Mum Bub Hub

Why Nyree-Dawn Adams and Anisah Kee-Scott, co-founders of postpartum recovery brand MBH, are on a mission to support new mums in the BME communities.

Why did you choose the ingredients jasmine, lavender and coconut for the Me Time skincare set?

Including a simple bathing routine in your day is one of the simplest and most enjoyable ways to self-care, and creating a ritual before bed is a great way to help encourage a deep, restorative night’s sleep. The floral, sweet notes of jasmine and lavender helps to deeply calm the mind, soothe the senses and enhance mood for a relaxing bathing experience. Coconut milk makes for a luxurious bathing experience with the added benefits of being naturally hydrating and is packed with healthy fats to help protect and moisturise your skin.

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Did you see any changes in your skin or hair after pregnancy? And if so, how did you deal with them?

Definitely! There are so many things they don’t tell us about the changes our body goes through after childbirth! Gone was the soft supple skin, the thick luscious head of hair and that pregnancy glow and in its place was tight, flaky skin with dry patches and hair that was definitely thinning in places. Drinking enough water was essential to help keep my skin hydrated and supple, especially as I was breastfeeding. Exfoliating regularly to help remove the layers of damaged skin and encourage the regrowth of healthy tissue and then soaking our Coconut Milk Bath soak which helped to soothe the skin. Purito From Green Cleansing Oil was my go to for my face instead of a foaming soap cleanser as it was gentler and helped to retain the natural oils, followed up with a rich moisturiser. For my hair, I just tried to leave it alone as much as possible with very low maintenance styles and used a really mild shampoo on wash days.

Some women turn to hormone therapy after pregnancy to combat skin and hair issues (such as hair thinning) - but is it possible to use natural remedies to effectively treat these?

Nourishing your skin from the inside is so important for combating hair loss and maintaining good skin health. Eating a well-balanced diet packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are good for your hair and skin – such as beta-carotene, vitamins A, C, D and E, omega-3 as well as essential proteins like biotin helps to produce and maintain healthy collagen levels, which helps improve our skin and hair follicle strength and structure. They can also help improve sebum production which helps moisturise our skin and scalp.  Massaging a good quality oil like our Nourishing Skin Oil with a blend of deeply nourishing plant oils to can help to stimulate the skin and scalp, increasing blood flow to the area and help to boost the strength of the hair follicles and build the skin's strength, keeping it soft and supple. It’s also so important to prioritise making time for ourselves as stress is often linked to hair loss and can contribute to or exacerbate skin problems.

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The summer heat can be a nightmare during pregnancy. Any tips for keeping cool during the hot weather?

Being pregnant in hot weather can definitely be a nightmare! Thankfully I wasn’t heavily pregnant during the summer but it was still super uncomfortable. Staying hydrated was key for me, even if it meant extra trips to the toilet, as well as wearing very loose fitting clothes whenever I had to leave the house and the bare minimum while at home, and keeping bedding to a minimum at night. I also found having a facial spray really useful for cooling down when I felt overheated.

Last year, your Support Hub received National Lottery funding - tell us about the concept and how the idea came to life.

As a social enterprise our mission has always been to bridge the gap in perinatal care for women, particularly in the BME communities who may not normally have access to any perinatal education or support on top of their standard midwife care. The Covid-19 crisis really highlighted the inadequate provision for antenatal and postnatal care for new parents. We were seeing more and more women falling through the cracks when it came to accessing support with the restrictions that were coming into place during the first lockdown. So we decided to team up with experts in maternity care, including perinatal psychiatrists, prenatal and perinatal educators, holistic wellness coaches, and doulas to launch our Support Hub which provides free perinatal education and personalised 1 to 1 specialist support to women who are having difficulties accessing support due to financial troubles, long waiting lists, or for those who are unaware of how to get access to services.

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Many of your products focus on perineum health. For mothers-to-be, what is the perineum and why does it need a bit of TLC post-pregnancy?

If you gave birth vaginally, your vagina, perineum (the area between your vagina and anus) and anus are going to feel wounded, sore and in need of some serious TLC during your postpartum recovery. It’s really common for the perineum to tear to some extent during birth but even if you didn’t tear or have any visible signs of damage the area will be really swollen and tender because of the huge increase in blood flow and fluid in the area during the body’s natural healing process, as well as from stretching and pressure from pushing. And if you've had a caesarean you may still be pretty sore down there if you’ve done some pushing beforehand. So we really wanted to focus on products packed with plant based active ingredients that fight inflammation, promote healing, soothe and relieve pain in the perineal skin and tissues.

What’s one thing about motherhood that you wish more people talked about?

One of the things that is not talked about enough is the realities of the postpartum period and the difficulties of motherhood in general. It isn’t pretty and it isn’t glamorous as it can sometimes be portrayed - you know, that ‘perfect Instagramable’ experience. To be brutally honest, during your first few weeks with a newborn you will most likely feel a sleep-deprived, sore nipple, adult nappy-wearing, bleeding, sweaty mess of a new mum all while trying to to heal and adapt to your new life but still expected to continue as normal. And the worst of it all is being unprepared for what is in store for you. We want to normalise having honest conversations about how seriously uncomfortable stitches may be, or how much it stings to pee after a vaginal birth. And let’s not get started on constipation and haemorrhoids! A lot of us don’t talk about the struggles because it can often make us feel like we are failing at motherhood.

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What are your thoughts about women who feel that they need to ‘do it all’ and don’t have time for self care?

So often, as mothers, we take on so many roles and countless sacrifices and it’s so natural for us to believe that we have to sacrifice every last ounce of ourselves to experience true motherhood. This can so easily lead to exhaustion and burnout, sometimes without us even realising. Being super busy is not always a badge of honour, and having everything done perfectly all the time is unrealistic and more often than not we are the ones who are putting that pressure on ourselves. And we get it, taking time out just for you can seem so unrealistic with the long list of to-do’s but we need to normalise doing the bare minimum because really, is there much joy in feeling exhausted and over-exerted all the time?

We need to make a conscious effort to step away from the constant demands of day-to-day motherhood, and invest more time in ourselves, even if it’s to run a bath and checkout for 20 minutes because taking care of ourselves is just as important as taking care of everything and everybody else. Making the time to create simple rituals and taking that time for self-care allows us to get that much-needed downtime in our hectic routines, because it's not acceptable to drive ourselves into the ground.

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3 ideas for self-care activities for new mothers

  • Nourish your body - Setting an intention to nourish your body is such a simple act of self-care. You can prepare the most simple ingredients for a power smoothie the night before and make sure it is ready to blend in the morning. No excuses. When you get a minute, savour that delicious smoothie as your baby is on the boob, or as you are preparing their bottle.
  • Tap into your interests - As you’re preparing dinner, listen to that popular podcast for mums, or that docuseries that you have been waiting to tune in to. Treat yourself to a cute journal and record your raw feelings and desires before you decide to pick up your phone to scroll. Who doesn’t love a good book! Order that book from your Amazon wish list and read a couple of pages a night.
  • Diarise - Make sure your appointments are non-negotiable. Whether it’s a hair appointment, physical or mental health check-up, or even a coffee with a friend - do not feel guilty about it, because your baby will be in good hands. Just push yourself out of the door and make sure you get there.

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