Review 2018: The Fairy ClothesMother

My recent Wardrobe Refresh session with Victoria was SOO AWESOME but not only that, she’s also very kindly offering a very generous discount to NHM Readers! See below.

If you are stuck for presents for anyone or feel you need a BOOST yourself, I HIGHLY recommend as you can read below.

Review 2018: The Fairy ClothesMother

About

Victoria messaged me and asked me if I would like to have a Wardrobe ReFresh in exchange for a review and I thought I’d give it a go as I had nothing left to lose and could definitely use the help.

She used to run the store in Vintage Treasures, a boutique specialising in vintage and vintage inspired clothing, on Church Street, in Basingstoke so she knows what she is talking about!

I’ll be honest, I was NOT looking forward to Victoria coming round to help me de-clutter my wardrobe.  In my head I had visions of Trinny and Suannah (I’m showing my age now!) and GokWan DECIMATING my wardrobe.

My focus for the past few years has been on getting Miss NHM well again and as part of this I have completely neglected my body and my wardrobe reflects this.

I’ve written before about having a uniform as I don’t have time to think in the mornings or the night before as I prefer to spend my time and energy on other things. If you’ve been reading NHM for a while you’ll know that I am allergic to most man made materials, particularly polyester.

Trying to shop for clothes these days, that don’t have polyester or lycra in is very, very, VERY frustrating. There are certain shops that I know I can shop in that have 100% cotton and I tend to stick to those as I know that they aren’t going to cause me any issues.

Although this does mean that I’ve been in a bit of a clothing rut. I hate clothes shopping at the best of times and then having to double check every single label well… it’s depressing and I don’t have the motivation for it.

So the thought of Victoria coming round and telling me that I needed to go shopping for more clothes….I wasn’t looking forward to it….

Before we met

A couple of weeks before our appointment Victoria sent me a document with several questions asking me things like my hair and eye colour, what my current style is and what my dream look would be.

The document also asked me about my shopping habits and I think she could probably work out from there that I was going to be a total pain in the butt!!! (facepalm!)

Victoria also asked me to send some pictures of my face and my body, so she could see what she would be working with.

The Wardrobe Refresh Appointment

Victoria came round to my house one lunchtime, but just after I’d had a filling. So I was feeling a bit miserable, my face was all numb and I was really not in the mood for the appointment.

However, I haven’t laughed so much in AGES!!! Victoria spent about 15 minutes with me talking through my answers to the questions she’d sent me and I felt SOOOO at ease! You can immediately tell that Victoria’s main aim is to make you feel much better at the end of the appointment than you do at the beginning.

She asked me to write three words down describing how I was feeling right then about my clothes and those words were pretty depressing.

Victoria then talked through my colours and told me that I’m an “Autumn”. I had my colours done years ago and I already knew I was an Autumn and had told Victoria this in my answers but it was really, really good to go through which colours suit me again. Even though I have a colour wallet from when my colours were done when I was 18 years old, I wasn’t sure if they would still be the colours to suit me.

Victoria then briefly talked through which styles suit me best which was quite enlightening.

We then just got stuck in to my wardrobe.

I have quite a small wardrobe but it turns out that I have LOADS of clothes hidden away and even some in Miss NHM’s wardrobe that I had completely forgotten about.

We went through EVERY SINGLE ITEM of clothing in my cupboard and it was… AWESOME!!!

Victoria gave me permission (well, she didn’t actually give me permission but it felt like it!) to get rid of clothes that I’ve been hanging onto for years that I shouldn’t have been.

I read the Life Changing magic of Tidying three years ago (WOW, how time flies!) and even though there were clothes that I had purged then, there were some items that I still had an emotional attachment too that needed to be got rid of.

We went through everything and sorted them into three piles: keep, sell, recycle. It was SUCH an uplifting experience!!! Not at all what I expected.

Normally I’m quite self concious about my body, but I was just stripping off and getting stuck in and Victoria was brilliant. She echoed many things that I’d said in my head about some outfits, except she said it out loud. Hearing someone else say lots and lots of really positive things about my wardrobe was just amazing!

I realised that I do have lots and lots of beautiful dresses that I just don’t wear that I really ought too!

I felt absolutely AMAZING after the appointment. Victoria asked me to update my three words again, about how I was feeling, and it was like they were written by another person!

She advised me to start wearing more colours and notice the compliments that start rolling in and you know what, she was absolutely right! I’ve had LOADS of comments about what I’ve been wearing recently since my Wardrobe ReFresh.

Victoria also suggested making adjustments to certain items of my clothing and has recommended a local seamstress who can do this for me. I only actually need to buy ONE ITEM of clothing for my wardrobe! I expected that I would probably have to buy at least 4 or 5 new items but with modifications to my current clothes and that one item of clothing, it’s going to make such a difference!

Victoria is even going to find me the items that I need online and send the links over to me so I can just buy them directly. HOW AMAZING IS THAT!!!

Victoria says that that with her BOOST Style ethos:

“My mission is to have you with a wardrobe of clothes that are working for your body shape, not against you, in the correct seasonal colour palette and reflect your lifestyle and personality. Most of all I want you to feel empowered to be you! After all, you are the best person to do YOU!”

By the end of the appointment I was literally jumping with joy. I had freed up lots of space in my wardrobe, I’ve got a pile of clothes to sell on ebay so I can use that money to buy my extra item of clothing and it felt really good to “let go” of some clothes that I’d been hanging on to for years.

I couldn’t stop hugging the poor girl before she left as she’d made me feel so happy!!

After Care

A couple of days later, Victoria sent me a document which covered everything we had discussed. This was called “Louise style file” and it’s absolutely FANTASTIC!!!!

I cannot stop raving about this document! It’s absolutely bloody brilliant!

I love that the document has my body shape analysis and explains what body shape I am and also has a wonderful list of Do’s and Don’t’s for my body shape, which is going to make it sooooo much easier to shop with now! The document even includes pictures of styles that are mentioned, so if you don’t know what bootcut trousers look like, there is a picture to show you.

I also really liked that there is explanation of my colour analysis with suggestions of colours for me to wear.

