The Daisy Foundation Coronavirus

Keeping our communities up to date on the most recent news relating to the Coronavirus and our response.

The journey from pregnancy through to toddlerhood is often one filled with uncertainty and new challenges, and we are very aware at Daisy just how our current health climate may impact you.

We know that the situation and guidance is changing daily, and we are taking our response very seriously, believing we all have a duty to be a part of the solution.

This page will be kept up to date with any changes in policy as and when the guidance changes.

To access the most up to date information:

NHS – Coronavirus

Information for pregnant women and their families from The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Royal College of Midwives and Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Department of Health & Social Care – for updated Government policy, response and information on self-isolation.

UK Wide Summary – 1st September 2021

At each stage of the pandemic journey we have ensured we are operating fully in alignment with the latest Government guidelines and are placing the health and wellbeing of our communities first. We have responded quickly to every change and commit to continuing to do so as we navigate the COVID journey together.

At this time across all areas of the UK all Daisy classes and workshops are permitted to be delivered in-person. All Daisy Teachers are now supporting their communities in person, with the exception of Daisy Mama (which is both offered as an online and/or in-person at the discretion of the Daisy Local Teacher) and in 1:1 services where requested. This of course is under constant review and should any restrictions be re-introduced we will act accordingly.

At this time our policy is reflected below:

COVID-19 Customer Charter

At Daisy we are excited to return to in-person classes. The health and safety of our clients and teachers is paramount. We aim to balance government guidance around the safe, welcoming and nurturing ethos of our classes. To keep you safe, we pledge to do the following:

  • Only to deliver in-person classes and workshops when it is permitted in line with Government restrictions, and to ensure any and all changes to local/regional guidance measures are acted upon as a matter of urgency.
  • Only permit pre-booked clients to enter class to ensure we have the relevant contact details and updated medical questionnaire for all participants and can limit numbers to ensure any current social distancing measures can be honoured, and assist track and trace when necessary.
  • Teach in person only where teachers are free of any symptoms of COVID-19.

Some of our measures that have been applied at varying points in the COVID response journey may still be respected by individual teachers at their discretion:

  • Ensure all clients are spaced 1 metres + apart or in some cases 2 mt.
  • Space classes out to allow for adequate cleaning between groups.
  • Clean all hard surfaces between classes.
  • Sanitise all equipment between classes.
  • Sanitise hands at the beginning and end of every class.
  • Ensure a regular cleaning regime for high traffic areas (door handles, bathrooms, hallways).
  • Ask you to bring your own equipment for classes (mats/blanket etc).
  • Offer you pre-sanitised baby toys for your own use in Daisy Baby Wrigglers and Cruisers classes.
  • Ensure your ‘home-base’ socially distant area is clearly marked in all Daisy Baby classes.
  • Provide hand sanitiser and ensure hand washing facilities are accessible from all classes.
  • Follow guidance for ventilation within teaching environments, leaving windows open.
  • Follow guidance where required for the wearing of face masks in common areas of venues and ensure all changes to guidelines are adhered to. We are adopting a policy of ‘Wear your mask till you reach your mat’ as a minimum.
  • Make any appropriate amendments to class content so as to minimise risk, including but not limited to singing in baby classes.

In return we would ask that our clients help us to maintain this safe environment by following the guidelines below:

  • Do not come to class if you (or your baby) has had any symptoms of Covid-19 (you must follow government guidance to self-isolate).
  • Respect the guidance in relation to the wearing of face masks whenever and wherever they are required, or it is possible. We ask to you to adopt a ‘wear the mask until you reach the mat’ approach as a minimum where possible and respect the guidance for your UK region.
  • Sanitise your hands upon arrival and leaving class – there will be sanitiser available.
  • Exercise patience upon arrival and departure to avoid congestion around doorways and common areas – respecting others and adhering to the 2 metres social distancing guidelines at all times.
  • Arrive on time (and leave promptly) for your class to allow for the increased cleansing time between classes to take place.
  • Bring any equipment to class that your teacher has suggested in your welcome email for your specific class – this may include yoga mat, cushion or your baby’s favourite instrument or rattle etc.
  • Adopt the ‘catch it and bin it’ method for all coughs and sneezes – and ensuring all soiled tissues, nappies, wet-wipes or other waste is collected and disposed of at home.
  • Understand that we may need to make small alterations to sections of class if we believe it to minimise the risk – this may impact singing in class, babies touching the book in wrigglers and cruisers etc.

By committing to this charter, and asking you to follow it too, we can relax and enjoy being back at in-person classes and enjoying the Daisy Magic as safely as we possibly can!

Daisy’s top priority is helping all of our communities to stay safe – but that being said, pandemic or not – our absolute priority is providing a safe space in which expectant and new mums/families can be assured of informed education, unconditional support and community. It is our responsibility to ensure that this service is continued for you and all Daisy Teachers have strategies in place to support continued service.

We understand how lonely and confusing it can be under normal circumstances throughout pregnancy, birth and the early parenting days – we will absolutely be here for you to help you stay connected, supported and to access the education Daisy excels at.

Antenatal Depression

Antenatal Depression – it’s real and it’s scary!

Finding out I was pregnant should have been a wonderful thing. Having a baby is exciting! A new chapter, a new beginning and the start of our family. To be honest, after the initial shock, it was. I was lucky with my first that I didn’t feel too sick. A bit nauseous, but it didn’t interfere with my life. I was just extremely tired. As I got towards six weeks pregnant, something didn’t feel right. I felt really low and I had no enjoyment in anything in my life. Even getting out of bed each morning was a struggle. Gradually, each day it started to feel like a big cloud was descending over me. I put it down to normal pregnancy hormones and carried on.

When I was seven weeks pregnant, my husband and I went away to Portugal where we told his mum we were expecting a baby in December. She was over the moon, but I felt nothing. No joy, no happiness. Just total and utter dread. What would my life be like with a baby? I saw parents with their children playing on the beach and felt sheer terror. I had an overwhelming feeling that I did not want my life to change. I did not want a baby, this baby. My husband, though sympathetic, could not really understand and kept saying I should be happy. It was actually during this holiday that he proposed to me. Of course, I said yes; but I was not happy, I had no rush of joy. I just felt numb.

These feelings continued for weeks but still, I put it down to hormones; to feeling sick, to feeling a bit scared at this new stage in my life. When I was fourteen weeks pregnant, I woke up one morning and remember my head felt clear, like a massive weight had been lifted off my shoulders. It felt absolutely incredible. I felt free. My life was good and my baby was healthy. The rush of joy and exhilaration finally came! It was then I realised that maybe I had been suffering from depression. It was not just the usual pregnancy blues. I found something I had written during the first trimester questioning the point of life. What was the point of doing anything if we just die in the end anyway? No one will remember you and you will not remember your life so what is the point? I don’t remember feeling suicidal and I really do not think I was. These feelings were a manifestation of my depression. It was frightening finding that though.

I found out I was pregnant for a second time, when my son was eighteen months old. A surprise, but a happy one. When I was 6 weeks pregnant, I got the same sinking feeling. I felt the cloud descend over me, taking me back to that dark abyss. I felt panic at how having a baby would affect my son who was still breastfeeding, and that he didn’t deserve to have his little world turned upside down. I felt numb, I felt no joy or happiness at all. I was much sicker this time and even considered terminating the pregnancy; something I would never do in my normal frame of mind. I spent my days lay on the sofa feeling sorry for myself. I was lucky to have a good support network to help look after my son, but I am saddened that I remember very little from that stage in his infanthood. I feel like I was missing for a chunk of his life. When I was sixteen weeks pregnant, I woke up one morning feeling light and free. The weight had gone and my head was clear. This time I told my midwife exactly what it was, although all she did was note that I was more likely to suffer postnatal depression; thankfully I didn’t either time.

The PANDAS foundation suggests that one in ten pregnant women will suffer from depression at some point during pregnancy, and around one in thirty will suffer both antenatal and postnatal depression. The triggers for antenatal depression can be physical, emotional or social. I think mine was caused by the hormonal changes or imbalances of the first trimester as it lifted when I was into the second. Antenatal depression is still not widely recognised, with most people putting it down to hormones, rather than real depression. This is not useful for those suffering from it as it can be completely debilitating. It may also be hard to admit how you feel; you have a new life growing inside you and you should feel ecstatic, right? If you think what you are feeling is more than ‘normal’ pregnancy blues, do seek support. Talk to your midwife, be honest with family and friends. It is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of and does not mean you will not love your baby. Antenatal Depression is most definitely real and it is a very scary place to be in.

Daisy x

(Blog contributed by one of our Daisy Teachers Chloe Sena)

Useful Links


The beginner’s guide to breastfeeding

The Beginner’s Guide to Breastfeeding…

Your breast milk is tailored to your own baby’s needs and gives them everything they need for the first 6 months of their lives – which is seriously amazing. You, your baby and your boobs are amazing. It also changes throughout the day, containing more sleep-inducing properties at night to help your baby sleep. The suckling of your baby on your breast creates oxytocin which is the love drug that in turn is responsible for the let-down, or release of your milk (among other incredible things!), so it’s a perfect circle whereby the more your baby suckles, the more milk is made: something you may hear referred to as ‘supply and demand’ or ‘on-demand’ feeding. It’s biologically ‘normal’ and as women have been breastfeeding since the dawn of time, it should be second nature right? Well yes, it is and no, it isn’t.

If you are wondering what to expect from breastfeeding, whether you’re a first-timer or need a refresher’s course, here’s a few pointers.

Expect bigger breasts – engorged, massive milky orbs even; leaking milk – usually over your favourite top and usually when you are out and about and have forgotten to wear breast pads.

Expect a lot of advice thrown at you from strangers, and ‘well-meaning’ family members, most of it unprompted, contradictory and confusing – take all of it with a pinch of salt and trust your own instincts (and step away from internet search engines late at night – they don’t know your baby!)

Expect to get your boobs out a LOT, but to stop caring who sees them after a while – the postman, your uncle, the cat, they will all get an eyeful at some point, but it doesn’t matter as they aren’t boobs anymore, they are mighty milk-making machines. Expect to feel a bit like a dairy cow as you sit pinned to the sofa with a hungry babe perma-guzzling from your breast or/and a whirring plastic breast pump attached to the other boob – you will learn how to take multi-tasking to a whole new level, which is something we should be able to add to our CVs really.

Expect to love and loathe the feel of a hot shower hitting your boobs at the same time – great for helping ease those aching bosoms but not so good when the water spray hits a sore, tender nipple (ouch). Expect to only choose items of clothing and bras based on how easy it is to whip your boobs out at the first sign of your baby licking their lips, and how well the milky dribble or spit up will wash off after a feeding session (satin, velvet and silk are big no-no’s for a while).

