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e-newsletter 25 - December 2011 Print E-mail
TIPS e-newsletter 25

::::  December 2011 ::::

:::::          issue         :::::

newsletter_25_r4_c1 In this issue........

Let the festivities begin!


facebook logo Like us on Facebook – visit the TIPS Ltd Facebook page: we publish news (including competitions!), information and advice for parents and professionals regularly.

If, like me, you are struggling to come up with present ideas for your little ones then help is at hand! We have lots of ideas and a great selection of goodies to make your loved ones smile.

Our magical picture of a very young TIPS Tester gazing with wonder at her twinkly lit Christmas tree will certainly get you in the mood and maybe you have pictures of your own you would like to share with us (remember we're always on the lookout for these!)... meanwhile this newsletter comes with  a delightful set of new photos from TIPS Testers.


We have reviewed 2 websites:

  • a brand new website for mums-to-be and new mums who are interested in baby massage
  • Previously known as Bio-Fem, the Multi-Mam® product range was designed to provide complete nipple care for new mums. Not only do we have two sets of Multi-Mam® and Multi-Gyn® products up for grabs but we also have a special discount code (AYSCY304) giving all TIPS Members and Testers a 15% discount on all Multi-Mam® and Multi-Gyn® products until the end of December 2011.


We have reviewed 3 books for you - 2 of which would make great stocking fillers:

  • The JaJaJa stories are bi-lingual books with a twist, as they take your child on a learning experience as they read.
  • King Jack and the Dragon is the delightful new book by Peter Bently and renowned illustrator Helen Oxenbury. This lovely rhyming story is the perfect bedtime tale with all the ingredients children love.
  • Where has my little girl gone? This thought provoking book is about how the press and media promote sexualisation and peer pressure and how this can have a negative effect on the emotional development of young girls.

Still on the subject of growing up too soon, we have reviewed the wonderfully innovative tween doll called Notalie®. Girls as young as 7 often reject conventional dolls and miss out on essential creative play. We are thrilled to be able to offer two little girls the chance to win their very own Notalie® in our e-newsletter competition.

As well as our regular mix of event, forumvideo cliparticlesDVD, and featured TIPS® award-winning products, we have a review of the Alternative Families Show (as promised in e-newsletter 23) and Top Tips (including Top Treat and Top Value). We have also included our first reviews of 2 clever card games which will make perfect stocking fillers at this time of year.

Our latest My Story follows a new mother as she struggles to establish breastfeeding after a traumatic delivery and a rare case of breast refusal. This mum's determination to feed her baby is truly inspiring. Her story provides a fascinating insight into the practice of EPing. Last but not least, we know you will enjoy reading part 8 of our Diary of a Student Midwife.

Don't forget to check out our 12 mini-competitions with a total prize value of over £550! Get your entries in to Brigitte and you too could be a winner.

Remember if you are not 'in' you can't win!




Dedicated advice line:

  • You can contact me on my Greatvine Speak Now number: 09064006215* if I am unable to answer immediately, I promise to call you back.
  • You can also contact me on the Prima Baby/BabyExpert one-to-one advice line at: 09061949915*
  • Press and Media: If you are looking for expert advice on midwifery related topics you can also call me on my advice line.

*£1.50/min from a BT landline. Calls from Mobiles and other networks may vary.

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nEw ** :: Card games ** nEwtipsducktipsduck

The Art Of Children's Conversation (TAOC)

The Art of Conversation games are available from

There are 6 Art of Conversation games in total (RRP £9.99): All Ages, Children, Literary, Travel, Christian and Food.

cards photo

The Art of Conversation All Ages edition is a new game developed by Louise Howland and Keith Lamb. It encourages players of all ages to become better communicators. The game is played using a set of cards with conversation prompting questions. It can be played in nine different modes (including a solo mode), competitively and non-competitively.

The Art of Conversation for Children edition is specifically designed to develop children's conversational skills. It prompts them to be confident speakers, better listeners and great all-round communicators. It is also used for therapy and as an educational resource.

Suitable for players from 5 years to adults, TAOCC helps children put ideas into words, share and develop their ideas and feelings and respect the views of others.

Each game contains 100 cards and each card has 2 conversation building questions. Players are asked to read out the question which then prompts conversation and discussion or can be used as part of a competitive game.

Review by Nicola (TIPS Parent Tester):

The Art of Conversation for Children (TAOC) aims to develop childrens' conversational skills, help them become confident speakers and effective listeners. As children increasingly spend their recreational time watching TV and playing computer games, and communicate using text messages and social media sites like facebook . It's no surprise that the number of children starting school with language delays has also increased. This is why there is now a genuine need for a game like this.

The game consists of 100 cards. Each player takes a turn at being the leader. The leader chooses a question to ask the other players, asks follow up questions, and then the next player becomes the leader. TAOC manners must be adhered to during the game or the player could lose a turn at answering or asking questions, or even have points deducted (if you play the version of the game which involves scoring the answers). The manners are a great way of teaching children how to take turns at speaking and have a conversation instead of talking over the top of each other. There are no right or wrong answers in the game and therefore no winner at the end of the game (unless using the scoring version). This is really good when playing with younger children as there are always tears in our house when one of the children loses!!

