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Guest Post: An Unofficial Guide to New Baby Essentials

Getting ready for your baby’s arrival can be overwhelming with all the advice you and your partner will receive. However, there’s no need to fret, as there’s no perfect method to becoming a dad, especially when it comes to your baby’s arrival. Our previous article on Breaking Dad even talks about how you can never truly be prepared for parenthood. And despite society’s expectation that the mother will be the one to usually care for the child, you can definitely take responsibility as well. To help you start caring for your newborn, here are some essentials to start you in the right direction:

Nappies and Hygiene Needs

When your baby’s nappy overflows, you should wash them with a gentle body soap in a washbasin with enough space for you to properly support their head. Speaking of nappies — which are a given, of course — nappy rash cream will come in handy in case your newborn’s skin is sensitive to a certain brand. For covering their small bodies, your baby’s first wardrobe should be a layette set, which consists of a bodysuit, mittens, booties, a bonnet, a sleepsuit, and a receiving blanket.

Feeding needs

Though you may not be the one nursing your baby, you can still feed them expressed breast milk or formula milk when mum is busy or needs to rest. BabyCentre’s feature on baby bottles can benefit you and the baby in different ways. The MAM Easy Start bottles, for instance, are self-sterilising and anti-colic. Your baby will easily take to the teats as well. Meanwhile, the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature bottles have wide teats that make them easy for a baby to take. The Closer to Nature range also includes a steriliser and the Perfect Prep machine, which can make a bottle of formula to an exact temperature.

Travel and Active Day Must-Haves

For going out, you’ll want a pushchair that reclines so your newborn can lie down flat as you go about your daily tasks or take them on walks outside. It would also be a good idea to invest in a pushchair that lets them navigate a multitude of terrains with ease while keeping their baby comfy. With this in mind, iCandy’s pushchairs are designed to be suitable from your child from birth until they are a toddler, allowing parents to go about their day with their child safely wrapped up in quilted fabrics and safety harnesses. And not only can the cot be angled to let them lie flat or face the world, they’re also removable and can function as carriers. It’s equipped with a storage basket where you can put other essentials, such as the nappy bag. Consider getting a body carrier as well, as NetDoctor explains the benefits of babywearing for father and baby bonding. The physical contact and face time you get with the baby, either by wearing them in a sling or being the face they see when you push their pram, will help create a positive and loving relationship between the two of you.

Sleeping Essentials

Some parents prefer to co-sleep, or sleep beside their baby, but this places them at a higher risk of SIDS (the sudden infant death syndrome). This is why the Sleep Foundation recommends that babies sleep in a cot in your bedroom, at least for the first six months. Make sure the cot has a firm mattress along with fitted crib sheets, and a light blanket to keep them cosy. You’ll also need a waterproof mattress cover, as your new baby will have an accident or two along the way.

At the end of the day, bringing up a baby certainly isn’t easy, but these essentials will serve as a helping hand for you and your partner during the early stages of parenthood. When it comes down to it, being a dad is one of the most beautiful roles a person can step into, which is why the preparation and sleepless nights will all be worth it in the long run.

Written exclusively for thebreakingdad.co.uk by Jodi James

Picture of family laughing surrounded by bubbles
Guest Posts

Guest Post: Making the Most of Family Time

This week’s guest post is written by the amazing Emma from @CoverMyBubble. Emma was one of our earliest followers on Instagram and has been supporting what we do since the very beginning!

With us all spending more time with our families recently, maybe you have realised that sometimes the simple things can make the best memories. For the ones of us who normally spend more time than we would like away from home, or do shift work, this last year may well have been the best opportunity to have valuable family time with your bubble.

What have families being doing during lockdown?

Apart from getting stressed with home schooling and getting under each other’s feet, 2020 and the start of 2021 have taught us that we can entertain our children, and ourselves, without having to spend lots of money. Doing home activities, experiencing the outdoors and connecting with each other more has hopefully made us value ‘bubble time’ more.

Below are a number of fun things to do if you’ve run out of ideas.

