Our members review: Home Spa London

Home Spa London have been a partner of Match Up Mums since our launch, offering discounts on their services, and it is great to hear that so many of our members have been enjoying this rather lovely perk of your membership.

If you would like to treat yourself or your little one to some pampering, Match Up Mums members get 10% off any treatments, and anyone hosting a group baby massage class for their mum friends receives 20% discount off the course.

Three of our wonderful members have been trying out their range of mum and baby treatments.  First, our recently-matched member and mum-to-be Petra reviews Home Spa London’s pregnancy massage.  Samantha, who joined as one of our founding members and had her baby Willow in August, shares her experience of doing a baby massage course at home with her mum friends.  And finally, a treat for one of our busier members who combines a busy job with three small children: Sarah reviews the relaxing at home massage for worn-out mamas.

 
pregnancy massage
 

Pregnancy massage

Reviewed by Petra, Match Up Mums member, mum-to-be and style-blogger over at Monmum.

“I don’t know about you but I often find it hard to legitimise spending money on pampering myself and am usually not one for fuss, even when I know it would do me the world of good. Cue a new little life growing inside my belly and the motherly instinct is already in full flow. Anything that will help the healthy growth of my baby and ensure she is happy in there is the least I feel I can do, so I am delighted when the lovely Jo from Home Spa London offers me a full body pregnancy massage and eagerly accept.,

As the name suggests Home Spa London means that Jo can come out to your home, although she also has a couple of bases in South London if you prefer or don’t have the space at home.

I opt for the home visit, which means I can just relax at home after the event without having to jump on a crowded tube or get stuck in traffic before I can snuggle up on the sofa or take a warm bath, elongating the pampering as much as I can (as advised by Jo).

As I wait for Jo to arrive, I make sure the heating is turned up and the kettle is on.

A wave of anxiety passes through me as I remember the fact that I didn’t really enjoy the experience of a home haircut and get the slight ‘fear’ about whether or not I will be able to relax and switch off or if I’ll get nervous and natter through the whole shebang, kicking myself afterwards for not making the most of the massage.

But as Jo arrives with her warm and friendly manner, I immediately feel at ease and nip for a last minute wee stop, leaving Jo to set up.

When I get back she is already ready to go and there is a calming waft of Lavender all around.

Jo explains how I should lay down and tells me a little about the massage balm she uses which comes from Somerset. I wonder why, but as she starts to massage it into my skin it feels smooth without being sticky or oily (it also leaves no oily residue on your clothes afterwards and sinks in nicely).

As we begin, I start to over talk and remind myself to relax and enjoy this. No sooner do I start to let myself unwind, Jo’s hands start to perform little miracles on my body and I immediately shut up.

Jo also offers sports massage and you can feel that there is power in her hands now working up and down my left hand side. Now this is what I call a massage and it’s not only me that can feel the impact. The little growing girl in my tummy is wriggling with delight too, apparently a common reaction. The only time I felt that she was calm and enjoying it in there to this level, was when we were on our baby-moon in Cornwall taking our morning swim in the Hotel pool.

This was a good decision I think to myself and one that will be highly worth repeating.

I felt absolutely great all evening and slept like a log!

Jo offers a friendly, comforting and professional service perfect for those days when your back starts giving out from the extra weight you are carrying around. A way to switch off and a massage that really feels like it’s made a difference.

Thanks Jo and see you again soon!”

 

 
baby massage class
 

Baby massage classes

Samantha found out about the baby massage classes through Match Up Mums and hosted a baby massage class with 3 other mums within her home.

Samantha says, “I would really recommend Home Spa baby massage classes. It's such a lovely activity for you & your baby. My little girl has really suffered with wind & colic like symptoms since she was about 4 weeks old, & baby massage seems to have helped alleviate some of her discomfort. It has been great learning the different strokes, some of which you might have been doing instinctively, but learning them in a sequence & understanding the benefits they bring gives you renewed confidence.

I chose to host the baby massage class at home with a few other local mums, which has been great as I think it feels more relaxing & cosy for the babies & the mums. The underfloor heating was a big hit with the babies & the coffee & biscuits a hit with the mums! I've also found it's a lot easier being at home with all the feeding & nappy changes that inevitably happens with 4 little ones.

