Monday, 1 February 2016

What is a Doula (and is it a fad?)

by Guest Blogger Mars Lord,

I've been a doula for over 10 years now. It's funny how it happened. A friend was having an aromatherapy party and I overheard her telling someone that she had become a doula. I was intrigued. I asked her what a doula was and she told me, 'simply put, a professional birth companion'. I'd been at the birth of my niece and the birth of a friend's son. I figured that I could do this. So I went on Michel Odent and Liliana Lammers course, Paramana Doula. Wow! Who knew how much went on within birth, the amazing physiology of it. I arrived home wanting a sixth baby, but as I put the key in the door, I remembered that my quiver was full.

Women have always supported women with birth. They may not have been called doulas, they were the birth companions, the birth keepers. One would bring practical support. Food and drink.Another would bring spiritual comfort. Another emotional support. And another would be there to help the mother catch her baby.

Women have given birth since the dawn of time and birth has changed. Now we live in a world of technology. We watch life saving measures become standard care. The pendulum has swung from woman centred care towards medicalised birth, where sometimes women are not seen as much more than vessels. Fortunately we have moved away from the days where women are chloroformed and subdued whilst they wait for doctors to return and 'deliver them' of their babies. Fathers have entered the birthing room and women no longer have their pelvises cut to help babies out. One might imagine with the modern day advances, birth would be safer for women and babies. In some ways it is. But that rise in caesarean sections needs to be looked at. How have we gone from 3% to upwards of 36% in some London hospitals? Is it really true that more than a third of women are unable to birth their babies? Have the interventions improved birth, or caused more harm than benefit? What are the studies saying? What are the women saying?

Over the ten years that I've been doulaing I have seen a rise in inductions, caesarean births and medicalised births. What I've also seen, particularly over the last few years, is the rise of midwives and obstetricians who are more woman centred in their care. I spend time talking with 3rd year midwifery students and listen to their passion and desire to be like the birth keepers of old and their desire to spend more time with women. 

We live in an amazing time of technological and scientific advance. These things don't replace our natural selves. They should complement and walk beside us. A woman asking questions and wanting the best for her body, her baby and her emotional health, these aren't bad things. Birth is about the mother, the baby, the partner, the doctors, the midwives and the doulas. The birth keepers. The baby catchers. We walk together looking at birth in all her glory. It's not about scaremongering or shaming. It's about wanting the best for each of us, and having given women the right to choose, to stop denouncing their ability to make informed decisions about what is potentially, the most amazing moments of their lives.

Mars Lord

Birth In The City (@BirthInTheCity on Instagram)

Friday, 22 January 2016

Opening the Doors for Born to Grow

This year Born celebrates 16 years in business. We started in 2000 at a time when the term 'Green Parenting' hadn't been heard of and Fairtrade and the idea of shopping ethically had yet to reach the mainstream.

We are proud to have been involved in creating awareness about these issues and will continue to take them as our bottom line when sourcing the products to sell. Thankfully there are more of these available now than ever. Sadly however, there has been an increase in items that are not only harmful to the planet and to the people making them but also to us as users.  So our discernment when it comes to curating products has become even more invaluable.

Integral to the business is sharing information about conscious parenting. This is something that I feel just as passionate about and is something to which I want to dedicate more of my time and energy.  If you've been a follower of Born you will also know that I am involved in various other projects including Mums Say No to GMOs and the Baby Bank Network, and it's these causes and a few others (like the ones in the word cloud above) that I feel need a bit more of my attention.

With all this considered, myself and the other owners of the business have decided that now would be a good time to look at bringing in a business partner(s) who are also passionate about ethical baby products and want to build on the success the business has achieved so far both in the UK and on the world wide platform.

If you think this is something you have the time and money for, or just want to invest, we would love to hear from you.

Eva, Born Co-Founder

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Parenting - Banishing the Winter Blues

by Guest Bloggers, Water Babies

Christmas is over, winter is in full force, and the warmer days of spring still feel a long way away. Here’s how Water Babies can help cheer you up.

The sun rises much later than small children, and it hides behind a blanket of cloud thicker than the duvet under which we wish we could stay! No wonder so many of us get a little down.

The ‘winter blues’ are characterised by the mild depression, lack of motivation, and low energy. Known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, it’s a recognised condition that affects adults and children. Luckily, there’s plenty you can do to help pick yourself up.

Get some exercise

As though improved fitness, help with shifting a few pounds and a better metabolism weren’t enough, exercise also releases feel good hormones. Any exercise will do wonders for your health and mood, but it can be hard to fit it in when you have a baby – unless you find something you can do together.

Unlike pushing the pram on a walk, swimming is one activity where you and your little one can both get benefits. Moving through the water is a brilliant cardio-vascular and strengthening workout for adult and child. In one Water Babies class, you can burn about 300 calories, and it helps improve your baby’s sleep patterns.

