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What do I pack in my labour bag for the hospital?

labour bag 1Don’t panic. Preparation is key and we’re here to guide you through everything you need…and some things you don’t really need. It all starts with one of the most basic aspects of labour that some women forget about; always remember that your birthing partner will be with you along the way. This means, they will need to know where absolutely everything is in your labour bag – there’s nothing more irritating when you’re trying to give birth than having someone shouting back ‘where is it?!’ in your ear the whole time! Now we’ve taken care of that, here’s a list of a bunch of things that are either necessities or little extras to make your hospital visit as comfortable as it can be. Self-maintenance: It may seem like the last thing on your list, but when you’re in the hospital and going through labour, comfort will be all you think about. Dry lips, greasy hair and sweat dripping down you will collectively be the last things you will need – if you can prevent this discomfort with no extra effort, then why not? Dry shampoo Lip balm/Vaseline Hair ties and bobby pins Hand fan for a hot summer birth – no woman in labour wants to sweat any more than they have to! Attire: Yes, we’re singing the comfort song again! All of the below will aid you with dealing with the hospital environment, so instead of using their harsh towels and showering with bare feet, you can have little pieces of home with you. The biggest part however, is your underwear; you have to think about every situation, and if a C-section occurs, be prepared with appropriate clothing that won’t irritate the affected area. Flip flops Cosy fluffy socks Towel Leggings/joggers/top/jumper – All loose fitting and high waisted so they won’t dig into scars. Spare underwear – The granny kind, not the pretty kind! And of course, a lot of them! Self-hygiene Let’s be frank, you won’t be feeling your best. You’ll feel a bit disgusting, a bit smelly and (a lot of blogs won’t tell you this) it will be as if those 9 months’ worth of periods will have all come in one go! Here’s how to deal with it: Travel size toiletries – body wash/shampoo/conditioner/moisturiser. Maternity pads and a lot of them…seriously, we mean a lot. Tooth brush tooth paste. Hand sanitizer to keep at your bedside. Food & Drink Comfort food is a woman’s best friend. Chocolate is also a woman’s best friend. Food – Your favourite comfort food for post labour and late night feeds if you stay for long. Mineral water – There’s nothing worse than warm hospital water. A lot of mums take to freezing their water so it remains cold for a long period of time. Tea – We all know hospital tea bags aren’t the best, to say the least. Baby’s Attire You won’t know exactly what to expect from your newborn so you need to be as prepared as you can be! Pack more than what you anticipate you will need because it is better to be safer than sorry. Baby grows and vests – Lots of them as baby may vomit up mucus frequently at the beginning. Mittens Baby wipes - A lot of them! Socks Swaddle blankets – More than one so you can keep baby tightly wrapped up and snug. Breast Care Breast feeding can be painful and when it’s your first time, you need to have the necessary aids to hand to make it easier for you. Breast pads Nipple cream Nipple shields Electronics & Accessories These are definitely things everyone may forget. Often labour bags are overshadowed by the above but it’s important to give yourself and your birthing partner constructive activities to burn time if labour takes a while. Phone charger – So your phone is ready to go for pictures, calls and any emergencies. Hands free set – Great for talking to the 101 calls you will be receiving while you’re holding baby. Headphones – Ideal for blocking out hospital noise for some easy shut eye. Entertainment – Either a book or tablet to keep you company if you have to stay for long.
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What should I look for when checking my baby’s temperature?

Let’s get back to basics. When you take a temperature, you are trying to measure how hot your child is inside their body. This is called their “core temperature”. To do this, you want to measure the temperature in places that are closest to the inside temperature.  These include you measuring the temperature inside the mouth (oral), under the arm (axillary), or in their outer ear canal (tympanic). In hospital temperatures are sometimes measured in the bottom (rectal). The latter is the least appealing amongst mothers and understandably so, however professionals do recommend you do not measure your child's rectal temperature at home. The temperature inside your child’s body that you want to see is around 37 degrees Celsius. Your child’s brain helps control their core temperature and to keep it around that level. After 3 months of age, their body temperature changes with a daily rhythm - rising to 37.3 toward the end of daytime, before dropping to 36.8 shortly after going to sleep at night and then slowly coming up to about 37 in the morning. New babies are not as good at controlling their temperature as older children, so when their temperatures fluctuate it’s always good to keep an eye. There is usually a fever when the temperature is more than 38 degrees Celsius. A fever by itself does not indicate whether your child is seriously sick or not. If you have serious worry or your child’s temperature is abnormally high, we recommend you take your little one to the doctors straight away. Waste no time in making sure your child is safe.
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Do you read to your baby? You will after this

imagesECYC3N0OIt’s something a vast majority of us are guilty of – we don’t read enough. It’s far too easy to find yourself engrossed in an article on your smartphone and a heck of a lot more convenient to sit your little one down on a tablet while you wind-down. As easy as this is, it shouldn’t become a habit. Reading to your children is more significant than you will ever know and only a shocking 48% of children are read to every day.

