Blog

Prenatal - Birth - Newborn
  • Newborn Behavioural Observation


    The Newborn Behavioural Observation (NBO) was designed to help practitioners sensitise parents to their child’s competencies and uniqueness as these contribute to the development of a positive parent - infant relationship from the very beginning.


    The 18 NBO items include observations of the infant’s

    • Capacity to habituate to external light and sound stimuli - demonstrating how well the infant protects his or her sleep
    • Quality of motor tones and activity level
    • Capacity for self-regulation (including crying and consolability or soothability)
    • Response to stress ( indices of the infant’s physiological stability and threshold for stimulation )
    • Visual auditory and social-interactive capacities ( degree of alertness and response to both human and non-human stimuli )


    The focus is on the infant’s individuality and provides the infant with a voice, a signature.

    Understanding newborn behaviour and early relationships with their mother and father is foundational to the care of neonates and their family.
    Each newborn infant has their own unique cues and behaviour to enable them to interact with their world.

    Recognising an infant’s subtle cues, and guiding parents in reciprocating and attending to their baby appropriately has the potential to create attachment and bonding that has lifelong implications in the health and welfare of the infant and their family.




    It was wonderful to attend this training in May 2019, along with colleagues from many areas of New Zealand.

    My training group included midwives, child development physiotherapists, occupational therapists, well child providers, nurses, doctors and mental health professionals. All passionate in enhancing maternal / paternal infant attachment and enabling gentle, loving care individualised for each and every baby.

    ( Further assessments enable attendees to complete the training )


    The trainers were a doctor from Melbourne, Australia and a nurse from Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. Each very skilled in their knowledge of NBO and in presenting.

    I consider the Newborn Behavioural Observation workshop integral for every health profession working with families and neonates / infants up to 3 months.

    It lays the foundation for each infant and parent to feel safe, secure and nurtured within the mother / father infant bond.



    A further area I quickly recognised on the training, is the potential to apply this knowledge in working with clients within Matrix Birth Reimprinting consultations. Learn more 

    Each newborn infant has their own unique cues and behaviour to enable them to interact with their world. Recognising an infant’s subtle cues, and guiding parents in reciprocating and attending to their baby appropriately, has the potential to create attachment and bonding that has lifelong implications in the health and welfare of the infant and their family.

    Whether this is in current time or when a client is guided back to their newborn time the benefits can be very powerful. 

    Bringing the knowledge of Newborn Behavioural Observation into Matrix Birth Reimprinting sessions, provides further opportunity for healing early traumatic newborn experiences and enhancing feelings of love and belonging.

    It has potential for a whole new learning and feelings of safety, attachment and connection in the individual’s life now.



    If this resonates with you and you would like to know more, Gaylene offers a 15 minute free chat.        Link ...


  • Enriched Family - Enhanced Care - reflection from International Neonatal Nurses Conference


    In May 2019, I attended the Council of International Neonatal Nurses (COINN)  4 day conference in Auckland, New Zealand.

    The conference was exciting to experience, a wonderful voice for global neonatal nursing, with representatives from sixty countries and fourteen national organisations.


    From the opening to the closing ceremonies, each presentation gave meaning to the conference theme: Enriched Family - Enhanced Care.


    How can we enable the highest level of loving gentle safe care for premature, sick and well babies and their families within their need for intensive and special care nursing.


    Highlights from conference for me:

    • The pre conference workshop ‘Practical Application of Neurodevelopmental Strategies in the Neonatal Setting’.  A commitment and challenge to look at neurodevelopmental care (NDC), what it actually entails, necessities for optimal neonatal brain development, ‘traffic light’ cues for approach or avoidance responses neonates so beautifully give us, how individual neonatal units are meeting optimum NDC, and how we can facilitate ongoing change to enhance the lived experience of every premature, sick and well baby, their mother, father and family.
    • Building relationships and safety, Community - Cultural partnership. The discrepancy of seeing things through our eyes that may or may not be the view of another. Recognition of the impact of trauma both generational and individual. The emphasis of trust and strategies for culturally safe care - safe care perceived by the receiver. The elephant in the room that impacts on and influences outcomes for neonates and their families.
    • ‘The Impact of Language’, and the ‘Super Power Baby Project’ presented by Rachael Callander. Rachel and her magical daughter Evie’s journey, and published photographic book are a gift to us all - the celebration of Evie, and each beautiful little human being life -  a reminder to embrace each child’s attributes even when their life is limited and to use informative, open hearted enabling language.
    • The neuroscience of nurture. Prioritising skin to skin, holding babies with your heart, your eyes, your hands, your arms, gentle loving touch within the safety of their mother, father and family. The primal need for attachment to our mother for optimal growth and development and the lifelong impact of separation. The work of Nils Bergman, Heidelise Als and other pioneers informing us of the care we must provide for the safety of every little one and their family in our care.
    • The impact of the neonatal journey, the lived experience of being a mother or father whose newborn baby needs neonatal intensive or special care. A journey of traumatic experiences and stress day after day and the heightened risk of this leading to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). And how as neonatal nurses we can do so much to hold space, enable, and nurture parents and families in self care, and in the care of their little one.
    • Incorporating neuroprotective family centred care in every aspect of neonatal intervention from administration and planning neonatal units, education of all involved at every level, to every core measure required in the care received within the unit by each and every infant and his her family. Neuroprotective, family centred, developmental care.
    • Building strength and resilience, affecting and being affected by our experiences. Nurses, doctors, midwives - everyone in the neonatal team, parents and families. The actions and words we say to ourselves and one another. Creating the environment that fosters growth and optimal development that cares and holds each and every one, safe, secure, nurtured and loved. The environment that fosters and celebrates every person no matter how small.


    This content of the conference is close to my heart and my specialty as a Meta Consciousness practitioner:

    Health concerns, symptoms, emotions, thoughts and feelings that originate from

    • The  experience  of  each,  in-utero,  sick,  premature,  or  well   baby,  and  their  family

    • Traumatic  experiences  during  pregnancy,  birth  and  beyond


    Two weeks following the conference, Newborn Behavioural Observation (NBO) training provided further opportunity to deepen my knowledge and to apply this within my work in caring for premature, sick, and well infants as a neonatal nurse in Special Care Baby Unit,  and

    when working with clients looking to heal:

    • their or their child’s birth experience,
    • feelings of disconnect from their mother,
    • or a deep inner awareness that has always been there, a knowing that something is not right or ideal.

    More on this in the next article titled ‘Newborn Behavioural Observation - enhancing the newborn experience and maternal / paternal / infant connection both now and in healing past trauma.

    How this can inform us now and as we address our earlier life experiences.   Link here




    Reference
    Callander, R. (2015).  Super Power Baby Project.  https://www.superpowerbabyproject.org/

  • Helping Kids with Mental Health Issues: Can it really start in utero or at birth?


    Click on this link to take you there

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzQGzMmNuwY&app=desktop


    Join  Sharon King,  Sonja Courtis  and  Gaylene Hansen  as they discuss:

    Anxiety,  ADD, ADHD,  Self Harming,  Addictions  and other mental health issues that may have been created in utero or at birth.

