Amber Teething Necklace Update

We had a major crisis in our household recently. My Mum lost our little one’s Amber teething necklace whilst she was looking after her. My husband went bonkers (thankfully at me, not my Mum, who felt awful enough!). After four nights of unbroken sleep, the first in 13 months (we know we are very lucky, and it helps to explain why I have the energy to blog!) I was ready to sell an arm for a new necklace!

I know many people don’t believe in the Amber necklaces and I did pooh, pooh them before using them. You may have seen that good old Trading Standards decided to ban the sale of Amber Necklaces in this country earlier in the year. I was not very impressed then, as we couldn’t even get a back up necklace as there was no warning in advance that it was about to be banned.

Fumbilna added a wonderful comment to one of the previous posts about this, saying that she managed to get hold of an Amber necklace from a company in Latvia, who wall outside of the Trading Standards policy.

My wonderful, awesome husband (just checking to see if he really DOES read the posts every day!) has found a company in this country that still sells Amber Necklace’s. However, they aren’t advertised as Teething necklace’s. Rather than drop this company in it with Trading Standards, if you want to know the company we used, please drop me an email at northhantsmum@gmail.com.

Best of luck with the teething. We have incisors and the back ones coming through at the moment. It’s not fun to seeing your little one’s in pain, but it is cute seeing their perfect little teeth. That is, until they bite you! 😉

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Wendy French Reflexology

Wendy got in touch asking me to let you know about the Reflexology practice that she runs. If you are finding Christmas a bit stressful (like me!) then this could be just the thing for you!

Foot reflexology is based on the principle that there are reflex points on the feet that correspond to every organ, gland and part of the body. For example, the toes represent the head and the ball of the foot represents the chest and lung region. This means that reflexology can be used to aid a huge number of symptoms including; headaches, problems with digestion, PMS, back problems and morning sickness – to name but a few.

A full consultation is undertaken on your first visit to ascertain your lifestyle, health and diet which will allow specific reflexes to be worked to produce results.

The treatment will then begin with some general relaxation techniques, followed by a precise thumb and finger walking technique aimed at applying pressure to every reflex area on the top and bottom of the foot. Both feet are worked as part of the treatment.

If you are interested in a treatment and live in the Basingstoke area I am both fully qualified and insured to practice reflexology having passed my International Institute of Reflexology Diploma. I can visit you in the comfort of your home during evenings and weekends. At the moment I am offering a one hour treatment for only £15! Please contact me for further details.

Why not take an hour out of your busy schedule to make some time for you!

Wendy French Reflexology

M: 07801 968 211

F: Wendy French Reflexology

Thanks Wendy!

Bumbo Seats Recalled in the US

I saw this and wanted to share with you…

“About 4 million Bumbo Baby Seats are being recalled in the US after 21 reports of infant skull fractures. Bumbo plan to add a restraint belt to all Bumbo’s because without restraints infants can manouver out or fall from the seat, posing a risk of serious injuries.”

We had a Bumbo when my little one was tiny but I didn’t like it because she used to arch her back when she was in it and several times I had to catch her from falling out of it. We found the Bumbo at the Tiny Tot’s Table Sale in Chineham (wonder why they stopped?) for £3 and I was quite proud of my bargain. But after a few weeks of using it, I realised that I had to keep an eye on my little one permanently, in case she tried to arch her back to get out of it. I’ve read a few reports about how the structure isn’t very good for a babies back development and they shouldn’t be sat in them for more than 30 minutes at a time. However, it was very useful when we first started weaning.

For more information about the recall, please see the links below.

http://recall.bumbousa.com/

http://healthland.time.com/2012/08/15/popular-bumbo-infant-floor-seat-recalled/

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The Importance of Skin to Skin

This weeks theme is “Babies”.

I only picked up on how important skin to skin is when my little one turned a month old. We didn’t have a very easy time with breastfeeding, for several reasons, but it was only when I went to see Lorraine, one of the breastfeeding counselors at North Hampshire Hospital, that it became apparent to me how important skin to skin is. I am eternally grateful to Lorraine for her pearls of wisdom.

I made sure that in the morning I spent as much time as possible skin to skin with my little one. This was fairly easy to do as it was summer time (this was last year, so nowhere near as much rain!) but I can imagine that in winter time it can be quite difficult to do this. My husband also found skin to skin very rewarding and whilst we spent our first few days as a family in hospital, he spent a lot of time with our little one on his chest. The nurses at the hospital were all cool with it as I’m sure they’ve seen it all before!

Even if you aren’t breastfeeding, skin to skin is still very important. Once my little one switched to bottles I had to make a conscious effort to make sure that skin to skin still happened.

