Sunday, 17 February 2013

What you need to buy for a newborn-from a real parent

What you really need in the first months of a newborns life-from a parent who has been there (and isn’t trying to sell you something!)

Some of the items I have suggested were essentials for us; you might find that some of these items are not as high priority for you. Anything you don’t prioritize can be picked up in the sales; just create a list of the non-essentials and hold tight for a bargain or three.

The journey to parenthood is exciting and EXPENSIVE. There I’ve said the dreaded word. Truth is every store that sells baby stuff is fighting for your attention and your wallet. Everyone wants a slice of the baby pound. They put up glossy pictures of happy families and show you a world of magical fairytales where babies gurgle all day and hardly need to be burped, fed or changed. It’s sadly all marketing gimmick and it’s all so you part from your hard earned cash.

A while ago I wrote an article of buying pre-loved items. I understand that in today’s recession climate a lot of parents are making cut backs and it’s fully acceptable to go down the route of purchasing pre-loved if you know how to find bargains and possibly be a dab hand with a paintbrush. But for those of you who have budgeted over the years and wish to spend your hard earned cash on new items then this blog entry is for you. Enjoy and please let others know about so we can assist other parents too.

What do you really need for a newborn?
I've left out the everyday items you will be buying every month such as nappies, wipes etc. I'll create a list of the everyday essentials in another blog post.

Shops will have you believe you need anything and everything with bells and whistles; fortunately that’s not the case. A newborn needs to feel loved and secure more than anything else. Here is a rundown of what you will genuinely need for your bundle of joy:

A car seat-my local Hospital won’t allow a baby to be discharged without their being a car seat present and in working order. If you do not have a car then you will need to borrow a car seat. Ask friends and family. Safety is paramount.

Somewhere safe for them to sleep:
Usually this is a Moses basket. My current favourite is a dark wicker one seen on eBay (new) for around £60.00 including stand. A designer or High Street ‘labeled version will easily set you back DOUBLE that price. Is it worth it? I’ll leave that decision down to you as it’s your money.

Other alternatives are a crib (which can be bought on the High street for under £100.00).

Both Moses Baskets and Cribs are only suitable until your baby is able to sit up. At this stage it becomes dangerous to use them in case of falls. At this stage in a child’s life they move onto a cot. But that’s at least 6 months down the line.

You will also need a mattress and bedding;
Never buy a second hand mattress. Look online for mattresses-we bought ours online and saved £40.00 on the price that was on the high street. It’s always worth looking around. Always buy from a reputable seller. If you do use a website like eBay use Paypal to pay and check their feedback before buying anything. Be safe.

Sleeping bag:These are great for little ones. Always check the recommended weight on the packaging-generally speaking most Sleeping bags/Sacs are not recommended for newborns. You usually have to wait a few weeks until baby meets the weight requirement to use these. These are great. There’s no problems with blankets becoming loose during the night. Available in different ‘togs’ for summer and winter months.

Changing Bag:Taking a baby out involves military like precession planning. There’s bottles, formula, nappies, wipes...the list is quite long. What you will need is a bag to carry all your must haves in. Bags vary from a standard one for around £30.00. A ‘posh’ bag can cost anywhere from around £80.00 upwards.

Swaddle cloths:If you are lucky like me and come across very helpful Midwives they will share many pearls of wisdom with you; including this babies love to be swaddled. Basically it’s like wrapping a burrito. Babies have been cocooned for the past 9 months and startle easily (via their own limbs!). If they are ‘wrapped up’ they feel happier. You can buy purpose made swaddle cloths or you can make one. Or you can learn to swaddle with a standard blanket via tutorials on YouTube. The possibilities are endless.

If you plan to bottle feed (or express milk to allow your partner to share the feeding load) you will need the following:

  • Bottles

  • Teats

  • Sterilizer (old fashioned ones with water, microwave systems or steam ones-you decide which works for you)

  • Sterilizer fluid or tablets

  • Muslin squares/alternatives. These are great for protecting your clothes from sick and milk spills. Don’t say I didn’t warn you; it comes with a part of the newborn package.

  • Bottle brush (to clean the bottles)

  • Breast pump (if you are planning to express milk)

  • Cleaning fluid-your usual dish cleaning fluid is acceptable

I purchased all of the above items from a Superstore (Asda) during their Baby Event as they worked out much cheaper than Mothercare. Gosh will I be hated forever for saying that in a public place?! But it’s about value for money and that’s what I got. Shop around, look at reviews and decide which system works for you. Just because a certain brand worked for your niece it doesn’t mean it will work for you so be wise and get to grips with bottles and so forth whilst you have the time.

A means of transport-a Pushchair. Now this is a minefield for any first time parent. You go into a store and you are greeted with a simple system for under £300.00 and then you see the Rolls Royce of Pushchair’s for £800.00. Ridiculous money in my opinion but if that’s what floats your boat go for it. I suggest you consider the following

  • Does it fit into your budget?

  • Is it easy to operate/open/close?

  • How much space will this pushchair take up in your car boot (trunk)?

  • How long will this pushchair last you practically before you need to move onto a stroller?

  • If you plan to have more babies soon can this system be transformed (via accessories and additional seat) to accommodate others?

  • If you plan to reuse the Pushchair is it in a neutral color?

Some online stores offer ‘slightly seconds’ which means the Pushchair is safe to use but may have loose stitches or another issues that effect appearance slightly. If you are happy to take a slightly seconds model you can save a fortune-I’ve been there. We bought a second pushchair for our little one and paid under £70.00 for it as it was classed as a ‘seconds’ item. The new version was £120.00. To this day I’ve not been able to find the fault and we’ve been using it for 2 years.

Projector/Mobiles to go above crib
Projectors are meant to give a display of color and music that should lull a child into sleep. Sadly these didn’t work for us. They may work for you. Have a look around for one that suits your needs.

As for a mobile, the theory is they entertain a little one with the colorfulness and again help a child to sleep (they make be dizzy but then I’m not a newborn). It’s basically the similar theory to a Projector. We had one and yes you’ve guessed it; another failure for us.

In all seriousness your newborn doesn’t need lavish outfits. I know it’s easier said then done but resisting the urge to buy fussy outfits will save you money in the long run. Save that money and invest in outfits for an older age. If you do purchase clothes in an older size my suggestion is to not buy too many as clothes don’t just go off age of child, they also go off weight too which isn’t easy to predict.
Outer ware- such a pram suit. We’ve all seen them-the suits that look like a teddy bear/polar bear or similar cuddly object. You need to get one that will keep your little one safe from the elements. Consider the season too. One outfit should be enough for you; unless your baby is sick a lot in this case you may wish to invest in another suit as backup.

