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From the Doula Library- Trust Your Body, Trust Your Baby

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Finding and TRUSTING Your Inner Wisdom

I read a recommendation for the book Trust Your Body, Trust Your Baby by Rosie Newman some weeks ago.  When it arrived at my home, I was easily drawn to the book, wondering if its content lived up to its name.

What this book does is exactly what the title says; it reconnects expectant mothers to the idea that they can really intuitively trust their body and their baby.  But what exactly does that mean and entail?  Let me provide a scenario.

…Your baby has been born.  During the exhausting, overwhelming and often stress-producing postnatal period, you find yourself feeling desperate for a longer sleep, a 20 min undisturbed time to fit in a gentle workout or even the opportunity to just eat a hot meal with your partner and older children without interruption.  At 8 weeks postpartum, you're currently sleep-deprived, feeling isolated and milk-stained.  You tell your lovely friend about these struggles and she suggests you pick up some infant cereal to help "top up" your newborn so you can get a longer sleep and have a "happier" baby.  You go to the shop, dig out that soft baby spoon and give your baby some cereal that day.  Deep down you're wondering if this is okay.  Your instincts are telling you that introducing solids before six months is too soon but because you've now been given this same advice several times from several different people, you push on.  Your baby's natural tongue reflexes keep pushing the infant cereal out of their mouth, but you keep at it.

After two days of this routine, you've realised things aren't working out as promised.  Your baby is STILL waking often at night, your baby is now crankier than ever and they're so constipated, they haven't pooed in three days!  You think to yourself "but THEY SAID this would work!"  You feel frustrated and start to wonder "what am I DOING WRONG!?" or "What is wrong with my baby!?"  The answer- nothing!   

Newman goes into the dynamics of how such well-meaning advice (like feeding a baby at 8 weeks old) can often go against our own instincts and how that impacts both mums and babies.  The people in our lives often give us parenting guidance because they genuinely want to help.   They want to make our life easier with a new baby.  Unfortunately, some of that advice is very misinformed, goes against what our instincts tell us is best and in worst case scenarios, can actually cause harm based on medical evidence.  Newman assists parents in navigating the vast array of choices surrounding pregnancy, birth and parenting by helping them reconnect with and recognise the power of their internal wisdom, or intuition.

Newman discusses many topics surrounding pregnancy, birth and parenting in her book.  She informs readers of the different advice and suggestions well-meaning individuals might make to parents and then compares that advice with the latest science and research available!  This assists parents in making informed decisions that they are comfortable with.  What I loved about the book is it does not come off as being judgmental.  Instead, it prompts parents to ask some really valid questions-  "what ARE my instincts telling me?"  "How do I really feel about that advice?"  "Could there be a 'better' solution for my family?"  "What is my baby telling me?"  "What are their true needs?"  Exploring these questions is really critical as you enter (or re-enter!) your parenting journey.

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