Are daddies better than mummies?

We’ve all been there…

Your toddler is, quite frankly, being a bit of an arse. Whether they’re having a full blown tantrum or simply need an attitude adjustment, there comes a point where they’ll say those words: “I want Daddy”.

The last 3 weeks of Olivia’s life have been “I want Daddy”. She even told me she hates me, and constantly tells me “Daddy’s the favourite” or “I love Daddy, not Mummy”. I know she’s only 3, but it kinda hurts.

I’ve started feeling a bit bitter, which I think is no surprise, given that I carried her for 9 months, gave life to her, altered the appearance and functionality of my reproductive organs, abdomen, vagina, boobs, the works, all to bring something into the world that was only going to grow up to hate me.

It grates on me, just a tad.

Of course, she’s 3. So, she doesn’t know that I feel bitter. She thinks she’s being funny, or maybe she just actually does prefer Daddy when she comes out with it in the middle of screaming at me.

Is Daddy better than me? He’s the classic, laid back, fun Daddy. I’m the classic, mean Mummy. It’s frustrating, right?

The thing is, our toddlers do this because they love us so much. Sounds like a cop out, but it’s not. It’s actually a really good thing that they feel so comfortable to push those boundaries with us, because they know that we will always love them unconditionally.

So if you’re noticing that your little one is misbehaving for you and not for daddy, just remind yourself (and him, smugly) that it’s because they love you more!

And remember that it’s okay if they make you feel like poop for a while, because those tantrums are physically and emotionally draining to deal with! Just try not to take it to heart (easier said than done, I know).

How do you cope with toddler tantrums? Do your toddlers have a “favourite” parent?

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Mummy needs rest… 12 Activities to do with your little one when Mummy can’t do so much.

I’ve been feeling some guilt that so late in my pregnancy I’ve not been out and about as much as I’d like to with my daughter. I’ve been trying to encourage my daughter to play a lot more by herself but I think these little games, even if they are really simple, have meant we have still been able to have fun together.

Being heavily pregnant when you already have a toddler/pre schooler is hard work isn’t it?! Especially if your little one doesn’t spend very long entertaining themselves without asking for Mummy to play too. If you’re on maternity leave, you might even want to save a few pennies too…

So I’ve been trying to think of 12 simple ideas so we can still be involved in play time at home. Ways that don’t create too much mess and that allow tired mums to put their feet up for a bit and enjoy a cuppa at the same time! It’s so easy when you’re feeling exhausted to put some cartoons on or a game on your phone, but I’ve been trying not to overdo these things if I can.

1 – Puzzles. Either doing one together or having little competitions of who can complete their puzzle the quickest. You can make it a bit more challenging for yourself by choosing the puzzle with more pieces, turning your pieces over or giving little one a timed head start.

2 – Colouring. You can’t go wrong with some colouring, and putting some music on in the background makes this even more relaxing. Mummy can be colouring in her therapeutic adult patterns at the same time. Win win! If you’ve run out of colouring books there are some great websites where you can print out pictures for free.

3 – Book reading. I can’t not put this in because story time is a lovely excuse for a cuddle on the sofa.

4 – Play dough. In an attempt to make this a bit different I saved some small plastic trifle pots from going in the recycling bin. I put some little spoons out so my little one could pretend to make little ice cream sundaes from the play dough. I haven’t tried this yet but you could also put some little plates out, a plastic pizza cutter and pretend to make pizzas with different toppings. I find play dough is such a good distraction but can be a bit of a pain when you’re picking bits of play dough up off the floor after, especially if you’re struggling to bend over at this point in your pregnancy!

5 – Cafe. My little one really enjoyed playing this. I got to sit down with a little table in front of me while my daughter took my order like a little waitress. Then she was going to her play kitchen and making me meals like a chef with her play food. If you don’t have a play kitchen, get a few pans and wooden spoons out the kitchen and encourage your little ones to use their imagination. You can do as much or as little as you like with this.

6 – Snap. We have nursery rhyme snap cards but if your little one is a bit older, you could use a normal pack of cards and match the numbers. What child doesn’t love slamming their hand down and shouting “snap!”?

7 – Domino bingo. Take a piece of paper or card per person and write 9 random numbers on,h no than the number 12. Turn over the Domino pieces so you can’t see the numbers and take it in turns to pick a domino. Ask little one to count the dots and match them to the numbers on the paper and when you get all 9 numbers shout Bingo!

8 – I spy. I spy with my little eye a quick and simple game to try to help with colour recall. You could ask little ones to describe to you something they can find that is the colour red for example.

9 – Treasure hunting. I love the sand pit. I’ve been hiding things such as shells or coins in the dry sand and my daughter has been sieving to try to find the ‘treasure’. You could ask your little one to cover their eyes and then hide a surprise toy in the sand for them to find. This is a nice excuse to sit out in the sun. All that is missing is a nice Pina Colada! Not too long to wait ladies!