  1. Build dens with furniture, sheets, pillows and fairy lights – or make a forest den outdoors with branches, near to your home
  2. Make wallpaper people – use leftovers to make a full-size version of yourself, or a monster. Why not use it to educate kids on the human body?
  3. Shadow drawings using sunlight, toys and paper to cast shadows for the kids to draw round and make amazing pictures.
  4. Make a family tree – not only can you make it colourful, but you will need to chat to your whole family to find out your history and the kids will love it.
  5. Crafting & baking – the ideas are endless; cutlery characters like Forky, cress-heads, pottery, sock puppets, cardboard robots/kitchens/animals/shops etc, cakepops, biscuits…
  6. Make outdoors more fun – scavenger/nature hunts, find rocks to paint, make flowerbed or vegetable patch, explore what’s on your doorstep.

Why is family time important?

Everyone experiences big changes in their lives, but no one knows when it is going to happen to them. As parents we’re going through stress, anxiety, frustration, and other negative impacts. For the sake of ourselves and our children, we need to make sure our minds, health and attitude are in the best possible place. If we keep positive and pass that onto others by stimulating the senses, we’ll re ready for whatever dreams and goals we have set ourselves for the future.

Make sure you are there for others and keep in contact with friends and family. Share your feelings with your loved ones, so they know what you are going through, good or bad. Its ok to be not ok but share it so we can watch out for one another.  

How to make the most of family time

Time with your family bubble can be very different depending on your circumstances. That’s why we need to make memories for our future, so we can look back and remember the good times. We may go through the loss of a loved one or experience poor health, which will sometimes make us look back with sadness. That’s why memories are so important and the variety of them, will keep us remembering them for many years to come.

Record your times together by taking plenty of photos and videos and sharing them with your extended family and friends. You may not think it’s worth it at the time, but when things don’t go to plan later in life, you’ll value these memories.

Protecting for your family’s future

Your bubble is very important to you, but if a sudden event like serious illness or death was to affect you, are you protected? Are your children covered? A long-time off work ill or injured or the loss of your partner, will have a direct impact on your finances. Cover My Bubble are a family business who have experienced not being insured when they lost their daughter, Lillie. They don’t want other families to go through financial hardship like they did and want to raise awareness about the affordable family insurances suitable for you. If you want to make sure you are protected properly or have some questions, please contact Emma at @CoverMyBubble

Cover My Bubble Ltd. don’t charge any fees and can compare policies with all the top UK insurance companies. Imagine them as a friendly, flexible, real-life comparison site, but an actual insurance broker with your family their priority.

You can reach us direct by calling 01254 460880 too!


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Guest Posts

Guest Post | Lockdown baby: A Dad’s perspective

This week’s guest post is written by Nick of @2_mindstogether. He talks about the experience of becoming a father for the second time during a national lockdown.

Having experienced both a lockdown and non-lockdown birth (3 years apart) you may be reassured to learn that these life-changing events weren’t that dissimilar.

Here’s our story, along with some top tips of how to cope with and support your partner giving birth during a lockdown.

Let’s face it…2020 was not the year we all thought it would be.

For me, 2020 was a huge year with the birth of my 2nd child. I wasn’t going to let the distraction of COVID come in my way but if I’m being honest, it was an extra thing to stress about.

It all began when the country (UK) went into a lockdown on 23rd March.

It was announced that all pregnant women in their 3rd trimester MUST stay at home and isolate until the birth.

The Government and top scientists were still unsure as to what harm COVID could cause an unborn child.

This was a strange feeling for me because all of a sudden, I felt an overwhelming responsibility to look after the household, even more so than usual.

It was down to me to do all the food shops and battle with the huge queues of people fighting their way into the store to secure the last remaining toilet rolls or pasta!

HANDY TIPS FOR THE LEAD UP TO THE BIRTH



Prepare well!
I can’t stress this one enough because when the baby is here you will realise how little time you have.

So, get planning those post-baby evening meals and batch cook in advance.

We did this and it worked a treat. It meant that there was one less thing to think about whilst adjusting to fatherhood!

Not only does this save money, but it also meant that the “Dad Bod” won’t appear from endless takeaways.

Be adaptable.
This is paramount in the lead up to the birth.

It could be as simple as doing additional tasks/chores in the house when your partner falls asleep on the sofa at 7 pm!

