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It’s really lovely if you and a friend find that you are pregnant together, or you make a good friend at ante-natal classes. You have someone to share all the hopes and fears with, and someone to laugh with when it can otherwise seem difficult.
Once the babies are born you are a natural twosome, there to offer a shoulder to cry on or to share the delight with. Your babies will be close in age so you can share the developmental milestones.
However, there is one big but to this – don’t allow yourselves to become competitive about which baby is smiling first, or sitting up, or crawling. All mums are incurably sure that their baby is the best, cleverest, most beautiful baby there ever was, and this is how it should be. But don’t expect your friend to share your opinion of your baby, because she knows it’s her baby who is best.
If you keep telling each other all the details of how well your baby is doing, you may just drive each other away. Try to talk about how well your friend’s baby is doing rather than emphasising the brilliance of your own.
And remember to talk about things other than your babies sometimes, perhaps have a meal together occasionally when baby subjects are banned, so you can just enjoy your friendship.
By the time your baby is six months old, they may be rolling over, raising their head up when they are lying on their stomach, sitting up or even beginning to crawl.
However fast they are developing, one sure thing is that they will be growing and expanding their repertoire all the time, going from a small baby who lies in one place, to a rather speedy ‘don’t look away or they’ll be somewhere else’ bundle of energy.
You will need to keep up with all this progress as it is also a big change for you. You will find that it’s fine to dress a small baby in a dress if you have a girl, but once they are on the go, they need to be free to move their arms and legs without getting tangled up.
This is where body suits come into their own and bootees can be very useful to protect their small feet from the floor as the baby rolls or pulls themselves around. Baby feet need keeping safe on surfaces from hardwood floors to carpets which can very easily be rubbed and babies don’t know how to protect themselves. Bootees are made from soft material and non slip soles which offers all the protection the baby needs.
Even when you have prepared your toddler for the arrival of the new baby, they will probably find it very hard to understand what it is all about until the baby actually arrives. So what about a bit of hands on preparation such as a bath time playset that includes a baby doll with a nappy, soap, shampoo and towel. Your toddler can change the nappy, bath the baby and wrap it up in a towel to keep it warm, just like mummy will be doing with the new baby when it arrives.
For a small child, this is a good way of introducing them to what it will be like to have a baby in the house, and to start them with the idea that they will be able to help you with the new baby. Up until now your toddler has had all your attention, so they need to get used to the idea of having another person in the house.
They need to understand that mummy and daddy will be busy with the new baby as well as juggling other commitments such as work. It can also be of great help if they learn how to hold a baby, how fragile it is and how gentle they will have to be. It is easier to avoid jealousy when the older child feels that they are your helper, rather than feeling that you are looking after another baby instead of them.
Sometimes it can seem that having a toddler is just hard work and that there is never time enough for all that needs doing. This is especially true when you have gone back to work after maternity leave, you have become so used to looking after your baby you suddenly realise you need to re-adjust to the outside world as well incorporate looking after your child with your work responsibilities.
Unfortunately, there is no easy answer, but you can do some things to help yourself. One is, slow down – don’t expect your toddler to keep up with the adult world of work. Once you are home, allow yourself to live at toddler speed so that you can enjoy all the daft little things they do and all the cuddles and affection that toddlers have to give.
If you find that dinner is late, or that the washing isn’t done, try not to get stressed about it, a late meal is better than not having one at all and the washing can be done tomorrow, but the moments when your toddler first achieves something, like a step, or a first word won’t happen again, you will be glad you were there to share it.
Yes, you will feel under pressure and worry about the strain that juggling work and a home life brings, but you need to remember how important it is to be there for your young child to share their most memorable moments.
Your baby’s first smile always feels fantastic, but not far behind is the start of your baby laugher. Babies don’t generally laugh until around 6 months, but around then you will find that if you tickle them, or make funny noises, they are sure to start laughing. Laughter is always infectious and your own baby’s giggles even more so.
Playing peek a boo, using your baby’s soft toy animals to make funny noises or blowing raspberries on your baby’s tummy are all a good way to start your baby laughing. Reading funny books and joining in with the right noises or faces will also make your baby laugh; you can make lots of ordinary activities into an excuse for laughter.
And it isn’t just enjoyment – laughter is a huge part of the affection you and your baby share and it helps you to bond together. Some experts have said that a happy baby is a healthy baby so there is no harm is making various activities in your day more exciting and fun for your baby. As well as this, a sense of humour is a great asset in life, so enjoying yourself now with the assurance that you are helping to prepare your baby for the future.
