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The ultimate survival guide for plane travel with a baby

turquoise airplaneIt took us and our network of traveller mummies, many a screaming baby during transatlantic flights, to come up with the ULTIMATE list of things you need when travelling by plane with a baby. Ignore the list at your peril! Thankfully, as we are all experienced travellers, the list is not too long so there is no need for your carry-on to be the size of a small car. This list if for babies which are still milk-fed – we will be doing a list for weaned babies soon.

Change of clothes for you and the baby As soon as the words ‘my baby never vomits’ came out of our mouth, we were covered in it, with 4 hours of flying left to go. Known as the smelly lady with the screaming baby for the rest of the flight, we vowed never again…
we recommend taking a couple of sleep suits for the baby and at least a unisex t-shirt or jumper for either you or daddy.

Dummies/ pacifiers. Take a couple more than you usually need and if you do not have a dummy holder, it is time to invest in one. turquoise suitcases

Plenty of small toys. Check out our blog ‘top 10 toys for the holidays” for ideas. Most of the toys recommended are easy to travel with.

Baby sling. Chose one that packs small. The babasling is our favourite. We use it when walking around the terminal and passing through security. It also means that you do not need to hold the baby for the duration of a short flight and can have your hands free.

Nappies and changing mat. We know…. a bit obvious, but if you are packing for the whole family for a week away, you are likely to forget some of the most obvious things. You can use the changing mat of your moomboo so there is one less thing to think about.

Wipes, wipes, wipes!! You can never have enough. We usually take two types. The usual baby wipes and the ones with mild antiseptic (such as the Tommee Tippee Souther, Teat and Teether wipes) – ideal for wiping dummies, toys or the seat around you if your baby likes to leak everything like one of ours does!

Muslins. The ultimate multi-tasker. Wipes drool, miladen anais turquoisek or vomit and very useful for shading the baby from the light when the cabin lights come back on. Our favourite are the Aden + Anais muslins because of their large size and cool designs – they can also be used as light blankets.

Plenty of formula and bottles. You never know how long a flight is likely to be delayed and anyway most mummies like to give a bottle during take off and landing to keep babies calm. As bottles take quite a bit of space, we always take a couple of disposable pre-sterilised bottles with us for emergencies. Security will make you try any liquids you carry on, and depending on the grumpiness of the airport security staff, you might be made to open more than one carton of formula. We found that taking formula in powder form is much easier on the plane. A couple of powder dispensers will take up less space and will also cover you for any emergencies. Just fill the bottles with a bit of extra water in case you are made to have a sip from each bottle by the airport security staff.

passportBlanket,  hat and socks. Cabin temperature is crazy. We always travel with lots of layers to adjust clothing according to temperature and we do the same for our babies. As babies lose the majority of heat from their head, a hat is essential and also takes little space. As for socks…we are still looking for a pair that will stay on so an extra pair is a must. A cotton cellular blanket packs very small and has been useful for many a flight….

Plastic bags. Just have a few of various sizes at the bottom of your bag. handy for soiled clothes, dirty toys …all sorts of emergencies.

And do not forget your moomboo This is one of the main reasons we came up with the idea and as it packs so small, you will be able to fit all of the above and the moomboo in your carry-on!

Share with us your baby travel tips.

Baby Proofing in Style

Oh yes. It’s that time. Your baby is around 6 months and you keep saying to yourself that it is time to start baby proofing. If you’re like us, you procrastinate as you think to yourself, surely they can start crawling this soon. Until one day, without sending you a memo, they do.

Then starts the mad dash to trying to figure out what you need to do to baby proof. The list grows, as does your anxiety about all the things you need to buy. You ask yourself how its possible that your life has changed this much (for the better with a much bigger to do list), and then, if you’re concerned about aesthetics like us, you worry about the impact baby proofing gadgets will have on your flat or house. Well, no more! You can now baby proof in style.

The bulkiest and most visible of all baby proofing components, are the dreaded staircase gates. Below is our selection of top gates, that strike the right balance between safety and beauty.

1. Numi Gates  – these retail at £50 a pop in the UK, but they are worth every penny if you have hardwood dark floors or dark-wood furniture. They blend nicely with modern furnishings and spacious rooms.