There is also a section which highlights the key pieces that I should add to my wardrobe (very delighted it’s only 1 so I don’t have to spend much! lol).

Victoria also sent me a private style board on Pinterest. I love, love, LOVE the private style boardt. It’s absolutely brilliant and has lots and lots of suggestions of outfits that will suit me. My style for swim wear, formal wear and even some pictorial examples of which make up colours suit me best!

Absolutely perfect!!

Other Services

Victoria also offers a “Virtual Shopping Session”: “This is a digital file the she sends to you containing links to all of the items mentioned above, you can them order those that you feel suit and when they arrive you have a session via Skype for Victoria to check the fit and style, helping you decide which to keep and which, if any, to return. It’s a great way to update your wardrobe for a new season, holiday or special event without having to leave home!

I will soooo be taking her up on this “virtual shopping session” when I have a wedding to go too as she literally picks out the items for you and sends you the online links so all you have to do is order them. AMAZING!

Discount for NHM Readers

Victoria is very kindly offering NHM Readers a discount code -(NHM25) giving you a 25% discount on the “Wardrobe ReFresh” session.

Please quote this code when getting in touch with Victoria.

Rating out of 5

Twenty Five Hundred out of 5, as Miss NHM says. This was one of the best ways that I’ve spent two hours in a very long time. Victoria is absolutely lovely and a very positive person who made me feel sooooo much better about my wardrobe and also myself.

The appointment is very good value for money and having now had the appointment I would happily pay double for another one (don’t tell Victoria that, obviously! facepalm). I will actually be saving money in the long run, because instead of ordering clothes and finding out that they don’t fit me properly which means I don’t wear them often, I will know EXACTLY what to buy and won’t be wasting any money anymore.

Victoria really is a Fairy ClothesMother and I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend her services!!

You can find out more about The Fairy ClothesMother at: https://www.facebook.com/FairyClothesMother/

or at her website: https://givingyouaboost.wixsite.com/hello

Disclaimer: This post is a review of the Wardrobe ReFresh by The Fairy Clothesmother. The Wardrobe Refresh service was supplied free of charge for the purposes of this review. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Facebook PageFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

Review 2018: HAIRaffair Basingstoke

I recently received a message on facebook from Aideen, asking me if I would like to have my hair done in exchange for a review on NorthHantsMum.

I jumped at the chance! 😀

(There is a special offer for NHM Readers at the bottom of this post :-D)

HAIRaffair Basingstoke

Anyone who knows me, knows I’m not a “girly girl” but I do take an interest in how I look. I haven’t had my hair cut in a salon in over 10 years as I have always found hairdressers to be very intimidating places, especially as I’m not into fashion.

It turned out that at a recent fundraising raffle I had won a voucher to get my hair cut but hadn’t realised it that it was with Aideen. I actually gave the voucher to a friend who needed pampering more than me, so when Aideen got in contact it clicked that I’d given away my voucher!!!! lol.

I explained to Aideen that I wasn’t really a girly girl and she was absolutely lovely about it. I did know that I wanted my hair to be coloured but I didn’t want her to be anymore out of pocket, especially as she’d been so generous with her raffle donation.

I explained that I just wanted a trim and colour and we agreed that I would cover the cost of the colouring and she would cut my hair in exchange for this review.

About

Aideen decided on her career path when she was traveling around Australia for a year after studying at college and university. She’s always loved playing with hair but at the time she thought that she would end up in a different career. Then she saw that lots of fellow travellers cutting hair and making money flexibly and it confirmed her career decision.

Once back from Australia she worked and trained at Arc in Basingstoke town centre and then progressed to a salon in Odiham where she was assistant manager and senior stylist. Then a couple of years ago, after her son was born, she decided to convert a room in her house to her salon and she hasn’t looked back!

We had a chat when I arrived and Aideen chose the best colour for me based on what I’d told her.

Aideen then applied the foils to my hair whilst we continued chatting.

Once the foils came out, Aideen washing my hair in her fancy hair sink and gave me a lovely mini head massage.

Then Aideen cut my hair and layered it a bit. I didn’t realise how long my hair was as she cut off about 4 inches and it was still really long! lol.

We basically didn’t stop talking for the whole two hours!!! It was really lovely to chat to her and she’s a great listener.

She did a fantastic job with my hair and blow dried it straight as my hair normally has a bit of a kink about it.

I came out of Aideen’s salon literally bouncing. There is literally nothing like having 1.5 hours of being pampered and coming out with a fab new hair colour and hairstyle!

My FAB new hair!!!

When I got home Mr NHM said “something’s different…” which is high praise in our household! lol.

Miss NHM kept telling me how beautiful I looked. She’s not used to me having my hair down.

I felt amazing for the rest of the weekend with my fab new hair!

Tips

Aideen normally works only on Saturdays but if you are desperate, she can fit you in at other times.

Facilities

Aideen’s studio is attached to her house but it’s fab because you literally have it ALL TO YOURSELF!!! She only has one to two people at a time so you have her full concentration.

Baby Facilities

Babies are very welcome at Aideen’s studio.

The perk of Aideen only having one client at a time means that you can take your baby along as there is room for a baby car seat.

If you let her know in advance that you are taking a baby with you, she said she will allow extra time in case you need to focus on your baby at any point. How fab is that!

Aideen is very understanding as she has two small children of her own.

Parking

Is free and on the drive and streets near Aideen’s house.

Prices

Prices are what you would expect for an independent hairstylist with her own studio.

For example, a cut, style and finish is £35.

Rating out of 5

Aideen did SUCH an AWESOME job! I absolutely love it!!! My hair looked amazing.

I will easily give her 5 out of 5 because she made me feel so welcome and really looked after me.

I love the colour and the cut was a really good cut. It was such a luxury to have my hair washed AND dried.

If you need a new haircut and are looking for some pampering at the same time, I highly recommend visiting Aideen’s salon!

Aideen can be reach on 07808316933 for any bookings. She also has a facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HAIRaffairbasingstoke/

Aideen is also very kindly offering NHM Readers a first time discount £5 off cut and £15 off colour and cut booked together.

