Our friend Alice from YourDoulaBag just opened her 100percentdoula business training for the third time, and I thought I would let you know!
Alice is an enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and well known Doula, and Doula business trainer. I've known Alice for many years now, and I know that the quality of her work, and the commitment with her clients- goes beyond expectations.
If you are a Doula just starting your business, you've got to check out 100percentdoula business training!
MamAmor is an affiliate of 100percentdoula. We are very proud of supporting Alice and her valuable professional doula training.
Open until February 29th, 2016. Don't miss out!
I don’t know about the rest of the world, but here in the UK people happily take their pets to bed
with them. Dogs, cats, I’ve even heard of a rabbit curled up on its owner’s duvet each night, it seems that people are more than willing to give up space in their bed to make sure that Rocky or Felix doesn’t get lonesome in the early hours. Tell someone that you sleep with your baby in your bed though, and this nation of happy bed sharers suddenly wrinkles its nose and looks at you like you’ve just told them about some unsavoury personal vice.
I kind of get it, in 2008 (my last year pre-kids), I knew no one who slept beside their baby, well no
one who would admit to it anyway. Newly pregnant in 2009, we made lists of what we would need
for the baby, on that list was a crib, a moses basket and a cradle. Yes, three separate sleeping spaces for our tiny baby, in our tiny flat and nothing about this seemed strange. The crib we chose was a piece of architecture. A undeniably beautiful piece of artistry, a huge wooden sleigh crib, which would later turn to a toddler bed and later still a chaise lounge. It barely fitted in the room and yet I still managed to convince myself that it justified its considerable price tag, this was where my baby would spend 14 hours a day, only the best for my first born.
He never slept in it.
Born late at night, a violent and nerve-jangling entrance to the world, there was no way that I was
letting my baby leave my arms as we settled on to the ward at 2am. An older, Irish midwife
happened to be on duty that night and, unbeknownst to her, she is the person who has had the
greatest influence over me as a mother. Pushing aside the goldfish bowl cot on wheels, she leaned over and swiftly and expertly wrapped my baby up in a blanket, before tucking him beside me. “You need to sleep, he needs to sleep. There’s no way either of you will get any sleep unless you sleep beside each other.” And that was that. That was the way it was. The way it has been ever since.
The huge wooden sleigh sat, a glorified shelf for dirty clothes, books and toys. It never held a baby, not even for a night. There was a brief moment at around six months, when a nagging voice in my head (which sounded remarkably like my mother) told me that he would have to sleep alone
sometime and I spent 45 minutes with my hands through the bars, trying to stroke my crying baby to sleep, before I came to my senses and lifted him back into bed with me, as I sweated with guilt and sadness.
We are now six years and three babies into our parenting journey. Over 2000 nights spent with a
child sleeping softly beside me. 2000 nights of instinctively reaching out to my babies, tending to
their night time needs without either of us having to fully wake. 2000 nights of knowing that my
baby will never wake up alone. 2000 nights of safety, security and belonging. 2000 nights of little
toes pressing into my stomach, of wriggly toddlers and of early mornings. 2000 nights of creeping
around to get ready for bed. 2000 nights of being there consistently and unfaltering. 2000 nights of the sweetest taboo.
Please remember the following guidelines for safe bed sharing.
- Never bed share if you have been drinking alcohol or have taken drugs.
- Ensure your baby can not fall out of bed.
- Keep baby cool by using blankets rather than a duvet.
- Don’t use pillows with babies under one.
- Never sleep with your baby in a chair or on a sofa.
- Ensure that the space around your baby’s head is clear of any objects which may cover her
Victoria Machin - UK
First pregnancies are such a special time, nine months spent getting ready to become a family. First kicks, singing to your bump, lazy weekend mornings lying in bed watching waves of movement across your belly. Second pregnancies are special too, of course, but this time you have a small traveller alongside you on your journey, one who might need their hand held at certain moments and assured that you won’t leave them behind.
Here are our suggestions for involving your older child in your pregnancy, when it’s not just your waistline expanding, but your family too.
Victoria Machin - UK
Whether your friend is having a low-key shower, a big party with games involving icky diapers or a Blessingway complete with flower-crowns, the chances are you will want to take a gift.
