My first smear test

The most awkward part really is the getting undressed bit. Both my kids are summer babies so all my late pregnancy speculum exams have been easy, I was wearing a dress! This time I had to try not to get tangled in my own skinny jeans. The rest is all pretty straightforward.

Way back in March I got a letter inviting me for my first smear test because I was about to turn 25. I was pregnant at the time so had to find out if you can have a smear test during pregnancy. Turns out you can, but it’s best not to.

After going overdue and then waiting the recommended 6 weeks post partum it was late October before I booked my test and I was nervous. Not for the usual reasons, I’ve recently given birth with various medical professionals all up in my business. They have seen it all and I have had speculum exams and cervical sweeps galore. No, I was nervous because of my scarring.

TMI WARNING: When I gave birth the first time I had an episiotomy, it was stitched too far and left me with excess skin. When I gave birth the second time I ripped it. With a second degree tear. I was stitched up well, no extra stitches this time, no extra bit of skin. But now I have a mass of scar tissue that is tight and painful.

So I arrived at my appointment and explained this all to the nurse and she was lovely about it. She told me a similar thing happened to her and that she would naturally be gentle and swift and use plenty of lube.

The most awkward part really is the getting undressed bit. Both my kids are summer babies so all my late pregnancy speculum exams have been easy, I was wearing a dress! This time I had to try not to get tangled in my own skinny jeans. The rest is all pretty straightforward.

The nurse was quick and efficient, I let her know that it was painful around my scar tissue and she told me should could see it and understood why it was painful, she took the swab which wasn’t comfortable but it wasn’t painful either… and it was over in no time at all. The only real pain was because of an issue with my own body and not what the nurse was doing.

Incidentally, the nurse told me that it was likely that I would require reconstructive surgery if my scarring hadn’t softened after 6 months, so if you like a good TMI post then watch this space, I’ll tell you all about it!

The results for my test came back normal for anyone wondering. I am so thankful that I was able to have such an important test and relieved to have good results.

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Why I decided against a home birth

I want to start by saying I LOVE the idea of a home birth and adore hearing people’s experiences of giving birth at home, so please don’t read this as anti home birth, these are just the reasons it wouldn’t have worked for me.

I had never considered a home birth until a saw a friend talking about it being what she wanted when she was pregnant and later what a wonderful experience it was. It piqued my curiosity and sure enough several of my friends had done it or planned to. I joined a group on Facebook (as you do) and started seriously considering it myself. In the end, for a couple of reasons, I opted for a birth on the midwife led unit at my local hospital.

So, why didn’t it happen?

I mentioned it to a few people, close friends and family and they were all terrified. No matter how much I explained why it was just as safe as the hospital and that it would be okay there was always fear. My husband witnessed my previous traumatic birth and still struggles with it himself and my mum had to have an emergency cesarean with my brother. These were to two people I needed on board, wholeheartedly, or it wouldn’t have worked.

I don’t want to hear how it’s my body, my birth and my choice – I know that, just ask the midwives who were around for my birth. If I had gone ahead with a plan for a home birth they both would have stood by me but not with the confidence and conviction I would have needed from them. I didn’t have my heart set on it and I certainly can’t hold it against anyone, it just wouldn’t have been right and it was 100% my choice. A home birth is supposed to be in a relaxed environment with no fear or negative energy and as supportive as they would have been if I told them that’s what I was doing I have a feeling they would have been poised to call an ambulance the entire time.

Of course, there is also the small matter of my house not being at all “birth ready”. I’ll be the first to admit that it is a total mess, particularly towards the end of pregnancy when I could hardly move without pain and a four year old with a massive aversion to tidying. Not to mention the fact that I wanted a water birth and had nowhere big enough for a birthing pool. I really didn’t fancy giving birth in the chaos.

I stuck around in the Facebook group I joined. It was a hugely helpful resource for learning my rights as a pregnant woman and helping me decide how I wanted my birth to be. I’m not sure exactly how confidently I could have delivered a 9lb 8oz baby at almost 42 weeks with no intervention without them.

I would encourage every pregnant woman looking for an empowering birth to at least look into home birth, even if you decide it isn’t for you. The things I learnt along the way shaped my attitude which got me the positive birth experience I craved.