Expect an emotional roller coaster – you will feel high on oxytocin and more in love with your baby than ever and like the greatest mother in the world when feeding is going well, followed shortly by feeling like a massive mum failure for not being able to read your baby’s hunger cues before they start crying/or for your baby doing a taboo green poo (which at some point early on they will probably do no matter what you do – it can be for many reasons, not just that they aren’t getting enough breastmilk, so always seek advice and don’t blame yourself. Easier said than done we know!)

The truth is, breastfeeding can be really hard and it may hurt both physically and emotionally in the first few weeks, and that is really important to know before you start. If it doesn’t ‘click’ into place at first, that’s normal. It takes several weeks to get into a groove and to establish your supply, which is why feeding on demand when your baby wants it, and not trying to stick to a schedule or set timings between feeds, is so important. If it hurts and you can’t seem to get it right on your own, that’s ok. There are gels {lanolin cream or paraffin gauges will be your ‘breast’ friends}, cold cabbage leaves (just remember to take them out afterwards or they will start to pong!) and other tricks like dabbing a bit of your own breast milk on your sore nipple after a feed, that can help to ease the physical aspects. And if you feel like giving up in those first few days, or even later on, because it’s all too much, reach out for help. If you can make it past the first 6 weeks, you are more likely to continue breastfeeding up to and even beyond 6 months, which is so beneficial for your baby. Ask for all the help and emotional support you can get from midwives, health visitors, local breastfeeding support groups, the National Breastfeeding Helpline, lactation consultants, friends, family, your partner and of course your Daisy mums network, and stick with it if you can.

Comfortable and happy breastfeeding is mainly down to two things: your baby’s latch, and your comfort. Concentrate on getting the latch right and finding a comfortable position for both of you to sustain for long periods of time through the day and night and you will be winning. Cushions are your friends; those half-moon pregnancy sleeping pillows can be re-purposed into a handy nursing pillow and holding your baby in your arms for extended periods of time, when you are probably also sleep-deprived, can be exhausting, so don’t forget pillows to support your arms too. Whatever helps you to be comfortable in turns helps you produce more milk for your baby and it is so important to stay hydrated as dehydration can diminish your milk supply, so always keep water to hand (and using a straw can really help you to still be able to drink when your arms are otherwise engaged holding your baby), and keep your energy up with frequent snacks (and yes, we do mean cake and biscuits, as well as fruit and nuts of course for balance!).

It’s important to remember that you and your baby are learning this together so don’t get too cross or upset if it takes a while to master – its new to you both, so give each other time and reassurance and you’ll get there. Asking your partner, friends and family to give you extra support and encouragement and to bring you drinks and snacks, lend you a box set or 10 etc.. is a hugely important motivator.

There will probably be ups & let-downs, sore nipples, full engorged breasts, leaky boobs, cluster feedings, long nights spent waking and worrying if you have enough milk or if you should wake your sleeping baby for a feed. There will be long feeding sessions where you feel like your baby will never detach from your breast (they will, they are probably just having a long feed to send signals to increase your milk supply because babies and boobs are clever like that), and really short feeds where they may just be thirsty or need the comfort of your nipple in their mouth. Anywhere from 5 mins – 2 hours a boob are all completely ‘normal’ feeding times in the first few weeks as you both establish a routine and build up your milk supply to your baby’s own specific needs.

Getting your baby’s latch right is the first step to breastfeeding well, and this isn’t always as easy as just bringing them to your boob and hoping they will do the rest. You will probably be told about or read up on what to look out for to make sure the latch is right: baby’s nose next to your nipple, wide open mouth, head back and able to move freely, rounded cheeks, swallowing, good sucking rhythm, ‘ka’ sounds meaning that baby is taking in and swallowing milk etc .. but how do you really know if it’s right? Simply speaking, if the latch is right, your baby will be satisfied after a feed, they will have plenty of wet and dirty nappies filled with canary yellow poo (that’s the holy grail, as yellow poo = your baby is getting a good supply of milk), they will be gaining weight well and most importantly be happy and healthy. The best way to check that all of this is happening is to ask an expert. Get your midwife or health visitor to check your latch regularly, as you can start off well and then a baby can just forget how to breast feed, so never feel like you are wasting their time by getting things checked, that’s what they are there for so use them!

It also shouldn’t be too painful if your baby is latching well, of course there can be other factors, such as long feeding sessions that can make your nipples feel rather tender, but if you have consistently sore, cracked or bleeding nipples, or a burning sensation in your breasts, then don’t suffer in silence. All of these are common problems that can often be put right with a simple adjustment to your feeding position, checking that latch, looking after yourself better or ruling out tongue tie which can make it hard for your baby to feed efficiently. There are so many places to turn to for help and advice (other than search engines!) so always ask.

Breastfeeding is different for every mum and baby team and what worked well for one duo, might not for you and yours. Trust in your own rhythm and routine and try not to get hung up on what other mums or baby ‘experts’/books say is the ideal breastfeeding pattern, or try to avoid counting every feed and duration and worrying about the correct intervals between feeds – newsflash: there are no correct intervals, normal amounts of feeding or lengths of feeds! Each baby is different, and so is each feed. Remember that sometimes you only want a gulp of water and a biscuit (well, maybe two), and other times you want the all-you-can-eat buffet, your baby is just the same.

The frequency and amount of time your baby needs to feed are up to your baby, and if you feed on demand and learn to pick up on your baby’s feeding cues (rooting, bringing hands to mouth, lip smacking etc..) and respond to them before they get too hungry and start crying, which can make latching trickier, rather than trying to follow a time pattern, you will be both be better off. Find what works for you and your baby, and remember that breastfeeding is the ultimate in teamwork and an ever-evolving skill. You’ve got this mamas!

Daisy x

(Blog contributed by one of our Daisy Teachers – Ceri Elms)




Kate and Esme – A positive birth story

Our ‘Kate and Esmé – A positive birth story’ is shared as told to Kate’s Daisy teacher Carrie.

“Esmé Elizabeth Rose was born 03.03.17 9:47pm weighing 7lb 9.5oz at Cossham birth centre. So as you know I’d been getting random on off contractions for a number of weeks which was partly due to a uti & I think my body was generally gearing up for the big day…

Last Friday the big day came as we were on our way out of the door for mine & hubby’s birthday meal at 6:20pm when I had 1 random very strong contraction which came from nowhere & lasted around 45 seconds, it was hard to talk through. 3 minutes after that came another then 6 minutes after the first. I said to Sam ”probably another false alarm, they’ll die off I’ll call Cossham to tell them on the way to the restaurant”… I was mistaken.
Cossham advised me to go in immediately as I couldn’t speak at all through them at this point!

When I arrived at Cossham (todler in tow as Mum was on her way to get Ethan) they had the birth pool ready with candles. They quickly assessed me where at this point contractions were 2 in 5 minutes lasting a minute, I was surprisingly only 3cm but continued into the pool for pain relief. I had my Daisy music playing, rotating my hips to dilate in the pool & using my Daisy breaths through each contraction. I used the sides of the pool to lean over through each contraction & at the beginning of the pushing stage I used my favourite breath (the out breath) until i did a last minute turn into a seated position with my feet up on the sides of the pool & breathed Esmé out into the world only 3 hours after arriving at Cossham! I had no pain relief at all! She is perfect & doing very well. Her big brother loves her”.

Thank you to Kate for sharing with us!
Daisy x

Feel the fear and ‘up-cycle’ it in to something useful!

Last week I taught a special class that was filmed by national TV to feature in a popular show; it felt daunting, scary even and yet I knew I could conquer that fear. I could kind of relate the way I felt to birth (hey, I’m a pregnant antenatal educator so I can relate lots of things back to birth).

These emotions are a part of us and trying to deny these feelings is to try to stem the flow of something meaningful without really getting to the heart of the matter.

Do you think we’d be better off if we could approach birth realistically by feeling that fear, acknowledging it but yet not allowing it to overwhelm us? Instead we can use it, harness that nervous energy in a way that is productive by focusing on the goal that we so desire that sits on the other side of fear. We can devour information, learning and preparing thoroughly for whatever it is that we are approaching with trepidation, and in doing so are able to convert some of that fear into excitement as the moment nears, and exhilaration as it begins to unfold.

The alternative is a risky one, putting our fears into a metaphorical ‘box’, stuffing it under the bed and hoping that nobody or nothing can open that box. I rather like thinking of it as kind of ‘up-cycling’ our fears and anxieties so that they can evolve from being defunct and of no useful purpose to something that has value in and of itself. The process of crafting and making it happen is cathartic and the sense of accomplishment makes that conversion all the more rewarding.

In childbirth, as in life, there’s no one magic ‘method’ that will work for everyone. Imagine, if you trained everyone for a marathon in exactly the same way, without taking into account their unique strengths and challenges. And then, when you get to the start line, you realise that no two runners are taking the same path anyway. If you don’t know which path you’ll be taking then you’d best prepare for all eventualities, even though you know you’ll probably not need all those different techniques. The same is true of labour.

This is one of the reasons I love teaching Daisy Birthing classes, because we’re not about walking one path to achieving a positive birth. We combine so many different aspects in supporting mums along their birthing journey so that as theirs unfolds, they can call upon whatever feels right for them. We’re about cutting through the static noise that is negativity from others, self doubt and an entrenched attitude sometimes displayed by society that implies women don’t know how to give birth and re-tuning you back into your own way of giving birth, supporting you to make informed choices that are right for you and your baby.

I was still thrown a bit of an unexpected curveball during my filmed session last week, showing that in fact you can’t always be entirely prepared for all eventualities. And yet, all that preparation I had done stood me in good stead to ‘roll with it’ and to deal with it in a way that was consistent and in line with my own values and ethos. Had I started off from a place with that unharnessed fear and nervousness, I’ve no doubt I would have been less rational and logical in handling things on the day. And whilst I won’t reflect back on that session as being ‘text book’ perfect as I may have imagined in my mind’s eye, I do still feel that I was in control of the situation and did the best I could in the circumstances.

If we as women can reflect back on our birthing experiences in a similar way and we are able to feel a sense of pride in how we were able to trust our instincts on our birthing day, asking questions to allow us to make choices if we needed to, then perhaps we would also feel more able to be kind and gentle to ourselves as our journey along parenting unfolds, a common thread that arose during discussions at a Positive Birth Movement meeting I facilitated here in Havering over the weekend.