But there are only so many baby-grows, bottles of baby bath and tiny hats that a baby needs, so take a look at our list of ideas for unique gifts for that special mama-to-be.
Victoria Machin - UK
It’s strange isn’t it, that as birthing mammals, many of us humans seem to find comfort in others when we give birth? Other mammal species go off to find a quiet space to birth privately and in isolation, whereas we have come to expect and perhaps prefer, to go on the childbirth journey with companions. Although it is well-documented that our natural birthing state is one of undisturbed privacy, perhaps there are reasons other than biology that many women prefer to give birth with a partner present. Cultural expectations say that giving birth, becoming a family, is a shared event and it is most likely, in our society, that when a woman gives birth that she will have someone with her, whether that be her life-partner or another family member. But it can be really hard for a partner to know what exactly is expected of them, especially as so much of what happens at a birth is unpredictable and can’t be planned for.
My husband describes his experience of the birth of our first child as one of pure impotence. He says he never felt so helpless and useless in his life and instead stayed glued to the chair by my side, just watching to see what would happen next. There is a photo of him in the minutes before our son was born and he is pale, terrified-looking and appears much younger than his 31 years. In contrast, a friend says that when her wife gave birth to their daughter she found herself a job and got on with it. She took photos, a lot of photos, really beautiful, raw photos. Yes, she says, she was also terrified, but she had a focus and that meant she had little time to dwell on her feelings and instead could lose herself in the process, in a similar way to her wife was.
However busying yourself needs to be with something useful or something that your partner has asked you to do. Another friend asked me, in all innocent seriousness and good faith, if he should just take his laptop along to the birth, because he had heard they may be there some time. And what of British singer Robbie Williams who was attacked from all sides as he filmed himself singing and dancing around his wife as she worked through her contractions, filming himself and publishing the footage in almost live time. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hq3LrE9zTLk)
So, each to their own and every birth is different, but I think all birth partners could take something from our suggestions.
Victoria Machin - UK
We are celebrating our first 1000 followers on Instagram with a Giveaway!
Enter to Win MamAmor Mini "Elora".
Giveaway starts today Sept. 22nd 2015 at midnight (MST) and ends Friday Sept. 25th 2015 at midnight (MST).
Winner will be announced Saturday Sept. 26th 2015 here and on Instagram.
Includes shipping worldwide!
Winner has 48 hours to claim "Elora". After 48 hours, we'll choose another winner.
The only mandatory entry is to follow us on Instagram.
Bonus entries are available here and you can enter every day!
Good luck everyone and thanks so much for following us!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Pinterest, it’s a funny thing isn’t it?
It eats my time and yet it feels more productive than other social media platforms. Having spent several hours a week browsing through pins for the last four years, I can’t say for sure that I have become a better parent, a more informed birth professional or a more connected individual, but I can certainly say that I have learnt some pretty neat tips and read numerous articles that have made me see things from a new perspective.
I wouldn’t want my hard work of pinning to go to waste, so here are my top ten Pinterest boards that I think you might like.
1- The Happy Womb. Lucy Pearce. https://www.pinterest.com/dreamingaloudnt/the-happy-womb/
It was hard to pick a favourite board from the vast collection kept by writer Lucy Pearce. Her Pinterest account really is a work of art, it feels almost curated. The Happy Womb is a beautiful collection of womb wisdom, birth inspiration and birth art.
2- Natural Toys. Juno Magazine. https://www.pinterest.com/junomagazine/natural-toys/
Juno Magazine is a British natural parenting magazine and is my bi-monthly treat to myself. They also happen to keep some inspiring and informative Pinterest boards. This one has a plethora of natural toy ideas, from simple handmade beaded bubble wands to really special heirloom toys.
3- Children’s art activities. Artful Kids. https://www.pinterest.com/artfulkid/children-s-art-activities/
There are in excess of 900 pins on this board alone, with creative activities for all ages from babies to teens. Some lovely, unique ideas, challenges and projects.
