Real Mum Interview – There’s Something About Bola

This month’s real mum feature is on Bolanle Williams Olley, who in my opinion should be crowned Chief Multitasker and general champion of the just-go-for-it attitude to life.

She runs in her spare time, founded and runs an ankara children’s wear line called BeauBelle Africa, raises money for charitable organisations every year and promotes Nigerian charity initiatives under an Insta-page called REACH and is completing a masters in her area of passion relating to education policy.

Hmm, the crazy part is she does all this while raising two young children alongside her husband (Tsola, now 2 years old and Teniola, 4 years old), AND working a 9 to 5 job as an Accountant too!

Are you thinking what I’m thinking… how does Bola manage to do it all?

I asked her a few questions about life as a young Mum back in 2016, and I want to share with you today, her response on how she balances all her different roles. Find out what she had to say on that question below!

The question, we’ve been waiting for. What are your biggest tips for balancing motherhood, marriage and life?

The biggest thing on this topic, for me, is time management – my days are very planned out. I think about how I can maximise my time and knock several birds in a specific time frame, so I can do the things I really want to do. For example, if I have to do laundry, and I have to crochet, I have an order – I’ll put the laundry in and while that is going I crochet. Like people always ask, how do you have time to do the crochet stuff, I tend to do it on my train ride to and from work. For me it’s relaxing. It is imperative to maximise your time. There are days I want to laze around and do nothing, and I do that, but for the most part I make sure my time management is on point.

The second thing I do is always create a to-do list. I feel it helps organise my day better.

Another thing is, it also helps to organise what you want to do. This is the same thing I do at work or at home when I was on maternity leave. I make sure I write down five tasks I want to achieve. I break them down to smaller tasks so it doesn’t seem like too much to handle. It also helps weed out what is important and what isn’t.

Finally, I am of the school of thought of ‘just do it’. Sometimes projects come to me last minute, but I make sure that once I decide to do something, I find the time to do it. I just do it. It doesn’t hurt to try. If you try and it doesn’t work out, you move on to something else. I would rather not have a ‘what-if, what-if’ moment, I will just know that I tried my best. I believe that we are all well equipped to achieve anything we put our hearts to do, depending on what your intentions are. In terms of my charity projects I have, I make sure I am doing in for the right reasons – in terms of career, life, school – I just do it!

Thank you so much for sharing with us, Bola!

Isn’t she wonderful? Stay tuned with MummyFix for more on this interview and others with some of my favourite Mum crushes who are out there doing motherhood and trying to live their best life too.

xo

Self-care is Important for Mums – this Funny Video Explains Why

Self-care is really a ‘thing’.

I have  found, these last couple of weeks (post partum & parenting two kids), that being well-fed and rested, as best I can, gives me that extra energy and drive to do what needs done during the day. It keeps me feeling like me – which is a great feeling, most days. lol.

As a mum it’s so easy to reach our limits and not realise until we’re completely exhausted.

Taking time out for yourself is even more important during the busy holiday season. This is typically a time when many Mums are doing the most – hosting guests, cooking and tidying/cleaning, traveling, round-the-clock child care etc. Basically, taking care of this, that and the other.

Kristina Kuzmic, in this hilarious video, shares on why it is just as important, to take care of YOU,  during the holidays or at any other time. Watch below…

 

Positive Discipline for Toddlers – a beginners guide

Positive discipline or Gentle discipline, means believing that no child is bad. Yes, they have bad and good behaviors, but those are signals to us the adults. We are to guide them and help them do better during those moments when they ‘misbehave’ or do not behave as we would like.

Now, providing this parental guidance with calmness, respect and firmness too, when your toddler is acting irrational, or silly -that’s the hard part, in my opinion. And that’s what positive discipline asks us to do!

If you choose this method of discipline, you will need to dig deep, often, to find your patience, and to keep your cool when your toddler is pushing the limits.

But the benefits that keep me interested are:

– teaching your child how to respond in crisis, something many of us still struggle with, (for example anger is not a bad thing in itself, it’s what you do next that matters)

– not damaging a child’s confidence and self esteem during the disciplining process

– removing shame from the discipline process (I feel shame is used to hold women (& some men) down in many ways. It becomes a huge part of our narrative and it starts from a young age).

 

The options for us adults to use as tools during positive discipline are as follows per wiki:

• Positive reinforcement, such as complimenting a good effort;

• Negative reinforcement, such as ignoring requests made in a whining tone of voice;

• Positive punishment, such as requiring a child to clean up a mess s/he made; and

• Negative punishment, such as removing a privilege in response to poor behavior.

Now I share with you some notes from my experience with using gentle discipline when my child is not behaving in a way I would like. With emphasis on the last couple of weeks (age 3), below.

I’m that hands-on Mum because I have flexible working hours since I work for myself, but also out of choice. I believe anyone – stay at home mum, working mum, etc can be a hands-on mum if they choose. It’s simply making a decision to be intentional about the way you raise your children.

I have just spent a month alone with my toddler – miss3yo and baby. Setting limits and reinforcing them has been at the core of our daily interactions:

⁃ to maintain some order,

⁃ for her own benefit (yes, I’ve read that they actually want limits)

⁃ also for my sake. When there is a battle of wills between mum and child it can feel very frustrating and tiring – I have experienced this and honestly my aim is to avoid it. It’s important to own the adult role and if possible do that in a way that feels positive for mum and child

I’m using these tips daily myself and it’s constantly being tweaked and I’m constantly learning. I don’t have all the answers. I have days when I call friends for over-the-phone reinforcements and tips too. But after getting through the difficult days, I vowed to share with others, what I’m learning. And that’s what I’m doing below!

Ok let’s get into it:

1. I have realized that the secret ingredient to positive discipline is ME. Let me explain: I cannot control my child’s behaviour (they can’t control it either sometimes, either), but I can control my behaviour. How I react. I must work on my responses and that starts with my thoughts and my energy levels. Being rested as much as possible helps. Reminding myself that my child needs my help navigating this period, also helps.

2.I use positive reinforcement. I was reminded recently that we often give more attention to the behaviour we don’t like in our children and that actually sends the wrong message. For example when I do this cheeky thing, I get Mums attentions I will do it some more today! We are encouraged instead, to find the positives daily and explain why we are pleased by the behaviour. High five for bringing baby’s nappy. I am proud of you for tidying up without being asked etc

3.Don’t be so surprised if your toddler does not behave well all the time. We don’t even behave well all the time as adults. They will have good and not so good moments since they’re just learning how to regulate their emotions and express themselves correctly. Expect that. Honestly, I wake up in the morning knowing I will need to put in limits and guide etc. I prepare myself mentally.

