Categories
Potty Training

Tips to potty training

4 mothers take on potty training

Did the title “Tips to potty training” spark your interest to read more? You might have done lots of research and nothing so far has worked. Maybe you have not really found the ‘style’ that suits you and your child.

We believe that each child is unique and therefore there is no ‘single’ way to do potty training. In this article we have asked a few parents their approach to potty training. And together we will offer you various ways that we have done potty training with our own children.

This then allows you to gain real life experiences and pick one of the ideas that you know will fit your child. You can also ‘pick and mix’ and take a bit from different methods. Then you will create your child’s own individual potty training program and by doing so, setting your child up for success.

Tips to potty training 1, suggested by Louise,

So – in our household we have adopted a ‘pressure free’ approach to this huge event in our children’s life. We have allowed ourselves to be guided by them.

Perhaps influenced, in part, by my background in Psychology and counselling – Freudian theory suggests that forcing this stage of the child’s development can have repercussions for later phases of the child’s life. This is about control. The only one who can control this process is the child. So, we do best in supporting our child to feel in charge of this process!

I suppose my top tips could be summed up in these bullet points:

  • Resist the urge to start too soon.
  • Tune into your child’s motivation and interest in doing this.
  • Older siblings are great role models and will no doubt gladly demonstrate.
  • Big up the event – by involving them in choosing their own ‘big boy’ or ‘big girl’ pants.
  • Only wear underpants without a nappy – so that there is an incentive to wearing pants.
  • ‘Pirate Pete’s potty training’ or ‘Princess Polly’s potty training’ books worked with our children – reading these to them months before they even showed signs of being ready to leave the nappies behind.
  • Be tolerant and NEVER shame any accidents.
  • Be patient – each child is different. It is not a competition and there is no rush!

Tips to potty training 2, from Rachel,

Our approach was to wait until our son showed signs of being aware of what was going on with his body.

Despite lots of pressure from my mother, we resisted the urge to start until he was ready This wasn’t until he was very nearly three. So please pay no attention to what your friends children are doing – all children get there in their own time.

How we did it:

When we knew our son was ready, we took him shopping and bought some pants with trains on that he took interest in and then talked him through what would happen.

We bought 2 potties – one to be kept downstairs near in the downstairs toilet and one upstairs in the family bathroom.

Then we bought a travel potty which would be essential whilst out and about.

We put the potties in place for a few days whilst he was still in nappies and told him when he wears pants he will then use the potty instead of going in his nappy. He was quite excited about the idea.

We also bought a great book which included some stickers we could give him every time he used the potty. Our son liked stickers, so this seemed a good idea.

When we started, it went well initially. Wees were successful, however, poos were another story! For a long time, we had to deal with poo in pants which was pretty horrible.

We asked for Health Visitor advice and they said that boys sometime take longer getting the hang on things and just to keep persevering. Well it did work; it just took a bit of time and stress.

With hindsight, I would recommend being very matter of fact about accidents. I remember that we kept asking him why he didn’t tell us he needed a poo. And we did show our disappointment when he had an accident – which definitely wasn’t a good idea.

When we go through it with our daughter, who is very nearly ready, I will deal with accidents completely differently: matter of fact, ‘oh you’ve had an accident. That means we need to get you cleaned up and change your pants’. Fingers crossed it goes smoothly this time!

Tips to potty training 3, suggested by Marianne

We were led by my daughter and looked out for signs that she was ready.  We also found out when other children were potty training at nursery so that our daughter felt she was learning with other children her age. 

We had been reading “Princess Polly” for a little as she seems to be a bit of a visual book learner! We had always had an open door policy to going to the toilet. So she would have seen myself and my husband go to the toilet since she was born. 

We did eventually pick a weekend in the summer where she could run around naked outside. So it didn’t matter if she had an accident and placed the potty in the garden. 

We made sure we had no plans that weekend. So there was no pressure of being out and about.Then we created an environment that would allow her get to the potty if she needed to, rather than trying to quickly find a toilet.

We also invited her older niece around after day 3 to show her how to use a potty which seemed to help.  She had a special sticker chart where she got a star every time to she went on the potty and washed her hands.  My daughter seemed to take to potty training fairly quickly. I think it was because she was ready and I also think it helps she has ridiculously strong bladder control!

