Choosing the right name for your baby

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose,
By any other name would smell as sweet.

It’s probably going to stay with your child for the rest of their lives, be an inherent part of their identity and possibly be the first label attached to them that people may judge or stereotype them from.  It’s something you often decide before even meeting them for the first time let alone getting to know their personality.  So it’s no surprise that choosing your baby’s name is no small task.

Fortunately (or not if you’re a bit rubbish at making decisions like us) there are lots of different ways of coming up with the perfect choice…

Names MeaningMeaning

Many parents simply start by considering the names they just like the sound of and seeing if they can agree on any but for some the meaning behind the name itself is just as important.

“We chose a boy and a girl’s name as we didn’t know what we were having,” explains Michelle from Time and Pence.  “The girl’s name we just liked but the boy’s name had a special meaning.  We had been told we couldn’t have children then after three failed IVFs I conceived naturally.  It was a boy and his name means ‘a gift from God’ so I think it was meant to be.”

“We chose George for a boy because it means farmer in Greek and my husband is a farmer,” says Emma of Farmer’s Wife and Mummy.

Elevated Mum’s Ngozi chose her children’s name based on her “religion’s beliefs, culture and the meanings of the names.  I always believed the meanings of names can influence a person’s character.  I also gave all my children three names so no one felt left out!  Chukwuemeka (male) means God has done so much in Igbo, a Nigerian language and Daniel means God is my judge in Hebrew.  Chinonyelum (female) means God be with me in Igbo and Kyla means victorius in Hebrew.  Chika (female) means God is superior in Igbo and Nathania means God has given in Hebrew.

“Our girls have meaning behind their name which are two fold – because they were both IVF and for old family names,” says Carrie from Flying With a Baby.  “One means ‘answered prayer’ our first miracle baby and her middle name is named after my grandmother, the youngest’s name means ‘mighty in battle’ as we were told she was inconceivable, then not viable and to expect a miscarriage, then told that she was possibly an ectopic and then she had a CCAM issue.  She made it through and is healthy!  She also has a family middle name.”

Names familyFamily connections

There’s no escaping that extended families can often have a huge influence on the decision-making process of new parents.  From following long running traditions, to honouring special relatives to receiving lots of suggestions whether they were asked for or not!

“My boys’ names are all family names,” says Victoria Hockley.  “Oldest’s first name is after my grandad with my dad and father in laws names as middle names (James Ian Michael).  Then the youngest is after my husband’s grandad with my husband’s name and my grandad’s middle name as his (Freddie Andrew Tinline).”  And, as is often the case with family names, they often stretch back even further than at first glance.  “Tinline was my grandad’s mum’s maiden name.”

“My son is named after my dad who passed away whilst I was pregnant,” says Laura who writes at Edinburgh with Kids.  “We had considered a few names with the same initial we liked (Tobias and Theo) – didn’t decide until he was born but Thomas just looked like the right name for him, it was more meaningful and a good fit!”

“For the first names there was no real story behind them,” says Jenni who writes at The Bear and the Fox.  “We chose names we both liked and that were pronounced the same in English and German, as we are a bilingual family.  But for the middle names we chose something meaningful.  Out first son’s middle name is Thomas, after both grandfathers.  Handily they had the same name, so we didn’t have to choose one over the other.  For our second son, since we’d already honoured both grandfathers we chose Fox which is the English translation of my German surname (Fuchs).”

And Wildflower and the Bear’s Nicola also found her family’s nationality an influence.  “My husband is Welsh so both of my kids – Dilys and Edwyn – have Welsh names,” she explains.  “We both wrote out lists of names each and looked at which ones we had both written down which was helpful to narrow it down.  I also love looking up the meaning and history of names and like it when names match, so if I had another child their name would definitely be Welsh too!”

If you already have older children then maybe they can make the decision for you.  “My eldest actually came up with my daughter’s name,” says Emma-Louise of Even Angels Fall.  “I was really struggling on what to call her and asked him (he was two at the time).  He said Car.  I said you can’t call a baby car so he said Car-leeeee and I loved Carly and went with it!  Love telling them the story now, it’s sweet her brother named her.”  You might want to make sure you have a back up plan though.  “I decided to see if my daughter could name our youngest,” she continues.  “The only name she came up with was Salad, so for the pregnancy, that was his name (he’s since been called Benjamin by us, but the word salad still makes me smile).”

