66 articles Articles posted in Baby

Baby Safety: Top Tips for Nervous New Mothers and Fathers

Your baby is precious and fragile. As soon as she is born, all you want to do is keep her safe from harm both in the home and in the car. Protecting your child from all the potential dangers of daily life can seem overwhelming. Here are some safety tips for moms to keep in mind.

Home Safety

When it comes to baby-proofing your home, there are many things you can do, including installing safety gadgets, to make every room safe for your growing infant.

In the bathroom:

Test the water: Always test the temperature of the water with your elbow before bathing baby. You can also install an anti-scald device at the end of the bath faucet.

Get a grip: Place non-slip mats for when baby begins to toddle.

Lock the toilet: Install a toilet lock to prevent tiny fingers from getting crushed by the toilet lid and to prevent accidental drowning.

Get spongy: Cover the bath taps in case she slips and hurts her head.

In The Nursery

Crib safety: Your crib’s slats should be 2 3/8 inches apart or less.

No extras: remove bumpers, extra blankets, soft toys and anything that could suffocate a baby from the crib.

Seal outlets: All electrical outlets should have plastic covers.

In The Kitchen

Secure pet food: Pet kibble is a choking hazard and should never be left unattended.

Cover stove knobs: Little fingers like to twiddle knobs. Use knob covers and put a lock on the oven door.

Fire safety: Always keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen. Make sure it’s out of your child’s reach.

Splatter proof: Use a stove guard so your baby won’t get splashed with hot liquids when you’re cooking.

Lock cabinets: The cabinet beneath the kitchen sink is usually where cleaning products are stored. Keep a lock on this door to prevent your child reaching hazardous chemicals.

In The Living Room

Go cordless: Keep blinds safe with cord cleats or install cordless shades.

Cushion edges: Protect your child from sharp corners and edges with bumpers.

Hide breakables: Put all breakable ornaments, picture frames and vases where little fingers can’t reach them.

Secure bookshelves: toddlers like to climb, so secure bookshelves to the wall to prevent them toppling over.

Be guarded: Put a lockable guard door over the fireplace. Use baby gates if you have stairs.

Car Safety

Cars like the Chrysler Pacifica are designed with family safety in mind, but when you’re travelling with your baby, you want to take extra measures to keep her perfectly safe, which is why choosing the right car seat is important. Data reveals that up to 80 percent of baby car carriers are not installed correctly: a daunting thought, but baby carriers have become high tech these days, with many extra features including self-installation, crash protection, auto-balance, and remote controlled recliner adjustment.

You don’t have to be nervous about becoming a new mother and father. Use these simple tips and your baby will always be safe.

Living in The Baby Bubble

If you’ve got a newborn baby, you know all too well what it’s like to live in that lovely bubble of baby wonderfulness. They may not be sleeping at night but in the early days it’s all about finding your groove and if it’s your first baby, it’s so tempting to stay at home in your little baby-centric haze for as long as possible. There are, however things that you’ll need to do in those forst few weeks, so we thought we’d give you a little list to remind you of the essentials.

Register Baby

Registering your baby is a legal requirement as it basically informs the Government that there’s a new human in the world! You have six weeks from the baby’s day of birth (although this can be different if baby is in a special care unit, and some hospitals have a registrar on site for these very occasions), but you must do it as soon as you’re able.

Apply for Benefits

Once you’ve registered baby and got their birth certificate, you can apply for any benefits to which you might be entitled, such as Child Benefit and Child Tax. If you need help working out what to apply for, head over to http://www.govukbenefits.com/ for more information and links on how to apply.

Weighing

For the first little while, you’ll probably have midwives and health visitors coming to your home to keep an eye on you and baby, and ensuring baby is gaining weight nicely. Once these visits stop, you’ll need to find a local clinic (usually in a childrens’ centre or doctors surgery) to keep having your newborn weighed and having their “Red Book” filled in.