    Why this happens  and  how you can help your child using EFT,  Matrix Reimprinting  and  Matrix Birth Reimprinting.

    ACE's  (Adverse Childhood Experiences Study)  and  how they contribute to addictions,  weight issues,  physical illnesses etc  late in life.

    Did you know that a research study shows that 80% of 7 year old Christchurch children, have anxiety?  These children were in utero during the Christchurch earthquakes.  Many of these families relocated to Nelson and other areas in New Zealand.

    What traumatic memories do they still carry, and how is this affecting their life?

    Gaylene shares her extensive knowledge about premature babies and what their needs are to promote healthy development.

    Your speakers

    Sharon King:  Author of Heal Your Birth,  Heal Your Life and  creator  of  Matrix  Birth  Reimprinting          www.MagicalNewBeginnings.com       & www.HealYourBirthBook.com

    Gaylene Hansen:  Neonatal Nurse,  former Midwife  and  Matrix  Birth Reimprinting  practitioner         www.nurturingnaturally.nz

    Sonja Courtis:  EFT / Matrix  Reimprinting  Practitioner   www.SonjaCourtis.com


    Links mentioned during the webinar

    http://www.magicalnewbeginnings.com/aces/

    http://www.healyourbirthbook.com/hybb/ans-polyvagal-theory/

    http://www.healyourbirthbook.com/

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/90619094/inutero-anxiety-from-christchurch-earthquakes-showing-up-at-school


    Matrix Birth Reimprinting

    "With Matrix Birth Reimprinting you can go back to the womb and reimprint your birth experience, which will change your energy levels, mood, and wellbeing in the present.

    Using EFT and Matrix Reimprinting we can go back and release the emotions connected to these traumas and create a whole new experience and belief system.

    Using a specially designed technique we can recreate the birth process and experience the special bonding process that is natural to every mother and child, if the right circumstances are presented to them at birth".    (Sharon King - Creator of Matrix Birth Reimprinting)

  • Babies, Birth, Relationships and Love


    An article written for   Meta-Healthy Life    online magazine  - link

    Our first relationships are within the womb when as a tiny bunch of cells we begin our journey in life.

    Many think of the developing embryo and fetus as an unconscious being. This is far from the truth.

    From the moment of conception we are conscious beings and are influenced by the world of our mother. And her mother, as we began as a cell when our mother was a three month fetus. We can look back even further if we consider that we chose our parents and plan our soul’s journey in this life. 1

    Love and relationships begin before conception

    Working with clients (and with myself) as a META-Health and Matrix Reimprinting Practitioner, I have witnessed the impact of how our experience in utero and at birth influences our life, our relationships and our ability to give and receive love. I have also personally been back to my 8 week old fetus, and earlier to my conception, to the origin of my one core belief, and what this might mean in the family relationships I would be born into.

    I have recently had the pleasure of training in Matrix Birth Reimprinting with its creator, Sharon King. As a neonatal nurse, midwife, mother, Matrix Reimprinting and META-Health practitioner, I have been following and incorporating Sharon’s work for some years.

    Attending this training enabled me to go deeper in my understanding and ability to work with birth trauma and pre-conscious memories. Through going back to my own birth, I learnt why I have such a deep passion for enabling loving, gentle birth, keeping babies with their mothers and fathers and nurturing newborns skin to skin. 2

    Babies are conscious beings from the moment of conception and they remember their birth and time in utero 3, 4. Every thought, feeling and emotion is recorded 5. There are many research studies and countless birth reimprinting stories that show us this is repeatedly true.

    Shaped by our birth

    Our birth story makes a difference to us. It sets the stage for our experiences in life, how our brain develops, how we organise ourselves, and how we relate to our world.

    Through my studies and research of the mind body brain social connection, I have learnt that our body knows what it needs, is always wise, and at all times, strives to maintain homeostasis. We respond to our environment through our senses and perceptions. These experiences create our thoughts, emotions, and beliefs and are not only in our mind and nervous system. Our brain releases chemical messages (neurotransmitters) that allow it to communicate with itself, and organ tissues. Our body bio-logically responds depending how we perceive the experience. So we are physically reacting, and changing, in response to the thoughts that run through our mind. This occurs at all stages of our development from a fetus in utero, to a new born baby and as we grow and become adults 6.

    Hypnosis, Matrix Reimprinting 7, Reiki, and other therapies have taught us we can connect energetically through time and space with someone anywhere in the world and in our past. Tuning into your little one during pregnancy creates learning, knowing and increased connection for both mother, father and baby. Post birth, early care can profoundly alter an infant throughout their life and effects of separation can be extensive. To a baby it is a life – death situation when separated from their mother. Separation disrupts an infant’s behaviour and development 8 and there is extensive research on its effects, especially if repeated. Effects not only for the infant, their mother, father and family, but also for society. Early stress also has the potential to alter gene expression.

    Sharon King, author of ‘Heal your Birth, Heal your Life’ 9 , writes of life long anxiety, hypervigilence, fear and shame, the inability to regulate ones’ emotions, an exaggerated stress response and decreased resilience, all relating back to separation at and around birth.

    Gabor Maté 10, 11 also writes extensively on this subject and includes a long list of effects, especially if separation continues during early childhood. Depression; socio-moral immaturity; relationship problems; trust, low self esteem and attachment problems; disconnect with others; behavioural and learning issues; aggression, violence and addiction; a feeling of being disempowered, rejected, unloved, unwanted or abandoned which may even lead to mental illness and or suicide; physical illness such as asthma, high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer. All can relate back to separation issues, many of which may have originated at our birth.

    Further research shows us that our perception of our birth experience can impact on our decisions throughout life. For example having our cord around our neck at birth, may create dislike as a child and adult for anything around our neck. If our labour was induced we may have boundary issues, feel unable to do things for ourselves and need someone to rescue us, or not know how to get started on a project. Forceps delivery can lead to issues with bonding, loss of trust, and a sense of intrusion or violence. And the list goes on 5 .

    META Health provides us with the knowledge of how our body will respond when a specific organ tissue is impacted. We know the theme of what is occurring and the phases that will be experienced as the body moves through the process of healing, in its return to health. For example, an infant reunited with his or her mother after being separated may develop the red, hot, itchy symptoms of eczema – a skin epidermis condition.

    So I am asking some questions

    • Is the experience of your in utero relationships and birth affecting your life?
    • Or the life of your children?
    • Did you experience a traumatic event during your time in utero or when pregnant or during birth?
    • Is your birth experience influencing the decisions and choices you make in life?
    • Were you or your little one fearful or anxious during pregnancy and birth?

    Studies show 80% of seven year children who were in utero during the Christchurch, New Zealand earthquakes, suffer from anxiety.

    If any of these questions, or many others I have not asked, bring up memories or trigger you in any way, remember, we (and our parents and those involved in our birth) were always doing the best we could with the knowledge and understanding we had at that time 5.

