parenting Archives - Happity Blog



Emily Tredget, one of the co-founders of Happity, suffered with severe PND and anxiety following the birth of her son. It made her feel ‘like a failure’ but once she  started to recover she wanted to help other mums overcome the illness. Here, she shares her story of recovery from PND. In the hope that no other mum has to feel like she did. And – if they do- they know how and where to get help and that they will get better.

Masking the truth

When you look at the photo above, what do you see?

A happy mum holding her gorgeous baby boy?

Sometimes a picture can tell a thousand lies.

I look so happy in this photo but inside I was suffering. Behind the smile I was in the midst of severe postnatal depression and anxiety.

This photo was taken just before going to my friend’s wedding.The build up to going had been tough. I had been hiding myself at home and had not felt able to face the world without having a panic attack. Before going to this wedding I had spent weeks over-analysing everything and meticulously planning ways to ‘escape’ if my PND overwhelmed me.

From a confident woman to an anxious wreck

Before I gave birth I was a confident, go-getter, yes-type person. An extrovert who loved working as part of a busy team. You could throw anything at me and I’d find a way to make it happen. With enthusiasm and drive.

When PND took hold even the thought of meeting my best friend for coffee flooded me with anxiety.

I was also exhausted. Not just the usual sleep deprivation that all new mums face but a fatigue that completely floored me. When my baby son slept at night I lay awake with crazy adrenalin and intrusive thoughts. I was surviving on about one hour’s sleep a night.

I couldn’t be left alone with my baby boy

It got to the stage where I was feeling so shaky and weak that I couldn’t be left alone with my baby. I was terrified that I would faint or have a panic attack when I was alone with him. It really affected how I bonded with him. I didn’t feel that rush of love that other mums talk about and that made me feel like a failure. And like I had to hide it from the rest of the world.

Masking PND

The first steps to recovery

I suffered for months before finding professional help. I did go to my GP very early on and talked about how I was feeling but because I was so ‘articulate’ (their words not mine!) about how I was feeling and what I was doing to help myself I don’t think they picked up on how bad things really were. I was given sleeping tablets to help with the insomnia but it was a little while before I was able to access specialised help to treat postnatal depression and anxiety.

Recovery from PND – it’s good to talk

When I talked to my GP I was offered medication. I know that this helps for many but I chose to try talking therapy first. I found that relational dynamic therapy was the key to my recovery. It was not a quick ‘fix’ by any means, but slowly I started to feel more like myself and more able to process how PND, anxiety and post traumatic stress had affected me. And to work towards my recovery.

The turning point

One of the big turning points in my recovery was accepting how I was at the time. I was so desperate to try and get better. My husband too wanted to try lots of things to fix everything. And when both he and I started to accept who I was in the moment it helped a lot. My husband told me ‘I love you. I will be with you. If this is what you are like for the rest of your life, that’s fine. I’m with you.’ And that took the pressure off. Instead of constantly trying and willing myself to get better I took things day by day. And it worked.

If you suffer from PND, you’re NOT alone

Having suffered from PND I wanted to help others. And so I set up an app called MummyLinks, which helped mums beat loneliness through meet-ups. A couple of years later MummyLinks and Happity joined forces which has been an amazing journey. Our mission is to combat loneliness by connecting parents through baby and toddler classes. Loneliness can be a real trigger for postnatal depression — it was certainly a big part of it for me. That’s why connecting parents is at the heart of all we do. Because it makes a real difference.

You can and will get better

If you are suffering with PND it is important to know that you will get better. You do have to put in the work and get help through counselling, medication or therapy. It’s a journey. Made better by surrounding yourself with people who understand. But you will get there in the end.

We have loads of information and advice about how and where to get support. Start by checking our PND page.

The first step – admitting and asking for help – is often the hardest. But it’s also your first step towards recovery from PND and so the best step to take.

You might also like

My PND Recovery: Talking, Tea and Tambourines

PND, PTSD and Post-Natal Anxiety – This Is Family

Find Your Tribe!

Nicola, from Team Happity, shares her story of PND recovery. In the hope that it will make any mum going through it feel less alone and believe that they will get better too.

If PND made any sense

If PND made any sense I would have had it after the birth of my first baby. A 39 hour labour, 12 weeks of colic and about two hours of sleep for months on end would surely impact my mental health – right? Apparently not!

And then I had my second baby…

My second birth was a totally different. I had the water birth I’d planned (and hoped) for my first. Labour was quick. After giving birth I felt euphoric, empowered and powerful. My new baby was an ‘easy baby’ right from the get go. I kind of hate that term but you know what I mean! She was content and easily settled. She slept well – meaning I got enough sleep to function even with a by-now- energetic toddler to look after too. It should have been an easy ride.

But PND makes no sense sometimes. And can sneak up on you when you don’t expect it.

It can happen to anyone. And it happened to me.

Starting to feel not like me

I started to feel anxious and disconnected. I found myself feeling lost and alone. I cried easily and a lot. Often I didn’t even know what I was crying about. I started to dread leaving the house and felt strange when I did.

The sticker on the kitchen clock

modern clock on the wall

One of the strangest things I did (that looking back should have raised massive alarm bells if I was in any state of mind to realise) was that I told myself I could get through each day and cope but only until 5.45pm. That was the usual time my husband came home from work. I stuck a little flower sticker on the kitchen clock and would look at it so many times throughout the day, watching the minutes tick by. If, for any reason (a late meeting, a late bus, just life!) my husband hadn’t arrived home by the time the second hand hit that sticker I felt my anxiety rising and would begin to panic.

On the days when my husband came home, even just a few minutes past the sticker, I was a mess. I practically thrust both my baby and toddler at him and crumpled. Often in a sobbing mess on the bedroom floor.

Denying I needed help

I knew that something was wrong. But I couldn’t admit it.

Once I told someone that I was struggling they’d think I was a rubbish mum or was failing. Wouldn’t they?