Keep In Touch Days

If you’re on Maternity Leave from work and are planning to go back at some point, then some places of work have Keep In Touch days to enable you to go back for a few hours to refresh yourself on your work duties. It can often make you feel less out-of-touch with your career and is an excellent excuse to show off all of your adorable baby photos!

Health Check

Obviously, most of your focus in the early days will be on baby but you also need to ensure that YOU are being looked after too. Regular checks with your midwife or doctor will ensure than any c-section or episiotomy wounds are healing properly and it’s also good to have a mental health check to ensure that you aren’t suffering with PND or PTSD after a traumatic birth. If you don’t look after yourself properly, you won’t be able to look after your new precious bundle properly, and that’s the most important thing in the world for you right now.

 

Sure-Fire Ways Parents Can Ensure Their Child Has A Prosperous Future

Once you have a child, it makes you more aware of your spending. After all, one day your money will go to your kids. And you want them to have a secure future so that they can buy a house and build a career without any worries. However, a lot of parents are unsure what they can do for their kids. Therefore, here are some sure-fire ways parents can ensure their child has a prosperous future.

Create a savings account when they are born

When you are expecting, a lot of people will want to give you a present for the baby. And as much as that tenth baby grow is thoughtful, there is something a lot better for your newborn. You should set up a savings account in their name which you can put money in. Of course, they won’t be able to touch it until they are at least 16 or 18. But it’s building them up some money for their future. So before your relatives and friends buy stuff for the new baby, you should mention about the savings account. Even if they just pay a tenner, some money in there is a good start for your child. And then you should aim to put something in there every month for your little one. That way, they have a fund to use once they are old enough towards their first car or home.

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Make good investments now

Investments are essential for your kids future. After all, they are an excellent way to build up the bucks for your little one. A lot of people don’t know where to start with investment. For one thing, you could consider investing in stocks. Just make sure you read up about the return. Or a lot of people are opting to get a second property which they can then rent out. As this article says, you just need to let house price inflation occur and then you will have a valuable asset for your kid’s future. And you can read more about investing online on sites like The Fortunate Investor.

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Set up a will sooner rather than later  

So many people leave setting up a will until it’s too late. But you need to make sure your kids are protected for their future. You don’t want them to end up with nothing as you didn’t state clearly what they were entitled to. Therefore, arrange to set up a will as soon as you have your child. You can find information online about how to set up one to protect your family.

Create a university fund

As well as making real investments, you need to be investing in your kid’s education. Ensuring they go to the best school possible and are achieving excellent grades is the best thing you can do as parents. After all, they will then go on to have a great career in the future. To ensure they can go to the best university possible, you need to create a fund for them. Try and put money in the college fund and then you can put it towards the fees when the time comes.

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And make sure you teach your child about money management. Even if it’s just making them clean their bedroom for a quid, it’s helping them to understand about money.

Boost Your Post-Baby Confidence

Boost Your Post-Baby ConfidenceI don’t know about you, but I am definitely not one of those women who wears pregnancy well. I carry HUGE bumps despite having small babies, suffer with problems with my hips and the closest I come to a ‘glow’ is wiping the sweat from my brow after a particularly nasty bout of morning sickness. By the time baby comes along, most of us feel well and truly battered and it’s basically the law that “normal” women feel a bit lost and frumpy in their post-baby body. I thought I’d take a look at ways to help you to give your confidence a little boost so that you feel more human and ward off those baby blues.

Get Some Exercise

I know. I know. Suggesting exercise when you’ve either squeezed or had a human cut out of your body is probably going to make you hate me, but everyone knows that exercise boosts happy hormone levels, so it’s pretty much guaranteed to make you feel better. I’m not suggesting you start training for a marathon a couple of weeks post-partum (unless you want to!) but trying a mum and baby exercise class or just going for a walk can really boost your morale and help you lose the excess baby weight.

