Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I'm a book Mum and proud of it!

I'm a bit nervous writing this post because there are a lot of fiery opinions out there for and against this topic, but I think it's a really important one for Mums.

Today I'm giving you my opinion on baby books - you know, the 'how to' guides.

The books that set out feeding and sleeping schedules for babies, milestone guidelines, problem solving techniques for unsettled sleepers, etc. I read so many discussions on the internet about these types of books and whether parents should use them, or just go with their own intuition when raising their babies.

My opinion?

I LOVE them. I used them all the time with Sophie and I still use them almost daily with baby Georgia. I swear by them, because they have worked wonders for me and my kids. Particularly the Gina Ford books.

The New Contented Little Baby Book: The Secret to Calm and Confident Parenting
The book that started it all

That's the key point - they work for me and my kids.

I have friends who also use these books. I have friends that tried these books for a little while. I have friends who have never used these books.

And ALL of their kids are adorable, happy and healthy.

They have different sleep habits, they eat different things, they play in different ways - and they are all turning out just fine.

This post isn't saying you have to use baby books to be a good parent. It's just that I hear so many negative things about these books and I think it's unfair - they help so many people. So I'll put my hand up and say I use them, I love them, and if there are any other Mums and Dads out there that love them too, you're not alone.

Personally, I read these books because I'm a person that loves routine, structure and predictability. I like having step by step instructions to follow. I'm a much happier, more confident and calm mother using books like this, and I think my girls benefit from having a happy, confident Mum.

For those of you who may be interested in these books and would like to know which ones have worked well for me, here are my favourites:

Books by Gina Ford

The New Contented Little Baby Book: The Secret to Calm and Confident Parenting
The New Contented Little Baby Book
 The New Contented Little Baby Book
This book was recommended to me by a friend at work when I was pregnant with my first baby. I followed it to the letter (my family would probably be correct to say I became a little obsessed with it!). What I loved about this book: it showed me how to encourage my baby to settle well for naps and how & when to feed (so there was no witching hour!). Plus there were instructions for both breastfeeding and bottle feeding without judgement on either method.

The Contented Baby's First Year: The Secret to a Calm and Contented Baby
The Contented Baby's First Year
The Contented Baby's First Year
This book follows along with The New Contented Little Baby Book, with beautiful pictures and more detail about baby milestones (holding toys, sitting, reaching, crawling) plus ideas on how to encourage your baby to reach them.  What I loved about this book: It had a Q&A section for common problems and it was easy to pick up and flick through to find the stage my girls were up to.

The Contented Little Baby Book Of Weaning
The Contented Little Baby Book of Weaning
 The Contented Little Baby Book of Weaning
When Sophie hit 6 months, I had no idea what to feed her. Family and friends were wonderful and shared lots of ideas with me but I really wanted to know exactly what to feed her, how much, and when. What I loved about this book: It had menu plans, recipes I could cook in bulk and freeze, and showed me how to transition from pureed to lumpy and then finger food.

The Contented Toddler Years
The Contented Toddler Years
The Contented Toddler Years
The only problem with loving The New Contented Little Baby book so much was that when Sophie turned one, I had no idea where to go from there! I was thrilled to find The Contented Toddler Years. What I loved about this book: It helped me with things like adapting routines to suit her age, teaching good manners dealing with tantrums and  food refusal (Sophie started turning down food at around 2 so this really helped).

Feeding Made Easy: The Ultimate Guide to Contented Family Mealtimes
Feeding Made Easy
Just like how the Contented Toddler Years took me past Sophie's first year into her second, Feeding Made Easy took me into her second year of eating. What I loved about this book: It's packed with easy, healthy recipe ideas.

The Contented Baby with Toddler Book
The Contented Baby with Toddler Book
 The Contented Baby with Toddler Book
When I was pregnant with Georgia I was nervous about a couple of things - one, how Sophie would handle having a baby sister, and two, I was already so busy with a toddler (the days were completely full!) that I had no idea how I would fit in caring for a baby as well. What I loved about this book: It showed me step by step how and when to do baby stuff (feeding, settling for naps, sterilising etc) and fit it in with Sophie's schedule so I was able to find time for both kids. The days are still full and incredibly busy but we get the important things done and still have time for fun together. And my biggest worry - that Georgia would wake Sophie up overnight - never happened.

