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Traditionally people knit for babies – bootees, hats, matinee jackets, dresses and dungarees. All these things are lovely, and for a summer baby you can add other things.
Summer time is the time to look at organic and cotton items – these will be free from any chemicals and will keep cooler breezes off the baby while allowing them to keep cool in the heat.
Organic cotton blankets and cotton shawls are ideal for summertime as a baby can be wrapped up or be allowed to lie on the ground on their own cotton blanket and enjoy the feel of summer air around them. Wearing an organic cotton bodysuit as well makes sure that your baby is comfortable and kept warm, but not too warm.
Keep an eye on your baby in the heat to make sure that they are not overheating – if they feel very hot and sweaty then you could undo some of the clothes and allow the air over them – of course with small babies there is always another side and you also have to make sure they don’t get chilled.
And always, babies must be kept out of the heat of the sun as their tender skin can be seriously sunburnt. A cotton shawl or blanket can even be useful here to make a quick sunshade if needed.
Once you are at home with your new baby, it is inevitable that worry will creep in. You are starting a whole new way of life and it would be strange if this didn’t cause anxiety. All new parents, both mums and dads worry about how their baby is when they are sleeping – having to check that they are still ok is a natural part of being a new parent. Worrying about their feeding – are they having enough or too much is also standard for new parents. Small babies depend entirely on their parents but can’t explain anything, so new parents spend a lot of time learning to understand their new baby.
The other side of the coin is that you will discover new things about yourself that you never imagined. As you face the demands the baby makes, so you find that you are taking on the responsibilities that seemed so daunting at first. Learning is a natural human function and you will be learning from your baby as much as the baby is learning about the world they have arrived in.
You have the advantage over the baby as well that you can ask other people for help and explain to them what you are finding difficult, so you can get advice from relatives and friends who will also help by bringing all sorts of baby gifts for the child.
And the biggest thing you will discover is how great your capacity to love is, there is nothing like a baby to bring this out.
It’s a lovely idea that you can have a calm baby simply by playing them classical music – is it really that easy?
Well, it may not be quite that easy, but there is evidence that even before they are born, babies can hear music and may be calmed by hearing familiar, gentle classical music. It’s certainly true that some schools have found that young children are quieter and better at learning when classical music is played to them.
From about 20 weeks after conception it seems that unborn babies can hear and respond to sounds, and once they have arrived, by about three months they may respond to music – by six to nine months you will be quite positive that you can see them moving to music and making sounds to sing along.
Some experts think that music stimulates brain development, which is why it has this beneficial effect on babies and small children and it may even help to boost IQ, although no-one’s managed to prove this yet.
It’s easy enough to do though – get yourself some classical music and play it to your baby, and see if it makes a difference to them. You never know, you may find its one of the best things you did – and you might find that you come to enjoy the music too.
And does it work with heavy rock? Well, the jury’s out on that one, but as babies from newborn have a very strong startle and fright reflex to sudden sounds, it may not be the best way to go.
Going on holiday is so enjoyable for adults that it can be hard to remember that for small children this may be a daunting experience. Suddenly they are whisked away from home and familiarity to a new place with all new things to look at and get used to.
So if your toddler is a bit crotchety or unhappy, don’t be impatient with them, but understand their anxiety and give them some reassurance.
Some children become totally attached to a comforter, or ‘happy’ baby gifts they have been given. They may find a blanket or toy and become inseparable with it or you could give them a purpose made toy/blanket comforter.
Toddlers can get a lot of comfort from something familiar like this, so make sure it is with them while you are travelling and when you arrive at your holiday. You will find it much easier to keep your toddler happy when they have it with them and you can talk about what ‘bunny thinks of this place’ to encourage your toddler.
Once they get over their initial apprehension, small children are great fun to travel with as they see everything new and interesting and so you get even more pleasure from sharing it all with them.
Summer is a lovely time with toddlers and babies as you can take them out to the park or if you are lucky, to the seaside and let your toddler run around while your baby can lie in the fresh air.
Just a few simple rules will help keep both of them safe. Remember in any sunshine that baby’s and toddler’s skin is very easily burnt so use a high factor sun cream. It is lovely for small children to have very few clothes on and this is fine as long as they are in the shade and protected from insects.
You will have to watch your toddler in case they put into their mouth things they shouldn’t such as sand, grass, earth and small stones. Luckily, small babies can’t yet do this. For them, put a good rug on the ground to protect them from anything that could irritate their skin and try to protect them from creepy-crawlies. An organic cotton blanket is ideal as the natural fibres are comfortable for your baby to lie on and organic cotton clothes are comfortable for a baby in the hot weather.
