Posts in Category: Reading and Resources

Love Bombing With A Three Year Old

There’s been a distinct disconnect between my almost four year old, Ameli, and myself lately. We just aren’t working well together. We’re not cooperating. I’m shouting at her, she’s shouting at me. She ignores me. She tells me I’m not her best friend anymore. She doesn’t listen to me… and the number of times I’ve said the words ‘you’re  not listening to me’ made me realise that maybe, just maybe, the disconnect is because I’m not listening to her, either.

By listening to her, I don’t mean paying attention when she talks, or doing what her three year old demands insist. I mean really, deeply, listening to her, to what her words are not saying.

This post has moved. Read the rest HERE

A Look At Each Item In The Mindful Nurturing eBundle

On Tuesday I told you about the Mindful Nurturing eBundle, and what was in it, but I thought I might go through the bundle and tell you more about each of the 22 items. Hopefully a description of what’s in it will show you how fabulous a resource it is!

Click on the Buy Now buttons throughout to buy the whole bundle for US$24.95/£16.49/AUS$25.90.

The total value of these, if you bought them all individually would be US$236/ £155.95/ AUS$245.05.

This whole bundle is for sale between 28 May and 10 June 2013

relaxation meditation

Relaxation Meditation

AUDIO – Amy Phoenix (Presence Parenting), value $50 USD/lifetime access

Relaxation Meditation helps you access inner awareness and resolve, cultivating the space for true, lasting transformation. Relax into parenting as you enhance your relationship with yourself, your child, and life at the same time.

 

Newbie’s Guide to Positive Parenting

Becky Eanes (Positive Parents), 30 pages, Value $4.99 USD

The Newbie’s Guide to Positive Parenting is an introduction to the philosophy of Newbie Guide to Positive Parentingpositive parenting. It addresses what positive parenting is, and what it is not (permissive parenting). It discusses how to change your mindset from the traditional paradigm of control and fear to the positive parenting paradigm of connection and love. It gives you teaching tools and discusses the differences between consequences, punishments, and problem-solving. Finally, it goes over enforcing limits without punishments and 10 alternatives to punishments as well as 10 things that are more important than discipline.

This eBook will give you clarity on positive parenting and offer you tools and skills that will strengthen your relationship with your child while teaching values and instilling the self-discipline that will benefit your child for a lifetime. The Newbie’s Guide to Positive Parenting provides several scenarios so you can see how positive parenting principles are applied in everyday situations.

 

play grow learn - cover imagePlay Grow Learn

(Childhood 101)55 pages, value $4 USD

Bursting with ideas for playing inside and outside, with activities for moving, talking, cooking, creating, thinking, singing, imagining and constructing, Play Grow Learn is a downloadable e-zine that provides both inspiration and information for parents and educators of children from birth to 5 years. Issue 3 includes over 100 playful activities including play suggestions for toddlers, an outdoor math hunt, ideas for exploring science in the kitchen, woodwork activities perfect for kids, an exclusive full colour set of printable puppets to get you singing with your kids PLUS art projects, book reviews, toy suggestions, playful parenting ideas, tips for making pack away time fun…and more!

Getting Back on Track! – Why We Explode and What We Can Do About It

natural phenomena

AUDIO – Genevieve Simperingham (Peaceful Parent Institute), value $7.58 USD

Listen to this audio to gain lots of insights into the tendency to meltdown, why it happens, how to see it coming and what to do instead of yelling or otherwise acting from a place of overwhelm and frustration. You’ll gain reassurance that it’s much more common than you thought, that it’s not your fault, but it is your responsibility. You’ll learn that there are psychological triggers going back to childhood at the core of your tendency to lose your cool. And most importantly you’ll gain lots of great tips and strategies from Genevieve and Patty that will make it so much easier to be the peaceful parent that you know that you really can be.

Stress Relief for Parents

AUDIO – Genevieve Simperingham  (Peaceful Parent Institute), value $4.05 USD

stress relief for parentsWhen you’re at your wits end and need to rest and recuperate, this CD is a fantastic resource ~ Grab yourself fifteen minutes or so, choose your track and let Genevieve’s calming voice and supportive words guide you back to your self … back to your centre … back to balance … back to you at your best … back to peaceful parenting!

The track “Bliss” takes the listener through a 15 minute deep body relaxation. Genevieve’s soft Irish lilt backed by the celtic harp offers a soothing balm to their feelings and played at night next to their bed will ease their transition into a deep and restful sleep. Other tracks offer guided exercises that guide and teach the listener to centre and return to a calm balanced state and a warm connection with their child.

