As a Doula back in 2009, Hils was desperate to help parents with babies suffering from colic and reflux. After researching natural ways to bring comfort, she discovered the incredible benefits of baby massage. Now an award-winning, certified Infant Massage Instructor, she has shared the techniques with over 2,000 families in Scotland. Covid meant Hils couldn’t be with families personally, so she and her husband produced an online course, filmed in their home, teaching parents in an easy, relaxed and fun way, how to help improve sleep, relaxation, congestion and colds, attachment, colic, teething pain and lots more, all through loving touch! Hils has been witness to hundreds of families coming off medicines for colic and even 2 babies recovering their hearing. Here she talks to the Natural Parent Magazine about the inspiration behind Best Beginning, the challenges she has overcome, and her hopes and dreams for the future.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
I was very lucky to have become a mother for the first time with family nearby and the benefit of no internet, Google or social media, which I think helped make for an easier and more relaxed transition!
My husband and I didn’t overthink things I guess; we just sort of sailed into our next adventure (we backpacked and worked around the world in our early twenties)!
Parenthood was everything to us.
After our third daughter headed off to school, I wanted to have a career based around babies and children, but with flexible hours so I could still be with my girls as much as I could (I didn’t know at that point we had our little boy on the way!)
I happened to read an article about Doulas.
This was in 2009 when they were still kind of new to the UK.
LIFE CHANGING MOMENT!
Our family were such a support to my husband and I when we had our babies: bringing meals, doing school runs, helping generally, and I loved the idea of being able to help other new parents settle into their new role/chapter with a bit of gentle help.
I went on to qualify as a birth and postnatal Doula and have since been so privileged to be a part of such a special part of many people’s lives.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
Whilst helping as a Doula, I kept seeing more and more babies with colic and reflux. I didn’t have any personal experience of this and so started searching for a solution.
Within a few months, I had trained to be an instructor.
I held a small class in my home for a few mums, sharing the amazing and very easy techniques and before I knew it, word had spread.
Just before lockdown in 2020, nearly 40% of all babies born in The Scottish Borders were coming along to classes I was running in numerous venues all around the region.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
My classes couldn’t run during this time, but what this also meant was that parents with new babies were often feeling very alone. I was so concerned, and it was only after visiting a friend who was finding things tough that I realised I had an idea.
There was a way to help.
A huge hurdle had to be crossed first … facing the camera and being filmed! If I could do that, then I could possibly help parents learn how to massage their babies at home, helping them gain confidence whilst also sharing other baby tips too.
My husband taught himself to film, edit and produce, and with the help of my friend Leanne and her 7-month-old baby Innes, who was my model, we made an online guide!
Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?
Luckily, I have a very wonderful family who understand my passion. Some of my children used to come to classes with me if it was school holidays (mainly for the baby cuddles and cake served after!).
I think the way I learnt to balance things was to try and be as organised as possible in advance: meal planning, arranging lift shares for the children’s sports and clubs, ordering in advance for birthdays, etc., and just making life a bit less stressful where possible.
… AND to try and not feel I must reply to messages immediately!
Having a large family, I try and think of the day ahead while having my coffee first thing and remember who has what that day and whether they need an extra bit of encouragement or attention!