A toddler running around on a hot day will become thirsty so make sure you have a good supply of drinks for them, such as water or a diluted fruit juice to make sure they don’t get dehydrated.
And enjoy the summer while it lasts.
Taking your new baby out to a family event, like a party or a wedding, can seem like preparing for an expedition to the North Pole. Instead of getting only yourself ready and remembering things like the car keys and front door keys, you have to think about nappies, cleansers, cream and spare clothes, as well as extras like toys and baby gifts. Then there is the baby seat, pushchair or buggy, and all this has to be fitted in the car and transported to your family ‘do’.
Although at first it seems like a bit of a nightmare and you can’t imagine how you will ever get the hang of it, it really does quite soon become second nature. It helps in the early days to write a list of all the things you will need to plan for – think through the day and what you will be doing, how many feeds you may need to give, how many nappy changes, how much time your baby will need to sleep. Check with the party organisers where you can go to be quiet and private.
You may be lucky enough to have been given a baby gift set with a bag that has a space for nappies and other items for trips away, and this will really make life easier to organise when you are out and about.
It doesn’t take very long for a baby or toddler to collect lots of toys. All the family and friends will want to give toys and games at Christmas and birthdays, and may bring back extra baby gifts from holidays. Your tidy home will come to look like a bazaar at times.
And on top of all this, it is well known that children are not keen on tidying up after themselves – they enjoy taking all the toys out but seem to lose interest when it comes to putting them all back.
One way around this is to use a toy box that is attractive and so encourages your child to keep their toys in it. You may be given baskets or bags as new baby gifts and these can be recycled as a toy box or bag. It is much easier to persuade a child to tidy up when you have a pretty or interesting basket to put everything in and you can make a game of filling the basket and seeing how much you can fit in.
It is nice-looking for your home as well, rather than having a functional looking cupboard to have a pretty basket or bag.
Now with the summer warmth, it is the time to take your baby and toddler out to explore the local area, shops and parks. Small children who are just learning to walk and run find nothing so exciting as being taken out to new areas where they can try out their new-found skills.
There are a couple of things to remember.
No matter how keen your toddler is, they will not be able to walk very far. You will need to take your pushchair with you, even if you are both walking to start with. As you go on, you will see when your toddler needs to have a rest and when they can get out and be energetic again.
It is a good idea to have them in the pushchair for the boring bits and for the busy roads. Then when you are in the park, you can let them walk and run around to their heart’s content.
Another thing to remember is the importance of protecting your baby and toddler from the hot sun. Tempting though it is to sit in the sun while your toddler runs around, they may become over-hot or sunburnt, so it is better to have your base in the shade and lots of cool drinks for them. And very importantly, don’t forget to keep them covered up and use sun-block.
Thinking of a gift for a new baby? It might be a good idea to talk to the new parents to find out what they need. You may be able to put together with someone else to provide a bigger gift, something that you could not afford on your own.
For some people, it is traditional for the grandparents to provide the pram, especially for the first baby in the family, and they will discuss with the parents-to-be what sort of pram or pushchair is wanted.
For other relatives, you may want to look at other baby gifts, such as a gift set or new baby gift basket that contains a selection of things like baby bath towels, blankets and body suits. Some of the things you see may be a bit of a luxury new parents who are coping with all the new necessities, but these could be exactly the gifts that are most appreciated, as these are the items parents could not have managed to buy for themselves.
If you look around, you will see all sorts of items you may not have thought of, from photo frames for the new baby to treats for the mum and dad and any older brothers or sisters. Special treats at this time will mean a lot.
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How about a get together with other new mums to share the experiences of your new babies? No-one will understand better what you are feeling than the other new mothers you met and got to know during the preparation time.
This would be a good opportunity to use the new pram or buggy and to dress your new baby in some of the lovely new clothes and baby gifts you may have bought or been given. When you are in a group of other new mums, or with just one other, you can laugh together about all the little things that you are finding difficult; from nappy fastening to how you get bootees on tiny feet and how to put on a sleepsuit. Things that seem designed to foil you when you are on your own suddenly become something to enjoy defeating.
There is nothing like sharing challenges with other people to make it easier to meet the challenge and more enjoyable too. You will end your get together feeling much more positive about all the things that have been niggling at you. Spending some time together getting the hang of all these new baby things will enhance your confidence for managing when you are on your own.
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