Ask the Midwife - Q&A with Maddie
In this edition of Ask The Midwife Q&A, we talk to Maddie from Golden & Wilde. Read about how to know when your baby is getting enough milk; what to pack in your hospital bag and some great places to go for help when baby arrives!
HOW DID YOU GET INTO YOUR PROFESSION OF MIDWIFERY AND WHAT/WHO WERE YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCERS?
I initially trained as a nurse and worked in palliative care, after the birth of my first daughter I just enjoyed the learning journey with my group practice midwife. I was so interested in all aspects birth from then on out!
Its hard to say what or who my greater influencers are as we say midwifery is a little bit of science and a little bit of art and philosphy.
The midwives cauldron is one of my favourite podcasts to listen to. Dr Rachel Reed and "Midwife Thinking" is a wonderful read and I highly recommend it to expecting mothers and healthcare practitioners.
My own colleagues also provide me with inspiration and influence, in particular my colleagues who were pregnant at the same time as me during the pandemic, as a collective we genuinely wanted to improve our empathetic practice to birthing persons during the most challenging times.
WHAT'S THE BEST PART OF YOUR JOB?
It's hard to pick one single thing about my job that I love! But it is a common misconception that people do midwifery because they love babies (this is true) we love midwifery because we love WOMEN.
We love seeing women become empowered in their pregnancies and birth. I also love coming home to my older daughter (now 8) and telling her about the beautiful births I witnessed on shift.
IN YOUR EXPERIENCE, WHAT HAS BEEN THE "MOST ASKED" QUESTIONS BY YOUR PATIENTS?
WHAT ARE THE COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT WHAT MIDWIVES DO (OR DON'T DO)?
That we don't do the delivery! I'll never forget assisting in a delivery when the obstetrician didn't make it in time!
The dad exclaimed " If i knew the midwives did the deliveries I wouldn't have paid $$$$ to the OBGYN"
It still makes me laugh!
WHAT ARE YOUR TOP TIPS FOR POSTPARTUM AND PERINEAL CARE?
During your pregnancy I think it is SO important to discuss your expectations of the postpartum period with your partner and family.This way you can discuss boundaries and prepare yourself for the biggest change you will experience in your life - a new baby and a healing body (physically and mentally).
Investing in postnatal education and support like a doula, precooked meals, a cleaner or a friend to help with school drop offs etc allows you to focus more on learning about your new addition. Your village is so important in the postpartum, it is also important to know that there is always help around such as helplines like Gidget Foundation and PANDA if you are struggling in the postpartum period.
To help me be prepared for the bleeding, stitches, sore boobies and everything else in between I prepped an Ikea trolley in our ensuite with everything ready to go! My list included:
- a peri bottle
- noonie spray ( helped heaps with hemorrhoids too)
- pads and maternal nappies
- Sitz soak
- Pain relief (panadol and voltaren)
- Water bottle
- Burp clothes
- Nipple Cream
- Haaka for let down
WHAT CAN PEOPLE DO TO SUPPORT WOMEN POSTPARTUM?
Always ask what can you do for the new mama! Yes it is so lovely to be gifted flowers etc. but what new mums really need is extra support in the haze of sleep deprivation.
Take washing home for them, change the bed sheets, ask if you can cook them dinner. Rocking up uninvited on day 3 when mumma is in the thick of "baby blues" is not the most helpful thing!
WHAT CAN EXPECTING MAMAS DO NOW TO PLAN FOR THEIR POSTPARTUM? DO YOU HAVE TIPS ON CREATING AND/OR FINDING THEIR VILLAGE?
We live in a society where we focus a lot on what pram, cot and clothes baby has and tend to forget that we need to plan for our mental and physical changes when we birth a new little soul. Instagram has a lot of perfect pages to connect to free birth education and birth stories, you can surround yourself virtually with pages that resonate with you.
I do suggest utilising your Early childhood centre postpartum they will see you 2 week postpartum and can connect you with so many wonderful services, like mothers group! It is such an under-utilised program, and you even have the service of your local ECHC until your little one is 5 years old!
ANY WISE WORDS OF ADVICE FOR OUR EXPECTING MAMAS?
If you have people offering unsolicited advice, or even the common " just you wait until this happens" don't surround yourself with those people, set boundaries and put yourself first.
Prioritise self care in your pregnancy, treat yourself to that pregnancy massage.
You do not have to pass your baby around when you have visitors, you and your partner deserve that quality time with your new bub.
Ask for help when you have visitors around the house, I dont believe its rude!
Don't clean your house when you are having visitors over, they need to see how crazy it can be sometimes. Trust me, they will thank you for being real with them when they have their own little ones. Plus, don't waste your energy cleaning in those early days, the laundry will get done at some point.
Never apologise to us in labour! Yes we see vaginas everyday, don't say sorry for " not shaving" etc. Your body is freaking beautiful and amazing!
Never hesitate to ask your midwife a question! Its our job and we are passionate about helping new mums. No question is too silly or ridiculous!
Please consider different maternity care services, Midwifery Group Practice is wonderful and associated with better birth outcomes. Student Led Clinics are also an incredible continuity mode and student midwives who are registered nurses truly go above and beyond for you to provide exceptional care.
Treat this opportunity like a job interview for your selected provider, ask them the questions! What care can they provide you!?