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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!

If you enjoyed reading this blog, maybe you would also like:

9 Approachable ways to Deal With Post Lockdown Anxiety

Easy Weight Loss Tips for Busy Mums

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.

You might also like:

6 reasons why mums friends are so brilliant

Why baby and toddler classes are so important

9 brilliant benefits of baby and toddler classes

From nappies to changing mats, breast pumps to baby burps, there’s a lot to get to grips with as a new dad. There are so many books, online articles and antenatal classes that will help you prepare before you bring your new baby home.

However, no matter how much information you gather beforehand, there are a lot of things that might take you by surprise once your new baby arrives. But, don’t fret! You’re not alone in the way you’re feeling.

Here are some thoughts, feelings and facts we found that dads may experience when they first become parents.

1. The world suddenly seems fraught with danger!

From being concerned about whether your newborn will start choking on a toy, to panicking when your little one has their first hiccups: it’s easy to feel overly worried about the safety and wellbeing of your baby! But, it’s okay. That’s very common for a lot of new parents.

Remember: don’t ever feel silly for being worried about your baby’s safety. Newborns seem so tiny and vulnerable.

The key is to follow your gut. If something really doesn’t feel right, contact your health visitor, midwife or GP to check. Or, if you’re not 100% sure whether it’s cause for concern, contact 111 (the non-emergency NHS number that will help give you information when needed).

2. Fun fact: as a new dad, you forget what sleep is

This might be a typical trope that you see in every TV show and every film, but it doesn’t make it any less true! In the early days of parenthood, it’s very likely that you catch a lot less of your Z’s at night.

Grab any rest you can and know that it DOES get easier (honest!)

3. It isn’t just your partner who is up late feeding the baby

It’s a turn-based system for a lot of folks. If your partner is breastfeeding then perhaps you can help by changing your baby’s nappy after a feed and settling them back to sleep. If you’re bottle-feeding it’s easier to take turns and divvy up the night shift.

Sharing the responsibility can help the feeling of being a unit with your partner while also helping to experience that quality bonding time with your baby.

4. New dads, New friends

There’s a lot of talk about the importance of mum friends and how great they can be in the duration of early parenthood.

However, there’s a certain group that are just as important: dad friends!

Finding your tribe is just as important for dads as it is for mums. Shout out to the dads who make us laugh when everything feels like it’s on fire, or who don’t judge us when we are truly struggling. You guys are the best!

Two dad friends laughing together

(Read our blog on why mum (and dad) friends are so brilliant!)

5. Expect the unexpected

Despite any preparations you make in advance; no matter how many stories you hear from other dads, the unexpected will likely happen!

This will be new and unfamiliar territory, so don’t panic if something occurs that wasn’t in the books!

Just take a deep breath, relax, and follow your gut.

6. Your home will be invaded by the baby-pocalypse!

Before you had a baby, you probably didn’t realise that diaper decor was a thing, did you?

Well with the new abundance of toys scattered across the floor, baby gates in every doorway, and a spattering of new stains and smells around the house, you’re bound to know exactly what it is now!

The arrival of a baby truly does change the dynamic of a home as much as it does a family. But, if that thought worries you, don’t worry! The home you loved and decorated before is still there. It’s just a little bit buried at the moment. If you feel like you and your partner need an escape from the baby-pocalypse, perhaps it would be good to keep a room in your house that is baby-free.

Get out your “No baby toys or nappies allowed past this point!” sign and nail it firmly to the door. You and your partner need your own space. Don’t be afraid to keep hold of it.

7. If you are a new dad, you can experience PND

A lot of people may think that PND is something that can primarily affect women following the birth of their babies. However, it’s definitely something that can affect men too!

According to PANDA’s, 1 in 20 men experience depression during their partner’s pregnancy, and up to 1 in 10 men struggle with PND following the birth of their baby. That figure is a shocking one, that possibly a lot of men don’t know about. So remember, try to take care of yourself. If you notice that you are feeling uncharacteristically low or irritable, perhaps it’s time to reach out for help?

If you feel that you yourself may be struggling or dealing with PND, reach out to your local GP or contact charities like PANDAS. (Find out more at our support page here)

A new dad kissing their newborn baby

8. You will start thinking about your own mortality more and more

Up until this point, we all feel like we’re pretty invincible. You don’t often think about the dangerous side of your actions or the potential risks that may occur. But now that you have a tiny human in your care, it’s very likely that you’ll start to consider these things more and more.

