Transcript: May Q&A Episode

This is a text transcript from The First Time Mum’s Chat podcast. The episode is our May Q&A episode and you can click on the link to view the full episode page, listen to the episode and view the show notes.

Helen Thompson: This is Helen Thompson, thank you for being here today. If you’re already subscribed to the show, thank you so much, mums, you are always amazing and if you’re here for the first time, make sure you subscribe to the show. Google Podcasts will be closing, so if you are subscribed via Google, please subscribe via another platform so you don’t miss out on each episode. You’ll find First Time Mum’s Chat on all the main platforms, including Apple, Spotify, Amazon, and as well as now on YouTube.

I regularly am asked questions by mums who are getting started in their parenting journey and I thought in this episode I would do something I’ve wanted to do for a long, long time, a question and answer Q&A format.

To put this together, I assembled a number of questions that I’m often asked and posed them to a number of mums, many of whom I’ve spoken with on the podcast. There are also several mums that I’ll be chatting with in coming episodes. You’ll hear questions and answers relating to a range of topics, including tummy time, sleep, getting started as a parent and potty training.

So let’s get started.

The first mum you will hear from is Austin Rees. Austin is a mum of four and has been supporting families for more than 20 years. Austin helps mums in a number of areas, too many to list here. She is a craniosacral therapy practitioner, a tummy time method professional and more. We both share a passion for tummy time and being aware of the challenges that parents face when it comes to tummy time.

I often hear parents say things such as, “my baby does not like tummy time, they cry every time I put them on their tummy, help what can I do?”. You’ll hear Austin share her amazing expertise in two coming First Time Mum’s Chat episodes. For this Q&A, I asked her, what is the number one tip you would recommend to a mum if their baby is struggling with tummy time and here is what she had to say.

Austin Rees: So things that parents can do to enjoy tummy time more is, go in with doing it with the baby as a family, bring in siblings, grandparents, pets, if they’re safe to be around and do it together. It’s not just something that baby does. It’s something we do with babies.

So setting up a tummy time spot on the floor, a blanket or quilt on the floor, engage with baby. I tell parents, they can make up a tummy time song so that they can always sing a little song and baby will know what’s happening next and when we know what’s happening next, we are comfortable at any age knowing what’s next.

So when they hear this little song, they know that they’re about to do tummy time and rolling them onto their belly, engaging, finding that one toy or that mirror or that face or that parent that can engage with them while they’re on their belly. Then when baby seems like they’ve had a little too much before they start to cry, just go ahead and roll them out and calm them down before going back onto their belly. That is a great tip for enjoying how to do tummy time together.

Helen Thompson: The shape of a baby’s head is a big concern for many mums. So, I also asked Austin, what would she say to a mom who is anxious about the shape of their baby’s head?

Austin Rees: I encourage all parents who have any questions or concerns about the shape of their baby’s head to advocate for their child.

Let their pediatrician know that this is what they’re noticing and that they’re concerned. Things that you can do is, especially in those first few months, there’s a lot that can be changed working with a physical therapist, getting body work, and changing the way that baby is on their bed, making sure that they’re not just looking one direction each time.

If you do notice that, let your pediatrician know so that they can refer out for body work, for comfort in their body. So keeping them up in a baby carrier during nap time on your body or on the floor and limiting carriers, containers, that and car seats, time can help with that. So if you have any thoughts or challenges, just limit the time baby is leaning up against anything and let your pediatrician know that you are concerned.

Helen Thompson: If you would like to hear more about topics such as this, make sure you subscribe to First Time Mum’s chat on your favourite platform so you don’t miss out.

A very popular episode of First Time Mum’s Chat, which I absolutely love, was an interview with paediatric sleep consultant and certified potty trainer Kaley Medina, where she talked about her 3 day potty training method. I’ve included a link to the episode in the show notes and I highly recommend checking it out. Kaley was a fantastic guest and has lots of tips for mums who are going to be dealing with this transition to using a potty in their lives.

As a childcare educator for many years, I was trained and encouraged parents to reward their child when they had been to the potty. I wanted to know what the current practice and thinking is around this topic and here’s what Kaley had to say when I asked her how she would recommend you handle it when your little one does a wee or a poo in their potty.

