How to get your toddler into the bath (when mummy wins)

Toddlers at arms length

Toddlers are so much fun but also so much hard work sometimes…

Me: Do you want to have a bath now?

Him: No

Me: How about a shower?

Him: No

Me: What about a bubble whisk?

Him: No

Me: A wishing well?

Him: No

Me: How about a soak?

Him: No

Me: A wash?

Him: No

Me: A water box?

Him: No

Me: A Rinse?

Him: No

Me: Quality time with bubbles?

Him: No

Me: A foam painting expedition?

Him: No

Me: A wallow?

Him: No

Me: An indoor waterfall?

Him: No

Me: A water play date?

Him: No

Me: Nudie time in the bath?

Him: No

Me: A whale show?

Him: No

Me: A car wash?

Him: No

Me: A Suds-up?

Him: No

Me: A miniature deep sea dive?

Him: No

Me: Well I think your whale is very dirty so I am going to go and wash him in the bath.

Him: NOOOOO!

(So he takes his whale to the bath).

Lesson: Words win.

It might be the English teacher in me, but I kind of enjoyed coming up with more ways to say ‘bathe’ and I am sure this is by no means a finite list… Mummy wins! And I do love words and I hope I am also teaching him to love them too.

button cartoon about life

Children keep us on our toes but we just have to keep rolling with the punches. Like a good little button…

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Dad like a Champ with this ‘secret’ formula. (You. Man. Do This).

This is it guys. This is the secret list you have been waiting for that will make you the ultimate husband, partner, significant other (and dad). It’s a list compiled from the secret and hallowed rants and vents that mothers share when you do not do these few simple things.

This list will make things at home better.

At the very least you will have a reference point when you are wondering why your lovely wife/partner/mother of your children is frustrated and sad (Have you not been doing number one? Shame on you!)

I’ve numbered them to make it easy.

You can cross them off each number at a time. Whatever works.

But this list will work.

Do them like a boss.

THE FIRST FIFTEEN SECRETS TO BEING AN AWESOME DAD

  1. Tell her she is doing a good job
  2. Help her to make time for herself
  3. Never watch her doing chores
  4. Give her a hug without her asking for it
  5. Recognise that raising children is a job too
  6. Realise that she loves the baby/ies, but sometimes she needs time to just be by herself.
  7. Make time to spend with her each week – even if it’s just an hour and a half to watch a DVD together
  8. Ask her what you can do to help.
  9. Organise date night
  10. Prioritise family time in the weekends.
  11. Surprise her sometimes with a sleep in. Coffee in bed for bonus points.
  12. If you see something she hasn’t gotten around to and you have a spare minute – just do it. (It means she won’t have to do it late at night and she might get to bed earlier (Win-Win! Wink-wink).
  13. Plan the occasional outing with the kids (preferably while the house is tidy) so she can have a precious hour to herself
  14. Tell her she is beautiful even when she has puke stains and fat pants on
  15. Make time to talk to her at night – some days it may be the only face-to-face adult conversation she has

NB: Note that none of this has very much to do with parenting of the actual baby/kids. Let’s just start here. It’s easy isn’t it?

Where did this post come from? Well, recently I read some ugly statistics about marriage and life after babies and how there is a general sense of decline in daily happiness and I thought, bugger that. There is an easy fix – and the main thing is starting with how everyone feels on a daily basis…. and this list will help.

What do you think? Have I left anything out? Mums? Dads? Your comments count.

Thanks for reading. If you liked this post, please click follow before you go.

You know what I mean

Breastfeeding Dresses for Special Occasions (How to avoid a wedding nightmare)

First the breastfeeding at special occasions nightmares you can happily avoid (from my experience):

Once I had a dress fitting for a wedding and forgot that, because I was leaving my baby at home, my boobs would be two sizes bigger due to my milk coming in. I was all boobs and practically falling out of my dress. Whilst my man didn’t seem to mind, other men had trouble looking at my face and I felt like a lopsided Pamela Anderson.