So let’s not deny it if we feel a little fearful in the lead up to birth, nor feel that we can pack it away where it magically can’t be seen or heard. As Albert Einstein wrote, ‘energy can’t be destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another’. Mamas, let’s use that nervous energy, invest it in our learning and hunger for knowledge, use it in our movements and exertions of giving birth and eventually, see it be re-invented as we cradle the fruits of our labour in our arms. x

Daisy x

(Contributed by our Essex teacher Lynn Zanatta)


The hormonal rollercoaster of pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period.

Finding out you are pregnant can be a wonderful thing. You may have planned it for months, been trying for years, or it could be a complete surprise. In the space of a three minute window and those two lines appearing; your life has changed forever. Understanding a little more about the hormonal changes you will experience during pregnancy, birth and postnatally, can help you understand more about what your body and mind is going through.

The first hormone you may feel the effects of is HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin). This is produced by the placenta after implantation and doubles every 72 hours. It reaches its peak around 8-11 weeks and then will start to decline and level off. Unfortunately, HCG can produce some unwanted side effects, like nausea; or sickness. ‘Morning’ sickness is actually a bit of a myth as some women will suffer all day. If you find you are being severely sick and not able to keep anything down, even water; you may be suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum. This can be completely debilitating and often requires hospital treatment.

The levels of oestrogen and progesterone increase during pregnancy. These wonderful hormones are in part responsible for the intensity and wide range of emotions you may feel. Don’t worry if you are laughing your socks off one minute, and crying in to your coffee the next. It is normal, and all part and parcel of being pregnant. These hormones are also responsible for many of the symptoms you will experience during pregnancy. Breast tenderness, increased sensitivity to smells, heart burn, bloating; to name but a few. Its glamourous being pregnant isn’t it? The increase in progesterone can also be why you can feel absolutely exhausted during the first trimester and like you could fall asleep at any moment. This should start to ease off as your body adjusts to the hormone levels towards the second trimester.

You may feel happy, elated, anxious, depressed, worried and many more emotions in between during your pregnancy. Some women are more sensitive to the hormonal changes than others. Antenatal Depression is very real, with Tommy’s charity suggesting it affects around 1 in 10 pregnant women. If at any point your emotions become difficult to deal with; speak to your family, partner, midwife or GP. However, please know that it is normal to experience a wide range of emotions during pregnancy and you should feel free to blame anything and everything on those pesky hormones!

The hormone oxytocin helps prepare the body to give birth. This hormone is affectionately referred to as the love hormone and is responsible for making us feel good when we hug, kiss or make love. It acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain and stimulates the contractions which cause the cervix to dilate. It also helps the baby move down the birth canal, to birth the placenta and also limit bleeding at the site of the placenta. Amazing. It’s not my favourite hormone for nothing! Low levels of oxytocin can mean the contractions may slow, or stop and become less efficient. To keep oxytocin levels high, it is important to remain relaxed and calm, limit disturbances and keep the atmosphere peaceful and serene, in order to keep adrenaline levels low. Finding out more about how your body works during labour can have a powerful effect on the way you feel about your birth experience.

Your baby is here! Congratulations. Although, the rollercoaster doesn’t end yet. The postnatal period can be one of immense joy, but also comes with a realisation at the sudden responsibility for your little one. I am a huge believer in the 4th trimester, and it being a period of adjustment for both you and your baby. Those same hormones are still lingering post birth and are responsible for your mood swings between overwhelming happiness one second, to crying because you can’t find your slippers the next. Or falling apart at the seams because your partner brought you Maltesers instead of Smarties; I mean seriously, how hard is it?! Over the first week, you may experience what is referred to as the ‘baby blues’ where you feel very teary and emotional. This is normal. If however, the feelings last for much longer, do seek support if you need it. The build-up of pregnancy hormones means your hair can become thick, lush and shiny during pregnancy. Around three months post birth, you will regrettably start to lose your gorgeous locks.

The hormonal rollercoaster you embark on when you find out your pregnant can be amazing, exciting, thrilling and downright terrifying at times. Jump on, and enjoy the ride!

Daisy x

(Contributed by our Cheshire teacher Chloe Sena)

The curse of colic


Being a new mum bought with it many challenges, some I expected – like sleepless nights, constant nappy changing and baby sick – but I didn’t expect that I would have a crying baby who couldn’t be consoled, no matter what I did.

Starting every day at 5pm, my two week old baby would start screaming. I walked him around, rocked him, fed him, changed his nappy, sang songs, gave him a bath, winded him, walked him around some more, rocked him again and so it went on and on. It was exhausting.

The health visitor said it was colic. She said that I could give him over-the-counter medicine, which might or might not work, but he would get better by 4 months of age. It seemed like a long time away but she was right. By 4 months of age, I had a different baby and evenings were no longer the most exhausting time of the day. (That changed to 3am!)

If you have a colicky baby, you probably know the feelings of desperation and frustration as you try to soothe your baby and nothing seems to help. Like me, you have probably tried rocking, walking, feeding day after day to no avail.

If breastfeeding, you may have found that you offer milk to help calm your screaming baby. As they quieten on the breast, you can breathe again, but when your baby finishes, the crying starts again, so you offer the other breast. Evenings may start to become a cycle of crying, feeding, crying from colic, feeding to soothe, crying from colic, feeding to soothe. This can make nipples sore and crack, making breastfeeding painful and increasing the challenges of coping with a colicky baby.

If you are a mum with a colicky baby, let me tell you one thing – you are not alone (30% of babies are estimated to have colic) and it does get better. In the meantime, this will help you to understand what colic is and give you tips to ease colic.

So what is colic?

There is no medical test for colic so doctors diagnose colic using the definition created by Dr. Morris Wessel, who conducted a study on babies who cried excessively for no obvious reason. His definition of a colicky infant (that doctors still use today) was a child who cried for more than 3 hours a day, for more than 3 days a week, for over 3 weeks.

What causes the constant crying is unclear – sorry that this isn’t what you want to hear when your baby is crying every day – but there are a few theories that may help.

One of these theories is that colic is a pain in the stomach that is caused by an immature digestive system. This suggestion fits with the typical high pitched scream and legs pulled up to the stomach that babies with colic present with.

As colic usually occurs in the evening, some suggest it is a result of a sensory overload throughout the day that accumulates by the evening. The baby can’t switch off and so becomes stressed and shows this through physical actions such as arching the back, screaming, squirming and jerky movements.

There is also the theory that colic is a result of the fourth trimester where it is thought a baby is not ready for life outside the womb and therefore reacts to this by crying. This is supported by the fact that most babies grow out of colic by 3 months.

Other possibilities…

Some babies who cry uncontrollably and who have been diagnosed with colic, may have other underlying conditions which also cause crying.

One of these conditions is acid reflux, a painful condition when the muscular valve allows stomach acid to come up into the oesophagus. This can cause discomfort which can present itself by arching away, refusing to feed and crying. A more severe condition is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which requires medical treatment.

Another one of the more common medical causes of excessive crying is cow’s milk protein intolerance. This condition can affect babies who drink formula that contains cow’s milk. It can also affect breastfed babies whose mothers consume cow’s milk products.

Tongue tie affects 4% – 11% of newborn babies. It is a condition that can prevent a correct latch when breastfeeding, which can then lead to colic.

A less common condition, but one which produces crying in young babies, is infantile migraine. Symptoms include intermittent head-holding, head tilting, ear-pulling, crying, irritability or vomiting.

How To Ease Colic

Just as there is no one cause, there is no one solution, but here are some suggestions that may help your colicky baby.

Medicines for colic, such as infacol, bring together all the small bubbles of gas that can get trapped so a baby can burp it out more easily, which may reduce stomach pains and the consequent crying.

Similarly, if a baby has colic due to digestive issues, a stomach massage may help. Circling the stomach in a clockwise direction can shift the gas downwards and out. Massages given during the day can help to prevent the build-up that may cause the excessive crying in the evening.

Using a baby sling with your baby in an upright position can be beneficial as the warmth and pressure of your body against your baby’s stomach reduces discomfort. Equally, a bath may help.

If bottle feeding, you could try different types of bottles and nipples to reduce the air that your baby is taking in. You may also wish to change formula to see if that improves the colic symptoms.

If breastfeeding, try avoiding foods that may cause gas in your baby. More common intolerances are dairy products, caffeine, spicy food and chocolate. Eliminate one possible cause for a few days and see if it makes a difference.

As some babies have colic due to sensory overload, try to keep the room that your baby is in calm, dim and quiet. Even a mobile phone screen near a newborn may be too much towards the end of the day when they are trying to unwind.

Trying to simulate the womb can help calm your colicky baby if they are less than 3 months. To recreate the womb, try swaddling them (or holding them tightly), swaying them in your arms in a sideways position or on the stomach, patting your baby’s bottom or back, making a sssshhhhh sound, and finally, suckling on a finger, dummy or breast.

As there may be a medical condition that is causing the excessive crying, you should discuss your baby’s symptoms with your doctor.

And Just For You…

If your baby has been diagnosed with colic, it is not unusual to feel alone and struggling to cope. You may be exhausted from trying to calm your baby and frustrated that your baby is still crying.

It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help. If you have a partner, maybe you could ask them to take care of your baby while you have a bath or a shower.

Don’t worry about the housework or any other jobs that you feel need doing. These can wait until you are less tired.

Talk to other mums. Trust me – you are not alone with a colicky baby. If you go to baby groups, mention that your baby has colic and you should receive support and understanding. There are also online forums and groups that will give you advice and kind words.

If the crying is getting to you and making you tense or angry, put your baby in bed, or give him to someone else to hold for a while, so that you can take some time out to feel calm again.


This will pass. I know that when you have a baby with colic, it seems to be never-ending, but it does get better. I know because I’ve been there. In the meantime, feel confident that you are doing the best for your baby and look after yourself.

Daisy x

(Contributed by our Telford Teacher Janette Davey)


Letting go for labour

The fear-tension-pain cycle – letting go for labour, ways to prepare your mind to release.

So you’re pregnant – congratulations! Now you’ve started to share the good news, we at the Daisy Foundation are willing to bet that you’ve started getting the horror stories – the failed inductions, the 3rd degree tears, the days long labour…right? In the words of Chandler Bing could that BE less helpful?

Think about your reaction when you got the last round of grim labour stories. You winced, you grimaced, you clenched your pelvic floor and tensed your knees together? Oh yes, that’s the good old fear factor – fight or flight – setting in. Fear makes your nervous system produce adrenaline, which increases your heart rate, makes your breathing shallower, blood diverts from your non-essential organs and your muscles tense. Perfectly understandable…but now think about where your baby’s going to come from. Uh huh. Your body being tense from your belly button to your knees isn’t going to help your baby on their way, is it? Your fear leads to tension, and tension leads to pain.

