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If you’re feeling low then we’ve put together some top tips to cope at Christmas time.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Or so we’re told.

There’s so much pressure at Christmas time for us all to be merry and bright – and an unspoken stigma towards anyone who might not feel so jovial.

But we all know that life doesn’t always work out as we think it should. If you’re suffering from depression or struggling mentally that doesn’t just go away as we hang up the tinsel. The pressure to have a happy Christmas can actually worsen symptoms,

But how do you get through the festive period if you’re feeling low?

Look after yourself

Nail the basics. Make sure you get enough sleep and rest. Eat well, drink enough water and get all the breaks you can.

It can be harder to eat well and sleep well when you’re struggling. But the more you can, the better you’ll fare.

It can help to ask your partner or a family member or friend to keep an eye out and help you nail the basics too. Whether that means cooking for you, looking after the kids so you can rest or helping with nursery/school runs so you have less on your plate.

If someone offers to help – let them. If nobody does – ask!

Even during the festivities make sure you carve out some time to breathe. If you need a walk alone or a nap then take it. If you need to put on a Christmas movie so the kids will zone out and you can snooze – do it!

And don’t feel guilty. Self-care is never selfish. When you know you’re already struggling it’s vital.

Use the FLAME way to build self-care into your days as Christmas approaches

How to cope at Christmas – Talk to someone

This one goes for whenever you feel down but is more important at this time of year. The task of planning for, shopping for and getting ready for Christmas can feel overwhelming at the best of times. And almost impossible if you’re struggling.

Talk about how you are feeling. Don’t bottle it up. Talk to your partner, your family, your friends. Opening up about how you are struggling is hard but it always helps. Talking will ease the pressure and help you gather support to help you cope throughout the busy Christmas period.

You might feel that you need to talk to a counsellor or a mental health professional to make sure you have the support you need.

Seeking help is not a weakness. It’s a brave and important step.

If you are feeling so low on energy that you can’t even begin to find out how you can get help then ask a family member or friend to help you find places to contact. We have some great charities and organisations that can help on our PND pages.

How to cope at Christmas if you're feeling low - talk to someone

Cut back on presents

We all know that there’s often too much spending and too many gifts at Christmas. And thinking of what to buy and shopping for them adds to the pressure. Make a list. Make it twice (scrapping all the extras) and make Christmas shopping easier.

If you can’t face the shops, buy online. Support local online shops if you can.

And – if your Christmas list is as long as your arm and it stresses you out – maybe now is the time to scale back on who you buy for. Maybe do a Secret Santa for adults in the family so you all but one gift instead of one for each other?

Scale it all back on the food will help with coping at Christmas

The lead up to the big day is such a hectic time. There’s just so much to plan and do and – especially if you’re feeling low – it can feel overwhelming.

One of the things you can do is to scale it back. You don’t have to go overboard and drive yourself to exhaustion prepping for the best Christmas ever. It won’t do you any favours and it won’t help your family either.

If you’re cooking – remember that essentially Christmas dinner is just a posh roast. And nobody will care if you cut corners. By all means – if you’ve got the time and the energy – make your own cranberry sauce and roast potatoes. But – if you’re feeling frazzled cut ALL the corners. Buy pre-made sauces and trimmings. Go all out and buy easy bung-in-the-oven shortcuts. Delegate and ask guests to bring a dish each so that there’s less pressure on you.

how to cope at Christmas

One of the best ways to cope at Christmas – Be brave enough to say ‘No’

Decide how you can cope at Christmas this year and say ‘No’ to anything you know will push you too much.

If you can’t face lots of social occasions – then don’t go.

If you’d rather have a quiet family Christmas at home then make it happen.

Last year – with the Covid restrictions – taught us all a lot about how Christmas doesn’t have to be a huge event.

And how there are ways to connect without even leaving your house. If you want to forgo a big family get together and travelling then suggest you all meet on Zoom instead for a family quiz.

It’s hard to say ‘No’ but – if you’re struggling – it can be the best thing for you. AND your family.

How to cope at Christmas: Limit your social media intake

Your Instagram feed will be chock full of images of families enjoying the ‘perfect’ Christmas. We all know that they’re just snapshots. And that they don’t always tell the full story. but being bombarded by images of the perfect family Christmas when you’re feeling low can make you feel even more miserable.

They say comparison is the thief of joy. But, if you scroll through social media, it’s hard not to compare. And to come away feeling worse than you did before you checked your feed.

If you’re struggling try and limit your social media intake. If you’re really brave – delete it altogether – at least during the Christmas period.

When there’s an empty place at the Christmas table

One of the reasons you might be struggling this Christmas is because you’ve lost a loved one. At this time of year, it can feel harder than ever.

Give yourself permission to grieve. It can be really really hard. But it’s not something that you should conceal and keep to yourself.

Cruse advises finding a way to remember your loved one and says:

“This can be as simple as ‘speaking’ to the person, silently or out loud, visiting their grave, or a place that was special to them. These things can be done alone or with friends or family. You may have photos or memories which you can share to bring you together.”

Marie Curie suggests finding ways to pay tribute in your day:

“Take the chance to talk about your loved one. You could light a candle by a photograph or release a balloon in memory.”

Pure and simply: you should listen to your own gut about how you would like to process the loss. Whether you would prefer going to your local church and being with a community as you hang an ornament with your loved ones name on it, or if you would prefer to quietly grieve in familiar territory like your own home -it’s up to you. Do what feels right in your heart.

And when you need to process it, try not to hold back the tears and keep a brave face for your family, as they can be a big source of comfort at this time. We need to remind ourselves that It’s okay to be facing a difficult time in your life and to feel sad about it. Even if it happens during the festive period.

Remember: It’s okay to be sad at Christmas

If you’re feeling low – for whatever reason – Christmas can be a hard time. The pressure, the enforced jollity and the overwhelm of all you have to do to get ready for the big day can be immense.

Talk to family and friends. Or perhaps a counsellor or medical professional.

And remember – it’s one day. Just one day.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. You’ll get through it.

Reach out. Take care. Be kind to yourself.

And – let others look after you too.


Check out more from the Happity blog:

Simple ways to ignite your spirit and improve your mood

Is there too much pressure to be the perfect parent?

Manage your anxiety- 5 top tips to help you in the moment

Looking for some easy Christmas toddler activities to keep your little one occupied? Look no further!

At this time of year, every parent needs an easy way to keep little ones occupied while they get on with the million and one other tasks we need to get done in the run-up to Christmas!

Here are some simple, no-fuss Christmas toddler activities to keep little ones busy. Ways to win back 5 minutes to get stuff done.

Christmas toddler activities to print out

Image of Christmas Toddler Activities

This Happity Hack comes courtesy of Kerry, founder of the very fab and funky Paper Joy.

Alongside her bright and beautiful art prints, Kerry produces colourful and useful paper goods you can print at home. She helps to save you time and money. Kerry has very kindly let us have some fun printable Christmas toddler activities – perfect to achieve a few minutes’ peace and quiet.

