Charlotte & Louise Bespoke Childcare Advisory Service
At Charlotte & Louise we believe that every family and every child is unique. We are two childcare professionals with Norland training on a mission to bring high quality information to parents via our unique workshops and events. Equipping parents with the skills and knowledge to help face their parenting journey.
With Louise currently preparing for her first baby, due to arrive in just 8 weeks time, her husband Ashley has been prepped using our Just for Dads Top Tips and reading some books we recommend to those who attend our workshops.Our aim for those dads who attend our workshop is that they come away feeling more confident in their new role, knowing how best to support mum and how to get involved, have learnt new practical skills in caring for baby and a whole heap of tips and tricks that will astound their partner!
Today's blog explores the role of the dad and getting ready for the new arrival along with some recommended literature and resources that our very own dad-to-be Ashley has found very useful for his own prep.
For both mums and dads we always say preparation is key before baby arrives and making those decisions from which products to use and creating a birth plan is really something that can and should involve both parents. For dads, you may see the growing bump and your partner may discuss with you symptoms she is feeling however it can be a very helpless feeling or it may not feel real until baby arrives but, discussing it, communicating and preparing together can make dad feel involved before baby arrives.
At the workshops we host we hand out and break down each of the stages and changes mummy will go through during her pregnancy so that you as her partner are really aware of the physical and emotional changes that she will be going through whilst baby is growing. Being aware of these changes can really prepare you for the highs and lows and help you get prepared for if and when your partner is really suffering with sickness or fatigue.
Antenatal classes might seem a long way off in the first few months but the best ones get booked up way ahead of time. The sessions run by the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) get snapped up especially quickly or alternatively the NHS do run their own , so it is worth checking.
Antenatal classes are a great opportunity for you and your partner to take time each week to focus on the imminent future, the birth of your child and ask any vital questions you may have. Its is also a great opportunity to meet new friends in the area who are also expecting around a similar time.
Get online or on the phone to find out the details and watch the mother-to-be of your child melt in admiration as you tell her you’ve been doing a bit of research into classes.
At The Hospital
At the classes you attend, you and your partner will have discussed the birth plan and you will get to ask the instructor and midwife all the questions ahead of the big day. Be one step ahead and take a peek at our blog all about the important hospital bag hereand what to take.
Being prepared and helpful around the home is top of the agenda at our Just For Dads workshop. We discuss lots of tips that can really make all the difference to you and your partner's life pre and post baby arriving. Trust us when we say you won't have the energy to do certain things in the last trimester so small actions before will be something you will be so grateful for.
Now, the majority of books do tend to be aimed at mothers, however increasingly on the market are some fabulous books we highly recommend to any expectant father and these are our top three...
For fathers looking to others for inspiration whether it be on how to handle being a single father, a father dealing with Postnatel Depression for himself or supporting a partner going through it, there are some incredible father bloggers out on social media to follow that cover everything related to being a father, the highs and the lows.
Teaching children the value of money can start at varying ages and can be taught in many forms. From games and role-play as toddlers all the way to opening a bank account to teach them how to look after their pocket money it is a varying skill that really depends on age combined with parental preference.
Today’s blog we look at what age children can become aware of money, the ways in which we can support learning this all-important skill and provide you with links for encouraging your young ones how to save.
From the moment you take your children into a shop and they see the exchange of money for goods, they have a visual that money has a cause and effect and is something that mummy and daddy use on a regular basis. They will not understand where is comes from or its value but they do have this early awareness, now they even have a visual that using a small plastic card can be used to purchase items in shops and maybe they have started helping pay using contactless.
Role-play of playing shop at home and or nursery can be vital in starting an early and healthy relationship towards money and how we use it and the language that surrounds it and allowing our toddlers to engage, such as helping to pay when out in the shops and restaurants is a fantastic yet simple everyday way they can learn about the use of money and its many forms.
Head to our Pintrest page for our favourite ideas parents and bloggers alike have had revolving around learning about money when you are at home with your toddlers to support this already heightened interest of daily life.
As we’ve mentioned you can easily start just by allowing them to engage with daily shopping and paying when out and about you are already starting to teach them the value of money. But how can we, as they grow start to teach them the value now that they understand its use. Quite often when playing shop if a toddler is the shopkeeper, they will sell you items ranging at prices they have heard but don’t necessarily reflect the actual value of what they are trying to sell.
As they grow older and their vocabulary and understanding increase you can start to teach them that not everything they may like to purchase is affordable or cant be bought all the time and you can start to introduce them to having to look after their own money to show them just how fast or far it can or cant be stretched. Below are the key ways you can start to introduce your children to money and how to look after it for themselves.
A study last year showed that in the UK on average the ages of when pocket money is given to children really vary from family to family and only you as the parents can make this decision together. Whether you decide to reward chores at home with small sums of money or provide a weekly or monthly amount, this is a personal decision you can take and assess based on how much you personally can afford to hand out and how ready your child is for various sums of money.
Head to our Pinterst page for some fellow parents pocket money ideas and charts they’ve created to make it a fun and personal part of their family life. Don’t forget old school piggy banks to encourage putting their spare pennies in to save for a rainy day and head to Amazon to look at the more modern interactive moneyboxes your child may enjoy.
Cashless Pocket Money
Recently for school age children from 11+ you will have started to see and maybe have already looked at pre paid cards that they can use and be responsible for. The lesson at the end, if it runs out it runs out! These money cards, like a debit card mean that a child has to learn the value of money without the visual of cash.