When adrenaline is produced in a labouring woman, it inhibits the production of two other hormones; oxytocin and endorphins. It’s these two hormones that are responsible for stimulating the contractions of the uterus, and for blocking the feelings of pain a woman feels. Without these present in sufficient quantities a woman’s labour will be longer, more stressful, and more painful than if we allow our bodies to limit the production of adrenaline.

So what if you were told that you can help prevent the pain of labour? Let’s start by looking at the fear aspect of the cycle. Fear of the unknown is a well-established phenomenon and it holds true in labour too. Just as each woman and each pregnancy is different, so too is each birth experience. For a first-time mum with no point of reference, the thought of pushing a baby out of a hole that small can be pretty terrifying. Reduce the unknown, however, and you can reduce the fear. And that’s where antenatal education comes in. A knowledgeable, informed woman is one who no longer fears the unknown. Now – no woman can plan their birth experience entirely, otherwise we’d all be having two-hour labours with no tearing or pooing (am I right?) but by becoming knowledgeable about the birth process, about the options available to you and about how you can influence the birth to be the best possible outcome on the day by playing the hand that’s dealt, then you can make it all a lot less scary. What’s more, by being so well prepared, this knowledge becomes innate and you won’t have to rouse yourself too much from your birth bubble to give consideration to anything that might need a decision from you. Coming out of that internally focussed zone allows adrenaline to creep up – not good for your oxytocin levels.

We’ve looked at how you can reduce your fear by preparing your cortex (your ‘thinking brain’, responsible for knowledge and decision making) ahead of the big day, but you can also prepare your limbic system (or ‘emotional brain’) to release fear. Now your limbic system is responsible for many things, one of which is your fight or flight reflex…yep, that again. And where knowledge and information can affect your cortex, we need a different language to speak to the emotional brain. Something that will help you exercise the part of the brain which switches on – and off – that adrenaline switch. This is where relaxations and visualisations come in. Using guided visualisations such as seeing each contraction as a wave building up in intensity, peaking and gently rippling away while in a state of pain-free relaxation can encourage your body to return to that state when anchoring itself to those visualisations in labour. Your breathing becomes easier and floods the body with oxygen, your muscles are relaxed and free of tension which makes each contraction more effective, you’re disassociated from feelings of pain which keeps oxytocin and endorphin levels high. Pretty impressive, right?

There’s another way to keep adrenaline, fear and tension out of the birthing room with you, and that’s the room itself. Imagine a stark white, brightly lit room that smells slightly of Dettol that hums with the electric lights. Now picture a dimly lit, warm room filled with your favourite scent and music. It’s unlikely you’re going to be feeling very comfortable in room number one. And if you’re not comfortable, if you don’t feel safe and secure, then your adrenaline will rise and your labour might stall. So really think about preparing your birth space to be a place where you can feel comfortable in. Many hospitals and birth centres are really accommodating at letting you take in goodies from home.

The most important thing to remind yourself in labour though? I trust my body to birth my baby. What we believe, our bodies can conceive!

Daisy x

(Contributed by one of our Cheshire Daisy teachers, Meg Hill)

Your emotional response might not be because of my post

Your emotional response might not be because of my post.

“We are committed to excellent education, unconditional support, informed choice…”

Excellent Education:

The commitment to excellent education means delivering the most up to date, science based FEDANT approved information that we have available.

Unconditional Support:

Means no judgement on any Daisy Teachers behalf about what you chose or why – ever.

Informed Choice:

Your choices, informed by your thoughts, feelings, emotions and knowledge. In the abridged words of January Harshe: I don’t care what birth you had, as long as you had choices.

Genuine Choice?

What makes us unique and wonderful is the fact that we are not all the same. How boring that would be?! Yet when it comes to pregnancy, birth and parenting it seems to be really hard to celebrate these differences.

Part of the reason for this difficulty is the sheer weight of emotion that goes with becoming a mother. We become tired, hormonal, perhaps anxious human beings looking after life at it’s most fragile and it is hard, very very hard to read about how CIO is “terrible” when we are on the very edge of sanity from exhaustion.

Are we really free to make genuine choices that are really our own? Is the mum who is unable to breastfeed because she has to return to work really making a choice? Is the the mum who uses sleep training really making a choice when she has no family around her to take the baby and allow her to rest? Is the mum who opts to use formula because she’s been told it will help her baby sleep really making a choice?

Your Emotional Response.

If you read an article or blog which does not fit with your life experience it may be that you can take it lightly, with a pinch of salt or just shrug it off as one of those things. You are quite happy with the choices you made, they are working for you, and that is great! Really great – I applaud the mums, dads and families amoung us who can allow themselves that degree of self love.

But for some of the reasons mentioned above you may feel a huge emotional response to articles which you read that don’t align with your personal experience or current emotional state. This is completely natural and normal – most likely everyone experiences emotions like this at some time or another. Reading words on the internet is also fraught with difficulty. Your own voice weighs in and you perhaps read accusation where warmth was intended.

Sometimes what we might actually be feeling is guilt or sorrow about our own past decisions and how it may or may not have affected our own children. We feel angry that we couldn’t have done it differently or that life and circumstance made it otherwise. We feel judged – but I wonder how much of that feeling of judgement comes from the words on the screen or our own critical inner voice, the sorrow, the feelings of personal failure, the internal struggle, the trauma experienced.

I have seen women lambast breastfeeding articles for ‘shaming’ women who can’t breastfeed because they themselves couldn’t. But reading on the actual reasons these women couldn’t breastfeed were astonishing – cancer survivors, auto-immune disease sufferers to say but a few. For these women this was never a choice, the choice was cruelly taken away. This is an extreme example to highlight the diffculty in unpicking the reasons that women and people feel upset, judged or angry about articles especially to do with pregnancy and parenting.

We have few spaces in modern society which allow a person space to fully experience their emotions without someone jumping in to share worse stories, offer a conciliatory ‘there there’ or roll out mantra’s such as ‘at least you have a healthy baby’.

Holding a space which is committed to excellent education but knowing that the sharing of such information may ellicit strong emotional responses in individuals is a tough balancing act and one that every Daisy teacher strives to achieve in person, online and with every mum and dad.

So if you recognise something in this blog or if you go on to read something which causes you pain and upset – that’s OK. You are allowed these feelings. But before you comment, before you berate yourself or the author or the person sharing – take a breath, count to three and figure out what it is you are upset about and be kind to yourself.

“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” Maya Angelou

Daisy x

(Contributed by our Sheffield teacher Fi Hennessy)

Does instinct overrule evidence when it comes to birth?

How can you best prepare to navigate your birth experience? There are those that will follow their instincts and trust in what they think or know their bodies are capable of – which is great! There are others who will consume every last shred of evidence they can get their hands on and make decisions accordingly – also brilliant. So how can you marry the two options – trust in your instinct or follow the evidence?

In an ideal world, mums to be would be fully informed of the choices she could make during pregnancy and labour. The information would be presented in a non-biased and non-threatening way. (1) She could take the time to assess the different options and be listened to and respected for her choices even if they went against current medical advice. Of course this does happen for many women accessing maternity care however for some the experience may feel different. So what is going on?

What is ‘instinct’? Do we all have it? And why is evidence important if we have instinct?

“an innate, typically fixed pattern of behaviour in animals in response to certain stimuli.” (2)

“the way people or animals naturally react or behave, without having to think or learn about it “(3)

Women are built to birth because we have done since the dawn of time. Our limbic brains run on hormones which when undisturbed will run the dance of labour and birth in almost magestic normality. Women who birth undisturbed demonstrate instinctive behaviours without being told to – they breathe through their noses and mouths, they sway and move, they moan and crouch, they seek privacy and dark, they adopt comfortable positions to ease their labour and birth their baby’s – they instinctively hold and stare at their newborns and smile the smile of love. So yes, in some respects we all have an instinct to birth.

Modern Instinct?

We tell mums to ‘trust your instincts,’ ‘of course you’ll know what to do’, ‘trust your body’ but at the same time bombard her daily with messages of how she can’t trust her instincts or her body or her baby. Time and again mums say that they didn’t really believe they were pregnant and it was so reassuring to see the scan picture. And from that scan we get growth charts and EDD’s and progressions and expectations and neat box ticking exercises which gently erode mums confidence that her body and baby are built to work together. Society tells mums what to eat, what not to eat, how much alcohol to drink or not drink, vitamins to take, activities to avoid and those to take part in. Is it any wonder that mums own instinct becomes harder for her to hear?


But sometimes it’s not as simple as just listening to your instinct, your instinct may tell you that a c’section is the right decision for you, that induction is ready for you – how do we balance the evidence we recieve about pregnancy and labour with our own instincts about what is right for us?

“the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.” (4)

Untangling the evidence can be a mine field. But it’s always worth asking questions of the evidence presented whoever is presenting it. What does the absolute risk versus the relative risk (5) how does this fit with your personal comfort with that risk? What do your instincts say at every point of gathering new information?

“Risk is a very personal concept and different women will consider different risks to be significant to them. Everything we do in life involves risk. So when considering whether to do X or Y there is no ‘risk free’ option. All women can do is choose the option with the risks they are most willing to take. However, in order to make a decision women need adequate information about the risks involved in each option. If a health care provider fails to provide adequate information they could be faced with legal action.” (6)

Balancing Instinct and Evidence

So where does that leave you? The mum approaching her labour to meet her new baby, perhaps over whelmed by the amount of evidence, advice and stories being fired across your path. The first thing to do is take a step back and have a big breath of air! (7) You’ve got this, you really do (8)

Secondly, make a plan – you don’t have to leave your instincts and evidence to chance, understanding your options means you have options. (9) Book a class (10) understand what it means to give birth and have a think about your options, where to give birth, how to manage your birth preferences, get your birth partner prepared. Balance your personal level of comfort with risk give your circumstance – don’t just go with the flow, after all you never know who’s flow you might end up going with.

Take the time NOW, this side of labour to consider the evidence and then when you and your baby are ready listen to and trust your instincts which will be the perfect balance of mind, body and soul for your labour, to meet your baby.

Lots of Love,
Daisy x

External Links.


Written for Daisy By Fi Hennessy, our Sheffield teacher.

A positive birth story – Baby Zain

A positive birth story – Baby Zain, born in hospital at 39 weeks…..

Just to let you know, I had baby yesterday at 4pm weighing 8 Ibs 4- the little pudding!!!