4.If you truly understand what they can and cannot do at this stage, it will help you be more realistic and manage your expectations for their behaviour on a daily basis.

For example, a 2 year old will likely not be able to fully tidy up to the levels an adult would. There will be some things left here and there. With you coming down to their level you can help, but disciplining them for not fully ‘completing’ tidy up to your adult standard, without your help, is highly unfair. Your expectations were too high.

5.Take it easy on yourself. There will be hard days. Speak to your significant other or friends. Get some alone time when you can. Take some minutes at the bathroom to get yourself together, if you need to.

6.Try to prevent the so called ‘bad behaviour’ if and where you can. Is your child hungry, over tired? Feed them and get them to sleep. This one is particularly relevant for during the holidays when we go visiting or guests come and stay late at our homes, delaying bedtimes or causing us in our enjoyment of company to miss our children’s hunger or tiredness cues.

7.What about naughty corner/time out? I am still trying to understand fully how gentle discipline says this should work. I know we are not to lock them away because we want to avoid shaming them and actually during these moments we do not want them to feel like we’re pushing them away. So face the wall, for example would not be advised under positive discipline. Sometimes they are seeking our attention for a reason, sometimes it is not logical for them, either.

Time in, means we kindly or rather calmly invite them to sit in a separate area not too far from us, ideally where they can still see us. We wouldn’t usually talk to them during this time. Not as punishment, but to give them some time to cool down or removing them from hurting themselves/or others. You can say that I’m just giving you time to cool down and when you’re ready I am here to talk to you. We should do this calmly. And then when time is up re connect with them.

8. Give warnings and use consequences.

So if you do that again, then there will be a consequence (you can say what the consequence would be). If done for second time, you give another warning. If done for third time – well it’s time for the consequence – you won’t go to your friends house to play tomorrow.

That’s how positive discipline is panning out for us these days. The points I can remember anyway.

Maybe with practice one gets to the point where doing all this is easy, I can put my hand up and say I am not there yet. I am still very much taking baby steps with gentle discipline, everyday. Sometimes I feel it’s working, other times, my Nigerian parenting finds a way to slip out. I just try to start again the next moment of discipline. One thing I will say is, I believe in the principle. Lol. I don’t feel guilty during difficult interactions and it seems logical.

If you feel guilty after spanking or you’ve noticed your child look scared as you move toward them when they do something naughty or you just want to do things better. I urge you to be open minded and pick what you can as a starting point for positive discipline. You won’t regret it!

Feel free to leave comments below or DM me on Instagram if you have questions. Also we started a daily Positive Discipline Journal, to help us track how we’re doing. Join on Instagram using that link highlighted.

 

Potty training: Positive & No Pressure Method (Part II – how to begin)

As promised, this is part II of the potty training series and will into details of the actual training process and ours and other mums experience of the training process.

With the Potty Without Pressure (PWP) method, the biggest thing is that your child is already showing an interest in using the potty before you take them out of diapers and begin the training process.

You may choose to wait till you see the interest in potty use, start the Potty Preparation stage (explained in Part I of the potty series), and then move on to actual training. The other option is to start the potty preparation stage in order to purposefully expose your child to the world of potty/toilet use and arouse that desire to try it in them.

In any case, with this PWP method, potty use is not something you just start as a surprise to your child, the ground work of preparation must have been done first!

Miss3yo Potty Training Process in summary?

My daughters potty-use curiosity peaked when she saw peers at school and PoPPLagos using the potty. She would see potties being carried around at PoPP in particular and ask me ‘is XXX potty training’? And I would say – ‘yes’. You know when you can just see the wheels turning in their little heads after they ask you a question, lol.

Also at school, some of her peers were trained or potty training and their toilet set up meant she would see their potties lined up in there, every time she had a diaper change. The world of potties became more ‘real’ for her and she started connecting it with peeing & pooing and something children her age did.

I started the potty preparation steps from about 19/20 months. I actually also tried to get her to sit on the potty which she was happy to do, but she had no interest in actually doing number 1 or number 2 in it. This meant I had to wait longer to start training stage, but I continued with the preparation steps.

One day after many potty discussions that week, she simply said, ‘I don’t want the diaper anymore’ or something to that effect. My friend whose daughter was already trained was there, so I looked at her like does this mean what I think? She said – ‘yes, time to start’! The next day was a Friday – no work for me, so we stayed home and did three days at home. On Monday she went to school and I told them to support my efforts, which they did. Now school is outside of the house where we had trained, so she was re-training to the school setting. That’s a slightly new process that everyone has to be patient with! It may be the same if your child is trained at school and you have to mimic their efforts at home – you need to let them get used to the process a gain. She was 2 years and 3 months old.

For nap times and sleep times, I continued to use diapers. She dropped all her naps, so it became only diapers for night time.

Night training we achieved four months later. I forgot to put the diaper on at night and she woke up fine and dry. And we continued. There were a few accidents here and there so I learned to: limit water drinking before bedtime, insist on peeing before she goes to bed and sometimes wake her up to ask if she needs to pee at night. In the summer with my being pregnant came potty regressions. Again this is normal and very common. I focused on not shaming over these accidents (however frustrating it got), just encouraged the right behaviour and put reminder measures in place so we could catch the pee in the toilet before it happens on the floor or bed.

 

Potty training – the actual steps

Let the training begin:
Day 1 – 4
– I would suggest dedicating a long weekend 3/4 days or if possible a week, at home to the process.

– You don’t go out, you just stay home and have you child run around without bottoms on if the weather permits, just their top on. This is to remove the difficulty in taking anything off anytime they need to do a pee or poo.

– You give them plenty of water in a bottle, it might be easier to have the potty right there beside wherever your child is playing initially so they dont have a long way to travel. So sit close o the potty.

– Give them a bottle of water or diluted drink so they are drinking lots of fluids and will feel the need to go often.

– Encourage them to sit on the potty every 30 minutes. A mum reader suggest every 45 minutes for boys.  – –

– While on the potty you can sing, read, let them watch cartoons, put music on, let them draw/scribble – anything that would keep them seated for a little while till pee pee comes.

– You will need rewards – some stickers on a wall chart, or sweets. You know your child best – something they love and would be a treat. You can also praise them with clapping, high-fives and a song, as a reward. I suggest hyping them up for sitting on the potty alone for a stretch of time, even if nothing comes out, then perhaps more hype and a song or reward if pee or poo comes out.

