8 Tips to Make Tooth-Brushing Fun for your Little One

Check out this list of tips for making toothbrushing fun for babies and toddlers by ‘meet your dentist’ page on Instagram.

One of the most common questions parents ask is:

when should I start brushing my child’s teeth? The answer is: from when the first tooth appears with a rice grain size of children’s toothpaste.

I love this list below and 4 & 6 are my personal ‘go to’ tricks for keeping toothbrushing happy-happy and mostly 😅, tear-free.

1. DO NOT MAKE IT MONOTONOUS:

add #variety

a: variety of place, it’s not compulsory to brush in the bathroom. It can be anywhere; kitchen, sitting room, bedroom. All you need is a small bowl.

b; variety of time; brushing is at least twice daily. Morning brushing can be done some minutes to an hour after breakfast while night brushing can be done anytime after dinner till bedtime.

c; variety of style; change your positions.; standing, sitting, lying down. Just get the job done.

2. BE A #ROLE MODEL;

brush exactly the way you want them to and make sure they are watching. At this time, they easily copy what others do in their presence.

3. TELL SHOW DO:

involve them. Tell them it’s time to brush, let them bring the brush and paste, let them hold the brush while you assist in moving it. They can even do round one and you do round Two.

4. COMMUNICATE:

don’t be silent, keep talking to distract them. Upper teeth, lower teeth, clench your teeth, tongue out, how many teeth do you have. Don’t mind whether they comprehend or not. You can demonstrate what you mean too.

5. DO NOT RELENT;

no retreat, no going back. Keep doing it no matter what. They will get used to it with time and make it less stressful.

6. SPICE IT UP;

add fun to it. Use fancy tooth brush, nice poems and songs, funny actions. Make them laugh. You can tickle etc

7. BE HAPPY:

whatever is done happily is done well. Don’t see it as a hard job. Your perception really matters.

8. RESTRAIN:

this is a last resort. At times, especially at the Early stage, you need to restrain. Let him cry, it will help you more. When he cries, he will open his mouth wide for you to navigate all the nook and cranny of the mouth. Within short time, you will drop this method as he would have gotten used to it.

This list of tips was written by Instagram page @meet_your_dentist_.

For Real Mum toothbrushing tips as shared by Mummyfix mums, click here: https://instagram.com/p/BbPRe9zFg4X/.

What are your best tips for toothbrushing your babies and toddlers teeth?

Make Healthy Food Fun class | Mummyfix

Is it time for you to make some changes to how meal times are going for your little one?

Is your goal to raise a happy eater, with healthy life long food habits?

Are you ready to put some steps in place so your child is happy to try new foods, eat different kinds of foods including fruits and vegetable and even different textures?

You’re in the right place!

You will Learn:

🔘What types of foods to offer first when baby starts solid foods and then what to offer at later stages

🔘How to make easy and healthy meals

🔘Steps to take to get your baby to happily try a range of foods both puree and textured solids

🔘Tips to encourage a love for a range of healthy foods

🔘The key nutrients you want to offer in healthy balanced meals or lunchbox

Are you ready to put the fun back into healthy eating?

——–

LIVE MASTERCLASS

FRIDAY 3RD AUGUST AT 7PM WAT

THE REPLAY WILL BE SENT AFTER THE CLASS.

BOOK YOUR SPOT NOW BY MAKING PAYMENT.

N16,000

CPR Video for Drowning in a Baby; Knowledge Gained could Save a Life

If like me, you woke up to some sad news about accidental drowning of a 13 month old here in Lagos, this might be of interest to you.

This video clip is something every parent/care-giver should watch. It’s three minutes containing information that could save a life!

CLICK THIS LINK (next sentence below) to watch:

What to do if baby is drowning

For more information on safeguards relating to accidental drowning, please read on:

I woke up to the saddest story this morning. Drowning. 13 month old. Shock, horror and heartbreak. As a Parent, I cannot imagine the anguish the family is going through right now. What info should we have on preventing this, and another parent’s pain relating to drowning? I went to read up:

Please note:

❌Accidental drowning most commonly happens in a home swimming pool, but… it can happen in a bathtub, paddle pool, toilet bowl or even bucket of water.

🔵Real drowning is silent and quick, which is not what the films show us. People and especially babies won’t wave their hands, they’ll try to push up on the water and that might look like playing to those outside the pool.

✔️ Give your child swimming lessons, especially if they live near water or you have a pool at home or they regularly visit somewhere that does. But even if is a child knows how to swim it many not prevent them from drowning.

✔️ Have four-sided fencing around a pool with a self closing and self latching gate. Shouldn’t be easy to climb over the fence.

✔️ Learn CPR there’s a video here, but also consider taking a course with live demonstrations.

✔️ Floaties -OK but life jackets are even better to be used on little ones, but still watch the kids, because they may take them off and jump back into the water, or get tangled in them or they could pinvture

❤️Watch children very carefully when they’re in water and avoid distractions. Touch supervision is recommended, meaning someone should be within arms reach of the child, with full focus on the child. If you need to do something, take the kids out. Never let children swim alone.

My thoughts and prayers are with the parents and family. And It cannot be emphasized enough, this drowning incident could have happened to anyone, anyone. Not a single word of blame should go out to the family, who must already be struggling with their grief and guilt.

Do watch this video, share with others and equip yourself and others with this vital knowledge, as you commiserate with the family.