Labour wasn’t as bad as I thought- my waters broke at 11.30pm the night before (although didn’t realise it was my waters at the time!) then had contractions through the night but managed to get plenty of rest and sleep through some of them. The following morning, using all the useful techniques, centred breathing and eventually escalator breathing and positions from the classes, I coped with the contractions at home until they were approx. 2-3 mins apart lasting 40-60 seconds! Arrived at hospital at 2.30pm to discover I was already fully dilated!!

With a little help from gas and air, I was only pushing for around half an hour and then out popped our chunky monkey!! Also, he had moved from posterior to the ideal anterior position by the time labour began. The midwives were congratulating me on how well I coped with the pain being fully dilated by the time we reached hospital, but I have to say a lot of it was down to what you taught me in your classes! So thank you so much for helping me to have a calm, easier than I ever imagined labour!!

As told by Zane’s Mummy to her Daisy Teacher Charlotte Collins

Kate and Zachary – A positive birth story

Kate and Zachary – A positive birth story from The Daisy Foundation

(Tunbridge Wells classes with Anna Hayes) 2015

“I’m delighted to announce the birth of Zachary, born yesterday weighing a whopping 11lb 4oz! It was a brilliant experience and proof that natural, intervention free birthing is the way to go, even if your baby is huge!

I started having contractions on Easter Sunday, at 8 days overdue. I’d had several pre-labour signs in the week leading up to this, including losing my plug on Thursday and a very upset stomach on Saturday. My contractions started at 11pm on the Sunday after a good bounce and rotate on the gym ball. At first they were 10 minutes apart, rapidly sped up to 3 minutes apart but then spaced back out a bit – I found out later this was because he was a bit posterior at first. I managed at home using the centred breath, and found it most comfortable to be standing and leaning forward on to the bed or the kitchen counters, swaying my hips from side to side. I had a bit of paracetamol, and at around 5am we decided to go to the hospital.

Kate D Zachary

The midwife in triage examined me and said I was 4-5cm, so they sent me to the delivery suite. I managed to get one of the rooms with the birthing pool, though it had just been used so was only starting to fill when we arrived, so I continued to stand or kneel up and sway, leaning forward over the active birthing couch. At around 7.15am they still hadn’t got me in the pool, and I was starting to struggle with the contractions. They let me get in soon after this but the contractions were so intense that it didn’t feel as though it helped much so I started the gas and air as well. I didn’t realise but the intensity was because I had dilated very fast and was in transition – though my next cervix examination wasn’t due until 9.45! I felt the urge to start pushing almost straightaway in the pool, and my waters went somewhere around this time as well. At about 8am they asked me to get out of the pool, as my first baby had a shoulder dystocia and they didn’t want me to deliver in the water just in case. They encouraged me to kneel on the floor and lean forward over the couch. I didn’t use the out breath as I had the gas and air in my mouth, but made sure to keep exhaling and making noise. Zack was born at 8.10am with no shoulder dystocia. The ‘ring of fire’ was intense, but despite him being 11 lb 4 oz I didn’t even tear! He had crowned a couple of times in the pool before being born, so I think this helped to stretch everything out. I had delayed cord clamping while I held him in skin to skin which was lovely, and delivered the placenta naturally. The only downside was that I had a significant haemmorage after delivering the placenta so spent the rest of the day in HDU, but the doctors and midwives were brilliant and it didn’t mar the experience for me. It was the birth I had wanted and so lovely after my difficult first.

Thank you so much for all the techniques and breathing practice, it all helped a lot! ”


Rosie and Paschar – a positive birth story

Rosie and Paschar – a positive birth story from The Daisy Foundation

So my very own Daisy Baby was born at 10pm on Wednesday evening. I had a little boy – Paschar and he weighed 8lbs 7oz, perfect in every way. Here is our birth story for those that are interested! xx

I had been having quite strong braxton hicks for a couple of weeks and my due date (27th) came and went so on Tuesday I went to my midwife appointment where I was offered a sweep which I declined and I also declined booking an induction at this stage, prefering to wait and see what happens and not wanting to have a date looming in my head. Baby was happy and so was I as I jovially said goodbye to the midwife and we made a joke about seeing each other on Wednesday night as she was on call and that would be perfect but baby was to come in the evening so we could all be tucked up in bed by midnight, making things nice and civilized! Little did we know what would actually happen!

As I drove away from the health centre I felt a Braxton hick but this time there was a twinge in my back – “Baby I think you were listening” – with my previous labours I always had sensations in my back. But when I got home I felt nothing more and so me and my hubby made the most of a peaceful evening cuddled on the sofa.

Wednesday morning I got up to get my son ready for school as usual and had another Braxton hick/Contraction with the back sensation – it was back and I noticed I felt different – when I got the sensation I felt all dreamy/smiley and chilled. I carried on my morning having a lovely time playing tea parties with my 3 year old daughter and my contractions continued about one every half an hour – and each one I had gave me this wonderful dreamy sensation – and at the same time I started to feel more and more exhilarated knowing that this was the very start of my journey – looking forward to meeting my baby!

At lunch time I arranged that my mum would take my children to sleep at hers for the night, stating to her things have definitely started but it will probably be tomorrow or even the day after. By 6pm they were slightly closer together about every 20 mins and the sensation was more powerful – so I began to use my centred breathing and took the opportunity to rotate through each one – visualising my babys head massaging my cervix. This definitely was me putting the foot on the accelerator (Daisy Birthing Ladies will know what I am talking about!) as my contractions picked up intensity and pace. My hubby asked if I was ok after I breathed and rotated through one and I looked at him feeling all melty and said “yes I feel amazing” and it was really true – I felt calm, powerful, excited and loved up – oh and starving hungry! At 7.30 my contractions where 10 mins apart (still not considered established labour) but as they were powerful I asked my hubby to just call the hospital and let them know that things had started just so the community midwife team were aware – but it probably won’t be for ages. 10 mins later the community midwife phoned and asked if I wanted her to come now or if she had time to eat her dinner – I laughed and said oh no definitely eat – I’ll phone you when I need you, to which she replied oh no I will eat and be with you in half an hour just to see how things are going. When I got off the phone I said to my husband I felt bad getting her out so early – he said he thought he might start to fill the birth pool!
I was starving so in between contractions I was stuffing my face with my mums homemade pizza – delicious! The midwife arrived at about quarter past eight and I had migrated down to the kitchen by then where I popped on my Daisy Silver Lake music, and resting my upper body on the worktop continued to dance and breath through my contractions – relaxed and chatting in between. I had asked that I wasn’t examined unless there was a medical reason, instead prefering to just listen to my body and the midwife was brill about this – instead she just watched me, after little while she said I am just going to call the other midwife to come – I thought this was all so premature as was so chilled out I really did think I would end up keeping them waiting for ages!


My contractions were becoming much more frequent and powerfull now. So I got onto my yoga mat on all 4’s and used my escalator breath and my husband put counter pressure on my back as I rotated through them – this worked so well and I visualized myself climbing, climbing, climbing and then as the contraction eased my whole body eased and that total blissed out feeling returned. As I chilled between contractions my poor husband was wrestling with the hose and pans of water trying to get the pool filled.

The second midwife arrived at about 9 and took over sorting the pool allowing me and my hubby to work together – he was amazing, breathing with me and gently massaging me we really were working together for this little baby. By 9.30 I started to shake and feel teary – I thought I know this feeling!! Luckily there was just enough water in the pool and it felt amazing to get in – releasing the tension, cozy and safe just what you need when you are in transition!

After I got in I had a chilled out few minutes – my rest and be thankful and thankful I was – but also a little impatient – I wanted to meet my baby! Soon I was back in the swing again with big powerful contractions, each one I could feel my baby easing down and out. There was no denial this was hard hard work but it felt amazing and so powerful to be in control of gently nudging my baby out. And he came out so gently that my waters didn’t break! Paschar Kennedy was born in his membrane sack at 10.03pm on Wednesday 29th May 2013 – it was such an amazing and special experience!

I would recommend a Daisy Home Birth to anyone and would like to thank my husband, the two brilliant Borders Community Midwives and all at Daisy for helping Paschar and I have such a brilliant experience. Xx

Sarah & Alma – a positive birth story

Sarah & Alma – a positive birth story from The Daisy Foundation.

First of all, I can’t thank you enough for the training. I’m crying as I type this. Probably just hormonal but I honestly wish everyone could go to these classes. I would not have coped with birth and would have been doped up to my eyeballs if I hadn’t known what was going on. So here goes the story for the page:

‘At about 3 am on Saturday morning I was awoken by my first contraction. I stayed awake but lying down to see if anything else happened, by about 7 am, I was having one every 15 minutes or so, so I knew then that this was something. We went downstairs, cooked breakfast, got my toiletries and bits into the car. Then took the dog for a walk for about half an hour. By the end of the dog walk (about half 11/12 )I was having contractions every 5 minutes.

I rang the hospital then, they didn’t want me to come in, suggested a bath and some paracetamol. So I did these things, felt ok but after about 2 hours I was getting fed up. Rang again they suggested waiting another hour or so. In the end we only went in at about 5 when I thought I really couldn’t cope (little did I know!). I was examined, found to be 1cm with a nice thin cervix. Gutted! Had to go home. I live 50 minutes away from the hospital so it was an excruciating car ride home but I insisted we get mcdonalds to cheer me up. I got home and immediately started feeling a lot worse. I couldn’t stay on the ball. All fours was the only place that I could cope with even though I knew I shouldn’t be in cruise control yet. I started getting sick (what a waste of money that mcdonalds was), and after about an hour and a half of this, Scott had to call the hospital as I could barely speak through contractions which were coming every minute. They still didn’t want me to come back in but he said that I just was not coping at home so they allowed it.

Got there and went into a lovely room. The midwife watched me for about 20 minutes and said that she thought every second ‘contraction’ wasn’t a contraction but rather naughty baby having very big wiggle after each contraction with her shoulders. As all my pain from contractions was in my groin, bottom and pelvis (rather than high up) I couldn’t tell that my uterus wasn’t tightening on these ‘second contractions’. I had never heard of this so was quite shocked but that is why she said that I had still only dilated to 2-3cms when I’d been having such frequent contractions. She then suggested that I wouldn’t be in active labour for quite a long time still so why not have some diamorphine so I could sleep. I had said I didn’t want this in my birth plan but after a sensible discussion she said it would be well clear of my body by the time baby was ready to come out meaning that it wouldn’t make baby sleepy or interfere with Breastfeeding but would just give me the relief I needed to lie down for a bit and rest for the long journey ahead. This worked for about 2 hours and although I couldn’t sleep when there was a contraction, they did slow down a bit and I could have a nap in between. My husband could also nap and not have me squeezing his hand after each contraction.