Have you had a home birth? How was your experience?

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Tricks for coping with Chicken Pox!

Many of us are familiar with the signs and symptoms of chicken pox- if you’re not click here and have a read! Sadly it is inevitable that our little ones will deal with it at some point- so we thought that we’d put together some (tried and tested*) top tips for helping your little ones to cope with the Pox!

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(*All of the following has been tried by Harriet, with Flo, during her case of chicken pox in late July / early August. She recovered remarkably well and despite having sensitive skin, we managed to keep her comfortable and barely ever had to remind her not to itch or scratch! Her spots scabbed over very quickly and she had little other symtoms. I tried all of the below to keep her comfortable and feel that these things really helped to get her through ‘The Chicken Pox’ with ease!)

  1.  Avoid giving your child Ibuprofen at all costs! Ibuprofen disrupts the healing process and increases the risk of soft tissue / skin infections- including serious infections like necrotising fasciitis. Ibuprofen is an anti inflammatory and because of this, it can react with the chicken pox- making them go deeper into the skin tissue.
  2.  Avoid giving you child any form of Aspirin! Children who have Chicken Pox Virus can develop a potentially fatal condition called Reye’s Syndrome, which can cause severe brain and liver damage.
  3. Remember that you can use Piriton (Chlorphenamine), in children 12 Months and Older – this helps to soothe the itching and discomfort that comes with the Chicken Pox blisters healing. Please always read the instructions!  Piriton
  4.  Calpol can be given when your child has a fever or is struggling with cold symtoms that often accompany Chicken Pox. If your child doesn’t like the taste, you can try mixing in with squash.  You can buy cheaper versions of liquid paracetamol at your local supermarket or at drugs stores like Boots, Lloyds Pharmacy or Superdrug- they do exactly the same job as Calpol, often at almost half the price! Please always read the instructions! Calpol
  5. Applying Diprobase Emollient can soothe sore spots. Diprobase is often used as for nappy cream and for eczema. The emollient properties soothe the itchiness from the outside!Diprobase
  6. Using Vosene Frequent as bubble bath, at bath time can help to keep the scabs nice and dry. Florence said it made her skin feel “nice and cool and comfy again”.Vosene

7. Apply PoxClin CoolMousse to soothe itchy spots. PoxClin Is a relatively new product that you can apply to your child’s spots. It can apparently accelerate the natural healing process and prevents the infection of wounds. It is super light and fluffy so it is very quickly absorbed into the skin. Poxclin_CoolMousse8. Calamine lotion is the cheapest way to soothe those nasty spots. It is a tried and tested approach that goes back decades, just dab on with cotton wool and away you go!Care_Calamine_Lotion9. Keep fingernails short to stop the blisters from being scratched, as this can lead to scaring. In children under three you might even be able to get away with putting socks on your child’s hands to avoid scratching when they are asleep.

10.  Ice lollies are a life saver if your little one has cold symptoms with their Chicken Pox or, of their Chicken Pox has spread to their Mouth, Lips or Tongue!

11. Keep your little one very well hydrated, they might not feel like eating much- especially if they have spots in their mouth, so their usual milk or milk substitutes may help keep their energy levels up. Offer them fluids frequently as drinking lots can keep nastier symptoms at bay and can aid the healing process.

If your child is too young to be given Calpol, it is recommended that you seek medical assistance. Here are some signs and symptoms that aren’t always ‘normal’ to have when experiencing Chicken Pox, these might indicate that you need to seek further medical assistance for your child-

  • If you your child has a temperature of over 39 degrees.
  • If the skin surrounding your child’s chickenpox becomes red, sore or appears to be infected.
  • If your child has pain in their chest or difficulty breathing.
  • If your child is not managing to drink enough fluids.
  • If your child is struggling to pass urine.
  • Severe headaches.
  • Sensitivity to light (photosensitivity).
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Stiff neck.
  • Confusion.
  • Sleepiness, fainting, difficulty waking or unconsciousness.
  • Convulsions or seizures.

What have you tried to help soothe chickenpox?

