Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Birds and the Bees: What to say to your children

There’s one moment that every parent is dreading from the moment their little one arrives... The moment when your child asks you about sex or anything to do with it! How are you supposed to explain something so complicated, and not always appropriate, in a way that they can understand without just fobbing it off using any old excuse!? It’s an absolute nightmare, but if you don’t teach them about sex properly, their only knowledge will be stuff they’ve picked up on the playground, and you don’t want teenage boys to be responsible for the ideas that your child has about sex because they aren’t going to be great!

It’s much harder these days as kids are going to be getting all sorts of conflicting ideas about sex when they’re online. Regardless of how well you protect them, you can’t avoid these influences completely so it’s up to us to teach them about sex properly and make sure that they aren’t influenced by anything else! I imagine we have a few years yet before Millie starts asking questions and it’s not going to be fun but we've just got to bite the bullet and get it over with. Here are a few tips to help ease things along...



Be Relaxed
The most important thing is to stay calm and relaxed throughout the conversation. If you are judgemental in any way, then your child is going to think that sex is something that they should be ashamed of and they won’t want to come to you in future with their problems. If you get it wrong the first time, they won’t feel comfortable talking to you and they might make some big mistakes when they’re a little older. Children are going to ask some pretty embarrassing questions but you just need to remain calm and try to answer all of them seriously.

Listen Properly
It’s tempting to rehearse your answers beforehand and reel off a long lecture about sex as soon as your kid mentions it, but if you do, you’re probably not answering their questions. When they start asking you about it, really listen to their questions. They might just want to know something fairly simple which doesn’t require a long explanation about the ins and outs of sex. If you come back at them with too much information that they weren’t ready for, you could scare them a bit. If you’re unclear about what they want to know, ask them a few more questions and really get to the bottom of what they are after.

Avoid having a knee jerk reaction to anything they say as well. Their questions are usually inspired by something that they’ve overheard or been told by somebody else. That means some of those questions might be inappropriate or they might express some pretty misguided views about sex. It’s important that you don’t get angry with them. It isn’t their fault that they don’t understand so you need to just explain to them why they were wrong without getting angry with them.

Be Age Appropriate
You need to think about what is appropriate for your children at their current age. If they aren’t very old, you should be careful about how detailed the information you give them is because they won’t be mature enough to understand it. Younger children are most likely to ask you where babies come from. You can tell them about the nuts and bolts of it all. Explain how the sperm and the egg combine to create a baby but it’s probably too early to get into detail about exactly what goes on under the sheets. They won’t understand it yet and it may confuse and worry them.

Teenagers are going to be a lot more difficult. They’ll already know about the science behind it, what they’re looking to find out is more about the relationship aspect. It’s crucial that you speak to them about this because they’ll be at the age when they’re starting to enter into relationships and think about having sex. It’s important that you teach them that they shouldn’t feel pressured into anything and should always respect their partners. With so much toxic information on the internet, it’s vital that you give your teenagers a healthy understanding of relationships and sex.


Contraception
One of the most important areas to cover, especially with teenagers, is contraception. An accidental pregnancy is bottom of any parents wish list. Hopefully, they’ll be getting taught about contraception at school but it’s a good idea to go over it with them as well because they might want your help sorting out some contraception. Microgynon is a contraceptive pill that is used often so if your daughter is asking about contraception, it’s worth taking her to the doctor and asking about it. However, it’s also important to talk to them about the dangers of disease and infection as well as pregnancy. Taking your son or daughter to sort out contraception is the best way to be completely sure that they’re using some, and that they know what they’re doing with it. Talking to them about your own contraception needs is a good way to ease the embarrassment that they might be feeling.  

Encourage Them
The more they ask you about sex, the less likely it is that they’ll make mistakes in future. When they ask you those difficult questions, make sure you encourage them and let them know that it’s a good thing to be curious. That way, they’ll know that they can always come to you with questions about anything, not just sex. It’s a brilliant way to encourage openness between you and your child which is never a bad thing.

Privacy
You can use this as an opportunity to teach your children about the importance of privacy. Make sure they understand that they need to respect the privacy of anybody that they may be having sex with in the future because teenagers love to boast about that sort of thing. It’s also the perfect time to teach them that you as parents need some privacy as well, it’ll help you to avoid any awkward encounters with them bursting into your room unannounced.

Talking to your kids about sex is always awkward, but it’s vital that you do it so just follow these simple tips and get on with it.
(Guest written post)

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Aldi Baby Milk Review (Aptamil comparison)

We regularly do our weekly shops in Aldi and have done for a while now but it’s been over the years that they have added more and more lines to their baby range, including the squeezy food pouches and even follow on milks, but, I was so surprised to see that they now have their own blend of Infant Formula, or 1st stage baby milk for just £6.99! 