And older family members can prove useful too.  “My mum chose both my boys’ names,” says Toni from This Mama.  “Me and my partner couldn’t agree at first, especially with the surname Kuehl.  It’s so hard to get names to sound right, if we were having a girl my son wanted to call her Molly which with our surname would be pronounced molecule!  Both times my mum suggested a name and straightaway we were like yes, that’s it, that’s the name.”

“My eldest was named Jack after my grandad.  We didn’t even consider another name,” says Jennifer from Mighty Mama Bear.  “My daughter was named after a character in a Shirley Hughes book series, Alfie and Annie Rose.  My dad used to read me the books when I was young and I always loved the name.  As I got older the name always reminded me of those evenings being read stories by my dad.  I now read them to my daughter!”

Names MediaMedia and cultural influences 

It’s not just literary sources that can supply inspiration either.  For All About a Mummy’s Amy music provided the answer.  “My youngest daughter Iris is named after our wedding first dance song: Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls..  Whenever she hears it she gets so excited saying it is her song.”

For Mother Geek’s Tina it was a television series – “My daughter was Alicia from the day we found out at the 20 week scan.  Then my mum (Alice) started telling everyone it was after her (which it wasn’t).  We were watching Alias during the pregnancy and, when baby arrived, neither of us thought she looked like an Alicia, so we called her Sydney (the leading lady in Alias).  Her middle name is Robyn because I love Batman and Robin and her older brother was always called Batman by family and friends due to him having so many Batman costumes/tops.”

Emma, aka The Cheshire Wife, looked towards royalty for help.  “We like regal names and it was George or Edward.  He came out and my husband (Henry) said he’s a George.”

Names CWho doesn’t love a theme?

If mum and dad don’t necessarily share the same cultural tastes then a theme could be as simple as a, b, c.

“All seven of my children’s names start with a ‘C’,” says Claire from Big Family, Big Fun.   And their middle names are all after family members.  We alternated the family names so one baby would be named after a family member from hubby’s side of the family and the next would be named after a family member from my side of the family.  The first two were accidental, they were just names we liked, didn’t even think about the fact they started with the same letter.  Eldest was going to be called something else literally up until the day he was born when hubby suggested another name and it stuck.  Then when I was expecting number three people started asking if that one would have a ‘C’ name too.  We didn’t think they would.  I was convinced I was having a boy and had the name Jamie in mind.  But we had two girls’ names we liked too, Bethany and Courtney.  Courtney just happened to start with a C also.  When she made her appearance and we realised she was in fact a girl, I said to hubby to pick whichever of the two girls’ names he preferred.  He chose the C name.  From then on it was deliberate as each baby we said would be our last and we didn’t want them to be the odd one out.  Our angel baby was also given a C name, Charlie, for the hospital’s book of remembrance.  So we have Callum, Chloe, Courtney, Cameron, Caitlin and the twins Cassidy and Cody.

“I also didn’t find out what I was having for three out of the seven (I knew numbers two, five and the twins) so we just had a name picked out for each.  Callum was actually going to be Liam or Megan.  Chloe we knew was a girl so didn’t really have a boy’s name.  I had liked Becky or Bethany though.  Bethany then made it on to number three’s list.  Cameron was either Cameron or Caitlin.  We then kept Caitlin for number five (although had considered bucking the trend by going with Harry Christopher for the boy’s name but we found out she was a girl around halfway through so Caitlin it was).

“We were originally told both twins were girls.  They would’ve been Cassidy and Connie.  When we later discovered one was actually a boy, they became Cody and Cassidy, with Cassidy getting both the original names to make her Cassidy Constance.”

Names TDHNot any Tom, Dick or Harry

Many parents want to avoid when popular becomes common.  “We knew that we didn’t want our daughter to be one of many with the same names in her class so we looked at the online lists of 100 most popular baby names and tried hard to avoid them all!” says Jodie from Maidenhead Mum.

Josie from Me, Them and the Others, agrees, “We were keen to have names that weren’t common so they wouldn’t have another child with the same name in the class but we also didn’t want them to be too rare as I always wanted to meet someone with the same name as me as a child and never did.  We both liked old fashioned names and so looked at the top names list for each name we liked and discounted things that were in the top 50ish and outside the top 150ish.  We ended up with Stanley and Eliza but it’s turned out that Stanley is regionally very popular and there are multiple Stanleys at the school although none in his class luckily.  Definitely worth checking regional popularity if you don’t want something too common!”

