71 articles Articles posted in Baby

Common First Time Parent Stresses And How To Fix Them

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All new parents worry. It goes with the territory. All of sudden you have a new life to take care of, nurture and keep alive. You have no prior training, and sometimes it’s really hard. It may help a little to know that you’re not alone with these concerns. In fact, it’s all part of the process.

  1. Crying

All babies cry. We know this, of course. But before you have a child of your own, you don’t realise just how much. It can be extremely concerning but, in most cases, it’s completely natural. A crying baby doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent. Babies cry for many reasons. They may be hungry, tired, need changing or under or over stimulated.

If you child can’t be comforted and continues to cry, you should speak to your doctor. They may be suffering from colic, which can be soothed and managed.

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  1. Fitting It All In

When a new baby arrives, he or she takes over your life in a way you never thought possible. All of your time is spent taking care of their needs. Many parents worry about fitting everything in and getting things done. This might include shopping, taking care of other members of the family, and just have some time to yourself to do nothing. The last point is not selfish. When your every waking moment is spent taking care of another human being, you need a little time to relax and just be yourself for a while. It’s about putting your own oxygen mask on first. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of others.

Find shortcuts wherever possible. Accept things won’t be perfect for a while. ‘Good enough’ is fine for now. Get help wherever you can. Enlist family and friends to help out and get the shopping delivered. We live in a digital world there are services available you may not even be aware of. For example, what do you do if you’re feeling unwell but you just don’t have time to go to see your GP? An Online Doctor App may be the answer. You can book an appointment with a doctor to take place over the phone, even out of hours. You can also arrange to pick up any resulting prescriptions from your local chemist.

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  1. Bonding With Your Baby

Many parents are led to believe that as soon as your baby is born, you will bond immediately. This isn’t always the case. After a long delivery, it’s likely you’re feeling more exhausted than anything else. Bonding is something that will happen naturally over time. The process is different for everyone. Try to tune out unhelpful voices that tell you how their bonding was instantaneous. 

  1. Keeping In Touch

Many parents worry about keeping in touch with friends and family once their baby arrives. They may vow never to lose contact and to keep to regular social events. In reality, this may not be practical. As you celebrate your new arrival, you will realise that things have changed forever. Things won’t be the same again, and you wouldn’t want them to be. But this doesn’t mean that you need to lose touch with people. You just have to readjust your thinking, plan ahead, and organise a little.

There are many things that new parents worry about. As well as being a magical time in your lives, it can also be stressful. But there is always a solution and a way around things.

Welcome Your Gorgeous Baby Into Your Home With These Amazing Nursery Ideas

After nine months of nurturing the tiny infant inside you, you’re about to meet him for the first time. When you bring your new bundle of joy home, you will want to make sure that you have a gorgeous nursery room that he can be comfortable in. There are tons of great ideas for decorating and furnishing your nursery. As this is often the smallest room in the house, it’s important that you also make sure it is functional.

Once the room is empty and cleaned, you can start to prepare the walls for paint and wallpaper. Many parents prefer to choose a sunny yellow colour, whether they know the gender of their baby or not. It is a bright colour that reflects light well. And it’s ideal for a newborn’s sensitive, developing eyes too. You might choose an accent wall and paper it with cute animal characters. This gives baby something to start focussing on when his eyes are ready.

A lamp shade is ideal if you have a ceiling light. Wall lights may be preferred, though, as the baby is often on his back staring up. Keep a lower watt light bulb in there. You can always use a nightlight to make checks on your baby in the dark. Blackout blinds and cute animal curtains will ensure naptimes are not interrupted by intrusive light. They can help to keep the room a little cooler in the summer too.

Nursery-Rocker and Changing Table

Photo at Flickr.com

Many wifi baby monitors include a temperature monitor so you can check on the heat. Ideally, the room should be around eighteen to twenty-one degrees Celsius. This isn’t always practical, so add or remove blankets to keep your little one comfortable. You can find lots of options for baby bedding online that will ensure you have the right ones for each season. Choose plain designs or something your little one can enjoy looking at.

No baby’s cot is complete without a hanging mobile. Many also make music and turn. They’re great for helping your little one focus on new things. It will also encourage them to reach up and kick out. Eventually, in just a few months, they will be the inspiration for trying to sit up. It’s at this point that you might want to consider a baby nest to help support their back in the sitting position.

