Archive | November, 2012


Is it safe to get the flu shot while pregnant?

Posted on 21 November 2012 by hulda

Parents want to know if it is safe to get the flu shot while pregnant. Official government health agencies including the  Center for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S.),  NHS (U.K.), and the  Australian Department of Health and Aging all suggest that getting the flu inoculation is safe and is recommend that all women should get the flu shot while pregnant.

Pregnant women are typically at a higher risk of developing complications when they get influenza.  However, the virus mutates so fast that the vaccine can never be completely accurate. As such, it is recommended for pregnant women to get the latest vaccine.

It should be noted that some vaccines contain thimerosal, which is a mercury-based preservative used in muti-dose vials (vials containing more than one dose) to prevent contamination. If this is a concern, pregnant women can explore the option of a thimerosal-free vaccination.

If you are considering whether or not to take the flu shot, gauge your risk to being exposed to the flu. A nurse, for example, working in a children’s ward at a hospital, who commutes to and from work on public transport will have a higher risk of getting influenza than someone who works from home.

If you do decide to vaccinate against the flu, be sure to request the flu shot and not the nasal spray as the flu shot is made from an inactivated virus which is safe for mother and baby during any stage of the pregnancy. On the other hand, the nasal spray is made from a live virus which is less appropriate if you are pregnant or trying to conceive.

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Second Time Around: Raising Your Second Child

Posted on 20 November 2012 by Annerley

The second child - managing two children isn't easy, but experience helps!Let’s be honest, becoming a parent wasn’t exactly how you pictured it. Yes, there were some amazing pluses that you couldn’t possibly have known about in advance (who knew you could love somebody so tiny so much??) But there were also a few challenges that you weren’t exactly banking on. However, the point is that you made it through. In fact you did so well that you’ve only gone and done it all over again. And if that ain’t a sign of success, then I don’t know what is! So here to celebrate your new arrival is a short guide to what’s in store second time around.


Your biggest advantage is that you’ve already brought a baby into the world and believe me, that’s a BIG advantage! You’ve been there and done that. You’re comfortable holding and feeding and changing a baby so your confidence levels are higher. It’s a huge help. Yes it’s true that no two babies are alike and you’ll quite likely need help with one or two new challenges but you know where to go for that help (hint: begins with a, ends with y). Also any fears you may have had about whether you could truly love another child like you love your firstborn are put to rest as soon as baby 2 arrives. Turns out there’s more than enough love to go round. What a relief! However even with all this experience, don’t underestimate the physical pressure of a second pregnancy and birth. Your body still has to go through it and recover from it at a time when you attention is being demanded by two children. Go easy on yourself. Work with your partner to find time for you to rest. And don’t forget about the hormones. These too take time to rebalance. Expect a period of adjustment. And as I always say: ask, ask and ask again for whatever help you need.


The arrival of your second child brings two main challenges – Time & Guilt.  How to divide your time efficiently so you don’t end up feeling guilty about how you’re spending your time. You’ve arrived at a stage in your life where it’s imperative to be very, very, extremely organised. Two small children looking for your time, a relationship that needs attention plus the need for personal time means potential chaos without careful pre-planning. And with our old friend Guilt hovering at every corner, getting on top of both of these challenges becomes pretty urgent. You’d be amazed at the amount of calm and balance that you can gain simply by tackling these two issues head-on.

Good News!

So here’s the good news. If you haven’t managed to share your time out efficiently and are suffering from a daily dose of guilt as a result, I have a solution for you. Daddy 202 and Second Time Around for Mums are two new workshops that deal with precisely these issues. Find out how to banish the guilt forever whilst easily whipping your week into shape. Learn practical techniques for dealing with daily stress whilst discovering how to introduce more calm and balance into your family and your relationship. And if you join up for December’s classes, you could just find yourself waltzing into 2013 guilt-free and organised to the hilt! So what are you waiting for?

Full details here:

Second Time Around for Mums

Daddy 202



Workshop Facilitator & EFT practitioner, Orla Breeze works with new parents and parents-to-be here at annerley where she runs her popular workshops Daddy 101, Daddy 202 & Second Time Around For Mums







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Weighing a newborn at home

What to expect when you come home from the hospital

Posted on 15 November 2012 by hulda

This blog is a little bit all over the place, as it is evening and my thoughts are a bit scattered, after a majorly busy week.  But I am still going to write about what most mothers should expect when she comes home from the hospital; this is like my little way of keeping a work diary to give you an idea of what I often see.

