Bringing your newborn home, let’s keep it real.

Posted by on Apr 18, 2016 in News/Articles | 1 comment

This past month I have been talking to many mums who are struggling to cope with caring for their newborns. It’s a pretty intense learning curve in the first few months, particularly if it is your first baby.

During pregnancy there is lots of accessible, valuable support and advice available from health professionals and your planning will include where you will deliver your baby and your chosen birth plan. A common theme in the feedback from mums is that the birth plan can be the part of the journey that doesn’t quite go to “plan” and may result in some intervention to ensure a healthy baby and mum.  If this is the case it can change your physical ability to manage a new baby when you go home. Speaking with many mums the feedback has a common theme.  It can be the start of an unfamiliar feeling of loss of control and free fall in this new role and journey as a parent.

Maternity wards are not conducive to sleep. If you are breastfeeding then you will be feeding every few hours or more around the clock and this may normally take up to an hour each time as your newborn will be sleepy and you are both learning the ropes. Breastfeeding teamwork and getting to know each other takes time and practice. And you may receive different advice from the nurses with each new shift, confusing to know which advice suits you.

Dad nursing Baby imageTime for hospital discharge and taking baby home.

This is when you and the the real world meet face to face and the intensity of caring for a new baby starts.  And maybe this precious baby has been planned for some time and the enormity of her anticipated arrival can be overwhelming. It’s exciting and exhausting, a rollercoaster ride like no other. Emotional support and understanding is so important but not always readily available in today’s busy and high achieving world. Family support is not always nearby.

Dads are often expected back to work within a week.  Guilt is a debilitating feeling for both parents. Dads (also sleep deprived and unsure what their parental “task” list involves) feel guilty for leaving their wife and baby at home on their own. Mum may need to touch base with dad at work for reassurance/support. Dad needs to sleep at night if possible so that he can function and be “present” at work. Understandably mum needs some respite or support  with the overnight feeds and settling baby. This new routine is a lot to contend with and teamwork becomes really important so you can allow each other some respite.

It is normal for your baby to feed often day and night for the first 6-10 weeks, particularly if your baby has been born early or the birth has been complicated.  And I mean every few hours…and it is normal that it can take up to an hour from beginning to end of the feed. Your newborn will be sleepy and regularly fall asleep at the breast, their most favourite place on earth. And it can be really challenging to keep them feeding through the fore and hind milk which will help them settle whilst stimulating your supply. And they need frequent and small amounts to begin with as breast milk is meant to digest easily.

So you cannot expect your baby to find a “routine” for the first few months. After 6-8 weeks research shows that your baby can distinguish between night and day. So you can begin to establish some daily consistent rhythms to the end of “day” bath and feed to sleep.

It is well within normal expectations that your newborn will have unsettled periods every day. And those unsettled periods will often shift to different parts of the day and night. Their only way of communicating or signalling their needs to you is crying. And it takes time,  practice and confidence to understand and read their “cues” so you may successfully respond to their needs. If your baby is crying and distressed then hold them close to soothe and calm them. Leaving them in their cot to cry serves no purpose other than unnecessarily distressing you both. Your baby is crying for a reason, it is not behavioural. The skill is identifying the cause of your baby’s distress and needs.

There may be loads of well meaning advice from the internet/mother’s forums/ friends and family that may have worked for them and their babies very well.  But this may not suit you, your parenting beliefs  and your newborn’s temperament.

If needs be choose one or two trusted advisers combined with your wonderful maternal instincts and enjoy your baby.  When you can take a breath, take stock of your changing priorities and let some “stuff” go. Accept any food deliveries, offers of shopping or support and short home visits from vaccinated family and friends in good health!

Love, patience and emotional and physical resilience are the foundations for this wonderful and unique new relationship. But if you need support and help, professional or otherwise, put your hand up and reach out. It’s only a screen tap or phone call away.


This article was lovingly written by Beth Barclay from Mothercraft for Babies

Beth Barclay - Photo low low res

I am  a  registered and experienced Mothercraft nurse and a passionate Service industry professional with over 35 years experience.

I discovered from an early age that my love of babies and children was the beginning of a lifelong desire to help others.  So it was inevitable that my career began training as a Mothercraft nurse with Tresillian Sydney (Royal Society for Welfare of Mothers and Babies as it was known then).