Download and print Kerry’s Christmas creations:

Christmas Toddler Activity Colouring Pages from Paper Joy

Give them to your toddler and let them create a colourful Christmas picture.

Spinout the activity by letting them stick on some cotton wool, sequins, scraps of paper, or glitter to embellish their pictures. Voilà! A Christmas collage to be proud of.

Christmas print outs for parents too!

Kerry also has some fantastic free Christmas printables to help out busy parents too. Whether you’re organising your Christmas menu or your Christmas shopping or want to work your way through a Christmas bucket list – she’s got a printable for you!

Download and print them out to get your Christmas planning on track!

Christmas activities for toddlers

Hassle-free Christmas Toddler activities when you need to keep them occupied

Click the links to find ideas at your fingertips to keep your little ones occupied as you get through the hectic festive period.

There are cute colouring sheets, letters to Santa, little easy makes for toddlers – and much much more.

If you make a Christmas Eve Box for your children, then maybe this is a good idea for you. Print out these colouring sheets, staple them together and add them to your box. It makes for a lovely activity for little ones on the night before Christmas.


If you end up using any of these fabulous print-outs, we’d love to see them! Post them on your Instagram page or Story, tag our page and use the tag #HappityChristmas !

We hope that your children can have fun and that you can have an extra moment of calm with this easy little activity.

From all of us at Team Happity, we hope you have a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year! 🎄

If you liked this post, you may also like:

Easy Christmas Crafts for Toddlers

9 Magical New Christmas Traditions for Toddlers

Simple ways to ignite your spirit and improve your mood

From the Christmas Light Express to the North Pole breakfast – here are some magical Christmas traditions for toddlers that they’ll love.

Once your toddler is at an age where they really start to ‘get’ Christmas you can start some family traditions. Traditions that will become part of your own family Christmas year after year. And ones that your toddler will look back on when they are older with fond memories.

Family traditions all add to the anticipation and the build-up to the big day. They create the magic and wonder of Christmas.

Watching the wonder of Christmas through your own child’s eyes brings back so much of the excitement you too felt when you were younger.

Here are some of the new family traditions you might want to start as a family, all perfect for toddlers.

1. A special decoration each year as a new Christmas tradition for toddlers

A lovely family tradition to start is to make or buy a special decoration each year. There are a lot of different options out there! If you visit your local Christmas market, you’re bound to come across a stall or two selling personalised Christmas decorations. Or, alternatively, you could make one yourself!

You can buy little snow globe baubles where you can insert a photo of your toddler. Or why not visit a pottery painting studio so that your toddler can decorate their own bauble?

Or get the glitter out and make some of our Easy Christmas Crafts for Toddlers.

2. Waiting for Father Christmas

Much of the magic of Christmas for little ones is waiting for Father Christmas to bring presents. There are so many lovely Santa traditions that you can start.

You might hang a “Santa stop here!” sign in the garden. Or put out milk and cookies for Santa – and a carrot for Rudolph, by the fireplace on Christmas Eve.

You could even draw around a large pair of shoes or wellies and cut out foot shapes from card. Then sprinkle flour or icing sugar (or fake snow) over the footprints. Once you take away the card you will be left with a footprint or two outlined in ‘snow’ as proof that Father Christmas really did arrive!

Christmas traditions for toddlers - santas footprint

3. Christmas stories by the light of the tree

T’was the night before Christmas, and it’s late in your house. Your toddler isn’t sleeping, but who is? Your spouse!

There are some brilliant Christmas classics out there for bedtime stories just fit for your babies, toddlers and children alike. Reading books in the run-up to the big day is a lovely Christmas tradition for toddlers. Pick out all of your favourites and enjoy the look of wonderment in their eyes!

One of the lovely Christmas traditions for toddlers to start is to pick 6 Christmassy stories, wrap them and place them under the tree. In the 6 days before Christmas, your child can unwrap a book and it can be their bedtime story.

You could also take them to a group that does group reading to feel the joy with other mums, dads and tots.

Check out some of the classes we list over on Happity here!

Christmas traditions for toddlers - reading books

4. Make/buy a personalised stocking for your to create a new Christmas tradition for your toddler

Whether you’re putting presents under the tree or filling a stocking -there’s something heartwarming about having a personalised stocking for your little one that you will be able to bring out year after year. Whether you’re buying one or making one -you won’t regret getting a stocking for your toddler.

5. All Aboard The Christmas Light Express

There’s nothing more magical than seeing lots of Christmas lights twinkling in the dark skies, in the run-up to Christmas. One late afternoon or early evening you could all go on a drive around your local neighbourhood to see the sparkly trees and lit up windows in the houses and gardens all around you.

You can make this experience even more exciting by making a ticket out of gold card and announcing to your toddler that they can step aboard the ‘Christmas Light Express’. You could wear a Santa hat and decorate the inside of the car with tinsel. Throw in some yummy drinks and snacks that they can enjoy on the journey. This will build up the magic even more!

Team Happity have said across the board that it’s one of their firm favourite Christmas traditions for toddlers – and older kids love it too!

christmas lights - toddlers first christmas

6. New Christmas tradition for toddlers: Visiting Santa’s Grotto

There are many places where your toddler can go and see Father Christmas in his grotto. At some, they may even be able to see his reindeer too.

Grottos are pretty booked up this year but if you can get a slot it’s totally worth it for that magical feeling of standing in Santa’s Grotto and seeing your lovely little bundle of joy staring up at Father Christmas in wonder. You’ll keep hold of the photo you take that day for far longer than you expect!

The big man himself- Father Christmas! Ready to say hello on toddler's first Christmas

7. Advent calendar and a reverse advent calendar

Toddlers will love opening the doors of an advent calendar and finding out what’s inside. At this age an advent calendar with pictures to reveal is perfect. It also helps your little one see how many days are left until Christmas. For them, the wait can seem to last forever!

Another idea to add to our list of Christmas traditions for toddlers to start is a reverse advent calendar. To make one you can stick four wine bottle holders together so you end up with a box with 24 sections. Use a pen to write numbers 1-24 on the sections. Each day your toddler can help you place one item into your reverse advent calendar. The idea is you fill your box with items and – when it is full – take it to a food bank or charity. It’s a really nice way to teach little ones about the joy of giving and thinking of others at this time of the year.

Christmas traditions for toddlers - advent

8. North Pole Breakfast as a new Christmas Tradition for toddlers

You might want to start Christmas day in a magical way with a North Pole Breakfast. You could make pancakes and use whipped cream and strawberries to turn them into Father Christmas and serve with a glass of milk or a hot chocolate. An exciting breakfast is a good way to refuel after your (no doubt) super early start to the day! And it makes a nice break before opening more presents or visiting Grandma.

