Monday, 21 January 2013

Cranial Osteopathy

My first top tip for incompetent parents (and even competent parents) is the Osteopathic Centre for Children in Wandsworth.

This noble organisation is a charity that provides osteopathy for children and mothers. I'd heard good things about cranial osteopathy for babies (helping with collic, crying, sleeping etc) while pregnant but when my littlun was born with a huge cut and bruising on his head finding an osteopath became a priority. The damage to my boy's neck (he was stuck for several hours - no dwelling here...) and scalp (horrible ventouse delivery - still not dwelling...) meant he couldn't breastfeed. The hospital could hardly have cared less (really not dwelling...).

Having done some research (thanks Mumsnet), I quickly realised the OCC was the place to go. It was over the other side of London and, Lord forbid, on the other side of the river, but we took Cosmo along at one week old, then two weeks, then three weeks. I can't tell you how wonderful these people are. Firstly they took really interest and care in my baby, something I was extremely grateful for after the treatment we'd received at the hospital. And secondly because of the results. At the time, I thought it was nothing short of miraculous. And I still do.

Bear in mind, my little bub couldn't even be put down in my arms to breastfeed without being extremely uncomfortable or in pain. After every session of osteopathy, we came home and he  breastfed for half an hour. Gradually over about six weeks,  he got to the point where he could breastfeed 24/7. (The fact I had blocked ducts, blood blisters, blebs, cracks nipples, engorgement and nipple thrush meant I was now more reluctant than he was...) Many people say there's no science or proof behind osteopathy, but I tell these people to GO WHISTLE. We saw real, tangible results in the short and long term. And a baby's response to treatment can't be psychosomatic, can it?

A third reason for the OCC's wonderfulness is that the full rate is only £35 a session, a fraction of the cost of osteopaths in my area (approx. £100 a session). Furthermore, you don't actually have to pay. That's right - they're a charity. So if you can't afford it, you can make any contribution you like. Or nothing at all. All the osteopaths are volunteers. We saw Simon Grayling. The man's a genius.

p.s.  Just a quick note on the practicalities for other incompetent mothers: the centre is really pram and baby friendly. They have couches to wait on when you turn up an hour early (yes, I was desperate), tissues for those baby blues (yup...), roomy toilets and special chairs for feeding. We took Addison Lee cars which were a mixed bag but more affordable than a black cab.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

So nice to meet you!

Well hello kindly reader! Let me introduce myself - I'm an incompetent mother of a three-month old baby living in central London.

The aim of this blog is to share some of my hideously incompetent attempts to get out and about in central London. My ventures probably won't interest all those competent size-zero mothers (and fathers) scooting round Notting Hill, adoring babies strapped to their gravity-defying bosoms. But it may be of use to those parents who knock over a dozen tables attempting to get their buggy into Pain Quotidien only to turn straight round when their baby starts bawling. If your definition of "discreet breastfeeding" is only having one knocker hanging out in Islam-centric Edgware Road, this blog may well be for you.

Motherhood hasn't endowed me with special incompetent qualities - I've always been this way. However, motherhood has certainly offered more opportunities for me to feel inadequate.

It started with the birth. I did all the classes. Yup. ALL the classes. A British Red Cross Baby First Aid course in Euston (very good, go along...), several yoga classes (still hate it, but the best by far was Tara Lee at the Life Centre), birth preparation (meh), Hypnobirthing (cough, cough, splutter, splutter...), NCT and '2 becomes 3' course (highly recommended). Every day for nine loooong months, I did my special yoga exercises, gazed soulfully at hypnobirthing images of blooming roses, listened to relaxation tapes, sat in ridiculously uncomfortable positions and bounced on my birth ball. All in all, no one could be more prepared. Except of course I wasn't. It all went pear-shaped. My incompetency came into it's own and it was only 2 months afterwards that I stopped walking like someone out of Monty Python's Ministry of Silly Walks. We won't 'dwell' but suffice to say my incompetency in motherhood began then and has continued apace.

So, after three months, I've decided I need to get out of the house. But where to go when you panic every time your baby cries, you don't know how to fold your buggy and you're still not 100% sure that your baby's nappy isn't on back to front? With this little exercise I hope to share any tips at lessening (albeit minutely) the hideous incompetency I feel when out in public. Hopefully I'll find some little spots that are welcoming and accessible for incompetent mums like me and some quite spot to breastfeed. If you have any tips of your own, please share along the way... we're in it together!