Yes, this is necessary to keep the house running smoothly (Us men also need to remember that our partners are growing a little human after all!)

• Keep calm.
I feel my most valuable bit of advice comes last; always remain calm in every situation.

Being pregnant is such a mix of emotions both positive and negative and in moments of panic or worry, a calming voice will always shine through. Sometimes all she will need you to say is “everything is going to be ok”.

Throughout the pregnancy, I was lucky enough to attend the baby scans (pre-lockdown), but I’m aware that many Dads are missing out on these special moments.

Scans are such an important part of the journey to meeting your newborn.

It’s like a jigsaw and you’re slowly piecing together the amazing gift you’re about to discover and being able to share these moments with your partner is so important.

During our pregnancy, I wasn’t to attend the midwife appointments which was a real shame because these are the only times she was in contact with a professional supporting her.

HANDY TIPS FOR APPOINTMENTS (OR LACK OF)

• Communicate.
Ask your partner how the appointment went and what was discussed, and listen to any concerns your partner has.

For me, it was about trying to be the most supportive I could.

It also allows your partner to talk through and process the information given to them clearly.

• Expect the unexpected
Secondly, during a lockdown, you need to plan for the worst-case scenario.

What if you tested positive for COVID-19 days before the birth? Can you really afford to run the risk of catching the virus by going out for non-essential activities?

Make sure you self-isolate for two weeks before the due date.

This is easier said than done and requires planning ahead for things such as food etc., but if done correctly and safely it should guarantee your presence at the birth.

The big day came and, surprisingly, I felt relaxed knowing that we would be meeting our new arrival.

I’m one of those people who likes to plan ahead and know exactly what the day entails. However, this completely changed when we arrived as the Delivery Suite was already full (at 8 am)!

They placed Lucy temporarily on a ward but no birth partners were allowed due to COVID.

This meant that we had to go our separate ways and I was told I would be informed when the section was going to happen.

I found this strange moment, but at least I didn’t have to witness Lucy’s cannula being fitted after several failed attempts (it sounded like the most traumatic bit)!

HANDY TIPS FOR HOSPITAL

• Be brave!
I had to remain strong for Lucy and put aside my phobia of needles in the prep for her c-section (epidural).

I don’t think she would have appreciated it if I had fainted and ended up on the floor!

Take snacks.
It’s hard work sitting around all day!

• Keep positive.
Your partner is bound to be her most anxious and be asking lots of “what if” questions.

Stay strong.
You need to remain as adaptable to the environment as possible, which takes mental strength. Hospitals are busy places and emergencies can occur at any point…so be prepared to wait your turn!

Take a charger!
You’ll be inundated with messages and will want to update certain people on progress, but you’ll probably want to watch or listen to something; you never know how long your wait will be.

Everything went well and our little boy had arrived in the world.

The major difference this time around was the limited time I was allowed with our baby and Lucy post-birth.

The two hours flew by and being told to leave by staff felt harsh and unnatural, but at the same time acceptance of the pandemic we were involved in soon took over.

Leaving the hospital that afternoon was strange.

Luckily, I was coming home to my 2-year-old and I was so excited to share the good news and tell him about his little brother.

It felt hard leaving Lucy, but I was confident that she’d be absolutely fine having done this all before.

I was obviously in the fortunate position to not be a first-time Dad, so I can only imagine how strange it would feel leaving your partner and first baby hours after becoming a father.

HANDY TIPS FOR POST BIRTH

Get stuck in
Taking an active role is important, especially when changing that first “tar” like nappy!

• Look after your partner
She’s bound to be shattered after going through so much, so be there for her and give her lots of reassurance.

Take plenty of photos
Capture the memories, especially videos; then you’ll be able to look through when you’re back home and everything isn’t such a blur.

The simple fact is that there is no blueprint as to how to parent.

Although we have been “winging it” from day one (and continue to do so now), it’s always good to seek guidance and support from others in those early weeks to reaffirm that you’re doing a good job.

In a lockdown, however, this can be tricky.

It was hard for us having limited contact with family and friends as they offer advice and support when it’s most needed.

Fortunately for us, we did feel lucky that this was our second child as it helped us to feel a little more confident.

