Christmas Gift Guide for Girls and Boys

I think we are at a very good stage with our children when it comes to Christmas shopping. I honestly think they would be as happy (if not happier) to find a box of chocolates under the Christmas tree as anything expensive, but I know this time of year will get more expensive for us as they get older.

Over the years, I hope we can instil a tradition of giving as well as receiving at during the festive period. So far this year, we have involved Ariana in choosing age appropriate toys to give to a collection for under privileged children that were arranged by her school and we donated some no-longer-loved books and cuddles via an Ikea collection point. As a mummy, I want to practice a positive parenting technique. I really hope that our children will grow up to appreciate their blessings and show kindness to others and it’s at this time of year that we talk about it the most.

As far as presents go, we have been pretty organised so far. The majority of gifts for the kids are coming from Amazon, so I don’t need to drag the children around the shops with me, or beg for a babysitter! We have found some great toys and I can’t wait to see the children’s faces when they open them on Christmas morning. Here they are with links to where we purchased them from if you would like to see:

Gifts ideas for a four-year-old girl

 

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Disney Frozen Olaf Snow Cone Maker £12.99

This makes frozen treats in minutes from the kids favourite juices, which should be a lot of fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Magnatiles £59.99

Ariana tells me she plays with these all the time at school so thought it would be a great addition to our home for all the family. Here’s the manufacturers explanation:

The Magna-Tiles® Clear Colors 100-Piece Set is the Big Kahuna set for learning basic math and science skills through fun, creative play. With a plethora of durable, brightly colored shapes, your child will become lost for hours creating all kinds of fun inventions and designs. And with 100 shapes, there are enough for every kid on the block to get in on the fun.

 

 

 

 

 

Orchard Toys Doodlebugs £6.75

We love our Orchard Toys games. We have the Lunch Box and Shopping Trolley games and find Ariana loves the simplicity of them, which allows her to win without any help from us! This is an award winner that promises to help teach maths and English so we will be adding to our games cupboard!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

StoryCraft The Frog Prince £6.59

This game allows for creative storytelling as tots add shapes and jewels to a 10-page storybook about the Frog Prince fairy tale.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sticky Mosaics Fairy Forest jewellery Box £14.49

We are sticky mosaic mad around here and fairies are top of Ariana’s ‘what I want to be when I grow up’ list so this craft item will go down a treat!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Seedling Create Your Own Designer Tutu £20

Even I can’t wait to open this present! Ariana will feel like a princess letting her imagination run away whilst designing her first item of clothing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baby Alive Baby Gets A Boo-Boo Doll £14.99

Slightly concerned that both Ariana and Kaira will love this interactive doll, we have bought two just to be on the safe side! The girls will love tending to her with plasters and cream.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Personalised story book £19.99

I remember a personalised story book I had as a child and even to this day, I can remember reading it with wonder at seeing my name on the page! Now Ariana is reading  little, I think this personalised story will be ideal. You get to choose your own character with this range from Lost My Name and although ours hasn’t arrived yet, judging by the reviews they are great quality. I can’t wait to see it!

 

 

 

 

Gifts ideas for toddlers

 

Trihorse wooden marble run £44.99

Motor skills and general responsiveness are practisced with this playful game with balls large enough to be safe for young children. I’m not sure what room we have left in our house for a toy this size but I know Kian and Kaira will love it, so we will make it work!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leap Frog Number Lovin’ Oven £10.95

What I love most about this toy is that all the pieces fit neatly inside it, so it can be cleared away easily! The fact that it will teach the children numbers (and hopefully a desire to cook for me one day!) is a bonus too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Janod airplane Kit £15.00

A jigsaw without any  fiddley parts and a great toy to play with when it’s pieced back together!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Playskool on the go Dressy Dolls £19.99

These cute dolls will teach Kian and Kaira how to do zips, tie laces and eventually dress themselves hopefully!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Melissa and Doug Magnetic Fishing Pole game £6.50

We have had products by this company for YEARS and they still look like new! I love wooden games and this is something the children can play with together, hopefully with little arguing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2 Studio Art Desk $54.99

Having room for this in our home is going to be a push, but I thought it would be a great gift for parents who do so I’ve included it here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Personalised music CD £14.99

Ariana has had one of these since she was a toddler, so Kian and Kaira have been wowed enough times by the songs featuring their big sisters name. Now it’s their turn with these CD’s by the Silver Balloon Company. The range of names is superb, (we found Kian and Kaira so we’re happy!) I can’t wait to see them hopping around to the songs on Christmas Day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For a full year now, Ariana has asked for bunk beds so she can finally share a room with her sister so we have bought them to build before the big day along with redecorating their bedrooms for them too. I am not sure whether Kian is ready to be separated from his twin yet, but we will get his ‘big boy bedroom’ ready and see what he decides. We will let you know in further blog posts about the best methods in parenting twins.

