Dealing with Aggressive Behaviour in Children

When your child acts up for no apparent reason, would you simply punish them for it or sit and listen to what they have to say- why they are being the way they are? I delve into questioning why kids act up unexpectedly and what you could do about it. Read all about it here!

Having a baby is an exciting time and the anticipation sets in wanting to know who these tiny little humans will become.

Watching them grow from year-to-year, our job as parents is to guide them and show them right from wrong whilst showing them they are loved too. It isn’t the easiest of tasks but we do it because we love them, but what happens when a child becomes aggressive as they grow up, targeting their parents and even teachers? What are you supposed to do then?

I firmly believe that children aren’t just naughty for no reason – like us they have reasons behind their frustrations and anger but it’s just finding the source that is difficult. Whether they will open up to you about their problem is another thing entirely.

When Faith was a couple of years younger around 6 years old, she had an aggressive phase and it was completely aimed towards me. I tried speaking to her but she would lash out and while putting her in time-out, she would hit me. I remember her hatred of me like it was just yesterday. She said some horrible things which made me cry and feel like a complete failure as a Mum.

I didn’t know what was bothering her – she just wouldn’t open up. That was until one day I was reading her a story before bed and she finally started speaking to me about what was bothering her. It turned out that she was speaking to her Nan from her biological Dads side which I forbade, and her Dad told her to keep it a secret and not to tell me.

Her Nan was also bad mouthing me to her which put a lot of stress on such a young girl. I must admit I was livid. Children don’t need to experience stress so soon in their lives – it’s not fair on them!

I told her that she can always speak to me and that she shouldn’t keep secrets. I wasn’t mad at her and I told her that her Nan wasn’t a very nice person and to ignore what she had said.

After this deep conversation she soon calmed down and didn’t lash out again and her hostility towards me just vanished. She did have her moments where she misbehaved but it was just children being children.

My point is with children, like anybody there is always a reason behind their anger and aggression.

I firmly believe that an angry child needs support and not necessarily punishment. He or she needs help. Don’t get me wrong I don’t condone children hitting parents or teachers and I could imagine how difficult it is dealing with this behaviour and how draining it can be physically and emotionally. It will also help having somebody to speak to about it because otherwise it can make you feel isolated, especially if you see other parents with children who don’t have the same problem.

I think a good tactic might be spending one-on-one time with the child doing something they enjoy doing. They may open up to you that way. It could take a few tries but maybe once a week just finding the time to spend together could be a big help in changing their behaviour or at least a step in the right direction.

It might come across as though i’d be rewarding them for their bad behaviour but that’s not what i meant at all. If there has been an incident, then by all means deal with it accordingly. I just mean that perhaps the child needs some guidance and some positive attention so they realise that THEY ARE LOVED and THEY’RE NOT BAD CHILDREN.

I understand everybody’s situation is different and i’m not an expert in this topic but i’m just speaking from experience from my daughter and what i’ve seen from a young boy that I know recently.

I would love to hear what your opinions are on this topic! Drop them down in the comments section below.

Thank you for taking the time to read my post!

 

If you liked this post, please drop us a like & share with your friends! You can read plenty more posts here, so check them out now! 

 

-Zoe

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Becoming Mum – Learning To Love Your Body

After having a baby, it can be hard to love yourself again. Confronting it and taking action, all here in today’s latest blog post!

Finding out you’re going to become a Mum is a very exciting occasion and can also be very nerve-racking. All these changes your body will have to endure while growing a little human inside of you – the stretchmarks, changes to your boobs, raging hormones, and putting on weight.

Let’s face it, after having a baby our bodies aren’t ever going to be the same.

I was a really slim build before I got pregnant with Faith, then after having another 3 babies, it certainly changed my body image completely from how it used to be (I went from a size 6 to a size 10).

I must admit I love having bigger boobs now because of breastfeeding!


Learning To Love My New Body


It took me a while to learn to love my new body image. I didn’t like to look at myself in the mirror naked because I honestly felt ugly. I had a baby belly.

I had so many stretch marks all over my stomach. It made me feel so unattractive even though in the back of my mind I knew it had to be done in order to make my 4 beautiful babies.

I’m sure some of you may relate to this uncomfortable feeling after having children of your own, but i’ve found a few things helped me learn to love myself again, besides obviously having bigger boobs of course.

I spoke to Liam about how I was feeling. I knew he loved me but my body had changed since I met him over 3 years ago, and I was honestly worried he wouldn’t find me attractive anymore.

