Bedtime When You’re on Holiday

If you have decided to take your baby away for a break or a holiday, you will have to think about where they are going to sleep, and you may well worry about how difficult it is going to be to settle them to sleep in a new environment.

Here are a few really useful tips to help you to feel confident about putting your baby to bed in new place.

Try to take as much of your baby’s cot contents with you as possible. Take the sheets that have been in the cot for a couple of days so they smell of your baby. Take the music box, nightlight and a soft toy or blanket that is familiar to her.

As soon as you get to your location, set up your baby’s bed and bedroom so that is comfortable and homely. Spend as much time as you can in the bedroom with your baby before it is time to go to bed. Play games in there, and let her play in her cot when she is happy and wide awake. This way, by bedtime, the bedroom is a familiar, happy place and your baby will feel safe when you leave her in there.

Maintain as much of your usual bedtime routine as you can (at least for the first night). Walk with your baby between her bedroom and the living room or your bedroom so that she gets a feeling of where you will be when she is in bed.

When you finally put your baby to bed, make sure you go back to give several reassuring visits before you leave her to calm and settle herself down. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your baby is scared of being a new place, because she probably isn’t. Why should she be? Fear is a reaction to an experience, and if your baby hasn’t had a negative experience in her new bedroom, why should she be scared?

Be confident when you put your baby to bed and she will calm down quickly and sleep well!

(So, Amy, enjoy your holiday! Dx)


Potty Training and Becoming Dry at Night

Potty training is something that fills most parents with at least a little dread. Some want to get it all done by the age of 2, others are happy to just wait until their toddler seems “ready” and others decide that they have to get on with it as the next baby is on the way!

If you are trying to decide when the right time to start potty training is, and are feeling pressure to start within the first two years of your child’s life, here is something to think about:

When most of us parents were babies, we were probably wearing terry toweling nappies. Great, big squares of fabric that had been folded several times to make a bulky lump in an attempt to absorb as much wee as possible, secured by scary pins, sorry that should be safety pins, and goodness knows what else. These nappies weren’t very absorbent and definitely weren’t very comfortable – especially when they were wet! Babies back then had a very good reason to want to get out of nappies. Now, however, they don’t. Disposable nappies keep moisture away from babies’ skin for hours and they’re not nearly as bulky as old-school nappies. Babies don’t have the incentive to get out of nappies like they did 30+ years go.

So, it is possible to potty train babies from 16 months onwards, but if you want to do it quickly with less stress and less mess, maybe it’s worth waiting a while longer (2 and a half years is perfectly acceptable).

Whatever it is that drives you to get started, there is one thing that you usually don’t need to worry about putting much effort into, but that gets many parents very distressed. It is getting your little one to be “dry at night”.

As we mature, our bodies start to produce the Antidiuretic Hormone (ADH) while we sleep. This suppresses kidney activity and as a result the bladder does not fill as quickly as it does when we’re awake. This hormone combined with the bladder size increasing, means that we don’t feel the need to go for a wee while we sleep.

So when you have managed to get your toddler potty trained during the day, you just need to wait patiently for nature to take its course. The tell-tale sign that ADH is being produced and your child is ready to go nappyless at night is when you find a few dry nappies in the mornings. Remember that even potty trained children might be a bit lazy in the morning, and pee in their nappy when they wake up, so you may have to get to them before they wake fully and check the nappy. The next step is take the sides off the cot (yes, keep the sides on until this time!) and put a potty by the bed and see how you go.

If, however, your child has been dry at night for some time, and starts wetting the bed, this is a very different issue, and could be due to an infection or some kind of emotional upset.

Fun Games to Play at Your Baby Shower

Several years ago, when I was pregnant with my daughter, Baby Showers were pretty much unheard of in the UK. Now they seem to be standard practice, and I’m feeling quite jealous, as I think I missed out on a lot of fun!

Here are some ideas compiled by local mums of games to play at a baby shower:

*two people against each other to see who could drink apple juice out of a
babies bottle fastest

*guess the contents of the nappy – the following smeared onto nappies for
guests to identify – peanut butter, mars bar, marmite, bovril, chocolate
spread, any ideas of your own!

*who could melt a toy dummy out of an ice-cube first – said ice cubes were
handed out in plastic cups and you could melt them any way you liked,
except putting it in your mouth

*everybody who arrives is given a dummy on a string to put around their
neck, guests are told that there are certain words they are not allowed to say
eg pregnant, baby etc. If someone hears someone else use one of these words,
they challenge that person and win their dummy, (or one dummy if they have acquired
more), from that person. At the end of the evening, the person who has
collected the most dummies wins a prize

*who can peg the most clothes on a line,  held by two guests, whilst
holding onto a baby doll and pretending to take a call on a real phone, in
one minute

*guess the circumference of the bump – use a piece of string to measure the
size of bump going across mum’s back and round to front at belly button
level, asks guests to guess the length of the string and whoever gets the
closest wins a prize

It’s almost worth walking around with a pillow up my jumper just so I can pull together all my friends to play these fab games!

Babies and Children Sometimes Need to Allowed to Cry

Babies and children need to be allowed to cry.

That is not to say that they need to be left unattended in a darkened room for hours on end! If their crying in distressed, they should immediately given comfort.

However, crying is a baby’s way of expressing themselves whether they are grumpy, frustrated, dissatisfied, annoyed, hungry, tired etc. If you always try to stifle their crying by rocking, feeding or distracting them, they don’t have a chance to release their feelings. They end up storing them up for later, and you have a baby whom you are constantly trying to comfort, or who always has a huge tantrum before they fall asleep. If you can let your baby or child cry until they are ready to stop, they will quickly learn to calm themselves down. While they are crying, it is important to offer them comfort and reassurance, but let them do the calming down themselves.

To understand this a little better, imagine that you have had a horrendous day, when everything has gone wrong and you’re totally fed up by the end of it. When you get home, you may fall into floods of tears, talk your day through with somebody who will listen or you could go for a run. After you have released your feelings you tend to feel more relaxed and happier. If you suppress your anger and frustration, it builds up. Eventually it needs releasing. The same applies to babies and children, but they don’t have words to express themselves so they cry.

As long as the crying doesn’t last too long and reassurance and love is given, it is fine for them to have a bit of a cry.

Flying With Babies and Toddlers

If you are taking your baby on a plane journey, you may be concerned that he will cry and disturb other passengers. When you first get to your seat on the plane, if you can allow your baby to cry until he is finished crying, you are likely to have a more peaceful journey.

Things to think about:

  • Try to schedule a feed for take-off and as this helps babies to clear their ears.
  • Be as relaxed as possible. Allow as much time as possible to get ready and travel to the airport so you are not stressed. Your stress will transfer to your baby and cause more crying.
  • When your baby decides to cry, sit still and hold him and allow him to get through his feelings of frustration. If you explain to your fellow passengers that he’ll be fine in a few minutes, they’re likely to be sympathetic.
  • Try to stick to your baby’s 3 or 4 hour feeding routine and avoid trying to comfort your baby with extra feeding as this can lead to an uncomfortable tummy.
  • Dress your baby in comfortable clothing and be aware of the planes temperature as planes can get quite hot or cold. Take your own cotton blanket for the bassinette.
  • If the plane is very warm, offer your baby boiled water.
  • Take your sling or baby bjorn carrier on to the plane in case you don’t get your pushchair back on landing,  and have to carry your baby until you get to the baggage reclaim area.