After completing my training at Tresillian Willoughby in 1977 I joined the nursing team at the highly regarded Crown Street Women’s Hospital in Sydney.  I went on to work in Executive recruitment and Hospitality.

10 years ago I returned to my first love of Mothercraft nursing, working privately on a consultation basis with families in their home.

It became obvious that there was a real demand for this “at home” support and guidance  so Mothercraft for Babies was established in 2010.

We now also offer phone or Skype consultations  which offer provide quick and easy access to advice and support anywhere in Australia. .

Our expert Nursing team visit family homes in the Sydney metro, Newcastle, Central Coast areas and we work in partnership with parents. Our nurses are experienced and knowledgeable and their approach is supportive and reassuring.  They will show you age appropriate and gentle, responsive strategies supported by a written plan/guide if needed.

Today we have earned our enviable reputation as a specialist Mothercraft nursing agency by helping hundreds of families learn the skills and gain the confidence needed to truly enjoy the new role of parenting.

Beth Barclay

Founder and Director

Mothercraft for Babies

Ph. +61 2 8221 8877



Second Melbourne Launch!

Posted by on Aug 20, 2015 in News/Articles | 0 comments

With the success of the first sold out Melbourne launch presentation there is now another date scheduled!  Tickets now available and filling fast so book your place today!

Endorsed and recommended by IVF specialists and educators as well as natural fertility experts, The Fertility Diet combines both natural and medical perspectives, providing simple, practical advice about the latest treatments combined with effective, easy to implement diet and lifestyle strategies to optimise fertility fitness in both women and men.

“A well researched book providing thoughtful, practical advice to couples both trying to conceive and wishing to optimise pregnancy outcome. A valuable resource, thoroughly recommended”

Dr Anthony Lawrence – Senior fertility specialist

Bsc Honors, MBBS Honors

Whether you have diagnosed fertility issues, going through IVF, struggled with miscarriage or simply want to ensure a healthy conception the Fertility Diet launch is an event not to be missed!

Monday 31st August 7pm – 8:30pm

With an introduction by naturopath and fertility expert Nicole Tracy, Tasha Jennings will talk exclusively about her new book as well as providing practical tips and advice on creating a lifestyle and diet to enhance fertility.

$30 including a signed copy of the book 

At Fertile Ground Health Group – The Studio, Suite 2, Lvl 6, 372-376 Albert Street, East Melbourne 3002

Seats limited. Reserve your place today.

For further details or to book email

or phone FGHG on: (03) 9419 9988

The Fertility Diet

The Fertility Diet

Zycia launching into China!

Posted by on Jun 27, 2015 in News/Articles, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Following Zycia’s great success supporting Australian women through healthy pregnancy’s and beyond, we’re now spreading our wings to China!  In partnership with QBID (Quality Brands International Direct), Zycia will soon be available through, China’s largest retailer.  Zycia is privileged to be part of this landmark international eCommerce Australia/China collaboration which will be celebrated at an official launch which I’ll be attending this Monday 29th June.  With opening remarks by The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, Federal Minister for communications, it promises to be an exciting event and fabulous opportunity.

Zycia in China

Zycia Natal Nutrients - China launch

The Fertility Diet – Melbourne Launch

Posted by on Jun 23, 2015 in News/Articles | 0 comments

1 in 6 couples struggle with infertility

1 in 3 women over 35 struggle to conceive

Even healthy couples in their twenties, have only a 25% chance of conceiving each month

I know.  I’ve been there.  As a healthy 30 year old I assumed, like many others, that pregnancy would come easily.  Unfortunately it wasn’t that simple.   Drawing from my years of professional experience as a Naturopath and Nutritionist and expanding my knowledge of the latest natural and medical treatments, I succeeded in my quest to start the family I had dreamed of.  Keen to share my knowledge to help others, the Fertility Diet was conceived.

The Fertility Diet provides simple, practical advice about the latest treatments combined with effective, easy to implement diet and lifestyle strategies to optimise fertility fitness in both women and men.  The Fertility Diet will help optimise egg quality, improve uterine and sperm health and set you on the path towards conceiving and carrying a healthy, thriving baby.