– For nap times or sleep times consider putting diaper on after they fall asleep.

Day 5 – 8
– You may at this point introduce a big boy or big girl pant. Or a thomas or peppapig pant. If you haven’t already. If you feel your child is getting into the routine earlier, introduce the pants earlier – day 2//3. There should be something that makes this pant quite special, so giving it a name like ‘big girl pant’ can make it seem very special even if it’s not a cartoon character themed one.

– Now help your child pull down the pants before they use the potty.

-You may start to leave longer gaps before you make them sit down – e.g. 40 mins for girls or 55minutes for boys.

– If you start leaving the house, go out with the same potty to keep things consistent. Whatever you do, do not go back to putting on diapers or pull-ups for your child again during the day when they are awake. Just keep going with the pants, if you’ve come this far.

– Just have them wear their pants, no pull-ups or diaper for going out. Keep the momentum going.

– You will need plenty of change of clothes and pants, a bag to put wet/dirty clothes, hand sanitiser, and can bring your stickers/rewards along too. And continue whatever songs/celebration you did while you were at home.

When accidents happen:

Please prepare yourself for accidents – there will likely be many. Your child will wee/poo on the floor, on themselves and on you! Do not expect this to be some magic process, although for some it can be quick. Remember your child is learning a new routine and will need lots of practice. You in turn need to show patience. Choose a room that has no carpets, so that you’re not tense about accidents that definitely will occur.

When an accident does happen, don’t make too much noise or fuss. Clean up and then explain that you will try for next time to put all the pee or poo in the potty.

What else do I need to know:

Standalone potty vs toilet booster seat: Buy a standalone potty and use this because it is made to seat your child’s body comfortably and it’s very convenient to place it in the room. However one or two Mums report that their child didn’t seem to like the potty. In this case you can put a potty child booster on an actual toilet and use that instead of the potty.

You may even choose to have both set up in your home. Eventually, you want your child to start peeing on the toilet (+ booster), so you don’t have the extra step of emptying the potty anymore. This may be a few months down the line when they can hold the pee in a little longer to get to the bathroom, take clothes off and sit.

Be open to your own family potty training quirks: You will soon find your own rhythm with potty training. Your own style suits you and your child best, and may look slightly different to the notes outlined above. I’ll give you an example – I could not get my child to sit on the potty every 30minutes. She moves around a lot (kinesthetic -tactile – see yesterday’s instagram post) and she just could not! That meant I had to keep asking her if she needed to go and also meant quite a few more accidents in the first days. But I deliberately did not fuss for each accident, just kept explaining that when she needs to go she is to tell me or run to the potty (it was two three steps away in same room, but I said run for emphasis on quickness). So she would then quickly sit on potty and sometimes miss the potty, but at least she knew what she should be doing. By the end of the weekend at home, she had more in the potty than on the floor and we counted it as progress.

Praise & rewards: If they work for your child use them, but they may not work. We mostly used a song and dance routine as offering sweets would have likely meant battles with having to keep giving them even if potty hasnt happened.

Special potty vs cheap potty: Some Mums have reported they bought a flashy potty, with flush and flushing sounds or music. Again if you think this will help make the process easier for your child – why not. But it’s possible to use just a basic potty, too. I used a cheapie Ikea one with an insert you can remove to throw out pee/poo and wipe clean. The baby bjorn one is the same – also has an insert. I think this makes cleaning a bit easier, so consider  this design when buying your potty essentials.  I found that helpful. I also had a potty inside the car (cheap one from GAME), a booster one on the toilet in her room and an easy fold one for public toilets. Looking back now, I didn’t use the foldable one that often because it was fiddly, but depends on your OCD levels for public toilet use. I have found lining the public toilet seats with toilet roll or paper towels works.

Pants: Consider buying basic ones that are comfortable and plenty of them, too. Especially for the early days when there might be many accidents and you may need to throw some out! Consider buying a pack of  character or more interesting ones, too, to add to the fun of it all.

 

Some other real mum experiences with potty training from Mummyfix Instagram page:

bolanle_hqFor us , showing excitement and cheering Teni has helped a lot , we do a sequence of activities when we go potty I.e. Potty->empty in toilet-> cover seat -> flush -> rinse potty -> wash hands and give ourselves hi fives! Also have a song.We also go potty every morning as part of her routine

akosuakate During my time in early childhood classes in college, we learned that a child needs have three things to be potty trained. Needs to be cognitively ready (understands the process and reasoning), needs to be emotionally ready (have they any major life changes, moving, new baby? Things that could set them back emotionally), and needs to be physically ready (can the child’s pull down their own pants? Take off there own diaper? Get up and down off the toilet on their own?). Out of my seven children, a few of them were probably trying to closer to three years old, if you were potty trained closer to two years old. I never rushed it. This should happen naturally, the child should show interest, and you should try to keep it a positive experience for everyone. For some kids, you can reward with one m&m after each time they go on the toilet, this helped for one of my children. I started placing all of my children on the toilet right around a year old, just to get them used to it a few times a day. I always made it into something happy and exciting (clapping, using exciting voices, saying bye-bye when you flush).

nneka_thefirst3rd try at commenting…ok i potty trained my son just before he turned 2 (22-23mths). I had another baby on the way and just couldn’t imagine buying and changing diapers for two kiddos. My biggest tip is to read the book: “oh crap! Potty training” by jamie glowacki. Everything I did was from there and it worked like a charm! I dedicated a full week to potty training…as in no distractions, no diapers (diaper only at night or naps), no outings, no work. He had shown some signs of readiness. I let him walk around completely Nude from the waist down and watched him like a hawk. Lol. I didn’t give sweets to reward him but I made EVERYONE (and I mean every one) give him high-fives every time he used the potty. He was so proud and so happy to get highfives that he would announce it loud and eagerly run to the potty. There were accidents (both poo and Pee) and he was embarrassed but I responded with hugs, kisses and encouragement that he was doing great!. During my one week, if I had to go out, I still didn’t put on a diaper. I tried to make him Pee before we left and I had a portable potty for the first few weeks (my mother in law thought I was crazy but became a believer very soon!). I didn’t use training pants. After our one week boot camp, we went commando (no diaper and no underwear under his shorts) for like a month and then I just got regular underwear. Another big tip is to get every one to buy in and support the process. I made hubby read the book and I explained to grandma that no he can’t wear diapers and no he won’t be a nudist because he’s running around naked! It worked and it’s still my crowning achievement all summer before 2nd baby arrived!!!!! Just read the book and follow through!

rukky_inikayI think i started potty training before 2 then stopped because #dudewasnotready Tried again at 2 and he started getting better…but would tell you after he already pee-d or pooped.#frustrating Then I realised he won’t go to the loo if he’s got training pants on so we went cold turkey and transitioned to boxer shorts and it got better for about 6 months then we moved and #regression. At this point I decided I cannot come and go and kill myself and that one day one day before he turns 18yrs old, he would be potty trained. Now retrospectively I see that over the past 6 months he has improved greatly. He uses the toilet himself now and hardly has accidents. However, I haven’t got around to waking him up at night time to use the loo. So to summarize this my long epistle, I have a boy and he’s 3yrs old now and with my experience I would say start potty training a boy between 2 and 2.5yrs old and if you feel you’re getting frustrated then just stop and start again after a few months.

