Tag Archives: Toddler

Having A Moment Of Milk Doubt? How Often To Nurse Past 1 Year Old.


Every so often I have a breast milk fuelled wobble.

I start thinking about pouring the little guy a couple of cups of milk a day. I worry that his calcium intake is not sufficient for his bone development. Should I be supplementing with vitamin drops, am I really doing the best thing letting him feed several times daily still.

At times like this, I need to find reassurance that I am still doing the right thing for my guy, that I am not depriving him of any vital nourishment, and that in fact he is getting the fullest of fattiest milk to develop his brain and the most bioavailable source of vitamins and minerals possible.

There isn’t an enormous amount of information out there about extended breastfeeding, even less of it is properly researched…so it took some time to find rthe reassurance I was seeking.

You can read some of my previous research here, I looked into exactly why breast milk is so good past one year…

But how much should a toddler be drinking?

There is no official minimum intake guideline for milk. Form what I managed to round up from various sources, it seems like between 1-3 years of age, 15-18 oz of cows milk is a good amount (400-500ml). But how does that translate to the invisible measures of breast milk.

According to KellyMom, as long as your toddler is nursing at least 3-4 times a day then there is no need add cups of cows milk.

The reasoning…milk-splash.jpg

Cows milk is just a convenience, a convenient source of calcium, vitamin D and fat.

Check out my detailed research here to see exactly why breast milk is more than adequate, but just quickly, it is super full fat, with high levels of vitamins and minerals designed specifically to be easily absorbed by the human child.

So if your child is nursing regularly still, then go with it, combined with the varied diet that he will be getting, then all should be good in the brain and bone!!

If you want the figures in detail, the NHS website recommends the following as a guideline daily intake, but it can be averaged out over a week:

Ages 1 to 3 years: 700 milligrams (mg) per day
Ages 4 to 8 years: 1,000 mg per day

Here are some serving recommendations:

  • 1/4 cup raw tofu prepared with calcium sulphate: 217 mg (The calcium content of tofu varies, depending on how it’s processed. Check the label.)
  • 1/2 cup plain yoghurt: 207 mg
  • 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses: 172 mg
  • 1/2 cup fruit yoghurt: 122 to 192 mg
  • 1/2 cup calcium-fortified orange juice: 133 to 250 mg
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese: 167 mg
  • 1/2 cup milk: 150 mg
  • 1/2 cup chocolate milk: 144 mg
  • 1/2 ounce Swiss cheese: 112 mg
  • 1/2 cup vanilla frozen yoghurt, soft-serve: 102 mg
  • 1/2 ounce cheddar cheese: 102 mg
  • 1 slice whole grain bread: 24 mg
  • 1/2 ounce mozzarella cheese: 103 mg
  • 1/4 cup collard greens: 66 mg
  • 1/4 cup homemade pudding (from mix or scratch): 76 mg
  • 1 tablespoon tahini (sesame seed butter): 64 mg
  • 1/4 cup turnip greens: 50 mg
  • 1/4 cup cooked spinach: 60 mg
  • 1/2 cup calcium-fortified cereal (ready to eat): 51 mg
  • 1/2 cup calcium-fortified soy beverage: 40 to 250 mg



Extra Sensory Scented Play Dough.


Home made play dough is such a simple pleasure.  Grown ups and kids alike can’t help but give it a squidge.  It is quick and easy to make, and you can vary it in endless ways.

Today, I thought I would treat the little guy to a new batch of the squishy sensory stuff as we were a little housebound.

To make things a bit more interesting, and to stimulate the senses, this batch was a kind of aromatherapy dough.  After learning about importance of sensorial activities  in a Montessori setting, this seemed like an ideal variation on the usual play dough theme.


I used the recipe below to make up a nice big batch of dough which I split in half.  I coloured one a light green and added a few drops of peppermint oil.  To the other half, a teaspoon of ground cinnamon and a little red colouring.  Mint creams and cookie dough, it would be a miracle if he didn’t devour the lot!!


Not having had much luck with cookie cutters and rolling pins in the past, I decided to bring some contrasting textures and colours into the mix.  Some natural, some man made, the variety kept him interested for so much longer than I had anticipated.

Play dough is a great tool for fine motor development.  On its own, each squash, squeeze, poke and prod is developing a skill.  The extra elements help to multiply the possibilities of exploration and investigation.  The change in pressure required to poke in a spaghetti stick is different to the pressure required to press in a flat star shape. A bowl of rice behaves differently in little hands to a ball of dough.  Try out the recipe below, and add anything you can find to change up the experience.


2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup salt
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 tablespoons oil
1.5 cups boiling water

Mix the flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil together in a bowl.

Add the boiling water and combine with a spoon until a dough forms, add more water slowly if needed to bring all the ingredients together.

Turn the dough out onto a surface and once cool enough to handle, begin to knead for a few minutes to create a smooth bouncy dough.

Divide the dough and colour or scent  using some of the following ideas…

Essential oils, peppermint, orange, lavender…
Ground cloves/nutmeg/mixed spice
Food colouring
Food flavouring

Then raid the cupboards for some textures…

Dried pasta
Dried beans
Dried rice
Paper clips
Cookie cutters


A Taxing Task For Mum, Advanced Vegetables!