On Thursday 30th of July at Fertile Ground Health Group, East Melbourne,  I will be giving a launch presentation, talking exclusively about my book as well as personal tips and advice to help you achieve the same success.  With an introduction from Naturopath and fertility expert Gina Fox it promises to be a wonderfully informative event.

Whether you have diagnosed fertility issues, going through IVF, struggled with miscarriage or simply want to ensure a healthy conception, this is an event not to be missed!  Call or email the lovely ladies at Fertile Ground Health Group on ph. 03 9419 9988, email:

I look forward to seeing you there for a chat and healthy snacks as well as your personal signed copy!

Tasha x

Click here to purchase your signed copy of the Fertility Diet.

The Fertility Diet

The Fertility Diet

Ovulation test kits

Posted by on Feb 5, 2015 in Conception, News/Articles | 0 comments

Ovulation test kits are another way to help pin point your fertile window. These come in the form of

  • Urine based test kits
  • Salivary based test kits


Urine based test kits

These kits work by measuring the level of luteinising hormone (LH) in urine. There is always a small amount of LH present in blood and urine, however the volume of LH increases 2 to 5-fold 1 to 2 days prior to ovulation to stimulate release of the egg. Measuring when this surge is occurring provides an indication that ovulation is about to occur. The 3 days immediately after commencement of the LH surge is the window during which you are most likely to conceive.

When using urine-based kits it is best to follow the directions outlined on the packed as these can vary slightly between brands. However, in general it’s best, although not essential, to test your urine at around the same time each day and ideally not first thing in the morning as this may miss the first day of your LH surge. Around 2 – 2:30pm appears to be ideal timing. Also avoid drinking too much liquid prior to the test as this may dilute urine. Read the results within 10 minutes of performing the test. Positive tests won’t disappear however a false positive may register after 10 minutes. Therefore once the results have been read, the test should be thrown out.

Urine based ovulation kits are around 99% accurate, making them one of the most reliable measures of ovulation, however they are not fool proof. It is possible for LH to surge without ovulation occurring. You may also experience false LH surges prior to the actual surge. However their strong reliability still makes them one of the best methods for predicting ovulation at home.


Salivary-based test kits

Using a tiny microscope, these kits enable you to visualise the changes in saliva patterns, stimulated by a change in hormone levels. Estrogen increases the salt content of your saliva. When this salt dries, if forms a fern-like pattern which can be seen through the microscope.   This fern-like pattern indicates the presence of a high level of estrogen, which is most likely to occur in the few days leading up to ovulation. So when you see this pattern, the 3 – 4 days following this will be your most fertile.

Saliva based test kits aren’t quite as accurate as urine based test kits. This is due to the fact that the fern-like patter may be present at other times during your cycle depending on your hormone levels. For some people, it may also be hard to accurately identify the fern-like pattern through the microscope. However, this type of kit can be a more popular option due to the convenience of testing as well as the ability to use the same test over and over for around 2 years.


Fertility medications can impact the accuracy of both kits, so best to speak with your specialist if you are taking any prescribed hormonal medication.


You can also track your fertile days by charting your temperature each morning.  Find out more details here.


Being the best Mum starts well before birth

Posted by on Jan 22, 2015 in Conception, News/Articles | 0 comments

Providing the best start possible for your precious baby is one of the most important things you will ever do.  New research shows that what you eat and the nutrients you consume even prior to conception, all impact the short and long term health of your child.  Check out my article on the Mouth of Mum’s website to find out more.

Pin pointing your most fertile days

Posted by on Aug 27, 2014 in Conception, News/Articles | 0 comments

Most of us are aware of the ‘normal’ menstrual cycle,  28 – 30 days with ovulation occurring around day 14.

What you may or may not know is that most of us don’t run like clockwork! You can ovulate anywhere from day 9 to day 28. You can even have a regular menstrual cycle yet not ovulate at all.

Once released at ovulation, an egg will be viable for 24 hours so knowing when this is greatly increases your chances of conception.

Sperm need to be present within your reproductive system during this tiny 24-hour window for conception to occur.  Sperm live a little longer than our eggs and can stay viable in our system for between 3 – 5 days so your most fertile days fall 3 days before and on the day of ovulation.

So how do you know when or even if you are ovulating?

