I would suggest you aim to have your bag packed by the time you are 36/37 weeks pregnant.

If possible take a bag for you and a bag for baby, when you are in labour it makes it much easier to get something you need quickly, rather than rummaging around amongst baby’s things!

Mum’s bag.

Clothes for labour – you don’t need to buy anything new, think of an old nightie or baggy T Shirt that you don’t mind getting dirty. Lots of women I have looked after have thrown them away after birth!

If you are going to use the birthing pool, think about what you would feel most comfy in. Some women don’t wear anything and some cover up – there is no right or wrong! Try not to use anything too loose as it will stick to your body when wet – I would advise a bikini or tankini top, or a dark coloured vest top. 

Some women find a cold flannel on their forehead useful in labour, or if you have one a hand held fan.

If you have longer hair, hair bands or scrunchies.

Snacks and drinks – think of non-fizzy energy drinks, water or juice. Simple snacks such as plain biscuits or cereal bars are good, and hard boiled sweets or jelly babies for a quick energy boost. Think also of snacks for your partner as labour can be a long process!

Plan a playlist on your phone or tablet, music can be a great distraction in labour.

After birth – 1 or 2 pairs of pyjamas or nighties, if you are planning to breastfeed front opening ones can be useful. 

A dressing gown and slippers.

Big knickers! I wouldn’t advise the disposable ones as they tend to be too small and uncomfortable. Instead buy a pack of cheap comfy knickers.

Maternity pads – the proper thick ones rather than your usual thin sanitary pads – I would suggest 2 packs as you get through them quite quickly.

Comfy bras, and a small quantity of breast pads if planning to breastfeed.

Washbag – the usual things, shower gel, shampoo, toothpaste and brush, face cloth, deodorant, hairbrush.

Make up – not needed but can make you feel more human!

Comfy clothes for going home.

At the end, don’t forget to add your maternity notes and birth plan, phone and charger – you would be amazed how many people forget these things!

Baby’s bag.

Nappies and cotton wool for cleaning – we don’t advise baby wipes in the early days.

Muslin squares – 3 or 4.

Cotton hat x 3.

Vests x 3.

Sleepsuits x 3.

Outfit for going home.

Blanket for going home.

If planning to bottle feed, most hospitals will expect you to bring in bottles and formula.

Don’t forget the car seat, but this can stay in your car until ready to go home.

For more advice on birth planning and pregnancy download Juno for IOS or Android and talk to one of friendly midwives.

Most doctors have a bugbear or something that makes them cringe. Some of these can be most unexpected though usually they are things like toenails or eyes or something. Mine is sunburn. It makes me so ill that nursing staff direct me away from any cases (or even any parents attending with a child who themselves have sunburn. I feel nauseous, go pale and then faint.

Some of that is my own memories of my very Scottish skin turning salmon pink after alabaster and very quickly back again. Some of it is knowing the damage it does (I worked for 3 years in Oz and suncare was indoctrinated. I also developed temporary wrinkles which later vanished – phew!). It is 100% preventable and families often have no idea just how dangerous it is and that one sunburn doubles the risk of skin cancer and this only increases with each additional burn.

We might think that children look ‘healthy’ with a suntan and a crop of freckles. While they well might, each and every freckle is a marker of sun damage. The earlier children’s delicate skin is exposed to the sun, the more damage it does and they the longer they live with that damage. Cancer (melanoma in the case of skin) is caused primarily by how much damage (how severe and how often) and how long it’s been present. We used to see skin cancers in older people. It’s more and more common to see it in young women particularly. Sunbeds are certainly a part of this and there is at least some regulation of the industry now. Skin cancer occurs when tumour cells grow quickly – the body generally suppresses these. The more there are the harder that is.

The science of suncare.

You don’t even need a ’sunny’ day to get damage. 80% of harmful rays go straight through clouds. There are 2 types of ultraviolet rays (natural energy from the sun) which cause damage. You can’t see them – your skin sure can feel them. Delicate childrens’ (especially baby skin) is even more sat risk. We buy special gentle bubble baths and creams and then encourage sun exposure! We know how delicate and sensitive their skin is!

