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I left my au pair at the airport today and cried all the way home. This actually took me by surprise and when I rang my mum I cried even more leading me to hang up quickly as I had to get myself together before my next meeting. This is how most of us live our lives these days, putting on a brave face even when we don’t feel up to it.

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My son James is ice pop obsessed, even in winter. Every shop we go into he stands by the freezer with a long face then he looks up and flutters his long eyelashes pleading with me for “just one mum”. Like a broken record I explain to my four year old about ice pops having too much sugar but of course he doesn’t care because he’s four and I sound like a demented lunatic in the shop trying to reason with a child who simply does not care about the health benefits or lack of in the ice pop he so dearly wants.

 

I know the rules or indeed the advice about not using food as a reward system or using sweets for treats as it may lead to emotional eating problems in later years but I live in the real world and we have to deal with so much on a daily basis that sometimes ice pops and the odd sour squirm have indeed been used to preserve my sanity at times.

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It’s for this reason that I’m really excited about Claudi & Fin! But who and what are Claudi & Fin I hear you say. Well they are none other than the ice pops to end my ice pop nightmare. Let me explain: There are a few things I am extremely passionate about in life. One is supporting other mums in business and another is trying to get our kids to eat healthier and this week London based mums or “Mumpreneurs” Lucy Woodhouse and Meriel Kehoe are answering at least one of my prayers by launching one of the UK’s healthiest lolly brands called Claudi & Fin into Ireland.

 

Like most parents nowadays Lucy and Meriel became frustrated at the lack of healthy snacks available for kids so Lucy said they decided to see if they could come up with something themselves so they hit the shops, stocked up on tonnes of healthy ingredients, whipped out the blender, and the rest is history.

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The frozen lollies are named after their daughters and chief taste testers, Claudia and Fin – both 3 ½. They are made from Greek style yoghurt and jam-packed with fruit. The lollies are made with absolutely no artificial ingredients and come bursting with added Vitamin D. With obesity rising at an alarming rate its good to know these lollies are also low in sugar and calories

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All the ingredients were chosen very carefully for example the creamy Greek style yoghurt has two benefits; the first is that it tastes amazing and the second is that it has almost twice the protein of ‘normal’ yoghurt and lower levels of naturally occurring sugars. It’s also a good source of calcium, potassium, zinc and vitamins B6 and 12.

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They use full fat milk because not only does it taste better but when you strip out the fat, you also strip out the vitamins; A, D, E and K. Add to that a growing body of recent evidence that shows us a clear link between reduced-fat products and weight gain in children. There’s also lots of real fruit puree in the lollies as they provide essential vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre.

 

If you ever been to one of my shows or heard me being interviewed it’s unlikely you’ve escaped my vitamin D obsession. James asks for his every day now and believe it or not an astonishing 70% of children aged between 1-4 in Ireland are deficient in this vital nutrient, leading to serious issues like rickets and bone deformities. It’s really difficult to get the quantities of Vitamin D we need from a normal, healthy diet (just 10% comes from food) and as we reduce our exposure to sunlight for other health reasons, things don’t seem likely to change.  The government now recommends we give kids aged between 6 months and five years Vitamin D supplements. So if you are choosing a treat at least these treats have 30% of your child’s recommended daily intake of Vitamin D added to them.

 

I imagine my little man will become dazed and confused when we are in Supervalu next week and he asks for an ice pop and I get more excited than him and maybe I’ll even have one myself!

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The lollies are available in Supervalu and Centra and come in two delicious flavours – Mango and Strawberry, both priced at €3.50

TODAY, FEBRUARY 25TH, IS THE SECOND ANNUAL NATIONAL BABY DAY

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It’s is a day that celebrates all things parenting and encourages parents to take a moment to cherish the magic of discovery with their child. Ahh it’s days like today that make me want another little baby. I have always been baby crazy so maybe someone would be kind enough to lend me a baby for national baby day!!!???????

