Alison Grunwald

  • 152_Alison-with-Jesse-Oct-2014

Listing Category: Breastfeeding Peer Supporter and Doula

  • I am an antenatal and postnatal doula (and former birth doula) serving North West London and surrounding areas. It is a great privilege to support new parents as they enlarge their families and help to make the process as smooth as possible. I inform, educate, offer sensitive, trained emotional support and use my experience from more than 70 births and hundreds of postnatal clients, to guide families and help them build confidence in the early weeks.
    I am a married mother of four adult children, including twins and at the last count I had eight grandchildren!
    For those who want to breastfeed their babies, I have almost 40 years of experience. I am a peer breastfeeding volunteer in an NHS hospital and have had advanced training from an Internationally Board Certified lactation consultant. You can read what some of my clients have to say below.
    After you get in touch, if you want I will visit, free of charge, so that you can get to know me and decide if I am right for you.

    My ANTENATAL BIRTH PREPARATION sessions (up to two hours) include guiding you to write a strong, well considered Birth Plan; explaining all the stages of labour and how to implement natural pain relief, as well as teaching good breathing and visualisation to calm you.
    I explain the different approaches used in home birth, in the labour ward and in birth centres. This includes the various pain-relief options.
    I teach partners easy-to-learn effective pain-reducing massage and explain exactly what happens after birth and how to initiate skin-to-skin bonding and breastfeeding. And if you need to learn safe, responsive bottle feeding for your baby, I will explain how formula is made up safely and equipment kept sterile. I will also show you how a breast pump works if you want to use one.
    I offer a ‘shopping list’ of useful items for mum and baby and we look at what to take in to the hospital for the birth, for both parents and baby. In most cases labour for a first birth takes quite a while to get going and we explore the best ways to enjoy a stress-free latent phase at home in familiar surroundings. This helps labour to progress naturally.
    If you think you would like to have the support of a birth doula during your labour and birth, I can help you look for someone suitable.
    Once booked I am easily contactable by phone or email and will always do my best to respond promptly.

    Apart from FOUR-HOUR POSTNATAL VISITS, I also provide breastfeeding ‘drop-ins’ (up to two hours) to support and offer guidance on early breastfeeding and breast care. In my work as a peer breastfeeding volunteer at the Royal Free Hospital I help new mothers latch their babies for effective feeding.
    My postnatal role includes babycare and minding/walking so parents can sleep; making meals and drinks; laundry and tidying; local shopping and listening to your needs. The first few weeks following the birth of your baby/ies can be exhausting and full of questions: I will try to answer them all but if you need the input of other qualified practitioners such as cranio-sacral osteopaths or lactation consultants for a tongue-tie assessment, I am happy to recommend them.

    “Alison, you have been an invaluable source of encouragement, knowledge and support, combining professional experience and an extensive knowledge with a deep empathy and genuine concern for the wellbeing of all involved. It is not always easy taking a stranger into one’s home, but you are such easy company and so calm, reassuring and genuine that it never really felt like that. It was not only very helpful, but also a pleasure to spend time with you.
    Always available when needed, but never imposing or interfering, you have helped to make this the experience we had imagined…..Should we be fortunate enough to have another baby, we can think of no one more helpful and reassuring to have advising and helping us along the way.” Chris, father of baby Carlo, born at UCH.

    “From when my husband and I met Alison we felt very at ease but also confident that she had the knowledge and experience to be exactly what we wanted and needed.
    Our antenatal visits were extremely helpful at making me feel positive about the birth, something I never thought I would feel.
    Postnatally, when I struggled with breastfeeding, she also had very good tips I used.
    “I would not hesitate to recommend her as your doula. I will definitely be recommending her to all my friends.” Laura, mother of baby Conrad, born in Birth Centre, UCH.
    “Alison was an incredible help to me at a very emotional time. As an anxious person, I felt totally out of my depth, but Alison was there. She gave lots of advice on breastfeeding and had loads of little tips that have been hugely helpful. She looked after the baby whilst I slunk off for a quick nap and set my mind at ease, and helped build my confidence at a very emotional time. Alison became more than my doula; she became a trusted friend, a kindred spirit and a guiding light. I absolutely cannot recommend her highly enough.” Jennifer, mother of Hunter, born at St. Mary’s Paddington.

    About me

    I was fortunate enough to have two VBACs (vaginal birth after Caesarean) and be able to breastfeed all my children. My experiences have informed my wish to help other women achieve the birth they hope for and I have been privileged to share many joyous birth journeys over the past eight years. Although I have retired from this type of doulaing, my experience has been invaluable to me in understanding what choices families have and how to get the best from our dedicated but hard-pressed NHS.
    I am non-judgemental and happy to fit in with your decisions, both for your type of birth and feeding method.
    My counselling background has been invaluable, as family situations are often complex, and at times of stress I am a respectful listener. I keep confidences and all written records safely and securely.
    Birth is a family affair and should be a joyful journey. One of the most important aspects of my work as a doula is to help you to be partners, with your medical care-givers, in any decision-making along the way and never highjacked by events.

  • I have had Nurturing Birth Certification and Doula UK Recognition since 2011.
    I am a former Relate couples' counsellor and an experienced fertility counsellor. I worked at the London Women's Clinic in W1 for five years after training at the Royal London Hospital.
    I am a peer breastfeeding supporter at the Royal Free Hospital and an Energy Healer with the Healing Trust.

  • Testimonials:

    "My husband and I can't thank Alison enough for helping us through what was the hardest few weeks of managing our newborn twin boys. Alison is a calming presence. She supported and looked after us in those early days where we needed to learn everything from scratch and also feel reassured we were doing a great job.
    I loved being able to breastfeed both boys and got through those first hurdles with her championing me the whole time. I'm still feeding them on the boob today (nine weeks in right now)!
    We loved how she nurtured the boys for us. I loved getting a cuddle meant a lot and I really needed them." Kyrenia, mother to Aden and Jakob.
    "Hi Alison, I hope you are well. I just wanted to say hello and send you a picture of Bronte and Alban...who are now six months. And still breastfed!! A lot of that is thanks to your expertise and support, so thank you from the three of us! It was a huge challenge to begin with but completely worth it. Much love, Jacinda"

    "After the birth I wanted to try and breastfeed as quickly as possible. Alison provided me with helpful, hands-on support in getting our daughter to latch on within the first hour of being born. I had nursed our first, so was familiar with what to do, but her support at that moment made a big difference in getting our baby to nurse straight away - unlike with my first which took a few days." Jessica, mother of baby Sarah, born UCH birth centre.