Speaking to him however, helped. He told me how beautiful I was just the way I am. It took me a while to believe this, but he also assisted me in gaining the confidence to really look at myself in the mirror, despite how uncomfortable I felt doing it.

I pushed myself for 5 minutes a day, whilst in my mind naming what I’d liked or even loved about my body. Being pushed out of my comfort zone made me feel that little bit better about myself everyday. Small but progressive steps.


Feeling Comfortable Enough To Have Sex After A Baby


I’ve seen many people discussing this topic on social media lately, expressing their struggle to love their body enough in order to feel comfortable in the bedroom with their partners.

Remember YOU are STILL YOU despite the extra weight you may have gained or the extra wrinkly bits! That same man who fell in love with you before you had children still loves you after having them, if not more for having his babies!


Getting Through Your Insecurities


I thought I would share a few tips that had helped me get through my own insecurities after having my babies.

  1. Communication with your spouse is important! He may be able to abolish those negative thoughts you may be having about yourself.
  2. Wear something pretty even if it makes you feel uncomfortable. Try to push yourself to wear something nice, and it will make you feel ten times better.
  3. Stand in the mirror. Really look at yourself – every detail and note down the things you love about your body. Try not to focus on the things you don’t like, positivity is key at this stage!
  4. If you’re having a bad day and don’t feel particularly pretty, try putting on some makeup – it might just make you feel that little bit better. It’s done exactly that when i’m having one of those unpleasant days.
  5. More importantly look at those beautiful children of yours. Your body formed them. You created a miracle, and without those extra nobbly bits you have now, you wouldn’t be the amazing Mum you are today!
  6. If it helps work on what you don’t like about yourself. I’ve lost my bum since having Kiiara and i’ve recently set apart some time to do some squats everyday to get it back (I’m hoping it works).
  7. Most of all, be proud of yourself. You made a beautiful child who looks up to you. Nothing is more important than that!

 

Remember you are a beautiful woman no matter what size or shape you are. You are unique and if you believe that yourselves, you’ll feel on top of the world!

 

If you liked this blog post, you can check out similar blog posts here!

 

-Zoe

Basics Of Toddler Safety

It’s VERY important to ensure your toddler is safe in your home. Here’s a break-down of safety features you could install in your house today to create a safe environment for them!

When you have a baby, safety measures have to be put in place to prevent danger and harm to them.

The last thing you want after 9 months of pregnancy and going through all the pain of labour is not caring after your baby enough to avoid common preventable dangers.

Here’s a few examples of ways you can avoid them:

  • Not to leave them unattended on a raised surface in case they roll.
  • Always lie them at the foot of the cot to avoid them wriggling underneath their blankets.
  • Lie them on their backs.
  • Try not to let them overheat or get too cold.

When they hit toddler stage there is so much more to think about when safety is involved.

Stairs, blinds, corners of tables, cupboards, medicine cabinets, fire places and slipping in the bath tub.

The list is never ending but so long as you cover the basics and always keep a close eye on your toddler, they should be fine!

I didn’t realise how many dangers were in a house until I had to toddler proof it. Even little toys my older two play with have to be kept out of reach.

Their safety is your main concern until they are old enough to look after themselves. When they’re toddlers, going out to get all these safety products is a wise idea in order to toddler-proof your house (I swear some things are adult proof too!).

We brought some adhesive cupboard locks for our previous house to stop Aurora from going through all the cupboards and emptying them, but she learnt how to pull them off (smart girl, but damn, what now?).

Most recently in our new house, we’ve had these cupboard locks fitted that require you to use a plastic key to open. They seem quite good and its certainly done a better job than the other ones.

Here’s a list of other safety products you could look at to toddler-proof your house:

  • Stair Gates for both top and bottom of the stairs (avoid using gates with a bar along the bottom at the top of the stairs as this is a trip hazard).

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  • Cupboard Locks – ideal to stop toddlers from going underneath the sink where all your chemical products are – ones requiring a key seem to be very effective and prevents any gaps when opening a cupboard – useful to stop trapped fingers.

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  • Draw Cord Winders – these are used for blinds with low cords to prevent strangulation.

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  • Fire Guards – self explanatory.
  • Corner Cushions – used for the corners of sharp edges on things like tables, work surfaces, drawers etc.

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  • Foam Pipe Insulation – A DIY edge guarding to cushion anything with a blunt edge your toddler may play around – very similar to what you’d find in a play centre.
  • Door Cushions – To stop your child from trapping their fingers in doors.
  • Window Safety Catches – Prevents your children from falling out of the window.
  • Most importantly, just simply keeping an eye on your toddler at all times!

