Guest Post: Bump to Breastfeeding in Style

Bump to Breastfeeding in Style – my top tips

Emma Downie, full-time mum to Elsa (2yrs) and founder of Milk & Mummy, stylish online maternity and breastfeeding clothes boutique, shares her tips for being a stylish mummy.

1.      Don’t shy away from bold colours while you’re pregnant – embrace them! This is a time when most women feel really confident about their figures and a bright bump looks fabulous. I love our Hattie dress  which looks equally great on the beach with flip flops or glammed up with heels for a wedding.

Milk and Mummy Hattie Dress

2.     During the last few months of your pregnancy choose dresses and tops that are fitted, rather than A-line, over your bump as they do tend to be more flattering. This is why our Clarisse top is perfect as it has a gathered band at the hem which clings around your hips to give you extra definition.

3.     When it comes to breastfeeding, regardless or not of whether you own nursing clothes, think about how you’re going to feed in your clothes before you leave the house. This might sound obvious but I know a few mums who got caught short out and about and had to find a changing room to feed in as they had to remove their entire dress to feed their baby!

4.     I’m bound to say this but it’s true: breastfeeding clothes will make your life simpler, so invest in a few. It doesn’t have to be many items; just one fabulous everyday dress and a couple of flattering tops can make a huge difference. They might seem expensive at first, but when you consider how intensively you will wear them when you are breastfeeding, the cost per wear is actually quite reasonable. And beware, not all nursing clothes have fuss-free nursing access. Test the nursing access before you buy and make sure it’s easy to operate one-handed! This is my must have nursing summer capsule wardrobe:

Milk and Mummy

Alice dress

Milk and Mummy

Nancy vest top

Milk and Mummy

Gemma top

5.     Accessorize! This is the cleverest way to update and revitalise that top you seem to wear most days! But avoid dangly jewellery for obvious reasons. Scarves are fantastic for nursing mums. They brighten up an ordinary outfit and can also give you some extra modesty when feeding in public. A bold, statement ring looks great and can also be a reminder of which side to feed from next – just swap it to your other hand after a feed. If you wear bracelets go for stretchy ones or leather cuffs as they are softer around a newborn.

Emma

www.milkandmummy.com 

 

 

 

 

 

#whatwillyougivemewednesday 19.06.13

#whatwillyougivemewednesday

Pop over to our Facebook Page this evening for our  #whatwillyougivemewednesday auction for some great Baby Bargains.

Here’s a quick recap of the rules for this evening.
All bids start at 1p (+ a one off fee of £1.50 P&P). Bids can be placed by adding a comment under the item you like with a price you are prepared to pay. Bidding is between 8 – 10pm.

At 10pm when bidding has closed the winning bidders will be announced and the item is yours for the amount bid.

Here’s a look at what we have in store this evening.

Happy Bidding and don’t forget to tell your Mummy and Daddy friends. The more bids the more fun!

Lisa

www.babynotincluded.co.uk 

Creative Ideas for Toddlers

Guest Post by Paul from www.cre8ivekidz.co.uk

Creative ideas for toddlers

Early childhood is a vital point in life when it comes to your child’s social, intellectual and emotional development.

A large percentage of learning will take place in the first 6 years of your child’s life. Your child’s capability to learn will continue for the course of their life but will not be as intense as it is in these years.

As a parent what you do and what you expose your children to will have a major effect on their development, they need positive learning experiences to aid with development and what will effectively be the foundation for further educational progress.

In the past art has not been seen as a fundamental part of the educational process, more of a treat or leisure activity but in the more recent years it has come to light the importance of basic creative activities and learning to understand and value visual elements that are now essential parts of the building blocks for your child’s future development.

Visual Learning:

Most of what we learn estimated at 80% is from what we see; Drawing, sculpting with clay or creating a collage all help develop visual and spatial skills.

For example most toddlers these days would be able to operate a smart phone or tablet all before they can even read a sentence. This is all achieved through the child taking in visual information be it a colour, a picture or both and associating it with an action.

Hands and fingers are the best place to start when it comes to art tools, then it will be on to the brushes, crayons and chalks.

It’s not advised to rush your child into creating anything particular. Allowing them to choose what they would like will actively encourage decision making and individuality. It is also a good idea to let them play with pliable material such as play dough or clay which can be bent, rolled or shaped in to pretty much anything, developing reasoning and think skills and creativity.