Names waitWhen its right to wait

Where we’ve had names picked out for the minis during pregnancy before, the decision isn’t proving as easy this time but if we wait until after mini number four has arrived we’ll be in good company.

“Neither of my children had a name until they were born,” says Becka from Mummy Est.2014.  “I really struggled with boys’ names.  In the end both names came from a baby book (same book as I kept it after my eldest).  We narrowed it down to two names each time and then waited to see which name suited our sons best when they made their entrance.  They are Jared and Finley.”

“I didn’t want to find out the gender of either of my rainbow babies,” says Vicki from Blossom Education.  “I’d had a very traumatic time with a molar pregnancy and subsequent chemotherapy treatment.  Falling and being pregnant felt like a dream.  I did discuss names with their dad but it wasn’t until they were both born that we made out final decisions.  I often wonder how people feel when their baby is born and the name doesn’t really suit them.”

“We had a list for girls and boys but didn’t actually choose until after they’d arrived.  It took a couple of days to lock down first and middle names,” says Helen who had double the decision to make and offers help on her blog Twins, Tantrums & Cold Coffee for Choosing Names for Twins – 6 Ways.

If you’re having a surprise but still wanted to choose just one name ahead of time then one that suits either gender could be the way to go.  “With my daughter it was the first name I picked – Rowan.  Over my pregnancy I went through liking a lot of different names and then seemed to circle back to the original name.  It is a unisex name as well as we were not sure if she was a girl,” says Faith from Raising Moonbows.

And, whilst most people might be concentrating on other things during labour, perhaps it might be the perfect time to reconsider any previous naming dicussions.  “We decided on the name Dylan months in advance but when my wife was asked about his name during labour she could not remember through all the painkillers and kept calling him Robbie!” says Steve from The Diary of Dad.  “We saw it as a sign and by the time he was born we had to stick with it.  We still have the cards and gifts from before the birth with the name Dylan on though!”

Names AgreeAgree to disagree

Perhaps the biggest hurdle to overcome in the decision making process is both mum and dad agreeing on a choice but even a difference of opinion could provide inspiration.

“My daughter is Amabel, it’s the original name from which Mabel comes from,” explains Nicola from Happy Tums.  “I wanted Mabel as it was my nan’s name but my husband didn’t like it.  When I found Amabel he was convinced and now we call her both names!  But everyone finds it really tricky to pronounce as everyone is used to Annabel!”

“We decided on my daughter’s name as soon as we had the gender scan,” says Victoria who writes at Lylia Rose.  “Driving back in the car I said I liked Isabella for a girl and my husband said he preferred just Bella so that was perfect.  My daughter is Bella!  For my son we could never agree on a name.  When in hospital, during labour, we went through lists of boys’ names saying aloud to each other any that we like to see if the other agreed.  We literally did this for hours until we reached Reuben and it was the first name we both really liked so settled on it.  My husband is Ben so we really liked that it had Ben within the name too!”

“We had the deal that if it was a boy my husband would choose (from an approved by me list, of course!) and if it was a girl, I’d choose.  I knew I was on to a good thing though as there was no way he’d watch me go through a pretty tough birth then not let me have the choice!  Just as well as we ended up with three boys!” says Helen from Twins, Tantrums & Cold Coffee.

And sometimes perhaps it’s best if your partner doesn’t know where your inspiration comes from.  “My other half refused to discuss names beforehand in case something went wrong,” explains Emma who writes at Bubbablue & Me.  “I had a huge list of girls names but only two boys names.  Oliver because I liked both the short version too and it went with our surname but was just too popular.  The one I chose that we ended up with was a favourite name of mine since I knew a boy I fancied who played in the same orchestra when I was in 6th form.  I don’t like one of the short forms as it’s the same as a girl’s shortened name, so specified the alternative which was out of a Mills and Boon book.  Luckily my husband said yes to that name I preferred after I said we needed to decide once he was born.  He doesn’t know why I liked the name in the first place though!”

Is there a story behind why you chose your children’s names?  Why not share it in the comments below and also some suggest what you think mini number four’s name should be?

