After having her first baby Tara Darlington decided to train to become a Birth Educator and Doula. 14 years later she is now a mother of 6 children as well as a highly qualified Birth Educator, Doula and Yoga Teacher. “I trained as a Birth Educator & Doula after I had my first baby, realizing that most of the information available to women and their families was not necessarily the information that would help women to have success and joy with their birth and early parenting. I draw not only from my education but also my personal experiences and clients’ journeys to help support women through a positive birth and early parenting experience as I fundamentally believe that if we ‘heal birth, we can heal the world,” she says.
Here are her thoughts on caring for you.
EDUCATE YOURSELF AND YOUR PARTNER
“A positive birth experience is generally better for mother and baby’s physical and emotional health. The birth experience can affect the breastfeeding experience as the hormones of the normal birthing process helps mother and baby to bond and for breastfeeding to happen more easily. Intervention and the stress of a traumatic experience can mean that mother and baby are separated after birth and interrupt the hormones that help facilitate breastfeeding. This can include issues with milk supply, bonding, fatigue and depression. Some key areas for preparing for a ‘good birth’ are: 1. Educate yourself and your partner about the natural birth process (it’s not a scary as you would think!) 2. Practise relaxation and meditation (prenatal yoga is perfect for this) 3. Surround yourself with people who will listen to you, support you and believe in you.”
GET A PROPER MATERNITY BRA FITTED WHEN PREGNANT
“Ill-fitting bras can cause problems with milk flow and cause complications like blocked ducts and mastitis. There’s no better feeling than making the decision to move into a breastfeeding bra when you are pregnant! It will help you to feel comfortable and confident. You also need to surround yourself with people who understand breastfeeding and believe in you. Feeling educated and prepared for breastfeeding will definitely help.”
MEET BABY’S NEEDS PROMPTLY
“Developing self-esteem, physical, social & emotional wellbeing as well as intellect are all part of my goals with my children. As babies need to have their needs met promptly and without delay, including being held a lot and being fed and changed whenever they need. This is known as ‘attachment parenting’ as you are helping the child create a healthy attachment to (and empathy for) themselves and others. As they become toddlers I try to allow a great deal of self directed play and natural play. This simply means letting the children discover the world of nature. Through this they develop an innate sense of how the world works and their relationship to it – helping to develop a holistic approach to life and to understand that everything is interconnected.”
BABYWEARING HELPS YOU TO KEEP FIT AND STRONG
“Holding a baby helps me become very in tune with baby’s cues, signs and needs. It also helps to allow the baby to release emotions and develop physically as well as supports a healthy immune system for long term health benefits. Remember how much a hug does for you when you feel upset or have strong emotions? Imagine how it helps a baby who is having so many new experiences every day. Babywearing also helps to keep me fit and strong and to aid my physical and emotional recovery after birth. Both mother and baby release oxytocin, also known as the hormone of love, giving both mother and baby feelings of love, wellbeing, calmness and safety. These feelings flow on to making mothering easier and baby calmer – what else would a mother want!”
USE RING SLINGS TO MEET THE NEEDS FOR ME AND BABY
“Ring slings have great versatility and with a little practice and patience will probably become your favourite in no time at all! I have collected a few carriers over the 14 years (7 or 8) and I use them depending on various factors: Do I need to be hands free? Is the baby ready for a short or long sleep? Is the baby likely to want to be alert and social? Do I need flexibility and versatility? Am I going to need/want to put the baby down? (to play or to sleep?) I tend to feel that becoming an ‘expert’ with a few key slings is most probably the key – don’t overcomplicate things too much. I do have a favourite one-shoulder sling and a favourite 2-shoulder carrier. However, I tend to use the ring sling most as it is most versatile and easily adjustable to changing needs for me and the baby.”