/ The Daisy Foundation with Jilly Clarke

Why creating a postnatal plan is important

Postnatal plan

In my antenatal classes I have been talking for years about the importance of creating a birth and a postnatal plan. Preparing for the period after birth is just as important as preparing for the birth of your baby.

The birth of your baby, whether it is your first or seventh, creates an important shift in normality that takes a while to recover from. When thinking of a postnatal plan, firstly you need time to get to know your little one, to understand them. Then you need time to find your groove as a family unit. Going from just meeting your needs, to meeting baby’s ever-changing needs before anything else can get some getting used to. Or if you have more than one, it is the difficult juggle of who needs taking care of first?!

There is also a mental shift. From hormones changing, processing what happened during birth, dealing with sleep deprivation, getting feeding off to the best start…the pressures can be big. A postnatal plan can help you think of these things.

Importantly, there is always a period of physical recovery from pregnancy and birth as well. Physical healing to be done. From pregnancy, from birth. Whether you had a water birth or a c-section there will be bleeding, soreness, and wounds. Sometimes those wounds are purely internal. Often there are stitches, muscles cut and physical weakness to contend with.

To think in advance about the potential practicalities and difficulties of those early weeks can really make the early days much easier.

When planning ahead to the postnatal period and making a postnatal plan, I always suggest a wonderful acronym created by Catherine Holland and adapted by Sophie Messenger.

Use the term R.E.C.O.V.E.R when thinking about how you are going to tackle the early postnatal days.

The real postnatal. Meet others going through the same thing in Welwyn and Welwyn Garden City.

This can be hard to come by even when all baby seems to do is sleep! Your body and brain need as much rest as possible to recover from pregnancy, birth, and the pressures of keeping a tiny human alive! Give yourself at least 6 weeks grace to rest as and when you can, as much as possible. Perhaps spend the first week in bed, the second not far from the sofa and gradually upping your activity levels as and when you feel ready. Don’t feel guilty about naps and getting early nights! Keep afternoons from around 2.30-4pm free for napping, which is when most of us are at our sleepiest.


Nutritious, wholesome food should be your go-to during the postnatal period. (Although there should also be an abundance of cake if that is your thing! Anything goes). Protein to aid muscle recovery, fibre, and lots of water to make going to the toilet as easy as possible and plenty of carbs for energy. Preparing meals in pregnancy or adopting a “bring a dish” policy for any visitors can help. It is likely that you won’t want to be thinking of, preparing and spending lots of time cooking breakfasts, lunches and dinners for a while. Stock up on plenty of easy to prepare fresh food. Stack your freezer full of meals – my top tip is freeze individual portions because it is likely that only one person will be able to eat at a time while the other holds baby.


It is likely that the nesting instinct will have kicked in towards the end of pregnancy and your home will be cleaned from top to bottom. But think about who will do the day-to-day chores after baby is born. Can you afford a cleaner, even if just for a few weeks? Perhaps a family member can do your washing for a little while? Can you put up with things being less than perfect? Asking your visitors to throw a load of washing in the machine or take a full bin out when they arrive will be something most people are more than happy to do!


What works best for you? There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to the postnatal period.  Some new parents prefer to stay at home and have visitors, some prefer to go out and see people for example. Being flexible with plans and how you are feeling is also wise. Cancelling plans at the last minute because of a bad night is ok! Do not feel guilty about taking care of your needs. Everyone else can wait.


Take time to consider how do you want visiting to work/not at all? Some new parents prefer to space out visitors over several weeks, with only one or two visiting slots a day. Others prefer to get it all over and done with, having groups of visitors together. Some new parents close themselves away for a few weeks to allow for some bonding time. Others prefer a constant stream of company. There is no right or wrong way. Warn visitors that they will need to bring some food or do a chore before seeing the baby. Consider asking those visitors who would normally sit themselves down and expect to be nourished and entertained to wait until you have found your feet. You do not owe anybody an audience with your baby!


Take it easy, this is a big change, and the first few weeks are usually very chaotic with visits and appointments as well as hormonal changes, sleep deprivation and getting to grips with everything. New parents need solid emotional support. Think “mothering the mother”. Surround yourself with people who will appreciate and honour a new parent’s needs so that you are more easily able to honour baby’s needs. If family and friends are more likely to give unsolicited “advice”, fuelling feeling of inadequacy, then consider professional support. A postnatal doula is there to care for you, allowing you to care for baby.


Support. You will be inundated with people wanting to give gifts and while baby grows are incredibly cute, there are only so many you need (and often gifted baby clothes are entirely unpractical!). How about asking for gifts that look after you as a new parent? Ask for a donation towards a postnatal doula package instead of a gift. Ask for gift cards for your chosen supermarket so you can spend your money on baby items you have chosen for yourself. Request a cleaner for a week rather than another bunch of flowers that you need to keep alive! Make a list of all the possible people that could come to support and help you get some rest after the birth. Explain ahead of time what you will be trying to achieve and ask for specific help from people.

It is also useful to consider:
  • How long will your partner (if you live with one) be off work?
  • How can you ease yourself in to life once partners are back at work?
  • Would you like to hire a postnatal doula to help support you?
  • Do you have numbers of professional support like feeding, emotional, and your Health Visitor?
  • Seeing a physio/osteopath trained in the postnatal period can help your physical recovery
  • Will your postnatal plan need to be adjusted if you face a long induction or a hospital stay after birth?