What special extras do you need to pack in your hospital bag?

With more and more babies arriving in my due in September Facebook group, the need to finish packing my hospital bag is ever more pressing.

BabyInHospitalWith all three of the current minis never making it to their full 40 weeks gestation you’d have thought I’d have learnt to be a bit more prepared by now.

But, not only am I not yet fully prepared, I’m also only remembering things that I’d like to take with me because of reading other people’s lists and suggestions rather than because I recall for myself how useful they were last time – such as taking in your own extra pillow for example.

The one thing I do remember from each time, however, is wishing I’d taken a straw.  So this time, after ordering a set of reusable metal straws, it was one of the first things I put in.

But with birth experiences varying so much and the lack of sleep you experience afterwards not helping short or long term memory recall it’s no wonder women might feel the need for a list or two for inspiration.  Here are just some of those extra things beyond the obvious clothes and personal care items that were particularly important to some of my fellow bloggers…

Phone ChargerJodie, otherwise known as Maidenhead Mum, says “I ended up in hospital for four weeks when pregnant with my son, flip flops were essential for walking around the ward and an extra long charging cable is ideal – your bed isn’t always right next to the charger and your battery will drain a lot keeping in touch with people, watching Netflix… and eventually taking photos too.”

And Rebecca of Mummy Est.2014, who shares her list at What shall I pack in our hospital bags?  Mummy, Daddy, baby and big brother, agrees “the most important item to me was phone charger.  I spent three days in hospital and it meant that I could take my own photos of baby (so didn’t feel pressured to pay for the Bounty photos), text and keep in contact with family (send photos to those who couldn’t visit) which was important as it can be bit lonely on wards sometimes and hormones go everywhere so I was grateful to talk to friends when baby was asleep”.

ToMAtoesA Suffolk Mum’s Issy also thinks “it’s great to also have a little bag with things for dad/birthing partner too. I ended up in hospital a lot longer than I thought as I had pre-eclampsia, so it would have been handy to have a change of clothes, snacks, drinks etc for my husband too.  If you can it’s great to have a couple of different size clothes for baby too.  Newborn is great, but so many babies are diddy, if you’ve had a friend with a prem/tiny baby, borrow a baby grow to pop in the bag just in case, so their first outfit doesn’t swamp them if they are little.”

Big Family Organised Chaos’s Mandi agrees but from the opposite perspective – “Or a size bigger!” she says.  “I took the newborn sleepsuit all my seven babies came home in but the first size baby vest was too small for my 9lb 6oz boy!!  Thankfully the sleepsuit fitted him but only for the journey home!!!”

Tape MeasureOn the subject of size Jo, who writes at A Rose Tinted World, says she wishes she’d taken a tape measure.  “When my little girl was born I never thought to measure her length at birth and our hospital didn’t do it.  It was only a couple of weeks later that we realised that we didn’t have that measurement.”  After a 30 hour long induction Jo ended up having an emergency c-section she obviously wasn’t prepared for so she shared her tips to help others at Post C-Section Tips

Josie from Business for Mums  and Jennifer from Mighty Mama Bear may have been inspired by the recent overly clement weather when they came up with their suggestions.

“I so wish I’d had my handheld fan with me,” says Josie.  I gave birth the first time in a heatwave and wished I’d taken it so my other half could have just held it on me.  I then didn’t take it the second time because it was winter and still regretted not having it because labour is hot work whatever the season!”

Jennifer’s chosen item was a recommendation from a friend – “A frozen bottle of water.  Stick a bottle of water in the freezer as your due date approaches and take it with you when you go to hospital.  The wards and delivery suites are kept so warm and the ice cold water (which obviously starts to melt as it gets warmer) felt amazing.”

Bed SocksTeam Stein blogger Charlotte also has the temperature in mind but from the other end of the thermometer – “Stretchy bed socks as after surgery my swollen feet get very cold, even in a heatwave!” she says having recovery very much in mind also suggesting  “Taking arnica tablets from day one to aid healing.  I really felt it helped my recovery after my fourth caesarian section.”

Bethanie, of Northumberland Family Diaries, is currently getting ready for her own imminent arrival too.  “Recommended to me by my hypnobirthing coach was something that has a comforting smell to you, something that will calm you down and help you to relax.  For example I am packing my NEOM night roller (lavender scent) and one of my son’s cuddly toys.”