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Why I refuse to be ashamed about my miscarriage

Unfortunately, my husband and I experienced a miscarriage in May. If you’re close friends or family, this will probably not be news to you, but if you’re not, there you go.

When it first happened I felt totally lost. We told only the essential people, and spent lots of time giving our 18 month old daughter lots of extra cuddles and attention. However, when the time came that I felt I wanted to tell a few more people what had been happening in our lives, I was amazed by the amount of women who said ‘I’ve had one too’.

The one statement that I heard more than anything else was ‘it’s not something you just talk about’. Why is that? I was met with a few different responses

I was only 6/7/8 weeks. Not far enough to be too upset.

While I understand that the pain felt due to an early loss would be different to stillbirth, that’s not to say that experiencing pregnancy loss doesn’t hurt. At the end of the day, a life is still a life. From the moment a woman discovers she is pregnant, she starts to form an emotional connection with her baby. She has plans and dreams for them. It’s painful to lose that, and be totally out of control.

2. I don’t want to burden people with my problems.

I want to start by saying that pregnancy loss can be absolutely devastating. I was lucky enough to be surrounded by some incredible people during our difficult time, and anyone who knows me knows that I do not mince my words and I tell it how it is. I do this because I want my daughter to grow up and know that her feelings are VALID, she’s not a burden, and that she deserves to be listened to.

BUT I do understand that not everybody feels comfortable to do that.

However, telling people about your miscarriage or asking others for help does not make you a burden. It makes you BRAVE. The people that love you are happy to help, and it doesn’t make you any less of a person to need help with something that, at the end of the day, is a big deal. Telling people about your miscarriage helps dispel the idea that there’s something wrong with discussing it. It helps you feel less isolated and alone, and it helps reality set in.

My body was designed for one thing, and it failed.

Yes, your body was designed to reproduce, it’s true. But you know what it was also designed for? To run, climb, laugh, love, eat, sleep, play, sing – the list goes on. Yes, you are created to reproduce, but you’re also designed for SO much more. While it’s difficult, don’t reduce yourself to that one function.

1 in 4 pregnancies end in a miscarriage. It’s a scarily high figure, but it means you’re likely not alone. 1 in 4 means for every three children you see, a woman somewhere is mourning for theirs.

So, I refuse to be ashamed about my miscarriage. I won’t keep quiet about it or pretend it never happened. Instead, I choose to see it like this: my baby was never cold, or hungry, or scared. There was never a time in their short little life that they were not loved, and cared for and wanted. They will never have to know how it feels to be alone.

And that’s enough for me.

Top Tips to Keep your Kids Cool in Summer…

How to keep your children cool and safe from the sun in the summer heat!

WHO ELSE IS JUST NOT HANDLING THIS HEAT?!

Thankfully, it seems the worst of it is over (for now) but the sunshine is going to continue throughout the week:

So I thought I would share some of the helpful techniques that have been keeping us cool over this weekend!

Paddling Pools

Is there actually anything better than a paddling pool in the middle of summer?

As you can see, we improvised with a DIY water slide too (and got involved ourselves to make sure we had a cool off!)

Stay Indoors

Not all day, that would be no fun! But between 11am and 2pm we tried to stay indoors as much as possible, with the fan going on full blast!

Between 11am and 2pm is when the sun is at its hottest, and there is very little shade outside to hide in. Staying indoors for a couple of hours can help to keep you cool and you can still enjoy the sunshine later in the afternoon when it’s a bit less intense!

Hydrate Yourself

Get yourself some reusable ice cubes and have them ready for a day like today! Big refrigerated water jugs are also a necessity.

Don’t forget to keep yourselves hydrated!

Apply Suncream Regularly

Choose a suncream with both a high SPF Factor AND a high UVA rating. Check out Superdrug’s quick guide if you need any help picking the right suncream for you!

A lot of the time, the supermarket own brands of suncream have higher UVA ratings so can protect you from the sun better than your big branded lotions!

#MumHack: Did you know that the SPF factor on suncream equates roughly to how long you can go before you need to re-apply it? So if you have Factor 50, re-apply every 50 minutes to an hour (or probably more regularly if you are in the pool as it’s going to wash off almost instantly!)

