As the old saying goes, there’s an app for everything! When you’re expecting, there are plenty apps to help you out. Great pregnancy apps offer smart tips, important health information, and a whole lot more, including some unexpected surprises. Some are even designed with the needs of dads-to-be in mind! We’ve scoured Google Play and the App Store to bring you five worth trying.
It is important for children to know how to cope with whatever life brings them, and we can start doing this in age-appropriate ways, starting from when they are old enough to vocalize their feelings.
You don’t need to be a helicopter parent, swooping in and rescuing your child every time the slightest thing goes wrong. They need to be able to learn some resilience even from a young age, so letting them fail from time to time and accepting that sometimes these things will happen. Studies show that developmentally inappropriate parental involvement can be associated with higher levels of child anxiety and depression
Here are some age by age coping skills that are valuable for children to learn.Read more: Coping Skills: Age by Age Tips For Supporting Children
There’s a huge difference between having your first baby, and having your second, third or fourth. I’ve only done it twice, but this weekend I’m going to a blessingway for a friend due her fourth baby. It’s really tough coming up with baby gift ideas for someone who already has every baby accessory they could possibly require, especially when they’ve been through it a few times already, and they know the best baby sling for nursing from the worst, or they already have the highchair that’s been perfectly fine for the first three, or they have more baby grows than their new comer will ever wear. Then it’s really only once baby’s here and you know what this child’s quirks are going to be that you can contribute.
So, since baby number 4 is an unknown entity at this point, I decided the best gift for this mama-to-be-again, is a gift for her.
My suggestion for a not-first time mama’s babyshower or blessingway gift is a nursing basket. Particularly since it’s something everyone can contribute to. Read more: From Drinking Bottles To Nursing Slings: Making Up The Perfect Nursing Baskets
Ameli was born in October 2009 and aside from a single prenatal class on breastfeeding, the sum total of my thought and planning on the subject of breastfeeding was “we’d best get in some formula, just in case”. I hadn’t considered “in case of what?” I certainly didn’t plan on becoming an active breastfeeding advocate.
As it turned out I fell in love with breastfeeding Ameli. It was so easy with her. We ended up doing a lot of things we’d never considered. The nursery remained unused as we coslept, the pram was sold in favour of a variety of slings. We travelled to 20 different countries in her first two years, and breastfeeding was just the simplest solution to everything from hunger to pink eye, comfort to ear infections. Breastfeeding worked for us. So well in fact that I had huge oversupply and ended up donating breastmilk to AIDS babies for the six months we lived in South Africa.
Breastfeeding did more for me than feed my baby. It led me to an entire tribe of mothers who were in many ways just like me. I stopped going to groups where people looked at you weirdly because you were still feeding a two year old and the first time I sat in a group of other mothers breastfeeding their toddlers, I cried, because I felt like I’d finally arrived home. Read more: Goodbye To Breastfeeding – 8 Years A Breastfeeder
There are several reasons for miscarriage during the first trimester of a pregnancy; unfortunately, they cannot always identified. A miscarriage during the first three months of a pregnancy is usually down to a problem with the foetus.
Although miscarriages are relatively rare, three out of four in Britain occur during the first trimester. Private pregnancy scans can sometimes identify problems before they lead to miscarriage, but some of the causes may be related to lifestyle.
Although there are several known causes of miscarriage, the most common fall into the following categories:
While many miscarriages are beyond the control of anyone, there are certain lifestyle choices that can make them more likely. Women who eat well and exercise during the early stages of pregnancy may already be at a lower risk of miscarriage than women who don’t. However, there is evidence to suggest that women who are obese are at a heightened risk of losing their baby during those all-important first three months of pregnancy.
It is now common knowledge that smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol during the first trimester can drastically increase the chances of a miscarriage. Women are advised not to drink at all during pregnancy, but if they do, no more than two units of alcohol per week should be consumed. To put this into some context, this equates to just one average-size glass of wine.
In a society where recreational drug use is on the increase, it is important to remember that certain substances also have the potential to increase miscarriage risk. There is also a risk involved with the excessive consumption of caffeine during the first trimester of a pregnancy. Government guidelines recommend that no more than 200mg of caffeine should be consumed in one day, which is the equivalent to just two cups of instant coffee.
Statistics show that the older the mum-to-be, the higher the risk of a miscarriage during the first trimester. Sadly, more than half of pregnant women over the age of 45 will suffer a miscarriage. Women aged between 35 and 39 have around a 20 percent chance of miscarriage, while women under 30 have a 10 percent chance of miscarrying.
