Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Potty Training Charlotte - Day 2

Thanks to Mummy Central for the Potty Training In A Week

So we’re onto day 2 and I wasn’t sure if Charlotte would want her pants on or not but after breakfast I asked her if she wanted a nappy on or pants and got told most definitely “pants”. The timer has gone today and it’s just remembering to ask her every 15 to 30 mins. She wanted to sit on the potty every 5 mins though but quite often said no when I asked her. Suddenly she came running to me holding her bits so I said come on let’s sit on your potty, she said “no” so I didn’t push it but I thought she did want a wee and yes I was right. Next minute she was crying and was having an accident. I reassured her it was ok and quickly sat her on the potty explaining that’s where she should sit when she wanted a wee. Cleaned up and carried on. I think she understands what to do, it’s just learning to put it all together and get to the potty when she needs to. I have to go out to the doctors later (my stupidly swollen tonsils) and not sure what to do. She’s not quite ready to tackle potty training while we’re out and would hate it if she had an accident while at the dr’s but don’t want to put her back in nappies just so I can go out.
Decided not to bother with the dr’s. I’ve coped with the sore throat/tonsils for over a week now so another few days won’t matter. Not having much success today. She’s had 2 accidents so far and been quite upset afterwards so knows she should go on the potty. Each time I calm her down, telling her it’s ok and then just carry on as normal. Supposed to be helping at breastfeeding café in the morning but don’t know if I can risk it, partly because of my tonsils and partly because of how potty training is going.

Today was a bit of a disaster with every wee and poo being an accident culminating in a total meltdown from Charlotte telling me she wanted a poo and finally asking for a nappy back on (no poo though). Had she had at least 1 wee on the potty then it would have helped. I know she will get there but thought we might have had a little bit more success on day 2.

Have to go out tomorrow and Fri so have asked hubby to get me some pull ups and see if she manages better with those. I’ll keep on asking her but I think it might take some of the pressure off.

Potty Training Charlotte - Day 1

Thanks to Mummy Central for the Potty Training In A Week

We’ve had the potty out in the bathroom for a few months now and we let Charlotte use it before bed, usually with her nappy still on without any results but it was getting her used to sitting on it. Last week we went out and let her pick out some pants (well lots of pairs of pants actually, hope it’s enough) and some waterproof shoes for days out.

I had planned to potty train Charlotte this week because it was the first week of the school holidays, all our clubs were shut, plus Isabel was going away for the week so I would be able to give Charlotte my full attention. However both girls and myself have been ill. Isabel got better fairly quickly but Charlotte is still poorly and my tonsils just aren’t getting any better so I decided to put it on hold. So Monday came and went and Charlotte was still in nappies. Tuesday I was going to do the same and put potty training on hold until next week, would be harder with 2 around but at least we should all be well by then and more able to cope. However by mid morning Charlotte had other ideas and asked to go upstairs to the toilet. Her nappy was still dry from when I changed her at about 8am.

Day 1
So today (Tuesday 26th July) is day 1. She picked out her pants; we got the big potty out for downstairs and got out the changing mats for under the potty and on the sofa. I printed out a Potty Training Sticker Chart and showed Charlotte her stickers and explained how she would get a sticker for every wee or poo on the potty. Not sure if she gets that yet but we'll see.

The training says set the time for 5-minute intervals but Charlotte thinks every 5 seconds is about right. That last for about half an hour until she realised that she only needed to sit on every 5 mins or if she needed a wee. 1st accident and she looked so shocked but I just reassured her and cleaned up. Carried on with the timer and kept trying to distract her to do other things as well. She was sat watching a film when she got up and took her pants off. I asked her if she wanted a wee – “no” was the reply but she kept trying to sit/squat and stupid mummy didn’t get the signal and accident number 2 on the carpet. I felt so bad that I hadn’t realised what she was trying to tell me. She was fine and I cleaned up. By this time she was getting tired so I put her nappy back on, gave her a feed and she had a sleep. When she woke up she was still sleepy so nappy ended up staying on until almost bedtime when she asked for pants on again. So no successes but definitely not a failed day at all. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Breastfeeding Flashmob Leeds - challenging low breastfeeding rates in the UK

Well last week was Breastfeeding Awareness Week and seeing as the Government had deemed fit to cut the funding for any organised events, I decided to organise one of my own, after seeing an event that was being organised in London – a breastfeeding flashmob. What an excellent idea!

I set up a group on facebook, sorted out a press release and tweeted like mad. After the first couple of days we only had a few members and I didn’t think it would happen but over the weekend and the following few days an amazing 200+ women joined the group and so things were looking good. Media were informed, as were local newspapers. I wasn’t sure who would cover the story and when I didn’t hear anything back I had my doubts anyone would.

The day of the flashmob arrived and I “reminded” all the media and sent them my contact details. Luckily, Leeds Television & a lovely lady from BBC contacted me. Unfortunately though, I didn’t realise they needed permission to film in the venue – Leeds Station, which had been kept a secret and so couldn’t actually film anything but Yorkshire Evening Post were there and I heard we made page 2 of today’s edition.

I arrived at the station and there were a few other mums so because we were early decided to go for a quick drink. Went to the main meeting place in the station to be greeted by about 60 mums and a reporter from RealRadio. I could have cried. All these ladies were here to support something I feel so passionate about.

At 2pm we all sat down and had a lovely breastfeed, much to the amazement of the public. We didn’t get on negative comment or stare and that was lovely or maybe they just didn’t dare. We wanted to get across the message that breastfeeding in public is fine and mums shouldn’t feel self conscious or embarrassed to feed their children. We certainly weren’t there to have a dig at bottle-feeding mums. It was breast v society not breast v bottle and I hope this is what we achieved.