    Dr Sears 12 and many others write of the “sensitive period” at birth when mothers and newborns are uniquely programmed to be in contact with each other and do good things to each other.

    Enabling skin to skin nurturing at birth, during the neonatal period and beyond, is my greatest love for infants and their parents. I have written a series of four articles on this and continue to expand this opportunity for newborn infants and parents in my work as a neonatal nurse within Special Care Baby Unit (Nelson, New Zealand).

    Through my neonatal nursing work I was fortunate to attend a one day seminar with Nils Bergman, the worlds leading authority on skin to skin. Backed by extensive ongoing research we know this is what every newborn infant requires and deserves.

    Relationships that began before and in utero, are cemented further within the psyche of the infant and mother (and father) at birth. I deeply and passionately believe loving gentle birth is the way forward for mankind.

    For those who were unable to experience this and loving vibrations during their time in utero, Matrix Birth Reimprinting gives us the opportunity to go back. To give our little self a voice to say and do what they needed to do, in every moment of trauma, big or small. To connect and form a loving bond with their mother, father and significant other. The impact of this on our life is profound. We are social beings and need our family, our community, and one another in our world.

    Life is meant to be a journey of discovery, to find the learning from our experiences so we can evolve as conscious beings. This starts before our birth.

    I am hopeful that in teaching and writing, I can share my experience and research with others, so it will become the norm to honour and respect the dynamic connection between an infant, their mother, their father and family.

    I invite you to follow these link to the full articles:

    Why Newborn Babies Need Skin to Skin Nurturing
    Part 1
    Part 2
    Part 3
    Part 4

    Matrix Birth Reimprinting

    More: Nurturing Naturally website blog index

    References
    1. Schwartz, R. (2012). Your Soul’s Plan: Discovering the Real Meaning of the Life You Planned
    Before You Were Born. Whispering Winds Press: USA

    2. Hansen. G. (2018). Matrix Birth Reimprinting
    3. Chamberlain, D. B. (2013). Windows to the Womb. North Atlantic Books: Berkeley.
    4. Chamberlain, D.B. (2015). Babies Remember Birth
    5. King, S. (2018), Personal communication. Matrix Birth Reimprinting Training, Gold Coast Aus-
    tralia

    6. Hansen, G. (2017). Why Newborn Babies Need Skin to Skin Nurturing – Part Two
    7. https://www.matrixreimprinting.com/
    8. Bergman, N. (2016). Skin-to-skin contact is our BIOLOGY.
    And a one day seminar with Nils Bergman I had the pleasure to attend.

    9. King, S. (2015). Heal Your Birth, Heal Your Life. Silverwood: Bristol.
    10. Mate, G. (2011). Dr. Gabor Mate on Attachment and Conscious Parenting
    11. Mate, G. (2011). When the Body Says No. John Wiley & Sons: New Jersey
    12. Sears, W. (2017). Bonding with Your Newborn

  • What was your, your children's and loved ones, in utero and birth experience?


    Join an interview replay, with:

    Sharon King  (International Expert in Birthing Healing from the UK),

    Sonja Courtis  (Emotional wellbeing specialist Christchurch NZ) and myself,

    Gaylene Hansen (neonatal nurse, registered midwife, health coach Nelson NZ)

    Understand the connection between your birth experience and your life experiences.

    This video shares invaluable knowledge and insights including:

    • how your birth may affect your life
    • beliefs you,  your  children,  family,  friends ....  may have taken on, from what you and they experienced in utero and at birth
    • how it may play out throughout your and their life 

    We also guide you in the birth bonding process and introduce you to Matrix  Birth  Reimprinting, a  gentle  loving  way  to enable healing of birth trauma.

    Click on this link to take you there

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vNi_LM9lIg&feature=share

     

  • Matrix Birth Reimprinting




    In March 2018 I had the pleasure of flying to the Gold Coast Australia to train in ‘Matrix Birth Reimprinting & Matrix Life Purpose’ with their creator, Sharon King.  This qualification enables me to work with Birth Traumas and pre-conscious memories.

    As a neonatal nurse, midwife, mother, Matrix Reimprinting and Meta-Health practitioner, I have been following Sharon's work for some years. I loved her book ‘Heal Your Birth, Heal Your Life’ and consider it compulsory reading for everyone who has been born, given birth, and for all who work with clients and child birth.

    Attending this training has enabled me to go deeper in my understanding of the impact of our birth on our life.

    Through going back to my birth, I learnt why I have such a deep passion for keeping babies with their mothers (and fathers) and skin to skin nurturing.


    I was born in the era when newborn babies were placed in a nursery and taken out to their mothers for feeding 4 hourly. Guided gently and lovingly by a colleague on my Matrix Birth Reimprinting training, I went back to my newly born self.  Not to become her, but to be with her.  She was in her cot, crying.  Separated from her mother as was every other baby in that nursery room.
    Being able to say and do what she wanted is / was life changing for her and me.  We wrapped her gently in a soft pink blanket - her chosen colour for safety.  We asked her what she needed.  Together, we created the 3 things she wanted - her angel to come and watch over her,  her daddy to take her to her mummy and put her back on skin to skin. This was profound for her,  but she wanted more.  She wanted all the other babies daddies to take them to their mummies too, to be placed on skin to skin, nurtured with no separation.

    On my visits back to that nursery room, multiple times since, it was always empty.
    Several days later I went back into the ‘matrix’ and changed that room, to be a place for nurturing babies on their mothers and fathers. Soft lighting and gentle music now fills that room. A place of comfort with lazy boy chairs. A place for babies, mothers, fathers and families where only love and connection exists.



    This is the ability we have with Matrix Birth Reimprinting for any birth experience.

    Babies are conscious beings from the moment of conception and they remember their birth and time in utero (Chamberlain, 2013). Every thought, feeling and emotion is recorded (King, 2018). There are many research studies and countless birth reimprinting stories that show us this is repeatedly true.

    Our birth story makes a difference to us. It sets the stage for our experiences in life, how our brain develops, how we organise ourselves and how we relate to our world.


    I reach out to you and ask:   

    • Is your experience of birth affecting your life?     

                  or the life of your children?

    • Were you or your little one fearful or anxious during pregnancy and birth?
    • Did you experience a traumatic event during your time in utero or when pregnant or during birth
    • Did you have a fast birth?
    • Were you induced, born by caesarean, forceps, ventouse, stuck, or had your cord tightly around your neck during your birth?
    • Did you or your children experience separation?
    • Are you aware, that the health concerns / relationship issues you are experiencing during your life may relate to your birth?


    If any of these questions, or many others I have not asked, bring up memories or trigger you in any way, remember, we (and our parents and those involved in our birth) were always doing the best we could with the knowledge and understanding we had at that time (King, 2018). 

    It is how   we  perceive our experiences in life that is relevent for us. And our reality  will likely differ from others perception even if they were there at that time.

    We also all come into this world to learn through our experiences.




    Be open to the possibility that you can reconnect with your little self and your parents through Matrix Birth Reimprinting, to have the perfect birth and bonding experience for you and to take the learnings and move forward in your life.