Father Christmas pancake for a toddler's first Christmas

9. Snuggling up to watch a festive film

Christmas just doesn’t feel like Christmas without enjoying some festive films. There are some lovely Christmassy animations that little ones will love. Here are just a few:

  • The Snowman
  • Trolls Holiday
  • Olaf’s Frozen Adventure
  • The Snowman and the Snowdog
  • Arthur Christmas

There’s nothing lovelier than putting your PJs on and watching a festive film with the Christmas tree lights twinkling.


We hope you enjoyed our list! If you want to see some Christmas content from us, our lovely parents and some fabulous classes, jump over to Instagram and check out the tag #HappityChristmas

From all of us at Happity, we wish you a Happy Holidays and hope that you have a wonderful time this Christmas season! 💝

If you liked this blog, you might also like:

Easy Christmas Crafts for Toddlers

How to cope at Christmas if you’re feeling low

9 Brilliant Benefits of Baby and Toddler Classes

Today there is huge pressure to be the perfect parent.

A recent survey from BabyCentre revealed that 3 in 5 mums feel a huge pressure to be perfect parents. Another survey by Sure Start Scotland found that 50% of parents said they were put off seeking help because they felt like ‘bad parents’ for asking.

Where does this pressure come from and how can we deal with it?

Nicola, a mum of two girls from Team Happity, addressed this in our latest Instagram Live. Here’s what she had to say to open up the conversation:

The overwhelm of parenting advice

Today we’re bringing up our babies and children with an overwhelming amount of advice from digital media. There are so many blogs, surveys and media headlines coming at us from all sides telling us how to parent (and how not to). Often, the advice is changing and contradictory. It can be confusing and lead us to doubt our own instincts. And worry about whether we’re getting things wrong. It all adds to the pressure.

Our own grandmothers and mothers brought up their babies without this plethora of parenting advice. They relied on their own instincts as well as asking advice from family and friends (who they lived close by providing a village to raise their child). Things were simpler. There was more hands-on support. There wasn’t the same level of scrutiny.

Now many more of us live far away from our families. Our ‘villages’ are not there to step in and provide reassurance, help and support on a day to day level. And we can feel more alone and more doubtful about our parenting.

A mother’s place is always in the wrong!

There are online debates daily on the rights and wrongs of parenting. You can easily feel like you don’t know which way is up and feel like, if you get it ‘wrong’, then you’ll be judged.

Even if you don’t face direct judgement from people you know – you make you can read tweets and comments online from others who disagree with any parenting decision you make.

You give your baby a dummy – and then read hundreds of judgemental comments online condemning parents who do that. You stop breastfeeding at 3 months or 9 months (or keep breastfeeding until 2 years plus) and wade through hundreds of comments on social media about why either decision is harming your child.

Even if you feel like this was the best parenting decision for you and your baby and your family at the time you made it, you’ve got to have a thick skin. And a high level of confidence to brush this level of passionate online criticism and judgement.

The pressure from social media to be a perfect parent

In the survey from BabyCentre 2 in 5 mums said that social media intensifies the pressure to be a perfect parent because you are constantly bombarded with perfect images of parenting and compare yourself to others.

There’s a well known saying that ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’. When you’re constantly being fed photos of happy parents with Insta perfect lives then this is elevated. Comparing yourself and finding that you come up short can really chip away at your self-esteem.

The pressure was less without social media

My girls are both grown up now and so I went through the early years of parenting when social media wasn’t a thing. I actually feel really lucky and thankful for that. Don’t get me wrong – there are many positives to social media – especially in terms of connecting parents and providing an online community and support. But that level of ‘in your face’ comparison just wasn’t there for me.

I felt like I was on a good day if I left my house without an obvious baby sick stain on my jumper and having found time to brush my hair! I didn’t even give a thought to whether my baby’s nursery was beautifully themed or whether I was pushing a stylish buggy. (Mine was the one I could afford at the time and later one I got as a hand-me-down from a friend).

Social media is now part of our lives and is here to stay. We all know that behind every perfect Insta shot there is no doubt a pile of clutter that a mum has pushed away. And that, more often than not, the pics show the best sides of a parent’s day and not the tears, tantrums and ‘in the trenches’ moments.

When you’re feeling a bit wobbly it’s harder to remember that a photo does not tell the whole truth and to stop comparing your own life to the lives we see on social media.

Putting pressure on ourselves to be the perfect parent

For me, the idealised picture of motherhood that I had in my head during pregnancy was just not realistic. I remember being told I could go home with my newborn baby and feeling overwhelmed. Although I’d had nine months to plan for this moment, it felt a little reckless that now I was taking this tiny vulnerable newborn home, feeling suddenly like I had no clue what I was doing!

Of course I learned along the way, but that feeling of overwhelm and uncertainty rocked my previous vision of myself as ‘the perfect mother’ right from the get-go.

Expectations vs reality

I had strong feelings of how I would parent before giving birth. If any of the things I’d planned didn’t work out, then I’d really beat myself up and feel like I’d failed somehow.

For example, I’d planned a natural birth. After over 32 hours of agonising and exhausting back-to-back labour, I begged the midwife for an epidural. It was the right decision for me at the time but I still felt guilty for ‘failing’.

There were many other moments where the ideal and the reality of parenting didn’t meet up and the guilt I felt for ‘getting it wrong’ was huge. Whether this was giving up breastfeeding too soon or shouting at my child after a day when I was exhausted and frustrated and just didn’t have the patience to deal with the crying or tantrums.

Work and mum guilt

the pressure to be the perfect parent

I grew up with the message that women could ‘have it all’. Which is empowering on one hand. But adds to the pressure on the other. Especially since flexible working, affordable childcare and gender equality are not yet at the level where women can find a perfect balance between work and being a mum.

We are expected to work as if we don’t have children, and parent as if we don’t have to work. I have worked part-time and full time as a mum. And have often felt like I couldn’t give both my full energy and attention. It never takes much for a perfectly planned week to go off the rails and for the plates we spin in the air to keep both going crash to the ground. All it takes is a poorly child or a childcare issue for things to start feeling stressful.

The guilt that comes with not always being able to find the balance between work and parenting adds to the pressure.

There’s no such thing as a perfect parent

My children are now both grown up and over the years I have worked hard on being kinder to myself and trying not to beat myself up for not being the perfect parent. After all – the perfect parent doesn’t exist. Just as the perfect human doesn’t!

I make mistakes. Of course I do. I always say sorry afterwards and try not to let the mum guilt eat away at me. All the choices I have made as a mum were the best for me and my children at the time and with the resources (and sometimes the energy!) I had.

The truth is we’re all just doing our best. And that makes us good parents. Which – seeing as perfect parents don’t exist – is good enough!

The very fact that you are worrying about whether you’re a good enough parent means that you probably already are.

You’re amazing and you’re doing a great job.

You’ve got this!

Watch our Instagram live

We’d love to know what you think about whether there is too much pressure to be the perfect parent. Hop over to watch our Insta live and please do leave a comment to share your thoughts.