If parenting as a partnership, it is important to stick together and learn to adjust as a partnership. Just like anything in life, things may not go according to plan. Be open and flexible to change. But be understanding each other’s non-negotiables. By thinking ahead during pregnancy you will be going into parenthood with planned support and ideas.

A final point that I like to include in our antenatal classes is that it is very easy to go into survival mode and keep just running through the motions of day-to-day life. Remember that you were a couple, and individual people before baby arrived. Make a promise to yourselves that each day you will make time for a moment of connection. Ending the day on a cuddle. Or reminding partners that they are doing great. An encouraging note by the nappy changing station at 3am.

For more information about our antenatal and baby classes see here.

I also offer Postnatal Doula services, to help in the postnatal days with practical and emotional support. See my website.

Infant sleep, yawning, mum group welwyn, infant education
/ The Daisy Foundation with Jilly Clarke

Infant sleep

This is hottest topic at our parent group in Welwyn and Welwyn Garden City. Besides their bowel habits…! Mum group Welwyn

It can often be a source of concern for new parents. We need to remember that small babies wake when they are hungry and sleep when they are full. It is also important to remember that sleep is a developmental process. All babies will develop at their own rate, in their own way, in their own time.

Please do not stress if (when) your baby is doing something completely different to another. They are all individual with different sleep and feeding needs. Mum group Welwyn


Human babies are biologically evolved to sleep near to their mother’s body during the first months and years of life. In the past, we could not have survived without doing so. So therefore, it is biologically normal, at least in the first few weeks of life for baby to only be happy settling on, or near to a parent. If we think about the fourth trimester and the huge brain development that is going on for baby during this time you can imagine that it would be quite unsettling for a little one. The world is so different from the womb. They need parental support. They need it 24 hours a day.

When researching into infant sleep, circadian rhythms will always come up as important. They are physical, mental, and behavioural rhythms or changes that follow a 24-hour cycle. These natural processes respond primarily to light and dark, but also to hormonal regulation. This is sometimes called your body clock. There are several things you can do to encourage this circadian rhythm to emerge and remain in sync. The natural circadian rhythm does not start to emerge until around two months of age. Establishing good sleep hygiene from the start can make your life easier in the long run.

  1. Exposure to daylight – particular in the morning.
  2. Naps in the light – this works alongside the hormonal aspect of sleep and can be important in setting sleep rhythms. Past 3 months of age it gets more complex with distractions…!
  3. Predictable wake time in the morning
  4. Normal noise and activity levels during day sleeps
  5. Keeping environment darker and quieter at night
Newborn sleep needs

Newborn babies may sleep up to 18hrs a day at first but only in 1.5-3hr blocks initially. This is just an average though, there are some babies with high sleep needs and others with less sleep requirements. Also, their tummies are tiny and will need filling often, hence they wake, or ask for food often. Mum group Welwyn

When they are small, the general rule to live by is if they are stirring, give them a feed. They will either go back to sleep afterwards or wake for some play time. As they grow, their sleep pressure (that builds the longer they have been awake, essentially forcing sleep) takes a little longer to build. They can tolerate more awake time.

Two months plus

As baby grows, from around 2 months their circadian rhythm starts to emerge, and their sleep will slowly start to consolidate into a longer block at night. This likely creates more periods of awake time during the day. But it is common for babies to wake regularly in the night until age 1, and even completely normal way beyond that too.

When thinking of implementing some sort of routine for your baby (and by routine, I mean a regular pattern of daily activities, not a strict feed, play, sleep pattern), before the two-month mark often everything is a little too unpredictable.

When the evening cluster feeding has settled, you can sense when baby is getting a regular bedtime. At this point bringing a pattern of activities or events as you wind them down for bed creates that sense of familiarity.

It might be that baby is not ready for a stretch of sleep until 10 or 11pm. That is perfect if that works for you. Often you can then get a stretch of sleep at the same time, when if they go to bed at 7pm their longer stretch of sleep happens when you are awake!

Wake Maintenance Zone

You may notice that your baby is more active, playful or even hyper in time that you’d be thinking of starting the bedtime routine. This behaviour is often mistaken for ‘overtiredness’. But it is a natural time of alertness and it will be very difficult to fall asleep during this time. This is called the ‘wake maintenance zone’ (WMZ). You are better off waiting for this wakeful time to pass and then try to put your little one down.

Eventually that familiar routine of nightly activities e.g. bath, massage, pyjamas, story, milk, sleep can be brought earlier if their initial natural sleep time doesn’t work so well for you. Around 3-4 months, as their day time sleep starts to lessen their natural bedtime starts to get earlier. When thinking about a time that would work for you, start with their natural bedtime, and also work with what time is acceptable for you to get up in the morning and work backwards! A regular wake time is much more beneficial for predictability than a regular bedtime.

Sleeping through

In our Daisy Baby classes, we often talk about when babies might be “sleeping through” the night. We emphasise the importance of having those realistic expectations in our mind. It can help us through the difficult times to know that baby is acting completely normally!