I didn’t understand why I was feeling like I was feeling. So why would anyone else?

I was also ashamed. Surely it was easier just to try and cope than admit I had a mental health problem?

But I knew I couldn’t carry on, day after day, feeling and acting the way I was. I did my utmost to hide it from the outside world but even that was getting harder to do.

PND recovery: taking the hardest step

At my next appointment with my health visitor (I can’t remember what it was for but it was for my baby really – not me) I burst into tears and opened up about what had been going on.

I was really lucky. My health visitor referred me to Bluebell and I only had to wait until the following week to start counselling.

PND recovery: time to talk

In my first counselling session I mostly just wept.

After holding my feelings in for so long it was like the dam burst and I couldn’t stop crying. But, as the weeks went on, I started to open up and to talk. I can’t explain how good it was to have that space to talk (and cry) freely and honestly, without the fear of upsetting or burdening anyone.

My counsellor helped me really understand my feelings and challenge any thoughts that this was somehow my fault and that I would never get better. The other way it helped was that whenever I struggled on a particular day I could kind of ‘shelve’ my panic, knowing that I only had to wait a few days before I was able to talk and get support to help me through.

The long journey back

Starting talking therapy for PND was not magic or a quick fix. It took a lot of time and a lot of strength. Recovery was definitely not linear. Whenever I felt myself going backwards and starting to struggle again I would panic and think that I’d never get better. But I had to learn to believe that each time I took a step back I knew I had made progress before and so getting back up and fighting again was a little bit easier.

Tambourines for my baby: tea and company for me

two women's hands holding cups of coffee

As I began to make progress I joined a baby music group. And that was another important step for my recovery. Which sounds a bit odd. In essence it was a group, where we sang songs together and our babies played little percussion instruments and joined in actions and dances. So far, so lovely. But it was like an oasis for me in my week.

For a start it was a reason to make myself get out of the house each week- however much I wanted to hide. The other mums there were lovely. It took a bit of time but, over the weeks we began to get to know each other better. And shared (warts and all) stories of our births! It’s funny how strong that need was to share those stories. We went from finding out each other’s names to swapping tales of episiotomies and epidurals almost in one breath!

And we soon became able to share the more honest bits about parenting too. Including all the tough bits. And, for the first time since I had my baby, I felt like I was not alone. And that really helped a lot.

Back to being me

Slowly, slowly I began to feel better. And more like me. And when I started to slip and feel wobbly then I found I had the skills to reframe my thoughts and work through them. A year after starting counselling I proudly announced that I was all fixed and ready to leave.

My very lovely and very wise counsellor recognised the fact that I was trying to put a neat timeline on my PND. As if it was something that I could file neatly in a box and tick off. She encouraged me to keep going and only stop talking therapy when I was really ready. That turned out to be a few months later.

Looking after my mental health

Today I am much more aware of my mental health and try to look after it in the same way as I look after my physical health. Probably more, in truth. If I ever notice myself starting to struggle – for me that’s when I start hiding and avoiding people and start to get snappy and tearful over little things – I seek help. Sometimes that’s just talking to a friend. Or making more of an effort to find time for me. It has included having more counselling in tougher times. And I’m no longer ashamed to admit it.

Oh, and those lovely women I met at baby music? They’re still friends to this day. Even though those tiny babies that used to shake their tambourines are now 20 and striding out into the big wide world. We’re meeting next week for one of our infamous ‘pot luck suppers’.

We used to talk about important issues like how to keep a toddler in bed so you can get just five more minutes sleep and why does Miss Rabbit in Peppa Pig have so many jobs. Now we swap tales of how to get your teenagers up so they don’t fritter away their days and how we feel about the latest drama between Liv and Dom in Married At First Sight Australia! You know, the important stuff!

I’m being glib. We do talk about those things but we also talk about the big stuff too. And help each other through.

Turns out that after finding help that helps what makes a massive difference is also finding friends who you can talk about that stuff with as you go through this mum malarkey really is one of the most important things after all.

Getting help for PND

If you are struggling with PND then head over to our PND page to find loads of ways to get help and support.

You might also like:

How to tell if it’s PND or the baby blues

16 things mums with PND wish you knew

The impact of the pandemic on new parents

I felt that the birth going wrong was somehow my fault and I was resentful that the movie scene moment that I had pictured hadn’t happened.

Lisa Thompson

Lisa shares with us her experiences with a traumatic birth and dealing with PND, PTSD and Postnatal Anxiety. She has discussed sensitive subjects in this submission, all in the hope that it will help anyone who is currently going through a similar situation. If you yourself are currently dealing with PND, PTSD and/or Postnatal Anxiety, please do not suffer alone. Seek help if you can.

We want to give a trigger warning beforehand: Lisa has warned that the following submission discusses a traumatic birth and maternal mental health. Thank you for sharing with our community, Lisa. 💜

It’s fair to say that my labour story was not the one that I had planned. It’s a twisting tale full of complications that meant the actual event was nothing like the natural birth that I had hoped for.

From the second my labour started, I knew that things were not quite right, and I wasn’t wrong; I had previously undetected pre-eclampsia, maternal sepsis, hyponatremia, blood loss and a postpartum haemorrhage that left me fighting for my life. My son also had sepsis and hyponatremia. It was a difficult and scary time for all of us. But I will forever be grateful to the NHS workers who saved our lives and looked after us for the week we were under their care. Although things were tough, that first night together my son slept holding my finger all night and the love and protection that I felt for him overwhelmed me. Whatever happened, with my husband, we were an invincible team of 3.

Dealing With Trauma And Guilt

Following my son’s birth, I was broken. The recovery was long, and I was wracked with frustration and guilt. I felt that the birth going wrong was somehow my fault and I was resentful that the movie scene moment that I had pictured hadn’t happened.