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Growing a baby means that your body changes pretty dramatically. You can end up with a mum tum (or baby pouch) that won’t go away no matter how much you try. Or boobs that have changed in shape and size. Or wobbly bits that you never had before.

You spend nine months learning to embrace maternity clothes. Whether they flatter or hide your bump.

After birth – you face a whole new challenge in what to wear.

You could be clinging onto maternity clothes that are 2 sizes too big for your body. Or maybe throwing on outfits that you don’t particularly love but also aren’t taking too much thought away from your day.

But, at the same time, it’s surprising how much of an influence your clothes have on things like confidence and self-love.

So how do we try and move past the panic in the morning and allow ourselves to feel more body positive? How do we feel good wearing the clothes we’re wearing?

Leanne from Team Happity recently discussed this on a Happity lunchtime live. Read on to find out what she had to say on the matter!


It’s tricky to feel body positive in the “no thoughts” outfit…

When time is precious, and we’re against the clock, experiencing body positivity is pretty much an afterthought (or never-thought!). But sadly, when we also do have time, most of us aren’t focusing on clothes. I think that we all have that same comfort outfit actually. The stretchy bottoms (probably maternity pants), t-shirt with a hole in it or a very visible stain on the front, and hair put up in a messy top-knot/pineapple bun.

There’s nothing wrong with having a “No thoughts” outfit. It’s easy to throw on, and is suitable for the routine gymnastics that the day will throw at us, as well of those few moments of calm where we can grab a cup of coffee and put our feet up. But, the unfortunate side to this outfit, as practical as it could be, is that it doesn’t do tons for our confidence.

We don’t feel our most fabulous in an old t-shirt and jogging bottoms. But after having that as your outfit, every day, for a significant period of time, it can actually be quite daunting to wear something else. Wearing a skirt in public feels like too big of a jump outside of the norm.

A woman stares at a mountain of clothes not knowing where to begin.

We can feel strangely afraid of clothes. It’s too much additional pressure and stress added to the day to be worth the hassle.

One of the reasons we may be afraid of certain pieces of clothing is the fear of exposing part of ourselves that we wanted to keep buried under the fabric. That the idea of being more “visible” or feeling more exposed was a really daunting concept (and still is!).

Confront your inner doubt and let your body positivity come out!

When I was in the process of losing weight a little while ago I hadn’t bought any new clothes that were adjusting to my new body size. I was weirdly okay with oversized bras but was desperately adding belts and stitches to old trousers to try and stop them from falling down. So, it seemed about time to go and buy some new clothes.

That was the first time in my life where I bought a crop top. A crop top is the opposite of what I would normally wear, and I felt like I didn’t have a good enough body for it. “No, only a certain looking body can wear that,” warned my inner doubts.

Yet, some part of me really wanted to just try it.

The top was exposing my belly, a part of my body that I had been trying so hard to cover up in the past, and was so so worried about being judged about it. I was shaking from the nerves, genuinely trembling and sweating, and this was just while I was alone in my room. But, I also just loved how I looked with it and how I felt wearing it. It made me feel cute.

The first time I wore it out in public was terrifying. I was holding my hands in front of my stomach or using a jacket to try and cover up the exposed skin. But the more I wore it out and about, I relaxed. And the more I relaxed, the more I realised that actually, no one was staring.

I was especially loving my new outfit during the sweaty summer weather. For 2021 the thought process was “suns out, tums out!” a phrase that I never in my wildest dreams have been saying in the past

Body positivity takes a conscious effort!

I suppose like most things that are looking after ourselves or making a change: practice makes perfect. Body positivity takes practice. The more small changes we make and give things an extra little thought, the more it begins to feel natural to us.

It’s just fabrics and zips and buttons! We shouldn’t feel afraid to wear clothes that may be a little more dressy than usual if they manage to boost our confidence and our moods. Trust me, if you like what you are wearing, your confidence will truly bloom!

So, with that all being said, I just wanted to give a few tips and some advice that I’ve either learnt, tried or heard from others. Because it can be a mental adjustment that takes practice. These aren’t anything too massive, but they might be a good place to start.


1. If you go into a clothes shop, challenge yourself to try on one “daring” piece of clothing that’s outside of your comfort zone

This is a fun thing to try out just to test your toes in the water of new clothing. In the fast-paced moving world of fashion and viral trends, there is always new clothing concepts that feel like they’ve come from a different reality. I never pretend to understand it, but it can be fun to explore. One time, my friend had convinced me to wear a pair of glossy leopard print “pleather” trousers, and a raincoat material snotty green t-shirt. I thought it would be an ache on the eyes, but the noise that I was making walking around in it was somehow worse. I sounded like a rubber duck in a Tesco carrier bag.

two women trying on clothes that may be slightly out of their comfort zone.

But you know what, trying on the most outlandish thing I can find in the shop for a laugh actually has taken away that little fear of trying on clothes that are outside of my comfort zone. I do feel like I’m far less afraid to try on clothes that are a little more colourful or show another side of me.

2. Try and have one outfit every week that you’ve planned beforehand & thought about it before wearing it

Time isn’t always a friend for us, and choosing an outfit if you have a touch of clothing anxiety can really take a lot of time and mental strain.

If you have a free moment, why not take a glance through your wardrobe and pick out an outfit that you like. Whether that’s a nice top or an unusual dress. And then, tell yourself you’re going to wear it on a specific day. You have it planned, decided, and then you still just need to throw it on the morning of that day. Less of a panic that morning, and no time wasted in the haste of that morning rush.

3. Being frugal can add to your body positivity!

One of the main reasons that a lot of us will be put off from going to go and buy new clothes probably comes down to the price tag. New clothes require disposable income that, most of us, otherwise don’t have.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. As long as you’re willing to try out using second-hand clothes.

Maybe try visiting charity shops for your new outfits. Following the lockdowns, a lot of people were having sort outs of their wardrobe out of sheer boredom. This means that the charity shops are overrun with new clothes. And they’re nice clothes too. The last time I went to a charity shop, the changing room was shut. But, when you buy any clothes, you have two weeks to return them. So you can try things on at home and bring them back if you really don’t like them.

That, and you would be surprised at how excited little ones can get at visiting charity shops. It’s like a hidden trove of random pre-loved belongings, and they’ll be fascinated by the aged books or fossils like “CD’s” and “VHS tapes” 😉 . It makes for a fun activity to take your kids to too!

4. Donate or bin some of those old comfort clothes to feel more body positive

For me, one of the hardest issues I was coming across was actually wearing the new clothes I was buying. I dropped down three sizes, loaded my wardrobe up with cheap, cheerful and cute clothes that I could wear. And then proceeded to continue wearing my “holy hoodie”. As in, the hoodie that no longer had a pocket, just a flap and one big hole.