By the time babies are 3 months old some (but by no means all) begin to start sleeping through and potentially missing a night-time feed. This results in sleeping a stretch of up to 5 hours at a time. By the time they are 5 months old half of babies may have started to sleep for an eight-hour stretch on some nights. Notice the word “some” – there are so many reasons why baby might wake and need help or reassurance. It could be they are too cold, hot, uncomfortable; their dummy fell out and they cannot find it, a breeze, an itchy foot… The list is endless as to the reasons they might wake, and as the trusted adult they often need your help.

There are two types of sleepers.

Generally, babies do not sleep all night-every night, regularly, until they are close to a year old. One study investigating infant sleep duration found that 27% of babies had not regularly slept from 10pm to 6am by the age of 1 year. That is almost 1/3 of small humans waking frequently by age one. That is incredibly common! We also know that around 13% of babies had not regularly slept through for 5 hours or more by the age of 1 year. That is around one in seven babies; considering that our baby classes hold around 9 babies that is at least one in every class

The key thing to understand is that baby’s sleep cycles are approximately half the length of an adults, at around 45-50 min. So, if something is bothering them when they enter their light stage of sleep (hunger, cold, hot, uncomfortable etc.) then they are more easily disturbed – and that means they could potentially be disturbed more than an adult might be.

It is also worth understanding whether your baby is a ‘self-soother’ or a ‘signaller’ i.e. do they wake in the night and largely get back to sleep with little adult input. Or do they require adult help and support settling back to sleep after every wake? Knowing which temperament your baby has can help your understanding of them and can make dealing with night-time parenting a little easier. Mum group Welwyn

Sarah Ockwell-Smith has some wonderful information on this topic. Her book “The Gentle Sleep Book is good, and here are two really good articles that she has written.

Why Your Baby Will NEVER ‘Sleep Through the Night’!
An Important Letter to All Parents-To-Be

And Lyndsey Hookway also takes a brilliant approach and is passionate about gentle sleep solutions and responsive parenting.

The real postnatal. Meet others going through the same thing in Welwyn and Welwyn Garden City.
/ The Daisy Foundation with Jilly Clarke

10 postnatal tips for feeling like a person again

Having a baby is a monumental experience. Pregnancy changes your body beyond belief, and it takes time to feel like yourself again. You devote so much time to your little one, it is easy to feel like you don’t know who you are anymore. Take some time for you. A fed, caffeinated (sometimes!), socialised parent is a good parent. Postnatal group Welwyn

A postnatal doula can be amazing in the early days to help you take time to recover and ease into your new role. I offer Postnatal Doula services around Welwyn (20 mile radius). Click here to find out more.

Here are some postnatal tips on how to help you adjust and recover after having a baby. If you are pregnant then make sure to save this email/list somewhere so you can refer back to it after baby is born!):

1) Mum and baby groups

Going to a place where you can interact with adults can do wonders for your sanity. Some groups will be classes where you do activities with baby and get to chat to parents. Others will be coffee morning style sessions, where you sit and chat. Others might be an organised walk. Find one (or several) that you like the look of and sign yourself up!

Be careful what group you pick though. Some baby classes that say they are a great place to meet others and make friends run lots of classes close together. If a class is 30-45 minutes with another one starting 15 minutes later, there will not be time for talking and making friends. You will be ushered in and out as quickly as possible so that the room can be re-set for the next class.

This is where a Daisy class is special. Our fabulous Postnatal group in Welwyn and Welwyn Garden City.

Each class is 1 hour long and we make sure that everyone gets to talk. Whether that is sharing their week, sharing milestones, highs, lows. We make the class inclusive. Of course, you can talk to the person sitting next to you; but we get you chatting with people on the other side of the room too. Shared experiences and understanding is what helps people to bond. And we set up a WhatsApp group for each class to and encourage meet ups and chatting outside class.

2) Send that first text

Sometimes people do not want to ‘bother’ new parents, but if you’re feeling lonely, why not kick-start a conversation with someone that you haven’t spoken to in a while? Ask for a visit, ask for help with something. Often people are desperate to help but don’t want to intrude. Putting yourself out there isn’t easy but it can be so rewarding.

If you have an antenatal or baby class WhatsApp group then send a group message. The people from your Daisy class will be thanking you for trying to arrange a meet up. Every group of “mum friends” has one person who started the conversation. Maybe your group doesn’t have somebody who that comes naturally to, and everyone is feeling weird and awkward. Take a deep breath and ask. And keep asking. One week everyone might be busy, but the next week everyone will be free.

3) Spend time outside

A change can be better than a rest. Going to the park or even sitting in the garden is better than being cooped up inside – especially if the sun makes a return! It might take you an hour or more to gather everything, change multiple nappies and outfits, set up the buggy or put on the sling, feed…But persevere. I promise, it is worth it. If it isn’t, then taking a deep breath, go back home and try again another day.

4) Take a postnatal safe exercise class.

There are some amazing exercise/dance classes with baby! Just make sure that the instructor is qualified to teach postnatal bodies. Exercising releases endorphins, helping you to feel calmer, happier and more relaxed. Demi from Body Blitz runs buggy fit classes, there’s postnatal yoga or pilates too. Postnatal group Welwyn

5) Put the maternity clothes away.