It’s no surprise that my mental health suffered following all of this and over the next couple of years I experienced PND, PTSD and postnatal anxiety. Although I have the most incredible husband, family & friends, I kept most of what I was experiencing to myself. And I kept being selective with what I shared with people about how I was feeling. I was having intrusive thoughts and I was so worried that if I told people the full extent of everything, they would take my son away . There was a (un)healthy dose of paranoia involved too! I was so determined that how I was feeling would not affect my ability to be an amazing Mum and so just carried on pretending that everything was ok.

Seeking Help For PND, PTSD And Postnatal Anxiety

As with all emotional health issues the more you try and suppress them, the more insistent they get to be noticed. For a while, I was in a cycle of being OK through to panic attacks and back to being OK again. So earlier this year after three years of riding this emotional rollercoaster I decided enough was enough. I reached out and was referred to a psychotherapist. Almost immediately after the first session I felt lighter, safer, and understood. My worst fears at sharing those hidden thoughts did not come true. She was understanding and helped me to realise that what I was experiencing was (sadly) common and not insurmountable. She has given me hope that I will fully recover, and my PND, PTSD & anxiety will be a thing of the past very soon.

I am now almost at the end of my sessions with my therapist and it’s like the clouds have parted and I no longer feel guilty for the complications during my labour. I have solid strategies to manage my anxiety and I am feeling ready to live life to the full again.

To Those Out There Who Are Struggling With PND, PTSD and Postnatal Anxiety:

For anyone out there reading this and going through the same thing I have these messages:

  1. You are not alone
  2. It’s not your fault
  3. It’s ok to let people know what’s going on
  4. It can get better with some help
  5. You are a wonderful parent and are doing the best you can

My son is now three and a half he is quite simply, miraculous. He went through so much, but you’d never know. He is my little lion and I love seeing the world through his eyes; his excitement and wonder at everyday things, and how quick he is to laugh uncontrollably at the smallest joke. When he holds my hand, I am reminded of that first night together in the hospital. And of the unbreakable love that we have. I am so glad that I found the support I needed. We feel rest assured that we can now carrying on exploring the world together happily. And I hope that anyone reading this feels supported & encouraged to do the same.

Where Can You Seek Help?

Thank you Lisa so much for sharing such a sensitive and vulnerable perspective. It can be incredibly difficult to reach out for help, and you are incredibly inspiring for doing so yourself.

If you yourself feel that you need to reach out for help, then we recommend that you contact your GP to tell them how you are feeling. Or, get in touch with charities specifically created to talk to you when you are struggling, such as PANDAS.

Find out more on our Mental Wellness & PND support page.

Would You Like To Share YOUR Story?

We’d love to hear from you. This Is Family is all about sharing family stories – especially from families who feel like their voices are not often heard. Every family has a unique story to tell. We’d love to hear yours. Find out how you can feature on our blog and get involved. So that other parents can feel less alone.

Read More From Happity

My PND Recovery: Talking, Tea and Tambourines

How To Support Someone Through PND

How To Tell If It’s PND Or Baby Blues

Loneliness is something that so many new mums (and dads) can feel. And it can be a huge factor in contributing to PND. Which is why, here at Happity, we want to create an easy way for parents to connect and find friendship and support.

Finding and joining baby and toddler classes is a great way to meet other parents and find your tribe. But there are other ways you can make friends too.

Which is why we have put together this directory so finding friends (either online or in person) is easier.

Please do bear in mind that this directory is a work in progress. Keep checking back as we add to it and make improvements.

Find Your Tribe – Apps

There are so many great websites and apps that you can use to find and connect with other mums and parents. Here are some of the biggest and best that you can try:

  • Peanut – Find a mum near you! Connect with women who are at a similar stage in life–from fertility, pregnancy and motherhood through to menopause. Just download the app and start matching with like minded mums.
  • Mush – They call themselves the friendliest app for mums. They unite mums in peer ‘pods’ of 5 – matching you with others with things in common. Download Mush here.
  • Parenthood IO – “We are your parent neighbourhood, giving you support and advice and a place where you can chat to other parents with similar interests who are going through the same things as you.” Download Parenthood IO here.
  • Frindow – “Our mission is to be a central hub for all things that can help you to make new friends and get connected.” Find out more about Frindow here.
  • Mothers At Home Matter – A Local meetups group based in Essex, Hertfordshire and North London. Find out more about Mothers At Home Matter here.
  • Bumble BFF – A friend finding app where you can detail what you’re looking for (including mum friends!). Download Bumble BFF here.
  • Frolo – An app for single parents to meet each other (friendships and dating). Download Frolo here.


Find baby and toddler classes near you to meet other parents and start to build friendships and find support.

Find Your Tribe – Location-Based Facebook Groups

If downloading new apps isn’t for you, then Facebook could be a key player in helping you to find your tribe. As a social media site that almost everyone is on, it could be one of the key places to start meeting like-minded parents.

A lot of groups are set up for specific locations so that you can get to meet parents near you in an instant!

Take a look at our map below to see if there are any friendly groups near you.

(Please note: The team at Happity do not regularly check how active these groups are. However if you spot a group that you know to be inactive -get in touch with us and we’ll update it when we can.)

Can’t find any groups in your area? We will be updating this map as we discover more groups across the UK, so do be sure to check in every so often to see any updates we’ve made.

But, alternatively, we also have found groups that are meant for parents nationwide below!

Find Your Tribe – Nationwide Facebook Groups

Parent Groups

We are driving to find as many active groups as we can to add, and the map is going to be an ongoing improvement over time!

Please get in touch with us here if you run a group that you think would make a great fit for our map or list.

We dearly hope that this directory will help in our ongoing goal to end loneliness for parents.

Good luck finding your tribe ❤️

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It can be upsetting (and frustrating) to see someone you love suffering from a mental health condition. Here are some ways that you can support them though PND.

We’ve written this for partners. From our own experiences of both having PND and supporting loved ones through a mental health condition. All the ways to provide support apply just as well if you’re a family member or friend.

