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If you know someone who has had a baby recently, why not think about giving them a special day to enjoy. It often happens that there is a great deal of excitement when the baby is born and for a few weeks after, and the new mum and dad may be overwhelmed by visits and new baby gifts, but then everything goes quiet.
Dad will have to be back at work, and the new mum is left at home alone with her new baby and new routine. Although it is lovely to be at home with a small baby, it can also be lonely and sometimes worrying, with so many new things to deal with.
So if you arrange to visit after a few months, you may find that you are very welcome. You could bring a gift set for the new baby; all the baby gifts from the time of the birth will be in use by now, so a bright new baby gift set, some clothes or toys will be much appreciated.
Your thoughtfulness will be valued as you will be reminding the new mum that she hasn’t been forgotten and people are still thinking of her and if you bring a luxury treat for mum as well, then it gives her a real treat and a reminder that she can still sometimes enjoy and indulge herself.
It might seem impossible to think of babies and the environment when you are in the middle of preparing for your new baby. There are so many necessary things to buy and it seems impossible to unite the two. But it is possible to make a start on bringing up your baby in a way that won’t be environmentally unfriendly.
You could buy, or ask for organic clothes for your new baby. Crops that produce organic materials won’t have had any pesticides sprayed on them and there are other benefits, like the reduction in use of artificial fertilisers, which can cause harm to rivers and wildlife. Artificial fertilisers also use energy to make them, which all adds to environmental problems.
Once you have the organic clothes for your baby, you could decide to research on other areas that might help – for example using ecological washing powders. As your baby grows, you can make sure that you choose organic baby foods and sustainably produced toys and baby gifts.
You can choose activities to do with your baby or toddler that don’t need a lot of travelling or energy use, like going to the park, or to other interesting local places. And reading together or playing games at home and in the garden are ideal for enjoying time with your baby or toddler and being environmentally friendly.
Most of the time, we try to do many things at once, we have to go to work, get the shopping, do the housework and keep in touch with friends and family. We may thus become very good at multi-tasking.
This is very useful when you have a baby, especially if you already have an older child, but if it is at all possible, don’t forget to find some time to be just you and the new baby.
There is nothing quite like being uninterrupted and doing nothing when you and your new baby are together. It is difficult these days for us to believe that it is all right to do nothing, but that is exactly what is a good thing to do with a newborn. Just sit and relax holding your baby close and cuddling. You can talk or sing to them, or if you prefer, just sitting quietly is good too. You will both benefit from the relaxation and closeness, and your baby will be comforted by your warmth and touch.
Don’t allow the pace of life to stop you from having this experience – new babies don’t stay new for very long, so take advantage of it while you can.
You might not remember bootees – and surely these are something that used to be knitted by elderly members of your family. But if you look around, you may see quite a few babies out and about with bare, slightly cold looking feet. Babies do need to be kept warm enough, and it is surprising how even a day which can feel warm to us as we walk around, can be cool when you are not moving. Even though a baby being carried against your body will be kept warm, the dangling feet may not be.
So put out of your head ideas of old fashioned knitted bootees (although these are also very nice when knitted especially for you) and think of modern designs in soft materials that will keep your baby’s feet warm and look good.
Or, if you are looking for a present for a new mum and dad, bootees are an ideal gifts for babies as this is something they may not have thought about, and is not too expensive. You can choose from bootees for the very cold weather or just for that bit of extra warmth for the baby’s feet in any weather.
You might feel that it is impossible for one parent to be in two places at once, with a small baby who needs feeding, changing and cuddling, and with a toddler who wants to be entertained. It can be easy to think that just keeping your toddler amused isn’t as important as the needs your small baby has, but you do need to remember that the needs of your toddler are just as important in a different way.
Your toddler is not constantly demanding your attention because they are naughty, but because they really do need your guidance in order to direct their activities. Young children have a fairly short attention span, which is why they cannot concentrate on anything for too long and come back to you asking for another activity.
One idea to fill a gap is to gently lay your baby on a large piece of paper on the floor – if you have any left-over wallpaper this would be ideal – and help your toddler to draw carefully around them. Once you have the outline, you can give your toddler some crayons, sticky paper, or if you have them, scraps of material and paste, and while you are feeding or changing the baby, your toddler can be drawing in their face or sticking on and colouring the clothes.
This way, you are both “looking after” your babies, and your toddler will be entertained and will not feel left out.
It is a shock to anyone to find that they are expecting twins, even if they know that twins are in the family. Everything suddenly has to be doubled, including of course, the mum-to-be’s bump.
