The Baby & Toddler Show Blog. There are posts on a regular basis so that you can be kept up-to-date with everything that is happening before, during and after the Shows. Not only that, there is also an array of guest bloggers who will be talking about all things related to pregnancy, birth and parenting, to include tips, advice and much more.
There’s nothing quite like the excitement you feel as a new parent, ticking off the memorable milestones as your baby grows and develops. So many of these all important firsts happen in the very early days, as you bring your baby home and you eagerly await that first smile, first finger squeeze and first chuckle. But what about baby’s first bath? It’s just as important a first as any other, but one that too many parents face with a sense of fear rather than joy. It doesn’t have to be this way! There are so many ways that baby’s first bath can be memorable for all the right reasons, so we’re sharing our tips for new parents in the hope that we can transform that first dip into a happy, relaxed and calm experience for all.
First and foremost, make sure you’re prepared- emotionally and practically! Yes, it can be a daunting prospect when you’re faced with a tub full of water and a wriggling baby- but this is going to be a positive experience, so take a deep breath and smile!
Being prepared is key, and remember you can’t leave the room once baby is in the water. Have all the items that you need for baby’s bath to hand so that you’re ready and equipped with all the essentials. Tick items off the checklist:
• A warm towel to wrap baby in after the bath (we of course recommend the Cuddledry handsfree towel!)
• A folded towel or cushion to kneel on
• Everything you need to dress baby in afterwards
• Everything you need for baby’s post-bath feed
• A small bowl of warm water
• Bamboo washcloths
• A bath thermometer
Never leave your baby unattended in the bath, and always ensure a responsible adult is in charge. Your newborn baby only needs a very small amount of water in the tub (around 6-8 cm) so don’t over fill, and stay away from slippery bath foams and soaps. Make sure the water is not too hot (ideal temperature is around 37 degrees) and swish it around to disperse any hot spots that could be lingering.
Tips to make the first bath easier
When you’re ready and you have all the necessary equipment within reach, plus you’ve carried out all the safety checks, then it’s time for the first bath! Here are our top tips for making it easier and way less stressful.
• Attach your Cuddledry handsfree towel. This is worn around the neck like an apron so that it keeps your clothes dry during bathtime, and so that you can have two hands free throughout the whole experience.
• Start with a top & tail wash. Use the bowl of warm water and bamboo washcloths to gently clean your baby from top to tail. There’s no need to remove baby’s nappy at this point, as you gently clean the face and the folds of skin under the chin. Leave your baby’s nappy on as you focus on the top half, then quickly remove it to clean the bottom. Work at a steady pace so that baby doesn’t get too cold.
• When you’re ready, remove baby’s vest and lower them gently into the water. Place one arm on your baby’s shoulders and neck, holding baby’s outside arm with your hand. Place your other hand under baby’s bottom and in this position, lower them gently into the water. Now you can remove your other hand and use this to gently swish water onto baby’s body.
When you’re ready to lift baby out of the water, use both hands to do so and bring baby up to your chest, against the handsfree towel. Bring the bottom corner of the towel up and hook the hood over baby’s head, wrapping the rest of the towel around their body so that you can cuddle them dry.
Remember that practise makes perfect, and as you get to know your baby and gain in confidence, bathtime will quickly become one of the best parts of your day. It really is the ideal opportunity for you to bond and spend quality, screen-free, time together. Enjoy!
Visit Cuddledry at Sandown Park on stand E11 and at Glasgow on stand E10.
After I had my daughter, Fifi, I struggled to find effective, natural products that were safe from newborn, so I decided to create my own. I did a lot of research and found that even the most trusted brands contain harmful ingredients, so I wanted to design a hypoallergenic range that feels, smells and looks beautiful while containing the purest, natural ingredients. My niece also has very curly hair and my sister struggled to find products to care for it, so she inspired our Gentle Taming and Detangling products.
When did skincare first interest you?