When we played the game, it was a bit slow to start until we all got into the swing of it. This is very different from the conventional board games we would normally play with the children. However once we got going we ended up playing for an hour and only stopped because my son had a birthday party to go to! Some questions were better at provoking good conversations, others resulted in silly answers which had us all laughing (for example the question: 'tell us about a pet you would like to have and why?' produced the following answer: 'a pink t-rex'!!). There were also questions on more serious subjects, and I enjoyed hearing my son's answers to these, as they gave me an insight into his thoughts and ideas (for example: ' what makes you embarrassed?'). My only criticism of the game is that I think it should be aimed at children aged 6 or 7 and above and not 5. The reason for this is not many 5 year olds will be able to read the questions. Even my 6 year old son struggled to read a lot of the words. Sometimes, he didn't quite understand what the question meant and we had to explain this to him.

Although children may not find this game as appealing as Kerplunk or Buckaroo, we will definitely be playing this again as it is such a fun way to engage your children in conversation and to learn about their thoughts and feelings. I would not hesitate to recommend TAOC to parents or professionals, for example teachers and speech therapists.  The Art of Conversation for Children is a brilliant idea which definitely works!

For a chance to win 1 of 2 packs of TAOC games check out mini-competition 1

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Carddies are available online from: and

RRP: £8.99

cards photograph

When I saw this game I knew straight away it would be a great hit: it's so simple you wonder why it hasn't been done before! Created for 4 to 10 year olds, Carddies are cute sets of engaging characters made of high quality card that are ready to be coloured in, given names, and played with for hours and hours.  The colourful, robust boxes are filled with 12 sturdy double-sided card figures, 12 high quality colouring pencils, and 12 stands. As an added bonus, you also get an outline backdrop to colour in.  Carddies are portable and robust enough to survive a mum's handbag or a dad's pocket - perfect for families on the go. There are eight sets of Carddies: ballet, fairies, football, cavemen, school, knights, family 1 and family 2.

Review by Jenny (age 9 ½) and Kirsty (age 6) (TIPS Testers):

Me and Kirsty thought that the Carddies were amazing fun. What I liked about them was that it was imaginative and you could do it however you liked. Kirsty liked colouring them in and making up stories for them. I had an idea that they could make a gymnastics one and you could make a beam and all the apparatus because I love doing my gymnastics and I am sure other children also enjoy gymnastics.

Thank you for letting us play with the Carddies and I am sure I will get my mum to get me them.

Me and Kirsty were quite disappointed because when we came to divide the class into two groups (we had the school set) we realised there was one character missing from our set. Apart from that we thought Carddies were great fun!

STOP PRESS: After reading this review the lovely people at Carddies have kindly offered to send our young reviewers not only a replacement character for their School Set but a spare box of Carddies, so each sister has her own set. Thank you so much for organising this for Jenny and Kirsty. Many congratulations to Carddies for excellent customer care - we did not even have to ask!

For a chance to win 1 of 2 sets of Carddies check out mini-competition 2



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tipsducktipsduckFeatured product :: TIPS-tested Organic Babies and Organic Monkey productstipsduckRetrospective Trials - October  2011tipsduck

We are delighted to congratulate our latest TIPS Award winning baby skincare products on their well deserved win - you can read the full reviews in the TIPS Awards section of our website.



products photo


Organic Monkey

Bumfluff nappy balm (RRP: £10.50 for 50mls; price per ml: 21p)

Hello Mellow organic massage oil (RRP: £12 for 125mls; price per ml: 9.6p)

Supplied and manufactured by



product illustration


Organic Babies no scent baby oil (RRP: £9.95 for 100mls; price per ml: 9.95p)

Supplied and manufactured by


For a chance to win 1 of 3 Organic Babies no scent baby oil check out mini-competition 3

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tipsduck:: Featuredtipsducktipsducktipsduckforumtipsducktipsduck


The Hysterectomy Association online forum





Following Pip's 'My Story' (published in our September 2011 e-newsletter) we thought it would be a good idea to feature the excellent work of the Hysterectomy Association (HA). Pip had found the HA forum extremely useful when she faced one of the biggest decisions of her life. Women of all ages might need to get a hysterectomy, including those who suffer from major bleeding after a caesarean section.

The HA is a social enterprise set up by Linda Parkinson-Hardman in 1997. It was created to provide women with reliable, accessible information about hysterectomy at a time when they need it most. Women often feel they are not given enough information to make the right choice about their hysterectomy.

Since its launch, the HA has developed beyond all expectations. The widespread use of the internet has allowed the HA to reach a wider audience meaning they can achieve their goal of helping more women. The free forum where members can chat and support each other is an invaluable resource.

HA income comes solely from online sales so visitors who find the website useful are encouraged to support the organisation by buying products or by making a donation.  Annual membership costs only £15 and allows access to HA information, including quarterly magazines, downloads, a copy of the informative book: 101 Handy Hints for a Happy Hysterectomy and many other benefits. One-to-one telephone support sessions can also be arranged with Linda.

The HA is a member of the NCVO (National Council for Voluntary Organisations) and bound by their codes of conduct. Organisations can also arrange to stock or sell HA publications. To find out more about working with the HA, email:   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

For a chance to win a copy of 101 Handy Hints for a Happy Hysterectomycheck out mini-competition 4



tipsduckFeatured website 1 :: tipsducktipsduck

IAIM Announces NEW Web Baby Massage Web Site for Mums

The International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM) UK Chapter have just launched a new website for mums-to-be and new mums: It's packed with useful information about baby massage and baby massage professionals.

website photo

The IAIM is the largest and longest standing worldwide association solely dedicated to baby massage. Founded in the early 1980s, the IAIM became an internationally established organisation in 1992. Since 1997 around 10,000 professionals have trained through the IAIM UK baby massage programme. Well respected and well researched, this training has been recognised as a high quality parent education programme.

