Archive | February, 2012


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Weekend at home

Posted on 26 February 2012 by hulda

…it has been a long time since I have had a weekend at home without any work.  Somehow the days have just disappeared while all of us have been so busy in this current baby boom.  I feel that I am in a desperate need to go away for a few days and reload the batteries, although this has been very nice, to have the last two days only for the family.

…one big reminder of how fast time goes, this girl is now almost walking – and the cat is exploding from extra weight.

… the older  teenager is going to a boarding school this september.

…the lady teenager brought home a crowd last night and the boy in the group was not allowed to sleep over.

…our friend (who is staying with us at the moment)’s son who I last saw newborn, is 13 years old.

Lord how time flies.


Everyone who is interested in supporting us in the Birth Centre project, can you kindly make contact – we need all the help we can get!

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Choosing a birthing position – government hospitals

Posted on 23 February 2012 by hulda

I am just about to go off and work with the labour ward midwives in the government hospitals, on hands on techniques for assisting women during labour. Everyone that is just about to give birth in government hospitals, you must follow this up for me by asking for help and encourage the midwives to catch the baby from whatever angle/position feels best for you. Standing, squatting, kneeling, side lying or just the traditional way. Very exciting!

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Government maternity wards and positions during labour

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Government maternity wards and positions during labour

Posted on 19 February 2012 by hulda

Hello all, thanks again for reading.  Exciting things happening and I wanted to share them.  Some of you may be aware of the fact that Franklen and Miranda shared their homebirth story in the Ming Pao newspaper earlier this week and it has raised endless response.  Poor Franklen has had little time to anything else but to keep the home running and take phone calls/emails, and the response is not all good!   Of course, such a controversial topic as a homebirth will always raise more questions and people have strong feelings about this.  To me, this is simply an option in addition to many other good options that Hong Kong has to offer, – it is not a statement to say that other services are not good.

Franklen´s blog:

In any case, as a result of demand for more birthing options,  our Annerley Birth Centre will hopefully open not too long from now. Preparations are in full swing and we have felt so much support, thank you all very much.  Any comments, suggestions and birth stories are very helpful to us as we use these to help us make sure the birthing options in the centre will include pretty much EVERYTHING that a woman and family can ask for.  So keep your comments coming, we are listening.

birth options in Hong KongAnother really great thing that I wanted to share with you is that this week I am conducting a midwive’s workshop at the Queen Elisabeth Hospital, where around 30 midwives from the government hospital wards will come and learn how to assist women in giving birth in various different positions, other than semi-upright.  We will cover the squatting position, standing, kneeling, lying on your side, and on all fours.

They are all very excited and I am too. I truly hope that this will help the midwives to continue the great work that they have already started, i.e. to offer more options within the maternity wards.  For women to be able to give birth in a position that they choose is an absolute right in my mind, so if we can equip the midwives to feel comfortable in assisting, then there is nothing holding us back any more!

So this Thursday, the workshop will be on and hopefully all of you going to QMH, POW, QEH, PMH, PYH, KWH, TMH will have access to midwives in the future who will happily assist you in whatever position you would like.

Additionally, together with Katrin — the Icelandic doctor who has been with me for the last 3 weeks in her internship here in Hong Kong — we did a workshop at the Prince of Wales last week for all the midwifery students that are graduating this spring, covering the same topic – positions during labour.  They were very inspired and the class this year was big, 43 students, so this means that the wards will now be filled with students and new midwives that are eager to promote these new positions.

So that this development will continue, it is however, of uttermost importance that all of you, dear pregnant mums, further express your needs during labour, rather than relying on the options that are offered to you.  You must initiate what you are after, and be confident in trying various things.  Then this will inspire the midwives, who will work with you at an advanced level.

So to conclude, more and more birthing options in Hong Kong, positive developments and many great things happening in hospitals and in the community.

I welcome any discussion, please join in!

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Raising a happy child

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Raising a happy child

Posted on 13 February 2012 by hulda

It’s never too soon to help your child develop an inner strength to deal with the inevitable ups and downs of life. Hulda Thorey, founder of Annerley Maternity and Early Childhood Professionals, midwife and mother of four provides some tips:

  • Put baby on its tummy as early and as often as you can from birth onwards.  The child will see the world from a different angle and learn to reach out to get what he / she wants instead of always finding that everything comes automatically, for example dangling toys and ready-made play solutions.
  • Be moderate, not extreme, in your communications.
  • Praise when appropriate, and give as little attention as possible to less positive behavior.
  • Give very clear messages. Do what you say you will do (both treats and threats) –  and expect the same of the child.
  • Remember that the baby copies you.  It will not be told to behave in one way and then see you do things differently.
  • Don’t constantly try to make the baby follow rules.  Confidence and creativity can be killed if you force your child to stick to the usual rules.  For example, why do they have to colour inside the box on a pre-drawn picture?
  • Encourage interaction with people of a broad age.  Grandparents offer a very different perspective on life, and alternative ways in which to do things.  This usually provides a healthy addition to parenting.