Thank you Aideen!!!!!!

Disclaimer: This post is a review of HairAffair Hairdressing. My experience was supplied free of charge for the purposes of the review. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Facebook PageFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there!

Review 2018: Good For Mums – Fit-Tums course

Thank you very much to Emma for today’s Review on NorthHantsMum. She’s done a fantastic job!!

Thank you also to Helen for letting us come and review one of the Good for Mums courses!

Review 2018: Good For Mums – Fit-Tums course

About

Having a baby is one of life’s greatest adventures and joys. It’s a magical time, filled with precious moments and unforgettable memories. However, becoming a mum can also throw up some challenges. For many women, the changes to your body can be quite a shock which can motivate us to grab our exercise gear and get back into shape.

But before you do, I really recommend that you consider attending a Good for Mums Fit-Tum Restore course.

The course is specifically designed and tailored for postnatal mums, to help you rebuild your core muscles and rectify the effects of Diastasis Recti (the process of your abdominal muscles separating during pregnancy). Whilst it’s tempting to jump back into exercise as soon as you can after having a baby, the reality is that if you do attempt it before your body is properly healed and repaired you can end up doing far more damage than good. So bump the burpees, say no to squats and read on.

What can you expect from the course?

First off every attendee is required to complete a comprehensive health check questionnaire to understand your birthing experience and any complications you may have faced. You’ll use this as part of an introductory session with Helen, the highly qualified and super knowledgeable class leader. By talking through the results and carrying out a short physical examination, she’ll be able to advise what point your starting from. This is a really straightforward process and aside from a quick check of your tummy muscles, there’s no need to bare all!

Helen will only recommend you continue with the course if your body is ready for it. In the event that she’s concerned that you might require some more advanced specialist support, she is really well connected and will signpost you in the right direction to get any help you need.

Assuming you are fit to carry on, you’ll then undertake a weekly class, as part of a group of other mums in the same boat as you. You’ll learn simple and straightforward exercises and movements that can easily be incorporated into your daily life, which will gradually and safely begin to heal your muscles back to pre-pregnancy state. The wonderful news is, this course is available for you to attend either with baby or without, so you can sign up for the class that suits you and your needs best.

Having attended the course, I would wholeheartedly recommend it to others. It’s informative, its gentle and most of all, it’s fun! My fellow attendees on the course ranged from a mum who had only just had her 6 week check, through to mums of toddlers who had realised that their stomach just wasn’t repairing itself properly. Whilst the class is intended as a restorative process and not an ‘exercise class’, it’s delivered tummy inch loss time and time again too.

So, if you think your tummy is in need of help, you can’t laugh or sneeze without peeing or you just want to be sure that your body is ready for exercise again, this is the course for you.

Tips

This course will only be as successful as you make it. In order to feel the full reward of attending, you need to be prepared to find 10-15 minutes each day to undertake your ‘homework’. Helen will be able to nudge you all along the way and suggest ways to help you remember, but ultimately it’s down to you.

Facilities

The classes are all run in halls and indoor settings, so they are able to run come rain or shine. They all offer onsite toilets and parking, which is especially helpful if you’re attending a class with baby in tow. In addition, if you are at a mum & baby session, there will be a selection of toys and to keep your little one entertained.

Rating

Having now learnt more about what happens to our bodies when we have a baby, I honestly believe this course is an absolute must for anyone who wants to begin exercise again.

It’s a 5/5 from me!

Disclaimer: This post is a review of a Good for Mums course. Emma’s course was supplied free of charge for the purposes of the review. Emma was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are her own.

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How to choose the right fitness professional

Thank you very much to Helen at Good for Mum’s for writing today’s post!

How to choose the right fitness professional

Maybe you’re pregnant or you’ve recently had a baby and you’re looking for a fitness class. But how, in an industry where you can qualify in as little as a couple of months and complete an entirely online qualification in pre/postnatal exercise programming, can you be sure that your instructor is prescribing safe and appropriate exercise?

The answer is simple A.S.K !!!

A. Accredited – They should be qualified, ask to see their certificates. If they aren’t qualified then they won’t have insurance and you aren’t then protected should anything go wrong. Do they have an up to date first aid certificate? Are they a member of a regulating body, such as REPs, CIMSPA or FHT Sports. There are lots of professional standards agencies which fitness instructors can voluntarily sign up to. They often provide CPD, training, further education and keep the instructor up to date with changes in regulations or guidance and it shows they’re committed to maintaining high standards. How long have they been in the industry and what is their speciality. Do they have testimonials from clients which evidences their skills. Do they get results?

S. Screening – Pregnant and Postnatal women go through massive changes when carrying and birthing babies. No two women or births are the same and as such, the screening should be in depth and facilitate answers to questions which are as unique as your body. If your fitness provider is not screening you for pelvic floor disfunction, diastasis recti, over all core function, postural assessment, birth trauma to tissues and the fourth trimester, are they really screening you deeply? Are they painting a picture of your pre/postnatal health and truly able to prescribe appropriate exercise? I recently heard a wise lady say ‘Specialists assess, they don’t guess’ and when it comes to ladies who carry and birth babies, this could not be more true.

K. Knowledge – Does the Company or Fitness Instructor truly understand the client they are working with? Are they saying that you are only postnatal if you had a baby less than six months ago? Are they able to identify potential complications? Do they have the integrity to know when to refer a client to another specialist when symptoms warn of something which maybe beyond their professional capabilities?  Or are they telling you to ‘just take the low impact modification’ and taking your money. Is the instructor offering you explanation and reasoning behind their instructions? Do they talk sense? If it sounds like BS it probably is and if they’re saying lots of ‘I don’t know’ or ‘no you don’t need to do that’ you have to ask yourself do you want to settle for  industry standard or does your body deserve best practice?

If you’re serious about getting your body to a place where it heals well and recovers properly, be serious about your choices when looking at exercise classes. Your GP check at six weeks clears you to return to ‘normal activity’ such as driving, walking, lifting a baby etc it does not clear you to head straight back to boot camp or iron-mans. Even if you regularly did them pre-pregnancy.

