How to support a new mum- a guide for her partner, friends and family

There are a lot of stereotypes out there that pregnancy is a sweet, blessed time, and the biggest struggle for a woman is choosing a name for a new baby. Labour- painful, but she will forget the pain as soon as you cuddles the baby. The first days with a newborn- easy! Baby only sleeps and feeds.
All inaccurate.
There isn't much honest information about the first few weeks postpartum out there. Trust me- it can be a horrible experience for a woman. This is the time when her partner, her family and friends must show a great deal of support. I have divided this blog post into two parts- one for friends and family, and one for a partner/ husband of a new mum. The one for partners includes a detailed graphic description of what is a woman going through in that specific period, so please skip that part if you're sensitive. 

All women go through the pregnancy, labour and postpartum slightly differently, but all go through a lot physically and mentally. All new mums need some help, and they need people around them to be gentle, kind and supportive.

No matter how much she loves you, she is in this new, crazy mood state right now. It is advised to visit and help out, but make sure you consult the time with a new mum.

New parents, especially new mum won't have an opportunity to go to the post office, do grocery shopping, buy additional nappies, walk the dog or vacuum the house. If you have spare time, even half an hour, offer your help in a gentle way. It may just mean the world to her. 

New parents don't have time to cook, and they are probably hungry and thirsty like never before. A home-made meal would be a lifesaver, but if you pick up something in a store, they will love you just as much.

If you have the knowledge, and you want to help (and if the new mum wishes to accept your help), do help. But please, please do not tell her that she looks bad, that she isn't doing a great job because her baby cannot settle, or that you don't understand how she can be struggling with breastfeeding. These words, even if they're coming from a place of love, hurt badly. I had the chance to listen to people's opinion,  who were standing me around sipping on coffee and telling me that my milk was 'wrong', or that breastfeeding should be easy. None of them has ever breastfed a child. 


I know that most likely you will want to take a lot of photos with the baby and new parents, but before you do- please ensure that they all are happy with it. 
Most of the new parents will appreciate having some extra photos of the baby because they usually have other things on their minds. However, some of them may not want anybody but they photograph their newborn.
One thing goes without saying- please do not publish the photos of somebody's child on social media without the parent's consent. 


Some parents will not feel comfortable to ask you to do that, but it is important to wash your hands before holding/ touching the baby.  


If the new parents have pets or older kids, they may need some help in looking after them. If you take their kids for a walk, or read to them, or even play with them for 10 minutes, it will help the parents a lot.
Be there for them, they may need somebody's help and presence, and sometimes they just need a pair of ears to listen to them. 

If you've always wanted to prove how strong you are and how much you love your woman- the pregnancy, labour and especially postpartum is the chance for you to do that.
The more kind, gentle and supportive you are, the easier you make it all on her. She has gone through a lot. During the pregnancy, she most likely experienced bothersome sickness (improperly called 'morning') and nausea, headaches, back pains, insomnia, cramps, tender breasts, mood swings, fatigue, and many others. Some of these symptoms may have lasted for nine months. 

My labour was extremely painful (I would give it 700/10) but fantastic. I had a great midwife assisting me, but for many women, labour was a nightmare. Some of them had to go through a C-section, which means that probably the pain during the labour was not as intense, but afterwards, they were going through hell.

Right after the delivery, baby and new mum have an hour or two for the skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding. Then mum can shower. I vividly remember how my legs were shaking after 36h hours of labour. I needed a  hand to hold me while I was getting in and out of the shower. I remember that afterwards, my son fell asleep, but he stayed up for 70% of the time we spent in the hospital. 

The emotions, the fear of hurting the baby during labour, the fear of accidental dropping the baby, the exhaustion, the discomfort of a body who just delivered a human being. Often- the struggle with breastfeeding. Hormones go crazy. Zero privacy in the postnatal ward. I promise, at least 70 people saw my breasts during my three days long stay in the hospital. Your woman may have bleeding and sore nipples because it takes time for both the baby and mother to learn to breastfeed. The postpartum bleeding may occur up until 6 weeks following the delivery. It doesn't feel like a being on the period. It feels like swimming in blood. She will need to change her pads and shower way more often than normally she would. It takes time to heal the perineal area (perineum is the area of tissue between the vagina and anus) for women who had a natural delivery, and the tummy wound for women after C-section. Toss in the sleep deprivation.