I have always been interested in skincare and invested in the best products and treatments for myself, so naturally this extended to Fifi when she was born. Decoding ingredients lists on products can be a minefield, so I did a lot of research and educated myself on what to avoid. When developing Fifi & Friends we wanted to be completely transparent and make it easy for customers to see what we’re made of, so all ingredients are stated clearly on our packaging, and we have a detailed breakdown on our website.
How important is natural skin care to you? What are the benefits of using natural skincare on your baby?
Avoiding harmful ingredients and using natural skincare is so important to me. Newborn skin is so delicate and susceptible to conditions such as nappy rash and eczema, and sadly many well-known brands are heavily perfumed and only make them worse. By using natural baby care with quality botanical ingredients, you can rest assured that you are nourishing your baby’s skin while you care for it and preventing any irritations. The Fifi & Friends range is also hypoallergenic and free from parabens, sulphates, silicones and wheat, so perfect for any allergy-prone little ones.
How did you decide what the key ingredients would be in your products?
I wanted to include the natural ingredients I have always relied on, such as organic Aloe Vera, Coconut Oil, Shea Butter and Almond Oil. I also ensured our Baby Wipes are made from 100% biodegradable cotton so not only are they the softest, but they are kinder to the environment too.
How have you balanced motherhood and running a business? What advice would you give to new mums juggling motherhood and work?
Juggling two international businesses (Fifi & Friends and SHOW Beauty) as well as raising my daughter is certainly a challenge, but I love every minute of it. I’m very passionate about both brands and that hasn’t changed since I became a mum – it just requires some serious organisation! When Fifi was little she would come to all meetings, events and shoots with me, but now that she’s at school I schedule everything between drop-off and pick-up. I can also do so much from my phone, which is a life saver when I’m travelling.
Make sure you visit Fifi and Friends at our Manchester show, 15-17 March 2019 on stand F34.
Once you become pregnant your body starts to go through some amazing changes, in just nine months your body will become ready for the arrival of your little one – can you believe that at the end of your pregnancy the placenta alone will weigh around 1.5lb? You already know some of the things which lie ahead such as weird cravings at random times of the day, but here are 10 pregnancy facts you may not have heard before.
1 – Did you know pregnant women have a heightened sense of smell? As one of the first signs of pregnancy it is often most noticeable during the first trimester when your baby is at its most vulnerable, some think that it is meant to help them steer clear of foods that could be dangerous for their growing baby
2 – Your blood volume alone increases 40-50% during pregnancy. Due to the increased volume your heart has to work harder and pumps more blood around your body for your growing baby
3 – Women who suffer from severe heartburn during pregnancy are more likely to have babies born with lots of hair
4 – Your body starts to produce more of the hormone relaxin, this reduces the cartilage and ligament density meaning that parts of your body become more stretchy than usual, getting you ready for labour
5 – The uterus expands more than 500 times its normal size over the course of a pregnancy
6 – An unborn baby can taste what their mother is eating through the amniotic fluid. Children have also displayed preferences to certain foods which they were exposed to during pregnancy
7 – Morning sickness doesn’t often happen in the morning, most women get it all day and in lots of cases you may not be physically sick, instead you may just feel nauseous. Don’t worry, for most women this passes between 12 and 14 weeks
8 – Most pregnant women need about 300 extra calories a day during the last five to six months of pregnancy, this ensures that both mother and baby are getting all of the nutrients they need
9 – Your brain changes, scientists have confirmed that during pregnancy a women’s brain changes becoming more powerful, able to detect threats more easily and ready to interpret their new baby’s body language and cries
10 – Fewer than 10% of babies are born on their due date. 50 % are born within one week and 90% are born within two weeks of their due date
Despite spending a lot of their early lives asleep, babies heads and hair are prone to getting very dirty, tangled and occasionally a little smelly too, so establishing a good bathtime routine that looks after their delicate skin and hair is important.
Even though your baby might not have much hair, using a gentle shampoo to wash what they do have plays a vital role in caring for the sensitive skin on their scalp, and getting them used to having water around their head. It’s also invaluable if your baby develops tangles from rolling their head around when lying on their back.