Toys and Books
Truthfully your baby won’t be up for playing with toys for the first few months of their life. Yes they will ‘follow’ colorful items around the room. If you wish to invest in a few toys soft toys such as rattles, high contrast toys (try Lamaze) and a couple of soft books should be enough.

As for story books; reading to a child at any age is enjoyable. My little one has only recently started to choose her own book and ask for it to be read but I’ve been reading to her for a while now.

Toy Gym/Floor Mat/Baby Nests
These are worth the investment. Babies love to lie down and stare up at objects above them. Babies spend a lot of time lying down, so you need to look at things to keeping baby occupied and comfortable for their first few months of their lives.

Have a look around and find something that appeals to you and is multi purpose that will last at least a few months.

Baby Bath tub (with stand if possible). Babies need to be cleaned. ‘Topping and tailing’ is acceptable as a form of cleaning but the reality is newborns need a bath too. For topping and tailing you'll need a bowl. Most stores do a nice bowl which contains a bowl for water and area for cotton buds etc. 
You can find various designed bath tubs. From those which have a built in additional support to ‘prop’ baby up (which you support baby too) to a basic bucket design. There’s also a ‘bath support’ appliance available which supports your little one whilst they are in a bigger tub. If you plan to use your family tub for your newborn I suggest you invest in a Bath Dam (I’ve reviewed it previously). A stand comes in useful for those parents who find bending down hard; especially after a C-section.

Don’t forget to purchase a baby bath towel.


Baby Monitor
It may seem a bit weird that you are planning on leaving your baby alone in a room but sometimes it’s unavoidable. You have lots of different ones to pick from-you can have a basic one with just sound, one that connects to a mat which alerts you of if movement suddenly stops and the top of the range ones with a camera that watches your baby so you can not only hear your little one but see them too.

If you plan to have a Nursery ready for when your newborn comes you may wish to consider the following:

  • Blackout blinds (to create a dark room for little one to sleep in)

  • A dresser-to change baby on OR

  • The cot top dresser. It’s like a wooden mat that you put on top of the cot and use it to change baby’s nappy

  • Storage unit-for storing nappies, wipes and similar items

  • Set of drawers/children’s wardrobe to store clothes

  • A nursing chair-the type that ‘glides’ or another comfortable chair for sitting in when you are trying to get little one to sleep

  • A lamp with dimmer-for when you need to find things around the Nursery

  • Cot/Basket/Crib-for baby to sleep in-don’t forget mattresses and bedding!

If you have the space and budget allows you may wish to place a folding single bed in the Nursery to take a nap with baby.

A lot of the items on my essential list cross over into the Nursery too such as the Baby Monitor. A lot of things you will purchase will be used throughout your little ones first years, so it’s always advisable to do a bit of research before shelling out on bit purchases.

A note on cot/cot beds and bumpers
A great investment if you don’t plan to reuse your child’s cot whilst they are a toddler is a cot bed-the cot that transforms into a bed. This saves you purchasing a toddler bed. However if you plan to have another child quite soon after the birth of a first child this idea isn’t really worth a try financially or else you’ll end up with multiple cot beds to sell on later.

Cot Bumpers (the ones that go on the inside of the top bit of the cot) are not an essential item and some argue that they are not safe for a little one. If you wish to use one do a bit of research on the matter before parting with your money.

Further ways to save money:

Many stores have a ‘surplus’ or ‘seconds’ store where you can purchase their goods that are not perfect at a discounted price. Mamas and Papas have a seconds store in Stoke-on-Trent, however the last time I visited the store I was told you cannot return an item purchased so unless you are 101% happy with the items you wish to purchase.

Closing down sales/end of season (or rangeSales are a great place to purchase essentials at a discounted price. Look about for sales online too.

Sign up for Parenting Clubs at the store you wish to make purchases from in advance of your due date. If you don’t want to be bombarded with offers ensure you tick all relevant boxes. Ask about discount vouchers. Some stores offer 10-15% off a threshold spend.

Look in Catalogues-if you like something in particular and have yet to create a an account ask if there is a discount for a first order.

If you know what you wish to purchase and you know where you wish to buy it from you could ask friends and family for vouchers for that store. Every penny helps.

The same applies to colleagues, or friends and groups that wish to hold you a Baby Shower.

Check out eBay for new bargains. Paypal is a safe way of paying. Never send cash. Always check out a sellers feedback before a purchase. If you are making a large purchase and the seller states they have a store do a google search in advance and find out what others say about it.

 Amazon Also a great place to pick up a bargain including boxes of wipes.

Ask other Mothers where they bought there stuff from; you maybe surprised at places they mention for bargains which you had never heard of or even considered.
Enjoy the shopping spree!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

The essential Hosptial bag-by a parent who packed her own bag

The real essential items for your Hospital bag

Without naming and shaming I’ve noticed a trend of companies targeting first time Mothers with scar tactics and then pushing their product-a pre-packed Hospital bag on them for a ridiculous amount of money. One bag I saw was priced at over £100.00. Really? Unless it’s Gucci I’m not paying over £100.00 for a bag! So yes this you could say is a blog entry to prove anyone can pack a Hospital bag for a fraction of the cost.

So you’re about 30 weeks pregnant and a friend asks you the dreaded question ‘have you packed your Hospital bag yet?’ and you immediately break into a sweat because you haven’t even looked at a bag let alone packed one yet. Fret not Mama, we can help.

Firstly, you really need to look for a bag. Maybe you’ve already got an overnight bag at home you could use? I honestly suggest two bags-ideally one should be a baby changing bag. Boots Baby Club actually offer a free bag via their club. That bag would be perfect for the Hospital.

Let’s first pack your baby bag (as it’s easier-trust me):