It’s a good thing to consider the activities in your life that do cause risk to your being. However, it should be said that you should avoid giving up any hobbies that make you the person you are. You have a baby in your care, and they will shape the person you are a lot more. But don’t throw away all the other things you love.

9. New dad: it’s okay to feel blue sometimes – even if you don’t know why

When your partner has a lot on her plate, or the people around you seem chaotically stressed out, you sometimes push your own feelings down and put them as a “low priority”. You will continue to take on more responsibilities and might pretend that everything is fine.

But, everyone feels a little blue sometimes. Including you! You may not even truly understand why it is you feel blue or run-down. But if at all possible, you should try and be open about the way you’re feeling with others. Maybe talking about it out loud will help you identify the problem?

10. It’s okay to accept help from others

It can be difficult to accept help sometimes. We all want to feel like we can do it ourselves. But, when it comes to having a new baby in the house, there’s just so much that needs to be done!

If someone offers to watch the baby for a day while you do some self-maintenance, or perhaps sends you a meal they’ve prepared or other supplies – take it! People are more than happy to help, and it will possibly feel refreshing to have an extra pair of hands nearby.

11. Regardless of how stressful and tired you both may be, you and your partner still support and care for one another

Who was it that said having a baby is like chucking a grenade into a marriage? The beginning period of parenthood can be a busy and tiring time. Both you and your partner may be stressed beyond any limit that you thought either of you could reach before.

However, despite any standoffish or stressful situations that the two of you may encounter, you both are in this together! You are a team, and remember that you both still love and care for one another. The two of you just produced a tiny little human together! You’re both miracle workers, and should reassure each other of that if and when you can.

A new dad and new mum embracing their newborn baby

12. New Dad: you need a support system too

A lot of women are told to keep a support system in place during parenthood. This might be a friendship group, or a “tribe” that they have met at baby or toddler group.

However, you need that too! Perhaps it’s time that you go out and try to find your tribe! Why not take your little one to a baby class? Don’t worry, regardless of how they may market towards women, they are all more than welcoming towards dads too!

Find a baby group to join today!

13. Finances could be on your mind a lot more now

This one is probably one you started to realise during the pregnancy period, but babies are expensive! Suddenly you’re picking up the cheaper brand in the supermarket, and deciding whether or not to cancel that Netflix subscription.

Whilst it’s a very good idea to try and find some new money-saving hacks, you definitely shouldn’t stop putting money into things that make you happy or help you relax.

There’s a lot of good places you can find money-saving advice, watching programmes by financial journalists like Martin Lewis, or even booking an appointment with a financial consultant if you really need it. There are answers and advice out there – try not to let it occupy your mind too much!

14. Don’t feel bad for needing time away from your baby as a new dad

It’s only human to need some space every once in a while. With the arrival of a new baby, it sometimes might simultaneously feel like you’re never alone but also, surprisingly, isolated. We need other adults in our life.

Don’t feel bad though. It’s incredibly likely that your partner feels the same way themselves! Maybe try deciding a few times and days where you can take it in turns to look after your baby while the other goes to see some other adults. It’s easy to feel guilty, but sometimes we need some time away from our little ones to be the best parents we can be.

15. You didn’t realise how much you could love another human until you had a baby

During the prenatal period, it’s very easy to get swept up in the rush and the frantic chaos of pregnancy. You have got used to “The Bump”. And, perhaps, you haven’t yet been able to fully recognise “The Bump” as another human yet.

But, there’s a special moment that a lot of parents experience once the baby has arrived. You see their face, their very little body that you feel like you have to be extra careful approaching. You hold your hand out towards them, and then their tiny little hand takes hold of what seems like a titanic finger in comparison. Their hand grips onto it so tightly that it catches your breath.

It’s in that moment that you realise that in front of you is possibly the most perfect little human that you’ve ever seen. And you never want them to let go.

A baby's hand is gripping hold of a new dad's forefinger.

Well, these are the new dad facts, thoughts and feelings that we found out about! Did you relate to any of them?

What have we missed in our list? What unexpected thoughts and feelings did you go through when you first became a new dad?

