Have you ever got to the end of the day and wondered if your toddler has eaten enough? I speak from experience of bringing up 3 toddlers over the years when I say that is probably one of the biggest worries as a parent. All three of my boys have been little and often eaters making it really hard-working out if they’ve managed all of their main food groups along with the required vitamins and minerals.

I think I did ok as my older two are relatively healthy (although my middle son is currently on a sugar binge which is having a really negative effect on his skin but I’ve very little control over what he eats during the day or weekends so it’s a loosing battle.)

Which leave my last little 2-year-old snack loving son. His current favourite thing to do is ask for food only to take 1 or 2 bites and refuse the rest. Not good. But recently I’ve been totting up everything he’s eaten using a Tot It Up  food tracker which takes the worry and working out away.


It’s really quick to set up and even quicker to see a run down of how your toddler has eaten. Once you’ve navigated your way around the different foods, it’s quite simple to see a complete round-up of how you’ve managed that day. I was quite shocked how far behind the recommended daily amount after my first day of using it which really helped to plan the rest of my son’s weekly menus.

If you’re intrigued how much your child is eating then why not take the The Tot It Challenge? It aims to encourage 1000 mums to try out the Tot It Up food tracker, which will help build the biggest picture of toddler eating habits and activity nationwide.  Understanding habits will help shape future advice to support families.  We know that other mums are inspired by you, so we would like you to encourage mums to get involved, so that we can further understand habits.

All the people who sign up and have a go will be in with a chance of  winning 1 of 10 £50 love2shop.co.uk shopping vouchers.  Entrants should register at http://www.infantandtoddlerforum.org/tot-it-up-loginand complete at least one day’s food intake, drink and activity (that is at least one day’s breakfast, mid-day meal, evening meal, snacks, drinks and activity).  The competition closes on the 21st November 2016.

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its ok to hold your toddler to sleep, I speak from experience read why hear:

None, I repeat, none of my boys ever learnt to self soothe as a baby or toddler for that. Each night I’d sit with then and often hold them to sleep. And with no.1 & no. 2 it was an issue. A huge, gut wrenching, I’m failing at this parenting lark issue.

It was all me, I’d done it all wrong.  That rod that people talk about. Well, I’d only gone and bought the blady t-shirt, cemented it in iron and left it there for good.

I’d tried the ‘put your baby down drowsy thing,’ yeah, that didn’t work. Lies, all lies, or at least to me. For my babies, putting them down was the absolute worst thing which I could do, so their ear-piercing cries told me. Like I’d laid them on a bed of nails.

How very dare you mother!

They’d say in thief Stewie from Family Guy voices

So guiltily, I picked them up. Guilt from knowing “the books” would scorn at my weakness, guilt that I’d not been strong enough to sit it out, to wait to see if it was just a momentary protest cry, and guilt that by picking them up I was causing deeper, long-term problems. They’d have sleep issues as adults and it would be all my fault.

I blame my parents

They’d tell their psychologists trying to repair the damage I’d caused.

Only it didn’t cause any damage. My cuddles and bedtime love caused no damage at all. 

I can tell you that now. As hindsight, that wonderful, beautiful thing called hindsight. Tells me that what I did was just what my babies needed.
As those babies, those little, cot resisting, Velcro babies are now teenagers who can quite easily sleep through the protest cries of their little, cot protesting Velcro baby brother.

Who each night curls up, in the safe, comforting arms of his cocksure (I know what I’m doing this time) mother and I hold him while he drifts to sleep. Sometimes in my arms, sometimes holding me. But never out of touch or out of reach.

And he let’s me know, my beautiful little boy, that there’s no way on this earth that tonight, or any other for that matter, will he  be drifting off on that 16-year-old bed of nails!

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Do you know the real dangers of forward facing car seats? I't's difficult though when your baby or toddler doesn't like rear facing so I've tested out an impact shield car seat which seemed a good alternative.

I’ve become a little bit obsessed with finding a comfortable and safe car seat ever since my son was born. We’d never had any problem with our older boys on car journeys but this little chap seemed to hate, and I mean that in the strongest sense of the word, being in his for longer than 10 minutes.

After struggling on for 7 months, avoiding as much car travel as possible, it was time to admit defeat and start looking around but the market had changed so much and I simply didn’t know where to start. But budgets were also very limited so I settled for what I thought was a nice, safe comfortable one.

Sadly that didn’t work.

He really seemed to hate the restriction of the 5 point harness. But with our forward facing seat there wasn’t another option. Or was there? My next round of research led me to the latest trend in safer seats; the impact car seat. These cam with a separate impact shield which was held in place by the car seat leaving the arms completely free.

The idea is that an impact, the shield acts like an air back, cushioning the child’s torso  and spreading the   forces across a wider area, reducing stresses on single parts of the torso. The whole upper torso will move together rather than with a harness which restricts shoulders and hips, but does not take the head and neck movement into consideration. A toddlers head to torso is proportionately heavier in comparison to an adult, therefore the forces applied to a toddlers neck are higher with a 5 point harness. And there lies the problem, along with the fact that many, mine included, tend to slip their arms out of them.

Do you know the real dangers of forward facing car seats? I't's difficult though when your baby or toddler doesn't like rear facing so I've tested out an impact shield car seat which seemed a good alternative.

And so we gave the  Kiddy Phoenixfix 3 car seat a go.

Fulfilling the ECE-R44/04 European Safety Regulations as well as the new roll over test ‘Supplement 7’, it passed with flying colours. That had me assured we were doing the right thing.