Once I went to a wedding and took my baby. They provided me with a discrete area in the back to feed him but I hadn’t checked how my dress might look if it got wet. He fussed due to being somewhere unfamiliar and my milk leaked on my dress. The fabric of my dress turned a very dark colour where it had spilled and I spent the rest of the wedding trying to cover my stained top with a wrap. (Embarrassing!)

Once I went to a wedding and wore a low cut V-neck dress which I thought would allow for easy access. Sadly access was too easy and I fought with my baby trying to pull my dress to the side to play with my nipple.

Once I went to a wedding and wore a strapless breastfeeding dress (it was really lovely with tiny zebras all over it) but I had trouble keeping it in place because my baby created tension on my hip with my wrap and it caused the fabric to bunch and the top of the dress to keep slipping.

Once I went to a formal occasion and had trialled my top before the event. Unfortunately you could see the line of my breastpads through the fitted fabric and it looked like I had ridiculously large nipples which proved to be a distraction for some and an embarrassment for me…

Once I went to a friend’s wedding and chose what I thought would be the perfect breastfeeding dress only to find that, while it was great for breastfeeding, it was a light colour and the inevitable poo explosion that had to happen on me was difficult to clean up.

Sigh.

So I have come up with the perfect solution and I have called it ‘The Everything Batwing’ because it is the ‘everything and everywhere’ dress that solves the problems I have faced when trying to nurse my babies in public.

I make Outie breastfeeding dresses so that breastfeeding is easy. All you need to do is pull the sleeve slightly to the side to nurse your baby easily. You can breastfeed in public easily and you don’t need a wrap for discretion. I use performance pique fabric (other fabric options are available too) so that it is quick drying, drapes nicely, is breathable and has a soil release finish for easy laundering.

I design my own fabrics so that you can have a one of a kind designer dress made in NZ that is perfect for breastfeeding or maternity for special occasions. You can choose a top, a dress, a panel contrast option, a lace overlay, a wide waist band (great for post-pregnancy tummies), a mullet hem/drop hem or a standard Batwing dress shape.

We ship globally too.

I live in them. I stand by them. I love them. That’s why I make them.

You will love them too. Promise.

Shop now.

Breastfeeding top batwing

Batwing top for easy breastfeeding.

special occasion breastfeeding dress

NZ designer breastfeeding dresses are designed by a mum for other mums who need an easy breastfeeding dress to wear for special occasions

one of a kind designer breastfeeding clothing nz

Design your own special occasion breastfeeding dress that is one of a kind

maternity and breastfeeding dress nz

Stylish dresses by Outie can be worn for both maternity and breastfeeding

designer nz maternity and breastfeeding clothing

Special occasion dresses for maternity and breastfeeding can be designed to match existing accessories

discrete bursing or breastfeeding in public

Discrete feeding in public has never been easier with our designer breastfeeding Batwing dresses.

stylish breastfeeding dress nz

Customised breastfeeding dresses can have contrast panels and can be worn even when not breastfeeding.

Large bust top for breastfeeding special occasions

Batwing shape suits large busts too and can be made as a top in our signature fabrics.

nz designer fashion for breastfeeding

Special occasion dresses in signature nz designer fabrics.

textile design nz designer nz fashion

Our fabric is designed in nz by Outie director and textile designer Katrina Ward

NZ designer breastfeeding fashion

NZ designer breastfeeding fashion made in Auckland, NZ

Shut up with your shoulds – dedicated to all the mothers who are fed up

I’m not normally negative, but I have had a gut’s full.

This post is dedicated to a friend who has just been told by her well-meaning Mother in Law that her baby ‘should’ be sitting already (when she is allowing her baby to find her own sitting position in her own time). This post is also dedicated to the mothers who make their own wraps in order to wear their babies proudly when they ‘should’ only be using X brand of ‘certified’ wraps. This is also dedicated to all the mothers (and fathers) who are feeling bad or who have been made to feel bad at any stage because someone has told them that they ‘should’ be parenting their child differently, or that their child ‘should’ be doing something by x stage of development or who generally gets what I am going on about when I say ‘ENOUGH WITH THE SHOULDS!’

Those who dish out the ‘shoulds’ should just shut up.