It’s Hard To See Someone You Love Struggle

First of all let’s acknowledge that it’s really tough to see someone you love going through a hard time. It’s harder still if it’s your partner or spouse suffering with postnatal depression. You both were looking forward to welcoming your new baby into the world and had a vision of what it would be like. If your partner struggles it flips your vision of new parenthood on it’s head. And can be really hard to deal with. Add in your own overwhelm, learning to deal with all the challenges of caring for your newborn as well as a whole new level of sleep deprivation – then it’s harder still. So what can you do to support someone through PND?

1. Encourage Them To Seek Help

It can be difficult for anyone to admit that they need help. Gently encourage your partner to seek the help and support they need. Make it as easy as you can. By giving them clear ways to reach out and ask for help. That might mean going with them to speak to their G.P or health visitor. Or showing them ways to get help in other ways, for example, by giving them details of the Pandas helpline. There are plenty of charities and options for them to reach out and start to talk.

2. Find Out All You Can About PND

laptop on top of bed

It’s important when supporting someone through PND to understand it. Do your research. Find out all you can about what it feels like; the signs and symptoms. Get a better understanding of what the one you love is going thorough. Check out our PND page as a first port of call.

It’s important to remember that this is not their fault and they can’t just snap out of it.

3. Assure Them That They Are A Good Mum

One of the biggest things anyone going through PND may feel is a misplaced sense of failure. That they are not a good enough mum. Assure them that they are. Outline all the ways they are. And keep reassuring them that they are a good mum despite their struggles.

4. Reassure Them That You’re There (No Matter What)

One of the most important things you can do to support your partner through PND is to let them know that you are there for them. No matter what. To let them know you’re here. You love them. And you’re not going anywhere. Be there consistently. To listen. And hold them. To understand. Their world might feel like it’s falling apart. Be their safe space and their rock.

5. Mobilise An Army Of Help

Be hands-on when it comes to caring for your baby. Do all you can to take off the load when it comes to doing all the things that need to be done to look after and care for your little one. You might be juggling work commitments and other things, so also seek out others who can all pitch in and help too. That might mean reaching out to your family and friends to mobilise an army of help. They can help with so many things, little or large tasks. But they all ease the pressure. Whether it’s delivering meals or looking after your baby so your partner can get some space. Any help or support you can arrange can make a big difference.

Check though that any help you organise will not overwhelm your partner. She might not feel up to having people in the house to look after your baby, but might be able to deal with her mum/sister/friend taking your baby out for a walk so that she can rest.

6. Ask What You Can Do To Help

If you’re suffering with PND it can be hard to make decisions. Ask what you can do to help. Drill it down into two or three suggestions. Perhaps that could be, ‘Could I make a meal for you?’, ‘Could I look after the baby while you get some sleep?’, ‘Do you need a hug?’.

7. Encourage Her To Escape The Four Walls

mums and babies at a baby music class

When you have depression you often want to hide away from the world. We know, here at Happity, that loneliness and lack of connection can make PND worse. Encourage your partner to get out and about into the big wide world. Go with them if they are nervous. Start small. That might mean walking to the end of the street at first. You can build up to urging them to join a class. We have some amazingly supportive classes on Happity, designed specifically for mums suffering with PND. But any class can provide company and support.

8. Recovery From PND Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint

It’s often hard to know that you cannot easily and quickly fix things if someone you love has PND. The truth is there’s no quick fix. So have patience and be aware that it will take time. It does help to remind your partner that they will get better. And that you will stay by their side, however long it takes.

9. Supporting Someone Through PND: Look After Yourself Too

Supporting someone through PND (or any mental health condition) is hard. It can really be draining on your own resources. Look after yourself too. That might mean taking time to get a break. Talk to friends, find ways to go to a group or spend time doing something that lets you have a breather. You might need to make sure the one you’re supporting has someone else there to step into your breach.

Taking time out for yourself will mean you are better able to provide support. So make sure you get it.

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 or professional advice if you are worried about you, your partner’s or your baby’s health.

More You Might Like:

How To Tell If It’s PND Or The Baby Blues

16 Things Mums With PND Wished You Knew

The Brutal Truth Of PND

I keep hearing a phrase pop up time and time again from male friends, colleagues and just in general – I’m on babysitting duties tonight, so I can’t do X or Y.

Dads are not babysitters! Are they? In this month’s Diary of a First Time Dad, Stu has a few things to get off his chest! His cathartic musings lead to some dad blunders to avoid…

Getting A Few Things Off My Chest

One of the most fascinating things about people is the huge number of things which can set our teeth on edge, grind our gears or generally rub us up the wrong way. My despairing partner, and indeed my parents, would doubtless reel off a long list of the trivial things which can ruin my day.

Whether it is something stacking the dishwasher randomly (though I’d strongly argue solid dishwasher loading skills are one of the defining features of a civilised society), people not saying thank you when you let them pass in a corridor, a bag on a seat of a packed train along with many more far too numerous to list, there are many, many things which can grate me far beyond their real worth. People have recommended I try breathing exercises, but it also makes me angry when people breathe loudly, so that’s hardly going to help.

Really Unique – There’s No Such Thing

So, in summary, there’s probably a fair argument that I’m not always the poster child for mindfulness. It gets worse. As somebody who studied literature, albeit so long ago that most classics authors were probably still alive, I’ve been cursed with an irrational fear of misused words; malapropisms. It’s all fun and games when Del Boy from Only Fools and Horses mangles languages, but I come out in hives when someone asks for an eXpresso (there is no X in eSpresso) or, even worse, says something is ‘really unique’. Something is, after all, either unique or not….

Dads Are Not Babysitters!

Why am I unburdening myself with this? On a blog about being a new Dad? Apart from it being cathartic (thanks for listening!), it’s because I keep hearing a phrase pop up time and time again from male friends, colleagues and just in general – I’m on babysitting duties tonight, so I can’t do X or Y.