When this started wearing off the midwife suggested a bath, they are trained in aromatherapy at Gloucester so she put bergamot in it to relax me. It was wonderful to start with. Scott and I were watching lord of the rings on his ipad and he helped me breathe through contractions.

After four hours in the bath I really felt I need to be in a better gravity position and potentially getting some gas and air so I asked to be examined. I was 4-5 cms! The magic number! Suddenly I could go in the birthing pool and get gas and air. This was at 6 am. We were moved into our last big room, really nice. The daisy music went on and stayed on till the end. The minute I got in the pool I knew it was the best idea. The gas and air was really helping. I could be squatting and on all fours comfortably without holding my own weight. The warmth of it was lovely too. For about half an hour I even let Scott have a nap as I felt so jolly. That soon wore off haha! I had a twirl for some energy in between contractions. After about 4 hours I was examined again. I was only 6 cms. The midwife said that this wasn’t unusual for first time births but I was still disappointed. She offered to break my waters but as I was two weeks overdue she explained to me that there was 80% chance of meconium in my waters and if that did happen then I would be taken out of the pool down to the delivery unit. I really didn’t want this as I felt the pool was my only sure fire coping method right now. So we decided at length not to break the waters and carry on even though it meant my dilation was slow and the pressure was immense. But after 20 mins back in the pool my waters went in a shot and were clear so we got to stay in the pool. At about 12 (40 mins after my waters breaking) I felt on about every third contraction the need to push. The midwife said I couldn’t be dilated enough so I needed to fight the urge. But after about a half an hour (12:30) she said well if you feel you need to then do push (she said she had noticed that each contraction now needed a push element), but if your baby isn’t born by 1pm I’ll examine you and then we’ll know more. Well! At about quarter to suddenly 2 midwives rushed in and they started heating the pool temperature up and I was told baby’s arrival was imminent. The pushing phase only lasted about 25 mins as she was out by 12:54. I pushed in an upright seated position with my back against the pool side, I used a combination if the ouuut breath and a moo. I think I just started shouting in a low voice out eventually!!! I only had the head sliding in and out in the canal about 3 times and then her head and body came out in one big whoosh! She was brought straight onto me and kept in the water and they allowed my cord to stop pulsating (about 10 minutes). She gave a small cry initially for breathing but then was quiet. Scott got to tell us the sex as her whole body was in the water the midwives couldn’t see. When we could cut the cord she was handed straight to Scott for some skin to skin with just a towel covering her back. She then was given to me about 5 mins later once I was out of the pool and lying down as she was already rooting. We stayed with her suckling for the next hour and 40 minutes! Scott was ringing relatives but couldn’t tell them the weight as she wouldn’t stop feeding to be weighed!! We didn’t mind, I was just so happy at how well she had adjusted to the outside world. After her first 5 mins of suckling that stimulated enough of a contraction that the placenta plopped out in one big gush. I didn’t need the injection in the end.

I had a small tear but midwife said it was fairly minor and good considering how quickly she came out (raspberry leaf tea in action here??). Another interesting point on due dates: when our girl came out she was completely covered in vernix still. The midwives said they never see 2 week overdue babies with that much vernix on them… So they said the dating scan must have got it wrong as she was perfect. Apparently they also normally get very stressed and her heart rate only went up in the last 15 mins when her head was being squashed (fair enough).

Our gorgeous little girl’s name is Alma Kathleen Denise Harrison and she weighed 8lb9oz.

I know this is probably the longest story ever but I thought it might be of use to some first time birthers out there as it is so complicated and I think all the details are important, if they can help anyone! It’s really hard learning to trust your own body when you have never laboured before. The decisions you have to make while in pain are very hard but the daisy classes really helped to let me have that clear head to have that ‘easy’ birth. No birth is easy, all the decisions are hard, but daisy gives you the confidence to roll with the punches and remember that your body was designed for this and to not be afraid. Thoroughly recommend the couples workshop too, Scott kept me on track when I really needed it or when my vocalisations got too high or my breathing too fast. He was fantastic but he did need to know what the best way to labour and I would not have conveyed that properly to him without the couples workshop.

Also, I know this isn’t relevant to most people in this group but gloucester hospital could not be faulted! Beautiful rooms with great lighting, en suite. The midwives were fantastically trained. No one told me to get on my back or told me how to breathe. Maybe that’s because I knew what I wanted and that was clear, but they were thoroughly supportive. ‘



When birth doesn’t go to plan

When Birth Doesn’t Go to Plan – A positive Daisy Birth story by Gemma Bray

Part 1

I am having a C-Section tomorrow. That’s a sentence I never expected to write!

As I sit down to write this my head is spinning (My section was only confirmed to me about an hour ago) so please forgive me if this is more of a stream of consciousness rather than an ordered account of my story so far!

I am a 34 year old Daisy Birthing Teacher and Doula from Sevenoaks in the UK. This is my third and last pregnancy and for the last few months I have been diligently planning and looking forward to my perfect home birth. I have been slowly stockpiling extra towels, preparing my kids for what its like to be present at a birth, organised my own doula, had pro photos done each week to create a stop motion video to timeline my increasing bump! I was even in the process of organising a photographer to be at my birth. (Hi Janet, Emma and Hannah!) So I had it all planned, all my ducks were in a neat little row.

But you know what they say.. Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. So at around 34 weeks at a routine community midwife appointment it appeared that baby was breech. No problem I thought, I can turn him there’s loads of time! As the weeks went on I started putting into practise everything that I knew that could help baby get into a head down position. You name it, I did it!

Handstands in the swimming pool (I am not the most graceful person so I went at 7am on a Sunday morning to keep embarrassment to a minimum!)
Breech tilts on an ironing board
Forward leaning inversions
Cold peas on the top of my bump
Music at the bottom of my bump to entice him down
Talking to him
Visualising him head down


But the scan at 35 weeks showed he was tranverse and then at 37 weeks he was oblique. Go to hospital they said… your baby is not in your pelvis and you are at risk of a cord prolapse if your waters go, they said. I was in hospital for 2 weeks prior to the birth of my baby. I missed my little boys so much! This was not how I wanted the last few days of my pregnancy to be.

My dream of a home birth was looking less and less likely but a little part of me really thought that baby would turn. Thing was I started to panic, how can I be a doula and have a baby by a planned section, would people judge me? I started to think that maybe I was not fit to be an antenatal teacher or a doula and that by that logic my career was over – this was awful and I started to feel depressed. I didn’t want a vaginal breech birth. I didn’t want a vaginal birth at any cost, if my baby was breech I wanted a c-section. I couldn’t help but feel that this meant that I was not a true champion of birth.

I reached out to my fellow Daisy teachers and friends who worked in the birth world (of which I am lucky to have many) and I want to thank each and every one of them for the support they gave me when I was coming to terms with my new birth plan. In particular I want to thank Lucy who really was there for me to sound off to when I needed it most.

My hospital stay was pretty depressing. I was still coming to terms with the rising possibility of a section but at the same time was being told that at any time baby could turn. So my mind was in a total muddle. At 38 weeks they offered me an ECV and I thought that as I had tried everything else it would make sense to try this one last thing. I could then say that I had done everything in my power to turn him. But it failed.

IMAG0355That was the worst day. I cried… a lot. I was horrid to my husband (I love you Mike).

So here I am in hospital, in my very sexy compression stockings, coming to terms with the fact that this baby will be born via a section.

In less than 24 hours I will be holding my baby. I am so excited about that I can’t even describe
it! And I know his birthday already, that’s pretty cool! I am trying hard not to forget the end
game here and that is that I am going to have another beautiful son. I am focusing on that. I
don’t want to think about the painful recovery or the operation that I will have to go through,
the fact that my baby’s microbiome won’t be seeded and that breastfeeding might be harder or that there is a higher chance of my getting post natal depression…. and all the other negatives
that go hand in hand with a c-section.

I want my birth to be positive.

I am lucky I have had weeks to slowly come to terms with having my birth plan changed. I have had the luxury of time to get my head around having major surgery other c-section mums aren’t as lucky. They sometimes only get minutes as they are getting rushed down for an emergency c-section. I have asked all the questions I can think of …. walked through what will happen countless times in my head so I am mentally prepared. We have planned to have the curtain dropped at the birth, delayed cord clamping and skin to skin.

I am thankful for this.

Part 2

So little Ben Bray is earth side and has been for the last 3 weeks. (Happy 3 week birthday little man!)


I had my elective c-section three weeks ago and my body and mind have just about recovered enough for me to sit down and write this concluding part of our birth story.

I am going to be really honest with you because I think its vitally important that we talk about c-sections and that we talk about them in an honest and matter of fact way. We talk about vaginal births all the time. So not why not sections?

A c section is not an easy option. Recovery hurts both mentally and physically. I have had three babies and this was by far the hardest birth out of the three. I guess a section is one of those things in life that you can never truly understand or identify with unless you have had one. I had no idea.

To all the section mammas ….. Respect! I salute your bravery and selflessness!

The day of the section was pretty surreal. I remember being very hungry because I had been nil by mouth since the night before and I would have given anything to have had a piece of toast or better a bacon sandwich! I was fourth of the list which meant I was last and would be taken down to theatre around lunchtime.

The morning was a blur of consent forms, consultants, midwives administering pre op meds and anethesatists all wanting to talk to me and get me ready for the birth of Ben. There was no way I could take all of this information in, so I found myself just nodding and signing forms. The risks of a section are pretty intense, I tired to block them out … by watching Judge Rinder!

This was a completely different ritual to the slow build up of contractions that I had thought would signal the impending arrival of my baby. There were no contractions, no period pains, no waters breaking or careful filling of the birth pool. No candles or Silver Lake playing and my boys were at home and I knew they were worried.

It was a short walk to the operating room where I was greeted by an all female team, all smiling, all happy and it was actually quite fun chatting to the people who would help me give birth. My Daisy breathing came in very useful during the administration of the canula, the catheter and the spinal! It was very overwhelming.

What else do I remember? It was fast!! I asked if they had started but by this time baby was almost here.

I heard them say.

“Hello baby”

That is my most vivid memory. The consultant said it with such tenderness that it made me sob instantly.

But the curtains didn’t drop I didn’t have skin to skin and I just saw him sail over my head – I saw the white cord cut and clamped and a beautiful head of red hair. I don’t know why they didn’t drop the drape, I had asked them as they were putting it up. I had told most of the people I had seen that morning that I wanted it dropped. Ben was healthy, there was no reason why not. I will never forget the image of him being carried passed me. It replays in slow motion in my head whenever I think about it. It makes me cry when I talk about it. He needed me and I needed him at that moment but we weren’t together.

