Valerie Gommon Midwife’s Blog

Archive for the ‘babies’ Category

A new campaign has been launched with the aim that, every woman should have a midwife that they know and trust and:

• who can support her through her pregnancy, birth and beyond
• regardless of her circumstances
• or where her baby is to be born

Please do take a look at the website and follow up on the Action Plan as listed:
Please take the following actions
• Read the Manifesto
• Sign up for our Newsletter
• Tell your friends and colleagues
• Post on Facebook and Twitter
• Pledge your support
• Check your organisation is supporting the manifesto
• Sign up your organisation
• Take part in our Deliver a Baby campaign
• Make a donation to support the campaign

It won’t take you long and together we can make a HUGE difference to maternity care in the UK – the Government is really listening to us!


Guest blog written by Joanne Marie who is a qualified reflexology practitioner trained in maternity and baby reflexology.

Baby reflexology is a simple soothing treatment loved by parents and babies too. This relaxing fuss free treatment can be used anywhere and when combined with massage it is a real baby treat!

Reflexology is a natural complimentary therapy using finger and thumb pressure on points on the feet and hands that correspond to all parts of the body. The treatment is relaxing and calming for adults and babies alike, so if you love massage yourself or want to learn a simple, effective skill then take a look at Baby reflexology. This technique is a specially modified form of reflexology designed especially for babies, infants and toddlers.

Baby reflexology is a simple and enjoyable skill to help you and your baby manage day to day difficulties and common problems. It does not diagnose or treat illness and is not a replacement for medical care. Always consult your babies G.P. or your health visitor if you are concerned about their health.

Reflexology for babies and children was developed by a physiotherapist after 15 years of research into the effects of reflexology on children with asthma. They found that children were more relaxed and slept better and this helped them to better manage the problems associated with their asthma.

If you prefer using natural remedies for yourself and your family then reflexology for babies gives you a natural fuss free option. You just need to be able to touch your baby’s feet. You can use it at any time and in any place. In a restaurant, out shopping, visiting friends for a cuppa and a chat, at 4 a.m. in the morning!  Just about any time you need to help soothe and calm your baby.

Baby and infant reflexology and massage are beneficial for you and your baby in so many ways. Being a new mum can sometimes seem like a never ending cycle of feeding and dirty nappies. Massaging your baby gives you a time when you can relax and be together. Baby reflexology can help you to feel more confident caring for your baby and promote a sense of security and understanding for you both.  Baby reflexology is a lovely way to bond with your baby.  It’s not just for mums, I find that dads love learning baby reflexology and it’s a wonderful way to help them feel positive about their ability to soothe their baby.

It is never too early to start baby reflexology but beware your baby’s feet may be sensitive after their heel prick test at around 5 days old.  It can be enjoyed at almost any time but after their immunisations please wait 48 hours before doing reflexology.

A basic routine lasts only a few minutes and can be easily fitted into your day. It is best to practise at a time when you and your baby are feeling calm. You don’t need to lie your baby down, you just need to be able to comfortably hold and massage their feet.  I recommend using a solid balm for baby reflexology and massage as it’s much easier than risking spilling liquid oils. Bee balm works well, but if you are out and about you can still do reflexology with no oil or balm.

Here is a very basic routine to get you started.  You can learn specific techniques to meet your baby’s needs from a qualified instructor.

1: Hold both feet gently but steadily. Speak to your baby about what you are doing; this helps them to become familiar with the routine as they will learn to associate the word reflexology with the experience.  It also later allows your baby to refuse if they do not want reflexology at that time.

2: Rub the feet all over.  Long sweeping strokes work well, but you will find your own preferred method.

3: Glide your thumb or finger gently but firmly up the base of the foot from the heel to the base of each toe. These lines are the five zones of each foot.


4: Massage the tops of the feet from the toes to the ankles by rotating your thumb in circles moving across the foot. With smaller babies you may prefer to use the pad of your finger rather than your thumb.

5: Massage each toe in turn, circling the base of the toes and gliding down the front.

6: Massage the base of each foot using thumb circles. Move from the heel up to the toes until the whole foot area has been massaged.

7: Finish with a lovely rub all over the feet.

Your baby may want to kick their legs during the routine. This is fine; you don’t need to hold into their feet all the time and it’s better to let them kick. As they become familiar with the reflexology and how it feels they will start to remain a little stiller.