Our Djeco Light Clay Super Heroes is a fantastic creative light modelling clay kit from the Djeco art and craft range, perfect for the younger children.


Djeco Light Clay Super Heroes uses the colourful cardboard pieces which can be stuck into the naturally drying modelling clay to create enjoyable Super Hero characters. The light clay included in this modelling kit is easy to work with so young children can easily make shapes, Straightforward fun to keep them entertained for hours and increase their creativity and visual learning.

Motor Skills:

When it comes to motor skills a lot of the movements used in the making of art, for instance scrawling with chalk or crayon, holding a paintbrush or cutting shapes out are all essential areas when it comes to your child’s fine motor skill development.

Using scissors will help develop your child’s dexterity which will ultimately be needed for writing. Drawing with chalk or crayons is ideal for gaining skills in holding and grasping as well as increasing their visual insight and imagination but always a good idea to limit the variety of colours so at the same time not overwhelming them.

Djeco Animals cut outs are a fantastic activity for younger children. Each of the animal pictures have dotted lines around to guide. Simply cut around the dotted lines for lots of pictures that can be used for making mobiles, creating scenes with paper and glue or even labels for presents.

Encouraging concentration and hand to eye co-ordination perfect for developing motor skills the Djeco Animal cut outs make a perfect small gift or party bag filler. The Djeco set comes in a beautiful little box to store your cut outs and contains 50 images to cut out.

Decision Making:

Art education has now been proven to improve critical-thinking and strengthen problem-solving skills.

The experience gained when creating a piece of art when having to make decisions

When it comes to making a piece of art there will be a lot of decision making involved in the process providing plenty of experience exploring, thinking, experimenting and trying new ideas all of which will benefit your child in all future aspects of life.

Permitting your child to make these choices lets you show respect for their opinion at the same time not losing your position as the parent.

Practicing basic choice making will eventually lead to your young ones being able to take control of their own lives. If your child is not allowed to make these decisions now, they might not be able when it really counts.

The Melissa and Doug Blue Colouring Book is ideal, allowing your child to choose not just what to colour in but what colours it’s going to be. The jumbo multi themed colouring pad has 50 pictures printed on high quality bonded paper. Ideal for crayons, markers, paints and pencils.

Dinosaurs, vehicles, football, pirates, princesses and many more themed pictures to colour.

If you found this information useful and want to see more products ideal for inspiring your child’s creativity why not visit our site www.cre8ivekidz.co.uk

#whatwillyougivemewednesday 12.06.13

#whatwillyougivemewednesday

It’s that time of week again and from 8pm – 10pm this evening we’re running our weekly #whatwillyougivemewednesday auction on our Facebook Page.

Come along. It’s a lot of fun and there’s many a bargain to be had including Baby Banz Sunglasses, a funky Rattle Tat Beanie Hat and a Lamaze Sophie the Princess.

Rules Recap
All bids start at 1p (+ a one off fee of £1.50 P&P). Bids can be placed by adding a comment under the item you like with a price you are prepared to pay. Bidding is between 8 – 10pm.

At 10pm when bidding has closed the winning bidders will be announced and the item is yours for the amount bid.

Hope to see you there.

Lisa x

www.babynotincluded.co.uk 

Baby Comp Weekly 11.06.13

Baby Comp Weekly 11.06.13

With another glorious family fun packed weekend, and our first barbeque of the year it didn’t feel such a hardship to return to work this week.

There’s loads of fantastic competitions on the blog scene at the moment and here are a select few to get you started.

Win a copy of Cloud Babies Wide Awake DVD from Mama Geek Blog – Closes 01.07.13

Win a Pair of Nike Free 5.0+ Running Trainers from Chelsea Mamma Blog – Closes 01.07.13

Win a Milton Mini Portable Soother Steriliser with Melissa Breckon – Closes 13.06.13

Win Two Funky Giraffe Bandana Bibs with Preston Precious – Closes 19.06.13

Win a GOSH Summer Essentials Make-up Pack from All Baby Advice – Closes 08.07.13

Win some Will Hill Books from Emma in Bromley Blog – Closes 22.06.13

Of course if you find any competitions or are running any competitions of your own then please feel free to add them, bearing in mind that this is a family orientated blog.