Your baby shower probably provided you with dozens of soft toys for your baby. They can be a source of comfort for tiny tots, as well as something to explore and enjoy. Your nursery may be full of soft toys that he or she can practice conversations with. Be careful not to allow too many in the cot as they can become hazardous without proper supervision.

If you have a large changing table or cabinet, you might consider popping a few extra toys inside. These hidden items can then come out at changing time to distract your little one while you get on with your job. Perhaps you wave these toys while you are feeding your baby? What’s the best thing you’ve bought for your nursery?

 

Beautiful Ways To Celebrate A New Baby

There is perhaps nothing more beautiful than the birth of a new baby. To see the face of your newborn for the first time is the most amazing moment of your life. It is definitely a cause for celebration. If someone in your group of friends or family has just had a baby, chances are there is a long queue of people waiting to welcome the newborn into their lives. So how should you celebrate this little miracle?

The first thing to remember is that poor Mum will be pretty exhausted for the first few days. And if this is her first, she may be quite overwhelmed by just how dramatically her life and her body have changed. The best thing you can do is check that it is OK for you to come over and meet her baby. Then be prepared for a last minute cancellation! Things happen, and when you’re new to it, it takes a while to figure out how to fix it.

Picture at Flickr

When you do meet the newborn, don’t expect a cuddle at first. And if the little sweetie is asleep, definitely don’t wake him. Instead, ask Mum if she would like a rest too while you tackle some of the housework. Perhaps she would love her first chance of the day to take a bath or even eat a meal. Visitors should expect that there are other priorities now over entertaining you. One of the best things you can do to celebrate Mum’s birthing triumph is to bring her a hot meal! A cup of fruity tea would probably go down quite well too.

If you’re wondering what kind of gift would be appropriate for a newborn, have a look at things like Little Chickie’s newborn baby gifts for inspiration. When you have a baby for the first time, new things are very important. While hand-me-downs are helpful, things like a brand new bottle sanitiser or changing table can be very welcome. Toys and storybooks are also very good ideas for a new baby.

You may choose to bring flowers and a card for Mum as well. But sometimes flowers can promote allergic reactions or discomfort. And Mum may not have the time to look after them right now. While it can be a nice gesture to think of bringing something like a gift for her, sometimes it’s just not practical. Instead, why not consider donating some time to provide a watchful eye over little one while Mum takes a much-needed break? Perhaps you can offer to do the laundry for a couple of days? Practical help will always be required when a baby is first born!

Big parties with balloons, loud music, and booze just aren’t right for a celebration of a new baby. Instead, think of the little gestures that can be a big help for the new Mum. A few photos of her holding her little one would be most welcome. Maybe you can capture a few of those cute new facial expressions newborns are famous for? Congratulations to the new Mum.

5 Perfect Baby Shower Gifts for a Small Budget

Baby ShowerYour friend or family member’s baby shower is happening soon, and you want to buy a gift, but your budget isn’t allowing you to overdo it… so, what do you do?

Choose one of these five perfect, baby shower gifts for a small budget, of course!

Matching baby shower shirts

This is a cute idea and a nice surprise for the mother to be if she is arriving after everyone; the idea is to have the latest baby scan printed on some t-shirts for everyone to wear together.

It will help kick start the festivities and while it might not be a useful item for the baby it’s a nice sentiment everyone can enjoy afterwards – even if they only wear theirs as PJs. You could just buy one for the Mum if your budget is really tight, but a site such as Helloprint offers good deals on bulk shirt printing.

Impression kit

Babies grow fast, so give the gift of everlasting memories with an easy to use impressions kit. Mum and Dad can take their baby’s hand or foot and imprint it on clay, then bake, to create a cute reminder of just how small their child was.

If the baby is being born around Christmas time, be sure to include some ribbon so they can make the impression into a Christmas decoration for the tree. You can pick up full kits with instructions but alternatively you could pick up some clay, a plastic mat and a rolling pin and wrap them up with a little note to tell them what to do with it.

Something handmade

If you’re a dab hand with crochet needles or know how to knit a cute hat, then these are inexpensive and useful gifts that are given from the heart and require a lot of time and effort on your part to put together. A blanket is another good option, something small enough for mum to pack in her changing back and take out with her is perfect. Here are some great patterns to try out.