What would you recommend to do when they’ve actually done a wee or a poo? What would you say to them once they’ve done it? Would you say, well done, let’s get a sticker or give them a clap or give them a hug?

Kaley Medina: That is a really good question, Helen. That’s actually the next point that I want to talk about, that is kind of going to go against probably everything that you’ve traditionally heard and probably how you were potty trained, how we were all potty trained as kids.

With my approach, I’m actually going to tell you that we do not need the rewards. I know, did I really say that you’re not going to be giving your toddler a skittle every time that they go pee on the potty? Yes, you heard me right. I know that you’ve probably heard it from everyone who’s offered you advice, but this is actually an outdated approach.

It’s like how your mom might’ve said, we let you sleep on your stomach all night when you were a newborn, because that’s what the doctor told us to do to help you to get better sleep. Now we know that research has shown us that infants sleeping on their stomach actually are at higher risk of SIDS so you more likely had your baby be sleeping on their back. It’s the same thing with rewards and potty training.

Helen Thompson: Suzzie Vehrs is a mum of two and a doula and childbirth educator who is passionate about helping mums have a safe and healthy birth and you’ll hear her share her expertise in the next episode of First Time Mum’s Chat. For this Q&A, I took the opportunity to ask Suzzie, what is one thing she wishes she’d known before starting her parenting journey and here is what she had to say.

Suzzie Vehrs: One thing that’s really hard as a mom of two, is that when I had just one, the world didn’t revolve around her, but it was much easier to have patience. For example, if we were trying to get out the door, I could do things like, okay, you want to get yourself dressed, we’ll let this take 10, 15 minutes.

Whereas with two, it’s much more hard when they’re opinionated and they want to do things on their own but they’re not good at it yet and trying to have patience while they try to put their shoe on and then they can’t figure it out. I know sometimes for me, part of it has been learning that it’s okay to say, I know you want to do this, but right now, mom has to help, I have to help you and just doing it, even though it causes, maybe a little bit of anger. But realizing it’s okay to set a boundary. I think when I had just Zoe, I would feel a tremendous amount of guilt about those things. Anything that made her sad, anytime I set a boundary and she reacted to it, I’d be like, was that the right thing to do?

I think learning, yes, it is important, we need to get places, we should be reasonably on time and these life skills will still be learned, even if they’re not learned in this moment. It’s hard when you have two! Just the logistics are so hard and I think that’s been probably one of the biggest frustrations to me, especially Hazel is very hot headed and she is very opinionated.

Helen Thompson: When I was working in the childcare industry, I was always asked about baby-led weaning and who better to speak with about it than Katie Ferraro, the foremost nutrition authority on baby-led weaning in the USA. Katie is a mum of seven from just three pregnancies. Yes, you’ve heard it right.

I spoke with Katie in a recent episode and I’ve included links to the episode in the show notes. Here’s what Katie had to say when I asked her, what is the number one tip you would give to a mum who is nervous about baby-led weaning?

Katie Ferraro: If you are nervous about doing baby-led weaning, I’m almost certain it’s because you’re scared that your baby is going to choke on food. There’s no higher risk of choking on foods if you start solids using baby-led weaning, compared to conventional spoon feeding, but that only holds true if you educate yourself about reducing choking risk. So I have three quick tips for reducing the risk of choking when you’re starting solid foods.

Number one, wait until your baby is truly ready to try something other than infant milk. Truly ready means they’re six months of age. or six months adjusted age if they were born prematurely and when they’re able to sit relatively on their own. A baby sitting relatively on their own is showing you that they have the head and neck control as well as the trunk strength to support a safe swallow. So number one, wait until they’re truly ready.

Number two, ensure proper high chair positioning. We want your baby seated in a high chair with their waist at a 90 degree angle. their knees at a 90 degree angle and their ankles at a 90 degree angle. So basically their back has to be flat and we know that most high chairs are way too big for six month old babies.

So you’re going to have to do some adjustments, roll up a towel or a receiving blanket and shove it behind their back if you need it, to get them to sit upright and they need to have their feet resting flat on a solid foot plate. If your high chair doesn’t have an adjustable foot rest, there’s lots of ways you can DIY one.