All joking aside, this is the second annual National Baby Day launched by Nurofen for children. Today to celebrate the launch of the NEW Nurofen for Children Cold & Flu & Pain range, pharmacies nationwide will provide advice to parents on children’s ailments such as cold & Flu and pain while also giving away 70,000 free thermometers (no purchase necessary).  I got mine this morning so thank you Nurofen!!

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Nurofen for Children, has also donated €5K today towards the play facilities at the Emergency Department of Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin

Our children’s hospitals consistently and constantly need funding. Coping with a sick child can be difficult for the whole family including siblings and after all the biggest worry you should have as a child is what to play with next!

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Nurofen for Children also conducted some research which showed that three quarters of Irish parents admit to missing a minimum of 15 or more hours from work per year to stay at home and care for a child suffering from a cold or flu. Well if they had interviewed a very stressed mother in this house last week it would have been a full week.

Children can suffer up to 8 colds per year and lets be honest if they are in school and creche they are a lot more likely to pick up whats going around. It can be really tough trying to find a good work/life balance especially since life is full of surprises.

Here’s what their research found:

Parenthood

·       Three quarters of Irish parents admit to missing a minimum of 2 days + from work per year to stay at home and care for an unwell child

·       Nearly half of working parents are likely to stay at home if their child is unwell with a cold or flu with Irish mums (46%) taking more time off than Irish dads. However,  the majority (56%) of parents said they agree to take it in turns and surprisingly only 19% admitted to arguing over who should miss the day at work

·       Working mums are more than likely to call on a family member or friend for help with childcare (35% mums vs. 7% dads)

The Workplace

·       Positively 78% of working parents claim that their boss is somewhat understanding and receptive to them taking time off work, as long as it’s not a regular occurrence.

·       However, 22% stated that this is frowned upon by their boss. Of these, 12% are expected to make alternative arrangements for their child, while 10% said their boss finds it difficult to find cover for their role in their absence.

·       When at home caring for a child that is unwell, shockingly 55% of working parents admitted that they worry their colleagues will perceive them as being unreliable or not serious about their jobs should they need to take time out of the workplace to care for a child suffering from a cold or flu.

Treating colds & flu

·      Majority of Irish parents are clued in when it comes to recognizing cold & flu symptoms in their child such as a sniffle or blocked nose (84%), fever (78%), sore throat (53%) and earache (23%)

·      With antibiotics being no help against cold & flu viruses, it was a relief to hear that 88% of Irish parents felt confident in treating the symptoms of cold & flu at home with 3 out of 4 parents choosing ibuprofen to relieve their child’s symptoms

Nurofen for Children Cold & Flu & Pain range provides quick and long lasting relief from Cold & Flu symptoms such as fever, earache, sore throats and body aches and pains.  Available in Orange and Strawberry flavours, both are sugar free and available from pharmacies nationwide.

So what do you think?? Do you use Nurofen?? Is your boss understanding? How do you cope with colds and flu?

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myleeneMyleene Klass tweeted to nearly half a million followers about a request from a mother at her daughters school in regards to an upcoming birthday party and gift request.

The mother suggested in the email that the other parents give £10 towards a gift that each child wanted, one being a kindle, the other a school desk. I have thought long and hard about this and have heard, read and listened to many arguments from both camps but my opinion remains firm.

I have never attended a birthday party for a child even when I was a child myself without a gift of some kind except for this year when my friend Tara asked us to donate to a charity instead of bringing gifts as she felt her son had way too many toys.

I personally love the idea of giving €10 towards a gift that the child will actually use and be grateful for instead of receiving 30 presents most of which will never be touched or wanted anyway. In my opinion this is not about greed or indeed the parents being pushy and rude but I feel it actually shows solidarity amongst parents for a change. Finally Mums are working together and coming up with sensible options for birthday presents. In a local school here in Castleknock mums have asked for a €5 donation towards a lego fund for kids and we all know how expensive Lego is, so is it not better that the child gets something they actually want and appreciate??

There have also been comments in regards to children not receiving gifts at all. As a parent I’m well aware that many of our children want for nothing these days but with birthdays come presents and I’m not a great fan of extremities. Finding a happy balance is the key.