A few minutes of reflexology can be enough to be effective so please don’t worry if you baby only lets you do one or two techniques.  Gentle pressure is all you need, similar to wiping your baby’s skin clean.  Find a hold or cuddle that suits you and your baby, relax and enjoy.

Video showing baby reflexology techniques can be viewed here:

Joanne Marie is a qualified reflexology practitioner trained in maternity and baby reflexology.  She manages and works as a therapist at Breathe Holistic Therapy Kidderminster.  DY115LB.  Joanne has a ten year old son who can regularly be heard asking his mum for reflexology!



This is a guest blog, written by Donna Jones –
Being a parent can be one of the most rewarding things we can do in our lives but it can also be one of the most frustrating and stressful times too. It can feel like there is constant pressure on us with no time to ourselves.

I see many clients who are suffering with parental stress and are struggling to find ways to deal with it. Our children know just the right button to press to get our stress levels soaring!

Some common symptoms of stress can be:

  • Feeling Irritable
  • Tiredness
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Headaches

Some things that have helped some of my clients are:-

  • Try to step back from the situation, take a deep breath and go and make yourself a cup of tea to give yourself some space for a couple of minutes.


  • Have a distraction box, this can be great for any ages, fill it with toys, crayons, colouring books, craft stuff or whatever is relevant for their age. It does not have to cost a lot as you can pick up cheap items from many supermarkets. Ask your children to pick something from the box to act as a distraction to keep them busy for five minutes while you have some time to yourself.


  • Your thoughts and how you perceive events around you can change your mood and stress levels. You can’t always change the world around you but you can change your reaction to it.


  • Try to plan things to look forward to you are important too and need some ‘me’ time to help you to de-stress


  • Know your limits, if your expectations of yourself are always sky high you will inevitably spend a great deal of time being disappointed and frustrated. Instead, be realistic in what you can achieve.


  • Get Support seeking support from other people can be the key to getting through stressful situations. Ironically, your reaction when under stress can often be to withdraw from those who might offer the most support. Even worse, stressful times can put a strain on the relationships you most depend on.


  • Talk to family and friends about how you are feeling. Talking openly about how you feel can be like opening a door, it helps you get back in control and can highlight the choices you have.


  • Not taking on too much, accepting offers of help from others are great ways to help reduce your stress levels.

As parents we also need to remind ourselves that we are doing a good job and to recognise that good is good enough and that no one is perfect.

Learn to relax physically

To help reduce your stress levels relaxation is important but being able to relax your body is a skill. A lot of my clients find it hard to relax as they have spent all day racing round after their children, going to work, doing housework and then when it is finally time to sit down their body is still so full of adrenaline they find it near impossible to switch off.

Some good ways to help you relax are:

  • Physical exercise such as go for a walk or join a dance class.
  • Read a book this is a good form of relaxation as it makes you sit down and also acts as a distraction from the stressful days events by making you concentrate on the contents of the book instead.
  • Breathing exercises Try breathing in for five breaths then out for six slowly.
  • Treat yourself to a relaxation tape or listen to some of your favourite music.
  • Or do nothing, sometimes just to sit still with a cup of tea can do wonders J

By Donna Jones

Counselling by Donna


A recent survey by parenting website Netmums shows that new parents are being given outdated, contradictory and even dangerous parenting advice from family, friends and even strangers!

The survey found that parents are being “advice” about feeding and parenting which may be out-dated or even dangerous.  Parents are encouraged to take this advice “with a pinch of salt”, and to listen but not necessarily act on the advice, and if in doubt to discuss with their midwife or health visitor.

Much of the family advice was found to be contradictory, with over half (51%) of mums having been told to wake a baby regularly to establish a routine, while 44% have also been told never to wake a sleeping baby!  There are many proponents of the “right” way to parent; but I would urge you to listen to your baby and listen to your heart or gut instinct and do what you feel is right for you.  However well meant, the advice given can be undermining and actually makes mums feel that their parenting skills are being criticised, with 40%feeling put down all of the time.  

You are your baby’s parent – you know your baby best – be confident and follow your instincts!

