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What is a Doula? A Doula provides emotional and physical support to mothers and families during their pregnancy and birth journey. A Dou...

Wednesday, 22 June 2016


How to communicate with care providers

I wrote this with the occasion of labour in mind, but the tips are useful for many encounters with healthcare professionals.

Communicating effectively improves your chances of getting the birth you want, as well as increasing satisfaction.

These awesome tips are not just for mum!  During labour it can be difficult to do things such as establish eye contact or talk. They are practical things that Dad can do to help keep communication clear, enabling informed decision making.

Making and maintaining eye contact (as culturally appropriate) is a way of building a connection and trust with healthcare professionals. Eye contact is an important body language signal and demonstrates that you are listening and thus prompts further conversation. You will also be more likely to notice any hesitation or reluctance from your care provider, and will be able to then verbally explore the possibility and reasons behind any of their hesitations.

Midwives are busy. Very very busy. Using their name, and in particular remembering their face and name can interrupt their the cycle of 'doing the job' and refocus the midwife onto your individual situation. One way to remember a name is to repeat it, for example, "nice to meet you, Janis" as opposed to just "nice to meet you" on multiple occasions when you first meet your midwife.

Have a birth plan/preferences/wishes/flowchart/map/roulette wheel (you got me... not the last one).  Know what you want and what you don't want (in an ideal world) so that if your situation deviates from that path you can step purposefully forwards having made a decision about your preferred alternatives, rather than being pulled along with the tide. Creating a plan with someone experienced in birth planning creates options and alternatives you may not have known existed.

When conversations get tense, or there is a change in the plan, if you are feeling even the slightest disquiet about a decision, ask for time! It can be difficult to communicate with your birth partner effectively with an audience of a doctor, midwife, nurse or all of the above. In lieu of a genuine medical emergency, your healthcare providers should be more than happy to provide you the privacy you need to take a moment to think and communicate as a couple before committing to a decision.

The art of asking the right questions! SPOILER ALERT- this tool is fabulous!

Benefits- what are the benefits of the procedure/change in plan
Risks- what are the risks of the procedure
Alternatives- are there any alternatives (this could be as simple as choosing more time)
Intuition- what does your gut say?
Nothing- what if you do nothing?

Twist your compliments up with a little bit of advocating (Bonus points for using their name here!). Check this out:

Birth Partner: "Hi (midwife, nurse, OB's name), I just want to say how grateful I am to have you here supporting (mother's name) to achieve her natural birth. It really means a lot to us."

If possible- it's best to have your healthcare provider on your side. Sugar talking is great, but be genuine... and keep your compliments relevant, even if they do have nice hair.

There you have it! 'Birthy' communication in a nutshell.

If you have used these or have any more tips, feel free to add to the comments section below!

Thursday, 16 June 2016


Complete Package Testimonials

"What an amazing experience. Ellen helped us create with the birth of our second son. Words cannot describe how you were there in exactly the way that we needed and helped with our older son being present through part of the labour. 

The debriefing a few days later with a home made picnic was a great way to finish. Thank you so much Ellen. You will always have a special place in our hearts. x"


"My name is Fiona and I had my son through the regular public hospital system. That would have been ok, but I imagine it would have been a very different experience without Ellen.  The midwives at the hospital were fantastic, but you get a different person every shift (I had a very long labour) and Ellen was the constant and reassuring support that I needed - before, during and after.

I can't recommend Ellen highly enough. I found her through a friend who says the same thing.  From the first meeting I felt comfortable and trusting with Ellen. It was very clear that she really knew her stuff and was up to date with the latest hospital procedures, facilities and capabilities. She was studying midwifery at the time.

She drove the 2 hours to my place about six times before, after and during my pregnancy and birth.  I had heard an ABC programme where they interviewed a female midwife, male obstetrician and a female doula with differing opinions and backgrounds, and every one of them recommended that "continuity of care" is the best way to prepare and get through birth, especially if it's your first baby.  To know and trust the person who will be coaching you through one of the hardest (and best) challenges of your life, is impossible to match. 