Furthermore, a vast majority of new mums is affected by baby blues, some suffer from postpartum depression. If their partners and families let them down, they may not cope with it. 

I am not trying to scare you. I just want to tell you what is your partner going to go through, because she may not feel comfortable to tell you. Please remember that this is your baby too, so looking after it is also your responsibility

First of all, talk to your partner during her pregnancy a lot. Check in on her. Ask her what she is afraid of, how you are going to manage to share the responsibility after the baby is born. Continue checking in on her after delivery. 


Educate yourself. Read. Talk to midwives and doctors. Sign up for the antenatal classes with your partner. Don't leave it till the last minute. If you're close to your mum or sisters who had a baby, ask them what they wished their partners did for them in that difficult time. The more you know, the easier all gets.


Some countries cultivate the tradition of 'baby shower' after the baby was born. The father, his male friends and family members are going out and getting drunk. It often happens right after the delivery, which basically means that the father is not available for at least one day. I can not even find words to describe how much I dislike this tradition (I mean, I can find the words, but don't want to use them on my blog). It is just selfish. 
You must be there for your partner and your child. It is a responsibility, not a favour. You must be soberIn the first days after the birth of your baby, try to come straight back home from shopping, or work. 

All of the changes in her body and mind are going to happen whether anybody wants it or not. This is something we all have to accept. She really won't need you to comment on her looks. If she breastfeeds- she produces a liquid gold, the healthiest medicine in the world. She gives your child the best thing in the world, and even if she doesn't look attractive with a breast pump in one hand, and a baby in the other- remember that this is why women have breasts. Her body needs time to heal, it needs time to get back to shape. Trust me- the stretched skin and 5kg extra bother her more than they bother you. You don't need to mention that to her. 
Instead tell her that you're proud of her. That she is doing an amazing job. You probably already feel this way, but you need to express it. It will mean a world to her. 

I am not talking about anything over the top, because new mum's needs usually are: food, water, shower, sleep and time for herself. She may need you to get some more maternity pads, painkillers, or her favourite tea. Ask her, make her feel comfortable. Breastfeeding mums may spend hours nursing a baby in one go (it the evening I would nurse my son for nearly 7h in one go, but all kids have slightly different needs).

I know many fathers who say that they are planning on bonding with their child once he already walks and talks. First of all, they don't know how much they are missing out on, second of all- when you decide to start the family and have a baby, you are a father no matter if the baby is healthy or not, teething or not, whether he sleeps through the nights or not, whether you and his mum are together or not
The more time you spend with your child, the stronger your bond with will be. Trust me- women too don't know how to talk to a newborn or how to entertain it at first. We all have to learn that. 
The new mum is still a woman, a human being that needs time for herself, who has needs and the right to have time away from the child.

I know that the idea of labour and having a child may be scary (especially after my graphic description), but it is not that bad. It is just a phase that you need to pass through together. It is quite a difficult time, but it is genuinely a beautiful time. Try to enjoy it as much as possible. Don't waste your time on Instagram or playing video games, they can wait. Don't allow yourself to miss out on this amazing time. 

You can not read your partner's mind, and nobody knows all the answers. Don't be afraid to admit that you don't know something, I am sure that your partner would prefer if you asked, rather than avoided looking after the baby.


She may want to share with you how she feels now, or how she felt during the labour. She needs you to be all ears. If she cries, be her shoulder to cry on. She will appreciate it more than ever before. 

I assume that as a man living in the 21st century you already know that cleaning, cooking, or doing laundry isn't called 'helping out' but 'taking part in running a household'. Please, do not expect a mother 48h after the labour to be serving you a 3-course dinner. 
Also, in terms of sex- your partner has a right not to feel up to having sex after the delivery. It can be dangerous, too. Do not force her, she needs to feel ready to have intercourse. 