Aesthetics and safety go hand in hand

2. KiddiGuard Avant and now KiddiGuard Accent– the former retails for £145 (+VAT) and the latter is a new version, which rolls into a thinner aluminium tube but just as effective and retails for £99 (+VAT). These are a great option for the reception room, or places you’ll have lots of visitors, because they can easily roll into an aesthetically pleasing aluminium tube which can go unnoticed. Great for fireplaces, or white staircases that are “in your face”.

3. Custom Made – and finally, (you should know us by now, we will give you a splurging option just in case) check out these beautiful custom made stair case gates- you would have to splash out for these though (and find a good carpenter or builder – ping us we can help!)

Have you come across any beautiful baby stair gates? If so, we’d love to hear from you! By the way, if you live in London and need these installed we know the perfect people to do so for you, all you have to do is ask and we’ll forward their details to you.

Top 3 Messy Weaning Pain Points + Solutions

As your little one starts to wean, you’ll notice that the mess gets progressively larger not the other way around (until you’ve lost your mind!). The amount of gadgets you need to keep the house and your baby clean whilst eating can be too many to count (or store/clean for that matter). Don’t worry, because at moomboo, we are working on a solution to the problem. In the meantime, here are our tips for cleaner/tidier eating that is fun for your baby and more convenient for you (tidier and not expensive)!

Whether you are doing baby led or spoon led weaning, you’ll notice the three biggest points of mess accumulation are: (a) under the baby’s chin (b) on the floor (c) on the table/tray (obviously the hands and face too, but nothing you can do about that if you want your baby to experiment and enjoy the art of eating!)

Here are a few solutions:

For under the chin

(1) Put a cloth bib around your baby’s neck. The trick is that it goes all the way to the back of the neck (past the chubby double/triple chin!) We like a few:

Dribble Ons, Bandana Bibs, and IKEA Bibs (these work wonders under a plastic bib) – all pictured below. By the way, if you prefer disposable bibs to avoid the washing, we’ve also tried Tommee Tipee Explora Disposable Bibs, and they work rather well.

(2) Put on an all encompassing plastic bib that is soft on top of the cloth bib. Plastic bibs often don’t prevent water, or purees from going underneath the bib and running into the baby’s clothes. With a cloth bib that surrounds the neck area and a plastic bib over it; you’re golden. After a myriad trials (i.e. money down the drain), we found the best in the market from Jojo Mamman Bebe – the plastic is soft, and it can be washed (even though the label says not to, we’ve washed it and its fine!)

For the floor

Buy a floor mat unless you have hardwood floors and you can just wipe them clean and save yourself this expense. Below is the Prince Lionheart Catch All Floor Mat; if you have to buy one, we like this the best for its neutral tones.

For the tray/table

Both of us have the Stokke high chair, which allows you to buy its integrated little chair tray separately (but it is on the pricey side). We do not recommend buying the Stokke table tray – its also expensive and not very useful if you have a table that you can bring the chair up to. There are of course more portable placemats that can pick up the food from getting to the floor, but these don’t always catch the food. Rather than you stress out about whether the food will be caught or not (and pass on your nerves to the baby), best to let them drop whatever they want onto the floor and then just wipe the floor mat. I’m sure you will agree that the most important thing is to let your child play with textures and the best way to let them do that, is to give them a bit of free rein in the beginning!

Of course if you’re weaning on the road, then you should invest in portable things such as the above Summer Infant Tiny Diner Placemat (pictured in green).

In sum, no easy solution, but there is no need to splurge on paraphernalia – just be clever about what you really need (and watch this space for moomboo’s future solution- if you’re interested please send us your email and we will notify you as soon as our cover all bib is ready – contactmoomboo@gmail.com).

Send us your “keeping-things-clean-whilst-weaning” tips and we’ll post some of them in our FB page so our fans can learn from your experiences!

How we sleep trained our baby

So we’ve already established that some of you will cringe at the following blog entry (and YES, we’d like to hear from you), but we promised we would share our experiences in sleep training our babies. You’ve already seen our entry on night nurses, which is one way of sleep training your munchkin. However, if your pockets won’t allow it, or you simply would rather do it yourself (or you’re stubborn like one of us was), then you may have opted to do it yourself. This blog post will share those experiences.

twins

“My husband and I are big sleepers. When I say big, I mean we were used to our 12 hour night sleep (weekends of course were another matter). Then came along our gorgeous baby boy- who didn’t seem to share in this alien sleeping ritual. Worst yet, he possessed the inability to discern day from night. The world, as far as he was concerned, revolved around him 24 hours a day. During this time, we patiently followed the “Your Baby Week by Week” book, which gives you tips on developing healthy sleeping habits for your baby, but basically expects the baby to naturally sleep on its own at some stage.