Good Luck x

Join us this Wednesday for our weekly Facebook Page auction #whatwillyougivemewednesday between 8pm – 10pm for some great baby and toddler bargains.

www.babynotincluded.co.uk – Don’t go shopping without your My Buggy Buddy Clip!!

#whatwillyougivemewednesday 05.06.13

#whatwillyougivemewednesday

It’s that time of the week again.

Come and join us on our Facebook Page for our weekly #whatwillyougivemewednesday Auction.

All bids start at 1p (+ a one off fee of £1.50 P&P). Bids can be placed by adding a comment under the item you like with a price you are prepared to pay. Bidding is between 8 – 10pm.

At 10pm when bidding has closed the winning bidders will be announced and the item is yours for the amount bid.

Here’s what we have up for grabs this week.

Hope to see you there.

www.babynotincluded.co.uk

Baby Comp Weekly 04.06.13

Baby Comp Weekly

The weather is a hot topic again this week. We’ve had another fantastic weekend of eating, drinking and catching up with friends. We went to a local Festival on Saturday which was great, so raring to go for another week of work until the weekend again.

Here’s some great competitions that we found. Knock urself out!

Win a Boob Nursing Bra with Mellow Mummy – Closes 15.06.13

Win some Baby and Mummy Goodies from BlueStripes over at My Mill’s Baby – Closes 28.06.13

Win Sainsbury’s Bread Mixes from Cats Yellow Days – Closes 24.06.13

Win a Mister Maker DVD from Mama Geek Blog – Closes 10.06.13

Win a Set of 7 Crawlerz Romper Suits (Looking very Funky) from the Little Lily Pad – Closes 14.06.13

Win a Cloud Babies DVD from Mummy Fever – Closes 11.06.13

Win a Kids Spy Kit from Playing by the Book – Closes 10.06.13

Win a Disney Pixar Monsters University Book from the Mum Blog – Closes 10.06.13

Win a Pizza Making Party with Pizza Express with Mellow Mummy – Closes 10.06.13

Win a £25 Sainsbury’s Voucher from Charlie Moo’s – Closes 05.06.13

Feel free to add your own Blog Competitions, making sure that you add a closing date.



Good Luck x

Maternity Leave – Financial Planning

Guest Post from Family MoneyBox – maternity leave financial planning

Ten ‘Top Tips’ from the team at Family MoneyBox

There’s no getting away from it – having a child is probably one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make. And the ultimate irony is that it all begins at a time when your income is likely to be taking a big hit, as you plan to take time off for maternity leave.

Here are Ten ‘Top Tips’ to get your finances prepared – giving you more time to sort out all the other things you’ll need to get your head round before baby appears…

• Maternity leave payments
You’re only entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay if you earn at least £109 per week, and you’ve been in your job for at least 6 months prior to reaching 15 weeks before your due date. Statutory Maternity Pay lasts for 39 weeks – you get 90% of full pay for the first six weeks, and for the next 33 weeks, you only get £136.78 per week or 90% of full pay, whichever is lower. If you earn less than £109 per week, you could qualify for Maternity Allowance instead.

Checklist:
• Find out more about Statutory Maternity Payments here
• Check any specific arrangements with your employer – if you’re lucky, they may offer better terms…

• Who’s taking time off?
Gone are the days when time off to look after a new addition to the family was the sole preserve of the lady of the house, with the new Dad just having a couple of weeks off just after the birth to smoke cigars and generally get in the way. Nowadays, new Dads can take up to 6 months Paternity Leave. But it only applies if Mum has gone back to work and isn’t claiming any maternity leave benefits or payments.

Checklist:
• Discuss and decide in advance who’s taking time off to look after the new arrival
• Find out more about Paternity Leave entitlements here

• Know your benefits
For many people who are in work, starting a family may be the first time they qualify for any state-funded benefits, and it can be a minefield understanding what you’re entitled to. Don’t join the ranks of hundreds of thousands of new parents who miss out – do your research before baby arrives, and find out what you can claim, and how to get it. There are even some benefits you can claim before the birth – like free prescriptions and NHS dental treatment – so find out what you could be claiming right now!

