10 Things New Mums Shouldn’t Worry About

It’s another of those undeniable truths no one tells you until you’re pregnant: the minute those two blue lines appear you’ll start to experience a low-level anxiety that lasts for the rest of your parenting life. Becoming a mum can feel totally overwhelming at times, and it’s easy to obsess over the smallest of details. So save some time (and a little piece of your sanity) by checking off the stuff you really don’t need to worry about…

Not Knowing What The F* To Do

Repeat after us: I WILL KNOW WHAT TO DO. Yep, even if the total sum of your parenting experience thus far was holding your mates’ baby while she went for a wee, or 15 minutes of hide and seek with a mildly bearable four-year-old one Christmas. How will you know when to feed them? What if they are too hot/cold? What if you’re so knackered that you don’t hear them cry in the night? Right now the fact you’ll be allowed to leave the hospital with a tiny human and no previous experience makes zero sense… but trust us when we talk about instinct. Nobody knows your baby better than you do, and you’ll be an amazing mum.

Keeping Your House Clean

For the first two weeks your house will feel like Euston Station; a constant stream of family and friends all wanting to meet your brand-new bundle of joy and hear you tell birth story for the seventh time that morning. Lovely yes, but also really annoying, especially when you’re knackered and learning how to breastfeed. When you finally get five minutes to yourself spend it showering, sleeping or going to the toilet in peace. Not hoovering, not washing-up, and not putting the bins out. Oh, and send your dirty clothes to your mother-in-law.

Not Reading Enough Baby Books

Spoiler alert: your baby can’t read, so they don’t have a clue that Gina Ford says they should be sleeping 7pm-7am by 12 weeks old. Nor did they get the memo about being ‘happy’ or ‘contented’. Throw the book in the bin. We mean it.

Other People’s Opinions

Everyone has one and they won’t hold back, from your well-meaning mum to the old lady in Boots who tells you she doesn’t like the name. The health visitor hates the Sleepyhead, your auntie thinks babies sleep better on their fronts, someone at Baby Sensory doesn’t do dummies; people will be desperate to share what they’d do differently. Save yourself some time and ignore all unsolicited advice. Just smile, nod, and do whatever you think is best.

How You Should Feed Your Baby

This is a biggie. Nothing divides opinion more than breast Vs bottle, and nothing causes more mum-guilt, heartache or emotional strain. Your baby needs feeding, and as long as you’re not taking them to McDonalds for a happy meal at two weeks old, just how you do that is your decision and yours alone. Make your choice and feel good about it. You’re doing great.

Losing the Baby Weight

For us, the most effective way of getting past a post-partum body wobble is always this: whenever you feel a negative thought about your bod, pick up your baby. Look at their nose, their tiny hands and feet, their beautiful long eyelashes. You made those. Your body grew them from scratch. Nothing could be more amazing so eat the cake and give yourself a break.

Hitting Milestones

All babies are different and while it’s good to have a rough idea of where they should be, your baby doesn’t know they should be sitting up at six months. They’ll do it when they’re good and ready, so try not to compare to other kids or waste time worrying about why they aren’t walking yet. It’ll come.

Making Friends

Parenting is an amazing leveller; you’ll never struggle to start a conversation again. Find your tribe, whether that’s at NCT, a TMC event or even online. Even having one other mum to text during the 3am feed is a huge help… and if you’re really stuck, there are apps that can hook you up with someone to do exactly that.

Losing Who You Are

Becoming a parent changes your life; drastically at first. But after a while you’ll reach a new normal and find that you’re still you. With a bit of planning, you can party again, go to the gym, or wander around the shops for two hours without a pram. Your ambition’s still there and your career too; you can still feel attractive and be a good friend. Take the time to take care of yourself and you’ll be a better parent because of it, we promise.

Changing the Nappy Immediately

Now there’s a blue line that doesn’t have to change everything. Completely unnecessary. Unless it’s a poo.

The Best Restaurant Dinner Kits

Our Regular Just Eat Order just got an upgrade.

The Best Restaurant Dine-At-Home Kits

Not much good came out of the pandemic, but one thing that did was at home fine dining via the UK’s best restaurants. Ok you still have to do a bit of cooking but most of the hefty prep is done by top chefs and all you have to do is put it together and serve.

Dishpatch – Nationwide Delivery
Dishpatch – Nationwide Delivery

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Dishpatch have been having rave reviews recently – they aim to bring the UK’s best restaurants to your home with exclusive menus delivered across the country. The meals are fully prepared with all cooking and preparation done by top chefs, food is delivered on a Friday, ready to be finished at home. Dozens of high-end restaurants are offering delivery boxes through Dishpatch – including the likes of Angela Harnett, one of our favourites!. The delivery box includes all the ingredients to make this beautiful dish. It’s worth checking the Dishpatch website regularly as restaurant and menu boxes change frequently.

Hawksmoor - Nationwide Delivery
Hawksmoor – Nationwide Delivery

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Hawksmoor have nine restaurants in the UK (and one in New York!) – they are incredible steakhouses with a real focus on sustainably sourced ingredients. The Hawksmoor at Home delivery boxes have been very successful and frequently sell out. They offer easy-to-make meal kits such as – March: The Fillet Box which includes 2 x British Fillet steaks, Matt Brown’s ultimate oven chips, creamed spinach, peppercorn sauce, sticky toffee pudding, wine, and cocktails! Hawksmoor state that “we’ve worked hard to make our cook-at-home steak boxes as easy and stress-free as possible. Each comes with full instructions and our How to Cook the Perfect Steak guide, along with a QR code to take you to masterclass videos with our Executive Chef, Matt Brown – a former Head Chef of two restaurants with 3 Michelin stars!”

Dishoom – Nationwide Delivery
Dishoom – Nationwide Delivery

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The eternally popular Dishoom is based on the old Irani cafes in Bombay, India. The unique and stylish décor, the scrumptious all-day dining options and fantastic ambience means Dishoom is always packed out. They are now offering one of their most popular dishes for nationwide home-delivery. The famous bacon naan is now available as an ‘at-home’ cookery kit with everything you need to recreate the dish at home. The kit includes two Naan rolls, bacon, tomato chili jam, plus an extra naan dough ball for experimentation (!) – there’s also chai spices and loose-leaf tea so you can recreate the delicious Dishoom chai for two. (A vegan option is also available.) For every kit they sell, they donate a meal to Magic Breakfast – a charity that aims to end hunger as a barrier to education in UK schools.