 

Hope this is helpful to someone who is about to begin the potty training process. Feel free to ask me questions below in comments. If you prefer to be anonymous, you can contact me via the contact form on the site or DM on Instagram. More Mum discussions on potty training here on this Insta-post.

Potty Training: The Positive & No Pressure Method (Part I – when to begin)

Miss3yo was a year plus when I started collecting information on what it to expect and how to prepare for potty training. I thought other Mums may like to know too, so I shared it on Instagram. Many Mums contributed to the discussion with helpful tips and we were able to start our own potty journey armed with these wonderful tips. I hope to pay that forward to you guys with this guide.

So, thank God for time and progress, we went through it, she is both day and night trained now. The write ups from before are still relevant, but I will fill in all the gaps and add some snippets from our experience, too.

 

What does a Mum need to know about potty training?? Here it is:

If ou know your child is ready and you just want tips to get started on the actual potty training, click here. If you want to know if they are ready or just get a bit more information on what to expect in general, read on below.

Age guide

‘They’ – the experts, typically say:

Girls are ready at about age 21/2 – 3 (but could be before or after).

Boys are ready at about age 3 – 31/2 (but could be ready before or after).

This is just to give you some indication. In knowing when exactly to start your child, it is better to check their cognitive skills against the readiness signs below. Do not use age to determine when to start!

It is best not to compare with their friends, or classmates or siblings, either. At 19 months old, miss3yo’s best friend started potty training. I am not going to lie, we felt the pressure a little bit, but my little one really was not ready. She would sit but only pee when off the potty. So we stopped even trying and when she was ready, she showed it. To be honest the day she said she was ready, I started asking myself if I was ready, haha. Yes oh, Mums, it is very important that you feel ready too because the process asks a lot from you – you will need to be patient, consistent, keep things positive, catch poo in your hands – lol, I don’t want to scare you but,  it can be quite an experience!

Two stages of potty training:

There are two stages to the potty training process.

1.The potty preparation stage: These are the steps you take as you prepare your baby for potty training. During this period, they are still in diapers but you make toilet activities part of their daily conversation and include demonstrations. More on this below.

2.The training stage – These are steps you take when baby is out of diapers and the training officially begins. More on this in Part II.

Note: During naps and sleep time, you can put your toddler in diapers. Do this till about age 3 or when you notice your child is dry during naps or night time sleep – check the diaper after they wake up. You might also consider buying some mattress protectors – waterproof, to put under the sheets, for the couple o accidents that may occur.

 

Potty Training method – Potty Without Pressure (PWP)

There are different methods you can use, I am going to focus on the ‘potty without pressure’ (pwp) method.
This is the child-led method, which means you start only when your child is showing signs that they are ready or tells you they want to. They say following this method makes the process quicker and easier and based on our experience, I found this to be true-ish.

You can also choose to do it when you feel ready and I have spoken to mums who this worked for. They were consistent and their children got trained. So it is also possible to do the training even before your child shows full signs of readiness. Just be prepared in terms of your expectations. It may (or may not) take longer. You may (or may not) need to stop, if progress is not being made.

 

Readiness signs

There are cognitive signs that your child will show, which let’s you know they are getting ready for training. They may not be fully ready yet, though. But you can start stage 1 – the ‘Potty Prepping’ stage, when you see most of these signs.

The cognitive signs are, your child:
1. experiences discomfort when wet or soiled
2. has regular bowel movement on a fairly consistent basis
3. can follow simple two-fold instructions: pick the bag and bring it to mum
4. can tell you of need to wee or poo before it happens
5. can show or tell you when she has a dirty diaper
6. can sit on a potty for short period of time (15mins), though may need distractions
7. shows interest in watching or imitating activities related to toilet use, e.g. likes to flush the toilet, talks about toilet activities.

The emotional signs:

Make sure your child is not going through any major life changes. The biggest ones are moving house or starting a new school or a new sibling has just arrived. Starting potty training during these major changes may make it more stressful and difficult for your child and likely you, too!

Potty Preparation Stage – the steps

This is the time to:

1. Amp up a lot of talk about the potty.

2. Have the potty on display in the toilet, so that when you do diaper changes the potty is there and you can point and talk about it.

3. Model and talk about potty behaviour relating to your own bowel movement. For example: Mummy feels like she needs to wee. My body is telling I need to poo, I’m going to sit on the big potty/toilet and push it out, lol – the things we have to do in this mum life!

4. I am going to do a small wee wee (we recently started calling it tinkle), or I am going to do a big wee wee (a gush of wee). These different elements of the discussion help keep the experience interesting and fun and reduce the pressure hat may be associated with using the potty.

5. Let your child watch you wee and poo (if you’re comfortable with that).

6. Buy or borrow books about potty training and read them to your child. We loved: I want my potty (girl), other mums suggestion: Elmo’s Potty Time (boy). Consider buying one you think your child will enjoy.

7. Talk about  flushing the toilet, whether you did a wee or poo, cleaning with tissue, washing our hands. As much as possible, let them get involved, too, with these. Toddlers typically love to flush the toilet.

8. As often as possible, carry out diaper changes in the toilet, with your child standing up not lying down. This starts to prepare them physically for the new style of doing their ‘business’.

9. If they will be happy to start sitting on the potty first thing in the morning or last thing at night, you can try that. Do not put pressure if they don’t want to though. Just keep trying points 1 – 8.

 

Signs your child is still not ready

Once you have done the prepping stage for a while you may get the feeling your child will be receptive to actual potty training. Your child may even tell you or just start removing their diaper. You are officially ready to start the actual training stage (details in Part II).

If you start the training stage and notice any of the three signs I will explain below, it means your child needs more time. Stop the training process. Go back to putting their diaper on and following the prep steps, then you can try training again in a month or two, or when they show interest.