“I have no idea how to change a diaper”– 1st day at home from the hospital and the parents are struggling.  And who is to blame them? They have after all spent only 3 nights in the hospital and as they were tired, the staff offered to keep the baby in the nursery, nicely changed the diapers before bringing the baby into the room and bathed the little one every night while the new parents were sleeping.  So here I am with them at home and they really have no idea how to handle the baby.  The little sounds he is making, the startles, the eyes rolling, the poop that is black and sticky, the uneven breathing the list goes on and on.

If the baby was born in a government hospital, it is sometimes the opposite; the mum had to learn the hard way, but without guidance she may be insecure and sometimes lacking in the right guidance.

Of course it is normal for it to take time to get to know your little one when you’re a new parent, and let’s face it, the diaper changing part is no rocket science – you really learn quickly when you have to.  But what can be a major problem for parents just home from the hospital is that they sometimes have absolutely nothing to compare it to, i.e. they have no role models as parents and they have never been around babies, making them feel very unsure and insecure.  On the other hand there is so much advice and “rules” out there that new parents don’t dare to stray from the “rules” or have their own opinions, – even though they could possibly be doing the wrong thing for their baby and situation.

Regardless of where you give birth, it all boils down to being calm, getting a little bit of help but not too much and taking the time to learn and do things yourself.

So when I see people at home after their hospital stay, usually, confusion is the word that comes into mind.  Happy, perhaps slightly sleepless and overwhelmed parents, but very confused.

I often hear; “the book says he should be sleeping but he really wants to feed“– or “the LLL website says he should be feeding 12 times per day, but he sleeps most of the time”.   The thing is that all babies are really similar and all babies are very different.  To be a parent, to breastfeed, to change diapers, burp, put the baby to sleep, to go out with the baby and all the things you must do once the baby is born, requires a lot of patience and if you have this, you will eventually realize that this is actually quite easy.  The confinement period that most Asian people take:  A great idea!  The running around like most westerners do:  A bad idea.  Somewhere in between:  Probably best.

Take things slowly.  Get one of us to come and help you, weigh the baby and check on healing at home. We can help you at home instead of you having to go to busy clinics where sick people are.  Focus on breastfeeding and not on their weight.  Surround yourself with positive people and advice, stay away from those that are quick to tell you negative stories.  Eat well.  Drink a lot of water.  Sleep even more (have a nap each time the baby sleeps).  Slowly get to know the baby and give the baby a chance to get to know you.  Read books and watch TV.

Postnatal home visits are always an eye-opener for me.  They remind me of how vulnerable parents are and how easy it is not be worried.  This isyour baby, your new responsibility.  And you are tired, perhaps sore and sensitive too.  If you are the dad, you know you will have to go back to work soon and leave your partner and baby for the whole day and even if it may be nice to go out a little, you also may miss and worry about your new family.  So, let me repeat:  Take things slowly, enjoy every moment and don’t try to do things the way your neighbour does them.  Just look, listen and wait.  The answers will actually come to you quicker than you think.

If you really don’t know what to do, and actually, if you want to prevent problems that don’t have to occur, you can call me.  Or Annerley anyway, one of us can help you to confirm what you already know, or, worst comes to worst, fix things that may be slightly off track.  A simple explanation of why your baby is doing what he is doing, a weight check to show the obvious, a little teaching how to sterilize if you need to pump milk, information about how much variety there can be when it comes to feeding and sleeping patterns for babies, a quick demo on how you can settle the baby, latching on techniques…   Call if you need help, don’t wait for problems.

I have 4 children.  All very different from each other.  Still are, 15 years later.  I still remember the very many bits of bad advice I got when they were little.  Today, I am strong enough to not listen to things that don´t make sense.  But like any other mum when I was at home with my first babies, I was just as confused as everyone else.  Luckily I had excellent people around me, and plenty of time.  The best trick that I can offer: feed in bed during the night and don´t change diapers during the night unless their bottom is sore or the diaper is very full.   Then when the morning comes, you don´t feel tired at all, even if you had to feed once or twice.  Or three times.


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You can do anything you believe in – Til hamingju með daginn!