Egg box socks

Take an egg box (a large one that housed 12 eggs would work best) and grab tiny socks in sizes 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and 12 months. It’s an inexpensive, thoughtful gift that allows you to give the mother to be and baby something new they can use over the coming months.

Roll each pair of socks up and place them in the space for the eggs to create a cute display. The recipient will probably be a little confused when she first sees the box but pleasantly surprised when she realises what’s inside.

Frozen home cooked meals

Mum and Dad are going to be pretty busy caring for their new bundle of joy, so cooking might go completely out the window. Ensure they are getting plenty of good food that’s easy to sling in the microwave to warm up. Dishes such as chilli, lasagne, soup and spaghetti are great for busy parents and easy to put together for little cost.

Think about what the new parents will need and what will benefit the baby and you should be able to come up with an inexpensive but thoughtful gift to give at the shower!

Review: Little Dish – My First Pizza

Little Dish My First Pizza

Burrito Baby is a really good eater these days and since we’ve discovered that she can now have dairy, she happily eats things with normal cheese without any issues and is a huge fan of pizza. So when Little Dish got in touch and asked if we’d like to be some of the first people to try their brand new range of pizzas, My First Pizza, aimed at toddlers, we jumped at the chance. Here’s the blurb on the new products:

Our new range of My First Pizzas have been created in partnership with our nutritionist to ensure that they are not just yummy, but also nutritionally balanced. These tasty pizzas are made with 100% natural ingredients, contain 35% less salt than the average children’s chilled pizza* and have no added sugar, additives or preservatives. Plus, each mini pizza contains 1 of child’s recommended 5 a day thanks to the yummy toppings and hidden carrot puree into our unique pizza bases.

*35% less salt when compared against the average salt content (per 100g) in all children’s chilled pizza found in UK supermarkets

We were sent all three varieties of pizza; classic margherita, mini meatballs and veg, and pesto chicken and veg. The pizzas by themselves were the perfect size to give to BB for a hearty lunch and because they contained one of her 5 a day, as well as 35% less salt than conventional “kids” pizzas, it didn’t feel like we were giving her something unhealthy.

One of my favourite things about all of the Little Dish meals, not just the pizzas, is that they don’t patronise when it comes to ingredients. There seems to be an accepted wisdom that there are certain things that kids just won’t eat, and while there are plenty of fussy kids in the world, my two are really open to new flavours and textures and BB absolutely loved the butternut squash and spinach on the meatball pizza.

Little Dish My First Pizza

Obviously, there are some days when most toddlers decide to be difficult, which why these pizzas are so great – even the plain margherita contains carrot, peppers, onions and tomatoes, all hidden in the base and sauce, so you have the peace of mind that they’re eating a nutritious meal while they get to exert their toddler will and think they’re getting away with being fussy!

If you wanted to make a larger meal out of the pizzas, I’d wholly recommend serving them with sweet potato fries or wedges, for added calories and nutrition, or some steamed veg such as broccoli. We’ll definitely be buying these pizzas for BB in the future as they went down an absolute storm. Thanks, Little Dish, for sending them to us, along with the adorable little hamper and goodies to go with them.

Potty Training with Thomas and Friends

Hey, you. Yes, you over the there. The one with the haunted look in your eye and the bucket of tiddly toddler clothes soaking in your laundry room! Let me tell you a secret:

Potty training does get better!

Seriously. I know it feels like a really daunting prospect to think about beginning the potty training process, or if you’re already in the middle of it all it can feel like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel but for the vast majority of kids, it will just “click” one day.

Sausage was by no means a picnic to potty train, despite being a beautifully well-behaved kid. I remember the hair-tugging frustration at sitting with her in our lounge and watching her stand literally RIGHT NEXT TO her potty and wee on the floor instead. I remember how I’d take her out without a nappy to go on the shortest of walks and ask her a hundred times before we left if she needed to lose the toilet, only to get 100m up the road and hear “uh-oh!” from Sausage, who’d be standing in the street with soaking wet leggings!