 

Creative Play Workshop

EMAIL COURSE – Gina Kimmel & Katherine Lockett (Connecting Family and Seoul and Creative Playhouse), value $25 USD
creative play workshop

Mindset for Moms

mindset for moms - cover imageJaimie Martin (Mindset for Moms), value $4.99 USD

Mindset for Moms: From Mundane to Marvelous Thinking in Just 30 Days is a guide for better thinking and increased happiness in parenting and in life. Lessons about positivity that took Jamie years to learn, you can learn in days–30 days, to be exact. She’s consolidated the concepts in this e-book into short entries–perfect for busy moms to read and apply for immediate results.

Moods of Motherhood

Lucy Pearce (Dreaming Aloud), value $9.99 USD

1-cover of moods of motherhoodA compilation of her best-loved posts on motherhood from her popular blog, Dreaming Aloud, columns from JUNO magazine and many new pieces, never before published. According to one reader, “This book puts the mother, back in motherhood”. “It is no ordinary parenting book” but full of her trademark searing honesty and raw emotions. It will make you laugh, cry and feel deeply accepted – wherever on your mothering journey you may be.

Topics include: pregnancy and birth, happy days, anger and fierceness, sleep, playfulness, grief, love, patience, tenderness, homemaking… it is illustrated throughout with beautiful black and white photographs.

 

42 Rules for Divorcing with Children (Doing it With Dignity and Grace While Raising Happy, Healthy, Well-Adjusted Children)

Melinda Robertsvalue $10.29 USD
42 rules for divorcing with kids42 Rules for Divorcing With Children offers practical ways to manage a healthy divorce, build a better team in two houses, minimize stress and anxiety on all fronts, and construct relationships with open and consistent communication. In this book you will learn:

  1. What putting the children first really means.
  2. How to preserve marital assets for you and your children.
  3. How to set reasonable ground rules for the divorce and going forward.
  4. How to set a respectful communication example so that you can divorce with dignity.

Use this book as objective advice, refer to it often, share it with others, use it as a reality check, and realize that divorce is not linear and that damage is not permanent or irreparable. If you do this well, the other parent will always be in your life. Find a way to make that tolerable for everyone, because no matter where you go or what you do, your children are tethered to both of you in an incredibly delicate and important way. Learn to accommodate each other as a gift to your children while they grow. Share others’ success stories for simple, practical advice and insights. See how taking care of yourself will help you take care of your family and prevent divorce remorse and divided loyalties. Set good examples that will help them make their own relationship choices wisely by drawing on your positive experience. And for you, know that someday, somewhere, you will almost certainly find a partner with whom you can have a mutually respectful, loving, and responsible relationship.

 

nurturing creativityNurturing Creativity, Guide for Busy Parents

Renee Tougas (Tougas Café), value $3 USD

Nurturing Creativity: A Guide for Busy Moms is a book to help you growcreatively.Nurturing Creativity is about embracing the seasons of motherhood and appreciating where you are while helping you to make creativity a priority in your life.

It will encourage you to let go of perfection, to start small, and to find inspiration in everyday living. This little book will challenge you to make the most of the time you do have. Time you can spend creating beauty and meaning – with your head, heart, and hands.

the playful family - coverThe Playful Family

Shawn Ledington Fink (Awesomely Awake), value $4.99 USD

The Playful Family encourages and challenges busy parents to slow down and spend quality time together with their children, regardless of their age. With nearly 100 ways to connect, engage and play together this easy-to-read e-book is a must-have resource for any parent interested in becoming more playful and happy while raising children. Each chapter includes dozens of ideas as well as a challenge to motivate families to put their own ideas to work in real life.

 

Poetry of a Hobo Mama, The First Three Years

Lauren Wayne (Hobo Mama), value $9.37 USD

Poetry of a Hobo Mama -front-cover-kindlePoetry of a Hobo Mama is a collection of poems by Lauren Wayne, inspired by the initial three years of parenting her firstborn son, Mikko.

I sling my baby like a bindle on my back,
tramping along the tracks
countless feet have worn before.

Poetry of a Hobo Mama contains three years’ worth of parenting poetry, written from the time Lauren and her husband, Sam, were preparing for Mikko, through watching him grow to three years old. She has included poems that speak of their natural parenting journey — breastfeeding, the family bed, elimination communication, and natural birth among them.

The book is a combination of free verse and more traditional poetry forms, and the topics and tone run through all the variations the poet felt when writing them: the grief of miscarriage, the anticipation of trying to conceive, the upheaval of the newborn months, the joy of parenting, and the balance of motherhood and personal passion.

 

Parenting for Social Change

Teresa Graham Brett (Parenting for Social Change), value $8.97 USD

parenting for social change - coverParenting for Social Change: Transform Childhood, Transform the World(2011, Social Change Press) is a powerful parenting book that isn’t about children, but about the harmful cultural messages we, as parents, perpetuate in our relationships with children. It addresses the work we as parents must do to free ourselves, the children who share our lives, and our world from those harmful messages.

