreneurs I meet.

Oooh and Sarah Willingham, Karen Brady, Clemmie Hooper, the Innocent team and Barack Obama.

And the sea.

And coffee and chocolate and a bit of a chat.

(In fact, let’s have a party on the beach and enjoy the magic)

*Who would win a fight between Spiderman and Batman?

Batman. Obviously.

*What is your favourite crisp flavor?

Salt & vinegar. Cheap ones, posh ones, flat ones, ridgy ones, love them all.

*Best holiday destination ever?

Adored the Amalfi coast. Love Devon. Planning a trip to Paris. Daydreaming of taking Mr H to New York and the Maldives.

*Best thing about being a Mummy?

The beautiful hilarious little things they say in their tiny voices. Seeing them learn and flourish, and be proud of their own achievements. Watching their kindness. Feeling empowered to do anything because of the strength motherhood brings. The moment they reach for your hand with theirs and hold on. Their utter unconditional love for you just the way you are. Them whispering “I love you Mummy” as they cuddle you goodnight.

*Worst thing about being a Mummy?

Not being able to help them when they are in pain or somebody has hurt their feelings. The relentlessness when you want to press pause. Second guessing every choice you make and still feeling like you’re probably getting it all wrong. Feeling lonely but never alone.

* What’s your daily mantra?

Action not perfection.
Just keep swimming.
Be grateful and enjoy this.

Meet the team – Jules

10 questions & 10 answers….with Jules

1) You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What colour would you be and why?
I’d be blue – so that everyone could colour in the sky with me

2) What’s your favorite ’90s jam?
Definitely Natalie Imbruglias Torn. I love singing that song as loud as I can in the car. Kids hate it!

3) If you could be any animal in the world, what animal would you be and why?
Meercat – they live in cool little gangs, they are really fast and they like the sunshine

4) What inspires you?
Usual stuff – my lovely family and close friends. Plus Alan Sugar. I love that man.

5) Who would win a fight between Spiderman and Batman?
Without a doubt batman. Bats eat spiders. fact

6) What is your favourite crisp flavour?
Easy peasy, ready salted. standard.

7) Best holiday destination ever?
Thailand, sunsets in Koi Samui are breathtaking

8) Best thing about being a Mummy?
Cuddles and proud moments

9) Worst thing about being a Mummy?
Whinging and bodily fluids

10) What’s your daily mantra?
“You are enough” or ‘What would Alan do’

Halloween and all things scary….

Happy Halloween!

Today got us thinking about all things scary…….one of the things is how your lovely lady garden/fanny/Minnie/fanghita is going to fair following birth? The though of tearing and stitches can leave ladies feeling a bit green round the gills, worried about whether it will ever be the same again? Or maybe it will just all fall out whilst walking around the garden centre, pushing your pram. Awkward….you’d be scraping it all up off the floor running out clutching your precious uterus shouting ‘ I might need this again’ ….

Anyway…. Good news is, you don’t need to be afraid, here’s our guide to looking after your beloved vagina.

Like a scout (or beaver!) Be prepared, there are a few things you can organise in advance to help out. About 75% of women who have a vaginal birth will have some sort of stitch, graze or tear that involves the skin and muscles layers in the vagina & labia. So….

Sanitary towels: Buy decent ones (we quite like Mothercare) as you don’t want them to irritate any stitches you may have. Use ones with wings, change them regularly and sometimes you might need to wear 2 at the same time. One at the front and one at the back.

Lavender/tea tree oil: These oils are great for helping to heal and soothe your lady garden, and you should aim to bathe twice a day for the first week or so if you can. Just run a shallow bath, pop a few drops of oil into a 1-2 table spoons of milk, shake and add to the bath. The milk helps the oils to disperse in water. Sit in the bath for about five minutes…. Enjoy a quick relax!

Hairdryer: The thought of rubbing your bits dry with a towel leaves you howling like a banshee… So lots of patting dry is necessary. You could even pop your hairdryer on a cold setting and waft it up between your legs, ensuring everything is nice a dry. You might look a bit strange if your beloved walks into the bedroom at this point. Kinky!!

Arnica: This is a fantastic little homeopathic remedy, perfect for speeding up bruising in your slightly battered Minnie. You mustn’t use the cream though, tablets only and you can pick them up in Boots.

Drugs: Welcome back ibuprofen! They’ve been absent during the pregnancy, but welcome them back with open arms, for they have magic anti inflammatory powers. Safe when breastfeeding your little bundle, and non drowsy, so take regularly to combat any pain.

Jug: It can be a bit uncomfortable to wee when you’ve got stitches or grazes, so try having a jug full of warm water nearby when you go, and pour it down the front of your labia. The warm water is really soothing and it helps to dilute any concentrated urine that can make it stingy. Think paper cut finger and salt and vinegar crisps….
Make sure you drink lots of water too!

Sit like a man: don’t be all Lady like and sit with your legs crossed, it can pull on the muscles causing pain. So sit like a big burly bloke!