These are a couple pictures my daughter took on the day but there are more on Real Radio Yorks facebook page.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Breastfeeding Flashmob Leeds - challenging low breastfeeding rates in the UK

Friday  24th June, central Leeds.

Breastfeeding mothers will all nurse their infants together in a flashmob, organised by a breastfeeding mother from Sherburn In Elmet.

The mothers want to celebrate National Breastfeeding Awareness Week and call for a more breastfeeding-friendly UK.  The flashmobbers also want to highlight our country’s shockingly low breastfeeding rates.

Many women feel inhibited about breastfeeding in public despite the equality act passed in 2010 that protects women, allowing them to breastfeed their baby anywhere regardless of the baby’s age. The sight of a nursing woman is rare in the UK, contributing to the feeling of unease felt by some people when seeing a woman breastfeed in public.

Of the 1,200 women who took part in an online poll run by Mother and Baby magazine and supported by the National Childbirth Trust, 60 per cent felt that the UK frowned on breastfeeding mothers and 65 per cent intended to not breastfeed in public for fear of being stared at.  Two thirds maintained that feeding their baby in public had been a stressful experience, and more than half of these had been asked to move out of a restaurant, cafe or coffee shop when they were feeding.

Mother of three and winner of 2003 Celebrity Mum of the Year Award, Melinda Messenger, says: “The law says mums have the right to breastfeed anywhere but they can be put off by uncomfortable looks and embarrassed stares so we need to challenge British reserve and celebrate the act of breastfeeding in public.”

Overall, only 45 per cent of UK babies are exclusively breastfed at one week, 21 per cent at six weeks, 7 per cent at four months and only 3 per cent at five months of age (source: Office for National Statistics). This shows there is something seriously wrong with the breastfeeding culture in the UK. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the NHS both recommend exclusive breastfeeding until six months of age. WHO also recommends breastfeeding alongside other foods for at least two years.

The flashmob is an independent group of nursing mothers who hope to achieve the following through this mass nurse-in event:

• Encourage mothers to feel confident when they breastfeed in public.

• Help those who do not feel comfortable around nursing mothers to feel more at ease.

• Call for a more open- and healthy-minded attitude to breastfeeding for future generations.

• Remind people of the breast’s primary purpose, a natural part of our existence.

• Get breasts in the media for the right reason.

 The originator and main organiser of the flashmob, Sharon Spink, says “I was shocked and angered that Government funding had been cut for Breastfeeding Awareness Week and felt compelled to do something to make more people aware of the benefits of breastfeeding. The UK has the second lowest breastfeeding rates out of 36 European countries and I find this appalling. If we can encourage even just one more mum to breastfeed then it will be worth it. Unfortunately, society has a very prudish attitude to breastfeeding and yet it should be seen as normal. We are holding this event to show Leeds that we are normal and that breasts are first and foremost designed to feed our children.”

Sharon recruited the breastfeeding mothers through Facebook and by posting on various parenting and pro-breastfeeding websites.

Some of the mums in the flashmob have been made to feel acutely embarrassed by ill-judged comments from staff in hospitals, famous high street stores and coffee shops.

Media enquires to:
Sharon Spink – Flashmob Main Organiser

Additional Information:
WHO Breastfeeding Facts and Statistics

The Office for National Statistics performs its Infant Feeding Survey every five years. The figures from the 2005 survey were published in March 2008.

Mother and Baby survey, carried out in conjunction with NCT.

NCT Document summary: Key Baby Feeding Statistics from the 2005 UK Infant Feeding survey.

National Breastfeeding Week Info for 2011:

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Support Habiba. IMMF Give Her Baby Back

Spanish government authorities removed 15 month old nursling from mother's care due to her refusal to wean her child by force

Nine days ago, on May 31st, a Morrocan mother known as Habiba had her child taken away from her without her consent, allegedly because she breastfed her child on demand. Due to her dire financial situation, Habiba had been living with her 15 month old daughter in a women's shelter in Madrid (Instituto Madrileño del Menor y la Familia- IMMF-, which roughly translates to Madrid's Family and Children's Institute).

In later declarations and radio interviews, Nacho de la Mata, her lawyer, informed the media that Habiba had left her child at the facility's daycare center as usual, and that the child was taken away immediately from there. She was then notified that she could no longer live at the shelter, for this facility only took on the care of mothers and she no longer had a child.

Fundación Raíces, a humanitarian organization, immediately took on Habiba's care, providing psychiatric evaluations, performed by well know birth rights activist and author Dr. Ibone Olza, along with legal services, healthcare and financial aid.

According to anonymous information released in the press, supposedly coming from the IMMF, Habiba's child was taken away from her due to her failure to comply to the center's "Psychotherapy and Maternal Habilities Program", allegedly because she was "a violent person", although there are no records of this alleged violence.

Dr. Olza, the psychiatrist who evaluated Habiba, as well as a psychologist, whose name has not yet been released coincide in their impressions on Habiba:
"I'm under the impression that [Habiba] is a sensible and loving mother, with a healthy attachment to her child." 
"It is obvious that this separation is highly stressful for the nursling and I can easily predict oncoming symptoms of psychic distress if the physical and emotional bond with her mother is not immediately restored"
"Based on Habiba's thorough psychiatric evaluation I have reached the conclusion that this woman does not suffer from psychiatric disorders nor does she have a drug habit. In my opinion, she is a very capable, loving woman who is now suffering enormously from having been abruptly separated from her child."
"As a child psychiatrist, I know that suddenly separating a fifteen month old child from her mother, transfering her to a government facility with no one the child is familiar with present, causes great damage that could have enduring psychological consequences, if not reunited as soon as possible."
Habiba is not only suffering emotionally but also physically. The day Dr. Olza took on her care, she was suffering from engorgement and was on the edge of developing mastitis. Dr. Olza helped Habiba  express her milk and took a half liter of breastmilk to the IMMF. After a lot of persuasion, and arguments about how it would be a crime to waste this mothers "liquid gold", the IMMF accepted the milk although that poses no guarantee upon the child ever being fed it, as Breastfeeding is strictly forbidden in all child welfare group homes