Jo, our teacher, was excellent, so calm & very understanding of all our baby needs. Doing the course with such a small group meant it felt more like one on one tuition & we were able to run through strokes each of us may have missed while feeding or doing nappy changes. So we really made the most of all of the classes! Baby massage is now a part of our daily routine, whether during a nappy change or post bath, and has given us another opportunity to really bond with our babies.”

 

 
mum massage
 

Relaxation massage

Sarah, a Clapham mum of three small children, reviews Home Spa London’s massage service.  “Five years of carrying increasingly heavy children and more recently, lots of long days at my desk, have left me feeling a bit knotty and a lot tired.   Jo is so professional and immediately puts you at ease.  She brings with her a comfy massage bed – I’ve had awful massages at even very smart salons, due to their tiny cramped beds with my feet hanging over the edge but this one was really comfy.  She also uses solid massage oil so you don’t need to worry about the carpets getting splashed and damaged.  And after all that’s sorted Jo gets to work and… well I can’t tell you very much as thanks to Jo’s magic I switched off completely and I definitely fell asleep!  What I can tell you is that I so needed this, and afterwards felt loads less knotty and creaky.  And the best bit about having a massage in your own home is that you can get straight into your pajamas afterwards, and there’s none of that walking home in the cold with oily hair, which I always think is a horrible return to earth with a bump.  I slept like a baby (well, one that sleeps through the night) afterwards, too.  Definitely recommended.”

Jo offers massage treatments in your own home, and her Bump to Baby package includes pregnancy massage, a course of baby massage classes and a massage for exhausted new mums.  Visit HomeSpaLondon.co.uk for more information and don’t forget, Match Up Mums members get exclusive discounts off Home Spa London services – full details are in our members’ area.


Posted on January 25, 2015 .

January Newsletter

So how was 2014 for you?

We hope it was a good one - and that you are looking forward to an even better 2015.  In this January newsletter we look back on a rather hectic but really satisfying 2014 and also start to think about what 2015 might bring.  As usual we have some great guest posts, this month they go out to all of you still aiming for some new year's resolutions - you'll find three articles at the bottom of this newsletter, which we hope you'll enjoy reading.

We wish you all a very happy new year and hope it brings you everything you could wish for. We also want to thank you for being part of our amazing first six months in business - it's been great!  Things have really taken off quicker than we could ever have hoped and for that we are so grateful.  We launched Match Up Mums hoping there might be a need or desire for a service like this but thanks to all of your support and incredibly useful feedback, we now know there is.  We've matched up 72 groups (stop press! make that 73) now, below is a snapshot of just some of the groups we have put together - you might even recognise yourself in there…

And many more! Read some testimonials from some of these groups here

A small handful of members remain unmatched and we particularly thank those members for their patience.  Our membership is still largely in London itself and so members outside London will be encouraged to take only bronze membership, and we will contact them to upgrade as and when we do have good matches in their area. Sometimes even within London we just don't have good enough matches to propose a group and won't waste your time until we do have good matches - but we never give up and we are constantly looking to find the right matches for you.

To provide our members with a benefit to joining even before they get matched up, we also put in place a load of exclusive offers from mum and baby-friendly businesses.  The list includes these great companies and I'd also like to thank them all for being so supportive and welcoming of a new kid on the block and for helping us to enhance our members' experiences.  It's been fun getting to know you all!

Full details and discount codes are in our members' area

Member Benefits

The discounts are listed in full in our members' area but just to remind you, they include:
10% off at JoJo Maman Bébé; 10-15% off a load of different antenatal or postnatal classes at Lulubaby; 10-20% off with Home Spa London, 15% off your registration fee with Night Nannies; 10-20% off with Mama Knows Best parenting consultancy; a free month's membership of Hello Mums babysitting service, 10% off full care with Neighbourhood Midwives; a humungous discount off nursery design services from MK Kids Interiors; 15% off all services and treatments at the Vitality Centre; 10-20% off tickets for London Mothers' Club events; 10-20% off classes with First Aid for Life; up to 30% off with Matt Roberts gyms, 10% off the Yummy Tummies blueprint package, 20-25% off PaleoGym courses; 15% off Angel Maternity clothing, 20% off Almondella baby boxes and 10% off classes and free use of the crèche at the Old School Club.  PHEW!!  These are all great businesses and we hope you enjoy getting to use their services at your special reduced rates.

Looking ahead... 2015 is going to be busy!