With so much online information available, it can be difficult for Mums to gather all the information they need about baby massage. The new IAIM website provides all this information in one place. It talks about what baby massage is, how it can benefit a mother and baby, how it can be done, and which oils can be used. Parents might also enjoy reading about other parents' experience of baby massage, or relevant articles published on the website. They can also use the Contact us feature to get more information and finding a baby massage class nearby is easy using the website search facility.

For more information go to:



tipsducktipsduckFeatured website 2 ::

New name for TIPS Award winning Bio-Fem products

multi-mam products

Introduction by Sharon Trotter

We first tested the Bio-Fem Balm and Compress products in 2007. Testers were impressed at how easy it was to use these natural products, how cooling they were and how much they helped to soothe sore nipples. You can read the reviews from the 2011 trial of breast treatments here........ This popular range of products is now called Multi-Mam®  . Read on to find out about this and about other changes to the range.

Launch and first sales of new product range for The Urology Company

On 1 September 2011 The Urology Company Limited commenced the exclusive distribution of the Multi-Mam® product ranges in the UK and has started to ship orders to UK retailers.

The Multi-Mam® Compresses and Balm have been available since 2005 in the UK under the Bio-Fem brand name, these products have significant UK retail sales. They are available over the counter from most local pharmacies and other healthcare retailers including Boots the Chemist and Holland & Barrett. You can also buy them online at

The Multi-Mam® brand is a leading brand in breastfeeding products in over 36 countries around the world.

The Multi-Mam® range provides complete nipple care. It is designed to prevent and treat discomfort before and during breastfeeding. Two products in the Multi-Mam® range are now available to consumers in the UK:

  • Multi-Mam® Compresses – for a soothing effect on sore nipples
  • Multi-Mam® Balm – protects the nipple before and during breastfeeding

In addition to the Multi-Mam® range, The Urology Company has also taken over the distribution for the Multi-Gyn® product range which was designed to help a number of female health conditions. Six products in the Multi-Gyn® range are now available to consumers in the UK through The Urology Company:

  • Multi-Gyn® ActiGel – to treat and prevent vaginal discomfort such as bacterial vaginosis
  • Multi-Gyn® FloraPlus – to treat and prevent vaginal thrush
  • Multi-Gyn® Compresses – for direct relief of irritation in the external intimate area
  • Multi-Gyn® FemiWash – for a mild, soap free intimate hygiene
  • Multi-Gyn® Vaginal Douche & Tablets - for optimal hygiene of the vagina

For more information go to: and or phone 0203 077 5411.

Our friends at The Urology Company  kindly offer all TIPS Members and Testers a 15% discount on all Multi-Mam® and  Multi-Gyn®  products (MG and MM) until the end of December 2011. Just quote the code  AYSCY304 when you place your order. Click 'add a coupon' after each product is added to your basket, before finally going to the checkout.

For a chance to win 1 of 2 gift sets including products from the Multi-Mam® and Multi-Gyn® ranges check out mini-competition 5



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tipsducktipsduckFeatured book 1 :: Phillip & Felipe and Lucy & Lucia tipsducktipsduck
book illustration
Phillip & Felipe and Lucy & Lucia
By Genevieve Yusuf and Suzanne Wilson
Published by JaJaJa Books -
RRP: £4.50
Review by Fiona (TIPS Tester):
I thought these were lovely books: educational, colourful and good fun.
Jenny (9 ½ yrs) was not at all interested in reading them as she thought they were too babyish. To be honest I think this was because they were not written by Jacqueline Wilson!
Kirsty (6yrs) on the other hand really enjoyed them. She is a pretty good reader for her age and enjoyed both the stories and the fact that she could brush up on her Spanish – I haven't done any Spanish with her since she stopped watching Dora the Explorer! I liked the way the pictures really helped work out what the Spanish words were. Kirsty found it quite easy to switch from English to Spanish. Finding and counting the lizards and butterflies is a really nice touch and it adds another dimention to the book. I would be happy to recommend both these books.

For a chance to win 1 of 2 sets of JaJaJa books check out mini-competition 6

tipsducktipsduckFeatured book 2 :: King Jack and the Dragon tipsducktipsduck
book cover
King Jack and the Dragon
By Peter Bently & Helen Oxenbury
Published by Puffin (1 Sep 2011)
ISBN: 0141327596
RRP: £12.99 (Hardcover)
From the award winning artist of We're Going on a Bear Hunt comes the beautifully written and stunningly illustrated King Jack and the Dragon
Night is falling, bedtime is looming and playtime is almost over…but brave King Jack and his faithful followers, Sir Zak and baby Caspar are more than a match for dragons and horrid beasties! With its band of faithful knights and a mightly castle, this magical make-believe adventure, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury and charmingly written by Peter Bently is the perfect bedtime tale for brave little children everywhere!

For a chance to win a copy of King Jack and the Dragon check out mini-competition 7

tipsducktipsduckFeatured book 3 :: Where has my little girl gone? tipsducktipsduck

book cover

Where has my little girl gone?

By Tanith Carey

Published by Lion Hudson Plc (20 May 2011)

ISBN: 0745955428

RRP: £9.99

For more information go to:

Review by Lorna (TIPS Parent Tester)

Where has my little girl gone? by Tanith Carey is an interesting read for parents of young girls. It poses some thought-provoking questions around the issues we face when bringing up children in our modern society. The book also suggests things we can do to try and safeguard our daughters from the influence of some of what the author calls the 'worst evils' too early on. While this book is informative, easy to read and full of good tips for developing self-confidence and self-esteem in our children, I didn't think that it really broke new ground. I felt that much of the advice offered is what most parents would consider 'good common sense'. Furthermore Tanith Carey seems to paint; I felt, rather a bleak picture of our modern society. She seems to suggest that there is nothing we parents can do to protect our daughters from the evils of sexualisation and peer pressure. Like it or not Tanith, our daughters will not be little girls forever!