Get a Hair Transplant

Okay, this one might sound a little bit bonkers but LOTS of women lose hair during pregnancy and for some people, it simply never grows back. Hair transplant cost doesn’t have to be astronomical and if replacing your lost hair gives you your confidence back, it’s priceless.

Make Time for Friends

Sometimes, being a new mum can feel incredibly isolating and months can fly by in a baby-haze before you realise how lonely you are. Making time to see your friends can be incredibly theraputic and just getting the chance to have a chinwag with someone over the age of ten can give you more of a boost than almost anything else.

Take Care of Yourself

When Sausage was born, I became obsessed with painting my nails. I bought dozens of different colours and my nails always looked great. There was something really soothing about taking ten minutes for myself while she was napping to make sure just one part of me looked good, even when the rest of me was unwashed and plastered in baby sick! It doesn’t have to be nails – shape your brows, do your make-up, whatever it is to perk you up, tale some time to do it.

Remember You’re Part of a Couple

I think it’s incredibly common for new parents to get so completely caught up in parenting that they forget that they’re also someone’s partner. If you don’t want to have someone else look after the baby, plan a mini-date for when baby naps and have an adult conversation with your other half. We went to Wagamama last week and there was a young couple with a tiny baby in a carseat, fast asleep on the table the whole time they were eating, but at least they were spending time with one another.

The Great Childcare Debate

childcareSomething which is on a lot of people’s minds at the moment is the issue of childcare, after the Government introduced free funding for 2 year olds from underprivileged families to receive 15 hours of nursery a week. The idea was to get parents back into work without having the expense of nursery hanging over them, but it’s a scheme which has been a bit of a sticking point for a lot of families. Until the age of three, working parents are expected to pay the full price for childcare and the prevailing attitude is that it seems unfair that familes who don’t appear to need free childcare are more entitled to it.

Let’s look at the brass tacks of it:

At the moment, Husband and I both work from home, which works for us and means we don’t need childcare. Now, let’s assume that I wanted to go back to work, full time, as a copywriter which is what I currently do from home. Let’s completely ignore Husband’s salary and assume that this is still going on things like rent and our bills, as it does at the moment.

The average salary for a copywriter is £23,047 per year before tax and National Insurance, so my take-home pay would be approximately £18,840, or £1570 per month. I’d probably have to travel to London to find this kind of work so I’d have to factor in £355.60 per month in season ticket fares. The nursery attached to Sausage’s school charges £4.50 per hour, plus £1.75 for a hot lunch, which would make my monthly nursery fees (assuming I’d need to drop her off at 7.30 am to get the train and not collect her again until 6.30pm) £1110.42. Of course, this also doesn’t factor in needing before and after school care for Sausage.

In travel fees and nursery fees alone, my monthly expenses JUST FOR GOING TO WORK would be £1466.02, leaving me approximately £103 which, as far as I’m concerned would make it absolutely POINTLESS going back to work.

I know that there are flexi options, sometimes family can help with childcare, or companies which allow a homeworking element during the week, but these figures are the exact reason that so many people are up in arms about the government’s scheme. Being a copywriter isn’t the loftiest career in the whole world but it sure as hell pays more than retail work or other minimum wage jobs, which means that even people with hopes of getting a mid-level job will struggle.

Obviously, this is all part of a MUCH bigger problem. The cost of living is too damn high in the UK, whilst wages are depressingly low. Family-friendly working is more-or-less non-existent and women are usually expected to bear the burden of this. I know that there’s a prevailing attitude that women SHOULD be the ones to bear the burden because they’re the ones who CHOOSE to have the babies (obviously the men have zero say in this and we’re all just sperm-harvesting lunatics…*sarcasm*) but this is a hugely outdated notion and many men also feel penalised because of their inability to contribute towards the childcare duties.

