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confused/dubious about some antenatal class advice.

(45 Posts)
qazxc Fri 28-Mar-14 09:16:49

Just had my first antenatal class and have had a couple of hmm moments as to what the midwife was saying.
For example she said to me that you don't need to bother with a birthing ball, just get the cheap exercise one for a fiver. I thought that wasn't recommended in case they burst/ get slippy.
She also reckons that wipes (even water wipes or wipes that specifically say they are suitable for newborns) are absolutely never to be used as "they will cut through the babies skin it is so delicate".
Should I take what she is saying with a grain of salt? (I do want to persevere with the classes even if it is just to have the tour of the ward at the end). She is also being quite negative putting the fear of god in anyone planning an epidural or to formula feed.

ZenNudist Fri 28-Mar-14 09:27:23

A birthing ball is an exercise ball by different name. Cheap exercise/birth ball may burst but you'd have to be unlucky. Can see how special birth ball would get any less slippery.

Wipes, depends on sensitivity of baby. I've used them on newborn particularly when out. My mw said hospital study found no dif between sensitive wipes & cotton wool/water.

Epidurals/ bf - do your own research & decide what is right for you!

Sweetpea86 Fri 28-Mar-14 09:32:51

I decieded not to go to antenatal class for the pure annoyance of 'some' who tell you, you can't do this and you can do that. Really pisses me off about pain relief I've had one midwife tell me I couldn't have an epadurial and pretty much said too many women rely on pain relief and basically we should just get on with it.
I ended up coming home crying and confused.

As for birthing ball I'm not sure, I won't be using one of those ill probs pop it I'm so massive lol

I friend told me about the wipes said when she was in hospital they were funny with her for taking wipes. So she advised me on cotton wool.

LavenderFox Fri 28-Mar-14 09:34:43

Regular exercise balls are fine because they all tend to be anti-burst anyway (if a big burly bloke can use them for sit ups they will take the weight of a pregnant woman, too), pregnancy balls are an expensive marketing ploy for exactly the same thing.... I would liketo get my hands on a peanut ball though, they look so much easier to sit on than the round ones.

Hopefully you will get a chance to submit some feedback at the end of your classes. I collect anonymous feedback from every group in the end, and tell them to write down anything that may make the class better for the next group.

If she is an NHS midwife she is not actually allowed to give much information about formula feeding and must stick to promoting breastfeeding and follow a certain script in case the hospital is inspected by Unicef baby friendly initiative inspectors (the breatsfeeding police does exist) who will ask the mums about what information they got given in the classes about breastfeeding. If you have been given any positive information about formula feeding that may be seen as promotion of formula feeding or certain brands this could cause the hospital to lose its 'baby friendly' status. I struggle with this occasionally because sometimes I have HIV positive or drug using mothers in the group and I am still not allowed to say much more than 'unless there are special medical reasons....'.

notaflamingclue Fri 28-Mar-14 09:35:42

Most exercise balls are anti-burst these days so that's right enough. I used wipes on my newborn's skin. It didn't slice open.
She sounds like someone I could really get quite aggressive with. Judgemental cow.

lanbro Fri 28-Mar-14 09:40:21

When I had my second I took wipes in which the mw used when changing the first nappy! My lo is 6 months and her bottom has never been affected by wipes used from newborn!

Just keep an open mind and do your own research, common sense is the best tool!

Meglet Fri 28-Mar-14 09:43:57

An exercise ball should be fine. They take a lot of battering in a gym.

Wipes, with DC2 I went straight onto unscented wipes. Newborns are pretty hardy and don't disintergrate if you use wipes.

It's a daft idea they aren't allowed to talk about formula feeding. It means that people like me make it up all wrong when we give up on bf.

TheFantasticFixit Fri 28-Mar-14 09:45:37

What Lavender said.

I used an exercise ball with both pregnancies (different ball each time because I lost the first one in the depths of the attic somewhere) and had no problems at all with either. I got mine for about a fiver from TKMaxx as well, including pumps.

Wipes - she's right, and sadly I've just found that out with my newborn whose little bot is a bit sore following us using wipes so we've gone back to using cotton wool for a little while. Pampers sensitive are the best though, ime.

As for the epidural, I would ignore her 'opinion' and do your own research. Personally, for my first labour, I would have inhaled the entire drugs trolley just to get some relief from the pain. I've never been so grateful for anything like I was the moment that epidural went in!

Formula? I'm breastfeeding, but last night gave my 3 week old one bottle at midnight and BLESS THE LORD I feel like a new woman this morning after only needing to do one feed at 5am as a result. It has it's place, believe me and nothing awful will happen to your baby if they have formula!

Longdistance Fri 28-Mar-14 09:53:11

I had an exercise. It was a large size one, as I'm 5'10". Would never have bought an antenatal one, as it's the same thing.

As for the wipes/cotton wool. We used cotton wool on dd1, but wipes on dd2. No difference whatsoever. Neither of them really got any nappy rash, or have problems with their skin.

