northern beaches

Self Care and the 4th Trimester

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So I am sitting here, 36 weeks pregnant at Beaches Baby, still marvelling at the space I have built, but it seriously took a village to get here.

It got me thinking about our villages and our self care post birth in the period known as the 4th trimester or the first 3 months post birth.

I am notoriously independent and a Type A organiser. So asking for help isn’t something I am good at and I am just as bad at accepting offers of help.

When my first child was born, I was determined that not much was going to change. That I could still do it all. And to be honest, I still did - to my own detriment. I still planned Christmas, made a roast lunch, made travel plans for family members, cooked, cleaned, did laundry and shopped for last minute gifts. All the while attached to a tiny human. But after 45 hrs of labour my shattered body was tired and I was still giving 100% of me.

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What I didn’t expect was how much becoming a Mum would shape my future destiny when I allowed myself to stop and appreciate it. I studied hard and became a Lactation Educator and then a Doula. I also made it my mission to connect and support women and families by opening this space Beaches Baby, here at the Harbord Diggers.

So in my time becoming a new crunchy version of myself, here are some things that I have learnt about the 4th trimester:

Your partner needs to protect your space

My number 1 most important rule. My hubby knows, that I need a few days post birth to sit and feed non stop, to get a little rest and to get all hippy dippy and be skin to skin most of the time. That means no visitors until breastfeeding is well established. 4 days minimum (longer if you can). Don’t feel guilty for needing or asking for this time. It’s crucial. For you, for baby, for Dad / Partner. You need no expectations put on you, no showing off your baby and trying to look like you have it all together. Just be a naked hot mess if you need to be. The tears will come, your boobs will engorge, the love will flow. Allow it all in and roll with every emotion. You can’t do that easily if your space is interrupted. The baby won’t change in 4 days - everyone can and should wait.

People who help without asking are the best ones to have in your life.

I am the type that isn’t going to say that I am drowning and need assistance. And if someone asks me what I need done, I am 99% likely to say “nothing” and offer to make THEM a tea and something to eat. People who just come and put on a load laundry, wipe down the kitchen, make you a tea, bring you food, entertain your toddler / puppy etc are worth their weight in gold. I have spent far too many wasted hours wondering if I have done enough for other people and now realise that there are some people that genuinely want to help and I should be letting them. New Mums also don’t need another decision to make so people asking new mums what they need doing, isn’t overly helpful!

Products that make a difference

Ladies, lets talk haemorrhoids - Nasty little buggers or in my case, gigantic golf ball sized bast%&rds that made my life hell and rendered me unable to sit or walk for 6 weeks. There are some amazing products out there that can provide relief from them and from tearing / stitches.

Tend Her Pads available at Beaches Baby.

Tend Her Pads available at Beaches Baby.

Pariday Tend Her Feminine Cold Packs are one of those products.
They are silicone gel pads that live in the freezer and don’t freeze solid so they sit comfortably in your knickers or on your incision line and give you instant sweet cool relief. They are from the US and we stock them on purpose because they actually work.

So much better than the ice cubes they gave me in hospital (seriously WTF?!). I also had a range of sprays and gels in the US as I was living there, so anything that you can buy that is a numbing spray or a lidocaine gel is also part of the routine.

A peri bottle with warm water to wash your lady parts after each bathroom visit is also a must.

Appreciating the moment

IVF war wounds.

IVF war wounds.

Even though I am starting to become quite uncomfortable in my own body, after a miscarriage and an unexpected journey of IVF to get here, I am truly grateful for the opportunity to be able to carry this baby and nourish him or her. So taking time to remember that it isn’t forever and appreciating it for what it is, is so important.

Medical and Allied Health Professionals that care and take you seriously

GP’s, OB’s, Midwives, Lactation Consultants, Post Partum Doulas, Acupuncture, Chiro, Physio, Osteo, Homepathic - whatever works for you. If you have these people that care about what is happening to your body, and truly listen to you, you are halfway there. See them & See Them EARLY. They have tricks, you don’t need to suffer in silence or alone.

Food

Having a baby is seriously hungry work! Fruits, nuts, healthy muffins, fresh bread, juice, tea and lots of water. Food you can grab at a moments notice with no preparation is best. Better yet, helpers that bring you cooked food!

Comfortable Surroundings

Nursing Pillows like the Boppy which we also have in store, a Great Rocking Chair (ideally with rocking footrest), the TV remote with a list of shows to binge watch and your phone (although your late night shopping habit will get a workout!) and lots of water.