I don’t begrudge families who are on a low income the opportunity to have free childcare, I really don’t, but I also don’t think it’s a solution. It’s a really romantic notion, hoping to help people back into work, but let me ask you this: 1. how are they supposed to afford that childcare once the funding runs out and they’re on a low wage and 2. WHERE ARE ALL OF THESE JOBS THEY’RE SUPPOSED TO BE FILLING?!

I think we can all agree that the Government has well and truly got its head up its arse on this issue and that more help needs to be given to ALL parents who want to go back to work, not least of all because we’ve probably got a massive pool if untapped talent in this country, desperate to get back into the workplace but unable to afford it. It’s all very well for the hate-mongers in the right wing press to be content with demonising benefit claimants but the Government has basically created this viscous loop of never being able to AFFORD to come off of benefits, for so many people, who are essentially tied to living in permanent poverty.

I’d really love to hear your thoughts on this. Are you a Mum who’d love to go back to work but simply cannot afford to? Would you have a career if the childcare was cheaper or more affordable? Are you in receipt of two-year-old funding but still unable to find a job? Please leave me a comment below.

Protecting Yourself: Which Type Of Contraception Should I Choose?

gender-1674893_640Picture from: Pixaby

There are many different types of contraception on the market. Not every style of contraception is suitable for each person, so there is a range of types and brands on offer. The best person to talk about what contraception is right for you is your nurse. This is because a medical family history will need to be taken before you go on a pill or have an injection. But just so you aren’t going in blind, today we are going to look at some of the most popular methods of contraception that may suit your lifestyle.

The Pill

The contraceptive pill is one of the most popular methods of protection. There are two types of pill. There is the mini pill and the combined pill. The combined pill contains artificial oestrogen and progesterone. These prevent your ovaries from releasing an egg, which is what is known as ovulating. If you are not ovulating, you should not get pregnant. When the pill is taken correctly, it is over 99% effective in stopping pregnancy. But pleased do remember that it offers no protection against STDs. If you are concerned about STD’s, always get tested. And if you are sleeping with a new partner, always make sure he uses a condom. The pill can also help with heavy periods and muscle cramps. And sometimes it is prescribed for these things.

The Mini Pill

The combined pill is taken for 21 days and then has a break of seven days before resuming again. However, the mini pill is taken continuously. Its main difference to the combined pill is that it only contains one female hormone, and that is progesterone.  Sometimes is it referred to as POP or progesterone only pill. The mini pill is often given to women who have just had a baby or those who have risk factors from the combined pill. Please talk to your nurse or doctor to see which one is better for you.

Contraceptive Implant

If you don’t mind a very small thin tube inserted under the skin in your upper arm, then the contraceptive implant may be for you. This method of contraception stops the release of your eggs, and it lasts for three years. However, it can be taken out whenever you want it to be. Again, this method is over 99% effective, and it means you do not have to worry about taking a pill at the same time every day. Using the implant can make your periods stop after the first year of implantation. Or they may just become lighter. If you have any side effects, the implant can be removed.

Diaphragm

Possibly the one that scares men the most! The contraceptive diaphragm is known as a barrier method of contraception. It is a large looking cap that you put into your vagina before having sex. You must then leave it there for at least six hours after having sex. It works by covering the cervix so that the sperm can’t get in. But you also need to remember to use a spermicide with it as this kills sperm. This type of contraception is around 92-96% effective. However, it is a good form of contraception if you are concerned about the health risks of taking the pill.

Your Baby is an Amorphous Lump (and Other Reasons to Stop Getting Offended)

genderless-babyIf there’s one thing which really boils my piss it’s the whole ‘blue is for boys, pink is for girls’ thing. I’m sure there’s some sort of societal explanation for why it’s so ingrained in our minds, but it’s something which seems more prevalent than ever – I spend a fair amount of time browsing Facebook groups and the amount of times I see people asking if anyone is selling a “baby walker for a girl” or whether it’s acceptable to put a girl in a red pushchair or a boy in a purple pushchair just drives me mental.

