January seemed to roar past. We matched up mums from Belsize Park to New Malden and from Kensington to Barnes. We also created two bilingual groups, one of Italian mammas and one of French mamans - magnifique! And we have lined up some new partnerships for you all - see below for more on this.
We had some very happy members this past month who reviewed the Home Spa London massage treatments, three other lucky ladies who won a fabulous Almondella box and also some happy mums who sent us lovely testimonials on their matches - it really is so good to know the matching system works - thank you. And a huge thanks to those of you who sent me a baby photo or a group photo, I really was so touched to receive those.
We are still working hard on finding matches for all of our members, and to help with this we have a wonderful new team member who will be helping with our marketing efforts – so welcome, Natalia :)
And as well as our members doing the reviewing (watch our FB page for more opportunities like this to come), we were delighted when super-blogger Franglaise Mummy agreed to be a guinea pig and try out our service for herself - you can read her review here.
So what's next? Well, we will be introducing more groups obviously, and we are also working with a great network of Clapham-based businesses on the Clapham Pregnancy and Baby Show. If you are in the area, do come along on Saturday 21st March. We are also looking forward to working with Kensington Mums on an event for mums-to-be in that area later in the year.
Well that is how Franglaise mummy described our premium service in her glowing review – but we prefer to think of ourselves as offering exceptional value for money. As well as being matched up with a group of mum-friends, for a one-off cost of between £20 and £50 (depending on group size), our members also have access to freebies, offers and discounts worth in excess of a whopping £2,000!
New discounts & benefits
Last month we also set up some more partnerships, so that you can all benefit from your membership of Match Up Mums even before you get matched or well after you have started meeting up with your Match Up Mums friends. As always, the details are in the members’ area – along with discounts on maternity wear, night nannies, weaning sessions, gyms and personal training, nursery design, babysitting – and more!
We now have a 20% discount code exclusively for you on some really lovely natural skincare products for bumps and babies, from Nom Nom. Fab name, eh? I think I would buy them based on that alone, but having tried some I can tell you the products are great too. See our members' area for the discount code.
We also have a discount from a great new idea from the Parent Practice, who have been helping parents since 2004 to find ways to have happier, calmer kids and a more peaceful and rewarding family life. The Parent Practice have recently launched online courses which means parents all over the country (and beyond!) can access their Positive Parenting Academy, and Match Up Mums members can now get a 10% discount on these. I really believe that a happy mum makes a happy family and that is why setting up local support networks is so important to me – but sometimes you might find you need a bit more in the way of expertise to make a positive change for your family, and that is where the Parent Practice comes in.
Melissa from the Parent Practice has kindly written a guest post that I hope anyone expecting, planning, or even vaguely considering a second baby will find useful in helping you to prepare your child for their new sibling. Next month we have planned some guest posts on oils that are safe to use on your baby's skin, and how Sophrology (no I had never heard of it until recently either) can help with sleep deprivation (I'm sold!).
Please keep recommending us to any mums-to-be or new mums that you know, and keep the feedback coming. Until next month, we thank you for your continued support and wish you all the very best.
Is a baby a bundle of joy for the whole family?
by Melissa Hoad of the Parent Practice
A new baby brings joy for parents, but it’s not surprising if older siblings feel jealous or resentful. Parents need to have reasonable expectations about how well siblings will get along but we can take steps to nurture harmony.
First-born child(ren) will naturally feel displaced when a new baby arrives. They will need lots of reassurance that they are still loved, and they will need plenty of positive attention and understanding. Without this positive reassurance they are likely to ‘play up’ to get the attention they need. Rather than trying to persuade older children that the arrival of a new sibling is great news, and how much they must love the baby, allow them to express their natural feelings of resentment and jealousy.
When parents let children know that the feelings they are experiencing are ok (even if their actions are not) it’s safe for them to tell us about them. This helps them move away from negative behaviour.
“It’s very different for you with a new baby brother. You are used to having me all to yourself and you may not like having to share me.” “The way you snatched that toy from Jamie shows me you’re feeling jealous. He has so many new things and gets so much attention. Perhaps you are feeling left out.” “Whenever you’re feeling that way you come and tell me and we’ll have a special big boy’s hug.”
It’s not unusual for children to revert to babyish behaviours when a new baby arrives. Empathise when your child who is perfectly able to walk wants to be carried. “You wish Mummy would carry you too, don’t you? I guess you’d like to be a baby again and get all the attention that Harry is getting. I think I’d like to notice the big girl things you can do and write those down so daddy can see them too.”
Giving your older child lots of attention for the positive things she does –
* Notice and comment on good behaviours.
“You’ve been playing so quietly with your trains for nearly 10 minutes now! What an interesting game you made – look at all the carriages lined up on that siding.” “It’s been lovely knowing you have been playing here safely and quietly while I changed Tommy upstairs. I really appreciate it.”
* Use a visual token system to recognise these behaviours such as putting a piece of pasta in a jar for every good behaviour.
* Talk about the things you love about her –the funny things she does or other things that make her unique.
Our first-born children need to know there are times when they will have our undivided attention. Put aside 5-10 minutes exclusively for each child to help reduce feelings of resentment towards the new baby, who takes up quite considerable parental time! Special time needs to be regular and predictable.
There will inevitably be a lot of change when the newborn arrives. Try to minimise any other changes during this period – if your toddler is about to be potty-trained, or move into a big bed, or start nursery school, plan this to happen well before the birthdate, or delay it until the dust has settled a little.
Help older children prepare for the new baby in practical ways:
* Train them to play independently or spend time with others, such as grandparents, so you have time to look after the newborn.
* Prepare them for how they might feel about the new baby and what they can do when they feel like that.
* Discuss what will need to be done for the new baby and what baby will do, and how they can help you, playing with baby and teaching him how to do things. Your baby will smile when your older child plays with him –point out how much baby loves that.
* Look at photos of them as babies, commenting on how cute but how helpless they were and how much they needed doing for them. Talk about how much he has learnt as he’s got older.