    With loving, gentle guidance you can also recreate the birth you wanted for your children and if you are pregnant, future imprint the birth you want for your baby. What might this change in your and their life?

    Enabling gentle loving birth and healing birth trauma is the foundation and the way forward for us all. At the time we were actually in utero and born, or through Matrix Birth Reimprinting.

    It matters how we are born (Bergman, 2016).



    If this resonates with you and you would like to learn more or experience Matrix Birth Reimprinting, message me via: 

    www.facebook.com/nurturingnaturallynz   

    or   

    connect with me:  click here 

     

    It is never too late to have the birth of your choice. 


    References

    Bergman, N. (2016). Personal communication. Skin to Skin Evidence and Implementation Seminar. Wellington, New Zealand.

    Chamberlain, D. (2013). Windows to the Womb. North Atlantic Books: California.

    King, S. (2018), Personal communication. Matrix Birth Reimprinting Training, Gold Coast Australia.

  • Why Newborn Babies Need Skin to Skin Nurturing - Part 4


    In part One I introduced why I felt the need to write about this.


    Part Two looked at the infant’s amazing senses and critical periods of development.


    In Part Three we continued our learning of epigenetics and the microbiome, and explored the dependency and interrelationship of newborn infants with their mother, father, and others special to them.

    In part Four we will review how separation can impact on the infant’s life, and when separation has occurred, how we may be able to address this and the effect later in life, to soften its impact and enable some resolution and healing.



    Early care can profoundly alter an infant throughout their life and effects of separation can be extensive. To a baby it is a life - death situation when separated from their mother. Separation disrupts an infant’s behaviour and development 1 and there is extensive research on its effects especially if repeated. Effects not only for the infant, their mother, father, and family but also on society.

    Sharon King, author of ‘Heal your Birth Heal your Life’ 2, writes of life long anxiety, hypervigilence, fear and shame, the inability to regulate ones emotions, an exaggerated stress response and decreased resilience, all relating back to separation at and around birth.

    Gabor Mate 3. 4,  also writes extensively on this subject and includes a long list of effects, especially if separation continues during early childhood. Depression; socio-moral immaturity; relationship problems; trust, low self esteem and attachment problems; disconnect with others; behavioural and learning issues; aggression, violence and addiction; a feeling of being disempowered, rejected, unloved, unwanted or abandoned which may even lead to mental illness and or suicide; physical illness such as asthma, high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer. All can relate back to separation issues, many of which may have originated at our birth.

    Klaus & Kennel (1976) 5 research, informs us that “a mother’s interaction with her child during the first few hours of life critically affects her attitude towards her child for at least the next 5 years”.
    Lack of maternal feeling for her child increases her potential for child abuse. We need to ensure that as parents, families and health professionals, we honour and respect the mutual need for maternal and newborn infant skin to skin contact to optimise their attachment and bonding.

    My research, training and knowledge 6, 7, has enlightened me to many health concerns that originate from feelings of separation and the very specific biological response to something experienced. These include skin disorders (eczema, psoriasis, rashes …), eye disorders such as conjunctivitis, squint, some cornea / lens disorders, and those involving the tear ducts and eyelids. Others involve the ear, nasal mucosa, sinuses, and more. Also when we feel isolated, abandoned and unloved, a biological process is activated in a specific part of our kidney, the kidney collecting tubule which results in retaining fluid and oedema in our body.
    I have witnessed specific cases including; a mouth ulcer that linked back to separation of a premature infant from her mother, isolated and alone in her incubator; a second time mother unable to breastfeed her first child presenting with eczema on her breast in the precise places he put his hands while breast feeding; conjunctivitis in infants separated then reunited with their mother … and more.

    We have established the need for skin to skin nurturing and that separation of a newborn baby from their mother is their primary cause of stress 8. So what if a premature, well, or unwell baby is temporarily separated from their mother after birth? Are they permanently affected by the loss of their early contact period? Research informs us that bonding and attachment are so vital for survival it can be compensated if a strong mother - infant connection occurs when they are reunited. However, the longer the separation, the greater the risk of insecure attachment. 9, 10.

    How can we reduce and mitigate the effects of separation for well, unwell and premature infants, at birth, in the following days and weeks, and at a later stage in life

    First, consider if the baby needs neonatal specialist care immediately following their birth. Can that be done while the baby is skin to skin on mum. If it is not essential, maybe it can wait for a little while. As Jill Bergman writes, “observations and tests can be done while leaving the newborn in his or her safe place”. 8

    Studies have shown us that the effect and how we respond, depends on how we perceive the experience. A newborn infant who knows they are being helped may have less effect than another, even from a similar experience. By anticipating, observing, listening and responding to all baby’s protest signals (varying heart rate, breathing, colour, oxygen levels, hand and body postures, facial expressions, cries), we can avoid their brain flooding with cortisol, and their resultant disassociation ‘tuning out’ response and consequent wiring emotional pathways associated with ‘the world is a dangerous place, I am not safe, nobody loves me …..’

    If mum is unable to be present initially, as is the reality currently in many neonatal units, having dad close can offset some effects. Tuning into his little one, providing partial skin to skin with his gentle loving hands, and quietly speaking to his baby enables soothing connection. Soft materials, dimmed lights, soft sounds, an overriding calmness, dad believing and telling him or her the nurses and doctors are helping him / her, can enhance baby’s increased feelings of safety. In this instance ensure a high priority for full skin to skin initially on dad (or significant other) then onto mum as soon as possible.  

    Keep something that has mum’s smell on it near baby - a blanket, head sheet, little octopus (the small knitted or crocheted soft toy gaining popularity in neonatal units 11). Mum’s voice on a tape may also provide comfort.

    We know that energy travels through time and space so encourage a mum who is physically separated from her baby, to create an energetic connection. To close her eyes, breathe in and out of her heart 12, 13. Then to imagine her baby is on skin to skin, and see, feel the touch, hear the sounds, smell, ‘taste’ the sweetness of her newborn baby. Breathe. Others present can guide her in this and quietly step back and allow the connection. Practicing this energetic connection before baby is born creates knowing and maybe increased connection post birth for mother and infant. Hypnosis, Matrix Reimprinting 14, Reiki, and other therapies have taught us we can connect energetically through time and space with someone anywhere in the world and in our past.

    Since 1974, Doctor David Chamberlain, a California psychologist, author and editor, began using hypnotherapy to discover and resolve traumas arising in the womb and at birth. In 1980 he demonstrated that babies remember birth and their memories are reliable 9. 14.  This phenomena is repeatedly demonstrated in Meta-Health, EFT, and Matrix Reimprinting sessions. We now know these memories are stored in ‘our field’ and can be revisited through our subconscious brain. Another vital fact is our subconscious mind does not know the difference between past, present and future. So when a person has suffered the trauma of separation all is not lost. Fortunately, human beings are capable of recovering from many types of trauma with appropriate insight, support, and healing techniques. 9  

    If you or your loved ones experience or have experienced any of the above, you may wish to explore this with a practitioner such as one who like myself is qualified in Matrix Reimprinting 14 who can gently and safely guide you back to your birth experience and help you release trauma you are unconsciously holding. You may be surprised, how, like many others who have felt the relief of freeing trapped emotions and trauma created at their birth and in their young childhood, you can change your perspective to give you a freedom you never thought possible.