It’s no use having these safety products if you or your other kids don’t use them accordingly. My other two like to keep stair gates open very often, and I need to remind them constantly about closing them in case Aurora wants to venture up the stairs.

Other safety products, though not limited to the house could include car seats/ booster seats. Just making sure they are correctly installed and safety belts are secured properly can save your child’s life if you ever did have an accident in the car.

Many of these products can be bought cheaply from any hardware or home store, so there’s no excuses. It’s an investment that could save you and your toddler trips to the hospital!

 

If there’s a safety feature I may not have included in this post that you wish to share, please feel free to drop it in the comments section below! 

 

If you liked this blog post, you can check out similar blog posts here!

 

 

-Zoe

How To Deal With An Over-Tired Child

Toddlers and children can be difficult at the best of times. When they’re over-tired, they soon become wretched demonic creatures keen to find every possible way of not going to sleep. We talk about this and more in today’s latest blog post!

CRYING, CLINGY, SCREAMING and MAJOR TANTRUMS. Yes, I am talking about dealing with your toddler when they are over-tired.

I’m guessing most of you have had this happen, but if not, you may have this all to come!

Aurora is usually a happy child. She can quite easily amuse herself but when she becomes tired, its like all hell breaks loose and she goes all demonic on us. I wait for her head to literally rotate 360 degrees.

When toddlers become over-tired they don’t have a clue what they want to do with themselves (pick me up, put me down, I want juice, throw juice, cry for juice back). That’s generally how it goes with Aurora. Almost like walking on egg shell’s – this little human screams at you for absolutely no reason at all! What did I do!? 


Getting Them For A Nap

Have you ever found getting a toddler for a nap easy? I’m quite lucky in this department  as Aurora will nap in her cot without any problems, but it never used to be this way.

This girl could scream. It sounded like I was actually torturing the poor girl. Instead Mummy was just laying her down in her cot hoping she’d conk out to sleep.

She wouldn’t give in – constantly screaming. In the end I would give in and take her back downstairs, whilst she continues acting like a head spinning demonic creature so to speak.

I didn’t realise how hard it was to get a child to sleep. I know if I had the chance I’d take that nap myself.


Dealing With An Over-Tired Child

Sometimes it can be a handful, and to-be-honest quite stressful when our little ones are over-tired and refuse to get some sleep. Here’s a few things tried and tested that I’ve found seem to work when dealing with demonic Aurora when she just wont nap:

  • Remain Calm (silently munching chocolate tends to calm my nerves).
  • Distraction is definitely key! Finding something that will take their mind away from being tired – usually asking them to fetch a toy, but could be anything.
  • Try to make them laugh (though tickling doesn’t always work. Can make them worse) – pulling funny faces and other similar expressions tend to work well!
  • Extra cuddles always helps too.
  • Last but not least, music! (this girl loves to dance). Find a song they love and blast it out!

To be honest its not only toddlers who seem to get moody when they’re over-tired. Faith and Wyatt can be a handful just as much, but they act differently to Aurora.

Faith just tends to cry at everything and seeing as Faith is a tomboy, she gets overly sensitive when she’s tired.

  • For example: Last night Aurora refused to go to sleep straight away. Faith was not happy about this (they currently share a room). She grew very frustrated and upset, and had advanced to shout at her to get some sleep. This was unlike her as she’d normally fall asleep without reluctance.

Wyatt on the other hand is completely different again. He gets angry and answers back, and becomes very very clumsy.

I recall when he was 1 year old he fell asleep standing up against the sofa (that boy could sleep anywhere given the chance).

Dealing with those grumpy kids all at once is certainly challenging. For my oldest two, putting a DVD on and wrapping themselves inside a blanket on the sofa usually helps, but soon rejuvenates their energy enough to turn back into little tornadoes again.

 

If you have any stories you wish to share of your experiences with your over-tired toddlers or children, or just any tips on how you deal with them, feel free to drop a comment in the comments section below.

 

If you liked this blog post, you can check out similar blog posts here!

 

-Zoe

 

 

Breastfeeding: What To Do If You Have A Blockage

I’ve found breastfeeding full of benefits and I was successful doing it with my other daughter. Encountering problems though may be off-putting. Most recently, I talk about suffering with blocked ducts and how I’ve managed to relieve them before they escalate into something worse, all in this latest blog post here!

I first started breastfeeding when Aurora was a baby and I didn’t encounter any problems – it went quite smoothly and it was a great feeling knowing she was gaining weight and I was doing it properly. I breastfed Aurora until she was 14 months old which was when my milk dried up due to my pregnancy with Kiiara.

