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With this hot weather, what to do? Just don’t put ice lollies up your foo!

Olivia Swift with baby

I’m sure all of us have had a little chuckle at the doctor’s warnings today regarding not putting ice lollies up our vaginas. Now whilst I am one to praise and recommend a cold compress with lavender essential oils combined with chamomile as this is a good anti-inflammatory (soaked in ice cold water before being wrung out and placed on top of a dry pad in your pants) to help soothe a healing and bruised perineum, or placing your sanitary towels in the freezer before putting them in your pants, I do not advocate this new craze.

How to make up a cold compress:
Use this is to promote healing and to prevent infection.
-Half fill a bowl with warm or cold water. I find ice cold water works the best if you are able to tolerate it and add a combined total of up to 3 chosen essential oils, mixing well.
-Use a clean face cloth folded in shape of sanitary towel. Dip in water, squeeze out excess water and apply directly to the perineal wound. DO NOT INSERT INTO VAGINA. Put a sanitary towel under the compress to catch excess water; do NOT use the sanitary towel for the compress.
-Leave for up to thirty minutes, remove and put in a dry sanitary towel. This can be repeated when necessary. A warm tingly sensation may be experienced which is normal. If stinging occurs remove the compress and rinse area with plain water.
*Remember that good perineal hygiene is important to prevent infection so change your pads regularly.

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I have made a demonstration video on expressing milk by hand. Rather than creating a ‘How To' guide to read, I thought it was most effective to show the techniques via a video.

The video can be found on the next page.

expressing milk by hand lotus maternity demonstration

I will however, reiterate the main points overleaf and why hand expression is a useful skill to know.

The Baby Friendly Initiative require that all mothers are shown how to hand express, however, I am aware that in reality this is not always the case, as I know plenty of new mothers that haven’t been taught this skill. I would always demonstrate it to mums in my care throughout my midwifery practice but we’re all different and not everyone practices the same.

So for those of you who aren’t aware, this video will teach you everything you need to know.

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Posted in Advice By Olivia Swift

This, in my opinion, is the second most important factor as to whether you will sustain breastfeeding, second to determination.

The latest figures from Unicef’s Breastfeeding Friendly Initiative states that 80% of women will initiate breastfeeding but after three months that takes a significant drop, to just 30% giving some breastmilk. Plummeting even further with a mere 1% of mothers exclusively breastfeeding at six months. So why is support so important?

Let’s look at this type of scenario. A first time mother who wants to breastfeed, she lives in a community where the majority of women artificially feed. She is one of three girls, her mother formula fed, as did her grandmother and her sisters have too. Her friends in the local area are also all formula feeding and the idea of breastfeeding here, can be considered unnecessary and sometimes even taboo.

mother with baby

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Posted in Advice By Olivia Swift

First off- don’t you just hate that word- ‘shame’ it’s such an ugly word but it seems to crop up time and time again when it comes to mums talking about their journeys in regard to Infant Feeding. It is a theme that will be featured within this article and others this week and something that I hope to explore. Not as a means to offend, although I have no doubt that there will be plenty of people that disagree with my views but that’s fine, we live in a world of free speech and thank goodness that we do- as it would be such a dull life if we all shared the same opinions!

Yesterday marked the first day of World Breastfeeding Week, which is one reason why I am sat writing this. I was speaking with some mums yesterday morning at the local mother and baby group that I help to facilitate every Wednesday. We were discussing 'Dispatches- Breastfeeding Uncovered’, which aired this week, and how it seems as though you can’t do right for doing wrong when it comes to feeding your baby. A mother was saying to me that she feels she can’t celebrate and be proud of her breastfeeding milestones, as she fears she might upset women that are bottle feeding. Conversely, I’ve read some of the reactions to Channel 4’s programme from mums who artificially feed their babies and it’s become apparent that they feel they are being ostracised as a result of documentaries like this.

This article is not exclusively for breastfeeding mums, nor is it necessarily for mums- it is simply for all women. And if by the end of this piece, just one woman feels more at ease with her infant feeding decision, then I will feel content. mother bottle feeding baby

*Aunty Diane bottle feeding William on holiday with us at Sutton on Sea, 1992.

If anything this should be read just to marvel at the fashion!

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Posted in Advice By Olivia Swift
Olivia Swift midwife blog banner

*I will be using pseudonyms throughout this account to maintain patient confidentiality.

As I’m sure you can imagine midwifery brings with it some exciting, sad and loving tales. Some of the things that happen in this line of work can provoke an intense array of various emotions. Where I trained at Nottingham we were nicknamed ‘mad-wives’ as the general consensus was that you have to be a bit whacky to work in the profession!

Of course there are also an abundance of humorous moments, some you can’t quite believe and don’t exactly know how to react to certain things you see or hear. It’s almost as though you have to take a step back and think to yourself, ‘did that actually just happen?’

I’m going to now share a funny tale that happened to me. Just as a forewarning, it could quite possibly gross some readers out. My best friend who is currently 24 weeks pregnant, is reluctant to have sex with her partner now because she is reminded of this story whenever he tries it on. Sorry Steve*- I shouldn’t have shared it with her the other week!

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After seeing this video on Mumsnet and experiencing a mix of emotions at the end, I had to start writing this blog immediately! Such feelings included anger, disappointment, sadness, guilt, frustration but overall a general remorse and empathy for the mothers and families who have had a negative experience as a result.


 (Mumsnet Video From Facebook.  Opens In A New Window) 

This video was all about postnatal care. It saddens me to say that none of these experiences were positive. Without encroaching too much into the politics of our National Health Service, unfortunately the maternity service is incredibly understaffed and overstretched. It’s really difficult to try to explain the pressures practitioners are under unless you work for the service and have experienced it first hand.

All I can really say is that 99% of us are trying our best but certain things prevent us from giving 100% of our time to direct patient care. It works both ways though too, as some patients can abuse the service and also treat it like a hotel. My friend who is a nurse once had a male patient shout at her whilst she was busy seeing to another individual, “You are going to give me what I want right now- I pay your wages!” As I’m sure you can imagine she wasn’t overly impressed by this comment.

Anyway in an attempt to steer away from these negatives, as most women (I hope) do go home having had wonderful maternity care. Plus, the majority of mums that I speak to have really positive experiences too. I’ll throw some in throughout- some you could say are too honest but I’m trying to give an accurate, reflective account. There are in fact many benefits to be gained from the postnatal ward.  So in no particular order of importance, here are my,

10 top tips for making the most of your time on the postnatal ward:


~Claire with baby Eliza, less than 1 hour old (the vernix gives it away!) Born 26/4/17.

Claire stayed one night on the postnatal ward at QMC Hospital, Nottingham. You can see them both in action, in our breastfeeding demonstration video for our nursing tops!   Click here to watch.

Olivia x

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Posted in Advice By Olivia Swift

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