|19th January 2020|
WHAT PARENTS SAYMany thanks to the parents who have contributed so generously below :
BRYONY & WILL, Waterloo
Lea is one of the calmest people I have ever met, and has the ability to infuse that calm into any situation, no matter how stressful it might otherwise be. She was the most tremendous help taking shifts with Will over the course of my labour - inspiring me to keep going, showing me exercises to help things to progress and allowing Will to get some much needed rest.
Lea was hugely supportive in helping us to communicate what we needed. It was greatly reassuring having her continued presence whilst midwives came and went on their shifts. She is a wonderful woman, and I would recommend any birthing mother to have her by her side !
HEATHER & JEAN-MARC, Finchley
It was only a week before I was due and I decided to find a doula, a tall order really !!
I found you through a recommendation. Having only met you briefly to discuss my birthing options and your availability, it became very clear to me that I felt very comfortable with you and there was a genuine sense of care and compassion sitting with you.
During the birth you worked incredibly hard to keep me focussed, stay calm and help me relax. I can still remember the back massages while in the birthing pool. It was a long labour.
Since then it seems we have come a long way. Those first 4-8 weeks became quite stressful at times and once again your calm approach had a great effect on our little one, as well as helpful suggestions for calming cries and overtiredness. Not to mention the help you gave me those first few days when I had emotions running all over the place.
Our little one certainly lights up when she sees you - so you can't get a better recommendation than that.
Thank you for being an amazing birth companion - I hope other parents have the pleasure of your support and help for the journey of raising little ones.
LOTTIE & GEORGE, Walthamstow
Lea was a constant source of info and support leading up to, during and after the birth of our first child, and was a reassuring, reliable and calming presence throughout.
During the birth Lea worked alongside the midwives, and was unobtrusive and quietly reassuring, both to Lottie ( great massage!) and to George.
We had a wonderful birth experience at home, natural and relaxed, and feel strongly that this was in no small part to Lea.
Lea was a real help in steering us through the not inconsiderable amount of confusing and often conflicting advice given to us by various authorities, and was a real pillar of strength to Lottie during the first few difficult days of breastfeeding and parenthood.
We are immensely grateful and really pleased we found Lea. We wouldn't hesitate in recommending her to anyone.
SARAH & PHIL, Walthamstow
Having Lea act as our doula was a fantastic decision for the following reasons :
Throughout the pregnancy Lea signposted/lent us literature and resources so that we could make informed and intelligent decisions. Rather than being a passive recipient of maternity services we were able to push for what we felt was right for us. I was under a lot of pressure ( large for dates, 13 days'overdue', PROM, Group B STrep positive) to be induced. We resisted and Sacha was born of his own accord after a very straightforward and happy labour.
At the prenatal appointment Lea gave us an introduction to breastfeeding. I didn't do NCT or any preparation classes so this was a big help.
At the birth
Lea was a calm and caring presence. This meant that my husband could pop off to get food etc. without worrying about me being on my own.
During the delivery Lea was a very discreet presence, I only remember her saying 'you're doing brilliantly.' She kept my husband company while I was off in labourland.
Immediately after the birth she helped get breastfeeding going and looked after us with tea and sandwiches !
We hadn't thought beyond the arrival of baby. The first couple of weeks were tough, and we arranged for Lea to come each morning for the first 4 days and then a couple more times which meant that after a challenging night Lea would arrive like a breath of fresh air with help, support, suggestions and encouragement.
Without a doubt I breastfeed because Lea helped me establish feeding. It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be and I needed more help than the time-stretched midwives could give.
We can't wait to have Lea help us with the arrival of our next baby should we be lucky enough to have a brother or sister for Sacha.
HANORA & ADRIAN, Bromley
After our first 'highly-managed' birth, this time round we really wanted to achieve a waterbirth at home, and your expertise and experience gave us the confidence to be assertive with the midwives, some of whom were open-minded, some less so.
This was especially important to us with regards to having a natural 3rd stage, and allowing Leo's cord to finish pulsating before tying, rather than clamping.
Personally, I greatly appreciated your help with each contraction, you really guided me through and kept me loose and relaxed. Having a drug-free labour gave us a great sense of achievement.
Adrian was so glad to have you there on the day. He says he felt like you were together a team protecting me from too much interference. All in all, it was a joyous and fulfilling experience. I will never forget Leo emerging into the water, here in our home, and the wonderful feeling I had as I first held him.
Thank you for guiding us on the journey.
SHEEMA & PRITESH, Greenwich
I am extremely grateful to Lea for all her fantastic help before, during and after my labour. I didn't imagine that I would need Lea to help manage my pain during this second labour, since I had used hypnobirthing techniques during the first labour and was able to give pain without the use of any pain relief.
However, I can honestly say that if it hadn't been for Lea and her invaluable advice on positioning, especially with the use of the Swiss ball during labour I don't think I would have been able to avoid the use of medical pain relief, not only was this labour more intense as it was back-to-back, but I was also much more tired this time having had to look after another child during pregnancy, so it was a great relief to have Lea's guidance throughout the process.
I took much comfort in her calm and soothing manner, as well as her practical advice of how to get the best out of the NHS system to ensure my birth plan and post-labour plan was achievable. Lea is thoroughly passionate about what she does and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend her services as a doula.
SNEZHANA & GEORGY, Beckenham
Lea Ouai was doula for my second child.
My first birth was traumatic, both in physical but mainly psychological way, but thankfully was fine at the end for me and my son. However the feeling that I can't give birth on my own and the feeling of helplessness and demotivation and consequent guilt when it comes to the birth of my child stayed with me and I was very afraid the same feelings might come again with my second birth ( which was something I absolutely wanted to avoid ).