I hope these examples have given you some inspiration! There can be so much to choose from on the market, it’s sometimes difficult to know where to start, but these would be perfect for our children so I hope they help you too! Have you got any suggestions for gifts for children? We would love to hear what is on your list for Father Christmas this year in the comments box below.

Happy shopping!

Milk and the Myth – Do you Dare Give up your Dairy?

The more I read about cows milk, the more I question the nutritional content when compared to other dairy free alternatives that are now on the market. It’s a controversial issue and I know not something many people will agree with me on (yet) but if I tell you a little bit more about where I’m coming from, you might just understand my concerns.


OK, so growing up in the Western World, we’ve been lead to believe that the white stuff is liquid gold. Our mums taught us it’ll make us grow up to be as strong as daddy, right? But as time goes on and more research is carried out on the effect the consummation of this milk for mammals has on us humans, it’s not looking as good as  it’s been cracked up to be over the years.


A large study in Sweden  found that women who drank more than 3 glasses of cows milk every day had almost twice the mortality rate over 20 years compared to women who drank less than 1. And contrary to the myths perpetuated to us over the years through the media, these women did not have any improved bone health and were surprisingly more prone to fractures than their none milk-drinking peers.



As a parent with a lactose intolerant baby at one time in life, I started my search for dairy free alternatives a long time ago. When we were first diagnosed with Kian’s condition, I was upset at the thought of him missing out on milkshakes, ice-cream and all the other ‘good’ stuff I knew he would enjoy, but when I looked more in depth at the facts, I realized that it’s not just 1 of my children that could potentially live a healthier life if they don’t consume dairy.

 

Higher dairy intake has been linked with high cholesterol levels, diabetes and several cancers as the primary milk protein (casein) has been proven to be susceptible to cancer initiating carcinogens.

 

There’s no doubt that the calcium levels in the lactation fluid are high but a recent study published by Dr. David Ludwig and Dr. Walter Willett from Harvard, showed a lack of evidence on the government’s recommendations that we should all be drinking 3 glasses a day and found no data to support the claim that the consumption of dairy leads to better bones, weight loss, or improved health.


More and more health professionals are now advising that dairy should not be a staple of our diets. The milk from the genetically altered ‘hybridized’ cows is considered much more likely to be problematic for some people. It’s important to remember that cows milk is designed for calves, and not for calves to drink all of their lives either. Typically even calves only consume this liquid until they are weaned (as do all other species on the planet) but it’s us humans that continue to ingest the milk of another species throughout our lives and encourage our children to do the same.


For years, we have been purchasing organic milk from our milk delivery company, in the hope that this was the safest option for our children, but organic cows are also milked while pregnant, so that too contains anabolic hormones (60 different types reported in 1 glass) that can promote growth of the types of cells we really don’t want to mess with.


I personally have been slowly introducing our children to eat oat milk such as Oatly. I love the creamy consistency and having been through the full spectrum of none-dairy alternatives in the supermarket (soya, almond, hazelnut and rice) I’ve found this to be the closest in terms of taste to the cows stuff that I grew up on. Unfortunately, the children are taking more coercing. Kian and Kaira (now 2 years old) have never drunk cows milk and so are more willing to give it a go (although I can tell they’re not too keen just yet) and Ariana (our beautiful 4 -going on 14- year old) point blank refuses to drink it. We’ve tried everything for her to have more than a mouthful, but she absolutely loves cows milk and so she’s not budging.


Which leaves me to ponder whether no milk is better than organic milk for our growing girl? It’s like an internal struggle between the science that is there for us all to see if we just Google it, and the years of having the “Is’nt milk brilliant?” style marketing campaigns thrust upon us. But I think we’ll let our children decide their own preference and let you know how we get along in further blog posts.