Get social

Friends are a wonderful tonic to feeling low. Planning time to relax and have fun together, even just have a chat over a coffee, will help lift you. For mums, that special support you get from other mums is so important that it even has its own word – mumpathy!

There are groups across Bristol and other towns and cities that have been set up to help mums meet each other. But taking part in an activity, group or class where you bond with a group of other parents is another great way to form lasting friendships.

The social side of meeting and swimming together is something many parents love about Water Babies. Wendy, mum to Charlotte, made firm friendships in their Water Babies class. “We always go for lunch at the farm shop after swimming,” says Wendy.

But it’s not just these blossoming friendships that’s so important, it’s also the bond between parent and child. Swimming with your baby is magical. For the time you’re in the pool together, you are completely focussed on one another, skin-to-skin in warm water. Afterwards you have a sense of having accomplished something; having spent your time well.

“Our Water Babies class is one of the most fun and bonding things I’ve done with my daughter,” says Charlotte, mum to Olivia. “The creative, playful atmosphere of the class has built her confidence and now we can’t wait for our weekly splash!”

We teach Water Babies classes in warm, private pools across Bristol, Bath and North Somerset. To find out more, please call 0117 946 6919.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Christmassy Food for Toddlers & Babies

Christmas - 'Tis the season of chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. If you normally end up desperate for a nice crisp salad by Boxing Day or have little ones that won't need any additional help in the energy stakes, why not plan a few healthy snacks to go alongside the usual festive indulgence? They can still be Christmassy - it just takes a little bit of imagination!

We've gathered a few ideas to get you started...

(NB: Please be careful with some of the ingredients below - there can be a severe risk of choking especially with grapes, shallots and cherry tomatoes. Please chop in four lengthwise before giving to a baby or toddler)

Breakfast with Rudolph

We like things like this because it doesn't involve any specialist cooking - just a bit of 're-arranging'!

Santa Kebabs


These Santa Kebabs make the perfect mid-morning snack - just remember to be cautious of the cocktail sticks - we recommend removing them before your toddler starts to eat.

The Banana Santa uses a large marshmallow cut in half with a banana slice between them. (If you are not going to be eating these right away, dip the banana in lemon or orange juice to avoid browning). Top with a strawberry and small marshmallow. Use a couple of chocolate sprinkles for the eyes and a smartie or another piece of strawberry for the nose.

The Grape Santa's are similar, only with smaller marshmallows!

Vegetable "Gingerbread" House

How brave are you feeling??! If you've got the time (or the energy!), this vegetable snow lodge makes a fantastic impact and is a refreshing change from it's gingerbread counterpart. It looks like great fun to make and there's plenty of room for improvisation!

You'll need: 
Six 8" carrot logs (1 front, 5 back)
Eight 5" carrot logs (lodge sides)
Eight 3" carrot logs (front)
Eight 1 1/4" logs (by front door) 
Four 1 1/2" carrot logs (window opening)
Three 7" carrot log rafters
Sixteen 6" roof celery stalks
Foam core board gable measures 8"x 6" x 6"
Slice of turnip for window
Toothpicks & cream cheese mortar fasten cucumbers and celery 
Bamboo skewers to stack chimney mushroom "stones"

The Christmas Tree Centrepiece

Built from florists foam, some toothpicks and a selection of fresh vegetables, this Christmas Tree will be the talking point of the table - go on, give it a try - how hard can it be?!!

By this stage, you are either a complete expert at 'building with food' or you've given up and are busy ordering profiterole towers from M&S.  Either way, we hope you have a fantastic Christmas and are not too chocolated-out by New Year!

Recipes found on

Monday, 7 December 2015

Stuck for Gift Ideas? Discover Other Options at Born

Are you stuck for gift ideas for a friend or relative? Maybe they prefer to select their own present, or you'd like to get them something special but you're not sure about the specific items that they need?  We've put together a few ideas that take the stress out of searching for the perfect present!

Bristol Pounds: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

If your friend or relative lives in or near Bristol, why not present them with some Bristol Pounds? They can be spent in independent shops (including Born!!), cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants all over Bristol – and for Christmas they come in a limited edition Bristol Pound gift card.

When you spend Bristol Pounds, you’ll know that more of the money will stay in Bristol (up to four times more than pounds sterling). That’s a big boost for Bristol and makes your gift even more special!

Visit to find out more.

Your Baby Your Way at Born

If you are buying for expectant parents, why not book them in for a one-to-one baby consultation service at Born, where they can receive expert advice on our carefully chosen parent and baby products and services. 

By booking a dedicated personal shopping slot with a senior sales person, you can guarantee a convenient and comprehensive experience.  We will go through the items they will need, and demonstrate the larger ones such as furniture and buggies. There will be time for a bra fitting, as well as the opportunity to make a 'baby list' for relatives and friends to purchase gifts, or contribute towards larger items. We charge a booking fee of fifty pounds, which is refundable at the end of the session or within 3 months, against any purchase made. A minimum spend of one hundred pounds is required.