Simon Rogan at Home – Nationwide Delivery
Simon Rogan at Home – Nationwide Delivery

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Simon Rogan is probably best known for his restaurant L’Enclume in Cartmel which currently holds two Michelin stars alongside many other prestigious awards. Rogan is known for his innovative dishes and the provenance of the ingredients – his food is quite simply sensational! Simon Rogan at Home offers a three-course ‘at home’ dining experiences as well as special seasonal celebration menus. A fantastic range of extras such as British cheese and bespoke wine pairings can be added to your order. All dining options come with easy-to-follow videos demonstrating how to prepare the dishes. 

Côte at Home – Nationwide Delivery
Côte at Home – Nationwide Delivery

Find out more

Côte Brasserie is the popular restaurant chain found nationwide – they offer relaxed all day dining inspired by the bistros and brasseries of Paris. They serve up French classics made from fantastic quality produce. Their new offering Côte at Home means that you can order the best of French bistro cuisine for your own home. The price range is competitive, and they have a huge variety of options. Delivery is free on all orders (a £40.00 minimum spend is required) and available for delivery nationwide. We are big fans of their luxury and limited editions boxes – try the Après Ski or Seafood boxes. The Apres Ski box includes cheese fondue, Toulouse sausages and lentils, tartiflette and chocolate sauce with lemon meringue for dipping! Delicious! They have also launched a new vegan range that has proved incredibly popular.

How To Help Your Kids Through A Common Cold

Let’s be honest, being born without the ability to blow your nose is a real kill joy, which makes your baby’s first cold a frustrating experience for both of you.

And they’ll keep on coming; one every few weeks for their first few years of their lives. At least, it’ll feel like that.

Obviously, we’re entirely grateful it’s just a cold. Nonetheless, we could do without up to a week of sleepless nights.

So here’s how we keep your tots as comfortable as possible.

*Please be aware that some tips are age-appropriate, and if your baby has a fever, please consult your doctor.

Keep them hydrated

Just like when we’re sick plenty of fluids are key, so make sure you keep them hydrated. If your baby is under six months, breastmilk or formula is enough. Water beakers are great to offer to older babies, and for kids to have by the side of their beds – as they don’t leak or spill.

360 Sippy Cup
360 Sippy Cup

Munchkin

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Buy some antioxidant rich honey

If they’re over one year old, try warm water with lemon and honey. We like Jarrah honey – it’s expensive but it’s two to three times higher in antioxidants than Manuka, so all the better for fighting of bugs.

Manuka Honey
Manuka Honey

Jarrah Gold

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Feed them flu fighting foods

For children that are weaning or weaned, cold-busting solids include:
Bananas – rich in vitamin C to boost the immune system and potassium to aid their sleep.
Sweet potatoes – loaded with vitamins, fibre, and so filling.
Porridge (easy to digest, warm in their tummies and for babies over one you can add honey.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C

Sambucol

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This is the best humidifier for your babies room

Air humidifiers keep the air moist and some have a diffuser function which allows you to add soothing essential oils such as lavender (hello sleep… we wholly recommend).
The genius Babymoov also acts as a night light with calming colour settings. It’ll keep the air damp so noses and throats don’t feel quite as dry; especially helpful when winter brings central heating.

Humidifier
Humidifier

Babymoov

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Make your own steam room

If you have a bathroom with a bath and a separate shower cubicle, turn the shower on during bathtime and set it to REALLY hot. The bathroom will function as a makeshift steam room, helping to unblock your babe.

Can I raise their head with a pillow?

Some mums use blankets folded underneath bedding to help raise their children’s heads or pillows if older. However, it is not suggested to use pillows to prop up young babies heads, so check at what age it is appropriate for you to do this.

Saline drops will help them breath

Saline drops are great for clearing the airway.
Use drops for babies and the spray for bigger kids. It might only last for a couple of hours but every little helps.

Saline Drops
Saline Drops

Calpol

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Get Their Vits In

Vitamins won’t kill a cold but they do give your body strength to fight it. Kids who eat a sensibly balanced diet get everything they need from their food, but if you have a fruit and veg refusenik on your hands you might need to top up their vits. We like Zarbee’s for older children, Nature’s Aid drops for babies.

Multi-Vitamins
Multi-Vitamins

Zarbee’s® Children’s MultiVits + Immune Support Liquid​

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What about probiotics and immune boosters?

We’re huge believers in taking probiotics to help create a healthy gut, and that thought extends to our children. Optibac is our favoured brand, it is developed especially for babies, toddlers and children and contains a unique blend of 3 of the most scientifically researched strains for children from 0 to 12 years. You can also give your children Sambucol which is packed full of antioxidants and other ingredients that help support a healthy immune system (basically we’ll try anything!).

Probiotics
Probiotics

Optibac

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Put vapour rub on their chest and feet (yes feet!)

Smother a vapour rub on their chest, back and a touch on their nose, and on their feet.
Yes their feet! Apply to the soles of your baby’s feet then put some socks over the top (it works just as well with an all in one). Keeping your babies feet warm will also help them sleep and get over the virus faster… then when they turn two you can turn to Vicks.

Baby Vapour Rub
Baby Vapour Rub

Vicks

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And finally…suck it out

That’s right, suck the snot right out of their nose.
Yes you can buy one of those snot sucking machines that work very well but honestly the best way is to do it yourself.
No, they won’t thank you for it. No, you won’t feel good about it, but if it gives you a few hours of sleep it’s worth it, right? Just knock it back with a massive gulp of wine and we’ll never speak of this again. Until next time…

Nasal Aspirator
Nasal Aspirator

Braun

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Top Educational Apps To Take The Guilt Out Of Screen Time

We know. You never thought you’d be ‘that’ parent, but reaching for a screen makes life a easier sometimes and that has to be ok. And if we told you that familiarity with an iPad is part of the official curriculum? Yup, all early years settings use electronic devices, so while we’re not saying let them at it 24/7, a reasonable window of time combined with a supervised edit of apps… well, you get to pee/drink coffee/do the washing in peace, and they’ll be coding by the age of three. Almost.