Our plans for 2015 include a load of new groups - we are working on groups of City mums-to-be in Battersea, 2nd time mums in Wandsworth, new mums in Woodford, Putney first time mums due next summer, new mums in Regents Park and 2nd timers in Twickenham and Tooting… Among about twenty more!  So if you know anyone who might be interested in joining one of these groups or might like to find their own group of mum friends-to-be, please do send them our way.  We are also helping to promote a couple of events that our partners are working on for pregnant women and we are excited to be a part of their plans in this area too. I'll give more details in our February newsletter and on our social media with some dates for your diaries.

To round off this newsletter, as usual we have some guest posts for you and this month the theme is New Year's resolutions.  We have two really informative articles about how mums can keep healthy - personal trainer Matt Roberts tells us about training safely while pregnant, while Lyndon from the fabulously named Yummy Tummies has some great tips for sorting your tummy out after having a baby.  
Anyone who saw on Instagram or Twitter the amount of Christmas cake I have got to get through will know that my own resolutions are going to have to wait until at least February but I hope for those of you who feel ready to get fitter, these come in handy!  Finally, if your resolutions are less about the body and more about the mind and spirit, the article from Inma at the Old School Club might just inspire you to learn a new creative skill or take up a new hobby.

Until next month, we thank you for your continued support and wish you all the very best of years in 2015.  Here's to making it a great one.

Love,
Megan x

New Year, New Tummy? 

by Lyndon of Yummy Tummies

If I was to ask you what part of your body you would most want to change, chances are that you would say your stomach. Let's face it, after having your abs slowly stretched over the last nine months, it would be nice for it to go back to where it once was.
 
In this rush to get your 'abs back' a lot of people resort to all sorts of crazy exercises.
 
However, if you get it wrong at this point you can really mess your abs up. It is not just a case of heading down to your local bootcamp and holding a plank for four minutes at a time.
So what is the best way to get your tummy back in shape after having a baby?
Try the following three step process:
 
- Step 1: Restore Pelvic Floor- these muscles need to be strengthened again to restore function of your pelvis and to prevent any incontinence issues or pelvic pain. By the way, did you know that by doing your pelvic floor exercises it actually helps to flatten your stomach? This is because the pelvic floor muscle are on the same reflective loop as your deep abdominals (the transverse abdominals).
 
- Step 2: Close the gap between your external Rectus Abdominal muscles. This will prevent any rectus diastasis issues and also allow you to perform more effective exercises going forward. By targeting your deep transverse abdominals this will decrease this separation and give your stomach that flat and tight appearance.
 
- Step 3: Increase the stability around your pelvis and lower back. Throughout the early stages of post pregnant life there will be still be a presence of relaxin in your body. While this a great hormone for increasing the flexibility of your hips and ligaments surrounding your pelvis, it may create a fair degree of instability afterwards. It is necessary to gain a good degree of stability in your body again especially if you are doing activities such as running.
 
The above three steps are the first key steps you must take when starting exercise again after having a baby. The stronger the foundations the greater ability you will have to perform all of the harder exercise to follow.
 


If you need any help or advice drop me an email at lyndon@yummytummies.co.uk. I would be more than happy to help.

MattRoberts.jpg

Training whilst Pregnant?

by Matt Roberts Personal Training

It is always a good idea to check with your Doctor that you are ok to train whilst pregnant but in the main it can only serve to benefit you in the long term.
Women with a good training history and current level of fitness can continue training as normal whilst others who have not trained before should stick to body weight exercises.  However, as a general rule of thumb you just need to be careful and listen to your body. The general goal should be to reach and maintain a reasonable level of fitness.  Not only will it benefit you but your baby too.

There are obviously exercises to steer clear of or at the least limit. Exercises lying on your back should be avoided after month three and exercises that encourage you to tilt forward should be used sparingly.  Whilst overhead pressing should be avoided because they can tend to exacerbate lumber stresses.   Equally, breathing techniques should be coached to avoid excessive periods of breath holding which can lead to spikes in blood pressure and adversely affect the foetus.

Before starting any workout it is a good idea to warm up for a longer period of time and keep an emphasis on waking the muscles up to create stability rather than mobilising the joints.   When finished the workout, concentrate on cool down stretches that have been coached so not to push the muscles and joints to new limits.

Lifting weights is encouraged although given that the joints are under significantly more pressure, the limit needs to be kept on the low side.  Meaning that you should be lifting lighter weight but more times with a rest period of between 60 – 90 seconds.  The exercise selection should focus on the core muscle groups to counter stress on the lumbar spine (lower back) caused by the load from the baby on the front of the body.  Plus an emphasis should be placed on strengthening the posture chain (e.g. lower back muscles, glutes and hamstring) through appropriate exercise choice.