This news appears to contradict the strong support of breastfeeding in Madrid's breastfeeding and parent-child bonding programs for health professionals. Thus the IMMF's attitude on breastfeeding, and their opinion on it, calling it "chaotic and damaging to children" has caused great alarm among mothers everywhere, not only the breastfeeding community. According to declarations in the newspaper, allegedly coming on behalf of the IMMF, the reason for separating mother and child has nothing to do with their breastfeeding relationship, yet after saying that the child was removed from her mother's care "temporarily and the case would be reevaluated", they warned Habiba beforehand that nursing her child during their one hour weekly visit was absolutely forbidden supposedly because "it would be contrary to the child's institutionalization".

On Saturday June 4th, Dr. Olza decided to seek public support for Habiba's case, and started a Facebook Group called Que el IMMF permita que Habiba amamante a su niña YA (IMMF please allow Habiba to breastfeed her child right now). In less than 24 hours, the group grew to over 2000 members, and currently has over 3500 (and continues growing by the minute).

Yesterday, Habiba was allowed to visit her child, for only an hour. After nine days of being apart, they were reunited for only sixty minutes.

Since information on this case became public, other similar cases of women being forced to wean their children upon threats of their custody being taken over by the state have been brought to light. A public petition in Spanish was signed by over 3500 people, and another 5200 have sent personal letters to the IMMF and other Spanish authorities, as well as Save the Children, Amnesty International and other NGOs to express their support for Habiba and request her to be reunited with her child as soon as possible.

This morning, a Spanish newspaper published further declarations by Dr. Olza about Habiba's impression upon meeting her child briefly yesterday:
"My little girl is no longer the child I knew, at first she wouldn't even look at me... she has lost half a kilo, she looks very thin, this is not proper childcare, she had circles under her eyes, she started crying as soon as I picked her up but then she would stop immediately as if she didn't have the physical strength to cry any longer, she didn't seem like my daughter, she looked like a dead child, a doll".
Dr. Olza explained to the Spanish authorities that the child's reaction was perfectly predictable under the circumstances:
"She wouldn't look her in the face, she looked at her as though she was a complete stranger, not wanting to go near her, [another possible reaction could have been] the contrary, not wanting to let go of her mother afterwards." 
"... it was absolutely predictable that the child wouldn't seem happy upon seeing her mother given the circumstances," which is something that an untrained observer could [but should not] interpret as "the child not loving her mother, or that [Habiba] was not a good parent". 
"On the contrary, the fact that she reacted this way is proof that the child has suffered enormously from this deep feeling of abandonment"
Not only has the child been traumatically separated from her mother, but there also aren't sufficient caregivers to provide children with the nurturing that they need. After visiting the shelter at which Habiba's baby is being held, Fundación Raíces told the press that during night shifts, there are only two caregivers for 42 children under the age of six

Minutes ago, Dr. Olza, published the following urgent request, asking all supporters currently residing in Madrid to please protest in front of the IMMF right now:
Less than one hour ago, a representative of the IMMF in charge of Habiba's case has verbally accepted that she sees " her child one hour a week in order for her to maintain their breastfeeding relationship" to which the president of Fundación Raíces has replied that he obviously has absolutely no knowledge whatsoever about breastfeeding. His response was that the IMMF would evaluate the possibility of more generous visitation rights. We ask you all to please go stand and protest in front of the IMMF building right now to request that this institutional abuse upon Habiba is put to an end immediately. The address (in Madrid) is Calle Gran Vía 14. The following is extremely important: please take the picture above printed on paper to use as masks during the protest, Habiba does not wish for her face or anyone else's to be displayed in the media. We will all wear this drawing as masks because We are all Habiba.
I'm perfectly aware that this story seems very much like a hoax, but with well know professionals such as María Teresa Hernández, member of the Spanish Pediatrics Academy's Breastfeeding Commitee, award-winning lawyer Nacho de la Mata, well reknown authors and birth activists Isabel Fernández del Castillo and Ibone Olza, among others backing the information and giving their personal impressions on the matter publicly, things seem greatly believable.

If this story has touched your heart, if you wish to help in any way, please share this post. If you have a blog, please re-publish this information, if you know anyone in the press, anywhere in the world who could help in any way, please do contact them.

If you know some Spanish and would like to read further about Habiba, please refer to the following articles, with more detailed information:
If you wish to support Habiba on Facebook, please join this group in Spanish, or this international page with other translations, including English and French.

Please sign the public petition in Spanish, or in English (rough translation).

Thank you!

Many thanks to Annie, from PHD in Parenting for her help.

Image credits, Louma Sader Bujana,

Friday, 8 April 2011

Why Are Children So Cruel?

Photo c/o Clipart

Why are children so cruel? A simple word or gesture can be so hurtful to another child. This may well be done without the culprit even realising but sometimes said on purpose.

Maybe they haven’t thought through their words or actions enough to realise the consequences or just can’t even see it from the other child’s point of view but that doesn’t make it right. These actions can then be made worse when the parents don’t react to the action or word and explain to the child why what they did/said was wrong or hurtful. I would like to think most parents would get their child to apologise if they had seen/heard what went on but so often children say or do things when there isn’t an adult around. Are they bullies or just don’t have the ability of empathy?