10 – Playing with a ball. You don’t have to be running around the garden to play with a ball. Sit on the floor (if you are able to of course!) with your feet together to make a diamond shape. Roll the ball to each other and sing nursery rhymes. This is such a simple game but we had some giggles when we were rolling the ball as quickly as we could.

11 – Memory game. Laying out some items on a tray. Asking little one to look for a minute then turn around so you can remove one item. See if little one can remember what has gone missing from the tray.

12 – Photo puzzles. Make some copies of family photos, cut them up into different shapes and ask little one to put the pictures back together again.

I’ve been feeling some guilt that so late in my pregnancy I’ve not been out and about as much as I’d like to with my daughter. Driving in the car has become uncomfortable and I’m walking around at a snail’s pace. My body is definitely telling me to slow down. I’ve been trying to encourage my daughter to play a lot more by herself but I think these little games, even if they are really simple, have meant we have still been able to have fun together.

I hope you get as much enjoyment as we both have out of them and please share your ideas with us!

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Wonderful Women: Mum of three, brain surgery & ASD

  • Although we are ‘Mummykind’, put being a ‘Mummy’ aside for a second and tell us about you!

Hello, I’m Rachel. I’m currently not working because I’m recovering from brain surgery. I’ve been working on some minor home improvements as I let my standards slip a little bit when I was poorly! I enjoy gardening, spending time outside, looking after my small menagerie of animals and enjoying the company of my beautiful granddaughter!

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  • How about your children? How old are they, what are they up to?

My youngest is 13 and in Key Stage three at school. Then we have my 20-year-old son who is off to University in September, where he will study Urban Planning. My eldest is nearly 24 and a Mummy to my Granddaughter, she enjoys writing and promoting Mental Health awareness.

  • What are your favourite and least favourite parts of being a parent?

My favourite part of being a parent is seeing my children genuinely happy and succeeding. I love the relationship my children and I have. When all else fails, I know I can depend on my little family and they know they can depend on me. They all have a fantastic sense of humour and there is honestly never a dull moment when any of us are spending time together! My least favourite part is when my children are ill, especially when I nearly lost my daughter when she was giving birth and also when my youngest had severe viral encephalitis. It has also been awful seeing my children being bullied to the extent it has impacted their mental health.

  • When did you first consider that your youngest child was different?

When he had just turned two, he suffered multiple convulsions that lead to a prolonged period of him not being able to breathe. After this period of ill health, his character and behaviour completely changed. He was still our little boy, but he wasn’t quite the same anymore. The specialist said that the period in which is brain was shutting down could have well have led to cognitive changes, causing ASD.

He started to stare at the washing machine as it spun around. If he was ever in a small space, he only ever wanted to escape – he’d run into walls and try to climb out of windows. He was sensitive to sound, touch, to having too many people around. We’d have to cut the tags out of his clothes, including his pants and socks. He was withdrawn and easily overwhelmed.

  • How difficult has it been to get him the help and support he needs?

It has been virtually impossible to get him the help he deserves. Despite showing typical signs of ASD and related disorders, he wasn’t diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder until he was nearly seven years old.

Getting that diagnosis took continual visits to the GP, countless visits to our local specialist, support from his primary school and other trusted people’s supportive documents. He has been declined 5 times for a Educational Health Care Plan (EHCP) as he isn’t “Autistic enough” despite being “too autistic” for mainstream school, according to his specialist provision at school. He has many struggles with not only ASD, but ADHD, APD and even some aspects of Tourette’s (to name a few!) – but he is high functioning, which hasn’t helped at all with his EHCP.

  • Describe a typical day to us? What are your biggest daily struggles? What are the highlights?

Mornings are so stressful – we have a minute by minute system of what we need to do to get him out of the house on time. It has taken 18 months of almost literal blood, sweat and tears for us to find a routine that works for him. We face multiple difficulties like him struggling with shoelaces and his tie because he doesn’t like how it feels. His anxiety levels are so high that he can’t get the bus to school, so he must be driven. He is almost done with his second year and still not doing a full school day.

He has started doing more mainstream lessons as he prepares for his GCSEs. The highlights are when he comes home happy, when he has learnt something new that he’s excited about. He does so well academically despite his difficulties that in most subjects he’s on the same level as his neurotypical peers. He is really interested in Physics and has a keen interest in space… hearing him talking about something he is passionate about makes me so proud.

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  • How has the past year been for your family?

It has not been the easiest of years! This time last year my brain condition was affecting how I thought, how I walked, how I talked – I was using a stick and wheelchair. I wasn’t myself at all. I had surgery for this at Kings in December and I’ve been recovering well since! I am so thankful that I had that surgery done when I did, it’s been life changing.

My husband had a DVT which lead to a life-threatening DVT pulmonary embolism, causing permanent lung damage – he’s been placed on medications for this and since then he’s been much better.

My son’s specialist unit at school has closed, so we’ve been in lots of meetings regarding a new smaller provision that is being piloted. We’re hoping this works well for him and helps him feel secure enough to continue to achieve.

There have been so many mishaps and incidents – I’m just thankful to have my family and my dogs by my side!