Do something good for you and always remember to ASK.

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Teeny Weeny Massage & Yoga for Babies

Miss NHM and I did a baby massage course with Gail in 2011 and the course was so good I still occasionally use the techniques that we were taught by Gail!

Teeny Weeny Massage & Yoga for Babies

I have been teaching Baby Massage dare I say, since 1995, having taken the first ever Baby Massage Course with the IAM (Int. Assoc. of Infant Massage) offered in the UK in 1993!   This really shows my age!!

I have taught in many areas of both Surrey, Berks and Hampshire, but over the last 18 years (since my son was born), have taught most of my classes in the Basingstoke, Hook and Farnham areas……(I may have even taught you….please forgive me if I don’t remember your name as I have taught literally hundreds of Mums over the years and a number now often make me feel even older by producing teenagers who were taught in my massage classes!).

Over the past 4 years I have offered Infant Massage & Baby Yoga classes in 4 -5 of with the wonderful Children’s Centres around Basingstoke which have sadly now closed (criminal!).

Following this  I  taught private classes at the West Side Community Centre in South Ham until last summer when I decided to have a 6 month break.

However, knowing these classes have been appreciated and valued by new Mums over the years and because there is little on offer because of the doors closing of the Children’s Centres, I have decided  to restart my classes in 2018.

I have always seen them as a kind of Foundation Classes for new parents, offering not just massage and yoga tuition but a wealth of information regarding all sorts of topics, where support can be given, problems can be mulled over, new baby handling confidence can increase and very importantly, new friends can be made.

So…..I have decided to return to the Chineham Library and teach my classes once again in Lillypads, the old Children’s Centre there, with my first 6 weeks course starting on Tues. 30th Jan. (and hopefully the second one starting on Tues. 20th March).

If you would like more details, please contact me on my mobile number below.

Thank you!

Gail Harbers (CIMI/BYI)

(Certified Infant Massage & Baby Yoga Instructor)

Teeny Weeny Massage & Yoga for Babies

Tel. 07720 291197

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Mumsmissingmums

Mumsmissingmums is a new, support network for those mums who are raising their children without the support of their own mums.

A closed group of women who would like a safe place to chat, share stories and get to know others in the same position with meeting up too if people want to.

It isn’t just for women who have lost their mums to bereavement, it is for all women for whom their mums are absent from their lives.

Please feel free to search for the group on facebook and request to join.

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Facebook PageFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there!

 

Yoga Babes: Five ways to calm a crying or tired baby

Today’s guest post is by Rosanna of Yoga Babes

Five ways to calm a crying or tired baby

One of the ways babies communicate with their parents and carers is by crying. When we hear that cry it can trigger different emotions for us such as sadness, frustration or even anger. It’s usually an adult’s natural instinct when they hear a baby cry to soothe and help the baby back to state of contentment, and to stop the crying.

I’m Rosanna, a mum of two under 5s and the instructor at Yoga Babes mother and baby Yoga in Hook, Hampshire. My children may cry (just a little!) less than they did when they were young, but I sure do remember those days well. I have been practicing yoga since before having my children, during pregnancy, labour and birth, and ever since. There are many yoga-based techniques that have changed my life as a parent, and outside of that. In this post I’m going to share with you five tips to calm a crying or tired baby that I’ve learnt through doing yoga, training as a baby yoga instructor and from my own experiences as a parent.

The challenge – it’s not always easy to know the reason for your baby’s cry, which can be upsetting and frustrating for parents. We have to try and remember that crying is a very normal part of a baby’s early years, and much like adults – all babies are different. Some babies will cry more than others, some babies will laugh more than others and some babies will sleep more than others. They are each beautifully different in their own unique way.

There are many reasons for a baby to cry including hunger, tiredness, boredom, loneliness, pain, feeling too cold or too hot or discomfort from things like wind or constipation.  

Whatever the reason for a baby crying, it’s important to remember the power of physical contact between babies and their parents or carer. Touch reduces stress levels for baby and parent, so holding your baby is a good place to start when they are crying, unsettled or overtired.

The first, perhaps obvious port of call would be checking if your baby is hungry, as that is one of the main reasons for a young baby to cry. It might not matter that you fed them one hour ago or even less, young babies are growing at such a rapid rate compared to the rest of their lives, so their hunger can be extremely regular and have no pattern whatsoever. Even though it can be tiring, feed your baby whenever they are hungry rather than trying to stick to a timetable, as this can cause unnecessary stress for both you and your baby.

Holding your baby

If a baby is fed and changed and there is no other known discomfort, a huge reason for babies to cry is because they want the comfort of being held. Some parents try to fight this fact – so it’s important to realise that after spending nine months being permanently held in your womb, it’s going to take a baby some time to gain independence. Perhaps weeks, perhaps months, or even years, but it’s fundamental for your baby’s emotional development that you support them carefully through this transition to living in the outside world. I know from my youngest son who needed to be held a lot, that it can be exhausting for parents to be attached to their babies for long periods of time, so see if you can get help from your partner, friends and family if you need some time out. Baby wraps, slings and carriers are also a great help so you can have your hands free – I couldn’t have lived without them! Try and enjoy these cuddles and this physical connection with your baby when you can, (rather than resenting it) because it doesn’t last forever.

Holding your baby gives them a deep sense of security, they can usually feel your heartbeat, your warmth, hear your voice and your breathing which is extremely reassuring for a small baby. There are many different ways to hold your baby, many of which we practice in my baby yoga class. Different holds can aid different needs, such as digestion, comfort and sleeping.

Movement

If you can move while holding your baby, all the better! I was so pleased when I found that I could settle my son’s 6pm (and 10pm, and 3am etc etc…!) cries by holding him or popping him in the baby wrap and walking around my lounge. Even though it was small, the little movement I could do by walking or simply rocking him side to side saved me hours of his crying if I had left him crying away from me. The movement can relieve stress for parents too, providing rhythm and mindfulness to relax the body and mind. In yoga we often use different types of walking for strength, balance, coordination and relaxation.