Worryingly, Sausage is actually the more compliant of my children. Burrito Baby is firmly in the “NO” stage of her life (yes, we’re calling it a stage and NO, we won’t be mentioning that, at last count, that stage has lasted for approximately a year of her 19 months of life…). When we were asked if we were considering potty training BB, my blood ran cold. However, I’m going into this armed and dangerous!Thomas & Friends Potty Training

We were sent a copy of the Thomas & Friends “My Thomas Potty Book” and “Well Done, Thomas” Activity Book and I’ve been reading the Potty Book to BB almost daily. The whole thing is intended to normalise the process of potty training, which is something I really see the benefit of. As adults, I think we often underestimate how bizarre potty training can be for kids. They go from ranging around and ‘going’ where they please to sitting down and being confined to a potty. I remember, when my youngest nephew was potty training, he took to it like a PRO, using the potty for wee with no bother at all. However, whenever he needed to poop, he’d ask for a nappy to be put back on because he was so used to going whilst standing up!

The thing I love about the “My Thomas Potty Book” is the way it gently introduces potty training paraphernalia, such as potties and pants, and makes the whole thing seem like a big, new, fun adventure. It also has a built-in reward chart which can be used for positive reinforcement when they manage to use the potty and, to be fair, I think my kids love stickers more than they love me, so the inclusion of stickers is a great idea. The activity book is a little advanced for BB at the moment although, at just 19 months, we’re starting the potty training journey quite early and I’m sure the book will come into its own in the next few months.

We’ve actually been lucky enough to be given another set of books to give away to one lucky reader – all you need to do it enter through the Rafflecopter widget below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We’re VTech Toot Toot Friends Ambassadors!

A few weeks back, Burrito Baby and I received the awesome news that we’d been chosen to be VTech Toot Toot Friends Ambassadors and would be receiving all of the new range to play with and review. As you can see, BB was over the moon! The smaller characters retail for around £8.99 each, while the Trot and Go Pony is £15.99. The Hospital playset is a very affordable £29.99 and even the Discovery Sounds House, which is the bigger of the two playsets, is only £44.99.

VTech Toot Toot Friends

What we discovered, being Toot-Toot Friends noobs, is that all of the playsets can link together, forming a big town, and each character can be used in all of the different areas. Want to take your horse to the hospital? Go right ahead! These areas are called ‘Magic Points’ and allows kids to use the individual  characters to interact with the play sets. There are also points within the Busy Sounds Discovery Home where characters can sing to one another, something that BB seemed to regard as being akin to magic!

BB has really good gross and fine motor skills for her age (I mean, the kid is NEVER still, even when she’s sleeping!) but all of the elements of the characters and the playsets were solid and easy to hold, even for the tiniest hands. It also feels like it would stand up to a whole lot of toddler punishment, too; BB has developed a habit of throwing things when she’s in a mood but I can’t see even the biggest toddler tantrum being able to do damage to the Toot-Toot Friends! That’s why when buying toys parents should always look at the sturdy toys. Durable gifts for 2 year olds that can endure hits and tantrums is important. Less money wasted, and more time for fun.

I really like the fact that these feel like “next level” toys in more ways than one; in terms of BB’s development, they feel more in-depth than all the other ‘flashing lights, ABC, 123’ toys that she has and they also feel like they incorporate all of the things that babies of this age love with the technological expertise the VTech is famous for. They’re interactive, educational and intuitive, all things which I think are important for development through play.

If I had ONE minor complaint, it’s that the stickers are a little bit fiddly to apply when you’re assembling everything, especially as some of them are located behind or inside certain parts. If you’ve got a steady hand, you’ll be fine, but the best advice I can give you is to assemble everything when you don’t have an excited, slightly tyrannical toddler climbing all over you.

I also think that selling all of the characters and sets separately is a great thing. It means that you can still buy Toot-Toots friends toys even on varying budgets, and if a birthday or Christmas comes around, the playsets can be bought as a main present, while the smaller components can be bought by friends or relatives to build a full and comprehensive collection.

BB and I feel like we’re off to a great start as ambassadors for VTech Toot-Toot Friends – we already love the toys and can seem them being a great source of fun and education for BB in the months to come.