When Kiki was born I made assumptions that because breastfeeding Aurora went so well, I wouldn’t have any problems breastfeeding Kiiara either. So far so good, until the other day…

Kiiara slept better than she usually does and didn’t wake up for her usual feed through the night (more sleep for me, yippee!) so as you could imagine my breast was quite full (this has happened previously but feeding her would usually ease it). The other day I wasn’t myself. It was completely different than what I was contemplating. I woke in agony thinking it would dissipate once I had fed her.

Boy was I wrong! It just stopped working (nothing was coming out no matter how hard I tried). It felt like I had a boulder strapped to my chest and the pain was intense.

I started panicking – I really didn’t know what to do. This had never happened before. I contacted Liams sister for advice (she has breastfed her kids and been in a similar situation in the past), and I even googled it.

‘Mastitis’ came up. Ouch. Luckily enough it hadn’t progressed that far, but if I didn’t get it sorted, that’s what it could have become.


Advice On What To Do

On Google, I found quite a few answers to help me out. I’ve summarised the most common methods of relieving it below.

  • Hot Flannels
  • Hot Shower
  • Massage
  • Attempt a feed with baby
  • Use a breast pump

I tried every single one of these methods, and not one of them worked. It honestly felt like my breast was a balloon on the cusp of bursting (my partner stood to the side of me to avoid the splash zone in case it did). I even considered dropping on all fours and getting my partner to milk me like a cow!

I didn’t know how to resolve this problem. Took me a good couple of hours trying to get my breast to work. As I sat in tears because of my pain and frustration, Liam suggested using a hot water bottle. I would have tried anything just to ease the discomfort at that time.

It actually WORKED! Feeding Kiiara helped relieve it too alongside the hot water bottle being pressed against my blocked ducts. It was ever so uncomfortable even to now. Considering breastfeeding is a natural process, I didn’t think many problems could arise from missing a regular feed.

I may have enjoyed the extra sleep, but I certainly don’t think it’s worth the pain of a blocked duct and engorgement.

My older children made me feel ever so disconcerted when Wyatt informed his granddad about my sore ‘boobies’ as he put it. It made me flush, but I had to laugh too!

 

If you liked this blog post, you can check out similar blog posts here!

Things To Do On Valentines Day

With Valentines day fast approaching, parents look for fun activities to do as a couple, and single people look for stuff to do to make their ‘You’ day special. In this latest blog post I’ve listed some ideas for you all to sink your teeth into. Check it out here

As you all know Valentines day is coming up very soon, so I thought I’d talk to you today about it.

Apparently it originates from back in the 5th Century named after a Christian Martyr but has origins in the Roman Holiday Lupercalia which in fact marks the beginning of Spring.

Date NightOkay so it’s not exactly clear as to what made it a public holiday today, but the UK brought the idea in the 19th century to gift others with greeting cards, flowers and chocolates.

This is celebrated today as an annual holiday to show how much we love each other by presenting gifts or going out on dates.

Me and my partner Liam used to celebrate by going out on a nice romantic date. It was really nice spending quality time as a couple and be myself instead of just being a Mum. It’s the one day I can dress up and feel like a woman.


Gift Ideas

 

I don’t know about you, but I always struggle to find a gift for my partner (men are so hard to buy for. Us girls like the simple things – flowers, chocolates, jewellery etc). I thought i’d list a few ideas out there to share with you in case you’re struggling to find something for your partner.

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You can find a variety of personalised gifts including:

  • Dog Tag necklaces
  • Mugs with photos (you and him/her, the kids etc)
  • Lighters
  • Grooming sets (i’m talking about beard & hair trimming sets by the way)
  • Key chains
  • Wallets
  • Teddy Bears (if he/she likes soft toys)
  • Chocolate (once gave my partner a quote from ‘Frozen’ in chocolate- he loved it)
  • Cushions with your photo on it
  • Marshmallows with photos on (heard you can get them from Boomf but can also find other sites that make them too)

Or if you are a spicier couple for Valentines day, you could look into:

  • Romantic reward scratch cards
  • Karma Sutra playing cards
  • Fifty Shades Adult Game
  • Willy care kit
  • Bondage kits
  • or even Grow Your Own Girlfriend

Lovehoney has a wide variety of spicy valentines gifts you could look at, but if not, I’ve heard Poundland are doing a cheap raunchy range too this year!

I prefer more of the sentimental gifts (I’m a romantic at heart) but I think they are harder to find unless you go searching specifically online. I’ve come across some nice gifts on there including a book you can fill your life story in – kinda like a scrap book, but  slightly different. Quite handy to write your own love story to reflect on later in life.