The following apps are compatible with Apple and Amazon Fire. Now go and out that kettle on, no mum guilt required.

Reading Eggs

Hands down our most used app after Citymapper, this reading program is stuffed with games, songs and other educational activities suitable for kids from two to 13. They start with basic phonics before moving on to stretching their vocab, reading comprehension and fluency in a super-fun and interactive way. It’s about the price of one and a half Starbucks lattes per month, but you can try it for free for 30 days, and then chose from various payments options, including a family subscription or one-off yearly fee.

Play Osmo

This award-winning play system isn’t cheap; you’ll need the Osmo base for your digital device and a reflector to pop over its camera (the system is all about merging the real world with the digital) before you can start buying games bundles, but it’s customisable to your child’s interests (there’s a Disney Princess bundle, for example) and they’ll have hours of fun while also acing maths, spelling, drawing and problem solving of all kinds. Starting at age three and going all the way up to 12, it’s an investment for the whole family.

DoodleMaths, DoodleEnglish and DoodleSpell

Say it louder for the parents at the back; if not free, this collection of maths and English apps for primary school-age children is pretty cheap and has you covered with times tables, spelling, punctuation etc, all targeted to your child’s ability. It sends motivational messages to help keep them driven and eager to learn (we can only hope, right?) and if that’s not enough you can track their progress in the DoodleConnect App. Then they really can’t get away with doing nothing…!

Alpha Blocks

Based on the brilliant CBeebies show, this one is entirely free – though you can inject some pennies into it if you feel like upgrading. It’s great for getting your littles to focus on sounds and blending, and a great opportunity to follow up what they’ve learnt while watching TV.

Number Blocks

Just like Alphablocks but for numbers, again based on the BBC show. This fun app helps your little ones to learn their numbers and figure their way through simple mathematical problems.

Teach Your Monster To Read

These award-winning games have a BAFTA nomination under their belt and are free to use if you log onto the website from your computer (or pay £4.99 to download the app). Kids follow a magical journey, picking up rewards and meeting various characters as they learn everything from blending sounds to reading full sentences, depending on their level. Imaginative, colourful and thoughtfully put together, it will tick all their boxes – and yours too.

Hit The Button

£2.99 and worth every penny, with a huge selection of quick-fire mathematical games and activities that are as addictive for adults as they are for kids. Basic to look at but impossible to walk away from.

How To Get Gorgeous Hair Without Any Effort

Concerned about how you’re going to style out that mum bun? As mums, we want little effort and maximum effect, I mean we haven’t got much time to play with here!

Yep, we hear you! We’ve gotten used to having messy hair that only the postman sees and then panic when it’s time to go out because we don’t only have to get ourselves ready anymore.

Don’t worry, we have got you more than covered with some quick and easy hairstyles, and who better to teach us than Clairol’s UK Ambassador, Michael Douglas.

Follow his expert tips to look less like a swamp monster and more like a MILF.

Your easy-peasy (polished) pony

Michael says spending a little more time preening your ponytail will make ALL the difference.
• “Blast some dry shampoo in at the roots and a short burst of Silvikrin hairspray into the middle part and ends of your hair”.
• “Loosely pull your hair backwards and tie-up. Then take a comb and gently tease the ponytail to give it added volume and gently smooth it with a soft brush”.
• “Finish with a light burst of hairspray to hold the style in place”.

Don’t wash your hair hack

Keep applying your dry shampoo in a hurry and ending up with huge white patches? Yep, been there. Apply the product at night, rather than in the morning. This enables the powder to evenly distribute throughout your locks as you toss and turn in bed. The result? You wake with hair that looks freshly cleaned and has a fabulous bounce – no washing required!

Wonder waves in minutes

No time to curl every strand and section? Michael’s speedy styling trick will save you.
• “Style your locks into a middle parting, so the hair is equal on either side, then cover the two sections in flexible hold hairspray”.
• “Take one of the sections and twist it like rope taking it backwards away from the face until it starts to fold onto itself and pin in it place. Do the same on the other side”.
• “Put a hairdryer on a low speed but high heat, then warm both sides up for about 2 minutes each, and leave to cool”.
• “Once cooled, remove the pins and let the twists fall out”.
• “Tease the twists with your fingers and use some dry shampoo and hairspray to add extra texture”.

*Pro-tip: If it feels too wavy. Michael says, “Blast the style with a hairdryer on a high temp, as this will help to relax the kinks and give a more undone look”.

Michael’s best tip for styling in-between washes

Unwashed locks can seriously lack volume. “Add in some texture via tongs”, says Michael. No time to get ready in the morning? Create a few waves the night before, then use dry shampoo to reinvigorate your style when you wake up.

Quick colour fix

Can’t get to the salon? Try a semi-permanent colour wash instead. They’re novice-friendly and take minutes to take effect. A fail-safe way to reinvigorate your locks and make you feel human again.


We like:

*Takes 3 mins: Maria Nila Colour Refresh, £24
*Takes 25 mins: Clairol Natural Instincts Semi-permanent Colour, £6.99

Mind the Gap – The Unexpected Joys Of Having Children 10 Years Apart

I’m going to say something that totally contradicts the theme of this article, but I’ve always felt that the perfect age gap between children for me is five years. For years my hubby and I worked on the assumption that we’d have 2.0 kids with a five gap, which would make the job of looking after two young children slightly easier, not to mention our children would be close enough in age to experience their formative years together.

This all sounds well and good in theory, but when it came to real life application of said theory, by the time my firstborn son was five I was in no way prepared to have another baby. I had just landed my dream job, my hubby and I were beginning to enjoy a social life again after emerging from the fog of sleepless nights and dirty nappies, and my young boy was a happy, well-adjusted and sociable child who had many friends and cousins to keep him occupied.