 

Regardless of anyone’s opinion though including Myleene’s, as a celebrity and a person in the public eye she has used her celebrity irresponsibly here and taken something that was a private conversation between parents and put it on a public forum and publicly bullied the other mother. She should never have used her twitter or any other social media to mock another mother at her child’s school. The school in question costs £5,000 a term so my only surprise was that the parents were asking for so little as I have lived in London and witnessed ridiculous and lavish gifts exchanged between toddlers never mind school age kids.

 

The fact of the matter is her kids could be the ones to suffer at school now as they could potentially become a target for bullying but just look at where the cycle begins? Bullying at any level in my opinion is completely unacceptable and something Myleene should have thought about before using her fingers!!

 

Irish mum Heather Kennedy saw the craziness that has evolved around birthdays and has created a business called www.Gololly.com This site aims to take the hassle out of shopping for kid’s birthday party gifts. It also takes the pressure of parents who are busy and under pressure to attend parties that can become quite costly and really what can you honestly buy for €10 these days?

 

The reality is that being served with a children’s birthday party invite means constant planning, shopping, wrapping and delivering of birthday gifts. Mom as the primary care giver in most households holds the responsibility of purchasing gifts and if she has 3 kids that can stack up as many as 60 gifts she has to buy each year – and that’s just her obligation gifting.

With Gololly.com Heather wants to turn this chore for mums into a choice for kids ; empowering them to make their own gift choices and I personally think this is a great idea.

 

With Gololly parents and their kids can now set up a cash gift fund online and invite their party guests to contribute towards one big ticket gift, saving them the hassle of shopping and buying gifts that may or in my experience will be wasteful.

 

Research shows us that only 1% of gifts are still in use after 6 months post party so as a parent I would much rather my five or ten euro go somewhere than nowhere. Its simply not realistic to expect kids to get nothing.

 

Ideas like Gololly.com and the mums at Myleenes school solve 3 problems in my eyes:

 

  • For Mum, it’s a killer app solution to another of life’s problems.
  • For Party Guests, is a way to give a useful gift, that’s always wanted.
  • For Kids, it’s a way to get the stuff they really want.

THIS VIDEO IS ABOUT CO-SLEEPING AND SWADDLING WITH MIDWIFE DOREEN BUCKLEY

This valuable and effective settling technique has made a come back due to the preferred sleeping position for babies. Babies positioned on their back are considered at less risk of SIDS, however they will often stimulate the moro or startle reflex with their movements, and wake up. Swaddling or wrapping helps to overcome this concern, by recreating the safe in the womb feeling for baby.

The practice of swaddling goes back nearly as far as human history, itself. The oldest archaeological evidence of mothers swaddling their babies begins in 4000 B.C. The ability of swaddling to soothe and calm babies has been known to mothers around the world for countless generations. But while the evidence of its benefits have been clear to women for thousands of years and across every continent, today we can turn to science for proof that swaddling is one of the most gentle, effective, and beneficial practices for mothers and their children.

In 2002, the medical journal Paediatrics published a study that explained why babies who are swaddled sleep more peacefully by preventing spontaneous movements (called reflex motion) from waking them up continually during the night. The same year, the Journal of Applied Physiology wrote that swaddled infants stay in REM sleep (the most restorative, deepest sleep) longer than those who were not swaddled.

Swaddling is said to be as familiar to babies as it is to their mums because it recreates the secure and cosy feeling of the womb – and using swaddles made of natural cotton muslin swaddles only enhances that blissful feeling. Muslin is a finely-woven breathable fabric believed to have originated in Bangladesh during the Middle Ages. It’s delicate, yet durable weave, makes the fabric stretchy, and therefore ideal for swaddling, as the natural give allows the blanket to be tucked snugly around a baby without being overly restrictive.

The lightweight muslin also permits air to circulate around the baby’s body, while still providing comfort and warmth without the worry that the baby may overheat in moderate weather. Cotton muslin is also a workhorse fabric, in that wraps woven from its natural fibre stands up to repeated washings only becoming softer – and better – with age.

Of course, all the scientific evidence in the world is no substitute for the experience of millions of mothers through uncountable generations – that swaddling in muslin is one of the most loving, gentle, restorative acts a mother can perform for her child.