Do you have any dairy alternatives? We’d love to hear from you! Use the comments section below or send me a message through our contact page (top right) or the ‘Submit your Story’ page.

The Ferber Method Sleep Training Technique Explained

Helping babies sleep through the night is a major priority for all parents and sleep training comes in all shapes and sizes.

One of the most popular sleep training methods is known as the Ferber method. Developed by Dr. Richard Ferber, the director of The Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders, at Children’s Hospital Boston, the Ferber method of sleep training is on of many effective ways to help your child learn to sleep through the night.
But what is the Ferber method and how does it work? Will it fit into your families lifestyles? Let’s take a closer look.

The Ferber Method Explained

The Ferber method is one technique used to wean children away from sleep associations and help him or her to learn how to fall asleep on their own. Eventually, this will lead to the magical destination of sleeping through the night because if your child can fall asleep without your help, then he or she can get BACK to sleep between sleep cycles.
The Ferber method is also known as the check-and-console method as you gradually teach your child how to fall asleep through a series of incremental check-ins. Over time, you increase the amount of time between check-ins, which allows your child time to practice falling asleep without using sleep associations.

The Ferber Method: How Does It Work?

First, as with any sleep training method, as long as your child is well you can start laying a healthy foundation for sleep. Start by laying your child down drowsy but awake at the start of bedtime, then leave the room. If your child fusses, feel free to check in and offer comfort, but be sure to leave while your child is still awake. From there, each night (or every few nights), you would gradually increase the time between your checks, allowing your child more and more time to learn to self-soothe and fall asleep independently.
Your plan for timed check-ins may look something like this:

  • Day 1 – 3 min (1st interval); 5 min (2nd interval); 10 min (3rd interval); 10 min (remaining intervals)
  • Day 2 – 5 min; 10 min; 12 min; 12 min
  • Day 3 – 10 min; 12 min; 15 min; 15 min
  • Day 4 – 12 min; 15 min; 17 min; 17 min
  • Day 5 – 15 min; 17 min; 20 min; 20 min
  • Day 6 – 17 min; 20 min; 25 min; 25 min
  • Day 7 – 20 min; 25 min; 30 min; 30 min
This example moves between time increments pretty quickly but you can use your own judgment to decide on the best pace that works for you and your baby.

The Ferber Method: Is It Flexible?

With the Ferber method, you can increase or decrease the amount of time between your check-ins as needed; you can also use the same check-in intervals for several days at a time, if you think your child needs more time to get used to falling asleep independently.
Finally, HOW you offer comfort during your check-ins is flexible, too. Some parents prefer to soothe just with their voices, while others pat their babies’ heads, rub their tummy, etc. Other families prefer to pick their children up briefly. All of these can work, provided your child doesn’t inadvertently end up falling asleep in our arms, since that’s what your child is supposed to be doing on their own.

The Bottom Line

The Ferber method can be an effective way to reduce nocturnal crying, protests, and requests for parental soothing, but it is important to note that:
  • The sleep training program is age-appropriate
  • You have considered your child’s individual temperament and personality
  • If your child has a conditioned fear of being alone or shows signs of conditioned vomiting, consult a behavioral therapist
  • Before training begins, make sure that all participating adults understand the procedure. Regardless of the method you choose, success depends on being consistent.

Body After Baby – What can I Expect?

The birth of a baby is such a a joyous occasion and one that will take all your energy to meet the new challenges that motherhood often brings. Different mummy’s react differently to post birth issues. Most are able to recover naturally and easily but some face problems, feeling exhausted, sore, and occasionally depressed. What’s important is to arm yourself with as much information as possible so when the time comes that your body does undergo the stress of childbirth, there are no surprises by what’s to come. So here are the main changes you will face:
 
Immediately after Birth
 

Pregnancy and birth are a natural part of life. A woman’s body is designed to be able to handle the stress encountered as a result of childbirth, however, it is important to never underestimate just how much your body has gone through to bring a child into the world. The changes that your body went through to grow and nurture your baby will have a deep impact that can take months (or sometimes years) to recover from so being patient is important.
 
Discharge of Blood
 

Now that your womb is no longer supporting the baby, the blood lining will be discarded. Whether you’ve given birth naturally or through caesarean, a period type bleed will occur. It can last for six weeks, of which, the first ten days are often the heaviest. For some women, it takes quite a few months for a regular menstrual cycle to resume.
 