A few years later though I started to feel the pang of broodiness, and a few years after that boy number two came along. Whenever I meet people and tell them about the ages of my boys’ I’m often presented with audible gasps and questions on how things are working out in terms of the dynamics within our family. The simple answer is: pretty damn good. Having a sizable age gap was no way planned, but it has revealed quite a few unexpected positives which I’ve outlined below:

Very few sibling squabbles

My brother and I are barely two years apart and although we were super close when we were growing up, I remember our relationship was littered with incessant arguments and petty squabbles (my poor mother). While my 15-year-old and 5-year-old do argue on occasion, they are really tepid affairs in comparison. In fact, my eldest often finds himself in fits of laughter mid-argument as his younger sibling tries to square up to him and assert himself as if they were peers. The upside of this simply means it’s less time hubby and I have to spend playing referee – result!!!

My Youngest is Gifted With a Role Model Big Bro

It’s not unusual to find myself getting all emosh and misty eyed when I see my oldest boy acting as a role model to his little brother. Whether it’s tying his durag night-time hair attire to keep his braids looking fresh, reading him a bedtime story, or even just offering an anecdote on how he overcame obstacles like being afraid of the dark when he was the same age, having quite a vast age gap means my youngest son receives strong brotherly guidance and has someone he can constantly turn to for advice.

Easier on your finances

We all know that childcare in the early years is truly expensive in the UK, so I have no qualms in admitting that having a 10-year breather between children has helped exponentially when it comes to our finances. Not having to pay for two sets of childcare fees as well as other costly items that is part and parcel of the early child years is certainly a much-welcomed benefit.

More emotionally prepared

It was only while recently reflecting on becoming a mother again after having a 10-year break that it occurred to me how much more emotionally and mentally prepared I was the second time around. I’ve grown so much as a woman within those 10 years, and feel more at ease within myself, not to mention I feel more confident, more established in my career, more financially secure, and better equipped to deal with the emotional rollercoaster of parenthood, especially having weathered the storm with my firstborn who is now in his teens and making the journey into young adulthood himself.

Extra pair of hands

This one may be a bit of a controversial one, and I’m certainly not suggesting that you enlist your eldest child to become some sort of substitute parent. However, I’d be being totally disingenuous if I didn’t admit that having a capable and responsible child at hand is really, really helpful when it comes to assisting hubby and I with basic childcare duties. I’m not talking anything major here, I’m talking things like big bro fixing a bowl of cereal for little brother in the mornings, helping with the bedtime routine from time to time, or looking after him when I pop down the road to the local shops if I’ve forgotten the onions.

No hand me downs or fisty cuffs over trainers

Most children aren’t particularly enthusiastic about receiving hand me downs. I can recall my mum palming off my brother’s plimsoles on a few occasions much to my chagrin, but that was pretty much it due to us being different genders. Because of the 10-year gap between my pregnancies, I didn’t have many clothes to hand down once my second boy came along. And thankfully, rows about who stole whose trainers, caps, jeans etc will be non-existent in our household in years to come.

How To Stop Your Baby Waking Too Early

If this isn’t high on your Google searches already you are one lucky mother. There’s nothing more exhausting or infuriating then a baby who wakes early and refuses to go back to sleep – though the unsolicited advice that comes with it (‘put them to bed later… let them nap/don’t let them nap… have you tried dipping them in butter and rolling them in breadcrumbs’) is also high up on our list of things not to love about the early years. We’ve combined the tips we’ve picked up along the way with words of wisdom from expert Kate Cohan Founder of @Sleep.Time.Baby. And if none of these work for you, our advice is to buy a Sage Barista Coffee Machine and fire up the iPad…

TMC: How do I know if my baby has woken too early?

Kate : Tough one. But go with your gut on this – the guidance is for them to have 12 hrs of daytime and 12 hrs of night, but it’s often more like 13/11hrs. The earliest I would say is okay to wake is 6am and the latest is the latest time that you can fit your daytime naps in and still get to your normal bedtime – normally around 8am.

TMC: What makes a baby wake early?

Kate: The main cause of early rising is overtiredness! An overtired child will find it harder to have a more settled night’s sleep, leading to waking in the early hours. Then we can look at factors such as too many/too little naps during the day, is it dark enough, does hunger or noise wake them too early, are they cold or has it become a habit, and can they self-settle? So basically lots of things!

TMC: What can I do to stop my baby waking early?

Kate: Address the possibilities listed above. I would suggest trying an earlier bedtime for five days to check for over-tiredness, and then later for five days to see if either makes a difference. Then you might need to tweak their daytime routine or night-time environment, give them more nutrition, look at how they’re settle or consider a ‘wake to sleep’ model before they wake up themselves.

TMC: What can we do to get them back to sleep again?

Kate: Early rising can take some time to alter, so consistency is key. Keep them in their room until as close to 6am (or your ideal morning time) as possible. You can comfort them and offer support to settle, of course.

TMC: Is there anything we can buy that would help?

Kate: White noise is great! I recommend the Mar Pac ones (https://yogasleep.uk/collections/all and use code Sleeptimebaby for 15% off) Dark is is essential so black-out curtains and a travel black-out blind can be very helpful; the Gro Company ones are good.

Your Early Waking Checklist

• Move bedtime to 6pm for five days to see if this works.
• Make sure their bedroom has complete black out (easier in the winter months)
• Check their nightwear suits the ambient temperature of their room (see our guide here). Add a pair of socks, vest, or switch to a long-sleeved sleeping bag.
• Try giving them a banana, porridge or oat cake just before bed to stop hunger waking them up.
• Take habit out of the equation. Set your alarm for one hour before they usually wake to stir them slightly and break their sleep cycle; they should go back into a deeper sleep for a few more hours.
• Consider encouraging them to settle themselves to sleep, so they don’t wake in the night wondering where you are (because that’s how they drifted off).