It made me feel a little too panicked to actually just wear some new clothes. I was worried about judgement constantly. And I realised that the only way I was going to actually start wearing my new clothes would be if I got rid of my old ones.

There’s a few things out there you can do with maternity clothes if they’re still in pretty good nick. If you want to make a bit of money off of them but if you don’t want to put too much energy into the selling of the clothes, then using the Facebook marketplace or join some buy and sell Facebook groups that are for specifically maternity clothes or baby/toddler products are a good way to go. For example, a popular group is Maternity clothes buy/sell UK (if you want to check them out!). Or try selling on apps like Vinted or Depop.

Woman donating old clothes to charity and encouraging body positivity

However, if you’d like to simply get rid of them, donating them is probably the best way to go! You have quite a few options for this. You could donate them to charity shops. Or, some local churches collect maternity clothes and baby supplies to directly provide for those in the community who may not be able to afford them. There’s also a lot of brands now have started doing “Recycling schemes” that often cover postage and donate to charities.

Have a look around, and see what has the most appeal to you.

5. You are not supposed to fit clothes. Clothes are supposed to fit you.

As much as we can advise people to wear clothes that are away from the realm of a “comfort hoodie”, we should also advise the opposite. In order to experience more body positivity, It’s important that you don’t try and squeeze into something that’s too tight. Especially if it’s just because it says it’s your usual clothing size.

You’ll spend the whole time you’re wearing it fidgeting and messing around with it, trying to make it sit right on your body. But, of course, this isn’t exactly going to make you feel confident while you’re wearing it, as you’ll constantly be thinking about it.

It may make you feel bad sometimes if what is your usual clothing size, for whatever reason, doesn’t fit you. But clothing sizes are finicky! What one brand measures as a size M, another brand measures it as an XL.

At the end of the day, you are not supposed to fit clothes. Clothes are supposed to fit you. The only person who will be looking at the size tag is you, so don’t be afraid to go the next size up if it will make you feel comfortable while you are wearing it.

6. Don’t be afraid of your stretch marks -A lot of us have them!

I would actually go as far as to say that a lot of us should show a little bit of love to our stretch marks. We like to call them Tiger Stripes instead of stretch marks! As they are badges that show the warriors we are as mums.

You truly shouldn’t feel ashamed about stretch marks. Your body adapted to growing a baby. And it’s pretty miraculous that it was capable of doing as much. Stretch marks are perfectly natural, and believe me when I say that others won’t be judging you for having them. You may get a couple of questions from younger family members, but at the end of the day if you’re encouraging them to embrace any marks or scars on your body and not hide them away, then it’s a great message to be demonstrating.

7. Encourage body positivity for your sake and your kids

A lot of adults do tend to talk about all the flaws they see when they see themselves in photos or when they look in the mirror they tend to think the worst. We vocalise this, and we actually audibly say “Ew” or “no” or “Oh God”. But we never fight to say to ourselves what it is that we like about the way we look. Photos or otherwise!

When we have others in our company who are strongly influenced by what we say and do, we are actually demonstrating how we view ourselves and influencing them to do the same. To look at images of themselves and then focus on what it is they don’t like, instead of what it is they like. And, when that happens, it’s very easy to actually stop noticing what it is we like about our appearance altogether.

Mother and child smiling in the mirror and demonstrating body positivity

Instead of tearing ourselves down (and influencing others to do the same), we should actually try to demonstrate more strength by looking at photographs and saying things like “I love the way my hair looks in this one” or “My eyes look great in this”. It may feel strange to do this at first, but it will truly show courage and make a big change to how you start to look at pictures of yourself. You yourself are making a conscious effort to look at photographs and find something good. And in time, it will take less and less effort to spot what you like.


Practice body positivity, loving yourself, and enjoy wearing clothes!

That’s all the tips Leanne has! Thanks for reading, and hopefully there’s something you could take away from it.

At the end of the day, we’re all still trying to teach ourselves to be more body positive. It’s a long-winded uphill struggle! A lot of us are self-conscious about our bodies. But, it makes sense in that case for us to need a conscious effort to deal with it.

If you have body positivity tips, then please go and leave them in the comments of Leanne’s Instagram live: she has said that she’ll be keeping an eye out for them and taking them onboard herself.

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Be more toddler! How it could make us happier

It feels incredibly daunting to figure out how to improve your mood when you are stuck in a rut. Life is chaotic as a parent, and finding time to think about how to improve an unhappy mindset is more complicated than it sounds. Is there an easy way to approach our mental health?

Lisa Thompson, Happity’s Customer Support Manager and mum to a feisty three-year-old boy, recently did a Happity Lunchtime Live. She gave some fabulous tips on how to bring a bit more warmth into our lives and improve our mood following the guidance of a simple acronym.

Read on to find out more!


Using F.L.A.M.E to add warmth into your day!

As may have been the case with many of you reading this, my son’s birth did not go to plan and in the months after he came along. I had anxiety, PTSD and was physically poorly as well.

I decided to make little changes every day to get back to good. So that I could be the best mum that I can be.

So I have thought about the things that work best for me and wanted to share them with you today. I have even put together a little acronym.

This is what works for me, it may or may not work for you. Some of it you may have heard before but hopefully, there will be some new things for you to try.

As a mum, most of my examples will be about being a mum but these tips are for everyone! So if you are a dad, grandparent, carer or anyone really, then please do listen and join in too!

The acronym I use is this:

F.L.A.M.E

It’s a bit cheesy but I have chosen FLAME as this is about igniting your spirit and gaining more energy.

And don’t worry, the E is not for exercise! The last thing you need if you have been up all night with a teething baby is for me to tell you to go for a walk!

F: Thoughtful food to improve your mood

Now, rather predictably the F does stand for Food, but most importantly for fruit & veg! This is not about weight loss, this is about giving your body what it needs to thrive.

It’s recommended that we have between 7 and 10 80g servings. However many of us don’t get anywhere near that. It can be too much to try and get there all at once.

So, think about where you are at the moment; if it is only one a day, then that is your baseline.

Try and build up slowly to five servings a day, starting with fruit which in my opinion is a lot more fun than veg!

To get started pick your favourite fruit and then have that as a snack once a day. Or have it with your breakfast. Then when that habit has stuck, build in another fruit. Once you have built in the fruit, then you can start to build in the veg. Add cucumber or tomatoes to sandwiches, have good quality soups and try to have one serving of veg with your dinner. You’ll be at your 5 a day in no time and will probably be feeling awesome!

Introducing fruit and vegetables into your diet can really help to improve your mood

One thing I noticed I was doing was giving my son lots of fruit but never eating it myself! So now when I give it to him, I have some myself too!

I go along to the shops with my son and we pick a new fruit or vegetable together and take it home and eat it. It’s a great way to eat more fruit and veg and it is an activity for you to do together as well!

Check out this article the NHS has made, “8 tips for healthy eating“.

L: Laughter & fun!

