Across the world there is one thing that stays true, that parenting is both joyful but hard for everyone. We all have coping mechanisms to get us through our daily lives. Parenting is all about learning and trying different things and we should be doing more to learn from each other. Scandinavian countries consistently deliver some of the highest scores for childhood happiness. As I spent the first few years of my life in Norway, I am intrigued to see what I can learn to improve my children’s happiness. I have done some research to dig out some of the most fascinating parenting tips from Scandinavia.

Parenting tips from Scandinavia

Daily Outdoor Time

In all Scandinavian countries is it the norm for children to get outdoor exposure everyday. Even in the mist of winter children and even babies are encouraged to wrap up and get outside. Babies will often be left to nap outside in their prams. Parents believe that getting outside daily is good for your health.

Hands-off Parenting

Freedom and independence are key pillars of parenting in the Nordic’s. Children are encouraged to explore, play and learn themselves. Scandinavian countries are some of the safest in the world, so parents are more relaxed about letting their children go free.

Close Connections

In Iceland as most people live in areas that have a village feel, connections with family and friends are paramount. In Sweden the government helps new mums connect with other mums in their local area. Parenting is seen as a role for the whole community.

Childcare

Most children in Scandinavian countries attend child care. The government heavily subsidises childcare from one, so parents can work without worry of the cost. They encourage free play and don’t push any academics until they are a lot older.

 

Hopefully you are able to use some of these tips Scandinavia parents and they are of use on your parenting journey.

 

Tammymum

When anyone thinks of mastitis they think about it occurring early in the breastfeeding journey. However as I’ve personally experienced it can happen at any point.

Mastitis is an inflammation of the breast tissue caused by breastfeeding. The NHS say that it usually happens within the first three months of feeding.

I’ve now had mastitis three times during the last 10 months and it never gets easier. In fact dealing with the symptoms only becomes harder as your baby gets more active. I have considered moving completely to a bottle but once the pain clears I have found it easier to keep going with breastfeeding.

In my experience there are a few things you can do at home when you first notice symptoms.

Please note I am not a doctor or midwife this is purely how I personally have dealt with mastitis. If in any doubt go straight to your doctor and they will access you and may subscribe antibiotics to deal with any infection.

Home care to ease Mastitis

Take a hot bath or shower – heat is your friend with mastitis. The water and heat should ease some pain.

Comb your boob – this sounds like a weird one but use a soft brush or comb to try to ease pressure in your ducts. Do this in the bath or shower if more comfortable.

Use a hot water bottle – again heat will help ease some of the pain.

Feed on the affected boob – I know this sounds madness when you are suffering but it’s honestly the best thing that will help clear your ducts.

Use a pump – if you can’t bear the thought of feeding your baby, use a pump to help clear the blocked ducts.

Take painkillers – paracetamol or ibuprofen or both if you are able to do and are not allergic. This will be the fastest thing to bring down a temperature/fever.

Have rest – not easy at all with little ones but your body will be exhausted. Try and get some help from family or a friend so you can at least have a nap.

Rest with the furbaby while my other baby sleeps

Hopefully trying out these home care techniques will help minimise your symptoms, if you are unlucky enough to develop mastitis.

 

Hot Pink Wellingtons

Today marks the last day for the self care week campaign (Self Care Forum). The theme this year is all about engaging and empowering people to look after their own health.

Self care for mums

As mums we are so busy looking and monitoring our families health and wellness, we often overlook our own. Even after birth a mum is discharged from midwife care usually after only 10 days. It is often assumed the hard job is done with pregnancy and birth and the newborn babies health takes priority.

However, it is paramount though that mums begin to value themselves more and realise that both their physical and mental health are just as important.

In modern society it feels as though there is increasing pressure to become the perfect wife, friend, mother, worker and homemaker. This is putting unrealistic expectations on women. There is no such thing as perfect, it is a pure illusion. All we can do is be the best versions of ourselves and this can only be done if we prioritise our well-being alongside that of our families.

A positive well-being is both that of the body and the mind. Taking time with or away from the children, to do exercise can have huge positive effects on both your body and mind. Doing something just for you, even if it’s just taking a bath, can help you feel more centred and calm. A mum who is happy, healthy and relaxed is of utmost importance within the home.