Donation Packs for Baby Bank Network

The Baby Bank Network seeks to relieve poverty by providing good quality new and pre-owned baby items to families in need. Started and chaired by Born Founder Eva Fernandes, the Network strives to improve living environments for babies and children, reduce financial burden for families, improve mental health for vulnerable people and enable a focus on other aspects of home life rather than financial burden.

You can choose to donate a pack of essential items for a newborn (including nappies, wipes and cotton wool) or for a new mum (including breast pads, maternity pads and nipple cream). All donations go directly to the families referred by local social and health professionals.

Gift Vouchers

If you're still undecided about which gift would be best, or would like to give your friend or relative the chance to choose, you can't go wrong with a Born Gift Voucher, available to spend online at Borndirect or in our Bristol store.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Natural Christmas Crafts to do with Children

It's December 1st and time to get crafty! It's lovely to involve little ones in the preparations for Christmas, so we've scoured the internet for some great ideas of things to make with your toddler -  all using things that you can collect on a wintery walk through the woods...

1. Pine Cone Creatures

Pine cones look really effective covered in glitter and hanging from a Christmas Tree, but why not go further and create little animals, elves or snowmen? We love this reindeer, found at - just add pipe-cleaners, a little pom pom and some googly eyes!

2. Mini Christmas Trees

These really effective mini Christmas Trees can be made using little sprigs of yew or off-cuts from Christmas Trees and a cork or two (great excuse to open a bottle!) - you will need to make a small hole in the cork, before giving it to your child to start creating! They can make whole forests which you could even cover with glitter if you're feeling brave!

Just remember not to leave your toddler alone with the corks or the sprigs - and when they're finished, put them on display somewhere where they can't be reached.

3.  Icy Candle Holders

These ice candle holders look beautiful and are simple to make:  

i. Find 2 freezable containers and put one inside the other so that there is a gap of about an inch all around.  
ii. Put leaves, twigs and anything else that you have collected into the gap before filling the gap with water. 
iii. Tape a stock across the top to keep the smaller container in place. Then place upright in a freezer to freeze! 
iv. When frozen, remove the containers (fill the inner one with hot water if you need to), and pop in a small candle or tea-light.

4. Twig Christmas Trees

What is it about toddlers and sticks?! If your back door constantly has a collection of favourite sticks that your little one has found, put them to good use and help them create their very own Christmas Tree! This is so easy to make and your child can choose to decorate them with leaves and moss, or things that they find in the house. 

If you're feeling really adventurous, why not have a go at this one...

5. Log Santas

Ok, so it's not often that you come back from a walk with 3 or 4 logs, but we couldn't resist including these sweet little log santas! If you have any cut logs, perch them up on end, paint the hats, beards and eyes, and glue on a round pom pom for the nose!

Send us images of any Christmas craft that you do with your children and we'll put it on our facebook  and pinterest pages!

Monday, 23 November 2015

Top Ten Gifts for New Mums

New mums are so often given gifts for their babies and while that's often useful and appreciated, gifts that nurture mothers can powerfully remind them that they matter too. That's why we've put together our "top ten" list of gifts for new mums, and with Christmas approaching, there might be some ideas for some not-so-new mums too!


Mums Gorgeous Pampering Box by Natalia. All new mothers deserve a little luxury and should be encouraged to have a nice, unwinding bath regularly. Or try the New Parent Survival Box with some gorgeous massage oil that can be used on mum or the baby!


An incredibly comfortable maternity and nursing bra - new mums need to live and often sleep in these, so a bra that is gentle and totally soft to wear will be appreciated!


Some gift vouchers from Born. You can use these online to shop while sitting on the sofa feeding. Alternatively, you could make a home-made voucher booklet for gifts of time and energy, like an hour of cleaning, home-cooked meals, a good foot rub. This is a great gift for a close friend or sister.


A supportive book about parenting. We like Imperfectly Natural Woman by Janey Lee Grace - a great read about how to maintain a healthy, greener lifestyle as a family whilst recognising our imperfections! We've got an offer on ALL parenting books at the moment, so when you buy two, you get a third free!


A comfortable sling or wrap to help her get out and about without any hassle - there are some gorgeous wraps in our range including the Je Porte Mon Bebe Lightweight Wraps which have some great, funky designs.


A beautiful blanket, to keep both her and her baby warm during night feeds. These are lovely for snuggling up with, especially on wintery evenings.


Some herbal teas, plus a cute teapot to go with them - and some cakes! Or you could add a regular veg box delivery. It's more healthy than just cakes and if you chip in and get with a bunch of friends you can often get quite generous boxes that include eggs, milk etc.


The ultimate gift - an Olliella chair. It will last forever and looks beautiful in any room.


A great changing bag is useful. The Pacapod Changing Bags are a changing bag in disguise and can be used as a handbag once nappy-days are over!


A cleaner. Many firms will do a big house clean or come for a few hours several times a week. This could mean more to the new mum in your life than you know!

Don't forget to look at our special New Parent Gifts section on our website for more ideas!