That stage couldn’t come soon enough for us. So, 2.5 months in, when we realised our perennial bickering was due to our lack of sleep, we pleaded our parents for help. What we got, was the next best thing to a ring on the doorbell telling us they were taking over (they don’t live in the UK like us), we got a magical book on sleep training from Dr. Eduard Estivill called “5 Days to a Perfect Night Sleep For your Child”. He is a renown Spanish paediatrician and expert on infant sleep disorders and took his knowledge of sleep cycles, eating cycles, and babies development to create a very simple to follow book.

5 nightsHe argues that sleep and eating habits are interlinked in a baby, and that it is a parent’s responsibility to teach their children to sleep  – an acquired skill like anything else. If you think about it, when you teach your child how to eat, everyone teaches them in the same way: you take a spoon, you pick up the food, and you bring the spoon to your mouth, not to mention the fact that you usually eat around the same time every day. However, when parents are trying to teach their baby to sleep they rock, sing, cuddle, push a stroller around at night, walk around the room at 5 am, etc, and they try to do this by taking a little munchkin’s queues (someone who doesn’t know night from day!) The point? Consistency in methodology is of utmost importance. It helps if you have a constant location for the baby to sleep in (so that once you start traveling they continue to have familiar places and things), which is why the moomboo is so helpful to support this process. But in addition to consistency in location, everyone in the house needs to be in agreement and adhere to the same approach. And boy do you need that agreement.  Dr Estivill’s method can be hard to stick to, because, yes, it does entail your baby crying a little bit. As a Spaniard, you can imagine that loving, cuddling, and ensuring your baby is full of self esteem is of utmost importance, so his method is all about empowering the baby to acquire a skill that will carry them through life, while feeling entirely loved through the process (the crying is extremely controlled to ensure the baby never feels abandoned or hurt).

Here is how it works.

  1. Identify 2-3 external objects that you want your child to associate with falling asleep (could be a pacifier and a comfort blanket, or anything you like so long as YOU are not one of those objects- i.e. you don’t want your baby needing you at 3am to fall back asleep when they are just linking sleep cycles).
  2. Introduce those objects to your baby in an assured voice with a big smile, explaining (s)he will now fall asleep with these two new friends. Then with a big smile let your baby know you are going to leave them to sleep with their new friends and will be back when its time to wake up. They will have no clue what you are saying, so your voice and facial expression is what will convey the comfort and confidence they need.
  3. Then walk out of the room. Your baby will complain, but you need to stay strong and walk out.
  4. Then the hard part begins- turn your gaze to your watch and wait 2 minutes. You MUST wait those two minutes. I/my husband used to take our iPad into the room next door and tried to read or watch videos – anything to distract ourselves. We’d support each other to ensure we did not walk in before the 2 minutes were up. This was definitely difficult, but we reminded ourselves that we were doing this for our baby’s own good. We were teaching him something, and it wasn’t going to be easy, but we owed to it to him to give him the best.
  5. If your baby is still crying after 2 minutes (and the first nights they usually will be), then walk back into the room. Tell them that you love them, are there for them, are teaching them how to sleep, that you know its hard but you know they will learn, and that you are leaving them with their objects (just name the objects you selected in step 1) to fall asleep. Then you walk out again.
  6. Look at your watch and wait 3 minutes and repeat this process as often as necessary until the baby falls asleep. Although book recommends to wait 3 minutes in the 2nd go and to progressively increase the time intervals, my husband and I did not feel comfortable leaving our baby to cry for longer than 2 minutes. So we adhered to a 2 minutes wait and went back in as many times necessary.

It usually takes a baby 2 hours to fall asleep on the first night. This, however, will reduce drastically the next night, and in 5 days if you’ve stuck to this method (no matter what time the baby wakes up) then you will have a sleeping baby that knows how to fall asleep on their own! Besides finding it hard to wait those 2 minutes, we found it very hard to stick to this method in the middle of the night. All you want is for the baby to go back to sleep so you’re tempted to nurse, rock, or cuddle. If you do that, you will waste all your hard effort, and you’ll be short changing your baby. This is where a short term sacrifice will make the world of difference in the long term, and this is where you most need your partner to support you. I won’t lie, we had our difficult nights in that sleep training week, but overall we supported each other and got through it.