The author, Teresa Graham Brett, uses current social science research to debunk the myth that controlling children is necessary to ensure they grow up to be healthy and responsible adults. She demonstrates how changing our parent-child relationships plays a critical role in creating social change. More importantly, it gives parents strategies and tools for letting go of harmful control of children.

  • read a review of this book

 

encouraging words for kids - cover

Encouraging Words for Kids

Kelly Bartlett (Parenting From Scratch), value $2.99 USD

Encouraging Words for Kids gives parents over 150 examples of phrases to say that inspire a child’s confidence and self-motivation. Encouragement is about drawing forth a child’s own drive to work hard and do what’s right without being told; this book shows you how to get there. It is a guide that parents can turn to again and again whenever they need a dose of inspiration in creating positive communication with their kids.

  • read a review of this book

 

Raising a Creative Kid, Simple Strategies for Igniting and Nurturing That Creative Spark

Raising a Creative Kid - cover imageJilian Riley (A Mom With A Lesson Plan), value $7.99

Raising a Creative Kid:  Simple Strategies for Igniting and Nurturing that Creative Spark  is just what you need to transform your environment into a creativity growth center. With creative exercises following each of the  sections I have made moving into a creative lifestyle as easy as possible. Just like I do with everything else on amomwithalessonplan.com, I use and recommend materials that are inexpensive or free.

 

Children and Food

Tara Wagner (The Organic Sister), 72min audio + 39 page workbook, value $25 USD currently only available as part of The Organic Sisterhood

children and food - cover

This mini-toolkit helps you recreate the whole family’s experience with food. No more fighting at dinnertime. No more forcing or bribing. No more worrying about your child’s ability to make good choices. You’ll have the tools necessary to begin to release control, lean into Trust, and make mealtime a joyful and fun experience. But it starts with your own relationship with food. It includes:

  • 72 min audio: Describes the most important principles in raising healthy children and how to begin practicing them (Value: $200)
  • 39 page workbook: Packed full of exercises to help you DIG IN and put new traditions and experiences into place (Value: $40)
  • Covers everything from: how your experience with food affects your children and how to change that, how to meet the varying needs and tastes of the whole family without feeling like a “short order cook”, as well as tips, ideas, strategies, recipes, and more from me and other mindful mamas.

 

Coming Of Age: How To Stop Worrying About ‘The Talk’, and Start talking with Your Girl! (audio)

DeAnna L’am, 41 min. audio, value $27 USDtalk to her

  • Remember “The Talk” you received from your Mom, or your school’s nurse?
  • Remember how awkward you felt listening?
  • Wonder how you can do a better job with your girl?

If you would you like to feel relaxed, confident, and at ease when speaking with your girl about becoming a woman – this is for you!
You will experience a sense of CALM and PEACE within yourself; An INNER EASE about the girl YOU once were; A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING of what your girl is feeling; SELF-TRUST going into any conversation with your girl; And a growing EASE in your relationship with her.
This down-loadable recording will deepen trust between you and your girl, and lay a foundation for lifelong openness between you!

 

The parenting primerThe Parenting Primer: A Guide to Positive Parenting in the First Six Years

Michelle Carchrae (The Parent Vortex), value $6.99 USD

The Parenting Primer is a guide to the main ideas and strategies used in gentle discipline. It will show you how attachment works to create harmony in families, empowering you to parent in a positive, creative way.

The Parenting Primer begins by looking at how love and limits influence our parenting, then explores other topics that affect our relationships with our children, such as information on brain development or personality, communication skills, lifestyle choices, creativity and self-discipline.

 

 

Mommy Overwhelm, A Holistic Approach to Parental Stress and Depression

Mommy overwhelm

Laura Schuerwegen (Authentic Parenting), 27 pages, value $2.99 USD, first-time opportunity, launch sale!

Mommy Overwhelm is a step-stone guide for parents who want to overcome daily overwhelm, stress and depression.

In this book, Laura draws from her own experience overcoming a longstanding depression to hand you the tools to heal. From strengthening foods and herbs to exercises and activities, this guide will kickstart your journey to happier, balanced parenting.

 

Unique Parenting Tool: Sleep Talking Set

Marcy Axnessvalue $13.95 USD

sleep talking

This set includes the Dr. Marcy Audio Coaching Session “Speaking to Your Child’s Subconscious” and companion eBooklet, A Unique 7-Step Parenting Tool: Sleep Talking.

Throughout my recent talks all over the world, what were SO many people interested in learning about? After hearing about the power of prenatal imprints, they wanted to know what parents could do when things didn’t go so smoothly in pregnancy, birth or around conception. I make it clear that repair & healing are ALWAYS possible at ANY age, and mentioned an somewhat out-of-the-box approach I’ve developed over my years of coaching parents — which includes talking to your child in his or her sleep.

They were so keen to learn, that I put together this primer in the power of the subconscious mind — and how to use it to create healing change. This 75-minute presentation includes a powerful guided imagery to use the power of imagination in making positive changes to parents’ own inner lives and childhood history. (It is an excerpt from / preview of the “Calm Authority for Parents” series.)