8 Weird Things No One Told You About Newborns

Here at TMC we pride ourselves on telling the truth. The whole truth, even when it’s ugly, strange or downright disgusting. Because let’s face it, pregnancy and birth are pretty peculiar things, and it doesn’t stop there. Want to know what the books won’t tell you about newborns? Forewarned is forearmed…

Attachment Issues Start Early (Literally)

Remember the 90s, when your home phone had a curly cord that prevented you from wandering further than a 5ft radius from its base? Well, that, only the base is the placenta (still firmly wedged inside you) and the cord is attached to the screaming new human you’ve just pushed out.
Sometimes, the cord is slightly too short, meaning when you try to pull the babe up to your chest, they spring back as if they’re attached to a bungee cord. So, you just have to… sit there. Legs akimbo, waiting for the cord to stop pulsing so your totally grossed out partner can cut it with a pair of children’s craft scissors (spoiler: it’s harder than he thinks).

They Come Out Covered in Crap (Again, Literally)

the kid emerges bone dry (and about 12 weeks old). The truth is, they’re covered in all kinds: blood, poo (theirs, not yours), and vernix; the white sticky substance that covers their skin while in the womb. Your first inclination (naturally) would be to give them a good scrub before dressing them in your White Company onesie of choice; but you’ll be told to wait a week first, giving the vernix time to soak in naturally.
It’s the equivalent of having a facial on an expensive spa day, then being told you have to wait for three hours before going in the sauna afterwards. You’ll want to do the right thing, but you’ll more than likely end up giving in after three days and whacking them in the bath.

The Umbilical Cord Looks Like a Witchetty Grub

The first time you change the kid’s nappy, it might surprise you to discover two inches of umbilical cord where a neat little belly button should be, clamped with what looks like a sandwich bag clip from Lakeland. Three days in, it’ll smell like… well, exactly what it is, which is dead flesh (TMI?). You’re still not allowed to wash the baby, and spend every nappy change terrified that you’ll knock it off and curse them with an outie for the rest of their life. It will fall off, eventually. Some people even keep them, but those people are weird and we’re not sure we want to be friends with them.

Their Head Has a Pulse

Ever wondered why people are obsessed with protecting the baby’s head? Well, it might be because there’s a large gaping hole there, where their skull hasn’t fused together yet (aka the fontanel) meaning that their brain is essentially exposed. Terrified yet? Yep, us too.

Baby Girls Have Periods

Around day three, you might notice drops of blood in your baby girl’s nappy. This will scare the shit out of you but try not to panic; a spike in maternal estrogen levels can simulate a female foetus’s uterus, producing a mini-period within the first week of their life. Not weird AT ALL.

The First Poo is Like Thick Black Tar

It’s a pretty well-known fact that babies poo a lot, but what you might not know is that the very first one comes out like treacle. And not in a good way. You could genuinely lay tarmac with this stuff; it’s dark, sticky and will take out an entire pack of Water Wipes in one go.

Acne Doesn’t Wait For Puberty

We’ve all woken up with a giant spot on our forehead and new-borns are no different: baby acne is a thing. Apparently, the magical properties of breastmilk clear it right up, so resist the urge to squeeze and slather on some of that liquid gold instead.

Sometimes They’re Hairy

If your kid decides to make an early appearance, don’t be surprised if they come out with more back hair than your dad. Officially known as lanugo, this is the first hair your baby’s body makes, and plays a vital role in protecting skin and regulating body temperature in the womb. Don’t crack out the Veet so soon (kidding), it will fall out naturally after a few weeks.
We know we shouldn’t have to say this, but don’t shave your baby (something our midwife once said to us, which made us think only one thing: someone once did).

You Can Now Have Breast Milk Delivered To Your Door.

Yep, you read that correctly. Breast milk is now available on tap.

Ok, maybe it’s not that readily available.

But a new delivery service means there’s another option (other than formula) for parents who are unable to breastfeed.

Now, we completely understand how the concept might throw you off a little.

Tbh we had a lot of questions too.

So that’s why we caught up with Best Milk’s founder Dr Julia Sarno to find out what it’s all about, if it’s safe and why you might want to use it.

Why did you create Best Milk?

“I created the company because I experienced issues with breastfeeding, and I wasn’t able to access the NHS supply because my baby wasn’t sick or premature. After searching for a service like this, I realised there was nothing out there for me. By creating Best Milk, I hoped to provide a solution for other parents that experienced the same issue as me”.

Who would use it?

“A lot of parents can’t breastfeed, but they want to offer their children the benefits of natural milk. This might be because they have used a surrogate or they’ve adopted. There can be many reasons why someone might want to use the service. It could be that a mother needs to go in for an operation and wants their baby to have breastmilk while they can’t provide it”.

Where does the milk come from?

“We are a milk bank that collects and screens excess breast milk, which comes from wet nurses and we conduct direct screening of all the women that donate”.

How do I know it’s safe?

The screening process of our sharing mothers is rigorous, and every donation is thoroughly checked. We work with two top UK accredited (UKAS) laboratories, and we follow and support both our sharing mothers and the recipient families. We don’t accept donations from mums on antibiotics, antidepressants, painkillers, have mastitis or are Covid-positive. Every donating mother has successfully passed a serological screening, which tests for HIV-I & II, Hepatitis B (HBV), Hepatitis C (HBC), Syphilis and HTLV (human T-lymphotropic virus).

What happens to the milk after it’s donated?

“We test every donation, and if it passes the screening process, then it is professionally pasteurised to ensure any traces of bacteria or viruses are destroyed. All of its vital nutritional and immunological properties are maintained during the practice. The milk is then stored at the correct temperature, ready to be sent out for delivery”.

How much does it cost?

“Each case is individual. Some mothers can breastfeed, but aren’t providing enough milk for their babies, so they just need a top-up. It completely depends on the individual, and that’s a conversation that we will have with each parent. Our most popular 5000ml package consists of 25 bottles of pure breast milk and costs £500. This will feed a newborn for up to a month”.

How is it delivered?

“It’s sent out via a courier in a chilled container to make sure it stays fresh and at the correct temperature. Then dependant on the milk you’ve purchased you store it either in the freezer or fridge until you need to warm it up ready for your baby to drink”.

Is it available nationwide?

“Yes, we now use a very specialised courier that can deliver anywhere in the UK”.

Is this the only service in the UK?

“Currently, yes. It’s available in other countries, but other than the NHS, we are currently the only independent milk bank in the UK”.