Huggies Pull-Ups Review

Huggies Pull UpsA few weeks ago, Huggies got in touch to see if we’d like to work with them on a review of their Pull-Ups, and they kindly sent us some daytime pants, night-time pants and a whole selection of other goodies to try out, including a potty. Burrito Baby has got to an age now where she’s really vocal about going to the loo – she’ll often declare “WEE WEE!” or “BOOM BOOM!” just before going, which is a really good pre-cursor to getting potty training underway and Husband and I have been talking about getting a potty just to keep in the room for when she decides to use it.

Because BB idolises her big sister, she’s quite adamant that she’s a big girl and most definitely NOT a baby, so being able to offer her big-girl pants to put on when I first opened the Pull-Ups was a massive plus-point for her. She’s also a huge fan of Minnie Mouse at the moment, so she was thrilled to see her on her pants, running straight through to Husband and shouting “DADDY! MINNIE! BUUUUM!!” (most things that BB says are at a rather high volume at the moment…).

In terms of nappy changes, she’s also got to that age where it’s very hard to get her to lay down for more than about 5 seconds at a time, so being able to step in and out of the Huggies Pull-Ups was something she really appreciated. It also makes my life a whole lot easier!

Being able to pull the Pull-Ups down like knickers when it’s just a wet nappy is fine, but I also liked the fact that the sides tear apart for dirtier changes, although as one MINOR negative point, I remember there being a sticky tab on the back when I used them for Sausage, to keep everything rolled up when you change them, but that doesn’t seem to be there anymore and it’s very much missed as I now have to use a nappy bag again!

Potty training isn’t something that Husband and I are pushy with – we firmly believed with both girls that if they’re ready, they’ll do it and that has definitely been the case with both of them. Sausage was stubborn at first and I remember more than one occasion of looking on incredulously as she stood, nappy-less, next to her potty and wee’d on the floor instead! BB is applying the same Crammond stubbornness (I don’t know where that comes from…) and is mostly treating her potty with superstition at the moment but we did have a successful poop on the potty today and at just 18 months old, I think that’s really good going! She looked absolutely mystified about the whole process of sitting on a seat to poop, but once she realised what she’d done, she looked pretty pleased with herself!

Huggies are hosting a whole bunch of Potty Training Parties around the UK to help mums and dads with the process and have even got little reward charts and stickers available with a free sample of Pull-Ups to show progress, which I think is a great idea. Sausage always responded really well to reward and although BB is a little young for the concept at the moment, I’m sure in time we’ll use them again.

Overall, we’ve been really impressed with Huggies Pull-Ups. We’ve had no leakages and being able to liken them to ‘big girl pants’ like her big sister wears has really appealed to BB. We’ll definitely carry on using them and I think they’ll be invaluable to the potty training process.

The Realities of Being Fat and Pregnant

A couple of weeks ago, I read a viral Facebook post about a pregnant woman who’d been fat shamed after posting a series of photos online that she’d had taken of her and her bump. The story was then picked up by the Huffington Post after the woman was asked to take part in “The Honest Body Project”, a photo series which gives an honest look at women’s bodies.

The whole story was something which really resonated with me. Brittany Dykstra, the woman in the photos said “I’m 35 weeks pregnant and just last week I had maternity pictures taken to celebrate this horrible, but beautiful pregnancy. For the first time in about 35 weeks I felt beautiful, and was so excited to share this moment with my friends and family.”

She goes on to say “Later that day we got the sneak peak pictures back and I posted them on Facebook thinking my friends and family would think I was beautiful and would love them, however that wasn’t the case. All I received were negative comments about how huge I am, about how unhealthy I am, and about how they think my baby is going to be a 10 to 12 pound baby by the looks of how much I weigh. I literally went in the bathroom and cried for hours. It’s so hard being plus size, pregnant, sick, and getting negative comments about the way I look. If I’m happy and accepting of my body, why can’t everyone else just be happy for me?!”

Before I fell pregnant with Sausage, I wasn’t huge, probably around 12st, so a little overweight for my 5’4″ height, but not horrendously so as I have a large frame and huge boobs which tends to mean even at a ‘healthy’ body shape, I’m a little over what BMI charts say I should be. I gained a lot of weight during that pregnancy; for the first 4 months, I could barely eat anything at all and actually lost weight because of hyperemesis gravidarum. Then I developed gestational diabetes and despite trying to eat a low GI diet, the weight piled on. Once I’d given birth, I was in a cycle of depression and PTSD which meant that I never lost the baby weight and by the time I fell pregnant with Burrito Baby 5 years later, I was pushing 14 and a half stone.