Millie used Aldi nappies and Mylo does too and they’re actually one of the best nappies we’ve tried (we’ve tried them from pretty much everywhere!). She also had the food pouches and we use the baby wipes and have nothing but good stuff to say about it all, so I was intregued to know what the formula was like. The first time I spotted it in store, I didn’t buy it as, well lets say, I was a little too sceptical after only ever using the well-known, and well-priced Aptamil at £10.99+ a tub. So instead, I came home and took a look at the ingredients of both tubs to see if there was much difference and then I would go back and get a tub to try as at £6.99, if Mylo didn’t get on with it, I’d simply give it away or throw it away. 

Aldi Baby milk review

Making up bottles
So the Aldi formula comes in a tin rather than a cardboard container like the Aptamil one does. It has a smaller blue scoop compared to the yellow one in Aptamil but the formula looks very similar. The Aldi seems a little finer but one major difference we saw is that it doesn’t foam up like the Aptamil one does when its shook - the Aptamil gets so foamy that its a struggle to see how much you have left in the bottle, even after some has been drunk. The Aldi one is a thiner consistency so you don’t get the froth that you do with Aptamil. 

Mylo has never had a problem with his Milk so we’re quite lucky to be able to try a different formula with no problems. It didn’t effect him in anyway, he wasn’t bringing any bottles back up when we switched them and he was happy with the Aldi version over his usual Aptamil. I also noticed that it doesn’t have the overpowering baby milk smell either - you know the kind. 

Both containers also have 900g of formula so you’re getting the same amount for a much lower price. 
Aptamil (average) £10.99 vs. Aldi Mamia £6.99 

Ingredient comparison
Now, for the more technical comparison and probably the one that is going to be the most asked - the comparison of ingredients really shows that there isn’t much difference in the Aldi formula compared to the usual Aptamil formula we use (I can’t compare to any other formula as we’ve never used anything other than this). You can see from the images below what difference there is (if any) in the ingredients listing and the energy and nutritional information - there are exactly the same ingredients used in both formulas and nearly the exact same amount of minerals used in them too. Aldi baby milk vs. Aptamil ingredients
Aldi baby milk vs. Aptamil vitamins
Aldi baby milk vs. Aptamil minerals 
All baby formulas have to undergo checks to ensure they are suitable and are FDA-regulated to make sure they provide all the vitamins and nutrients babies need. Most women choose to provide formula rather than breastmilk for various reasons, you can read about my breastfeeding experience here and is why a lot of formulas state they are a ‘substitute for breastmilk’ as they try and get the ingredients as close as possible to that of natural breastmilk. Both of these formulas are milk based including Lactose (milk), a variety of natural oils (for fat calories), vitamins and minerals and both are completely fine to use for healthy, full-term babies. The only noticeable difference in the list of ingredients above is that Aldi use Whole Milk powder and Skimmed Milk powder where as Aptamil only use Skimmed milk powder - not sure what effect this has but I doubt it’s a huge one! 

You can also see the similarities in the vitamins and mineral components with Aldi actually having more of certain vitamins and minerals than Aptamil (Vitamin A, Vitamin K1, Vitamin B2, B2, B6, Iron, Sodium and Magnesium in particular). 

I do think that these two formula’s are very similar and we’ll happily continue to use the Aldi formula for the time being - with 2 tins being almost the same price as one of the Aptamil ones and because there is no effect on the change to Mylo, it means if we want to use the ready made bottles of Aptamil at any point, we can easily switch back and know it won’t effect him in anyway. 



Hopefully with the ingredient lists given, if you use another formula, you can do the comparisons yourself however, I have popped a breakdown photo of the ingredients in the formula that you can save and compare if you wanted to. 

Like I said, it hasn’t effected Mylo at all and the change of milks really hasn’t made a difference at all so we will be buying more and keeping them in stock at home - this is probably my only issue... Aldi isn’t open ALL the time whereas, if we ever run out of Aptamil, we know our 24/7 garage and Tesco expresses sell it but, failing that, we also know we can go back to Aptamil if we are ever out of Aldi formula without any problems. 

Have you tried the Aldi Formula or have you looked into it? 

Friday, 15 September 2017

Infant to Toddler Rocker Chair

Mylo is getting to the age now that he enjoys sitting up and playing with his toys. We pop him in his Bumbo for a short while but I don’t like how his head isn’t fully supported so rather than having him on the floor or in his bouncer all of the time, we now use this Infant to Toddler chair from Fisher Price! It’s a combination of a rocker, bouncer and chair all in one! 




With a combination of being a supporting chair which lays flat, a rocker and also for when Mylo is older, a chair he can comfortably and safely sit on, this Infant to Toddler Rocker has become our favourite thing in the house! It’s so strudy and supportive but also gives so much room for Mylo to kick his legs and sit and watch In the Night Garden (his favourite programme at the moment!) It’s a Bright, comfortable seat that has 2 positions - upright or lay flatter for naps or relaxation time. If your baby doesn’t nap in a crib or moses, this is fab as you can kick back the stand and turn on the vibrations to help soothe and relax your little one without worrying they will roll as they are securely fastened in! 