Tips to potty training 4, suggested by Anisa

As the other mums have mentioned we picked a moment when our daughter ‘seemed’ ready. However, in reality it had to be timed due to me being a teacher and needing to do it during a holiday break! She got her special big girl pants, which she decided wearing on her head. That was of course much more fun!

I am a reader, so I think I read everything on the subject before I decided my way forward. We found story books at the library and purchased some of our own that introduced the idea of toilet training to our daughter. I seem to remember one about the Little Princess being a favourite.

We went down using a bit of ‘bribery’. I ordered Peppa Pig toys (small ones) and emptied them into a box. When our daughter used the potty or the toilet correctly, she was able to pick a Peppa Pig toy from the box. When she had an ‘accident’ she did not, but she was not reprimanded. It was more an ‘oh dear’ moment. It took roughly a week to ‘crack’ and then we moved onto only giving her positive reinforcement and praise rather than than the gift.

Our daughter took to toileting better than she took to the potty. So we very quickly upgraded and went straight to toilet use. We still had a potty ‘suitcase’ that lived in the car, that could be used in emergencies but she rarely needed it.

General tips:

Signs that they are ready for potty training:

  • Usually around two they are physically and emotionally ready.
  • Awareness of weeing and poohing.
  • They might even tell you they have done a wee or pooh in their nappy.
  • If the nappy is dry for longer period of time.

Don’t over praise; the child might feel that he/she has done something ‘bad’ if they don’t do it the future

Never show your child that you are unhappy with their level of potty training – this might effect their self-esteem later in life

We hope you have been able to take something from our tried and tested methods. Do get back to us and let us know how potty training has been in your family.

Categories
Stress during pregnancy

How to cope with stress during pregnancy

Categories
Stress during pregnancy

Emotional Stress During Pregnancy

Stress During Pregnancy!

It’s human nature to be stressed whenever we are exposed to something that changes us, either physically or mentally. In the lives of most women, being pregnant is arguably the biggest physical change that she’ll ever face. That being said, experiencing emotional stress during pregnancy is completely normal.

Some say that being stressed – to a certain limit – is good for pregnant women. Stress could enable them to face the challenges that lie ahead, they argue. However, a stress level outside of this safe limit could have severe negative impacts on the health of both mother and baby.

There are plenty of reasons to be stressed during your pregnancy, just pick one

There are certainly reasons enough that could cause you to have stress during pregnancy. Let me name a few:

  • Previous bad experiences with pregnancy
  • The feeling of not having enough strength or resources to face the challenges. Those are two of the major sources of mood swings during early pregnancy, and the ones that I encounter the most.
  • Having an unplanned pregnancy or not being able to deal with the physical changes that come with it.
  • Financial difficulties.
  • A complicated pregnancy.
  • Being a single parent.
  • Being a teenager.
  • Drug and alcohol problems,
  • Or receiving an overdose of advice from other people could also potentially result in emotional stress.

If you don’t have at least one of these stress factors in your life, praise yourselves lucky.

Why you should beware of anger and stress during pregnancy

There are several issues – for yourself and for your baby – that could directly arise from experiencing emotional stress during pregnancy. Experiencing anger during pregnancy and feeling anxious or worried are two of the most common outcomes. You could also experience regular headaches, difficulty sleeping, low-quality sleep, fast breathing, a racing pulse, eating problems, or obsessive thoughts. 

Alongside ‘pregnancy emotions’ having certain negative impacts on your health and overall quality of life, they could also have many short-term and long-term impacts on your baby’s health and wellbeing. Chronic (ongoing) stress during pregnancy could negatively impact the growth of your baby. The length of pregnancy (gestation) could also be impacted by stressful emotions. Your baby may be born earlier than the normal pregnancy period of 9 months. Moreover, too much emotional stress can potentially cause your baby to be too small or underweight at the time of delivery.

After your baby has started seeing the bright colors of life, they might experience focus problems. They could also experience unnecessary fear and may be afraid of many minor things that usually don’t scare the children of this age. Stress during pregnancy could also even cause a plethora of negative effects on the immune system and brain development of your child. Certain physical, mental, and behavioral issues could also result from being abnormally emotional during pregnancy.