  • Newborn nappies-I suggest two packs in case of a longer unplanned stay. If you need more you have enough supplies to send out support to get more
  • Cotton wool or baby wipes that are suitable for newborns (I’ve found some in Tesco)
  • A hat, socks and mittens (to stop baby scratching face)
  • 6-7 sleep suits (I believe in over packing when it comes to baby)
  • 6-7 vests/bodysuits (again best to over pack these items then under pack)
  • A cardigan-even in summer as babies get cold
  • A comfy blanket for baby
  • IF you plan to bottle feed your baby with formula milk you will need to back pre-made packaged formula cartons (University Of North Staffordshire Hospital provide disposable bottles and nipples but you MUST provide the milk. Please check the policy at the Hospital you plan to give birth at for further information).
  • 4-8 Muslin squares-these are a huge help and should never be under estimated. They can be used as effective ‘burp’ cloths.
  • A simple going home outfit-nothing too fancy as it will be quite stressful dressing a newborn with lots of buttons-trust me on this one.
Now let’s look at YOUR bag:
Firstly pick a bag that is big enough for your requirements-don't just buy a bag because it says it's a Hospital bag; that's just a clever way of making money.
For the birth the following items are useful:
  • A supportive partner (if your actual partner is rubbish at support please bin him and replace him with a more suitable person)
  • Your Birthing plan-a valuable piece of kit if you took it seriously which I did
  • An old nightie to give birth
  • Stop watch-not essential but may help to keep track of contractions
  • Flip flops-you will start to feel warm and won’t want to wear comfy fluffy slippers
  • A hand held battery operated mini fan-especially in the warmer months
  • Bottle of water and STRAW-when you are pushing you really don’t want to be holding a bottle to your mouth. Instead get your birthing partner to hold the bottle and take sips of water
  • Something to keep the hair out of your face (if you have long hair) .e.g. a bandana, alice band or hair ties.
  • MP3 player with your favourite music, sounds that relax you, an audio book or ten or if you you find comfort in religious lectures or Quranic readings download those. Ensure there is a FULL battery to support you through a long birth (well you never know)
  • TENS machine-for pain control. You can hire the machine or buy one
  • SNACKS-a long birth will usually mean you feel hungry. Pack a few suitable snacks for yourself and birthing partner-but don’t over pack. I find granola bars extremely useful in these type of situations.
If you plan to have a water birth:
  • you will need suitable swimwear-just remember you may not wish to remain in the water throughout the birth
  •  flip flops
  • a large towel
If you plan to breast feed:
  • Nursing bras-2/3 should be enough

  • Breast shields/pans for painful nipples
  • Nipple cream-I don’t have to explain this do I?
For after the birth:
  • Camera- with memory card and fully charged battery
  • Camcorder fully charged with memory card (if you are filling your baby’s first moments-most mobiles can do this these days)
  • Disposable knickers (available at a reasonable price at Asda)
  • Maternity pads (Boots pads have a great review and are reasonably priced at £1.05 for 12).
  • Shampoo and conditioner (2-in-1 is much better), face wash, deodorant, your favourite moisturiser (especially if you are using one to combat stretch marks) body wash-try to take small travel size bottles or decant your favourites into small bottles. I’ve noticed a set of small plastic bottles in poundland-priced at yes you’ve guessed it £1.00), sponge

  • Bath and face towel

  • Tooth brush and tooth paste

  • 2-3 PJ sets (in case of a stay over)

  • Bath robe and slippers

  • Your own going home outfit (choose wisely. If you pick a fussy outfit you may regret it if you do end up with a C-section. Anything flexible free flowing is a safer bet than anything that sits on the area that could potentially be a C-section wound)

  • Mobile phone with full battery-turn off your phone to conserve battery as you won’t be able to charge your phone in Hospital
  • A small notebook and pen-useful for noting down how much milk little one drinks and how often
  • Ear plugs-if you stay in Hospital on a ward the noise will get to you. Do your sanity a favour and get some earplugs to drown out the noise of the other Mothers (imagine a Janice from Friends-Oh my God!).
Ideally you should pack your bags at least 4-6 weeks before your due date. If you are expecting multiples then pack earlier.
A few suggestions for loved ones:
partner-perhaps you can help with the packing of the bag? Why not volunteer to pick up the essential bits and offer to pack them? Every little bit of support is important.
Friends-if your friend is one of those who does things at the last minute why not suggest that you and your friends will provide the Hospital Bag as her Baby Shower gift?
Whatever happens; relax and just take the list along to your favourite store and load up your basket with the essentials and don’t panic. No one can predict the future or how your birth will be but if you do put in a little effort into the planning and you should remain stress free-come what may.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Two sales alerts

Hello readers,

Just wanted to inform you of two sales that could be useful to you all:

H&M have a flash sale on right now:

It's the last day of the Baby Event at Asda. Bargains previously have included Huggies box of 6 wipe packs for £3.50. So if you can pop in today go have a look at what bargains you can find.

It's also the last day of the Tesco Baby event. You can save 1/3 on selected Tesco own brand nappies so it's worth going along if you need to stock up.

Have fun!

Preparing for a newborns arrival-what you can do in advance

Advance preparation for a newborn

The amount of parents I see in the Magazine isle looking at parenting publications highlights the demand in this era for essential information on the subject. Parents want to read about the latest research on illnesses, the reviews on latest gadgets and they also want to know how others deal with parenting-it’s human nature to be curious about how others do things. Although I’ll be the first to say it can become an unhealthy obsession for some who end up becoming their own worse critic and worst still they constantly compare their child to another. Reading is research but it should be approached with caution when it comes to parenting. Anyhow, lecture over for today. I want to talk to you today about advance preparation for when your little bundle does arrive into the big world.

If you google the advance preparation you will come across hundreds of links to parenting forums where Mothers before you have leapt into the unknown. Most offer the same advice thus as a parent with previous experience I am writing this long yet useful article on the matter-enjoy.

What can I do to make life easier in the first few weeks of baby’s arrival?

That’s the golden question. When you have your first baby (or second/third/fifth...) the first few weeks can become a blur between nappy changes, feeds and cleaning up baby sick (sorry but it’s true). You struggle to dress yourself and the amount of visitors who want to see the baby quickly escalates to epic proportions. But all it not lost; you can do lots in advance to calm the situation.

Firstly, look at how you wish to announce the birth of your baby. Do you want to send out formal announcement cards with a small photo to your loved ones? Or will you do it via Social Media? Decide on your method and stick to it. Now here’s the key: write on the card something like "Hanna and Ryan look forward to you meeting baby X soon. We’re currently adjusting to the change so please give us a few weeks to settle and then pop in for a cup of tea". There you’ve done it. You’ve basically invited them around but when you are going to be a bit more alert than the first two weeks. If you decide to use Social Media by suggestion is you or your partner put something like ‘Mother and baby are doing superbly. We look forward to having guests in a few weeks time. Please call before you visit us-thank you!’. It’s short and sweet and gets the message across. If you want to get out of the house and have older children you may wish to visit a soft play centre and let others know you will be going so they can meet baby. It’s about going at a pace that suits you and your family. Don’t over stretch yourself. If you are too tired to make them a drink you could ask them if they wish to make their own hot drink-explain you are not feeling too perky. Most people will say yes and offer to make you a drink too. If you want to go down this route I suggest you label your drink containers and make life easier for your friends and family.

Make a list of all the items you wish to purchase-now. If friends and family have offered to purchase an item for you pass them the list and let them choose the item they wish to purchase. If friends and family have offered you their hand me downs ask to see them beforehand and see if they are in good enough condition to be used. Do that now-you don’t want to do that at the last minute.

If you are going down the pre-loved items route start looking around at nearly new sales and on notice boards as soon as you can. Again these type of activities cannot be left to the last minute.