Solasum Fri 28-Mar-14 09:59:31

As a baby I apparently had horribly sensitive skin, but I decided to see how things wenr wirh DS and have used Huggies pure from day one. No problems at all.

peeapod Fri 28-Mar-14 10:18:25

the nhs antenatal classes are imo there to promote/ push the agenda of the day.

my favourite ones were, its not pain its in your head (but lets talk about pain relief) slaming epidurals and the like.

or how about about its what womens bodies were designed to do. and i really dont appreciate the scare stories about expressing, which is going to be the only way i can really manage to bf ironically.

Unfortunately its classes like this imo that scare women and traumatise them if they can't "achieve" this lovely wonderful natural birth, which statistically the odds are against anyway (first off we are going into a hospital ffs)

promoting one method over another increases the sense of failure in a lot of mums which ironically can increase the likelehood of PND which needs treating (not saving much money there)

If I could have attended a class specifically for those needing a C section it would have been a whole lot more helpful.

I think the best thing to do is peserve and get what you can from it, there was some benefits albeit small ones.

crazykat Fri 28-Mar-14 10:36:51

I was told only cotton wool and water when I was having my first. It was a nightmare and I switched to wipes as soon as we got home. With my other three I just put Huggies pure or pampers sensitive wipes in my hospital bag and used them, it was so much better and nobody said anything.

I also ff all of mine. I tried to bf all of them but I have problems with supply no matter what I did, one of memories I have of ds2's first week is him feeding for 12 hours solid and he still would only go down for 10 minutes before crying for a feed. Luckily i had a brilliant MW as I was really upset that I couldn't feed my DCs even though I really wants to. Do what's right for you and your baby whether that is bf or ff. If I'd have listened to everyone who bf successfully saying you just have to persevere then I wouldn't have my DCs as they just weren't getting enough from me and were losing weight quickly.

DinoSnores Fri 28-Mar-14 10:43:41

I have a normal exercise ball (a Jessica Ennis one in fact). It's been great.

As for wipes, having seen how easily baby wipes clean a grimy bath (honestly, they are amazing!), I'm not overly keen on using them on a newborn's bottom, so initially just use them when we are out and about.

Totesamazeballs Fri 28-Mar-14 10:51:35

Agree with your post crazy cat! Same issues with supply. Formula was fine and made for a happy baby and mother!

Pinkie2103 Fri 28-Mar-14 11:11:45

I used cloth wipes and water (occasionally with olive oil added) at home and sometimes out and rarely had any major nappy rash problems. Saved me heaps on wipes but when I have used them I always opt for the sensitive no fragrance ones

Trinpy Fri 28-Mar-14 11:26:27

We got the same lecture on not using wipes at our antenatal class. It was so funny because the mw went on for ages about how awful they were then finished up by saying that 'most parents end up using them for convenience anyway, so it's up to you'. If most parents use them then surely they can't be that bad or they wouldn't use them hmm .

I did notice lots of other misinformation too but ignored those bits.

theborrower Fri 28-Mar-14 11:43:44

I do understand why they need to 'promote' BFing but I think the lack of support and info about FFing is shocking. I planned to BF but had an EMCS, low birthweight baby with a tongue tie who couldn't latch. After 4 days in hospital and not one midwife could get her to feed (and the paced said she had to have formula), I was sent home with a syringe, cup and a nice midwife let us gave a bottle or two of instant formula to get us through the night. The next day I asked the midwife (on home visit) for advice on equipment we needed and she seemed really reluctant to recommend anything at first, despite me in my knackered, emotional and on lots of meds state sobbing over the mothercare catalogue crying "there's so many different types of bottles, how are you supposed to know what to use?". I really think it's a disservice not to cover FFing and how to safely feed in antenatal classes.

I would take everything she says with a pinch of salt, read lots of books for other info - and mumsnet of course!

JuniperTisane Fri 28-Mar-14 11:50:30

Gym ball is fine. The words you want to see on the box are 'anti-burst.' Pretty much all of them are nowadays.

Wipes, I used cotton wool and water with my first, and Huggies pure with number 2. Babies bottoms are sensitive, sure, but they're not going to rip open on application of a wipe. Most people I know switched to wipes (both disposable and washable) as soon as they encountered sticky tar meconium poo.

NomDeClavier Fri 28-Mar-14 11:52:08

Safe FFing should be covered, particularly the explanation for the guidance to make fresh and what 'cooled for 30mins' really means. It DOESN'T mean cool - it's still supposed to be 70C, which is very hot.

It would help a lot if they were realistic about how many women will at some point FF.

ResponsibleAdult Fri 28-Mar-14 11:54:46

I only went to antenatal classes to get a day off work (I did them in one day long session rather than over weeks).

Absolutely every single piece of advice, asked for or unsolicited angry , that you are given will be contradicted by other mothers and healthcare professionals.