A range of biological factors are determined by chromosomes – which are blocks of DNA. These chromosomes control everything from hair colour to how the cells of the body develop. Unfortunately, things can go wrong inside a foetus from the moment of conception, which often results in too many or too few chromosomes developing. If this happens, the foetus will be unable to develop in the normal way, and a miscarriage will occur. Despite a huge amount of research, the reasons for these chromosomal imbalances are still not clear. It is believed that up to two thirds of miscarriages during the early stages of pregnancy end this way.
Problems with the placenta
The placenta is an organ that directly links a mother’s blood supply with that of her baby. If there are structural or developmental abnormalities in the placenta, a baby’s access to oxygen might become cut off. One of the most common issues involving the placenta is a condition known as placental abruption. This is a very serious condition that can be picked up with a pregnancy scan at The Portland Hospital. It occurs when the placenta starts to detach from the lining of the womb. As well as miscarriage, this condition can cause growth and development problems in an unborn child.
Private maternity hospitals tailor prenatal care programmes based on a mother’s medical history and preferences. Carrying out the right scans at key points during a pregnancy can help clinicians to quickly identify issues that have the potential to cause a miscarriage.
A few months ago, we had a good look at our lives, and came to the conclusion that we weren’t exactly doing the best we could with our lives and with that, the lives of our kids.
Our home was crowded, cluttered and overwhelming. The children’s wardrobe was so full of clothes, it was bulging at the seams. No matter how many loads of laundry we did, it was never enough. I did a preliminary clean up of all Aviya’s clothes, and removed no fewer than 200 – two hundred – items of clothing, still leaving more clothes than she could wear in a month!
Ask my girls what they’d like to do, and the answer was always something that started with “watch” or “play” (a device). Ask them to play with their toys, and it would end up with boxes of toys strewn over the room, nothing really played with, everything just thrown about, and either an epic mission to get it all back in place, or I’d have to do it myself – clean up would take longer than play lasted, time after time, and it was becoming disheartening.
I felt like a failure as a mother. All our PlayLearning, all our Montessori style set-up and my kids had no imagination, no motivation and no interest in anything not screen based.
So we decided it was time to simplify.
Buckingham Palace this week announced that the Duchess of Cambridge is pregnant with her second baby, and that she is again suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum, or extreme morning sickness. If it was just the first part of that sentence, I’d say, “oh, that’s nice” and move on with my life, but with the announcement of Hyperemesis Gravidarum, my interest and empathy thoroughly perk up!
In her first pregnancy, I found the plethora of comments about how she just had to suck it up, how she was ‘delicate’ and other disparaging remarks quite upsetting, as someone who had suffered from the same condition but now I just look at them as signs of ignorance. Honestly people, if you haven’t suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidarum, don’t comment on it. As simple as that. Especially not if you want to say one of these things, because there are some things that you should never say to someone who suffers from HG.
I receive over 100 press releases a week, and mostly, I don’t go beyond the headline before filing them in archives where chances are I’ll never look at them again, but recently a survey conducted by www.myvouchercodes.co.uk, really caught my attention: breastfeeding in public.
Now, quite frankly, you all know my opinion on breastfeeding in general, but I thought the results of the survey were interesting.
I don’t know why we bother even calling it breastfeeding in public. We should just talk about feeding in public and get on with it, without apology or concern for the puritanical sensibilities of people who aren’t offended by bikinis, low cut tops, or perfume billboards.
What really excited me about the survey was the fact that only 21% of people felt that breastfeeding in pubs and restaurants was inappropriate. I know that’s still (marginally more than) 1 in every 5 people, but there was a time when it seemed like everyone was against it, so I see it as progress really. (Unscientifically. I don’t know how many people didn’t like it 10 years ago!)
The survey was only done by 500 people, and 21% of those said breastfeeding in pubs and restaurants was inappropriate (too right! Who wants to see anyone eating in a restaurant or pub, those houses of modesty and propriety!), and 18% thought public transport was an inappropriate place (I for one much prefer listening to a screaming baby all.the.way.home). I assume that the 18% who thought recreational areas were a no no are the same people who believe your life stops when you have a child (no wonder!) and one that made me laugh was the 16% who thought you shouldn’t breastfeed in town or city centres (I can’t even think of a sarcastic comment for that one!) – but you’re okay if you are in a shop that’s not in town – only 1% thought that wasn’t appropriate.
Mark Pearson from My Voucher Codes said: “We are aware that mother’s still feel persecuted sometimes over this subject and we hope that eventually breastfeeding in the places mentioned becomes the norm for them. And that we don’t keep seeing news stories, where a nursing mother has been told to hide away to breastfeed. ”
I agree with him, to an extent, so long as we don’t keep seeing it in the news because it’s no longer happening, rather than because we no longer care about it.