If you purchase pre-loved clothing or blankets launder them and put them away as soon as you can .Organise them by age/weight so it’s easier to pull them out when time comes to use them.

If you buy new clothing or blankets and so on it’s advisable to launder them before using them too. You would be amazed at how much dust circulates around the factories where the clothes are prepared.

When it comes to food we all have to eat-FACT. Here are my top tips for how to feed yourself by advance prep. I’m afraid you need a freezer:

If you like pasta make up a large batch of sauce and freeze them into portions. That way you only need to boil pasta. Keep a couple of precooked pasta pouches at home too for those nights where you cannot face even boiling water

Curries freeze well and make a good meal. All you need to prepare on the day is either boiled rice or naans-which can be picked up at your local supermarket or Naan Shop.

If you have freezer capacity consider freezing complete meals that just need to be put in the oven-e.g. lasagne, enchiladas and even biryani. Prepare the dish up until the point you need to put it in the oven. Use foil dishes which means no washing. Double wrap the item with a sheet of foil-this should stop freezer burns. Label the item and write on the foil how the item needs to be cooked e.g. ‘remove on the day from freezer, leave to defrost for x hours, cook on gas mark 5 for 30 minutes"-done.

If you enjoy items such as tandoori chicken you are in luck. You can cook the chicken in advance and freeze it cooked. Then you take it out defrost and heat. Serve with naan and salad. It should in essence take less than 30 minutes to prepare a meal if you defrost the cooked chicken in a microwave.

It’s worth looking at what you like eating and having ea look online at cheats recipes that take less time to cook and also at recipes that freeze well.

If you like using your slow cooker (crock pot) then you could prepare the vegetables and meats for dishes and freeze them. Then on the day you take them out, place them in the slow cooker with the sauce (jars work fine) and basically you are done. Check online for more recipe inspiration.

If family or friends ask if they can help out and they can cook why not ask if they can batch cook you some meals? There’s no shame in taking up help. Every parent has been there; it can get too much and often offers of help in my experience have been sincere.

If you are a part of a playgroup why not set up a ‘meal support group’? Basically you need ideally 7 or more mums for it to work. You all cook a meal a day for a new Mother thus giving her a week off cooking to adjust to baby. You continue helping others in the group too. It’s a great idea which should be practiced more in the UK.


Older children:

If you already have children then organisation is going to be your best friend.

You need to be on the ball-fact. So here are a few tips to get you going:

If you take your child to Nursery, School or Playgroup organise for a friend or family member your child likes being around to step in your shoes for a week whilst you adjust to the new kid on the block. If your children are older (say 8 years plus) and a parent near you walks their child to School you could ask if they would be willing to take your child with them-as long as you understand your child needs to understand the whole ‘stop look listen’ concept as people will be doing you a favour; they don’t owe you anything.

If your baby is due around September time (new School year) order their School uniforms in advance. This will save you last minute tears and tantrums and hopefully reduce your stress too.

If your bundle of joy is due around a Festivity period try and organise as much as you can beforehand. This includes outfits and presents and if possible meal arrangements. If you live in the Manchester area of England Nawaab actually do an Eid dinner (or so I am informed). You may per person, and eat as much as you like from the delicious buffet (I’ve reviewed it previously). They take care of the washing up. A great option for a family who are expecting a baby around Eid and the Mother is the main chef. Many restaurants do similar meals for Christmas so everyone has an option to dine out on their special occasion.

If you have wardrobe capacity organise two weeks of children’s outfits. Clip on tights, vests etc to the hanger along with the dress/trouser/top etc so it’s a complete outfit. That will help other family members dress your children. This is especially helps Fathers who have no concept of putting together an outfit (my husband is guilty of this).

Try and delegate after School activity pick ups and drop offs. Same goes for Birthday parties, plays, matches and Discos that are scheduled around your due date.

If you have smaller children, say toddler age you may wish to buy them a few small gifts for when baby arrives. Often toddlers can feel left out with all the attention and gift giving that happens with a newborn. If they are given small wrapped up gifts it will make them feel special too.

The Hospital bag:

Aim to have this packaged by around 30 weeks-earlier if you are having twins. If you are having a complicated pregnancy I suggest you back an overnight bag with a nightie and toiletries in in case you get kept overnight at the Hospital before baby arrives.

I shall be posting a detailed blog entry on what you need in your Hospital bag-so keep an eye out for it.

Preparing your home for the new arrival:

Now is the time to complete all those half done tasks including any decorating that needs doing.

If you allow people to smoke in your home now is the time to stub it out and let them know if they wish to smoke they need to do so outside your home.

Baby proofing your home can be done when your baby is able to get about. But just as a note it’s worth understanding that any figurines or similar items will need to be re-homed if they are at low level. Cables should be secured and other electric appliances should be kept out of reach. Items such as fish tanks should be placed on a secure surface.

Furniture should ideally be kept away from windows to reduce accidents

Blind cords must be kept completely out of reach of children-I think it’s pretty much self explanatory to why this needs to be done.

Look into safety gates. You will need two for each set of stairs in your home and ideally one to block off access to the kitchen. Safety gates are often featured in the Asda Baby event.

Household tasks:

If you can budget for it there are plenty of ironing services that charge a reasonable amount to collect your ironing and they even drop it off for you once they are finished. Prices vary from area to area-look at services in your area via Netmums website and look for recommendations on there too.

If you plan to use reusable nappies contact your council about grants that maybe available and to find out if there are services that will collect soiled nappies and drop them of nice and clean. Again it’s about budget-so look at costs and factor those into your baby and household budget.

You can even buy reusable baby wipes-have a look online and see if they are suitable for your needs.

If you think you will be relying on fast food when baby arrives look up your favourite place online and find out if there are any vouchers or offers you could have to save a bit of money. Larger chains such as Pizza Hut often send out 50% off vouchers so it maybe worth signing up to their newsletter for offers.

Budgeting for baby essentials:

Look at your budget and set aside an allocated amount to baby stuff (if you are able to do that of course) which you can use to purchase items as you go along. Stocking up on enough baby grows, fabric softener etc is a good idea if you you have the budget and space for the extra items.

Babies cost a fair bit. If you plan to use disposable nappies and wipes you may wish to buy a packet of nappies and wipes her shopping trip to build up a supply before baby arrives. The cost of a pack of store own brand nappies and wipes will cost you approximately £5.00 and will be less missed on a weekly basis whereas bulk buying will be more noticeable to your budget.

Boots, Tesco, Asda and Sainsburys ALL host baby events during which baby essential items go on offer. I’ve picked up a box of six packs of Huggies baby wipes for £3.00 at the clearance before. I’ve also picked up six tommee tippee bottles for £5.00 at the end of the event. It’s worth you signing up to these stores newsletters and mailings so you know what’s on offer and when. Tesco offer a 1/3 off their newborn and two sizes up nappies during their baby event. That’s a big saving when you add things up.