So as parents what can we do if our child is on the receiving end of these incidents – comfort them, obviously but how much further do we take it? Would you speak to the other child involved, their parents/teacher? Explain to the other child how horrid they are being? Accuse them of being a bully?

Where does it end? Will these children go one to be cruel adults or will they hopefully learn that you can’t say/do unkind things without consequence? How can we help them as adults?

Friday, 25 March 2011

My Baby Is Having A Baby

Son & Daughter 21 Years Ago
Waking up this morning to find a text from my eldest daughter was a bit odd but with the school rush etc I didn’t have a chance to ring her back. It wasn’t until about 10am I had the chance to sit down and ring her. What I wasn’t expecting was what she said – “hello grandma”. What? Did I hear her right? I’m going to be a grandma? Yes, I had. She told me she had done the test and it came up 3-4 weeks pregnant. Now if it had been me and I was in her situation I don’t think I’d have been so eager to tell everyone so quick. She has been seeing her boyfriend for a lengthy 4 weeks, neither of them have a job - in fact her boyfriend is only 17 and still at school until the summer when he turns 18. He is still living at home with his mum & daughter is spending most of her time there too after she moved back to her dad’s despite the house being up for sale. To say I was in a state of shock is an understatement. I admit to having a bit of a cry.

[Section removed]

So yes I’ve come round to the idea but I’m still not looking forward to telling my parents. It’s almost as bad as when I had to tell them I was pregnant 23 years ago when I was just 19.

Daughter with her little sister

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

A 21st Interpretation

Well it’s been far too long since I updated my blog so seeing as we had a very hectic weekend I thought it only too right to update you all on our two main events of the weekend.

So it started with hubby taking the kids out for the morning so I could get on with preparing the food for Sat night. It was my oldest daughter’s 21st birthday and yes we were having a party! She’d told me that there were about 35 coming so on went the oven and timings were worked out (these later went out of the window). By 6 o’clock the food was ready and I was just about ready, kids were dressed and yes of course we were late. Quick text to say we were setting off soon and just last few bits to sort. Food was packed carefully in the car and off we went. I had to keep reminding hubby that there was food in the boot as he went over bumps and round the corners. “Oh yeah I forgot” was all I kept getting.

Arrived at the pub to find my parents and daughter there with her latest boyfriend. Set up the food, still running late. Her dad and his girlfriend arrived and just plonked the cakes on the floor for us to set up – grrrr, men!

We all sat around for about an hour and realised that the only other people coming were some of her dad’s family. So yeah that’s right none of her “friends” that she’d invited could be bothered to come and help her celebrate, no text, phone calls or nothing. Despite this we had a good time and yes we did all the silly dances, much to the amusement of the others. We left my daughter dancing the night away because we were going to the Royal Armouries the next day and the littlies were falling asleep.

So onto Sun and the day of the Interpretation Department’s big send off at the Royal Armouries.

If you don’t know the Interpretation Dept is being disbanded very quietly on 31st March after 15years of showing us their fantastic skills at bringing history to life. Well they’re going as quietly as several men and a woman can in armour with swords, poll axes and loud voices. It is such a shame as they do a fantastic job and make history interesting and real for children and adults alike.

Well there were 14 performances on Sunday, there’s normally only about 4-6, and so you can see how much extra work was involved. Our dilemma – which ones to go and see?

I know one of the men in the team so I wanted to finally see him in action after only chatting to him on facebook occasionally because we were at school together. Due an injury though he wouldn’t be doing any fighting but I certainly wasn’t disappointed in his 2 performances as Britain’s most brutal executioner, Jack Ketch and then as British Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger.

My two nephews were with us too so it had to be the battles as the other choices – the two-handed sword combat, “The Soul of the Samurai” and the poll axe combat. Again, excellent performances from all involved.

It is such a shame that such an important part of the Armouries is going to vanish and I really don’t think the management have thought about the long-term effect this loss will have on the museum. As my friend said – it is not an interactive museum but the interpretation team certainly make it interactive. We can only hope that the management realise the error of their ways and bring back this fantastic team of people.

So if you find yourself in Leeds, before 31st March, wondering what to do, then please take a trip down to the Armouries and see the last few interpretations before it’s too late and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

Monday, 28 February 2011

I've Got A New Hat

Well I’ve finally had my breastfeeding peer support worker induction and have found out just how careful I have to be and how restricted I am about what information I can give out. Basically I am not allowed to mention North Yorkshire County Council unless I’m at one of their centres or sessions i.e. a Baby Café. This is to make sure myself, my family and any families I come into contact with are not put at any risk, which is a good thing. So therefore anything I say on here or anywhere else online will be my personal opinion but with the knowledge that I have had some additional training.

I’m really looking forward to be able to help as many mums as possible with breastfeeding either at the children’s centres or anywhere else. It just means that if I’m not at a NYCC session then I will have my “well informed mum” hat on rather than my “NYCC Peer Support Volunteer” hat on. Maybe this is a loophole in the system but if it means I can help more mums then great – that’s what I want to be able to do but I also want to do it safely without putting anyone in a risky situation.

I’m currently doing the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers’ Mother’s Support Module and so should be able to work under that hat easier and hopefully next year I will start the AMB’s Breastfeeding Counsellor training. This will take 2 years but hopefully this will mean I won’t be as restricted about how I can help other mums to breastfeed & in some cases stop breastfeeding because I’m certainly not against any mum that chooses not to breastfeed. I just want to give mums informed choices and support in their decisions.

So if you need any help with breastfeeding then please remember I’m a well informed mum unless you see me at Sherburn In Elmet Children’s Centre or Selby Breastfeeding Café. Both of which are great places to get support.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

One Very Special Little Girl

Ok well I’m supposed to be doing some training but I am too excited now to work.