  • How have you managed to cope? What do you do to unwind and relax?

My family inspire me to keep going, as I said before, when all else fails, I still have them, and they have me. We try to get away on holidays whenever we can. I love a good soak in the bath, or a cup of tea and a chat. You can’t go wrong with either of those!

  • What hopes do you hold not only for your youngest child, but for your whole family?

Understandably my youngest causes me the most concern, above all I just want him to be happy on whatever path he chooses to take. School, work, college? If he’s happy and fulfilling his potential, I couldn’t be happier! I hope my eldest son does well at university and enjoys his chosen career. I hope that my daughter finds an answer to her many medical problems, so that she can live a happy and healthy life with her little girl. After all, I believe the most important job in the world is brining up happy and healthy children.

  •  Do you have anybody you’d like to nominate for our Wonderful Women Wednesdays?

I’d like to make a couple of nominations, if that’s okay? Firstly, Maria of Mummykind – I admire her fight to save the world for future generations. She is an excellent influence and recently won an award for her green thinking! I’d also like to nominate my Mother, Angela for a different perspective on parenting and to incorporate and include ladies from a further range of backgrounds.

Do you have anyone you’d like to nominate for our Wonderful Women feature? Let us know!

If you liked this you may enjoy reading…

My daughter will be seen AND heard

I was recently trying to enjoy a nice lunch out with my husband and our daughter. What started as a lovely meal ended with me fuming, with my husband trying to calm me down.

Here’s why.

Here is my gorgeous lady. She’s a happy little soul, she’s usually pretty chilled, but she knows what she wants and how to get it. Know why? Because she’s a good communicator. She uses a mix of Makaton (baby sign), words and gestures to convey her wants and interests. She doesn’t shout very much as my husband and I are both at home with her, so she gets plenty of attention as soon as she needs. I’m confident in her communicative abilities, as are most people we meet. Until that fateful lunch date.

While we were waiting for our food, we noticed our daughter smiling and nodding at someone behind us. This isn’t too unusual, she tries to make friends with everyone she meets (including a few shop manikins). The vast majority of people make a few faces to her, give her a little wave, and then leave us alone. But not this time.

The first sign should have been when the man she had been smiling at came over to us to congratulate us on how cute our ‘son’ was. Never mind the fact that she was very obviously wearing a dress, and I’m sure half the restaurant had heard us saying ‘yes, good girl!’ when she had managed to sign the word ‘bird’ for the first time just minutes previously.

Funnily enough, I’m getting used to people mistaking her for a boy. It’s an easy mistake, her hair is only just starting to grow longer, but I usually politely correct, and there is no further issue. But for some reason, the fact that she was a GIRL meant that we had a further issue. Here’s how the conversation went:

ME: Oh, she’s actually a girl, but thank you. We think she’s very cute!

HIM: A girl?! Well you’ve done a fabulous job there then!

ME: What do you mean?

HIM: well, she’s barely saying a word! That means you’ve raised her right!

ME: Sorry? (half confused, half hoping this isn’t going where I think it’s going!)

HIM: All the girls nowadays are so loud! They’re talking all the time, making so much noise, having an opinion on everything. Not like the good old days, don’t you think?

ME: No, I’m afraid I don’t agree, and I doubt my husband would either. I’m sure your mother would be thrilled to know you think all women should be seen and not heard.

HIM: (smiling awkwardly and going a beautiful shade of white). Congratulations. (While walking away he forcefully pats my shoulder in some weird form of congratulations for having a quiet baby? And dislocates my shoulder due to my EDS.

I know what you’re thinking. That sounds scripted! Nobody would approach a stranger to say something like that! Well I promise you, it happened, and I was fuming. And you guessed it, I’ve got more than one issue with this encounter.

The phrase ‘seen and not heard’ originates from the 15th Century, so there’s no ‘I’m from another generation’ excuse for starters. Unless you’re 600+ years old, there’s no way you can get away with using that excuse.

Secondly, this mentality doesn’t just expect young children (or in this case, women) to be quiet, it denies them a voice completely. Why should she (or I) be expected to be quiet simply due to gender? For starters, to deny her a voice would be to deny her her freedom, the ability to share her ideas and creativity, and it reinforces the idea that she is only worthwhile when a man gives her permission to be. And I am NOT going to reinforce that.

IMAGINE praising a child for not speaking (or not being able to). Not everyone would agree with me, but I believe the only time a child should not be allowed to talk is….never. Children are naturally curious beings, how are they supposed to grow and develop if they can’t express their questions and frustrations?

So, I’m raising my daughter to be noisy. I’m raising her to express herself however she chooses, to be loving and creative and happy and free.

You know why? Because well-behaved women seldom make history.

Have you encountered a similar mindset? How did you react?

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Allergy Alienation

…my little boy is different from other kids and that my experience of parenting has been skewed by that. I like to think it has made me more considerate but in reality it has just made me anxious and controlling.

You may have noticed a surge of reports in the news about very avoidable deaths and serious injuries due to allergic reactions because somewhere along the line, someone was careless. It makes my blood boil and my stomach turn.