I know that some fathers work their socks off to ensure that the baby and new mum have everything they need. You too may feel anxious, depressed or stressed. Try to recharge your batteries, or organize help. Maybe your friends or family members can look after the older kids, or do your grocery shopping. Stay hydrated, stay positive. I know that the arrival of a baby is a lot for dads, too. 

Get ready for a ride in a rollercoaster, for ups and downs, for good and bad days, but first of all- for an amazing journey and the most unique, beautiful unconditional love. Have fun and enjoy every moment of it. You will do great! x


Encouraging Speech Development

Hello, thanks for stopping by! I am here today to share with you some tips and tricks on how to encourage speech development in children. These ideas worked wonders for us, and my son started speaking at only a few months of age. Please remember that all children develop slightly differently. Some will start speaking earlier, some later, so don't be too hard on yourself and your child. However, if you are concerned that your child may be speech delayed, it is best to check it with the specialists

Reading develops language, imagination, creativity and intelligence. The sooner we start reading to our child, the better. The long hours spent on breastfeeding when Kian was tiny were a fantastic opportunity for me to read aloud to him. When I was bored with baby books, I would read kids books to him (like Roald Dahl's 'Matilda'). When he was 3-4months old, and his grasp was good enough, he used to grab the soft, fabric books and 'read' them in his own language. Up until Kian turned 1.5 years old, we would read for around 2h a day. It was one of his favourite activities, and it still is until today. 
If your child isn't interested in books right away, do not give up. It is totally normal. Turning the pages, chewing on books instead of listening, or only being able to listen to half of the book is normal, too. 
Reading 5 minutes a day makes 30 hours a year. That is a lot! Trust me- your effort will pay off. 

I know that when the little alien suddenly appears in your house, it may feel awkward speaking to him. For most parents, it takes some time to feel comfortable when talking to their baby. I remember not even being sure what to say.
Even if talking to your baby feels awkward, just talk. Minute after minute, day after day it will get easier. You can start by describing the room you are in, the toys that you're holding, the weather, your feelings and emotions. Singing to your child would be perfect, too. When you speak, your voice calms your baby, and you're exposing him to many words and grammar structures. You are your child's first teacher, and the more you talk to him, the more he talks. 

It is important to engage in conversation with your child. No matter if they use their body language to communicate with you, or they're already verbal- get engaged. Answer their questions, acknowledge that they're trying to tell you something. If, for instance, they're pointing at the sleeping cat, you may say- 'Yes, our cat is sleeping'. Let your child know that they are important to you, that they have a voice, that they can communicate their feelings, that nobody ignores them. This boosts their confidence, and the more they are understood, the more they want to communicate. 

The labour is an exhausting experience not only for the mother but also for her baby, who spent 9 months in a cosy, warm and dark womb. Right after birth, babies experience seeing so many different faces, furniture pieces, toys, paintings, posters, so many colours, so many textures, so many shapes. Toss in the sounds and smells. It is overwhelming, so if you add a TV in the background, it may feel like going to a techno party with a severe migraine.
The brain of a newborn cannot deal with all the flashing lights and obtrusive sounds.

Watching screens before the age of 2 can delay speech, cause attention issues, and has a detrimental effect on short term memory and reading skills. And yes, I know that babies who are regularly watching TV or any other screens will eventually learn to speak. Some of them may even start to talk very early. But what I need to point out is that children learn all the time. This means that whether you intend to teach them something or not, they absorbe everything they see and hear. The time spent in front of the TV is a time cut on exploring the world, interacting with people, and bonding with nature. With the noise in the background, we usually talk less to our children. The less they hear, the less they speak. 

Also- whatever we surround our children with becomes a part of their beings forever. If we expose them to the TV shows with aggressive language, sexist music videos, frightening video games- they will absorb it just as much as watching the flowers and birds in the park. Kids don't understand that what they see on TV (even the adverts) isn't real life. Even passive watching is still watching. 

