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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.

I encourage you to learn more about 100percentdoula training HERE . Give your Doula business a great start!

Open until February 29th, 2016. Don't miss out!

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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

face.

 

Victoria Machin - UK

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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.

 

  1. Talk to them. Be honest, factual and keep it simple. I once worked with a child whose mother was around six months pregnant, only the child had no clue. Not only was there the risk that another adult would inadvertently break the news to the child, robbing them of such a key family moment, but they had missed out on so much of the necessary adjustment period. Talking to your child, telling them about the pregnancy and sharing this time with them, allows them to come to you with all their questions, their fears and their hopes.

 

  1. Let them spend time with babies. If there are young babies in your family or friendship circle, get your child to spend some time with them, so that they can begin to understand what life with a baby might be like – that new babies really don’t do much, that they sleep a lot, feed a lot and are not going to be able to play, talk or move around for quite a while. Show them what they can do with them though, sing to the baby, stroke its hair, talk to it, etc.

 

  1. Don’t tell your child that they are going to have to be the big boy now. Yes, some children relish the role of big brother or sister, but others need reminding that they are still your baby and that you understand that they still need looking after. Imaginative play, with them role-playing being a baby again can be a light-hearted, fun way of them fulfilling this need to remind you how little they still are and getting the reassurance they need.

 

  1. Share books with them that will help them to negotiate their feelings and help to explain what is going on. Some that have been loved here include: What’s Inside Your Tummy Mummy by Abby Cocovini; There’s Going to Be A Baby by John Burningham; What Baby Needs by MD Sears and (especially if you intend to have your older child present at the birth) Hello Baby by Jeni Overend.

 

  1. Let your child explore pregnancy by setting up invitations to play. You could have a toy doctor’s set and let your child play at giving you a prenatal check-up. Use cushions to let your child pretend to have a baby in their tummy like mummy or use one of our dolls to allow your child to really get down to the very serious business of play, letting them explore at their own pace what it means to be bringing a new baby into the world.

 

Victoria Machin - UK

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 10 alternative baby shower gifts that mamas will truly appreciate

 

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.

 

  1. Set up and organize a meal train. New mums have a need to eat nutritious, warming foods to keep their energy up for breastfeeding and to help their bodies to recover from pregnancy and birth, but this need is often difficult to balance with the time spent bonding and baby-mooning. So, why not gift the mama a promise of two weeks’ worth of meals delivered discreetly to her door by friends and relatives. You can make organisation a little easier by using this site. https://www.mealtrain.com/

 

  1. Postpartum Herbal Bath. A lot of the big name brands contain all kinds of chemicals that are the last thing a new mum wants to put on her body. How about getting her some beautifully scented and healing natural bathing herbs. You can buy them here http://earthmamaangelbaby.com/products/postpartum-bath-herbs or you could even try making your own, this article has some nice ideas. http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/herbspostpartumcare.asp

 

  1. Umbilical cord ties. Those clips that the hospital put on babies’ cords are unwieldy and made from hard plastic. Why not buy or make some pretty cord ties? You could make mama a matching bracelet too. https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/125341215/new-baby-umbilical-cord-ties?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=cord%20ties&ref=sr_gallery_3

 

  1. A journal to record her birth story in. Newborn babies sleep a lot and new mamas should be encouraged to spend time resting and not rushing around taking care of chores. Buy a beautiful blank journal and some nice pens and encourage her to write her birth story as a keepsake for years to come.

 

  1. In the days before her baby arrives, many women find themselves feeling less than beautiful, when in fact they are at their most stunning. Help to remind her of the innate beauty of mothers with this stunning book of photos, all taken within 24 hours of the subject having given birth. http://www.hoxtonminipress.com/products/one-day-young-photo-book-5

 

  1. A good sling or carrier can make all the difference to the life of a new mum, with studies showing that carried babies cry less, sleep better and that babywearing can even help with postnatal depression. There are a lot of slings and carriers out there to try. The Babywearing association for your country should be a good place to ask for advice about buying a reputable carrier. https://www.facebook.com/CDNBabywearingSchool, http://www.slingpages.co.uk/, http://babywearinginternational.org/

 

  1. Some warm and cozy bedsocks for mama. After every birth, whether I’ve had a summer or winter baby, I have always had cold feet. Some gorgeous, hand-knit socks are a little luxury that others might not have thought of, but that will be a guaranteed hit. https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/120158041/hand-knit-lace-socks-wool-socks-lace?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=wool%20bed%20socks&ref=sr_gallery_3

 

  1. A post-natal doula. In those days when you are first at home with a new baby absolutely everything can seem daunting. A few days where a post-natal doula can pop in for a few hours can be a life-saver for a family. Club together with a few friends to fund this really special gift for a new mum. The best way to find a doula is to ask locally for recommendations and set up a few meetings where the mama-to-be can find someone whom she feels comfortable with.

 

  1. I have read so many parenting books over the years and, of course, none of them have the answers, but this book has never failed to make me feel confident in my mothering. It’s not an advice book, but a reminder of how much we all do as mothers and how we should all recognize our successes. http://www.amazon.com/What-Mothers-Especially-Looks-Nothing/dp/1585425915/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1443389996&sr=8-1&keywords=naomi+stadlen

 

  1. A MamAmor Doll. Our dolls make wonderful baby shower gifts, many mamas place them in their birth space to remind themselves of how strong and amazing they are. Our dolls are all unique, just like every pregnancy and birth is unique and as baby grows up they can become a wonderful way of telling your child the story of their birth. www.mamamordolls.com

 

Victoria Machin - UK

 

 

 

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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.

  1. Attend the childbirth education classes and listen, ask questions, get involved. It may not give you all the answers, but it will certainly give you a base to work from, and it gives you and your partner a springboard to discussion later at home.
  2. Take care of as much of the practical stuff as you can. Make sure you know where the bags are, who to call, when to call, make sure the phone is charged and that all your partner has to think about is just giving birth.
  3. Talk to your partner, get an idea of what she would like you to do. It may be that in the moment she changes her mind, but it will at least mean you are on the same page. It also means that you can advocate for her, if you know her wishes you can be her voice when she is too tired, concentrated or too lost in labour-land to be able to think straight.  But don’t speak for her if she is trying to communicate something. Let her speak for herself, whilst gently reminding her of any wishes she previously had. During the birth of our third child I had stipulated that I wanted no vaginal examinations, my husband knew this. But as soon as the midwife suggested she did a quick VE to check progress I hurriedly agreed. My husband spoke up and asked me three times if I was absolutely sure, I was and the midwife proceeded, but my husband did absolutely the right thing and that little gesture has stayed with me. He advocated for me and then he respected my decision.
  1. Don’t bombard her with questions. Try to listen to her and watch her actions. Try to be a quiet and steady presence, a birthing woman needs to be able to go into the zone and stay there, asking her questions or making chit-chat takes her out of that place and she really needs to be in that place.
  2. Take care of things such as ensuring she is hydrated and has been going to the loo. If she is on an epidural ensure that she remembers to move around every so often.

 And

  1. Tell her you love her, tell her she is doing a great job, tell her that she’s beautiful and strong and amazing. Because she is.

 

Victoria Machin - UK

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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!

 

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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

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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.

 

1- What other babies are doing. 

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.

 

2- Sleep.

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.

 

3- Getting your body back.

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.

 

4- Spoiling your baby 

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.

 

5- Am I making enough milk?

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…

 

6- Am I a good mother? 

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.”

 

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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.