Why do we like these? Well you as parents set the rules via an app as to when and how much money is put onto the card, even rewarding good spending habits and completed tasks that again you have set up at the start. This means your child will get to use an app and the card much like with cash pocket money, to see the benefits of good spending and saving.
When you spend with cash you can see it depleting, where as the impact of a card is delayed and cannot be seen until they are online but cards like these are a great way of supporting these early skills.
Find out more about our favourite pre paid card company here.
Junior Bank Account
Opening a bank account for your 11+ child (or maybe younger again this is all personal preference depending on how you wish to provide pocket money and provide your child access for their money) will be a great opportunity to take them to the bank with you, to see first hand how to open an account and is again and exciting moment for them encouraging a feeling of independence and thoughts of how they can use their account. Now like pre paid cards most high street banks have apps that support bank accounts but they may not provided this for all junior accounts so this is something you need to research.
Pocket money is something that from a young age really can benefit your children in teaching them healthy spending habits that will stay with them for life. With freelance journalists and economists asking for personal finance to be taught in schools of late due to the increasing numbers of people in the UK living with high levels of debt, we promise it can be fun and rewarding for the family as well as a vital skill and life lesson. As parents it is important to set clear boundaries from the start and decide how you wish it to work. For more research to help you decide together, you can listen to this lively debate from the BBC world service here, and look at the research from the Money Advice Service to see the average amount children receive in pocket money and how it's used by other families.
We are all familiar with how quickly children wear out their shoes! It seems only a matter of weeks since you were last dragging everyone en masse to get those feet measured up. On average you need to, until the ages of 5, get your children's feet measured every 6-8 weeks. Recent statistics published in the BBC showed that children are not only wearing the wrong size shoes, but are no longer being taken to shops to get their feet measured full stop. Now at C&L we find this alarmingly worrying. Don't get us wrong, we love the online shop and Amazon Prime is our best friend however when it come to shoes you really need to be going in house and taking a trip to your local shoe shop to get your little ones feet measured as well as walking about in the new shoes. There are so many variables that come into play with shoes from width to design that your child really should try before they buy to make sure they get the best fit for their foot shape.
With a new school year looming we find August either before or after the bank holiday weekend is a great time to get feet measurements done.
So why get them measured so often?
Children's feet tend to grow rapidly in the first four years of their life, but it can take up to 18 years for the foot's bones, muscles and ligaments to harden into adult form. So teenage feet need to be looked after as well as those of smaller children.
According to research, one in 10 parents say their children have continued to wear shoes that are too small for them and only half admit to only buying new shoes when their children complain their feet are hurting.
Podiatry experts say many people neglect their children's feet because they simply don't understand the problems an ill-fitting pair of shoes can cause. Only 40% of parents interviewed as part of the research took into account whether the shoes on their offspring's feet were well fitting and supportive.
At birth, children have cartilage in their feet rather than bone. Bone structure doesn't fully form until between the age of 16 and 18. As a result, children's feet are far more malleable than adult feet, so well-fitting footwear is essential. A properly fitted shoe should support the arch and be unrestricted around the toes, allowing them to splay on contact with the ground, which happens when walking. First shoes should be soft-soled, so the foot has to work a little bit harder to support the child.
The top tips and pointers from the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists are:
Inspect children's feet regularly for inflamed nails.Check for red pressure marks on the top of the small joints of the toes, below the ankle bones and at the back of the heel.Always have your child's feet measured for length and width.Inspect their shoes regularly for unusual wear. Seek professional advice if you are concerned.
There should be no more than a 14mm gap between the big toe and end of a shoe in a new pair of shoes. Anything less than 8mm and it's time to visit the shoe shop and get another pair. When it comes to width, the shoe should be supporting the foot, not squeezing it.
It is worth going to a shoe shop because proper shoe fitters will have undergone specialist training, either through their employer or with the Society of Shoe Fitters.
What parents should also remember is there are variations in shoe sizing due to factors like the place they are made, for example, some countries have a slightly wider fit as standard so it's worth checking beforehand.
Subsequently a child's foot should be measured every time they get new shoes and parents should not rely on the size printed inside the shoe.
Finally, make sure both feet are measured, as one can be larger than the other.
How they are measured?
The NHS have a video that explains how children's feet are measured and what to look for in first shoes here.
You can also measure your little ones feet at home.
Start Rite have a handy paper measure you can download and print to help you measure accurately if you really want to order shoes online. To download click here.
Alternatively you can order a foot size gauge from Clarks here.
Where you can get them measured?
Lots of department stores will measure children's feet such as John lewis. Or our other go to kid's shoe shops are, Clarks, Trotters, Start Rite and Russell and Bromley Kids.
Here at C&L we have recently been working with a lot of clients who have toddlers who are thinking of or are currently going through the transition from a cot to a bed and dropping their afternoon nap. So we decided to bring you lovely readers a whistle stop tour of this transition offering some tips and tricks to help it go as smoothly as possible.
So the time has come to drop that nap. Now that nap midday can be a godsend especially if you are having one of those days where everyone seems to have got out of bed the wrong side and nothing seems to be going right. You finally have a window of 1-2 hours of peace, quiet and tranquility to pop the kettle on and relax (the washing can wait) and suddenly little one is no longer settling as quickly as they use to or even falling asleep at all! You soon realise that the time has come to start getting rid of the nap all together. Now we do hear the other side to these stories where some clients find that their little one is still sleeping fine but with nursery looming and longer days at school means they can no longer have their nap. And some clients find that their little one simply drops it all together naturally. Whichever camp you are in we are here to offer some pearls of wisdom to be one step ahead of an overtired and agitated toddler!