 

Mindful Mother CoverSpecial Bonus Freebie

The Mindful Mothering Challenge

Jennifer Saleem (Hybrid Rasta Mama)

This 57 page eBook takes mothers through 20 small steps designed to help them become more mindful mothers. Follow along with Jennifer’s journey as you begin your own. The Mindful Mothering Challenge will awaken your mothering, push you beyond your comfort zone, and deepen your connection with your children.

Just Added: API Live! Attachment Parenting International Teleseminar Series: “8 Principles of Attachment Parenting”

Teleseminar – (Attachment Parenting International), 2 hour teleseminar; value $38 USD

261656_4987606051246_1652354271_nAttachment Parenting isn’t new. In many ways, it is a return to the instinctual behaviors of our ancestors. In the last sixty years, the behaviors of attachment have been studied extensively by psychology and child development researchers, and more recently, by researchers studying the brain. This body of knowledge offers strong support for areas that are key to the optimal development of children, summarized in API’s Eight Principles of Parenting. Enjoy the exchange among the world’s leading experts in AP discussing API’s 8 Principles of Parenting, listen to their responses to questions of our time, and hear their answers to questions from the audience.

Panel experts include:

  • Dr. William Sears
  • Martha Sears
  • Dr. James McKenna
  • Ina May Gaskin
  • Dr. Isabelle Fox
  • Mary Ann Cahill
  • Barbara Nicholson
  • Lysa Parker

“AP is learning to read the cues of your child and responding appropriately. Open your heart and mind to the individual needs of your child. Let your knowledge of your child be your guide.”

~Dr. Bill Sears

— I will receive an affiliate fee if you purchase through my buy now buttons. You will not pay any more, but will be helping me maintain the website. Thank you for your support!

Great YouTube Birth Videos For Children

Preparing for a homebirth is one thing, but preparing your older child for a homebirth has been a whole different adventure. I think how much you’re able to prepare them depends massively on the child’s age, and while I have no evidence of this, I suspect the younger they are, the more ‘easily’ they’ll just ‘go with it’.

We’ve been reading books and practicing mooing and making groany noises together so that Ameli knows what mama might do when the baby comes. With her birth there was no crying or screaming, it was actually very calm and gentle. I’m hoping for the same again this time.

As with any birth, our preparation will only take us so far, then it’s up to nature and a little bit of luck to take you the rest of the way. It’s no different with preparing a child for a birth, whether it’s a home birth or hospital birth. Having never been through it before, we have no idea how Ameli will react, whether she’ll be in any way interested, or will in fact even be awake!

But on the hope that she’ll be there and understand what’s going on, we’ve been watching birth videos together, for preparation.

Below are the best we’ve found. I’ve  specifically chosen videos that aren’t overly graphic, and are relatively short – while the lead up and pregnancy pictures and all that make for a beautiful dedication, they don’t really captivate a two year old! I’ve also gone for gentle and calm births. There were some amazing ones with lots of screaming. She found them disconcerting, and I didn’t feel they were contributing to the positive preparation we were  hoping for.

Waterbirths:

This is an unassisted birth at home in the bath. Mama doesn’t make a sound the whole way through!

Another in the bath at home. Another really quiet mama! Birth happens about a minute in.

Here the mother labours in a birthpool and it is probably closer to our setup. Mama rocks up and down in the pool while holding her belly through the contractions and there’s some heavy breathing. This is useful for explaining the way you’ll be breathing (i.e. golden thread breathing) and to ‘practice’ it together with your child/ren.  (For the record, I don’t think her breathing would be ideal for me – it’s too panty, but it obviously worked for her.)

Land births:

While we’re not planning a land birth, there’s no harm in preparing Ameli for it too. Also, they’re a bit for explanatory of where the baby comes from, since they show a little more. These are still not very graphic.

Here mama labours on all fours and has gives birth around the 2 minute mark

Quite explicit and straight on, but I still thought this one was tastefully done in a way that was child friendly to watch too.

Older siblings at birth:

Here’s a mix of different births, but with older siblings present. I found these really useful for comparisons. “See how the boy stands next to the pool and doesn’t try to climb in? Ameli mustn’t climb in either when mama’s having the baby.” And so on.

This clip has the nine year old sister aiding in the delivery of the baby, along with the midwife. It’s good though as it shows the baby coming out without actually showing any gory bits.

There’s about a minute of pregnancy pictures here, then a few seconds of labour pictures – birth ball use and so on. This video is good as it involves a bit of groaning and ‘noise’ but nothing ‘violent’ or frightening.  The boy gives his mama cuddles and kisses and generally ‘hangs around’. It’s a beautiful and gentle birth and Ameli copies the lady’s ‘ooh,ooh’s’.