Post-Partum Care

Ideally hire a post-partum Doula for all of your everyday needs or someone like Jackie Gorman from Nurture By Touch who comes in and does nothing but look after you and the baby, belly massage, wrapping & binding - BLISS!

Finding your Village

When you are ready to step back into the world, take it slow but make the steps to find your people. Join a mothers group, attend fun baby classes, take part in parenting workshops, we reccomend signing your husband up for Dad club. Also, join a mums & bubs fitness class where you can take your baby (yes I know they are all things we offer, but there is a reason for that. They help!). Talk to the stranger in the supermarket or the coffee shop, join local community groups like Freshie Families or a similar one in your area. Get some fresh air and wander down to the park or the mall or the beach. Put yourself out of your comfort zone and say hi to the other mum on her own and talk about life. Connect with the people who will become your village.

Allow yourself to be vulnerable

Becoming a mum is an exciting, wonderful crazy ride and we are so lucky to be blessed with the journey. But you need to let yourself find your way, be vulnerable and make this your personal journey of discovery. You will learn so much about who you are, where you came from and the type of parent you want to be just by sitting with your child.

Set some time aside for your former self

There is still your former self to think about. What did you love to do before your baby came along? What was your thing? Going for breakfast? Reading? Walking? Sport? Meditation? Find time at least once a week to try and capture that former me time back.

Attend our 4th Trimester workshop

Come along to our workshop and morning tea this Saturday 28th and talk all things self care and meet some other pregnant mummas.

As I near the end of this pregnancy, I am taking a small step back from Beaches Baby. I am still on the emails - info@beachesbaby.com.au so please feel free to reach out anytime but my physical presence in the space is getting harder to do so and I will be in and out.

Shane my amazing husband and supporter will still be around, helping here and there in the shop so please say hi or encourage your husbands to have a chat with him (he runs our awesome Dad Club!).

The amazing team of Sally and Jo will be in the shop during the week and our newest recruit Tiana has started on the weekends. Pop in anytime for a chat with these amazing women.

For now, take care of yourself, be selfish, this time is fleeting and doesn’t last forever.

Much love

Peta xo

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Beaches Baby - 1 Month In

Wow! I cannot believe we have been open for 1 month already!

1st of all, let me say a huge Thank You!

Thank you for embracing us. For all of the beautiful conversations we have already had, for bringing in your gorgeous children, for trying our classes, for telling your friends and for giving us so much encouragement - It truly means the world.

Thank you also to all the people who helped us bring this vision to life along the way. From family and friends to people in the industry, to our builders and of course the amazing Harbord Diggers.

I started Beaches Baby as a way of connecting people in parenting. To shake the isolation of parenthood. The help people find resources. To start conversations.

I am so proud to say that we have already connected some beautiful isolated Mums to each other and they now have a little group that catches up, they feel like they have known each other forever.

I am also proud that we have helped a Mum struggling with the physical side of recovery post birth find out about access to Medicare covered Physio that she didn’t previously know was available.

We have talked with Mums about relationship breakdown, physical post birth trauma and becoming parents of two children.

I’m proud that we have a Dad’s Club starting this Sunday and I know we are going to achieve amazing things there. It’s a space, run by a Dad, for Dads to connect them so they have their own safe space to share and connect and have fun with their little ones.

We have so much further to go.

We will continue having important conversations with everyone that walks into our space. Our staff and teachers are all incredibly kind and have the experience of having been where you are.

We are bringing some amazing experts in for some important and informative workshops on Saturdays for the rest of the year.

Want to know how to talk to your kids about their bodies, strangers and know concerning signs without scaring them or yourself? Then Kate Fylan’s Share Don’t Scare workshop is for you.

She also has a workshop about Understanding the Preschooler Mindset.

Jackie Gorman is a postnatal guru! She specialises in taking care of Mums in the 4th Trimester (the first 3 months post birth). Our Morning Tea and 4th Trimester Workshop will help you understand how to take care of yourself in this important life transition.

Helena Mooney from Parenting with Play will be running workshops on how to deal with tantrums and toddlers!

Mitch from Beaches First Aid is running our Family First Aid class.

And our classes including our Mums & Bubs Yoga / Meditation / Art Sensory / Music and more will be continuing with more being added as we fill our spaces.

So much to look forward to!

We are so happy that you love the range of beautiful products we have in store, we are carefully curating useful products and some adorable gifts and toys.

Check out some of the pics from our 1st month and we cannot wait to welcome you in for more activities, conversations, education and fun!

Lots of love,

Peta & the Beaches Baby Team!

xo