Get a Gazebo

You can pick these up almost anywhere now, and if you’re cursed blessed with a south-facing garden with very little shade, you may find one of these an absolute lifesaver!

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This one is available from Argos at a discounted price at the moment!

Close the Curtains

Closing your curtains helps keep it nice and cool indoors, as the sun isn’t beaming through the windows. It can be a bit depressing to have all of your curtains closed in the middle of the day, so we just stick to keeping our upstairs curtains closed to help it stay nice and cool when it’s bedtime!

That’s it!

Is there anything else you’ve tried to keep yourselves cool?

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Swimming to Help With Hip Pain in Pregnancy

The weightlessness of being in the water is bliss in itself, but what it enables me to do is move. I can keep my mobility up without wearing myself out and causing further pain. I missed a swim due to illness and by the next day I was unable to walk more than a few feet – I fully believe I would be on crutches by now if I wasn’t still swimming regularly.

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When I found out I was pregnant at 5 weeks I was halfway through a course of hydrotherapy to help with my Fibromyalgia but when I told the physiotherapy team about my pregnancy they decided that the hydrotherapy pool at the hospital was too warm for it to be safe for me to use and I wouldn’t be able to complete my course. I was absolutely gutted, the pain relief afforded to me by being in that pool was incredible. When they turned me away I almost cried.

Even before I found out I was pregnant the pain in my hips was the focus of my physiotherapy which I attribute to my son getting stuck during labour and requiring a forceps delivery. Naturally, I was apprehensive about hip pain being a problem this time and, unsurprisingly, I was right to be concerned.

As my normal fibromyalgia flares turned into sharper twinges I realised I needed to get back into the water and I knew I wouldn’t be able to maintain any level of fitness on land. Having spent several years saying I should join a gym whilst also avoiding actually signing up, I finally took the plunge. I packed my swimming gear and hit the local gym after dropping my son at nursery one morning and signed up for a swim only membership there and then and it has saved me from a whole world of pain since.

I have been swimming three days a week after the nursery run for four months now, at one point I got up to 40 lengths of the pool and I was feeling really fit, since the baby decided to move into my lung space I can only manage 20 but it’s not the lengths that are important, it’s about being in the swimming pool to take the pressure off of my hips, well, all of my joints really. The weightlessness of being in the water is bliss in itself, but what it enables me to do is move. I can keep my mobility up without wearing myself out and causing further pain. I missed a swim due to illness and by the next day I was unable to walk more than a few feet – I fully believe I would be on crutches by now if I wasn’t still swimming regularly.

This ability to move about was missing in my first pregnancy, so my health suffered. I gained a lot of weight last time which I think I have been able to avoid this time… I suppose we will find out how effective it has been in a couple of months!

As my pregnancy progresses I am slowing down somewhat but there is an amazing level of support from the other “slow lane” users at the pool. When I started this I was not expecting to make friends but I have. The support from these strangers means I know I will be able to continue to use the pool until the end of pregnancy… even if I can only wander about in the shallow end in a few weeks.

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How to save your child’s life

Before I begin, if your child is in an emergency situation, call 999/911 immediately.

I don’t know about you, but my worst nightmare is to realise that my daughter is choking. Thankfully so far we haven’t experienced it, but I’m definitely on my guard. All. The. Time. In the last 16 months, I’ve spoken to our GP, paediatrician, Health Visitor and several nurses about what I should do if she starts to choke.

Here’s the lo-down on choking, and how to resuscitate a child.

What to do if your child is choking

  1. If you can see the object in the child’s mouth and you can safely remove it without pushing it back into the airway, you should remove it with your fingertips.
  2. If your child is coughing loudly, encourage them to continue to do so and do not leave them alone.
  3. If the coughing makes no sound or they cannot breathe in properly, shout for help
  4. If your child is not coughing or coughing ineffectively, use back blows.

If, during the following procedure your child becomes unconscious, place them on a hard surface, shout for help, call 999/911, and start CPR.

