Valerie Gommon Midwife’s Blog

Archive for the ‘childcare’ Category



A recent survey by parenting website Netmums shows that new parents are being given outdated, contradictory and even dangerous parenting advice from family, friends and even strangers!

The survey found that parents are being “advice” about feeding and parenting which may be out-dated or even dangerous.  Parents are encouraged to take this advice “with a pinch of salt”, and to listen but not necessarily act on the advice, and if in doubt to discuss with their midwife or health visitor.

Much of the family advice was found to be contradictory, with over half (51%) of mums having been told to wake a baby regularly to establish a routine, while 44% have also been told never to wake a sleeping baby!  There are many proponents of the “right” way to parent; but I would urge you to listen to your baby and listen to your heart or gut instinct and do what you feel is right for you.  However well meant, the advice given can be undermining and actually makes mums feel that their parenting skills are being criticised, with 40%feeling put down all of the time.  

You are your baby’s parent – you know your baby best – be confident and follow your instincts!

This is a guest blog written by one of my clients, Donna, who has recently given birth to twins.

I’m Donna and I am mother to two year old Grace and 9 week old fraternal twin girls Olivia and Faith.

My husband Paul and I are absolutely thrilled with our new arrivals and that we have two healthy girls.  We are extremely proud parents.  I feel particularly proud that I was able to have them successfully at home and have the birth I wanted.  We always remind ourselves how privileged we are to be blessed with twins as it is one of the hardest jobs either of us have experienced as well as being one of the most rewarding.

Before they arrived I often wondered how we were going to cope with a two year old and newborn twins.  Let me tell you, you just do!  Having said that, as each day goes by, we do find ways to make our lives easier and get into a routine that we are all happy with.

Here are a few of my tips on making day to day life easier with twins:-

1.  Accept that you will need help.  Don’t be proud or try to be super mum.  You will be extremely busy and there is just not enough of you to go around when you have multiples.  I am fortunate that my husband has his own business and works from home so he can help out from time to time however, the majority of men will need to go back to work and that is when you will need to have help.  Call on friends and relatives.  Work out what needs doing and allocate tasks to people.  It may be household chores, getting the shopping (although I do recommend you use online home delivery) or helping with older siblings if you have them. My parents live close by and are great with our two year old plus we have some fantastic friends that we can call upon.  At the end of each day, your house will resemble a jumble sale but my advice is to accept you will be busy and let the less important things go.

2.  If you do have older siblings, we found it beneficial to maintain a routine.  Your first born has always had all the attention from you, friends and family and then suddenly that changes when new babies come into the home.   This is where the help of others really comes in.  So that I could focus on Olivia and Faith, my friends and family focused on Grace.

Before we had the twins, Grace would stay with her grandparents every other weekend.  We have kept this up and she has such a good time.  She has the full attention of my parents and they make a real fuss of her.

When anyone comes to visit, they will always acknowledge Grace first and the twins second.  They would also bring a little gift or card for Grace so as she didn’t feel left out with the twins getting all of the presents. We brought Grace a play house from us and the twins when they were born, she was over the moon with that.

Nursery has been a God send for us.  Grace goes 5 mornings a week and she really enjoys it.  She plays with her friends and again gets all of the attention whilst I spend some alone time with Olivia and Faith.

Paul and I now have to share our time with three children but we make sure that one of us baths Grace every night, cuddles up on the sofa to watch her favourite tv programme and reads her a story before bed.  Paul will also take her to the park most afternoons when work permits.  This was all part of her routine before the twins came along and with some slight adjustments, we have been able to keep it.

We encourage Grace to help out with the twins and play the big sister role.  She fetches me nappies when I need them and helps me to dress them in the morning.  This way, she doesn’t resent them being around.

3.  Plan your week.  To avoid never going out of the house, plan small trips out either to the shops or to visit a friend. Life doesn’t have to end because you have twins.  There are some great support groups you can go to where you can meet other mums of multiples and also take other siblings along. Take up any offers to baby sit so as you can do one thing for yourself.  Mine is swimming.  My mum looks after the twins for a couple of hours in the morning twice a week so as I can go swimming.  It really keeps me sane!

4.  You don’t need to buy two of everything or spend a fortune on items designed for twins.  Things such as moses baskets and cots, they can share.  Co bedding can be very settling for your twins as they have been together for nine months.  Having said that, ours did not like being together in the same moses basket so we did have to get two.  They now share a cot though and are very content and happy and sleep through the night – most of the time.

5.  Your home will be chaos by the end of the day.  I just don’t have the time or energy to do all of the housework.  We decided to get a cleaner who comes once a week for two hours.  I recommend you look for a small independent cleaner rather than an agency.  An agency will tend to start from around £20 an hour whereas an independent cleaner will charge around £8 to £9 per hour.  I know it seems like more expensive but believe me, it will be money worth spending.

6.  Trying to find the time to cook and sit down and eat together is extremely challenging.  I found pre cooking and freezing some simple meals gives you that extra time to eat together when the babies are sleeping.  Just defrost and reheat.

7.  If you are feeding one baby in the middle of the night and the second baby wakes up, I found the use of a dummy beneficial.  I’m not a big fan of dummies but it really helps to keep the other twin calm until you are finished and can move on to feed the next.  I found that most of the time Olivia and Faith don’t want feeding at the same time but it does happen occasionally.

8.  Don’t worry if you can’t always settle your babies.  If they are fed, clean, winded and well, sometimes a baby just has to cry.  They will settle themselves eventually.

9.  Finally, don’t be hard on yourself.  You may want to do everything by the book particularly if you are a first time mum, but with multiples you really need to do what is best for you and your babies.  Just remember if you are content and happy then your babies will be too. An example of this was when my 2 year old Grace had an accident and needed to go to A&E.  Paul took her with a neighbour and I stayed with the twins.  The whole time the twins would not settle until Grace was home and I knew she was ok.  The twins could sense I was anxious and responded to that.

Having twins is such a special thing but nothing and nobody can prepare you for how it will change your life.  For more information on twin or multiple births visit www.tamba.org.uk

Donna has also set up a website which offers information about homebirth; she offers a free ebook at www.happyhomebirth.com

Written by Kassia Gardner  www.working-mum.co.uk

Nearly 80% of businesses will stop running childcare voucher schemes if tax exemptions are abolished, according to research by the Institute of Payroll Professionals (IPP).  The Government is under increasing pressure to change its mind about its intention to scrap tax exemptions on childcare vouchers from April 2011.

As a family we’d be worse off if this happened, we’re not the poorest of families but childcare is our biggest expense. It costs more than our mortgage! It would be a close call, but in all likelihood we may be better off if I didn’t work at all. This really annoys me, I want to work. I want to earn money, mainly for my own self-respect, so I don’t have to ask Kev for money to buy his birthday / Christmas present. I went to university, worked hard at career and have since started my own business , bright angels, since having my second daughter but if we’re better off with me not working that’s what we’ll do. Otherwise it will be like me paying someone else to let me work! It’s not just the poorest of families that need help, the rest of us have expenses too and they’ve not been going down recently. Energy prices are going up, fridge freezers break and many families need two incomes to pay the bills. Does the Government actually want parents to contribute to the economy and pay tax so they have some income for things like schools and the NHS, or are they looking to develop a generation of stay at home parents?

How would the scrapping of tax exemptions on childcare vouchers affect you?


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