If you see these, your child is not yet ready, consider waiting:

a. Hiding while doing a poo.

This is not all bad. If a child is hiding while doing a poo, it means they can tell when they are about to poo . But it may mean they’re not emotionally ready to go ahead and poo in the potty. With this you have to wait and don’t put pressure on your child. You can suggest poo-ing in the toilet (while still in their diapers), explaining that the toilet room is the place for poo-ing, but don’t over push it if they still dont want to go there.

b. Sits on the potty happily for minutes but the moment they get up and take a few steps, they wee or poo on the floor.

This could mean that your child is still nervous about the potty. With this you just have to go back to the prep stage and and try the training stage in a month or two’s time.

c. Says no to everything.

If your child is going through a stage of asserting their independence, where they say no to everything, you may struggle with the potty process. It may be a sign that you should hold off on potty training for a bit longer. Again, with this, go back to prep stage again and wait a month or two to try training stage once more.

 

The actual potty training process?

There are many ways to approach this. I’ve shared details in Part II – How to begin the potty training process. It will also cover:  What you need to get ready for this stage. Other details you need to know. Our experience of potty training my daughter from when I  started to try at 19months old.

Thanks for reading :). Drop a comment or Instagram DM to let me know you found this useful or if you have any questions!

6 Tips for Choosing a High-Quality creche or Pre-school

Modern parents, many of us will agree that trying to choose that first school for your first born was not an easy task.

At the beginning of the search, you have many factors to consider: cost, close to home or close to work, Montessori, academic or other learning styles, a big school that has primary or just a small creche?

The options are many and if you allow it, the search can take a long time.

That’s why I have put together six tips to help you find that first child-care center for your child. Not just any center, but one that is high-quality.

Your money should be well spent (we pay a lot these days); your child should also be allowed to grow and thrive there. The early education experts are telling us that the first 5 years of a child’s life are so important and can shape a child’s future. It is worth choosing carefully!

If you choose a high-quality school and your child spends a few hours a day there, your child will be well on their way to building a solid foundation for their successful future.

A high-quality pre-school should offer:
1. Variety of play – pretend play, physical development activities, pretend play, game with rules, arts & crafts. Some of this play should be outside and unstructured play (the children choose what they want to play with and decide how they will play with the objects).
2. Opportunities to practice turn-taking, sharing and collaborating with their peers
3. Opportunities to practice self-care and tasks that encourage their independence
4. An environment that nurtures their language skills and grows their vocabulary
5. And I believe, care-givers should have a positive relationship with the children and it should be fun!

Parents should also have the peace of mind of knowing that your child is growing confident, is safe, learning, developing and happy.

Let’s look at the six tips to help you choose that high-quality crèche/preschool:

Look for play-based learning
Question: Does the teacher talk about play? Did the teacher emphasize that rather than teaching the children, the children will be playing?

I have to admit that I am biased on this one, as I co-run a play-focus mum & baby club – POPP Lagos. Still, the early education experts have done the research and I have seen the advantages for myself over the last 2 years, so I truly believe play is enough to provide learning for their age (0 – 5).

You may be thinking, what about Montessori? Montessori is not the same as pure play-based learning. I personally believe a good montessori pre-school will incorporate play and a good play-based center, and will incorporate some of that wonderfulness of Maria Montessori’s philosophy, too.

The opposite of play-based learning, is pure formal academics; picture a teacher at blackboard drilling abc, 1-100 into your child and telling them to repeat after them. It involves rote learning and many experts agree, it is not the best thing for a small child (or even an older child – but that’s a discussion for another day).

Even if child A, does learn to recite 1 – 100 earlier than child B through rote learning, it does not make him smarter than child B. Child B will go on to learn it at an older age. While child B is playing in the early years, he is gaining an understanding, he is exploring and practicing for, rather than just hearing and repeating the words he is told by teacher. Child B is also gaining enthusiasm and a love for learning.

Tips: The best tip is to observe the day care or pre-school in its normal state. What are the children doing? Also just ask straight up – what is a schedule for a typical day at the centre and listen to what is said for clues about academic learning or play.

Seek for examples of individualized learning
Question: Does the teacher talk about following each child’s interests and abilities, aside from their regular daily schedule for the children?

When you see two 30 month olds, what they can do cognitively (completing puzzles for example), speech wise and even their social interactions, will be different. One child might be quite talkative, telling stories, another might be able to identify 1 – 10 and love puzzles, but not yet speak in full sentences.The school/crèche carers should be aware of this and adapting materials and interactions with children, daily, based on what they know about each child.

Tips: You can ask what they do if your child doesn’t want to join a certain group activity. You want to hear clues that they would bring out something your child enjoys doing and let him/her do that instead. They should talk about it as though, it is something that happens regularly and they don’t consider ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’ behaviour. If you see it in practice, while you are visiting – even better.

Is there time for free play?
Question: Are there times set aside in the day when the children get to choose what they play with? For how long?

During free play, children get to interact with each other freely and usually this is when they practice collaborating, sharing, waiting your turn. It’s also when they interact – which may just look like talking to or touching each other’s face, depending on the child’s age. Children are in control during free play and are able to act without instructions and may give you more clues as to what their interests are based on what materials they choose to play with.

Tips: Ask how long the children play outside in the playground for, everyday? Outside play is an important part of young children’s development and also constitutes free-play, since the children pick what they want to play on/with. You want to hear about different times in the day there is free play, both indoor or outdoors.

Is the class size adequate? Are classroom materials adequate?
Question: How big the class is – is it spacious? How many children are in the class? How many are under the care of one teacher/carer? What kinds of materials are in the classroom?

In terms of how many adults are watching a child, the younger the children, the fewer the children to one teacher/carer should be. So for babies 0 -15months, you wouldn’t want to see more 4 children to one adult-carer, and there should be only maximum, 8-10 children in one room.

Tips: You want to see shelves or cupboards with different learning material and toys. Look for art materials, music instruments, puzzles, pretend play materials (dolls, dress up costumes, toy kitchen). Is the room bright, airy, and spacious enough for the kids to ‘spread out’ in? I personally do not like to see children watching TV – so, seeing a TV in the room would be a red flag for me.

Are you happy with the teacher’s style and knowledge?
Question: What is the teacher’s personality and behaviour as he/she interacts with other teachers and the children? Is the teacher responsive, warm? Are they using an understanding tone when a child does something different from what is expected? What about the teacher’s credentials and experience? Does he/she have knowledge of child development for the age of the children in their care?