Reading to any child is significant to instil a good work ethic, but it is especially necessary in children who perhaps don’t excel in communication with others; reading can act as a form of escapism for them and could lead to a love of literature. I know that when I was a child I hated English…until I read my first book, then I never looked back. As March is Read Aloud month, there is a national challenge given to parents all over to read aloud to their children for just 15 minutes a day. The non-profit Read Aloud are dedicated to make it the new standard in child care to read to kids for those few minutes…will you be taking part?
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How do I cut my newborn’s nails?

Newborn_fingernails_BRAND-P_ENHaving a delicate newborn makes it hard to make the reflex decisions you make with yourself; if you have a long, jagged nail, you simply whip out the nail cutter and cut away, things aren’t as easy with a newbie. It is always a good idea to keep your newborn’s nails short; even though they are soft, they can still scratch your baby's skin. One of the easiest ways to shorten you baby’s nails is simply by peeling the excess away gently. Another approach some mothers opt for is to gently suck your newborn’s nail and you will notice how it easily comes away. However, as easy as this method seems, it isn’t always recommended as the bacteria in your mouth could cause an infection. Now, if you don’t want to risk either of the above and want to opt for a full-proof approach, just fetch an emery board and gently file your baby’s nails, and because the nails are so soft, the surplus will easily file away with minimal risk! Of course, there are mothers who won’t want to risk any of the above, and for you lovely mummies we recommend (if the weather allows it) that you pop mittens on your baby’s hands to avoid any itching or irritation. It may be the case that your child gets annoyed by them initially, but give them a chance and they should soon adjust. If baby doesn’t get used to them after a while, it may be best to remove them all together – a calm baby is a happy baby! As for your baby’s toenails, they are less likely to grow as fast as fingernails (as is the case with older children and adults) so they shouldn’t take too much maintenance.

Things to look out for:

  • When filing or cutting their fingernails, always file in the shape of the natural curve to put ingrown nails at bay.
  • If you do cut the toenails, ensure they are cut or filed in a straight line to avoid any ingrown toenails.
  • Don’t trim too low on their nails as you may not be able to tell which bit of the nail is still attached to the quick. If you cut too low, the finger will bleed, become sore and will be at the risk of infection.
  • Two hands are better than one: get someone to help you control baby's wriggly arms and legs while you cut or file them.
  • If you do nip baby’s skin, don’t panic. Simply hold a piece of clean and damp cotton wool against the fingertip with a little bit of pressure: this will stop the bleeding.
  • Avoid using a plaster on your baby as this could be a choking risk.
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What to have in your baby’s changing bag

A043540-City black - lifestyle800When you’re a new mum, leaving the house with your little one can be one anxiety packed journey. But don’t you worry, it’s completely normal. There are a few things that are a necessity whilst on the go and others that are precautionary; there’s nothing worse than feeling ‘trapped’ with your little one. If you want to stay out at a friends house a little longer, head out for a meal or even get stuck somewhere, it’s always good to be prepared.

 Here’s a list of the must haves and extras – you can never be too well prepared!

  • wipesMilton antibacterial wipes – great for multipurpose use like dropped soothers, changing tables, cutlery etc.

  • Nappies & nappy bags – obvious reasons of course

  • Muslin – brilliant investment to use as a bib, cloth, changing mat over layer and anything your hear desires

  • A change of clothes and a spare vest – for any accidents or messiness

  • 4 nappies- you never know when ti will strike

  • Sun hat - depending on that time of year, it’s always best to be prepared

  • Bottle with extra teat just in case- self-sterilising bottles are a great option

  • Soft silicone tipped spoon & a jar of food

  • DEF_UC4A2308Teething gel – if required

  • Calpol satchels – in an emergency it is best to be safe than sorry

  • Soother with sterilising box

  • Toy to keep baby occupied

  • Sleepsuit just in case you are out later than intended

  • Nipple cream and breast pads for breastfeeding

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Disney as told by Emoji: The Frozen edition.

Yes, this is a thing. We aren't entirely sure why, but it's here and Frozen is its first victim. Disney will be releasing a series called "Disney As Told By Emoji", where they retell Disney classics in text speak, using lock screens, galleries, text threads and of course, emoji's as the illustrations! Who saw this coming, eh?

frozen emojiWe have to hand it to Disney, however, it's quite a clever way to engage little ones who just can't keep their hands off of their mummy's phone! Children will engage with both the classic Frozen songs like "Let It Go" and "Do you Wanna Build A Snowman", as well as the sound effects they hear on smartphones. As mentioned, Frozen is the first to fall victim to this "Disney As Told By Emoji" series; still to come our way there is Tangled, The Lion King and our friend, Winnie The Pooh!

Show your kids and let us know their reactions: Love it? Hate it? Don't get it? We want to know!

