Thursday, 17 November 2011

Breastfeeding books for children and competition

I support breastfeeding and have been volunteering at various drop-ins for over three years now. So I was delighted to find out that breastfeeding books for children were being launched by Pinter and Martin, independent publishers of psychology, pregnancy, childbirth, parenting, fiction and yoga books. I read both books to my daughter who breastfed well into toddlerhood and she really enjoyed them.

The Mystery of the Breast (£6.99) is a beautifully illustrated book where a little girl comes to grip with breastfeeding as she sees her mother nurse her little brother. This book received an award for its illustration in Spain, but I think the narration deserves a special mention too as it presents breastfeeding in a natural, nurturing and loving light.

You, Me and the Breast (£6.99) won the first prize for illustrated children's books in Spain. It's a captivating book that relies on a quirky, very original and colourful drawings to show the intimate bond and benefits that breastfeeding brings to a family. And the best bit is that there is a baby with teeth still breastfeeding and transitioning to solid food.

To stay in theme, I am mentioning a competition run by a fellow BritMums blogger, where you can win £40 of breastfeeding clothing and products. If you want to enter it, visit Yellow Days (just click the name of the blog).

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Homeworking, juggling blues and bigger beds

Today I got an email in my inbox, which made me reconsider my latest posts and realise that I have overdosed on product reviews! This wasn't planned - products have been piling up for months and I dealt with them in a big push - a bit like tackling a big laundry mountain! Looking at the past month or so it seems like I'm reviewing for England, with just a few chatty posts in between. How did it happen?

School = more hours - not!
Before Michela started school a couple of months ago I marvelled at the amount of time I would gain, but have been finding out that it's still a struggle to fit work, household chores, volunteering and various other activities into school hours. My 'free' hours have gone up from 15 to around 30 but my list of things to do has not diminished. I suspect it has expanded and devoured the extra hours in a big gulp. I'm still lucky in that I work from home, if I had to factor in commuting to an office, it would be even harder.

Homeworking - is it the answer?
I have been mostly working from home for around three years now and although it's more flexible (if you don't mind working on weekends if required), it is not less demanding. In the past year or so I started to feel a bit lonely, so I relish volunteering at a breastfeeding drop-in for a few hours each week. 

When work is going on well, I'd like to be able to work throughout the afternoon - picture me typing away, glancing at the clock and jumping up because it's three o'clock and I need to go to pick Michela up. I did work in an office for a few weeks back in spring on a copywriting project, but could only take that gig on because my partner was around. If a similar job turned up now, I'd still need childcare for the rest of the afternoon. 

Perhaps a career change might be the answer for my homeworking blues. I will need to retrain next year, but I know I'd enjoy the challenge. By then Michela will be old enough to attend an afterschool club. She is quite keen on it, but most of the children are older so I'm not sure it's right for her.

I had to make quite a few adjustments to work from home as my previous occupation was inhouse, but it seems that many mums are ditching their pre-maternity job title/occupation to set up a business. Many are doing quite well by selling innovative products or even using their creative skills. I really admire their entrepreneurial spirit and I'm always glad to read about successful mumpreneurs (or dadpreneurs).

A funny press release? Read on, it makes sense
"The joy of extra space in bed – but this standard double gives each person just 2’3” of room"

Last but not least I want to comment on a press release I got in October from the Sleep Council. The headline screams: BUILDERS SCUPPER DREAMS OF BIGGER BEDS AND BETTER SLEEP. This is a dramatic statement, but it's sadly true. According to The Sleep Council, "Most couples would get a better night’s sleep if they shared a king-sized rather than standard double bed". 

However, most modern homes have tiny bedrooms with only enough space for  a double bed. Apparently the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) has conducted a study and dubbed many new builds "shameful shoe boxes".

So I finish this post with 10 reasons why a bigger bed leads to better sleep (kindly supplied by the Sleep Council):
  1. Because a standard double bed (135cm/4ft 6in) gives each person just 2ft 3in of space – less than a baby in a cot.  Now how squeezed is that?

  1. Ergonomic studies show that couples sleep better in a bigger bed. Before the trials only 15% said they would buy a larger than standard bed.  Afterwards 50% said they would. (Ergonomic pilot study by the National Bed Federation, 1995.)

  1. Because you spend a third of your life in bed – by the time we are 50 we’ll each have spent some 16 years in bed. So, if you are going to spend all that time there, why take the trip to dreamland in tourist class when you can go first class?

  1. Because it doesn’t necessarily cost a whole heap more to move up a size.  Over seven years, for every £100 spent on a new bed, it costs just 3.9p per night.

  1. Because 16 other countries can’t be wrong!  That’s how many boast bigger average bed sizes than Britain.  Top of the league are Belgium, Greece, Holland, Iceland, Finland and Switzerland where most people sleep in a roomy 160cm by 200cm bed.  By contrast we Brits still buy more 135cm by 190cm beds.

  1. Because you spend as much as you can afford on the best possible house, holiday, car, kitchen, TV and sound system.  So why so stingy when it comes to buying a bigger bed?

  1. Because you wouldn’t want to get left behind! Although two-thirds of us still opt for the standard size, larger beds are becoming ever more popular among those with the bedroom space to take one: 33% of double divan and bedstead sales are now 5ft (king-size) or larger.  (GfK NOP Consumer Scope Beds and Mattresses Market Monitor, December 2010).

  1. Because the average person wriggles and turns some 60 to 70 times a night – so you want to put as much space between you and your mate as possible to reduce the disturbance factor.

  1. Because you may not be as young as you were – or as slim!  A 2009  report from the NHS Information Centre said almost a quarter of adults in England were classified as obese in which case the ‘two in a 4 ft 6ins scenario’ could be putting a severe strain on your relationship.

  1. Because once you’ve slept in a king-size, you’ll never want to be a second class sleeper again!

As the Sleep Council is a body founded by bed manufacturers you might feel it's a bit biased, but  I'm a fan of the kingsize bed and I do dislike houses with tiny bedrooms - every time we have been househunting, it has been a right nightmare to find a decent-sized house to buy or rent.