Tips: I personally recommend talking to the teacher who will be in the classroom with your child and directing questions to that person, rather than a tour guide or head teacher, who may have all the ‘right’ answers.

The teacher is closer to the everyday happenings in the classroom and they will be in close interaction with your child. You can also get a feel for their English language skills (does it match what you expect for the school fees you’re paying?), and gauge whether there is warmth and passion for the job.

If you take your child with you when you visit the school, you can also observe how teacher talks to your child.

Are you comfortable with the school policies?
Question: how does the school handle discipline? Do they smack (it would be a ‘no no’ for many of us) or have a time out chair?

Tips: Ask for examples of when they use these methods and do they inform you the parent when an incident has occurred and discipline has been meted?

Ask about sharing policy. You should be looking for something that teaches the children to wait their turn but also respects that if a child has something first, they should be able to play with it for some time before they have to give it up.

Then other key ones: do they conduct fire drills or have a plan for that, how about security, how do they make sure your child stays safe/isn’t picked up by a stranger?

Now, you may not need to ask all these questions to know that a school is quality and right for you, but it is a question template you can keep in mind for your first school visit! Is it not better to set the bar high within your fees range, to help you make the right choice?

One last thing, what ultimately makes a school the right one for you, above any lists, is that you feel confident in the teachers’/carers’ abilities and there is transparency and openness in the schools communication with you. These two things may help you believe your young child will be comfortable, happy and thrive there.

Make you make your list of schools to visit, do add the schools your friends children go to and prestigious schools, but remember that they may not suit you and your family. You may be surprised at which school you end up loving in the end.

Parents, which of these points is most important for you; as in, I must see this at the school? Also, any other key considerations you would add for finding a quality school/crèche, from your experiences?

ps: this article was written by me, for BellaNaija.com and first published there. 

image by Demilade Roberts (IG: @demilader).

Top Black-Baby Skin Products used by Real Mums

This is probably at the top of the list of questions we get asked.

Which skin product should I use for baby?

The answer is… it depends.

Does your baby have dry skin? Is baby prone to eczema? If you answer ‘yes’ to those two questions, you will want something that is hypoallergenic or at least very moisturising. If you have experienced neither of those, then you have even more options to choose from.

Below is a list of the products that most Mums have found useful based on a poll we conducted on Instagram.

For washing:

  1. Boots baby
  2. Aquaphor baby
  3. Ose dudu
  4. Sebamed wash
  5. Oilatum
  6. Aveeno
  7. Shea Moisture baby
  8. Cetaphil

 

For moisturising:

  1. Coconut oil
  2. Shea Butter
  3. Shea butter + Coconut oil
  4. Oilatun
  5. Cetaphil
  6. Aveeno
  7. Sebamed
  8. Mustela

Johnson’s baby was also on the list but do be careful with that, as many Mums have reported a rash or reaction to Johnson’s in the past.

Also if your baby has eczema or shows signs of a rash or eczema, do not be in a hurry to reach for shea butter or natural oils – these may actually do more damage. Instead, please do take baby to a Dermatologist or Pediatrician first to get an assessment.

 

That’s it!

Hope it helps you as a beginning point for choosing which products to try for washing and moisturising your baby’s skin.

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Mums reading, what do you use for your baby’s skin – for washing & creaming? We would love to hear and add any new commonly used ones to the list above!

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Breastfeeding Mums share: 10 Best Tips to Boost Supply

Another day, another breastfeeding post!

I am not in new baby phase yet, but…

I am taking these posts as part of my steps for preparing for breastfeeding baby#2.

If you just want 3 key tips for boosting supply, scroll all the way down and you will see them in bold and uppercase. If you have a few more minutes, let’s go…!

By the way, I wanted to say to someone who may have read this somewhere, recently. I saw this tip in a Nigerian newspaper in August, so I know it is is out there. You do NOT need to rub, rough up or massage your nipples while pregnant, to prepare them for breastfeeding or boost your supply. It is not necessary and has not been proven to be beneficial.

Five things to do in preparation for breastfeeding (by the experts at kellymom):

1.Read Read and read up some more about breastfeeding.

Latch, tongue-tie, and tips. Watch videos online to see different Mum’s breastfeeding positioning. Look out for Mums literarily holding a piece of the breast between two fingers, with nipple and areola sticking out and pushing it inside baby’s mouth – ensuring both nipple and outer area (areola) go in.

2. Put baby on the breast as soon as possible, after birth.

Once initial checks, weighting, wipe down is done and baby is deemed well, put your baby to your breast. If you want to watch something cool, put baby on your stomach and watch him or her ‘crawl’ up to your breast (it’s a newborn reflex!).

3. In those early days, try to keep baby as close to you as possible.

Yes this is permission to be someone who snuggle and hold baby as much as you like. Let those around you help and support by doing other tasks such as burping, changing baby, cleaning, cooking. If you feel strong enough have baby close to you, as often as you can.

4. Feed baby on demand.

This just means as often as baby asks for the breast, you give them milk. It’s hard to know in the beginning what each cry means, but with elimination, you will learn to judge over time (to some degree). It is not a perfect science. I found that even with months, I did not know with hundred percent certainty whether it was hunger or not – plenty of trial and error ensued.

5. Get help with your latch and positioning before you feel you need it.

Once you start breastfeeding, show a lactation consultant in hospital or midwife how you’re breastfeeding. Tell them to please correct. Don’t get shy oh, let them touch you if they want. (I added this final point based on my experience, the experts point only to the top four).

If you do these things listed above you should, I said should oh – you should find that your milk supply is flowing and adequate for you baby. If you are finding you need help with boosting supply or wish to know how one could do that.. check out the tips below.

Health & fitness experts Shredder Gang (@shreddergang), recently asked Mums on Instagram what helped their supply. I have tried to put together a list of the answers that came up most frequently. This one is not research backed – purely based on what mums say helped them.

10 tips for boosting your milk supply by REAL Mums

  1. Drink lots of water
  2. Lactation tea
  3. Fenugreek capsules (also mentions of fenugreek seed or oil)
  4. Don’t stress, Rest! – production starts from the brain lol
  5. Lactation cookies
  6. Pap/akamu/ogi
  7. Oatmeal
  8. Breastfeed or pump every few hours
  9. Tiger nuts
  10. Tea

And that’s the list!

By far, the most common of the ten are the three below, so if you only want to try a few OR want to know where;s best to start:

WATER | PAP | PUMP  & BREASTFEED OFTEN. 