The items worth stocking up on are:

Wipes (babies get through loads of these)

Nappies in Newborn size. Don’t buy lots in a small size. Babies get through anywhere between 8-12 nappies (and sometimes more) a day. Calculate how many you may need over a month. The blessing of buying store own brand nappies is you will be to exchange unopened bags of any nappies that you don’t use for a size up. So it’s worth thinking about that

Baby grows and body suits-ideally you could do with having enough for three/four days without having to rely on putting on your washer/dryer. Ideally stick to neutral colours and whites as you can wash them together

You will notice you do a lot of washing-if you see a non-biological washing powder in a bulk size box at a great price snap it up. Same goes for the fabric softener (if you use it) for delicate skins. I bought about six boxes of Fairy detergent. Each box did 80 washes and we got the boxes for £10.00 each from Sainsbury’s. They were an absolute bargain. We are still using them to wash our little girls clothes in.

What not to stock up on:

Baby formula-simply because you cannot tell if your child will be able to drink cows milk (Lactose Intolerance)

Food items and snacks-again you don’t know what your child’s tastes will be like and whether or not they will be able to eat said products

Gadget and gizmos-the ones you think you will need but never get round to using. Things like plastic mashers made by certain celebrities to mash bananas with work the same as a standard masher that costs a fraction of the price!

Parenting books-your local library should be well equipped to help you out. If that fails contact your local Children’s Centre and ask them if they have a parents book library.

Newborn developmental toys-really a newborn isn’t interested

Clothes in newborn sizes such as dresses, suits etc-people tend to give these as gifts and you end up with clothes you were unable to use. My advice is that you ask family and friends to give you vouchers not clothes for the stores you shop in-that way you can put them to better use afterwards when baby needs clothes.

Try not to become label obsessed. Own brand items are just as good quality as larger brands. Do a bit of research online to find out which own brand items are current parent favourites. Personally I like Tescos own brand nappies and switched to these when I found out Huggies would no longer be selling their nappies in the UK/Ireland.


Preparing mentally and physically

Now I would be the dumbest blogger around if I told you being a newborn’s parent was a brisk walk in the park. I think I’m best off describing it as a climb up Ben Nevis. It’s hard, testing but the reward from the achievement of reaching the top is amazing.

I didn’t know much about being a parent first time round so read every parenting book available to me at the Library. As readers of my blog will know I have read in detail books on baby sleep. I read and read and read. I attempted to prepare to the best of my capability.

I tried to rest as much as possible. Although I prepared I wasn’t prepared for a emergency C-section with a blood transfusion on top. Sometimes we prepare we are still tested;don’t be disheartened if this happens to you.

As long as you understand each child is different and they don’t all develop at the same speed or do the same things as their siblings/cousins you should be a happy parent. If you find you are worried about something speak out don’t let it stew.

An important note: if you feel down past the first few weeks of your baby’s life (e.g. past the Baby blues stage) PLEASE speak to your Doctor or Health Visitor and don’t be ashamed of the way you feel. It’s not a pleasant experience and Mothers often feel sad and alone and ashamed that they are struggling and cannot feel a strong bond with their child. Post Natal Depression needs to be sorted by a professional; it doesn’t just disappear. It must be dealt with efficiently so you can life a happy life with your family. I am talking from painful experience. I cheated on the ‘test’ the Health Visitors use to determine if you are indeed at risk of PND. I knew the test as I had previously worked alongside Health Visitors and other professionals. My PND effected my whole life; it brought me down and I felt at times I wasn’t coping and yes admittedly I had dark thoughts. I didn’t see the importance of my life.

It’s quite natural for a pregnant woman or a new parent to feel down; however there’s a thin line between the feelings that can go away without medical treatment and what needs to be seen and treated by a Medical Professional. What I can tell you from experience is that babies that are born during winter (when the clocks go back) are born at a time when a lot of people are generally feeling down due to the lack of sunlight. If this happens to you please speak to a Medical professional and explain your feelings. There is seriously nothing to be embarrassed about. Please for the sake of your child seek medical advice.

It’s going to be a bumpy, tiring and testing journey but it’s worth. I look at my little girl and look back on the two years and there have been moments of joy and moments I wish to forget. But the most important thing is my toddler is a happy toddler-and that’s the goal of parenting.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Naming a child-Trendy or Traditional?

So call me old fashioned but I dislike the trend of names that basically can be googled to reveal when a child was born. The idea of calling my child Banana, Syrup, Kryptonite, Hashtag or SMS freaks me out in a bad way. Do these parents understand the amount of jokes that will be made about their child or the potential opportunities of bullying? However most parents that name their child an unusual name expect their child to grow into the name and have a strong backbone in terms of how they deal with others-okay I get it. You are trying to create a strong personality for your child. But really? That name?

Celebrities of course want their child to be an individual and want the column inches in the print media so an ‘unusual’ name will do the trick. Why would you the average parent want to call your child after a brand? Or worst still your favourite motor? I mean Porsche?! Really?! Apple anyone?

Now trendy names get under my skin; and I make no apology for it. When my little girl was born I had an old Islamic name (similar to a Biblical name) for her. It had meaning, it had grace. It would stick out and would be easy to pronounce. Yes people may not be able to automatically guess her ethnic origin but why should that put me off?

But whilst I had an old name with zest sorted my in-laws based in Pakistan had other ideas. They suggested names that went through me like nails on a chalkboard. I wanted to scream the Hospital room down. I had just gone through a traumatic birth and my in-laws didn’t like my name because ‘a family friends granddaughter has the same name’ and ‘it’s an OLD name’. Oh my apologies Mother-in-Law; I shall consult someone and ask them to revamp a 1430 years plus religion and come up with meaningful names that are new and fit in with your artificial pride. No one really wanted to listen to me and I ended up comprising on my little ones middle name to keep all the backward thinking people happy. It still upsets me that people can make such a pure and innocent moment dark and gloomy.

I did worry about naming my daughter a name that has deep roots in religion; however my worry was short lived. As soon as I told my friends her name everyone was happy and supportive. Those who had no knowledge of Arabic names were able to pronounce her name easily which was what we wanted considering our child is growing up in the West and we cannot expect teachers to learn all accents and develop a knowledge on worldly names.

I did have an interesting conversation with my Mothers cousin. He thought we had named our child after a food company. When we explained the difference he soon changed his tune.

My in-laws were never happy, and still are not. They actually call our little girl by her middle name. I guess that’s them giving me the finger. Oh well.