Moisturising skin is important for newborns and children as their skin loses moisture more quickly than an adult’s. The scalp is particularly vulnerable and commonly affected by sensitivity, eczema and cradle cap. We have developed all Childs Farm shampoos to include Argan oil which, with our other moisturising ingredients, helps to add moisture to young skin and hair.
The most important thing to remember is to always use a shampoo designed for babies and children on your little ones as most adult shampoo contains ingredients that are not suitable for children, such as SLSs, parabens and artificial colours. These chemicals work well in adult shampoo because they’re designed to make hair glossy and get rid of product build up, but these things are totally unnecessary for babies and children, so do avoid products that contain them.
Remember, if you have a little one with sensitive skin, always do a patch test before the first full application to make sure there’s no adverse reaction or irritation. Then, enjoy bathtime!
Joanna’s top hair washing tips
Shield your baby’s eyes:There are lots of great devices that protect eyes from water and shampoo, while also being fun for little ones to use and getting them used to having water around their face. A shield or specifically designed rinse cup means you have greater control in the bath when hair washing.
Use a conditioner to minimise knots and tangles: Conditioner smoothes tangles and makes combing much easier. After shampooing, smooth a coin size amount of conditioner throughout the hair then use a wide-toothed comb or brush to spread evenly through the hair before rinsing.
Dry hair naturally if possible:Blow-drying can remove moisture from the scalp and makes hair prone to static and tangles. Bundle wet hair up in a towel to keep you little one’s head warm. Once their hair has dried, brush through gently to remove any remaining knots.
Wash hair only when it needs it: How often you should wash your child’s hair depends on a variety of factors — like their hair type, or how fond they are of smearing food in it! As a parent, you’ll know when your child’s hair is dirty and could do with a wash — if it doesn’t need a shampoo, don’t do one.
Babywearing is a great way to bond with your baby. We’ve all heard this, and it’s one of the first reasons people have for wanting to buy a wrap or carrier, but what does it really mean? What are the real benefits of using a sling or carrier to bond with your baby?
Oxytocin is a hormone that’s linked to feelings of love and connection with others. In women it is developed during the birth process and released during breastfeeding. In both men and women Oxytocin is released during positive interaction and contact with their baby. Research shows that higher levels of Oxytocin corresponds with parents interacting more with their baby and reduced feelings of stress and anxiety.
So, what does this mean for babywearing? Using a sling, wrap or carrier is a great way to give you extended periods of positive contact with your baby. This increases how much you engage with your baby, promoting healthy emotional attachment, both essential for a baby’s cognitive development. Oxytocin helps you both to feel more relaxed and even reduces the effects of post-natal depression.
With our baby held snugly close against us, and all that oxytocin helping to keep us calm and engaged, it’s much easier to tune in to our baby’s individual movements, noises and signals. All babies have different ways of letting us know what their needs are. How they move their faces just before they get hungry, the sounds they make when they’re getting tired; there are many cues that babies make before they start crying. Babywearing from birth is a great way to tune into your baby’s needs, I have explained this in more detail in a previous blog post.
Daily babywearing makes it easier and quicker to learn your baby’s unique ‘language’ so that you can understand and meet their needs more easily. And whilst all babies cry sometimes, it’s much easier to parent a baby that doesn’t always need to cry to be heard!
Many research studies have shown how sharing experiences with you boosts your child’s confidence, cognitive and language development. You don’t need to do ‘special activities’ with your baby; simply being part of your daily life; seeing what you do and hearing how you talk about it; meeting people and remembering shared experiences. All of these are great ways to promote health social and language development, even before your baby can speak.
When carried in a sling or carrier, your baby is held in a great position to share everything you do. They are up at a social height – they can see your face and easily ‘talk’ to you as soon as they are able to start expressing themselves. They are fully involved in what you’re doing – experiencing all the movements, sights and sounds of everything going on around them. Best of all for your little one, when held close to your body they are in a safe place to experience all these exciting new things without getting nervous; a great way for them to develop their confidence and independence.
