Di Bustamante - making childbirth and parenting gentler

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Parents spend a lot of time focusing on childbirth and very little time learning about parenting. Childbirth may last a day – at most; but parenting is for life” says Di Bustamante of ‘Parent Link’. She sat down with theAsianparent to share her wisdom on birth and parenting.

Di Bustamante is a woman with a vision to help parents. This American mother of two moved to Singapore 12 years ago from the US, when she accompanied her husband on an assignment here.

Once in Singapore, Di got certified as a doula and a childbirth educator and subsequently a hypnobirthing practitioner. In addition to all this, Di is also a qualified hypnofertility therapist.

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Di and her beautiful daughter – Photo credit Parent link

When living in the US, Di had 20 years of experience in administrative management at giants like IBM and Siemens. However 2 high-risk pregnancies and spending months on bed-rest inspired Di to make a drastic career change.

After she moved to Singapore and a few years after qualifying as a doula, Di started sub-contracting with Parent link, which has been around since 1998, and Di bought the company over in 2007. Parent Link has gained a reputation for educating parents in hypnobirthing and waterbirthing.

Noticing a growing interest of waterbirthing in hospitals, Di also trained doctors, nurses and other staff from Raffles and Thomson Medical in these techniques.

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Di bought over Parent Link in 2007 – Photo credit Parent Link

Di’s Advice On Parenting

Di’s 2 kids are grown up now. Her son who is 28 is a pilot in the US and her daughter aged 18, will be going off to university soon. She says she loves being a parent and added “I have learnt so much more from my children than I have ever taught them.”

Di feels that prospective parents should focus more time on learning about ‘parenting’ without devoting all their time to preparing only for the baby’s birth.

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Di says that parents should focus more on learning about parenting.

She says prospective mums should eat well, exercise and talk to their spouse about what parenting style they will follow even before getting pregnant.

“Parenting is for life” she says, and that new parents should have realistic expectations of their babies. She receives calls from parents complaining that their babies don’t sleep and that they cry a lot. “That’s exactly what babies do!! Babies don’t sleep well until they are at least 2 years old”, laughs Di.

The Dunstan Method
Parent Link conducts parenting classes based on the Dunstan method. The Dunstan method was the brainchild of Pricilla Dunstan who had a photographic memory for audio patterns. Where others heard regular baby cries, Pricilla heard a language. Thanks to Priscilla’s unique gift, parents can now understand what their baby needs.

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Don’t get alarmed that your newborn cries all the time – ‘That’s what they do’ reassures Di

RELATED: What your babies cries mean

On bringing up children Di believes in giving children options without demanding that they do things. This method of gentle parenting is also called attachment parenting, where you should understand your child’s needs and respond to them. She feels this method worked wonders with her own children and they have grown up to be wonderful young adults.

RELATED: Excessively sleepy baby

Planning the birth

Di says that expectant parents need to consider many facts before making a decision on which method of delivery to choose. She says that when you give birth naturally, your body releases oxytocin – the ‘love’ hormone. In addition to this, a vaginal delivery enables the baby to be exposed to bacteria in the birth canal that kick start their immune system.

According to Di, “women are becoming more aware that how you birth your child will affect your child’s personality”. She says it is important how we treat our babies at birth. If the baby is taken away from the mother or treated roughly at birth it can impact the hind-brain and the baby’s survival connections.

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Di says, “in order for labour to progress women need to feel safe, loved, warm, uninhibited, and have privacy.”

On the other hand if the baby is treated gently and with respect there will be more fore-brain connections made. Di feels these connections will have a positive effect on the child’s personality.

Also, when considering where you want to give birth think about the environment the baby is in when he is in your womb. It is warm, dimly lit, and earthy-smelling, with muted sounds.

Don’t forget to think about your baby’s experience at birth as they are born with all 5 senses fully functional. Being fearful and cold inhibits oxytocin, so choose where you want to give birth based on where you will feel relaxed and comfortable.

RELATED: Hypnobirthing – pain free delivery for Singapore mums

“In order for labour to progress women need to feel safe, loved, warm, uninhibited, and have privacy” Di adds.

At Parent Link, Di teaches parents how to have a joyful childbirthing experience through hypnobirthing.

You can check out the Parent Link website if you wish to learn more about the parenting classes that are on offer. You can also contact Di directly on +65 9012 0071 for any information you may need.

If you found Di’s advice insightful or want to share your birthing experience with us, please do leave a comment below.