So what is wrong with old Biblical names or the Quranic version? I mean what’s wrong with the name Eesa (arabic of Jesus). The man stood up to bullies like no ones business. And Musa (arabic of Moses) I mean some on; he parted the red sea with his hands! Okay so it’s mainly boys names and the only biblical girls names that spring to mind are Eve and Mary. But their are plenty of girls names that are steeped in tradition and sound good too.

What about Eva, Maria, Olivia, Penelope, Eve, Belle and Tabitha? All these names are pretty and yes old fashioned but at least they are not names randomly picked from a dictionary. They all have meaning and are either traditional or religious. But that doesn’t make them bad. And there is certainly no need to be ashamed about giving your child such a name.

Luckily during 2012 in the UK we saw a trend in naming that involved giving children names that were indeed old fashioned but pretty/handsome all the same. These included Isabella, Grace and Alice. For boys names such as Harry, Jack and Oliver. These names make me want to swoon over little bundles of joy. Such nice names.

However amongst a large group of Pakistanis the names that are currently trending include Anjalie, Manoor, Zain and Arooj. Both modern, and to some extent are universal and yes indeedy fashionable. Naming children after characters of the latest drama on Geo/Star Plus is also a favourable way of picking a name. It degrading in my opinion for a child to be named after a soap opera character. Now naming your child after a literary hero in my opinion is acceptable if they have a name that is ‘easy to digest’. Harry for example (as in Harry Potter) is fully acceptable. Christian Grey? No thank you; we seriously don’t need our babies reminded of them being a part of a certain ‘baby boom’.

I have been lectured many times on how women in the West blur the lines of religion and don’t understand our religious duties thus we look for a career and want it all. What we do understand is one of the first responsibilities of a Muslim parent is to give their child a pious name that has meaning. A name is something that will follow a child throughout life. They will of course be known by it. Why would you not wish to give your child their first right in favour of a name you’ve heard on TV? This is life; not a screenplay and we are not Shakespeare; any name we give will stick with a child throughout life unless they become a big celebrity and change their name to Tomato Ketchup-well you never know do you?

I just hope my little girl realises how hard it is to name a child with a name that fits their personality before they are actually a fully grown person. Lucky for us our child is growing into her name and we are so grateful for that; her name is not only beautiful but it’s connected to the Revelation of Islam. It’s a big hearty name which we hope our little girl enjoys being called and doesn’t regret the fact we turned down a list of names that would have screamed ‘baby of 2010’. So as we prepare for baby number two; the quest is on for a name that will be fit for them. Any suggestions welcome but if you suggest a name that is trendy, I will not be held responsible for my actions.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Baby Dam product review

Baby Dam product review

Please note: I bought this product myself; this is by no means a joint venue review with the company in question.

Look in any Parenting Magazine and they will give you a list of ‘must have items’ for your baby or toddler. Items range from the simple items to the damn right ridiculous and waste of money as your child will never use that said item.

In my experience buying products based on others suggestions is often a hit or miss; there is no sure fire formula that will help you in your quest to find the the best value for money products; especially when you are preparing for bambino numbero uno.

What I can tell you is before your baby is born there are some things that you can buy with confidence because you know you will buy them and others will simply collect dust in your attic.

My review today is for a product called the Baby Bath Dam. It’s an inventive plastic ‘dam’ that fits any straight sided bathtub. It basically creates a mini bathtub within your larger tub thus perfect size for babies and toddlers.

The Bath Dam idea was conceived by a parent who got fed up of seeing puddles on water on their carpet from bathing their child in a portable bath tub (the ones babies grow out of quickly) and when they moved onto using the family bath tub they noticed their bills rise as they were on a water meter. Plus it took a while for the tub to fill up (and it’s face it not many of us have the extra patience with a little one to deal with the smaller things in life).

It eliminates the need to purchase a baby bath that babies quickly outgrow and are often hard to store as the Dam can be used from a newborn. The product is quick and easy to fit. You simply place it in your bathtub curving it to create the Dam. You then smooth the rubber seal to ensure it’s water tight. You pull the little yellow levers in the two ‘feet’ which are suckers so that product attaches to the bath. And voila; you are ready to fill your Bath Dam.

The Dam is easy to fit; however it’s advisable to ensure there’s no soap residue on the bathtub as this creates a slippery surface which isn’t suitable for the Dam as it simply slips out of place letting the water out. There’s also a small ‘plug’ in the Dam to let out water if you accidentally overfill your bath. The product is blue in colour-no other colours are available however would you really want a pink one? We certainly didn’t feel that was something that would add any type of value to the product.

Once you fit the Dam you fill up like you fill up any other bath. If you fit it properly it will stay in place. It’s just as easy to dismantle after a bath. You loosen it and remove it from the tub. It’s easy to store too; we leave it standing against the bath wall so the water drips off completely. The Dam of course like any other product that comes into contact with water can become ‘slimy’ which is sorted with a good clean with any good cleaner.

We have been using our Dam since my little girl was a few months old; and I would consider it an essential baby item for the following reasons:

It’s environmentally friendly; It saves water (and will save parents money-especially those on a water metre)

You don’t have to buy a baby bath

As it creates a smaller ‘tub’ it’s quicker to fill up (I don’t know many Mamas who like waiting for their bath to fill up with a screaming toddler who wants to play with bubbles)

It’s easy to install and dismantle

It doesn’t take up lots of space in terms of storage

You can use it for approximately 30 months (if you buy it whilst your baby is a newborn)-it’s hardwearing and will easily be used by other siblings.


I don’t think this product would be suitable for bathing more than one child because there wouldn’t be enough room in the Dam you create so you would stick to using the full tub filled. However, I don’t think this should put you off as you wouldn’t bathe a newborn or a child (in my opinion) who needs support in the bath with an older sibling who splashes around.

The pricing of this product for me makes it an affordable and reasonably priced item for parents budgeting for all the essential items. It’s priced at £26.99 plus £5.50 postage cost for UK customers. Dispatch was quick-we got our Dam within 5 days of placing the order.

Customer Service experience:

I emailed them when I placed my order because my email was playing up so they confirmed quickly my order had been received and would be dispatched as soon as possible. Quick, friendly and efficient.

Would I buy the product again/recommending to friends:

I would buy the item again if I needed to however it doesn’t look like I will need to purchase another one as this one is still doing strong-hurrah! And yes indeed, I would recommend to friends. I think this item would make a fantastic Baby Shower gift-I doubt highly anyone else will be buying it for the expectant Mother.

SAFETY NOTICE: You still need to supervise your child whilst they are in the Bath tub-regardless of what you use to bathe them. Never think a product is a good substitute to parental responsibilty and guidance. Never leave a child alone in water-ever; period!

Where can you buy the item from?