Babysitting. Your own child or children. Not parenting, but babysitting.

Seems a bit odd, doesn’t it? I can’t say hand on heart that it enrages me, but it does stick out and seem out of place, which got me to thinking about some other classic missteps of dads – some mine, some more general – to go along with the babysitting.

dad playing with baby

I’m sure a lot of mums reading this will raise a smile or a knowing eyebrow about how us dads have a bit of a tendency to pop in, do a fairly simple task and then expect if not awards then at the very least praise lasting for days or weeks. I’ll hold my hands up as being as guilty of this as any man, though for me it is less about parenting than DIY. Any small household task completed and I’ll be doing victory laps of the house for days to come! So what are some of the other traps dads can fall into, by accident or design?

Dad Traps To Avoid

NEVER complain about being tired. Just don’t do it. Rule number one. You may think you’re tired. You may actually be utterly exhausted. But in the majority of cases, it’s often the mum doing the majority of the chasing around and feeding. Before I can hear the angry tapping of keys, I know this isn’t the case for everyone and every family set up, but there is a broad truth here. If you’re a dad who is the primary carer of your child or children, we’d love to hear your story for our This is Family series.

The Mickey Flanagan paradox. There’s a very funny sketch by Mickey Flanagan talking about how he’s promised his partner he’ll be home on time with a takeaway but gets waylaid in the pub with his friends and fondly, deludely imagines his partner at home, devoid of food, happily thinking ‘I bet he’s having a lovely time. I’ll make myself a sandwich. I’ll make him one too in case he’s hungry later’. Particularly with younger children (and I’m speaking from current experience here), entertaining them for a whole day without help can be exhausting as it is joyful. So if you say you’re going to be home at 6, then expect a frosty reception if you wander in at 7. In fact, 6.03 is playing with fire. Mum needs a break. Mum needs to pee. Mum needs to wash the chewed rice cake out of her hair. If you’re going to be late, make sure the reason is really, really good.

A little learning is a dangerous thing. Yeah, even that quote is usually mangled. It’s not a little knowledge, but learning. I’m a riot at parties, as you can tell! Here’s why it can be dangerous in the parenting context. Being really involved with the whole pregnancy is wonderful and laudable. Learning what your partner is going through at each stage is admirable. Reading all the books you can on feeding, sleeping and everything else to be a support? Superb. But… stay in your lane. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen dads wade in and start explaining breastfeeding and pregnancy to women, without a shred of expertise – just access to Google and a head full of opinions. Don’t be that guy. Don’t even be friends with that guy.

dad playing with baby

Be a Dad, Not A Babysitter

I guess what I’m trying to say is that, as dads, we’re all going to get it wrong a lot of the time. And there’s nothing wrong with that. None of us are perfect. But the ones above are less about trying and not getting it right, but maybe not being empathetic enough to the mothers of our children. 

So for all the babysitters out there, this year’s mission is to be the best ally to the mother of your children you can be; be a dad not a babysitter. That doesn’t mean every can or wants to take on primary care roles. All family set-ups are different and we celebrate all of them. But, if you’re there and the little one is making straining noises, be the first to jump up and change their bum. Do the bits you can, when you can, without being asked – and enjoy doing them. Trust me, doing the right thing is also the most fun thing you’ll ever do.

Happity Wants Your Parenting Stories!

As always, we’d love to hear your parenting stories and musings too. If you’ve got a story to tell then get in touch.

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Easy peasy Easter crafts for toddlers that you’d be hopping mad not to try!

With Easter just around the corner we’ve put together some super cute makes for little ones. From cheery chicks to little bunnies. All made from things you’re likely to have in the house (or can buy really easily from craft stores or supermarkets)

Have fun!

Little Egg Box Bunnies

Easter Craft For Toddlers - Egg Box Bunnies

These little bunnies would look gorgeous placed on top of boiled eggs at your Easter breakfast table. To make them cut out the egg holders from an egg box. Paint them white, grey or brown (acrylic paint covers really well). We cut the bunny ears from the pointy bits of the egg box and glued them to the back. We then added some finishing touches to our rabbits by sticking on googly eyes, a pom-pom nose and drawing on mouths and whiskers.

Cheery Chicks

Easter craft - cheery chicks

We love these cheery chicks! Cut an oblong out of card. Your toddler can have great fun covering it by sticking on yellow feathers. We picked up a pack from The Works for £1! If you don’t have feathers then they could stick on scrunched up balls of yellow tissue paper instead. Once your chick is covered cut out little shapes for the beak and feet and glue them in place, popping on some googly eyes to finish.

Pretty Printed Flowers

Pretty printed flowers

This is such a fun way to print some cheery spring time flowers. Make lots of cuts (about 3-4cm long) along one end of a toilet roll or kitchen roll tube. Then fold back all the cut lines so that they fan out (see photo). Now for the fun bit! Your toddler can dip the flower ‘printers’ in paint and print onto a piece of paper or card. They can keep printing with different colours to make a lovely flower shape. To finish we painted the centres of our flowers in yellow.

Chirpy Chickens

Easter crafts toilet roll chicks

We love how characterful these little chicks are! To make them we folded down both sides of the top of a toilet roll to make a curved shape. Then painted the tube yellow. And to finish we glued on googly eyes, yellow feather wings and a little beak cut out from orange card. Your toddler might have all sorts of different ideas to decorate their little chick.

Tissue Mosaic Easter Eggs

Tissue mosaic Easter egg craft for kids

This is a really simple and calming craft for little ones. Cut egg shaped from card and cut lots of little squares of tissue paper. Then your little one can spend a happy crafternoon sticking down the tissue to the egg, overlapping each square. Once they have finished decorating their egg and it is dry you can trim round the edges to neaten it up. These make pretty Easter cards or even Easter bunting if you make enough!

