10 best things about being a mum

It may be hard work (and sometimes thankless work!) but we say that being a mum is still the best job in the world!

1. Your baby adores you!
Forget all those one true loves you worked your way through in school and university – and truth is even your partner won’t love you as much as your child does. When she gazes up at you as she feeds, grips your finger in her hand and smiles that first smile your heart will melt. That’s the magic of being a mum!

2. You can buy gorgeous clothes without feeling guilty
Once you’re a mum you can go clothes shopping without having to hide it all in the back of the wardrobe or having to worry about being able to squeeze into that cute new outfit. It is so much fun to shop for your baby – you don’t have to try it all on, and you don’t have to worry if your bum will look big in it!

3. You can read all you want
In your hectic life, do you ever get the chance to read? It’s a pastime that often gets deprioritised, but once you have a baby you don’t need and excuse. And as she grows older, you’ll know the joy of sharing the same stories that were your own family favourites years ago with your mum (plus, if you join your local library or buy books from an online auction site, it’ll be free or cheap!).

4. You get to look at the most beautiful sight in the world every day
Forget sunsets at the beach or glorious mountain views – nothing will compare to seeing your baby’s smiles and fun on a daily basis.

5. You get to try those scrumptious baby foods!
Come on, who among us hasn’t been tempted to try it when it has names like apple and vanilla crème purée, apple and mango rice pudding, creamy chicken and rice bake, or yummy Lancashire hotpot? Some of those savoury dinners make a fantastic quick pasta sauce for mum too, and as for the puddings… yummy!

6. You see the world for the first time (again!)
You may be used to everything you see and experience on a daily basis but your baby isn’t. You’ll gain a whole new appreciation for things you might have been taking for granted once you see how they enchant her. That snow you curse about because it stops the trains will turn into soft fluffy marshmallow puffs when your baby is seeing it for the first time! Get more info.

7. You’ve got the doctor on call all the time!
Feeling down about something? Overworked, tired, and taken for granted? When your child wraps her arms around you and tells you she loves you all the bad thigns will go away, just like that.

8. You can join in messy play
Even if we spent out childhoods playing in the mud, as grownups we have to follow the rules of adult life – one of which being that fingerpainting, moulding amazing creations from playdough, or drowning newspaper strips in wallpaper paste and constructing fantastic papier mache spaceships isn’t advisable. But once you have kids, you have the perfect excuse to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in!

9. Your child gives you a mental workout!
You will become a child psychologist extraordinaire once you become a mum. Just trying to figure out what’s going on in your baby’s head, why your toddler does what she does, how best to tap into your preschooler’s talents, will have you constantly wondering, problem solving, learning more about human behaviour than you ever thought possible, and becoming an expert when it comes to plate-spinning.

10 You’ll learn how to give of yourself
Before we become mums all we really think about is ourselves – our work, our relationships, our health, our weight, what keeps us happy. Often we can become so invested in our own needs and desires that we become selfish. But when you become a mum you’ll set all of that aside and give yourself – your time, your love, your knowledge – to your child as she grows!

 

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Introducing Foods to Babies

There are a few things you should look out for if you are wondering when to introduce foods to babies. The average age for a baby to start eating solids is between four to six months. If you notice your baby is able to hold his/her head up well and can sit with a little support at this age, he/she might be ready for solid foods. Another sign to look for is if your baby is reaching for your cutlery when you are eating and mimicking your mouth opening. Consult with your doctor before starting your baby on solid food.

When it comes to the choice in food, opt for an organic food. These will be free from pesticides that are harmful to developing brains and growing bodies. Good choices to start with are mashed banana or iron-fortified rice cereal. Only ever add cereal to your baby’s bottle if instructed to do so by your GP. Adding cereal to his/her bottle does not teach him/her to eat solids, it will only cause your baby to become overweight.

Sit your baby in a high chair propped up with pillows or comfortably sitting upright on your lap. Start with a small amount of food on a baby’s spoon. Hold the spoon a good distance away from your baby and wait for him/her to open his/her mouth before feeding. Your baby might only manage one or two spoonfuls in the first feeding. Listen to your baby by watching his/her body language. If he/she is pushing the spoon away then they have had enough. If your baby has not had any, he/she might not be ready. Do not force them. Wait a few weeks and try again. Some babies like to grab the spoon that you are using to feed them. If this is the case with your baby, give him/her another spoon to hold to keep him/her happy.