That level of carelessness and thoughtlessness affects people with allergies all the time and as a result, some people just don’t feel comfortable going to certain places.

My recent experience at a local soft play centre – one that previously made me feel very at ease compared to others – made me feel alienated more than I ever have before. Ultimately, it just hammered home that my little boy is different from other kids and that my experience of parenting has been skewed by that. I like to think it has made me more considerate but in reality it has just made me anxious and controlling.

So, what happened?

There is a small soft play area within the restaurant at a local garden centre, you pay for your soft play session with your drinks/food at the till and go around the corner to the enclosed soft play room. You sign in with a member of staff at the door and you get your wristband and in you go. This particular day was busy enough that I would have avoided it if I had known before I paid. I can’t stand busy play areas of any kind, it’s too chaotic for me. I entered the room with my son and a tray with my coffee on it and before I had even sat down I managed to cause a scene.

I didn’t set out to, but it happened and it was mortifying. I saw a grandparent give their granddaughter a bag of cheese and onion crisps and send her on her way. I tried to get their attention quietly but it was loud in there and it was urgent – the child would disappear into the climbing frame in seconds. So I shouted. The other parents in the room fell silent and stared at this woman who had only been in the room for three seconds shout at a perfect stranger.

She didn’t stop the child right away, why would she? She asked me why. I muttered something incoherent about my son being allergic and she looked at me like I was crazy, did she really not understand? She reluctantly took the bag from her granddaughter who had, by some miracle, stayed near the front of the play area and rather than wash her hands off and send her to play again she just let her go in with one crisp at a time. This set me on edge but I still had some determination left for my son to have a nice afternoon playing with other children.
 
After that, everyone went back to their conversations slightly subdued. I caught people stealing glances at me and muttering to their companions. I couldn’t relax – what if there was already something in there with milk in it from before I arrived? After about 10 minutes another family arrived and sat their young daughter in a highchair with a tippy cup of milk, the kind with a free flowing spout. Something else for me to watch. Sure enough it went on the floor almost immediately and splashed milk everywhere. The parent went to pick it up, got to eye level with their baby and made the effort to tell them and sign to them that they mustn’t throw the cup…but left the milk all over the floor. I didn’t want to cause another scene so I left it for as long as I could stand to, almost in tears. I lasted about a minute before I got some of that blue tissue they have in shops and silently cleaned under the table myself. More looks, more muttering, more discomfort for me.
 
As I sat back at my table and held back tears again I saw one child enter the play area with cake and another enter with crisps. What on earth am I supposed to do? People have clearly been doing this all day and they aren’t going to stop. I only had one choice, I had to pack up and leave. We had been there for less than half an hour and my son doesn’t like leaving after 2 hours, of course he cried his eyes out whilst I explained to him why we had to leave. Maybe he doesn’t fully understand it yet but at least he knows it isn’t his fault, he isn’t in trouble. I could feel the people staring at us as we left and by the time we got as far as customer services my devastation had turned to anger. I explained everything that had happened and received a full refund. I would have rather stayed and let my son enjoy being a kid, for the sake of a couple of quid.
 
My son was subsequently ill from the contact with his allergen for about a week after this and I spent the whole time beating myself up because he was suffering for a lesson I should have learnt already.
 

What can you do?

It’s not much, but it means the world to allergy families.
  • If you’re in a play area don’t let your children walk around with food, and if you are able to then wash their hands/faces before letting them play again.
  • If your child has eaten in a shopping trolley or in a cafe highchair, wipe it down before you put it back.
  • If you or your child drops food or drink on the floor where other children might play then clean it up.
  • If you work in a food serving establishment be patient with allergy families and don’t ever answer questions you aren’t sure about – we’d rather go hungry than eat something that could make one of us incredibly ill. We will always be grateful for the honesty.
  • If you work in a nursery, try and get all of the children to wash their hands AFTER food as well as before.
  • If you’re hosting a children’s party try to cater for the allergy kids if you can and be considerate of cross contamination if you can’t – something as simple as slicing cheese rather than grating it so it doesn’t fall out of sandwiches makes a huge difference.
  • If you see someone like me out in the wild, don’t gawk and mutter. Try and offer some friendly words and maybe even a bit of back up if things go even further south.
Allergy Alienation - The truth about days out with food allergies

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Oliiki app review

Two members of the Mummykind team with kids at different ages (and a growing baby bump!) were given the opportunity to try out the Oliiki app, an app designed to aid your baby’s brain development from early pregnancy through to 2 years old.

The app itself is free to download, and then you can choose to buy one section at a time or buy all of the content at once, which works out a lot cheaper.

Higher quality image of app

Maria

I have been testing the pregnancy features of the app as my son is much older than the suggested age for the toddler activities, although I have had a peek through the app at the newborn and toddler pages as well!

Overall I really like the concept of the app, it provides you with a daily activity to aid specific areas of development and explains how/why it works and a link to the scientific study.