They asked me why I was crying. I said I was relieved he was well but I wanted to hold my baby.

I wanted to hold my baby boy.

I wanted to count his little fingers and toes. I needed to feel him against me and feel the rise and fall of his breath. I wanted to see him in all his freshly birthed state…. I wanted to to say hello.

My husband who had been sat by my side the whole time went to the table to cut the rest of the cord and took him from the midwife and brought him back to me. Ben was placed by my head but I could only see his right eye.

I got the most awful neck ache straining to see all of him whilst they finished off in the theatre. That really sucked. I wasn’t the first person to hold my baby. I think I was about fourth in line, after the consultant the midwives and my husband.

When they wheeled me through to recovery I set about making things right in the best way I knew how. We had our skin to skin, we breastfed whilst I ate chips and drank tea. He was gorgeous and healthy and latched on straight away. I was so proud of him. He had coped with his rude awakening so well. I had my little boy he was perfect and he was safe.

I would do anything for my children I would die for them and at that moment knowing he was safe was what mattered. Nothing else. The drips and monitors I was attached to thankfully faded into unimportance as we connected.

There started a 24 hour solid feeding party where Ben only want to to be held by me. (perhaps he thought it was pretty sucky too that our first cuddle was delayed so he was making up for it!) and he fed and we bonded so incredibly well that night whilst hubby tried to snatch as much sleep as he could on the hospital floor.

I wouldn’t let Mike leave, I like to think I am quite a strong resilient woman, but I felt so vulnerable that first night. I couldn’t be alone. I needed someone to protect me. I couldn’t even reach over to lift my baby. I am pretty sure this was instinctive. I couldn’t move so I needed to make provisions to make sure my newborn was safe, Dad stepped up!

Later that week I ran a bath turned off the bathroom light and lit a candle. Mike brought in Ben and lowered him into the bath on top of my tummy. It was magical and extremely healing to feel him relax into the water completely. We lay there listening to SilverLake and I spoke to him about how I had planned for his birth to be gentle like this. I cried big silent tears.

When I was ready Mike came to take him and dry him. I looked down at my tummy and his cord and the cord clamp were lying on my belly. It seemed very poignant and beautiful. That bath helped to cleanse my mind a little.

People have asked me since how I feel about things. If I am honest its a mixed bag, I have lots of feedback to give people who I came into contact with me on my journey (some good and some not so good!). But I have my little man. I am healing well both mentally and physically.

I no longer feel like I am not a valid contributor in the birth world. On the contrary, I feel I am in a great position to support mums. I have had three completely different types of birth – I am the same woman but I have had a different experience each time!

Daisy Birthing classes are inclusive of all birth choices and I am proud to be part of such a supportive group of women. I drew on so much of their knowledge and leaned on them when I needed it and I am looking forward to repaying the favour to other mums as they negotiate their birth journey when I return to teaching and my doula work in the Autumn.

Sometimes no matter how much we prepare the universe has a different plan. Even if it seems like the odds are in our favour you might be part of the unlucky few. 97% of babies are the right way round at birth. Ben was one of the 3%. Someone has to be!

We have a saying at Daisy … “you can’t control the waves, but you can learn to surf.”

And I think that sums up my journey perfectly. With the tools from Daisy and the peer to peer support Ben and I surfed our way through it together.

I have my baby and he is very loved

… and in case you were wondering, I hold him all the time now!


Supporting our children at school

Contributed by Sharon: a Mum, Teacher and creator of a great new resource for Parents with guidance in supporting our children at school.

Turn back the clocks to September 2012 – the moment that I left a little bit of my heart at the school gate as my daughter started Reception. I was so excited to be starting this next chapter of her journey with her but did not expect to feel so lost, and for me to have a wealth of unanswered questions.

I am lucky. Why? Because I could use the tools that I have been trained in. I am a teacher. I taught Reception. I knew how to prepare my daughter for school – getting dressed independently, opening wrappers in her lunchbox, learning to share, etc. I knew how to tweak information out of her about her school day, no matter how little that information was. I knew that she’d be tired, grumpy, be learning lots of new things. I knew about phonics and how it was taught. I knew about how children learn through play based activities. I knew about free flow, rotation, reading books….. The list goes on.

However, as I didn’t work at my daughter’s school, I didn’t know the little details about what was happening. I knew she was happy. I knew she was learning. I knew she had friends. But I wanted more. I was thirsty for every little detail about my girl because I missed her and I wasn’t alone. I would stand in the playground with other parents also craving more information and I realised that most of them had questions, but ones that I could actually answer for them. What are reading book bands? How do I teach my child to read with a book that has no words? What is phonics? How do I complete this homework? The list of general questions continued and I realised that this was a common thread amongst first-time parents. So I decided to create a website aimed at bridging this gap – helping parents through the education process.

So, Panda-Education was born. A website, a Facebook page, a Pinterest page and twitter feed later and I now have lots of amazing parents following this incredible transitional journey with me and I am so proud to be able to offer support and guidance. I am not a guru, I am just a Mum and a teacher. I love my job and I feel so privileged to work at such an amazing school with supportive and inspiring colleagues.

My top tip, when asked how to help children learn at home is – Go outside, be active, make memories and have fun. Parents feel that they have to sit down and do structured activities in order to progress, but actually, this is not always true. Children are all different and if your child doesn’t ‘sit’ to learn, then that is fine. Embrace their learning style and pack it with fun opportunities to learn; ones which I bet you are already doing without realising it is actually ‘learning’!

And remember, not everything in life is black and white, but you are doing a brilliant job.

Written by Sharon (creator of

Natasha’s Positive Birth Story

Natasha Burgon – My 7.5 Hour Labour – Birth Story

Our baby boy Alexander Burgon was born 16th February 2015 at 7.41am weighing 8lbs 4oz at UHW in MLU.

When I found out I was pregnant my twin sister immediately recommended the Daisy Birthing course to me, due to her own positive experience only 9 months earlier.

I practice yoga regularly, therefore I was keen to learn more and attend the Daisy Birthing course, to understand how correct breathing and movement could help during pregnancy and labour.

I began Daisy Birthing in October 2014 (due date 12th February 2015) with a view to attend 2 courses (12 sessions). After a positive first 6 classes my husband was keen to also learn the techniques to help me through my labour, therefore we also attended the couple’s workshop in late November. The couple’s workshop really helped my husband to understand what I had been practicing and learning in my sessions. It also gave us great information on the birth stages and what to expect and when.

I carried on practicing the Daisy Birthing exercises and breathing at home after the second course up until I went into labour. At every scan and check-up throughout the pregnancy I was told Alexander was in the correct position. I firmly believe that the exercises positioned him correctly.

I had felt tightening’s in my stomach the evening before around 10pm which I initially thought was the baby moving. By 11pm these ‘movements’ appeared to have got stronger and I knew it wouldn’t be long before I went into early labour. At 12.30am my waters broke I alerted my husband and told him to phone through to the MLU at UHW to let them know. We were told that being our first baby that to expect a long labour and to call back at 10am with the intention of going into hospital at 12pm to be checked. Within the hour my contractions had started and were consistently 5 minutes apart and around 30 seconds long at which point I began the 8 and 4 breaths and attached the tens machine. My husband ran me a bath which I used for around 10 minutes however, the contractions remained strong and of the same intensity for the next 2 hours. I rotated on all fours whilst using my birthing ball for support and listening to the ‘Daisy CD’ whilst continuing the 8 and 4 breaths. The contractions grew stronger over the next few hours and by 5.00am my husband made the decision to take me into hospital, we arrived at the MLU at 5.30am where I was examined and was told that I was fully dilated at 10cm. I requested the birthing pool to be used for pain relief and the birth. After 10 minutes in the birthing pool I had the urge to push, I had very little gas and air during this time as I felt it dried my mouth and prevented me from breathing correctly. After 45 minutes of controlled pushing along with deep long ‘out breaths’ our baby boy was born into the birthing pool and into my arms with skin to skin contact immediately. We waited for 15 minutes before my husband cut the umbilical cord once it had stopped pulsating at which point our healthy, beautiful boy was passed to my husband. I had the injection to deliver the placenta which took around 15-20 minutes.

Giving birth was such a positive experience for me, it was so much better than I could have imagined. I felt calm and went with the natural rhythms of my body and flow of labour using only ‘Daisy’ breathing and movement, the tens machine and birthing pool as pain relief and a small amount of gas and air at the end.

I had a very calm and smooth birthing experience and I truly believe that the breathing techniques and exercises helped the baby into the correct position and aided his smooth transition from womb to world! I will certainly recommend ‘Daisy Birthing’ to all friends so that they too can have a positive birthing experience.

A lovely positive birth story from Natasha, a Daisy Birthing Mum, who attended classes in the Cardiff area with Daisy teacher Laura.

To find your own local Daisy Birthing class – go to our FIND A CLASS area

A positive birth story

A positive birth story – one amazing daisy birthing mummy Fay and the birth of baby Nova – thank you for sharing it with us!

Nova’s due date was Sunday 12 Oct. Phil and I already have two children so we kinda know the drill about labour – twinges, false starts, backache, ‘period pain’.

It started when I woke up abruptly at 5am on Sunday with a steady trickle of amniotic fluid. We called triage at Jessops just to check about infection policy. They wanted us to come in, but we declined. I wasn’t in labour, just wet. I had a lovely hot shower and decided to look for the purple line (sure enough, it was there!) Things went pretty steady throughout the day with period pain like cramps and general soreness at the base of my back. We decided to go for celebratory sushi in town.

Things started kicking off properly at around 6pm (after a lovely long nap) so we decided to get the co-sleeper cot down from the loft and assemble it (yup, we’re that organised). Once done, we had some tea – all the while my contractions were gathering pace and intensity. We set up the lounge for Nova’s arrival – a squishy waterproof playmat (sorry kids!), my lucky birthing t-shirt and a heap of towels. By 8.30pm, we called triage at Jessops to request a midwife. All the time, Phil never left my side. He constantly told me he was there and that soon Nova would be here I began seriously relying my Daisy breathing techniques to blow the pain away – not once forgetting to breathe and relax as much as I could. By 9pm the midwife hadn’t arrived and the only pain relief I’d had was two paracetamol and lots of breathing. After another call to triage, they told us a midwife was on her way. At 10pm Angelina arrived and after a quick exam, told me I was 4cm and in active labour.

I remember growling a lot when I breathed out, feeling very primal on all fours, almost roaring. Phil never left me, not even to put the kettle on. I hung on to him as he held me – I’d never felt so close to anyone before.