Tantrums, Meltdowns & Crying_Your Questions Answered

First of all, regrading title, I have to say that we have what it takes to handle whatever comes our way regarding  our toddlers behaviour. As they learn, we learn and grow, too. And the second thing is, they want to do better, they just need our guidance, patience and grace to get to the point where they actually do better. It is all worth it to get them to that place.

In May, I put up a post on Instagram, asking about tantrums, meltdowns and crying. I wanted to know exactly what issues Mums were facing on the topic. The post received nearly a hundred comments (including short responses and follow on questions). I have sat down to answer three of the questions. I picked these three because they are very common questions.

First question: Tantrums, 8 month old.

Second question: Crying and demands for mums attention a lot, 3 yo.

Third question: Hitting too often, 2 yo.

 

Read below to find out the different scenarios and responses I offer.

 

MUM#101:

My 8 month old throws tantrums every time I take objects from him or don’t feed him on time. If I raise my voice, he screams even louder too.

 

MY RESPONSE:

Between 6 and 8 months your baby can now show different feelings. Their moods can change very quickly. Things that may help reduce tantrums as you described above:

  1. Routine : keep roughly the same daily routine of activities for baby. Have roughly same time for bathing, eating, sleep/night time routine.
  2. Talk and explain things to him: Do this as though he understands. For example, if he has something you want to take away, talk to him and explain you’re not supposed to have paper, I’m going to take it from you. Then you take it away. You’ll be surprised how much these small considerations go to making baby feel good.
  3. Schedule play everyday: Offer some time on the floor with one or two toys he can play with. Examples – stacking cups, or small sensory balls, or even just plastic containers with lids. This might give him some free reign to enjoy play his way and give him some sense of control and decision making during his day. It’s also good for his brain and physical development.
  4. When he has a tantrum, try not to look or sound so surprised. That might give attention to it. Just go quiet and then in a cool voice, ask him what’s the matter and talk about what you think may be annoying him. “I took the paper and you did’nt like it? Its because I don’t want you to put it in your mouth. Take this toy instead”.

 

MUM#102:

My 3 year old will cry if she wants me to turn the car left while I am driving. I always have to explain myself. Or she will cry real tears if she asks me to sit down and I am busy doing something. Sometimes I try to understand her (maybe she misses me after a long day at school), but no she does this when we are together all day too. She cries a lot, in general.

MY RESPONSE:

This one really touched my heart because I have a super confident three year old who sometimes just wants my attention. And sometimes I think to myself, I am over-indulging her by giving her my attention. But I am learning that actually our attention is one thing we can never over do. Remember this post?

Firstly, if she needs your attention and you can give (so for example you’re not at that time frying plantain with hot oil or doing something urgent), give it. We are not spoiling them by doing this. Remember, this is the stage where we are laying the foundation for them to talk to us and continue to seek our opinions and views. It’s not in the teen years we suddenly cultivate that, it begins now. Give attention as often as you can.

 

Secondly, we can ask our children to exercise patience – that’s OK.  For example, when my 3 year old needs me and I have to attend to the baby, I explain to her that I am attending to the baby and she has to be patient. I started a mantra: ‘everyone has to be patient sometimes, even baby’.  I explain, when I am giving you food or helping you with your crafts, baby had to be patient, too. I illustrate this with examples when things are in motion. When I’m with her and not attending to baby, I make sure to point this out. So if were doing something and especially if the baby is grumbling a bit, I will say, see baby has to be patient sometimes. If you don’t have two babies, you can use examples when you have to be patient. For example, if you place an order for food when you are out, or you’re waiting for a parking space, you can just say, see I have to be patient. At 3, I feel their capacity to understand concepts like this is greater than ever before so I really love to use these kinds of practical examples and I can almost see her brain churning and doing the thinking.

 

Thirdly, there are sometimes when you cannot give your attention. An example is when my daughter wants me to read her a third book after I’ve said I’m only reading one, during bedtime routine for example. And I just say with all honesty, Mummy is tired and cannot read you more than the one book promised. She loves books and left to her we would read about 7/8 books every night. This is a good thing in general, of course, so I never want to discourage it, but I have my limits when my cup is running at low, at the end of the day, especially. I’m just so tired tonight. After repeating this plea to some of her requests over time, she now understands that sometimes I am tired and cannot play. I am human and nothing wrong with my child seeing that. I get tired. It’s the honest truth. I try to make sure I never abuse this though. I use it only when I am genuinely tired and just do not have to give in that instance.

 

Finally, the crying a lot part. I feel it’s a whole other post and I will address it as a separate discussion as part of this series on tantrums and meltdowns.

 

MUM#103:

My son just turned 2 years old and he hits everyone and everything. Help, Im at my wits end.

RESPONSE:

Every time your 2 year old hits you go to him, get down to his level and say, do not hit. Hands are not hitting. Then you make a point to check on the child he has hit, saying: John, let’s check on baby Lola. Baby Lola are you OK, I’m sorry John hit you. If John continues to hit Lola you say, I won’t let you hit and gently lift him up and away so he cannot continue to hit the child.

The trick is to repeat this routine, every single time he hits. You can hold his hands too and make sure to get down to his level. It shouldn’t hurt but holding his hands can help him connect the hands and no hitting advice.

The second tip is not to hit him as punishment. That could cause confusion in the child’s mind, if you say don’t hit but then you hit.

If you can, get a book about hitting – for example, hands are not for hitting. During your chill out bonding time together, you can read the book. And talk about all the things hands are for. And when there a hitting incident go pack to repeat some of those lines.