A few weeks ago I had an email from Tommy’s asking people to nominate children for their Champion Children’s Awards

Well I have a friend with a very special daughter so I hesitated for about 30 seconds before deciding I was going to nominate her for an award.

I sent the following email:

I would like to nominate my friend's little girl E for this award.

E was born in Nov 2007 at 28 weeks gestation weighing a very tiny 1lb 4oz. Despite being so tiny she proved to everyone what a little fighter she is and after spending an amazing 5 months in hospital she was finally allowed home with oxygen. I'm not sure exactly when she finally gave up her dependency on the oxygen but it was a bit of a battle for her with numerous trips back to hospital with breathing difficulties. Once again E fought all the odds and has gone from strength to strength. She has been left with chronic lung disease and severe deafness because of her prematurity but she's on the waiting list for cochlear implants so that should see another improvement in her very limited speech. She is currently learning to sign with the help of her fantastic parents. She started nursery recently and this has given her mum and dad a well-earned break each morning because she a lovely but very lively little girl. She really does deserve to win this award because she has battled against the odds and come out fighting. She is a very special and wonderful little girl and her mum and the rest of the family would be so proud to see her win an award like this.

Her battle to survive was followed not only by friends and family but also an online community that both her mum and myself are part of. I cannot stress deeply enough what this little girl has been through and how much she means to everyone that knows her in real life and also online.

To be honest I had forgotten all about it until yesterday when I received a lovely email from Tommy’s stating the E had won an award and would be invited to an award ceremony in London but they needed her mum’s contact details.

I didn’t want to hand out private details so did a very candid text, tweet & Facebook post to get hold of her mum to make sure it was ok. I’m not sure how much sleep she got last night but I didn’t want to spill the beans until Tommy’s had spoken to her. Thankfully she was over the moon and is now frantically doing some retail therapy to find a new outfit for them both.

I’m so glad I made the right decision and have made her mum very happy. She is a very special little girl and really really does deserve this.

Friday, 18 February 2011

4 Cakes, 2 Parties and a Birthday Tea

Well what a week it’s been! My mum and dad arrived on Thurs with a pre-birthday cake for Isabel but we didn’t get round to eating that because we were all going out for my nephew’s 5th birthday at Pizza Hut with hubby’s side of the family. That was a bit stressful, partly because I just think it was too late and all the kids were tired from school but we survived.

Then came Sat and it was nephew’s party. In her wisdom, my sister in law had decided it would be a good idea to have the party at home. When we arrived there were several small boys just running up and down the lounge and they didn’t really stop until it was time to play a game and then eat. Her house isn’t the biggest and so it just seemed to have children everywhere you went. My two really enjoyed it though but I’m not sure we were popular with the other parents when both of them won the pass the parcel prizes. No we didn’t rig it!

Sunday and it was time for Isabel’s party. I had been trying to make her a birthday cake in the shape of Cinderella but it just wasn’t happening. I realised it really wasn’t going to work when I put the doll in the cake and it only came up to her knees! Isabel really didn’t look happy when I asked if I could break the legs off her doll, oops. Bad Mummy! So at the last moment, it was a mad dash off to Sainsbury’s for a substitute cake, leaving Isabel at grandma’s house so she wasn’t sick in the car. Managed to get her a Toy Story 3 one, not what she’d asked for but best we could do in the time. Finally got to the party venue, Polka Dots in Garforth – and almost all her guests were there but still no sign of Isabel. The party went really well and then we all went back to grandma’s house to unwrap the presents. She got some lovely presents. (Mental note – must send out thank yous).

Tuesday 15th Feb was her actual birthday so I invited family round here for a birthday tea. Of course this meant another cake. I had been to a different Sainsbury’s and managed to get her a Belle cake. When she saw it her face was a picture. It was just what she wanted! Woo hoo I finally got the right cake. Wished I’d done that in the first place though. House was manic and I spent ages in the kitchen sorting out food but it was worth it.

Now what do we do for Charlotte’s 2nd birthday………….

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Small Things Come in Beautiful Packages………Unless you want trousers.

Sorry but I have whinged about this to my hubby for too long and now I have to get it out.

For my birthday & Christmas I had asked for some Next vouchers so I could update my wardrobe. I desperately needed a new pair of jeans and previously had bought them from Next. I knew their short length ones would fit. How wrong could I have been?

It seems that since I last bought trousers from there that someone in their infinite wisdom had decided that the leg length of all trousers needed lengthening by 2 inches. So what used to be petite is now the length that regular trousers used to be and reg is what long used to be. Well at 4ft 11” a 29” inside leg is 2” too long. What research did the manufacturers do before they altered these sizes?

So anyway off I tripped to our local outlet village to the Next Clearance shop on the hunt for a pair of jeans. I scoured the rails looking at every pair. Yes you do have to search through every pair because they don’t think it’s a good idea to put the sizes on the hangers. There was 1 pair in my size but regular length – far too long. I was with my oldest daughter so as I walked away I was having a bit of a rant when a lovely member of staff asked if I was looking for something specific.  I told her what I was looking for and off she went. Back she came with about 5 pairs of jeans. Great, I thought. Nah wrong again. I could have petite or my size, not both. So I left empty handed.

Off we went to the Next shop to see if they had any in. I thought it might just be the clearance shop that didn’t have any in. Trailed round and I found 1 pair but they were just regular ones that were cropped length. They looked like they fitted. I asked a member of staff if they had any short/petite length ones in my size. No they don’t do them in that size. So same as the clearance shop I could choose leg length or fit.

I tried on the cropped ones and they fitted and were the right length. Fantastic! That is until I actually came to wear them for more than a minute or 2. They won’t stay up. As soon as I start to walk or bend over they start to work their way down so my backside would make a builder proud.