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A Mother’s Touch

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A Mother’s Touch

Posted on 13 February 2012 by hulda

The endless benefits for you and your baby with Infant Massage

“To touch is to love,” enlightens Donna Watt, mother of two with over 25 years of experience in early childhood development and a certified infant massage course instructor, who better to take advice from?

Infant massage is by no means a new fad, it has been a part of a mother and infants daily routine for centuries around the world, and we can understand why. That first touch between mother and child is one of the most magical moments a mother will experience, it is the most significant foundation upon which you create that bond with your child.

Donna has seen the struggle of dealing with the after effects of a cesarean and the trauma of giving birth to a premature baby. It can destroy a mother’s confidence and her assurance in her abilities in motherhood. It is a painful obstacle to overcome on top of the everyday worries and fears motherhood brings. But there is hope and Donna believes it is Infant Massage that can bring about the most radical and positive changes to a mother’s outlook and confidence.

A massage is an enjoyable experience you won’t hear anyone turning down and it is no different a fact for our babies. Though what makes an infant massage so special is the fact that it is not just something done to our baby but done WITH our baby. It can improve that crucial bond and relationship with your infant like no other methods out there. Infant massage opens up the doors of communication between mother and child. The techniques you learn are guaranteed to teach you how to engage and relax your child, facilitating your already budding parenting skills.

Infant Massages won’t just benefit your baby, but you yourself as well. In terms of psychosocial advantages for your baby, massages will amplify your child’s sense of love and trust, promoting attachments to you as a parent. And in return you will improve your ability to read your baby’s cues and encourage synchrony connecting you together, which is what we all want with our infants.

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Proven benefits infant massage encourages:

  • Relaxation in our babies (which inevitably mean a more relaxed mummy!)
  • Improvements to the babies’ skin with the encouragement of blood circulation through the body.
  • Digestive benefits, babies who receive massages prove to suffer less from colic and constipation.
  • Respiratory developments minimize coughs, colds, and both ear and nasal infections.

Course Structure:

Infant massage is held over a period of 5 sessions, the last of which is deliberately held on a Saturday morning so that the fathers can also learn about the techniques.

  • Consisting of four, 1.5-hour sessions
  • 45 minutes of information and Q&A
  • 45 minutes of actual practice.

Annerley will teach you first hand, the benefits of baby massage, concentrating on specific strokes used for different part of your baby’s body. It will give you the confidence and techniques you can take home with you to improve not just your infant’s development and body system but more importantly the strengthening of your bond with your precious baby.

Price: 1600 HKD

For more info:×1-5h-.html 


  1. “Maxim and I loved attending Annerley’s baby massage classes. We learned how to give and receive a gentle full body massage and we came to understand the physical and emotional benefits baby massage can bring.” Kirsten Oates
  1. 2.      “Infant massage proved to be really useful in helping to calm down our very active and energetic baby. The course gave practical and useful techniques that make massage accessible for all mums and babies.” Sarah Young

Profile: Donna Watts

Donna runs our Infant and Baby Massage courses as well as our mother and baby groups and early development sessions at Annerley, teaching some of the domestic helpers training classes as well.

Donna is a 25 year experienced mothercraft and enrolled nurse. She worked for 17 years in a maternity hospital in Australia specializing in newborn and special care treatment prior to commencing her own baby health clinics throughout Sydney from 2005. Her experience is centered around the 0 – 3 years of age infants with focus on growth and development. She has 3 adult children and enjoys outdoor activities and meeting new people.

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Helping Helpers: Domestic Helper’s Course

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Helping Helpers: Domestic Helper’s Course

Posted on 13 February 2012 by hulda

Give you and your helper confidence in caring for your baby plus weekly playgroups.

Cultural differences between helpers and ourselves can leave a gap in communication, a gap that Annerley tries to bridge. Donna Watts, mothercraft and registered nurse explains: “In the Philippines and Indonesia It is customary to hold and rock a baby to sleep. But recent studies and research show that it is actually more beneficial to the baby if we teach them to fall asleep on their own. We show helpers how to establish a routine and signals that indicate when it’s time for baby to go to sleep.”

Many of us simply couldn’t manage without our domestic helpers, our domestic helpers at can multi-task with ease, running errands, cooking and cleaning our homes. Not all of them are prepared for the huge responsibilities that come with childcare. And when it’s your baby, you want to make sure that you can give your helper all the help and knowledge she needs to look after your precious babe.

“By teaching the domestic helper’s the latest in childcare studies, mums can feel more confident that they are leaving their baby’s at home with the best care possible,” says Watts. “It’s hands on as only in that way can we see the problems. For example, some helpers misunderstand what we mean by lie a baby on its back, placing the baby on its stomach with its back up.”