There’s always a lot of poo chat when it comes to having a baby, but it tends to be focused on those ‘poonami’ nappies that baby produces… But what about your poo?! The first poo after childbirth can be more nerve wracking than an English A level in Mussolini…when you haven’t revised. At all.
Good news is, it’s never as bad as you think. Take your time. Drink lots of water. Take a step (or stool!) to the bathroom with you and sit on the toilet with your knees elevated, it makes it easier to empty your bowel. Good diet full of fruit and veg (sound like my mum!) Once you’ve been, don’t forget to congratulate yourself on the safe delivery of your first post baby poo!

Frozen peas: If it all seems a bit swollen and puffy down there, try something cold like a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel. Or even a sanitary towel in the freezer? Just hold close to your swollen bits for 5-10 minutes to gain some relief. I can remember using a cold can of G&T… It was a sad waste of a G&T!

Pelvic floor: You can start these exercises when you feel ready, don’t worry if it all feels a bit numb to begin with. Just take your time and it will become easier with practice. Try and find a point in the day when you remember, a nappy change maybe? Or when your feeding? Whilst waiting at traffic lights is a favourite of ours….. everyone has weird pelvic floor face so fear not.

Sex: At some point in the distant future, you’ll look at one another and decide you’re going to have to sex again. It might be a mad 5 minutes of crazy hornyness on the sofa, or a planned night of passion (Maybe even M&S 2 dine for £10!!) Either way you’ll be a bit worried about how your fanny will manage, will it completely repel the advancing penis? Will he think it feels different? Baggy somehow? Will it all disintegrate?!
Once again, it’s never as bad as you think. Use LOTS of lubricant (think online shopping!) and take it steady. Foreplay is a must… might even enjoy it!

Bottom line, Your vagina is amazing, look after it!


And breathe…..

And breathe……

Here at TBJ towers, we are big fans of pregnancy yoga. We have all taken part in classes, but most recently Jules attended Ann Carrol’s Lotus Bud yoga.
Initially…. If I were being totally honest, cards on the table type honest, I wasn’t sure pregnancy yoga was for me, thought I’d struggle to relate to it…… I was very, very wrong.

It’s a fantastic experience, and totally worthwhile….even if you are planning all the drugs on offer during the birth, or your being induced… yoga will still help you during the pregnancy, birth and beyond. I think that there is a common misconception that by choosing yoga, then no pain relief will be offered during labour. Or that medical inventions mean that yoga will no longer be useful, in reality, the 2 can work really well together.

I really looked forward to my yoga classes each week, they became a peaceful opportunity to totally absorb all things positive, thinking solely about my growing baby. Classes would start with the chance to just clear your mind of all the activity from previous days, leading into comfortable stretches. My body went from tight, achy and broken… to supple, bendy and strong.
As busy working women, we don’t often get the opportunity to focus on what baby is doing, yoga allows you the time to think about babies movements, their positions and their gorgeous little faces. Ann always encouraged us to ‘smile’ at our babies, an unusual concept that I came to love and practice. When I smile at Bertie now, and he smiles back… it’s just how I imagined it would be. Perfect.

The fear of childbirth is ever present in society and in our own minds. A miserable grey cloud coming across the sky, creeping up on you when you least expect it. You’ll be happily putting on your mascara in the mirror one morning, when all of a sudden you’ll think ‘my babies head is huge, how am I going to get it out my fanny?!’ and this little bubble of fear and anxiety starts to rise upwards. Midwives get it too you know!

All the ‘helpful’ and often unintentional comments of previous women come to the forefront of your mind. Reminding you how awful it could be, how you’ll never have sex again afterwards and you’ll never cope because you’re too tired. As your resting heart rate starts to rise…… that’s when the yoga thinking comes in. The power of the positive thought can squash those nasty bubbles of fear and anxiety. Reminding you that your body was made to do this, you are strong and your baby knows how to be born. Remembering that your body has done a fairly amazing job so far…….

So how did it help on D-Day, well the amazing ‘Golden thread’ breath helped me to focus – even having the syntocinon drip to start the labour off. I felt in control in a situation that was very much out of my control. I felt him moving, focused on that little smiling face, remembered that he knew how to be born and that I was strong enough to do this.
Breathing techniques learnt at yoga can help with a range of scenarios, those hours in early labour at home, vaginal examinations, stitches, even painful breastfeeding.
The different positions and stretches that we learnt, showing how capable your body is. Making you more confident in labour that you could find a position that would work for you. Practicing them at home amused my husband no end, when I would suddenly leap off the sofa and start stretching during the advert break of location location location – encouraging him to join me!

There is something really empowering about sitting with other pregnant women, comparing bumps, ailments and worries. Sharing funny stories, thinking collectively about labour and motherhood. 2nd and 3rd time mums sharing their experiences and 1st time mums absorbing all that they can. Feeling excited when one mum has her baby and everyone sharing the news.

So whatever birth you are planning, whatever path it may take from being in the pool to being monitored… yoga can help. It can make you feel more positive, empowered and ready for whatever Baby Journey you go on.
There are lots of options for yoga in Cheltenham. We love Ann Carrol at Lotus Bud Yoga (look for her on facebook or tel: 07973 892 404)
And Emma Whitehouse at Mini Moments, you can find them on facebook & website or tel: 07966 160817

Namaste – Jules x