This September, our friends at Orphans Publishing are excited to be releasing respected maternity nurse Fiona Cooke’s guide to the early days with a newborn baby: A Helpful Guide to a Happy Baby: Practical Wisdom from a Maternity Nurse for 0-3 months. The good news is if you can’t make the launch in London (Waterstones Kings Road SW3 on the 20th September at 10.30 am) then don’t worry, because we’ve got you sorted with another one, here at the Real Birth Studio Hereford, on the 14th of October. So keep your eyes peeled for more details all over social media. We caught up with the author (here she is above with her book, hot off the press) to hear what her ethos and approach is, and to find out more about why she wrote her book.
Q: What drew you to working with new mothers and their babies?
After I had my own two daughters, I knew babies were my passion and I trained as a midwife. I realised towards the end of my training that I particularly loved to help women in the postnatal period, supporting their choices and helping to build their confidence to care for their babies. As a maternity nurse, I work very closely with all sorts of families and feel very privileged to be included at this special time in their lives. I love to help find what works for the individual, as one size definitely does not fit all.
Q: Why did you decide to write a book?
As a maternity nurse, I find that many new parents read baby books that ask them to follow quite strict schedules. A lot of these parents become quite stressed when their tiny little baby won’t follow the rules! Nurturing a new baby should be enjoyable, not stressful, and I want to spread that message as far as I can. You can have a flexible feeding routine that respects your baby as an individual, not a strict sleeping schedule. You just need patience and some tips and tricks.
Q: What tips and tricks can new parents learn from you in the book?
As a maternity nurse, I help parents immediately following birth, when their tiny baby is being welcomed into the family. So my book concentrates on the first weeks from birth to three months. A lot of books try to cover everything from pregnancy to the whole of baby’s first year, but I am passionate about newborns and supporting parents to find their own way through that initial period of adjustment with a new baby. Establishing a good feeding routine so everyone knows what to expect is key, and I show you how to gently guide your baby into a rhythm. The book is packed with information starting from day one post-birth, everything from what to expect in the early days from breast or bottle feeding, step-by-steps on bathing, changing, safe sleeping, swaddling and massage right through to tips for getting out and about with your baby, looking after yourself, and how to help your baby adjust to our world.
Q: What is the most important thing you help parents with after birth?
Respectful routines. I help find what works for each family. My gentle and flexible approach means I will help a baby follow a routine but also follow the baby’s needs. Everyone knows that tiny babies mean not much sleep for anyone! But at the same time, establishing good sleep habits from the beginning can prevent future sleep problems. Of course, your baby will need to feed in the night so it is important to go with the flow and follow your baby’s cues. Then, as everything starts to fall into place you can slowly and gently guide your baby into a routine. Once it’s established, a routine can stay much the same as your baby grows with a few adjustments as you go. So that’s why I think the birth to three months time is so critical — start slowly and by listening to your baby, and once you have learned the skills you need, the rest will follow.