UVA and UVB are the two main wavelengths involved. UVA is said to largely cause ageing, where UVB largely causes burning. SPF numbers are based on how much longer we can sit in the sun before burning vs with no sunscreen. They are a multiple of the amount of time it would take with no sunscreen. U|VA causes tanning and when sunscreen offers protection against them they are called ‘broad-spectrum’. Originally sunscreen only protected against UVB. They are less intense though they penetrate more deeply to the lowest layer of the skin where skin cancers start. Tanning is the body’s attempt to protect itself from any more damage – not really such a sign of health!

Those years in Oz drummed good sun protection care into me. We have good advice here in the uk – it isn’t presented in such an accessible way though. They have Sid who used to Slip, Slop, Slap. He has got smarter now and now it’s Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, Slide.

So what are these?

SLIP: Slip on some clothes. Ideally densely woven (some will have an SPF on them). Have a collar and longer arms and legs if possible.

SLOP: Slop own sunscreen. SPF 30+ in the UK (50+ in Oz) Broad spectrum and particularly focusing on areas often missed – backs of ears, backs of necks, behind knees. It should be applied 30 mins before going into the sun and allowed to dry in. It should be reapplied frequently and particularly after swimming

SLAP: Slap on a hat. A wide brimmed one which covers the face and neck. Some hats even have neck extensions to protect the neck.

SEEK: Seek some shade – especially in the middle of the day. Have lunch in the shade for example.

SLIDE: Slide on some shades. These should fully cover they eyes and have UV protection.

On top of this advice, we should remember that babies under 6 months should not be in direct sunlight and that in the middle of the day the sun is much stronger and where possible should be avoided.

Prevention is ALWAYS better than cure so don’t panic, just start now. 

Download Juno on IOS or Android and talk to one of our specialists for more sun safety advice.

It’s a magical experience seeing your baby grow and develop, watching as they learn to form words and begin to crawl and walk. It’s less magical when their temperature is running high and you’re online frantically searching for solutions. 

A fever in a child at any age can be scary for a caregiver. High temperatures are very common in young children and will usually pass within 3 to 4 days – most can be safely managed at home. 

However, there are times when they signal the need for urgent medical attention. It’s important to know the facts and what to do in different situations. 

Caring for your child at home.

If your child has a high temperature, it is possible to care for them yourself by keeping them at home if appropriate, giving them plenty of fluids, food if they want it, and checking on them regularly in the night.

Depending on their age you can give them paracetamol if they’re distressed or unwell but you should be cautious. Don’t give paracetamol to your child if they are under 2 months and check the NHS website for other age and health condition restrictions.

It may be tempting to undress your child or sponge them down to try and cool their fever but you should avoid this – a high temperature is simply a natural and healthy response to an infection. Covering them up in layers upon layers of clothes or bedclothes, even if they’re shivering, also isn’t effective.

When to seek medical advice.

However, there are times when it’s important to seek outside medical help. You should call 111 or your GP surgery if:

When to go to A&E.

It’s time to call 999 or go to A&E if your child displays any of the following signs: they have a fit, have a stiff neck, are bothered by the light, find it hard to breathe (and suck their stomach in under their ribs), have unusually cold hands and feet, have blue, pale or blotchy skin, lips or tongue, are drowsy and hard to wake, are extremely agitated (they don’t stop crying) or are confused, have a weak, high-pitched cry unlike their normal cry, aren’t responding as they usually do, or aren’t interested in feeding or normal activities.

You should especially look out for a rash that doesn’t fade after applying pressure. Check this by doing a ‘glass test’ – press a clear glass firmly against your child’s skin and see if the spots or rash fade after you stop. If they don’t, it’s time to seek urgent medical attention.

For more medical advice on fevers and other childhood conditions, speak to a paediatrician now and download Juno on IOS or Android.

On Wednesday May 12th, Juno’s Paediatric service will become a paid subscription costing £9.99 per month. Before you flip the table or throw your phone into a hedge, let us explain what the changes are, why we are making them and how it will improve your service with Juno.

What are the changes?

From Wednesday May 12th, parents will need to subscribe £9.99 a month to start a conversation and share a concern with one of our paediatricians. However, you will now be able to access our midwives AND paediatricians with the same, simple subscription. This means we can offer the very best advice and support throughout your pregnancy and into parenthood.