Please do not make excuses for your child if they hit, or push or bite. It can be a insensitive to the child that is the victim. It can also send the wrong message to your child (however young they may be) that hitting is OK. Also, if your child is in the hitting, pushing phase, watch them very closely when they are at play with other children, so you can jump in and respond or even prevent hitting when needed. Consistency in your response every single time he hits, is the solution. It drives home to your child that hitting is not OK, they will not get away with it, and actually reminds them the person on the other side is hurt or does not enjoy the hitting too. With time, John will do the hitting less and less, you’ll see.

As with most things in this parenting world, and even life in general, we have to be consistent in our approach to see results.

Please feel free to put your questions below the post on Instagram today and I will answer more questions on this hot topic. If you have been in these situations before, I would love to hear your thoughts, too. Please share below.

Breast milk supply boosting lactation tea – does it work? A review.

When breastfeeding Ng shared on Instagram that she would be releasing a lemonade lactation drink, I thought… ‘hm, that sounds interesting’. She added an introductory discount price, lol, so I jumped into her DM and ordered mine. Here’s my unbiased review.

Why would you consider a lactation drink or snack?

If you would like to pump larger quantities of milk. Or feel like your supply is low or might not be enough, you might choose to consider a lactation supplement.

These snacks or drinks are said to boost your milk supply using natural milk enhancing ingredients from nature. Examples of these ingredients are fennel, coriander, fenugreek and oats. They are not backed by research, but by mothers anecdotes.

What else should I know about supply?

It is very unlikely that you do have enough milk – many mums who think they have low supply may be surprised to find it’s not the case. Checking the weight of your breasts or looking at how much you can pump are NOT good ways to gauge whether your milk is satisfying or sufficient for your baby.

The best way to check that is to monitor if baby is putting on weight by looking to see if they have wet or dirty nappies, often.

Mums have also found that drinking water, not stressing, pumping or feeding baby regularly helps boost supply. See full listing of tips to try to boost your supply here.

So, back to my review. Breastfeeding Ng offers two flavours of lactating iced tea: watermelon and lemonade. I tried them both.

Here’s what I noticed:

🍉 It tastes like a tea, not too sweet and best served iced cold.

🍉 I like both flavours, but the watermelon in particular is that bit more interesting in taste.

🍉 I tried the watermelon at about 1pm in the afternoon and I felt like I could see the results quite soon. I don’t have supply issues or doubts my body is producing enough for my baby, but there seemed to be a noticeably fuller feeling in the breasts after I introduced the iced tea, than before.

🍉 The drink tends to make me very thirsty so I ended up drinking lots of water, more than I normally would daily. I don’t know if this is a planned side effect but it’s definitely a benefit which also helps boost supply.

🍉 It would depend on amounts in the particular supplement you take, but fenugreek actually contains iron, magnesium, manganese’s, vitaminb6 and dietary fibre. It is also said to aid digestion, boost the immune system and reduce cholesterol levels. So apart from the supply boosting benefits, there are other nutritional benefits too.

What could have been different?

🍋 I would have liked to see a more detailed label which includes the full ingredients in the drink so I know what I’m putting in my body. I read labels a lot so I was a bit disappointed not knowing what I was drinking exactly. I reached out to Breastfeeding NG and the owner explained that she would normally do that but didn’t have those labels ready. She explained it contains moringa, aniseed and fennel.

I think telling us what is in the bottle also contributes to customer assurance and trust.

🍋 It has a natural and healthy-ish taste and smell. For me, this was perfect as it was not too sweet but if you’re expecting the usual lemonade sugary-sweet taste, you’ll need to adjust your expectations.

Price: 700 a bottle

Delivery process: Seamless! I actually requested delivery before 12pm and it was confirmed that it was possible. They missed me and came back once I explained I was able to still receive it. A very pleasant service altogether that I was pleased with.

Verdict: I would buy it again. I have serious sugar cravings and have been turning to sweet drinks but this drink is able to satisfy my craving, but with likely less sugar contained and other benefits too.

Please note: this is not a paid advert. I purchased these drinks. My review expresses my view and is unbiased. Milk boosting supply drinks are considered safe generally, but please do check with your Doctor before consuming them.

The Girl Likes Pink Stuff, so What Next?

Those of you who have been on this journey with me for a few years now will know that I am not into pink for miss3. There’s nothing wrong with pink in itself, I’m just a bit conscious of the girlie princess all things beautiful narrative. It’s not something I want my children to buy into. I have written about it in different posts in the past.

I tried to avoid buying pink initially, but my loved ones did and their pink options looked so good on her, I think I went ahead and bought some too. Lol.

If you follow my stories, I shared on intentionally buying non-girlie (as they are advertised) toys. So specifically, I buy building toys such as magnet tiles, blocks, and then trains, drums etc. In case you wondered, if I had a boy, I would do the same – encourage play with traditionally non-boy toys too. I believe we need to work hard to reverse some of these gender stereotypes that society pedals. Or at least question them.

Anyway, now at age 3+, miss3 loves the building stuff but equally loves the pink, ballet, princess related stuff. Somehow. I woke up one day to find this.

So what next?

1. My first learning is that this is not something I believe I need to fight. I have come to realize, that I can steer, but she is her own person already. It’s empowering for her, healthy and builds the trust between us, when I show her that she is capable and equipped to do this – make her own choices. I will even go as far as saying, there’s a very thin line between guiding and playing god in our children’s lives. At some point we will have to start holding on to what we have taught them and believing it is enough to sustain them to make the right choices. I actually believe in some areas you can start this early.