Treat yourself to some new clothes and enjoy the new you. John Lewis does a fabulous (free) stylist session where you can have someone select a special outfit or can help you find basics. If you have a new shape and don’t know where to start, then I highly recommend it. There is no obligation to purchase either, and the John Lewis café is great for a pre/post session feed.

6) Get fitted for a new bra!

Your breasts have changed, especially before, during and after breastfeeding. Life is too short to wear an uncomfortable bra. Check out Boob or Bust to find out about a revolution in bra measurement.

7) Book some you time

A new haircut, a colour re-fresh, a massage, a manicure…you get the picture! Or even just a facemask and a bubble bath at home. Get someone to watch baby for an hour or two, take some deep breaths and relax. Postnatal group Welwyn

8) Mum and baby cinema showings

Campus West, Odeon and The Broadway cinemas do mum and baby film showings, where the lights stay on, sound is lowered, and the tickets are cheaper. It’s a great way to spend a morning once the sessions resume.

9) Date night

If you feel comfortable enough to bite the bullet and leave your little one with someone that isn’t your partner, why not go out and spend some time together? Your relationship with your partner is important and deserves attention too. If you aren’t ready to leave baby then plan an evening without phones, to watch a film or enjoy a meal together. You could even get a postnatal doula to sit with baby while you enjoy some time without having to keep an ear out for baby.

10) Tell people how you are feeling

If you’re not okay, don’t lie and say that you are. It is perfectly acceptable to feel overwhelmed and lonely. In fact, it is completely normal and SO common. Talking about it means that people can help. Whether it is a friend, a partner, a family member, a class/group leader, a health visitor, a GP. Telling someone how you are feeling can help you lift a weight off your shoulders.


Pandas offers some amazing support, with meet ups, social media groups and email/phone support.

/ The Daisy Foundation with Jilly Clarke

Making memories – How to keep those precious moment treasured forever

The days are long, but the years are oh so short. How will you keep hold of those precious memories, the small moments, the milestones?

It is so easy to take a million and one photos per day and never get around to doing anything with them. It seems such a shame to keep them in your phone or even backed up on a computer. With baby changing every day it is so easy to forget what they looked like, how small they were.

Photos are for displaying, for seeing!

There are many ways you can keep a record of baby’s first year (and beyond) whilst keeping wall space in your home.

1) Print a picture per month to display – watch how quickly they grow and change. A picture taken on their month birthdays, or just simply your favourite picture of the month. But display them!

2) Lots of photo apps (Snapfish, Freeprints for example) give you 50 free prints a month.  You just pay for postage. Upload and get them delivered each month and you can put them in baby photo albums.

3) Photobooks – Snapfish, Photo Box, Bonus Print etc. all do photobooks. You can add up to 16 photos per page and get a lovely photobook to mark a year in the life of baby. I do this each year for my two. They love looking back through them as they get older to see what they did when they were small.

4) 1 picture a day – there are lots of apps that can make a movie – this is a cute example

5) A newborn, or baby photoshoot – some photographers offer newborn shoots in a studio, others offer them at your home. Some prefer to shoot brand new little ones, others love the magic of when baby is a little more awake and interactive. There are so many wonderful photographers locally, I highly recommend Alannah Hebbert Photography and Fables in Focus for relaxed and less posed photos. Otherwise Newborn Love or Sonya Harrap are amazing for more posed photo.

How about other ways to capture memories?

Instead (let’s be honest, as well as!) photographs, how about a one-second video per day? Added up over year and that’s a lovely 6 minute video.

There are lots of hand casting companies who can create a cast of baby’s hands and/or feet. A forever keepsake to capture just how tiny they were. Locally, Daisy Dream Keepsakes and Ten Teeny Toes offer framed 3D castings.

If you’d like some professional hand/footprints on ceramic items, fired and sealed professionally then Potstop in Knebworth are your go-to, as are Pots of Art at Hatfield House.

There are even DIY kits if you are brave enough to try at home! Alternatively, there are clay kits that create a flat imprint of those tiny hands and feet.

I have used salt dough in the past for my baby foot prints. So easy to make and soft enough to roll out again if the imprint isn’t ideal the first time. You just then pop it in a low oven/microwave until it hardens.

1/2 cup salt

1 cup of flour

1/2 cup of water

Combine salt and flour, slowly add water to form a dough. Adding more water as needed, if you add too much water simply add more flour. Kneed until smooth. Roll out into desired shape and then gently push baby’s hand/foot into the shape to create an imprint. Place in a low oven until hardened and dried. Or alternatively, place in the microwave for 10 second bursts until hardened and dried.

Clothing keepsakes

There are lots of companies who make patchwork blankets or teddies from baby’s first clothes and these can be a wonderful memory, putting to use the treasured tiny clothes so you can always have a reminder of them but not having clothes cluttering the place.

The company I personally used to get blankets made for my two is LoveKeepCreate, who make stunning items and really look after your clothes.

Breastmilk/first lock of hair jewellery

This can be a lovely reminder of your journey, whether you have stopped breastfeeding, reached a feeding milestone or once baby has had their first haircut.

Hand/Footprint jewellery

How about little hands and feet prints on to jewellery and keepsakes? You’ll find an amazing local business Prints and Bows will take a print and create something amazing to wear.