All existing midwifery subscribers:

You can now speak to a paediatrician with the same subscription and will not be prompted to resubscribe. Your subscription now covers both specialists. Bonus!

All existing subscribers without a midwifery subscription:

All your existing conversations with a paediatrician will remain free.

If you start a new conversation or set up a child profile, you will have to subscribe.

If you choose to subscribe, you will still get a free two-week trial.

What hasn’t changed?

The app remains completely free to download.

You will not be asked to subscribe until you have created a bump or child profile.

If you subscribe you will still get a free two-week trial.

Why are the prices changing?

Good question. The answer is – Juno has BIG plans for the future. And as we all know from life, big plans require a bit more money. With our new subscription plan we will reinvest it into our service, making it more effective and efficient. 

What does this mean for you, the parent, though? 

We are going to make Juno more comprehensive, opening up the doors to potential 24hr, 7 days a week service. It is proven that anxiety hits us most during the night and we are working hard to alleviate that issue. 

We also plan to offer more for every parent and parent-to-be: 

More practical and personal medical content straight from our specialists. 

One-on-one consultations to address and pre-empt common childhood concerns. 

Different ways to interact with our specialist: video, zoom sessions, regular check-ins, etc.

Watch this space for updates as there will be plenty to come to improve your Juno journey soon. Get in touch if you have any ideas to change your experience for the better, we would love to hear from you. 

And thank you for taking care with Juno.
You can download Juno now for IOS or Android and start your two week-free trial.

Does your little one suffer from eczema? Well as it turns out, around one in five children do. The dry, itchy skin can make them miserable and as a parent you just want to make it go away. Whilst there is no definitive cure for eczema, as it differs person by person, there are many ways to help treat and soothe the itch.

As always, our specialists are here to help. Here are their best steps to prevent and soothe flare ups and manage your child’s eczema:

After more tailored advice? Download Juno on IOS or Android now and chat to a specialist in minutes.

What does a birthplace choice actually mean? From the very start of pregnancy your midwife will ask you what your preferences are. For most women at the start of pregnancy the choice between home, a birth centre and hospital birth is like trying to choose what type of sushi you want. Over the years providing midwifery care, I have often been asked: 

“If I choose to birth in a Hospital birth will a doctor look after me? Is it safer?” 

“If I want an epidural in a birth centre does it mean I can’t have one?” 

“What do all these options even mean?” 

Choices, choices, choices.

As midwives we ask the question so thoughtlessly, but on the other side women and their partners feel they are signing a 24 month contract with a dodgy mobile phone company! It is important to remember no matter what choices are made, no one will hold you to them if things are different on the day. For this reason you should view your choices as a wish list. Unfortunately, when pregnant, everyone around you suddenly seems to be a professor in midwifery. 

They will feel very much obliged to give their stance on how pregnancy, birth and beyond should be. It is so essential to make the decisions based on your own values that are right for you and your family. There is no need to base judgements on someone else’s experience or perceptions of safety. No pregnancy, birth or baby is the same and your birth journey is unique to you.

Your birth. Your way.

As much as birth is a physiological event, it is just as much psychological – like running a marathon. Therefore, being comfortable in your surroundings is very important as it often will impact on how a labour will progress. It is well documented that fear of labour will inhibit the pregnancy hormones needed to sustain contractions. This is why focusing on relaxation in labour is vital for your pregnancy. There can be factors beyond control which will determine where a birthplace may occur – even with best laid plans. 

Hypnobirthing is a prove practise to get you relaxed no matter where, what or how your birth will be. There are several factors that may influence your decision of where to give birth, personal to you. As Juno Midwives, we are here to support and help you to make the best choice for you. Here are some facts to aid you in your decision making, no matter what stage of pregnancy you are at.

Home birth.

Planned home birth is often viewed as controversial as it opposes the common belief and assumption that it is safer to give birth in hospital. However, research shows women wanting a home birth in low risk pregnancies is safer than hospital births. It also has considerable benefits for both mother and baby: greater satisfaction from the birth, lower intervention rates, better emotional and psychological well-being, aiding maternal and child bonding. For home births to be deemed as safe, careful planning is needed ideally between 34-36 weeks of pregnancy. Home births have the added benefits of having the midwife attend to you, in fact two midwives at the birth in your own environment with all the safety equipment required for a birth…Just make sure to cover the beige carpet!