Whether you are in the first 12 weeks or 12 years of parenthood, there are days that can just feel like a slog. You just have to get through them. However, my tip to improve your mood is to make time for fun every day and seek out opportunities for laughter.

Laughter helps to reduce your heart rate, lowers levels of stress hormones in your body and also connects us.

Take time each day to seek out something fun. Read a funny book, listen to shows on the radio which make you laugh, at the end of the day watch a comedy, rather than a gloomy drama. Contact someone who always makes you laugh.

These little moments in the day pierce the bubble of that feeling of slog.

Two friends together laughing over coffee

Another great way that still helps improve my mood is going to classes! Taking my son along to a music class, singing songs, shaking instruments, trying and failing to keep up with the signing of songs all made me feel great. My son loved them, and It also really improved my mood when the other parents were having a giggle as well.

So if you have not booked a class yet, I would really recommend going along to one and of course, there are lots of amazing providers on Happity! Check them out here!

A: Ask for help to improve your mood

Being a parent does not come with a manual and a lot of what happens is completely unexpected but many parents don’t ask for help for fear of judgement.

I really struggled with breastfeeding for about 8-weeks. And, as a lot of us do, I kept it in and I didn’t tell anybody. I kept it in, and I kept it in, and I kept it in. And as repressed feelings often do, it all came bursting out of me.

I was in a bit of a state. But I started to talk about it. I asked for help, I started to share my experience, I expressed my feelings, and it was almost like a cloud lifted.

Nobody judged me. Nobody called me a terrible mother as I had feared. Everyone was so kind and so helpful, and I managed to sort myself out. Eventually, I moved on.

Maybe that’s an extreme example, but it still applies to general problems that play on your mind. If you’re tired, or overwhelmed, or are not sure what you are doing then reach out to a person you trust. Whether that’s your partner, your GP, a friend -I promise you, it will help.

Seeking out help from a friend or professional can really help to improve your mood

Again, go along to classes, speak to the other parents and you will see that we are all in this together and not alone. But, if you are really struggling to cope, contact your GP. Or take a look at our PND support page to find out more information about who could help if you are unsure.

M: Moment of calm

I don’t about you but my mornings start in a really hectic way. Sometimes by a three-year-old shouting cock-a-doodle-doo at the top of his voice.

Then it’s breakfast, getting dressed, teeth cleaning, getting out of the house and getting him to the nursery or to my Mum’s. Then once he’s there my mind turns to what I have to do that day and starts whirring at the speed of light.

This is a pretty stressful way to start the day. So once my son is safe where he needs to be, I take a few minutes just to calm it down before plunging into the next part of my day.

Writing in a journal can really help to improve your mood!

It could be breathing exercises for a few minutes, meditation, journaling. Or maybe having a mindful walk on the way home from nursery. Whatever it is, it provides a pause and a moment of rest before you get going again. Sometimes it is just a case of having a cup of tea in the garden to improve your mood.

It might seem counterproductive when you have so much to do. But just taking a few minutes to rebalance will leave you more focused, calm and less stressed.

E: Enjoy improving your mood!

There are two parts to this one.

The first one is to do something that you enjoy every day or at least every week. If this sounds unrealistic for you, then just start small with five minutes or small acts. The key here is to do something that is just for you and is not part of being a parent so that you can start to feel like yourself again! 

  • Read a book that you have wanted to start for ages.
  • Listen to your favourite songs
  • Restart a long-forgotten hobby/start a new one.
  • Have a bath
  • Put on your favourite perfume/cologne
  • Craft
  • Go to the gym

If it’s available to you, then ask your partner or a trusted person to look after your little one(s) regularly.

Another good way to build this in is to practice ‘bundling’. Which is where you pair an everyday task with something fun. If I’m tidying up all the toys at the end of the day then I will listen to my favourite songs or podcast. It really helps to make it more enjoyable.

These little interventions can turn a bad day into a good one in an instant and start to make each day better.

Young woman painting in her art studio to improve her mood

The second half is to enjoy the small things! When we are deep in the busyness of every day, it is hard to remember to enjoy what’s happening.

A friend of mine starts every meeting that she runs with everyone thinking about what their ‘best thing today’ was. This is something that my husband and I do every night before we go to bed. It can be something really small. But taking time to think about what it might be that changes your mindset and you start to actively notice the good in every day.


So that’s all of Lisa’s tips on how to improve your mood!

Thank you so much Lisa for some absolutely brilliant advice!

Hopefully, we’ll be seeing Lisa at a Happity lunchtime live again in the future!

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15 Unexpected Facts You May Learn as a New Dad

Is loneliness a new epidemic amongst new mums? It’s a paradox because as a new mum you’re never alone (with your new baby with you every day and night) but you can also feel so very lonely.

A recent study by the Red Cross found that more than 8 in 10 mums feel lonely some of the time. Another survey by Channel Mum revealed that more than 90% of mums in the UK admit to feeling lonely since having children. A statistic that is shocking, but perhaps not surprising.

Loneliness as a new mum is something we don’t talk about enough. 3 in 5 new mums surveyed said they tried to hide their feelings and 38% have never told their partner.

In the past 18 months, as we’ve all gone through lockdowns, this epidemic of loneliness amongst new parents has surely got worse.

Nicola from Team Happity opens up about how much loneliness affected her after having her first baby. We hand over to her to tell her story:


How loneliness as a new mum took me by surprise

I’d done everything I thought possible to prepare for having a baby. I’d bought all the kit, read all the books, been to all the antenatal classes. But one thing I hadn’t prepared for was loneliness.

Loneliness as a new mum was something I’d never expected and something I hadn’t prepared for. And it hit me like a ton of bricks.

I hadn’t ever felt lonely before: through school, through university and at work.

I was the first of my friends to have a baby. All my friends were busy with work and with their own lives. Suddenly I found myself alone all day, every day with just my baby for company.

I felt lonelier than ever before. And it had a huge effect on my mental health and my confidence.

Where do all the other mums go?

I found myself with every day yawning ahead of me with nowhere to go. I walked with my baby in her sling or her pram finding myself in an unchartered daytime world. I passed pensioners, hurried people on their way to goodness knows where.

I also passed other new mums pushing their prams with more purpose than me. Where were they going? How did they know where to go?

I smiled at every other mum I passed trying to put out ‘Please be friends with me’ vibes!

lonely mum staring out of the window

Accosting the postie!

As the weeks went by I found myself craving adult company. Here I was, day after day, feeding, rocking and soothing, and talking to my baby (who at this age gave very little chat back!).

I used to head out to the corner shop and talk to the till assistant for longer than was socially acceptable. And when the postman rang the bell to deliver a parcel I would strike up a conversation and keep him on the doorstep. I was just so desperate to speak to another adult human being!

Plucking up the nerves to get out there and confront loneliness as a new mum

I eventually found out details of baby classes and baby and toddler groups near me and plucked up the courage to go along to one or two each week. After weeks of being at home alone with my baby, suddenly getting back out there was daunting.