A study backs this up

As proven by a team of researchers from the University of Zurich, long-term experiences of emotional stress during pregnancy increase the concentration of stress hormones in the body. An unexpectedly concentrated amount of stress hormones in the body could potentially result in the improper growth and maturation of the organs of the baby. An excessive amount of stress hormones can also result in irritability, crabbing, and unexpected mood swings during early pregnancy. 

However, a short-term phase of emotional stress doesn’t seem to have any such negative effect.

Besides maintaining your physical health and fulfilling your physical needs during pregnancy, it’s also important to maintain your mental health and control your emotional stress to a greater extent. When you’re happy and feel emotionally balanced, you can feast on multiple benefits for both yourself and your baby.

What makes YOU tick?

To control your ‘pregnancy emotions’ and anger during pregnancy, pay attention to the triggers that cause you to be angry and emotional in the first place. Try to stay away from things that make you uncomfortable, stressed, and/or anxious. You could also use some rest and leisure. Don’t push yourself too hard; give yourself some extra time to lay down and relax.

So what can you do?

Keep a regular, healthy diet. If you’re lacking nutrients, you’ll feel physically weaker and may eventually get dominated by your pregnancy stress emotions.

If you feel overwhelmed by the excessive amount of advice you receive from people you don’t trust, stay away from them. You don’t have to take advice from everyone; get counsel from the people who make you feel comfortable and at home. It’s a great idea to get in touch with a certified gym trainer and do some pregnancy-friendly exercises. Yoga, deep breathing, relaxation, and meditation can also help reduce stress levels during pregnancy. Keep yourself engaged in activities that make you happy; read your favorite book or watch your favorite Netflix series. Try to spend more time with the people you love and the people who love you.

Feeling emotional stress during pregnancy is perfectly normal — but don’t let it consume you. Don’t overthink and look at the bright side of what’s coming. 

Categories
Life as pregnant

How to sleep when pregnant

If you’re expecting a bundle of joy, you may feel overwhelmed with all the information available sleeping positions when you are pregnant. This article will break down the basic rules to care for your growing baby while getting a good night’s rest. This information is backed by years of medical research and is recommended by OB/GYNs to expecting mothers.

(If you suffer from Insomnia in general, we recommend that you look at this great article called Everything You Need To Know About Insomnia)

Best sleeping positions when you are pregnant – The First Trimester

During your first trimester, there are generally no restrictions on your sleeping positions. However, once you know you’re expecting a little one, ask your doctor for recommendations regarding how to sleep during pregnancy in the first trimester.

Sleeping Positions Starting At 20 Weeks (Halfway Mark)

Starting around the 20-week mark, approximately halfway through your pregnancy, doctors highly recommend transitioning to one sleeping position. Doctors recommend sleeping on your left side during these final months of pregnancy to increase nutrients and blood flow to your baby. This contributes to the healthy growth of your baby. It is a good idea to invest in a body pillow for this stage of pregnancy, as it will ensure your baby is safe and your body maintains its position throughout the night.

Avoid These Positions During the Second and Third Trimesters

To protect yourself and your baby while getting a good night’s sleep, avoid these sleeping positions.

Stomach:  Sleeping on your stomach is not recommended when in the final months of pregnancy. This can create complications for you and for baby.

Back: Sleeping on your back can create many issues during pregnancy such as backache, headache, digestive issues, constipation, and low blood circulation. Sleeping on your back can compress a major artery known as the Inferior vena cava. This artery carries deoxygenated blood to your heart. When the uterus expands with your growing baby, it can compress this artery and cause you to have a lower heart rate. This is good for neither you, nor your baby.

To hear from real mothers regarding sleeping positions in pregnancy, and why it’s important to follow these recommendations, watch this video:

Other Common Symptoms While Sleeping During Pregnancy And How to Avoid Them

  1. Nausea: Unfortunately, nausea is a never-ending battle for most expecting mothers. Nausea and vomiting can sneak up on you while you’re trying to rest. To help settle your stomach, try keeping some saltine crackers close by your bedside for those unpleasant nausea spells.
  2. Frequent urination: As your baby grows and begins to put pressure on the bladder, you may experience frequent trips to the bathroom. This can interrupt your sleep at night. To prevent more trips to the bathroom, avoid drinking any fluids before going to bed. 
  3. Heartburn: That feeling of a constant burn in your throat can keep you awake at night. To avoid excessive heartburn or to relieve your symptoms, try elevating your body using a wedge pillow. Also, avoid eating heavy meals at least three hours before bedtime. 
  4. Back and tail bone pain: As your body changes, many aches and pains can cause you to miss out on much-needed rest. A body pillow can ease the pressure and create a cushion for your aches and pains.
  5. Restless leg syndrome: Exactly what it sounds like – your legs may seem restless and this sensation can keep you awake at night. If you experience this symptom, talk to your physician. You may have a vitamin deficiency.