4- Birth Without Fear. January Harshe. https://www.pinterest.com/bwfblog/birth-without-fear/
January is the awesome force behind the hugely successful and empowering Birth Without Fear blog. As you would expect, this board is absolutely chock full of birth stories, affirmations and articles to while away your time, whether you are an expectant mama, a birthworker, or just love the power of childbirth.
5- Anna in the Playroom. https://www.pinterest.com/intheplayroom/garden/
Another prolific pinner, Anna has over 230 boards full of ways to have fun with your children. I love her garden board, with its homemade swings, gardening ideas for little ones and nature activities. With summer in full swing this is a brilliant time to check out this board.
6- La Furgoteta. https://www.pinterest.com/LaFurgoteta/babywearing/
La Furgoteta is a brilliant Pinterest account based on travelling with children, but it is her babywearing board that really stands out for me. With beautiful and diverse pictures of babywearing and slings from all over the world, it is a perfect reminder that wherever we may be, we all naturally want to keep our babies close.
7- Ali Dover. https://www.pinterest.com/doverali/mother/
The obscenely talented Ali Dover not only is an accomplished photographer but also designs her own line of baby wraps and carriers. Her board simply titled Mother is a collection of heartbreakingly beautiful photographs of mothers and their children. There is beauty in every mother and child dyad and this board is testament to that.
8- Etsy Love. Wild and Grizzly. https://www.pinterest.com/tigerlillyquinn/etsy-love/
I love Etsy, I love knowing that I am supporting a small business and at the same time buying something unique. But, I find I can so easily end up going round and round in circles, never quite finding what I am looking for. Lori at Wild and Grizzly has clearly perfected the art of discovering amazing things on Etsy, from toddler clothes to homeware, everything she has pinned here is to die for.
9- Madame Goutte. https://www.pinterest.com/mothergoutte/breastfeeding/
A wonderful board of all things boob! From gorgeous breastfeeding paintings, to sage and solid advice, by way of Breastfeeding Problems Solved by the Muppets!
10- MamAmor Dolls. MamAmor. https://www.pinterest.com/mamamor/mamamor-birthing-dolls/ A comprehensive overview of our handcrafted dolls. Please do check us out and follow us, we’d love to follow you back.
Victoria Machin - UK
Becoming a mama is a huge event, not just because you have a whole new person in your life, one who is utterly helpless and relies on you for everything, but also because everything has changed for you. You are suddenly at home instead of at work, any status you had accrued in the workplace means nothing to your baby, nor to other mothers. Your body has changed, not just what you see in the mirror but also the way it feels and the way it moves. You relationship has taken a backseat, it is no longer just the two of you and that is hard, really hard to negotiate. On top of this, you are on one huge learning curve, you need to acquire new skills every day and sometimes it feels as if you will never get things right and you are suddenly require to function on much less sleep and with little time to yourself. It is a time of such change and such great shifting energy that it is normal for new mums to fall into patterns of worry and anxiety as you feel your way into this new world. But there are some things that we really should not be worrying about and instead spend that time and energy on snuggling our new babies. It is easier said than done, perhaps, but here are our five things a new mother shouldn’t be losing sleep over.
Those new mummy friends you’ve made are just as worried as you are, they are all just trying to get through each day as best they can. When new mums come together they often fall into competing with one another. “Little Ada slept through from 4 weeks.” “Francisco rolled from front to back before he was 2 months old.” “Melissa is such a good baby, she hardly ever cries.” What you are getting here is a tiny snapshot, a piece of information that the mother shares because it is one thing she feels she is doing well at. What you are not getting is a true representation of that mothers’ life with her baby. All babies are different and they will all reach their milestones at different points. We all know that adults have varying skills and talents, the same goes for babies. So enjoy your baby at this moment, enjoy the stage she is at and try not to compare.
We know this is a big topic for new mums. How much sleep, when to sleep, where to sleep, what to wear to sleep, how to get them to sleep. Sleep has a lot to contribute when it comes to worries. Remember a newborn baby has no real concept of day and night, in fact when he was still in utero he may have done most of his sleeping in the day when your movements rocked him to sleep. In those early weeks try to just go with the flow, follow your baby’s patterns, sleep when they sleep if you can and slowly fit your schedules around one another. As baby gets older you may find that a sling or baby carrier allows your baby to sleep without too much interruption to your day.