I know, I know -you’re probably thinking “I can’t do it”. I thought exactly the same. I remember second guessing myself, thinking I was a horrible parent, and having to deal with my friends glances when they would come over and see me trying to put the baby down for a nap looking at my watch to count down those dreaded 2  minute crying intervals. However, we stuck to our guns and our baby learned how to sleep on his own in 1 week.

photo (11)

Today our 9 month old couldn’t be happier, falls asleep on his own without crying, and sleeps through from  7pm-7am without fail. He no longer needs us to fall asleep, and he looks forward to bedtime – just one more opportunity to put his acquired skills to use. I am convinced that this has made him more confident and self assured rather than the opposite. He has certainty that we will never abandon him and he knows that when we leave we always come back. This is why, I believe, he doesn’t suffer from separation anxiety when I leave the room, and it is why he will happily continue to play with his baby friends if I am out of the picture for a bit.

Sleep training is a very personal decision, but for those considering it, I can not recommend it enough. Ultimately, it helped our marriage as we now have uninterrupted evenings to ourselves. We can also confidently leave our baby with a babysitter as he sleeps through and requires no specific instructions to fall back asleep. Better yet, we know that every morning our adorable baby boy wakes up with a big smile on his face looking forward to the day ahead”.

Please share our thoughts with us. If you’ve sleep trained your baby, we’d love to hear from you. If you haven’t and are adamantly opposed to what is written on this post, please also share your thoughts with us. Our aim is to facilitate information and give parents choices. Please join the debate!

On Night Nannies

babies in cuddlesFor some, there is a stigma attached to having a night nurse, as if you are somehow outsourcing motherhood. But for others (like one of us) it was a life saver. We thought that it would be helpful to share our experience. At moomboo corner we belive that there is nothing wrong with getting some help once in a while!

For those who do not know, here is how it works in London. The night nurse comes to your place usually around 7.00 or 8.00 pm. She helps with the bath, night feed and to get the baby to sleep. But where the real value of it comes in, is during those feeds at 2, 3 or 4 am; by the time you have fed, changed and settled the baby, you feel like it is time to get up again! The night nurse, takes care of all of this so you can either feed and then go straight back to sleep or even express so you can get a proper night sleep (well, until your breasts feel like they will explode, that is). She then leaves at 7.00 or 8.00 am when you have hopefully had a good night sleep and are ready to start the day. During the first few weeks, I was so obsessed with whether baby was still breathing, that I only slept when the night nurse was around.

twinsGranted, it is a very personal/ intrusive thing. My night nurse would bring the baby into our room for a feed in the middle of the night and come and take her away – all this whilst my husband was snoring next to me blissfully. That is why it is important to chose the right person and keep the same person with whom you will build a rapport. Some agencies that send a different person each time have probably put people off by making what is a really personal thing, quite impersonal and business like.

The best night nurses, and I can say that I was lucky enough to have one of them, will also start sleep training the baby at an early age (from a week old or so) so that by the time they go, baby is close to or actually sleeps through the night. An added bonus for clueless people like me, was that I actually learned how to do most baby things from the night nurse. She taught me how to bathe, change, feed the baby. She even helped with establishing breast-feeding and expressing. The moomboo came in so handy; baby would sleep in our room and move to the nursery when the night nurse was there. The moomboo made the transition from one room to the other very smooth.

photo (11)Having a night nurse is expensive, there is no way around that (usually ranging from £100 to £180 per night). But it really depends on how much value you place on your sleep and if you take into account the added benefits (i.e. that you do not have to check if the baby is breathing or not every 5 minutes), it is definitely worth it.

Choose someone you like and that will make the experience 100 times better. During the precious first months a good night nurse will enhance your confidence and help you enjoy the experience more. Try Carol Mae Consulting (http://www.carolmaeconsulting.co.uk/) for a very personal and unique experience or Night Nannies (http://www.nightnannies.com/).

Share your night nurse experience with us.

Baby it’s cold outside!