Date Night

Valentines day is definitely an excuse to go for some couple time. You are a parent all the time, but it’s important to spend atleast one day a year just being you and spending it with the one you love so dearly.

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Me and Liam tend to go to the cinema to watch a movie. In the past we’ve been to see the Fifty Shades movies (got us in trouble a couple of times – we have proof, Aurora and Kiiara!). We also like to grab a bite to eat afterwards.

This year we have the children and no babysitter, so it will be a night in with a Chinese Takeaway and a sweet bottle of wine. Simple things like that usually make me happy.

If you aren’t stuck without a babysitter, there’s plenty you could do. Here’s a few ideas.

  • Go for a nice meal and a stroll together afterwards.
  • Spa day for 2
  • Night away in a hotel (All-inclusive makes it better)
  • Cook a 3-course candle-lit meal, run a hot bubble bath & cuddle up on the sofa watching a romantic film with popcorn and wine.

Whatever you decide to do, make it special, cherish the time you spend together and if you don’t want any more kids, use protection!

Being a parent is important, but making sure you spend time with your spouse is just as important – it keeps your relationship alive and helps it to become stronger.

There are also single parents out there who don’t have a partner to spend time with. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about you. Here’s a few ideas to help enjoy a ‘You’ day!

  • Arrange to have a night out with friends. This can include going to the cinema, going for a nice meal together, or even go for a spa day
  • Arrange a trip somewhere you’ve always wanted to go
  • Have a cosy night in, either just by yourself or invite friends over – girly night with face masks, movies & chocolate
  • Have a ‘giving’ day – go out into town giving out free hugs, go to a homeless shelter to help out, or spread the love with positive messages on post-stick notes in your local area
  • Spend quality time with your kids – Valentines-themed crafts, a kids meal out, or make a time-capsule Valentines video for the following year!

Whatever makes you feel warm inside, feel better than an average day, just go and do it! As a couple or a single person, Valentines day is about love and happiness. Do what makes you happy, no excuses!

 

If you have any suggestions for a nice Valentines day as a couple, or even as a single parent that I haven’t already listed, please post them in the comments section below. I’d be happy to hear them!

 

If you liked this blog post, you can check out similar blog posts here!

5 Reasons Why You Should Use The Dojo Point System At Home

Figuring out a way to get the kids to behave has never been easier with this new points system that schools have been rallying behind. Find out about it here

The Dojo point system (pronounced dough joe) is something I’ve found quite handy when getting the kids to behave for me. It was first implemented in schools as a way of rewarding the kids who behave and disciplining the ones that don’t (aka Class Dojo).

Basically it consists of a point system where if you do something positive you are given a point, and if you do something negative you lose a point. Simple really.

We’ve implemented this system at home and have been using it for over a year now. It’s quite effective and gives the kids a motive to be good.

You can customise your children’s targets to aim for a higher or lower number and each week the chart will need to be reset back to 0.

Examples of ways kids can earn Dojo points:

  • Doing housework/chores
  • Listening to you
  • Doing as they are told straight away
  • Tidying up after themselves
  • Getting ready for school on their own
  • Making their beds

I’ve found that so long as you are quite regular with either cutting or awarding points, the kids will want to earn them (and it’s also good healthy competition between them if you have more than one child – they will want to be earn more Dojos than their siblings).

The reason to award the kids points is so that if they reach their targets at the end of the week, they get rewarded for their efforts. The reward system can be just about anything – it’s fully customisable to whatever you wish.

Currently my kids get rewarded with their tablets- they enjoy playing on the kids games. If they manage to get onto and stay on green points (1+ points) they are aloud to play with their tablets all week, but if they get red points (-1 and below) they aren’t aloud it for the whole week. Pretty fair in my opinion.

If they manage to reach their target of 4+ Dojo points (which they haven’t for a while) they are rewarded with a store-bought toy. As a Step-Dad to the oldest two, this has made it much easier to discipline the children without having to go bat-sh** crazy on them.

If they plummet below -2 or more points, I usually confiscate one of their favourite toys for the week until they can reach ‘+‘ Dojo points again – pushes them to boost their points up through the week to get it back.

Dojo exampleArtboard 1

To sum up, 5 reasons why you should implement them at home:

 

  • It helps the kids achieve a target
  • Determines whether they have been good enough to be treated or not
  • Pushes them to do the housework (admit it, we’ve all been waiting for this to happen)
  • Kids enjoy healthy competition
  • and finally, it’s fully customisable!

