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 :).

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

 

How To Prevent Abuse in our Young Children

You may have seen the stories about abuse circulating. They are not new. The latest in Lagos, a case currently in court, involves a two year old. A two year old was raped in a place her Parents thought she would be safe at  – school.

Parents, we must protect our children by arming them with the right information. The predator is not tame in his methods to ‘groom’ and assault our children. We must in turn be bold and steadfast in preparing our children to defend themselves if they are ever in the situation.

Do not believe it will not happen to your children, protect them!

……

Firstly, I want to touch on are these facts:

A. The predator who assaults your child is known by them (and possibly you too).

90% of abusers were people known by the children

30% of abusers were family members (statistics from the US)

B. The average age for abuse to begin in a child is 8 years old but, it could be younger. As we see in the example i my opening paragraph. 

C. Talking to our children is our best defense. What we say and the words we choose, will be adapted as they grow older. I provide plenty of examples of ways to phrase the conversation.

D. Your child is never too young for you to begin these talks. You teach your child their facial body parts before age 1. From 1+, you can help your child label their private body parts, using the correct words and then build on the conversation as they get older.

E. The aim is to teach our children what abuse may look like, so that if a Predator tries anything, your child is uncomfortable, knows to trust that something has happened that is worth reporting to you and takes that next step to report to you.

 

OK, lets get right into it:

1.Teach Body Part Names

Please do not use bum bum or pee pee and private parts is not enough. When children know the correct names they can correctly identify to us and to a courtroom exactly what happened more easily.

Breast, Penis, Nipple, Vulva (outside), vagina (inside part).

The best place to do this is during your child’s bath or as you’re getting them dressed up or during during diaper changes.

Keep a cool and calm demeanor as if you were talking about saying please and thank you. You don’t want to scare them.

2. Introduce the concept of Safe and Not-safe touch

There are two types of touch: ‘safe touch’ and ‘not-safe touch’. This is better than using bad or good touch because sometimes a child may feel guilty about what has happened because it felt good even as it simultaneously felt bad or made them feel ‘somehow’.

Use these sentences:

Mum and Dad give you hugs and kisses – that’s safe touch. Mummy or Daddy can give you a bath – that’s safe touch.

Mummy or Daddy or Ms Rika (your nanny) can help wipe your vulva after you wee wee  – that is a safe touch.

But someone who is not mummy or daddy, hugging or kissing MIGHT be a ‘not-safe’ touch.

You don’t have to hug or kiss anyone else who is not mummy or daddy, if you don’t want to.

No one should kiss you on your mouth or put anything in your mouth.

No one should touch your vuvla or vagina or put anything in your vagina. These are your private parts (add the term private parts for older children, but I wouldn’t bother with a younger one. Better for them to just know actual names so you don’t burden them with too much info).

No one should touch your penis. This is part of your private parts (add the term private parts for older children, but I would’nt bother with a younger one. Better for them to just know actual names so you don’t burden them with too much info).

No one should touch your breast or nipple. That’s not-safe touch.

No one should ask to look at your penis or breast or vulva or vagina.

No one should ask you to look at or touch their penis or breast or vulva or vagina.

 

3.Tell them what to do if someone does touch them in their private area

You can exaggerate the NO, DON’T TOUCH ME THERE part.

Tell your child: it is OK to not do what someone says if you feel uncomfortable or there has been not-safe touch. Even if they are an adult or someone in charge. It is OK to run away if you don’t feel safe or if someone gives you a not-safe touch.

If anything happens that is not a safe-touch, tell me or tell your Daddy immediately.

 

4.Do not keep secrets from me

Tell your child that there should be no secrets between them and any other adult or child.

If someone tells you to keep a secret, don’t listen to them, come and tell me (mummy) or tell Daddy. Even if they tell you they will hurt you or me if you tell, tell me anyway.

 

5. Tell your child – I will always protect you

If someone gives you not safe touch tell me, I will never be angry. No matter what happened, come to me and I will help me.

You will never get into trouble for telling me if someone made you sad or uncomfortable. Or for telling me a secret someone else told you to keep.

You can always tell me.

 

6. Pictures or videos should not make you feel uncomfortable

Your body belongs to you and you alone. Nobody should take pictures or a video, of your body. Nobody should show you pictures or videos of other people’s bodies.

If they do, you should say NO and come and tell me immediately.

7. Parents, Be Alert

If your child suddenly seems more withdrawn or quiet or seems to spend more time alone, talk to them. Ask specific questions. Ask about secrets or body parts.
What signs might I see (from the PANTS campaign)?
All children are different, and the signs could appear in different ways. You may notice:
• changes in the child’s behaviour • changes to achievement and progress • talking about sexual acts or using sexually explicit language • sexual contact with other children or showing adult-like sexual behaviour or knowledge • becoming withdrawn or clingy • changes in personality • becoming more insecure than previously observed • using toys or objects in a sexual way • changes in eating habits • inexplicable fear of particular places or people • regression to younger behaviours • becoming secretive or reluctant to share things with you. You would see a few of these together, because in isolation each one could be normal.

8. Practice what your child should say by using role play scenarios

This gives our children the exact words to use and get them comfortable using those words, if someone does try to abuse them.
What if our neighbour Mr X comes with a sweet and asks to see your breast. What do you say?
What would you do if someone touches your vulva?
Who would you tell?
When would you tell?
What if the person told you it’s a secret or that they would hurt you or me? Do you still tell?
Practice the mantras and let them say these words too.

9. Introduce a code-word for older children

If f you are not comfortable with an adult or something happened you say the code word – purple circle or whatever you choose.

10. Find out what your children’s schools are doing to prevent abuse.

Talk to the Principal about what safe guards they have put in place. Are there cameras? Can a teacher simply take a child to another room? How do they prevent that?
____________
Additional notes:
i. You can buy books on the topic. This helps you talk about these scenarios in a way that is gentle and not scary for your child. the topic is serious but our approach should be firm but light. Examples Don’t touch me there by Pastor Nomthi Odukoya.
ii. Never let your child do to the toilet in a restaurant or public place unsupervised.  Abuse can happen in one minute. It is better not to take the chance.
iii. Dont forget that your male children are vulnerable and may encounter abuse, too. These discussions are for both your male and female children. Similarly,  abusers can be female, male and even other children. A recent case of a 12 year old abusing a 4 year old was raised on Instagram this week.
iv. A mum reminded me that anus and I would add bottom (this is the bum cheeks), must also be taught. Please add it to your child’s vocabulary and discussions about places that should not be touched by anyone.
v. No means No is from the ‘Pants rule’ introduced by the NSPCC UK body. It means that as part of teaching our children that their body is there’s, if they say no we should obey. For example if you’re tickling your toddler and they say they don’t like it or say stop, you should immediately stop. To model that their body is theirs and no means no. Another example is if your children do not want to hug relatives, please do not force them. Greeting adults is important, and you can emphasise that, but anything that involves someone (anyone) touching their body e.g. hugs – should not be given by force. Your child should have the right to say no.
 __________
Mums, I hope this has been helpful. If this is a lot of information for you, perhaps you have a 1 year old, just start with the first points. Even some information is better than nothing! If you have questions, please let me know. Let us fight hard against this abuse epidemic by arming our children with the right tools.

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!