    Bowlby in his ethological theory of attachment suggests that infants are born with an innate need to form an attachment bond with a caregiver to increase their chance of survival 15. 16. 17. 18. He also claims that “being skin-to-skin during the first hour after birth sets a pattern of behaviours between mothers and infants that supports continued body contact and carrying, and thus normal brain development of the infant” 9. Interestingly, Dr Prescott’s research 9 observed that cultures that carried their babies on the mother’s body throughout the first year of life, were more peaceful cultures. Those that did not, were more violent cultures. What a huge impact this has on our society on so many levels.

    Two videos you may enjoy, are produced by NIDCAP, an organisation providing education and guidance for hospitals in meeting the needs of newborn infants and their families. As stated in the video, care given to premature babies “will impact on their future and that of their parents” 19. 20 (‘Newborn Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program. Voice of the Newborn’).

    It is time to address the effects of separation from an individual and a societal perspective. A loving, caring attuned relationship between an infant and their mother, father, and family has wide implications for society. A society where nurturing care is fostered for all ages. Where every individual feels cherished, loved, connected and supported by others.

    Situations may arise where the mother is unable to provide the loving care and skin to skin contact for her infant. At these times a mother or father figure can form a wonderful attachment and bonding with the infant and provide the necessary love and support.

    I leave you with the wisdom of Nils Bergman a leading researcher on skin to skin for neonates 1. Every infant needs caring adults for their optimum neural development. All infants have highly conserved instincts and behaviours 21, but nothing can make sense for them without this.

    Bring back the paradigm where the sacred bond of infants and their mother and father is not compromised. A world where they feel safe to grow and discover to their highest potential. A world where skin to skin care is cherished and enables every infant to feel safe, secure, nurtured and loved.


    Part 4 References

    1.   Bergman, N. (2016). Skin-to-skin contact is our BIOLOGY. http://www.skintoskincontact.com/ssc-biology.aspx    And a one day seminar with Nils Bergman I had the pleasure to attend.

    2.   King, S. (2015). Heal Your Birth, Heal Your Life. Silverwood: Bristol.

    3.   Mate, G. (2011). Dr. Gabor Mate on Attachment and Conscious Parenting. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tdljIW86e8

    4.   Mate, G. (2011). When the Body Says No. John Wiley & Sons: New Jersey

    5.   Torngren, P.  The Needs Of The Newborn In The First Few Hours Of Life
    http://primal-page.com/firsthrs.htm

    6.   Markolin, C. The Five Biological Laws - Biological Special Programs - discovered by Dr. Ryke Geerd Hamer.
    http://learninggnm.com/SBS/documents/skin.html#Epidermis_Dermatitis_Allergy_Rosacea
    http://learninggnm.com/SBS/documents/eyes.html#Conjunctivitis
    http://learninggnm.com/SBS/documents/kidneys.html#KCT_Top

    7.   META-Health. (2017). Bio-Psycho-Logical Keys. Member access.

    8.  Bergman, J. (2011). Grow Your Baby’s Brain. The importance of skin to skin contact for every newborn.    http://kangaroomothercare.com/jill-articles.aspx

    9.   Phillips, R, (2013). Uninterrupted Skin-to-Skin Contact Immediately After Birth.
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/257612445_The_Sacred_Hour_Uninterrupted_Skin-to-Skin_Contact_Immediately_After_Birth

    10.  Sears, W. (2017). Bonding with Your Newborn.   http://www.attachmentparenting.org/support/articles/bonding

    11.  Prawelewe. (2016). Octopus for a Premmie. http://www.prawelewe.pl/octopus-for-a-preemie/

    12.  HeartMath. (2017). Quick Coherence® Technique.  https://www.heartmath.com/quick-coherence-technique/

    13.  HeartMath. (2008). Mother-Baby Study Supports Heart-Brain Interactions.  https://www.heartmath.org/articles-of-the-heart/science-of-the-heart/mother-baby-study-supports-heart-brain-interactions/

    14.  https://www.matrixreimprinting.com/

    15.  Chamberlain, D. B. (2013). Windows to the Womb. North Atlantic Books: Berkeley.

    16.  Chamberlain, D.B. (2015). Babies Remember Birth.
    https://birthpsychology.com/sites/default/files/pdf/babies-remember-birth.pdf

    17.  Cherry, K  (2017). Bowlby & Ainsworth: What Is Attachment Theory? The Importance of Early Emotional Bonds. https://www.verywell.com/what-is-attachment-2794822

    18.  Lewis, T.,  Amini, F., & Lannon, R. (2001). A General Theory of Love. Vintage Books: New York.

    19.  NIDCAP. ‘Newborn Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program. Voice of the Newborn’. (2011 a).  NIDCAP: Baby.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5xtNY6GCQQ

    20.  NIDCAP.  ‘Newborn Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program. Voice of the Newborn’. (2011 b). NIDCAP: Nurse.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VKX2KUntLA

    21.  Swain, J. E. (2011). The Human Parental Brain: In Vivo Neuroimaging. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4329016/

  • Why Newborn Babies Need Skin to Skin Nurturing - Part 3



    In part two we looked at the infant’s amazing senses and critical periods of development.

    In part three we continue our learning of epigenetics and the microbiome, and will explore the dependency and interrelationship of newborn infants with their mother, father, and others special to them.

    The science of epigenetics and theories of attachment have much to teach us. Epigenetics is the switching on and off of genes (DNA) in response to environmental influences. Yes you read that right. Your experiences change your gene expression, and in addition, key environmental factors during critical development periods, have life long effects. As Bruce Lipton1 teaches us, it is ‘nature x nurture’ (gene x environment).

    Our brain development is ordered and higher circuits build on lower circuits. But we need to experience critical periods for optimum brain development. These include smelling, touching, feeling, seeing, hearing, and sensing our mother.

    “It matters how we are born” - the first 1000 minutes and 1000 days are critical periods.2   Bonding research reaffirms the importance of the mother as the newborn's primary caregiver.3

    In regards to the microbiome, miss the window of opportunity to have colostrum in your first days of life and your gut bacteria will develop differently over your life. The work of Harman and Wakeford 4 provides increasing research of how our ancient microbiome, designed to protect us against many diseases, is degrading. This creates consequences and a significant impact on the infant’s life and what he or she is able to pass on to future generations. Microbes from a vaginal birth, breast milk as our source of food, and skin to skin nurturing, provide the ideal environment for optimal functioning of the newborn baby’s intestinal tract and immune system and has lifelong effects.

    So what can parents and all those caring for babies do to ensure every baby feels safe and receives care that optimises their development?