 

Hope you found this quite interesting and perhaps consider using it in your own home. If you do introduce this to your kids, please let us know how it goes in the comment section below! 

 

If you liked this blog post, you can check out more daddy blogs here!

 

-Liam

Fill em up… No more Beating for the Fussy Eating!

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE food! Kids don’t seem to share that same enthusiasm though. Fussy eating and budgeting is our topic in today’s post.

Have you ever just sat down to a lovely meal you spent a long while cooking with the kids, and one of them blurts out and says ‘ewwww, I don’t like it!’ They sit there pulling faces at you because you tell them that’s all they’re getting. Well that has happened way far too often to count and I’m sure most of you can agree you’ve been in the same situation atleast once or twice before.

Faith is a very fussy eater. We try to make meals that suit the whole family – not too unhealthy or unbalanced. We attempt a good balance of fruit and vegetables each day. We’re quite lucky – all the kids seem to like most of the fruit and vegetables we give them so it makes it easier for us to make some half-decent meals.

We have found sausages, wedges and corn on the cob with a nice glazed BBQ flavoured sauce to be a good hit with the kids! On top of that, a nice roast dinner with all the sides goes down a treat too!

We get bored of the same meals week in week out and seek to change regularly. For the past week we have been experimenting with some new recipes to mix things up. Some the kids have enjoyed a great deal, some not as much.

We tried three different meals this week. One was Chicken Madeira – this one didn’t go down too well with the kids and wasn’t satisfactory for us either. We thought we’d give it a go anyhow. Wyatt didn’t like the asparagus (i’m sure he used to eat them when he was younger), and we all weren’t too keen on the sauce – it was really strong and had a distinct bitter cheese after-taste.

As it was our first time making this recipe, we may give it another go in the future in case any mistakes were made making it the first time around and perhaps adjust the ingredients accordingly to season our tastes.

The second recipe we tried was Potato Hassleback (which are basically baked potatoes in the style of a pepperoni pizza). This was definitely a hit with the kids – they’d continue to tell us how much they enjoyed it – it was nice to hear so I think we may make it again soon!

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The third recipe we tried was Creamy Parmesan Garlic Mushroom Chicken served with a helping of pasta. Faith loved assisting me with this one.

When it got to the dinner table Wyatt’s faced curled in disgust and said it smelt like sick. Even my partner turned his nose up to it! (He never turns down food). Looks like we wont be advancing with this recipe. I’m having to look further into other recipes now as two out of three meals we didn’t enjoy.

If you have any ideas or recipes that may please fussy eaters, please drop them in the comment section at the bottom of the page!


Budgeting

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As a Mum of 4, budgeting is very important. I try to keep my food bill as low as I can. I follow a Facebook group that has a lot of great tips on budgeting and has plenty of bargains to help me when I need it, but sometimes I can’t help but get tempted by a lot of the offers. It’s called ‘Reduce your Supermarket Spend‘. You can check it out here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/ReduceYourSupermarketSpend/

I’ve noticed that some of the cheaper brands tend to taste better than the pricier brands – For example, I’ve been to get a Tikka Masala from Asda for only 69p. Now in my opinion, it certainly tastes as nice or even nicer than the more expensive brands (the ones that rhyme with Mataks or Farwoods).

Don’t get me wrong, some cheaper brands can be quite nasty compared to the top brands (that’s why I always get main branded cereals), but if you shop around you may be able to find some cheaper alternatives that taste just as nice and save a small fortune at the same time!

[A year or so back, someone found out that the hoop crisps you get in Lidl are the exact same hoops you find from a pack of Hula Hoops. Some brands sell to aftermarket companies which don’t charge as much for their products – just shop around to find them!]


Involving the kids

Cooking with the kids can be hectic especially when they all want to join in. It’s also very rewarding to see happy faces when they comprehend that they are learning something new and get to spend some bonding time with you.

Happy kids = Happy parents! 

Cooking with your children – getting them involved also sets them up for when they are older. It’s important for their development that they learn as much about grown up life as they can now so that when they are old enough they can become independent beings themselves.

Just be prepared for the extra mess when they cook with you though – kids love making mess!

I’m wanting to try a cake recipe with the kids soon. I found one online called Cookie Cake. I just hope I can make it to taste better than the Creamy Parmesan Garlic Mushroom Chicken!

 

If anybody has any good recipe ideas, wants to share any stories of your little fussy eaters, or just have some budgeting tips please feel free to tell us about them in the comment section below! 

 

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Beginners Guide to Breastfeeding

What are the benefits of breastfeeding? How long should you wait between feeds? All is answered in this easy-to-read beginners guide to breastfeeding!

