Archive | December, 2014

That’s a wrap, baby! How swaddling makes sleep more snug – SCMP 2012

That’s a wrap, baby! How swaddling makes sleep more snug – SCMP 2012

Posted on 15 December 2014 by Kristrun

snug for blog‘Swaddling can be a fantastic way to calm a baby and help it sleep longer if it is a baby that easily wakes up when startled,’ she says. ‘It may sometimes provide a warm and cosy feeling that is similar to being cuddled, and therefore the baby is calm.’

She acknowledges that some people (like myself) find swaddling hard to manage. ‘For those [who] struggle, pre-done swaddles can be used. The Australian brand Love to Swaddle as well as [Britain's] Grobag offer something of this sort.’

I used a Miracle Blanket from Mothercare. While it looks like a random assortment of cloth sewn together, it is indeed miraculous. You can have your baby swaddled in less than a minute with the guarantee they won’t escape.

We swaddled until Tom was three months old. At this point, he rolled. Once they can roll, a swaddle is no longer safe as they need their arms loose to push themselves into a position where it’s easy to breathe.

The main concern about swaddling is that it restricts a baby and could therefore cause physiological harm.

‘If you do it in the correct way and only when sleeping so the baby has plenty of free play in between, swaddling should not be harmful,’ says Thorey. ‘But it is very important that this is in fact the case – that the baby is left to play with arms free a lot, put on its tummy a lot and has plenty of kick-around time without a swaddle.’

Read the full story on SCMP

See our consultants for safe swaddling tips

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Labour tips for Dad’s – birth partners

Labour tips for Dad’s – birth partners

Posted on 09 December 2014 by Kristrun

98cc515e-c663-491e-b086-cef92529c08dFirst of all, I don’t really feel that I can write about this subject anymore without at least mentioning that not all ‘birth partners’ are fathers and therefore the  term “father” is perhaps not always the right one.  Having said that, of course the word is still valid and essentially, I am actually talking about fathers here in this article, as I guess  99% of those accompanying the mother are male, and much of what is being discussed refers to these two aspects i.e. the father, and it being a “he“.  Just in the light of recent acnowledgement of gay marriages and gay parents having children and this being a very real and enjoyable part of my job, it should be mentioned that a child can have one, or more than one parent, and none may necessarily be a father.

To me, it feels rather awkward to even write about “the role of the dad“ with regards to the birth of his own child. It makes it somehow a role – a part to play – an unnatural event at which he must participate in a certain way.

But there are many reasons for this and I am sure most dads agree with me when I state that many feel very uncomfortable at times in the labour room; a bit helpless or wishing they could do more to ensure the comfort of their partner, unsure how to do so and – what is unfortunately my (and my collegues’) fault, unable to feel fully at ease or even welcome at the birth.

That said, almost all birthing rooms in hospitals are now open to fathers to accompany their (wives) partners at birth even if some hospitals do so at the very last minute, others allow this throughout the journey and some have so many restrictions that even if the poor creature makes it through the door, he is going to have one hell of a challenging time ahead, as if it was not enough to be stressed about the labouring mum, his own worries about fainting, seeing blood and stretched out body parts that he wishes he only saw in the dimmed light of the bedroom at home.

I have 4 kids myself.  Each time before the birth, I asked the father of my children how he wanted to play things.  Various answers came from him.  He was mostly worried about the new BMW and that the leather would get damaged by amniotic fluid.  Then, he was very irritated by the fact that the WIFI of the hospital was not working while I took my time to dilate with number 3.  He was always rather surprised and somehow annoyed when I asked him about this.  “What do you mean, you will just have the baby and I will, well, be there.“  “Or not – should I not just be in the pub like in the old days?  Is it really a place for a man?“

Unfortunately, it is not always funny or simple.  Many men really are at a loss about how to go about the birth. Or when there are complications, they find themselves in a vulnerable situation, often without much help.  So here is why it is so important to make the birthing environment one, that not only “allows“ the dad to be there, but automatically  assumes that this is a family event with both partners equally going through the journey of birth.  In fact, they should be the ones to invite others, inluding the midwives, doctors and anyone else that is helping, rather than feeling like they themselves are being “allowed“ to do and behave in a certain way.

Here are a few tips for dads in the labour room:

  • Come to antenatal classes and learn properly about labour.  What is what.  What body part is what.  How they work.  What does NOT happen (there are many myths out there).  Learn about the time it takes to give birth.  Learn that you will not control much, it is like an obsticle course through which you must stay calm, but mostly you need to be patient, well fed and somewhat informed to finish in a good place.
  • Imagine you are still at home and do what you would do there.  Don’t ask for permission to be in any place, just don’t touch strange equipment and buttons, but be where you are needed by your partner.
  • Learn how to work the bed, up down, back up and down etc.  There is an electric control unit that does this, find it and use it.
  • Turn off the lights yourself if this is needed,.Don’to wait for the  staff to always remember to do this after they use the lights.
  • Find out how to play music in the room, your own player or theirs, set it up and relax the atmosphere, right from the start.
  • Make sure there is enough drinks and food for your partner at any time, at the temperature she likes.  Low sugar levels are one big reason for fatigue and non-stamina and she will need to have small regular snacks throughout the labour.  Drinks also.
  • You also need food, make sure you have it regularly.
  • Be yourself.  Don’t play a role – just try and be normal, as if you were at home.  Talk to your wife between the contractions or when labour is not all that full on and ask her what she would like you to do or not do.
  • Try and imagine that you were assisting a child that was injured in hospital, needing stitches.  Ask yourself what you would do?  You would of course stay calm, speak little but reassuringly, perhaps tell stories, ask questions, stroke, massage, hold hands, look in their eyes, stay close, give little hugs, kiss cheeks, and do anything possible to ensure that no one did any harm of course, verbally or in the environment, to your loved one.  Do similar in the labour room.  Try and find out where she physically is feeling the discomfort of the contractions – is it in the back or front?  If in the back, offer massage (you of course will have learned this in our antenatal classes), hot pack or TENS machine and help her to stand up or get on her knees to relieve it.  Is it in the front?  Help her into the bathtub if this is an option, you may also want to have a tub that is acrylic to get in and out more easier.  Or walk around with her.  Help with the breathing (again, simple and easy, but very important to learn).
  • Take a small bottle of massage oil and massage her regularly.
  • When she is fully dilated, help her to find a position that suits her.
  • Make sure that she knows not to push when she has no feeling to push, i.e. if she does not feel like doing something, she should not be doing it.
  • Help her to change positions if the one she is using does not seem to be good for her.
  • Don’t talk to her while she pushes, just hold her hand or stay behind her if you are supporting her from her back.
  • Be yourself.  Don’t try to be funny if you are not normally this way.  Tell jokes if this is what you usually do.  Be the one that she knows and recognises, and then she will calm down and not worry about you.  Make it a family thing.
  • Often it works well to push while standing on the opposide sides of the bed, with the bed in a high position, holding hands and looking into eachother’s eyes.  Gravity and strength.
  • When the baby is coming, you may or may not want to look.  If she is on her knees, you will not see anything anyway, but you may want to be ready to be given the baby and pass it to her.  It is amazing to feel the warmth of a newborn, but it is not for everyone, so you may want to ask yourself this, at that time.
  • Once the baby is with you both, you may want to ensure that there is not too much noise or light, just try and take 15 to 30 minutes in complete peace and quiet with the baby on the mothers chest.  Try and hold off on  the phone calls and if you n eed to take pictures, do this quietly and remember to embrace these moments and really live them.  The baby is opening his eyes and sticking out his tongue and getting to know his surroundings, and you will want to be a part of what he or she sees, smells and feels first, before doctors or midwives start to do their checks and tests.

At Annerley, all of our antenatal courses include a “Dads” class where the men get together with the midwife to talk, ask questions and get advice. We also offer one on one sessions for dads to prepare them for the birth.  They are one hour long and are designed to give very practical, hands on, tailor made tips that always work.

When my babies were finally born, of course my husband was there.  It was a little like, here we go again…..and again.  Boring but fantastic.  And of course he would not have missed it for the world.

To book a private session with our midwives click here, email to – all our antenatal courses will include a session for fathers to be. See our website for more details.


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Inducing labour naturally

Inducing labour naturally

Posted on 09 December 2014 by Kristrun

How to(1)Inducing labour naturally is a popular topic and we are often asked if that´s at all possible. Baby is considered full-term anytime from 37 weeks to 42 weeks, so there is no need to panic if you are a little “overdue” which is actually quite likely to happen especially if you are a first time mother.

After 37 weeks, your baby is fully developed and most organs are mature enough to adapt to life outside the uterus. However, during the last few weeks of pregnancy, your baby will put on fat to build up an energy store and the later he or she comes into the world, the easier it is for he or she to adapt. So no matter how impatient you are to meet your child, try to enjoy the last days or weeks of pregnancy and give your baby time to be fully ready for the world.

However, if you are close to 42 weeks and/or are getting close to your scheduled induction, here are some tips you can use to bring on your labour naturally.

What you can do at home

Eating pineapple

Pineapple contains an enzyme which can soften the cervix and start labour. But there is a very small amount in any pineapple and only if it is a fresh one.

To get any real effect, you need to eat a lot of pineapple! However, pineapple might help with constipation and by stimulating your tummy, this might also stimulate your uterus…

Spicy food

The idea is to stimulate your uterus via stimulating your tummy. If you are not used to spicy food, maybe try it gradually as it may irritate your tummy or cause heartburn. Anyway, spicy food is harmless during pregnancy so even if there is no evidence that it is really helpful, it is a good excuse to go out and try something new!

Be active

Walking around, cleaning, anything that make you move in an upright position. Moving can stimulate the uterus and bring on contractions and, especially in the upright position, can help the baby to travel downwards into the pelvis and press on the cervix.

Red Raspberry leaf tea

Raspberry leaf tea may help your labour to progress as it thought to tone the muscles of your uterus so they work more efficiently. The remedy needs a few weeks to build up in your body, so it is recommended you begin taking it when you’re about 32 weeks pregnant. You start with one cup a day to gradually reach around 3 cups a day around 37 weeks and up to 4 cups a day after 40 weeks.