Hashtag #BabycityUK on twitter

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So, what exactly is a Muslin?

muslinWhen you find out you're pregnant and you're inevitably doing your mad dose of research, words pop up every now and then which you can do nothing but...stare at. What the heck is a Muslin? Is that a spelling mistake? Who is that? All fair questions. I first thought that when I saw the M word, too. But honestly, it will probably be the best, most used and possibly the grossest item you will ever purchase. Rather than talking you through paragraph by paragraph, here's a short list of pretty much everything you can gain our of a trusty muslin cloth:

Great for Mop-ups

Great for covering your shoulder when burping

Work brilliantly as a comforter for your baby

When feeding, place under baby's chin to catch and drips and dripples

As grim as it may sound, they absorb pee exquisitely.

Handy for covering while breast feeding

Use as a cover on top of your baby's moses basket etc - avoid constant sheet changing

Great at mopping up sick (grim and exquisite as ever)

An easy and light way tp cover any cold changing mats and tables

A sunshade for the car or the buggy

And the list can well and truly go on! Remember, being a mum is all about practicality and a muslin really can be your best friend forever. You'll buy a lot of junk at the beginning but make sure that a muslin is at the top of that list!

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Cute or Creepy? 3D models of your unborn babies sonogram?!

image004Okay, so something incredible (or creepy) has happened in the world of ultrasound scans. We know the days of a meek monochrome scan of your 2D peanut are slowly phasing out and are being replaced by the blurry, distorted and cloudy photographs where you can see skin, nails and wrinkles. But low and behold, technology has taken it miles away from what a simple ultrasound visit once was. Now, thanks to a company in Estonia, you can easily (and most likely, expensively) get 3D prints of your little ones ultrasound. The process itself seems straightforward: you need to have your ultrasound between 28 to 32 weeks as this is the optimal stage when your baby will begin to gain some padding and cells around their bones and the simply send that ultrasound files to Wolfprint. looteNow, of course you will have to make sure you provide them with some high quality, clear images of the face – this will prevent you from receiving an inconclusive ball of plaster! If on the day, you can’t get the image as clear as you need, be sure to ask the company who are doing your scan about your options and how they can achieve the clearest of visuals. Of course, for this, going private would be your best option as with the NHS, you would need to have a concrete medical reason to have a scan at this stage of pregnancy. Of course there is a really sweet element to the whole concept; the idea that a visually impaired mother can feel her child’s features and face before birth; so she too, can experience a sonogram and feel as if she has seen her child. Take a look at a few examples and photos from the Wolfprint website and decide for yourselves!ce8q1909-112weeksssample23d-voluson-e8
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Should i wake up my sleeping baby for a feed?

imagesThe mere idea of waking up a newborn baby in the middle of the night or during a nap may seem like a crazy, daredevil stunt, but trust in us when we say; you will have to do this at the beginning. Here’s why: Babies lose around 10% of their birth weight soon after being born, so even just a few days after being born (and being weighed for the first time), his weight will be below his centile. This is usually the case for around 2 weeks. Until your little one is back up to the weight he should be (according to the centile graph), he should go no longer than 4 hours between feeds and you should wake him up if necessary – newborns need anything from 8 to 12 feeds a day! You may also need to wake your newborn from daytime naps if they (luckily enough) tend to exceed 3 hour naps. But once this period is over and your child has regained the lost weight and gained weight appropriately, it is then time for you to look at establishing a better day and night routine to encourage your little one to sleep for longer periods during the night. But this is not just for the obvious benefits to your child, feeding your little one regularly also helps you to establish your milk supply if breastfeeding. To establish breastfeeding and minimise the risk of breastfeeding complications, feeding at least every 3 hours during the day and every 4 hours during the night for the first 2-3 weeks is the ideal. If you are bottle feeding you should still wake your newborn for a feed until she is following her centile and always follow the instructions on how much formula milk to give (always check instructions on the packet).
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10% off Weaning Essentials for a Flipping Fantastic Pancake Day!

pancake                   Pancake Day is coming up, and what better way to celebrate than whipping up a yummy, fluffy pancake with your little one. Not only are pancakes good (if slightly messy) fun to make with your children, they are a great finger food too. Our weaning essentials will ensure you have a flipping great Pancake Day, and with 10% off all weaning essentials for 48 hours, you can call yourself the Nigella of weaning! Use code PANCAKE at checkout to receive your discount. Need some pancake inspiration? Here’s a versatile recipe by the queen of weaning- Annabel Karmel. Ingredients • 100g plain flour • A generous pinch of salt • 2 eggs • 300 ml milk • 50g melted butter Method • Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs. • Use a balloon whisk to incorporate the eggs into the flour and gradually whisk in the milk until just smooth. • Brush a heavy based 15 -18cm/6-7 inch frying pan with melted butter, and when hot, pour in about 2 tablespoons of the batter. • Quickly tilt the pan from side to side to form a thin layer of batter and cook for 1 minute. • Flip the pancake over with a spatula and cook until the underside is slightly golden. • Continue with the rest of the batter, brushing the pan with melted butter when necessary.
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