Funny Bunny Masks

Easter craft for toddlers funny bunny mask

Draw your mask on a piece of card and then cut it out. Cut out two large holes for your toddler to be able to look through. Then you can let your little one loose to decorate their funny bunny mask. They could cover their bunny face with little squares of white tissue paper, white pom-poms or cotton wool balls or even white feathers. Add a pom-pom for the nose. You can add elastic so that your toddler can wear their mask and hop about!

Easter Crafts For Toddlers: Hatching chicks

Easter craft - chick hatching from egg

How cute are these little hatching chicks? We used corrugated card to make ours but plain card works too. Carefully break an egg shell so that you are left with the bottom half. Then take a strip of card and roll it into a tube – the right size to fit inside your egg shell. Cut out shapes for the wings, beak and feathers. Then stick all the little details on to your hatching chick. You could also make pom-poms from yellow wool and use them as the chick’s body instead. Then stick on googly eyes and feathers to decorate.

“Handy” Easter Greetings Cards

What a lovely card for your toddlers to give to a family member! Simply get your toddler to draw around their hand on a piece of (either coloured or white) card towards either the left or right of it. Fold over the card in half close to wear they have drawn around their thumb, and cut around the shape. Then, get your little ones to create their own cute little animal and hey presto! You have your very own “handy” Easter card!

A Cup Full Of “Hoppiness”- Easy Easter Bunny Chocolate Cup

A lovely little friend to keep your toddler’s chocolate treats in. All you will need is a cheap paper cup, some white and pink card, some child-friendly glue, toddler-safe scissors and a black pen for the eyes (Or googly eyes if you have them!) Cut out two ovals on white card, two slightly smaller ovals on pink card, and then some extra pieces for the features, and glue it all on! This is one of the Easter crafts for toddlers that can make some good practice for developing some of your child’s motor skills -even if all they can manage right now is sticking the features on the cup. And the end result will help them feel chuffed with making a useful little friend that stores all their sweet treasure inside!

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Breastfeeding always looks easy on paper, but a lot of new mums do end up looking for tips and advice as it’s not quite as straight forward as it looks in the films or on social media. Breastfeeding can have highs and lows. But, Anita (who has also previously submitted a This Is Family story here) has been kind enough to share with us and our audience some of her best breastfeeding tips for new mums.

We hope that they prove to be useful!

At 10:56am on the 20th March last year, the anaesthetist (who’d somehow kept me calm through major surgery), uttered the words, “are you ready to meet your baby?” Minutes later, my beautiful daughter was born, fiercely suckling her tiny fists.

As I lay cuddling her in recovery, I felt completely overwhelmed with love for this little person I’d made. It was easy to see why this precious skin to skin time was known as the ‘golden hour.’ She latched on effortlessly and fed solidly for an hour and a half. Almost a year later, I am still breastfeeding; a journey that has been full of ups and downs, but has ultimately proven to be immensely rewarding.

I wanted to share twelve breastfeeding tips for new mums. They are things I’ve learned (one for every month), for anyone about to embark on this chapter. It goes without saying I’m not a professional and this shouldn’t replace expert advice. But I hope it provides some guidance, as many of them are things I wish I’d known myself!

1. Learn As Much As You Can During Pregnancy.

Most couples and new mums enrol in antenatal classes (I loved my Bump & Baby course, even though lockdown moved it online) to find out some breastfeeding tips, but these might only include one session on the topic of feeding. The sad reality is most postnatal wards are incredibly busy places with midwives stretched beyond their resources (which isn’t their fault at all!). It just meant I left the hospital as clueless as when I went in. Aside from a perfunctory glance at my latch, I didn’t really receive any support. So consider reading books or looking for courses online that focus specifically on infant feeding. Instagram proved a really valuable source of information for me too. I particularly love @olivia_lactation_consultant, who makes the science very accessible.

2. Be Open To All Kinds Of Feeding.

I found combination feeding (formula and breastmilk) in the first few months a sanity saver. When I was struggling to cope with the marathon cluster feeding sessions, it meant my husband could help and I used the time to catch up on much-needed rest.

It saddens me now that at the time I felt like a failure for sending my husband to buy that bottle of ready-made formula. It was 10:30pm and I’d been pinned to the sofa all day. I needed a break for my own wellbeing and there was absolutely nothing wrong with that. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. I’d recommend Lucy Ruddle’s book ‘Mixed Feeding’ for an unbiased and really thorough guide on how to do combi feeding successfully, whilst protecting your milk supply. Lucy is an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) and passionate about supporting parents, however they choose to feed their babies. At around 2 months, I moved to exclusive breastfeeding but many choose to continue with combi feeding.

3. Practise Different Breastfeeding Positions And Find The One That Works For You.

Cradle hold is lovely but can be sore when recovering from a caesarean. Side-lying feeding is hands-free and means you can rest. This is still my preferred way to settle my own baby to sleep at bedtime and for some naps. You don’t necessarily need a feeding pillow so save your pennies and see how you get on before investing! I found mine quite cumbersome, although I know they can work brilliantly for others.

4. Find A Support Group

Both La Leche League and my Local Council Service have been so helpful for me. My LLL group has been a place to gather twice a month and gain invaluable advice from others. As time passed, I also found it incredibly rewarding to be able to offer my own advice to those in the earlier stages of their journey. There is such camaraderie in a room full of people breastfeeding. These meetings are free to attend and run by trained volunteers but rely on donations to keep going so it’s always appreciated when attendees take out a membership. There are also several helplines you can call, including the NCT feeding line or the National Breastfeeding helpline. I can’t recommend them highly enough.

5. You Don’t Have To Replace Your Wardrobe!

One great tip is to simply wear a vest and another top over it to keep your tummy warm. But if you did want to invest in a top to help make breastfeeding easier when out and about, I’d recommend the B shirt. If you feel self-conscious, these are a great option as they have a flap you pull up to feed. I have a plain black vest, which goes with pretty much everything. A friend recently recommended the Facebook page ‘Can I Breastfeed In It? UK’ as another place for sartorial feeding advice.

