Archive for Pregnancy

How to be an Amazing mum when you just don’t have the time.

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I will never forget the day when we were visiting someone else’s house and Andrew, who must have been aged two or three at the time pointed to her ironing board that she was using and asked innocently "what’s that?" I remember babbling something about only ironing when he was in bed asleep but I don’t think she was convinced! The truth is I hate ironing and would  rather kill the ozone layer with my tumble dryer than stand all day getting rid of creases. And ironing is one of a long list of jobs that we, as mums, have to pack into a already crammed day. So when I recently came across a book by Tanith Carey called How to be an "Amazing Mum" when you just don’t have the time I grabbed it off the shelf. The subtitle is the Ultimate Handbook for hassled mothers  Basically its a book packed full of  short cuts and tried and tested advice on containing mess, quick lunch boxes , my favourite, faster laundry and other things. You won’t find it all helpful to your own lifestyle but I like the woman’s thinking – we all need more time on the important things like spending quality time with our kids so try this. WARNING – this isn’t necessarily a cost saving book as a lot of her time saving devices cost money but don’t let that put you off.

Obviously if ,as you read this, the beds are made and the lounge isn’t covered in lego then this isn’t for you but for the rest of us – it could save you some precious minutes of sanity.

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Don’t start what you do not want to continue

Babies are hot wired to learn from the moment they enter the world so make sure you are helping them learn positive things. If you don’t believe me think about how quickly a baby learns that throwing a dummy out of the cot brings a tired parent in to retrieve it! So I tell all new mummies to beware of starting something that helps short term but long term would be a nightmare.  Dummies, comforters, thumb sucking etc can fall into this category. They might be ok for a short period but need to be stopped before they become a problem.  So does driving around the block at midnight or turning on the tumble dryer to get your children to sleep. We have all done things in desperation to get a baby to sleep. ( I am not sure if my husband put Andrew into the car at 4am one morning to help him sleep or to save me from committing murder!) but try to take a step back and think of the consequences. The acronym H.A.L.T. is a useful tool. Beware of decisions you make when you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired as these tend to affect your judgement.


Don’t despair though! Any bad habit can be unlearned but it just takes a bit of commitment. Andrew eventually stopped sucking his fingers when he broke his arm at the age of 5 but that would be drastic action! Up until then we had found it really difficult to get him to stop. With Matthew we managed to prevent him sucking anything but he does like his cuddly toys in bed. However we have left them behind on occasion so he can sleep without them if needed.

We have all been victims of what the baby whisperer call “accidental parenting” and done things in desperation. The important thing is to return to the normal routine as soon as possible. Tomorrow is another day! That was my mantra when the boys were small! Just try  to remember who the parent is!


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Routine -  to have or not to have seems to be a big question that a lot of pregnant mums to be ask me.  Some health visitors are for it, some against it. In most cases you will be told to demand feed for the first couple of weeks (feed your baby every time it cries) and so will some books. Other books will tell you to have a routine. It can be very confusing!

What is important in the first few weeks is to teach your baby how to feed, particularly if breastfeeding. Both you and your baby need to get used to how it works. I personally believe that some form of routine is good, but during the first few weeks, you aim for a routine more than have one. Having some form of structure does help as it makes you feel like you know what you are doing and helps you to spot if something is wrong. If not, it can be difficult to know why a baby is crying. If you have fed and changed your baby, you know that it can’t be either of those so that leaves you with either wind, a tired baby or potentially a sick child!

There are a few books that will help you establish a routine. On becoming baby wise is one (see previous blog entry) or The Baby whisperer (Tracy Hogg) is very similar. (My midwife was very anti Gina Ford but a friend of mine with twins found it invaluable!) They suggest a 2 1/2 to 3 hour cycle for feeding a newborn with a routine of feeding, wake time, and sleep. So you feed your baby, wind, change the nappy, have some “play time” and then put them down to sleep. If the baby doesn’t wake up around 3 hours after you began your last feed, they suggest you wake him up for a feed and repeat the cycle again. That way your baby doesn’t go too long between feeds but long enough for you both to rest.

The Baby whisperer uses the acronym E.A.S.Y. Eating – Activity – Sleep – You

These books also give you ideas on how to keep the baby awake during feeds and how to calm a fussing baby.

Parenting books that promote a routine have been severely criticized for not allowing for motherly instinct. No where do I see that. As you spend time with your baby you will learn what is “normal” for your baby and what isn’t. Obviously feed earlier if your baby appears hungry. Just try to avoid “snacking”. – 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there. It makes sense that a baby will be more content on a full stomach and therefore sleep longer. And if they sleep longer, so can you!

Now my boys are older I am very grateful for the routines I established early on. Bedtime and mealtimes are never a real issue ( although tIMGA0133he number of ways boys can think of to extend bedtime is amazing!) and I think it helps to bring some sort of order very early on in a child’s life.

Dominion and awe belong to God;
   he establishes order in the heights of heaven.  Job 25

We serve a God of order so we should aim to bring order to our parenting!