“Lip balm sounds silly,” says Jennifer from My Mummy’s Pennies, “but it was recommended by a friend and was great to have as the hospital really dried out my lips!”

Lip balm, a handheld fan and flavoured water were also on Helen’s list.  Writing at she recommends to “Also pack baby’s stuff in a separate bag to yours as it’ll be your partner trying to find baby clothes etc and they’ll either mess up all your stuff by rifling through or not have a clue!  I also had two full sets of different sized clothes (well actually four as I had twins second time round) and I packed each of them in carrier bags within the bag and labeled them so as not to get confused.”

SnacksUnsurprisingly food and water are top of the list for three other bloggers too – and having my own snacks and drinks was definitely appreciated when I had a longer stay than anticipated with my eldest.

Busy Mum Lifestyle‘s Rosie says “Snacks, sweets drinks – we ended up being in fir days and I was being induced so hubby couldn’t leave.  Snacks were a life saver!”

Holistic Mama’s Laura writes “As a Doula the one item I always recommend to pack is your own mug for your tea/coffee.  As nothing worse than having to tolerate a plastic cup, especially when they are super flimsy!”

“A sports style water bottle,” says Amy from All About a Mummy.  “After my C section I couldn’t reach overto pick up the plastic cup of water.  Having the water bottle with me on the bed without fear of spilling was a godsend!”

And The German Wife AK’s suggestion was on hand for when she and her new little bundle were ready to leave the hospital.  “I loved our snugglebundl, it was so handy to have to bring my daughter home and for a good few months after I used it daily so far I have gifted four of them to my friends and family my cousin who had an emergency c-section said it was her favourite gift (she’s currently using it with third newborn).”

What special item did you pack in your hospital bag?  Let us know in the comments below…

A month to be aware of

#Blogtober17 – Day Four: Date

October 2017 is a very significant month which has lots of claims to fame.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Stoptober and Black History Month, it contains The Big Draw, World Space Week, Wool Week, National Knitting Week, British Egg Week, National Curry Week, Chocolate Week, Baby Loss Awareness Week, International Day of the Girl Child and International Babywearing Week, Apple Day, International Sloth Day and Halloween, to name but a few.

And not forgetting, most importantly, Daddy and Mummy Malpi’s birthdays and anniversary.

But, notwithstanding the significant number associated with my impending age celebration date, October 2017 is also important to us as it is Down Syndrome Awareness Month in the US.

In the UK Down’s Syndrome Awareness Week is held in March, encompassing the date of the 21st of the 3rd month as people with Down’s Syndrome (or Trisomy 21) have three copies of chromosome 21 but why wouldn’t we want to join in with our international community and dedicate a whole month to raising awareness, to “celebrate people with Down syndrome and make people aware of their abilities and accomplishments”?

Faith may have only been born just under nine months ago but she’s already achieved so much.  She’s been able to breastfeed which we were told was unlikely, she has the most adorable chuckle, she attracts compliments wherever we go and has been signed up by specialist talent agency Zebedee Management, gives great cuddles, blows a fabulous raspberry, has lovely babble-y chats and she’s getting more and more mobile as she’s so determined to start exploring the world just like her big brother and sister.

And she’s certainly won the hearts of mummy, daddy, big brother and big sister.

I don’t want to consider what a world without my Faith would be like and I give thanks that, for the most part, we live in a country where people are kind and think that helping others should be the willing default option.  When you give love you receive it in return and, if our as yet short introduction to the Down’s Syndrome community is representative, there’s a lot of love to go round.

October has always been my favourite month with birthdays, Halloween and an anniversary to celebrate and now it has a special relevance for my miniest mini too.


The privilege of baby cuddles

#Blogtober17 – Day Two: Babies

At one of the minis many weekend daytime soirees another mum who had stolen Faith for a cuddle spoke of the privilege of holding a baby.

Obviously as the mum of the baby she was holding at the time I was definitely in agreement but she’s right in general too, isn’t she?

The newborn stage is so fleeting and so precious.  A small bundle of newness that knows little of the darker side of life and that simply wants to absorb and radiate love.  You are cradling a whole life in your hands, embracing an innocence that the future’s potential is stored within.

And for many people there are only a short few years in your life where you have regular opportunity to hold someone at such a special time.