    Provide gentle, loving, safe care at all times - during birth and following. Loving hands, skin to skin nurturing, soft lights, quiet sounds, warm soft materials, breast feed and give mother’s colostrum / breast milk. No routine procedures in this precious first hour. Newborn babies need to smell, touch, feel, hear, taste, and see their mother without interruption. Zero separation. The first hour is an alert time for most babies and critical for firing and wiring maternal infant attachment. It is a two way process not only involving wiring baby’s brain but also creating neural attachment connections in their mother.
    Ensure individual gentle loving care at all times. Learn your baby’s cues and what they mean. A booklet ‘Getting to Know Your Baby’ 5. 6 provides a wealth of information on baby’s organised and disorganised behaviours and what they need.

    Although this article is written mostly about mothers, fathers also play a critical role in the development of their newborn. Babies need skin to skin on dad too. 2. 7   Did you know just 30 minutes of skin on skin with dad (especially in the first 24 hours) wires his dopamine levels for life. Dr Sears 3 also writes that bonding right after birth brings out sensitivity in dad and that “fathers have their own unique way of relating to babies, and babies thrive on this difference”. So after mum has had a few hours skin to skin at birth, baby will love bonding with his or her daddy. Such a special time for all. Then return to mum as she needs 18 hours uninterrupted skin to skin (preferably in the first 24 post birth) to wire all her circuits, mind, body and social, as more are involved.2 For the premature infant this is even more crucial and needs to be ongoing for as long as possible.
    If for any reason mum is unable to have skin to skin initially or later, dad can bond with his little one during this sensitive period. If neither are able, consider someone else who baby knows well (maybe grandma). Your baby needs a significant presence with a loved one.


    Twins (triplets) also need one another. Imagine being with someone continuously for nine months then suddenly being separated. The ideal is both twins skin to skin on mum with times together on dad. Enabling premature twins connection with one another is important. If mum, dad or significant other is not available, at least consider placing them in the same incubator. If concerned about safety, most small premature infants are monitored and observed continuously. When transported between areas or hospitals, premature twins frequently travel in the same incubator so why not put them together at other times? A beautiful moment I witnessed was when I nested one twin beside her sister in her incubator and she smiled. A precious moment.


    The more premature the infant, the more they need skin to skin.2. 8  Premature babies are less able to tolerate stress and are more dependent on their mother, father and significant others. Technology and expertise in neonatal care has increased survival of premature infants however long term effects are becoming more apparent as we learn more from emotional and social outcomes.

    An international study of premature infants weighing 1000 grams to 1800 grams is in its pilot stage. The IPISTOSS, ‘Immediate Parent-Infant Skin-to-Skin Study’ is planned to enrol 5000 babies. 4000 will have zero separation committed to and shared between 3 people - their mother and 2 others, one preferably their father. The further 1000 infants are the control group who will receive skin to skin as it is currently utilised in neonatal units. All babies receive the full neonatal care they require. Only the place of care differs - continuously on skin to skin or in an incubator / thermal cot with some skin to skin. Follow up is planned for 2 years and if the outcome is positive, it will continue for 30 years. This is a very much needed study, and I for one, thank Nils and Jill Bergman for their continuing pioneering work in this area.

    So get all sensations right and individual for every baby.  Mother’s smell, soft sounds, soft materials, loving gentle touch, gazing into one another’s eyes and breast feeding. Holding your newborn baby provides many of these, but skin to skin is the ultimate.


    In Part 4 we will review how separation can impact on the infants life.


    Part 3 References


    1. Lipton, B. (2014). How does epigenetics play a role in a developing infant?
    https://www.brucelipton.com/blog/how-does-epigenetics-play-role-developing-infant

    2.  Bergman, N. (2016). Skin-to-skin contact is our BIOLOGY. http://www.skintoskincontact.com/ssc-biology.aspx    And a one day seminar with Nils Bergman I had the pleasure to attend.

    3.  Sears, W. (2017). Bonding with Your Newborn.   http://www.attachmentparenting.org/support/articles/bonding

    4.  Harman. T. & Wakeford, A. (2014). MICROBIRTH Movie Trailer.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CTmwUU2iHU

    5.  Vandenberg, K. A., Browne, J. V., Perez, L., Newstetter, A. (2009). Getting to Know Your Baby.  http://specialstart.ucsf.edu/sstp/download/getting_to_know.pdf

    6.  Vandenberg, K. A., Perez, L., Newstetter, A. (2008)  Supporting Your Infant After the Neonatal
    Intensive Care Nursery Experience. http://specialstart.ucsf.edu/sstp/supporting_your_infant.pdf

    7.  Skin-to-Skin contact. (2012-2017). Skin-to-skin contact is for FATHERS also!        
    http://www.skintoskincontact.com/ssc-fathers.aspx

    8.  Skin-to-Skin contact. (2012-2017). Skin-to-skin contact is specially for PRETERM newborns
    http://www.skintoskincontact.com/ssc-preterm-babies.aspx




  • Why Newborn Babies Need Skin to Skin Nurturing - Part Two


    In Part Two we will look at the newborn infant’s senses and introduce critical periods for their development.

    Through my studies and research of the mind body brain social connection, I have learnt that our body knows what it needs, is always wise, and at all times, strives to maintain homeostasis. We respond to our environment through our senses and perceptions. These experiences create our thoughts, emotions and beliefs and are not only in our mind and nervous system. Our brain releases chemicals messages (neurotransmitters) that allow it to communicate with itself, and organ tissues. Our body bio-logically responds depending how we perceive the experience. So we are physically reacting, and changing, in response to the thoughts that run through our mind.1 This occurs at all stages of our development from a fetus in utero, to a new born baby and as we grow and become adults.

    Dr Sears 2 writes of the "sensitive period" at birth when mothers and newborns are uniquely programmed to be in contact with each other and do good things to each other.

    Infants placed skin to skin on their mother, calm. I consider myself fortunate to repeatedly observe newborn babies vital signs normalise, as they snuggle in between their mother’s breasts. Warm, safe and protected, and, if they instinctively orientate towards the breast, nourished. Smell is the newborn’s first sense and they are totally reliant on it. When a baby cannot smell their mother, they perceive their world as unsafe and instead of oxytocin, our love and social bonding hormone, and dopamine our reward hormone, flooding the brain and enabling growth and development, cortisol, our stress activated hormone, is released.3. 4

    When I talk about skin to skin and / or enabling breast feeding with new mums and dads / families, I get my own oxytocin release, a warm beautiful feeling between my shoulders that sometimes spreads over my whole body. I see it as a gift, an energy, a knowing that all is as it should be. If I can experience this, how much more does a newborn infant feel when it is critical for their brain connections to wire up flooded with oxytocin.

    Did you know the secretions from the little bumps on the breast areola (Montgomery's Tubules) smell like amniotic fluid to a newborn baby?3. Loving skin to skin provides a wonderful way to calmly transition from life in the womb to the outside world. I have watched premature babies as young as 31 weeks orientate to the breast, and activate their sucking reflex and research tells us that many do this even younger.