Children over 1 year

  1. Give up to 5 back blows between the shoulder blades to try and dislodge the object. The force depends on the size of the child, and you should take your own strength into consideration, but the blows do need to be forceful enough to dislodge the blockage.
  2. If this has not worked, deliver up to 5 abdominal thrusts. Place your arms around your child from behind, with your arms under their arms. place one clenched fist above the navel and below the ribs. Grip this hand with your other hand. Pull towards you and upwards sharply. Be careful not to put pressure on the ribs.
  3. Call 999 if the blockage has not dislodged. Continue with the cycle of back blows and abdominal thrusts until the blockage is cleared, or help arrives.
  4. Even if the blockage is cleared, your child should still be evaluated by a medical professional, as it could have caused unseen damage.

Children under 1 year

  1. Give up to 5 back blows. Hold baby face down on your thigh, with their head lower than their bottom. Hit firmly between the shoulder blades up to 5 times.
  2. Deliver up to 5 chest thrusts. Using two fingers, push downwards in the middle of the chest just below the nipples.
  3. Call 999 if the blockage has not dislodged.

How to perform CPR on a child

  1. Check for normal breathing. Place your fingers under the chin and tilt the head back. Place your ear close above their mouth, and look down at their chest. If they are breathing, you will feel the breath on your ear or see the chest rise. Gasps do not count as normal breathing.
  2. If you haven’t already called for emergency services, do so now.
  3. If your child is breathing, put them in the recovery position and monitor closely.
  4. If your child is not breathing and is unresponsive, it’s time to deliver 5 rescue breaths. If your baby is under 1 year, cover their nose and mouth with your mouth. If you are unable to cover both, cover the mouth and close the nose with your fingers. If your child is over 1 year old, cover the mouth with yours, and seal their nose with your fingers.
  5. Blow steadily into the mouth and/or nose over one second. You should see the chest rise. While the head is tilted back, remove your mouth and watch as the chest falls. Repeat this four more times.
  6. In this case of choking, the airway is most likely obstructed. You should try 5 times to make the chest visibly rise. If you’re unable to, start chest compressions and return to rescue breaths.
  7. Give 30 chest compressions. This keeps the heart beating blood around the body, which keeps the brain and vital organs alive.
  8. Give two rescue breaths.
  9. Continue this cycle until help arrives, there are signs of life, or you can no longer physically continue.

Chest compression information

  • Fingers/hands should be placed one fingers width above where the bottom ribs join. This is the breastbone.
  • The chest should be compressed at a rate of 100-120 beats per minute. You might find it easier to remember by singing ‘Stayin’ Alive’ by the BeeGees – just make sure that your compressions are deep enough.

Chest compressions for a child under 1

  • Compressions should be performed with the heel of 1 hand, to a depth of 5cm. Do not apply pressure across the ribs – lift your fingers and solely use the heel of the hand.
  • Keep your arms straight. You may find it easier to use two hands with fingers interlocked.

Chest compressions for a child over 1

  • Compressions should be performed with two fingers to a depth of 4cm.

With any luck, you’ll never have to perform CPR on your child, or to help them when they’re choking, but unfortunately it happens all the time. In our household, we believe it’s better to be prepared than stunned when it happens. In the spirit of that sentiment, here’s a nifty trick I learnt recently.

If your little one is struggling to breathe because they’ve put lego/something else thats tiny up their nose, here’s what you should do. Pinch the other nostril shut, and blow really hard and sharply into their mouth. The lego should fly right out!

And that’s it! Did you know how to give CPR? Do you have experience giving CPR or are you a total CPR novice? Let us know!

What to do when mummy is poorly!

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So this week has been a bit crappy for me health wise!

I’m usually physically fit and well, however last weekend whilst driving home from Hull I noticed a lot of irritation in my left eye and a day later went to the GP looking like an alien because my eye was so bloodshot!

Obviously it was an infection, so I was prescribed some antibiotic eye drops to help clear it all up.

HOWEVER… It didn’t end there!

After spending an entire working week meeting clients looking like I was on some form of drugs because my eyes were so bloodshot, it finally cleared up on Friday. On Saturday, MY OTHER EYE STARTED PLAYING UP!!!

This time, a suspected allergic reaction/bug bite which resulted in the skin around my eye swelling up so much that I couldn’t open it and had to wear sunglasses out of my house to save all of the innocent people of the world from having the poor luck to see my horrendous face for the entire bank holiday weekend.