During pregnancy it is a little harder to interact with your baby, it encourages a lot of independent activities which is fine if you bought the whole content library at once but I would feel short changed if I had paid for a single trimester at the same cost as 3 months of the more in-depth content for babies and toddlers.

The information in the app is incredibly interesting, the Oliiki team have done an amazing job compiling it all and condensing it down into bitesize chunks. If you love learning and finding out how things work this app is perfect for you. If you are more of a visual learner you might struggle with the lack of images/videos/graphics in the app.

Paige

My daughter is coming up on fifteen months old, so we’re testing out the toddler activities.

Higher quality image of app weekly overview

So far we’ve enjoyed using the app as a family. The app offers one activity per day on the homepage, but you are also able to access all activities by age or by subject using the menus at the bottom of the screen. There are some activities for her age that I never would have thought to encourage her to do (such as walking in jelly – big clean up needed!), but my monkey has thoroughly enjoyed them. There are some recommended activities that we’ve been doing long before using Oliiki, but I suppose that is more down to a child’s individual development, and at what stage you started using the app. At the end of completing the activity, a graph appears to show the relevance of the activity to the brain learning areas. This is really interesting, and you can see your child’s overall progress in the user profile area (however, if you’re like us and didn’t start using it until later in your child’s life, the progress won’t be 100% unless you go through and ‘complete’ all the activities for previous months, which is tedious).

Higher quality image of app brain area

The one thing I would say about this app is that if you’re not a big fan of reading, this may not be the app for you. I love to read, and I find the ‘Science and Research’ section fascinating, especially the ‘find out more’ section, which links to a larger article for further reading. You’d still be able to use the app well if you’re not a fan of this kind of thing, but I feel it would be better suited to parents who want to understand the scientific reasoning behind the activities they are doing with their children.

Overall the Mummykind girls loved this app and were thrilled to review it! Have you used the Oliiki app before? Let us know what you thought in the comments!

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What is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)?

It is only natural to worry about the safety of your beautiful new baby, and to do everything you can to keep them safe. I’ve written before about struggling with anxiety during pregnancy, but when I read about SIDS, my anxiety was definitely kicked up a gear in the first few weeks after having delivered my daughter. I’m very medically minded and wanted to be armed with all the facts, but honestly, my friends will tell you that I’m not very good at dealing with things that are out of my control!

So, if you’re like me and want to know everything (to be prepared, obviously), here’s the low-down on SIDS.

SIDS used to be referred to as ‘Cot Death’, however this name was abandoned as it carried to connotations that babies would only die in their cots, and were safe everywhere else. SIDS usually occurs when a baby is sleeping, though can sometimes happen when the infant is awake.

SIDS is the unexplained and unexpected death of an infant who otherwise appears to be normal and healthy.

In the USA, around 3000 babies die from SIDS a year, In the UK around 200 babies die due to SIDS. While this may sound terrifying, the statistics mean that SIDS is quite rare (in 2017 there were 679,106 live births in the UK, and 3,853,472 in the USA).

Causes

The exact cause of SIDS is currently unknown, which I found the most troublesome thing when my monkey was young. There is always research being undertaken to try and determine the cause, such as the Lullaby Trust ,who have been funding research since 1971.

It has been proposed that SIDS occurs at a particular developmental stage, and most affects infants who are vulnerable to particular stresses. Important environmental factors to remember are smoke from tobacco, baby having an illness (however small), becoming tangled in their bedding, or being unable to breathe due to an airway obstruction. It is thought that these stresses can change how babies regulate their blood pressure, temperature and heart rate.

There is also an association between SIDS and co-sleeping.

Risk factors

Because not much is known about SIDS, it is difficult to say what puts a baby at more risk. However it is apparent that babies born prematurely or at a low birth weight are more susceptible. There is also a slightly higher occurrence in baby boys than baby girls.

Prevention

Unfortunately, SIDS can’t be completely prevented. However, a big part of tackling this issue is practicing safe sleep for your baby. Here are some key things to remember

  • Always put your baby to sleep on their back. Babies put to sleep on their stomach or sides are more at risk of choking, and young infants cannot turn themselves back over. Once your child is able to roll themselves, you do not need to worry.
  • Always put your baby to sleep in the feet to foot position. Place your baby in their cot or moses basket with their feet touching the end. This means that baby is unable to slip down under any blankets in their sleeping environment, and is less likely to have their face covered. This applies to all sleeping environments in which you are not holding them, i.e. a cot, moses basket or pram. Don’t let your baby sleep in a car seat, swing or stroller for a long period of time.
  • Keep baby’s sleeping environment clear. Don’t use cot bumpers, pillows, quilts or soft toys in baby’s bed.
  • Stop smoking. Do not smoke while pregnant or after baby is born, and do not allow anyone to smoke near yourself or your child. Research shows that 60% of SIDS deaths could have been prevented if the baby was not exposed to smoke.
  • Sleep in the same room as baby for the first 6 months to halve the chances of SIDS
  • Don’t let baby get too hot or too cold. Feel baby’s temperature by touching the stomach or back (don’t use their hands as a measure for their temperature as they are often cooler than the body). If baby is sweating or her stomach is very warm, remove a layer of blanket from them. The best sleeping temperature for a baby is 16-20 C.
  • Do not Co-Sleep if you or your partner has taken drugs, smoked or been drinking alcohol
  • Never sleep on a sofa or armchair with your baby.
  • Breastfeed as long as you can, or consider using a dummy (pacifier). This is a tricky one. Breastfeeding is thought to provide protection from infections which could raise a baby’s SIDS chances. I wasn’t able to breastfeed my daughter (cue mum guilt) so I settled for a dummy instead, which came in handy when my daughter had her surgery. Research shows that using a pacifier can reduce the risk of SIDS, though researchers are unsure why. So, if you’re feeling worried like I was, it could be worth a shot.