So do I keep them or try and return them and end up without any jeans to wear?

And what size am I? ….. well I’m a size 18. Not that huge and considering at least 40% of the female population is size 18 or above. Next are clearly not catering for their market.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Fussy Eaters

Cutter from Lakeland - anything to get her to eat!

After having yet another meal refused by my almost 5yr old I decided I need to see how everyone else copes with their fussy eaters.

The main things she refuses are potatoes, rice, pasta and anything with sauce, well except for schools savoury mince. What do they do with it?
She will eat cereals, sandwiches if the crusts are cut off, fruit, although she’s informed me tonight she doesn’t like apples anymore and most fresh meat including bacon. The bacon was something she virtually lived on while we were on holiday in Mallorca. Good job father in law knows most of the restaurant owners and we could get away with asking for a plate of bacon for her.

As for getting her to eat new things we have tried everything bribery included. She will try a new food but is usually saying yuk before it even gets to her mouth. We insist on her having school dinners on the days where the option is something I know she has eaten previously so she gets to try new things but most of the time she comes home saying she’s only eaten a little bit of whatever it was. So am I wasting my money and should I give in to her wanting packed lunch every day – not that they get eaten? 1 bite out of 2 quarters of a sandwich is hardly eating it.

If she’s had a lunch at school I’m happy for her to have sandwiches but if not then it’s a cooked tea. She will happily eat cheese or beef spread sandwiches or cereal for every meal if I let her or delightful processed meat but no chips or potato. If she hasn’t eaten at least half of her meal then it’s fruit or yoghurt for dessert, although I’m stopping the frozen yoghurts as she sees them as a treat and so doesn’t see that she is limited because she hasn’t eaten her meal. If she does eat it then she can have a choice of dessert – she usually picks yoghurt anyway but she will ask for biscuits or chocolate but then I only offer her fruit or yoghurt if she’s still hungry.

When she’s at home she’s constantly telling me she’s hungry but I’m not surprised because she hardly has any carbohydrates to fill her up and because of this she continually wants to snack. I try and limit snacks to healthy options but biscuits and crisps are a usual favourite. I have tried to give her just meals to see if she will eat them but this makes no real difference. She seems to be a grazer though and I wonder if this causes problems at school when she doesn’t have access to food all day.

We don’t get a chance to eat as a family Mon to Fri because of the time hubby gets home and I’m often working on a weekend but when we can we do try and sit down and eat together, in front of the tv or at the dining table.

So do I carry on as we are hoping she will eventually get better or do I try something else?
How do you deal with your fussy eaters?
Do you have any tips for me to try and get her to eat more things?

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

I Think I'm Losing My Marbles

This morning I’ve had to do the school run twice just because I forgot my daughter’s wellies. We had a text message yesterday to ask us to bring them in and daughter has been reminding me all morning but yes I still managed to walk out of the door without them.

So am I losing my memory or is it just down to trying to remember too many things?

As busy mums we all have a hundred and one things going on in our heads at once so it’s not surprising we forget things once in a while. It’s just I seem to have got to the point that if I don’t write it down in triplicate then I’ll probably forget it.

Is this an age thing? I am 43 after all and so things do start going wrong as you get older oh and start going south too but that’s another blog.

Maybe I’m just not using my brain enough. I watch quiz programmes and can answer a lot of the questions, well unless it’s Egg Heads, and I play games online and on the Wii but I’m definitely not using my brain to it’s full potential. Again I think this might be partly to do with the fact that I’m at home with the kids all day. Do working mums have the same problem, is it worse for them because they have extra things to remember or do they remember things easier because they are using their brains?

Let me know what you think. Do you forget things or do you have a knack to help you remember?

Monday, 24 January 2011

Breastfeeding Rules According to Baby

Ok so I can't take credit for these but unfortunately I can't remember where I saw this first but I wanted to share. Hope it gives you a giggle and you can associate with some of them.

Mummy. Focus, please.

1. You do NOT talk to the other people in the room while you are feeding me. If you do this, I will pull off and glare at you accusingly.

2. You are to stroke my head or my back (the arm is also permissable) while I am feeding. A failure to do so will result in a whinge.

3. Laughter is not permitted. Laughter causes me to chomp on the nipple, hard. You will learn, eventually... I can do this all day.

4. Feel free to feed me in a noisy place, but do not contribute to the noise yourself. Mummy must be silent while I am eating.

5. You must smile back adoringly when I pull off and grin at you cheekily, not wince at the pain I am causing your nipple.

Failure to adhere to any of the above will result in pain for us both.

6. I like to have something to grab onto while I drink. If this means pinching Mummy's breast or arm, digging my nails into her collarbone, pulling her hair or clawing at her face, she will ignore it and continue smiling adoringly at me

7. Dont even try to be discreet mummy ... i like to be able to touch the boobie when im feeding.. Part B - if you cover me with a muslin wrap, I will play with it, and expose your boobie to the entire planeload of people getting on board!

8. Other children must be relegated to their appropriate place in the pecking order when I am having MY boobies.

9. If I fall asleep at the boob I am to stay there AT ALL COSTS. DO NOT attempt to burb me or put me down, I will scream like a banshee.

10. (as they reach toddlerhood...) Mummy, I am a big boy now and I try to inconvenience you as little as possible. I try to help myself to your boob when the thirst takes me and I am fully capable of lifting up your shirt, but you are determined to wear those damn bras. So I will flap your shirt up and down and make whimpering, "excuse me, I am PARCHED here" noises until you deal with it!

