The Importance of Play

Play is very important for children as it helps with their emotional and brain development.  Playing gives plenty of opportunities to learn. We share a few reasons around the importance of play. There are two types of play: structured play and unstructured play.  Structured play is organised, happens at a fixed time and is often led by a grown-up. Examples of structured play include activities like Storytelling Specific games like tag or pin the tail on the donkey Putting puzzles together Organised sports Following directions to assemble a toy Unstructured play (also known as free play) is open ended play with unlimited possibilities. It usually depends on what your child is interested in and it allows your child to use his/her imagination and move at their own pace. Examples of unstructured play include activities like Creative play alone or with others including artistic or musical games Imaginative games like building forts or dressing up or playing make-believe Exploring new play spaces like parks, cupboards, backyards etc Colouring, drawing or painting on blank paper Singing silly songs Role-playing or even just playing with cars, toys, dolls and trucks. Play is important for the following reasons: Social and emotional development, creative development and physical development.  Social and emotional development: Play teaches communication skills (both verbal and non-verbal), negotiating, experiencing differing points of view by working through conflicts about space or rules, and it also increases their social competence and emotional maturity. Creative development: Play teaches problem solving, stimulates curiosity and creativity, encourages better performances with school tasks, and allows for alternative responses to different situations. Physical development: Play contributes to the development of a child’s fine and gross motor skills. It teaches them body awareness and how to actively use their bodies. It helps to build and maintain energy and to build and strengthen their muscles and joints. Play also allows parents to form special bonds with their children thereby growing and enhancing the relationship. So please, go forth and play with your kids! The experts encourage it.    


Top 5 Things You Need for Breastfeeding

If you are planning to breastfeed your baby, there are a few things that you are going to need to make the experience easier for both you and your baby. Breastfeeding can be such a special time for you and your baby, it is important to try and make your feeding experience as simple and stress free as possible. Breast Pump. You may not need a breast pump but it can come in incredibly handy. If your baby was born prem or had to spend some time in NICU after their birth, then a breast pump can become invaluable. You will be able to pump and feed your baby your breast milk rather than the formula while they are still in hospital.     If you are returning to work, a pump allows you to build up a stock of breast milk before hand and enables you to still feed your baby breastmilk while you are at work. Breast Pads. These are one of those essential items, if you are breastfeeding. There are a lot of brands on the market including some re-usable options. Your breasts are going to leak sometimes, it is natural, breast pads help to absorb the milk so you don’t end up with embarrassing marks on your clothes.   Blankets/Nursing covers. Getting the hang of breastfeeding can take some time while you and your baby figure out your routine. Not all mothers feel comfortable breastfeeding their babies in public, buying a few large blankets or a nursing cover can make feeding in public a lot easier and comfortable for you, as the mom. Muslin blankets are ideal to use because they provide adequate cover but are lightweight so your baby won’t overheat while being fed. Nipple cream. There are few things as painful as cracked nipples. Whether you are breastfeeding your newborn or not, get yourself some good quality nipple cream. These creams have been specifically designed to ease the pain of and heal cracked nipples. They are all safe for your baby, so you can apply the creams and continue breastfeeding. Breastfeeding Bra. A breastfeeding bra makes feeding so much easier. Most of the feeding bras open from the top and offer a little extra support. If you are considering a breast pump, read the reviews on our double electric breast pump and our single electric breast pump. For more information on the products available at BabyWombWorld, please visit our shop.  


Tips to survive the first 6 weeks of motherhood.