If you liked this post, you might also like:

Mum friends (And 6 reasons why they’re so brilliant!)

Be More Toddler! How it could make us happier

9 Brilliant Benefits of Baby and Toddler Classes

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

A lot of parents assume that the benefits of baby and toddler classes are mostly for the parents. They’re a great way to meet other mums and dads, and finding your tribe makes parenting so much easier.

But toddler classes are not just a place to hear a choir of mums and dads singing baby shark with half-a-dozen giggles. They actually have a ton of surprising benefits that will be preparing your little one for school in advance! We wouldn’t expect anyone to be thinking that far in advance, but it’s exciting to learn how much classes could be helping!

Here’s just a few ways that all the play and fun they have at classes are an important part of early learning:

1. Story time at toddler classes – introducing reading and phonics

We all know how much little ones love hearing stories. You may be all-too familiar with the regular books that pop up at story-time’s (Gruffalos are not a myth and many a Tiger will probably come to many a tea!). But, did you know that this hearing these stories are helping to develop their reading skills?

The repetition of these stories helps to introduce new concepts like phonics, rhythms and sounds. This will really help children build the foundation of skills needed to learn to read later on.

2. Moving and grooving is more than just fun!

According to the NHS, once your child is walking, they should be staying active for at least 180 minutes (3 hours) of the day! A toddler class is a great way to encourage toddlers to begin exercising in a group. They begin preparing them for physical education and perhaps encouraging them to join sports teams in the future.

All the moving and grooving is helping them with gross motor skills, which will continue to develop as they grow.

The NHS have also encouraged being active together. And if any of our baby and toddler classes are to go by, then you need to be ready and willing to get a sweat on too! (Check out some of our baby classes today!)

3. Beep beep! – Crafts & motor skills

toddler benefiting from drawing at toddler class

What might look like “Play Time” at your toddler group or baby class is actually far more developmental than it might appear.

Simply letting your child squish a ball of Play-Doh helps them to develop fine motor skills their hands and fingers. While riding around and driving a toy Coupe Car helps to develop other gross motor skills.

Developing motors skills from an early age will benefit them when they come to learning more complex skills at nursery and school. Like holding a pencil and beginning to write.

So next time your toddler gifts you their latest Jackson Pollock imitation painting, remember that they’ve developed more than just their artistic talents!

4. One, two, three, four, five, now my child is counting right!

As many times as you have heard those familiar favourite nursery rhymes, they are still a fairly new concept to your little ones. Hearing them repeatedly is helping to introduce and teach counting at an early age. This might mean that maths comes a little bit easier for them when it comes to nursery and school.

These nursery rhymes often include movements that will be using our fingers too, very useful for also helping out with teaching toddlers motor skills again. (And the more opportunities to help with that, the better!)

5. Six, seven, eight, nine, ten, here we go around again – Routines

Finding a class that connects with you and your little one (one that includes a snack time or tidy-up time) is a great opportunity to introduce the idea of routines.

Introducing this concept at a young age will make it less of an alien concept when it comes to that daunting first day of nursery. Which hopefully means it will be a dry-eyed drop off. Well, from your kids at least!

6. Benefits of teaching manners & etiquette at baby and toddler classes

We sometimes forget that something that is an afterthought for us hasn’t been taught to our children yet. Basic manners and understanding the correct time to speak or stay quiet would not even cross your mind.

But baby and toddler classes are a great opportunity to teach all the basics. Greetings, Turn-taking, sitting in an allocated spot and please’s/thank you’s all start to happen all around your child.

This encourages them to copy and do the same. Before you know it, they’ll be holding doors open for others and unnecessarily apologise as much as the rest of the UK.

7. Benefits of cleaning at baby & toddler classes

It’s more than likely that you have simply got used to cleaning up after your little one by now. But, we should definitely be encouraging them to pick up after themselves and clean up. It’s an important habit to enforce while your child is young so that they are ready when attending nursery for the first time.

Attending a toddler group might be just the thing to helping your child learn all the correct social skills that influence tidying up your own belongings and leaving a room as neat as possible.

8. Introduction to other cultures

Little ones are the least likely to judge another based on their background. But every child gets to an age where they will ask questions about that which is different. Baby classes are a great way to begin to introduce your little ones to different families of different backgrounds.