Swaddling : Fresh from a foetal position, infants are not used to wide-open spaces. Plus, they don’t know that their arms and legs belong to them. When they are overtired, you need to immobilise them, because seeing their legs and arms flail about both scares them as they think that someone is doing something to them – and the experience heaps more stimulation onto their already overload senses. Swaddling may seem dated, but even modern research confirms its benefits.

 

To swaddle properly : Fold the corner of the muslin blanket down into a triangle. Lay your baby on top, positioning the fold level with his neck. Place one of his arms across his chest at a 45-degree angle and bring one corner of the blanket snugly across his body. Do the same with the other side. I suggest swaddling for the first six weeks, but after the seventh week, when baby is first trying to get his hands to his mouth, help him out by bending his arms and leaving his hands exposed and close to his face and swaddle from under his arms.

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Pack of three muslin swaddling blankets €49 www.cherishme.ie made using rayon from bamboo fiber. Aden and Anais wraps are the ultimate in breathability and softness. Muslin’s light, open weave allows a baby’s body temperature to regulate itself naturally, which helps to reduce the risk of overheating.

Important: If you choose to swaddle, be sure you know how to do it correctly. Improper swaddling by tightly wrapping your baby’s legs straight down may loosen the joints and damage the soft cartilage of the hip sockets, leading to hip dysplasia. Be careful not to cover your baby’s head and face. Do not use heavy blankets to swaddle as this may cause the baby to overheat.

The SIDS debate continues to arouse controversy:

The best sleeping arrangement for babies and children continues to be a subject for study and heated debate. Depending on the spin put on a particular piece of research, one study can appear to contradict another. A study by the Department of Child Health at the University of Glasgow, published in 2005, suggests that there is no risk in co-sleeping with a baby over 11 weeks old, they did find a risk if SIDS, not only from co-sleeping but also from a baby sleeping in a separate room but their conclusion that co-sleeping with very young babies is risky contradicts the research carried out among populations in other parts of the world.

So let’s go back to the science of SIDS :

As we have seen, SIDS is caused mostly by unstable breathing and an immature cardiovascular system. It is known from scientific studies that separation from the mother’s body means the baby moves into a primitive defence mode, which can result in wildly irregular breathing and heartbeat. After six hours, a baby separated from his mother has stress hormone levels twice as high as a baby whose mother is close by. In contrast, being in close bodily contact with the mother stabilises a baby’s heartbeat and breathing. That said, there will be many parents who remain anxious about sleeping in close contact with their babies. If you feel uncertain about the issue, you can swaddle your baby to sleep in a cot right beside your bed, where you can instantly reach out to him when he cries.

Sharing a bed with your baby:

Keeping your baby close to you helps you get to know your baby and to recognise when they are hungry and wanting to feed. In hospital, you are encouraged to have your baby with you by your bed at all times. When you go home it is recommended that your baby shares a room with you, particularly at night, for at least six months, as this helps to protect babies against cot death.

If you are breastfeeding, you may find it helps if your baby shares your bed at night. This can make breastfeeding easier because your baby can feed whenever they want without disturbing you too much. Your baby will usually lay on their side to breastfeed. After feeding the baby should be put on their back to sleep, never on their front or side. It also helps to calm your baby if they are unsettled, and many babies sleep better when they are close to their mother. However to ensure safety, there are a number of points to consider before you think about having your baby in bed with you:

You should NOT share a bed with a baby if you (or any other person in the bed):

  • Are a smoker (no matter where or when you smoke)
  • Have drunk alcohol
  • Have taken any drug or medication which could make you extra sleepy
  • Are otherwise unusually tired to a point where you would find it difficult to respond to your baby because this will increase the risk of cot death

There are also a number of things you need to be made aware of if you are co-sleeping:

  •  The mattress should be firm, flat and clean
  •  Make sure your baby does not get too warm. The best room temperature for a baby is 16-18’C
  •  It is best to use cotton sheets and cotton cellular blankets rather than duvets or quilts
  •  Do not swaddle if you are sharing a bed with your baby