The first 6 weeks of being a new mother are like nothing else that you have ever experienced.  It’s an emotional roller coaster and exhausting, exhilarating and fulfilling all at the same time. Here are some tips to help you survive the first 6 weeks. Don’t underestimate what your body has just been through: Your body, even though it is designed for birth, has essentially gone through a major transformation. If you’ve had a c-section then you have had major surgery and will be nursing an abdominal wound. If you have given birth naturally, then you may be dealing with an episiotomy or tearing or other injury.  Follow your doctors orders. Take salt water baths. Rest. Eat a diet high in fibre and drink lots of water, as constipation is very common after giving birth. It’s OK to say NO. It really is OK to say no to and to limit visitors after having a baby. You have just gone through a major change in your life and need time to figure out your hormones, your new baby and your breasts if you are breastfeeding! Use this time for lots of skin on skin contact and enjoy your very sleepy newborn, for things will soon change and your babe will likely be a lot less tired! Ask for help. Don’t be shy to reach out. If you’re struggling to breastfeed, get help. If you’re struggling with your emotions, get help. Get help, if you’re struggling with your new routine. At the same token, accept help that is offered to you. If your family offers to cook your meals or clean your house or take the baby while you nap, then take them up on it. Put yourself in time-out. Take an occasional break. Even a short one. Go for a walk. Get some sunshine. Go to the mall. Take a nap. We all need to activate our refresh button from time to time. Don’t compare yourself or your baby to anyone else. It is tempting to compare things like milestones, sleep patterns and feeding patterns, but try not to do this, as every baby is different and every Mom is different. What works for you or your baby may not work for another Mom and their baby and vice versa.  If you are uncertain or need some guidance on sleeping or feeding or milestones, then contact your paediatrician. Trust your gut There will always be an army of well-meaning people with advice. Listen to them and only take from them what you need.  It may not feel like it at times, but you know your baby better than anyone else does. Do what works for you. Trial and error may be necessary to find what works for you and your baby, but give yourself time, You will eventually figure it out. It is completely natural to feel a bit out of your depth but you will get through this. If you find that you are just not winning and that you are emotionally spent, then please contact your doctor.


Tips to develop your child’s fine motor skills

Fine motor skills require the use of the small muscles in your child’s hands and arms to do everyday tasks, such as dressing, playing, eating, various self-care tasks and certain school tasks such as pencil control, cutting with scissors and writing. There are a number of fun and inexpensive ways to help your child develop and build on his/her fine motor skills. Play dough. You can buy play dough or make your own. Encourage your child to squeeze and stretch and shape and roll and pound the play dough to strengthen their hand muscles.  Finger paints Messy play is highly recommended. All you need is an easel, some finger paint, some thick paper and a space for your child to get messy. Pincer grasp development: These are activities that encourage the use of the thumb and forefinger. Develop your child’s pincer grasp with activities like picking up small items (individually) like beans or coins. Also encourage them to play with toys that use dials, switches and knobs. Squeezing A lovely fun activity is one where they could squeeze the water out of wet sponges or wash cloths.  You could also use let them squeeze water out of bath toys or play with a medicine dropper. Drawing, cutting and colouring: Draw and cut out paper dolls or any characters that interest your child. Then allow your child to decorate and colour them in.  Tearing and pasting Tear paper into strips and then into small squares. Then paste the pieces onto a page and create an interesting collage. Kitchen activities: Let your child peel their own fruit like bananas and oranges. Allow them to help you to mash potatoes, knead dough for bread or pizza or roll out dough with a rolling pin for biscuits. Also allow them to use a fork and knife at every meal and be patient with them. They do eventually figure it out on get to grips with it. Let your child guide you and lead the way, and don’t be alarmed if the fine motor skill development progresses slower than you would like. These skills are usually learned over a period of time with a lot of practice.    


How to write a birth plan

Writing out a birth plan is often a great way to manage any anxiety you may be feeling about the day you give birth. It documents your hopes and plans for the day. It also lets your midwife, doctor and/or nursing staff all know what you would like or how you see the day working out. The important thing to remember though, is a birth plan is not set in stone. Labor is often unpredictable and you need to be prepared for the unexpected. Before you write down your birth plan, do a bit of research on what options are available to you. Talk to your midwife or gynae about any concerns you may have as well as what their opinions are. Talking to other moms is also a good idea, find out what worked for them and what didn’t and what they recommend. What should you include in your birth plan? Your birth partner. Included in this section is instructions on who you would like to be in the delivery room with you. Are there times you would prefer them not to be in the room?  Make sure your birth partner is aware of your wishes Positions you would like for the labor and the birth. Use this to specify how you would like to be positioned for your labor. Would you like to use a ball, or remain in your bed? If you are having a water birth, when do you want to get into the pool. Pain Relief. Be clear about when you would like pain relief or if you do not want medication at all. Other medication. If your labor is not progressing as you would like, do you want to be given medication to speed up the birth of your baby? Skin-to-skin. This is where you state if you would like your baby to be placed on your chest immediately after delivery or would you prefer your baby be cleaned and then handed to you. Feeding your baby. Be very clear in this section on what your wishes are for your baby. Do you want to exclusively breastfed? Or may formula be given? Make sure everyone is aware of what you would like to happen. Unexpected situations. It is a good idea to think about what could happen. If you want a natural birth, you may end up having a Caesar.  Your baby may need to spend some time in NICU. Think about these situations and if there is anything you would like to happen in the event of an unexpected situation, write it down here. Once you have written your birth plan, discuss it with your health care professional or midwife. Ask any questions you may have and make sure they are clear on any issues they may have regarding your birthing plan.