2. My second learning is that, this presents an opportunity to show trust.This trusting them and showing them you trust them dance is a topic that I love. When she was less than a year old, I would let her carry our bose portable speakers across the room for me. My heart will be in my mouth, she could tell, but she did it anyway and she never dropped it. Trust is two way. I show her I trust her and she in turn hopefully learns she can trust me too. She may continue to love pink, but if she trusts me, she is more likely to listen and learn when I share on any topic in general. So in the long run, she is more interested in what I have to say and happy to listen to me.

3. My third thinking around this, is what could I actually do to discourage a love for pink, anyway? And what would be the benefit? Wouldn’t that teach her that she is not capable of making a choice for herself over something as small as choosing a favorite colour? I still make it clear I don’t like princess stuff – she knows this. But, I don’t admonish. I talk about it sometimes but not all the time. I even bought a tutu yesterday. I have also explained the non princess’s options so she knows they exist, but I don’t push them on her by force.

4. Finally, I believe what will help kill gender stereotypes is what our children see around them, regularly. What we do as a family will either reinforce or dismiss these stereotypes. The type of play and extracurricular activities she engages in and is exposed to – let girls get involved in football, boys can play with dolls and even help in the kitchen. The things I say to her about what boys and girls can do. The stories in books she reads and hears, too.

So in this way TRUST, the careful CHOICES we make to avoid gender stereotypes and STANDING BACK… will be at work. These factors, as well as avoiding gender stereotypes, are playing a big role in my (intentional) parenting in the early years journey. I never expected to be dealing with them quite so early into motherhood, but hey I’m ready! I am happy to do what it takes for the future benefits.

No matter all our intentional wishes and teachings, at some point, we will have to let our children find their own way too, for themselves. And hope all we have provided is a solid root for them. I am reminding myself of this a lot more these days, as we approach age 4 and officially say goodbye to the toddler years.

Oh and if miss3 decided to be a professional ballerina in the future, I would be very OK with that. Look up Michaela De Prince :).

10 Lessons I’ve Learnt from Parenting

My first child will be 4 years old in a few months. Where oh where did the time go? It’s been a journey so far and it’s still only the ‘early’ years. I sat down this evening and started writing what I have learnt so far over these parenting years.

Ok, let me get right into it:

  1. You will Change your Mind Many Times on Many Topics – This is OK

One of the worst things you can do as a parent is say I will never do so so and so. Oh boy, you will find that you change your mind a number of times. And that’s OK. You don’t owe anyone an apology for saying you will never co-sleep and then letting your child sleep in your room or bed for 3 years.

  1. Don’t Pretend to Know… You don’t

If you have not gone through a certain parenting stage or developmental milestone, you really do not know what it entails. It is better not to pretend you know. Or try to join the conversation based on your perceived parenting prowess. No no no.

Let me give you an example. Before potty training began I said I would just use the normal toilet straight, with a training seat, I didn’t understand the point of using a small potty. Fast forward to when I started, yes I used the potty. I even bought one for the car. I really did not know.

  1. Self-care is so important

It is important to do things for yourself. Take time for yourself if possible, everyday. Even if it’s just 15 minutes of a long bath and creaming time. Love on you. I promise you that you are a better parent when you have loved on yourself through self-care. DO not feel guilty about time that you take out just for you EVER. It is essential.

 

  1. Earlier Does Not Mean Smarter

I am still learning and reminding myself about this one. Just because my child does something later than her classmates or friends does NOT mean that she is not as smart. Examples: walking, talking, potty training, reading etc. My child is her own unique person, with many unique God-given gifts. I will focus on her own gifts and strengths and things she can do, rather than the things she cannot do… yet!

  1. The Rewards for Spending Time with Your child are Endless

I say this not to make any mum feel guilty, but to state that quality time with your child is truly a wonderful thing for both mum and child. Now many times people talk about the benefits for the child of these bonding moments, I want to talk about the benefits for the Mum. As a Mum getting to truly know your child helps you too. When you know and understand your child, you can parent them in a way that is in line with their learning styles, you build a trust with them and they learn to listen to you because you both have had plenty of practice. It is how you will know a certain behaviour is because of hunger not about the tantrum. It is how you understand whether to give more food as requested or you know that they’re really food and will go to waste the extra food. It doesn’t make it easier, oh, at least in my experience I cannot use that easy word, but you sometimes, get to bask in those moments of glory of the good and that feeling is everything.

  1. Seasons Come and Seasons Go

Weaning, first words, first steps, colic, potty training, first days of school, sleeping through the night etc. They came and oh I felt all sorts of emotions attached to each and every single one of them, but it passed. It got better with time. I learnt coping mechanisms, I got to enjoy it and I can honestly say some of those made me ache and cry and worry into the night, but they passed! And I liked every single one of those better when I did it in a way that best suited me and baby. That’s maybe why I don’t believe in doling out general advice, I prefer the word suggestions. The truth is many times, we have to find our own way.

  1. Find Your Mama Tribe – You will Need Them

I feel like thanking my friends all the time for the tips they give me on discipline, food ideas and just generally allow me to rant and moan when I feel like I need to. Find friends that have children the same age as yours. Find friends you trust with sharing information about your parenting journey. Lean on these friends. I am also eternally grateful for my internet friends who share with me, ask questions and share their tips too. Thank you J.

 

  1. Play Allows You to Connect with Your Child

Again, I feel like I’m forever preaching the benefits of play. Via @PoPP Lagos and with simple descriptive posts on @Mummyfix. But this last couple of months, I got to fully understand that play is a language that I speak with my child too. It helps me see my child as a person in her own right, as opposed to somone I’m caring for and that’s very healthy. It brings an element of fun, wonder and mystic to parenting. I think because caring can be so much hard, especially if you’re doing it with little or no support/help, that it is a good idea to have these shifts in your mind and your focus.