 

Written by Doreen Buckley, registered General Nurse and Midwife and

Gold Medal winner. Lactation specialist with 30+ years’ experience, a

diploma in Neonatology and Diploma in Parent Mentoring. Doreen is also

a Parentcraft education teacher and a baby coach expert with a certificate

in sleep training, holistic infant massage and reflexology. Doreen also

presents ‘Baby on Board’ for RTE Ireland and provides private childbirth

and early parenting one-day courses for couples with their first baby. For

more information visit: www.doreenbuckley.ie

 

Article is supported by aden + anais, the leading swaddling and baby care brand. aden + anais founder, Raegan Moya-Jones is the author of Swaddle Love, a how-to book about swaddling, techniques and benefits. For more information visit: www.adenandanais.co.uk

 

 

In this series I look at our body hangups especially post birth and I also share some of my favourite beauty and make up products…

WEEK 2 MINDING MUMIn our second week of our “minding mum” series I’m going going to look at body image and also share some of my top beauty tips I’ve picked up during the past 20 years as a model.

 

Most of us especially during our teenage years go through periods of insecurity and unfortunately we carry a lot of these issues with us into our adult life. Through media and our circle of friends it’s easy to become obsessed with our body image often creating unrealistic expectations for ourselves. During pregnancy our body is literally creating a miracle and post birth we have got to give our bodies time to heal and recover.

 

We are bombarded with images of actresses and models in the media who days later it seems look absolutely amazing. They are back at work and back into their old clothes or are they? Well it may seem some of them are but having lived in this industry for over half my life what you’re not seeing is what goes on behind the scenes. Most of them have an enormous amount of help that includes personal chefs, trainers and hair and make up artists that come to their homes every day. Pop a stylist into the mix who is helping you to dress your new body and hide any lumps, bumps and insecurities you might have and hey presto you are camera ready.

 

On the flip side of this most of us completely forget about ourselves post baby. I know that during my pregnancy I have never treated myself so well but afterwards I was simply too tired. The focus shifts to the baby post birth not just from you but also from your wider circle, your family and friends.

 

I received two gifts for myself after James and I was so touched that someone thought of me but what I realise now is that we should be thinking of mum more as Mum is still incredibly important because if mum is not happy and healthy, how is she supposed to look after the baby, have enough energy and feel good about herself. Its not selfish to look after yourself its actually selfless regardless of what you might think.

 

Having rushed back to work and exercise I now realize my body and mind were simply not ready. I know we live in a fast paced world these days but there are some things like having a baby and recovering from birth that still can’t and shouldn’t be rushed.

 

Can you believe I actually packed my normal clothes into my hospital bag for my trip home? As you can imagine I felt a bit silly and ended up wearing one of my maternity dresses home which is something I do recommend. I got back into my pre pregnancy jeans (not comfortably) about 18 months after having James. Yes, I lost a lot of baby weight quite quickly by pushing myself too hard but my body had changed and I found it incredibly difficult getting back to “normal” whatever that is! My body had completely changed shape and the clothes I used to wear before just didn’t seem to fit right. I had completely unrealistic expectations of myself and body dissatisfaction can actually lead us into negative behavior patterns like over eating, making poor food choices and depression. I know when I’m feeling down I’d rather reach for sweets and pizza as opposed to healthy food but all I’m actually doing is keeping myself in a cycle of unhappiness. So…

 

MY TOPS TIPS:

 

  • The first thing to remember is that there are no short cuts.

 

  • Give yourself a break and be proud of what you’ve done mum! Stop comparing yourself to other mums and celebrities. No one can look like someone else but you can be the best you that you can be.

 

  • Your body needs time to heal and recover and it is not normal to be back in your jeans after a few weeks.

 

  • Don’t pack away your maternity clothes. Wear them and be comfortable in the weeks post birth especially if you’ve had a section

 

  • DON’T try on your pre pregnancy clothes until you are pretty sure you have a chance of fitting into them

 

  • Do not “diet” I hate that word and I wish we could remove it from our vocabulary. It immediately makes us feel deprived of something.