Singing

Even if you don’t agree, your singing voice is the best one there is as far as your baby is concerned! Singing is the perfect way to connect with your baby and release endorphins for babies and parents, which in turn relaxes them when they are feeling unsettled. Singing is also key for brain development in young babies and helps them with the early parts of language development. If your baby is crying because they are bored or frustrated, singing is a brilliant way to engage them and entertain them out of crying. It doesn’t matter what you sing – pop songs, nursery rhymes, lullabies or even (my favourite) – made up songs! Your baby is sure to love the sound of your soothing voice to settle them. In my baby yoga class, we usually use singing with movement which is a great combination to relax your baby and shift them towards a positive mood.

Physical activity

If you have a baby that gets overtired or cries at naptime or bedtime you might find that what you do with them during the daytime makes a big difference. Baby yoga moves are gentle movements you can do with your baby that involve strengthening their limbs, muscles and body, improve coordination and balance and stimulate your baby’s senses. Doing all of these things can make your baby to feel tired, helping them to feel relaxed, settled and fall asleep more easily.

Relaxation

This part is definitely for babies and parents or carers. Babies will pick up on our stress, sadness, frustration and anger and in turn may exhibit similar emotions that make them cry or become unsettled. When we relax it gives our minds the space and time to process emotions in an orderly fashion, rather than over-react to them. Physical relaxation can promote mental and emotional relaxation, and the great news is that you can practice relaxation with your baby, to benefit you both. I remember that when I had small babies, it was too easy to be in a continual cycle of ticking jobs off my list. Laundry, cleaning, tidying, sterilising bottles, responding to emails and messages, getting a changing bag ready for the next outing, even just trying to plan your day. The list goes on… But on reflection I asked myself some questions. How important is it to get ALL these things done today? What will happen if don’t? Do I feel at my best when I have a constant list of to-dos?  Are they more important than spending time connecting and bonding with my baby? Are they more important than spending ten minutes to relax and restore my body and mind before carrying on with the day? Maybe you can ponder your own answers to these questions.

No one is suggesting that you live in a pigsty and throw in the towel on any jobs whatsoever, but more that you aim to get some balance in your daily activities. We can do this by making time for relaxation. A result of your relaxed self will most likely be a relaxed baby by your side.

By doing a short relaxation exercise that involves focusing on your breathing, sounds, your bodily sensations or simply just lying still can create a luxurious feeling of calm for you and your baby. Try it lying with your baby, where they might focus on your touch, breath or heartbeat, or just mirror your stillness. This takes practice for babies too! It might be a good idea to try a relaxation half an hour before your baby’s planned bedtime or nap time, so that they have wound down before bed, rather than trying to do it a time when they’ve been become overtired and worked up.  If you get the chance, if someone else is around to watch your baby, try a relaxation on your own too and enjoy the peace and clarity it can bring you.

It’s important not to try and force a relaxed feeling as that can have the opposite effect, but by practising on focusing on our physical self or perhaps an idyllic visualisation, the relaxation can come naturally. There is no pass or fail here either, some days you may not be able to reach a feeling of relaxation – that’s ok, just try again tomorrow.

We practice relaxation in my baby yoga classes because for many (myself included) this is not always an easy activity to learn. But the more your practice the more you realise the need for this wonderful pastime and its life changing benefits – all you need is yourself.

I’m a Birthlight baby yoga teacher and I teach mother and baby yoga classes in Hook, near Basingstoke, Hampshire every Thursday morning. The class offers gentle yoga movements for mothers and babies aged 3-9 months. For more information visit www.yogababes.co.uk or email Rosanna@yogababes.co.uk

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NHM Readers: Hampshire Doulas

Louise recently asked “I’m currently working on a post about local Doula’s. Do you have any recommendations of local Doula’s that you have met and “worked” with? TIA”

Thank you to Desiree and Lisa for the following information websites on local doulas:

Welcome to Hampshire Doulas

www.doula.org.uk

Thanks also to all those NHM readers who gave the following recommendations. In no particular order. 

Thank you also to Juliet who put this post together!!

NHM Reader Recommendations: Doulas

Lisa Ramsay

Lisa Ramsey – Confident Birthing

Beth said “Lisa Ramsey”

Karen said “Currently working with Lisa Ramsey. Confident birthing”

Lyndsey said “Lisa Ramsay is wonderful”

Desiree Rawson

Desiree Rawson

Bethan said “Desiree Doula Rawson”

Jill said “Desiree Rawson”

Karen Mitchell

Karen Mitchell – My Doula

Beth says “Karen Mitchell”

Wendy Wood

Wendy Wood – Relax for Birth

Shaneene said “Wendy Wood – incredible lady”

Laura Geary

Laura Geary

Rebecca said “Laura Geary – she was fab for me!”

Jane Barnfield

Jane Barnfield – Bright and Beautiful Maternity Care

Lisa said “Jane Barnfield”

Carly Lewis

Carly Lewis – Doula Fairy

Jenni said “Carly Lewis”

Nicky White

Nicky White – Berkshire Doula

Victoria said “Nicky White”

Charmaine Sala

Charmaine Sala Massage Specialist

Kirsty said “Charmaine Sala”

Aliceja said “I’ve not used her but I met Charmaine Sala at a mothercare event and she is really lovely and in training to become a doula this year I think”

Carla said “Charmaine Sala”

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Review 2017: Tots Play, Social Tots

Thank you very much to today’s NHM Secret Reviewer! Fab job!

“Great value for money, 40 minutes of fun!”

I have attended Michelle groups since my little one was 8 weeks old. We started off attending Baby Development and have graduated to Discovery Tots and finally to Social Tots.

Social Tots does what it says on the tin, it’s a 40 minutes of fun! It’s an interactive social group for for babies from 8 months to tots of 3 years.

This class is a great way for your little ones to meet other Tots, to interact via play and for parents to socialise and to catch up every week.

Every class is full of various activities and we are always met by Michelle and Totsy the class mascot. You can enjoy welcome songs, different hands on themed play each week, involving colour, light, natural objects, fruit and veg, sensory play, massage, yoga and sign language.