  1. Know That YOU are the PERFECT PARENT for your child

My biggest learning in Parenting I stumbled on during my internet readings last year and honestly, I found it to be PROFOUND because it came right on time for me. The message is that I am fit for my child. I am the perfect parent for my child. I have everything I need to parent her the way she needs me too. And so are you. There are no mistakes on these things. YOU are equipped to parent your child the way they need.

  1. Find your Parenting Way

Not everyone will understand your parenting choices. Some of your choices will baffle people – I have been asked WHY on some issues. Sometimes your choices will irritate people – are you the first to have a child? There are time’s I don’t even know the back story of why I want to do something, only that it feels right to me and I will sit and think so what is my rationale here? And if it feels right and I still dont know the answer, I am OK with it. Do not be bothered by these outside murmurings or lack of self-understanding. Stand firm in your resolve. Trust your instincts and keep doing you.

 

I didn’t know that parenting would bring out the fierce in me. Did I think for one second that it would also make me softer and kinder? The answer is… no. But here we are. I can honestly say it has changed me for the better as cliché as that statement is. I just feel more focused and somehow that has been good for me.

Are there times when I ask myself who sent me on this journey… ladies the answer is a YES. Are there days I look for freedom like girl where you at, come get me and take me on a long all-expensed-paid holiday by myself? … YES. And yet those moments take nothing away from the wonder and pure joy of being a mum.

15 Top Breastfeeding Tips for a New Mum

In the first few days after baby is born, it can seem like your life is consumed by breastfeeding. Those early days breastfeeding can be like an obsession, because you know it is how your baby is going to feed and grow, so the pressure is ON, sometimes even through painful, swollen breasts and cracked nipples. Mercy, who has experience helping mums breastfeed from volunteering at a breastfeeding centre in England and plenty of breastfeeding experience feeding her adorable two Chiddy and Amara , shares her 15 essential tip for a new mum below.

By now, most of us know that breastfeeding is the best first food for baby, if there are no complications or other circumstances. Breast milk contains so many wonderful things: proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and antibodies that protect the infant from infection and build the infant’s immune system. It can also reduce mums chance of contracting breast cancer.

But for all the good we know, there is so much that we don’t know about, it seems. If I had a dollar for every time a woman shared the many things she didn’t know about breastfeeding before she had a baby, I would have bought my dream home by now!

Having all (or a lot of ) the information, can make a big difference in your breastfeeding journey. Here are some important things that I think every woman who is considering breastfeeding should know:

  1. The start may be challenging.

Women all around the world experience difficulties with breastfeeding in varying degrees. From mild cases of nipple soreness and engorgement when milk comes in to more complicated cases of mastitis, tongue/lip tie and low milk supply. Many of these issues can be easily resolved with the right support. So please don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t happen easily for you. You are not alone, please get some professional and medical help quickly.

 

  1. Colostrum is enough for the first few days.

The breast starts producing the first milk called “Colostrum” during late pregnancy (as early as 16 weeks in some women). This thick milk rich in proteins, carbohydrates and vitamins, is all your baby’s tiny and immature stomach needs in the first few days. It is full of antibodies and acts as a laxative to get rid of meconium (baby’s first stools). Because colostrum can’t be measured in ounces but in teaspoons, I find that a lot of women get confused and think they’re not producing enough milk and begin to supplement with formula immediately. Don’t panic, sister! Though your mature milk may take between 2-5 days to fully come in, your baby is not starving. Just maintain skin-to-skin contact and continue to put baby to the breast frequently.

 

  1. Take care of your nipples especially in the early days.

Lots of mothers report nipple soreness. Always squeeze and aim for a deep latch (push your breast right into baby’s mouth), with baby taking in the full areola because a poor latch where baby is only sucking on your nipple will cause damage. Baby should be sucking on the area around the nipple, not just nipple. Try rubbing breast milk all over your nipple before a feed. You can also use lanolin nipple cream. I’m a big fan of coconut oil so that’s what I’ve always used. Really take care of your nipples, mamas! So many women have given up breastfeeding because they couldn’t bear the pain of injured nipples. It might be painful in the beginning as your nipples get used to so much friction, but it does get better.

  1. Constant nursing in the early days is normal.

If it feels like your baby is constantly nursing, this is normal. Not only is breast milk very easily digested, remember that it is also food, drink and snack. Your breasts are also soothers (unless you decide to replace them with a pacifier, which isn’t recommended in the early days – explained further below). Newborn stomachs are also very small, so when your baby is nursing voraciously, bear this chart in mind:

  1. It is best to put the pacifier away until your supply is established.

Following on from my last point, it is best not to use a pacifier in the early days. This is so that you’re not replacing the time needed at the breast to stimulate it into producing as much milk as baby needs and establishing a healthy supply. It is also to avoid nipple confusion, which may then lead to difficulty latching correctly to the breast. I know it may seem like baby is attached to your breasts all the time but trust me, this time will pass before you know it.

 

  1. On demand feeding will help to build your milk supply.

Feeding baby on demand (feeding whenever baby needs i.e. not scheduling to feed every two hours. Just grab a bottle of water or your favourite drink and put on some Netflix or pick up a book and don’t bother watching the clock. AND let other people take care of housework. Your only “job” in the early days should be to nurse and bond with your baby and to allow yourself heal.