While this seems like a lot of overwhelming information, the best thing a parent can do is follow safe sleep advice, and try and enjoy the time with their new baby. If you have any concerns, speak to your GP or paediatrician right away.

In Emergencies

If you notice any of the following signs, call 999 / 911 immediately.

  • If your baby is struggling for breath
  • If your baby stops breathing or turns blue
  • If your baby is unconscious or seems unaware of what is going on around them
  • If your baby won’t wake up
  • If your baby has a seizure for the first time, even if they seem to fully recover.

What Mums REALLY want for Mother’s Day…

Tweet to @mummykindoff

Mother’s Day – it’s bittersweet for some, and I count myself in that camp. So, if that’s you too, I feel you, mama. Hold it together, you’re doing great, whatever the reason is behind why Mother’s Day kinda sucks for you. 

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day have always been difficult for me, having little to no family support from childhood and into my own journey of parenthood. So I get it, it can be a bunch of crap watching everyone else enjoy their loving family time that you’re missing out on for one reason or another. But now that I have had my own child, my outlook has changed because I’m more than just someone’s daughter now… I am the Mother on Mother’s Day, and my husband is the Father on Father’s Day – OUR little family is now the only thing I want or need to focus on all year round, including these days. Plus, I have an awesome Mother-in-law who is just always incredible and goes above and beyond for me like a mother should, so I love making her feel special, too. 

So, it’s creeping up on us now – just over a week to go! Maybe you’ll be leaving things until the last minute, or maybe you’re already organised… Maybe this post will inspire you, but it’s not the quick fix solution to your question of ‘what do I buy my mum for Mother’s Day?’… SORRY!

Mother’s Day, for me, isn’t about the gifts. Actually, my most treasured Mother’s Day sentiment was from my stepdaughter last year, who went out to the shop with her dad and her sister (my daughter) to find a Mother’s Day card, and SPECIFICALLY ASKED IF SHE COULD BUY ME A STEPMOTHER ONE. AND THEN SHE PICKED IT OUT AND WROTE IT OUT ALL BY HERSELF!!!!!

HOW EFFING CUTE IS THAT?

It brought more than a couple of tears to my eye, and I still have the card now. It made me feel loved and appreciated and acknowledged and, really, that’s all I would ask for.

Mums don’t want a Facebook post showing off in some silly online contest of ‘who has the best mum in 2019’. Yeah, it’s great if you want to brag about your mum, do it whenever you like, but it’s not going to mean as much as something far more thoughtful. Maybe I’m just cynical, but what is the point in putting it on Facebook? There isn’t any, except it’s a bit of a social norm now, almost like you have to prove that you’re a good child with an obligatory message to your Mum to say thanks. Say it in person! It’ll mean more.

Mums also don’t want to be showered in meaningless gifts – gifts are great, but we want something with some thought behind it, not just the first thing you saw on the shelf when you waltzed into Tesco. Something your little one actually picked out for their mummy – those are the sweetest kinds of gifts, though, granted, the presents themselves may be useless!

Mums want cards with nice messages inside, handmade or shop bought, but that you’ve taken the time out of your day to sit down and think about what you want to write, written it, sealed it with love and delivered in time for Mother’s Day so your Mum doesn’t feel forgotten about. Last year Olivia made me a card with handprints on it that made flowers – it was beautiful and that’s the kind of thing us mummies will treasure. Not every one of Olivia’s drawings (mostly of Rapunzel, not gonna lie) will make the cut of things I keep forever, but her little diddy handprints on a Mother’s Day card definitely will.

Mums want to spend Mother’s Day with their kids – it might not always be possible given the diversities of modern families, but a phone call or a video call if you can’t be there in person will go a long way.

And finally, Mums want to CHILL. It’s hard work being a parent; reward us, please. Give us a cup of tea and a chance to sit down somewhere other than the toilet. Dads, we promise we’ll do the same for you when it’s your turn. 

What have you got planned for Mother’s Day?

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“Momo” Isn’t the reason I deleted the YouTube app

 
If you haven’t seen the frankly terrifying pictures and stories of “Momo” flying around social media you must have been living under a rock. I’m not going to add fuel to the fire by showing the image here though, and I beg you not to search it (especially not on a device that your child uses ). If your curiosity really gets the better of you then please search with private browsing. Momo actually made a brief appearance last year some time as well, but it was much smaller scale than the current outcry.
 
