Seven things a midwife wants you to know.

Shauna and her son Jasper


When I had my first baby I was busy. I was working an “important job in TV land.” I was dedicated, I was committed, and I was focused.

Pregnancy was just a sideline.

Morning sickness – I could overcome. Pre-natal classes – you must be kidding I was too busy… I had Prime Ministers offices to call. Midwife appointments were barely just attended when I could make them. And a C-section was scheduled to optimise time.

What a bloody idiot I was!

Of course things went awry. My baby was breech and wasn’t growing properly and I had an early C-section at 36 weeks to avoid any problems.

Breastfeeding was a disaster which took weeks to sort out.  And no one prepared me for the fact a baby was coming after the whole birth bit.

I managed to battle through, but I tell you things were completely different for the second and the third pregnancy.

I was a model patient.

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Pigeon. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100 per cent authentic and written in their own words.

Nicolette Chapman

Looking back I wish I had just spoken to a midwife like Nicolette Chapman. She has been in the baby game for over 15 years. Listening to someone like her would have saved a lot of tears. (Oh and a pile of broadband usage consulting YouTube “how-to’s”)

Here’s the top things I wish I knew before I had a baby.

1. Education.

Nicolette is a big fan of education. She says most first time mums get completely fixated on the labor bit and are unprepared for what comes after – er, actually having a living breathing person with needs you have to tend to.

Education, antenatal classes and familiarising yourself with what happens during birth are the key to minimising fears.

2. Stay active.

After witnessing hundreds of births Nicolette says the better prepared physically you are the easier things are going to be.

Stay as active as possible during the pregnancy – then your body is able to cope better with labour,” she says.  She suggests activities such as swimming and aqua aerobics.

3. Pelvic floor exercises.

I know, I know I should have. I wish I did.

There is nothing better to help with labor itself, the actual birth and the recovery.

4. Keep an open mind.

Pregnancy is such an overwhelming time and when things like labour don’t go exactly according to plan it can be extremely disappointing for both women and their partners.

Nicolette says to always keep an open mind and have a flexible birth plan so that things can be tweaked during labour. “Know your caregiver is trying to do the best thing for you,” she says.


5. Sleep.

It generally takes about six weeks for sleep to overtake feeding as the main concern for mums post birth.

The adrenalin wears off and you realise that this little person actually isn’t going to sleep through the night ever. That you will never get a decent night’s sleep and that you may as well get your name and phone number tattooed to your hand because there is a big chance you will never remember it again. (Or maybe that’s just me).

Don’t worry say the midwives, it will get better…(just don’t count on it in the next decade).

“There isn’t an awful lot you can do before you have your baby to prepare for breastfeeding.”

6. Breastfeeding.

There isn’t an awful lot you can do before you have your baby to prepare for breastfeeding other than read, read, read and research. Nicolette suggests you know your anatomy but I warn you, post birth your “anatomy” is not going to be like anything you have experienced before.

Those previous body parts you hardly gave a thought to will become a major focus. They will be transformed. They will pulsate and crack and bleed and radiate heat and leak and engorge.

If breastfeeding works for you then that’s great. If it doesn’t then don’t become too wound up in it. There are many ways to feed your baby.

7. Bottle feeding or combination feeding.

Many women choose to bottle-feed or to combine breastfeeding and bottle-feeding – which works pretty well for busy families.

Nicolette admits that when it comes to bottle-feeding some women feel there is a stigma out there that stops them asking for help. She urges Mums to get support.

“Midwives are pro-breastfeeding but if you choose not to or can’t then of course we want to help and make sure babies are being fed properly,” she says.

Nicolette says to prepare yourself for bottle-feeding by picking the right products. She says, “from nearly 15 years experience I have found the pigeon wide necked bottles are fantastic for babies and are great for combination feeding as well – the shape of the teat and the way the baby’s mouth attaches to it seems to hold that same natural shape as breastfeeding.”

Good luck with your baby. Cherish every second because life will never be as fulfilling or as breathtakingly, or as bewilderingly precious.

What about you, what do you wish you’d known before having a baby? What tips would you pass on?

A few more hilarious insights into the wonderment of parenthood …

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