However, I'm sure the basic premise of this book will strike a chord with most parents -mothers and fathers alike. It is definitely worth reading, not least as it gives food for thought on the issues of setting appropriate boundaries for our daughters so we can protect them as they grow up and develop.

For a chance to win a copy of Where has my little girl gone check out mini-competition 8


tipsducktipsduckFeatured event 1 :: Vukovi EP (part 2) launch – Glasgowtipsducktipsduck

9 January 2012

King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, 272a St Vincent Street, Glasgow

vukovi photos

On this occasion I have to admit I may be slightly biased but this fresh new rock band is well worth a mention - not least because the bass guitarist is my son Jason!  I have accepted the job of proxy manager (not sure what I have let myself in for!) so I just had to include news of this gig in our featured events section.

Vukovi (Serbian for Wolves) are a four piece band from Glasgow although Hamish (lead guitar), Janine (vocals an keyboard), Jason (bass) and Martyn (drums) all hail from Ayrshire. Formed in September 2010, Vukovi have really started to make an impression with gigs at the famous Wickerman Festival (in Dumfries and Galloway) and a recent BBC Radio 1 Introducing session with Ally McCrae (already a fan). Tickets to their first EP (part1) party sold out weeks before the launch on 30 September at Glasgow's Nice'N'Sleasy (

Vukovi 's EP (part2) will be unveiled at King Tut's ( on 9 January  and this time Vukovi will not be the support band but the main event! To headline at King Tut's is quite an achievement so if you want to see this band before they hit the big time get yourself a ticket and enjoy the show – I promise you will not be disappointed!

  • For more information about forthcoming gigs and all the band news go to


tipsduckFeatured event review :: Alternative families (17 September 2011)tipsducktipsduck

event banner

We featured this event in e-newsletter 23

An interesting day…

Sperm donation requires a quarantine period of 180 days... That was just one of the facts I learnt last Saturday (17 September 2011) at the Alternative Families Show. The one-day event held in London's Covent Garden was for all lesbians, gay men and single women looking to start a family. Seminars ran concurrently from 10.30 to 4.30 in five separate rooms on subjects ranging from IVF, sperm donation and egg-sharing to surrogacy, fostering and adoption. Leading fertility lawyers discussed key legal issues both in the UK and abroad.

My wife and I are looking to start a family using a known donor. As we wanted to find out more about the practical and legal aspects of this, we attended a seminar lead by Venessa Smith, London Women's Clinic's donor services coordinator. She spoke about their known donor programme and about what you can do to improve your chances of getting pregnant, being healthy and producing a healthy baby. She talked about what may happen if you use a known donor abroad and how important it is to use a reputable clinic, alerting us to potential drawbacks and problems.

As she was explaining the sperm donor journey, her mention of the sperm quarantine period of 180 days or 6 months drew the most gasps. Venessa told us this is because heterosexual couples 'expose themselves to each other's germs', and that a number of additional tests need to be carried out, including testing for hepatitis and HIV. This did lead us to wonder how effective the UK's testing procedures are if they require such a long quarantine. Interestingly, this quarantine period is the same when using a known donor or one from their bank. I would like to think that my friend's sperm wouldn't require such vigorous testing, but I guess you need to be safe and sure.

If you use a known donor, you have to pay for all screening and counselling - around £1000. If you use a bank donor this is free. The reasons for this are obvious, but I felt a little as though people were penalised for knowing their donor and potentially building on a friendship and furnishing a baby's life with even more love... Maybe I'm being too idealistic about it all?

When you use a bank's donor, your child could be the tenth that the donor has 'fathered' and he/she has 9 brothers or sisters out there. The law caps the number of children one donor can 'create' to 10. At the age of 18, your child has the right to get information about their biological father and 9 siblings – the impact of which can never be underestimated!

There is also the issue that if you use a bank donor, you might not be able to have him donate again for a sibling for your child if he's donated his quota – something to bear in mind. So using a known donor – whether a friend or someone you find on the internet –does have many benefits.

The issue of access – and in effect parental rights – has to be considered. So the discussion turned to 'donor agreements'. These aren't legally binding, but they do go some way to providing some clarity for each party.

The full legal picture for single mothers, lesbians and gay dads was the subject of the second seminar we attended. Although much of the discussion focused on gay dads and the issues around surrogacy, my main question was answered: lesbians who are civil partners and do not intend to fall pregnant via sexual intercourse, can both be named as parents on the baby's birth certificate. This came as a huge relief to both of us: it means we won't have to get involved in a lengthy legal process.

Although it was an informative day, with countless fertility, adoption, fostering and gay parenting organisations exhibiting, and several legal firms offering their services, it did feel like the whole day was incredibly money driven. It seemed exhibitors and even the organisers were there to take advantage and cash in on people's need or desire to create an alternative family. There was a charge for entry, a charge for each seminar and even a charge for some organisations' pamphlets. It seems that for some of us becoming a parent will always be a difficult and expensive journey.

Review by Emma (TIPS Tester)

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tipsducktipsduckSharon's featured articles :: December issue of Essentially Midirs Journal tipsducktipsduck

  • The festive dilemma for parents regarding baby skincare products,
  • Views on the News feature: A response to advertising used in baby skincare adverts.


Both published in the December issue of Essentially Midirs Journal

Full references:

Trotter S (2011). Skincare revisited - a festive dilemma for parents. Essentially MIDIRS, December 2011, 2(11):47-49.