When starting your baby on foods, begin with only one food. If you choose pureed apple, make sure it is just apple and not apple and pear for example. It is easier for your baby when there is only one flavour. Another reason for this is that trying one food at a time can help you identify if your baby is allergic to any food. Keep a food diary and list any reactions your baby might have. Signs of allergies can include vomiting, diarrhoea, a runny nose, bad stomach ache, a rash on the face or anus and gas. If you suspect your baby may be allergic to a food, seek medical advice.

During the months that your baby is moving on to solids, you should still be providing the usual feedings of formula or breast milk to satisfy your baby’s nutritional needs. There are certain foods that should only be introduced when your baby is at least one year old. These include eggs, honey, cow’s milk, citrus fruits and juices. The reason to wait until your baby is older for the citrus products is because they are very acidic and can cause a painful nappy rash. Cow’s milk does not provide sufficient nutrients for an infant. Honey can contain spores that are harmless to adults but might affect your baby. Eggs can cause a allergic reaction if given to young.

There are also certain foods that should only be given to your baby when he/she is two or three years old. These include any seafood or any nut products. If a family member has any allergies, your child is at higher risk of having an allergy, so take this in to consideration.

At this time you should try introducing your baby to a cup. Look for one with big handles and a lid. Give your baby water when he/she is getting used to the cup. This will avoid a sticky clean up if he/she messes. You can then move on to juices, but these must be 100% fruit juice. You might want to dilute these juices with water. Make sure your baby has less than 120ml of juice a day. The reason for this is that the extra calories do not give the same nutrition as breast milk, but they do have calories and can cause diarrhoea and contribute to your baby becoming overweight. When your baby is about nine months old, he/she will probably be ready to move away from the pureed foods and move on to chunkier textured foods.

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Tips for Travelling with a Baby

Travelling with a baby can be a little daunting but do not forget that your baby is extremely adaptable. You might even learn to love travelling with one so small, as your baby is very portable at this young age. Some people really enjoy travelling with their babies and plan all sorts of expeditions. It is toddlers who may present more challenges, as they can walk and therefore keep their parents on their toes in a less than relaxing fashion. So, here are some top tips for travelling with your baby:

Try to plan your flights for the times that your baby normally sleeps. If she has a good stretch in the afternoon (or night) make this a requisite part of booking your flight. Bear in mind that aeroplanes get delayed all the time so even your well-planned travelling times can go to pot. Make sure you pack extra food/milk/toys for all eventualities.
Take a baby sleeping bag on board the plane so that your baby feels comforted and has a sleep association with her, the same goes for a favourite toy.
Breast or bottle feed as you take off, this will reduce the unpleasant sensation in her ears as the pressure increases.
Check whether your normal formula milk is available at your given destination, so that you can make arrangements to take enough with you, if not.
If the country is hot, ensure you offer enough water and be careful about the source. Cooled, boiled water is essential for young babies.
Don’t buy food that has been cooked on the streets for your baby. You do not know what standards of hygiene have been put in place. Generally speaking foods like bananas that have a skin on them so are kept clean are fine – just make sure they are ripe (not green).
Make sure you know whether you can hire buggies or car seats, this will make your journey much less stressful. There is nothing worse than lugging around huge piles of baby paraphernalia, when you don’t need to. Check that the car seat or buggy that you hire conforms with that countries safety regulations (which may not be a stringent as the UKs). Before you take the car seat or buggy away check that all the straps work and that the car seat is fitted correctly in your car.
Bring toys and books for the journey and little bite-sized snacks (if your baby is weaned) to stave off any hunger pangs.
Find out whether the place you are staying in has a washing machine and if so, pack lightly. Carting around a huge wardrobe is less than pleasant with a baby in tow.
Instead of lugging baby sterilising equipment with you, but a liquid sterilizer which can be added to water once you arrive. Most chemists can advise you on which one is suitable.
Don’t forget to pack adequate protection from the sun if you are going somewhere hot. Babies have very delicate skin and sun damage can be very harmful so read our feature on keeping your baby cool in hot weather.

 

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