You will probably have to take more rest during pregnancy because of the greater demands on your body, and the planning and preparation for the new arrivals is a bit more complicated, as you need to plan for two instead of one.
Luckily, if you can get friends and relatives to help out, you can find new baby gifts that are designed for twins, so that they and you can enjoy choosing just as you could for one baby. Toys, outfits, blankets and teddies can all be given in twos, just ready for the new babies, and often you will receive these gifts in a basket that you can then use to store the babies’ things in.
Having twins means double the excitement of planning and preparing for the new babies as you look for nursery items that are designed for your needs, and two lots of nappies and baby clothes and toys.
If you are expecting twins, then you have an excuse to ask for help from your friends and relatives, and they can have the pleasure of finding pretty and practical new twins gift sets to help you out.
Now is the time to take your baby and toddler out to look at the world around them and to see the plants and trees that are coming into flower and leafing. Small children are usually fascinated by nature and love to be taken to see the colours and shapes. If you don’t have a garden, you can take them to a local park and show them the plants there.
All children need careful watching to make sure that they don’t put anything they shouldn’t in their mouths or touch anything poisonous or dangerous. Parents should make sure that they are watching their children and protecting them from anything unsafe, but can still make sure that the child is enjoying the experience of being out seeing all the spring plants and birds.
It’s a lovely opportunity to take some photos of your baby and toddler in the sunshine with all the enthusiasm of learning new things. They will probably want to run and point to everything to show you the exciting new discoveries they are making and will be delighted to share all this with you.
You will find this is one of the pleasures of becoming a parent, as you can share in the enthusiasm of your small child. You could even get gifts for babies such as a cuddly bird or toy to help them learn about the different aspects of nature.
Easter time has traditionally been a time for wearing new clothes. There is more than one explanation for this, representing different aspects of Christianity, and as time went on, the tradition altered so that Easter bonnets became the tradition.
You can share in this tradition with your baby or toddler by buying a new outfit for them to wear in the post-Easter sales. Small babies cannot have the chocolates that most of us enjoy, so a new outfit can be their share in the Easter celebrations.
Another way of including babies is to give them baby gifts or a soft toy such as a teddy or rabbit, which is another traditional emblem of Easter.
Older children can enjoy hot cross buns. Toddlers can enjoy a chocolate egg with the rest of us, and you will gain great pleasure from sharing in their excitement and enjoyment. If you don’t want to overload your toddler with chocolate then how about decorating cooled hard boiled eggs for them?
Don’t forget that the best way to enjoy giving your toddler their egg, whether chocolate or a decorated hard boiled egg, is to create an Easter treasure hunt so that they have to search for the reward of their egg through the clues you give them. Make sure that the clue is easy enough for their age group – it doesn’t have to be written, it could be a drawing.
Newborn babies and reading to them may seem a little extreme, but what you do with your small baby can have an effect later on on how interested in books they may become. A small baby doesn’t have very focussed eyesight, so it’s no use trying to show them books as they will see a blur, but you could show a baby toys with bright, bold colours and shapes, then later introduce cloth books with bright and bold outlines that they will be able to distinguish.
As the baby becomes able to hold their head up, and then to sit up with support, you could hold them on your lap while you make up a story around the toys they have been given, perhaps telling them that this teddy bear was given to them by an auntie, and inventing a story about how she came to find the teddy. Your baby will get used to the idea of sitting listening and looking at the toy while hearing about it.
You can follow this up with baby books, telling the baby what is happening in the pictures. You will probably find that the baby will only be able to enjoy this for a fairly short time, as a small baby’s concentration span is not long, but you are preparing them for the experience of enjoying books as they grow older.
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You are probably thinking that the last thing you want to do or have time to do at the moment is to keep a diary. Even if you were previously someone who loved keeping a diary, you will probably have given it up for now as your new baby simply takes up too much time.
But because life is so full, it’s going to fly by very quickly. Because small babies develop so much – in their first year they go from being not even able to holding their head up to sitting, crawling, making sounds, laughing, maybe talking a bit and walking – it is almost impossible to remember even what your baby was doing last week, or last month. You will find you are always so interested in what they are doing now and anticipating the next development.
So if you can find even a few minutes to write something down, it doesn’t have to be much, maybe just a grimace that might have been a smile, you will be glad to be reminded later on. Try to keep some little things in a keepsake box, and you will be surprised even at your baby’s first birthday at how much they have grown and developed.
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