I wish we had been told how meaningful it is when we were younger instead of how having children when young might ruin your life.  I wish that being a mother and looking after the potential of the future was held in much more esteem than it currently seems to be in our society because being blessed by my minis has made my life.

And when, as a teen and university student you are given dire warnings about ensuring against unwanted pregnancy, it might be pertinent to mention that it can actually be difficult to get pregnant too, especially as you grow older.

We’re educated towards being able to take a place in the world of work (which is obviously quite useful) but we seem to forget that there are more important roles to prepare ourselves for too.

So, whenever I’m having a long day, I’ll try to remind myself that the years are short and feel privileged to have full arms and to be able to hold on to those hours and my babies for a little bit longer.


F is for Faith (…and fuchsia)

IMG_9579Every mother knows that her own children are gorgeous but it’s always nice to hear it confirmed by other people too.

And it was lovely to hear that a photo I shared of Faith on @TheMiniMalpi Twitter account caught the attention of the artist behind Bertie Bear Button Art and Crafts.

Designing and hand making personalised artwork with buttons, Sarah from Kirton Lindsey in North Lincolnshire, offered to send Faith her own individually designed initial art frame and, as you can see, she was very pleased with the finished piece.

The idea appealed to me for several reasons – I love words and letters, button is a term of endearment I often use for all three of my minis and it’s always lovely to have something personalised and individual appropriate to your unique child.

And the frame lived up to those expectations too.  The natural wooden frame can be freestanding or hung on a wall and came very securely padded in a mailing box surviving two deliveries in our case as a neighbour was kind enough to receive it for us when we missed the postman.

The mix of buttons sizes, shapes and shades is lovely and I like the 3D dimension to the nature of the craft.  I think most parents would love the heart button but, as Faith is currently waiting for a heart operation, it has extra significance to us and I like its prominent placing.  There is a bow button, flowers and the butterfly would definitely currently be a winner with Faith’s older sister.


The frames currently come in either pink or blue.  I’m quite a fan of using other colours too and Sarah says this is something she’d consider in the future although it’s understandable why those two colours are the mainstays in her button stash.  Plus when I was trying to think of a colour that begins with f as well I just came up with fuchsia anyway!

I’m sure it will make a lovely feature to her bedroom wall for years to come.

As well as initials, Sarah’s designs also include a family tree, ballerina, heart, the words home and love and an apple perfect for a teacher thank you present.  Find out more at Bertie Bear Button Art.

If you’d like a unique letter button frame made for your mini one or would like to buy any of her artworks as a gift then Sarah is offering The Mini Malpi readers 25% off their order.   Use the code THEMINIMALPI25 in her Etsy store at to claim your discount.  And we’d love to see your photos of your little one with their own art piece too so don’t forget to tweet us @TheMiniMalpi.

Doing the Sling Swing

At the same time you’re battling a postpartum body the reason for it is quite possibly preventing you doing anything about it.

And even if you’re quite rightly proud of your tiger stripes a little injection of exercise endorphins wouldn’t go amiss.

Zumba-ing all the way through her pregnancy with her youngest son, Claire Witherington certainly wasn’t someone who’d be prepared to say goodbye to an adrenaline high after his arrival.

As she searched for an exercise option that her baby could join her at, Claire discovered Sling Swing dance and gentle movement classes for parents/carers with babies in slings and baby carriers and decided to start up some classes in Lincoln herself.

Photos: Hannah at Love with Light Photography

Claire invited me along to try one of her classes and, as a regular baby wearer and someone who also misses the Zumba and pilates classes I’d enjoyed until week 30 something of being pregnant with my eldest, I was really interested in trying it out.

But what really swung it for me was, not only was my baby not just welcome to come along but integral to the class, but my older two were also fully included in the group too – they would need to bring a teddy along with them to put in their own child-sized doll slings that were available to borrow so they could “dance like mummy!”.

How cute is that?!  I really want to go back and enjoy more classes for several reasons, not least to get some better photos of Luke and Willow wearing the slings and joining in because they loved it.  My strong lass even opted for “carrying twins” at one point fitting her doll and red teddy bear into the colourful, stripy sling.

And it’s not just mini sling swingers that can benefit from such loans: “I do have a number of slings available for parents to borrow and I am a trained baby wearing peer supporter so I can fit people safely,” says Claire.