Conditioning work should be lower intensity designed to maintain aerobic fitness rather than build cardiovascular fitness.  The heart rate should be kept in the 130-150bpm range.
Finally, training should be kept to three times per week with a rest day between each day. Full body routines tend to work best as they prevent blood from pooling.  
These are guidelines but it’s important to remember that one pregnancy can be very different to another and even within these guidelines some people will be able to do a lot more than others. Let your common sense guide you. 

Learn a new skill

by Inma Goodhew of The Old School Club 

Talking about New year’s resolutions ... do you know that crafting is good for your brain & your soul? Research shows that sewing and other forms of crafting such as knitting, weaving and crocheting have quite a lot in common with mindfulness and meditation. All are reported to have a positive impact on mind health and well-being.

I used to work in IT, Project Management to be precise. Long hours, plenty of travel, social drinks... you name it. So when I had my first son I was looking forward to some ”time off”. I loved my time off. For the first 6 months. I then started to itch because I had to do something else with my mornings. Being creative was a bonus. I grew up in a family where most things were handmade, including the trendy jumpers – no brand for me, all handmade. So I started making cushions, painting things at home providing sewing classes at home. Mums came with their children, starting with my yoga friends. I had a babysitter looking after the babies & toddlers whilst the mums were sewing.  Suddenly I wanted this idea to become a reality, I wanted to create a place for mums to learn skills, make projects, socialise with other mums and have a very enjoyable morning.
 
So if you are thinking of embarking on a new hobby with other crafty mums or improve your rusty skills, you are on the right track. The same report indicates why crafting with friends may improve mind and brain wellness:

  • Mental challenge and problem solving
  • Social connection
  • Mindfulness
  • Development of hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness
  • Learning and teaching
  • Focusing attention and thoughts on a task
  • Encouraging active creativity
  • Gives a sense of pride and achievement
  • Teaches patience and perseverance
  • Facilitates memory formation and retrieval

And my small contribution to further add to the benefits found in this report:  You can have your tea or coffee HOT, as we look after your children whilst you craft along.  Yes, there is even a crèche.
 
Inma Goodhew is a mum of two wonderful boys and runs The Old School Club in Battersea where she teaches sewing, furniture painting and upcycling.  Her passion is to teach women how to become queens of all things handmade. Like her mum. 

December Newsletter


Are we excited about Christmas yet..? 

Or very much still in pre-Christmas denial?  If you are feeling decidedly Bah Humbug, you might like to know that this newsletter has lots of special offers and giveaways just for our members - so it's like Christmas come early, but without all the shopping, cooking and hangovers!  

Christmas seems to have come around even quicker than ever this year for us, partly thanks to the lovely late summer and partly as we’ve been so good and busy growing Match Up Mums.  We have matched up 60 groups of mum friends now, with lovely feedback along the way.  This month we tried a couple of new ways of putting the groups in contact, from their own private chat forum to doodle polls to a Whats App group – the latter seemed to work the best so we plan to roll that out to all new groups from now on.  If you are meeting your group soon don’t forget to send us a photo – most groups say they are too busy chatting to remember but if you’d like to enter the competition please do take a quick snap.
 
And if you have only recently joined us - welcome!  We’ve been delighted to see the Match Up Mums membership grow and grow.  The more our database expands, the better the matches we can make for everyone - so it really is a case of the more the merrier.  If your due date is still a little way off, we will wait a while to match you up as we will have more matches for you the closer your due date gets – and meanwhile do mention us to anyone who might be able to help spread the word and help us grow the community, from pregnancy yoga teachers to your midwife or other mums you already know.  

Sign up or Upgrade your membership today (currently 30% off!)


New offers for our members - and a giveaway!

As well as growing our membership we have also expanded the range of perks in our members' area, so even if you are waiting to be matched up or have already been introduced to your group, you can benefit from being part of Match Up Mums. 

This month we are delighted to welcome a few partners who will be on hand for any of us with fitness resolutions for the New Year – Matt Roberts Personal Training in Chelsea and Hampstead, the brilliantly named Yummy Tummies in central London and PaleoGym in Putney have all put together enticing offers exclusively for Match Up Mums members. 

