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 – 5th January 2021

As at 4th January 2021 we can confirm that as a result of the announcements from both the Scottish and English Governments that no Daisy classes are now permitted to be run in person due to government guidance and restrictions in law. Teachers where possible may offer online alternatives.

UK Wide Summary – 30th December 2020

As at 30th December 2020 the current guidance is in place across the UK in relation to the delivery of your Daisy classes and workshops:

Scotland – No in person classes or workshops are permitted to run in T4 areas. In T3 areas our workshops and baby classes are still permitted to run in person, with some delivery of our Daisy Birthing classes where local approval has been given.
Wales – All classes and workshops may be delivered in Tier 3 areas, in Tier 4 areas no in person classes or workshops are permitted.
N.I – From Boxing Day for a period of 6 weeks (followed by review) no in person delivery is permitted.
England – In Tier 3 and 4 areas only baby classes are permitted to run in person (exclusion 14 of regulations).

During the current covid response – all Daisy Local Educators may choose at any time to deliver planned classes or workshops in our online format rather than in-person, regardless of regional Tier restrictions at the time. Classes and workshops may be marketed online from the outset or as ‘in-person unless we need to be online’- in either case the maximum permitted guidance shared here does not restrict the local Daisy Teachers right to or need to move their classes online at any time during the current covid response. This decision may be made due to any number of factors such as (but not limited to): local infection rates, personal health, family health, venue restrictions, school closures, self-isolation, professional or personal choice. In this case, providing online classes and workshops replace the in-person offering – no refunds will be offered.

New National Restrictions in England from December 2nd

From the 2nd of December England moves into a new version of the Tier restrictions framework (Find out what tier your area is in here – POSTCODE CHECK). From that date, the restrictions for Tier 3 areas do not permit us to offer in person Daisy Birthing, Daisy Mama, or any of our workshop ranges. We are permitted to continue to offer in person Daisy Baby classes only in these areas.

So with that in mind, from the 2nd of December (unless there are any changes to the legislation and/or duration) all Daisy classes and workshops within Tier 3 areas in England will not be held in-person, with the exclusion of Daisy Baby Tinies, Wrigglers and Cruisers – and will where possible revert back to online delivery.

We are delighted to be able to continue offering all services in T1 and T2 areas and to continue our singing activities in our baby classes by adhering to the latest guidance – Safer Singing

New National Restrictions in England from November 5th

On the 3rd of November the new legislation was laid before parliament relating to the new national restrictions coming in to force in England on the 5th of November (stated as being in place until Wednesday the 2nd of December). You can see the full documentation here:

Government Guidance
The Legislation

Normally ‘Lockdown’ is clean cut, and we all know exactly where we stand – or rather that ‘we should all stay at home’ – this time, certainly in the field of parent and child activities – it all got a bit confusing for some (if you know, you know!)

At Daisy we place the health and wellbeing of our communities at the heart of everything we do – your wellbeing is why we do what we do!

So with that in mind, from Thursday the 5th November through until the 2nd of December (unless there are any changes to the legislation and/or duration) all Daisy classes and workshops within England without exception will not be held in-person – and will where possible revert back to online delivery.

You may see other providers continuing with their classes locally, and it’s understandable how this could be confusing. You may have some who are Ofsted registered early years providers, or who perhaps are delivering support groups. In our area of work examples of support groups may be for Perinatal Mental Health, Breastfeeding Support,  or perhaps support groups for families experiencing bereavement or medical challenges with their new babies. We appreciate it is also confusing when we see ‘parent and child groups’ listed within the support groups category.

Daisy prioritises public health, the health and wellbeing of our communities and the safety of our teachers above all else, and as such we would never claim our classes to be something they are not, or interpret the guidance in such a way as to place our communities at risk.

Are Daisy classes supportive – hell yes! Are they a support group? No.

Are Daisy classes the highlight of your week and have made your motherhood journey so much easier? Quite likely – but are they an essential activity? No.

Does inviting you to come to an in-person class encourage you to ignore the guidance to minimise your time spent outside your home? Yes.

Do you need to be there in person? No – we set an incredible precedent during the first lockdown in our ability to deliver our classes online.

If you are booked to attend a Daisy class or workshop during this time, your Daisy Local teacher will be in touch with you to let you know any changes of plans.

Fortunately at Daisy we have been prepared every step of the way, adapting to online without skipping a beat at the first lockdown, quickly adapting our Terms and Conditions so that all our clients knew where they stood in every eventuality – and of course ensuring that when we got back in-person we were Covid-secure and had plans in place for all scenarios whether that be self-isolation for the teacher, for the client or even regional or national restrictions.

It’s been so comforting to know we had plans in place – obviously hoping we wouldn’t be back in lockdown – but knowing we were prepared should we find ourselves back here none the less.

I’m so grateful that we are able to continue delivering your classes and workshops in this way, and that our agreement with each other means we can continue to work together to ensure you have the confident journey you deserve – no matter what our current lockdown status may be.

Go Easy,






Our return to in-person classes 

From the 1st of September The Daisy Foundation teaching network begins its return to a blended delivery model of both in-person and online in many areas.

In order to return to in-person classes we are implementing a new Customer Charter.

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 with approval of our safety measures by our organisational lead and the local authority environmental health department where possible, 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 social distancing measures can be honoured.
  • Ensure all clients are spaced 2 metres apart.
  • 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.
  • Maintain 2 metres social distancing at all times.
  • 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.
  • Teach in person only where teachers and their households are free of any symptoms of COVID-19.
  • 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.