It was so painful, itchy and gross.

Of course, this all happened when we were expecting guests for the bank holiday weekend. My husband brought me a cup of tea and some toast in bed before they arrived, and my daughter came bounding up the stairs telling me I have to stay in bed until my eye is all better and that she was “tidying up my home”.

A couple of anti-histamines and A LOT MORE EYE DROPS later, my eye is looking much better, but still a bit scary due to a burst blood vessel.

So, now that I’ve made a recovery, here are my tongue-in-cheek top tips for partners to abide by when “mummy” is poorly!

What you SHOULD do:

  1. Bring mummy breakfast in bed, and lots of cups of tea throughout the day.
  2. Tidy the house – get the kids involved too, make it a full on child labour operation to get that house sparkling clean so that, when mummy can open her eyes, she is not blinded by how messy it looks!
  3. Remind mummy when to take her medicine, better still, bring it to mummy with a drink as promptly as possible.
  4. Keep the little people away from mummy while she rests, unless they are coming to mummy for cuddles. A serious screening process needs to be implemented that only allows genuine cuddles through the bedroom door.
  5. Allow mummy plenty of bed rest, with foot rubs if possible.

What you should NOT do:

  1. Do not make fun of mummy in any way, shape or form. She admits she looks like shit, but she does not need you to remind her of that.
  2. Do not try to get mummy out of bed before she is ready, you will be met with a very grumpy mummy!
  3. Do not expect anything in return for all of the good deeds you did in the above list!
  4. Do not forget that mummy exists (because she’s been in bed for so long), leave her and find another mummy – that’s not cool.
  5. Do not allow mummy to lift finger, unless it’s on the remote control! Mummy has full control of that now!

Is there anything you would add to either list? Let us know in the comments!

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How (and why) to get rid of the dummy

My daughter is 15 months old, and has used a dummy for the majority of her little life. Recently, my husband and I decided enough was enough. The dummy had to go! Here’s why.

This is my little one at bed time. What you can’t see from this photo is that she was late to bed because we couldn’t find the dummy anywhere. Nearly 2 hours late. Her reliance on the dummy to get to sleep had got to a point that just felt ridiculous. She was usually a good sleeper (with the dummy, of course). I know that lots of little ones sleep with teddies etc and they are used for comfort, but if you read my previous posts on household plastic usage , you’ll know that we try to keep our usage to a minimum, so I was anxious to find a way to get her to sleep without a piece of plastic in her mouth! We also had issues with night waking (think four or five times a night of waking up because the dummy wasn’t right in front of her face).

Our reasons for getting rid of it were a little more than that, too. We recently discovered that long term dummy usage can affect the muscles of the mouth, which can cause the tongue to sit forward between the teeth and affect their position. This could potentially cause speech issues. Experts recommend limiting dummy usage by age 2 and eliminating it completely by the age of 4 to minimise risk of dental issues.

There is also an interesting study conducted by the University of Washington which proposes that using a dummy for too long can increase the risk of speech disorders. Little ones who use a dummy or suck on their fingers after age 3 were found to be three times more likely to have speech problems. This study is 10 years old, but still, food for thought.

Given this, and the fact that my monkey is trying to say new words every day, we decided to bite the bullet and kick the dummy to the curb.

How to get rid of the dummy

There is no right way to get rid of the dummy. What works for one family might not work for another. Here’s what the experts say:

It’s important to remember that most little people use the dummy as a source of comfort. Don’t try to remove the dummy while going through large, unsettling life events like having another baby, moving house etc.

As a newborn, little ones will use the dummy to self settle. However at 4/5 months, sleep patterns can change and so this could be a good time to get rid.

The best thing to do is to begin to limit dummy use to ONLY bed times. We started by letting our daughter use the dummy in the pram for nap time and in her bed for sleep. She lunged for it for a while in the day time if she saw it and it wasn’t time to sleep, but she soon got the message.

Another popular idea is to cut a hole in the tip of the dummy. Once the dummy is broken, many toddlers lose the urge to use the dummy as it can’t be sucked on anymore and is no longer satisfying.