With her extensive knowledge, Michelle always explains what we are doing and why we are doing each activity it and how it benefits the little ones. The fun can also continue at home as all the tools and props that are used in the class, including beach balls and sensory fans are all on sale at the end of the class.

Each week brings something different and we are welcomed by Michelle and her smile. We thoroughly enjoy the group and will be booking again for the next session.

Unlike a lots of Toddler groups, Michelle will be running various classes over the summer as well as some Saturday classes.

Check out all Michelle classes on Facebook or totsplay.co.uk

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NHM Readers: “Cry it Out”

I recently asked the Friends of  my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook if anyone had any suggestions “My baby boy cannot be left to ‘cry it out’ as he gets himself so worked up which can end up in vomiting or choking! He eventually goes down at night but will not fall asleep other than on me and daytime naps are even harder since birth he flatly refuses to sleep once we lie him down. He just spits out dummies”. This mummy is really struggling with lack of sleep and needs some extra advice and support.

These were the responses I received. They are in no particular order. Thank you very much to Shona for putting these together! 

NHM Readers advise when a baby can’t be left to ‘cry it out’

Gemma said: I had this, I used to feed to sleep and got into a massive rut and a lot of sleepless nights. I did pick up put down technique, you need to be consistent as I tried and wasn’t ready and went backwards but then I was ready and it doesn’t take long to implement, after awhile we just had to tap our lb’s bottom. Good luck!

Pick up Put Down Technique – Made for Mums

Victoria said: I had this with my boy. I had to pursue the screaming and being sick. I would go in and lie him back down and keep doing it if he was sick clean him up and start again. I would try to lay him back down before he was sick. It took about a week/two weeks but it worked, before I did this I slept on his floor and all sorts trying to get him to settle, it was so hard and painful. Xx

Jenni said: Hiya, how old is your baby boy? Also have you contacted the health visitor, we had a sleep specialist come and although she told us everything we already knew it was nice to have support and encouragement. Our little girl was over two though.

Libby said: Went to a cranial osteopath with our first at 9 months old as she cried whenever put down. It was like a miracle! Cranial osteopath said she had a stiff neck down one side due to birth and did a few things while I held her. She went all relaxed like having a massage and the crying reduced massively and she could actually be put down. If not that then some babies are just snugglers, our 4th sleeps in our bed and we don’t mind as long as we are all asleep!

Kathryn said: How old is he? When my daughter was little she napped in the sling, now she’s 8 months she goes down for some naps in the cot but normally feeds to sleep. I wouldn’t do CC (controlled crying) or CIO (cry it out), babies cry for a reason.

Rachel said: We did something which was similar to cry out (but the health visitor was very keen to stress it isn’t)… put them down for nap/bed, do the normal routine and say “night night mummy loves you, back in a minute”. You literally go back in a minute and reassure them they’re ok by saying “night night, mummy loves you, back in a minute” over and over. They say it works from 6 months old, not so good on over 4’s. 3 days and my little one was sleeping through the night (our issue was 15 months old and still waking us up in the night, we’d managed to switch milk for water but he still wanted us at least once a night).

Lizzie responded: We did this too, only at 5 minute intervals. It took a week (and it was a hard week!) but it worked. My little girl was about 4 months when we did it. Her sleep since got thrown out again after going away lots and the hot weather over the summer, so we’ve since had to do it again. This time it only took a few days.

Heidi said: Have you had him checked for reflux? I’m not an expert, but crying when lying flat is often a symptom. Huge hugs, sleep (or lack of!) is so hard to deal with. I tried loads of things with my 2, none of which worked. In the end I saved my sanity by just accepting that was how they were and believing they would grow out of it in the future. Sometimes accepting is easier than fighting.

Karen said: I had this with my oldest when he was little. I couldn’t do the controlled crying, it was just too stressful and felt cruel to me (not judging anyone else for doing it, was just how i felt with my son, we all have to do what’s right for us individually) so I just used to sit in with him. We also had a single bed in his room as well as the cot, so on really bad nights I could just sleep next to him and actually get some sleep. With the sitting on the floor I started right next to the cot holding his hand and then every few nights would start just a little further away until I was sitting on the landing rather than in his room. There were still some nights where it all went backwards but gradually he got used to sleeping on his own. Looking back I realise it was a very short phase in the scheme of things, it just felt like it went on ages because it was so exhausting. So try to hang on the fact that it won’t last forever he will grow out of it.

Rachel responded: ^^^ this works. Used this for my daughter (a few times every now and again we’d have to reset her bedtime). Didn’t work with my son, but take a cup of tea, no eye contact or interaction and if young enough phone on night mode (didn’t bother my daughter). I actually quite enjoyed my 30 minutes of silence sat on her bedroom floor reading ebooks.

Rachel said: Oh so little, raise the cot one end, if it’s reflux related it might help. Fresh air and short walks until little one is asleep then head home. Leave baby in pram/pushchair but loosen outdoor clothing (my radiator was switched off in hall so it was always cool, and lots of blankets rather than coats so I could easily remove layers). Fresh air always helped me think clearer too.

Jenni said: Wow at 4 months, to be honest I would say this is completely normal. Still get in touch with health visitor though. I also lay my kids on their tummy at that age and found that helped.

Caitlin said: I fretted and worried over my son falling asleep on me but it doesn’t last forever. By around a year old he would be happy to fall asleep in his cot so they definitely grow out of it. I would say enjoy the cuddles while he’s little because they grow up so fast and soon you will be sad because he doesn’t need you to go to sleep anymore! Also if he stirs once you’ve put him down I would make a point of not picking him up and just pat/rock with your hand and shh. He should go back off without too much fuss as long as he doesn’t have a chance to properly wake. At this age it should take him around 20 minutes to be in a proper sleep so try waiting until you put him down.

Sarah said: My boy would only sleep on me for daytime naps unless we were out in the car or with the pushchair right up til he was one when I went back to work. My childminder would put him in the pushchair and go for a walk at nap time then gradually all she had to do was put him in the pushchair and push back and forth for 5 mins in the house until he fell asleep. We’ve been co-sleeping at night because he wouldn’t stay asleep in cot for very long on his own. Now he is independently sleeping in our bed we have moved the cot bed next to ours (one side removed and attached to ours with bungee cords so there is no gap) and when he falls asleep we are moving him into the cot until he gets used to sleeping there.