To there you have it! Babywearing IS great for bonding with your baby, and also offers so many benefits for your baby’s development, and for making your life as a parent easier.
Written by Emily Williamson, carrying consultant and designer of the Izmi Baby Carrier www.izmibaby.co.uk
If you’re a new parent a health visitor is someone you might not have heard of or come across before, but what you will soon find out is that all new mums and babies are entitled to visits from a health visitor.
Health visitors are Registered Nurses with a specialist qualification focused on health for families with young children. They take over care of you and your new baby after you are discharged from your midwife’s care at 10 days post-natal and are there to help you right up until your little one goes to school, when the school nurse will then take over. This is a free service offered by the NHS so it is important for parents to know how to get the most out of their visits.
Health visitors carry out checks ten days after birth, at six to eight weeks, one year and then when your little one is between two and two-and-a-half. The Guardian newspaper has recently stated that ‘one in four UK babies born in the UK are not receiving mandatory check-ups from health visitors during the first two years’ and it has been reported that some health visitors have between 500 to 1,000 children to look after. This report makes it even more important for parents to understand how they can best utilise this service and get the best care for both their baby and themselves.
What you may not know is that, in addition to home visits, your health visitor is there to help you navigate the world of parenthood and they are on hand ready to deal with a multitude of questions. If you need their advice outside of your scheduled visits all you have to do is phone them and they will answer any question you have and recommend the best course of action.
Health Visitors are there to help with a wide variety of worries, from if your little one is not sleeping properly, to any concerns you might have about your baby’s development.
Other areas they can help with include:
– Dry skin, fungal rashes, nappy rash and cradle cap
– Feeding problems with your baby from breastfeeding to weaning and starting solids
– Sleeping problems or temper tantrums
– Baby’s growth, sight, hearing or speech
– Your own or your partner’s health
– Concerns about how your baby’s umbilical stump is healing
– Blocked tear ducts, reflux, constipation or colic
– Advice about childcare or nursery options
– Concerns about your baby’s crying
– Toilet training techniques
Your health visitor can be used as your first point of call if you have any worries, although if you feel the situation is more serious such as your baby appears to be in pain, has stopped feeding or eating and drinking, has problems with breathing, has a high temperature or an unexplained rash please do contact your doctor.
After your baby is born you will be allocated a named health visitor. In the days following the birth they usually come to visit you at home to see how you are doing and to record all of the important information about your baby such as details about their weight gain and general health. It is important to remember that your health visitor is there for you as well as your baby. You can talk to them about anything that is worrying you about your own health and recovery. After your home visits are over it is encouraged for you to attend your local weigh-in clinic where you will be able to see your local health visiting team. They are usually held at the same time each week so make sure you find out about them from your health visitor.
While they should initiate communication with you, if you are in any doubt on how to contact your health visitor you can find out more information from your GP.
During the first year, your baby grows more quickly than any other period of their life, making it important for you to offer your baby different foods varying in tastes and textures to get the energy and important nutrients required to help them grow.
At around six months old, your baby starts to need more than just milk to satisfy their growing appetite, so this is the time to begin weaning. The first stage of weaning lays the foundations for happy, healthy eating habits and teaches your baby how to eat from a spoon, swallow and eventually chew. Weaning is important so your baby can get all the right nutrients from the food they eat.
The different textures offered enable biting and chewing to help develop the muscles needed for speech development. Weaning isn’t just about filling their tummies up; it helps to lay the foundations for healthy balanced eating for the years ahead.
Introducing variety to your weaning adventure
A baby’s tummy is small, making it vitally important that every spoonful your baby eats is packed full of the right nutrients and goodness. This is the main reason that babies eat little and often throughout the day. Throughout the first year, it can be a great idea to vary the types of food you are giving to your little one.
The team at “for aisha” understands the importance of taste and adventure during weaning and mealtimes.
“We know it’s important to ensure that your little one has a varied diet that will help obtain all of the essential vitamins and nutrients that they need for growth and development. Our “for aisha” recipes introduce variety, taste, texture and smell. This will help your baby to learn, accept and enjoy new tastes and textures as they grow… So they’ll be less likely to be fussy eaters!”