Pains
 

Pain and cramps are also a part of post pregnancy recovery. Your womb had distended to house the baby and must now return to its normal size and shape. You might feel some pain, almost like contractions, as it shrinks. A hormone called oxytocin triggers this and can be increased while breastfeeding. Paracetamol is advised to ease the discomfort and is perfectly safe to take within the recommended guidelines while breastfeeding if you choose to do so.
 
Breastfeeding
 

Immediately after birth, your breasts will remain soft. At this point, they haven’t yet started making milk and contain very little colostrum but within around 3-4 days, they will start producing milk and when that happens, your breasts will feel tender, swollen and sometimes hot.
 

The first few times that you feed your baby can be a bit uncomfortable as your nipples might be very sensitive, however over time that feeling of discomfort goes away. You might want to seek advice from a midwife before you leave the hospital if you choose to breastfeed your baby. It’s important to guide the baby to latch on properly to reduce any unnecessary discomfort.
 
Pelvis
 

It’s normal to feel sore and stretched in the pelvic area after birth. Eventually, your vagina will regain its former tone. Your pelvic floor (a stretch of muscles that supports your bladder, womb, and bowels) will eventually relax from its extended position. The pelvic floor has supported your baby’s weight throughout your pregnancy so it’ll take time for it to recover. If you have small or severe vaginal, cervical, or perineum tears, your midwife or doctor will advise you the best way to care for yourself until you have completely healed.
 
Be kind to yourself
 

However you feel, it’s important to remember that you are recovering from a huge emotional and physical upheaval. If you had a caesarean, you will have had major abdominal surgery. Be certain to constantly eat healthy and stay fit. Be kind to yourself and your body, and allow yourself time to get your strength back. What you have achieved is one of the greatest miracles of life and with rest and support, you will soon recover, loose weight after pregnancy and have a beautiful baby or babies to show for all of your hard work.
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Bathing Babies

I’ve been meaning to write this post for quite a while as bathing twins is something I’ve been asked about several times so it’s great that I am finally getting to put my advice down in one place! Like my kitchen floor after your average meal time, babies are slippery when wet and I was nervous as hell (to be perfectly honest) the first time I had two in a bath together at the same time. But bath time can be a lot of fun and we have found it to be the best way to end most days so to get a good ‘grip’ on the situation, here are my top tips:

1)  Invest in the right equipment

support

Your needs will change as the babies grow, but in the early days, we found it best to bath ours together in the tub, supported by plastic cradles with suction pads that stick to the bottom and keep their heads out of the water. Supports such as our favourite from Mamas and Papas provide great stability for parent and baby and I think twins enjoy sharing this relaxing time together, even in the early days. As soon as the babies start sitting up, they can still sit forward in these same supports until they’re steady enough and you’re confident enough that they can manage on their own with just an extra long non-slip bath mat underneath their little bottoms! Kian and Kaira were 7 months old when we were able to let them sit unaided. And then the fun really started.

2)  Get everything ready before you start

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Take a look at these two faces. Do they look like the faces you want to upset if you forget to take towels into the bathroom with you or don’t have something ready to sit them in when they’re done? Thought not! It’s definitely best to get all of your supplies ready and have the bath run before stripping off your little ones and getting them all cold. You might find it easier to bath one baby at a time and if so, take a bouncy chair or play mat into the bathroom with you too so you can pop one in for a wash, get them out and dried off then place them within eyesight while you do round two. In the early days, we would always lay out onesies and nappies ready for dressing the babies as soon as we got them out of the water to prevent them from getting cold and have the milk warm and ready for their feed too.
 

3) Take your time

Although your main aim after a long day wondering how such tiny dots can create so much poop, is probably going to be getting their little bums clean, bath time should be mostly about relaxation for the babies in those early days and fun as they get older. Bathing the kids has become such a staple in our day that the kids look forward to as they get to spend one-on-one time with daddy when he gets home from work.When all three of our children were newborn and for the first few months of their lives, we would darken the bathroom and light it with sensory toys that changed the colour of the bath water whilst playing music to sooth and comfort them. Underwater light shows such as these from amazon are a great way to stimulate their little brains and provide a relaxing atmosphere for you all.