My second birth was totally different - I managed to stay confident most of the time, my husband managed to be as helpful as he had hoped the first time, I was lucky enough to get a birthing pool too ( which made things even easier ) and I didn't have anaesthesia - I didn't even have paracetamol but instead used successfully some techniques suggested by Lea.
The birth experience was empowering and strengthening our family relationships and my self confidence. I was lucky enough to have the birth I expected and all that was thanks to Lea. She was the delicate and subtle presence, the timely suggestion, the helpful hand, the quiet and friendly voice negotiating with the medical staff.
Even the mere fact that she agreed to be my doula and was with me during the birth was enough for me to feel relaxed and confident. Even more, I felt relaxed after our first meeting, which made me realise how much pressure had I been living with before taking this decision.
She is a wonderful person and a great doula and I think I was very lucky to have her on my side.
LUCY & RICH, Brixton
Lea helped us to look after our newborn twins. She was completely invaluable to us, providing expertise, guidance, comfort and experience throughout. She provided a wonderful sense of calm and peacefulness, in a period of some unrest.
We had no experience of parenting, and Lea was always prepared to be on-hand to assist ( sometimes at quite short notice ), whether on a routine level ( helping Lucy with day to day organisation of two new born babies ) or in a more ad hoc sense, when we were reaching fever pitch, not sure of how to proceed or what the best way forward was.
Lea's knowledge is extensive, and her experience was clear from the very start of her time with us. She has a relaxed and easy manner, which was so welcome in putting both parents and babies at ease. Our children took to her immediately and she was able to demonstrate a variety of extremely effective techniques and tips as to sleeping, feeding, and indeed every aspect of caring for a baby.
She really helped in building mum's confidence with the babies and assisted in creating some truly memorable moments. The ease with which she settled both babies down snuggled up for a sleep together was magical and really brought home the joy of twins. As well as enjoying Lea's company mum was able to get some much needed rest in the early days.
Lea also proved herself to be very adaptable - as well as showing us different ways to handle situations, she followed any choices we made about how we wanted to look after the babies and worked with us to achieve any aims. She was welcoming of all our own ideas as well as sharing her own, and in that respect more helpful than we probably managed to convey to her. A god-send !
MEGHAN, Lee Green
Lea was an absolute godsend during what was a very difficult time for me both physically and emotionally. She of course assisted me in all the usual ways that a doula normally would. In addition, Lea was amazing support to me emotionally.
She became my friend and confidante. She was there to listen to me, without judging the situation, and had enough life experience to be able to guide me. She was a very good counsellor, and was the best present anyone ( in this case my mother back in New Zealand ) could give to a new mother in need of support.
NAOMI & PETE, Marylebone
Lea came into our lives a few weeks before the birth of our daughter by elective Caesarean so, rather than attending the birth with us, Lea agreed to help prepare us and to work with us for the week after our baby's birth, before we were due to leave London.
Patiently, and without any fixed ideas, Lea helped my partner and I to prepare for breastfeeding and caring for a tiny infant and then, once we were back from hospital, Lea not only took care of all three of us, but gave Pete and I the confidence to start taking care of our baby ourselves - changing her nappy, burping her, putting her down to sleep, all done with humour, great intelligence, and love.
Our baby was as relaxed with Lea as we were. She's still a very laidback baby. I put that down to not only having skin to skin contact and breastmilk from her first moments - as guided by Lea - but then having the care and support of someone who inspires as much confidence and understanding of new babies and new parents as Lea does.
Also, she is great company and knows how to turn a stressful situation into a time of joy.
RACHEL & TOM, Greenwich
In her role as postnatal doula, Lea supported, taught and guided both my partner and myself on such things as :
Breastfeeding technique and positions, bathing, dressing, hygiene, use of sterilising machine and expressing equipment, tongue tie and jaundice and provided us with contacts from her personal support network, literature on breastfeeding.
In addition to the above duties, Lea was a friend, confidant and trustworthy carer. Lea has extremely natural mother instincts, is knowledgable, experienced, reliable and punctual. Lea played a key role in making the transition from life without a baby, to life with a baby, enjoyable and stress free for us all. To me especially, Lea's support and assistance was priceless.
REBECCA & MARK, Sydenham
Lea came to me shortly after my partner had gone back to work and my baby was just a few weeks old. At that time I was exhausted and feeling very unsure of myself, lacking in confidence as a mother and struggling to get him to sleep.
Lea taught me practical skills in settling my baby, relieving wind and ways to increase bonding, advice on feeding and techniques,and assisted me in bathing my baby ( which I was nervous to do alone ) and ensured I got food during this busy time.
But the most important thing Lea gave me was confidence to trust my instincts as a mother and believe in my skills and what I wanted to do. By the time she finished working with us my baby and I understood each other better and I felt able to make decisions about how I wanted to care for my baby and trust these decisions. Much of this came from the gentle suggestions and great support she gave.
It is so obvious that Lea has an immense amount of experience in working with babies and mothers and understands them and their needs. I feel that, of all the things I bought for my baby in the first few weeks this was probably the best money I spent, for both of us.
SHAKILA & PAUL, Sydenham
After 8 incredibly frustrating days of attempting to breastfeed our newborn son, I reached out to Lea who came recommended from a friend. Thanks to the few sessions we spent together in our home, her reassuring, knowledgeable and gentle approach has allowed me to continue breastfeeding 5 months later.
Not only did Lea provide my husband and I with postnatal support after an unplanned emergency C-section, but the invaluable tips and advice enabled us to settle the baby during a stressful phase of colic and reflux.
More recently Lea has been advising me on baby massage, weaning and how to adjust my parenting techniques to suit the adapting personality of our 5 month old boy. As a first time mum I highly recommend Lea to any parent seeking reassurance and guidance through all the early stages of raising a little one. Thanks Lea !
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