My little one is now 17 months old and if I am not dashing to work in the morning I always make sure that the first feed of the day is skin to skin. My little one has always had her milk first thing in the morning so it’s worked out pretty well to be able to do this. I’ve noticed that my little one always needs to touch my skin when I’m holding her now. She puts her hand on the edge of my top or around the back of my neck. It makes my heart sing when she does this and reminds me of when she was really tiny. I’m sure that the skin to skin approach has helped us to bond as I really miss it if we haven’t been able to make time for it.

Whether you agree with skin to skin or not, and based on my experience,  I would really recommend trying to do this as much as possible, especially in the first few months. I can imagine this is really difficult to do with your baby if you have more than one child. Does anyone have any suggestions about to manage this complexity?

If you would like more information about the importance of skin to skin, please check out some of the links below:

http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/jack_newman2.html

http://www.nbci.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=82:the-importance-of-skin-to-skin-contact-&catid=5:information&Itemid=17

http://www.lotusfertility.com/Skin_to_Skin_Protocols_for_Bonding_and_Attachment.html

http://www.nhs.uk/Planners/breastfeeding/Pages/skin-to-skin-contact.aspx

Amber Teething Necklace’s will be banned in the UK

I am so disappointed and annoyed about this that I can’t add any comments as I will just rant. So instead I’m going to add the status update from Amber Pumpkin’s Facebook page:

Hi

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

IMPORTANT: Following an EU investigation into amber teething products UK Trading Standards test results have indicated that if a baby (under 36 months) puts an anklet or bracelet into their mouth there is a risk of choking. Trading Standards have now recommended that we conduct a voluntary product recall as a preventative measure. We are deeply sorry about this. This recall is not the result of an incident but due to safety concerns held by Trading Standards. All amber retailers are being contacted.

We will be emailing all customers to advise them of their options and how to return their items should they wish to.

Very sorry for the inconvenience and worry this may cause.

So, if you believe that they work and that it’s a parents responsibility to assess the risk, not UK Trading Standards, stock up quick!

http://www.amberpumpkin.com/amber-teething-necklace-recall.html

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Breastfeeding: My Experience

Breastfeeding Support in Basingstoke – Jan 2014

I breastfed my little one for the first 8 months of her life. I’m not one of those Breastfeeding Nazi Mum’s (at least I hope I’m not!) but I wanted to try to do what I thought was the best for my baby. She wasn’t exclusively breastfed as we had several complications. The first 9 weeks of feeding were hellish. However, without the support of the the staff at North Hants Hospital and the Basingstoke Breastfeeding Counsellors we wouldn’t have managed more than a day.

I would have liked to have gone on beyond 8 months but I was forced to return to work when my little one was 5 1/2 months old. By the time she was 8 months old I was so exhausted from having to get up at 6am to express. Nobody mentioned to me that I didn’t need to stop breastfeeding completely, that I could have carried on doing the last feed of the day.

If you are hoping to breastfeed your baby I recommend checking some of the links below in advance of giving birth. I also recommend touching base with one of the breastfeeding counsellors in the last few weeks of your pregnancy, if only so you have a face you recognise if you need to see a counsellor. The counsellors at North Hants Hospital will only allow you to visit them up to your babies 28th day. I know this because I needed an appointment and they wouldn’t make one for me because my baby would have been 29 days old.

So I went to see Rachel at the Baby clinic at Chineham Christchurch. She is lovely and incredibly knowledgable. She picked up on feeding problems that many in the medical profession had missed. I had been to see Rachel in my first few weeks of maternity leave, before my baby was born and I was so glad I had met her before “needing” her support in those first few weeks. I also saw Sarah who was at the Nest, Basingstoke Baptist Church, Brighton Hill. She was so lovely when I collapsed in a heap of tears at about week four when things were just awful.

These ladies and their colleagues do an absolutely fantastic job. I cannot thank them enough for their support during one of the most intense periods of my life. If you are finding breastfeeding a struggle I urge you to reach out to these wonderful ladies.

Another recommendation I would make is that you find out in advance who can take you to the breastfeeding clinics if your partner cannot get time off work and/or you need support after the first two weeks. You never know if you will be able to drive after giving birth (emergency caesarean’s). The Health visitors are great but they cannot come and see you every day. I wish I’d had that list of people I could have called who were able, or prepared, to take me to the clinic when I needed them too. Even a list of taxi numbers would have been a start. Those first few weeks are challenging enough!

Remember though, if you cannot or choose not to breastfeed it DOESN’T make you a bad Mum. I lost sight of this at the beginning and I wish someone had said this to me at the time. Best of luck and if you need help, PLEASE reach out.