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I wanted to add this for that Mum who just couldnt get her milk flowing or breastfeeding going successfully. It was not your fault. You did the best you could! You may try again for next baby, if you choose, but you know what, if you don’t want to, that’s OK, too. Fed is best, above all else.

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Do you agree with this list? What would you add, please share with us below.

 

ps: image source Instagram @theeducatedbirth.

5 New Trends in Breastfeeding

 

Let’s be real, breastfeeding takes over you life as a new Mum!

Especially, if you’re trying to do it exclusively – that is offering baby ONLY breastmilk and no formula at all. I remember going through those first weeks of breastfeeding and understanding why Mums say you feel like a cow. Milk was literarily everywhere – breast pad, baby’s clothes, your clothes. I spent the early days carrying my breastfeeding pillow around with me in the house, because positioning baby on my lap was still awkward. My breasts were heavy (painfully heavy when the milk first came in) and I cannot forget trying not to cry from the pain on first latch by baby.

Like many women, I persevered because  – bonding, and the thought of baby getting milk made perfectly for them with antibodies etc was very satisfying.

The trends below are a salute to Women’s resilience. What I see is Women making breastfeeding work for them and professionals doing more to support women going through the process. And I love that! You want to do what’s right of baby, but that shouldn’t come as a sacrifice to your health, sanity and happiness entirely.

Check out these new trends in Breastfeeding:

1. Exclusive pumping

This involves only feeding your baby breastmilk from the bottle ONLY and not putting them directly to the breast. Reasons why you might do this:

  • you cannot get baby to latch on,
  • you suffer from breastfeeding aversion (see point 2),
  • your baby gets used to the bottle and refuses to breastfeed on the breast continuously or
  • just out of choice – thats what you want to do!

2.  Breastfeeding Aversion and Agitation (BAA) is REAL.

BAA is described as having negative feelings when your baby is latched on and sucking on the breast.

This is something that affects mums, that they may be shy to share about. There may be a feeling of guilt or shame attached, since we are told breastfeeding should be a natural and thats the opposite of what they are feeling in that moment. It might be temporary or only happen when you’re on your period or on certain days. For some, you just cannot breastfeed at all because of the feeling and might choose instead to go for exclusive pumping.

It’s so important that this feeling is labelled because it is something women are experiencing. Someone close to you may be going through it and not even know there’s a name for it. The more of us who know, the more we can support our sisters, wives and friends or show them where to get support, if they experience these feelings. There is a dedicated website for women experiencing Breastfeeding Aversion & Agitation (BAA), please visit: breastfeedingaversion.com.

3. Adoptive Mums can breastfeed

Induced lactation involves teaching your body to produce milk for a baby, in this case, a baby you have adopted.  You do it by putting your baby to the breast to suckle. If baby is willing and does it, then you repeat this un till milk flows.

I found this very fascinating, but I do wonder why it would be of top importance to have this particular bonding experience with your adoptive baby. In any case, I cannot speak on it much since I haven’t been in the position. What do you guys think – did you or someone you know achieve this successfully?

4. Sadness and Depression during weaning

This usually happens when a mum is forced to wean before she is ready. Some Mums still cannot pump at work comfortably or travel and come back and baby is not interested. This sadness is also more common in mums who have a history of depression. It is believed to be caused by changes in hormone levels. When you’re breastfeeding, the hormones prolactin (brings wellness, calmness, relaxation) and oxytocin (increases positive attitudes like bonding)  are released. So stopping can cause a big drop in these hormones and that may in turn lead to sadness and possibly depression.

As usual, if you suspect a friend or family member is experiencing this, please advise them to talk to you and  a Doctor, who can offer advice and professional help. No one who is suffering these feelings should have to do it on their own.

5. Lactation cookies, muffins and teas

I would say that this is a trend that is new for Nigeria in particular. Two Mums operating as Milky Express and The Milk Booster, are offering breastfeeding advice on Instagram, alongside selling home made cookies and muffins. These snacks can help Mums maintain or increase they supply of milk.

With many Nigerians mums returning to work after a three month maternity leave, these products are helpful to those who want to achieve at least six months of exclusively breastfeeding, especially. New Mums, Funto Ibuoye and Anita Okoye – who is a twin mama, have endorsed the products, sharing that they have found them helpful. If you’re that Mum who has been thinking a lot about your milk supply and returning to work or just boosting your supply, these products could be for you! Find them on Instagram @milkyexpress and @themilkbooster.

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Alright Mums, let me know what you think. Are you exclusively pumping? Are you currently using lactation snacks and do you find them helpful? Share below, please. Let’s do this together, I am personally preparing to get into breastfeeding very shortly again!

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Ps: I will be running my first detailed & paid course:

 The Biggies’ – all the key considerations for your first year with baby.

There will be webinars that cover breastfeeding, weaning, sleep, play & early learning, TV & screen time, Nanny vs Creche (and handouts to help choose either), transitioning older sibling when baby arrives and more. All those big topics you’re thinking about as a new Mum or second time Mum who wants to do things differently this time.

I am very excited, because for once I will be able to give full information, tying all the topics I have been sharing for two years now on Instagram, together.  You will put forward your personal questions, which we will answer. It will act as a small, closed support group of mums with children of similar age.

I will also at this point have a new baby and toddler. Everything is just as REAL for me, as it is for you. If you are interested, please fill this form (it asks for your name, email, subject & message). In the subject put ‘The Biggies’. In message tell me your baby’s date of birth. I’m exciteddddddddd. 

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Labour Will Humble You | Marcy Birth Video Discussion

“Labour pain will humble you” – Marcy Dolapo Oni.

Sooo, I am very late to the party – the instagram clip on her page has 31k views, but I finally caught up with Marcy Dolapo Oni’s video series.

She is an actor, presenter and producer. I will always remember her from a fun & interactive play she acted in called “Iya -Ile(you can click this link, when you hover with your mouse it goes orange), back in 2009. The play was held in London but the vibe, the laughs and the audience dancing (yes they encouraged us), meant we were all transported back to Lagos. It was a great great night of fun.

Anyway, bringing it back to 2017. Marcy has shared a series of videos on her pregnancy and is now keeping us up-to-date on life as a new mum, starting with (you can click this link, when you hover with your mouse) baby’s birth video.

The video is from the heart, hella funny and has many moments mums would recognise! It reminded me of  some long forgotten details from my first born’s birth, I even took notes, lol.

I loved it so much I had an Instagram live video to talk about it. Don’t know if I’ll ever do one of those again *coversface, but I wanted to share the key points we discussed.

 

Why?

– I’m so passionate about POSITIVE birth experiences for all Mums.