Re ball, no comment, didn't use one.

Re breast or formula, wish I had done mixed feeding with PFB. We later discovered PFB was an incompetent feeder (6 weeks early) and hadn't developed swallowing properly yet. Daily midwife visitor didn't bother to weigh PFB until day 5, despite me repeatedly saying the baby is getting smaller. Baby had lost 25% of birth weight and was sent back into neonatal ward for a week for naso gastric feeding for severe dehydration.

We spent months of EBF feeding every hour (yes really, as PFB could only manage 5-10mls at a time), until back up to birth weight.

Take all advice with a pinch of salt, do what suits you best, most importantly trust your instincts.

ShadowFall Fri 28-Mar-14 12:00:07

We used wipes (the sensitive no fragrance ones) on DS2 from his very first nappy change.

They did not cut through his delicate newborn skin. We were in the postnatal ward for the best part of a week and not one midwife remarked at all on my use of wipes.

weebigmamma Fri 28-Mar-14 12:17:46

Wipes: some of the more perfumed ones aren't great for a baby's bum but once I left hospital last time (where they'd only let you use cotton wool and water) I switched to Pampers sensitive wipes and they're were great- cleaned baby well and no irritation (or, er, cut skin!?)

Epidural: do not listen to the bullshit about this. Yes, an epidural can sometimes slow labour down but guess what? You can have a 3 day labour without one as well. You cannot predict how labour will go and contrary to what you might hear there are plenty of women who give birth using an epidural who push their babies out without intervention, and sometimes it's because they've had good pain relief that they're rested up enough to have the energy. Do what is best for you- always! I had a vaginal birth using only gas and air first time and if I was delivering vaginally this time I would go for the epidural, personally, but I have friends who loved their drugs-free birthing experience as well- everyone is different.

Formula feeding: do not listen to the bullshit about this. Yes, 'breast is best', but it's not best if you are in a huge amount of pain, if you don't enjoy it, if you don't want to do it, etc etc etc. I wish so much that I had spent the first few weeks of my baby's life getting to know her and what worked best for the both of us rather than beating myself up to the point of almost feeling suicidal because I couldn't breast feed. I'm not even exaggerating. And not one midwife would tell me it was OK to stop. It took a doctor who threatened to send me back to the hospital if I continued trying to make me realise what I was doing to myself and my child. From that day she did really well on formula- all the crap about how she was going to get ill and catch colds all the time was apparently bollocks- she's really healthy (and I have friends whose kids were breastfed to age 1 and got every cold going, constantly!). Again- do what is best for YOU. Some people love breastfeeding but it's not for every parent/child. I haven't given birth to number 2 yet and have already been told not to use a dummy because of nipple confusion! lol they must be joking- I've bought the dummies already. Lots of people feed both breast and formula milk as well- the myth about nipple confusion is just that- a myth.

Sorry for going a bit ranty but this kind of thing winds me up so much and I am convinced that my guilt, as added to by people like your midwife, the last time was what propelled me into post natal depression. I am really determined not to let this happen this time around.

qazxc Fri 28-Mar-14 12:57:17

I understand that she probably is told to advise the cotton wool method but it was the highly graphic "cut through baby's skin" that had me hmm.
I also get that they have to say that breast is best but let's face it, even if you plan to breasfeed, it doesn't always pan out/isn't always possible. As for actually choosing to FF, the way she was talking it was almost child neglect. hmm angry
Similarly women that opt for epidurals seem to be weak willed/lazy, are bound to suffer tears and slightly deluded as after all "nobody is going to push that baby out for you". hmm angry
She also reckons we shouldn't do any research/reading up on the internet as "it's all rubbish".

AlwaysDancing1234 Fri 28-Mar-14 13:21:34

Doesn't sound like a particularly good midwife to be honest, might be worth seeing if you can change classes?
One of my midwives who was a dermatologist before she became a midwife actually recommended we use baby wipes (Pampers Sensitive in think they were) rather than water on our newborn as it was better for his eczema.
Sports balls are pretty much the same as birthing balls from what I have seen
I can understand midwife will push breast feeding and 'natural' birth but it's not on for her to scare you or make you feel bad about either, she should simply give the facts. I would say try and switch classes

ksrwr Fri 28-Mar-14 13:25:57

when my dd was born they put her on me, and she pooed all over my stomach, the midwife grabbed some wipes and wiped her (and me) clean, i did no damage to her whatsoever and she was minutes old. so i wouldn't worry too much about that. but it does make sense to predominently use water only - when at home and its practical - and take wipes out and about with you.

re ball - didn't find it useful at any point of pregnancy or labour, but that's just me.

re the epidural, my ante-natal class teacher told me that a bath or giving birth in water was the same amount of painkiller as an epidural... absolutely bonkers! so yes, take what they say with a grain of salt... i'm sure youre intelligent enough to take or leave what you need/dont need

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