You only have to search breastfeeding on this blog to know that I am a huge supporter of full term or long term breastfeeding, and I do think that it’s by bloggers, friends, mothers, sisters and complete strangers giving a supportive smile, a knowing nod, offering a breastfeeding mother a drink (it’s thirsty work, folks!) that that 21% will be steadily whittled down, so that when my daughters have their babies, the words breastfeeding in public won’t even be used together anymore, but instead they’ll look back on ‘inappropriate breastfeeding’ as an antiquated and weird concept.
What do you think? Is public acceptance of breastfeeding growing?
Before Aviya was born, I put together a list of books to help prepare Ameli for the whole home birth and childbirth thing. This list has increasingly grown and grown, as I’ve found new books to add to our resources, which I now often loan out to friends about to have their second babies. Separate to the issue of the actual birth, however, is that of adding to the family, as this is something children – especially first or only children – aren’t really prepared for. While Ameli was lovely with her sister, I think it came as a bit of a shock to her when she didn’t leave when the rest of the family went back home! As such, I’ve now separated the two lists, so that there’s a great resource for those who need to help prepare siblings for the arrival of a new baby, irrespective of the manner or place of birth.
I hope you find it useful!
The book opens with mother, father, older sibling (which could pass as a boy or a girl) and baby in bed. Baby is breastfeeding and daddy is playing with the older sibling.
Later you see baby nursing again while OS eats a plate of finger foods, and on the next page, baby is in a sling while OS walks, with the words ‘I love walking. When will Baby walk like me?’ below it, so there are attachment parenting themes throughout, but it’s not alienating – baby is also carried in a bucket car seat, and cries during a nappy change before being put into a Moses Basket to sleep.
It’s a very simple book, and it doesn’t deal with the birth of the baby at all, but only with there being another baby.
I think it can be used as quite a useful tool later on too – reminding Ameli to put her own jumper on, like the girl in the book, while Mama dresses the baby, and so on. I also like the fact that though I think it’s obviously a girl on the cover, which works in our favour, you could get away with it being a brother, I think.
I Love You, Alfie Cub is a stunningly illustrated book about a little fox cub, Alfie, whose mama has a new litter of pups – twin girls. Mama Fox explains that the twins will take up a lot of her time and need a lot of love and care. Alfie is kind of excited about having new play mates, but by the end of the first day, they haven’t even grown yet! (I so relate to this. Ameli’s first question about her sister was ‘Can it walk? – at about 2 minutes old!)
Alfie’s Mama is tired, and falls asleep without reading him stories. She doesn’t play with him as much, and she is always busy with the twins. He fears that she has run out of love for him, so he spends the day looking high and low for love. A friendly frog reminds him that he still has love, so he can share his love with his mother. Alfie has an idea and sets about making a play space for his sisters.
The last few pages of this book make my eyes well up with tears. Seriously, I get so emotional. Alfie realises that his mother loves him, and she reminds him that she will never run out of love for him.
I Love You, Alfie Cub is so incredibly beautiful, it’s one of my favourites, it’s sweet, and it lays the foundation for older siblings to say that just because Mama is a bit busy right now does not mean that she doesn’t love or has replaced them.
There are a lot of subtle things in this book, like the toddlers bed pushed up next to the parents’ for an authentic family bed. In the explanation of what life with a new baby will be like, there’s a lot of inclusive language, like “You can come cuddle with us and meet your sister” or “Some days we could all nap together”.
There’s a mention and image of tandem feeding, although it’s not called that, folding up reusable nappies (called diapers in the book) and both baby and toddler are rear facing in their car seats. There’s even a picture of Mama wearing the baby and big brother “wearing” his baby, and another of daddy wearing the toddler in a back carry with Mama carrying baby in a ring sling.
It would be great if it were easily found in the UK, but I’d go so far as to say it was it’s worth importing.
The Magic Basket opens with Amy crying on her bed because she doesn’t want to become a big sister. Her mother brings her a piece of cloth, which opens up into a blue magic basket. Amy puts her hand in the basket, and out comes a feeling – curious – who guides her through how to explore her feelings. Being curious he asks her what she was doing when her mother came in, and next thing you know, another feeling – sad – comes into play. Curious and Sad help explore her feelings of worry about why her parents want another child, and help her realise that maybe they’re not trying to replace her, but ‘add to’ her. It’s a really lovely message, actually, and the transformation that comes from realisation and understanding is very sweet.
READER SUGGESTIONS OF BOOKS TO PREPARE SIBLINGS FOR THE ARRIVAL OF A NEW BABY:
I asked my Facebook followers for their recommendations of books, since I can’t possibly buy them all. Here’s what they recommended:
- There’s house inside my mummy – Giles Andreae “A gentle and tender story of a little boy waiting for his new brother or sister to arrive. Told with humour and a simple rhyming text, this is the perfect picture book for all expectant brothers and sisters.”