Recently I read a blog (Moata’s Blog Idle) and was happy to find that she has had similar parenting experiences to me. It seems that once one becomes a parent, lines are drawn in the sand in every direction. She wrote about how if you wear a pink cardigan in parenting land (paraphrased and added to) you accidentally are telling all parents that you are believer in pink cardigans and that all those who do not wear pink cardigans are inferior and ‘should’ wear pink cardigans.

It’s silly but true. What happens if you are just wearing a pink cardigan because you happen to like pink/like cardigans/your jersey is in the wash/you washed a white cardigan with red socks and you haven’t entered into and are not even interested in any parenting politics about becoming a wearer of pink cardigans?

I’m referring to baby wearers, baby led weaners, breast feeders, bottle feeders, co-cleepers, cot users, swaddlers, crunchy parents, natural parents, tiger mums, ‘normal mums’, milestone mums, super mums… because in parenting land it seems that whatever decision you make, there is a line drawn somewhere by someone that delineates your position politically as ‘baby wearer’ or ‘baby led weaner’ or ‘insert name here’ or WHATEVER just because you happen to be doing it somewhere and you were seen doing it or even by the way you look, you look like you would be doing it in private. (?)

With the input (and output) of social media, it seems that all of our decisions are bracketing us and trapping us within a mine-field of potential ‘shoulds’ by anybody and everybody who dares to occupy a different position.

I don’t really see an easy solution, but I do urge all those who have used the word ‘should’ in a cavalier fashion up til now to re-dress the frequency with which it is and will be dished out.

Before I had children I was spared the ‘should’ talk. As soon as I had a bump, I became public fodder for ‘should’ advice. ‘You shouldn’t be eating that pie’. ‘You should get your nursery ready early just in case…’, ‘You should buy cloth diapers’, ‘You should wear flat shoes…’, ‘You should watch your weight…’

Sigh.

Once you have a bump you are open for public critique in a way that non-parents are not. Once you become a parent, you are open for yet more critique because everyone (including those without children) has an opinion on how you should be raising them. The trouble is that a lot of this advice is unsolicited and the motivations for it are never clear. When a ‘should’ conflicts with the careful reading you have done and the care with which you are raising your own precious baby/ies, you can be filled with self-doubt, a feeling of not being good enough and of feeling ‘less than’ the great parent you probably already are.

Some anecdotes to make you feel better. (Here’s hoping…)

On breastfeeding

When I was pregnant some well-meaning friends of ours were offering advice on breastfeeding and how, in their opinion, babies shouldn’t be breastfed once they developed teeth. Their opinion was strong and included apparently ‘amusing’ anecdotes on five year olds ‘asking for the tit’ and how wrong it is and bla bla bla.

At nine months with my son, I weaned him not because I wanted to but because he was allergic to something and I couldn’t work out if it was in my diet or in his. He lost a lot of weight as a consequence and I beat myself up about it daily. I was haunted by other people saying ‘he should be weaned by now’ and the anecdotes from friends of ‘they shouldn’t breastfed when they have teeth’ and more ‘shoulds’ kept knocking at my door disguised as helpful advice. (By the way what I ‘should’ have done in hindsight is eliminated dairy and all would have been well but I never knew about that stuff then…)

I support extended breastfeeding now. Why shouldn’t I? I believe every family makes their own choices for what is right for them. I personally wish I had breastfed my son longer and now, at nearly nine months with my daughter, I am going to let her call the shots.

Babies ‘should’ be weaned once they have teeth? Well my daughter was born with two teeth. What am I supposed to do with that?

Shut up shoulds. Our babies, our choices. That is all.

(It might be worth noting at this juncture that the friends who had the strong opinions do not have children. Go figure.)

On Co-sleeping

We never set out to become ‘Natural Parents’ but a lot of our parenting has become that way accidentally just because we have chosen whatever path has the least resistance for us. Our son didn’t get his own room until he was two.

That’s just the way it happened. We had a side car cot on our bed so that we could safely co-cleep and many a visitor would chime, ‘Shouldn’t he have his own room by now?’ or ‘You should make sure he is sleeping in a big bed before the new baby comes’ or ‘You should start getting him used to being by himself now’.