Trotter S (2011). Views on the news: A response to advertising used in baby skincare adverts. Essentially Midirs, December 2011, 2(11): 25

You can read the full article on


Following discussions with Sharon, Bounty have stated that once the current contract for advertisements has expired, all adverts for baby wipes will have references to newborns changed or removed.

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tipsducktipsduckFeatured DVD ::Tom and  Jerry & The Wizard of Oztipsducktipsduck

DVD cover

Release date: 19 September 2011

Published by: Warner Home Video Classification : U

RRP: £4.99

For more information email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Review by Fiona (TIPS Tester)

Again a success with both my girls! This surprised me as I thought 9 year old Jenny might find the DVD too young for her. Six year old Kirsty loved it because 'it's just like the Wizard of Oz in colour' – she much preferred the old black and white version.

Jenny enjoyed it because 'most kids love the Wizard of Oz' and the 'cartoon characters were funny and cute'. Both girls' favourite bit was when Tom and Jerry got the wand and made the witches hair go up to the top of the fridge. Kirsty also loved the front cover and the characters on the actual disc.

Jenny reckoned it would suit most children up to 10 years old but found the witches voice scary and wondered if it would be OK for younger children. However, Kirsty (who is only 6!) didn't find it at all scary and to be honest I would go with Kirsty as Jenny is super sensitive (she was scared of the 'egg-timer' bit too!).

On the whole this was a good fun movie which my girls watched four times over!

For a chance to win a Tom and Jerry DVD check out mini-competition 9


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tipsducktipsduckFeatured video clip :: Apple Dumplingstipsducktipsduck


Apple Dumplings by Virginia Howes - (Breastfeeding Burlesque)

Running time: 8 minutes including bonus out-take footage and lyrics

Featuring Nancy Sorrell and Brian Belo from Big Brother.

Apple Dumplings is the brainchild of independent midwife Virginia Howes. Aimed at young mothers this music video started life as a simple idea to promote breastfeeding. It features real mums dancing and breastfeeding their own babies to a catchy tune (with hilarious lyrics)  in a fun atmosphere where breasts are the stars of the show!

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tipsducktipsduckDiary of a Student Midwife :: Part 8tipsducktipsduck

In this instalment of 'Diary of a Student Midwife' our student midwife has moved into her third year as a student midwife.

Read more here...

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tipsducktipsduckFeatured My Story :: EPing: breastfeeding against all the oddstipsducktipsduck

Olga had never given breastfeeding another thought: it was the obvious way to feed her firstborn and absolutely what she was going to do. How wrong could she be! A traumatic induction of labour and delivery changed everything. This combined with lack of support led Olga to lose her confidence while her baby showed severe symptoms of breast refusal. Healthcare professionals' forceful approach to aid attachment, although well intentioned, actually caused Olga's baby daughter to refuse the breast altogether. This distressing condition could have been avoided. Olga's touching story shows how important it is for health professionals who support new mums to be patient and understanding, allowing mother and baby to initiate breastfeeding in a relaxed and supportive environment.

Olga's inspirational story recounts every detail of her struggle to breastfeed, and her determination to provide her baby with the best nutrition, even if this meant exclusively pumping day and night for 13 months! Unable to get the support she needed, Olga looked for information on the internet. This is how she found out about EPing (Exclusive Pumping): expressing enough breast milk to feed Freya. As well as exclusively feeding her baby daughter breast milk, Olga was also able to make generous donations to the local breast milk bank.

Peer support is absolutely vital to all breastfeeding mothers, and support from their partner is essential. I want to personally applaud Olga's amazing husband for providing her with all the support she needed during this long and often challenging journey. Without his unquestioning loyalty Olga would probably not have been so successful.

This poignant 'My Story' shows us that positive mental attitude can overcome anything and I am sure you will find this story as moving as I did. You can read Olga's story here...


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tipsduckTIPStipsduck Top Treat and newsletter competition :: Notalie tipsducktipsduck


Notalie – RRP: £45

Our featured book review: 'Where has my little girl gone?' links perfectly to the latest addition to the doll market: welcome to the innovative world of Notolie™:

The sexualisation of children is very much in the news. A phenomenon known as 'age compression' refers to how girls are growing up too fast. Girls as young as 7, often reject conventional dolls. These are seen as 'babyish' whilst computer games are 'cool'. Unfortunately, this means that girls miss out on essential creative play which enables them to remain children for longer, and to develop at a proper rate.

This is where Notalie™ comes in. She is carefully designed to look like the girls who will play with her. Being very tall, she is immediately embraced as one of the gang. She's feisty and funny. Notalie™ can share jewellery and hair accessories, and generally be part of a girl's life, whatever she happens to be doing. She's a true best friend.

Notalie™ is a new concept in dolls: 'the companion doll'. Standing head and shoulders above other dolls (she is 1 metre tall) she has a unique appearance, with the look of a bored tween. Her long arms and legs have large 'knotty' elbows and knees. She is a soft, plush toy which means she loves to be hugged. She even has her own best friend: Hitch the dog (RRP: £30).

Little girls can check out the Notalie™ blog on her website (, get recipes and ideas of things to make, and look at the mini dictionary of 'Notalees speak' (her very own tween language).

This all adds up to a more creative play experience that can continue for much longer.

For a chance to win a Notalie™ doll email the word 'Notalie™' to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it by 24 February 2012. We will announce the winner in e-newsletter 26


tipsducktipsduck*** latest news***tipsducktipsduck

Collecting umbilical cord blood to protect against future illnesses could be putting mothers and babies at risk.