Potty Training In One Week
Potty Training in One Week

Potty Training in One Week
This one I can'r review yet - I have it, but the week I tried to potty train Sophie, she got gastro so I put her back in nappies (I just couldn't deal with it all together!). I'll keep you posted on how it goes when I have the nerve to try again!

Other Books I adore

These ones aren't by Gina Ford but have helped me out a LOT over the past couple of years!

There's a House Inside My Mummy
There's a House inside my Mummy
There's a house inside my Mummy
Why I loved it: This was given to us by a dear friend, and it was a wonderful book to read to Sophie when I was pregnant with Georgia. It addressed both pregnancy and a new baby and I think really helped Sophie get excited about having a new baby in the house. We still read it regularly as it's become a firm favourite.

Mighty Toddler: The Essential Guide to the Toddler Years
The Mighty Toddler
The Mighty Toddler
Why I loved it: As much as I love Gina Ford, I found this book by Robin Barker to be the best when it came to understanding Soph's 2 yr old temper tantrums. It gave me some background and steps to take to minimise tantrums and to handle them when they couldn't be avoided.

Planning with Kids: A Guide to Organising the Chaos and Making Time for Family Fun
Planning With Kids
Planning with Kids
Why I loved it: I'm a HUGE fan of Nicole Avery - I've been following her blog for ages and I learn something every time I visit. This book taught me how to structure my day so I had time to play with the kids and time to stay on top of housework and other commitments. From routines to holidays, this book covers it all.

WOW, that is a lot of books! But I'm so glad I have every one of them as they have provided me with lots of ideas for parenting and given my confidence in motherhood a huge boost.

What about you? Are you for or against parenting books, and why?


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Thursday, March 1, 2012

How to cope when your kids are sick

Warning: I'm currently living through a bout of sickness in our house. So I'm a little tired and cranky ;)

This post is for all the parents out there who freak out when one of their kids gets sick.

You know - the type of panic you get when you realise that one by one, everyone in the family is going to get it too, and you just want to run away.

I'm not proud of it, but I am that mother. It doesn't mean I don't love my family. It doesn't mean I won't take care of my sick children. But it's really hard, and really stressful. Well, it is for me.

So if you're like me and need some tips on how to cope when your kids get sick, keep reading...

How to cope when your kids are sick:

  • Cancel everything social: I know this isn't easy, but a) do you really want to spread those germs around? I HATE it when people do that to us.  and b) It's hard work taking sick kids out and about!
  • Relax and just do the bare minimum around the house: This might mean paper plates and cups so you don't have to wash up, getting take away or having simple meals (or toast for dinner!), or just doing the washing and skipping folding and ironing for a few days. Give yourself a break.
  • Get friendly with soap, wipes and Glen 20: the cleaner toys and hands are, the less likely the germs are going to spread. And keep your windows open.
  • Try to separate the sickies from the healthy: For example, healthy ones get to play outside, in the lounge room and in their bedroom. Sickies are confined to their bedroom and Mum and Dads room (with the windows open - so germs don't stick around to get Mum and Dad!). And no toy sharing for a few days. And if they're both in nappies, do not share the change table - change the healthy one somewhere else.
  • Set up as many play activities as you can think of for everyone and use the Supernanny 'play and walk away' technique to cut down on clinginess: books, colouring, plastic bag paint pictures, movies, water play, board games, hopscotch, the 'clean the toys' game - anything and everything (and expect each activity to last around 20 mins at the most). It'll keep the littlies busy and keep you sane ;)
  • Try really, really hard to stay calm and pleasant: This will be hard. especially if you're a litle high maintenance yourself, like I am. So plan something nice for yourself to do when every one is better (I'm going to the movies), and remember, if you are nice and calm, everyone else will be too. (At this point I'd like to apologise to The Husband, because I have not done this well over the last couple of days. I'm working on it today though, I swear)
So there are my tips! 

Now, please, PLEASE, share yours - I need all the help I can get this week!


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