Given the changes in weather it is no surprise that your baby may now have its first cold. Other humans may look at you like you’re crazy when you tell them how worried you are that your baby is coughing, has snot dripping down their nose, and maybe even a slight fever, but you feel passionately that this could be threatening and therefore need to share this concern with your friends to double check. We’ve all been there, and know exactly what you’re going through.

baby coldPerhaps you’ve even gone into the hospital at 3am because your crying baby has a blocked nose or is making a slightly “different” noise when breathing. After putting your uncoordinated socks on in the middle of the night and hopping into the car, you feel slightly embarrassed when the skeptical paediatrician examines your, what is now a laughing, baby (how fun is it to be out at night and take the mickey out of you?) and determines they have “just a cold”.  Well, we know how disappointing it can be to hear there isn’t much you can do other than home remedies, but here at moomboo, we want to make this unpleasant experience as pleasant as possible for you and your baby. So we decided to write a little blog about our top tips to keeping your little one as comfortable as  possible so they can get over their cold quickly. Besides keeping your baby hydrated:

  1. icon blue woombooTurn on the humidifier– if you have one, doctors recommend you turn it on in your baby’s room if humidity levels are below 30%. Although most babies love the sound of humidifiers, a silent humidifier is always best, so you can hear your baby’s breathing through the baby monitor on those more challenging nights.
  2. Incline your baby ensuring their head is a little higher than their feet– The best way to achieve this safely is to insert the moomboo wedge under the moomboo. If you’re waiting to get your hands on a moomboo, for now you can place a cushion under their crib mattress – oh and don’t forget to get yourself on the wait list.
  3. Buy menthol drops – You can put a few drops inside a bowl of warm water by the baby’s crib and/or on a muslin that you can place between the crib and the mattress. We do both to maximize the menthol, and place the humidifier close to both of those so they can spread the smell throughout the nursery (you should smell it in the morning!). In the UK you can buy lots of over-the-counter brands like Olmitos, Vicks, etc at your local chemist.
  4. baby cuddlesLots and lots of cuddles– even for babies on a routine, now is the time to relax your rules/routine and spoil them a little (or a lot). If you can ensure that you don’t bend your routine or rules for longer than 3 days, your baby will revert seamlessly into their old routine. If you have to stretch beyond that because the cold doesn’t get better, then you may just have to work a little harder to get them to fall asleep on their own (if you were in the middle of sleep training), or fall asleep without that extra cuddle.
  5. Buy nasal spray/ drops– Saline drops/spray are a great way to unblock those tiny little noses, especially if stiffer little buggers are in sight. The challenge is of course  to get them to go in if your baby is wiggly or very strong like one ours! Again lots of over-the-counter options at Boots.
  6. Take your baby into a steamed shower/bathroom – running a hot shower and closing all the doors, you can create a mini steam room for your baby. Just hold your baby in your arms and go into the room for 10-15 minutes, and you’ll see how their airways unblock and their breathing gets instantly better.
  7. sleep suitMake sure they are wearing appropriate clothes– ensure they are dressed appropriately for the season, but regulate clothing based on your baby’s preference. For example, one of our babies is very sensitive to heat, so we usually have put on one layer less than most other babies to bed. We get around that by adjusting the tog of his sleeping bags rather than the clothes he wears underneath. We love this JojoMaman Bebe sleep suit with removable sleeves which can also be used to transport baby from car seat/pram into bed without waking (great for the trip to the hospital if you have to take one!)
  8. Finally, if your baby has a predisposition for bronchiolitis (an inflammation of the bronchioles, causing those scary breathing noises which combined with a cold can make anyone panic)  then ask your doctor about Ventolin– you need a prescription and it isn’t for everyone, but we wish we’d asked sooner as its helped our baby immensely!

sleeping soundly

Did we miss any of your favourite tips? If so, please let us know and we’ll add it to upcoming posts.

We hope you and your little one ride the cold out soon.

Here is to many restful nights of sleep ahead!

Routine or no routine? Our happy inbetween

alarm clockAs part of our routine or no routine series, we have tapped into our network of multi-cultural mummy friends who have shared their experiences with us. Part three of this series, is written by Mrs C who has adopted a more…. relaxed approach to a baby routine.

“When I was pregnant, I would observe our friends with kids and I always thought that the best behaved children were the ones on a routine. It was probably just a coincidence, but it anyway made my mind up that routine was the way forward for us. The benefits seemed endless…predictability, well behaved baby, rested mummy… I was so set on this, that we actually employed an expert as soon as we could, to help us establish the routine.