All I would say is use the extra time that you have to get routines nailed, build confidence as a Dad and develop your relationship with your child.

Nick

Instagram – @2_mindstogether
Blog – www.2mindstogether.co.uk
Facebook – @twomindstogether
Twitter – @mindstogether_2

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Follower Focus, Guest Posts

Follower Focus: The Windsors

We have so many fantastic followers on social media. Each and every one of them has an amazing story to tell and we wanted to share some here on thebreakingdad.co.uk. Our first ever Follower Focus is from one of our earliest followers, @WindsorFamLife, an amazing mum of five from Dorset!

I’m Gemma, 40 and a Mum of five from sunny Dorset on the South Coast, married to Darren and together we make up The Windsor Family!

My eldest daughter, Lottie (Charlotte) is 16 and she was diagnosed as having autism in June 2019. My eldest son, James is 15 and was born with Down Syndrome. My youngest son, Ollie (Oliver) is 13 and my youngest two daughters, Emily and Lucy are 7 and 5.

So, if your maths is good, you will have worked out that I had James when I was just 25, which isn’t at all common, as most women that have babies born with Down Syndrome are older mothers.

Darren and I met in 2002 and we had bought our first house together just a year later! A year later again in 2004 we had our first child and in 2005 we got married.

This brings us to December 2005, when we bought our next home and within 2 weeks of moving in we had James!

We didn’t know James had Down Syndrome and at the 12 week scan (which was the day before our wedding) they told me that I had a 1:400 chance of having a baby with Down Syndrome. Not to worry they said, you are very young! So we didn’t think of it again, until the night before I went for my C- section when it suddenly popped into my head! However as quick as the thought was there it was gone again as it was exciting to be meeting our second child.

James was born 5 days before Christmas and as they laid him on my chest in the operating theatre I was going cross eyed looking at his little nose trying to work out whose nose he had as it didn’t look like mine or Darren’s.

In recovery I tried to latch James on for a breast feed but he was so floppy and sleeping, he just wasn’t interested. So the nurse did his baby check on him instead and said to try feeding him again later.

While they did his baby check, a nurse brought me some toast and a drink, so I tucked into that not really watching the baby check but Darren however was watching and later told me they were spending extra time this time compared to our first baby’s check.

A few minutes later, the midwife went off to get a second opinion of another midwife. It was at this point they said they think our baby may have Down Syndrome as he showed several physical characteristics.

  • A flattened face, especially the bridge of the nose
  • Almond-shaped eyes that slant up
  • A short neck
  • Small ears
  • A tongue that tends to stick out of the mouth
  • Small hands and feet
  • A single line across the palm of the hand (palmar crease)
  • Small pinky fingers that sometimes curve toward the thumb
  • Poor muscle tone and loose joints

There are several different characteristics and James had most so they said they would send for a blood test to confirm if he had Down Syndrome but it would be 5 days for the results.

We took one look at him and it was like the penny had dropped! That’s why we couldn’t quite place his little nose, why he couldn’t latch to breastfeed and why he was so sleepy.

They then said he needed warming up and a tube feed of some formula as he hadn’t fed since birth, so they popped him in the hot cot for the night while I was on the ward expressing breastmilk like fury!

I didn’t get to hold him again until the next morning which was really hard. Once I was able to get up and walk I was straight in to see him and it wasn’t long before he was on the ward with me again.

We stayed in hospital for 6 days, which included Christmas Day which was heart wrenching as it was our first Christmas in our new house and our baby girl was at home without her Mummy on Christmas morning.

We came home Boxing Day night once James had finally managed a bottle feed and had his tube removed!

It hit Darren hard the first day he was told James had Down Syndrome and he came home and cried.

For me, it was a case of carrying on being James’ Mummy. He was a baby who needed me. However as the months went on and all my other baby friends’ children hit their milestones, it started to sink in that James had Down Syndrome and what this meant for him. It hit me hard around 6 months – I went onto antidepressants and was at an all time low.

However with time and support, I got better and excited that James is just an absolute superstar!

He is 15 now and has proved to me he can do anything he wants to in life!

If you’d like to share your story, drop us an email on [email protected] and let’s talk!