Birth centres.

Birth centres share the same principle as home births and they can be found across the country as either standalone units or as part of a maternity unit. These units are intended for uncomplicated pregnancies and are attended by midwives only. They aim to create a relaxed ‘home from home’ environment, often designed to have large birth pools. And like home births, women who labour in a midwifery led unit are more likely to have a normal birth with less intervention. Birth centres, otherwise known as midwife led units, can provide the bridge between home birth and obstetric led units. Although, it is important to note if either a home birth or birth centre is no longer suitable in pregnancy or in labour, referral is made to the hospital. The reason for this may include long labour, bleeding, requesting an epidural etc.

Hospital birth.

Hospital births may also be referred to as labour wards or a delivery suite. Like supermarket lipstick and designer lipstick, whatever the name – they all do the same thing! During a hospital birth you will be cared for by midwives, whilst an obstetric and anaesthetic team is on hand for women who may have pregnancy or non-pregnancy complications and women requesting epidural in labour.

If there is one message to take with you, keep calm and relax. Midwives and obstetric teams are here to be in partnership with you to ensure you and your birth partner have the best experience possible. This is why Juno provides such an important service. If you do have any questions, just ask Juno to point you in the right direction and find the best birthplace for you.

Download Juno for IOS or Android now.

Sound the klaxon and stop the press! Midwifery advice is coming to Juno!

Recently we’ve been thinking hard about how to better help parents-to-be across the UK. Sometimes it can be difficult to find the right pregnancy advice, at the right time. But we want to change that. We are partnering up with Ask The Midwife to provide fast guidance for new mums throughout their pregnancy journey. 

Ask The Midwife’s Hannah Harvey (BSc) is joining Juno to ensure that the advice given is trustworthy, friendly and reassuring. With all her experience, she brings a team of expert midwives to be at hand when parents need them most.

What is Ask The Midwife?

In 2016, Hannah Harvey created Ask The Midwife as an online platform to give women access to midwifery advice whenever they needed it. Whether it was guidance during early pregnancy, or after birth with their newborn baby, Ask The Midwife aimed to bridge the gap with online interaction between midwives and women. Whilst having over 10 years experiences practising midwifery, Hannah is also a mum-of-three (and nearly four!). We couldn’t think of anyone better to help lead Juno, pass on her expertise and help parents with their questions or concerns.

At Juno, we are determined to continue Hannah’s endeavour to give reassurance, support and accurate and up-to-date information for every parent-to-be. We think that midwifery advice should be readily available at all times and if pregnant women are in any doubt, they can just ask Juno. Together, we hope to become a refuge of reliable guidance for parents throughout pregnancy and beyond. 

Hannah Harvey

Why midwifery matters.

During pregnancy, a midwife can’t be there all the time to answer your questions. There are always moments of doubt and worry over what is happening to your body and baby. We want midwifery advice to be easily accessible, delivered fast and unique for every user. Here are some key figures about midwifery and its use within the UK:

These statistics clearly show that adopting a midwifery service is a step in the right direction for healthcare. With the help of Ask The Midwife, we hope to meet the demands of midwifery advice and help as many pregnant parents as possible.

Like what you see? Good to hear! Sign up to the midwifery waitlist now!

School closures can be a nightmare for parents. Forget dealing with a global pandemic, now parents everywhere are asking themselves, ‘How do I educate my child?’, ‘How can I work with my kids at home?’, ‘How can I keep my kids healthy in lockdown?’ All fair questions – without too many answers. Every parent at some point needs a helping hand and a little inspiration to keep their children learning in isolation.  Here are some helpful tips to keep your kids preoccupied and happy whilst learning lessons at home.

Teaching At Home

Welcome back to your second term as a teacher. “Never again!” you shouted into your pillow when schools finally opened again. Alas here we are again, stuck at home and teaching our kids a lesson in…well…anything. Luckily this time around, the BBC are doubling their efforts by airing lessons on CBBC from January 11th. Not only that, but parents will still be able to peruse the BBC Bitesize website for interactive ways for children of all ages to learn from home.