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The Seven Pregnancy sins

One of the most confusing things when you are pregnant is what you can and can’t eat or do. I found this article on the Junior magazine web site which looks at the most common things that should be avoided and actually looks at the real risk to both mum and baby. What is quite amusing to me as a pastor is how they have used a “sin rating” from 1-5 for how harmful something is, 5 being the guiltiest! Here is the summary

Pregnancy sin Pregnancy Sin rating
Cigarettes 4-5
Alcohol 1-2 units a day 1- 2, heavy drinking 5
Caffiene moderate consumption 1
Soft and blue cheese 4
Bagged salad,fruit and veg 3
Oily fish 2
Raw or partially cooked eggs 1-2


Click on the link here to see the full article and to also get a list of seven ways to earn your pregnancy halo! Under handling stress try prayer instead of yoga!

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Marriage and family life courses at EN

I know you will get sick of me saying it but I am passionate about building strong families. At Every Nation church we want to facilitate that happening so we promote various courses that will help you on your journey.

Marriage preparation course.

Starts Wednesday 11th February from 7:15 to 9:30, for 5 weeks in Surbiton, hosted by Annelise and Waldi Schoonraad.

The Marriage Preparation Course is for any couple who is engaged, or looking to get engaged and who want to develop strong foundations for a lasting marriage. The course is based on Christian principles for relationships and it is suitable for people with, or without a church background. The cost is £40 per couple which covers course materials and refreshments.

The Marriage course

Starts Wednesday 11th February from 7:15 to 9:30, for 7 weeks in Worcester Park, hosted by Mark and Taryn Robb.

The Marriage course is for any married couple who wants to work together at and invest in their relationship. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been married for less than two years or more than thirty.If you have a strong marriage this course will help you make it even better and will reinforce your good habits. If on the other hand your marriage is in difficulty, the course will help provide you with very practical tools to help you work through the issues. While the course is based on Christian principles couples are welcome with or without a church background. Many couples who are not churchgoers have enjoyed and benefited from doing the course. The cost is also £40 per couple to cover refreshments and materials.

Expectant Parent workshop

Saturday 9th May  10:00 to 12:30 in Ealing at Dan and Amanda Smart’s home.

This is for first time parents or those expecting who have not previously attended a course. This is just a morning where we can pass on some stuff that we think will be useful for you to know about having a new baby in the house. We will also talk about some of the books that we found helpful and try to answer any questions you may have about labour and those first few months.

For more details or to register for any of the courses please email me on

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Maternity clothes

One question that I seem to get over and over again at the moment is “Where can I get cheap maternity clothes?” Before having kids I always looked somewhat romantically at maternity sections in clothes shops but I never looked at the price! It is so unfair that they make them so expensive and yet we all need something to wear during that time!

In the early stages of pregnancy you can get away with undoing buttons and wearing elastic waists. But as your normal clothes get uncomfortable, you may need to move up a size or lend from a friend who has a bigger wardrobe! Usually maternity clothes will swamp you until around 5 months unless it’s your second or third baby! Then you seem to look pregnant within weeks!

The best way to get maternity clothes is to borrow from a friend of the same size!  You normally want maternity clothes in the same size you were before you got pregnant. If your friends are also pregnant or a different size then a great answer is Ebay. My friend Taryn usually uses words like “Maternity summer bundle size 14” or “maternity dress size 14” in her search for clothes. Other options are sales in places such as Next, Mothercare or H&M. Work clothes always seem an issue but I found a decent pair of black trousers (I got mine from Bloomimg Marvellous) were invaluable which I could change with different tops. I also had one plain navy dress with short sleeves and one black one that I could throw a jacket or cardigan over if needed. My other best buys were one black and one white support vest (got mine from Mothercare). They weren’t cheap but were so versatile. Not only did they give support but they could be worn under blouses or cardigans and didn’t rise up over my bump. I had two pairs of pregancy jeans, one fancy pair from Next and one plain pair. You could possibly get away with one pair if you are working full time. After that it’s anything you feel comfortable in! I never wore any of Daniel’s clothes but you can always borrow the odd shirt or t-shirt from your partner if they are the right size. My chest was always too big…..!

Here is a list of some of the high street shops where you can browse for bargains.

  • Mothercare Can be expensive but they do good end of season bargains.
  • Next: Not available generally instore but can be ordered through their catalogue or online. I found their stuff washed well and kept their shape.
  • H&M:         A bit cheaper and do some nice stuff.
  • Dorothy Perkins: The larger the store, the better the collection.
  • Blooming Marvellous: They do have some shops or you can order a catalogue online or order direct from the website. Can be pricey but do have end of season bargains.
  • Topshop – limited range, reasonable prices.
  • Marks and Spencer – good range, good quality, prices comparable to Mothercare. 
  • ASDA –  with big clothing ranges – very reasonable prices, pretty good range.

You can also buy cheap and cheerful bigger clothes in places like Q&S, Peacocks and Primark.

A google search on “maternity clothes” will give you a vast number of websites too where you can purchase clothes. I found most of them a bit pricey. They are probably better if you are looking for a dress or outfit for an event such as a wedding. Again, Ebay is probably a good place to get a one off outfit for an event. 

The other problem you may have is that your pregnancy passes through more than one season. Layering is definitely the way to go. You won’t get too much use out of a thick jumper so stick with vests tops, t-shirts, shirts and cardigans.

Hope that’s helpful. If anyone has any helpful suggestions or comments to add, please feel free to post them


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