- Will There be a Lap for Me? – Dorothy Corey “Kyle misses his time on Mother’s lap while she is pregnant but is happy when the birth of his baby brother makes her lap available again”
- The New Baby (Usborne First Experiences) – This book is designed to introduce young children to unfamiliar situations in an amusing and friendly way. It features Stephen Cartwright’s delightful illustrations, providing lots to look at and talk about. It provides an ideal starting point for young children and adults to discuss first experiences.
What’s Inside Your Tummy, Mummy? – Abby Cocovini
– This book looks amazing. It’s the perfect book for introducing a young child to to the concept of where babies come from and how they grow. This is a great book to share and discuss all the changes going on inside ‘mummy’s tummy’.
Every month a new picture shows how big baby is and how far along a timeline (featured at the foot of each spread) baby has moved. The real attractiion of the book is the ‘life-size’ nature of the drawings, giving mother and child a fantastic opportunity to really explore what is happening, how big baby is in context to everyday objects and what baby can hear or indeed eats!
- What’s in Your Tummy Mummy? by Sam Lloyd – There’s something inside Mummy’s tummy. I don’t know what it could be. Perhaps it’s a buzzing flea or a chimpanzee? It’s getting bigger every day and Mummy won’t tell me. But you can lift the flaps to see! A wonderful and fun story for young children about a new addition to the family from much-loved author and illustrator Sam Lloyd.
Have you ever found yourself agreeing whole heartedly with an idea, but having no clue how to actually put it into practice? For example, the whole idea of positive parenting sounds just fab, doesn’t it? But when your four year old is making you want to tear your hair out and your one year old won’t stop whining and crying, how on earth do you parent them calmly, positively and with no regrets? Or does that only happen in my house? Say it isn’t so!
Well, I’ve read a lot of books on parenting over the years, but when the food I’ve just made at great pains is flung down with a ‘Yuk! I don’t like it!’… it can be very hard to stop and remember steps, or practice previously rehearsed mantras.
That’s where one of the first sentences I highlighted in Positive Parenting in Action, by Rebecca Eanes and Laura Ling comes in:
The first step in successful positive parenting is changing your mindset.
And that involves rewiring your brain from the way most of us were raised, and understanding the difference between the different parenting ‘styles’ (authoritarian, permissive and authoritative) and understanding the vast differences in what each of them means, looks like, and results in.
One of the first thing people always say to me when I say that we don’t hit, or we try to parent gently, is that children ‘have to learn’, and that is incredibly true. Of course we don’t want either rebellious teens fighting against strict parents, or brats, used to getting their own way – but there is a middle ground, and that is the ground that this book covers, lays out, explains and then helps the reader to really get to grips with, and relate to their own child and parenting.
This book is not going to change your child’s behaviour. It’s not going to work a miracle in what they do, but it will, if you let it, equip you with tools to really change the dynamic and atmosphere in your home. I absolutely love one of the lines in this book, where it talks about parenting in a way where “all emotions are allowed, but not all behaviours; one where love is unconditional.”
Positive Parenting in Action starts with a bit of background about the theory of positive parenting and dispelling the idea that ‘positive’ equals no discipline.
Then it goes into 15 sections of the types of things parents deal with: exploring (dealing specifically with potentially dangerous situations like trying to cross a road), tantrums, whining, lying (oh, this was eye opening for me! especially the explanation of lying because they are trying to manipulate, or lying because they wish things already were as they say they are! and with understanding, it makes so very much sense now!), meal times, potty learning, and more.
Each section offers scenarios. This is so useful! It has given me the opportunity to relate it to my child, and to her behaviours. I already want to reread all the scenarios, so that they will become part of my thinking – a shift in my expectation and paradigms! – and help me parent more consciously.
This really is my heart’s desire, and I’m very grateful to the authors of this book for laying it out so nicely and taking it from the vagaries of ‘well, we don’t hit but … we kind of muddle through‘ to using our words with purpose, and understanding our children’s perceptions of the world and lowering our expectations too, realising they are actually only four and one! It’s already had an impact on our home, and with it our harmony as a family.
Positive Parenting In Action is part of the Essential Parenting Collection, offered by my affiliate partner, Mindful Nurturing. You can get this lovely eBook, paired with 34 other quality eProducts for only $49.97/£30.45/AU$55.78.
Alternatively, you can get the module on Mindful Guidance for $19.97/£12.17/AU$22.29, giving you:
- Positive Parenting in Action
- Setting Limits with Young Children
- The ABCs of Conscious Parenting
- Raising Mindful Kids
- Parenting Softly
- A Survival Guide. Positive Parenting for Children with ASD
- Keep Your Cool – How to Stop Yelling, Spanking and Punishing: What to Do Instead