-I feel like there’s still so much that comes as a surprise to us during the birth experience. It’s impossible to know everything but, the more we talk and share, the more we close that gap of lack of information!

-If you are informed, you can be confident asking questions and being an advocate for yourself (alongside your birth partners).  That just means speaking up clearly about your wishes and being part of the decision-making process alongside the medical team (within reason, obviously).

Oh, and I’m about to do it again, myself – woo hoo.

 

Right, lets get into.

If you haven’t yet, watch the video, and then run back here to read the points below:

We talked about:

Reasons why one might need to be induced:

  1. Big baby /diabetic mum
  2. Overdue 42 weeks or more
  3. Carrying twins
  4. Bleeding at late stage in pregnancy
  5. Fears about baby not growing/small baby
  6. Pre-eclampsia
  7. High blood pressure.

And below are typical Induction steps (I didn’t actually cover this in the discussion):

  1. Usually you start with a sweep – literarily put their fingers in your cervix and move around between the membrane and your uterus.
  2. ,Then the give you the prostaglandin pessary (goes inside you) or gel
  3. Then they might break your waters if they haven’t broken yet – ‘rupturing your membranes’.
  4. Then they may give you the syntocinon drip to speed things up if contractions slow, or you’re not dilating. The contractions from the drip can be very strong.

Usually if you start with the sweep, they send you home to then see if your body responds to it and starts contracting by itself. If it doesn’t you might go back into hospital and then be given the pessary or gel. Experiences vary based on whether they send you home after you get the pessary or not – I guess if you are a few cm’s dilated, the ward isn’t too full or  you live far, you may be allowed to stay.

Induction and c-section link

Now,  lots of people (medical staff included) accept that if you are induced, you may find yourself, I don’t want to say fast-tracked, but you may end up having a c-section. I think it’s because you’re forcing the body to expel baby. If the body was already getting ready, your induction may be a ‘success’ – vaginal birth, but if your body wasn’t ready at all, it may not respond as well to the drugs and you may need to get an emergency c-section.

When I was told an induction was likely for me, the first time round, I immediately started going on long walks – 1hour plus. I got the sweep, and continued on my walks. I wanted to jump start my body getting ready as much as possible, before we got to the hospital and drugs stage. I don’t know if it helped, but I had started getting some very early labour signs – contractions that started while I was sleeping, but in the morning of the induction day, they had stopped. I was about 2cm dilated when I got the pessary.

I think if I were in that position, I would do the same again. Try to get things going naturally before going in for the pessary or gel.

Baby’s size and position

I feel like every pregnant woman, who is hoping for a natural birth, should be reminded before labour that there are so many factors that need to be aligned to get that vaginal birth. Baby’s position and condition and mums condition too. If Mums pelvis is small in relation to size of baby, mums pelvis is shaped differently to the norm, baby is breech, baby’s hand is up by head, baby poos in the womb, baby’s heart rate slows – any one of these could signal change of plan from vaginal to CS.

So have a birth plan, hold on to it, but let your mind be open to – healthy mum, healthy baby being the goal. It then allows you to adjust your expectations should anything unexpected arise on labour day.

Theatre experience

Now I knew exactly what that experience was like of going from labouring in a quiet-ish room with dimmed lights to a room that is bright, lights everywhere and full of people. It is scary. And I wish they would take 2 minutes to tell a Mum to prepare herself before they wheel her into the theatre. I understand in the grand scheme, if its an emergency, there’s no time for that, but I feel these little snippets of information can be big enough to change a woman’s perspective on her birth experience from ‘wo-wo’ or negative to positive. And all it took was a little heads -up here and there.

Pain relief options

I never tried the tens machine so I can’t speak on that. It’s four electrodes fastened to your back and they send low voltage currents into your skin, stimulating endorphins to make you feel good and preventing you from feeling the pain being sent to your brain from your womb.

I had to agree with Marcy that gas & air is ‘for the birds’ aka rubbish, aka a scam, aka does.not.work. I noticed that there seemed to be a technique to using it – you have to suck deeply. I found that whole sucking  process, annoying for the fact that you got almost nothing in return for that effort, by way of actual pain relief. All the while contractions are hitting you. Hitting you with almost no breaks in between, usually if you got induced.

I have no experience with pethidine so I can’t speak on it. It is a pain killer which is injected into your thigh. It takes about 20 minutes to kick in, but let’s you relax and sleep.

Epidural experience & after effects

The epidural segment Marcy covered was again ‘the truth’. That part where they’re giving you the injection and you have to lie still, back arched, feels a bit scary and almost impossible. You’re being told to be very still, but you’re in active labour, you’re contracting so your body is feeling all the aches and they make you want to move. I was told some women just ask to have the epidural from early onset of labour and I guess I can understand that choice!

I remember holding and squeezing the Anaesthetist’s hand and she sternly tells me, do not hold my hand please. I thought she was rude. Later my friend explained that I would want the hand of the person who is sticking a needle in my spine to be as fully functioning and pain free as possible. Ah, point taken.

Side effects of epidural as it wears off include shivering and itching – both of which I suffered. It also works for 93% of people but you could be in that 7% it does not work for. Some people report tingling in one side of their body for life. I remember feeling some strange tingles, but they passed days/weeks after birth.

I was saying that when you think about all that is entailed with the epidural, you might hesitate to go for it, but it feels so nice to have it! You go from I’m in so much pain, to being like, goodnight and going for a sleep. The relief is amazing.

First reaction

Seeing your baby for the first time just makes it so worth it. Whether it was a CS or vaginal birth, that feeling is indescribable!

Birth advocacy 

I wish for every woman to to know her options and have a say in her birth experience. I also believe ‘healthy mum, healthy baby’, should be the number one goal and kept in mind for all those who have a detailed/elaborate birth plan! Finally,  you can use the BRAN – U model when making medical decisions. For big and difficult medical decision put forward by the medical team, Mum and Dad can ask themselves the questions below before committing to a decision:

B – what are the benefits?

R – what are the risks?

A – what are the alternatives?

N – what if we do nothing, is this an option?

U – how quickly do we need to make a decision, is it urgent?

The bran model was devised by Dr Sarah J Buckely. I added the U part as I believe it’s worth considering too. Maybe even the first question to ask!

The conversation is still up on Instagram along with comments from Mums, if you want to see.

Mums, I would love to hear what stood out for you personally, from watching the birth video. Anything you don’t agree with, completely agreed with/found yourself nodding to?  Are there parts you didn’t really understand? Please share your views below.