Related Links 

“Breastfeeding Welcome” places in North Hampshire – Feb 2015

Breastfeeding Support in Basingstoke – Feb 2015

A Map of Breastfeeding support in Hampshire: http://www.breastfeedingcommunity.co.uk/interactivemap/south.htm

The Breast Feeding network – Basingstoke on Facebook is also a great resource and I wish I’d known of it beforehand.

The official Basingstoke Breastfeeding Network web page. Another great resource.

http://bfsupport.me.uk/basingstokewinchesterandover/

Several of the Children’s Centres in Basingstoke also provide breastfeeding support, e.g. Octopus and Pebbles. Click here for details on Children Centres in Basingstoke

Please also see the great comment from Fumblina below about the NCT breastfeeding support in Basingstoke. My bad for not including the NCT in the original post!

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Local Parks and Open Spaces

I stumbled across this website whilst I was researching this weeks “things to do” post. As the weather was so fabulous this weekend I was researching things to do outside and this website popped up with a list of Local Parks and Open spaces in Basingstoke.

I learnt of a few new places, such as Beggardwood Park which has a maze and ampitheatre, that I didn’t know about that I’m hoping to be able to investigate when Spring really kicks in. Hope you find useful.

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The Marshmallow Test – The Secrets of Self-Control in Children

I’ve been reading a number of Parenting Books in an effort to try to be a good parent. Not sure if it’s working, but I’ve read a lot of really interesting stuff. Enclosed is a link about the “marshmallow test” which I read about in “Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman. Although this book was written by an American author his findings are still very interesting. The book was written over 40 years ago so much has been written about this test since.

The concept of the Marshmallow Test is that you place a marshmallow in front of a 4 year old for 15 minutes. The tester tells the child that if they can wait 15 minutes before eating the marshmallow they will be allowed two marshmallow’s, rather than just the one in front of them. Those children that were able to resist grabbing the marshmallow placed in front of them had better life outcomes.

This is the best link I could find which explains self control in children and links to the concept of the Marshmallow Test: http://healthland.time.com/2011/09/06/the-secrets-of-self-control-the-marshmallow-test-40-years-later/

There has been a lot of research around this if you are interested in discovering more. I would recommend reading “Emotional Intelligence”. It is pretty heavy going though and one of the downsides is that the author doesn’t describe what you can do to help your child improve their self control (although I haven’t finished the book yet!). This is something I am researching and plan to do a future post on.

I thought this was fascinating and that some of you might be interested. Let me know your thoughts.

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Christmas!!!! (Food, Presents & Pampering)

Are you suddenly realising that it’s only 4 weeks to Christmas? Yup, me too. I’ve managed to book the Christmas food delivery slot today, but because I’d left it quite late (when did the 19th of November become late for Christmas bookings???) I didn’t get any of the slots I wanted. Ho hum.

I’m only just starting to think about Christmas Presents (children seem to speed up time because normally I’m way more organised than this!) but I think this year that I’m going to try to buy local as much as possible. The list below are some ideas of local places where you can get fantastic hand crafted presents. I’ve also included a few ideas that might help your Christmas go a little bit more smoothly.

Let me know if you have any other suggestions to share.

Christmas Presents

Butterflies and Cupcakes

A lovely family business that do some beautiful items. They operate from Tadley but can deliver depending on how close you live to Tadley.

The best items they do are:

  • Name Hangings that are priced at £1.50 per letter
  • Name Plaques (up to 6 letters or more depending in name) at £8.50 and includes an animal character E.g. giraffe, tiger, etc.
  • Christmas Stockings are £12.50 but take a while so last orders for them are the second week in December

Little Rosies Tea Shop (Elm Tree Garden Centre on the way to Tadley) has a shop attached to it with some really nice present ideas.

Basingstoke Discovery Centre “Our Shop”, town centre. Lots of original items including snow globes and wooden Christmas Tree Decorations.

Alison’s Wonderland, Viables Craft Centre. The shop is attached to the Parlour tea rooms so you can browse with a cuppa in hand. Alison is lovely and very friendly.

Ma Humbug’s, Viables craft centre. Quaint old school sweet shop who will make up sweet boxes for you. Yummy!

Pots2Paint, Viables craft centre. If you are looking for that unique present for the Grandparents then this place will be perfect for you. Check out their website for more details (click on their name and it should take you straight through).

Childhood’s Dream, Winchester. I know I keep raving about this little shop (see the NHM facebook page), but I love it! Lots of wooden, old school toys that retain their value so if your children look after them, you can sell them on easily when they grow out/become bored with them.

Local Mummy Businesses – A list of local Mum businesses in the area that make gifts that would be perfect for Christmas.