So many shoulds and so many moments of wondering if we were doing the ‘right’ thing as a consequence when, without the should, it was all actually working just fine.

Any academic will tell you that in order to properly research a topic, one must delve into a variety of sources and look at conflicting opinions in order to satisfactorily decide on your own well-informed position on any given matter…

I say, take an academic approach and feel free to read up on whatever your topic is. But take the ‘shoulds’ you get from those around you with a grain of salt.

On teething

‘You should give your baby an amber teething necklace’, ‘You shouldn’t put anything around your baby’s neck’, ‘You should give your child medicine’, ‘You shouldn’t give your child anything that isn’t homeopathic’

Arrrrgh!

I’m not really a science-type but we tried a day with a teething necklace and a day without and we ‘measured’ the drool and took note of the discomfort. You ‘should’ experiment and find something that works for you. You ‘should’ also heed the advice of professionals. (Sorry two shoulds. Do with them what you will. Those were mindfully included but you may still discard them as you please.)

You ‘should’ avoid all the other shoulds because they can just make you feel bad.

On speech development

‘He should be saying Mummy by now’, ‘He should be counting by now’, ‘He should be able to recite the alphabet by now’. Should. Should. Should. Shut up.

Our son was a late talker. He seems to be catching up just fine now, thanks. Harried by ‘shoulds’, I took him to our Plunket Nurse and asked her if we had cause for concern. Apparently not.

On the spectrum –which is V A S T – his speech development is normal. Though not at the top of the bell curve, he was on the bell curve just the same.

My experience as a teacher is helpful to call on sometimes with times like these. Every student/every child achieves at a different rate. Every student/every child has different strengths. The bell curve has points on it in both directions.

I was a debating fiend at school and wasn’t so eloquent at catching a ball.

By contrast, my son is a superb hand-stander and early jumper even if his words have come a bit later than when they ‘should’ have.

On milestones

Earlier I dedicated this post to the mother whose MIL told her that her daughter ‘should’ be crawling and ‘should’ be sitting already. To her I say this, ‘hold fast to your instincts. You are your daughter’s mummy. Everyone else is a tourist’.

I also say ‘bell curve’ and ‘don’t listen to the shoulds’ because every child develops differently.

If you have cause for concern, see an expert but don’t let other people’s ‘shoulds’ weigh you down.

It made me angry to see that she was feeling bad when she had no need to.

On baby-wearing

I recently made my own woven wrap and I sewed two pieces together so that there was a central seam. I researched the seam and even looked up the construction of parachutes (?!) to ensure that I was not going to be putting my baby at risk by compromising the integrity of the fabric. I consequently had a bad experience where I was made to feel like I was a bad mother by inference because I ‘should’ only use approved wraps.

The negative inference of the ‘should’ was tangible and my feelings were hurt.

In this instance too, I say again: Be informed. Follow your gut.

The ‘shoulds’ don’t matter.

On how many children

A final anecdote to make the ‘shoulds’ shut up.

Recently I reconnected with an old friend who, being a mother of three, told me that I ‘should’ have another baby because “three is way better”.

I don’t doubt that her life with three is great. But I like my life with two right now.

Unwittingly, she made me feel bad about having ‘only two’.

We ‘should’ all be wary of how comparatives and shoulds can cause unnecessary concern. Let us all wear pink cardigans if we want to…

“Comparison is the thief of happiness” – that’s a favourite saying that I need to keep in mind when the ‘shoulds’ start getting more traction than they should. (Excuse the over-should-ing there).

Before you take on a ‘should’ onto your already heavily burdened shoulders, examine where the ‘should’ is coming from. Is it thinly veiled commercialism: “All good mothers ‘should’ wear Everything Batwings” (I’d never do that by the way), is it meant to be helpful or is it sneakily making someone else feel better about themselves because their baby ticks the boxes they ‘should’.

I didn’t say I had the solution, but I hope you can ignore the ‘should’ now that the negative ripples of its use have been unpacked.

Let the shoulds shut up.