This would have been a fantastically simple exercise…had I not decided to make my own flashcards! The printer and I battled it out for nearly two and a half hours of nap time. Dinner and housework were totally abandoned in my quest to produce these printed vegetable cards.

As you probably know by now I love to make things myself. Ok, I didn’t turn those super cute wooden vegetables by hand on a lathe, but what I wanted, right at that moment, was a handful of flashcards to try out a really simple matching activity.

I made seven different cards, (the radish, card number eight, sadly met a sticky end at the sharp point of my scissors) and left them on his little table to see if he showed any interest…


It wasn’t until the following morning that the little guy had a peek at the vegetables sitting in the basket on the table, as he climbed onto his chair I lay just one card in front of him, and picked out the matching vegetable. I then lay down a second card to see if he would reach for anything.

…He grabbed at everything!!!

…It was like a test to see if mummy could retrieve the matching cards fast enough!


I think it will be one activity that we will see a progression with. It may be the most complex task that has been presented to him so far, and I hope we enjoy learning and growing this activity.

Sorting objects or toys, be it according to size, colour or category, helps children develop their intellect. Matching and sorting goes one step further to help with problem solving and categorising.

What I find interesting is that the ability to see patterns of any form, is helpful when learning the patterns of language in speaking and writing. Sorting, matching and sequencing are a way for a child to recognise differences and similarities visually, and while my little guy is not ready for words and numbers, these basic vegetable skills may be setting him up to tackle those advanced numeracy and literacy skills later on.


There are hundreds of free downloadable templates online, I simply copied and pasted into keynote, four to a page, to match the vegetables we had in our selection. I printed them onto glossy paper and then cut them into individual cards.

Sounds simple! I found it more than a little taxing! You could buy a set of cards, or cut the pictures from magazines of catalogues, or even from an old children’s book from a thrift store. but I liked the fact that I could just use the objects we had already, and print out some matching pictures without having to spend out on anything expensive.

I have totally fallen for these beautiful Michael Olaf fruit and vegetable cards cards though (spotted on howwemontessori) which I may invest in as I see the little guy progress with his matching if he enjoys it.

Nursing At Sixteen Months, Feeling The Pressure!

messy play

Where are my boobs??

Entering into the world of extended breastfeeding wasn’t as terrifying as you might imagine.

The little guy gradually started nursing less often, it became more about comfort and less about quantity. Nursing seemed confined to home, perhaps it was boredom feeding, more often than not it was me using my milk to get him to settle for sleep. We were rarely feeding on the run or while out and about because the world is so much more exciting to look at than the same old boobs!

At sixteen months old, breastfeeding a fully fledged toddler with twelve teeth and a few words in his vocabulary seems perfectly normal to both of us. To close friends and family, it isn’t that strange either, maybe just a little bit, but not strange enough for them to question me about my choice.

And then totally out of the blue, in the middle of a busy playgroup, he came running over to me and began tugging at my shirt. Of course without thinking, we started feeding perched on a windowsill. I looked out across the room to watch the other kids splattering shaving creme and glitter up the walls and all of a sudden…there they were

Two women, crossed arms, staring at me feeding my toddler!

Probably for the first time in my breastfeeding experience, I felt slightly awkward!

It occurred to me that they may find the whole scene slightly awkward…embarrassing…odd?!?

Anyway, not one to be deterred, I gave myself a quick reality check, flashed them a big smile and a giggle and carried on.

A recently published report came to mind, one stating that the confidence of a mother may affect breastfeeding success. The Journal of Advanced Nursing published a report that found that mothers who are more extroverted and less anxious are more likely to breastfeed and to continue to breastfeed than mothers who are introverted or anxious. (Source: Wiley)

So do you feel that a mums personality may go some way towards her breastfeeding success and longevity?

I certainly felt a fleeting pang of embarrassment, but another mum may have been totally mortified and quit breastfeeding then and there.

Generally, I feel inclined to disagree with the findings of the report, that less confident personality traits mean breastfeeding failure is imminent. Myself, the shyest, most private kind of mother, I became totally liberated by the experience of breastfeeding, and make a point of publicly feeding with the hope of inspiring another shy mum to do the same for her child.

I do agree that emotional stability is a more likely contributing factor, health professionals need to tune into all of these underlying personality traits in order to offer the best support and advice.

Let me know about your experience, are you shy, did it affect your confidence to breastfeed, did you lose all inhibitions to do what you felt had to be done?  I also did some research into the benefits of breast milk past one year which you can read here.

Making My Grand Return, Toddler In Tow.


It has been two months since my last post. A lot has happened. Such a short space of time in which so much has changed, and life marches on leaving you struggling in the ripples it leaves behind.

Just a couple of months ago, life was a different entity all together. A trauma involving a good friend became my priority, she needed me, so I had to be there with my full focus. Then the more trivial bits…some major home improvements, a case of foot and mouth, a very poorly little guy, and all of a sudden I realised just how much time had passed.