This sudden influx of terrifying content has caused a lot of parents to delete the YouTube application from devices that their children use, and you can understand why, but for our family, YouTube has been problematic in other ways for much longer, and a few weeks back I finally just got rid of it. The result? A happier, more focused child.

Attention Span

Holding the attention of a three year old can be hard enough, when that three year old can channel hop between unstimulating videos there is bound to be a problem. I noticed that he couldn’t focus long enough to complete simple tasks like finding his shoes or getting a drink if he had been merrily skipping through YouTube videos. All of our TV is streamed through the Xbox so he could easily switch you YouTube once he figured out how to use the controller, letting it go on for so long is possibly my biggest regret as a parent.

Behavioural Issues

My son is three and I will be the first to hold my hands up and say he gets too much screen time. It’s a habit I fell into that I am not proud of but it is what it is. what I have noticed is this: YouTube turns my kid into an a spoilt, bratty nightmare. My usually sweet little boy was getting spiteful and short tempered after we let him use YouTube. Tantrums were magnified way beyond his usual upset and resulted in an outright refusal to engage in anything else.

Dangerous Content

Aside from Momo, there are plenty of unsavoury things on YouTube – some of which are accessible even in the supposedly safe YouTube Kids app. It’s not even all dangerous, sometimes it’s just kids being a little bit naughty, but it all influences young minds. Other times, your children’s favourite characters might be having sex, swearing or even threatening your children in the middle of a seemingly innocent video. My son was watching Polar Express themed videos and the related videos lead him to a version of The Polar Express recreated in Minecraft which then lead him to watch an adult Minecraft streamer who was swearing like a sailor. That was the day we deleted the app, enough was enough.
 
I see a lot of people saying it’s fine as long as you supervise your kids online but  let’s face it, if you had time to closely supervise every second of your child’s viewing you have time to turn the screen off and do something more constructive. Perhaps I am wrong, but I know that the reason I rely on TV at all is so that I can actually get something done in the house, I’ll often be in the next room. If I do sit down to watch something with my son it will be a movie, something that takes a bit more concentration and  has a storyline that actually interests both of us.
 
So, YouTube are clamping down on Momo content and urging people to report videos they aren’t happy with, but that doesn’t stop YouTube being problematic in other ways. If recent events have lead you to delete it I encourage you to keep it uninstalled, no matter how safe they tell you it is in the coming weeks.

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Things that new Mummies and Mummies to be are sick of hearing…