Now for something a bit brighter – You SHOULD leave a comment below to win a free limited edition print. 😉

If you liked this post, please click ‘follow’ before you go (on the right) and take a moment to check out some of the stuff I make.

I have THREE Heartstacked Tiki Prints in GOLD or SILVER to give away. International entries welcome.

Just leave a comment about a ‘should’ that you have encountered recently (because we all have) and I will draw three random winners on Friday. X

tiki print silver framed tiki print gold framed

Calling Out All Mums: If you don’t do it twice, you are lying.

This is one of parenting’s great mysteries… This is a poem about it. Because I just caught myself out and I’d like to feel more certain that I am not the only one. Or am I?

I'll sniff your bum

I’ll hold your hand

I’ll make a stand

I’ll tickle your feet

I’ll help you to eat

I’ll wipe your chin

I’ll make you grin

I’ll strap your shoes

I’ll make you coo

I’ll wipe your tears

I’ll be all ears

I’ll rock you to sleep

I’ll stroke your cheek

I’ll read you stories

And make good memories

I’ll wash your hands

I’ll change your pants

I’ll clean up poo

I’ll always love you

AND

I’ll sniff your bum

Because I’m your mum

And I’ll sniff it again just to check.

Like this post?For more fun stuff, please check out my website and click follow before you go (on the right).

Love Outie.

Postpartum What?! Embarrassing stuff you need to know.

Image

Postpartum what?! Embarrassing stuff you need to know.

“At least if you have a C-section, you don’t bleed for six weeks.”

“No. You still bleed.”

“Oh”.

Birth is a subject that is widely covered. But what about the ‘scary stuff’ that happens afterwards? Here’s a list of things you might need (or might not) with a quick reason for why you might need it. Some are obvious and some are lesser so. If you have any questions, please ask – but don’t be scared.**

Knowledge is power as they say.

Maxi pads or incontinence pads

Whether you have a natural birth or a C-section, your uterine wall will take a while to heal where the placenta was attached. This takes around six weeks and in that time you will bleed while it heals over. Incontinence pads are also useful as they have a higher level of absorption – and you may even need them for what they are designed for until you can strengthen up your pelvic floor again.

Ah bras/Crop Bras

A crop top bra or ‘sleep bra’ will be a comfortable option day or night as they are easy to feed in and are stretchy to accommodate fluctuations in breast size.

Granny knickers and/or disposable knickers in dark colours

Things get messy, so you may as well be prepared.

Disposable ice packs or home-made ice packs (or frozen pads with witch hazel)

Post birth you may be sore and ice can be a great way to reduce swelling and reduce inflammation around any tears.

Stool softeners

Some liken the first ‘movement’ to having another baby. Things are pretty tender so why not make it easier on yourself.

Mag phos

As above, even releasing gas can be difficult. Mag phos helps.

Flaxseed

As above. Can we move on now?

Comfortable clothes

You will be spending a lot of time nursing, resting and healing. Comfort is key.

Soft toilet paper

Life’s little luxuries are important.

Prune juice and fibre rich treats

See previous points about the importance of stool softeners.

Comfy robe (We recommend Outie silk kimono top (of course))

For nursing or for privacy when receiving visitors, a comfortable robe is gold.

Spare changes of sheets

You will be leaking milk and your baby will spill and you will probably also have night sweats. All of this might happen without you having time to do any washing. Having a spare full set of sheets (or three) on hand is worthwhile.

Water bottles

Post birth you will want to flush any drugs out of your system quickly and drinking lots of water will also help reduce water retention. If you are breastfeeding it is also important to keep your fluids up.

Yoga pants

Yoga pants can offer a little more support around your tender tummy and they are comfortable too.

Old towels

You might have a spill or you might have leakage from your maxi pads or you might get blood on your towels after showering. Having old towels on hand is pretty useful.

Foot stool for the bathroom

Some women say that this really helps pass the first motion post birth.

A waterproof sheet or mattress protector

See the previous note about spare sheets. A waterproof sheet will help keep your mattress protected too. Much cheaper than a new mattress.