I’d had every intention of losing the weight BEFORE getting pregnant again, especially as I was already diabetic, but I fell pregnant a lot quicker than I thought I would after having my implant removed, which meant dealing with pregnancy with a much higher starting weight than I would have liked. Like Brittany, once I reached a certain point in my pregnancy, I also felt a little more body-confident; my shape was suddenly defined by the life growing inside of me, not the amount of biscuits I ate, and while I wasn’t about to post photos of myself in lingerie on Facebook, I totally understand whet she meant about feeling beautiful for the first time in a long time.

According to the story, Dykstra started receiving abuse from family and friends regarding her weight, although no examples are given and I can’t help but wonder how much of this “abuse” was unwanted but well-meaning concern for her obvious weight problem. Because, while I am against the idea of ‘fat-shaming’ (lets face it, us fatties do tend to KNOW we’re fat, we don’t need to be constantly reminded), I do think it’s deluded to think that being overweight doesn’t cause health problems, especially during pregnancy. Being “happy” with your body is one thing, but being aware of health ramifications is also hugely important.

On a medical level, obesity during pregnancy can increase the risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, infection, problems during labour, increased birth weight, birth defects, babies with a high birth weight and even miscarriage. This isn’t about ‘fat shaming’ or ‘thin privilege’ – these are REAL risks, caused by being overweight.

On a personal level, I definitely found that being overweight during pregnancy adversely affected me. Hauling around a giant bump AND a giant body was genuinely exhausting and I honestly think my SPD and mobility would have been slightly better had I not been putting so much pressure on my pelvis with my excess weight (although and friend of mine, who is very slim, also had SPD, probably worse than my own, so I’m not saying obesity is a cause or necessarily means I suffered more, just that I don’t think it helped at all).

I’m not saying that Brittany Dykstra deserved to be abused for being overweight, nor am I saying that she deserved to feel any less beautiful than other pregnant women who enjoy the glow of carrying a child, but tip-toeing around the issue of obesity isn’t right either. Lots of women get pregnant at a less than ideal time of their lives and I’m sure that, given the choice, women would always choose to be in peak health when conceiving but it doesn’t always happen that way.

The thing is, weight is such a hot-button issue for most people. I know I’ve taken offense, even from medical professionals who’ve tried to talk to me about being overweight. It’s one of those things that people are hugely sensitive about because it’s so closely tied to their self-esteem, so choosing a moment where a mother-to-be is feeling good about herself to give her a lecture isn’t the best timing, not to mention the fact that she probably already KNOWS the issues AND has a team of health professionals telling her the same thing, but that doesn’t alter the fact that being fat and pregnant can be a problem, so it’s not simply a case of whether a person is happy with their weight.

What do you think? Are people overstepping the mark by expressing concern for her? Have you experienced pregnancy as an overweight person? I’d love to hear your opinions and experiences because this whole story has obviously struck a chord with me.

I Used to Hate Myself…

I used to hate myself.

I hated my annoyingly-too-large hands…until I realised that they were the hands my daughter reached for when she was nervous.

I hated my tummy, covered in stretchmarks and seemingly permanently distended…until I realised it had provided a safe place for my babies to grow.

I hated my ears…until I realised that BB has held onto my ear to comfort herself since she was tiny.

I hated my arms…until I realised that they were the arms which had held on to Sausage and BB for thousands of hours, never letting go.

I hated my smile…until I realised that my girls are what make me smile, a natural reaction to their wonderful personalities.

I hated my hips…until I realised they were where my daughters have sat whilst being carried around when little legs were too tired to walk any longer.

I hated my eyes…until I realised they were what allowed me to watch my babies develop and grow.

I hated hearing my voice on video…until I realised that was the voice which had read stories, sung songs and whispered comfort to both girls for the past 7 years.

I hated so many things about myself. Until I realised that my babies loved those things about me, and if they could love them, all of my perceived flaws, then maybe I’m not too bad after all. I hope that other parents can take a moment to see themselves through the eyes of their babies and realise that, once you strip away all of the self-criticism, there’s someone in the world who thinks you’re pretty perfect.