Charlotte said: Cry it out isn’t recommended especially at 4 months old. Contact your health visitor they can support and give strategies to help.

Louise said: 4 months is still so tiny. It really isn’t forever. Research is showing more and more that sleep (the elusive “self settling” and “sleeping through the night”) is a developmental milestone rather than something you can train. CIO isn’t something I could do personally, as it just didn’t feel right for us, but having an awful sleeper I feel for you. I do think 4 months is difficult to label them as bad sleepers though as they aren’t ready or able to manage by themselves at that age. I found the less I looked at the clock and less I counted the sleep I wasn’t getting the less pressure I felt and the happier I was.

Becky said: We’ve tried many things as our daughter’s routines have developed. We found that different things worked for a little while but then she’d change. Currently what works best for us is a consistent bedtime routine followed by putting on classical music and leaving the door slightly open so she knows we haven’t abandoned her. I should add though, she’s nearly 2.

Emma said: Sorry I haven’t read every other comment. The biggest issue is for the mumma to get some sleep, it will put everything into perspective. I didn’t sleep for 9 months, in similar circumstances and ended up having exhaustion. Some people can cope with little sleep more than others. I think the important thing is to get baby quickly checked for reflux etc, possibly borrow a baby carrier to see if that helps during the day and then find someone to help cover you for a night or for part of a day and get some sleep yourself. STOP worrying about house / hair / make up etc and just use every precious moment you have to sleep. These times are hard, somehow we all make it out the other side with our own stories. Don’t be too ashamed to ask people around you for help to get some sleep. X

Claire said: At 4 months they are too young to try CC or CIO methods.(which I am against anyway. But each to their own). They may have an underlying issue (could chat to HV about) or they could just like their cuddles. Some babies stay in the “4th trimester” longer. Have u tried baby wearing? Also this lady has a lot of excellent advice & also does 1-1 consultation to help establish the root cause

Jennie Harrison – Sleep deprived mum’s coach

Skye said: Co sleep? Wear him during the day so you can get things done and he isn’t feeling abandoned. Some research into attachment parenting and/or 4th trimester might help. Also, wonder weeks app might give any indications if he is going through a developmental leap. Please don’t try CIO or CC. 🙁

Rebecca said: Both of mine napped in the pushchair, reclining but not completely flat. I have done CC with both of them but definitely wouldn’t try it at 4 months.

Helen said: At 4 months my little one napped in a sling or buggy and at night it was feed to sleep and co-sleeping using a cot attached to the side of the bed. 6 months later she was sleeping in her cot always and from just over a year slept through the night. Don’t stress about rushing to the cot, there’s plenty of time and you’re not creating bad habits.

Wendy said: At 4 months this isn’t a baby issue, this is a partner issue. How many nights a week is your partner doing? By all means look into things such a reflux but the best solution is for your partner to take responsibility a couple of nights a week. If you are on your own ask for someone to stay over occasionally so you can sleep.

Charlotte said:  At 4 months there is a well known (not to me with my first) sleep regression. It’s hideous and the exhaustion can be overwhelming. I do not believe cio or cc work esp with such a littly. May be worth reading the wonder weeks book for development spurts that link to poor sleep periods, the no cry sleep solution book for gentler methods. I’d also strongly recommend getting a sling to use in the day and if needed to get to sleep at night, reflux checking and asking g for support. Support for someone to have lo so mum can nap through the day, support with cooking and cleaning so those jobs don’t feel overwhelming. This sounds like normal baby sleep behaviour. Neither of my 2 slept, in fact my 2 yr old is still going through a bad phase so I am now about to have a nap. Good luck to the mum, as some have said acceptance and support are the way to go esp at this young age.

Lisa said: My daughter, now 4, has serious medical issues and we left hospital at 2 weeks old with the fleeting instruction of ‘don’t let her cry hard for more than 30 seconds or so because she’ll go very blue and her organs will starve of oxygen’. That put the pressure on a bit. I have to say we are no role models and have no good bedtime routines as such but this was a case of survival. So, we just went with it. If she wanted cuddles, we cuddled, if she went to bed, I went to bed, if she fell asleep, I fell asleep. She co-slept (not necessarily suggesting this) and still does. She averaged about 6-8 hours broken sleep in 24 hours for 2 years. I’m not sure my story helps but my advice would be to just go with the flow, don’t resent the lack of sleep just accept it. That really helped for me, took the pressure off. And remember this stage is not forever. Big hugs tired mummy x x Oh and I would echo the comments for getting him checked out for reflux and other health issues just so you know what you’re dealing with. There used to be a place in basingstoke that sold reflux wedges (pillows). In intensive care they taught us a trick ‘a heavy hand resting on the tummy’ is quite soothing. We would start with a hand and then replace with a surgical glove filled with warm (tepid so you don’t feel heat or cold when you put your fingers in it, not hot) water. Obviously need to remove it when it cools and observe common sense safety precautions. X Oh and I would echo the comments for getting him checked out for reflux and other health issues just so you know what you’re dealing with. There used to be a place in basingstoke that sold reflux wedges (pillows). In intensive care they taught us a trick ‘a heavy hand resting on the tummy’ is quite soothing. We would start with a hand and then replace with a surgical glove filled with warm (tepid so you don’t feel heat or cold when you put your fingers in it, not hot) water. Obviously need to remove it when it cools and observe common sense safety precautions. X

Charlotte said: My little one was very clingy but putting a hot water bottle in the bottom of the crib for a bit before I lay him down worked really well (and still does at 11 weeks) it was the movement from warm mummy to cold bed which he didn’t like. Xx

Karen said: Sorry I haven’t had time to read all the comments. I have no advice to give really but wanted to say as someone who has been there it doesn’t last forever. My youngest had reflux so also couldn’t cry it out. I hope you get some support either from a partner family or friends who can look after lo while you catch up on sleep. Sending hugs as know how tough it is x

Jennie said: In addition to the advice above this is probably the best article on infant sleeping I have ever read (and I’ve read loads!). X

The Huffington Post – conversation with a co-sleeping expert

Gail said: Could be colic. So a baby carrier during the day and lots of boobie or bottle at night time and more baby carrier!! He is only 4 months, lots of walks in a pushchair. Don’t worry it won’t last forever!! If you are bottle feeding, milk allergies are very common. So you could try wysoy for a week just to see if it improves!!