Even if the traditional baby memory book remains untouched it can be a wonderful idea to keep a journal of day-to-day life with baby so they can look back on it when they are older. Just a sentence or two a day, and as they grow you can add in funny sayings, mispronunciations, moments that made your laugh, their likes/dislikes etc. Write about how much your child beamed on the swings at the park, or how she kept chasing the pigeons.

You could even set them up an email address and send them emails rather than write it down if you would prefer.

Family enjoying fresh air in Welwyn Garden City. Best parks and woods in Welwyn Garden City
/ The Daisy Foundation with Jilly Clarke

The Importance of fresh air – and where to get it in Welwyn Garden City

Best parks and walks in Welwyn Garden City and surrounding area

With the warmer weather making an appearance it is a wonderful time to get outside and blow the cobwebs away. I have put together below a list of some of the best places to enjoy parks, woodland, or nature in general around Welwyn Garden City, the surrounding villages and even into St Albans.

It can be so easy to stay indoors, especially with a new baby; and we have spent so much of the past year stuck inside it can be easy to fall into habits. But grabbing even 5 minutes of fresh air has so many benefits to your physical and mental health. So, grab your coats/sling/buggy/baby bag/the kitchen sink (!) and head outside.

Fresh air benefits for you?
  • Fresh air makes you happier. More fresh air, the more oxygen you will breathe. Then this will increase the amount of serotonin (a happy hormone) you release by your brain, therefore making you happier. Moving around also increases endorphin levels, reducing adrenaline and again making you happier and calmer. (if anyone who has done Daisy Birthing with me will know all about endorphins and adrenaline!)
  • Fresh air strengthens your immune system. We know that people who get fresh air often have stronger immune systems in general. This means less illness overall, as your body has an easier time fighting off germs before they invade and take over.
  • Fresh air cleans your lungs. Exposure to more oxygen causes the blood vessels in your lungs to dilate (get larger – again we know all about this from Daisy Birthing in relation to your cervix!). This then improves cleansing and tissue repair within the lungs, and helps them exchange gases more easily.
  • Fresh air gives you more energy and a sharper mind. Again by pumping more oxygen into your body you are allowing your whole system to work more efficiently. It really is a wonderful tool!
  • Fresh air is good for your digestive system. You’ll benefit from an increase to the flow of oxygen helping you digest food more effectively
  • Fresh air helps improve blood pressure and heart rate. Getting your body moving, releasing stress and generally helping with a feeling of wellbeing.

In addition, venturing outside will also help you produce vitamin D from the sun (when it does come out), which is essential for many bodily functions including supporting our immune system, strengthening our bones, teeth and much more. That powerful vitamin can also help you fight depression as well so get outside and enjoy yourself.

What about the benefits for baby?
  • Fresh air can jumpstart language skills. The sights, the smells, the sensation of the breeze on their face. All this sensory input, as well as having an adult narrate the experience for them really can boost their language skills.
  • Fresh air improves physical development. If you are able to let baby out of the carrier or buggy for some time outside it can really help boost their development. If they are moving around they will experiences uneven ground, different textures under foot (or knee/hand). Even having to readjust themselves against the wind is beneficial for their muscles. Not to mention bending down or reaching up to explore every last stick, blade of grass or leaf on a bush! Add in some playground fun and you’ve got yourself an amazing sensory and physical experience.
  • Fresh air lays foundations for learning. All the sights, sounds and textures in nature are irresistible to a young adventurer. Little ones are natural scientists, experimenting with their surrounds and working out how they relate to the world. It is never too early to expose little ones to learning opportunities out in nature.
  • Fresh air helps create healthy sleep patterns. Exposure to natural light, particularly morning light can help little ones set their circadian rhythm. That is their natural body clock and can help boost sleep patterns. Fresh air also sends more oxygen into the body, allowing little brains to work hard to process the rich sensory experiences, and therefore can aid better sleep.
  • Fresh air can help ward off illness. Just like in adults we know that fresh air boosts the immune system.
  • Fresh air is good for mum and dad and promotes bonding time with your baby. Naturally when you are pushing a pram or walking with your little one in a carrier, or holding their hand, your focus is on them. Use that time to narrate what you see, smell, and feel. Show them everything you are noticing.

The key is to take a few precautions for young outdoor adventurers, including staying out of direct sunlight and dressing in appropriate layers. You can read more about this in my blog post about baby wearing in different weathers.

Best parks/outdoor spaces around Welwyn and Welwyn Garden City

Getting out to a park or the woods is a lovely trip out. Whether you are taking exercise in pregnancy, walking to try and get labour going. Perhaps it is baby’s first trip out, or the first trip on the swings. There will come a time when a park is the go-to easy option for an activity to kill a couple of hours. So with that in mind here are my favourite around Welwyn.