6. Try To Get Comfortable Feeding In Public If You Can.

It’s totally normal! Your baby is just eating. My first alfresco feed was on a sweltering June day following a turdnado of epic proportions. And it was still lovely! Just so you know, nobody can stop you from breastfeeding in public unless you are causing a literal obstruction! Get to know your legal rights.

7. Breastfeeding Can Be A Quick, Reliable And Comforting Way To Get Your Baby To Sleep.

If you find transfers tricky, you can feed to sleep lying down and then enjoy lots of lovely snuggles afterwards. Perfect! In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s become my solution to everything. Jabs? Boob. Poorly? Boob. Bumped their head while cruising? You’ve guessed it: boob!

8. It Is Totally Possible To Continue Breastfeeding As A New Mum When You Return To Work, If You Choose To.

I have opted to continue as a way to help my baby cope with the transition to childcare and to help us reconnect after being separated during the day. If you choose to partially or totally wean, make sure you do this gradually to avoid blocked ducts or Mastitis. Again, the support services I mentioned earlier are a great resource if you’re not sure how best to approach this.

9. You Don’t Have To Buy A Pump Before Your Baby Is Born.

First, give yourself time to see how breastfeeding is going and whether you actually need one. Mine packed up after two uses (a very expensive £90!). I also struggled with a strong physical aversion to the sensation of an electric pump. I had much better success with a manual pump (I liked the Medela). Try to practise hand expressing too, which can be a good way to gently relieve some discomfort when needed.

10. Eat, Eat, Eat!

Breastfeeding can use up to 700 calories a day. It’s really important to replace all of that lost energy and nourish your body. In the fourth trimester, it’s helpful to set yourself up with a little snack and drinks station and your favourite boxed set. A great excuse to eat lots of Hobnobs, as if you needed one! If you have a partner, this is a good way for them to help out too. Those first few weeks are all about your recovery so accept any help that’s offered. You’re literally keeping a human alive and that’s no mean feat!

11. Don’t Get Bogged Down With Feeding Schedules.

Breastfeeding is likely to be affected by a variety of factors. Illness, starting solids, the climate and periods of separation are all things that can impact the duration and amount of feeding. There’ll be times it feels like they’ll never unlatch and others they’re distracted by everything in sight. Trust in your baby’s ability to communicate their needs and learn to recognise their unique cues. That said, if you do have genuine concerns, there’s no harm in seeking expert advice.

12. Be Proud. Breastfeeding As A New Mum Isn’t Easy!

Finally, however long you choose to breastfeed, celebrate and be proud of yourself. Whether you exclusively breastfeed from day one, combi-feed or switch to formula after a week, every single feed counts.

Thanks for these brilliant breastfeeding tips for new mums, Anita! These are incredibly useful, and we hope that everyone who has read through the post has managed to gain some insight, or picked up a few useful ideas to try out for themselves.

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Babies outgrow clothes so fast it can be hard to keep up! With little ones outgrowing 7 clothing sizes in just 2 years, it quickly can get very expensive and feels horrible seeing so many clothes go to waste!

A genius rental service is trying to change that. Meet Bundlee. 

What is Bundlee?

Bundlee is the UK’s first rental service for baby clothes. Pick your Bundlee subscription plan and receive a set of clothes for your little one’s size and the season. Then just like magic, conveniently swap clothes as they grow.

Bundlee’s baby clothing rental service is a great way to get amazing quality clothes at a fraction of the price – you can rent from some of our favourite brands including MORI, Mini Rodini, Patagonia and more and save 75% on RRP. It’s also a great space saving hack as you return outgrown clothes, creating peace in your home.  

With sustainability at the core, Bundlee want to provide a better alternative for parents. Clothes that are returned are professionally cleaned and sanitised before being shared with the next renting family. Bundlee’s model reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 86% – pretty amazing! 

By trying out Bundlee for a month, you’ll have saved 7kg of CO2 emissions, helping to create a better future for your little one to grow into. 

Clothing set examples of what you can expect to see with a Bundlee Capsule Subscription, or a Bundlee Personalised Subscription

Bundlee offers 2 subscriptions to suit your style. With the Capsule Subscription, Bundlee’s expert team will curate a set of 15 quality essentials especially for your baby’s size and the season, for just £24 per month. Perfect if you’re not sure what your little one will need and would like a helping hand. 

In the Personalised Subscription, you can pick your favourite 15 pieces to rent from Bundlee’s premium brands, for just £39 per month. Great if you know what styles and brands you want to dress your little one in, or if you want to refresh their wardrobe of hand-me-downs from your first baby.

Bundlee Review: A Review of Bundlee’s Baby Clothing Rental Service

We spoke to first-time mum Jaimie, for her review of Bundlee’s service. Here Jaimie shares her experience of renting baby clothes for her son, Fitz. Jaimie chose a Personalised Subscription and had her first set of clothes delivered before Fitz arrived. 

Why did you try Bundlee?

Sustainability was my number one reason. Reflecting on my own household, I couldn’t stomach the amount of waste we would have simply through clothes alone.

I had been actively looking for ways to be as sustainable as possible as a mum, and Bundlee fit the bill! I loved that we could start to teach Fitz green habits from day 1!

Did you have any concerns about renting clothes?

My main concern was that I wouldn’t be able to “style” Fitz how I wanted. But when I discovered that I could personalise my bundlee, I was so happy to be able to pick pieces that I thought would suit his personality!

What do you think of the clothes?

I love shopping on Bundlee! The selection keeps me trying prints and outfits that I don’t think I would pick out normally when buying. My son wore a lavender Mini Rodini sweatsuit today – I am absolutely obsessed! 

The RRP on buying a lot of these brands’ clothes means I couldn’t justify the purchase – but renting means we can have all the fun without the same outlay. The added bonus is I’m not figuring out what to do with everything when he’s outgrown it, or feeling guilty for spending so much on something he only wore a few times.