This might be to race, religion, or perhaps different family dynamics such as single parents & LGBTQ+ parents. This will lead to a hopefully judgement-free time when that dreaded first day of school finally arrives.

9. Social skills & the benefits of emotional understanding at toddler and baby classes

Toddler's benefiting from drawing and reading at a Toddler and baby class

This next point might feel like an obvious (but important!) one. Being surrounded by other parents and children may be one of the main reasons that you would book a class in the first place.

But establishing those crucial social skills will really help your toddler in the future. It’s important for your child to understand social cues and learn how to make friends. But by attending these classes you may also be introducing them to new concepts like empathy. If another child is upset, your toddler might start to question why that is and try to help make them feel better.

Maybe one of the reasons you’re slightly worried about your little one going to nursery is because you have a clingy tot? Well we have a list of tips to try and help your toddler overcome this, check them out here!

Maybe your child is nearly ready for heading off to nursery! But are you?

When you find a mum friend it’s a game changer. Mum friends make the good days better and the tough days easier. Mum friends are brilliant. Here’s why!

  • And dad friends too! Dads – replace with ‘Dad friends’ as appropriate!

1. You share your birth story before even finding out key details

The need to talk about your birth story is real. When you meet a mum friend chances are you’ll both share your birth story – warts and all – before even finding out what their partner is called or what they do or used to do for a living!

2. They’re there when nobody else is

If you’re up in the wee small hours you can feel like the only one up. But – chances are your mum friend is up too. They’re also there in the daytime when all your other friends are at work. And they’re there when you text or message to make you feel less alone.

3. They make the boring bits of parenting more bearable

Soft play, parks, walks…they’re all better if you have your mum friend with you! Even if you never get the chance to finish a conversation because you’re constantly interrupted by your kids! The day to day of parenting is more fun when you’ve got a mum friend by your side.

4. Mum friends never judge

They see you at your best but also at your worst. On those days when you’re exhausted and can barely cope. On those days when it’s all too much and you cry. On those days when you feel like the worst mother ever. But they never judge you. They give you tea and cake and hold your baby. And – if you need them to -they’ll hold you too. And make everything that little bit better

why mum friends are so brilliant

5. They’ll cheer you on when you need it most

If you’re down they’ll pick you up. If you’re struggling they’ll go out of their way to make each day a little easier. And they’ll always make you feel like a better parent even when you’re doubting yourself.

6. You can have the most honest (no holds barred) chats

You begin your friendship sharing intimate details about birth and – as you go on – you open up and share the vulnerable sides of you. Knowing your mum friend will listen and get it. From laughing together about the things that drive you mad. To opening up and crying about the harder bits that make you sad.

7. Mum friends stick by you even when you’re grumpy or tired

Because they get it! And they know there will be plenty of days when they’re a bit snappy and worn out too.

If you’re shy or feel a bit awkward in groups it can take a little time to find your tribe and make mum friends. We’ve put together some top tips to make going to a baby or toddler group less daunting.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. We think it takes a village to raise a mother too!

A recent post on our Facebook page revealed that too many parents are feeling desperate and ignored because their baby has reflux but they struggle to get a diagnosis and support. It can be heartbreaking if your baby cries unconsolably. If you ask for help and feel dismissed, it is harder still.

I asked for help but was ignored

“One midwife told me I just had an ‘irritable baby’ and that I was ‘tired’. Another health visitor over the telephone told us to try her back on normal formula and plough on through.”

These are the words from one mum in a BBC report on reflux diagnosis in babies.

Another reported a paediatrician suggesting her baby was crying all the time because she was “bored”.

Becky Palmer, who graduated from Aberystwyth Law School, and was inspired by her own experiences with baby reflux to give up her job as a solicitor and start a reflux and colic support group for parents, Colic SOS, commented in the BBC report: “Some health visitors are very much on board with it and will push GPs to help, but then you hear stories of parents really having to fight to be heard.”

Mum’s battles to get a reflux diagnosis

baby reflux - the struggle to get a diagnosis

We asked mums to share their own experiences and their replies are eye-opening.

Here are just a few of their stories:

“Silent reflux was something that I really think contributed to my PND. I barely had any sleep for months. My baby cried and screamed so much that it was exhausting.”