So after my disappearance, I am easing back into the all consuming world of blogging with a nice simple post. If I don’t do this one, I have a feeling that three months, then six months then a year may pass with my blog gathering dust.

My sixteen month old little guy is a fully fledged toddler, he has dropped a nap, he sleeps slightly better at night (one feed instead of four!) and he gets VeRy bored indoors, no longer content to play with a few toys on the lounge floor!

Day to day at the moment involves constantly entertaining, stimulating and interacting with a very inquisitive and hands on little guy with the attention span of a goldfish. Playgroups, messy play, animals, art exhibitions, swimming, anything to keep him occupied.

…but it has been really rewarding.

Seeing him understand how to handle a paintbrush and splodge paint around, hold a stick of chalk and make shapes on the chalk board, sit at his little table and tap on his keyboard making phone calls on a remote control, playing with the contents of his mini kitchen.

My favourite time is letting him play while exploring textures, that’s why I love painting, play dough, salt dough, sand and water. Over the next few posts I will post up a few really simple recipes for totally edible and homemade art ideas.

I hope you have fun getting mucky…

P.S. We are still breastfeeding!!

Stop It…Positively Against No.

Child holding a pillow with stop sign

This has been my first week of making a conscious choice to stop saying no.  Wow…It is so much harder than I thought it would be!

Recently I find myself springing around after the little guy, pulling him away from dangerous places, taking objects away from him and generally saying ‘no’ rather a lot.

He certainly doesn’t like it…and I don’t the way it sounds when I yelp at him with a NO!

Just a boy!

Don't even try and take away my new toy mum.

Don’t even try and take away my new toy mum.

He is just a regular risk taking, thrill seeking, adventure loving little guy who doesn’t know when he is doing something wrong (his mischievous smile sometimes says otherwise!)

‘No’ seems like the wrong word to be using with him.

Then there is  my version of ‘no’, barely recognisable as a telling off or a warning…I am useless at being serious, always have been, and it seems that I am no different with a 10 month old, I can’t be serious or stern or even firm when I say ‘no’…

So what is the point of using the word at all?

As my little guy has got older, his reaction to ‘no’ is entertaining in itself.  Hands thrown up to the sky before crumpling to his knees and crying in protest.  A mini tantrum, a fake little cry that stops instantly with a fun new distraction.  Ok, I admit it is super cute but it isn’t a reaction I want to foster, it is not something I want to deal with as he becomes a toddler, and I definitely would rather avoid it happening in public.

So I have decided to take the approach of positive reinforcement, finding different ways to say no.

The facts…

While I was researching this positive approach to saying no I came across a startling figure.  On average, a toddler hears the word ‘no’ 400 times a day!!  As I also suspected, research has shown that hearing the word ‘no’ can have a harmful effect on kids, leaving them with poorer language skills.

It makes sense…trying to avoid the forbidden word, I end up having much more conversational banter with the little guy…exposing him to more words, more language and more learning.

Three Signs In Fists Saying No, No and No

How to say no without saying no.

  1. Offer the alternative.
    Don’t just take away an object and say no, or expect your child to stop doing something because you say stop. It will only result in tears, tantrums and more of the same behaviour, simply because they will have no idea what else to do?  Give them a new toy or activity, an alternative, a distraction.  If they are throwing a ball indoors, ask if they want to take it outside to throw it, or instead try rolling it indoors.  The choice gives them some control over the situation.
  2. Join in with the naughtiness!
    If they are doing something they shouldn’t be, chances are it is because it’s a new, exciting, fantastical activity in the eyes of your little one.  Take this into consideration and allow him to explore safely with you by his side.  Give him enough time to get a sense of the thing, before removing it or swapping it for something more appropriate.
  3. Explain your reasons even if they don’t understand you.
    Try explaining with feeling.  Say it hurts the table if you hit it, say the mud will make you poorly if you eat it, say ouch, say dirty, say anything except ‘no’.  The tone of your voice will convey the seriousness, and the conversation will expose him to language skills that ‘no’ simply won’t achieve.  Ok, it requires some effort at the beginning, but you will soon have a stash of ‘go-to’ phrases that are as easy to access as the forbidden ‘no’.
  4. Master ‘the look’ and perfect the ‘voice’.
    Most of the information in the word ‘no’ comes from the tone we use with it, a glare or a stern face.  You can use these to create different stop signs that can be as effective, if not more effective than yelling out “no’!!
  5. Create a ‘yes’ environment.
    Where possible, take the time to baby proof, keep dangerous things secure, out of reach, and remove as many opportunities to say ‘no’ as possible.  It sounds obvious but, it is such a simple way to make life easier!  Create an environment that he can enjoy, where you can relax and enjoy too.

No is a punchy, knee jerk, easy, reaction to a situation.  It is obviously an important word for a parent to use and for a child to learn use themselves… But use it in the right situation, not just chasing a cheeky little toddler around the house trying to keep him in check.

Have you tried this approach with your little ones, did you find it gets easier, or are you still slipping up.  And has it had a positive response?


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