 

  • Instead eat energy rich foods unprocessed foods and avoid sugar. If you are a mum who is sleep deprived sugar will mess with your moods and with your hormones hopping all over the place anyway these two combined is definitely not good a good idea.

 

  • Go for a walk in the early days and keep it simple

 

  • If you are nursing invest in some good nursing tops and there are so many great brands out there now cherishme.ie have a great selection.

 

  • Stay in stretchy jeans until your uterus shrinks. Stick to dark colours for jeans as they are more slimming and always remember no one feels sexy in tracksuit bottoms. I know if I’m having a bad day just simply getting dressed can make me feel better!

 

I know that post baby fashion and my new body had a huge effect on my emotional well being. My body image had probably always been a bit eschew considering I started working in Paris at 15 as a model but no matter what our circumstances may be one thing is for sure, our confidence can take a terrible blow as a new mum. We’re trying to be everything to everyone and the sense of responsibility for this little person can also be huge. So, if you have a few friends with kids and babies support each other and encourage each other and you’ll have a much better chance of achieving your goals. Baby steps are key!

“Mum I need to go to the toilet”, eh you just went! “I’m really thirsty” eh you just had water! “I’m afraid a lion is going to smash through my window” eh we don’t have lions roaming around. “Oh really mum do you guard the zoo!!” Anything to avoid sleep and then “I don’t like you because you’re mean because I want to watch ninjas!” Even after all this I have decided to keep him.

tearing my hair out

Actually it was comforting on Sunday night to post this on my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/alisoncanavanofficial) and the support of other parents going through the same thing was great. A lot of the comments made me laugh which normalized what I was going through. I was cursing Christmas, sweets, late nights and alcohol however only two days into my new year cleanse the cloud is lifting, oh and I took James ninjas off him last night and kept them for 24 hours. This was an incredibly hard move for me to make. I have been told many times by Joanna Fortune, Parent child relationship expert from Solamh not to threaten if you don’t follow through.

 

Well obviously I’m guilty of the above as I’m human and I find every sentence coming out of my mouth sometimes a threat. You can’t have a treat, you can’t watch cartoons, and you can’t go on your play date if you don’t do this or that! But yesterday I just did it I took them, my heart was palpitating with a mixture of excitement and bravery (yes my son is four and I’m the adult) but I followed through and a miracle occurred. Not straight away mind you but after also confiscating his swords later in the day. He asked when he was getting them back and I said “24 hours”. “Ok” he said and then returned a while later asking what 24 hours was. So feeling a bit stupid I then explained in a way a four year old can understand. I told him that he would wake up go to school and come home and then he could have them and I just couldn’t resist, I finished the sentence with “but only if you’re good tomorrow” I imagine by his reaction that the duration of time I had explained sounded like 55 years in adult terms. He reminded me of Kevin’s shocked face in Home Alone.

 

I almost felt sorry for him till he called me a meanie under his breath. I let this go and thought about my own parents and the fact that they both survived my childhood and believe me I was much worse has given me great hope for the future.

 

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MY CURRENT WARFARE!!!

I asked James to go to sleep tonight after his story and after he came into me about five times I very calmly said do you want me to take your ninjas again? Gone quick as lightening!

 

Now I’m not naive enough to think my child will behave like this all the time. He’s four, he’s challenging and seemingly that’s part of the deal when you become a parent. I would personally like to know who made that deal with the powers that be.

 

 

 

If I hear one more time ”if they are challenging you and pushing the boundaries then they are doing their job”. Hell I’ve even used that line on my shows! Oh James is definitely doing his job alright he wouldn’t even have to do an interview. You’re hired, come straight through and well done I see all your mums hair on the floor!

 

So as we settle into our routine again I find myself wondering how I’m doing at my job. Sometimes I get it right and sometimes I get it wrong but one thing I am learning for certain is that as a parent sometimes I’m afraid to do things that might make my child dislike me. I know this might sound incredibly stupid to a lot of you but maybe being a single mum I want him to be happy and feel loved but what I’m also quickly learning is that by disciplining him and creating those boundaries he might not like me for a while but he’ll hopefully love me forever.