4) You don’t have to bath them every day

Yes. it’s perfectly acceptable to sponge wash your twins in the first few weeks and then bath them every other day or even every few days if you think they’re clean enough because until they’re tipping bowls of beans over each others heads at meal times or running barefoot through your muddy garden, they really don’t get that dirty. We used a Top and Tail bowl such as this from Mamas and Papas and for around £5, it was one of the best investments we made for the kids. For the first few months of their lives, I would fill it with cooled boiled water and lay them down on their changing mat and wipe their eyes (from inner to outer corners), around their noses, mouth and bottoms before getting them dressed for the day. I love how soft Huggies Cotton Soft Sheets are, so these were my preference for these little bed baths!

5) Buy the right products

Even the so-called baby friendly products thrusted at you in supermarkets and online contain some nasty ingredients that aren’t suitable for new babies delicate skin. I was pretty horrified when I looked into this a little further and went down the organic route for the first few months until I was sure that they didn’t suffer from any kind of allergies. I will write more about this in another post but for now I will recommend the Earth Friendly Baby organic range, available on amazon.

Here’s a little film I took of Kaira’s first bath with a commentary of instructions from the lovely midwife who helped us that day. I can’t believe how tiny my babies were!
 

 

So they are my top tips for bathing newborn twins or singletons in fact. It is a nerve racking experience in those early days but within just a few weeks you will be sailing through and have your own routine in place (like getting daddy to do it all while you pour yourself a massive glass of wine!)
 

Making bath time a part of your routine will signal bedtime for baby and get them sleeping through the night much quicker than having no event to signify the end of the day at all. I hope this provides you with a bit of information on what to expect but as always I can respond to individual questions left below or sent to me direct through my ‘about’ page.
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The kids favourite apps

It’s almost like a tornado has just blown into the house when the kids see one of our tablets emerge as they all scramble for prime position to play with their favourite apps. We have 3 tablets (an iPad, a Samsung Galaxy and a Google Nexus) to reduce the amount of fighting and snatching that goes on between them and I really think a small amount of time spent playing with them is both fun and educational. Here are 5 of our favourites:

Pango’s Playground

This is the first app that Ariana absolutely loved to play from around 15 months old and still does to this day. It has 4 playgrounds where kids can pop balloons, splash in the sea and catch trains and really create little worlds with their imaginations. It was nominated 3 times for the Best App Ever Award.

Peppa Pig Happy Mrs Chicken

Happy-Mrs-Chicken-ScreenshotThis app really is a lot of fun. It has 5 interactive games with stickers to collect as rewards for completing mazes, muddy puddles and jigsaws. Ariana would squeal with excitement when she first played on it at around 12 months old and now Kian and Kaira do the same.

Dipdap

dipdap_480The kids love this cartoon so when I saw the app come up in the store, I had to get it for them and they all love it. It plays little cartoons then allows the children to draw objects within the cartoon and watch it play back. The animation is fantastic and really develops creativity.

Earth School

IMG_0887My husband loves to play this one with the kids. It’s so educational, teaching kids about the big bang theory in a really child-friendly way with stars, planets and dinosaurs!

Pepi Bath

pepiBathCoverThis is a super cute game. The app has 4 different situations for a girl or a boy including going to the toilet and taking a bath and it really teaches kids about hygiene. All of mine love wiping the characters noses, washing their hands and combing their hair and I love watching their faces light up when they achieve all of it!

IMG_6983Like a lot of parents, we limit their screen time and they don’t play on them every day but these apps are so much fun, I can’t see any harm in letting them be entertained by such imaginative and educational games sometimes!

Love from Leyla

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Naps

I’ve mentioned in previous posts how important I feel it is to structure babies daytime sleeps in order to ensure we all get the good night time sleep that we so desperately need! I learned so much with Ariana about how too much sleep during the day resulted in her waking earlier the following morning or not going to sleep at bed time at all and too little sleep made her tired and irritable all day, which resulted in her resisting her feeds and generally being pretty grumpy. With Kian and Kaira, I knew what quota of sleep they needed to be happy little babies during the day but also sleepy little babies during the night so here’s what we did if you would like to know.

I think there’s no point trying to structure any sleep until babies are over a couple of weeks old. Just getting twins into the same sleep and feed pattern (as mentioned here) is the most important target in those early weeks.