Of course if you plan to spend early 2015 getting bigger instead, you might be pleased to hear we have a new maternity wear partner… Angel Maternity is an established brand in Australia and one of its biggest fans has relocated here to launch it in Great Britain.  Match up Mums members can receive a discount on any orders with them.  As always, details are in the members page.  

Also we are delighted that Night Nannies have increased the discount our members receive from them, to 15%.  

The Old School Club in Battersea is fast becoming the most talked-about creative hub, running classes from painting furniture to sewing baby clothes to calligraphy.  Our members can now get a discount on all classes at the club, as well as free use of the crèche for the Breakfast Craft Club, which runs monthly and is a great way to get out and do something creative.  

Our latest partner offer comes from Almondella, a Finnish company we met at the Baby Show.  They are launching a range of 'baby boxes' so each month you get a box of carefully-selected, gorgeous Scandinavian (therefore effortlessly cool and stylish) goodies for you and your baby, all perfectly planned to coincide with the developmental stage you find yourself in that month.  For example they have a lovely little box all based around your baby's first trip outside, while at six months their box has a lovely weaning kit.  Almondella are giving our members a discount of 20%.  Do check them out if you are stuck for Christmas gift ideas for friends and family - or your own baby and you, of course!  As always, all discount codes are in the members' area of our website.


Freebie time! 

We also have 3 Almondella baby boxes to give away to our members - to enter just drop us an email, giving a few words of feedback on the MatchUpMums service - and you could win a box of surprise treats for you and your baby.

The contents of one of Almondella's lovely boxes - enter now!

Finally from our partners, this month we have some new guest posts in our newsletter and I hope you will find these interesting.  Emma from First Aid for Life tells us about how to cope in the scary scenario of a baby's choking/febrile convulsions, and sticking with the first aid theme, Kate from Hello Mums babysitting service would like you to look at a petition she is running.  Don’t forget these companies and many others also offer you a discount on their services as a member of Match Up Mums.  So if you think a paediatric First Aid course might be a sensible New Year's resolution, or you are just in need of a sitter for your Christmas party, do check them out.

We hope you have a lovely Christmas, whether it is your first very special Christmas as a family, your last one before your baby arrives or one that is bound to be full of small people and chaos and excitement.  Whatever your plans, we hope you enjoy it and manage to squeeze some time for yourselves into this really busy time of year.   Why not use it as an excuse to hold a festive get together with your M-U-M friends, of course there is even a choice of Secret Santa apps these days, like this one from the Giving Machine!
 
Until next month, we thank you for your continued support and wish you all a very happy Christmas.

Love,
Megan x

How to help a choking baby

by Emma Hammett, First Aid For Life

Choking can be really frightening and if your baby chokes it can be petrifying! 
Babies put things in their mouths and anything that fits through a loo roll can be a potential choking hazard for a little one. When starting solids; avoid slicing food into perfect circles as these can block the airway completely if lodged. Babies have a very sensitive gag reflex and often appear to struggle when tying new food textures. If they are able to cough, let them clear the obstruction themselves – if they are quiet and struggling to breathe, help immediately.
 

Choking – how to help

1. Stay as calm as you can.
2. If they are able to cough, reposition them to see if they can clear it themselves.
3. Have a quick look in the baby’s mouth and carefully remove anything obvious. NEVER blindly sweep inside the baby’s mouth with your fingers as it can cause damage and push the obstruction further down.
4. Lay the baby downwards across your forearm, supporting under their chin.
5. With your hand hit the baby up to 5 times firmly between their shoulder blades
6. Check after each back blow to see if the obstruction has cleared
7. If still choking; lay the baby on its back across your knees, head downwards. Place two fingers in the centre of their chest at the nipple line, and give up to five, firm upward chest thrusts 
8. If the baby is still choking, call 999/112 and continue giving baby five back blows, alternated with five chest thrusts, until help arrives
9. If the baby becomes unconscious start CPR immediately.

 

It is strongly advised that you attend a Practical First Aid course to understand what to do in a medical emergency. Please visit www.firstaidforlife.org.uk for more information about our courses. First Aid for life provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information.

Our mission: First Aid in childcare

by Kate Wilson of Hello Mums 

Having worked with children for over 16 years I have seen plenty of smaller and bigger accidents. I have played "let's count your bruises", "let's be brave spies" and many more things that we tend to do when a child is hurt. I have taught and shown every parent I have worked with about some basic bandages and tricks so they know what to do as and when accidents happen - after all, children have fun and when they do, sometimes they fall or run into a glass door or simply walk into a lamp post.
 