We were in Waitrose yesterday buying glue for my cousin who was doing an art project for college and my girls noticed that there were glues which were ‘pink for girls and blue for boys’. I was pretty proud when Sausage scoffed at the idea of gendered glue, and I’ll tell you what I told them: Unless you need a penis or a vagina in order to operate something, it’s NOT exclusively for one gender. If you want blue glue, having a foof DOESN’T preclude you from buying said glue.

All of this brings me to something else I saw today in another Facebook group (STOP JUDGING ME). A lady mentioned that her and her Husband were talking about what their baby son would look like in a dress, so they bought him one in the Tesco sale for a bit of a giggle and then posted the pictures for us to see. I had to giggle at the comments below – people seemed genuinely surprised that this lovely little boy looked…LIKE A GIRL. Yep. Dressing a baby in a dress made him look like a girl. Shock. I think the woman and her Husband are pretty awesome and it made a point so succinctly.

Let me let you in on a little secret: your baby is an amorphous lump. Generally speaking, unless you know what it is, it doesn’t often look like a boy OR a girl. This is why it is absolutely ridiculous when people are offended by people mis-gendering their child. Yes, I get that dressing them in blue or pink is a handy way to indicate what they are but A) why does it matter how people interpret your baby’s gender and B) WHY DO YOU CARE IF THEY GET IT WRONG?!

Sausage was our first baby and as such was bought a whole ton of girly stuff by both us and well meaning relatives. I remember finding it infuriating that I’d have her dressed head to toe in pink but old people would still refer to her as “he” and I’d be thinking “BUT SHE LOOKS LIKE A GIRL!”. But did she? Did she REALLY? Defining features are absolutely unapparent on MOST babies and I guarantee if we’d have dressed her head to toe in boys clothes, people could just have easily identified her as a boy.

With BB, we were far less strident about plastering her in pink. BB is a really different creature to her big sister and has always been super physical, and the sad fact is that a lot of baby clothes from the girls sections just aren’t geared towards girls who run around and dig in the mud, whereas boys clothes are a lot more forgiving. Equally, last summer when we wanted to get her some shorts for running around in, the only ones we could find which weren’t pretty, lace-edged impractical things were a pair of grey jersey shorts from the boys range in H&M. She’s been called a he a fair few times and I don’t even correct people now because it simply doesn’t matter.

All I’m saying is, while you may look at your little darling and think they’re the most handsome/prettiest creature ever born, a random onlooker very likely just sees BABY. Not Baby Boy or Baby Girl. JUST BABY. Don’t be offended when they get it wrong, it’s a waste of your energy and if you think about it, it’s really not all that offensive anyway. Use your energy more wisely…like, spending it looking for clothes which are green, purple, yellow, red or white…all colours which I suspect are yet to have been pigeonholed!

Baby Food Giveaway

When it comes to feeding, Sausage and Burrito Baby were pretty different. With Sausage, she was our first and we truly lived in a Sausage-centric bubble. This meant that I spoon-fed her with organic purees of fruit and veg, or home-made and bulk frozen meals that I’d made myself, for probably longer than was absolutely reasonable. I was just about as overbearing as any good Helicopter Parent can be and whether it was a good thing or not I’ve yet to decide.

Food for Babies

With BB, things were different. Not only was I six years older and wiser, having already raised one kid past babyhood, our lives were very different. No more lazy mornings spent in our PJs watching Cbeebies, BB was thrust onto the school run with us within a week of being born! This meant that by this time, I was opting for easier options such as pre-made food for babies and a healthy smattering of Baby Led Weaning by the time that she was old enough. I may be been a little more ‘low-effort’ with BB, but if anything it’s made her more independent and also more capable with a spoon or fork than Sausage was by the same age.