  • Welwyn Village – a great older play park at Ottway Walk car park and a younger park further up the hill near the Whitehill Centre
  • Haldens Park
  • Stanbrough Lakes – lovely walk around the lakes, plus a play park and splash park too
  • Moneyhole Playing Fields – there is also access to woodland here too
  • The Lagoon – lovely little lake just of Mundells roundabout
  • Digswell park – take a walk under the viaduct and along the lovely footpath, enjoy the swings. Plus there is also a nature reserve where you can see some ducks and other wildlife.
  • Sherrardswood – a lovely woodland walk. There’s a great little stream to paddle in near The Red Lion pub entrance. Or lots of trails, mud, places to hide and sticks to find.
  • Digswell waterfall Just down the road from Digswell park is a lovely little waterfall and is great for a little paddle if the water isn’t running too high. Part of the Centenary walk.
  • Brockett Hall waterfall Again you can see these as part of the Centenary walk. This waterfall is simply stunning.
  • Fairlands Park, Stevenage – a great one in the summer with a play area, splash park and a big lake to walk round.
  • Verulamium Park, St Albans – another great splash park but also a lovely lake to walk around.
  • Knebworth House – can be costly but is a wonderful day out with little ones with a big play park, a dinosaur trail and lovely gardens.
  • Hatfield House – lovely grounds to walk around.
Daisy Baby Tinies baby classes in Welwyn and Welwyn Garden City. Baby sleeping on a mat after a relaxing massage at our postnatal classes.
/ The Daisy Foundation with Jilly Clarke

Choosing a baby class – Baby classes Welwyn Garden City

 Why might a Daisy baby class be just what you are looking for. Baby classes Welwyn Garden

Congratulations, you’ve had a baby! The nights are long, the days are even longer. Once you are past the complete overwhelm that being a new parent can so often bring, the pressure starts to mount to attend a baby class. How do you know which class is going to be the best fit when there are so many to choose from? Baby classes Welwyn Garden

See our range of baby classes from birth to 18 months by clicking anywhere on this line.

There are a lot of different baby classes in Welwyn and Welwyn Garden City. It is likely that whatever one you attend (or more, the more the merrier in my opinion! Honestly, sign up to them all and go to all the drop-in groups!) will be similar others. You will find signing classes, baby massage, sensory, music, swimming and even messy play. Classes that concentrate on one thing, and others that include a whole variety of elements rolled into one. There are classes that use expensive props to help baby’s development, and there are ones that teach you a skill e.g. swimming or signing.

Finding the one for you can be tricky amongst the noise of advertisements.

Here is some advice…

Firstly, in the early days with a new baby YOU are the most important thing. Any class advertising that you need to attend their class to boost baby’s intelligence or give them something that you cannot give them instinctively is not what you need as a new parent. Find a class that genuinely supports connection; helping to grow the bond between you and baby but also between you and others going through the same thing! A class that can boost your confidence in parenting your child, not tell you how to do something.

Secondly, really look at what you are signing up for. If a class is 30 minutes long and there are 5 classes on that day it is possible that you will sit down, do a bunch of activities, and get ushered out again. Going to a class and not talking to anybody is the worst.

Thirdly, try and get a good idea of the teacher before you sign up. Do they show themselves on social media so you can get an idea of what to expect? There will be teachers or leaders who you naturally warm to and others who you’d rather avoid. It is hard if you’ve signed up for a full 12 week term and you don’t like who is leading. It can be hard to summon the motivation to go after a hard night.

A Daisy baby class – Daisy Tinies

Our Tinies baby classes are for our smallest members of the community. When they are teeny, often 6 weeks or younger and up to around 4.5 months, all they want is you. We nurture that connection. We nurture all connection.

At the start of every class I go around and ask everyone how they are and how their week has been. This starts off so many conversations and allows questions to be asked, and any milestones to be celebrated. It is SO important for new parents to talk so we dedicate a good portion of the class to this. It is likely that baby is feeding or asleep from the journey for the first little while of the class so we use that time to get to know everyone.

Each baby class is split into six segments, each one is short and flows into the next section. We know that babies need cuddles, feeding, changing, winding and so many other things. The class follows the same format and mostly the same activities each week. One week baby might be unsettled, but the next week they might be able to join in.

You will find that every activity involves you engaging with baby. Cuddling and moving them around, playing tracking games, helping them find your face as you move around. Doing baby massage and yoga soft stretch together, playing movement games and even relaxing together. Nurturing that connection with you.

Carefully constructed classes

Everything that we do has a purpose, to help with baby’s development, to aid bonding, or to relieve some common postnatal discomfort. Our baby massage segment even helps to ease some of baby’s discomfort like wind or tight muscles from birth.

You will get a chance to learn some self-relaxation techniques at the end of every class too. Some gentle guided breathing and gentle movements to help you ease tense muscles. You might not be able to lie down and fall asleep. But to get 5 minutes at the end to quieten your mind as you rest and focus on yourself can recharge you amazingly.

Daisy Tinies is a feel good class.

/ The Daisy Foundation with Jilly Clarke

Benefits of a baby massage class – Daisy Tines style

Looking for a baby massage class in Welwyn? Baby massage Welwyn.

See our range of baby classes from birth to 18 months by clicking anywhere on this line.

Often a Daisy Tinies class is described as a baby massage class. Absolutely, a term of classes will deliver all the baby massage benefits that are so widely known about. But probably the most special thing about classes is everything else. Baby massage is what you may sign up for, but the connection with others, the chance to learn a host of movements, techniques, songs, and rhymes to help with bonding and caring for baby, and for helping you to relax is where the value lies.

Do an online search for a first baby class for tiny babies, baby massage is most likely the top answer. Baby massage is a wonderful skill to learn, and a wonderful first baby class to attend with your new baby. You may wonder though, why you need to leave the house when there are so many baby massage tutorials online. You would be forgiven for thinking that at such a young age a baby would not benefit from a baby class at all and it would be totally pointless going.