The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has issued guidance that states midwives should not carry out this procedure, as focus should be on a safe, healthy birth. The guidance says that cord blood should only be collected by licensed, skilled technicians and this should be done in a designated area away from the delivery room.

Sue Macdonald (RCM education and research manager) highlighted two risks RCM are concerned about. The first one is that during the birth it is not possible for a midwife to focus on the mother and baby, and collect umbilical cord blood - especially if she is the only midwife there. The second is that if the cord is clamped too soon, the baby could be deprived of blood.

Over the past decade about 11,000 mothers have banked their baby's cord blood. About a dozen private firms in the UK offer this service. It can cost up to £1500 to have cord blood collected and stored - it is kept in a laboratory freezer for up to 25 years and can only be used if the child develops leukaemia or another life-threatening disease. Although firms that provide this service have their own trained staff to extract the blood, they sometimes ask midwives to collect the blood (which contains stem cells) within minutes of the birth. Additionally, about 2000 mothers donate cord blood to the NHS Cord Blood Bank ( every year - this service is currently available at five hospitals in England. The RCM and the Royal College of Gynaecologists agree the NHS scheme is safe as highly trained technicians rather than midwives collect the blood.

For more information about cord blood banking you can read Sharon's two articles on our sister website:


Angel Baby Yoga

Run by Angela Dickson


phone: 07814 487 281


Our TIPS e-newsletter 22 bump has been busy. Not only has she become a mummy to baby Ray (see picture) but she has just launched a new venture called Angel Baby Yoga.

Angela runs new yoga classes for babies aged 8 weeks to 2 years, their parents and carers in Ayrshire.  These relaxed, fun classes with gentle movement and song are designed to improve baby's strength and flexibility.

Angela has been practising yoga for 10 years and has recently qualified as a Birthlight Baby Yoga Teacher (

Baby yoga can help promote good sleep patterns and relaxation (for Mums too), improve digestion and improve growth and muscle tone.  This is the perfect opportunity for Mum and baby to spend quality time together.

Angela and her 7 month old baby Ray hope to welcome you at the classes soon - Ray will even demonstrate his newly learnt moves in some of the classes!

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Would you like to test products for TIPS?

We need volunteers to test ... the Swimava Swim Ring

swim ring

We're recruiting participants for the Swimava trial due to take place throughout December 2011 and January 2012. The Swimava Swim Ring was awarded a TIPS Innovation Award when we tested it in 2009 - you can read the reviews here.... and you can find out more on the Swimava website (


To take part, your Little One must be:

  • aged 3 to 18 months old, and
  • weigh between 5.5kgs (12.13lb) and 11kgs (24.25lb).

Testers who wish to volunteer (and haven't done so already) should email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it - and it would be really good if our readers could spread the word with other parents of young babies.





We need volunteers to test ... ViraSoothe Gel: a new product that helps with the itchiness of chickenpox spots

ViraSoothe gel

We're are still looking for 6 participants for the ViraSoothe Gel trial. To take part your Little One must:


  • have chickenpox, and
  • be between 6 months and 12 years old.


It is of course impossible to know in advance if or when your Little One may get chickenpox. If you are a TIPS Tester and you  wish to take part in this trial if your Little One gets chickenpox, just let us know (email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ). We will add your details to our list of provisional volunteers.

We would also like to ask our readers to spread the word with others who may be interested in this trial.






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:: TIPS top value  :: idea for the festive period :: tipsducktipsduck



Want to help your school raise funds? Why not tell them about FunMats - a fun art project that will both raise funds and create wonderful Christmas gifts?

Most schools have a PTA or group of parents that helps raise money for trips and equipment, but coming up with new fundraising ideas that will be popular with parents can be difficult.

Created by a UK company, FunMats is a fundraising art project  in which each child draws a picture that is used to produce a choice of gifts, including  coasters, shopping bags and glass kitchen boards.  It's popular with parents because it creates lasting pieces of their child's artwork and fantastic Christmas gifts at the same time.

The project also goes down well with teachers, because it's suitable for all ages and can be built into many areas of the National Curriculum.

FunMats fundraising is also risk free: the company guarantees that no school can lose money.  There is no minimum order or obligation to buy. Schools make a profit from every sale and they collect money from parents for orders before any payment is made to the company – so there are never any unsold items left at the end.

All products are hand-made in the FunMats' factory in Malvern, Worcestershire.  The company has been helping schools to raise funds for 15 years and has recently extended its product range to include a handy picture message pad and framed prints.

To raise as much as possible it is suggested that your PTA runs the FunMats project in September/October so that parents can order products as Christmas gifts. We may have left it a little late to bring you news of this project but if you are organised there could still be time to get your order in for Christmas and maybe your could start planning for Easter 2012!

Raising money – how it works

A FunMats mousemat featuring a child's artwork would be sold to parents for £6.50 but only costs the PTA £5.25, so making £1.25 for the school.  The amount raised by the school overall will depend on sales, but the FunMats project usually generates a profit of at least £2per participating child.

For more information go to

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tipsducktipsduck :: TIPS top tips:: tipsducktipsduck



UK stockists: and


With over 15 years experience of design and textile manufacturing Alina Sack (wonderfully apt name!) was looking for a way to encourage her new baby son to sleep for longer. She came up with the idea of a pouch sleeping bag that let her son move about without getting tangled up in bedding and without disturbing him enough to wake him up. This simple solution worked wonders and the first ergoPouch® product was born. Every product in the range is beautifully designed and manufactured using organic natural fabrics (alpaca, cotton and bamboo) to keep your baby's temperature safely regulated. The ergoPouch® website provides excellent advice, including information about TOG ratings, and how  to choose the right TOG rating for your baby depending on the season and room temperature.  ergoPouch® even send a free room thermometer with each order.