In the words of my friend who recommended Ellen to me - 'Doing a birthing course is like reading a book on athletics. Having a doula is like being coached up to and through the biggest race of your life.'

Ellen made me feel like I could do anything. And lucky for me, I had a natural birth with just gas pain relief at the end. But it was her talking me through every moment and reassuring me that everything was going correctly, that enabled me to let my body do what it needed to do, without any inhibitions from my mind. She allayed my fears and made the whole experience empowering.

Your partner/husband also benefits from the support of a doula on a practical and emotional level, particularly if it’s your first child together.

Lastly, Ellen visited us afterwards and showed us how to bath, carrier wrap and swaddle our newborn boy, among other countless gems of wisdom which helped immensely in those first weeks.  We really couldn’t have asked for more."
~ Fiona

Birth Planning Testemonials

"I'm so grateful for Ellen's help with my birth plan for my second labour. After feeling pressured into medical interventions with my first labour, I really appreciated having Ellen's knowledge and insight into what interventions are necessary and what are merely convenient for the staff. 

Ellen was able to help me figure out how I wanted my second labour to progress if possible and the best ways that my husband and I could ensure our voices were heard while working alongside the hospital staff. 

She is so friendly, encouraging and supportive of your wishes. Ellen really goes above and beyond to care for you and make sure you feel empowered before your labour. 

This time around, I felt much more prepared and confident. I was able to vocalise my wishes and even have the birth I'd hoped for!"
~ Alison

"Ellen helped me significantly in the months leading up to my labour. Being my first pregnancy, both my husband and I had no idea what to expect both physically and emotionally.

Ellen guided us both throughout the whole process, and the knowledge we gained from her was invaluable -many times more useful than any class we took, or book we read. She was understanding, patient, supportive of the birth experience I had envisioned for myself, and completely non-judgemental.

What I loved and appreciated most about my time with Ellen was her total honesty about the birth process. It was this openness and her laid-back, calming presence that helped ease any fears/concerns I had regarding labour, and replace them instead with a feeling of overwhelming empowerment.

Ellen - I can't thank you enough for all that you did for us! I couldn't have asked for a better doula experience.
~ Alisha

Learn more about the services I offer here.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016


~ Increase milk supply, naturally~

When life's too short to wait for cookies, make bliss balls!

These bliss balls are for those times when you are run down, tired, or just want a milky boost!

Please note- most women have perfect milk supply. A lactating mother's milk supply is regulated on a supply and demand basis with baby.

Lactating mothers are so amazing. Did you know that their milk changes composition from day to night, differentiates for boys or girls, age and is even sensitive to weather? Check here for more details about milk supply. Please contact a reputable lactation consultant if you have any further questions.

(Makes approximately 20 balls)

2  Cups Pitted Dates
1 Cup Fine Desiccated Coconut
½ Cup Oats (I used Quick Oats)
½ Cup Almonds
¼ Cup Cocao
2 Tbs LSA mix*
1 Tbs Brewers' Yeast (do not substitute for other yeasts)
1 Tbs Coconut Oil
1 Tbs Water

For Rolling (optional):
Desiccated Coconut
Freeze dried strawberries (
turn into a powder using a food processor on high speed)
Melted Dark Chocolate
Or leave them naked as the day they were rolled

Blend all ingredients in a food processor on a high speed until you reach a desired consistency. 
You may need to scrape the sides of bowl and re-blend to get an even texture.
Roll into balls, size to your preference.
For added taste and pizazz, choose to coat in one of the listed rolling ingredients- or get creative with your own!

Refrigerate for 2 hours to harden if you wish. If coating in chocolate refrigerate balls on baking paper spaced out on a flat surface.

Will last for up to one week in an airtight container in the fridge... if they haven't been eaten. 

*I chose LSA mix (Linseed, Sunflower Seed, Almonds) for taste and as something that will be more versatile for other baking. You can sprinkle on cereal, muesli or add to smoothies. Buy and store in the fridge for best results.