Rachel said: I’m probably predisposed to think of it as it happened to my LO but he had an undiagnosed cow’s milk protein allergy and so was only comfortable sleeping upright on someone as he had pain in his tummy and didn’t like lying down. Maybe if all the other advice doesn’t work it’s worth ruling out especially if there’s a family history of allergies and there’s other symptoms such a persistent vomiting. Good luck, it’s so hard!! Xx And I’d definitely echo the other advice of getting some support, an hours nap in the day can make you feel like a new woman!! ️Xxxx

Marie said: I would certainly check baba out for silent reflux. Babies who don’t enjoy lying flat and who are clingy are often diagnosed with this painful heartburn condition. Either bottle or boob fed, it can affect both. Particularly if mum had antibiotics during pregnancy as these can affect baby’s gut health. I would advise asking GP for infant gaviscon to start with and supplement milk with probiotics to heal the gut and see how baby gets on… hang in there x

Aimee said: I spent the first few weeks/months sleeping upright in bed with my son on my chest tapping his back all night (i’m not kidding, all night!). I knew something was wrong from the start but no one would listen, after a huge emotional breakdown my HV listened and referred me to a paediatric consultant and he was put on Neocate for unidentified intolerances and he was a different baby within a week! He’s now nearly 7, grown out of most intolerances and just takes movicol for chronic constipation. Hang in there, don’t be afraid to keep complaining until your baby is seen by a qualified doctor. Be a complete pain in the bum for your own sanity so you can finally enjoy this wonderful time. Good luck x

Lindsey said: I had similar with my eldest who wouldn’t sleep unless close by in the day. When he was tiny he would only sleep if held or in his baby chair. I couldn’t transfer him to a cot as he would just wake up and scream. He did have reflux so possibly because it was uncomfortable to be flat although he would settle in his cot or crib at night. As he got older, he would only nap on the sofa or a mat on the floor. It wasn’t just at home as he didn’t like the cots when he started nursery at 10 months and slept on the floor mats like the older children. It was tough as it made it hard to get on with jobs while he was napping, but a forgotten memory now, but he still likes cuddles and is approaching 7.

Katie said: My little girl hated lying flat to sleep when she was younger. During the day we used to lie her on her front in her carrycot where we could keep an eye on her. She used the carrycot at night too instead of a Moses basket. She had silent reflux and I think the sturdier base helped her. We got a bean bag when she was around 3 months old and this really helped her to sleep during the day after feeding as she was propped up more. Moved her into a cot when she got too big for carrycot and put books under the head end to raise it slightly. Also used a folded blanket under her head which she still has now at 14 months. She started weaning early at just over 4 months and this really helped with the silent reflux and made her more comfortable and she was able to sleep a lot easier. I know weaning early is not for everyone but hopefully it will help too when you decide to do it. It doesn’t last forever and now she is a really good sleeper. Get plenty of rest when you can and don’t be scared to ask others for help so you get a chance to catch up on some sleep. As a first time mum I found this hard but it really did make things easier. X

Kimberley said: Worth looking at allergy of milk u use or breast if u eat milk products. Ask for help from health visitors. Good luck.

Marie said: My little boy was similar to this. Would cry so much he would vomit. At 5 months we sleep trained him. Best thing we ever did. I read everything I could find on the Internet, downloaded e-books and leaflets. I then came up with a plan to suit me.

First we established a bedtime routine – bath, pajamas, story, bottle, bed.

Then I sang him a song and cuddled/rocked him.

Once I put him down I said “night, night, mummy loves you” something like that.

Then I left the room. Of bourse he screamed. After 30 seconds I went back in and strokes his face and repeated “night, night, mummy loves you”.

Left the room and waited 1 minute and repeated.

Every time I left the room, I waited an extra 30 seconds.

I only ever left him 5 minutes at a time (though the research said longer). Only took 3 nights and each night the crying got shorter. I found the vomiting stopped as he calmed every time I went into the room. First night I remember it took an hour, then 20 minutes second night. Then less than 5 minutes the third night.

Hope that helps.

Liz said: Reflux? Both my daughters had it and would not go to sleep without being sat upright in bed on me, exhausting. They had meds for it eventually which worked after me nagging at the HV and doctor xxx

Sarah said: Neither of mine slept well til about 1yr. It does not last forever.

Agree with: cranial osteopath – helped my daughter. Go get checked out by Dr for reflux. Plus see Health Visitor.

Try baby massage. Helps with all kinds of things and can really promote sleep.

Go to Basingstoke Sling Library and borrow some slings to see if that helps in the day (or night when pacing floors as it helps the arms!)

Could try safe co-sleeping methods or mattress/bed by the cot/crib.

Could try wedge, lifting cot so that baby is never completely horizontal. Plus put a t-shirt around the mattress – a smelly t-shirt you have worn and sweated in for a few nights so it smells of you and your parfume/deodorant. Worked with both mine.

I also used white noise machine, baby music machine, warm bath with lavender, blackout blinds, regular routine (to the point of same pjs put in same place, same sleeping bag, same story, same song, same words and even me with the same jumper every night for months.)

Ruza said: So at four months, my boy would fall asleep in our arms, best times ever or in the pram/pushchair on a walk out. I have never done the controlled crying, personally I believe it produces too much anxiety in small ones. So nap time in the day was for both of us when I needed it. Sleep time at night was achieved with soft lullabies and rocking and then quiet sleep. Elliot slept in the same room till six months. I was lucky that at weekends I swapped sleeping arrangements with my husband. Elliot did not have a daytime sleep in his cot till about 15 months but that was something that evolved between me and his childminder.

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