As you can see from the above image from The Sleep Foundation, they suggest that a pre-school aged child (3-5 years) needs around 10-13 hours sleep in a 24 hour period, but it may be appropriate too for them to have around 8-9 hours sleep.
Again this is where we emphasise every child is different and an individual. You will know roughly how many hours your toddler needs to function throughout the day without falling asleep at the drop of a hat. As long as they are getting what you would consider to be a decent amount of sleep at night to focus and have energy throughout the day then stick with that, this is a simple guideline.
Dropping the nap can result in an over tired toddler by 5pm, so what can you do to help combat this meltdown and potentially avoid it all together?
During the first week when you cut out the nap, don't overload the social timetable with lots of activities. Keep things low key and slow so your little one has time to adjust and doesn't get too worn out.Try not to have little one in the buggy or in the car around their usual nap times in case they nod off.Create "quiet time" in place of the nap. Make this a time where you sit down and read books or do a focused quiet activity. From our experience we find boys need to be guided much more and encouraged to stop, sit down and recharge their batteries.
Make sure bed time is prompt and at a clear time so they don't get over tired and find it harder to settle.Moving Into A "Big" Bed
Around a similar time you may find your toddler is also transitioning out of their cot and into a bigger bed. A great tip which we find really helps is if they are sleeping in a grow bag stop using it and start using a pillow and small duvet that will be used when they are finally sleeping in the new bed. This gets the little one use to the new bedding and there won't be much difference when you finally make the transition. We have even had cases where, for a long time the child hasn't even realised they can get out of the bed themselves at all because of this gradual transition!
If you are worried about your little one rolling out of the new bed there are a couple of great clip on barriers that prevent them from going bump in the night. Baby Dando a great white wooden onethat also helps to create the illusion they are still in their cot and cannot get out. Or if you are looking for one you can take travelling easily e.g for when they visit the grandparents Safety 1st have a portable one that folds up quite compact available at Argos. Or for a quick, cheap and easy DIY version to make sure you little one doesn't roll out of bed take a peek at our very own C&L parenting hack video we did for our advent calendar below.
Overall, it is a big change when your little one no longer naps and is sleeping in a bigger bed but it really will add so much more freedom to your day without having it broken up with a midday sleep... we promise!
Our final tip is always plan ahead. Try and preempt things before they happen. Always take baby steps to make the transitions as smooth as possible, whether it is gradually reducing the naps day by day, having an afternoon nap once or twice in the week or changing the bedding in the cot ahead of moving into a big bed, these will all help the toddler adjust smoothly.
With the American tradition becoming ever more popular in the UK we decided to compile our top baby shower gift list. With so much on offer these days it's hard to decipher what is going to be useful and practical and what will sit in the box never o be worn or used!
We are kick starting the gift list with those gifts that useful and will be guaranteed to be used day in day out!
Muslins- These have no end of use for a baby, from play mats, swaddling, providing shade to the intended use of mopping up those feeds. Muslins are so versatile so it can be useful for mum and dad to have a stock pile in a variety of sizes. There are some great colours and patterns on the market now but a particular C&L favourite is aiden and anais who have the sweetest designs and are irresistibly soft!
Sheep Skin Liner- now not your most conventional gift but one that will be greatly received, trust us! Sheep skin keeps baby cool in summer and warm in winter, no buggy should be without one. Mothercare have a great one with cut outs to slide pushchair straps and buckles through for ultimate ease.
Teething ring/toy- Now baby won't normally be cutting their teeth that early but it's always great to get a gift that will be handy in the near future. The classic teething toy at C&L has to be Sophie La Girafeand there are now many variations of this iconic teething toy so be sure to check out the whole range!
Baby Blanket- You can never have too many of these as a parent, to use in the buggy, the cot, the car seat, baby blankets of different sizes and weights are a god send! Cellular blankets (the ones with holes in) are a great buy as they allow the air to flow and stop baby overheating.
*Top tip- although they are super soft it can be best to avoid the expensive hand wash only blankets, the washing pile will have certainly doubled, time would have shortened and a tired mum and dad will be grateful for the blanket they can pop in the wash and dry quickly after baby has had an accident on it (which trust us, will happen at some point).
Sophie La Giraf Teething Toy
Just For Fun
A newborn baby can see colour, but they can't tell the difference between similar tones such as red and orange. Toys that are black and white or high-contrast colours capture baby's attention much more and they love contrasting patterns too such as stripes and checker boards.
Amazon have a great clip on pram book that is reversible for when baby gets older, that have a range of black and white images along with contrasting patterns to capture baby's attention. It is also super versatile so can be popped along side the changing mat to keep baby entertained whilst you do the dirty work!
Getting something personalised is always a nice touch and My 1st Years have a great range of products to suit all budgets and they have a 50% sale on at the moment so now is a great time to shop!
We particularly love their personalised towelsand much like muslins, this is another item that parents can't have too many of. My 1st Years have a small and a large option so if you want to get more longevity in you gift then this is the option for you.
Tracking baby's milestones is always a sweet idea, especially in this day and age of social media when parents want to share a special moment with their loved ones. Not On The High Street have a cute pack of milestone cards that you can take a cute photo with each month along with recording special memories and dates on the back to log and keep forever with the photo. They currently have 20% off so are an absolute bargain!