 

 

Calling all parents… enter the incredible world of make believe this christmas with Santa’s little buddy. It’s ideal for children aged 4-12 years and is definitely one of the most exciting products I have seen this year! 

This is the brain child of Joanna Fortune  (Director, Solamh Parent-Child Relationship Clinic).

Santa’s little buddy is a unique pack designed to explore magical play. It includes a daily journal for the month of December, a Christmas story, a magic poem, a wall chart with stickers and a step by step guide written by Joanna which explains in detail to parents, how to make the most of the pack.

“Using imagination enables children to develop on their impulse controls, reasoning skills, patience and the importance of emotional self regulation”, explains Joanna.

“With the help of SANTA’S LITTLE BUDDY, parents can utilise the magic of Christmas to invest in their child’s development of these life skills and at the same time reinforce and encourage good behaviour rather than threatening to report back on bad behavior”.

So this year, let this wonderful product allow you the opportunity to invest in your child’s development of crucial life skills and also help you to regulate the long over-stimulated Christmas build up!

Line up the Teddy’s, take out the magic poem and lets see what giggle magic is created in your house this December!

IMG_0739James chose his seal to be Santa’s little buddy as he’s used to the cold! As you can see he is clinging to the seal now for dear life.

 

 

 

 

 

My favourite part of this pack is spending real quality time with your kids and sharing some magical memories you’ll have forever.

The SANTA’S LITTLE BUDDY pack is €26 and for all my readers if you enter my name into the comments box when you order they will automatically send you a bumper pack!

They can be purchased on-line at santaslittlebuddy.com with FREE Standard Postage within ROI. The pack can also be purchased directly from the Solamh Clinic.

5% of profits will go to To Russia With Love and Aoibhinn’s Pink Tie

photo (65)I absolutely loved being pregnant after I stopped throwing up of course. I was completely fascinated by my growing bump and I ate books about anything and everything baby and all the different growth stages, even getting daily updates from websites.

 

According to research it has been suggested that from 20 weeks your baby can recognize voices from the womb. This has made talking with your bump one of the more popular and loved methods of bonding. It has been said that chatting to your baby in the womb, creates a sense of security for them and reassures them. One of the other wonderful benefits is that Dad’s voice can also become identifiable to your baby too – and maybe even expectant siblings!

 

You could try reading a story to your unborn baby, or even have a good sing song! Either way the baby will form a definite bond with voices that it becomes familiar with during pregnancy, even the bad singers. I went to lots of concerts as I love my music and James used to kick like crazy. When he was born he reacted quite strongly to music and songs he had heard while he was in the womb and artists I had been to see.

 

Every pregnancy is unique though and we all bond differently with our bumps. I was walking with a friend today and she said she absolutely hated being pregnant and felt like there was an alien inside her. Luckily she has two beautiful humans that she has definitely bonded with since but it’s important to remember that not everyone’s experience of being pregnant is the same and if you are struggling to bond with your bump here’s some ideas you can try:

 

I think it’s fair to say that there are few things more therapeutic than massage so I would definitely recommend this. This method is perfect for calming and relaxing the baby, as well as yourself- allowing tranquil and quiet bonding time for you both. The most popular time to start massaging is during the middle to end of your second trimester- especially when baby has started moving and has most certainly begun to develop its sense of touch, which comes before all others. When massaging the bump, it is quite common for the moisturiser to dry out quickly, so oil is a highly recommended as a massaging lotion, especially if you have one that can help prevent stretch marks.  I loved using bio oil €7.99 from boots, and I actually mixed it with my regular cream after bathing.

 

Having a bath especially if you are a first time mum is a luxury. This way your muscles can relax and help both you and your bump to completely relax- creating the perfect environment for you (or Dad) to massage or talk to your bump.