Co-Sleeping: Expectation Vs Reality

Along with dummies, screen time and the Sleepyhead,, co-sleeping is one of the final parenting taboos. Yes we’re aware of the risks (which should never be ignored) but we’ve all been there and the truth is that snuggling up with your baby can be the best thing ever. It’s not, however without its downsides…

Expectation

‘My baby will sleep in their (very) expensive bedside crib/Moses basket’

Reality

Turns out, nobody briefed your new-born they’d be relocating from a warm and squishy womb to a giant Snuzpod in a matter of days. Yes it cost you £200 and you bought the bottom sheet from John Lewis but they’ll still want the comforting sound of your heartbeat and the touch of your skin. When they scream all night, take it as a compliment. They miss you.

Expectation

‘We’ll never have sex again’

Reality

Sleeping with your baby doesn’t mean you can’t have sex, it just means your sofa gets a lot of action (ok, some…we’re still really tired). Babies go to bed early, so make the most of that precious alone time and do it downstairs. With the curtains shut, obvs.

Expectation

‘We’ll all get more sleep’

Reality

Your tiny intruder now commands three quarters of the king-sized bed, leaving you to fall asleep on a perilous cliff-edge of mattress. You clutch onto the corner of the duvet (now barely covering your right shoulder) like your life depends on it. Namely because it actually does; if you roll over you’ll almost certainly knock yourself out on the bedside table.

Expectation

‘If the baby is right next to us, my husband will have to help more’.

Reality

Take it from us; they don’t hear them. Your next-door neighbours won’t sleep through the ambulance-like wails of your offspring penetrating the walls, but your other half will snore on by like a warthog. It’s biological, apparently, but feel free to unleash seven shades of holy hell when they wake up the next morning and announce that they’re ‘still tired’.

Expectation

‘My baby has slept soundly in their crib from day one. That’s never going to change’.

Reality

That may well be the case now, but you can bet that the second they graduate to the Big Girl’s Bed, you’ll experience the fresh horror of waking up 12 times a night with a small child standing three inches away from your face. Four hours of them bouncing right out of bed every time you put them back in it, and we guarantee you’ll and shove them in with you for some much-needed peace.

Expectation

‘I’ll definitely co-sleep with my child’

Reality

Fun fact: kids rarely do what you want them to. So you can practically guarantee that if you’ve opted to share the bed with your baby, they’ll have other ideas. From the night-time wanderer to the won’t-stop-wriggler, you might find yourself putting them in their own room regardless.

Expectation

‘They’ll never go back in their own bed’

Reality

There aren’t many 40-year-old men still snuggling up to their mums, so stop worrying. One day they’ll want their own space and you’ll probably be really sad, so just soak it in while you can.

Expectation

‘People will judge me’

Reality

Just like stalking your other-half’s ex on Insta and picking your nose, we’ve all fallen asleep with a babe in the bed, whether that’s once in a blue moon or every night for six years. We’re all just doing what we can to survive – and don’t worry, everyone knows it.

Totally Rational Fears Every Mother Has Before Baby No.2

Most people think that deciding to have your first child is the biggest decision you’ll ever make. The truth is, deciding you’re ready for round two can often be just as terrifying. You’re not alone. Here’s our TMC guide to things every parent worries about before Baby No.2…

How Will I Deal With Pregnancy Whilst Looking After My First Child?

If your pregnancy was spent napping and hugging the toilet bowl for the first 2 hours of the day, it’s only natural that you might wonder how the f*ck you’re going to get through 9 months of feeling like utter shit whilst chasing after a toddler. The answer of course, is that women are super-human and somehow no matter how awful we feel, we manage to suck it up for the sake of our family. Don’t be afraid to lean on your family and friends for much needed respite and if your first kid still sleeps in the afternoon; feel zero shame in joining them.

Fear Of Giving Birth

This is not your first rodeo; this time you know those 20 minute births you see on One Born are total bollocks, and the reality is a much longer, much messier affair. Needless to say, you will not be wasting valuable snack room in your hospital bag packing shit like Lavender Oil; nor will you be attempting the first 48 hours without ALL THE DRUGS. Forewarned is forearmed, so take comfort in the fact that you’ll know what the hell is going on this time, and equip yourself with the information and support you need to get through it.

How Will I Love As Much As I Love My First?

You. Just. Will. You might not take as many pictures, or be able to instantly recall how many days/weeks old they are; but cliches are cliches for a reason, and your love will just grow with every new addition.

What Have We Done?!

Having a baby turns your world upside down and inside out. You’ve just got your shit together, found a routine that works for you, maybe gone back to work and then BOOM; those two little lines turn blue again. You might feel ever-so-slightly panicked whilst you try to imagine how on earth you’ll juggle another one in your already jam-packed schedule; but within weeks it will feel like they’ve been here forever.

Will Our First Kid Feel Neglected?

In the short-term it’s totally normal for first-borns to act out a little whilst they get used to the new (and very loud) new member of the family; but in the long run, you’ve just grown them a best mate for life. Try the old trick of buying something from their little brother/sister to give to them when they come to the hospital, and resist the temptation to laugh when they ask ‘when the baby is going back’.

Will We Disappointed If It’s a….

Let’s be real here; gender disappointment is a thing, and we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it. You might have spent your whole life imagining a little girl to go shopping with when she’s older, and realising that dream is over takes some adjusting. The truth is, every kid is different and whatever you end up with, once they are here you won’t be able to imagine your family any other way.

Is It Bad If I Don’t Breastfeed This One?

Breastfeeding is a big commitment and if your BF journey wasn’t smooth sailing, you might be considering if you can take on the physical and mental toll the second time around; especially with another one to look after. There is no wrong answer; a hungry baby just needs feeding, whether it comes from you or a bottle.

Will We Ever Leave The House Again?!

In between feeds, nap schedules and PUT YOUR BLOODY SHOES ON; it’s hard to imagine ever being able to leave the house without reinforcements ever again. The short answer is yes (but it might take several attempts).

When Should My Baby Be Crawling, Clapping And Talking?

Leading questions like, ‘Is he crawling yet?’ ‘Can she clap?’ or ‘Any words?’, are one of the most annoying things about Motherhood.