Self care week should act as a reminder that every one single one of us deserves to fully embrace our health. There is saying that happens on airplanes that rings true in this situation, “In case of a loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks above your seat will deploy, please place the mask first and then assist your child or other passengers”. As mums we must embrace self care, to be the best us for our children.

For my first day away from my smallest child (she’s now 9 months old), I had an absolute cracker. My mum and I went to see the stunning Harry Potter and The Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre in London.

My mum and I have always been Harry Potter fans since the first books came out. So when tickets were released over a year ago, we decided to try to get some. We were lucky after waiting all day online, we managed to secure some. Knowing I was pregnant at the time we opted for a pre-Christmas showing the following year, when I would be ok to leave the baby all day.

In case you haven’t heard of it, Harry Potter and The Cursed Child is a two-part play written by Jack Thorne, taken from a story written by Thorne, J. K. Rowling and John Tiffan. If you haven’t read the play yet or don’t want to ruin the premise of the story, don’t worry I won’t be including any story line spoilers here. Neither will I reveal and specific special effects you might see, #keepthesecrets!

Instead I will just cover my general view of what you can expect.

Harry Potter and The Cursed Child

Each part of the play is a full 2hrs 40mins (over 5hrs of Harry Potter). Part one can either be watched as a matinée (like we did) or an evening show. Part two then follows on the same day as the evening show or on a second night again as an evening show.

If I’m honest I didn’t know how we would manage to sit through a play that long. However I can assure you this play is unlike no other, from the moment it starts you are transported straight into the magical wizardry world of Harry Potter and time whizzes by.

We were left amazed, surprised, taken back and even sometimes scared by the breathtaking scenery and special effects on the stage. Some elements were pure magic and I still can’t figure out exactly how they were performed.

The actors during our performance were exceptional. Each one truly encapsulated the essence of the characters that we all know so well. So emotionally connected to them do you become, it felt almost sad to leave them behind in the theatre.

So whilst I wait for my next Harry Potter fix, you can get your own by booking tickets on the West End. The play is on sale now until October 2018, but already look pretty well sold (the more expensive tickets are easier to get). If London is too far, the play will also be showing on Broadway New York from April 2018 and in Melbourne Australia from early 2019.

Not only is the market flush with alternative advent calendars for kids this year (Best Advent Calendars Ideas For Kids), there is also a lot of choice for us mums. Unless you have a partner who thinks ahead and treats you to one, it is probably best to buy your own so you get what you want! We definitely deserve to treat ourselves once in a while.

Top choices for mum’s advent calendars include:

 

Candle Advent Calendars

Christmas Tealight Advent Calendar – £25

John Lewis tealight advent calendar comes with 24 scented tealights and holder.

Yankee Candle Advent Calendar – £34.99

Always a popular one, includes tealight candles based on festive fragrances.

 

Beauty Advent Calendars

Clarins 12 Days Advent Calendar – £60

Includes samples of some of Clarins top products.

Decleor Beauty Advent Calendar – £65

24 skin saviours from the bestselling ranges, including Hydra Floral and Aurabsolu.

Liz Earle Advent Calendar – £66

The 12 Days of Christmas, featuring iconic classics, skincare solutions, fine fragrance and all-important accessories.

Nuxe Beauty Advent Calendar – £49

A collection of luxurious skin and body care treats from NUXE.

 

Alcohol Advent Calendars (it’s Christmas after all!)

Virgin Wines Advent Calendar – £79.99

24 individual servings of wine, by Virgin.

Aldi Wine Advent Calendar – £49.99

24 bottles of red, white, rosé and fizz include in this advent calendar.

That Boutiquey Gin Advent Calendar – £99.95

3cl gin samples from the world’s first independent gin bottler.

Pip Stop Sparkling Wine Advent Calendar – £125

Add some extra sparkle to your Christmas with this calendar full of sparkling wines.

 

Jewellery Advent Calendars

Johnny Loves Rosie Advent Calendar – £55

25 doors to open with a mix of jewellery inside including earrings, bracelets, necklaces and charms.

Trouva Nutcracker Advent Calendar – £25

Charm braclet, with charms each day.

Lisa Angel Personaled Jewellery Advent Calendar – £55

Personalised packing, including luxury charm jewellery for 12 days of Christmas.

Aldi Jewellery Advent Calendar – £9.99

One of the most afforable alternative advent calendars available in Aldi stores.