A wide variety of foods and tastes should be introduced at this stage to ensure that your child has a varied diet that will help obtain all the vitamins and minerals they need for growth and development. This will help your baby to learn, accept and enjoy these new exciting smells and flavours if they are given the opportunity to try them.
When to begin your weaning journey
Current NHS guidelines recommend that you start weaning your baby at around six months; this is because a babies’ digestive systems are not developed enough to cope with solid food until around this time.
However, all babies are different so here are some signs that your little one is ready to start weaning.
Can your baby:
• Sit up: Your baby should be able to sit unaided and hold their head steady
• Feed themselves: Can they look at food, pick it up and put it in their mouths all by themselves?
• Swallow food: Babies not ready for weaning will push their food back out of their mouths
If you think your baby might be ready for weaning before six months, or if you have any concerns, please speak with your health visitor/doctor for advice.
How long does the weaning journey take?
Don’t worry about what other people are doing; all babies are different so it’s important to let your little one set the pace
Our top tips
Our number one tip is to have fun at this exciting time in your baby’s development
• Let your baby play with their food. Expect and plan for mess (especially as they start to explore the food in their bowl) Messy is good! It helps your baby learn and explore the new textures
• Always smile- this will show you are enthusiastic and your baby will be excited and will want to try the food you are giving them
Here are a few more tips to help you on your journey:
• Start with small spoonfuls and work your way up. To begin with, how much your baby takes is less important than getting them used to the idea of eating. Gradually you’ll be able to increase the amount and variety of food your baby eats until they can eventually eat the same as the rest of the family, in smaller portions
• Try to offer variety – even if they refuse a new food the first time. It can take a number of tries before they get used to a new taste and texture
• Don’t worry if the food comes back out after the initial spoonful, it’s a new experience for your baby, as he or she has been used to push their tongue forward to suck milk
• Don’t panic if they don’t eat much to start with, they’ll still be getting most of their nutrients from their milk feed. Remember to keep feeding your baby breast milk or infant formula as well but don’t give them whole cows’ milk as a drink until they are a year old
• Never leave your baby unattended when feeding because of the risk of choking
Finally, try not to feel disheartened when food goes flying and certain things are refused. After all, weaning takes time, and there’s a whole host of delicious foods for your little one to explore
Is it ok to use commercial baby food in the weaning journey?
Yes. Commercial baby food can be included into your baby’s weaning diet and as a parent, you may find them convenient and an excellent way of introducing different tastes and textures. Try and avoid relying too much on sweet baby foods, as this can lead to a poor diet. There are great savoury weaning baby foods available which you can introduce into your baby’s diet
Having a child is life changing and the first few months of your little one’s arrival is likely to be hectic with getting your new addition settled and with all of your family and friends coming to visit. Many mums are now turning to technology to make life easier, so we wanted to put together our top list of apps which you can download to help you at this exciting new time in your life.
1. British Red Cross baby and child First Aid app
When you become a mum you are not going to be an expert on all thing baby related. While you may know what to do to help another adult who is ill, often the advice is different when it comes to children. This British Red Cross app is an easy way to learn about first aid care for babies and children, it is a free app with useful videos, animations and tips, packed with quizzes and tests to build up your knowledge. You can also record your child’s medication and any allergies in/on the app.
2. Baby feeding app
Sometimes during those night-time feeds it is hard to keep track of what you are doing. By using this app you can track breast, bottle or solid feeds to keep an eye on when and how much your baby is eating. Downloading a baby feeding app helps you keep track of those night time feeds, with some apps letting you track things like which breast you last fed from, any pumping sessions and how much you have stored in the fridge or freezer. There are quite a few baby feeding apps available offering a similar service and a few of the crowd favourites are iBaby Feed Timer app, Baby Nursing app and ParentLove app.