Directly from the company via their website:


Tuesday, 5 February 2013

I dress to impress others-NOT myself

‘I dress to impress others’

I was recently having a chat with my Mother and we got discussing the idea of ‘dolling up’ to impress others . My Mother is more ‘in tune’ with the happenings of the Pakistani community whereas I am not (and I’m not ashamed of this it doesn’t make me or break me). Apparently it’s quite the norm to look like a slob around the house, and look like a tramp when you are shopping in Asda (Wallmart for the US readers). It’s acceptable for these sisters to only take pride in themselves when it is to impress others.

To me that’s ridiculous. I mean dressing and applying cosmetics to make others appreciate your look is well kinda desperate, no? So I’ve just offended models and actresses. Boo hoo. No really the idea of dressing up and spending hours on your hair and make up for others to tell you that you look stunning is called attention seeking. If you doll up so others tell you how good you gain the attention of your partner. Surely we should have their attention regardless-no?

Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that we all go through rough times and days where we wish we could just stay under a duvet. Who better can explain that then a pregnant woman-we got through ‘fat days’ where nothing looks good. We get that we are gaining weight to house another human for a short tenancy but we still have dark thoughts along the lines of we look crap. So most pregnant women will have a partner around to pick them up and put them back together when they are having an episode-no big deal. But on an average non pregnant day when the chips are down lipstick is our armour and foundation our camouflage covering up the years of neglect our faces are often exposed to during our young adult life.

Now if someone had said to me ten years ago that I would be writing a piece of how woman should embrace their feminine side and actually be confident in using cosmetics I would have died of embarrassment. I was one of these bra-burners your desi parents warned you to keep away from. But with time I have understood a golden rule-balance. In other words no one is saying go around plastered in make up; find a balance you are happy and confident with. Same applies to all aspects of your life.

So why am I out hunting blood of those women who get glammed up to impress others? Well as mentioned before; where is your own self esteem and pride? And secondly if you are a parent what are you genuinely teaching your children? They should spend life trying to impress others? Why? It’s a vicious and dangerous circle. Women feel the need to impress other women, and then a lady comes along who does take pride in herself. She has big hips, ain’t no skinny minny but she gets the attention of your partner. Why? Erm perhaps when you were last out shopping with him he didn’t want he world to know you were in a relationship because well you looked like someone who had slept in the local park for the last month or so. Any women that takes pride in herself will tell you it adds to their confidence; the way they walk, the way they talk. The way they present themselves to their partners. It’s a big loop which is great as long as you feel good.

Now before you jump down my throat and say I’m being backwards and belong in the 1950’s American postcard, hear me out. I’m not saying drop everything and plaster your face in cosmetics-hell no. I’m saying embrace cosmetics to whichever level you feel comfortable with. If you just want a natural look then go with that. Take pride in YOURSELF. Take a look in the mirror, there’s a glamour puss in that body neglected who wants to come out. Why should you be expected to reserve make up for when others are going to be looking at you? Put your face on, shimmy into your favourite outfit, make yourself a mocktail and dance around your living room. This is your life, and you should be the main star. Yes, we’re parents, sisters, wives and so on but has it ever occurred to you that the only person that can really make you feel like you are on a continuous high is YOU. Relationship dimensions change. We fall in and out of love. Emotions side on a roller coaster that is life; we change like the seasons. But the only one that is always there is you. By spending time on yourself you are not being selfish; I often felt this because society made me think like that. All those Martyr style stereo typical Asian heroines in South Asian dramas constantly put their own needs second to the whole extended family. They don’t do ‘me time’. But have you ever noticed how they are always prepped and polished?

The fault in society that accepts such a double standard can be found largely in the Asian community-in particular the Pakistani one. Some Mother-in-Laws don’t care how their daughter-in-laws look whilst they are running around their household feeding their children, packing their husbands briefcase and giving their Father-in-Law daily medication but if they hear a friend of the family is coming around their said daughter-in-law is told to go and dress up and make herself look extra presentable. On an ordinary day that woman would be lucky if she has time to exfoliate her 30 something skin; but because an outsider is visiting she must look like a new bride and dress to impress her; the visitor. Not herself, not even her partner (and let’s be honest we all like the idea of a bit of attention from our partners it doesn’t exactly hurt a healthy relationship does it?) but for some random women.

Society and tradition both creep me out. I have never supported the joint family set up; it’s a breeding ground for war. And as for society; the only thing they are good for is kicking you whilst you are down-period.

The feminist in me wants to scream and shout and say ‘throw away all your make up you are pretty as you are’. The anti-feminist glamour kitten in me wants you to embrace that eye liner and lipstick; give that bathroom mirror your best pout and say ‘I’m a woman, I’m a lioness now hear me roar!’. Go on spend time on yourself, give yourself a makeover, wear your favourite lipstick but do it for YOU. Not for others, not for their attention and not for them to tell you that you are beautiful. Embrace the things that make you cringe; they give you character. If you are reading this and thinking you don’t have time for yourself and you have genuinely looked at your schedule and cannot fit in 15 minutes of time to doll up then that’s fine; your day will come when your babies go off to School then the world is your oyster; for 15 minutes! But please don’t be a vain attention seeking Mother; be proud and confident if not for you then to your cubs that need a positive role model in their lives not in a magazine.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Reflux-from the POV of a parent who survived it

Firstly I'd just like to apoligise to the regular readers over my month long absence. For this there are two reasons: illness and I was busy working on my first Novel and well needed to get so much typed up I didn't get round to blogging. However I am now back, even though I am still busy working on other books. No rest for the wicked.

Although my little one is two, her baby days are still fresh in my head and I hope this doesn’t change as years go by. My little blessing was born at 38 weeks via C-section. It was a complicated birth but the outcome was positive-a healthy baby girl.

Due to some complications my little one was put on antibiotics as soon as she was born. It was heartbreaking and a testing time to see a little baby having an iv line put in but she needed it. She managed to rip out the one in her hand; so the staff had to reinsert it into her foot to prevent further incidents.

After an extended stay in Hospital (I had an emergency C-section, followed by complications, followed by two blood transfusions plus little one had complications too) we made it home. Unfortunately the path wasn’t yet smooth and we soon started to notice that our little girl wouldn’t take the recommended amount of milk, she threw most of her feeds up, and she cried a lot too as if she was in discomfort.

Now as a new parent what a lot of parents do is google symptoms and panic. However this gets you nowhere at all; in fact most medical professionals will tell you that all is normal, your child is just settling etc etc.

I decided to invest in a few books about sleep and sleeping patterns. I like my sleep; but then who doesn’t. I came across a chapter or three on what can effect a child’s sleep. Now to say my little one was a very bad unpredictable sleeper was an understatement. We couldn’t get her to sleep. She’d cry most of the time. It was exhausting and a very testing time.