    Strange smells are considered dangerous to a baby until they learn whether they are safe or unsafe. This is something to be aware of with the personal care products one uses especially in the early postnatal period. Your baby knows and prefers your natural scent.

    Guided by smell, babies activate their other senses. Skin to skin provides extensive touch. What an exquisite way to activate all the neurons in their skin as they feel their mother with their hands and their near entire body. A nappy only creates a little less and is practical to use.

    Babies are born with perfect hearing. They cannot close their ears to unexpected sounds, so these especially if loud, lead to dysregulation. Touch, tactile stimulation plus smell, sucking and hearing their mother’s, father’s, and other voices they know while in utero and are soothed by, stimulate oxytocin. They also need their mother at all times for optimum auditory and language development.3

    Like when in utero, babies have innate instincts to suck. Taste receptors are activated by sucking their hands, licking and nuzzling their mother and tasting her breast milk. Skin to skin also ensures transfer of microbes essential for newborn healthy gut and immune system activation. And the special breast milk sugars (oligosaccharides) feed the right kind of microbes acquired during vaginal birth and skin to skin.5 We will learn more about microbes in part three.

    Infants have a huge need for social connection. If you are a mum constantly distracted on your cell phone while holding your baby, please pay attention. Babies constantly try to engage with their mother. She is their world, their food source, their survival. When they sense their mother is not responding to them they will disassociate and self regulate - a bad idea as cortisol is involved. Unsafe feelings activate the Hypothalamus Pituitary Axis and disrupt brain function. Many studies now show us the effect of major separation trauma or repeated small traumas have on our physical and mental wellbeing.6 Separation perceived as stress increases our cortisol levels and disrupts development of new neural brain pathways. When cortisol is up, dopamine is down. Early stress has the potential to alter gene expression (more in part three).

    Newborns are born with emotions, smell and face recognition and prefer to look at their mother.3 Skin to skin fires and wires the infant’s social and emotional intelligence brain centre, the amygdala, the area of our limbic brain that controls our emotions, memory modulation and sympathetic nervous system activation. It achieves this directly and via the pre frontal cortex, the area of our brain behind our forehead that we consider our conscious mind. This is a critical period for maturation in the first 2 months following birth4. 7. 8.

    Babies learn empathy through the eyes of their mother - that loving reciprocating gaze.9 Visual experience is essential for continued visual development.

    A newborn infant lying within their mothers heart field, enables not only hearing her heart beat, but also creates a powerful connection of energy flow between them especially when the mother tunes into her baby.10

    In Part Three we will build on our learning of epigenetics and the microbiome, and, explore the interrelationship of infants with their mother, father and others special to them in their neonatal period.


    Part 2 References

    1. Hampton, D. (2016). How Your Thoughts Change Your Brain, Cells, And Genes. http://reset.me/story/how-your-thoughts-change-your-brain-cells-and-genes/

    2. Sears, W. (2017). Bonding with Your Newborn. http://www.attachmentparenting.org/support/articles/bonding

    3. Bergman, N. (2016). Skin-to-skin contact is our BIOLOGY. http://www.skintoskincontact.com/ssc-biology.aspx And a one day seminar with Nils Bergman I had the pleasure to attend.

    4. Skin-to-Skin-contact. (2012-2017). Skin-to-skin contact is key to perinatal neuroscience. http://www.skintoskincontact.com/ssc-neuroscience.aspx

    5. Harman. T. & Wakeford, A. (2014). MICROBIRTH Movie Trailer. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CTmwUU2iHU

    6. Shonkoff, J. P. & Garner, A. S. (2015). The Lifelong Effects of Early Childhood Adversity and Toxic Stress. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/129/1/e232

    7. Phillips, R, (2013). Uninterrupted Skin-to-Skin Contact Immediately After Birth. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/806325_5

    8. Schore AN. (2001). Effects of a secure attachment relationship on right brain development, affect regulation, and infant mental health. http://www.allanschore.com/pdf/SchoreIMHJAttachment.pdf

    9. Matousek, M. (2011). The Meeting Eyes of Love: How Empathy Is Born In Us. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ethical-wisdom/201104/the-meeting-eyes-love-how-empathy-is-born-in-us

    10. HeartMath. (2008). Mother-Baby Study Supports Heart-Brain Interactions. https://www.heartmath.org/articles-of-the-heart/science-of-the-heart/mother-baby-study-supports-heart-brain-interactions/


  • Why Newborn Babies Need Skin to Skin Nurturing - Part 1


    The best place for newborn infants is on their mother. Skin to skin high up on her chest, where she can gently tilt forward and kiss them on their head. Not only is this where babies feel safe as they transition from life in the womb to the outside world, full of new experiences, it is the optimum position anatomically to maintain their airway.

    As a neonatal nurse and health coach, I am passionate about nurturing newborn infants and enabling them to feel safe, secure, nurtured and loved. My research and experience of observing, well, less well and premature infants, has repeatedly shown me that skin to skin is where an infant prefers, and needs, to be. So why is anyone surprised about this and why is it not always considered a priority, at birth and in the days, (weeks for premature babies), following.

    In this four part article I would like to look at the infant’s perspective of the impact that separation from their mother (and father / twin) has on their life and wellbeing.

    Caring for babies for many years within Maternity and Neonatal / Special Care Baby Units, has raised my concern about the short and long term effects for infants when they do not have their mother continuously present. In many countries, skin to skin for the first hour post birth is generally cherished and well ‘term’ infants and mothers (and often fathers) stay together while in post natal care. For sick and premature infants it depends on their gestation and wellness at birth and yes this needs consideration.

    Following this precious hour, remaining on skin to skin is variable and usually less likely for unwell and premature infants rather than the norm. In the neonatal period, in many instances, premature babies are alone without their mother for hours and days, especially when she also has other responsibilities and children to care for.

    Like so many other dedicated doctors, nurses and midwives, I have chosen to work with newborn infants and families and to ensure each individual baby receives evidence based safe, loving care of the highest calibre. Over the years we have progressed extensively in neonatal care by incorporating World Health Organisation (WHO) baby friendly initiatives, but there remains much more we can achieve. Nils Bergman and other researchers are demonstrating that we need to find ways to safely provide full neonatal care while maintaining skin to skin contact even for tiny babies. Hospitals and maternity units need to look at their practices and see how baby friendly they really are.

    I am asking, ‘what can we learn from traditional civilisations, other mammals, and the extensive studies that are now showing us the impact of separation at both an individual, and society level?’


    I am hopeful that in teaching and writing, I can share my experience and research with others, so it will become the norm to honour and respect the dynamic connection between an infant, their mother, and their family.

    In parts two, three and four, I will provide the insight and research to enable you to form your own opinions and maybe by spreading the word we can all make a difference within our own families and communities.


    If you would like to learn more, about me, the other articles I have written, and what I offer, I invite you to:

       Explore this website: nurturingnaturally.nz

       Facebook page: www.facebook.com/nurturingnaturallynz

       Contact me via email: nurturingnaturallynz@gmail.com

    I also invite you to connect with me, book a consultation, or share your email so you can be notified with new website content.