Everybody loves the sunshine, but if you have a baby or a toddler you will find the hot weather makes lifting and carrying them harder whilst they are generally unhappy about being too hot and uncomfortable.
Nappies can make any child feel uncomfortable in the heat, however they are essential wear for your baby so ensure that their other clothing is loose fitting, in cool colours and is made out of breathable materials such as cotton.
If you are planning a visit to a local garden or a park nearby, make sure they are not in direct sunlight – at this time of year a small child or baby’s skin can be burnt in only 10 minutes or so and you may not see any of the warning signs such as redness immediately. A shaded area, a high factor sun block and a breeze are ideal for a toddler to keep cool and amuse themselves or a smaller baby can lie comfortably in a pram, with you supervising of course.
Having them both together means you can keep an eye at the same time and what better excuse for you to sit and enjoy the sunshine.
Why do children love dinosaurs – it seems to always be the case as they are certainly not going out of fashion. Both boys and girls are fascinated by these strange creatures from the past. So, if a new baby is on the way, it can be a nice idea to plan baby gifts for the new arrival and possibly a dinosaur toy for the older brother or sister so they don’t feel left out. Or even plan to buy a group of a few different dinosaurs that can be presented to the child at times when needed.
It is easy for the older sister or brother to feel left out when the new baby comes home and all the attention is on them. Most parents want to be careful not to provoke more jealousy than necessary, so gifts from parents to the older child, or even ‘from’ the new baby can often help the older child to feel more noticed and wanted.
Building up a collection of dinosaurs could punctuate the first year and give the older one a feeling of being part of everything that is going on, as they see their little gathering of dinosaurs grow throughout the year.
Once the new baby has arrived it’s now time to celebrate – friends and family will want to meet the baby and the new mum and dad will want to show off their latest arrival.
Well… yes, this is true. But remember that the new mum has just gone through labour, which isn’t called that for nothing and she may be exhausted after sleepless nights and a crying baby. The house may be in a mess and the last thing the new parents want is to deal with a stream of visitors.
But, the upside is that visitors can help – don’t go there expecting to be looked after; offer to get the meal, or better still, offer to bring a meal with you so that they know they don’t need to worry about it. Or suggest that you will come for a visit and will bring the shopping the new parents need, so saving them some time.
There are lots of little things you can do to help out and make your visits truly welcome and so that you can get to know the new baby, such as bringing him/her a new baby gift basket.
And yes – it is time to celebrate – how about some champagne for the new parents perhaps with an offer to watch the baby for an evening, so they can really relax with the bottle of bubbly and a film, while you do the work.
Yes, you are right in your expectations, you will need to do each outing as if it is a campaign. But that doesn’t mean you need to worry about it – you will find that in a few weeks it becomes second nature to you.
If you have friends or family who already have babies then you can check with them what they find is essential to take out, and you will no doubt work a lot out for yourself anyway, but here is a selection of the things you may need.
Take enough nappies for the length of time you’ll be out, plus one or two extra nappy sacks for the used nappies, wipes and any cream you use. If you have the space, a portable changing mat is useful, but you could get away with a towel if you really have to.
A change of clothes in case of disasters, and a toy or any recent baby gifts that you know will distract your baby are also useful; a woolly hat for winter cold and sunhat for summer are a good idea to have in the bag all the time ready in case of need.
If you are breast feeding, you may like to have with you a shawl to cover up if you can’t find anywhere really private when the baby needs a feed.
You will work out what other things you need, but this gives a basic idea. The days of popping out with nothing but your front door keys are long gone!
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One of the problems with buying a new baby gift for expectant mums is that you may not know whether the baby will be a girl or a boy. So many baby clothes and toys are made in either blue or pink and if you don’t know which will be right, or just don’t want to tread that well worn path, why not go for a neutral colour. There are lovely new baby sets in cream, which include some first size body suits and soft blankets, with teddy bears and some other bits and pieces all in a pretty wicker basket. Another option is to choose an organic gift basket, as these are often in natural colours.
It is very enjoyable for a mum to be to receive something that is useful and pretty, and having a new baby gift that is suitable for either sex is ideal. Once the items are in use there is no doubt that the new parents will find a use for the basket. There are so many new things that a baby needs that will have to have a home found for them and a basket that can contain the creams, wipes and nappy sacks etc. will be a bonus for the parents.
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