All posts filed under: Janine Smith

A qualified and experienced practitioner…

I am really proud of my professional qualifications – I worked hard with 2 small children to train to work with parents in pregnancy, for birth and during the first year with their baby. And I have supplemented these qualifications with additional training to provide different services such as baby massage, a doula service and 1:1 support for parents of older children. And I am incredibly proud of my work with parents – since 2002 I have provided group and 1:1 sessions for thousands of local parents. It’s not just about knowledge and expertise, it’s about listening, empathy and reassurance; it’s about providing a supportive space where parents can talk openly and with confidence about their worries and about any challenges they are experiencing; it’s about conversation, friendships and easing isolation and it’s about personalised support with discussion, empowerment and trying different coping strategies rather than quick fixes and unrealistic expectations. Parent support and wellbeing is important to me, it is the foundation of my work. Pregnancy, birth and becoming a parent can be a time …

Loneliness of Motherhood

Having young children is not all about coffee shops and idle chatter. It is not a holiday. It can be one of the toughest times in a woman’s life. The loneliness can be torture. With your first child, the learning curve is steep – learning to keep a baby settled, soothed and alive while recovering from pregnancy, birth and unrealistic expectations of how motherhood would be. We are often sleep deprived, in need of supportive mum friends and it can feel like we are on our own with the day-to-day responsibilities of looking after our baby. In our society mothers are often judged, with unreal expectations stacked against them and their children. It can be a hard slog. When you become a mother it doesn’t matter what job you do, how old you are or how much you spent in Mothercare preparing for your baby’s arrival – you have a baby to look after and it can knock your confidence when they cry, need a poo, won’t sleep and won’t settle anywhere but in your …

The adventures of Aunty Neeny and Oaty

So, the time has come for my solo-auntying adventure with my one year old nephew. This evening I fly to Bristol to take charge of the small person for a few days while his parents take a well deserved trip away – drunkenly wandering around Glastonbury, sleeping in a tent and praying it doesn’t rain isn’t my idea of rest & relaxation but I was born this old so what do I know? As experienced as I am with babies and small children, it has been a wee while since I did this on my own so I am fully expecting to experience the need for eyes in the back of my head, realising just how fast he can move and having to take him to the loo with me because I don’t want to leave him on his own. As a busy baby, days are going to be full and hopefully there will not be too many tears. I have no doubt that I will collapse into bed at 9, my book untouched. I …

baby newcastle and tyneside

Can I Cuddle My Baby?

The question Can I Cuddle My Baby? comes up a lot especially from new mums with a baby who just wants to cling. My aim with this post is to provide good information about baby development, our parenting instincts, what’s normal and why cuddling our babies and children is not just lovely it’s crucial. In our society babies can be seen as creatures to control and to train, and parents are encouraged to make their babies independent and self soothing. Any parent who cuddles and carries and soothes their babies can be seen as giving in, as failing, as making a rod for their own back. So, if you are asking Can I Cuddle My Baby? Here’s what the research tell us… When your baby is born  he has approximately 200 billion brain cells but there are very few connections in his higher brain – these connections are mainly responsible for  emotional and social intelligence. 90% of brain growth takes place in the first five years of life Early stress (prolonged crying) can create negative changes in  baby’s …

Wondering about antenatal classes?

I have worked as a pregnancy and birth practitioner since 2002 – as an antenatal teacher and as a birth doula – so I have now worked with thousands of parents and I know pregnancy & birth, as well as the different needs of expectant parents very well. Labour and birth can be brilliant, it can be euphoric, it can straight-forward, it can become complicated and it can be overwhelming. Good birth preparation goes a long way – by gaining good information you know more about the childbirth process, what helps and what might not; practical skills to focus on being comfortable and staying calm; with discussion and a chance to ask questions so you know more about your options as well as benefiting from an experienced perspective. I passionately believe that when labour is straight-forward, the contractions are completely do-able with very little pain relief – good strategies, support and good dollop of realistic preparation is very effective and there is nothing to fear. But there are some common factors that can impact how …