That is where all the other elements of a Tinies class are so important. The chance to chat to other people, to share the highs and the lows in a safe, supportive environment. The chance to move yourself, to ease out tense muscles from caring for baby whilst recovering from birth. Opportunities to learn different ways to play with baby, learning why certain movements and techniques are so helpful for baby’s development and happiness. Five minutes to relax; no matter what baby is doing we find 5 minutes to concentrate on breathing, relaxing muscles and thinking about yourself. While on paper a baby class is for baby, a Daisy Tinies class is mostly for you! Baby massage Welwyn.

Benefits of baby massage

In those first few weeks you will spend a lot of time getting to know baby, trying to understand every individual squeak, grunt or cry. Introducing baby massage really allows you to slow down, to take some time out to just be with your baby, which can really help you to understand them a bit better. If a baby cries your natural impulse is to hold, cuddle or stroke them. Baby massage is part of this natural impulse.

In our Daisy Tinies baby massage classes we encourage positive welcomed touch. We read and respond to baby’s cues, and only massage when baby is calm and receptive to it. This may mean that for a few weeks of the term that baby is sleeping, feeding, or needing a nappy change during part of the massage section of class. That is totally fine! We repeat our techniques every week and slowly build upon them, but also the class contains so much more value that once baby is ready to go there will be another part of the class that is just as beneficial.

Repetition is key

We repeat the techniques several times throughout the term, so even if you cannot physically participate you can still listen, watch, and absorb the techniques to try yourself at home. If your baby does not seem to enjoy massage right away, do not worry. It is a new experience for you both and it can take a bit of getting used to. Try a few minutes the first time and build up as your child gets more used to it. A Daisy Tinies class is about building confidence.

But also, a gentle rubbing of their feet, hands, face, back etc. promotes the same soothing, calming, bonding experience. So even if baby is not receptive to laying down for a massage, or you are unable to because you are out and about then you can still use touch to provide that emotional support and attachment. Getting hands on baby, providing that skin-on-skin touch does not have to be about removing all clothing and performing a set routine, it can be about a gentle touch and just letting baby know that you are there and loving them.

Lovely Oxytocin

When we massage our babies, we also help release the hormone oxytocin, which regulates the cortisol or stress levels. In other words, baby massage can help relax our little miracle, reducing periods of crying and consequently aid sleep. Our other calming techniques we use in class also work to promote oxytocin and relaxation for everyone. You will hopefully leave each class much more relaxed and connected with not only your baby but the outside world as well.

Studies have shown that routine touch and massage can lead to improved mental, emotional and social development. Skin is the first organ to develop and is the largest organ of the body. Touch is such a powerful sense and can bring about so many benefits. Your baby’s first emotional bonds are built from physical contact, and these serve as the foundation for emotional and intellectual development later in life.

Regularly massaging baby may:

  • Help you and your baby understand each other better
  • Soothe babies and reduce crying
  • Aid digestion and help relieve colic, wind and constipation
  • Help babies to sleep more deeply and for longer
  • Relieve nasal congestion
  • Relieve teething discomfort
  • Help develop good muscle tone
  • Improve co-ordination and suppleness
  • Enhance body awareness
  • Boost the immune system
  • Improve skin texture
  • Help calm and relax both parent and baby
  • Boost parents’ confidence in handling their baby

Tinies offers a wonderfully relaxed, sociable baby class, focusing on celebrating baby, offering support and friendships. Give it a try and you will most likely find you love it so much that you keep booking again and again. The joy is that the class grows as your baby does. They discover new elements of fun in the class, and when they are truly ready to move on, we have our Wrigglers baby classes too. We have got you covered for that first year with baby – and beyond!

You can book a class or add yourself to the waiting list here: Baby Massage class Welwyn – Daisy Baby Tinies – Jilly Clarke (thedaisyfoundation.com)

or email me on jilly-clarke@thedaisyfoundation.com

/ The Daisy Foundation with Jilly Clarke

See what others are saying about Daisy classes

Are you like me, always looking for a good set of reviews before taking the plunge? NCT Welwyn

Reviews are so important to help you decide whether a class or a product will be a good fit. I always do a quick check of reviews before taking the plunge and dealing with a new company. NCT Welwyn

See our range of pregnancy and baby classes from 14 weeks pregnant right up to 18 months by clicking anywhere on this line.

When you attend a Daisy class you are getting just me. I might have a national name behind me but I am the one answering the phone calls and emails, setting up WhatsApp groups and meet ups and teaching every single class.

Below are some examples of reviews you can find over on my Facebook page or on Google. You can visit the page to read them in full, if you wish to, by clicking this link then hitting reviews. The Daisy Foundation High Barnet, Mill Hill, Potters Bar & Welwyn | Facebook 

Or Google “Daisy Welwyn” and select one of the locations.