“I used to worry that I wouldn’t have enough slings but, to be honest, most people have their own.

“It’s a shame in a way as I’d love to attract people who don’t usually use a sling!”

The nature of the group may prevent it from being high intensity but it’s emphasis on friendly fun, inclusivity and gentle fitness definitely gets my vote.  Starting with a few songs to engage your child with, then moving on to the exercise routines, the class finishes with some time to socialise with your fellow dancers.

IMG_5970“The focus of the class is the social and bonding elements rather than on fitness although you are obviously burning a few calories whilst doing it!” she says.

“It’s kind of ‘me time’ but without leaving the baby!”

Of course the person who gets to make the overall verdict is Faith.  And the fact she was sleeping contentedly within minutes of the start of the dancing tells me she’d be quite happy for me to put on my dancing shoes again in the future.

Claire currently runs two term-time classes: 
Mondays at 1.30pm at Yarborough Leisure Centre and Fridays at 10.45am at One NK Leisure Centre.

Find out more on Sling Swing’s Facebook page.


Loving a designer label

I hate labels.

I think they’re limiting and potentially misleading at best and downright insulting and dehumanising at worst.  They often lessen or exaggerate because they deal with a generic stereotype rather than a specific individual.

It’s one of the reasons we didn’t find out the gender of any of our children during pregnancy (although I mainly loved the idea of the surprise).

But each of my children has taught me to see the world anew in many different ways and Faith is no exception.  She may have saved the label “girl” to surprise us with postnatally but “Down’s Syndrome” and “heart AVSD” were ones that were given to her antenatally.

It made for a stressful pregnancy.  If you’ve ever attended the maternity unit at Lincoln County Hospital you may not have even noticed the Quiet Room that’s located in between the two waiting areas and I hope you haven’t found yourself in it at your 12-week scan trying to take in the all sorts of possibilities that certain indicators may or may not mean.

I’m glad we were able to find out in advance even if at first it was hard to see past the label of the diagnosis to go back to picturing an individual child and all the myriad of characteristics they may or may not embody as they grow.

And I’ve also come to accept that the label can be helpful.

It made sure there was a plan in place for her care from the moment she was born – we already can’t say thank you enough to the maternity and paediatric teams who have looked after Faith in her first seven weeks so I know we will always be in the debt of such caring, skilled and dedicated professionals as she grows.

And it also means we’ve been able to find a welcoming community of families who are travelling a similar path and who are dedicated to not only supporting each other but also to celebrating life and simply having fun in numerous and diverse ways.

At seven weeks old Faith is already a “girl”, a “little sister”, “daughter”, “granddaughter”, “niece”, a “baby with Down’s Syndrome”, a “third child” and “blonde” and some of her labels have already changed too – the ones inside her clothes now read “newborn” instead of “tiny baby” as her weight chart now reads “7lb 1oz” instead of 5lb 8oz”.

And she’s proving to be a strong lass so far so, whichever paths she chooses to follow as she grows, she’s sure to be rocking her “designer genes” as she chases after her brother and sister on the odd occasions they’re not colluding to go in three different directions at once just to really keep their mummy on her toes.

World Down Syndrome Day takes place on March 21st.


Sleep for the camera!

Faith had a newborn professional photo shoot recently and this is the gorgeous first preview shot of the session that we’ve been sent.


Due to her early arrival, little stay in the hospital post birth and us adjusting to life with three following her homecoming, we didn’t have the chance to book a session in the time period normally suggested for newborns but Faith behaved impeccably on the day never taking too long to settle – something I’m sure she’ll make up for another time!

Rebecca of Milestones Photography was lovely both with Faith and also her older siblings despite, after initially joining in, them then deciding to quickly take apart her children’s play area next to her home studio.

I can’t wait to see the full set of photos!

Feeding Tube Awareness Week 2017

Did you know it is the seventh annual Feeding Tube Awareness Week this week (February 6th to 10th, 2017)?


Created by the Feeding Tube Awareness Foundation to increase awareness of feeding tubes and enteral feeding, we’re certainly more aware of the need for such intervention after Faith spent a week in Lincoln County Hospital’s Nocton Ward building up her strength before coming home.

Faith was lucky to leave the tube behind her at the hospital but many children and adults continue to be reliant on such help after they’re discharged – find out more at