The course extensively covers all the major topics concerning baby care, including:

  • Hygiene and minor ailments,
  • How to ensure babies sleep well and learn self settling techniques
  • Breastfeeding support
  • Use of infant formula and introducing solid foods
  • Developmental milestones and appropriate play for different stages
  • Infant CPR, first aid and safety.

Course materials are provided and Annerley will also provide feedback to you and your domestic helper about their progress at the end of the course.

Price: 2650 HKD

For more info:

Maid and Baby Playgroup:

Maid and Baby happen every Wednesday morning from 10 to 12. Maids bring babies and interact with the children in a playgroup setting. Donna Watts supervises the group discussing different topics as they come up. Donna gives maids hands on instructions on how to deal with each baby. It is a great opportunity for a casual evaluation and our observations of how baby and helper interact mean we can raise any ‘red flag’ areas that parents can look out for at home. This program’s success has been written about and posted on sites like with great reviews and comments. Anyone interested should give it a glance.

  • It’s open to all maids and babies under the age one 1 year old.
  • There’s no need to register, just drop in!
  • We also offer coffee, tea and other light refreshments.

Profile: Donna Watts

Donna runs our Infant and Baby Massage courses as well as our mother and baby groups and early development sessions at Annerley, teaching some of the domestic helpers training classes as well.

Donna is a 25 year experienced mothercraft and enrolled nurse. She worked for 17 years in a maternity hospital in Australia specializing in newborn and special care treatment prior to commencing her own baby health clinics throughout Sydney from 2005. Her experience is centred around the 0 – 3 years of age infants with focus on growth and development. She has 3 adult children and enjoys outdoor activities and meeting new people.

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Hulda Midwife at Annerley

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What is “normal” in breastfeeding?

Posted on 11 February 2012 by hulda

Hulda Midwife at AnnerleyDear all,

I have spent this week with women battling their breastfeeding challenges.  Mostly good news, but many interesting topics came up and a lot of women asked; what is “normal” in breastfeeding?

This topic reminds me a little bit of when woman are pregnant and they keep coming into Annerley after their checkups, half with concerns that their baby is suddenly too small and the other half with babies that in the last scan seemed to be alarmingly big.  Now this is another story for another blog, but in terms of the breastfeeding mums, pretty much half of them feel that they don’t have enough milk, and the other half is producing so much that they don’t know what to do to slow it down.

I am not writing a lengthy blog about this today, but I just wanted to raise a few points.

  1. First of all, not all babies grow the same.  There is no particular advantage of being  “average” or above the 50th percentile.  Even if your baby is bigger or smaller, as long as it grows, this is fine.
  2. Second, the breast milk production changes over time, over days and between the hours of the day.  It is also greatly affected by your sleep, food and drink intake, stress levels, outings, guests, travels, illness etc.  So there will be swings.  And similarly, baby’s need for milk changes through the day, between days and as it grows.

The great thing is that the two usually sync beautifully, if you just stay calm and let things happen.  After a few weeks of breastfeeding, there is harmony in this for most women but in the meantime, it is sometimes hard to stay patient, or even to believe that the day will come when everything is in balance.  But it makes no sense that there would not be enough milk for some babies, if everything is done “correctly” (why I put this this way is because correct can be many different ways).

Also, hard core breastfeeding support is sometimes a bit too hardcore.  Those that work in this field are always very optimistic and telling women to be patient, everyone can breastfeed etc.  But sometimes we fail to acknowledge that there are women out there that for one reason or another who will always have a harder time breastfeeding than others.  They can still breastfeed, but it must be admitted and they must not be made to feel bad when it is obvious that they do in fact only have just about the amount that the baby needs, or if they are the ones that always have a massive overflow of milk.

I will continue with this later.  But if you are a mother that produces more milk than makes you feel comfortable, or less milk than it seems that the baby wants,  be comforted by the fact that you are first of all not alone, this happens to many women but also, with time things always settle and you will find a pattern to feed your baby that suits both of you best.

As for my involvement, I must just say that I admire all of you ladies out there, you really make me feel proud of the strength that I see within you all.

Feel free to share your experiences and breastfeeding stories here or on our Facebook page, we love to hear from you.


Too book consultation with our consultants (midwives and/or lactation consultants), click here or email us to

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Makin’ Whoopee? 10 tips for Valentine’s romance

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Makin’ Whoopee? 10 tips for Valentine’s romance

Posted on 11 February 2012 by hulda

This article was recently featured in Playtimes Magazine. Click image to see the magazine PDF.


1. Don’t talk endlessly about the baby; remember to be interested in yourselves as a couple. Communication and maintaining intimacy is critical as you will need to be strong together, especially in the first years of the child’s life. Practise now.