And the routine worked great. Our baby girl was one of the first to sleep through the night, and the predictability of the feeding and napping cycles, meant that I was very attuned to her needs. However, what I found very hard, and what I think that most people on a routine do not always admit to, is that for it to work you have to continue working at it (sometimes hard) and that it also means that you are a little imprisoned by it.

a2ed3ad1e971c8322436775d1b51aeefI am a very active and sociable person and I found that having to stay indoors between 12.00 and 2.30 EVERY day very limiting. It was probably also that my baby is such a light sleeper that she would not follow the routine when out and about. After a couple of weeks of not joining my NCT friends on the various activities because ‘it is nap time’, I decided that this was not going to work for us. A happy mummy is a happy baby, and this mummy was the happiest when surrounded by her friends, their babies and a nice skinny cappuccino.

There came a period of adjustment. After being on a routine for a while, when she found herself in a soft play area during nap time, baby was a little confused. But being sociable and adaptable little creature, she soon figured it out. I also figured out that she was happiest when in the company of other babies, and in some ways became more manageable as a result of a more flexible routine. So here is how it works for us:

  •  we roughly follow the Gina Ford routine with the three naps a day (short morning nap, long lunchtime nap and short afternoon nap). We are flexible and vary the nap times depending on our activities. If she does not take a long enough lunchtime nap, she will make it up later by having longer than the 45 minutes recommended by most routines
  • two to three times a week, we stay at home and try to follow the routine by the book. This bores baby and mummy but I think it is important to avoid her getting over tired
  • we are more strict when it comes to feeding times. There we only vary by 15 minutes here or there. Although not so at the beginning, she will now have meals anywhere. This fits with our lifestyle as we love eating out
  •  we are religious about the nighttime routine of bath, little story, bottle of milk and off to bed. She knows that there is no room for negotiation. It is always at the same time and done in the same way.

This more relaxed approach to a routine is not for everyone, but it has really worked for us by giving us a rough outline to the day. What is interesting is that one way or another, all babies (whether on a routine or not) all end up falling into a similar schedule naturally.”

Baby Routine? No Thank you!

passportIn an effort to provide an array of views, moomboo corner draws on the expertise of its multicultural NCT group. Following our post on the advantages of putting your baby on a schedule courtesy of Mrs. V, we thought we would share our dear friend Janie’s views on how allowing their little one to find her own schedule, worked for their uber mobile lifestyle.

“Before my daughter, my partner and I had never really been much of a routine-led kind of a couple..In fact I’d go so far as to say we’d actively avoid the r word…

Not that it’s a bad thing, it just never suited us. As a writer (of both songs and books) I found inspiration would rear it’s head at any time of the night or day and I got used to welcoming it at the oddest of hours, often working when most of the rest of the world slept, finally resting while the majority of London dealt with the morning rush-hour mayhem.

While I was pregnant I read, like most first time mums, an enormous amount of  literature, some of it useful, some it fairly pointless and in retrospect some of it was really quite unhelpful.. I weighed up the pro’s and con’s of  water births (what if he can’t swim? /do they come with a baywatch certified lifeguard?), breast feeding or bottle, (any NCT teacher will tell you it is your moral duty to breast feed until your baby reaches 18  years of age), which buggy (it is a seat, with four wheels, why oh why are there so many to choose from?), and what really are the essential accessories? (I wish there had been moomboo when I had my baby girl).

turquoise vespaI also read a lot on the subject of whether to put your child into a routine or not.  Given my previous lifestyle and my partner and I’s need to travel  frequently (having bases in both the UK and Italy), we decided to opt for a more, let’s see what the baby wants to do, if we’re easy with her, maybe she’ll be flexible when travel plans mean we can’t given her 2 hours in a nursery in silence with the blinds shut to have a nice sleep…kind of approach.. Somehow, incredibly it’s worked for us.

Our little girl has developed her own routine which is not dissimilar to the babies I know who areroutine led.  She gets the sleep she needs but when it suits her and on the plus side she is not overly grumpy if she misses her usual nap, she just takes it later….

lucky baby

Here is how a “typical day” could look for us:

  • Approx. 8am the baby intercom broadcasts a string of incomprehensible babble (which my partner has fondly likened to something from the film “Mars Attacks”.)
  • Milk and biscuits are duly dispensed to our beautiful wild haired little alien followed by a nappy change, general clearing of goo and preparation for the day…
  • Play ensues until mid morning snack of hipp fruit pot or fresh banana and water around 10:30/11.  Nap for 30 mins-1hr can happen around now depending how her night’s sleep was…
  • Lunch is consumed/thrown/smeared at 1pm followed by a walk (for Mum)/ chauffeur driven buggy experience (for Charlotte) then a 1/2 hour nap around 2:30/3..
  • Afternoon tea of fruit or biscuit is requested by Miss Charlotte around 4pm followed by furious play and exploration of every possible dangerous area of the house until dinner at 7pm.
  • Light play (reading together) bath and ready for bed all happens before 9pm then it’s time for beauty sleep, often this suggestion is met with some resistance but the addition of warm milk, patience and a few songs normally works by 9:30pm…just in time for Mum’s take away delivery:)

And that’s the great thing about babies, your one will be the right one for your approach whichever you choose, so my advice would be don’t listen to the books, listen to yourselves. If you love routine your baby probably will too…if not, going with the flow can really work too!”

By Janie Price mum to Charlotte age 10 months

Do you have a similar experience to Janie’s? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you!

Baby Routine? Yes Please!

If you are an avid reader of our blog, you may have gathered that we pull on the collective knowledge of our NCT group of mommies. (For those living outside the UK, NCT is a maternity preparation course that brings together parents-to-be with similar due dates living in the same area). Our group is very close yet highly multicultural in that we have British, American, German, Spanish, Greek, Italian, Korean, Irish and South East Asian mommies and daddies in it. This means we have the advantage of witnessing a variety approaches to child rearing, and while we have all benefited from sharing experiences, we’ve each found our own way.

We thought, that by sharing our group’s experiences we could help other parents find their own way too. So we will kick off a new series to tackle the issue of routine vs. no routine. This blog post, written by our very own Mrs V, will focus on her experiences following a schedule with her very happy baby. (In case you were wondering, she happens to be British, but don’t be fooled- the Greeks and Spaniards in the group did the same!)

Happy daddy happy baby

“As a Mum-to-be I found I was faced with numerous decisions to make about how best to look after my baby and was bombarded with so much conflicting advice. One of the biggest decisions was whether to follow a routine or not, with some professionals/experienced mum’s/grannies/complete strangers advocating that a routine is the only way to go and just as many advising against it (and some even going so far as to suggest it could be detrimental to your baby’s happiness). After doing my research and speaking to a number of friends who had recently had a baby, I decided to try and follow a routine after my baby was born. I have not looked back and thought I would share my top 3 reasons for this:

1. You have peace of mind that your baby is getting enough food and sleep in the day. 

photo (11) - Version 2We all will admit that one of our biggest goals in the first few months after our baby is born is to get them to sleep through the night as soon as possible! With structured feeding and sleeping times, I found I was able to try and make sure my baby was getting enough milk and not too much sleep in the daytime, so that he gradually started to sleep for longer and longer at night the bigger he got. After 8 weeks, if he woke in the night I felt comfortable in the knowledge that he probably wasn’t hungry and giving him a cuddle, and maybe a sip of warm water, would be enough before trying to put him back to bed.

2. Your baby is relaxed and secure in the knowledge that food and sleep will be on its way.

pouting babyI honestly believe that one of the biggest reasons I have a happy baby is that he knows when naps and food are coming. I think it is a general misconception that you have to push babies into a routine and that some books/professionals even advocate this. I can hand-on-heart say that I have never ever left my baby to cry. Of course you sometimes have to be flexible – your baby may be going through a growth spurt or not feeling very well so may need his bottle earlier or a bit more sleep than usual. You know your baby best.

3. It gives you flexibility to get on with life.

lucky babyIf you follow a routine you know when the next feed is due, which means you can get out and about/have some you time/do some chores. Once the routine was established, it was such a relief to be able to meet friends for lunch or do some shopping without worrying about whether you might have to duck into a loo somewhere to breastfeed, or whether you’d be lucky enough to make it home before the next feed.

Of course, there are times when something happens to ensure the routine goes out the window. I suggest you take a deep breath and just start again the next day”!

For those of you who are keen on following a routine, we’ve found Gina Ford’sContended Baby” to be very comprehensive, prescriptive (although sometimes too much) and generally helpful. After all, a lot of the maternity nurses base themselves on a variation of her approach. Don’t be fooled- establishing the routine can be a challenge at first – but as you hear from Mrs V its benefits are rewarding. If you decide to go for this, we wish you the very best of luck, and encourage you to share your experiences with us/and or reach out to us for any support/advice you may need throughout the period. It’s a ride but well worth the effort!!! Don’t forget that the moomboo can be a great companion during this process as it will allow you and your baby to adhere to a sleep routine no matter where in the world you are.  Moomboo will provide the continuity needed in spite of changing environments. To learn more about moomboo take a look at our first post.