No two pregnancies are the same, so it is very important that you continue to look after yourself by eating and resting as much as you possibly can.  Remember this time you are also looking after your little one(s) too.  You may feel better or more tired this time around; and certainly having a toddler is hard work.  If your toddler sleeps then you should rest and not rush around doing housework!  If you are exhausted try asking a friend if they would have your toddler for a couple of hours so you can rest.  I can’t stress enough that you need to eat a good diet – ensure that you eat plenty of protein and iron rich foods.

You may notice that you “show” earlier second time around, this is because your tummy muscles have been stretched before and is quite normal.  You may also notice baby movements a little earlier because you know what you are looking for, but don’t worry if you don’t!

Some women say that they are anxious about labour second time around; if you had a difficult labour talk to your midwife about it – ask her what happened and why it happened and what are the chances of it happening again, however second births are usually much easier and shorter.  It is usual to be a bit anxious about labour – most women are, but remember you did it last time and you can do it again!

I think it is definitely worth attending childbirth classes if you can – I had four children and I went to classes each time – it gives you time to concentrate on this pregnancy and this new baby; and a birth plan is a great idea, second time around you are better prepared as you know what to expect, you know what you want and don’t want to happen so put it down into a birth plan and if you need advice speak to your midwife.

Successive reports have called for one-to-one care in labour as all outcomes are improved, for example women are more likely to have a normal birth if they receive one-to-one care.  However, to some women this means having the same midwife from booking, through the antenatal period, labour and birth and until postnatal discharge – this type of care may not be available in your area unless you employ an Independent Midwife

Consider having your baby at home, there are so many benefits, women usually have shorter and easier labours and this time you will be better able to read your body and can stay at home if you feel comfortable and relaxed and you won’t have to leave your first child whilst you are in hospital.  Staying upright and active will help with the contractions and also keep the baby in the best possible position for birth, but your body will tell you what you need to do; try to relax and have faith in the birthing process.

Women generally recover quicker second time around, this is partly because labour is usually quicker and easier – and also because being an experienced mother usually helps to establish feeding more quickly.

Unfortunately, the more babies you have, the stronger the after pains usually are – this is because your uterus is having to work harder to contract.  Ask for paracetamol which will help and is perfectly safe to take.

Remember that your other child(ren) will need extra love and reassurance – your new baby is much tougher than you think, try to involve the older sibling(s) in what you are doing and have patience – it is usual for children to regress a bit when they have a new baby in the house.  Accept any help that is offered and consider staying in your pyjamas for a few days – it shows that you are not at full strength.  I think women try too hard to be superwoman, just allow yourself some time to enjoy your new baby – they aren’t babies for long, although it sometimes feels like it when you are in the thick of it!

This is a guest blog written by one of my clients, Donna, who has recently given birth to twins.

I’m Donna and I am mother to two year old Grace and 9 week old fraternal twin girls Olivia and Faith.

My husband Paul and I are absolutely thrilled with our new arrivals and that we have two healthy girls.  We are extremely proud parents.  I feel particularly proud that I was able to have them successfully at home and have the birth I wanted.  We always remind ourselves how privileged we are to be blessed with twins as it is one of the hardest jobs either of us have experienced as well as being one of the most rewarding.

Before they arrived I often wondered how we were going to cope with a two year old and newborn twins.  Let me tell you, you just do!  Having said that, as each day goes by, we do find ways to make our lives easier and get into a routine that we are all happy with.

Here are a few of my tips on making day to day life easier with twins:-

1.  Accept that you will need help.  Don’t be proud or try to be super mum.  You will be extremely busy and there is just not enough of you to go around when you have multiples.  I am fortunate that my husband has his own business and works from home so he can help out from time to time however, the majority of men will need to go back to work and that is when you will need to have help.  Call on friends and relatives.  Work out what needs doing and allocate tasks to people.  It may be household chores, getting the shopping (although I do recommend you use online home delivery) or helping with older siblings if you have them. My parents live close by and are great with our two year old plus we have some fantastic friends that we can call upon.  At the end of each day, your house will resemble a jumble sale but my advice is to accept you will be busy and let the less important things go.

2.  If you do have older siblings, we found it beneficial to maintain a routine.  Your first born has always had all the attention from you, friends and family and then suddenly that changes when new babies come into the home.   This is where the help of others really comes in.  So that I could focus on Olivia and Faith, my friends and family focused on Grace.