By 10.30pm I requested the diamorphine. I felt shattered and achey (being on your hands and knees, no matter how squishy the playmat is, takes its toll). Unfortunately, as soon as Angelina gave me the injection, I felt Nova coming. After two pushes she was out! However, 10 mins later the diamorphine kicked in and I was struggling to get a grip on reality and keep my eyes open! Nova arrived on her due date at 10.40pm weighing 6lb 13oz and latched on to my breast immediately! “

nova born

Written by Fay (seen here in her lucky birthing t-shirt!), Mummy to Nova (Daisy Birthing Sheffield)

Why it sucks to be a single parent!

Reasons why it sucks to be a single parent!

Now don’t get me wrong I know this is not true for ALL single parents/ex partners but it is definitely true for me and seems to be a common theme amongst my other single mummy friends which doesn’t give me much hope for the future!

I am not even going to go down the whole “why it sucks financially” route as that is a blog in itself but for everything else this in my opinion is what sucks:

1. I am the one that has to get up at 6.30am every single day, weekends included, I would love to be my ex that only has to do that every other weekend when he has my son, what it would be like not to be woken every day with a “wake up mummy” screaming in my face!

2. I would love to have uninterrupted nights of sleep. When my little one is poorly I am the one who is up on the hour every hour through the night and when I call my ex to tell him his little one has been poorly he really doesn’t give me any credit for sleep deprivation, as long as he had a long an peaceful night because “I have to work” even though I probably do more hours than him with work and looking after our son – not that the latter counts in his eyes!

3. When he has to be off school because he is sick, it is MY responsibility to come home from work and look after him as my ex’s job “is more important” and it is just expected that the mum should be the one that takes the day off, oh how I would love it if the fathers were the one that had to be called mid-way through their working day, dash to the school and try and figure out how they will cope the rest of the day to get some work done before they get fired.

4. I have to get myself ready for work and him ready for school, always in a rush, and anything other than military precision timing means that I am the one that suffers like not having time to find clean underwear wearing yesterdays AGAIN whilst my 4 year old is always the picture of perfection. How I would love to just get myself ready in the morning, have that shower on my own, maybe tea in bed, nope instead I am running around with half wet hair, no idea what to wear shouting “teeth”, “shoes” whilst my ex has that leisurely hour or so in the morning.

5. As soon as I get home from work, the door is hardly unlocked and I am being screamed at “when’s tea” “I’m hungry” and as usual I don’t have time to cook anything nice for myself so I end up eating fish fingers, boiled eggs or smiley faces on a regular basis whilst my ex can come home, have a bottle of wine, relax whilst he prepares some kind of culinary delight!

6. Between the hours of 7am-7pm I am subjected to kids TV and by the time it’s his bedtime and I sit down to watch the TV nothing is on. So when making small talk with my ex and he said “did you see on tv…”….no I friggin didn’t all I have watched is Mr Tumble for hours on end, I wish I could be more in touch with the world, oh how I would love to be him and sit down and watch the news and not have to jump up to attention every time my little one needs help with something!

7. “Well I think” soon as I hear those words, I know what’s coming….his opinion or some form of criticism about the way I parent our child. Never with any offer of help or involvement just a list of what I should do better, what I should change…..well when you have more input into our child than just a fun filled weekend every other weekend then fell free to have a go with those suggestions yourself!

8. On the subject of weekends, mine is focussed around all the chores which I didn’t get chance to do all week, getting the school uniform washed and ironed by Monday morning, the dreaded grocery shop as I can’t do it during the week because of being stuck in of an evening whilst his weekends are full of fun days out, trips to the park, chilling out with a film… by comparison I am the boring shouty mummy and dad is the cool fun one, well I would love to have time to do all of that!

9. The ability to have a social life! My only form of a social life is through work or when my mums has my little one for the night. I don’t get every evening free to pop down the gym, go and see a friend so when he calls on his “way home from the pub” I want to scream at him “bleeding hooray for you”. I really resent the way that my freedom is gone and he still has his! And that my social life revolves around organising and PAYING for sitters! Don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t change my little boy for the world but I do resent the inequalities the effect of having him as had on the two of us!

10. When I do get to go out, similar to the mornings, gone are the days now of taking time to make myself look pretty, spend some time painting my nails or choosing what to wear as I am the only “entertainer” until the sitter arrives. I carefully time my little one to bath whilst I put my make up on the bathroom mirror beside him, give him some milk and biscuits on the sofa whilst I dry my hair, let him play on the ipad whilst I paint my nails and then stay in my dressing down until he has gone to bed so he doesn’t realise I have gone and there is a sitter downstairs!

11. My ex dropped my little boy off early not so long ago as he wanted to go shopping “and you cant shop with a toddler in tow” to which I screamed out “how do you think I manage every day”. They have ample time on their hands to do stuff without a child in tow, I would love to have that luxury, instead I bribe my little one around the town with promises of coke and sweets, why can’t they just learn no cope, we have to!!

12. I will end as I could go on, I really resent the way that I am predominantly responsible for my child’s development. It is I that has to practice reading every night, do all the small homework things the school asks for like suddenly getting a costume made for next weeks play. It is I that is taking him to swimming lessons, teaching him how to ride a bike, how to draw picture or how to play the piano. I feel the pressure that I carry the majority of the responsibility as it is I who has our child the majority of the time. When he has him, does he do homework with him…no! does he help teach him to read…, does he help him practice adding up…… of course not! Their time is always about fun which is great for my child but I feel immensely pressured and resentful of the fact that the future of how our son develops academically comes down to me!

So if you are a single parent and this rings true for you, you are not alone!

Contributed from one of our Daisy Mums who really wouldn’t change it for the world but knows it’s still ok for it to suck sometimes!

One word I urge every parent never to teach their child!

At what point is it…. as I can’t remember a defining moment, I think it has just slowly crept up on me that my once beautifully compliant little boy started to challenge everything I said…..with the word “but”.

I think if I had a pound for every time I heard that word I would be rich beyond my wildest dreams. Some days I think if I hear that word one more time come out of my nearly 5 year Old’s mouth I am going to scream and run down the street naked!

This is particularly true in the mornings when emotions are heightened due to time pressure to get out of the door, to school and work on time!

“Joshua please put your school clothes on now” to which I get “but I am playing” or “can you clean your teeth” he replies “but I am watching this”, “here is your breakfast” to ”but I didn’t want that cereal”, “can you hurry up” to “but you said we had ten minutes” aghhhhhhh!

Have you ever noticed that? That your toddler has a “but” for everything you do, say or suggest, why is it that they just can’t do what you have asked without some form of “but”, simple no?

Reasoning doesn’t work, shouting makes it worse, changing the subject and counting 1…..2…..3…..and then take a breath before you try and reason can work at times but my sure fire way to win has always been until now – bribery “if you hurry up and just do it I will take you to McDonalds for tea” which is naughty I know but for the sake of my sanity at times has been a necessity, but these days it is not a guaranteed winner anymore, I think he enjoys watching me squirm as I try and find a better counter argument, it is like being prosecuted in a court room!

The worst “but blow” as I like to call it as he throws it at me like a winning punch is when he recalls something I did or said days, sometimes weeks ago as part of his counter argument “but you said…..” aghhhhhhhh how did he remember I said that/did that, that was a big “but blow” how the hell do I worm my way out now, he has me cornered, he knows he has the killer “but” and there is no way out for me and I surrender to a 5 year old!

So I give every parent permission to never teach their child the word “but”, I think it should be replaced in the dictionary with “of course mummy”!

Inspired by Joshua, written by Karen.

Going your own way

Why going your own way can be lonely and fantastic at the same time

I can still clearly remember the first time we gave our (now 3-year old) son his first bath. We carefully tested the water with our elbows, made sure it wasn’t hot, got the towels ready and lowered him in, ensuring he didn’t slip and his precious head was supported at all times. He screamed blue murder. And he did the same the second time.

It wasn’t until we asked our midwife to show us how to bath him that we realised that you didn’t need to have the water at approximately 20o, a temperature that would have made me scream too! A nice, comfortable 37o bath wasn’t going to scald his precious little body any more than it damaged mine.

The problem with pregnancy and birth is there is so much information out there, and so much emphasis on the things you can do wrong, that it is easy to lose sight of common sense and your instinct as a parent. If we’d taken a minute to step back and think about what temperature of water we would like to be put naked into, we’d have got it right first time.

When you are a first time mum, your baby is so precious, and – more importantly – often so completely baffling that you can end up spending more time worrying about the things that might be going wrong than relaxing in the joy of watching them figure out the world and their place in it.

I used to worry about everything.

The first time I took him out in his pram down the busy main road to the supermarket, I worried that I was poisoning him with the traffic fumes.

When he was 5 months old, and still showing no sign of trying to turn over, I worried that I hadn’t given him enough tummy time and was stunting his development.

I worried that using wipes for his bottom instead of clean, healthy (and frankly useless) cotton wool buds would lead to permanent skin problems.

The one thing I never worried about was weaning. I knew before I had my son that I was going to do baby-led weaning. I knew this based on one pub lunch I had with a friend about 2 years before I even got pregnant, when I watched her share her sandwich and salad with her 6-month-old child. I watched the pleasure both of them got from him trying proper, grown-up food, testing the different, textures, colours and flavours and figuring out what to do with it all. It was lovely to see both mum and baby happy and relaxed around food – the thing that brings families together, but can so often turn into a battleground.

And as I sat there and watched, I thought “When I’m a mum, when I’m the world’s most perfect mum, who never gets stressed about anything and knows exactly what she’s doing, I will do that.”

It was the easiest and best decision I have made as a parent so far. I loved baby-led weaning; my son loved baby-led weaning. Even the grandparents loved it, despite it going against everything they were told when they were bringing us up.

The only negative aspect was losing my peer support. I have a lovely, supportive, fun and honest set of friends with children of a similar age, but I used to sit in cafés with them on a regular basis, listening to their stories of endless pureeing, freezing and spoon feeding and feel entirely on my own. It would have been great if I had known one other person who was doing what I was doing, to swap recipes, stories, successes and failures with. I was sure that I was doing the right thing, but being different and going it alone can be scary.

At the end of the weaning story, I am proud of my healthy, active, inquisitive and energetic son. What I’ve come to learn is that being a mum is all about doing what is right for you and what is right for your baby. Sometimes that means following the advice to the letter (I would never have given him formula in a bottle that wasn’t sterilised, for example), but sometimes it means going your own way, and having the confidence to know it’s the right thing for you and your family.

Written by Sue Jackson, a mum that did her own thing!