The developing body of babies and children are very different to the adult body and therefore it is very important that we treat them accordingly when something bad happens. CPR, just to name the most important one, is done in a different way for babies, for children and for adults. Rashes, burns, allergies need to be treated with great and immediate care, too. It's better to be safe than sorry. So why is it that it is not compulsory for anyone working with children to have a Paediatric First Aid knowledge? Why is it that it is enough to have one First Aider per nursery - and for them still to open if that first aider is off sick?
I know we try not to over-protect children, but not being able to offer help when needed is simply unacceptable.  Something must be done.  
Firstly, parents have to make sure they know what to do in case of emergency as those crucial few minutes while waiting for the ambulance to arrive can be vital. Secondly, parents have to make sure that no matter what type of childcare option they opt for, the person taking care of their child has to be a Paediatric First Aider so he or she knows what to do if something was to happen. Thirdly, parents have to raise awareness so no life is lost because there isn't a First Aider around.
 
I believe that part of being a professional in childcare should mean having knowledge, experience and providing the children with a safe environment and that is why I am starting a petition, along with Millie's trust, to raise awareness and raise the standard so that anyone wanting to work with children needs to have a Paediatric First Aid certificate.
 
If you agree with me I would love you to drop an email to kate@hellomums.co.uk and I will keep you posted on how you can help us with our mission.

Posted on December 1, 2014 .

November Newsletter

November already? 

Shorter days are here and for us at Match Up Mums there is a lot to pack into them – and the nights too, as I’m sure any working mums will appreciate! October was a really busy month for us.  We matched up lots of new groups across London from Stoke Newington to Twickenham, got some lovely feedback from matched up members, and set up some new partnerships - see further details on these and the exclusive discounts available to our members below. 


Baby Show 

We also took a stand at the Baby Show – three whole days of mums-to-be and new mums, so we decided to offer what surely every one of them wants – a comfy sofa and loads of cake!  We really enjoyed meeting lots of new people and it was lovely to meet many of our members in person too, so thank you all for stopping by for a chat – here are just a few of the friendly faces we saw over the weekend and yes that is Annabel Karmel, she came to say hello too.

 
 

Not yet a member? Sign-up here

We’ve got lots more matches to come following our Baby Show sign-ups, but do keep on spreading the word about us to other mums and mums-to-be.  It really helps us to keep finding good matches for all the mums on our network.  It was fascinating at the Baby Show to see a fair few first time mums-to-be who had their birth plan sorted, and everything planned for their new arrival from the pushchair to the cotbed to the sterilizer and nappy bin – but hadn’t really given any thought to how they were going to spend their days over their maternity leave away from work.  Not surprisingly their mums, older sisters and friends who already have children were urging them to sign up.  So do tell any new mums in particular just how important it is to get that support network of friends in place, and we’ll be only too happy to help them of course.
 

New Member Offers

There are new perks to being a member, too – we are pleased to say we have a load of exclusive offers from a range of mum and baby-friendly businesses, so even if you are waiting to be matched up or have already been introduced to your group, you can benefit from being one of our members.
 
New partners in this last month include First Aid for Life (as seen on Sky News recently), an Award Winning First Aid training business that specializes in paediatric first aid and is offering a discount on all their courses to our members.  We are also introducing Hello Mums, a babysitting agency that guarantees babysitters who are thoroughly checked and vetted and all first-aid-trained, and is offering all of our members a free month’s subscription.   There are loads of other great offers and discounts on our members’ page, from lovely children’s and maternity wear at JoJo Maman Bébé, to the Bump to Baby massage package from Home Spa London that sounds so lovely, it’s enough to make me want another baby!  Almost.   So have a look and remember that we post new offers and deals on our Facebook page all the time – if you like our posts regularly, Facebook will keep putting them in your news feed, otherwise you can just check in on our page from time to time.
 
Until next time, I’ll leave you with two guest posts from our partners.  Medina Sam of MK Kids’ Interiors gives some great advice to anyone planning a toddler’s bedroom and Louisa van den Bergh of Lulubaby gives her top tips for anyone expecting or planning their 2nd baby.  We hope you enjoy reading them.
 
Thank you again for your support and for keeping us good and busy, we really appreciate it.