11. Mummy is not allowed to have hot meals. If a hot meal is threatening to be eaten, I will intervene with demands to be fed my dinner, which will save you from the dangers of eating hot food. Be grateful, Mummy - I am doing you a service.

12.- I will take as long as I want to have my milk. Even if I am usually an efficient feeder I will have a leisurely 45min banquet when you are at the shops and have a thousand things to tick off your list. And beware- if you try to rush me, I will not be happy.

13. I love playing with your eyes and eyebrows, I will get angry if you try to stop me and may bite. I don't care if it means your make up gets smudged.

14. Breastfeeding is the perfect time to practice my acrobatics. There isn't any point in trying to get my to lay nicely in your lap like I used to. I want to jump around, put my feet in the air, reach around the back of you etc. If you lay down, and let me climb and dance around you while I'm feeding, I'll be much obliged.

15. Do not bother asking me to have one side and then the other. Both breasts must be exposed. Breasts are a buffet to be sampled left and right, left and right as I choose. I have a discerning palate, you know!

16. I never wait.. When I start grizzling that special grizzle you step up with the boob please. NOW not in 2 minutes NOW

17. If I decide to pay attention to my older siblings and ignore the breast, SO BE IT.

18. If I want to feed all night, it's your duty to obey.

19. And long after you've given up breastfeeding, expect me to come to you after a hard day's play and greet MY boobies like old friends I haven't seen in ages! This will include putting both arms down the front of your top for a boobie bear hug, or could end up with you wearing your top over your face while I greet them - while everyone watches on!

20. Your boobs are fair game. If they are out, they are mine to latch onto, even if I've already been fed.

21. You must not try on bras at the shops without offering me a feed. It is not fair to dangle those boobies in front of me and then put them away like that. That's just teasing and I won't stand for it.

22. I will pick the point just before a let down to pull off and have a good look around so anything and anyone within a 1 metre radius will cop a good spray.

23. And don't think you can sit on your lappy typing one handed on these forums and ignoring me.........I will keep kicking your arm till you stop typing and start paying attention to me so we can continue with the above 22 rules!!!

24. I will stand outside the shower whilst you try and shower in peace, with a pleading look on my face, yelling "Mummy boo boo??!!"

25. Unless the ENTIRE world has seen your nipple today, I will not be happy and will continue to show it off any chance I get

26. I am learning the parts of the face, therefore when I poke my finger in your eye, up your nostril, in your ear and in your mouth, while breastfeeding, you must repeat endlessly "eye-nose-ear-mouth", to my infinite gratification

27. You must let me check that no one else has taken the other boob while I am on this one oh and let me pinch you too mum!

Friday, 21 January 2011

Tiny One Has A Cold (again)

Tiny one has a cold (again) and isn’t sleeping very well. Well worse than normal. She was up every two hours last night and it got me thinking about when children sleep all night. From almost the moment they are born we, as parents, get bombarded with the “are they sleeping through yet?” question but are children this young meant to sleep all night?

I have had 3 children that slept through (i.e. from 7pm til 7am) from about 8 weeks old and one that at 21 months still wakes up at least twice for a feed. This has been a bit of a shock to the system but it’s just part of our life now. She goes to bed at 7pm and I know she will wake about midnight for a feed and usually again at about 3am. Then she sleeps until about 7 when we’re all up for the day. She has taken to napping at about 3pm for about an hour and I know this isn’t helping but it’s the walk to school that does it and there’s nothing I can do about that.

So are babies meant to sleep all night and if so when?
Having read this article - I have realised that no they aren’t really meant to sleep all night & if you’re breastfeeding then it’s really important to your milk supply if they don’t. Also if you are co-sleeping and therefore feeding in bed then you will get more sleep, as you will probably nap while baby feeds. I do this occasionally, especially if she decides to wake at 5am instead of 3. I am sure that these night feeds, or lack of them, are what led to my other daughter’s shortened breastfeeding time and the weight loss but I can only ponder on that with hindsight and I suppose I will never know and it’s not worth losing sleep over. She’s healthy and happy and that’s all that matters now.

I have come to the conclusion that if you have a baby that sleeps through quite early then you are lucky but if you don’t then you are lucky as well. Ok so the mum’s of sleepers get some extra sleep but we get extra cuddles.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

7 Things You Don't Know About Me

Ok well thanks to Joanne at tagging me in her & Things You Don’t Know About Me blog I suppose I now have to reveal 7 Things You don’t Know About Me. I think I’m going to struggle to think of 7.

  1. I have 4 children, 1 boy and 3 girls. All were born by c-section but that’s another blog. There is a 16-year gap between baby #2 and baby #3 though.

  1. I hate clowns. This is from watching the film version of Stephen King’s It. They scare me and I can’t stand to watch them. I won’t take my kids to the circus in case there are clowns there.

  1. I met my husband on a sort of blind date after going out with a friend to “hold her hand” and asked her date to bring someone along. We’ve been together 13 years, married for 6 1/2yrs and have 2 children.

  1. I once took the nursing entry exam because I wanted to be a midwife. I passed but couldn’t have lived on the £4k a year they were paying student nurses. Now I want to be a breastfeeding counsellor. I’m part way there having just trained as a breastfeeding peer support worker.

  1. While we were on honeymoon in Thailand, I went white-water rafting.  Despite the fact that I have a fear of getting water in my face oh and ripping half my toe nail off I absolutely loved it, especially when we saw the wild elephants.

  1. I lost my granddad on 08/09/10 - can’t forget that date can I. He was 95 and still very active and happily driving his car. I miss him terribly and think about him every day. These pictures were taken just a few days before he died.

  1. I am related to Lord Byron (the poet). We are directly descended and I suppose this answers a few questions about my personality. We are allowed to use his coat of arms but that’s about all that’s left of his estate after he squandered all his money on drugs and young boys. Maybe I'd best keep quiet about that though, lol.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Breastfeeding Is.....