    Life is journey, a time given to us to explore, discover and learn. Indulge yourself - you never know what you might discover.

  • Our Body’s Response to Overwhelm


    Feeling overwhelm is known to most of us.

    That feeling or state when we experience intense emotion that is difficult to manage and affects our ability to think and act rationally or perform efficiently. 1

    WHAT SITUATIONS CREATE OVERWHELM

    When too much is happening and we can’t keep up

    Outside influences we cannot comprehend

    Society and others expectations that are not congruent to us

    Something out of our control

    Traumatic experiences

    Many new parents, especially mums experience overwhelm post childbirth. Being a new parent is an amazingly powerful experience. However, the incredible feeling of protection for this new little being, the intense learning and a variety of emotions never before experienced, meeting the needs of your new baby, extreme tiredness, the desire to be the perfect mum or dad, demands of others - other children, family, friends, perceived society expectations, and financial concerns, all add to the intense degree of overwhelm you may experience.

    Overwhelm also increases when we are tired and fatigued. Those suffering the frustration of chronic or adrenal fatigue become aware how quickly overwhelm can affect them.

    Post concussion or head injury creates a syndrome where individuals experience an overwhelming sense of physical and mental fatigue. Like any nerve injury, the injured brain takes time to heal and will not be rushed. One may be able to complete simple tasks and routine activities within a quiet environment but when the brain is asked to do more, it ‘shuts down’.

    WHAT IS HAPPENING IN OUR BODY WHEN WE FEEL OVERWHELMED?

    The body and brain is saying ‘enough’, you are no longer going to do whatever it is you are doing. The brain will shut down its thinking part, the frontal cortex, and revert to the subconscious brain. Many call this brain fog, foggy brain syndrome, or if pre or post birth, baby brain. The extent of overwhelm stress, dictates how much shut down of non vital brain functions will occur. We find it difficult to remember and think clearly, which then increases our vulnerability and leads to varying degrees of anxiety, fatigue and tiredness. In extreme circumstances just the vital centres of the brain stem, that part of our brain that deals with our survival, will remain operational and we find ourselves in a fight, flight or freeze response.

    WHY DOES OUR BODY DO THIS?

    When we are stressed to such a degree as to affect our survival, our body will take the necessary action to protect us. Innately our cells want to survive and they know how to do this. So our body is constantly assessing, are we safe or unsafe? When we feel unsafe, we activate our stress response and switch off non essential functions.    


            

    A PROCESS OF TWO PHASES

        Overwhelm can be understood

        by looking at

        the two phases that are occurring 2

         _________________________________

    When we are stressed, our mind, body, and brain is in Stress Phase and the sympathetic part of our autonomic nervous system is active. We are physically and psychologically busier, our mind is constantly thinking about the issue concerning us, we feel      nervous, tense, our hands and feet are cooler, our heart beat and breathing rate is faster, and we usually find it difficult to sleep. In most instances, this stress activates a response from an earlier traumatic memory in our life, hidden deep within our subconscious.                         

    When we find a solution to the problem, a Regeneration Trigger is activated and we enter Regeneration Phase. Now our parasympathetic nervous system takes control and our body, mind and brain rests. We feel tired, our thinking becomes more fuzzy and confused, our heart rate and breathing slows, our hands and feet feel warmer, and we may feel a sense of relief. Headaches are also typical of this phase.

    Ongoing stress and overwhelm invariably leads to physical illness.

    Understanding our body response to overwhelm can help us pay attention and know it is just a process.

    A clever biological response trying to keep us safe and in better health.


    HOW CAN WE HELP OURSELVES?

    • Be aware of your thoughts, feelings, emotions, stress triggers, and beliefs
    • Recognise and respond appropriately to your body’s needs  3

    • Rest when you need to      
    • Eat food that nurtures and nourishes your body
    • Get out into the sunshine and fresh air
    • Drink plenty of fresh clean water over the day and each morning drink 2 full glasses of water. Healing in our body occurs in a fluid environment - bringing vital nutrients to cell and removing waste products     

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

    • Develop a morning and evening ritual that calms and relaxes you:

          Find and express gratitude for everything you have and are

         Do gentle exercise to start and finish your day - stretches, Yoga, Qi gong, Tai chi,  

         Meditation, walking in nature. warm bath with added Magnesium (Epsom Salts) …

    • Any time you begin to feel overwhelmed, stop, and while breathing deeply in and out for a count of 6, visualise a place or memory comforting to you
    • Schedule important or more stressful tasks at times when you have more energy
    • Avoid overload
    • Consider keeping a weekly planner and fatigue journal
    • Exercise, especially what you enjoy, increases oxygenation to your cells and aids ability to think
    • Take time to rest, reflect and calm yourself even if a only for few minutes several times a day
    • In the evening at least an hour before sleep, turn off all electronic screens and wifi, avoid bright lighting, consider wearing blue blocker glasses, have a warm bath, listen to calming music, meditate ….. whatever calms and settles you
    • Go to bed before 10 pm and aim for minimum 8 hours sleep at night

    • Talk with caring empathetic others - family or friends
    • Learn to say ‘no’ when others expect more than you want to give
    • Learn to love, accept, and forgive yourself
    • Discover your inner child, the little one inside you who remembers how to play, laugh and create the fun activities you enjoy

    • Find what excites you, something that ‘makes your heart sing’ and practice it every day.

    There is much you can do yourself but when traumatic memories arise, the help of an experienced practitioner may be the most gentle and therapeutic path to restoring your health    Contact Nurturing Naturally Coaching, Matrix Reimprinting

    REFERENCES

    1.  goodtherapy.org. (2015). Emotional Overload. http://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/issues/emotional-overwhelm

    2.  Diagram adapted from META-Health University image, META-Health University.

    3.  Lifestyle Prescriptions Diagram from META-Health University.

    4.  Cook. A.    https://www.pexels.com/photo/green-grass-field-and-green-tress-during-day-time-131723/

  • BREAST FEEDING MUMS - STEPS IN LATCHING YOUR LITTLE ONE

    Key points:

    • Sit or lie comfortably - supported as needed in early days with pillows. This may be cradle hold, cross cradle hold, 'football' hold, or biological nurturing hold.
    • 'Tummy to tummy' with your little one (skin to skin as often as able - you and baby will love this). Baby's head and body are in midline and his / her chest and body are against you.
    • 'nipple to nose' - align so your nipple is pointing to baby's nose.
    • 'chin to breast' - bring baby's chin to your breast.
    • Then nipple up and over baby's tongue.
    • As baby opens their mouth, guide your nipple up and over his / her tongue.

    I love Rebecca Glover's attachment charts and always use them when guiding mums in attaching and feeding their little one             

    If you have any pain or discomfort, put your finger in babies mouth and ease him / her off then reattach more deeply.

    Usually when baby is well latched, you can see a little more of your areola (the brown area) above their mouth than below - you can see this on the chart if you click onto the above link then click on the chart.

    Best wishes for a beautiful experience

    Gaylene