Christmas Food

Vegetable/Fruit Boxes

We use Able and Cole box delivery close to Christmas because they deliver right to your door, regardless of the weather conditions which is so worth the £1 delivery charge. They also do a Baby and Toddler box of Veg and Fruit. It can be quite pricey but at least you know you are getting good vegetables, etc. As well as fruit and veg they also deliver diverse things like mince pies, Ella’s baby food and organic cleaning products. They deliver right up to December 23rd. Riverford also deliver boxes to the area.

Local Farm Shops

There are lots of farm shops in and around Basingstoke. Check out the Farm Shop page on NorthHantsMum to find one near you.

Christmas Pampering

If you are already exhausted with the drama of “Christmas with Children” check out the Mobile Beautician Page or Mobile Hairdressers Page on NorthHantsMum. These wonderful ladies will travel to your house and pamper you in your home. Some of them are even being kind enough to offer you a discount if you mention NorthHantsMum!

Hope this has given you some inspiration. I will post up a few more posts about Christmas, but I’m sure you are being bombarded about it from everywhere else so I’ll try not to lay it on too thick.

Good Luck!

NorthHantsMum

Play Dough Recipes

Stretchy Dough 

  • 3lb self-raising flour
  • approx. 1 and a quarter pints of water

Mix together until dough is formed. Knead well.

Makes an elastic dough that the children will enjoy pulling and stretching.

Will not keep for any length of time though.

http://childmindinghelp.co.uk/freeresources/PSE/stretchydough.html

Giltter Play Dough

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • Food coloring gel
  • Glitter

Mix all ingredients with the exception of the glitter in a sauce pan. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture forms a ball (sounds cryptic, but you will know when it happens). Remove from heat, but dough ball in a large bowl. Add the glitter and knead until smooth and uniform. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

http://nanasfablife.blogspot.com/2011/07/lily-and-chloes-fabulous-life-glitter.html

Microwave Play Dough

Don’t want to cook your playdough on the stove? Use a microwave!

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 2 teaspoon of cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon of cooking oil
  • 1/2 cup of salt
  • Food coloring

Mix all of the ingredients, except for the food color. Microwave it for about one minute and stir. Cook for about 30 more seconds. Keep repeating until the playdough is dough-ish. Knead the playdough and place the food coloring in. Its that simple!

http://www.playdoughrecipe.com/microwave-playdough-recipe/

Cooked Play Dough

  • 2 cups of plain flour
  • 1 Tbsp. of cooking oil
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 2 cups of coloured water
  • 1 cup of salt

Place all of the ingredients in a medium size or large pan. Cook slowly on medium-high and stir it until the playdough thickens. Keeps best in the fridge in plastic containers.
Takes less than 10 minutes.

http://www.playdoughrecipe.com/cooked-playdough-recipe/

Modelling Dough

There are many types of modelling dough that you can buy, but it is just as easy (and much cheaper) to make your  own.  Use food colourings for different colours and you can make it seasonal by adding glitter near Christmas (or to make fairy dough), smooth pebbles in summer etc just use your imagination!

Essential Oils
Used sparingly these make great additions to modelling dough  – a few drops of lavender can have a calming effect (and is antibacterial) and eucalyptus has a great menthol smell which is great for winter (not suitable for use around asthma sufferers).

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 cup cream of tartar

Mix all ingredients in a sauce pan. Cook and stir over low/medium heat until play dough is completely formed and no longer sticky. Allow to cool slightly before storing in an air tight container or bag.  Keep in the fridge.

Uncooked modelling dough

  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • food coloring
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour

Put everything except the flour and cornflour into a bowl.  Gradually add these until you have the consistency of bread dough.  Store in an air tight container or bag in the fridge.

Salt dough

  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup flour plus additional flour

Mix all ingredient together in a saucepan over a low heat.  Remove when rubbery.  Once cooled knead with flour to make it workable.  This is a great dough for making Christmas decorations and models out of.  Once made pop them on grease proof paper or a tray on a radiator (or in airing cupboard or bottom shelf of a rayburn) so that they dry very slowly. Once dryed they can be painted.

Fairy dough – just add glitter (great when you are getting festive too)

http://www.netmums.com/activities/arts-and-crafts/modelling-dough

Lily Pad’s Play Dough

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 4 tsp cream tartar
  • Food colouring
  • To make smelly play dough, simply add an
  • essence (vanilla or peppermint).

Mix together ingredients in a sauce pan
Heat for a few minutes on the hob, stirringcontinuously
Remove from heat when the consistency is a doughy texture
Leave to cool before use

http://www3.hants.gov.uk/lily_pads_-_play_dough_download.pdf

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