The ergoPouch® range includes baby sleeping bags made from a variety of fabrics suitable for all seasons. You can use the ergoCocoon to swaddle your baby in the early weeks of life. In the cooler months, the Hybrid Swaddle or Sleepbag can be used with Ergo Arms. These arm warmers (a kind of baby shrug) are perfect for winter babies. Bamboo ergoPyjamas (see picture above) are warmer in winter and cooler in summer, super soft to the touch, naturally absorbent, hypoallergenic, antibacterial, antifungal, antistatic and eco-friendly.

However the product that first attracted me to this website is the innovative Mumma Scent Comforter. This is a super absorbent bamboo t-shirt for Mum which cleverly turns into a baby comforter with the aid of a few carefully positioned safety straps. The idea behind this ingenious product is that the t-shirt (with stretch fabric to ensure a snug fit) absorbs the scent of mother as she wears the t-shirt for a whole day. When folded and attached to the sides of a cot (for babies under six months) or given straight to the older baby, this t-shirt magically becomes a comforter. It can help your baby settle quicker at bedtime and would be ideal when you leave your baby with carers. Holding the comforter close, your baby will be reminded that mummy is not far away. This should hopefully help baby sleep better.

For a chance to win a Swaddle bag and Mumma Scent Comforter (worth £50) check out mini-competition 10.



RRP: £36.99  suitable from 2 yearseNews25-tips2

We have two fantastic ReadyBeds® by Worlds Apart to give away. This is a sleepover essential to make sure children's nights are lots of fun at home and away! My First ReadyBeds® for little ones come in a choice of popular designs: Fireman Sam, Hello Kitty, Winnie the Pooh, Peppa Pig and Thomas. Featuring a built-in inflatable headboard and air bumpers down the side to prevent little ones rolling out, My First ReadyBed® makes sleeping arrangements simple, safe and lots of fun. Mums will love that there's no fussing over spare beds and sheets: the ReadyBed® includes pillow, mattress and duvet. !

To find out more about the full range of ReadyBeds® visit


For a chance to win 1 of 2 ReadyBeds check out mini-competition 11.



Baby nose-clear cold remedy pack worth £40



Babies get between 6 and 8 colds in their first year. When they have a stuffy nose, babies might find feeding very difficult, and this is one of the most common reasons for newborns having to come back to hospital. You can't prevent your baby getting a cold as their immune system develops, but Baby nose-clear products tackle infant colds naturally, safely and effectively to help little ones feel better.

Baby nose-clear cold remedy pack includes 5 products:

  • a TIPS® award winning Nasal Aspirator with reusable filters - safe to use from birth, this lets you clear baby's blocked nose
  • Room Vapour natural essential oil: this can also be used from birth
  • Organic Massage Oil: this can be used with babies from 3 months and helps them relax and decongest
  • an Inhaler Dummy to safely hold Baby nose-clear vapour under baby's nose
  • an Eezimed Medicine Dummy to take the stress out of giving medicine to your baby.

You can read the reviews of Baby nose-clear products tested by TIPS here...

For more information about all the products in the range go to

For a chance to win a Baby nose-clear cold remedy pack check out mini-competition 12.



Dedicated advice lines:

  • You can contact me on my Greatvine Speak Now number: 09064006215* if I am unable to answer immediately, I promise to call you back.
  • You can also contact me on the Prima Baby/BabyExpert one-to-one advice line at: 09061949915*
  • Press and Media: If you are looking for expert advice on midwifery related topics you can also call me on my advice line.

*£1.50/min from a BT landline. Calls from Mobiles and other networks may vary.

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Read TIPS reviews...

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latest news

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Babycare - back to basics

- TIPS top tips






















TIPS festive photo - dreams are made of this...

child in front of christmas tree

We couldn't resist this magical picture of a TIPS Tester gazing in wonder at the twinkly lights of her Christmas tree – wishing all our readers a very Happy Christmas!
TIPS festive 2!

family at Christmas

Here is a wonderfully festive picture of Soshanna, long time TIPS Parent Tester, with her children Mia and Josh – hope Santa is good to you!

TIPS baby

sleeping baby

Here is baby Ethan, weighing in at 8lb 8oz, taken on the day he was born. Mum was sent home from hospital but Ethan had other ideas and he was born unexpectedly on the hall landing 3 hours later - all high drama with 999 ambulance crew and community midwife involved. This is not the only surprise for Mum, who also won the Organic at Heart gift set in our October stoppress competition. Many congratulations to mum and baby!
TIPS baby 2!

baby Freddie

Here is baby Freddie - just 23 hours old! Congratulations to Mum Ariane and Dad Simon.
TIPS bump


And here is Mum Ariane's bump at the end of September!
TIPS toddler

toddler with spectacles

Here is Athen recovering from a bout of chickenpox but still happy enough to give us a cheeky grin! If your own children or any of your friends' children (aged 6 months to 12 years) get chickenpox and wish to test a cooling gel specifically designed to calm irritated spots, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
TIPS toddler 2!

toddler pushing toy pram

Here is a gorgeous picture of wee Caitlin looking very sweet in her PJs. She is already on the cover of a magazine at the tender age of 2!
TIPS Family

period family photo

While on holiday in sunny Scarborough, Mummy, Daddy, Grace and Bailey came across a portrait studio where you can all dress up in Victorian clothes. Thank you for sharing this lovely family shot.
TIPS family 2!

brother and sister on bench

Here is another lovely picture of Sefi and Izzy looking very happy as they sit in a giant garden seat!
TIPS breastfeeder