 

  1. Breastfeeding may act like a sleeping pill in the early days.

If you find yourself nodding off like a baby while nursing remember that it is due to a hormone called “Oxytocin” being released during let-down (release of milk). It is also the hormone released during sexual arousal/orgasm so go figure! Enjoy it while it lasts.

 

  1. Breast milk is enough for the first 6 months.

With a good supply, baby is able to thrive on just breast milk for 6 months. Some people will tell you that you need to supplement but this is just not true. I assure you that breast milk is enough unless there’s an issue with your supply and/or baby’s weight gain.

 

  1. You don’t have to supplement with formula.

I had to add this one because of how many times I have encountered it. When many mums face difficulties, their first thought is to whip out the tin of formula. However, there are many things you can try before resorting to formula, like expressing to give extra feeds or donor milk. If you really want baby to have breast milk exclusively, explore all your options and leave formula as a last resort. If you don’t have experts or knowledgeable people around you, the Internet is a very powerful tool. Consider making google your friend!

 

  1. Every little breast milk helps.

I strongly believe that some breast milk is better than no breast milk. If you have to mix feed or stop breastfeeding after a short while, rest assured that whatever milk you have been able to give will go a long way. Leave the guilt outside and shut the door!

 

  1. Breastfeeding may protect you against pregnancy.

It’s possible that breastfeeding would protect you against pregnancy. It has worked for so many women, myself included. But bear in mind that how you breastfeed matters. There are rules to follow and even then every woman’s body works differently. I will share more about this subject in another post, if you’re intersted.

 

  1. Being extra hungry and thirsty is normal.

Breastfeeding burns up to 500 calories a day and breast milk contains over 80% water. So if you find yourself very hungry and thirsty, don’t be shocked. Eat and drink up! Also even if you can’t maintain a perfect diet, don’t worry. The nutrients in breast milk are drawn largely from the nutrient stores in your body so babies will always get what they need. Obviously, it is best to maintain a generally healthy diet especially for your own wellbeing but don’t stress over the odd MacDonald’s or if you’re like me, a whole packet of custard creams and tea.

  1. You CAN breastfeed past 6 months.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding up to the age of 6 months (when you introduce solids) and carrying on breastfeeding till the age of 2 and beyond. Yes you can breastfeed a toddler if it’s still mutually beneficial. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I’m an extended breastfeeding mama and I’m here to encourage you. Carry on, ladies!

  

  1. Breastfeeding remains beneficial for as long as it lasts

Whether it’s for nutrition or comfort, don’t let anyone tell you you’re doing something wrong. Someone once told me that there’s nothing left in my breast but water so I should stop breastfeeding my toddler. Research has shown that for as long as you breastfeed, the milk remains beneficial to your child. And to be honest even if my milk was no longer doing anything, I would still carry on because there is more to breastfeeding than milk transfer. My body, my baby, my choice.

 

  1. Support is EVERYTHING!

Lastly remember that support is everything. Find a lactation specialist near you. Befriend other breastfeeding mothers. If you’re struggling, seek help immediately. In fact, don’t wait until there’s a problem to seek support. Sometimes, just having someone to rant to about late night feeds and lack of sleep, is all a nursing mother needs to keep her sane. I will add a list of helpful links at the bottom and of course I’m always here to answer any questions or refer you to someone that might be able to help. Happy breastfeeding to all who are nursing.

Thank you so much, Mercy.

Mums, what would you add to the list of things new mamas should know about breastfeeding? Was there something you did that you think made a difference for your early breastfeeding days? Please share in the comments, below.

 

Useful links

La Leche League International

La Leche League UK 

KellyMom

Unicef Baby Friendly

Association of Breastfeeding Mothers

Association of Tongue Tie Practitioners

Can I Say No to a Cervical Dilation Check during Labour?

It all started when I put up a post with this image about checking cervical dilation on Instagram. Over 150* Mums shared their experiences and many answered B – getting measured to see how dilated they were was very, if not more painful than labour! One mum said she was checked about 10 times – ouch.

I had prepared the post based on my own experiences of getting checked during labour with my miss3 and missnewbaby, too. I wondered why I had heard so little about the pain associated with cervical dilation checks and if I was alone. It was reassuring to know that it was a common feeling – the intrusion and the pain.

I also shared it because I love to remind everyone, myself included, that you have a say during the birth of your babies, contrary to how you may feel at the hospital. Your views can and should be heard (as long as they don’t put you or baby in danger). If your suggestions are not a good idea, the medical team present  should explain why that is. You should also be treated with dignity during your birth. This is not something that should be an extra, it’s really the bare minimum we should expect during such a sensitive and vulnerable time.

The responses to the post prompted me to go read up on the cervical dilations check. Ok, you can say ‘no’ – great, but what everyone was wondering was, what are the alternatives that the midwife or Doctor can use to gauge how your labour is progressing, if they do not perform an internal exam?

I share my findings with you below.

A quick reminder: checking your dilation does NOT tell your birthing team how fast your labor will be, or how easy or challenging your labor will be. It is only a snapshot that tells where you are at that point. So your midwife may deduce you are 1cm dilated or 5cm – half way there or 10cm – baby is about to make their grand entrance.

If your midwife checked you and you were measuring 2cm, she may check again a few hours or minutes later. Taking the measurement twice or more, allows her to compare where you are now, to where you were earlier, and she can then see if your labour is progressing. But, what if I told you I found other signs that can be used to gauge that too.