Personalised Story Time

Story time can get a bit stale. “How many times has that tiger come for tea?!” Why not jazz up story time and put your child in the story itself with Wonderbly. There are a huge variety of stories for your children to inhabit on their website, giving bedtime stories a brand new personalised meaning. It’s a unique way to teach younger children the morals of stories and is definitely a special treat to distract them – at least for a little while.

Art Club For Children

As well as being the winner of Dave’s Best Joke of The Edinburgh Fringe 2019 and one of Sweden’s funniest comedians, Olaf Falafel is also an incredible illustrator and children’s author. During the first lockdown in 2020, he ran an Art Club for kids that proved immensely popular, inspiring kids of all ages to pick up a pencil and draw to their heart’s content. His brand of art is inventive and even touches on many famous artistic styles throughout time. You can check out all Olaf Falafel’s Art Club episodes and books right here.

Keeping Kids Healthy

Need access to a child health specialist but apprehensive to go to your local GP during Covid-19? Many parents are faced with the same anxiety. However, remote child healthcare is now here! Thanks to mobile app Juno, parents can now quickly and easily access a network of highly qualified paediatricians from the comfort of their own home. This app removes the arduous process of waiting weeks for an appointment and gives reassurance when parents need it the most. It has already garnered a hugely positive feedback from parents – just have a look at the most recent review:

“One of the best apps I have. I’m a new mum to twins and navigating an entire household of covid. This app has been nothing short of sanity saving. So reassuring, with detailed quick responses from caring and experienced paediatric consultants. Highly recommended.” – Hanfantasticxxx, 03/01/2021

Juno start a conversation screen on device

Download Juno for IOS or Android now.

Sure, I was sceptical at first. ‘Instant access to a network of highly qualified child healthcare specialists from your phone’. Could that really be true? However, after trying Juno for myself I can now say I am no longer a sceptic, but a believer. That is why I created my own guide on how to use Juno.

Getting started couldn’t be easier. Juno is simple to use, reassures you every step of the way and directs you straight to great child health advice. Here is my step-by-step guide to help you get started on your own Juno journey.

Step 1 – Discovery & Download

I’m a part of a baby group on WhatsApp. We all became new mums around the same time so it’s a safe space for advice and tips on parenthood. One of the mums said her daughter was ill over the weekend and suggested an app called Juno helped her almost instantly. The whole idea sounded inspiring! I went on the App Store and downloaded Juno right away, not thinking I would have to use it any time soon.

“This app is just Brilliant!!! I honestly can’t recommend it enough. I contacted the paediatrician who came back to me within 5 mins and was very thorough and saved me a trip to A&E.” – Review by Wakelin88.

Step 2 – Signing Up

Sooner came much quicker than I thought, my son was poorly over the weekend and I couldn’t get a GP appointment until Monday. I suddenly remembered my friend using Juno, so I thought I would give it a try. Initially, I was a bit worried about giving my phone number and email to a company I didn’t know, I wasn’t in the market for spam. But I was reassured on every single screen about the legitimacy of the service and in just a minute I was signed up. Easy as that.

“My son had a cough and I contacted a doctor through this app. It was reassuring particularly now that getting an appointment with my GP is difficult.” – Review by SonsolesML.

Step 3 – Create your account

Before contacting a specialist, I had to create an account for my son. I was anticipating long and arduous documents to filter through, but the process couldn’t be easier. I filled in our current GP information, my son’s medical history and allergies and that was it. It wasn’t too long or short, but just the right information that made me feel secure. I was happy knowing the doctors had this information readily available when I talked to them.

“It’s a great alternative to visiting a GP or paediatrician. Juno is an easy way to speak to a specialist in a few minutes and online, which is particularly convenient and reassuring during Covid.” – Review by Paul Lehair

Step 4 – Asking a Specialist

After creating my son’s account, I was immediately offered to contact a specialist. I described my son’s symptoms, sent the message and waited for a response. I had no idea how long I would be waiting for, but I was cautiously optimistic. Only 5 minutes later, I was messaging a specialist paediatrician! Once the conversation had started, I tapped on their name to read their work history, bio and credentials. It was hugely comforting to know that I was speaking to a real person and not just a computer.