Morning nap

From around a month old, I was able to wake Kian and Kaira at 6:45am, regardless of how they’d slept during the night (which wasn’t always easy but worth persevering with) to start our day and I found that after their first feed of the day and some ‘play time’ with the family, they could stay awake until around 9:00am when I would take them to bed for their morning nap. I would put them into bed and let them settle themselves, which took practice (more on self-settling here) and let them sleep for around 45 minutes when I would wake them with lots of love and cuddles and their second feed of the day. I found that any more sleep than this in the morning would prevent them from being tired at lunch time when they would have their longest and most important sleep.

Over time when the children had more energy and started to last longer between naps, this nap gradually got pushed back to 9:30am and lasted for only 30 minutes and then I stopped it completely when Ariana was around 6 months and the twins were 9 months old. You will know when they no longer need it when you see absolutely no signs of tiredness during the morning (my children rub their eyes, ears, nose and yawn) so then it’s time to replace it with lots of activities to keep them distracted until it’s time for their longer lunch time nap, which frees up more time in the morning to get out and about but sadly means it’s time to kiss goodbye to those lovely half hours of peace that allowed you to eat and shower in the morning too!

Lunch time nap

My favourite! Ariana had her lunch time nap until she was two and a half years old (just when the twins were born, which wasn’t great timing!) to give you an idea of how blissful your afternoons can be with 2 hours all to yourself to rest (or clean as is most likely) if you get it right! This sleep allowed my children the time their little bodies so desperately needed to recharge their batteries and wake up relaxed and happy, ready to start with their fun afternoon activities.

From around a month old, I would put Kian and Kaira down at 11:30am – 1:30pm and wake them for their afternoon bottle and a few hours of play until their next nap. As they got older (from around 9 months and still now) they lasted from waking at 7:00am until 12:30pm and sleep until 2:30pm, which means now I can give Ariana some all important attention, grab myself something to eat, workout and blog!

Late afternoon nap

In the early weeks, I had this cot in our living room and the twins would sleep side by side from 4:00-4:30pm. I gradually reduced this as they started showing no signs of tiredness (as above) in the late afternoon so I pushed their lunch time nap back to 12:30 – 2:30pm and they managed to last until their bedtime (at 6:30pm in the early months, 7:00pm after around 9 months) without this sleep. I reduced it to a 15 minute nap when they were 4 months old and then they stopped completely a month later.

sleep, naps, baby sleep rpoutines, sleeping through the night, twins, multiples, reflux, naps, sleep schedules, bedtime routine, self settlingI always aimed for a 7:00am – 7:00pm routine with our children and got them up in the morning at the same time (yes, weekends too!) so I knew what time their naps would be and I could plan our day. After 6 months of following the above examples, the twins slept through the night and we felt like we had overcome a real challenge. The reality is that sleep deprivation feels like torture and for my husband and I to get our evenings back to sit (on toys), unwind (with wine) and talk (about the kids) still feels heavenly over a year later. It’s not always easy to stick to a routine as it does require being at home to get them used to sleeping in their own room during the day so they are quite happy to sleep there at night but when I did have to be out and about, I tried to adjust their timings by remembering the golden rule – not to let them sleep for more than 3 hours on average during the day, which still allowed them a good night’s sleep that night.

Of course, there were times when my kids were sick and wouldn’t settle in their beds without cuddles so I let them sleep on me for naps, I’ve put them in the car and drove around to help them sleep a few times, I’ve put them in their double pram and pushed them around the streets to help them sleep when they’ve been poorly too. I’ve even put Kian in a swing chair for sleeps when his reflux was bad as at times it was the only way he was comfortable but I was always prepared to be at home for the majority of their naps and I still make sure our activities are organised around being at home at lunch time to put the twins to bed. My kids absolutely love their bedrooms, we’ve never had any problems with them resisting going to bed at night as their day time naps have helped them to associate their bedrooms with rest and they happily climb into bed themselves every night.

I’ll do just about anything to have a happy home and well rested babies (and parents) are the only way particularly with multiples and other siblings to care for in my opinion! I’ll write more about detailed feed and sleep routines in further blog posts.