Having the entertainment bar means that Mylo can sit and play with the rattling animals which he often laughs and giggles at and will also help to strengthen his gross motor skills! This simply clicks in and out too - it comes off for us when its TV time! I think its amazing that the rocker will last right up into his toddler years as your usual bouncer only really sees them through until they’re sitting up and you end up getting rid of it! 

The cover is washable (a must when you have a messy baby like Mylo) and the plastic body is wipeable as we have tried anti-bac wipes on it to clean up sick and food splashes (why do they make baby food bright yellow!?) 

RRP £59.99 however, it is currently on offer in Smyths Toys for just £49.99 - for something that will last for over a year, it’s an amazing price to pay for something thats 2 in 1 and you will definitely use over and over again! 



Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Annoying Pregnancy Problems That Aren't Actually Bad For You

Pregnancy is perhaps the most incredible miracle of all. From a simple (but fun) act in the bedroom, a new life is produced, forming and growing in your womb. But for all the magic of the process, it’s still a pain in the neck - sometimes quite literally - for those going through it. Scientists think that this has something to do with the way humans evolved. People have only been walking upright and having upright pregnancies for a few hundred thousand years and in that time, evolution has only partially completed the job, giving us the physiology for upright pregnancies, but not giving us the robustness that other animals seem to have (queue the hormones and moodiness!)


But it turns out that many of those annoying problems we experience during pregnancy aren’t problems at all. In fact, much of the time, they’re exactly what you’d expect, given our half-complete biology. The good news for moms, is that there’s often no need to worry, even if it seems as if you’re ill. Here are some conditions which health experts say probably aren’t worth worrying about...



Blood Spots 
Bleeding a few days after conceiving can sometimes seem a little scary. After all, shouldn’t the bleeding have stopped now that you’re pregnant?! Many women worry when they see spotting in their underwear, but there’s no need to worry necessarily - at least according to Yvonne Bohn, doctor and author of several pregnancy guide books who says that "bleeding, especially in the first two weeks of pregnancy, is actually a good thing. It’s a sign that the fertilised egg has implanted itself into the wall of the womb and has begun to mature. She also says that it’s fine even if you don’t experience any spotting. It doesn’t mean that you’re not pregnant: it just means that the wall of the uterus didn’t shed around the implantation site.

Morning Sickness
What is morning sickness? Nobody really knows what causes the queasiness says the NHS website, but most experts think that it has something to do with the high levels of human chorionic gonadotropin hormone circulating around the bodies of newly pregnant women. Rapid changes in this hormone may explain why some women feel sick in the morning during pregnancy. Saying that, morning sickness is part of a healthy pregnancy seems a little strange, given that it can transform into a debilitating condition that prevents women from getting out of bed. But doctors are convinced, even if the symptoms are serious, that it’s an entirely normal part of pregnancy if a little unpleasant.

The stats given suggest that mother and baby survival is actually higher among women who make frequent visits to the bathroom though! Doctors have theorised that the sickness helps women to avoid foods that might harm their babies during the initial phase of pregnancy. Morning sickness, therefore, might be a kind of biological defence against poor dietary choices.


Higher-Than-Normal Discharge 
Discharge is a normal part of a woman’s reproductive health. But during pregnancy, thanks to all the changes down there, it can go into overdrive. Often women will wake up to a colourless, odourless liquid in their underwear during their pregnancy. Experts believe that this is an evolutionary response: while a woman is pregnant, it makes sense to ramp up the production of discharge to clean out the birth canal and prevent the baby from becoming infected. What’s more, it’s a relatively easy problem to solve. According to https://dryandcool.co.uk/shop/frontpage.html, there are plenty of underwear products which can control the problem, especially in cases of incontinence during the latter stages of pregnancy. Extra discharge, ultimately, is a good thing that protects both you and your baby.

Tender Breasts
You would've thought that tender breasts were the last thing you’d want before giving birth to a child. After all, teething children can sometimes be a little rough. But it turns out that sore breasts are a natural part of the hormone cycle of having children. Both oestrogen and progesterone levels rise substantially during pregnancy, and these can lead to rapid increases in the size and fullness of the breasts. It can make you feel as if you’re lugging around a load of extra weight. But, as with many other changes in the body during pregnancy, sore breasts are perfectly normal. You’ll usually experience the most tenderness during the first trimester of gestation, although soreness can persist throughout all stages in some women. The pain should subside before breastfeeding begins.

Have you experienced any of these annoying but completely natural symptoms during your pregnancies?! 
(Guest written post)