Whilst exploring the world and absorbing so much of it every day your child will develop his own interests. It is easy to spot them when you mindfully observe your children, and it is best to set up activities based on them. This will give you an opportunity to expose your child to new vocabulary, and because it will be related to his interest, he will more likely want to learn it. New words will be a tool that he could use to express himself, and the more tools he has, the more independent he becomes. 


Kids learn best when they are in the flow state, and in order to be in the flow state, they need to concentrate. 
It is much easier to concentrate on learning in a peaceful and calm environment- quiet, clutter-free, inviting and fun. 
I would suggest downsizing the toy collection, or at least rotating them, so your child won't feel overwhelmed and overstimulated by unnecessary stuff.

Your baby needs a good sleep just as much as you do.  A good equals safe -without unnecessary clutter in his bed; in a ventilated, tranquil bedroom.
Also, the way we fall asleep and wakeup is extremely important.
It scares me that the Cry It Out method is still very popular, being promoted by some parents and authors. This is a cruel method of sleep training babies that elevates the cortisol, which leads to loneliness, depression and anxiety, and it slows down the brain development process. 
I wrote more about it here.

One of the best ways to boost your child's confidence is to let them be as independent as possible. Allow your child to make choices, to help to prepare his meals, to select what he wants to wear. A confident child will express himself better.
We are all born with a natural desire to learn, discover and make progress. Every child has the great potential to live a happy and successful life, and every child will if only his parents give him the right tools. Confidence and independence are the core of happiness. 
I wrote more about it here 

I know that the vision of a baby eating a larger piece of food rather than puree may be a little bit scary for some parents, but this weaning method allows your child to explore different textures, colours, smell and look of the food items. It allows him to eat at his own pace, it gives him confidence, because he realises that he can make things happen. He will start chewing earlier, and chewing is a fantastic mouth exercise that improves articulation. 
Furthermore, we learn through senses, so we have to stimulate them. 

As I have mentioned before, it is important to stimulate the child's senses. You can do it easily by creating various sensory play activities- bins filled with tissue paper/ kinetic sand/ scarves/ sand/ pebbles/ water/ water beads/ artificial grass/ soapy water and some scooping tools, or little figurines; you can make a light table, squishy bags, finger paint, sensory sound bottles, water xylophone. To help your child explore the sense of smell you can make smelling bottles, scented playdough, or let them actively take part in preparing meals. The list of activities is endless. 

Fine motor skills development and speech development are closely linked. The better the child's hands work, the better is their speech. 
To support the development of fine motor skills you can set up some activities for your child. For babies, it is important to practice grasping, transferring objects from one hand to another, dropping and picking up objects etc. They can be pulling scarves from the box, banging two small toys together, ripping the paper, grabbing the pom-poms out of a whisk, putting items into boxes (and taking them out).
Toddlers will learn how to feed themselves using cutlery, build small towers, string large bids, scribble, fold the paper in half and many more. So using stamps, playing with playdough, threading beads onto pipe cleaners, making pasta necklaces, whisking soapy water, painting with fingers/ hands/ brushes/ flower heads/ leaves, playing with stickers, drawing and all similar activities will strengthen their hands and support the speech development. 

These sweet conversations are very encouraging for babies. When your baby makes a sound, try to imitate it and say it back to them. 
However, I would suggest cutting back on the 'baby talk', because babies understand the words way before they can say them, so it is important to pronounce them clearly.

I know that breastfeeding is a controversial topic, so I just want to ensure you that I do not shame women who formula-feed their kids, because a) their body- their choice; b) breastfeeding can be difficult at the beginning, most of the times there is no one there for a woman to provide help and support with it;  c) some women can not breastfeed;  d) some children have no mums, or they have  foster parents, or they are growing up in a family with two dads. 
Breastfeeding, however, is great for both mother and a baby, How is it related to speech development, though? Breastfed children have a different pattern of sucking than bottle-fed children, and breastfeeding improves the coordination of lips, mouth, tongue and jaw muscles. 