3. NCT Baby change app
Arguably one of the most talked about apps for parents in the UK. Being out and needing the toilet is not fun for adults let alone if you need to change your baby. NCT baby change app helps you to locate changing facilities to use in your surrounding area. Its aim is to take the stress away from being out of the house. The app relies on parents providing feedback on changing facilities after use and adding any new locations to the map. Using GPS you can see what facilities are active near you and also how other parents have rated them.
4. Cozi app
Having a new baby can throw the family schedule out of the window, so the Cozi app has been created to help keep you on track. It is a family planning app for you to log all of your important plans from swimming lessons to when you need to pay the bills – this app can hold it all. It allows all members of the family to access features such as the household shopping list, a day-to-day planner, meal planner and a to-do list. All you have to do is download the app and login to your family account!
5. Baby Monitor 3G app
This app allows you to turn any connected device into a baby monitor. It acts as a live audio and video baby monitor over Wi-Fi or mobile data and claims to have unlimited reach working in a similar way to FaceTime or Skype. Other features include an activity log allowing you to see how active you baby has been, multi-parent support meaning multiple parents can monitor their baby at once, lullabies, adjustable audio, a nightlight, personalisation, vibration alert and night mode. It can be used on computers, phones or tablets and is available for android and IOS devices. The app is coming soon to windows and chrome making it even more accessible to parents.
6. Keep Medical History app
Keeping track of medical history can be confusing and often the list of vaccinations and allergies are in a folder at home. This app helps you keep track of your child’s medical history, making it accessible to you on the move and at times when it is needed. It stores information such as blood group, vaccinations, allergies, diagnostic tests and results, medications as well as growth and development data.
We would love to hear about any apps which you would suggest to other mums! What do you think of our suggested apps? Are they on your go to list?
Historically, skin was one of the last things a parent would concern themselves with. Yes, baby’s skin needed more respect, but all in all it was easy to maintain.
But times have changed and climate, pollution and the environment mean that skin is not as robust as it used to be:
• In the UK, 1 in 5 under fives suffer atopic eczema, leading to 3% of the adult population having medically diagnosed eczema
• 82% of parents believe their children have sensitive skin, whilst 57% of children have some sort of skin irritation/condition
And now more than ever, parents are aware of ingredients that you should avoid when looking for baby skincare products – parabens, SLSs, artificial colours and mineral oils. And there is also a move towards more natural and organic products. Understanding the difference between adult and young skin can help understand how to help prevent irritation – from nappy rash to eczema.
The skin is the body’s largest organ. It’s the first line of defence against dehydration. Healthy skin cells are plump with water. This allows them to pack tightly against each other and form an effective barrier. The pH of adult skin is 5.5. This ‘acid mantle’ repels harmful microorganisms and toxins. It also protects from infections, allergens and dehydration. Underneath the acid mantle, there’s the ‘stratum corneum’. This works as a barrier to shield tissue beneath. Cells in the stratum corneum contain keratin, a waterproofing protein that gives skin its strength and flexibility.
Why baby skin is different
Inside the womb, the skin’s protective qualities aren’t needed. This is because baby is shielded from the bacteria and toxins of the outside world. After birth, baby’s skin gradually adapts to protect itself, but it needs particular care. Baby skin doesn’t yet have an acid mantle. They’re born with a skin pH of 6.5 which gradually reduces to 5.5. But their acid mantle doesn’t fully work until they’re about 3 months old. Baby skin is also up to 10% thinner than adult skin. It’s got a higher water content, but it loses this water more quickly. This is because babies have less keratin than adults, so their skin is more fragile and prone to drying out.
The importance of moisturising
Because baby’s skin is more delicate and less resistant to bacteria, it can be easily irritated and exposed to harmful substances in the environment. It loses water quickly, so regular moisturising is important to keep it hydrated and protected.
How often and when to moisturise
Moisturise normal, healthy skin after every bath, shower, splash-about session and visit to the swimming pool. Moisturise dry areas at least once every day – and then as often as you feel necessary. You don’t have to lather on loads of product — just the amount the skin can absorb.
Which products should you use?