Watch this space for a post extolling the advantages of NOT setting a schedule. . .and please do let us know your thoughts and experiences!

Our tips for newborn personal care

baby turcoiseSo you are finally home from the hospital with your new baby….! It is the most amazing time until the panic sets in….how do I look afer this little creature? Here are some simple tips as gathered from experience, and in the case of one of us, the assistance of a very experienced (and scary) maternity nurse.

  • All you need is water! When pregnant and preparing for the arrival of your baby, do not get carried away into buying loads of lotions, baby bath products and wipes. For the first few months, all you need is water. For nappy changes, use warm water and cotton. We found the oval cotton pads much easier to use than the thick cut cotton wool which leaves cotton residue. Clean from the front to the back and do not forget those little creases under the legs. Dry extremely well with a muslin. For the bath, which for newborns is not recommended on a daily basis, just water will do. Many new parents agonise over the temperature of the bath. Invest in a thermometer or use your judgement. The midwife at the hospital told us that the water should feel comfortable to the hand; we found this more helpful than a thermometer.
  • favourite baby in bathSudocream – also ideal for mum’s spots! The maternity nurse would add a little sudocrem at every nappy change. Views vary and the health visitors recommend a more limited use. We settled in the middle, using sudocrem for the last nappy change before putting the baby down for the night (as that nappy tends to stay on the longest) and once during the day. As an added bonus, sudocrem works wondes on spots. A friend suggested this and it made my spot almost vanish – just try to remember you have it on when the doorbell rings.
  • Olive oil. This is not the kind you add to your salad, but a more purified form ideal for baby care. You can find it in most pharmacies and you should use it after the bath, to moisturise the delicate baby skin which due to the harsh water in most cities, has a tendency to dry. Babies develop special skin habits and conditions, so it is best not to invest in any baby moisturising lotions until much later. Both our babies had different skin irritations and we ended using specialist products recommended by the health visitor or the doctor.
  • babies in cuddlesThe umbilical cord is scary! Here at moomboo corner we are always honest and we are not afraid to admit that the umbilical cord scares us. Logically, you know that it is not hurting the baby but it looks painful….Make sure you keep it clean and dry. Only use warm water and cotton and dry off very well with a muslin. Any umbilical cord discharge with a funny smell should be checked straight away.
  • Top and tail. Another one of those terms you hear a lot. All it means is that, as newborns do not need a bath every day, the head and bottom should be cleaned on a daily basis. There are special ‘top and tail’ containers in the market. We do not think you need this. Fill a bowl with warm water and clean around the eyes (from the centre out and using a different cotton piece for each eye), clean behind the ears and the whole face. Then move to the bottom and give it a good clean.

We know its tempting to stock up on all sorts of branded, hypoallergenic, soft, baby products. And we understand its part of the overall experience, but there really is no need to splurge! In fact, if you wait until your baby comes home and is a few weeks old before investing in creams and things you will be better off.

baby in bath

One of us had a baby that suffered from eczema (a severe dry skin condition which is rather common in young babies). As it turned out we had to throw away all our goodies and buy prescriptions and a few over the counter little gems of products. In case you are wondering those were (keep in mind these are for when your baby is little older): (1) Epaderm – this a great vaseline like cream which can be applied all over the body (and is great for mommy’s dried up cuticles from all the washing and cleaning) and (2) Aveno bath oil water emollient  particularly good to soften London water for the babies bath. Just add a few drops before you put your baby in and you’ll see it will help your baby’s skin stay smooth (and also smell nice!) (3) Dermol– although it is another water emollient, it also works as a soap (which doesn’t lather and thus doesn’t dry up your baby’s skin). Of course, before you treat your baby’s eczema make sure to check with your pediatrician or GP, but these creams are great to keep older baby’s skin feeling nice and soft!

Our list is by no means exhaustive, but we’ve tried to minimize the expense for parents while maximising the comfort for babies (and softness of their skin – who doesn’t love to kiss those smooth baby cheeks?)  Please send us your tips for newborn care and any pictures of your cuties in the bath!