Cute personalised towel from My 1st Years
Something For Mum
Slippers- Mum is going to be spending much more time in the home in the coming weeks and some comfy slippers will be gratefully received. Not On The High Street have some super cute Sheepskin slippers that will keep feet cool in summer and warm in winter.
Mother To Be & Baby Gift Set- Neal's Yard have a gorgeous natural and organic gift set that caters for both baby and mummy. The set contains a whole array of goodies to help both during and after pregnancy.
Nom Nom Relax Oil- We have been huge fans of Nom Nom Skincare products since the early days of this company. Their natural and organic products are the perfect gifts for mums to be. Sleep is so important for any parent and their relax oil helps soothe and calm during pregnancy and labour. You can even make up your own bespoke gift sets not just for mum but for baby too!
The DIY Hamper of Essentials
Recently C&L have lots of friends who have given birth or whom are due this year and we are big fans of putting together a small hamper of gifts for mummy and baby, tailored to the mum to be that provide a mixture of practical gifts for when baby arrives and luxury TLC for the mum.
Items that are always gratefully received and ideas include:
Nipple Balm - At nearly £10 a pop its not the cheapest staple for mummies to be so getting another box to put in the hospital bag or to place next to their feeding chair will always be well received. Not only great for soothing chapped and sore nipples from feeding, this is a great skin barrier and lip balm too! Dr Lipp is 100% natural and can be used for chapped lips too!
Tasty Treats - Small snack bags are great to give the mum to pop in her hospital bag, we give dried fruits and nut mixes for healthy boosts of natural fats and vitamins but think about what snacks your friend loves to give the hamper a more personal touch.
Travel Size Baby Products - Whether it is so they can decide whether this is the right cream for them or if you already know which cream your parents to be wish to use, aim to buy starter packs where the brand offers nappy creams and products in travel size. These are great for nappy bags to save space and will easily slot into the hospital bag. Burts Bee'sstarter pack is a great example of this.
Breast Pads & Maternity Pants - OK, these do not fall under the luxury section however, in terms of practical useful and TLC for mummy fresh from hospital these are perfect and you can never have enough spares!
Toiletries for the Early Weeks - Dry shampoo, facial wipes, vitamin rich skin creams or serums. A few toiletries that will help mum feel good and get by in those first early weeks are highly recommended and again finding out which brands mummy normally uses really helps add that personal touch.
This is a recent hamper we have made for a mummy to be this week. For inspiration and to help you think of what treats you could fill a hamper with stay tuned to our Instagram stories this week.
You may have seen in the news last week via the Daily Mail, that the fabulous Anna Whitehouse, aka Mother Pukka was at it again last month (in terms of raising awareness of issues faced by the parenting community) in partnership with Mama Mio skincareas part of their I'm Expecting campaignwhich encourages expectant mums to not be afraid to ask someone to give up their seat on public transport. Temperatures reached 77F (25C) in the capital last month and Anna hopped onto London's Underground network wearing a fake baby bump as part of a social experiment on the public's attitudes towards pregnant women.
Relaxing on the dogs cooling mat after facing a very hot commute home, Louise sat and read the article in the Daily Mail, then the results from the survey and her response?... She was relieved! She was delighted to see, “IT’S NOT JUST ME” she shouted to her other half. For the past three months Louise has been wondering if she was just a grumpy hormonal paranoid pregnant woman or was she correct in that she was an annoyance to fellow commuters who pushed past to sit in priority seats once the train pulls in, pushing her out of the way to do so.
Louise commutes on a regular basis from Kent into London via train for clients and workshops, and then usually has to hop on a tube as well. Pre pregnancy Louise will admit she was somewhat naive. You all remember the TFL Travel Kind campaign launched last year, featuring those posters from TFL about being kind and respecting other passengers. Well we used to think, who are they for?! Who wouldn’t give up his or her seat for someone clearly in more need, who wouldn’t move from the priority area for a wheel chair? Turns out, very sadly, the large majority of people.
Louise has a badge and a very prominent bump and if she's honest she looks 5 months pregnant at 3, in-fact at 9 weeks the baby bump had already popped out! But she too is ignored and feels she has to place her hands on her bump to stop elbows and bags going into it at busy times. Louise tries to avoid the rush hour where she can but it is not always possible!
'People are just not connected to what's going on around them'
A main contribution to the lack of awareness and something the article and survey results highlighted was smart phones. Commuters are so consumed in their phones that even when people are wearing a badge they are not seen!
People are so busy bracing themselves to get on the train whilst listening to music or burried in their phones you could be wearing twenty of the badges and they still wouldn’t notice! This is something that commuters admit to in the survey. With only 60 per cent of people believe it’s necessary to give up a seat for pregnant women on public transport and the study also found adults believe you don’t need to offer a mother‐to‐be a seat until she is visibly showing, with three in ten saying so and also many of the commuters in the survey saying they do let their manners slide to one side when commuting.
Now despite many mothers saying they found the first trimester the hardest in terms of nausea, sickness and energy levels due to all of the incredible changes taking place in the body, only two per cent said you should offer up your seat when a woman is within her first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Louise is getting better at asking commuters for a seat, especially when it's been very hot and she can feel that it is a day that she needs to sit down, however does admit to feeling embarrassed and nervous to do so. Apparently she is not alone, with a fifth of expectant mothers admitting to have been too embarrassed to ask for a seat themselves, worried that the person in the priority seat is also in need. One in five expectant mothers saying they are worried about this very issue and so they don’t ask.