Why other people are SO obsessed with how your baby is developing, we don’t know.

Who cares if Emma’s darling daughter was on the move at eight months?

Remember, it is unlikely that you’ll see an 18-year-old rolling around on the floor unable to walk – unless it’s 2am.

They. Will. Get. There!

In the meantime, “enjoy your baby and let them do things in their own sweet time”, says paediatrician Dr Kiran Rahim aka @themunchingmedic.

Don’t enter the comparison game

It’s easy to feel like a bad parent if you’ve not sat there for hours teaching them to clap or crawl. But that’s ridiculous. Most just do it on their own. “I didn’t teach my kids anything, I was barely surviving, and that is totally fine”, says Dr Kiran. She adds, “I actually stopped going to my classes because I hated the comparisons that mums make. When environments become toxic, you start to question and compare your baby, and you really shouldn’t. We all have different personalities, quirks and nuisances, and babies are the same”.

Dr Kiran’s developmental roadmap:

Keep her checklist nearby, refer to it when you need reassurance, and then tell those nosey parkers to mind their own. *Remember – this is for reference, and if your baby isn’t beginning to babble at six months, it’s not a red flag. You don’t need to worry. “One child might not be walking by twelve months, and another could be walking at eight months. It doesn’t mean one is better than the other, says Dr Kiran. “Be kind with your words and think twice before saying, “oh, mine was born talking and walking” it might make an already struggling parent feel worse about their child”.

6 weeks

Red flag. Speak to a doctor if:
• There’s no social smile.
• No head control.

6months

Around this time, babies can:
• Roll from their tummy onto their back.
• Begin to sit with support.
• Grab things with their hands.
• Transfer toys from one hand to the other.
• Turn their head to their name or to a noise.
• Begin to babble.
• Put toys, feet or your nose to their mouth.
Red flag. Speak to a doctor if:
• They are squinting and not reaching for things.

9 months

Around this time, babies can:
• Sit independently without support.
• Roll from front to back and back to front.
• Begin to stand with support.
• Pick things up with their thumb and index finger in a pincer grip.
• Recognise and respond to their name.
• Hold and bite their food.
• Develop stranger danger and object permanence. *This means they cry when you leave the room or if they don’t recognise a face.
Red flag. Speak to a doctor if:
• They are not sitting or are very floppy.

1 year

Around this time, babies can:
• Begin to walk independently.
• Throw objects.
• Say Mama, Dada or a few words.
• Wave and understand Peekaboo.
• Drink from a beaker cup.
• Clap with their hands.

18 months

Red flag. Speak to a doctor if:
• They are not walking.
• They have no words or don’t babble.

2 years

Around this time, most babies can:
• Run on tiptoes.
• Walk up the stairs with two feet at a time.
• Throw a ball (psst…kick a ball is 2.5 years).
• Begin to draw a vertical line.
• Turn pages in a book.
• Have two-word sentences, e.g., ‘Mama eat, I hungry’.
• Begin to eat with a spoon.
Red flag. Speak to a doctor if:
• They are not talking or understanding simple instructions.

3 years

Around this time, most children can:
• Walk up and downstairs.
• Draw a circle.
• Begin to use scissors.
• Bead things through a string.
• Have 3-word sentences, e.g., ‘Mama, let’s go!’.
• Understand things are bigger or smaller and colours.
• To start sharing toys.
• Play independently.
• Eat with a fork and spoon.
• Be dry by day.

5 years

Around this time, most children can:
• Run and walk up and down stairs like an adult.
• Draw shapes like a cross, triangle or body parts.
• Cut pieces of paper.
• Understand complex instructions, e.g., pick your shoes up, put them in the cupboard and then wash your hands.
• Be dry by night (some children can go on until 7 years).
• Can dress and undress some items of clothing.
• Begin to do up buttons and zips.


Remember these are just a guideline about what may do and when, most babies will and some will make you wait. Think about adults, some of us always on time, and some of us never are, despite how hard we try! The most important take home message is, if you are worried, please speak to a Doctor.

Your Prettiest Makeup Look In Under 5 Minutes

Holly Willoughby’s makeup artist shares her secrets

Wish you looked like Holly Willoughby? Or had someone to do your make up like hers?

Yep. Same!

Well, we’ve got you the next best thing. As we caught up with Holly’s makeup artist Patsy O’Neill to get her best tips on looking fabulous in no time at all

Prep before you go to bed

“Feed your skin and grab yourself a lovely face oil”, says Patsy. “Massage it on at bedtime, and it will make your complexion look more radiant in the morning – even if you don’t get much sleep!”. “I like Sukin Rose Hip Oil, £19.95. Sukin is a great brand that you can pick up at Boots, and I also love Sunday Riley C.E.O Glow Vitamin C and Turmeric Face Oil 15ml, £34”. Lashes are a key tool for opening up tired eyes. Lacking in fullness? Patsy suggests applying a hair growth serum before you snooze, “at the moment I’m using Uklash Eyelash Serum, £37.99”.

Speedy routine for dry skin

“You need to get your skin in check before you apply any makeup”, says Patsy. “Always make sure you do a light cleanse in the morning, and if your face is dry, I would use a tinted moisturiser as well as a lightweight day cream or serum. Tinted lotions are an excellent way to add a quick wash of colour to your face. I like Trinny’s BFF Cream SPF 30, £35. It comes in a great range of shades that cater to the palest pale and the darkest dark. Just squeeze it in your hand and then apply all over like a moisturiser”. Dry lips? Patsy says, “Get a balm on as soon as you can. I’d even do it straight after you brush your teeth. I got Biossance Squalane + Rose Vegan Lip Balm, £16 for Holly recently, and it’s great for chapped lips”.

The best under eye concealers

“It depends on your complexion, but some people can skip straight to concealer after applying a day cream”, says Patsy. “I really rate Becca Under Eye Brightener Corrector, £18.90, it’s a game-changer for illuminating the eye area and making skin look less tired. It comes in two shades, which work for pale skins and olive to mixed race. If you’re darker, then I’d suggest using the new concealers from The Ordinary, £4.90, they’re amazing, and you don’t need much as the pigment is so strong. I also like IT cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye, £25”.

