Getting to know…Amelia Parkinson of The Wise Hippo Sydney

The Wise Hippo Sydney

The Wise Hippo Sydney for Bonding, Birth and Beyond. We teach the Wise Hippo Birthing Program, Baby Massage and Baby Yoga. We love helping babies and parents relax!
Tell us about yourself
I returned back to the Inner West recently from living in London for 8 years where I had my son, who is now 4 years old. We moved back to be closer to family and so I can launch my business here.
In my previous life, I used to work for a large charity in London managing a mental health and wellbeing service for homeless people. We offered counselling, yoga and support classes to assist in getting their lives back on track. In my spare time, I offered hypnobirthing privately and in groups in East London.
I hold a Bachelor of Health Science in Rehabilitation Counselling, studied Life Coaching, and completed the Wise Hippo instructor course, Infant Massage and Baby Yoga instructor courses in London. I am also a Member of IICT – the International Institute for Complementary Therapists.
What inspired you to teach and develop your birthing business?
I have always loved babies and birth and I got into hypnobirthing because I had learnt techniques before my son was born. I truly believed that it gave me the skills and confidence to birth my son and it was such a wonderful experience to share with my husband. I decided I wanted to teach couples that they too could have such a positive birthing experience. My philosophy is to make couples aware that the birth day of their baby is also about them – it is also a celebration of them as a couple.
I teach the Wise Hippo program developed in the UK but adapted for the growing Australian market. The Wise Hippo monitor instructors and we are constantly updating and developing new areas of expertise. The program is taught in 7 countries and is being introduced to various NHS trusts in the UK as part of free antenatal care which is fantastic. It is also recognised by the Federation of Antenatal Educators. The Baby Yoga and Massage courses I teach are recognised and approved by the Royal College of Midwives.
I am also keen for work life balance so that I can work around when my son starts school next year.
What are the various services you offer?
I offer continuum of care to new parents starting with our Bonding with Baby course, our Birthing Program, Baby Yoga, and Baby Massage courses.
Bonding with Baby is a one off 3-hour course for parents-to-be starting from around 12 weeks. It teaches couples how to effectively process emotions so that they can deal with things then let them go. The course explains the impact of emotions on the unborn baby and the importance managing these before, during and after birth. It also opens really important dialogue between parents, and couples feel they grow closer after finishing the session.
Birthing Program is from 26 weeks onwards and is aimed at taking away the fear of birth. We work with couples seeking any type of birthing experience, VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C- section), elective c-sections or vaginal deliveries.
We start with the physiology of birth, then look at fear in birthing including the effect of hormones and the flight or fight response. We teach relaxation techniques and self-hypnosis, and we look at the birth partner’s role and how important that is in protecting the birthing environment and mother. It’s about giving couples the tools to have a positive birthing experience no matter what path their birth takes. If their birth doesn’t go to plan they have the tools to cope with it and for it to remain a positive experience.
Baby Massage, there is now so much research indicating that touch is the most important thing to a baby. Learning how to calm and relax your baby with touch is one of the most magical experiences. Baby Massage also helps alleviate digestion issues such as colic, wind and reflux. Both parents and babies report better sleep patterns after practicing baby massage for a period of time.
Baby yoga has been developed for babies 8 weeks to 2 years. There are many benefits for baby including coordination development, increased spatial awareness, more comfortable and physically aware. Trust is developed and it is really good for bonding between Mum and baby. If anyone has had any birth trauma, PND, or PTSD – it’s a great opportunity to focus on you and your baby in a comfortable space.
What are your upcoming program dates?
May
* Baby massage: 2 May @ 10:00am at The Da Vinci Hub in Five Dock.
* Birthing Program: 10 May @ 7:30pm at Abbotsford Presbyterian Church.
* Baby Yoga: 30 May @ 10:00am at The Da Vinci Hub in Five Dock.
June
* Baby Massage: 1st June @ 10:00am at Abbotsford Presbyterian Church.
* Birthing Program: 7th June @ 7:30pm at Abbotsford Presbyterian Church.
What can parents-to-be expect from your courses?
They can expect a relaxed, supportive, open and easy-going environment. All questions are valued, discussed and responded to. I love teaching and enjoy having fun in my groups. People will learn skills that are adaptable and are skills for life – not just for birth. If you feel groups are not for you, I also teach private sessions.
What is the most inspiring birth experience you have heard from your clients?
They are all amazing and hearing back from families about births is my most favourite part of the job. One of the coolest was one little boy was born in his sac, it is viewed as being really lucky in many cultures and then they called him Felix which means luck. Another inspiration was a mother wanting a VBAC as she had a very traumatic emergency c-section with her first baby. She learnt the skills, got rid of her fear and was able to do it. She was totally over the moon.
I love seeing the change that occurs with people coming into the class initially feeling really scared about birth and seeing it as a means to an end. People then walk out excited about giving birth thinking that it is going to be amazing and they are looking forward to the process.
Best piece of advice you can offer new mums and dads?
Invest in your baby’s birth. People spend more time, money and energy planning their wedding than how they want their child to come into the world. Trust your instincts and know that things are never going to be perfect! Babies just need love and cuddles.
Have you ever read a book that has changed your perspective or path in life?
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. Ina May, a birth guru, has set up a natural birth centre in the USA empowering women through birth. When I became pregnant I had that in my mind as how people birth and I was really excited and happy to be going on the journey myself.
As a mother yourself, the best piece of advice you have received?
Sleep when your baby sleeps. Don’t do the washing up or tidying even when they aren’t so little because when they stop napping that’s when it gets hectic!
Favourite places in the Inner West?
Anywhere near the water. For café’s I love Pappas at Haberfield or Dolcetti at Wareemba. The Inner West is a real community I love it. I live with 4 generations – my son, me, my Mum and Dad and Grandma! My Grandma is 94 and has lived on the same block of land her whole life.

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