After seeing the results from the survey Mamma Mio are launching their #ExpectingChange campaign. They want to provide a platform to discuss public transport etiquette, encouraging people to offer their seats to pregnant women and empowering expectant mums.
For Louise, she is very relieved that she is not alone in thinking the priority system in the UK commuter world could be better for expectant mothers and those less able in general. She has also joined the newly launched campaign to help make a change. She will be starting to voice and share her own experiences on public transport via the C&L social media platforms using the hash tag #ExpectingChange and we urge all you mums out there to do the same. You can find out more about the Mama Mio's campaign and how to be a part of it by heading to their blog here.They are also giving away their own FREE badge when you place any order with them.
Mama Mio's campaign, reading the survey results combined with watching Anna’s video and reading expectant mothers stories via the hashtag has been encouraging for Louise, making her feel more empowered and to put the embarrassment to one side. She now takes charge and doesn't feel guilty for looking after herself and will ask for a seat because now she realises that actually a lot of commuters may not have even realised there is someone who requires the priority seat.
If you have recently discovered you are expecting and will be commuting, it isn’t all doom and gloom, we have had one or two positive experiences and the badge has helped at times, and the days Louise don't wear it she says she instantly regrets it. So do make sure you collect yours by ordering online at the TFL website here. They also have great tips and tricks for when travelling in London which are worth a peak!
Lets hope with the recent survey, the new campaign and TFL combined we can make travelling as an expectant mother as comfortable as possible.
Here at C&L, we always promote good dental care and this month we have an oral health expert, mum and successful businesswoman on the blog.
Dominique Tillen trained as a midwife before studying for a Masters degree and working as a researcher at the Institute of Child Health. Today she is the Founder and Managing Director of Brush-Baby, which produces an innovative range of dental products designed for babies, toddlers and children.
Super-passionate about oral health, Dominque set out to find solutions to the problems that lots of parents encounter – including herself. By drawing on her own personal experience as a mother and with the support of her twin sister, who is a dentist – Dominique has created a business that has become a household name for teething solutions and toothbrushes.
We put the kettle on and had a fascinating chat, we quizzed Dominique about dental health – covering the questions we frequently get asked and she divulged details about the exciting new products that we can expect to see from Brush-Baby soon.
Why did you start Brush-baby?
I started Brush-Baby because my daughter was teething and I couldn’t find a suitable solution in the shops to help keep her gums and little growing teeth clean. Lulu would chew her conventional toothbrush but it wasn’t the ideal solution for her teething. The alternatives I found seemed to be cut-down versions of adult dental products which were not specifically-designed for babies’ small mouths and more sensitive gums. This led me to believe there must be other parents experiencing this problem, so I set about designing a soft, flexible chewable brush that would clean little teeth while massaging and soothing delicate teething gums. That became the first product in Brush-Baby’s range – an ergonomic Chewable Toothbrush, made from soft silicone which capitalised on the chewing action that a small child makes when they’re teething.
Oral health starts long before the presence of teeth, why is it important to look after your baby’s gums?
Cleaning your baby’s gums is important because it reduces the build-up of bacteria and prepares a healthier environment for new baby teeth. It also helps avoid gum infections, inflammation and associated pain during teething.
It’s very important and yet not widely known. I can remember feeding Lulu her bottle and after finishing her bottle she laughed and there were lots of milky deposits stuck on her gums and I thought, oh my goodness am I meant to clean that? But I hadn’t heard any advice about it, so I researched the idea and discovered that and elsewhere in the world parents do clean their baby’s gums. In fact I discovered that there’s a very good scientific rationale behind cleaning baby mouths – but bizarrely it’s not encouraged here in the UK, while in countries such as the USA, China, India and Russia – it’s common practice and has been for years.
I was determined to address this oversight, so we developed a wipe that could be used to clean your baby’s gums. I spoke to a paediatric dentist and she said that the best type of dental wipe you could have is one comprised of Xylitol – a natural sweetener derived from plants, that’s very good for oral health. It would neutralise the pH level, so the mouth is less acid which is good for teeth as well as reducing the number of acid-loving bacteria which destroy teeth.
These characteristics mean that Xylitol is also very good at preventing tooth decay – as a result we’ve continued the beneficial effects of Xylitol in our toothpastes. For maximum oral health, we combined it with Fluoride – and Brush-Baby’s is the only toothpaste available in the UK that does that.
Brushing children’s teeth can sometimes be a battle, how can parents make it fun?
There are lots of things you can try to get your child to brush their teeth and adopt a healthy dental routine. At Brush-Baby we’re always keen to make brushing time as fun as possible, and we offer a free 4-week toothbrushing reward chart with every order and we also sell reward stickers. My advice is to brush your teeth together, young children enjoy emulating their parents and following their older siblings. One of the reasons I introduced our KidzSonic electric toothbrushes is because mum and dad have electric toothbrushes but their children don’t – and they want one too. Also, choose dental products that are fun and designed for kids, and how good the toothpaste tastes can make a lot of difference. Babies and toddlers won’t enjoy the taste of strong mint flavoured toothpaste, at Brush-Baby we match the taste of our toothpaste to children’s developing palate; starting off with a mild Applemint flavour.
There has been a lot in the press recently about the Sugar Tax and how sugary drinks can lead to obesity – but they also cause tooth decay, what should be done about it and what advice do you have for parents?