Posted on 09 November 2012 by hulda

I get inspired by a lot of people. They make me want to continue my work, my life and just simply make it possible for me to see that you really just have to see things from a certain angle, take a certain view and you can do anything you want.
One year ago, I was doing my acupuncture training in Iceland with one of these people, when another one who has been my inspiration for many years, decided to go into labour – in Hong Kong.
Which meant, SKYPE had to be the way of communicating. Good thing I had an extra pair of lenses, because at this time of the  year, I usually order contact lenses, and without them, I’m almost blind. Hardly the way that a good midwifery care is provided to a first time mother, who is single and having her baby in a government hospital in Hong Kong, far away from family.
But such is life and she successfully squeezed out the beautiful little girl and went onto feeding and taking care of her, then hiring a helper, working and the story continues like for any other new mum.
My absence at the birth, endlessly noted somewhere in my suppressed back of the head, will never be fixed, and surely I will have to try to make up later.
Today I wanted to congratulate this truly amazing woman though. She is by far one of the most powerful figures in my life for many reasons and she is an example and inspiration that many would love to have met earlier in their lives.
“I cannot breastfeed as I must return to work”. Well, this lady, she just arranged so that her helper brings the baby to work once per day. She feeds before going to work, then at lunctime, then pumps once and then feeds once she is home and as often in the evening as needed. Twice each week, the helper comes to us at Annerley, stays with the baby through baby groups and the mum comes and feeds the baby there during her lunchbreak. If she has a hard time pumping at work, she pops into here, borrows one of our pumps and rooms, and squeezes it in between meetings. It only takes 10 minutes and we are in central.
The baby is 1 years old today. One of the most beautiful and healthy little girls you ever see. The mum is a very successful single mother who just makes things work. She travels too. But each time she meets the baby´s eyes in her lunchbreak or comes home to a baby that she alone can feed in such an intimate way, especially after occasionally thinking that perhaps now the baby loves the helper more, afterall she is working such long hours, she knows that she is doing the right thing. The hands grippling onto her skin, scratching her lightly, the look from the baby, the whole lot.
And sometimes, she goes and plays rugby, runs marathons, or meets friends, has wine, skips lunch. She is not “bound” by the baby. She can do everything she wants. But she has set it up in such a way that it suits her and it suits the baby, it does not affect her work and is the best solution for everyone.
And she never moans about it, she is just happy.

As I said, one of the greatest inspiration in my life so far, never fails to impress, I would like to say congratulations and happy birthday to my sister Rebekka, a big thank you to Haymarket and Jon who is of course the best boss in the world and to the rest of you who read this, just remind you, if you want to, you can do anything. Til hamingju með afmælið elsku Bríet.

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Is having a homebirth in Hong Kong illegal?  Why would you think that?

Is having a homebirth in Hong Kong illegal? Why would you think that?

Posted on 01 November 2012 by hulda

Hulda Midwife at AnnerleyI just wanted to share that there seem to be so many misunderstandings out there about having a homebirth in Hong Kong and lately I have had 3 women come to me who had all been told that homebirths were illegal, unless you have a policeman there present!  Now obviously this is coming from very uninformed professionals and we would never be attending and assisting at homebirth if they were illegal – and who would want to give birth with a policeman (or a woman) as nice as they might be, in the room?!  I had to laugh a little when I heard this, but after the third family told me the same story I admit that I was a bit shocked.


There is a misconception that having a homebirth in Hong Kong is illegal. This is not the case but the paperwork can be discouraging, and because of the risk factors, not all mothers are good candidates. However, many are.


I have written about home births so often that I don’t really see the point in writing yet another article about the same matter, and there is an article to be published in Jessica magazine very soon about the topic of home births in Hong Kong, so stay tuned there.  Additionally, I am very happy to answer any questions you may have both here, on Facebook or by email, as there seems to be a demand for more specific information about certain things.

Now, just to make myself clear, I am not an avid promoter of homebirths but at Annerley we are fortunate enough to have an amazing team that now has both experience and confidence when it comes to assisting at homebirths and there is an even more amazing community out there that is willing to help and share their stories with future home-birthers in Hong Kong.  I encourage all of you to join hands and keep up the good work, and I will continue my part in supporting you all in the best way I can.  In the meantime, having a homebirth in Hong Kong, done by a well prepared family, for the right reasons and with the right support, is perfectly legal and can be both safe and incredibly enjoyable.

In the last 2 weeks, I have done two homebirths in Hong Kong and 3 natural hospital births – well of course I did not DO them, I was there to help and fortunate enough to see these women go through an amazing journey.  To watch someone who has peace, quiet and a supportive environment and people around them be able to move around freely, choose the position they want when the baby is coming out, and basically be treated like a human being rather than a patient in a life threatening situation, – what a difference it makes.  Congratulations to you all and your husbands, who were like troopers by your side.  And as for my team, Annerley, you make this possible.  I would never be able to do this without you, so lets keep going as a team!

If you have had experience with a homebirth in Hong Kong or want to share your opinions please share them with us in the comments below.



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