Having an orgasm releases oxytocin which is the hormone responsible for contraction during labour. Semen contains prostaglandins which are also hormones used during labour, especially to soften cervix. Having sex is also a really good option to relax and to stop focusing on your impending labour, which may also help to make it start!

NB : you might bleed a little during 24-48 hours after sex because the cervix is very sensitive at the end of pregnancy and might bleed. This is nothing to worry about.

Nipple stimulation

Oxytocin, a hormone that causes contractions, is released in the body when the breasts are stimulated.  Massage the first nipple for 5 minutes (when there are no contractions), then wait to see what happens (around 15 mins or so) before doing more. It’s a good idea to take your mind off things by getting on with your usual duties than sitting and waiting for something to happen.

Eating dates

A study recently concluded that women who ate dates during pregnancy were less likely to need medication to start labour or to keep it going (as well as other favourable outcomes).

Dates are anyway loaded in fiber and are a good source of potassium, copper (an essential trace mineral), magnesium and vitamin B-6 – it seems six per day is the optimum amount to aim for!

Other things that might help


Homoeopathic remedies, such as pulsatilla and caulophyllum, are often used to stimulate labour. These remedies use highly diluted versions of more potent substances.

Research into the use of these remedies in labour has not found any cases where they have caused harm to mum or baby. So if you think they will help you, and you were a fan of homeopathy before your pregnancy, they may be worth a try.


Acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine needles into specific points of the body. According to traditional Chinese philosophy, this stimulates the energy within the body to act on a specific organ function or system.

Membranes sweep

Your obstetrician or midwife can carry out a membrane sweep during a vaginal examination. She’ll insert her finger into the entrance to your cervix and gently but firmly move it around. This action stimulates your cervix to produce hormones which may cause your labour to start.

Membrane sweeping increases the chances of labour starting naturally within 48 hours.

Herbal remedies

Some may be harmful, so seek advice from a specialist before you think about herbs.

Not recommended

Castor Oil

Acts as a strong laxative. The idea is to stimulate your tummy and thus your uterus. No evidence about bringing labour but evidence that most of the ladies who tried have been very sick! => not recommended!

Maybe the best thing is just to relax and enjoy the time. Go out for dinner, have a massage… Just take care of yourself, eat well and rest a lot, you will need that energy anytime soon!

For a private appointment with the midwives, click the link or email to

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Breastfeeding in the cold weather

Breastfeeding in the cold weather

Posted on 08 December 2014 by hulda

I come from Iceland.  Where it is cold half the year, no actually, it is cold 3/4 of the year.  So when everyone starts moaning in Hong Kong about the current weather,  I always smile a little.  But I also moan.  Because in Iceland the houses are warm and outside you dress properly.

This is not why I am writing.  When I was a nursing student in the very rural place I grew up and there were a 100 km to the next small hospital, my aunt, the nurse in the village, showed me how I needed to massage a breast one day.  It was a new mum with a 2 weeks old baby and the baby had been feeding well but the day before she came to see us in the clinic, the breast got very red and hard and lumpy and no milk would come from it.  It was a classic blockage of the milk duct and there was no obvious reason; the baby had been feeding well, there was no cracking on the surface of the nipple and till then, all had been fine.  Her bra was not too tight, the baby drained the breast well most of the time and she was well informed of how to do things.

Still there she sat, half crying from pain, half from the inconvenience of all of this, she had had to drive 30 km to see us, it was cold outside and all she wanted was to be in bed at home.

Aha – cold outside, said my aunt.  This is the reason.

You see, when the weather turns suddenly cold like this, particularly when it is windy and cold, the mums sometimes forget to cover their breasts more than usual (i.e. when they go and pickup their laundry from the outside, when they go to the car from the house etc), and because the breasts are full of warm milk, they meet the cold and then shrink, just like anywhere else on our skin.  The ducts contract and the milk does not flow as well as before.

And this is a classic time of the year for mums to get blocked milkducts, explained my aunt to me, – you must always absolutely remember to explain this to all mums.  In the winter, they must always wear scarves or thicker tops to cover their upper body, should they get into cooler air.

Dress well in cold weather

Dress well in cold weather

This sounds quite funny here in Hong Kong where most of the year we are so warm that wish for the weather to cool.  But actually, it is really chilly sometimes in the winter and now that we had a sudden drop of temperature, I would like to warn all mothers: Make sure to never get cold on your breasts.  Always wear an extra layer.  And if you do get cold, immediately afterwards, make sure to warm up well and feed a little more often than usual.

I have yet to confirm this science by reading research about it and I have met a group of midwives/LCs here that had never heard this.  But in Iceland it is very much the case and I have many times in Hong Kong seen how cases of mastitis are more common during the winter than in summer.

So I just wanted to ensure everyone else knew.  Bring out the pasminas.

Don´t forget we can help – contact us for consultation over the phone or in our office – or book a home visit.




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