Love,
Megan x

What to expect 2nd time around

by Louisa van den Bergh of Lulubaby 

1)  Make time to actually consider how you are going to manage when number 2 arrives. For example, line up support; organise a close friend or relative to look after your older child when you go into labour; fill up the freezer with home-made ready meals; have your number 1’s schedule written out in case you are in hospital for longer than expected. Not only do these practical actions help you once baby arrives, but they are also good for making you feel more confident and prepared!
 
2)  Spend time talking to number 1 about the imminent arrival. Let him/ her engage with your tum, feel the kicking, chat about what he/she will be like, what name he/ she could be called. If they are still very little, there are some great books you can buy to help your firstborn understand (e.g. “There’s a house inside my Mummy”).

3)  If you had a hard time of it before – either with delivery or breastfeeding, don’t be afraid to talk to a professional (midwife, obstetrician or breastfeeding counsellor, etc.) to help understand why things happened like that, and steps you can take to have a more positive experience.

4)  Imagine some challenging scenarios with which you may well be confronted – e.g. toddler tantrum in supermarket, with new-born crying for a feed.  Think about what actions you could take so that if such a situation does arise, you know exactly how to deal with it calmly. We find many mums worry about the tea/bath time of day, so have a plan of action for how to cope with this tricky time of day.

5)  Once your baby has arrived and if your number 1 is playing up a bit, put yourself in his/her shoes and imagine what it would be like if your partner came home with another woman! Be empathetic and help your first born to deal with his feelings – it is not an easy time for them and being told how wonderful it is to have a sibling falls on deaf ears (initially at least!). 

Designing a toddler's bedroom

by Medina Sam of MK Kids’ Interiors

There are 3 essential things to consider when designing a room for your toddler: Safety, Storage and Stimulation.

Safety – Toddlers are usually little explorers. Ensure that hung items such as picture frames and shelves are secured on the walls. Cover corners of furniture with corner guards to avoid painful collisions. Cover all electric plug sockets. If you decide on blinds, install a chain break connector or use a cleat.

Storage – You’ll be amazed at the collection of toys, books and clothes your toddler has accumulated. Let storage be a top priority when designing a room; write a list of all the items that you don’t want to see on entering the room and create storage accordingly.

Stimulation – Create an area within your child’s room, where they can learn and play. Between the ages of 3-6 years children are like sponges so create a great experience for them. I suggest a creative reading corner, or an arts and craft station.

Member Discounts

Don’t forget Match Up Mums members get a discount on MK Kids’ Interiors design services and discounts on lots of Lulubaby classes, including their ‘2nd time around’ antenatal course - a one day condensed workshop for mums expecting their 2nd baby.

See our Members page for full details of the discounts available from all of our partners.


Posted on November 3, 2014 .

October Newsletter

Is Autumn here at last? 
 

After a really busy summer launching Match Up Mums, it's like we are starting a new term at school here, all shiny new stationery and excited to get stuck in!  We definitely feel less of a new kid on the block, now we have matched up 32 groups and have had lots of really useful feedback on the Match Up Mums service.  Also we now have lots more 'friends' of Match Up Mums with exciting new partnerships forming that will really benefit our members. More on this and some great giveaways below.

We are proud to say that we have matched up over 75% of our gold and silver London members within a month of joining, and we have new groups forming all the time from Clapham to Crouch End and also beyond London.  The more members we have, the more matches we can make so please tell all your friends about us!  I know it sounds a bit strange to tell your friends about a site that helps you meet friends - but in all likelihood you will have friends who are mums but live on the other side of the city, or who are at a very different parenting stage to you. And they could be just the people that some of our other members are waiting to meet.  So if you can help us to spread the word, please do recommend us to any mums or mums-to-be that you know.  A quick email or a share on Facebook would be really appreciated.
 

New Member Offers:

We know that if you haven't yet been matched it can feel a bit boring waiting for your group, but we took the view that members would rather wait for a good match than be sent off to meet 'any old other mum' for the sake of it.  And to make sure that you still benefit from being a member of this exclusive club of Match Up Mums, we have worked to put together exciting member offers - the latest of these are with new-mum haven (and heaven!), the Mermaid Retreat in Chelsea and also the "leading antenatal class provider in London", Lulubaby.  We have offers from a range of partners and this month our exclusive guest posts at the end of this newsletter come from two of them: JoJo Maman Bébé and the Neighbourhood Midwives, we hope you will find them an interesting read.
 