 

One of the more recent methods of bonding with your baby is through a camera lens. If you have your photo from your scan, keep that near you at all times and spend some time appreciating that you have something so special growing inside of you.  One other way photos can allow you to bond with your bump is by taking a picture of your bump once a week. This allows you to truly document this special time and will forever allow you to look back and witness your baby growing inside of you after baby is born or during your pregnancy still. I was extremely lucky to have had great shots done as I was still modeling and James loves looking at them now telling everyone he used to be in my tummy!

 

There really are so many methods to help us bond with our baby’s and research has opened up a whole new world to mums in the modern world to enable us to connect with our baby in the earliest days. However, despite all these exciting findings during pregnancy, there are traditional methods that will forever remain a magical way to bond with your unborn baby.

BLJ Pretty Silver Bola With RibbonOne of these is the Mexican bola. The bola charm’s traditions date back over a hundred years and is a concept treasured by mums-to-be all over the world. The Bola charm is traditionally a chiming pendant that is worn low over the bump- allowing the soft and tinkling chime to serenade the unborn baby as mother goes through her day.

I think these would make the perfect stocking filler for any expectant mum. They are available from €19 http://www.blooming-lovely-jewellery.co.uk/mexican-bola/

photo (63)Education and information are in my opinion the two most powerful tools we need to survive these days. Put both of these key ingredients together in a mixing bowl and we are creating a recipe for prevention. But I wonder if for some reason we don’t want to give people this power. All around me I watch all parents (single, married, same sex couples etc) struggle in a world that has become busy, demanding and completely exhausting at times. There are extra bills and extra pressures that simply didn’t exist before.

Life has changed but we most certainly have not changed with it. Our support structures within our own family units have changed and quite often parents are isolated. As the old African proverb teaches us “it takes a village to raise a child”, but our communities are simply not what they used to be. The community spirit where we all looked out for each other is difficult to come by. Most people today don’t even know their neighbours. These days we fear everything including our kid’s safety when they’re playing outside and indeed our own safety in our own homes at night.

 

We dream of a better future for our kids especially after the recession we have endured but in reality we are faced with fewer services, a severe lack of information and a chronic problem where our parents feel isolated and alone leading to so many problems including mental health issues. One of the biggest issues parents are facing in Ireland is a difficulty in finding childcare that suits us and that we can afford. More often that not its not even worth going back to work for some people as the cost of childcare is greater than your income and if you have more than one child this doubles. If you are a single parent this can be really tough and very stressful.

 

To help combat this it appears that our government amongst other brilliant plans are going to take the lone parent payment off all lone parents with children over the age of seven next July and switch them onto job seekers benefit. Sure isn’t that a great idea as all lone parents are just lazy idle individuals who have clearly no interest in working so this will give them a wake up call. Eh maybe a wake up call is needed for our government as the reason most lone parents can’t get back into the workplace is because of the high cost of childcare. Yet this is the key issue yet to be addressed by the government. I could go out and do a simple survey of 10 single parents and turn it into fancy statistics but I bet my summary would go something like this. I’m a single parent, I want to work and give my child a good life and if I’m given the appropriate support needed to get back into the workplace I have the potential to become very successful which in turn means the government and economy just might actually benefit from the minority of people like me.

 

I am most definitely blessed to have received a great education and I’m also blessed to have a great support structure of friends and family around me. Even with this support and education I needed lone parents allowance when I was living with my mum during the first year of James life to get back on my feet. I would not have been able to do it alone and I have fought for absolutely everything I have since then. When I lost my lone parents I struggled greatly and again was very lucky that my family helped me out and lent me the money I needed when I was building my career back up and also offered childcare for free and let me tell you if they hadn’t I would still be at home. I’m a fighter, always have been and believe it or not I’m a glass half full person but it has been incredibly hard at times. I have fought depression, continually fight stress like everyone else and yes sometimes I just cry but the most important thing in my life is the most beautiful smiling face of a little boy full of hope, smiling at me and that’s what drives me forward every. I rely very heavily on my friends for support right now but I know one day I will return the favour.

 

One thing I also know is that if I didn’t have the support I have I would never have been able to get back on my feet. There are many single parents out there like me who just need a chance and a hand to get back on their feet. Prevention and support are the two key areas that money needs to be pumped into, not cleaning up the mess after it happens.