We do packaging boxes or yoga blocks affixed with bungee cords. You can do textbooks, anything you need to do to elevate the footrest and get your baby’s feet resting flat is so important. So step number two is make sure the baby is positioned safely in the high chair.

The third tip for reducing choking risk is to make sure that you prepare the foods safely. Small pieces of food for early eaters are a choking hazard. They can’t pick them up because they don’t have their pincer grasp yet and even if they got those small pieces of food in their mouth, that very small piece is the exact size that could potentially occlude their airway. So with baby-led weaning, we offer longer pieces of food that are actually shaped about the size of your adult pinky finger.

The baby uses their whole hand or their palmar grasp to rake and scoop that food up and into their mouth. So we offer pieces of food that are a little bit longer, again, about the size of your adult pinky finger, soft foods. They need to pass the squish test, which means if you push them between your forefinger and your thumb there’s a little bit of give there. No hard, crunchy, raw, crispy foods for early eaters. So that third tip is the safe food preparation.

If you put those three things together, your child’s not going to choke on food. Not to mention, you’re going to be able to offer them a much greater variety of foods that you could with just purees alone.

Helen Thompson: Kim Hawley is a holistic sleep coach, lactation consultant, and host of the Responsive Sleep Podcast. I chatted with Kim in a recent episode where she talked all about her responsive sleep method. For this Q&A, I asked her what is a top tip she would offer to a first time mum and here is what she had to say.

Oh my goodness, probably find community. We’re never meant to do it alone as a parent. So, finding moms who resonate with the way that you want to parent or are local to you and you can meet up easily with in person. Having that parent community I think is really important and ones that respect each other’s differences so you can bounce ideas, you can learn from each other, but you can also kind of find your own way in that.

Helen Thompson: I think that’s really, really powerful.

When I was doing some research in preparation for this Q&A episode, I visited a number of Facebook groups to get a feel for what moms are seeking support with. One of the groups that I came across that I highly recommend checking out is the Newborn Baby and Mother Care Tips and Guide Facebook group.

This group was created in 2021 by two amazing ladies located in India and in three years, has grown to more than 750, 000 members, located all over the globe. They provide a safe space for mums to ask questions and get suggestions and support from their huge community. So if you’re looking for support from other mums, then please check it out.

I’ve included a link to the group in the show notes. I asked Katelyn, one of the group’s wonderful moderators, one thing she wished she knew before becoming a first time parent, and here is what she had to say.

Katelyn: Hi, my name is Katelyn, and I’m a moderator for the Newborn Baby and Mother Care Tips and Guide Facebook group. One thing I wish I had known prior to becoming a first time parent is the importance of self care and asking for help when needed. It’s easy to get caught up in caring for your child and neglect your own wellbeing, but taking care of yourself ultimately allows you to be a better parent.

Helen Thompson: There is a saying that I often hear, which I feel really nails it when it comes to the topic of self care for mums. Particularly in the modern world, where the traditional family unit has taken somewhat of a battering. That saying is, it takes a village to raise a child. How often have you heard that? It’s a core component of self care and a challenge that many mums face when commencing their parenting journey.

I’ve included a selection of past episodes, focusing on on this finding your village ideal in the show notes page, which I highly recommend checking out. Thanks for listening and I hope you found these questions and answers of assistance and enjoyed this episode. You’ll learn from mums in every episode of First Time Mum’s Chat, so if you haven’t done so already, make sure you hit the subscribe button.

I’d very much like to include a Q&A episode regularly in the First Time Mum’s Chat episode line up. To get started, I really need your help. So please send me your questions. You can either do this via email or directly from your smartphone or computer via voice using a simple to use facility. All you need is to speak and it will record and send it to me, it’s that simple.

I’ve included these contact methods in the show notes and very much look forward to receiving your questions so I can do more Q&A’s that suit you or give you value. In the next episode, I’m chatting with Suzzie Vehrs, who you heard from in this episode. Suzzie is a mum of two and a doula and a childbirth educator and we’ll be talking about her own experiences as a first time mum and so, so much more.

The other thing I want you to do after listening to this episode is to get your free simple baby massage technique quick-start guide to help them sleep better, strengthen and tone their muscles, encourage the circulation in their legs and feet and much more.

To get yours, visit