Checklist:
• Feeling guilty about claiming benefits? Get over it! You’ve probably been paying your taxes for years – now’s the time to take advantage of what is rightfully yours.
• Check out this handy quick reference table for details of all the benefits you could be claiming now, and in the future

• Don’t go mad at the shops!
Recent research has shown that the cost of raising a child from birth to their first birthday (excluding childcare) can be as little as £1,600 or as much as £7,200, depending on how you approach it. Here are some tips for keeping costs down – whilst making sure you have everything you need to look after your baby properly, of course…

Checklist:
• Ask friends and family who’ve already been through it all, for advice on what baby stuff you will actually need (and what you’ll probably be tempted to buy, but won’t ever use)
• Save money by buying baby clothes and accessories second-hand – babies grow quickly, and their needs change just as fast, so second-hand stuff is normally in good condition and remember that your baby will only be using it for a short while too, so why spend a fortune?
• Use this handy calculator to find out how much you’re likely to have to shell out on bits and bobs for baby

• Get budgeting!
If you’ve never had to watch the pennies in the past, you probably will need to, once baby comes along. Just a quick look at the cost of the most basic baby essentials like child care, nappies, food and clothes is enough to send your pay packet running for the hills! Now’s the time to analyse where all your money goes currently, and work out how you’re going to afford all the extra stuff your new arrival will need.

Checklist:
• Set yourself a monthly budget, and stick to it!
• Try using this free online budgeting tool to take the guesswork out of balancing your monthly income and outgoings

• Switch & save
You’d have to be living on a desert island to miss all the constant TV ads about how you could save £££s by shopping around and switching your utilities to a cheaper provider. Well, if you’ve blissfully ignored all the ‘Meer cats’ and ‘opera singing’ until now, maybe it’s time to sit up and take notice? After all, you’ll be spending a lot more time at home with the heating up high and chain-loading the washing machine, not to mention boiling umpteen kettles on a daily basis…

Checklist:
• Just take the plunge – take your pick of the online comparison websites, and see if you could get a better deal on your utility bills!

• Plan for childcare
One of the biggest expenses that working families will have to bear is the cost of childcare, and it’s a long term thing, so the sooner you start looking into it, the better. A bit of good news for the future is that 3-4 year olds (and some 2 year olds) who haven’t started proper school yet, are entitled to a free early education place – a minimum of 15 hours per week in England and 10 hours per week in Wales.

Checklist:
• Read lots of useful hints and tips about choosing and arranging child care here
• Find out more about financial help that may be available with child care here

• To work or not to work?
If you’re planning to return to work after your maternity leave, take a realistic look at how this will work in practice for you. Apart from factoring in the cost of childcare, those long commutes, early starts and late nights of the past may just not be practical anymore? And whilst employers these days are obliged to offer ‘flexible working options’ to parents, there are limits to this obviously! Maybe it’s time to consider a career change? Could you work from home, or go freelance for more flexibility?

Checklist:
• Don’t just assume you’re going to go back to the same job after maternity leave – take the time to have a think about other options too!
• If your skills permit, maybe look into freelancing and/or working from home, for extra flexibility? Read more here

• Free time costs money!
You may think that once baby arrives you’ll be busier than ever before, and free time will be a thing of the past, at least for the first few early years. And you’re right of course – you will certainly be kept on your toes, and tortuously deprived of sleep too, unless you’re very lucky. But you will be spending lots more time at home than ever before, so plan ahead to avoid the temptation to get addicted to expensive things like TV shopping channels and online bingo.

Checklist:
• Think about hobbies you used to enjoy as a child, or something you’ve always wanted to try, but never had the time – and get creative!
• Make regular plans to meet friends for coffee or a picnic in the park – get out and about as much as you can

• Swap skills to save money
If money’s going to be a bit tight when you’re at home on maternity leave, do you have any skills which you could ‘barter’ with your friends and neighbours to save you money? Obviously if you’re a hairdresser or nail technician, this could work really well, but think about other perhaps less obvious things like helping with paperwork, doing a bit of babysitting, ironing, gardening, cleaning…

Checklist:
• Talk to friends and neighbours about things they may need help with, and see if you can offer your services in exchange for something you need
• Use word of mouth to expand your circle of friends and acquaintances to find more people you can help, and who can help you in return

Latest figures show that the average cost of raising a child from birth to age 21 is a staggering £222,458! That fact in itself is surely enough of a wake-up call for every new parent – financial planning, clever budgeting and canny saving can help!