Before we had the twins, Grace would stay with her grandparents every other weekend.  We have kept this up and she has such a good time.  She has the full attention of my parents and they make a real fuss of her.

When anyone comes to visit, they will always acknowledge Grace first and the twins second.  They would also bring a little gift or card for Grace so as she didn’t feel left out with the twins getting all of the presents. We brought Grace a play house from us and the twins when they were born, she was over the moon with that.

Nursery has been a God send for us.  Grace goes 5 mornings a week and she really enjoys it.  She plays with her friends and again gets all of the attention whilst I spend some alone time with Olivia and Faith.

Paul and I now have to share our time with three children but we make sure that one of us baths Grace every night, cuddles up on the sofa to watch her favourite tv programme and reads her a story before bed.  Paul will also take her to the park most afternoons when work permits.  This was all part of her routine before the twins came along and with some slight adjustments, we have been able to keep it.

We encourage Grace to help out with the twins and play the big sister role.  She fetches me nappies when I need them and helps me to dress them in the morning.  This way, she doesn’t resent them being around.

3.  Plan your week.  To avoid never going out of the house, plan small trips out either to the shops or to visit a friend. Life doesn’t have to end because you have twins.  There are some great support groups you can go to where you can meet other mums of multiples and also take other siblings along. Take up any offers to baby sit so as you can do one thing for yourself.  Mine is swimming.  My mum looks after the twins for a couple of hours in the morning twice a week so as I can go swimming.  It really keeps me sane!

4.  You don’t need to buy two of everything or spend a fortune on items designed for twins.  Things such as moses baskets and cots, they can share.  Co bedding can be very settling for your twins as they have been together for nine months.  Having said that, ours did not like being together in the same moses basket so we did have to get two.  They now share a cot though and are very content and happy and sleep through the night – most of the time.

5.  Your home will be chaos by the end of the day.  I just don’t have the time or energy to do all of the housework.  We decided to get a cleaner who comes once a week for two hours.  I recommend you look for a small independent cleaner rather than an agency.  An agency will tend to start from around £20 an hour whereas an independent cleaner will charge around £8 to £9 per hour.  I know it seems like more expensive but believe me, it will be money worth spending.

6.  Trying to find the time to cook and sit down and eat together is extremely challenging.  I found pre cooking and freezing some simple meals gives you that extra time to eat together when the babies are sleeping.  Just defrost and reheat.

7.  If you are feeding one baby in the middle of the night and the second baby wakes up, I found the use of a dummy beneficial.  I’m not a big fan of dummies but it really helps to keep the other twin calm until you are finished and can move on to feed the next.  I found that most of the time Olivia and Faith don’t want feeding at the same time but it does happen occasionally.

8.  Don’t worry if you can’t always settle your babies.  If they are fed, clean, winded and well, sometimes a baby just has to cry.  They will settle themselves eventually.

9.  Finally, don’t be hard on yourself.  You may want to do everything by the book particularly if you are a first time mum, but with multiples you really need to do what is best for you and your babies.  Just remember if you are content and happy then your babies will be too. An example of this was when my 2 year old Grace had an accident and needed to go to A&E.  Paul took her with a neighbour and I stayed with the twins.  The whole time the twins would not settle until Grace was home and I knew she was ok.  The twins could sense I was anxious and responded to that.

Having twins is such a special thing but nothing and nobody can prepare you for how it will change your life.  For more information on twin or multiple births visit

Donna has also set up a website which offers information about homebirth; she offers a free ebook at

This is a guest blog, written by one of my clients.

My name is Donna and I am a mother of three.  Two year old Grace and nine week old fraternal twin girls Olivia and Faith.

My husband Paul and I had always agreed that we didn’t want a big age gap between our children so when Grace was one year old, we decided to begin trying for baby number two.  I fell pregnant fairly quickly but unfortunately suffered a miscarriage at 5 weeks which was very upsetting.  After a few weeks we were ready to try again and as before, I fell pregnant within a couple of months.

I was very anxious during the first few weeks hoping that this time I would hold onto the baby.  At 12 weeks it was time for the scan.  I was feeling quite relaxed as the pregnancy was going well and I was feeling extremely sick which I thought was a good sign.