When asked recently on to describe breastfeeding in 3 words the replies were extensive but certain words kept cropping up again and again – normal, lovely, the best….
So what does breastfeeding mean to me. Well for me it means lots of things but watching my little girl feeding herself back to sleep last night it was just beautiful. She was calm, contented and well…..just so beautiful. I really wished I’d taken a picture but that would have woken her up again and spoiled the picture.

Don’t get me wrong it’s not always this picture of blissfulness. We’ve had our tears and battles. At 21 months she’s still not sleeping through the night. I don’t mind most times but when she takes forever to go back to sleep it does wear me down but I can always offer her another feed and this calms us both down. Oxytocin is a wonderful drug.

To my little girl, breastfeeding is so much more than her needing food. She will feed whenever she needs any sort of comfort, just fancies a cuddle or wants some mummy time. She knows that I’m always there to offer her whatever she needs and whenever she needs it.

So breastfeeding is lots of things to us both.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Road to breast-feeding success, lined with sharp stones (or in my case acrylic beads)!

This post was previously featured on but seeing as it tells the story of how I got to where I am now I though it was a good one to start my new blog with.

I have got 4 children now and have breastfed all of them with varying degrees of success. Kevin, my first, was born when I was only 19 and despite wanting to breastfeed I was also very self-conscious about it and sadly gave up after only 2 weeks. I think it was my fear of feeding in front of other people especially my ex-father in law that caused me very quickly to switch to formula feeding Kevin. He’s 23 now and it has obviously not done him any harm. When Kevin was 2 ½ & I was 22 I had Sarah. Breastfeeding went a little better this time and I managed about 4 or 5 weeks but this time I think it was my fault for stopping. Bottles seemed like an easier option especially when I had a toddler to look after as well, how wrong I could have been.
Move on 16 years and I found myself re-married and expecting baby number 3. Isabel was born in 2009 and I was now a much older and worldly mum of 41. I had also found a great bunch of ladies on an Internet forum that were a veritable mine of information and advice – thank you all of you. Breastfeeding was one of the things I wanted to get right along with how she was born. I’d had 2 previous c-sections and was determined to have a natural birth this time. Well unfortunately that didn’t happened and there I was having c-section number 3. I’d learned about how important skin-to-skin contact was and getting that all-important 1st feed in so kept asking the staff as soon as she was born when I could have skin-to-skin with her. I was so frustrated when I was told it wouldn’t be until we were in recovery. I thought it would be too late and my ability to breastfeed would be ruined. How wrong I could have been. Isabel was great and knew just what to do but it was short lived and by day 3 & 4 she kept me up all night screaming the ward down and me flooding it with tears. We had a lovely midwife that sat for ages with me and got her sorted. We didn’t look back and carried on, not without the odd problem though, for another 4 months. Sadly she started loosing weight – gain 1 week but back again the week later and so the only advice I got was to top her up with formula. I cried buying the carton of milk and cried even more as I gave her it. Mixed feeding was not something I wanted to do but it worked for another 2 months until one day Isabel turned away and refused to breastfeed.
So it was time for baby number 4 and I was more determined than ever to breastfeed. Yet another c-section loomed and despite hearing stories of mums struggling to breastfeed after a c-section I knew as long as we had skin-to-skin contact as soon as possible and she got in that first vital feed we should be ok and yes we were. Had a blip on day 2 so luckily I’d had the foresight to take my Kari-Me wrap in with me so I despite it being the middle of the night I popped her in and off we went for a walk down the ward to get a drink and some toast. Luckily we’ve never looked back.

An idea emerges!
 Don’t get me wrong – it’s not been plain sailing. I’ve shed many a tear but I knew that we could get through it. I had tremendous support from my lovely hubby and my online friends too. Without them I wouldn’t know half as much as I do or have had as much conviction to do a lot of the things I do. That’s where the idea for my business, Booby & The Beads!/pages/Booby-The-Beads-Nursing-Necklaces-Reminder-Bracelets-more/157477778613, came from too. At B&TB I make and sell a range of aids, designed to be both attractive and useful when it comes to breastfeeding, be it helping you remember which breast you fed from last to necklaces which keep babies interested on the job in hand, well boob but you see what I mean and can help avoid the inevitable scratching or pulling at hair, clothes, glasses etc. I’d never heard of nursing necklaces until they were mentioned in a thread in the Baby Talk Room of Hitched I did my research, bought a sample one. When it arrived I looked at it and decided I could make them and actually do it much better than the one I’d bought!
From the first necklace, the range has erupted....! Reminder bracelets were a natural progression, then came the children’s version, just because I’d had several little girls asking for one just like their mummy’s. I adapted one of the children’s bracelets to add in a mobile number so it became a safety feature if the child ever got lost. Recently, I’ve realised they would work for dementia sufferers too and only the other week I took an order from a gentleman that wanted to wear one while he was out on his bicycle because he never took any id out with him. The dummy/toy clips started with one I made for Charlotte to save me constantly having to pick up her toys (she doesn’t have a dummy) from either her pushchair or highchair. Key rings are a recent addition and my latest project is Baltic Amber Teething Necklaces, that help calm and relieve teething pain. Clearly there is a lot of truth in the saying “No rest for the wicked!”

For me, achieving breastfeeding success was not easy and looking back I am grateful for not only the support, but the wealth of helpful hints and tips I was given. Many of these have resulted product ideas.

To find out more about my products, view the range, see where I’m exhibiting next or to buy then visit......!/pages/Booby-The-Beads-Nursing-Necklaces-Reminder-Bracelets-more/157477778613 or drop an email to