You can also try and swap the dummy for another comfort object like a favourite soft toy or blanket. Lots of parents like to tell their kids things like ‘Santa’ or the ‘Easter Bunny’ needs their dummy, but we decided before our daughter was born that we wouldn’t intentionally lie to her over things like that, so that option was out for us.

If your little one is old enough to communicate effectively, try explaining that they are big enough now to not need the dummy to sleep. Dummies are for babies. This will make lots of toddlers indignant as they are a big girl/boy, and suddenly the dummy becomes much less appealing.

OR you can do what we did. We ‘accidentally on purpose’ left the dummy at Nona’s house in another town, so that we couldn’t give in and give the dummy back on a bad night. The most important thing you can do when giving up the dummy is to stay strong and not give in. The initial few nights could be a bit hairy, but will probably settle down soon after.

And that’s it! There are so many different (and imaginative) ways I’ve read on how to get rid of the dummy, but honestly what worked for us was just to bite the bullet, pull ourselves together and just get rid of the nasty thing.

Have you successfully weaned a little person off a dummy? Are you having trouble? Let us know!

Mummy I want something else!

“I want something else”

Please say I’m not the only parent who hears these words mere minutes after her toddler has ‘finished’ her dinner!

Imogen has always been so good at eating. She’s usually liked trying new things, just sometimes has needed a little encouragement. I know there’s of course going to be those things she will not like for a while, (maybe even ever)… such as peppers, but on the whole, if it’s sliced up small enough, in another meal she’s wolfed it up. So over the last couple of months this new refusal to eat pretty much anything I’ve put in front of her has been a bit of a shock. I’ve been so smug and naïve!

At 2 and a half Imogen has become such a fiercely independent young lady. She’s putting on most of her clothes herself, she’s choosing what she wants to wear, what she likes and dislikes, so I guess it’s only natural that she would be trying to choose what she wants to eat. Of course anyone who didn’t know the repercussions would want to eat nothing but chocolate and biscuits, but trying to get it through to a toddler that this isn’t possible is not easy is it!?

I tried different techniques: gentle persuasion, cartoons on the TV, no TV at all, music, sitting next to Imogen for emotional support, eating all together at set meal times, eating out in public, negotiation, and the more desperate approach of bribery with dessert/cake. Nothing was working!! This toddler had me wrapped around her little finger and she knew it. All those meals she used to love… spaghetti Bolognese, moussaka, sausages, chicken nuggets… Imogen was now telling me “I DON’T LIKE IT! I WANT SOMETHING ELSE!”

WHY????!! You liked it a couple of months ago!

I was even considering putting my daughter in nursery for the entire 5 days a week because every time I’ve gone to pick her up, the darling has eaten double portions of all the meals they’ve been serving. At least, I thought, she would be eating! But no, in all honesty I enjoy my time with her and that wouldn’t be what I wanted really. I also can’t imagine having the finances to do that.

So I’ve tried something new.

I bought the Fred Dinner Winner Kids’ Dinner Tray, with dinosaurs on, for my little dinosaur lover. If you’ve not seen these dinner trays they look like board games, with a little windy path to the hidden prize at the end.

I also printed out a little sticker rewards chart which has gone on to the wall next to where she eats.

The dinner tray has gone down well. My only comments on it really are that Imogen hasn’t got her head around eating from the slots in order, but on the plus side, she has been eating it all. When she’s older, I’m sure she’ll get the idea around it being like a board game, but right now I think it’s appealing because of the dinosaurs and the surprise at the end. The prize slot is a little small, so what I thought I might do is maybe draw a small picture of a yoghurt pot etc on a folded piece of paper, so she knows what her surprise is when she opens it up. It’s just too small for anything really other than a couple pieces of chocolate. When Imogen has eaten her dinner we have the exciting job of adding a star to the reward chart, and it shows a reminder that she has been eating all week. So far, it has been working, but I don’t know how long it will work for. I’m hoping that if we make it our new routine hopefully Imogen will start eating better. We also need everyone else to be on board, i.e. the grandparents who have a tendency to give children what they ask for!

If you have any dinner time tips for getting a fussy or bossy little one to eat, please share them here for everyone to see, we’d love to hear them! 🙂

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