I love all of the questions I get asked on Instagram and try to answer as many as I can but it can be a little hap-hazard on so many different pages and profiles. Please leave any comments or questions in the box below so I get notified instantly and can take the time to chat. I’m happy to help if I can!

Love from Leyla

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Game changers

I’m a complete consumer, much to my husband’s eye rolling dismay. But the way I see it is the more streamlined I can make my life, then the happier I’ll be and a happy life needs a happy wife, right? Thought so, which lead me to start a feature on my favourite products.

Whether it comes to things that have helped me around the house, in my beauty regime or with the kids I’m going to blog about it to hopefully I can make life easier for others too. Here’s what I’m loving this week.

vaxMy new Vax 2-in-1 Steam cleaner has made life so much easier for us! I can’t tell you how happy I am to throw away my old mop and bucket that feels like an ancient relic now I’m used to this new machine that’s revolutionised our cleaning regime! All we have to do is fill it with water and within 30 seconds, jets of steam blast onto our floors allowing me to quickly clean after the kids meals without using any harsh chemicals and it’s dry and safe for the kids to walk on (and probably eat off when I’m not looking) within seconds. There’s £60 off them here at Very at the moment, down from £99 to £39.

clipI bought my Scunci hair clip from Boots last year for £4.99 and I’ve wondered so many times how I managed without it since! The shape is flat so there’s no hard spikes digging into my head like with others I’ve used over the years and it’s so easy for me to wrap my hair up in it and get it away from the kids sticky fingers within seconds! I’ve found much less breakage around my crown since I’ve stopped the using bobbles as much now too, I have them all over the house ready to grab when needed!

waterThe kids make such a mess with their paints and pens, which I don’t mind some of the time but when I have had a particularly long day, I’m always looking for ways to encourage their creativity without discouraging my will to live when I’m on my hands and knees scrubbing crayon from walls for the fourteenth time of the day. I’ve been a huge fan of Melissa and Doug’s products since becoming a parent and their Water Wow line is at the top of my list of appreciation (seriously – thank you!). The cute little pens are refillable and the colourful pages are reusable and Ariana loves to practice writing with the ‘magic’ water then watching it dry and starting again. They’re great for using in the car and I can get on with jobs without worrying about my walls while they’re left within reach of Kian and Kaira too!

doidy cupSince the twins are getting more and more independant, I’ve switched their weaning products for more grown up versions. Practising drinking from ‘big cups’ like their big sister is a daily challenge for Kian and Kaira and I’ve found the Doidy cup to be a perfect product to teach them how to drink from a rim. The shape is designed for kids to see the liquid coming toward them when they tip the cup so they can control the flow with ease and the handles give them the independence they so desperately crave at the moment. I’m going to do a more detailed post on weaning products that we’ve loved really soon!

Vaseline

As every parent knows, the time we have to get ready in the morning is so short, it could feature as a speed sport in the the Olympics. Whether I’ve worked out and rushed home to shower before the babies wake from their afternoon nap or I’ve dived out of bed before anyone wakes up in the morning and tip-toed to the bathroom, I generally have around five minutes to wash and dress so moisturising my body has sadly become a luxury I could only afford to do at weekend, until now. Vaseline Spray and Go is so easy to use, it smells great and it’s not sticky so I can get dressed immediately after I’ve applied it and continue my marathon to get the kids fed, dressed and out on the school run without any delay.

I’m going to write more about the products that are making our lives easier in time and I’d love to hear about any others you would recommend so that I can try them too! My comments box (below) is always open!

Love from Leyla

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Reflux – an update 

Whenever we are lead into a false sense of security by the children and dare to revel in their accomplishments, the universe seems to have a sneaky way of teaching us a lesson and reminding us it’s the little one’s that are in charge around here. For example “hey the kids are sleeping great!” – cue screaming fits at 1:00 am, or “have you noticed there’s much less food on the floor at meals times?” – cue flying bowls and porridge dodging at 7:00 am, and “the kids haven’t had a cold for ages!” – cue snotty noses for the next 6 weeks…you get my drift.