One advantage to spoon feeding was that I always knew exactly how much Sausage was eating when she was little, whereas with BB is was more of a guessing game; adding up what was left on the plate with what was smeared on the floor/in her hair and working out how much food had actually made it into her tummy! Still, she’s got a massive appetite and likes to graze all day long, so snack foods are definitely her choice, above full meals.

baby-led-weaning

We’ve teamed up with a great company to offer our American readers a $50 gift card – all you have to do is leave me a comment below telling me what you fed your baby when they were little, whether you went for pre-made food or Baby Led Weaning (or any other approach that I may not even have heard of!) The winner will be chosen at random on 15th October 2016. Don’t forget to share this post with your friends so that they can be in with a chance of winning, too!

ESSENTIALS FOR YOUR NEWBORN

newborn-babyHaving a baby is one of the best moments in a mum’s life and when it comes to baby, knowing what you need to buy to take care of your little bundle of joy into the world can be a little exciting. So to help you, we’ve selected some baby essentials, for we know you would love to give your little one the best possible start in life.

Baby clothes: Baby clothes are usually sized as newborn, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, and 12 months. Babies grow quickly, so make sure you have the next size up!

For everyday wear, go for light colored, comfortable and easy clothing. Make sure that your child’s clothes are not restricting his/her moments. You baby must be able to move about and explore and that can hold up through frequent wash.

Look for one-piece outfits that zip or snap down the front and all the way down the leg; these allow you to change your baby’s clothes easily without pulling things over her head. Make sure whatever you buy opens easily at the bottom for diaper changes. Use a gentle, baby-friendly detergent to avoid skin irritation.
Outer layers: Buy 5 to 6 sweaters, fleece jackets, and sweatshirts for you baby, for they are more likely to catch cold with the temperature getting a bIt chilly. Go for the ones that zip up and are easy to wear and take off.
Buy hooded jackets and just slip one over your baby’s head when the weather is chilly.
Hats and mittens: Buy a broad-brimmed sun hat for the summer and a warm hat that covers the ears in the winter should do the trick. Also a buy one or two pairs of Mittens to keep your baby’s hands warm when its getting colder.

Socks and shoes: Until your baby’s ambling well, do not make her/him wear shoes as it might effect the feet development. Till then, you could cover his/her feet with socks that have nonskid bottoms.
Diapers:
Your baby probably will need around ten to twelve diapers a day in the first few months. So plan accordingly.

Wipes: You could buy wipes, make your own, or use a washcloth and warm water, make sure you keep them hygienic.
Being a new mom is never easy, but it’s definitely worth the pain! Make sure you get what’s the best for your baby and make some time for yourself to relax while your baby is asleep. Do some yoga or play a game of bingo, using the GameVillage bonus code!

Kids Autumn/Winter with Petit Bateau

Something that I love about shopping online is that I can source things which are a little bit different to what you’d normally find on the High Street. This is especially great for finding clothes for Sausage and Burrito Baby as I do love dressing them to accentuate their unique personalities, which is why I was happy when Petit Bateau asked me to put together an outfit for each of them from their new Autumn/Winter range.

Sausage is pushing boundaries with her fashion choices at the moment. She loves to be a little bit different (hence the pink hair during the holidays!) and relishes bucking against what girls in her class would be wearing. BB likes to wear things that look “pweety” (yep, that’s how she says it!) but which also allow her to charge around and don’t impede her running/climbing/dog riding. Here’s what I chose for them:

 

Petit Bateau

 

Petit Bateau by jayne-crammond on Polyvore

Grey is one of my favourite colours for clothing at the moment and I think the grey jeans make such a nice alternative to blue or black, which is what you see on most people. Sausage and BB both look amazing in most colours, but Sausage looks especially fantastic in autumn/winter palates because of her wild red hair, while BB looks great in more neautral shades because of her blond locks and pink cheeks.

I actually wnjoy shopping for the girls SO much more than shopping for myself, so spending an afternoon scouring a site and choosing things for them is a real treat! Have you shopped with Petit Bateau before? Do you enjoy shopping for your kids? What would you choose from the Petit Bateau ranges? Leave me a comment below!