A longer video that has the older brother in the tub with mama for much of the labour. This was a good clip for me to watch too, as I’ve been concerned about being able to focus in with Ameli around, but if this mama can do it, then it obviously can be done! Birth happens around 7 minutes with a realistic amount of panting and groaning and moaning.

Ameli’s birth: 

And of course, no birth viewing session would be complete without the picture slideshow of Ameli’s own birth. This one has the lead up of labour, including the birth ball, gas and air for a while, and labouring in water.  Birth occurs around 2:20.

Books To Prepare Children For Childbirth, Homebirth Or Waterbirth

I went to my library recently to find books to use to prepare Ameli, not only for a new sibling, but also for the arrival of a new child. While there were plenty books and stories, there weren’t any that didn’t have the older sister or brother going in to the hospital room to see the baby  who was generally in the crib next to mama’s bed.

** For books on becoming a sibling rather than birth specific, see books to help prepare siblings for the arrival of a new baby**

While there’s nothing wrong with these stories, in themselves, and they would suit the majority of people, I wanted something more – I wanted to be able to prepare my child for the birth we are planning.

I did a little research and found only three books easily available in the UK. (For a review of books easily available in the US please see Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama.)

My New Baby is a cardboard book, definitely aimed at younger children. There aren’t many words, and it isn’t a story as such, but rather, random sentences, like “This bed is bouncy! Is the baby hungry?” or “I’m getting dressed. Is Baby clean yet?” and so on.

The book opens with mother, father, older sibling  (which could pass as a boy or a girl) and baby in bed. Baby is breastfeeding and daddy is playing with the older sibling.

Later you see baby nursing again while OS eats a plate of finger foods, and on the next page, baby is in a sling while OS walks, with the words ‘I love walking. When will Baby walk like me?’ below it, so there are attachment parenting themes throughout, but it’s not alienating – baby is also carried in a bucket car seat, and cries during a nappy change before being put into a Moses Basket to sleep.

It’s a very simple book, and it doesn’t deal with the birth of the baby at all, but only with there being another baby.

The thing I liked most about the book is that because it is so simple, we can adapt the words and the story to suit our needs. We called the older sibling Ameli, and we talk about each picture. For example when the baby is nursing, we talk about how our baby will nurse from Mama, and Ameli will have to share. She turns to me and points at my breasts saying “Baby will have milk”. So, she gets it – but I’m interested to see how she accepts it when its more than pictures in a book.

I think it can be used as quite a useful tool later on too – reminding Ameli to put her own jumper on, like the girl in the book, while Mama dresses the baby, and so on. I also like the fact that though I think it’s obviously a girl on the cover, which works in our favour, you could get away with it being a brother, I think.

While helpful for preparing to adjust to life with a baby, the My New Baby didn’t help with preparing for birth at all.

  • Hello Baby Written by Jenni Overend, Illustrated by Julie Vivas (£5.99 at Amazon UK) (Amazon.com)

Hello Baby is a beautiful book, written for, I’d imagine, a slightly older child – perhaps three or four and up. That said, we’ve had great success with using the story as a tool for discussing birth with my two year old.

It’s a ‘normal’ paper book, and the story is nicely written and stunningly illustrated. The words of the story are descriptive of a home birth at its ideal, attended by a midwife and other family members.

The illustrations in this book are quite graphic, without being intimate. There’s a picture of the mother leaning against the father during transition, with the head of the baby visible between her legs as the older children look on. There’s a side profile of the mother, naked, holding the baby with the umbilical cord attached to both of them, and later the midwife holds a bowl with the placenta in it.

While the book is quite detailed, and this may be off-putting for some, I find it a very good way to open conversation. It’s my hope that Ameli will be present at the birth, and having an understanding and a preconception of it can only be helpful.  The final picture has the whole family of six sleeping on sleeping bags in the living room, with mother cosleeping with baby in her arms. The boy, who is telling the story, crawls in with daddy. He can see the baby lying between ‘Mum and Dad’ and wishes he could be there too. We had a really productive chat – as much as you can with a two year old – about how Ameli would sleep in the other room with Daddy for a while, while Mama and Squidgy would sleep in the big bed. Again, she is okay with it in principle… we’ll see how reality pans out.

The story is lovely and detailed and follows the mother as she is in early labour and goes out for a walk in the woods, it talks about the midwife’s arrival and her equipment, and about how Mum yells and shouts at times. It is too detailed for Ameli, so we follow the basics of the story, but mainly using the pictures I tell her the story in age appropriate chunks.

The only negative in the book, is that the midwife ‘pulls on the cord’ to release the placenta – but we just leave that bit out.

I love this book. And I love that it is adaptable across the ages, and that the pictures are tasteful and beautiful, and yet still honest and true to what the child is likely to see at a homebirth.

I highly recommend Hello Baby when preparing your toddler or young child for childbirth.

(Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine has additional thoughts and images from this book)

Our Water Baby is the most expensive of the three books I was able to find. It is also the only one I could find on waterbirth. It is a whole story in which a birth happens, rather than just being about birth. That said, issues surrounding water birth are very nicely explained in conversation between the parents and their son.

“Will the baby know how to swim?” asked liver.

“When babies are born in water, they know how to hold their breath. The baby will not have to swim on his own,” said Oliver’s daddy.

A common question people ask, answered in a simple way that a child will understand.

Our Water Baby mentions the ‘noises’ of birth, and the quiet of concentration during labour, it mentions daddy supporting mummy in the pool, and the midwife using a dopler to listen to the baby’s heart, mentions the mother’s ‘special milk’ and has a lovely bonding scene between big brother and new baby.

The book is beautifully illustrated too, with toys and children’s characters hanging around in random places forming frames around the page, and the birth scenes are completely covered in water, so all you see is a bit of breast above the water – but that’s pretty true to a water birth.

(I do love the picture of granny and grandpa with the midwife in the kitchen cleaning up while the family bonds on the bed!)

This is a very innocent portrayal of birth, while still being factual. It doesn’t have the gritty reality of Hello Baby, and isn’t as focused or detailed, but does the vague job of explaining a birth to a child who may be waiting upstairs.

Mama, Talk About When Max Was Born” tells the story of Max’s birth, which takes place at home in water. Mama tells Max’s older sister the story about when Mama first learned that she was pregnant; about seeing the midwives; about preparing for Max’s arrival and finally his birth in their living room.

The book is beautifully illustrated, with bold, bright colours, and mostly full page illustrations.

Big sister attends the midwife and doula visits – either helping with measuring, or just in the foreground of the image, painting and carrying on with ‘normal’ activities.

Attending the birth are the midwife, doula, daddy, nana and big sister – pretty much exactly like my birth with Aviya (not in the pool or room though – Ameli was in the birthpool for a while, and in the room with us doing busy bag activities).

This book really strikes me as one of those ‘ a picture says a 1000 words’ moments. For example, there’s a picture of Mama labouring in the birth pool with the two midwives with their back to her, writing notes and drinking tea (or something). It’s just such a ‘normal’ scene, a woman labouring, no dramas here. That’s  possibly one of my favourite things about this book.

The birth  picture is not at all graphic. There’s a mama holding her baby up out of the water. The baby is attached by the umbilical cord, and everyone is smiling.

The only thing I found a bit odd was that ‘Max’ was given a hat as soon as he was born. I know that’s common practice in many places, but neither of my babies were given a hat.

Mama, Talk About When Max Was Born is a lovely book, and provided great talking points with my toddler.  It isn’t a complete A-Z of birth – i.e. there’s no mention of the placenta, or noises or anything that a child can expect from the birth itself, but not everyone wants that anyway. For me personally I’d say that if a child wasn’t going to be present at the birth, this is a perfect book, but if they are, this would be a good book to make up part of a set.

It’s a little hard to get hold of though, as it can currently only be purchased on Amazon US or through their own website in Australia.

Part of the Mama, Talk About series from Toni Olson, Mama, Talk About Our New Baby is about a young boy who, with the help of his mother, learns what life will be like after his sister is born. It is beautifully illustrated, and serves as a wonderful guide for parents to help them introduce older children to the concept of a younger sibling. In comparison to many mainstream books, it provides a beautiful introduction to the attached family and helps prepare siblings for life with a new baby.

There are a lot of subtle things in this book, as in the previous one, like the toddlers bed pushed up next to the parents’ for an authentic family bed.  In the explanation of what life with a new baby will be like, there’s a lot of inclusive language, like “You can come cuddle with us and meet your sister” or “Some days we could all nap together”.

There’s a mention and image of tandem feeding, although it’s not called that, folding up reusable nappies (called diapers in the book) and both baby and toddler are rear facing in their car seats. There’s even a picture of Mama wearing the baby and big brother “wearing” his baby, and another of daddy wearing the toddler in a back carry with Mama carrying baby in a ring sling.

I think this is truly one of the most all encompassing Attachment Parenting books for new babies – perhaps the word is definitive, it’s the definitive book for introducing toddlers to the concept of a new sibling. It is an expensive book at US$18 or AUS$15, but I must admit I wish I had it before our baby was born, and I will be holding on to it and treasuring it to loan to many friends in the years to come.

It would be great if it were easily found in the UK, but I’d go so far as to say it was it’s worth importing.

captureThis is a lovely story too, especially if the new sibling is a little older, used to being an only child, and able to talk about emotions with some understanding.