Long tank tops or shelf tanks

Wearing tank tops or singlets are easy for nursing and if they have a built in bra then they also reduce your need to buy a nursing bra. Wearing them in a longer length means that you can cover your tummy while you heal up nicely too.

Batwing Nursing Dress (of course!)

batwing nursing

You can wear these as a top or as a dress over a shelf tank or long tank top and they can be easily ‘dressed up’ while breastfeeding on demand.

Binding tubes/Tubi-grips

You can wear these around your tummy to help support your abdomen while you heal. Some women find that these help to shrink your tummy faster too.

Sleep bra

See the previous note on ‘Ah bra’ or crop top bra. A shelf tank top will also work but you will need some support when sleeping with your larger than normal milk-filled boobs.

Pressure stockings

You might be given these post birth to help reduce swelling in your legs.

Donut pillow

Some women swear by these to relieve the pain of sitting with haemorrhoids caused by pregnancy and/or child birth.

Haemorrhoid cream

Enough said.

Porridge

Anything with oats can increase your milk supply. Porridge is a nice comfort food to have on hand.

A grabber

Kids have them, old people have them and you can have one too. It can be really sore bending down post-birth (especially after a C-section or tear) and a grabber might just help you put your own knickers on.

A peri bottle or tea tree oil spritz

You may have ‘raw’ areas that will benefit from ice packs but you might also want to bathe these areas in an antiseptic spray. A peri bottle takes the hassle out of that particular job.

Cloth breast pads (we recommend hemp ones from Laulipop’s Shop)

Waterproof on one side and absorbent on the other, you will need these if you are breastfeeding and you want to avoid spending unnecessary money on disposable breast pads. Buy as many as you can to ensure good hygiene as frequent changing is required (plus your washing machine gnomes might steal a few).

Lanolin cream

This is a fatty cream that can help with cracked nipples which is a common complaint of women when breastfeeding.

Comfy cardigan

Any front-opening warm top will do but you will want something to wear that is easy to breastfeed in and still cosy.

Trinity Nursing Wrap (of course!)

Blue Trinity NursingWrap

If you have guests and want some discretion, these are perfect for this purpose. They can be worn three ways – as a loop scarf, as a neck warmer and as a nursing cover. They can also keep you warm for those chilly night feeds.

Blue incontinence sheets

If you don’t have a mattress protector but you still want to be protected in bed, these sheets can be a disposable replacement or in conjunction with a mattress protector for ueber protection.

Prop pillow or Tri pillow

Anything to stop you falling over at night when you are breastfeeding for the fifth time and struggling to stay awake – these are also good for general back support and breakfast in bed. If feeding on the couch, these can also be used across the tummy as a replacement for a breastfeeding pillow.

** Some of these are Outie products but we wouldn’t have made them if we didn’t need them! X

 

Did we forget anything? Share your tips below!

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 Outie: bumps, babies, boobies. Boom!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be the Ping Pong (Ping Pong Parenting)

ImagePing Pong Parenting. (Be the Ping Pong)

 

Last night my children played ping pong with me. When one cried, I flew to the rescue.

Moments later I was sent flying to tend to the other child’s needs.

They were tireless and played with me for hours.

I have woken this morning feeling fuzzy and maybe a bit more like an old tennis ball…

But parenting is about rolling with the punches and trying to stay light. Trying to be calm even though you are angry at having your sleep stolen, trying to be wise when really you have no idea… So I’m sure I can learn from this.

 

I can be Ping Pong. I can be smooth…

 

Be like water – Bruce Lee

Be like the Ping Pong – me

 

Be like the Ping Pong my friend. A ping pong is hard and soft at once. It does not deflate easily.
It takes the hits from things much larger than itself again and again yet it remains well-rounded.
It is full of lightness and flies high in the face of adversity.
It floats and bounces.
When you play with the Ping Pong ball it does not tire, it can be rolled through dirt and is easily washed clean.
Be like the Ping Pong my friend – at the end of the game it is nice to hold; just as it was before.

– Katrina Ward

 

“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”
Bruce Lee

 

More fun stuff for parents over at http://www.outie.co.nz