Find out more in my article on the Mouth of Mum’s website


Kate Richie announces her daughters name

Posted by on Aug 27, 2014 in News/Articles | 0 comments

Kate Richie and husband Stuart Webb, welcomed the arrival of their first child, a baby girl, on Sunday 17th August.  Now they have shared their beautiful daughters name with the world, Mae.  Best wishes to little Mae and her parents and they enjoy this precious time together.

Kate Richie and hubby

Choline rich foods

Posted by on Jul 24, 2014 in News/Articles | 0 comments

Hailed as the new ‘rockstar’ pregnancy nutrient in the US, choline is essential for healthy brain development during pregnancy and breastfeeding.  Unfortunately up to 90% of us aren’t reaching the recommended adequate intake.  “Our preliminary dietary studies clearly show an insufficient choline intake compared to the recommended levels,” said Curtis, an analytical chemist and project leader for ongoing choline research at the University of Alberta.[i]

I’m often asked about the best foods to boost your choline intake, so here they are

  • Egg (yolks in particular)
  • Lecithin granules
  • Beef
  • Salmon
  • Chicken
  • Kidney beans
  • Lentils
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Oats
  • Wheatgerm
  • Milk

For some tasty recipes containing these choline superfoods head to our Recipes section and for more information on choline and all your other important nutrients grab a copy of The Vitamins Guide.

[i] Andrea Hill. U of A researchers strive to increase awareness of forgotten essential nutrient. University of Alberta News August 5, 2011

Important information for ‘soon to be’ parents……About baby sleep

Posted by on Jul 5, 2014 in News/Articles | 0 comments

It is so hard to imagine what life will be like, really like, when you finally have your baby to hold.  We are often overwhelmed by thoughts about the delivery, making it difficult to really consider things that may be helpful later on. Repeatedly, mothers say they wished they had thought about this before the baby was born, when they had a little more clear thinking time. Pregnancy is the time to be idealistic about how you will parent, how your baby will be cared for and how they will sleep, but reality is yet to determine many things. Your natural instincts will surge once you have your baby, some quite quickly, some a little more steadily. At the same time, everyone will be kindly offering you advice. Once you are a parent you will realise how much you would like to help other parents when they start out, but for the moment though, you will be a recipient of the advice from well-wishers.

Something I have gained from years of working with literally thousands of families is what works for one family MAY not work for another. Babies are all VERY different as are their parents, so not all advice will be appropriate for your family. Take hold of those gut feelings and embrace them. If someone tells you to do something and you think ‘that’s a bit harsh’ or ‘that can’t be right’, then believe in yourself. When it comes to baby sleep, everyone is an expert, so keep true to your gut.

In the first months of life babies can be cuddled and fed to sleep, they are tiny and need comforting and care. They just do not have the developed brain capacity needed for self soothing and when distressed they rely on you to calm. It is from a calm state that babies can drift to sleep. You simply cannot spoil a baby; it is a myth and a cruel one at that. Love and cuddle your baby. When they are calm and comforted they will be more able to go to sleep in their bassinette or cot. When babies cry they are telling us something … we may not know what, but there will be something that drives their behaviour, so don’t ignore it.

How you can help your baby to learn to drift off to sleep is not that difficult, but often when adults expect babies should just sleep without help is when the real trouble begins. Babies are not born with the ability to have a nice neat routine. If they do look like they have a regular sleep wake pattern, it changes, and often. That is completely normal. Little babies will grow to develop routines, but please don’t impose routines early thinking that will prevent problems later. Babies who are tired, need to sleep and that is not governed by a clock, therefore if you impose a routine, there will be great distress.

Please talk with your nurse or health professional before thinking about any interventions that sound harsh or cruel, including words such as ‘tough love’, because practitioners informed by current research recommend you comfort young babies so they learn to drift to sleep.


Helen - PicHelen Stevens (BA Sc G D M) is a registered nurse, midwife and maternal and child health nurse. Helen is co-Founder and Director or Safe Sleep Space, Manager of Clinical Services and Education and Author of Safe Sleep Space (Rebus Press 2012 3 ed.) Helen has been supporting families with sleep struggles for almost 20 years and is the professional who professionals turn to for assistance. As both a parent and professional educator Helen has presents around Australia. Having recently returned from presenting at the World Association of Infant Mental Health in Edinburgh, Helen has earned respect for her evidence informed and KIND approach to infant and childhood sleep challenges.