Looking like a normal high back booster, it’s held in place with K-fix+ connectors which being slightly longer than our old isofix,  meant I can move it slightly  sideways when putting the toddler in and out of the car. I thought it was a design fault at first and questioned the safety as it had so much give but after checking it out on the Kiddy Uk website it’s actually adds to the safety as in the event of a side impact, the seat will slide sideways, and protectively push your child inwards away from the impact zone. The isofix connectors also have the handy option of being retractable so you can move it easily from car to car or even use it on a plane.

Do you know the real dangers of forward facing car seats? I't's difficult though when your baby or toddler doesn't like rear facing so I've tested out an impact shield car seat which seemed a good alternative.

There’s the option to pop it in a recline position too which I’d not had on my old high back booster, a must for naps and to help stop the head from falling forward. And there seems lots of support around the head rest which can be adjusted, along with the padded seat, with removable cushion which helps give my son a little extra boost so he’s not hidden under the impact shield.

Getting my boy in and out is relatively easy too. once he’s in and I’ve made sure his back and bum are pressed up to the back (otherwise he sits too low under the shield) you attach the impact shield on top of his legs and into position under the arm rests. You then bring the seatbelt round, fixing it in place and slide it into place in the holds. It takes a bit of fiddling with the seat belt to make sure it’s tight and I did find it had a tendency to push in to one side if you didn’t get it right, but once in, my son could rest his arms on top.

It’s really is amazing how much the whole baby and toddler market changes so quickly and is worth doing your research on whats available out there. Given that extended rear facing is now the option, for any child who doesn’t find the restricted leg space comfortable, the impact shield car seats seem to be the way to go.

Do you know the real dangers of forward facing car seats? I't's difficult though when your baby or toddler doesn't like rear facing so I've tested out an impact shield car seat which seemed a good alternative.

Family Fever
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there's so much to consider when travelling safely with your children in the car. heres the latest changes in car seat law

I’ve written a couple of posts now on car seats. It’s something which I take ridiculously seriously, partly fuelled by the troubles we had with getting our baby to stop crying  on every journey. When I look back to how we travelled around when my eldest was a toddler, it’s quite shocking to think that the second-hand, hard foam bodied seat we used, with only an adult seatbelt for protection, was all we used.

Things seem to constantly change so I try to keep up with it though social media and websites. Especially as most changes are the result of evidence on the safest way to travel, but that’s easier said than done and the latest word on the street is the booster seat law is set to change. 

This means that, once passed, backless booster seats will be banned. The discussions centre around  making backless booster seats only suitable for children taller than 125cm or weighing more than 22kg. Being the cheapest Group 2/3 car seats, that will come as a huge blow for families with little cash to spare. Yet the facts argue that these bottom only seats, which raise the height of your child, offer no side or head protection.

So if you’re about to change your car seat, its aways  worth scouring the web for bargains first to save some pennies online. Stores such as Kiddicare and online4Baby.com can be quite competitive when comparing to other high street brands, and try doing your own research with independent reviews or get personal recommendations. I compared 5 impact shield after spending hours on the internet working out the pros and cons as a safe alternative to the standard group 1 forward facing seat we currently had.

While not a review per say, it does give you the low down on what’s out there along with the cheapest prices I found each seat selling at.

And with all the new rules and new products flooding the market you wouldn’t be alone in finding the car seat law confusing.  The current law states that all children travelling in a car must use the correct car seat appropriate to their weight or height, until they are either

  • 135cm in height or
  • 12 years in age – which ever they reach first.

After this point, they must use an adult seat belt.  There’s also the current push on continuing rear facing  for as long as possible, with a wealth of evidence supporting it. Although it’s understandable that older toddlers may find it too uncomfortable this is where the impact shield car seats are worth considering.

As always, the whole baby and toddler gear world is evolving, I hope this gives you a brief idea for now. I guess that all us parents can do is to gather the research and make informed choices on what suits us and our pockets at the time.

theres so much to consider when travelling safely with your children in the car. heres the latest changes in car seat law

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This is a collaborative post to make you aware of the changes ahead. 

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What's the ideal sibling age gap? Is there even one?

I sometimes wonder if I’ve done the right thing leaving such a big age gap between my kids?

It was always planned and down to a  case of enjoying their company as toddlers and babies so much, I never felt rushed into adding another child into the mix. Instead I chose to savour the moment and invest as much as I could into those first few years without having to share my time. That was my idea and it worked, just fine.

There were so many pros as well as cons in having my large gap between babies. I loved that I was defying the norm and rewriting the rules. I’d never been one for following the crowds, call it the rebel in me, or simply thinking out of the box and it’s quite entertaining watching people work out our family dynamics,

yes, they are all ours,

no he’s not a champagne baby

and

yes, they all have the same father!

age gap4

I’ve answered them all.

But one thing which I’ve started to notice recently is how much more grown up my littlest boy has become and how quickly my baby is growing up. His words, his mannerisms and his understanding, sometimes way beyond his years. There’s no denying he’s a little boy in a grown up world.

So my question is, should I have had another to keep him company? Will those 10 years between this lively little one and his brothers mean he’ll spend most of his childhood living like an only child?

You see I have theses moments of worry, have I done it all wrong?

But then I look at the cheeky, happy little chap he’s become and I’m reminded, as long as he’s loved, as long as he’s cared for and as long as he’s happy, there will never be a right or wrong way to decide how many children make a family or what the ideal age gap should be.

What’s important is that they have that family, big or small, only child or not, they’ve just got to be loved.

age gap1

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