Baby On The Brain podcast: the essentials every new mother should have

In a bonus episode of the Baby On The Brain podcast, Stylist and international charity Wateraid partner up to discuss what every new mother should have access to – and how we can all help make that a reality. 

Welcome to Baby On The Brain, a franchise brought to you by Stylist dedicated to the big life questions you face when you find out you’re about to become a parent. The first series of the podcast came out back in 2021 when I – Fliss Thistlethwaite, Stylist’s digital content director – was pregnant with my first child. She’s three months off celebrating her second birthday now, and the world has changed exponentially in the years since she was born under tight lockdown rules. 

Stylist has teamed up with international charity WaterAid to bring BOTB listeners a special bonus episode of the podcast to talk about the essentials every new mum should have in line with the charity’s winter aid appeal. You can listen to the podcast – featuring Dr Amalina Bakri and Shakira Akabusi – now on Acast, Spotify and iTunes. 

What is essential? 

Simple but essential facilities such as clean water to drink and wash with, a decent toilet and being able to shower after birth aren’t always guaranteed for women having babies around the world. Every two seconds a woman gives birth in a health centre without clean water (nor decent toilets, nor good hygiene). One in four healthcare centres around the world have no clean water on site. And almost half of healthcare centres have no basic handwashing facilities. This puts staff and patients at a greater risk of sickness and infection. 

Dr Amalina Bakri, a doctor and surgeon and clinical research fellow at Imperial College London, said during the discussion on BOTB: “I can’t imagine how I would be able to work without clean water; we have to clean our hands before we see patients, clean instruments as well. If you have a C-section and don’t have clean instruments to do all the cutting and everything… it is going to cause cross-contamination and infections.

“I can’t imagine not having clean water at work and I feel very lucky being able to do that here in the NHS.”

Shakira Akabusi, a mum of four, women’s fitness trainer and founder of Strong Like Mum, added: “I think a lot about that initial postpartum period. Going to the toilet, I was going to the loo and changing a pad, with the heavy bleeding which you can have after delivery. I’d be changing that, washing my hands and then going to pick up my baby. The thought of having a fear of picking up my baby for a fear of spreading infection, that really resonates with me.”

No midwife should have to deliver babies without clean water and no mother should have to give birth without being able to wash herself or her baby afterwards.

WaterAid’s Water Means Life appeal aims to raise funds and awareness to bring clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene facilities to health centres in Mozambique and around the world.  Click here to find out how we can all help. 

Baby On The Brain is back, and the first episode from season two – which is all about returning to work after having a child – will be available to stream and download from Thursday 9 March. Keep your eyes peeled on and Stylist’s Instagram account for more details. 

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