So I joined online parenting forums, read medical articles and books to find out what was happening to my three week old. It took approximately three weeks of research and five trips to out of hours medical service (it’s the out of hours GP service ran by the NHS) before a diagnosis was made. The diagnosis that was made was:

Lactose intolerance: the name of a condition whereby the person is unable to digest the sugars (lactose) found in milk and other dairy products (but not necessarily all)

Reflux: also know as Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD (the more popular name for it in the States). It’s basically a chronic condition whereby acid travels from the stomach up the throat-often for babies resulting in projectile vomiting.

Now I am aware of parents who struggled for much longer to get their child’s condition looked at and diagnosed. What helped me was the following which I hope someone will find useful and help them out too:

  • We noted down all feeds, the amounts, her reaction and how long it took her to bring up her feed. We also noted what the feed looked like (e.g. curdled)

  • We noted down wet nappies

  • Her behavior

  • Any sleep and how she liked to sleep

  • Other symptoms e.g. stomach cramps, upset stomach

  • (Anything else that we thought was of interest to a medical professional-including the parents medical history


We did the above observations over a few days. We had been told it was colic but no colic treatments worked, but as many parents will tell you our gut instinct wasn’t happy with that. I felt my child had a Lactose intolerance and Reflux but I needed a medical professional to help us.

After we visited the GP who applauded our note making (as it did help him notice a pattern) we were sent to the local Hospitals Children’s Ward where the staff looked at the notes and the amount of times we had visited out GP and out of hours service. We kept our Health Visitor in the ‘loop’ too as she was a great help and actively supported our mission to get our little one seen and diagnosed as soon as possible.

The Hospital Registrar signed off a prescription of lactose free milk and a diagnosis of Lactose intolerance and Reflux was made. Our little one took an instant dislike to the milk (it smelt like vinegar) so we went back to the GP and a few calls later and little one was put onto Wysoy milk. And would you believe as soon as little one tasted it she was able to take slightly bigger feeds and the projectile vomiting ceased?

It just shows that doing your own research properly can actually help you to understand the medical problem and help you get a quicker response from your medical team.

Throughout our little ones progress we were given support by a Dietician-also via the NHS. She was the biggest help possible especially around Weaning time. In this day and age a dairy-free diet isn’t a curse; there are plenty of alternatives on the market. We are blessed. Plus how many times do you hear from a medical professional that they give you the green light to feed your child chocolate desserts if that’s what makes them happy?

Our little one still has Wysoy milk although we are gradually introducing diary products whilst monitoring her. So far we’ve been happy with the outcome-our little one hasn’t had any reactions which means her lactose intolerance is indeed fading. We were told by our Dietician that most children (not all!) grow out of Lactose Intolerance by School age so we were prepared for either or really.

So to recap Lactose is the sugar found in milk thus in cheese and yogurt. Not all of us are able to digest it and develop problems as my little girl did.

Reflux is to sum it up when acid in the stomach doesn’t allow your food/drink to be digested and throws it back up (with babies it’s usually projectile vomiting). It is controlled with various medication however dosages usually change as a baby/toddler gains weight. Most babies grow out of it as they start to walk as their upright position helps the acid stay down.

These of course are very simple explanations, if you use google you will get greatly detailed descriptions of both. If you are a parent just getting the hang of both I suggest you read up on a detailed report, and go from there. The more knowledge you have the better.

If you are dealing with reflux here is my advice; from a Mother that has dealt with the issue.

If your child is on medical to combat the reflux STAY on top of the dosages. If you notice that the vomiting is returning tell your GP as soon as possible; it maybe a simple case that your child has gained weight and needs their dosage reviewed. My little one was on the following: Gaviscon infant (to thicken the milk), Domperidone which helped speed up the process of digestion and the emptying of the stomach, and Ranitidine which in essence stopped the production of acid. Combined these medications helped our little one thrive. She’s a happy and healthy two year old so it shows that medical professionals know what they are doing and sometimes we do need to give our children a cocktail of drugs if we want to sort out a medical issue.

Babies hate being sick and once they are sick a few times they develop a fear of sickness and will only take small feeds-this is normal for a child with Reflux. Smaller dosages stay down easier for them. You will find that your baby has more frequent yet smaller feeds compared to a child who doesn’t have Reflux-relax there’s nothing to worry about.

Babies like being upright; you will find that a baby suffering from Reflux doesn’t want to be on their stomach. We avoided ‘tummy time’ activities.

Weaning will help your baby; your Dietician will help you with this. Sometimes early Weaning is recommended. Not a problem as long as you are all happy with the situation.

ALWAYS keep Health Visitors and other professionals in the ‘loop’ on developments. All Hospitals (as far as I am aware) inform your GP of visits to out of hour service visits; sometimes they will even give you a letter to pass onto your GP with an update. This is all good as the more up to date the team are around your child the less likely they are to either repeatedly ask questions.

Reflux babies hate sleeping on a flat surface. This is easily dealt with by either:

Propping up your child’s cot (with reliable props) at one end to create a slight angle OR

Using a ‘wedge’ pillow support. You can buy these online and they basically go under the fitted sheet directly on the mattress creating a 45 degree angle elevating your little ones head which in turn helps the acid stay down.

Your little one may struggle with sleeping especially the concept of ‘sleeping through the night’ you may find the sleeping books out there are wasted on your little one. Please don’t panic. My two year old still wakes at night. At first I’d cry and cry and cry about it. Now I’ve grown accustomed to it. Not all children are the same; authors often forget this. PLEASE don’t fall for the trap of comparing your child to someone else’s perfect angel who eats three times a day, takes full feeds and has slept threw the night since he was 6 months old. Your child has a medical condition and needs you to be strong and supportive not a critical eye.

Swings are a favourite toy-they gently lull a child whilst in the upright position. You may find your little one naps in this position. If this is the case speak to your health visitor and discuss if there is any harm in this.

Enjoy your baby-take them to the park, join a playgroup etc etc. Don’t let the fear of accidentally giving them a dairy produce destroy your precious time together. It’s not worth it; if you do join a baby group you’ll find staff will ask you about medical conditions and intolerance-these days we are all aware of how many health problems bundles of joy come with. We are more medically aware than we were back in 1913.

Your ‘gut feeling’ as a parent is often a signal there is something wrong. A GP won’t really take this as something to start alarm bells ringing, however if you do your research and prove that you know what you are on about and you simply haven’t pulled a medical term out of a dictionary.

Breastfeeding and reflux-this is a big kettle of fish I don’t want to discuss however I will say this-if you are breastfeeding and your child develops symptoms it maybe time for Mama to look at her own diet and consider non-lactose milk. Speak to a professional and do your own educated research.

REMEMBER-you are not alone.If you don’t have family to support you join an online parenting forum and soon you will have more family virtually then you know what to do with. Online communities provide support that is priceless.