If you talk about sugary drinks and obesity, in my view you need to also be talking about dental health. The fact that sugar is bad for your teeth was lost in all of that publicity and that’s a shame. I think it’s very difficult to educate people about health, people often look after their teeth because they want to look beautiful, not because they want healthy teeth. So how do we press the right button to get people to do the right thing?
Tooth decay is completely preventable – no child should have decaying teeth. We need to change perceptions and do more to educate parents about starting dental care right from babies, so that by the time they do go to the dentist there’s not a problem. That education needs to be tied up with mums visiting their midwife, health visitors and GPs in those early days and weeks of childbirth. It’s not just about brushing, it’s how to look after your baby’s teething and oral care for babies with no teeth – cleaning gums.
I also think retailers have a huge responsibility for kids oral health – they can influence what people buy, and the government should work with retailers to encourage them to educate their customers at the point-of-sale and sell the right kinds of products that bring real benefits to child dental care.
Things are moving in the right direction. The British Society of Paediatric Dentistry launched a campaign to help tackle dental decay issues among children – ‘Dental Check by One’ aims to educate the UK population about the importance of organising a dental visit for your child by the age of one. And a page about baby oral health has now been added to the ‘Little Red Book’ – which is a great start.
My advice about sugary drinks is don’t have any – drink water, children don’t need sugary drinks. Fruit juices are a big problem, which is a shame because they are healthy and offer lots of vitamins but they also contain lots of natural sugars and are acidic.
What makes your approach to dental health different to other brands?
We provide a wide range of oral care products that are specifically-designed for babies right through until about the age of six, covering the most important time when children’s teeth are developing. The product range starts off with the DentalWipes so parents can provide a nice, clean environment for the new milk teeth coming through. Once in, we have the chewable toothbrush which helps with teething and brushing. Then we have the baby electric toothbrush, BabySonic which is fun to use and has a small brush head so it fits inside their mouth.
For toddlers and children we have manual and also electric toothbrushes that have small heads so you can actually get the toothbrush moved around inside their mouth, and do a proper brushing job. Our competitors’ brush heads are sometimes three times the size of ours. Unique to Brush-Baby, our toothbrushes have deep-clean bristles, a mixed of short and slightly longer tapered bristles, the reason for this is to both clean the surface of the teeth AND get in-between teeth –so that the child can brush and floss at the same time, they’re great for kids who have mixed or crooked teeth and in the UK there are no other brands that offer this.
What does the future hold for Brush-Baby, any exciting new products coming out?
Currently Brush-Baby is available in about 20 different countries and our international sales are growing hugely, so that is great news. We’re about to launch a range of new teethers that will be available later this year. Each one is specifically-designed for a particular stage of teething, we’ve got a teether to help with the front teeth (FrontEaseTM), one for the back teeth called the – MolarMunchTM, and a cooling teether (Cool&CalmTM)– to help those suffering with hot little gums, and two with bristles to help clean gums while your toddler is chewing (EASYTEETHERTM). Cleaning gums during teething is really important because as the new molars come through, it’s important to keep the gums clean and free of bacteria that could cause an infection, so your child doesn’t then suffer with teething pain.
Finally, this summer we’re launching the Go-Kidz travel electric toothbrush that is smaller and comes with a lid, perfect for going on holiday or having sleepovers.
It’s an exciting time – we’re approaching our 10th birthday and I’m really delighted with what we’ve achieved and I’m looking forward to the future ahead.
To find out more about Brush-Baby you can visit their website www.brushbaby.co.uk and their products are available there, on Amazon and in all major supermarkets and shops such as Boots, Superdrug and Mothercare.
Now we are not ones to grumble here at C&L and fully welcome this recent wave of 30 degree heat in the UK, however we have had an abundance of parents asking how to keep their little ones cool and happy during this time as little ones are struggling to sleep and are getting hot and agitated which result in hot and exhausted parents!
So here are a couple of easy peasy tips and ideas along with some great product recommendations to help see you through our glorious summer weather...
Number One Fan
A fan is one of the first things that for humid nights where little one will be restless, you can create a soft breeze that helps prevent them becoming too hot in their sleep. We are aware that having fans in your baby's room with blades isn't the safest of items however, there are so many on the market now that are bladeless so not only safer but actually more efficient at blowing cold air around your baby's room rather than cold air.
Whether you put your baby to sleep in a sleeping bag, a toddler in a duvet or baby in layers of blankets, as soon as the weather becomes warmer check that the tog you have selected and number of layers you have chosen is the appropriate tog and number for the weather. With sleeping bags it really can vary brand to brand on which of their togs is the lightest for summer and heaviest for winter. Which ever brand you use, they will have a chart on their website that shows what sleeping sack tog will go with which item of clothing for baby.
To be honest on super hot nights, a nappy with nappy cover or vest and pants is enough to keep them comfortable as they will likely kick of blankets and layers to keep themselves cool, and try not to worry about them getting cold as it is much harder for a baby to regulate their temperature when they get hot.
Keeping Home Cool
During a heat wave it is so tempting to throw open the blinds and curtains as normal to enjoy the hot sunny days when really what is incredibly simple but helpful at helping the house cool is to keep bllnds down and windows closed all over the house to help keep the sun out and prevent it warming up over the course of the day.