It might not be the same for all women, but you can pretty much guarantee that the second that you announce your pregnancy, comments will start to roll in. Quite often, positive and supportive comments, slowly start to roll into slightly more rude and patronising ‘advice’. I truly believe that most people offering this advice, mean well. However, I am a firm believer that- unless you are asked to give advice OR a baby appears to be at risk due to a new Mother’s uncertainty (even then, there are ways to go about this nicely!) then you shouldn’t feel compelled to launch comments and advice from your mouth, so sternly that it wounds. In fact, really you don’t need to mention anything at all.
Listed below are the comments that have got to me the most, in my nearly year and a half of being both pregnant and being a first time mummy.
“You can’t expect him (the baby’s father) to take an interest in the baby straight away. When the baby starts doing more, he’ll find the baby more interesting and become more involved!”
Okay! SO a man can partake in making a baby, he can do the dirty, the dance with no pants. BUT doesn’t have to commit any responsibility until ‘the baby becomes interesting’? If everybody had this outlook, babies would be solely raised by robots up until the age of around 4/5 months. Important bonds are formed within the first few weeks of a babies life, and although they won’t remember if someone doesn’t play an active role in their life during this time. The people who worked so hard to keep the baby happy and ensured that they were set to flourish, WILL remember.
AND it WILL hurt their feelings.
“Was it planned?”
IT?! IT?!  Regardless if a baby is planned or not, a child should not and cannot be branded as an ‘accident’ or mistake. If a woman has made it clear that she is happy with her pregnancy, referring to her unborn child as “it” is endlessly rude, disrespectful and hurtful.  Due to many issues, including but not limited to; Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, a right ovary that is believed to not be functioning properly, a cyst in my uterus, taking the contraceptive pill for hormonal control and the intended use. Topped of a with a very large bleed- Conceiving Florence was nothing short of a miracle for my Partner and our families.
This question is rude, hurtful and honestly? The answer is none of your business.
“Better get used to having no sleep!”
Nothing like new parents being filled with fear before the baby has even arrived. I have found this to be a total myth when it comes to my Baby’s sleeping habits, although I think that I am pretty lucky! Florence has slept through the night on and off, from exactly 1 Month Old and takes frequent naps… So no, I haven’t had to adjust to having no sleep YET.
Thank you for your concern.
“You’re not married? What a shame! I thought you were a good girl!”
Helllllllloooo! We are in the 21st Century where, lots of marriages last as long as a clean nappy. You don’t have to be married to have a baby. You don’t have to have a baby if you don not want one. You can use contraception can prevent pregnancy (well its supposed to, but there is enough stories on the baby group to suggest otherwise). You can have a baby if you’re a same sex couple. If a woman decides to keep a baby that was conceived after a one night stand and raise the baby herself? Good on her- A Happy mummy = A happy baby, and really, that is all that matters. We live in an age where families aren’t always ‘conventional’ and I think that it is beautiful. I’m no less of a person for having my daughter when I had her. Married or not.
Your views are outdated, please get with the times.
“Nappies are so gross! Hope you don’t mind yucky things!”
Nappies can be gross. butttttt… so is your sick after drinking too much and your own poop, for that matter. Worse stuff  has happened. I’m just going to leave this one here. It is so childish and so ridiculous.
You too sat in your own wee and poo. So you really have NO room to comment.
“Your body will never be the same again!”
It might bounce back, but it might not. Most women end up with stretch marks whilst pregnant, but some lucky ladies do not. I personally resemble an albino tiger- Pale. pasty and covered in stripes (haha) but you know what? My body is quite literally a temple of life. As shitty as it may be and even if I do hate it sometimes… My womb made a human life. I grew a beautiful, healthy and strong baby girl. I almost died getting her here, but I did it!
Now that, is pretty badass.
“Well, back in my day…”
Or
“Well, I didn’t do *that* and my baby turned out fine.”
I don’t know, I would like my child to turn out a little better than just ‘fine’? Yes, we get it. You weaned your babies at 3/4 months. Some smoked and consumed alcohol whilst pregnant because you had no idea of the risks, no one did! You didn’t have a massive list of foods to avoid whilst pregnant. Amongst many, many other fairly substantial changes, that have been based on research over a very vast time period. Times have changed and even if babies haven’t- Guidelines to keep them safe and healthy has changed too. No, we don’t need your opinions or comments on breastfeeding or formula. Dummy or no dummy. We’ll give you a shout if you need help though! 
Lets face it, we only want the best for our babies- regardless of if they are 23 days, weeks or years old.
Giving birth was a breeze for me, I cannot see what all of the fuss is about?”
Or
“Yes, I know about your experience, but mine was awful.”
Labour was easy for you? Fab! You go girl! Tell me about your experience! Labour was awful for you? Lets talk about it. I can understand your pain. Just because you had a baby and had no issues with labour, it doesn’t mean that everyone has had the same experience. Women need to be kinder to eachother and support one another with this massive life shifting change. Not turn it into some kind of competition between who had it the worst and who had it the easiest.
We’ve all achieved the same incredible result, so where is the love?
“There goes your social life! Wave goodbye to freedom, nights out and time to yourself!”
Haha. I will keep this short, but sweet. I didn’t have much of a social life before my baby. So I can say with confidence, that not much has changed. In fact with baby dates, I’m probably socialising more than ever.
“Everyone from school is having babies and I am over here, planning my next holiday.”
It’s great that you have a desire to travel the world. But, having a baby doesn’t stop you from traveling the world or doing anything else that you want to do. I am very lucky to have gone on numerous holidays a year, to a variety of places when I was growing up. I’ve been 1/5 of the American states and visited several different contries. In no way, do I feel that my baby has restricted my life or the way I wish to live. She has enriched my life tremendously and I couldn’t have welcomed her into my life at a better time.
“I hope that you’re planning on waiting before you have your next baby! You need time to enjoy this one!”
I don’t plan on having another baby right away, as having Florence was quite nearly the death of me. But, if I wanted to have another child so that my children would be close in age, then I would. Your opinions have no weight on how I decide to live my life. Or how anyone else should live theirs, for that matter. If you spent too much time planning for the correct time and suitable age gaps- you’d probably never have a baby, let alone multiple babies. If a women wants to have a baby straight after having two sets of twins… Her body may not like her for it- but that is up to her! Not you! 
You can stop it right now, with your “you two have been busy!” Crap. 
“How do your parents feel about you having a baby? Are they excited?”
My parents have always been incredibly supportive. This hasn’t changed since them knowing that I was pregnant or since having my baby. You know what? I was so ill before being pregnant with Florence, that my parents thought something was seriously wrong. So a baby was almost a relief to them. However, if they weren’t supportive- it wouldn’t change my wanting to keep and care for my baby. I think I speak for most Mums when I say that. You don’t need supportive parents to be a good parent. Ultimately, it matters to some people, to a degree as to what their parents think- but to some it means nothing. 
Having a baby doesn’t have to have anything to do with your parents. Although having amazing Grandparents is lovely for your children.
Oh, and the incessant and constant sharing of pictures showing horrific nappy spillages on to our Facebook walls, with a comment saying “Good luck, lol” needs to STOP. If you haven’t got anything nice or useful to say, don’t say it at all. 
I hope you enjoy reading these and feel a little less alone, in your constant battle against the views and voices of the world around you.

You’re doing a great job. 

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