The Magic Basket opens with Amy crying on her bed because she doesn’t want to become a big sister. Her mother brings her a piece of cloth, which opens up into a blue magic basket. Amy puts her hand in the basket, and out comes a feeling – curious – who guides her through how to explore her feelings. Being curious he asks her what she was doing when her mother came in, and next thing you know, another feeling – sad – comes into play. Curious and Sad help explore her feelings of worry about why her parents want another child, and help her realise that maybe they’re not trying to replace her, but ‘add to’ her. It’s a really lovely message, actually, and the transformation that comes from realisation and understanding is very sweet.

This isn’t a book for children at all, but I thought I’d throw it in here anyway. It is the best book I’ve ever read on waterbirth. It’s simple, easy to understand, reader-friendly language, without being too technical and is such an easy read it doesn’t take long at all. If your mother, sister, partner or friend is unsure about water birth: this is the book to give them to read.

Bertram discusses the theory of waterbirth, including why water is beneficial, explaining the logistics of waterbirth and looks at the basics of birth. There’s a section on preparation which includes practical demonstrations such as yoga, deep relaxation, breathing techniques and free movement dance.

The real winner for me, however is part 3 of Choosing Waterbirth, where she shares six water birth stories.

It is an empowering read for the mama-to-be and for those supporting her. (I gave it to my mother to read before my daughter’s birth and it answered most of her questions and put her mind at ease too. I highly recommend this book for anyone considering a waterbirth.)

 

Do you know of other books for children that I’ve missed out? There are plenty available in the US and another I found in Australia, but are there more in the UK?

Play And Positive Interaction

I’ve been reading a book called ‘Raise Your Kids without Raising Your Voice‘ and in the first chapter Sarah Chana Radcliffe talks about the 80/20 ratio of how we talk to our children.  She says:

“Eight out of ten parenting moments should be pleasant ones from the child’s point of view. Ideally, 100% of parental interactions are meant for the well-being of the child; however, not all interventions feel good to the child….Typical good-feeling interactions include smiling, hugging, touching, giving compliments, praising, using affectionate names, verbalizing love and affection, listening, playing, joking, giving treats, showing interest, sharing ideas and helping. … Typical bad-feeling interactions include yelling, criticizing, correcting, looking angry or displeased, complaining, ignoring, reprimanding, threatening, punishing, nagging, lecturing, interrogating, insulting, supervising, commanding, directing, and instructing.”

Peace For Parents – Friday Favourites

My favourite piece of writing* in pretty much all of literary history is the poem ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling. There’s something about his admonitions to his son that speaks to my very heart, and the phrases:

“IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;”

seem so apt for parenting. But sometimes remaining calm seems practically impossible.

Baby Led Weaning: First Food Suggestions

I’ve written a bit on the why of baby-led weaning, I’ve spelled it out in my top ten reasons, I’ve written about what Baby Led Weaning equipment you need (or don’t need, as the case may be) for Baby Led Weaning, but I haven’t written anything on how to get started, or more accurately, with what to start.

Before I just rattle off a list of foods, however, here are a few important things to remember: (And if you want to hear it from the expert on Baby Led Weaning, Gill Rapley,  you can buy her book.)

  • Baby Led Weaning shouldn’t be started before your baby is ready, i.e. showing signs of interest in solid foods (which can start as early as four months, but hold out for six), is able to sit up on their own, and is six months old.
  • Baby Led Weaning is about the experience of food, rather than the nutrition only of it. Food is fun till one. Until they are around one, milk should be your child’s primary source of nutrition, and food should be introduced for the touch, feel, smell factors. Food should be mushed in the fingers, sucked, gummed, smelt and experienced, and how much is eaten is rather irrelevant. Around the first birthday, your child will automatically start eating more of the food.
  • Baby Led Weaning doesn’t mean you give your child food and then walk away. It’s not ‘hands off’ in the way that scares parents looking in to it. It’s still weaning, there’s still parental involvement. It’s just baby led.
  • Babies don’t need teeth to eat. They are perfectly capable of breaking down foods with their gums – be smart though. A 500g rump steak isn’t a good idea.
  • A baby’s gag reflex is in the middle of their mouth, unlike an adults, which is more towards the back. Your baby might sound like he or she is choking, but it’s unlikely. The gag reflex is precisely there to prevent chocking. At the same time, don’t leave an infant unattended when they are eating.
  • If your child doesn’t like something, it doesn’t matter. Remove it from the plate, and offer it again in a few weeks time. Tastes change as taste buds develop.
  • Try to use organic foods, and don’t boil them. You’re trying to maintain the flavours – bland food isn’t very interesting. Steaming works best for hard vegetables, or we often pan-fry in a non-stick pan with no oil.
  • If there is a history of allergies, asthma or eczema in either parent’s family, try to avoid milk products (cow’s milk, cheeses and yogurts), shellfish, citrus fruit and their juices or eggs, until your baby is around eight months old. If there are allergies, also avoid sesame seeds or peanuts. If you’re really concerned, do a blood allergy test, so you know for definite what to avoid and what not. There is also a school of thought that says avoiding these things increases the risk of allergies, rather than reducing it – do your research and decide for yourself.
  • Honey, salt and wheat products are not recommended until the baby is a year old. This is a strange one for me, as, for example, in South Africa we give babies “biltong” – dried, cured, salty meat” for teething. ‘Regulations’ and ‘recommendations’ vary from country to country and over time, so do what you feel is right for your baby.
  • You can change to baby led weaning at any time, even if you’ve already started puree feeding, but be aware that babies used to swallowing purees first may be more likely to try to swallow and then gag on finger foods.
  • We’ve never puree fed, and you don’t have to start with mush.
  • When you were pregnant, your baby became accustomed to your way of eating. If you’re breastfeeding more so.
  • These are suggestions for first foods. Use your discretion and if you’re not sure, wait a while. All of these suggestions are aimed at children over six months, some for over one year:

Fruit

  • Banana
  • Avocado
  • Melon
  • Pears
  • Peaches – if soft, raw is fine, otherwise lightly steam
  • Nectarines – if soft, raw is fine, otherwise lightly steam
  • Plums – if soft, raw is fine, otherwise lightly steam
  • Strawberries – after six months, if no allergies in the family.
  • Apples – great for teething gums, but do be wary as it is a hard fruit and can be a chocking hazard. Otherwise bake and cut into chunks. With cinnamon. Yum.
  • Blueberries – cut in half to ensure they aren’t swallowed whole (for smaller babies)
  • Grapes – great for gumming, but keep an eye on younger babies. Peel if you desire, as the skin can get stuck on the throat, which is quite uncomfortable. Peeled and frozen and halved is also heavenly for sore gums.

Vegetables

  • Carrots – great for teething, but same criteria as apples. Lightly steamed is preferable.
  • Broccolli – lightly steam or roast
  • Cauliflower -lightly steam or roast
  • Butternut Squash – roast or boil
  • Sweet potato – roast or boil – cut into thin fry like pieces for easy holding. Don’t deep fry though.
  • Potato – roast or boil- cut into thin fry like pieces for easy holding. Don’t deep fry though.
  • Courgette/baby marrow/zucchini – steamed or roasted or lightly fried or grilled
  • Aubergine/eggplant – good for cutting into squares, roast, steam or grill – taste it to make sure it’s not too bitter.
  • Cucumber – raw
  • Asparagus – a favourite in our home, but be aware that it can be stringy and be both in the stomach and the mouth at the same time! Cut into bite-sized bits.

Other

  • Rice – great for motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination!
  • We also choose Plum baby snacks, especially those that use spelt instead of white flour.

Great snacks to have on hand:

  • Pasta – try gluten free if under one
  • Cubes of cheese – no molded or goats or sheeps milk under one
  • Fish or meat – well cooked. Although Ameli’s been eating raw salmon (sashimi) since 12 months
  • Hard boiled egg – assuming no allergies
  • Home-made low sugar seed and nut bars – assuming no allergies

Spices

  • We use loads of herbs and spices in our food.
  • Cinnamon – supports the digestive system, but delay introduction if there are food allergies in your family. Also a great source of iron – so no need to worry if baby is otherwise breastfed.
  • Turmeric – great for adding flavour to food and also a powerful anti-oxidant
  • Cumin – supports digestion
  • Coriander – again good for iron among other things and great with chicken dishes
  • Nutmeg – also good with chicken, soothes the tummy
  • Ginger – also good for upset tummies (hello, morning sickness!) . It also eliminates gas from the intestines, and is an all-round good food.
  • Garlic – adds masses of flavour, an anti-oxidant and apparently improves breastfeeding if mama eats garlic.

And a final note:

We try to avoid adding sugar to anything, because really, glucose does nothing good to the body. Instead, replace it with Xylitol. It is slightly more expensive, but is sweeter and actively helps prevent tooth decay and can even reverse the effects of some decay.

In truth, the best way to Baby Led Wean is to cook your own dinner, and take a few bits and pieces of age-appropriate foods off your plate and onto your baby’s. That way there’s much less wastage, no extra preparation, and you end up eating healthier too, since you want to give your baby the best.

Anything to add? It’s sure to help someone!

How To Turn A Back-To-Back, Transverse or Breech Baby

OP, or back labour, is when the baby’s back faces the mother’s back, rather than the preferred back to belly (OA) position. The problem with back labour is that it can be longer than an OA labour, with pain focussed in the back. For first time mothers, this can add to the length of labour too, often resulting in many interventions and eventually a generally emergency caesarian.

A Transverse baby is lying across the abdomen rather than down, and a breech baby has their feet down instead of the head.

While the internet is an amazing resource with information on just about anything, that is also it’s downfall – where do you start? So rather than reinventing the wheel, I’ve compiled a list of resources for those with back-to-back, transvere,or breech babies both on trying to turn your baby and on dealing with labour.

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