So it’s with these strange cosmic forces in mind that I have hesitated in writing this post for a while because I was scared that if I publicized what I am about to tell you, the universe would conspire to punish me for bragging! But, here we go – Kian has been off his reflux medication for a month! Yes! A month! And I don’t care if you’re listening Universe, I’m saying it loud and proud to all of our friends who read this blog as some parents with children suffering from reflux may just need some motivation to the finish line!

photo (1)It’s been over a year since Omeperazole ‘the wonder drug’ changed our lives and I don’t regret for a second starting Kian on the medication. It improved his health within 2 weeks and our baby got to live a life as pain-free and healthily as his sisters. Of course, I was never fond of administering it to him every day but I knew it was for the greater good and that this day would come that I could tell you he has finally grown out of the gastric disease and no longer needs to rely on Omeperazole to get him through the day.

I am so very grateful to the doctor’s, dieticians and medical staff at our local surgery and hospital who have diagnosed, advised and supported me through both Kian and Kaira’s treatment and to my family and friends who have wiped my tears, kept me strong and told me to never give up my hopes of his recovery.

I have blogged several times about our experiences with reflux and I like to think I’ve helped people through here and Instagram too. I will always endeavour to advise people on the subject as it is so close to my heart. Thank you for sharing our journey with us.

More of our blog posts regarding reflux can be found using the search term ‘reflux’ in the icon with the magnifying glass or here:

Weaning a baby with reflux

Reflux signs and symptoms

Omeperazole the wonder drug

Reflux getting diagnosed

Love from Leyla

 

 

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Weaning a baby with reflux

Weaning is such a complex issue for parents with children who suffer with a gastric disease and I have written posts about our experiences with reflux previously here and here. With my first born beauty, I was so excited to get her started on solid food when she was around 5 months old and I’d sit and plan what vegetable I was going to blend next with the same excitement I used to reserve for online shopping and spa days.

With Kian it was different. Because I knew he was struggling with his digestion, for both lactose intolerance problems and silent reflux, I was terrified of what I could and should feed him. At this point, the twins were around 5 months old and I hadn’t yet had an appointment with a dietician, but with lots of research online, in books, through friends and from trial and error, I learned what they could and couldn’t eat.

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If you already have a diagnosis for your child’s reflux and are about to enter the wonderful world of weaning, then you will notice certain reactions to certain foods and soon learn to avoid them. Most babies readily accept any first foods and I find that beginning with dairy free baby rice mixed with a baby’s own milk a great place to start. From there, I mixed in puréed pear or parsnip as I found these foods to be the only ones tolerable by my reflux babies at first as the acid in many others were too harsh for their digestion. From mixing them with baby rice, I then went on to giving the fruit and vegetables on their own, after they had begun to like the new flavours.

Another of the problems with weaning reflux babies can sometimes be an aversion to anything solid going into their mouths as a result of months of battling with their bottles. Kaira really struggled with the feeling of a spoon in her mouth and gagged a little for the first few weeks but with very gentle perseverance, eventually she got used to it. Giving her a spoon to suck on in between mouthfuls helped her gain a sense of control in the situation and provided a useful distraction.

Here’s what we learned:

  • Start with- pear, swede, potato, honeydew (yellow) melon, parsnip
  • Progress to – banana, broccoli, sweet potato, spinach, blueberry
  • Avoid – apple, raspberry, pineapple, strawberry, tomato, citrus fruit.

If you start with the above and give it at least 3 days before introducing a new food from each list, you’ll know what is causing any reactions (diarreah, crying, constipation etc) so you will know to eliminate that particular item from their diet (keeping a food diary could help with this too). I have to say that if you are beginning to wean a baby with suspected or diagnosed reflux, things will get easier. Kian didn’t manage to tolerate any of the food in the ‘Avoid’ category until he was around 10 months old, to give you an idea of how long it can take.

I still regret not noticing Kian’s symptoms when he ate some of the above sooner. I was giving him food with apple in and he would scream for hours, before I realised what was causing his pain. I hope I can help other parents avoid going through the misery I did while weaning reflux babies with this advice.

If you have bad experiences with bottle feeding caused by the disease, then I promise getting your baby/ies onto solids is a great step in the right direction! Please leave any questions or comments below or contact me direct from my ‘about’ page. I will write more about weaning including recipes and equipment in further blog posts.

* update – as a lovely friend of mine on Instagram reminded me after reading this post, some babies can react badly to cereal in their diet as it can cause constipation, which flairs reflux. If your child is constipated, it’s best to restrict cereal and stick to puréed fruit and vegetables alone until they’re older.

Love from Leyla