“I was told my babies reflux was a ‘laundry problem not a medical problem’. Every time I asked for help they asked me if I was a first time mum, which suggested they thought I was just fussing and somehow making it up. It was heart breaking seeing her in pain and so, so tiring”

“Being ignored and dismissed whenever we asked for help was such a cause of stress and anxiety. All we could do was keep on going back to the GP and insisting that my baby’s symptoms be reviewed to finally get a diagnosis and support”

The signs and symptoms of reflux in babies

How do you know if your baby might have reflux? Here are some of the signs to look out for. If you notice any and are worried, ask your GP about reflux and ask for advice and help:

  • Your baby might fuss over feeds or avoid feeding
  • They might bring up sick during or shortly after a feed
  • They may choke, cough or hiccup during feeds
  • You might notice their back arching and their head turning
  • Your baby might stretch out flat – this reduces pain. Instead of snuggling up to you they may stretch out flat after a feed
  • They might cry for long periods and be irritable during and after feeds
  • Their cries might sound hoarse
  • Your baby might be slow gaining weight
  • They might not be sick after feeds but you still might notice some of the symptoms above – this could be silent reflux

(Sources: NHS & La Leche League)

Persevere to get a reflux diagnosis

One of the things our post about reflux highlighted was the importance of getting a diagnosis for reflux. If your baby has any of the symptoms and signs above and if, in your gut, you just feel that something is not right then seek medical advice. And, if you feel like you are not being listened to – ask again!

How to help your baby if they have reflux

Your GP or health visitor will be able to advise you as to the best things to try to soothe your baby and help with relflux. This might include the best positions for feeding. Or giving shorter and more frequent feeds. If you find that nothing you have been advised is working then do go back to your GP for further help.

If you find yourself struggling with depression on anxiety then visit our PND page for advice and places to go to get help.

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 your baby’s health.

It’s actually happening! Your little one is starting nursery or preschool and you’re super excited – as well as a little bit nervous. Being prepared can help ease your nerves. Knowing what to pack for nursery can make you feel more prepared. Here’s your nursery packing checklist so you feel less frazzled!

Packing it all up in a backpack

Your child will have a peg at nursery where you can hang a backpack with all their kit and caboodle that you’ve carefully packed for their busy day. Choose one that’s small enough for them to carry but big enough to house everything they need for their day at preschool.

Messy munchkins – packing spare clothes

When your child starts nursery they will be having lots of fun – and a lot of that will be messy play! Whether it’s squishing playdough, making mud pies in the nursery garden or splodging paint. Remember too your child might spill food down their clothes at snack or meal times too. They could even have so much fun playing that they have a little accident or two. So one of the main things you should pack is a spare set of clothes to change into if they need to. Another key item is a pinny or an apron for messy play (unless the nursery provides!)

Indoor (and outdoor) shoes

Your child might need indoor shoes to change into when they go into nursery. They might also need outdoor shoes or wellies for outside play or nursery trips.

Packing for snacks and mealtimes

Your child will need lots of snacks and meals to give them fuel to play. If you’re breastfeeding send in bottles of expressed milk. If you’re bottle feeding then pack your little one’s formula. You might need to send in spare bottles and teats. If your toddler is a little older – your nursery might ask you to send daily snacks. Or they might provide them. It’s always best to check.

Nursery is thirsty work

Unless your child’s nursery supplies bottles, sip cups or cups for drink times you will need to pack a drinking vessel for your child each day. Your little one will need to stay hydrated for all that busy play. Top tip – make the bottle or cup you choose spill-proof!

Nappies and knickers!

If your baby or toddler is still in nappies then you’ll probably need to pack a supply of nappies, wipes, nappy cream and nappy sacks. If they’re potty trained they might still have accidents so packing spare pants is essential.

Dressing for the weather

We all know that in the UK there can be four seasons in one day! Depending on the season make sure your child has clothes and supplies for every weather. A warm coat, hat and gloves in the winter. Layers, sunscreen and a sunhat for sunnier days.

Nursery naptimes

what to pack for nursery

Your child may well have a nap at nursery and you will want to make sure you pack everything they need to snooze happily. That could include a blanket, sheet or comforter. Check with your child’s nursery for what they will need for their naps.