We are bombarded these days with images of celebrities whose bodies magically ping back into shape weeks after having a baby. These women are often publicly applauded for this and other women feel the pressure to do likewise. But I look at it like this, you will never go back to not being a mother, you have entered a new phase of your life. The body that you had in your pre-baby years has changed, your organs have moved around inside to accommodate your baby, your skin has stretched and loosened, your breasts have swelled with milk, you have passed from maiden to mother. No one expects a 22 year old to have the same body as an 11 year old, we expect our bodies to transform over this time. If we can accept that puberty brings about permanent and natural changes in our bodies, why then do we spend so much time fretting over the natural changes that occur when we have a baby? Becoming a mother is a life-stage just as becoming a woman is, we should not expect this change to take place invisibly, instead we should learn to love our new bodies for what they are.
It is common place to hear of new mums voicing their worries that they are “spoiling” their babies by answering to their needs. A mother who co-sleeps, who carries her baby or who feeds on demand is often told that their baby will “never learn” or that they are “creating a rod for their own back”. Babies are born expecting their mother to take care of their needs for warmth, food and safety, likewise a new mother is hardwired to respond to these needs, and her instincts will lead her to do so. It is only when well-meaning grandmas, health professionals or even strangers start to give their contrary advice that mothers begin to doubt themselves. I have known mothers to stand outside their baby’s room in tears, as they listen to their baby crying in her crib, but dare not go to comfort her, lest they “spoil” their child. I tell mothers this – go to your baby, pick up your baby, your baby will not spoil from being loved and cared for.
It’s extremely hard, particularly as a first time mum, to put your faith in your own abilities to feed your baby. Unless you are expressing you can never be sure exactly how much milk your baby is getting and I know some mothers who have never been able to express, so never saw their own milk, but whose babies gained weight and grew perfectly. For the vast majority of mothers the milk they produce will be more than adequate for their baby and once they have gotten into the swing of breastfeeding, babies become the expert and taking exactly as much as they need. Some babies feed for an hour, slowly and steadily. Others feed quickly and efficiently before falling back to sleep with a full tummy. If your baby is content, is producing wet and dirty nappies and does not appear to have any health problems, they are most likely getting what they need. Trust in yourself and your baby to do what comes naturally to you. Watch the baby, not the scale. Weighing your baby too often creates a climate of anxiety and often gives a false view of your baby’s gains, as different scales measure differently and the same baby’s weight may vary vastly according to what time of day they were weighed, whether they have just fed, etc etc.
And a bonus one…
If you are asking yourself this question then the answer is yes. Yes, you are a good mother, because clearly you care. In fact you are a wonderful mother. There is no template perfect mother, there are no rules to follow, no line to measure yourself against. We are all doing the best we can. Perhaps down the line you will do things differently, but you can always look back and say “I did the best that I could with the knowledge and skills that I had.”
Victoria Machin - UK
Alison helps with the creation of the MamAmor Minis, the Dogs, sling, baby diapers and blankets, and many other of our doll's accessories. Here is a bit more about Alison.
1) How did you find out about MamAmor dolls?
I think my doula posted a link to the MamAmor website on Facebook.
2) When did you start sewing for MamAmor? What do you like the most about the job?
I've been sewing for MamAmor since October 2014. I enjoy creating and sewing and I have been making and collecting dolls since I was a teenager so this is a dream job for me! I'm also encouraged to come up with my own ideas and designs to add to the Mamamor family, which is exciting after having been an admirer for so long.
3) Can you tell us something about you and about your family?
I am married and we have a six year old daughter.
4) What do you like the most about MamAmor's brand and products?
I like that each doll is hand made from the best quality materials. So much care and attention go into each doll and accessory. I love that they present birth and breastfeeding as normal. We have always been straight-forward with our daughter about how babies grow and are born. It's wonderful for her to have a doll that she can use to act out pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding. The dolls themselves are so cuddly and fun to play with. My daughter adores them and would like to keep everything I make, which is the highest compliment there is for a toy.
Alison has her own Etsy shop where she sells some other beautiful creations.