Other indications of how your labour is progressing include:

1. Smell. Apparently women in labour emit an earthy smell just before they start to transition (move from 7 to 10cm).

2. There’s something called the rhombus of michaelis. This rises as your labour progresses to the pushing stage. It shows your baby’s head entering into the pelvis and pushing against the sacrum and can be seen by a midwife.

3. The purple line. I don’t know if this would show for dark skinned ladies. It’s basically a line that rises up your bum crack and when it’s a the top you’re fully 10cm dilated. The line may start to shape when you’re about 3-4cm.

4. Emotions. Apparently mothers get more quiet and retreat within themselves blocking out noise around them as the dilation is increasing. This was not really the case for me though. I actually was easily irritated (was requesting a bath and a birthing ball and felt like everyone was not quick enough). This is also another obvious sign you’re progressing through labour and close to the end.

5. Bloody show. At about 6cm apparently most women get their first or a second bloody show. It could be a Gish if fluid, mucus and blood.

So these signs can be used to monitor the progress of your labour in place of a cervical exam.

However, please note that there is a BUT.

An internal check might be required if your labour does not seem to be progressing in a way that your Doctor or midwife expects. They may then want to check to see if there is a reason for this, for example position of baby’s head or limbs. In this case, saying no, may endanger your baby and even your life too. This is a situation where it would  be wise to allow the check to be done, to rule out any big issues, or to identify and try to solve if there is one.

Here’s a little summary:

You can say no to a cervical exam during labour, if it’s simply being use to measure how your labour is progressing. The team could let you progress and over time check you progress using the methods. Or if your contraction stop, that would be another indicator. But if your Doctor suspects something is not as it should be while you’re labouring, you will have to open those legs for an internal exam. You can always politely ask whoever is carrying out the exam to please be gentle.

Ps the instagram post is here: pain cervical exam.

 

Let me know your thoughts below, did you find cervical dilation checks more painful than labour?

xoxo

*from main page @mummyfix and @mummyfixnewbaby too.

 illustration is courtesy @theeducatedbirth.

The 10 Commandments of Introducing Solid Foods

 

Last Thursday, I was live on Instagram on the Shredder Gang page, sharing about the 10 things I think parents should know, before they start introducing solid foods to their infant.

I call these points, the ten commandments of introducing solid foods. This process is also called complementary feeding or weaning.

The replay of the live video was not made available after I logged off, but… I promised to write out notes and that’s what I’ve done below.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the live, but as I saw familiar account names pop up on the screen, followed by questions – I felt a bit more assured. Thank you to everyone who came online. I think it went well, minus technical glitches at the beginning (volume was initially too low), if I do say so myself. Haha.

Alright, lets get into it:

1. Only breastmilk or formula milk for the first four months

The advice from the medical community is to only offer baby breastmilk or formula milk in the first four months. Apart from any medication prescribed by your Doctor, of course.

A few weeks back, I saw a mum talk about offering an aloe vera drink to her 6 week old to help with colic symptoms, on an instagram account. I immediately let her know it was not a good idea and could even be dangerous.

There is one exception to this rule – water. Exclusively Breastfed babies do not need water, even when it’s hot. Instead, the advice is to offer breastmilk more often, if your baby is interested. A formula fed baby from 2 months old, may need water when the weather is very hot. Again, act as directed by your Doctor, only. Water for formula fed babies should only be offered from when baby is 2 months old.

From 6 months old you can start giving baby sips of water with their solid foods or if you start solid foods between 4  to 6 months – introduce those sips of water. The general rule is give water during baby’s solid meals and if you’re drinking water and baby requests it – you can also give baby then.

2. You never have to use the sippy cup and you should phase out your baby feeding bottles by their first birthday.

The advice is to give baby a normal cup from when you introduce sips of water at that point when they start solid foods. There’s a popular baby cup – the Munchkin Miracle cup. You can use this cup. Avoid using a sippy cup if you can – this helps the fight against tooth decay.

Similarly, after your child’s first birthday, avoid giving them liquids to drink in a feeding bottle, including their milk. If your child still takes milk, they should drink from a cup.

3. You have two options when you start weaning – puree and baby led weaning.

The more popular option seems to be mummy led weaning, offering your baby a puree. Here Mum leads and she spoons cereals, pap or puree into baby’s mouth.

The other option is Baby-led weaning. Baby feeds themselves in this case. Usually it’s pices of actual food that has been cut up to make it easier for baby to suck or chew on. It can also be baby feeding themselves their puree or semi-liquid food.

Basically, as soon as your child is showing the signs of weaning readiness – sitting upright etc, you can start baby led weaning and that means you can give them normal food chopped up in specific ways – this part is important to avoid choking. You do not have to puree or blend all their food. It is not compulsory.

I personally took the baby led weaning route and I give it some credit for helping develop my daughters fine motor skills, keeping her interested in foods and exploring different textures and tastes. It is said that these children are typically less likely to be picky eaters in the future, but of course there might be exceptions.

Finally, you can actually offer a mix of baby led and puree. The benefit of puree is that mummy can see how much food baby is eating. With baby led, a lot of food will end up on the floor, on their clothes since they are feeding themselves and only in the process of learning how. It means more waste, but the benefits are as I described in the paragraph above. So if you can offer a mix of the two styles, you might consider that the best of both worlds. Mind you some, babies who experience baby led lose interest in pureed food.

The foods you can offer for baby led can be: cucumber sticks, boiled carrot sticks, stick of toast with butter, apple cut into a wedge with skin off, etc.

If you are taking baby led please ensure you watch the choking video. And always cut length wise. For example grapes.