Best product for glowing skin

“Grab a big fat brush and apply Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder, £38, all over your face. The name is deceiving, as it’s not powdery at all, instead it gives a light luminous finish to the skin”.

Quick and easy arches

No time for brows? “Yes, you do!”, says Patsy. “Just grab a brow mascara. They are amazing for defining your arches when you’re in a hurry, as they take seconds to apply. But you do need to be a bit careful, as you can easily overdo it. I would suggest slightly cleaning the brush with a tissue, so you have about half the amount of product left on. That way you won’t dollop on a big splodge of colour and end up with a severe-looking line. I like BBB London Brow Build Gel, £21”.

Rapid eyes

“A straightforward way to add colour to your lids is a smudgy eyeshadow pencil that you can quickly apply to your lash line. Delilah Stay The Night Smooth Shadow Stick Collection, £38 are so lovely, and this is a gorgeous set of colours. I also like Eyeko Double Act Shadow Sticks, £20, but there’s so many of this type of product now, Chantecaille have some, as do Laura Mercier, and they’re both excellent”. Want a perfect flick like Holly’s? Patsy says, “Try the Eyeko Black Magic: Cocoa Edit Liquid Eyeliner in Brown, £16, this pen has a lovely nib that is extremely easy to use. Many people dismiss brown, but I love it, as it’s much softer on the skin and it doesn’t make you look too done up”.

The best eye-opening mascara – that doesn’t budge

“Holly loves to use eyelash curlers to give her that wide-awake look, and they work for her, but they’re not for everyone, so do what suits you”. “If your mascara tends to go everywhere or you have small eyes, then you’ll love Smashbox Superfan Mascara, £19. I also really rate the Hourglass Caution Extreme Mascara, £29 but it’s quite expensive, so if you want to go high street then Maybelline Lash Sensational, £8.99 is brilliant for Mums, as it doesn’t budge”.

Lip and cheek tricks

“Absolutely use the same product on your lips and your cheeks, it’s the quickest way to apply colour. I use Beauty Pie Supercheek Cream Blush, £25 (members pay £7.97) and I love the shades of Trinny Lip2Cheek, £25”.

Patsy’s top tip for applying your blush

“It’s easy to make mistakes when you’re rushing. So, when you have time, get to know how much product you need. Is it two dabs or just one? It will make life easier when you’re dashing out the door, and you won’t end up with comical rosy cheeks”.

Lips that last

Want a colour that doesn’t budge? Patsy advises to apply your lipstick, then blot two or three times, and finish with a clear balm for moisture. “You need to get that colour into your lips and then take off the product that transfers”. Or she says to skip the process and use Glossier Generation G Lipstick, £14, “these are perfect for lipstick addicts that don’t want too much colour to come off when they kiss their kids. They have such a unique formulation. They’re almost a hybrid between a stain and a matte lipstick. I’m obsessed with them, and my favourite shades are Zip, Jam and Crush”.

TMC In Conversation With: Millie Mackintosh On Becoming A Mum.

“I didn’t realise I could function on such little sleep!”

Sometimes, all you need is a friend to check in on you to see how you’re doing. So, seeing as we’re definitely pals. We called new Mum, Millie Mackintosh, to find out how she’s coping. Revealing everything from what it’s like to become a Mum in a pandemic, the pulls on her mental health, and the biggest shock motherhood has given her. We also picked her fashionable brain to find out how she’s kept stylish in lockdown and the coolest clothing brands she’s shopping for Sienna.”

In Conversation With Millie Mackintosh

Ok, so we know you’re a celeb, but you have ‘Mum moments’ too right?

“Every day! I recently had to cut Sienna out of a vest after a particularly bad nappy explosion. It went all over both of us!!! Luckily, I had a pack of WaterWipes nearby”.

What are 5 things every new Mum needs?
  1. A good support network.
  2. Naps in the day – when the baby naps.
  3. Not to have to think about cooking or cleaning up – it can wait!
  4. Lots of cups of tea.
  5. Constant snacks.
What’s your current wardrobe staple?
What’s your current wardrobe staple?

“I have been living in very comfortable loungewear. Most things I wear get sick on them at some point during the day, so I like anything that’s easy to wash”.

Millie loves chic comfort brand Rails.
How do you feel about your body post-birth?

“I have so much more respect for my body, especially after experiencing what it is capable of. It has changed, but I am learning to love the changes, and I feel stronger than I did pre-baby”.

Any off the radar baby style brands you like?

“A few of my favourites are Babidu, La Coqueta and Patachou and I like Zara kids too, but I know that’s not niche”

Your go-to snack to keep you going during the day

“A handful of fresh berries or a Marmite rice cake”.

The best lockdown delivery you’ve had

“Hugo surprised me with a takeaway from London restaurant Zuma. It was such a treat. I really miss going on dates, but we make an effort to have a special dinner once a week”.

What’s it been like becoming a Mum in a pandemic?

“It’s crazy, isn’t it? It’s a question I never thought I would be asked. I like to find the positives in every situation, and it has been a blessing in some ways. We have had so much uninterrupted time at home as a family, and I am very grateful that we have had Sienna to keep us busy and make us laugh. I really feel for all the parents having to home school their kids, especially those working from home… I can’t imagine how hard that is”.

How is your mental health?

“I definitely have days when I feel down about everything, and I find it hard to look on the bright side, but I remind myself that it’s normal to feel like that. I rely on a few things to boost my mood. Usually, I start by talking about it to a loved one, or I like to go for a run with a favourite feel-good playlist, cook some comfort food or have some me-time with a candlelit bath”.

The biggest surprise you had when becoming a Mum

“I didn’t realise I could function on such little sleep! Somehow you just keep going”.

Has becoming a Mum made your more eco-conscious?

“Yes, I am very conscious of trying to protect the world Sienna will grow up in, which is why I’m so thrilled that WaterWipes are now biodegradable. I love that they are still the same purity and quality as before, and just two ingredients, which is why they are my go-to. We also recycle all of Sienna’s clothes when she has grown out of them and borrowed what we can from friends rather than buying everything new”.