Step 5 – Reassured in moments

After a short discussion on the app, the doctor gave me some great advice and eased my concerns. What else can I say? Every part of Juno was incredibly easy, fast and reassuring. Given all the current restrictions with COVID, going into hospital isn’t very alluring or even feasible. Juno gave me a quick and reliable second opinion and saved me a trip to A&E. I hope this guide has been useful to help you get started and learn more about the brilliance of Juno!

“Highly recommend this app! When my son fell ill over the weekend and I was extremely concerned, I managed to speak with a paediatrician through Juno who responded within minutes with really helpful advice! Would definitely be using this again in the future!” Review by EC-Oscar6.

Download Juno for IOS or Android now.

Did you hear the one about Santa getting the sack this year? Yeah it’s a classic. But have you heard the one about Santa getting the vac-cine? We really hope he does.

It’s a massive understatement, but 2020 hasn’t exactly been the year everyone thought it would be. From schools shutting to local lockdowns, postponed weddings to life on furlough, it’s been a year to forget. However, like a plethora of famous movies, there is something about Christmas that rejuvenates the human spirit and somehow saves the day. With that profound sense of positivity in mind, here are plenty of ideas and inspiration to keep kids happy for Christmas 2020.

Santa’s Beard Advent Calendar

Whether you are trying to get your little ones to cut back on chocolate or looking for a wholesome homemade activity, then this is the gift that keeps giving. All you need is some colourful card, glue for sticking and a lot of cotton balls. Each day of December your child can glue another section of Santa’s fluffy beard to the paper, until his beard is as full as his belly. For more construction details on this unique and inventive take on an advent calendar, check out Capturing Parenthood.

Gingerbread House Competition

Is your gingerbread inedible? Is it more tough than tasty? Could it make an excellent substitute for concrete? Well you’re in luck. Bake up some of your indestructible gingerbread and make your own festive themed gingerbread houses with your children. Perhaps add in a competition element to give an extra incentive. Using plenty of icing as glue and sweets for decoration, make your gingerbread constructions look good enough to eat.

Christmas Movie Marathon

Is there anything better than getting cosy and watching a bunch of Christmas films? No, there isn’t. Here are just a few of the very best family Christmas films to watch in 2020 and where you can stream them:

It’s a Wonderful Life – An oldie but a goodie. This warm and life-affirming film is a quintessential Christmas classic that inspires redemption and faith in humanity. Watch on Amazon Prime for £3.49.

Home Alone – If a small child almost killing two burglars doesn’t get you in the mood for Christmas, I don’t know what will. Stream on Disney+ to witness the inventive art of (s)elf-defense.

Elf – Will Ferrel fits perfectly (ironically) in this must-see Christmas film. His child-like wonder paired with the cynicism of James Caan makes for hysterical and charming viewing. Pay £3.49 to watch on Amazon Prime.

The Snowman – Take flight into this wondrous and beautifully animated film, introduced by none other than David Bowie (which is quite strange upon reflection). Sing loud, party with Snowmen and watch anytime on All 4.

Klaus – When a mysterious old toymaker and reclusive postman join together to save Christmas it perfectly embodies the season spirit. It is time to get wrapped up in this excellent animated film, only on Netflix.

Write letters to the North Pole

When I was little I used to write a letter to Father Christmas every year. As well drafting up a list of demands, I also used to tell him about school, my dog’s name and the best thing I did that year (not sure why). My mum then used to put it in an envelope and put it near the fire so the smoke would send the letter to the North Pole. I have no idea why I thought this would work, but I was utterly convinced at the time. Make this fun and imaginative Christmas activity top of your wish list.

DIY Christmas Tree Decorations

Decorating the Christmas tree with a colourful array of ornaments, old and new, is a typical family tradition. This year, why not make a few chocolatey creations to hang on the tree? Simply find the right mould, melt chocolate with some string attached, wrap it up in colourful foil and you have your very own special tasty Christmas treat. 

Top Tip – use the mould from from an old box of chocolate or old advent calendar to get the perfect festive shapes.

Remember, if you need any guidance on your child’s health over the holiday period, don’t hesitate to contact Juno and chat to one of our paediatricians for reassurance in moments.

From the entire team at Juno, we wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Download Juno for IOS or Android now.