When Kian was born, he was on the breast for around 20h a day. It was tough. As it seemed unusual to the people around me, they were suggesting to start giving him a pacifier. After a few weeks, desperately wanting to pee in peace, I decided to give it a go. Today I have to say that I am grateful that he has never accepted it, and only tried it a few times (I wore braces because my teeth were awfully crooked, so I wanted to avoid my baby having to go through that). When babies have dummies in their mouth, they don't really feel the need to copy the sounds, babble and eventually talk. I am not trying to say that a baby who uses dummy won't speak, or they will be diagnosed with speech delay, but there is a possibility that they may. 

Some simple oral motor exercises like blowing small objects (tissues, cotton balls etc.) will strengthen your child's tongue. For more ideas for advanced activities, I would suggest reaching out to a specialist. 

I hope that my tips will be helpful. I know how stressful this topic can be for parents, and I know how much we are waiting for children's first words, and sentences. Thank you for your time! x



Sam Waterston as Sol Bergstein in 'Grace and Frankie'. The best, sweetest character ever created. Photo credit: Netflix
Hello, I hope you are well! I have fallen behind my usual schedule of sharing my cultural favourites with you all, but I still wanted to tell you about a few great films and series that I have watched, and a fantastic book that I have read over the past few months. 

Enjoy reading!

Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding in 'I, Tonya'. Photo credit: Curzon Artificial Eye
'I, Tonya' Craig Gillespie
Starring a fantastic Australian actress Margot Robbie, 'I, Tonya' is a film based on a real-life story of Tonya Harding- a phenomenal ice skater stuck in an abusive relationship with her husband and a toxic relationship with her mother.
We follow Tonya from her first ice skating lesson, until the dramatic end of her career, when she gets involved in an attack on a fellow ice skater Nancy Kerrigan. Tonya is a badass, she is feisty and bold. She has a rich personality, which gave Margot Robbie a chance to showcase her acting skills. I loved the performances of the three main characters played by Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan and Allison Janney, and even though I watched this film back in August, I still have a vivid picture of many of its scenes in my head.The cinematography and editing of 'I, Tonya' are great, especially the professionally and dynamically shot ice skating scenes. The movie has a great pace. It is very energetic. Despite exploring the problem of abuse very well, it is not a whiny, depressing, slow film. I loved it, and I am happy that we had a chance to listen to see Tonya's side of the story. 

Zula Lichon (Joanna Kulig) and Wiktor Warski (Tomasz Kot) in 'Cold War'. Photo credit: Curzon Artificial Eye
'Cold War' Pawel Pawlikowski
Set mainly in communist Poland, 'Cold War' tells a story of a couple of artists, Zula (Joanna Kulig) and Wiktor (Tomasz Kot), who meet on auditions for a folk dance group. Wiktor, an intelligent pianist and conductor, can't take his eyes off an intriguing young girl, and the couple starts an on-again-off-again relationship. It is actually one of the bleakest and (sadly) most realistic takes on a love story.  Phenomenally acted, wonderfully directed, written and shot.
Pawlikowski sculpted 'Cold War' with the surgical precision and generously sprinkled it with his sensitivity and craft by contrasting the power of love and the beauty of Polish culture with the ugliness of the system and the imperfect human nature. He faced this ultimate problem by drawing a portrait of two misguided, imperfect people who established their relationship in very difficult circumstances. In a communist country, where life was a survival, and the government controlled every aspect of it. You can not miss this one!

You can read my full review here

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in 'A Star is Born'. Photo credit: Warner Bros
'A Star Is Born' Bradley Cooper
'A Star Is Born' is a modern take on a classic Hollywood story. Cooper's directorial debut features the controversial and supremely talented singer Lady Gaga, who poured her heart and soul into her role.
Ally (Lady Gaga) is a very talented yet very insecure woman, who feels like she missed out on her opportunity to become a famous singer. She makes her living by waitressing in a large restaurant and singing at the drag club at nights. And there she meets Jackson (Bradley Cooper), a disobedient rock star battling his addictions. The musician is blown away by Ally's version of 'La Vie En Rose' and invites her for drinks. The couple forms a romantic relationship, beautiful and strong but very complex. 