To find out more information about the best sleeping positions when pregnant, and product recommendations, watch this video:

Categories
Connect with your unborn

Sing to your unborn baby

What experiences are there from parents who sing for their unborn babies, premature babies, and infants right after birth?

That’s what this article is about.

Babies and lullabies

Parents have been singing lullabies for their babies since the beginning of time. Has there ever been a culture without a set of lullabies that have been passed down over several generations?

They aim to soothe the babies, make them feel safe, comfort them when they are unhappy, make them fall asleep. These songs can make a bigger difference in both parents and children’s lives, than many people think.

But singing lullabies for babies…. before they are born?

We have long known that the fetus can hear clearly several months before birth, can distinguish between sounds, and even develop preferences for certain sounds and voices. For example, a newborn prefers her parents’ voices over a stranger’s.

How do we know? Well, a newborn will provenly be calmed by a familiar voice and orientate towards it.

Even complicated communication, such as music or a story, that is repeated to the fetus, will be recognized and adored by the child after birth.

Penny Simkin explains her experience: “There was one couple whom I served as a birth doula, who took my suggestion (to sing to the fetus) to another level, and showed me much more about the value of singing to the unborn baby. They were having their second child, hoping for a VBAC. When they discovered that they were having a boy, they decided to give their baby the song, “Here Comes the Sun” and sang it to him often during pregnancy. The VBAC was not possible, and as the cesarean was underway, and the baby boy, crying lustily, was raised for the parents to see, the father began belting out the baby’s song. Although the mother did not have a strong voice under the circumstances, she also sang. The baby turned his head, turned his face right towards his father and calmed down while his father sang. Time stopped. As I looked around the operating room, I saw tears appear on the surgical masks.”

This experience shows us that singing before birth is not only beneficial, but singing the same song repeatedly actually does something for the fetus.

It makes sense, seen from the baby’s perspective.

Imagine being ripped out of your warm, humid home, where the sound of your mother’s heartbeat has been a faithful companion all your life. Out to an overly bright, too cold room, with hands grabbing you, betting you, pulling you, and lifting you up. The sensory impressions are overwhelming.

But then you suddenly hear a familiar sound amidst all the confusion. A tune, and words you’ve heard many times before. This feeling is reassuring, and you are automatically comforted by and drawn to it.

Indeed, singing to your unborn child is thus a simple and practical measure that can later soothe the child, comfort and put it to sleep, but also create a unique and lifelong bond between you.

How to sing lullabies to your unborn

  1. Choose a song that you like and that is easy to sing. It may be a lullaby or children’s song, but not necessarily. It can also simply be your own favorite song. The most important thing is that it makes you happy and radiate positive emotions, because your baby will sense them.
  2. Sing the song every day. Both parents can sing together, but it is beneficial that you also sing separately so that the fetus can notice your individual voices. You can also use an instrument, but most often the song must be the voice alone.
  3. Once your baby is born you can sing for her. She may lie in your arms, or in someone else’s, or in the incubator if she is born prematurely.
  4. If she cries you can sing close to her, or loud enough for her to hear you.
  5. Keep singing the song every day, especially when your baby is crying.
  6. Sing it when you change or bathe her, when you comfort her, or say goodnight to her.
  7. Sing it when your baby is angry and you can’t pick her up, for example if you are driving and can’t stop. Or if a doctor must do something unpleasant to her.

Conclusion

If you have one or more songs you sing repeatedly to your child both before and after birth, you will have the opportunity to create a bond that will last the rest of your life, an opportunity that will never present itself the same way again.

The soothing effect of your voice will always lie so deep in the child that your relationship will be unbreakable.

If you have any experience with this, good ideas or comments, feel free to write us below.

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