When I first started breastfeeding in the hospital after I had Kiiara, it was a bit of a learning curve for the both of us even though I did it before with Aurora.

Every baby is different and they have to learn how to latch on correctly otherwise you could end up with very sore nipples and a very ‘hangry’ baby!

I’ve written some useful tips that can help you on your way to breastfeeding your new baby.

Tip 1: Don’t rush it. It always helps to do skin-to-skin with baby when they are first born – that way you acquire a bond and will make it easier for you later.

Tip 2: Try to relax. Baby will sense your frustration and it will make it more difficult for the both of you.

Tip 3: Don’t forget to always ask for help if you need it – That’s what the midwives are there for. No matter how many times you need it, don’t feel like you’re wasting their time – after all it is part of their job!

Tip 4: When you and baby manage to get the latch right, you should feel comfortable feeding and be able to see and hear your baby swallowing. If you feel uncomfortable, break the latch by placing your finger in your baby’s mouth and slowly remove your nipple and try again.

Tip 5: Make sure you have plenty of snacks and drinks close-by because baby can need feeding for quite a while in the beginning, especially if they are anything like Kiiara!

Tip 6: If you are going out and feel like you can’t feed in public, you can always use a breast pump so that you can express ready to put in a bottle if that would make you feel more comfortable (using a breast pump rather than formula will prevent your milk from drying out too). Just go for it!

Alternatively you could get a breastfeeding cover which I’ve used before when feeding Aurora.

There are also some breastfeeding-friendly cafes around, but baby will need feeding when he/she gets hungry so don’t be afraid to just give your baby a feed when he/she requests it.

You may encounter some judgemental people around, but don’t let them put you off! It’s a natural process and it’s nothing to be ashamed of!

Many mum’s are beginning to choose breastfeeding as their source of baby’s milk – it’s a fairly common thing to do nowadays, so don’t feel like you are all alone in this.


Benefits of Breastfeeding


Breastfeeding has many benefits, for example after you have your baby it can reduce the time you bleed for, and it keeps your periods at bay for longer (in my eyes that’s a bonus!).

Here’s a few other benefits that might sway your decision to breastfeed your child:

  • You lose your baby weight quicker
  • It reduces your chance of getting cervical and ovarian cancer
  • Quality bonding time between you and your baby
  • Save yourself money not having to buy formula milk
  • Save time not having to get up in the middle of the night to make bottles
  • Your baby will receive better immunity from illnesses

Support from your partner


Getting support from your partner is always important, but if you don’t have a partner, support from your friends and family is equally as important.

Even if its just to talk to them about your experience, or just a general rant on how sore your nipples are or how tired you are, it can make all the difference!

Your partner or family/friends could also support you in the early stages by helping with housework or helping with the other children (if you have any).

It was a Godsend having my partners’ dad around for the first week when we brought Kiiara home. It was especially helpful in the first few days when my milk first came in because Kiiara needed feeding every 20 minutes or so.

If you have a partner and you are worried about them bonding with your baby because you spend most of the day with baby breastfeeding him/her, try not to worry too much as there are alternative ways he/she can bond with them.

For example

  • Cuddles,
  • Changing those smelly nappies,
  • Bathing baby,
  • Talking to baby,
  • And also if you *express, they could feed baby too!

My partner also sings to Kiiara to calm her down. She seems to enjoy it but i’m not sure whether that’s because she’s humoured by his singing or whether she’s genuinely enjoying it!

   *Expressing is when you pump from your breast to release the milk. You can do that if you need to go out and aren’t comfortable feeding in public.


Knowing When Baby Needs Feeding


There are little cues to look out for to know when baby needs feeding other than the obvious crying.

Things to look out for include:

  • Trying to eat their own hands/ putting their hands in their mouths,
  • Head rotates around looking for the breast.

If you were wondering about how long you need to wait between feeds, generally a breastfed baby should be fed on-demand, but don’t go any longer than 4 hours without him/her being fed.

If you have other children like me, sometimes it can be quite difficult to feed on-demand as you have to deal with them all, so its okay for your baby, when she/he’s a little older, to have a bit of a cry before you can get over to them to feed.

You could also try multi-tasking (like I’ve managed to accomplish with much practice) by putting him/her on the breast whilst doing other simple tasks.

Don’t over exert yourself though by doing heavy handed or dangerous tasks – you don’t want to harm your baby whilst you’re feeding them!


Winding a Breastfed Baby


Winding a breastfed baby is the same as winding a formula-fed baby, but they will usually have less wind to bring up.