Jaimie and her son, Fitz

How clean are the clothes?

The clothes are delivered to the cleanest of standards. I’ve seen the stains my son can put on his clothes, so when I receive my bundlee without a stain in sight and looking brand new – I know they are immaculately clean! The fact that the clothes are sanitised has given me peace of mind.

I look after the clothes like they are my own, but unlike my own – insurance is included for those impossible stains so I don’t need to worry 🙂

Do you think it’s good value for money?

Absolutely! I’ve already saved £912 compared to buying the same pieces new. And when you consider rental insurance is included in the subscription, it’s a no-brainer. When I look at my cost savings across the year, it’s clear Bundlee was the right choice on this alone (although of course there are other reasons!)

Has Bundlee been helpful in any other ways?

Well firstly there is the massive space savings in my home! I’m not storing stuff we don’t need and can’t use right now. I’ve also found Bundlee to be helpful in introducing me to other sustainable and quality brands I don’t think I would have come across. Brands like Mini Rodini have now become a favourite. 

Bundlee Graphic- a summary of what Bundlee have been able to provide Jaimie over the period of 9 months!

Would you recommend Bundlee to other parents?

I’d definitely recommend Bundlee to all families! You save money and time on buying clothes your children will outgrow quickly – and you can put that money towards meaningful purchases, like a family holiday. Your baby will be stylish and sustainable. And your wardrobes won’t be filled with bags of clothes you need to donate. 

Thanks Jaimie for that great review of Bundlee! It’s really interesting to see Jaimie’s experience renting baby clothes. 

Are you interested in trying out renting baby clothes with Bundlee? 

Bundlee have a special offer for the Happity community. You can try Bundlee now risk-free with a 30 day free trial. Just use code HAPPITY30 at the checkout. To learn more and start your trial go here.

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Last October (2021) the Petitions Committee published a report called: ‘Impact of Covid-19 on new parents: One Year On’. It outlined the additional pressures new parents faced during the pandemic and called for strengthened perinatal mental health services, a return of face-to-face visits for new parents and a review into the funding and affordability of childcare. The government has now issued a formal response to the issues highlighted in this report.

The Closure Of Baby & Toddler Classes

When baby and toddler classes were forced to run online during lockdowns they provided vital support for new parents. But we all missed being able to meet up face to face and it was a lonely time. When lockdown restrictions were lifted the guidance for when and how groups and classes could return face to face was often confusing. Providers were desperate to restart their classes. Parents couldn’t wait to join the classes and find company and friendship. The new report recognises the importance of classes and groups for new parents:

The Government understands the importance of community support groups and parent and child groups and will continue to review the need for guidance for specific groups on operating in a Covid-safe way on a case-by-case basis.

In recognition of the support needed by parents with young children, during the November 2020 national restrictions, the government introduced a gatherings exception for new parents, and excluded under-fives. When national restrictions ended on 2 December 2020, a new exception for parent and child groups was introduced.

The Department for Education continues to update guidance for parent and child groups in Actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak—GOV.UK ( This guidance is for Ofsted registered early years and childcare settings and while some providers will meet in Ofsted registered settings, not all will, and there is no single responsible body with complete oversight of these groups. Parent and child groups are a cross-government policy with different departments having an interest

Impact of Covid-19 on new parents: one year on: Government Response to the Committee’s First Report

Thankfully all lockdown restrictions have now been lifted in England. By the end of March it is expected that remaining restrictions will be lifted in the rest of the UK too. Safety measures, such as wearing face-coverings and isolating if you have Covid will no longer be mandatory, but down to the individual choice, as we all learn to live with Covid-19.

We’re all so glad that baby & toddler classes are back. Even though the road was a long (and often frustrating one) to get here!

More Support For New Parents

The initial report looked in detail at the impact the pandemic had on new parents. It recommended that the government should produce a covid-19 recovery strategy to support new parents. While such a report will not be written, the government has set out a package of support for babies and families, which was announced in the Budget on the 27th October, 2021. This package of measures includes:

£100 million for bespoke mental health support for new and expectant parents, £82 million to expand the network of Family Hubs to a further 75 Local Authorities across England, and £10 million for Local Authorities to trial and test new and innovative recruitment models to train up more staff. Nursery staff will also have access to more high-quality training funded by a separate £153 million investment announced as part of the £1.4 billion education recovery package in Summer 2021.

Impact of Covid-19 on new parents: one year on: Government Response to the Committee’s First Report

They also highlighted the fact that:

GPs are required to offer a 6–8 week maternal postnatal health check for new mothers as an additional appointment to that for the baby. This should include a review of the mother’s mental health and wellbeing, in line with NICE guidance.

The Impact Will Continue To Be Felt By Parents

Chair of the Petitions Committee, Catherine McKinnell MP, is concerned that the impact on parents from the pandemic will continue to be felt, despite these plans for support. She says:

Although most restrictions have now been lifted, the pandemic’s impact will continue to be felt for years to come. Especially by new parents, for whom help was cut off when they most needed it. “The investment in family services in last Autumn’s Spending Review was welcome. But the Government’s failure to provide new catch-up funding for health visiting and parental mental health leaves new parents facing an accumulation of adversity without the support they deserve.

The Government’s failure to make progress on stronger employment protections for new mothers, which it promised in its response to our previous report, is particularly troubling. Its continued refusal to extend parental leave and pay entitlements to all new parents and guardians is equally concerning.

This response is all the more disappointing as it is the second time the Government has turned a blind eye to the impacts we have highlighted. This continued lack of action means new parents’ needs will continue to go unrecognised and unmet, with long-term consequences for their wellbeing and their babies’ health and development.

Chair of the Petitions Committee, Catherine McKinnell MP

You can read the government’s response to the report in full in the First Special Report of Session 2021–22.

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