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Nawal Houghton Divorce Coach
Guest Posts

Guest Post: Is Narcissism All That Bad?

This is an exciting one for us this week, as Nawal Houghton from Your Divorce Coach has kindly written our first ever guest post on TheBreakingDad.co.uk on a subject I think many people will be interested in – particularly those who are going through separation.

If you’d like to feature as a guest blogger drop me an email.

Ah yes this word “Narcissism”, it’s everywhere isn’t it? And certainly for me as an expert at divorcing/separating from narcissists, it’s the main reason my clients come to me seeking clarity and strategy in their divorce process.

Some of you may have heard some horrific stories about people having narcissistic parents, members of family, co-workers, bosses and even partners. I am willing to bet that for the most part, all you’ve heard is the bad stuff, I mean all you have to do is Google Narcissism and it’s all bad, bad, bad.

Just in case you don’t know what we are talking about here, Narcissism is a personality disorder where a person has an exaggerated sense of self, a deep need for attention from others and a total lack of empathy amongst a long list of other traits.

I am going to pivot slightly here now.

Narcissism isn’t always bad. There is ‘Healthy Narcissism’.

So hear me out and this may shock you. The vast majority of us are Narcissistic to some degree.

If we weren’t we wouldn’t brush our teeth, go to the hairdresser, go clothes shopping for the latest trends, and other run-of-the-mill daily tasks that we have come to accept as perfectly normal.

This is good, healthy Narcissism.

Healthy Narcissism is related to self-esteem and self-worth.

Narcissism needs to be identified looking on a spectrum.

On one end, you do have the malignant, covert Narcissists who will manipulate, gaslight and abuse you in order to achieve total control over you.

At the other end, there is healthy Narcissism. This is what we need to be conscious of when we talk about Narcissism.

We need to be careful about branding the word around and really try to understand what arena we are talking in and where on the spectrum this Narcissism that you are experiencing is falling on.

We almost need to be Narcissistic in everyday life.

Let’s talk real life. We are currently living in a pandemic. After a shocking rise in mental health cases around the world, the need to feel good is key.

If we are able to experience feeling joyful at these difficult times, then this is an example of when Narcissism is a good thing.

People have come to realise that Narcissism is acceptable to some degree in most aspects of our lives. For example, the need to big ourselves up a bit when we are in job interviews; my goodness we’ll even do this on a date.

Does this mean we are narcissistic? Again, it’s all about where they fall on the spectrum.

If Narcissism allows you to be more self-confident about certain things then again depending on how it is being used, that’s no bad thing.

We can spend hours scrolling through images and videos on the likes of Instagram, TikTok and Facebook, is everyone on there Narcissistic?

No, not everyone.

Yes, their selfies are exhausting, the display of perfect faces, bodies and lives hitting us at our core and causing us to come to realise the difference between Real life vs Insta life.

But, what do we know of their stories?

What do we know of their struggle?

There are so many factors we need to consider.

Perhaps what you may consider Narcissism is someone’s personal battle with their self-esteem and what you are seeing is their expression of gratitude.

Maybe if we were grateful about ourselves, would we have the ability to see their actions for something else other than egoism?

So how do I tell the difference?

If we think that we are dealing with someone narcissistic, what do we need to ask ourselves when we are trying to identify if we think we are dealing with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Consider the traits that you are looking at.

When trying to identify whether someone is Narcissistic, look at their behaviour.

What are the traits that you are seeing?

  • Are they verbally abusive? Are they mentally abusive?
  • Are they unable to understand the consequences of their actions?
  • Do they project?
  • Do you feel manipulated?
  • Do you feel unsafe?
  • Do you feel controlled?
  • Does it feel like you are walking on eggshells all the time?

These are all strong red flags and warning signs that you are dealing with a narcissist – And this where I help my clients.

Divorcing a Narcissist is harder than being married to one.

If you need help divorcing or separating from a toxic personality and/or Narcissist, then please feel free to contact me at [email protected]

Nawal offers a free 15 minute discovery call and you can check out her Instagram for free daily content.

You can also download of her ‘Top 20 Phrases to use when communicating with a Narcissist’ on her website: www.yourdivorcecoach.org.uk.

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