>>>The video to watch to ensure you know what to do if baby is choking is here: first aid choking.

>>>The signs to look for to know when baby is ready for weaning are listed here: weaning when to begin.

4. Food till your child’s first birthday is for exploring different tastes and textures.

Baby’s main meal in this time continues to be their breastmilk or formula milk. What this means is, it is better if you do not have a personal agenda or objective with feeding, beyond this objective to let your baby explore the different tastes and textures, in this time.

Let me give an example of a mum agenda. I have heard a mum say my 7 month old is a picky eater. When I ask why, Mum explains it’s because I want to give my child pap three times a day but she refuses. Why Pap? Mu explains that Because it fills her up and then I can wean her off the breast quicker. No ma’am. You are pushing your agenda on your child and getting frustrated that you are not seeing results while ignoring that your child has her own ideas too.

For the first few months babies need time to learn hw food works – sucking, chewing and swallowing a stodgier texture. We need to give them a chance to do this by not trying to fill them up with the food. Of course some babies may love food and want more which does fill them up – no problem, then you may consider reducing milk slowly over time, though they still need to be taking a certain quantity of milk, so you don’t remove it completely.

Your child before their first birthday CANNOT be a picker eater. Till their first birthday, please ‘expect’ them to eat small here and there and what your job is is to continue to offer a different foods with different textures. So not just pap but potatoes, plantain, rice, fruits and vegetables too. They may exceed or not meet your expectations and from there you adjust, but do try not to have an agenda in this period. You will be a much calmer mummy.

5. Your mind-set is very important.

Be relaxed and let your child see that you are relaxed.

Now this one might involve faking it. That means that you will have to pretend that you really do not care that your child isn’t finishing up their meals, when you really do care, for example.

It means not breathing over their shoulders as they eat. It means not putting pressure on them to eat more if they indicate that they don’t want to at that time. Be relaxed and your baby will pick those vibes up. They really are smarter than we might realize and there’s psychology related to their feeding matters.

6. Starting solid foods with cereal, baby rice or pap is not a must.

It is actually possible and very OK to skip rice cereals and pap and start with fruits and vegetables, if you choose. Either puréed version of the fruits and vegetables or real pieces. It is an option.

If you choose this method, you may choose to start with one fruit, then when your child is happy with that (and no allergic reaction), you try another fruit and if they’re good with the two, you mix it and offer that. And in this way keep offering different kinds of fruits and vegetables and then other types of foods too. For example, apple, pear then apple and pear. Potato, carrot, then potatoe and carrot.

>>>I explain how to begin weaning using the fruits & veg method here: weaning how to begin.

7. Be mindful of allergies

Many of us escaped food allergies growing up. The current generation seems to be experiencing a lot more food allergies than I feel we did in our time.

What do you need to know? Allergies may show as a rash or swollen parts of their body or difficulty breathing.

To avoid it, introduce new foods one at a time and if possible in the morning, that way if there’s a reaction you can spot it during the day and take baby to the Doctor, if need be.

8. Constipation is normal in the first weeks.

What is happening is that your baby’s intestines are getting used to stodgy food compared to liquid food your baby was taking before.

You need to be careful in case a particular food is making it worse. For example, some mums report that banana make’s their babies constipated. As you offer your baby a variety of different kinds of foods, be careful to watch for the signs of constipation.

The best thing to do is offer one new food at a time. So if baby has never had banana and never had avocado, dont give them the two on the same day. Instead give baby banana today and watch that there are no reactions for about 2 days, then if none, in two days you can give baby avocado. Again if after two days no reaction then you can mix banana and avocado and offer baby because there was no allergic reaction. And you continue as such for every new food you offer, just to be on the safe side.

To help baby go, I recommend apple purée or even dates -blend it with water and give baby sips. Not too much though, otherwise you may end up with the opposite problem.

9. Follow your child’s cues.

And do not force baby to eat, when they indicate they are full.

I explained with a simple analogy – a breastfed baby completely regulates how much they eat and they put on weight and grow. Why do we then think that a slightly older baby cannot be the judge of how much they want to eat? It’s that agenda thing again, Mum has her own agenda to encourage child to eat every single drop of the food that was made. This should not be the case.

As long as you’re still treating milk as their main food till their first birthday and simply giving solids alongside, the baby should continue to thrive – that is put on weight.

A Mum asked me about following a meal schedule – whether it’s a good or bad idea. I feel that it may cause you to be following you own agenda rather than baby’s cues.

You can feed baby once or twice a day for the first few weeks and then up it to three times a day over the subsequent weeks, based on how interested baby is. But to make a meal plan and aim for your baby who just started eating solid food to follow it, may put undue pressure on mummy and baby. If you make a plan so that nanny follows it, please remind her of these commandments. It is not by force for baby to eat it all.

Let baby play with food from time to time. Not every meal, but from time to time. Research shows this may help prevent picky eater syndrome. As they play they are coloring the smells, tastes and textures. As much as possible eat while baby is eating so they see that food is a social thing. Some children enjoy eating from Mums plate and that’s another way to show food is fun and a social thing. After all, food is more than just putting something in your mouth.

10. Foods baby cannot eat before age 1

There are some foods that we have to hold off on and not feed baby till they are one year old. An example is honey. Others are below.

Now, from the cover picture you may have seen topic 1. Thats because I intend to cover more topics under introduction to slid foods, so do stay tuned by following mummyfix on Instagram. You can also sign up to the newsletter via the about & contact page (if you’re on your mobil, simply scroll down). If you have questions, please do let me know.

xoxo