The last thing on my mind was the fact that I could be carrying twins.  When the ultrasonographer casually told us ‘oh, you have two in there’, we knew that our lives were going to change forever.  I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry – so I did both!  Everyone in the room was so excited for us but my husband and I were just stunned.  His face was a picture.  They told me that the reason why I had felt so sick was due to the additional hormone racing round my body. They also told us that the twins were fraternal and each had their own placenta and were in their own sac which is the safest type of twin pregnancy.

The first feeling I had once I had calmed down was that of being pregnant for the first time.  My pregnancy suddenly went from having a singleton baby and feeling confident that I had done this before so it will be ok, to all the anxieties of a first time pregnancy.

I knew that I had to do my research so as I could make some informed decisions about my pregnancy and birth.  When I told the ultrasonographer that I was planning a home birth, her reaction was ‘oh, you won’t be able to do that with twins’.  I had a fantastic pregnancy with Grace and had her at home in a birthing pool.  The thought of having to follow a medical route and have my babies in hospital filled me with dread.

As with my first pregnancy, I chose to take on an independent midwife.  This was my preference as I knew I would be less likely to end up with a hospital birth.  I made sure I looked after myself by eating well, getting plenty of rest (as much as Grace would allow me!) and exercised regularly.  I found swimming was great for keeping me fit and taking the weight off my bump.  I had regular scans to check on the twins’ development and position.  Throughout the pregnancy, Olivia (first born) remained head down and Faith was breech.  I knew that this wasn’t ideal but also knew after doing some research that as long as Olivia remained head down and although a little more risky, I could still safely deliver Faith as breech.  At 38 weeks I went for my final scan and to my surprise, Faith had done a full turn and was now head down along with Olivia.  The perfect combination for birth.

We had put together a birth plan that covered every eventuality if I needed to be transferred to hospital at any stage.  Two days after my last scan; my waters broke at 9.30pm when I was lying in bed.  I felt a pop and then a head drop down.  I walked into the bathroom and called downstairs for Paul saying ‘I think my waters have broken!’  He chased upstairs and I told him to call the midwife.  My contractions started almost immediately after my waters broke.  I spoke to my midwife and she told me to go back to bed as things may not start to happen until the morning and I would need my rest.  Olivia was not going to wait until morning.  I came downstairs and stood in the bathroom leaning over the toilet with my contractions coming fast and furious.  I tried the TENS machine but that didn’t really work for me.  Paul was in the dining room putting together the birthing pool which I got into as soon as it was ready.  The relief was immense.  I had heard that water was the most effective pain relief next to an epidural – I can well believe that.

I had four midwives looking after me and the babies and they all arrived at my house in time.  It was all happening so quickly and Olivia was born in the pool at 11.55pm.  She shot out and I heard her crying straight away.  I stood up and held my baby; I was elated and also amazed that my babies would have their own birthdays.  One of my midwives held my stomach to make sure that Faith fell and engaged in the right position.  We knew she was head down so we needed to make sure she stayed that way.  We decided to wait for my labour to progress naturally however, it slowed down.  I got out of the pool to walk around and see if I could get it started again.  Four hours passed and a decision was made to break the waters around Faith as the midwife discovered they were still intact.  As soon as the waters were broken, Faith was born on the sofa, again extremely quickly.

She cried straight away and the midwife placed her on me so as I could give her a cuddle and have skin to skin contact.  Another of the midwives was looking after Olivia.  Both my babies were born healthy and I couldn’t have been happier than I was just then.

The down side was that I now had to deliver the placentae.  I was so tired but knew I had to keep going.  One of my midwives helped to keep me relaxed with hypnobirthing techniques and control my breathing.  The placentae had fused together and were not budging.  With a combination of experience from my midwives and a hot towel placed across my stomach, the placenta moved and came away.  If it hadn’t been for the determination and skill of the team of midwives, I think I would have ended up in hospital with a retained placenta and that would have been disappointing after going through the entire birth at home.

So all was well.  I was in good health and although extremely tired, felt elated and proud that I had accomplished the birth I wanted.  My husband Paul was fantastic during and after the birth and I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive birthing partner.

A home birth is not for everyone and if there had been a health issue with either myself or my babies, I would have chosen hospital care.

I wanted to share my story so as other women can see that you do have choices during pregnancy even when you are having twins and you can make decisions that are right for you.  For more information about twin and multiple pregnancies visit

Donna has also set up a website which offers information about homebirth; she offers a free ebook at