Top Tips for New Mums

We also wanted to find a way for all of our members to help fellow mums, so we have the Facebook group where members can chat and post questions, as well as our public page, where you can find our latest news. And, thanks to all the lovely mums who sent us their top tips, we now have a collated list of the most useful products for the new-baby stage, from swaddling blankets to feeding cushions and bouncy chairs - and a brief description of why a Match Up Mums member found it so fantastic.  

 
 

See what other Match Up Mums recommend for your own new arrival...

You can read the list here and of course if you would like to make a further recommendation please just drop me a line.  We hope it is useful for any first-time mums, and even a few new ideas for the second timers, and good to have so many mums' views all in one place.  Watch out on our Facebook page where we will announce the winner of the £50 John Lewis voucher on 10th October from all those who recommended things - there's still time to get your entry in before then too!  And the Instagram competition is open all autumn so do send me a photo of you and your group of Match Up Mums if you fancy winning a massage for yourself or a baby massage class for your group, from Home Spa London.
 

Free tickets to Baby Show Olympia:

Finally, we are off to meet lots of potential members-to-be at Kensington Olympia's Baby Show, at the end of October.  We have FREE TICKETS to give away, worth £20 each! To win a pair of tickets all you have to do is write a few lines about Match Up Mums on our Facebook page, to tell us (and our followers) what you think about our new service - even if you have already written us a testimonial then we would love a post on our page from you.  If we run out of tickets then we will dish them out on a first come first served basis. We look forward to hearing from you and hope to meet some of you at the Baby Show.  In next month's newsletter we will give you a behind-the-scenes look at our how our profile-matching service works.  Until then, make the most of the autumn sunshine and I'll leave you to enjoy the guest posts from two of our wonderful partners.

Love,
Megan x

Getting Started with Breastfeeding
 

Tina Perridge is an experienced midwife and director of Neighbourhood Midwives – an amazing social enterprise that helps women find an insured private midwife, whom they know and trust.  Here are Tina's top tips for getting started with breastfeeding.

 
1. We all know about the benefits of immediate skin-to-skin contact with your baby and now the evidence suggests up to 6 hours of this after the birth will benefit both of you.  So pop a nappy on and cuddle up and enjoy.
2. Most healthy babies, after a few feeds in the first couple of hours after birth, will probably have a nice sleep. Try to avoid this sleep lasting longer than 4-5 hours. If your baby doesn’t wake naturally, cuddle and offer a feed at this time.
3. Colostrum is amazing and though small in quantity it is high in quality and provides your baby with antibodies and all the nutrients he needs at this time.  Try to ensure baby feeds every 2/3 hours in the first few days (8-12 times in 24 hours) and if for any reason he will not latch on just express your colostrum onto a sterile spoon and give it by clean finger or a tiny syringe. Your midwife can help.
4. The night before your milk comes in your baby will feed a lot, this is good because he knows that the milk is ready.
5. A good latch and positioning will solve many problems. Hold the baby close to you using the opposite arm to the breast you are using, tuck baby’s bottom under your elbow, (like the bagpipes), use your other hand to support your breast, aim the babies nose to your nipple, when he opens wide bring the baby on, and keep him there. If you change position too quickly the nipple may move out of position in the baby’s mouth.
Result: a comfy feed, a happy baby, a happy mum.

Autumn trends for tiny tots
 

Got your Autumn-Winter wardrobe ready? Not for you, for your budding fashionista!  In this month’s guest post, the children’s wear team at Jo Jo Maman Bébe tell us where they found inspiration for this season’s collection, where it’s less about catwalk trends and more about clothes that kids can have fun in.

 
Season after season, we don’t stray too far from what has always worked for us: quirky British style with a French nautical twist. To keep things fresh, our design team take trips to European cities (our favourites are Paris and Barcelona) which help inspire new collections.
 
Our design process for AW14 was no different – we based the new pieces on old customer favourites but updated the prints and colours. We’ve also added several stories to make the pieces fun for little ones to wear while still keeping to our design principles. For girls, we have the Woodland and Elephant stories, both based around rich, autumnal purple tones – meaning you can easily co-ordinate your favourite separates. For boys, there’s the Air Show story based around a fantastic British tradition with the main theme colours being red, white and blue. These pieces can easily be layered to suit the seasons, allowing kids to enjoy an active lifestyle whatever the weather – something we’re great advocates of.

 

Don’t forget all Match Up Mums members receive a discount at JoJo’s and Neighbourhood Midwives – see our Members’ Page for full details.

Posted on October 1, 2014 .