Look for products that are as natural as possible, and have been specifically made with baby’s delicate skin in mind. Babies are particularly vulnerable to the chemicals found in many products. These can be easily absorbed through the skin and may cause your baby harm. Avoid products which contain:
• Parabens: this is a preservative that has been linked to hormone disruption, skin irritation, breast cancer, fertility problems and early-onset puberty
• Mineral oil: a by-product of the distillation of petroleum mixed with fragrance, it acts as a plastic wrap on the skin, limiting its ability to release toxins
• Phthalates: commonly found in baby products, these chemicals are also used to soften plastic! Readily absorbed through the skin, they have been linked with breast cancer, birth defects, miscarriage and early-onset puberty
Always patch test
Before using any new product on your baby, always do a patch test first. Put a fingertip of product behind baby’s ear or on the inside of their elbow and wait 24 hours. If there’s no reaction, the product is safe to use. If, however, your baby’s skin shows any sign of redness or irritation, please don’t use it as they may be sensitive to it.
“Modern day mothers have lost the plot”. At least this is what celebrity maternity nurse Rachel Waddilove argues, sparking debate over whether modern parenting is too child-focused.
Waddilove, whose client list includes Gwyneth Paltrow, Zara Philips and Minnie Driver, trained at Doctor Barnado’s residential nursery training college and has written a collection of books focusing on utilising her experience.
Parents are often surrounded by conflicting advice on how to raise their children, this is what drove Waddilove to rewrite her parenting manual. Waddilove, speaking to the Telegraph, says “Modern parenting is all about the child and that’s what I don’t like about it” she went on to say “I’m not belittling the fact that children are precious, they’re a gift but we’re building a generation of little tin gods and it’s not creating a very nice society. We’ve lost the plot”.
Waddilove advocates swaddling, controlled crying and using formula if needed, the method is unapologetically traditional. She emphasises the importance of not treating your baby as the ‘king-pin’ in the family, instead stating that the baby should fit in with your existing family life. It is mother-led, and encourages the development of a loving, flexible routine through methods such as self-settling and controlled crying.
Controlled crying is when a parent waits a certain amount of time before going to comfort their baby, this method is usually implemented when trying to get a baby into a sleeping routine.
In contrast to Waddilove’s methods, and first introduced by Dr Sears, is attachment parenting where the baby dictates the schedule for the family. The basics of this theory being that the child chooses when they want be fed and stays with its parents at night until he/she decides to sleep in its own room. It is said that this style of parenting ensures that the bond between the child and the parent flourishes.
Many high profile ‘baby experts’ are offering new parents conflicting advice, while Gina Ford warns against too many cuddles, Dr Sears promotes baby wearing and frequent contact to build the bond between mother and baby.
Tracy Hogg recommends avoiding what she calls “accidental parenting” which is cuddling, rocking or feeding your baby to sleep and believes that you should make sure a child is active straight after they eat.
Sarah Ockwell Smith advises that you should not sleep train your child to fit into our modern day lives, instead we need to remember that babies do not have the same sleeping patterns as adults. She writes that fundamentally our body clocks work differently, babies have a dramatically shorter sleep cycle than their parents do.
It seems that these baby theories lie at various points on a sliding scale, with behavioural method parenting at one end and natural parenting on the other. The two sides of this argument, on what is the “right” method, can be found on the internet with passionate defences from parents on both sides.
Many parents find that what works for one baby does not work for another, perhaps this is why there are so many different methods and techniques available. With all of this information around it can be hard to choose which path is right for you and your family, causing many parents to become anxious that they are not doing what is in the best interests of the child. Do mothers need a ‘guide’ to help them through these new experiences? And do these books come as a comfort to parents or are all of these mixed messages causing more harm than good?
Do you follow the advice from any of these ‘baby experts’? If yes which one and what made you decide on that method?
Rachel Waddilove – The Baby Book: How to enjoy year one
Dr Sears – The Baby Book: Everything you need to know about your baby from birth to age two
Tracy Hogg – Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm
Gina Ford – The Contented Little Baby Book
Sarah Ockwell Smith – Calm Baby: A guide for calmer babies & happier parents