Daisy Parent and Daisy Birthing

“Just wanted to say a HUGE thank you for all you taught myself and my partner in our classes! I honestly wouldn’t of been able to get through it without the breathing techniques we learnt! And we both felt so in control as we knew all the info and our options!! Thank you again!” – Emily NCT Welwyn

Daisy Birthing, Daisy Tinies and Daisy Wrigglers

“I’ve attended daisy birthing (through two of my pregnancies), daisy tinies and Wrigglers and have loved all Jilly’s classes. Jilly is engaging with the babies and creates a relaxing environment when you are expecting. She is friendly, chatty and full of knowledge, everyone should do her classes!” – Michelle

“I attended Daisy birthing, two terms of Tinies (baby massage) and two terms of Wrigglers (baby yoga) with Jilly with my son and I’m so sad that I can’t continue on to Cruisers as I am returning to work. Jilly is so lovely and friendly and also very professional and runs well-paced classes. Jilly is gifted at creating a warm, welcoming environment so that you get to know the other women and/or babies. Unlike other baby classes, these classes allow you time to share milestones, worries and seek support at the same time as having lots of fun with your baby and a laugh with the other parents. I will definitely be back for the whole run of classes with another baby in the future!” – Nina NCT Welwyn

Daisy Parent and  DaisyTinies

“Daisy Parent was just what we needed to help us prepare to meet our little one, both mentally and physically. Jilly is knowledgeable and friendly and manages to cram so much into the course which she delivers with a sense of humour and element of fun. We’d highly recommend Daisy Parent with Jilly if you’re looking for a supportive and educational course with a few laughs along the way. Daisy Tinies was a great progression, a supportive environment for new mums with lots of tips to take home. It’s a chance to meet other mums and babies and benefit from exercises designed to relax both mum and baby. We would highly recommend this lovely class, baby Leo is a big fan of Jilly so would recommend it too!” – Jessica NCT Welwyn

Jilly Clarke your Daisy teacher for Antenatal classes in Welwyn Garden City. NCT classes Welwyn
/ The Daisy Foundation with Jilly Clarke

Antenatal and baby classes Welwyn and surrounding areas

Hello! Antenatal  classes Welwyn Garden City

Welcome to The Daisy Foundation Welwyn,  Knebworth, Potters Bar and Wheathampstead. Your home of baby, pregnancy and antenatal classes in Welwyn and surrounding areas.

I am Jilly, your local Daisy teacher for Welwyn Hatfield and surrounding areas. I am passionate about supporting your pregnancy and motherhood journey. Having two children of my own aged 8 and 5, I understand the challenges that pregnancy and motherhood can bring.  I have been a Daisy teacher since 2014 and I am also a trained babywearing consultant, postnatal doula and starting solids facilitator. I can bring a wealth of knowledge, experience and passion to my role and work hard to support everyone. Antenatal classes Welwyn Garden City

Everybody deserves a strong support network, “a village” and I work hard in both antenatal and baby classes to connect people. To help strike up those conversations. Everybody has a different journey, but when we come together to share experiences it really does make everything easier. NCT Welwyn.

Our classes aren’t just about helping you “make friends”. While this forms an important part of our support we are equally passionate about education and empowerment. I help you find the confidence to make the right choices for you and your family. The techniques we provide really do help in all situations; from our breathing and relaxation techniques in Daisy Birthing to our calming and bonding techniques in Daisy Baby classes. Each class or workshop that I run is packed full of education, hints, tips and support. Classes are non-judgemental, everybody is welcome.

Class information

All pregnancy and baby classes are now back in person. All classes are subject to social distancing and we have robust measures in place to ensure that we are covid safe.

I offer the following classes below. Please head to the “My Classes” section below to find out more or book on. NCT class Welwyn.

Please contact me via email on jilly-clarke@thedaisyfoundation.com or on 07709446120

Antenatal classes

Click on the class name to go directly to the class page

Daisy Birthing – A weekly antenatal class for pregnant people from 14 weeks until birth. You’ll learn about and use elements of active birth, pregnancy yoga, hypnobirthing and antenatal education. A special bonding time for you, your bump and baby

Active Birth Workshop – A workshop for expectant parent and birth partner from approx. 28 weeks. Helping you understand the stages of labour, working with gravity to support your baby’s birth,  using techniques such as active birth, hypnobirthing and massage for labour. Learning about potential complications to feel confident for birth.

Daisy Parent – A comprehensive antenatal course for expectant parents. Our entirely comprehensive Daisy Parent format draws on elements of active birth, hypnobirthing, parentcraft and traditional antenatal classes to create one very powerful combination.  From birth plans to massage in labour, informed choice to packing hospital bags and feeding your baby to changing their nappy.

Baby classes

Click on the class name to go directly to the class page

Daisy Baby Tinies – A weekly postnatal class for mum and baby in the ‘fourth trimester’ (from approx. 6 weeks until 5 months at the start of term). I’ll help you learn how to use baby massage and movement to aid calming, soothing and connection with your baby.

Daisy Baby Wrigglers – A weekly class for caregiver and baby (from 5 months until crawling) to help you learn how to use a variety of tools such as: baby massage, baby yoga, rhythm, rhyme, story and (baby) sensory experiences to aid your baby’s development, your connection and have fun together!

Daisy Baby Cruisers – A weekly class for caregiver and baby (from confidently crawling until approx. 18 months) to help you learn how to use a variety of tools such as toddler yoga, rhythm, rhyme, story and (baby) sensory experiences to aid your baby’s development, your connection and learn how to embrace the chaos!