It can also depend on the baby itself. Aurora was never a gassy baby, nor a sicky baby either but Kiiara is totally different even though they have both been breastfed.

I swear Kiiara was meant to be a boy because she farts and burps like a man and she’s also a very sicky baby. It’s amazing how different they both are to each other despite having the same dad!


Does Breastfeeding Protect You Against Pregnancy?


It’s the ultimate question some people ask shortly after having a baby when they look to the benefits of breastfeeding.

Well the answer to that is a yes and a no. It can be used as a form of contraception for a short while, but only if you breastfeed full-time, and it’s only 98% effective so there’s still is a good chance you could get pregnant.

You need to meet these requirements if you want to use it as a contraception:

  • Breastfeeding on-demand day and night
  • You haven’t got your periods back
  • You don’t express too often for baby to feed from a bottle
  • No use of dummies (as it may confuse baby and put them off feeding from your breast)

To be on the safe side, I would recommend using other forms of contraception if you don’t fancy becoming pregnant again anytime soon.

I used breastfeeding and had charted my cycle for a while after I had Aurora. It worked quite well up until I got my periods back and then one month, my cycle altered so I was unable to figure out I was fertile. Next thing I knew I was pregnant with Kiiara!

Best thing to remember is that you have got this! Nobody is perfect and it takes practice no matter how long you breastfeed for – Be proud of yourself for trying because YOU DID IT!

Let your partner, friend or family support you through it and at the end of it all, you’ll feel great knowing that you have accomplished it.

Hope you the best of luck through your breastfeeding days!

If you need any more help or advice, or even just a general chat about my experiences, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

 

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-Zoe

Top Tips for a Not-So-Measly Monday

Standard school run routine with helpful tips to get you organised for the day – everyday

Refreshing Monday, first time in a while! The holidays are now over and the kids are finally back in school. This means one thing……. Routine again!!

I didn’t think i’d miss having a routine up until this last week having the kids off (even worse over the summer holidays when the kids have SIX WEEKS OFF!). Early days, though a nightmare waking up still dark outside, gives me extra hours in the day to fit more in.

Having the kids go back to school, my days now consist of waking up, getting them dressed, putting out their breakfasts, brushing Faiths hair, and getting out that door by quarter to 9. Though it’s their first day back I always have a habit of forgetting things (can be my excuse for now, might not hold up in about a week or so’s time – must think of another). Today I forgot their snack money, tomorrow who knows.

I’m quite good at organising everything ready for school usually.

So here’s my 5 Top Tips for any stressed-out mum prepping for the school run:

 

  1. Prepare everything the day before! – Kids uniforms all washed and folded in their bedrooms the night before so in the morning they can get themselves dressed.
  2. Leave any water bottles and snack money on the kitchen side (money out of reach from the kids obviously) for you to quickly grab just before you leave.
  3. If you like to grab a coffee in the morning before you get everyone else ready, in the time it takes to boil the kettle you could dish out bowls of cereal for the kids for breakfast.
  4. Ensure the kids have a good nights sleep – get them to bed early – gives you more time to prepare for the next day (and more YOU time).
  5. Sometimes helps to write a check list of all the things you need to do ready for school – can be put on the fridge so you can quickly scan it in the morning and you’ll be less likely to forget something.

 

Kids are in school, but Aurora has no one to play with now. She has quite an imagination for a 1 and half year old. Got her a pack of blocks for Christmas (felt like a great idea at the time), but the dining room, where she plays, isn’t half in shambles now. Having to anxiously commute to and from the dining room without accidentally stepping on a block feels almost impossible.

Could be worse, could be the extraordinary invention somewhat a miniature version of the blocks that seek to find it’s way under your feet called Lego! Luckily that’s been detained in Wyatt’s bedroom!

Tackling a measly task of the school run in the mornings can be quite challenging especially with a month-old baby who relies on me to breastfeed her. I’m constantly juggling myself around – feeding Kiiara – quickly get washed – feed Kiiara – get Aurora dressed – feed Kiiara – get myself dressed – feed Kiiara – quickly make the bed and so on. It’s really exhausting. My partner is a God-send though as he will take care of Kiiara in the breaks between feeding her as well as ensuring the other kids are sorted too. Wouldn’t know how i’d cope without him (I imagine it would be extremely difficult, though i’d probably work a way around it).

Picking them up at 10 past 3 seems too early to slowly close off my day. Dinner gets sorted, house gets tidied, kids bathed and put to bed, have a bit of couples time and that makes up my day. Wake up next morning having to do it all over again. Brilliant!

 

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