2. Don’t fear sex during pregnancy. Men especially may feel a bit uncomfortable about getting so ‘intimate’ with their unborn child. Make sure that your partner understands — before it can ever become an issue —that the child can never be harmed by intercourse as it is so well protected.

3. Practise your kegels. You’re supposed to do this anyway, but you can make exercising part of your sex life — and it helps with orgasms.

4. If you want to watch videos and documentaries about birth together before the birth, avoid ones that choose to zoom in graphically on the vagina during the actual birth. Until you experience the birth of your own child, which is quite a different thing, being shown this beforehand does nothing for a man’s sexual appetite.

5. Post-partum exhaustion almost wipes the will to live from many women. Encourage your partner to lighten your load by helping to make sure you are fed, to fetch and carry, to give the baby a feed with a bottle so you can rest, and so on. A little TLC can do wonders for your spirit, and you may then approach attempts at intimacy with a little more goodwill.

6. On the physical side: attempts at intercourse are usually only recommended six weeks post-partum and even then, with sore nipples and your ‘bits’ still tender, it can be a dreaded notion. Try a massage as one thing can often lead to another.

7. When you do go for it, have some oil or a lubricant ready as hormones can sometimes cause dryness which can mean uncomfortable sex. Get your partner to treat you to a sexy breastfeeding bra from Bralicious. Not only will this make you feel more desirable and perhaps drive him wild, but wearing a bra during sex disguises the perhaps offputting sight of leaking breastmilk.

8. Flirting can take place of physical intimacy — a sexy wink, a naughty note, a cheeky smile. Just as when you first met, flirting promises future physical intimacy, helps release a few feel-good endorphins and creates a sense of togetherness – and that is what it is all about.

9. Post-partum depression is a reality with about 10% of new mothers suffering from the condition. Men can also suffer depression as they can feel very intimidated by all the changes but at the same time they may feel conflicted as they should be the strong one. So they keep quiet. Make sure that your partner realises this before the birth as forewarned is forearmed. Arrange for postnatal follow up home visits before baby arrives, and go to a mum and baby clinic so that you can talk about the way you feel with professionals as well as other mums after baby arrives.

10. Relax. Don’t give each other a hard time as nobody is perfect; we’re not Stepford Wives and Husbands and sometimes it is best to let go of all those high expectations and just let it be.

Hulda Thorey is the founder and director of Annerley (, is a registered HK midwife and mother of four children. She is a guest lecturer at the Hong Kong School of Midwifery in the Prince of Wales Hospital and has a guest spot on RTHK. Her warm and practical approach has made her invaluable to many families in Hong Kong on the delivery and care of their first, second or even third babies.

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Safety in the car

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Safety in the car

Posted on 09 February 2012 by hulda

Travelling with babies

Most parents travel with their babies in a car even in the first week of the baby’s life and it is important to take care of safety from the outset.


A rear-facing car seat is safest for baby

Car seats:

According to the laws of Hong Kong, all newborn babies should be seated in a car seat designed specifically for babies while riding in a car. This means that if you intend to travel with your baby in either your own car or a taxi, you should get a baby seat before your baby is born. Even though some other travel arrangements can be made, such as a special basket or a baby carrier, these have been shown not to provide the baby with an adequate level of protection.

Car seats from are designed for and are safe for newborns, have the baby positioned so it’s travelling backwards, facing the rear of the car. Many of these seats are most easily fitted into the front seat of the car, but nowadays parents need to make sure that an airbag (safety equipment for the car) is either not installed, or is deactivated, since this can endanger the baby if activated.

We recommend parents put their babies in the back seat of the car, and facing the backwards.

We do not recommend buying second-hand car seats from people you do not know or trust fully as a chair may lose its structural reliability if it has been in an impact before, no matter how slight.

Also, it is important to buy a car seat that is certified to a standard that is accepted in your home country or in any country where you might travel with the baby. Europe and Australia for example have different rules and standards, and each country may allow the use of different brands.

Other methods of travelling with children in cars:

If, for some reason, you have to travel with a child without a car baby seat, for example in a taxi, you are advised to use a baby carrier that holds the baby tight against you, but with the seat belt between you and the child. This is not as safe as travelling with a car seat, but will be the second best option. In this case, having support behind the baby’s head, or better yet, to use an insert such as the ones that Ergo carriers provide, or a sling where the baby is lying on the side, fully inside the sling – would be best.

2012, Hulda Thorey , updated from original 2005 article

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A very simple game idea for a 7 – 12 months old

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A very simple game idea for a 7 – 12 months old

Posted on 03 February 2012 by Annerley

…all you need is space and a small ball…

…helps with balance, co-ordination, creativity, autonomy… and so much more…

Give it a try.  And stay away.  Let the little one discover this on his/her own.

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