I used to have to steel myself to go. And often had to pause at the entrance to try and settle my nerves before walking into a room full of other parents. Would they all be friends and would I be left out? Would my baby be the only one that cried and then would everybody judge me?

Slowly finding my tribe

group of mums at a baby class

I didn’t make friends instantly. Often I’d feel shy and awkward in groups and leave feeling a little lonelier than before.

Things changed when I found a lovely baby music group that was warm and welcoming. There was time at the end of each class to have a cuppa and chat.

Having babies is a great leveller. I think we were all feeling lonely to some degree and we all wanted to share our stories with other parents who might ‘get it’.

I soon found that over cups of tea we were sharing birth stories and breastfeeding struggles; tales of sleep deprivation and new mum worries. Over time we opened up more and more. Feeling OK to admit we were having a tough day or that we’d had a cry just before class after an exhausting morning where the baby just wouldn’t stop crying.

I began to look forward to Wednesdays as ‘baby music days’. And over time, as we swapped numbers, the other days of the week were filled with coffee dates and walks in the park.


Nicola spoke about loneliness as a new mum over on Instagram. You can watch the Instagram video here.

Loneliness: How the pandemic affected new parents

While loneliness is something many new mums feel, things got tougher still for new parents during the pandemic. Lockdown forced new parents to tackle the challenges of bringing up a baby without the usual support network of classes, family and friends to help them.

Talking to the BBC, one mum, Zunaira from Peterborough, describes how it felt:

“It’s lonely. You lose your own self, you forget about yourself – and all the focus is on another person. Your identity goes and I fel like I was suffocating. You just want to sit in a cafe, have a bit of cake and a talk.”

Talking to The Metro, Theresa Raymond, who gave birth to her daughter just before lockdown, said:

“Not being able to let my family see my baby or have face-to-face follow-up midwife appointments have been the hardest things to adapt to. 

Especially as a first-time mum, I had this image of how it was meant to be which has been scuppered a little.”

Thank goodness that classes and groups are now back.

Find a baby class: meet others who are tackling loneliness as a new mum

Happity was set up by Sara Tateno after she herself felt lonely as a new mum. Emily Tredget, our co-founder, experienced severe PND and anxiety after having her son and one of the things that helped her recovery was getting out of the house and going to groups and classes to meet other parents.

One of our missions at Happity is to combat loneliness for new parents by connecting them though baby and toddler classes.

If you’re feeling lonely – do go along to a class or group. We know it can be daunting. But it’s definitely worth it.

Find a baby or toddler class near you here.

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Baby and toddler groups are back on. But what a rollercoaster it’s been during the last 18 months or so. Both for class providers and for new parents.

This week a new report from the House of Commons Petition Committee has been published. Amongst other things, it looks back on the issues raised when guidelines were not clear for baby and toddler groups. As well as every time lockdown restrictions were lifted, and furthermore the lessons we must learn going forward. But the report covers so many more aspects of the impact on parents including ‘mental health services’, ‘workplace discrimination & redundancy’ and ‘recovery funding and the “baby blind spot”’ (just to list a few!).

The new HoC report looking back on this journey

A new report has just been published (in October 2021).

This was following the House of Commons Petitions Committee hearing evidence from panellists about the issues faced by both parents and baby and toddler group providers during the pandemic. It outlines the confusion about support groups being listed as exempt from restrictions:

“Since last autumn, Government guidance has allowed up to 30 people to meet as a “support group” (specifically including parent and baby groups), in an exemption from restrictions on gatherings. Witnesses suggested that while this exemption had been “really helpful” in giving some groups the confidence to restart, many others had not done so, depriving parents of what Dr McMullen described as “a vital safety net”.

HoC Petitions Committee

5 babies laying on  Matt in a circle after the pandemic, during a baby and/or toddler group

Emily suggested parent and baby group organisers were wary of restarting classes following negative experiences last winter. Even with such groups having been exempted from restrictions on gatherings and now the removal of legal restrictions. She told the committee:

We did a survey and it said that 24% [of providers] are still very confused as to whether they can go back. Some of them are quite traumatised from their experience back in November. We were telling them that they were allowed, the DfE was telling them that they were allowed. But still, their councils were coming in, forcibly in some cases, with police, shutting them down […] We definitely need to look at what we do going forward, in case there are any further issues.

-Emily Tredget

How the closure of groups affected parents

The impact of not being able to run classes on providers is clear. But the lack of face to face classes and the support they provide had a massive impact on parents too. The report found that:

Witnesses were also concerned the pandemic may have a long-term scarring effect on the provision of community-led support groups and parent and baby groups. Emily Tredget suggested parent and baby group providers had seen an average drop of 63% in their revenues over the last 12 months. While Dr McMullen cited figures from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) suggesting many charities organising such groups had also seen financial losses. We heard that families in more deprived areas may be particularly affected by the loss of such services.

-HoC Petitions Committee

Mother at a Mum/Baby & toddler yoga group, with her baby in a sling

The road ahead for baby and toddler groups after the pandemic

We’re at the stage where many (almost the majority) of legal restrictions that were put in place before have been lifted. And that means so many more baby and toddler classes are back and running in person again. Which is just fantastic!

Class providers carry out their own risk assessments to make sure classes are safe and secure. And, as always, are welcoming and fun for parents and their little ones.

We all hope that we’ve seen the last of lockdowns (please!). But there are important things to learn if we do face them again. The report summarises:

Our inquiry last year heard compelling evidence on the crucial role of community support and parent and baby groups in supporting new parents’ wellbeing. The Government’s recognition of this in exempting such groups from some gathering restrictions last year was very welcome. However, the Government must now do more to clarify how organisers of these groups and classes can offer these services in a safe and responsible way following the lifting of most legal restrictions. The Government should produce clear and dedicated guidance for organisers of community and charity-run support groups (including parent and baby groups) on how they can safely restart and continue classes in a covid-safe way. It should work with group organisers, local authorities and other relevant sector stakeholders to develop this guidance and ensure it is widely communicated. 

-HoC Petitions Committee

Have you been back to baby and toddler groups after the pandemic?

Have you been to a baby or toddler class since restrictions were lifted? We know (from following so many class providers on social media) just how delighted they are to be back. And they’ve been sharing lovely feedback from the parents who are loving being back in class too.

Search Happity today to find baby or toddler classes near you.

Feeling a bit nervous about going back? You don’t need to be:

Toddlers are brilliant little people. They live in the moment and have NO filter – always telling it like it is. And we think they can teach us a thing or two about how to live. We should all be a bit more toddler – here’s why!

You think you’re amazing 100% of the time

Toddlers have a total belief in themselves. They know how amazing they are and that self confidence and belief shines out of them. Self love is a brilliant thing. And if you can recognise your strengths it can take you a long way. Of course life has a way of knocking us down and making us doubt ourselves – especially once we become parents. But – you’re amazing! Know it, believe it and own it!

