Tag Archives: NCT

Playgroups and cliques

Yesterday I ventured to our local NCT playgroup for the first time. I’ve been meaning to go for ages but never got round to it.

The playgroup was held in a lovely building with plenty of outdoor space. Indoors, the room was split into different play zones with space for soft play, art and crafts, musical toys, a pretend kitchen, a jigsaw table and dressing up clothes.

We paid £1.50 for the play session which lasted 90 minutes and ended up with a singing session.

I was really disappointed with it. It was our first time there and no-one spoke to us! Fortunately I met up with another mum and her 12 month old so we did have someone to talk to but if I hadn’t known her I think I would have left :( I don’t know why the NCT has such a great reputation as I find it so cliquey and full of Boden-clad mums who I wouldn’t want to be friends with.

Edward had a great time and I hope we’ll go again as there was a great range of toys and I want him to be sociable and at ease amongst his peers. I don’t understand why I get so intimidated by groups of mums but I need to make sure Edward turns out more confident than I am. He often picks up on my mood and seems to be happiest at story sessions at our local library where the parents and children are a more diverse and friendly group.

I’m hoping I’m not the only person to feel intimidated by play groups. Anyone else got any tips for being a confident mum?

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Filed under motherhood, NCT, playing

Tales of poo

The topic of poo must surely rank at the top of new parents conversations. Childless, poo was taboo. As a new mum I could talk about poo with friends, family and strangers on the bus, in a shop or at the park. A year on I still have poo stories to tell my husband when he comes home from the office. Occasionally I even shout for help if two hands just aren’t enough to change Edward and I’m always happy to let my mum or sister change Edward when we’re visiting them.

My first thoughts on poo were formed when I attended an NCT antenatal course. One of the sessions covered the contents of newborns’ nappies. Our group looked on in horror as the course leader put A4 laminated photographs of nappies filled with poo (practically all the colours of the rainbow) on the floor for us all to crowd around and universally shudder.

The only upside of my c-section was that it incapacitated me enough to give me a few days respite from changing Edward’s nappies so I was spared those first few nappies where the contents went through the complete colour spectrum. I have faint memories of my husband exclaiming loudly over those first nappies and it’s almost like a badge of honour (to him) that he coped, not just as a new dad, but also as chief nappy changer.

The best advice I remember from those NCT classes was the leader saying by the end of the first day we’d all be experts at nappy changing. And she was right. Nappies have come and gone, we’ve tried all brands, reuseable and disposable, as well as nappy creams, changing mats, changing bags. The poo has been pretty constant, barring the odd occurence of constipation. We’ve survived the poo and my message to new parents is that you will too :)

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Filed under baby, NCT

10 top tips for saving money whilst on maternity leave

Whilst I love spending time with my little boy my maternity pay recently came to an end. I’ve been trying to save my pennies until I returning to work in a few weeks. I thought I’d share my 10 top tips for saving money whilst on maternity leave:

  • Buy second hand toys

Little ones go through toys quickly so buy second hand where possible. Ebay, NCT sales, charity shops and toy swaps are great places to find new to you toys. The toys are usually in great condition and your little one doesn’t care where they’ve come from.

  • Make your own fun

Go to your local park, feed the ducks, find out if your local library is running free activities, sign up for free taster sessions such as gymboree or debutots, arrange play dates with friends.

  • Cook from scratch

Whilst I was pregnant my guilty secret was a Chinese takeaway. Now I’m a new mum takeaways have been replaced with cooking soups from scratch and actually using my recipe folder rather than just filing great recipes and not cooking them! Pick up recipe ideas from your local supermarket or magazines.

  • Enter competitions!

Since being on maternity leave I’ve found a new world of mummy blogs and competitions. I’m not ashamed to admit I enter competitions to win things for my little boy. He’s benefited from clothes, toys, a new pushchair and he’s tried lots of tasty baby foods.

  • Recycle

Ebay unwanted clothes and recycle books on Amazon. I’ve cleared room in my house and made some money too.

  • Beg, Borrow and Steal

Ok, you don’t actually have to steal but you can beg and borrow from friends. We were given a lovely moses basket and stand, car seat and buggy from friends who no longer needed them. Other friends passed on a bouncy chair, baby gym and 1-3 month clothes so we didn’t need to buy much for the first few months of Edwards’ life.

  • Don’t be afraid of shopping around!

By this I mean Primark and other shops. My husband is a clothes snob and whilst I want the best of everything for Edward my practical side says he doesn’t need Burberry babygrows. Primark has some lovely items and we particularly love their boys pyjamas!

  • Take advantage of free samples

Join every Mother and Baby club you can and take advantage of free samples and money off coupons. Boots, Sainsburys, Tesco and Asda all have baby clubs.

  • Reuse!

Try reuseable nappies, especially if you’re eligible for a free voucher for a starter pack from your local Council.

  • Be savvy with your credit cards

Think about taking out a 0% interest credit card. If you take out a credit card with Tesco for example you could get o% interest for 13 months as well as clubcard points. Perfect for any large purchases!

I could add more ideas but these are the things I’ve done so far through my maternity leave and they helped give me a pot of money for Christmas presents! If you have any great ideas for saving money please leave a comment.

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Filed under Christmas, clothing, maternity leave, NCT, shopping