Ashley breastfeeding

Here is Sharon breastfeeding her baby daughter in 1987 - seems that she didn't want to miss the family Christmas Dinner! This picture is also in Sharon's book Breastfeeding - the essential guide (available from Amazon)
TIPS breastfeeder 2!

baby feeding

Twas the night before Xmas: here is Joshua enjoying a last minute breastfeed before Santa arrives!
TIPS breastfeeder 3!

baby feeding

We could not resist this darling picture of baby Alex wearing his winter warmer hat whilst having a wee snack al fresco!
TIPS breastfeeder 4!

girl and dolly

Here is a delightful picture of Mia feeding her Christmas dolly!
nEw TIPS babywearer

mum with baby in sling

Thank you to Victoria for sending us our very first 'babywearer' picture. Considering she had only given birth the week before we think it is amazing that she found time to pick up a camera! The second picture shows baby Alex with his big brother, looking very proud and adoring sisters.
Babycare – back to basics™ leaflet (version 8) out now


Version 8 of this award-winning leaflet is hot off the press. It is distributed around the UK at various professional and parenting events. Health professionals and maternity units can buy hard copies – email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information. As well as all the hints and tips you need about baby skincare, skin-to-skin contact and feeding but, this leaflet now includes the latest and safest advice on reducing the risk of cot death. Email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you would like a free copy.


My Baby Radio - podcasts



New desktop radio player available! Launched on DAB digital radio in April 2010 - Broadcasting across Cheshire, Staffordshire and North East Wales. Sharon's interviews about breast feeding, tongue-tie, baby skincare, cup feeding, baby baths, cuddle towels, decongestants and much more are broadcast regularly. You can also download them here....

If you would like to listen to My Baby Radio directly from your desktop, and without visiting the website, you can download the new desktop radio player (you will need to have the latest version of Windows Media Player installed on your PC or laptop). Go to the My Baby Radio website to get the player.


TIPS competitions

facebook logo Like us on Facebook

If you are on Facebook and want to take the opportunity to enter all 12 TIPS competitions in 1 go all you have to do is:

  • 'Like' us on Facebook
  • Email brigitte and say you wish to enter the e-newsletter competitions -  remember to include your name and address in the message so we know where to send your prize(s)
  • Check out the list of winners in our next e-newsletter – it could be you!
mini- competition 1


For a chance to win 1 of 2 sets of The Art of Conversation (TAOC) for Children game, email the word 'TAOC' to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it by 24 February 2012. We will announce the winner in e-newsletter 26.
mini- competition 2


For a chance to win 1 of 2 sets of Carddies, email the word 'Carddies' to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it by 24 February 2012. We will announce the winn er in e-newsletter 26.
mini- competition 3


For a chance to win 1 of 3 Organic Babies no scent oil, email the words 'Organic Babies' to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it by 24 February 2012. We will announce the winner in e-newsletter 26.
mini- competition 4


For a chance to win the book 101 Handy Hints for a Happy Hysterectomy email the word 'Hysterectomy' to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it by 24 February 2012. We will announce the winner in e-newsletter 26
mini- competition 5


For a chance to win 1 of 2 gift sets including products from the Multi-Mam® and Multi-Gyn® ranges, email the words 'Urology Company' to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it by 24 February 2012. We will announce the winner in e-newsletter 26
mini- competition 6


For a chance to win 1 of 2 sets of JaJaJa stories email the word 'JaJaJa' to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it by 24 February 2011. We will announce the winner in e-newsletter 26.
mini- competition 7


For a chance to win a copy of King Jack and the Dragon email the words 'Peter Bently' to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it by 24 February 2012. We will announce the winner in e-newsletter 26.
mini- competition 8


For a chance to win a copy of Where has my little girl gone? email the words 'Tanith Carey' to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it by 24 February 2012. We will announce the winner in e-newsletter 26.
mini- competition 9


For a chance to win a copy of Tom and Jerry & the Wizard of Oz email the word 'DVD' to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it by 24 February 2012. We will announce the winner in e-newsletter 26.
mini- competition 10


For a chance to win a Swaddle Bag and Mumma Scent Comforter (worth £50) email the word 'ergoPouch' to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it by 24 February 2012. We will announce the winner in e-newsletter 26
mini- competition 11


For a chance to win 1 of 2 ReadyBeds, worth £36.99, email the word 'ReadyBed' to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it by 24 February 2012. We will announce the winner in e-newsletter 26
mini- competition 12


For a chance to win the Baby nose-clear cold remedy pack, worth £40, email the words 'Baby nose-clear' to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it by 24 February 2012. We will announce the winner in e-newsletter 26

TIPS winners..


The lucky winner of the breastmate® is 
Jacky from Bedfordshire


The two lucky winners of the book  Eyes without Sparkle are Lucy from Fife and Paula from Staffordshire


The lucky winner of the book Mexican Takeaway is Olga from Lancashire


The lucky winner of the book  Which? Laptops and mobile devices Made Easy is Pauline from the West Midlands.

The 2 lucky winners of the book  The Starting School Survival Guide are Marica from London and Rebecca from Northamptonshire


The 2 lucky winners of the Postman Pat Birthday DVD are Sarah from South Yorkshire and Stella from Greece


The 2 lucky winners of the Hypnosis for pregnancy and beyond...CDs are Jacky from Bedfordshire and Jacqui from West Yorkshire




The lucky winner of the book Shewee Festival kit is Corina from Bristol




The lucky winner of the Magic Blackout Blind is Danielle from Yorkshire and


e-newsletter competition

The lucky winner of a week's holiday at the Trevella Park is Amanda from Bristol

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