Car seat buckles are metal and in the sun they get very hot and there are cases of children getting burnt when they have be been placed in their seat. On very hot days, about 20 minutes before you travel look at getting the car switched on and the air circulating before you get baby to sit in the car. If possible, although we know they take up space, if the seats can be taken out, instead of leaving them in the car take them out when you get home so you know they've been kept in the cool and pop them in the car when needed.
Similar to how to keep the house cool, if you haven't already, look at purchasing window blindsand a windscreen cover to block out the sun and prevent it heating up over the course of the day when parking in the shade is not available. The blinds for the back of the car seats are great for keeping shade on children and car seats.
Spare water, playmats and the usual checks for what is stored in the basket of your pram need to be made before heading out, but now it is a heatwave and baby or toddler will still be sleeping in the pram on days out you need to check you have the right equipment to keep them safe and comfortable. There are several brands of snooze covers available for the buggy you can get to place over your pram or pushchair to cover baby whilst they sleep without making it to hot and dangerous for them whilst also keeping off the sun. We both have used and recommend the SnoozeShade Original Universal Baby Sunshade as it has high UV protection, has a handy zip at the front to peek in and check on baby and keeps airflowing.
Food provided to children can really help keep them keep cool whilst still providing lots of nutrition so here are some summer ideas!
Frozen fruit lollies, homemade ice cream and cold main meals such as pasta salads, wraps, sandwiches will keep them filled up but also nice and cool.
For picnics make sure that you have handy ice packs in the freezer to help keep food nice and chilled and look at water beakers that are stainless steel which especially, if kept in the fridge, help keeps the water cooler for longer, such as this beaker from
Check that your nappy bag is packed for the heat wave. From a travel size version of the sun cream of choice you want to use on your child ready for regular top-ups, to water sprays to apply to your child's face to keep them cool before heading out and about. Make sure you have a few extras with you to help keep your little one comfortable.
- Check the change of clothes is weather appropriate including a spare hat
- Travel spray bottle filled with water, that you can then spritz over baby and child to keep them cool
- Botte of water
- Sun cream
*Top tip. The spare water can be used to drink or used to wet baby or toddlers hat or t-shirt to help keep them cool (as water evaporates it has a cooling effect on the body) if they are starting to get hot.
Here is a list of sensory play ideas to help keep children of all ages lovely and cool during the day that are inexpensive and cover all age groups.
Set up first thing in the morning or during nap time and remember where you can - set up the activities in the shade or create cover so that they are not in direct sunlight particularly during the hours of 12-3pm.
Sensory play with ice cubes in a tray
Water toys in a tray
Making fruit lollypops
For more hot day activity ideas head to our Pinterest Page to follow our board for inspiration and summer hacks.
So enjoy the sunshine, but be sensible. Apply sun creams regularly, keep out of direct sunlight and plan ahead and hopefully all of the family will enjoy the heatwave comfortably and safely!
The Nappy Bag; Much like with people it’s not what the bag looks like but what it contains that is important! The small essentials you keep in there are vital in surviving the early days, months and if we are honest.... years of looking after your smalls.
We wont be showing you the latest bags or our top 'styles', what bag you select is a very personal preference and hence why there are so many on the market - so if your looking for bag styles and brands then today we aren't your ladies, but if you have bought the bag and are getting ready to fill it for the first time, then get a cup of tea, find five minutes and enjoy!
We highlight the essential items to pack in your bag and what to have on hand at all times, as a colleague once said, "it's better to be looking at it than for it".
Again this might seem obvious, of course you will need your selected creams for when changing their nappy. However what you may have already found when you have discovered which barrier and rash cream you love and works on your baby, is brands don't always do travel size versions that fit into an already full bag and saving space and weight is ideal. So for your nappy wallet or section where you have put the nappies and bags, purchase a pack of reusable travel pots. Then fill them with your favourite baby balm, then another with the nappy rash cream of choice and even a tube of moisturiser if your baby has dry skin or excema. This means your larger pots can stay at home, whilst also reducing bulk in the bag. For summer days, the travel spray pots that come with many sets are great for putting water into as a refreshing face and body spray to help cool hot sticky babes and tots too.
A Change Mat
Note that not all bags come with a portable change mat so you will need to check this when you make your bag purchase. So whether you opt for disposable change mats or a fabric cam cam mat these are the first staple that mean you can lay baby any where for a change knowing its clean.
Whether in spray or gel form this is for both you and smalls that have started to engage with the outside world and started to grab anything and everything or crawl over the floor, we really cant emphsise how useful this is to keep germs at bay!
Bacterial surface wipes are perfect to clean tables at cafes or restaurants you’re a little dubious of and if we are honest we rarely come across highchairs in restaurants that are clean so again to keep germs at bay and to give a quick wipe to fallen toys or dummies. A small pack of anti-bacterial wipes will always be needed. For travel we even suggest having them in the car in case any one is sick on route.
Change of Clothes
This may seem obvious. But always keep a change of clothes in a separate bag inside your nappy bag and think full change of clothes and outfit, not just one layer. You will be amazed at how quickly a leaky nappy can seep through layers or run down to even the socks! Whether you store them in a zip lock bag or a small pouch, the separation will mean that they are nice and clean for when required and then can be used to place the dirty clothes in.
* Top tip- remember to check the clothing regularly and update according to weather and as baby grows and changes size.
First Aid Kit
There are so many fantastic brands that now do mini first aid kits that will slot nicely into any brand of nappy bag. Head to our Pinterest page to see some of our favourites. Now note that we sometimes pop a few extras into the bags just to cover all scenarios, as the first aid kits wont tend to have them.