If you don’t want to do it – say ‘No’

cute toddler

My niece who is an adorable threenager has a phrase which she pulls out every time she doesn’t want to do something: ‘Don’t want it, don’t like it, not playing!’

What a brilliant attitude!

Of course – sometimes – she has to do it anyway (and let’s face it lots of her resistance is about things like brushing her teeth and taking baths – which she just has to go with!)

But this toddler approach is something we should all keep in mind. How many times have you agreed to do something just because you were too scared to say ‘No’?

Saying ‘No’ more often can be a good thing. It can take off the pressure of doing too much. And relieve anxiety.

So – be more toddler – and, if you don’t want to do it – say ‘No’

If you fall down, get back up again

When toddlers stumble they might cry but – after a quick cuddle – they immediately get back up and try again. And it’s a life lesson we can all learn. Don’t fear failure. We all mess up. When you do, dust yourself down and get right back up again.

Be more toddler and live for the moment

be more toddler

Toddlers live in the now. They don’t look back or worry about tomorrow. It’s all about the present.

In short, they’ve mastered mindfulness!

And that’s something that can benefit you. Live in the moment. Take in the sights and sounds around you right NOW! Be present and be mindful.

Be more toddler and dance like no one else is watching

When a toddler hears music (and even when they don’t) they break out all their best moves with no inhibitions! We say – take a leaf from their books – and dance like nobody’s watching. Wherever and whenever! Find those joyful moments in your day and boogie!

Every day is a new day full of promise

Toddlers wake up (too early, admittedly!) and embrace the day. They bounce with joy ready to face a whole new adventure.

It’s a brilliant approach.

And something we could all learn from our positive thinking little humans!

Always stop to notice the little things

toddler holding flower

Toddlers can be entranced by the smallest things. The littlest magical moments in their day. They look down and look up and notice the clouds and the insects crawling along a wall. They really stop and notice the magical moments in their day.

If we can take a leaf from their books and stop to notice the little things too, we can share their wonder of the world and feel happier.

Be more toddler and never stop learning

Toddlers learn something new every day. And relish it.

We should all never stop learning and discovering and challenging ourselves. It’s exciting and inspiring.

Whether it’s learning a new recipe to cook, starting a new class to learn a new hobby or visiting a new place – keeping on learning makes life richer.

Clap yourself – and expect others to clap too

Toddlers don’t hold back when it comes to celebrating their wins. And we should do the same. The little wins (like getting through one of THOSE days!) and the big wins.

We should celebrate our strengths.

And make sure we tell other mums how great they are too!

The toddler years

We can all agree that toddlers can teach us a lot about how to approach life. But because they feel things so much they can also struggle to regulate their emotions. Tantrums are part and parcel of the toddler years. Here are some top tips to help little people handle their BIG emotions

Cherish the magic moments with toddlers – like this one! It is bound to make you smile – check it out now

If you’re looking for fab classes where you and your toddler can have heaps of fun check Happity for those near you

When we are pregnant we (naturally) focus a lot on pregnancy, labour and birth. We read all the books and parenting forums about what to expect when we’re expecting and what labour and the journey after birth and postpartum will be like. But, often, what comes next is a bit of a shock. It’s as if we didn’t turn the page to read on to discover what to expect postpartum . What it will really be like in those first few hours, days, weeks and months after birth?

Postpartum and what happens after birth can come as a shock for so many mums.
We asked mums in our Facebook group about what was most unexpected about their experience postpartum. These are the key points they raised:

The pain of stitches down below

If you have an episiotomy during labour the pain of the wound and the stitches might come as a bit of a shock. Obviously it’s a very sensitive area and even going for a wee can sting. Nicola from Team Happity says:

“I winced every time I sat down postpartum. My midwife gave me a surgical glove and suggested I fill it with water, freeze it and sit on it to ease the pain. Her tip was a lifesaver in the early days after birth. Even if it did feel a bit odd She also told me to rinse with a warm jug of water after a wee instead of wiping. And that really helped”

The after-pains

Nobody ever warns you about after pains – do they? We focus on what contractions might feel like and how we can get through them but after-pains are something that is not talked about enough. After pains (when your womb contracts) can be really sore. It feels like very intense cramps. It’s just your uterus contracting to shrink to its original size. But if you didn’t expect it – it can feel alarming

One mum said:

“The pain! I couldn’t stand up without pain for more than a few minutes of time. The cramps were insane. I took painkillers and it got better after a couple of weeks. But nobody had told me it would be so sore after birth”

Styling out a HUGE maternal nappy!

The discharge after birth is a bit of a shock!. Who knew we would have to rock HUGE postpartum nappies or ginormous sanitary towels in those days and weeks after birth? Often quite how much postpartum bleeding occurs and for how long can be something we didn’t quite expect.

Sore and cracked nipples

We might expect breastfeeding to be natural and plain sailing. But nobody tells us about the sore and cracked nipples that we might experience along the way. Every new mum is on a learning curve when it comes to breastfeeding. If your baby doesn’t latch on correctly your nipples can soon become super sore and even cracked. With support new mums can be guided to make sure their baby is latching on correctly and find ways to soothe any pain. But it seems that there’s still not enough support available when new mums need it most.

The intensity of your emotions

Of course having a baby is life changing but the intensity of emotions that hit you can be a bit of a shock!. You can find yourself overcome by emotions – both happy and sad. And the wave of strong emotions you feel can hit you like a rock. One mum spoke about this swing of raw emotions:

“I was so emotional after labour. I kept looking at my newborn and crying. I felt such a wave of love. And it was intense. I was suddenly in charge of this tiny human and the responsibility made me panic”

Being able to function on so little sleep

After birth - postpartum

Before birth the world and his wife advise you to get as much sleep as you can because you’ll lose out on so much sleep once your little bundle arrives. You smile and nod but you don’t quite get it until you give birth and experience sleep deprivation like never before! 

You might be surprised by how you can function in the early days and weeks on so little sleep (new mums are protected by hormones which help them feel like supermums!). You feel like you are buzzing and invincible.  But after a few weeks the exhaustion kicks in – big style!

The shock of the new

Becoming a new parent is a new experience and something we can never fully prepare ourselves for – no matter how many books we read. We focus so much on the labour and birth that what happens next can feel like a bit of shock. 
It’s normal and natural. Be reassured that you will learn as you go. Every hour and day you spend with your baby you will learn. And, when you have questions or are unsure – ask! Ask your mum, your friends, in parenting forums or in our Facebook Group. And trust your instincts.

Join our Facebook group to connect with other mums

They say it takes a village to raise a child. Stay connected. We have a lovely and supportive Facebook group for mums, where you can share your parenting stories and get help and advice from other mums. Join our group today.

Disclaimer: We have researched and included robust sources to provide information in this article. However, we are not health or medical professionals and you should always seek medical advice if you are worried about you or your baby’s health.