Melbourne Doula

Welcome to 'Melbourne Doula', the place where I share what birth work is teaching is me, and what I am learning from the wonderful families who have invited me to share this most special season of their lives. Here you will find information about me and the doula services I provide, birth stories from remarkable women and their loved ones, as well as all kinds of resources to enrich your own journey of discovery. And welcome also to BLISSFUL HERBS, the home of beautiful herbal teas and bath herbs to support wellness through every season of life.

Baby's First Bath

This is a video of a newborn baby girl being washed in the first hour of her life in the hospital where she was born. It was videoed by her father.

Her parents later published the video to Youtube. You can read their comments there.

Here is another video where a baby is bathed "like a chicken in a sink". I feel really distressed watching this. I am deeply troubled at how desensitised the staff seem to be to the extreme distress of the baby.

In an institution where a baby girl is treated like this, and the father clearly did not feel empowered to intervene, I wonder ... where was her mother? Where was her mother's voice, her assertiveness? I wonder how the birth was for the mother ... how she was treated. I remember the words of Dr. Sheila Kitzinger, "The caring environment for the newborn starts with a caring environment for the labouring woman, a respect for her rhythms, patience to wait and watch, and loving support." This influenced me when I was making choices for my own births.

Now compare that - to this:

And that is my hope, my prayer, for how every precious little newborn deserves to be treated.

My little girl is a fiesty, noisy little lass to this day and I love her wild spirit. Like the baby in the video, she bellowed at the top of her lungs if anything was not right in her world (still does.) The difference is, she was born at home, and as parents, we had the authority and autonomy to respond to her cries and handle her as our instincts guided us to. Her dad wrapped her in his arms and gently rocked her, murmuring to her, while I birthed her placenta. She stopped crying right away. After the placenta was born, I got into a special bath steeped with healing herbs. My husband handed our baby to me, and after a short nuzzle at my breast, she fell asleep.

In hospital or at home, it takes so little effort to personalise and humanise birth, to facilitate connection and bonding instead of enabling separation.

As parents, know your rights in labour, think about what is important and meaningful for you as a family and make sure your needs and requests are honoured.

Here you can read a poem contrasting two styles on birth, from the perspective of the baby.

Here is the Declaration of the Rights of Childbearing Women by Leilah McCracken

You can purchase the herbal sachets for your own blissful post-natal bath at Melbourne Doula Boutique.


Grace said...

Oh! Poor wee baby. What a horrible way to bathe a child. There was no love or care in that at all :( I just want to give her a cuddle :(

Jody Jones said...

I couldn't see the first video, but the second one was horrible - I had to stop it 3 times, I simply couldn't believe how the nurse was throwing the poor gorgeous little girl around!

What a contrast with the third video, that was so beautiful, so peaceful :)

Anonymous said...

Oh julie - that was so distressing watching that video :(