The chemistry between Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper is out of this world, so organic and natural. The two artists joined their forces, sensitivities and energies and created something very special.

You can read my full review of this film here. 

Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira, Diego Cortina Autrey, Carlos Peralta, Marco Graf and Daniela Damesa in 'Roma'.  Photo credit: Netflix
'Roma' Alfonso Cuarón
'Roma' is a raw portrait of an upper-middle-class family living in Mexico City, and it centres on a life of Cleo, their live-in maid and nanny. Set in 1971 Colonia Roma, the film is an intimate and lyrical ode to women's unbreakable strength. 
Visually stunning, 'Roma' flows at its own pace. The amount of work and thought that went to recreating the 70s Mexico City are impressive. Although the characters lack development, the film definitely is beautiful and moving.
Loosely biographical, 'Roma' is dedicated to Cuarón's nanny Libo (Liboria Rodríguez). He had a chance to fully realise his artistic vision as he wrote, directed, shot, co-produced and co-edited the film. Available on Netflix and in cinemas. 

Natasha Lyonne as Nadia in 'Russian Doll'. Photo credit: Netflix
Natasha Lyonne is the star of the newest Netflix original series 'Russian Doll'. She has also co-created and co-produced the show, and directed its last episode. That's a lot of Natasha in one production! And you can sense her energy and charisma in each scene. 
Her character, Nadia, is a New Yorker, who repeatedly dies on the night of her 36th birthday and relives her party over and over again. It sounds weird, and trust me- the show is a little weird but good weird. 
It's very interesting to see how different picture of a woman this show drew, how far away is Nadia from other female protagonists. She is witty, nonchalant, wild, and she has an attitude. I would call her a likeable weirdo. The supporting cast is just as great, and the repeatedly played 'Gotta Get Up' song will stay with you for longer.
There is one more thing I need to point out- Nadia wasn't naked in any of the sex scenes in the first season of 'Russian Doll'. It proves that women can but shouldn't feel obligated to be naked in front of the cameras.
In case you didn't fall in love with this show right away, wait until the third episode. I promise you won't regret

Lily Tomlin (Frankie) and Jane Fonda in 'Grace and Frankie'. Photo credit: Netflix
If you have been reading my blog for a while, you probably know that 'Grace and Frankie' is one of my favourite shows of all time. I sometimes joke that December has its Christmas, February Valentines Day, and January- a new season of Grace and Frankie each year. The show is about two women in their 70s who find out that their husbands are not only business partners but also lovers. The sophisticated, people-hating Grace and a chilled out hippie Frankie need to start their lives over and cope with the burden of a failed marriage and broken families. 
Despite the sad beginning, the series is absolutely hilarious. The 5th season was phenomenal! The only downfall of  'Grace and Frankie' is that the episodes are only 25 min long, so you binge watch the season in one day and wait for a new one for over 360 days. 
This is the most cheering, empowering and hilarious series ever created. It is available on Netflix.

'Journey Into Mindfulness' Dr Patrizia Collard
'Journey Into Mindfulness' Dr Patrizia Collard
Even though I am a very mindful and spiritual person, I found myself feeling overwhelmed, anxious and lost in 2018. The stress was killing me, it affected my health and wellbeing. I needed to fall in love with meditation and mindfulness all over again, and so I dug the 'Journey Into Mindfulness' by Dr Patrizia Collard out of the bottom of my bookshelf, and it was one of the tools that helped me get back on track. 

The book explains the basics of mindfulness and meditation, it includes several exercises that helped me start living in the present moment again. I highly recommend it, especially if you always wanted to learn more about meditation, but couldn't find a simple and gentle guide. 

Let me know what you have read/ watched recently and liked. Thanks for sticking by! x
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