A comforter

Your little one might want to take a special toy or blanket to nursery to soother them at nap times or when they are feeling a little wobbly. Your nursery might have a policy around comforters so check first. If they ask your child to leave comforters at the door but you feel your child still needs one often they will have a nursery toy that can help your child feel safe and that can be an alternative.

If you’re child has a very favourite toy then they will be distraught if it gets lost on its way to and from nursery. So either buy a back up identical toy to keep in a safe place as a replacement. Or choose a special toy for nursery that won’t be the end of the world if it goes missing.

Teething soothers

If your baby or toddler is teething then you might want to send in any teething toys, gels or powders into nursery.

Don’t forget medicines

If your child takes any daily medicines or needs emergency medicinal supplies makes sure that they you take them into your nursery. The nursery staff will need you to full out forms and will store any medical supplies safely. If your child has any medical condition always talk to the staff and make sure they are fully aware of their condition and any medication they need.

What to pack for nursery – Contact details

Make sure your child’s nursery have your up to date contact details as well as emergency contacts. It’s very easy to forget to update these if you update or change your mobile phone and number. So make a note to always make sure your nursery has the very latest contact details should you need to be contacted.

Label everything!

One thing to make sure you do is to label everything your child takes to nursery. You can buy iron-in or stick-on name labels to make the job quick and easy. We also love Stamptastic name stamps, which mean you can label everything in super quick time.

Starting nursery – troubleshooting for parents!

Starting nursery or preschool is a big step. It might be the first time you and your child have been separated. And you might feel anxious about it.

If your child finds it hard to settle then talk to and be guided by the nursery staff. They’ve settled so many little ones (and their parents) and will have so many ideas and strategies in place to help your child settle in.

If your child is very clingy we also have this blog full of top tips to help before the first day of nursery.

…and why we need to stop pretending it is!

Self care for mums is NOT going to the shops alone, it’s NOT having a shower without the kids being an audience, it’s NOT cleaning the house without the kids around. All these things are NOT self care and we all need to stop pretending they are.

The viral meme that made mums stop in their tracks

Recently we posted this infographic on our social media, which had a huge response:

self care for mums

It really hit a nerve. And had hundreds of likes and shares. Some of the responses from mums included:

‘Agreed although going to the loo without an audience does feel like a luxury sometimes!!’

‘I’m so guilty of most of these being my time to me’

‘I even said to my husband the other day when I got back from a rather unpleasant dentist appt that it was a bit like going for a spa day as I got to lie down and someone touched my face’

Self care – pre-kids

Before you had a baby if your friend asked you what you’d done to take a little bit of time out for you to recharge your batteries there’s NO chance you’d have said: ‘I went to Tescos last night. It was really relaxing and really energised me’. So why do we feel like any mundane everyday task we get to do without our kids is self care?

What IS self care?

self care for mums

Put simply, self care is choosing and making the time to do little things for you that recharge your batteries and re-energise you. It’s finding the time to do things that make you happy; things that boost your physical and mental well being; taking time to do things that make you feel good. 

Doing the weekly food shop or cleaning the kitchen when your kids are not around do not fit into this description of self care. It might be easier to do these kinds of errands or chores without a child hanging off your ankle but they don’t make you feel like you’ve taken a little time for you.

You wouldn’t let your phone battery run low

Once we become mums we put so much (all?) of our energy into looking after our child and keeping the household running and our own needs can all too easily be put to the back of the queue. Life’s busy. There’s always something that demands your attention and your time. And you can feel guilty for making time for something that seems a bit self indulgent – such as reading a book, going for a walk or carving out time to paint or craft. 

But if you always put your needs last and neglect making time for self care then you can become frazzled and worn out and low on batteries. And that’s not good for you OR your children. It’s an overused phrase but a happy mum – happy baby is so very true.

The more you take time for self care the better you’ll feel and the better mum you’ll be.

Mamas, make that time for you!

Drop the mum guilt and make time for self care. Each day and each week. There are lots of small ways you can build it into your busy life. It’s just about making it a priority.

Watch our video all about self care

Recently we had a brilliant Facebook Live Happity Expert Talk all about self care and why it is so important for mums. With Kim Golson from @mylifeafterbirth. You can still watch it back in our Facebook group for mums. Not a member? We’d love you to join.

If you have a clingy baby or toddler it can feel harder still to make time for self care. Here are some top tips to help.