Electrolytes. If sickness and diarrhoea strikes your little one and you're away travelling these are perfect to help re-hydrate and save you trying to make a sugar and salt solution in the middle of the night or when your staying at a hotel and resources are limited.
Teething water. If you have a baby, teething salt sachets or water capsules are also a good thing to keep on hand and to pop one or two into the first aid kit.
Travel sachets of medicines. Children’s ibuprofen or paracetamol we wouldn’t advocate for every day use but we do recommend putting one or two of the travel sachets into their first aid bag so that if a sudden fever or severe illness strikes you have something to hand.
Bite & Sting relief cream. We can guarantee from first hand experience that the time you actually need a dock leave is when you cannot see any anywhere and that very British knowledge is deemed pointless and the crying toddler doesn’t want to help find one. So much easier to have a bite and sting relief cream at the ready to save you foraging!
Arnica Cream. If little ones has a bump or fall this homeopathic cream is amazing for bringing out all the bruising to aid a speedy recovery.
Travel Cards / Membership Cards
It is really easy to just pop oyster cards, museum membership tickets in your bag and then forget to transfer them to the nappy bag so we have always found it easier to keep all travel cards and membership documents together in one wallet that stays in the nappy bag. This means that when you're out and about to get on the bus, you know where the oyster card is and saves you having to remember to transfer them over from one bag to another, it's much easier to keep them in one place.
Things To Do
It can be amazing how all of a sudden you are delayed in reaching your destination or suddenly plans change - such is life! So we always recommend you look at having a few small things or a busy bag for the older ones to keep baby or toddler entertained incase of these unexpected delays. Click on the image to see which superstore party bag fillers we often use to pop into the nappy bag.
Bubbles. Available nearly every where, small affordable and all ages love them
Stickers. Cheap, easy, fun and flat pack
Small packet of crayons
Small baby toy they haven't seen. Something they haven't seen before or in a while is more likely to gauge their attention for a bit longer so try to keep some small baby toys to the side that fit into the bag without taking up to much space.
A baby purse. This is one of our favourites and versions can be found here on our
Simply take an old or cheap purse you don't use and fill it with loyalty cards, paper and plastic, old membership cards, even fake money if the little one is old enough and when they are bored and frustrated pass over what is almost an illicit item and say hello to at least five minutes peace!
The weather has slowly but surely been improving over the past few weeks and whether you are going away or staying in the UK it important to make sure your little ones have the appropriate protection on their skin.
Choosing the right sun cream for your little one can be an absolute minefield! With so many brands and types available where do you start?
Today's post will help you immediately identify the right choice for your child/ren, that will give the best protection and what to look out for when reading the packaging.
First and foremost it is important to remember that sun cream alone will not protect your child from the sun. Make sure they are in suitable clothing and spend time in the shade, especially when the sun is at it's hottest between 11am and 3pm. Babies under six months should be kept out of direct sunlight all together.
When buying sun cream the main two things to look out for are the SPF protection factor and if it protects against UVA and UVB rays. This will be clearly written/displayed on the packaging and is sometimes called broad spectrum protection.
The SPF is the one we tend to all look out for and recognise as this is the level of protection we have against the UVB rays (these are the sun rays that will burn our skin). Choose an SPF between 30-50. SPF 30-50 will block approximately 97- 98 percent of UVB rays.
But the UVA rating is equally important and these UVA rays can cause permanent skin damage!
Now a lot of you may have seen recently, news surrounding the UVA protection level and been told "to look for the five star rating". To make things clear this star rating system is is not an internationally recognised standard for sun protection, it is a system created by Boots and can be found on their own range Soltan sun cream. Which has led to confusion when people are attempting to buy sun cream in other shops and are looking for this indication. Therefore other brands not produced by Boots won't necessarily display this star rating. However brands that are stocked by Boots will be able to give you an indication as to what star level their UVA protection is but won't always have it printed on the packaging. The EU have a bottom level requirement for UVA protection and companies must comply with this.
We have spoken to many sun cream companies and they are more than happy to give an insight into their UVA rating if you contact them directly, which is exactly what we did for the brands listed below.
*TOP TIP Avoid the sprays and go for the creams so you can ensure you hare applying enough protection*
Here are some of our go to brands that offer great protection:
It is always best to use a fragrance free sun cream for sensitive skin.
*NOTE Mineral sun creams with sit on top of the skin and block rays, chemical creams will absorb into the skin*
We would also say to parents to buy new sun cream every year, it's easy to miss if it has gone past it's expiry date and this will impact the level of protection.
A lot of brands do smaller containers which make them ideal to pop in the nappy bag and have on hand as we all know the weather in England can change at any moment, and yes you can still burn on a cloudy day, so best to always be prepared!
Sun cream should be applied liberally and to all exposed skin, don't forget to apply it to their shoulders, nose, ears, cheeks, and the tops of their feet, Cancer Research recommends that two tablespoons of sun cream is applied every 2 hours. When applying sun cream make sure to read the manufacturer's guidelines too and make sure to apply it straight after your little ones have been in water – even if it's "water resistant" – and after towel drying, sweating, or when it may have rubbed off.
Be especially careful to protect your child's shoulders and the back of their neck when they're playing, as these are the most common areas for sunburn. Cover your child up in loose cotton clothes, such as an oversized T-shirt with sleeves.
So there we have it, sun cream in a whistle stop tour! Now go and enjoy that vitamin D safe in knowledge your child is suitably protected.