How much crying is too much crying

Research says that newborn babies can cry up to 2 hours every day. If you are a new parent, it can feel like a lot longer than this. This is especially true if you are struggling to console or calm your newborn. The reality is that newborns cry, some more than others. Crying is their only way of communication. But how do you know how much crying is too much? The good news is as you get more comfortable with your new baby you will learn what each cry means. In the beginning, there is a lot of guess work involved. You will check the nappy, try food, rock to sleep, check temperature and hope that one of them works. There can be other reasons why your baby cries excessively though. Tummy cramps or gas. If your baby is pumping his legs or arching his back or clenching his fist, he may have gas which is causing tummy cramps. You can help your little one to pass gas by bicycling his legs and pushing them up to his chest. The need to burb can also be a reason for crying. If you have fed your baby and they are crying and not settling, hold them over your shoulder and pat them. Your baby may be overtired. Some babies struggle to unwind and settle even when they are exhausted. Swaddling your newborn can help them to settle. Or you can pop them into your baby wrap. They may be in pain. This one is a little tough to asses but make sure your babies nappy isn’t too tight, that none of their clothes are causing obstructions or could be hurting them. What if it is none of these and your baby is still crying? Holding your baby could help. Sing to them or rock them, this may be all that they need. Dummies often can help to soothe a crying a baby. Baby wearing is a great way to calm an upset baby. Wrap them tightly against your chest and go for a walk with them. Being close to you combined with the movement will help them to relax. It is normal for a baby to cry. By the time they are 6 weeks your baby will be crying for around 3 hours every day, spread out over the day. If your baby is crying for more than this or they are crying unconsolably for more than an hour you need to seek professional assistance.


What is Babywearing?

Baby wearing is not a new trend, parents have been wearing their babies for many years but what exactly is it? Simply put baby wearing is the practise of keeping your baby close to your body by carrying them in a sling, wrap or any other form of baby carrier. During pregnancy, your child is kept safe, secure and warm inside your tummy, baby wearing makes it easier for your baby to transition to the outside world. They are wrapped tightly against your body, creating a safe environment for them that mimics their world in utero. Being against your chest also allows them to hear your heartbeat which provides them with comfort.  For many cultures baby wearing is a traditional practise but it is growing in popularity in many western cultures, mainly because of its many benefits. A few of the benefits of baby wearing are: Convenience: Wearing your baby in a sling makes your daily life easier because you have your hands free and can get your chores done while your baby is still safe and secure close to you. It makes it easier for you to get out and about with your little one, you can wear them comfortably why you are shopping or catching up with your friends. Breastfeeding on demand: Having your baby close to you in a sling makes breastfeeding easy and it can be done discreetly. It also helps moms to detect when their baby is hungry early on, this way they can avoid a crying baby. Your baby will cry less: A study conducted concluded that babies who were carried closed to their parents cried 43% less overall and 51% less during the evenings. A crying new-born can be very stressful for a new parent, this benefit is probably one of the biggest ones in those early weeks with your new baby. Strengthens the bond between parent and baby: Parents who wear their baby’s regularly throughout the day maintain and strengthen the bond between them and their baby. This is particularly important in the first few weeks of your child’s life but also helps when they get older and struggle with milestones like separation anxiety. Deciding on how you want to wear your baby is a personal choice. BabyWombWorld has both a sling and a wrap for parents to use. Both carriers have the same benefits and can be used from birth. You can purchase both carriers on Amazon and Takealot. By Laura-Kim le Roux


Why Are Our Children So Bored At School, Cannot Wait, Get Easily Frustrated And Have No Real Friends?

I am an occupational therapist with 10 years of experience working with children, parents, and teachers. I completely agree with this teacher’s message that our children are getting worse and worse in many aspects. I hear the same consistent message from every teacher I meet. Clearly, throughout my ten years as an Occupational Therapist, I have seen and continue to see a decline in kids’ social, emotional, and academic functioning, as well as a sharp increase in learning disabilities and other diagnoses. Today’s children come to school emotionally unavailable for learning, and there are many factors in our modern lifestyle that contribute to this. As we know, the brain is malleable. Through environment, we can make the brain “stronger” or make it “weaker”. I truly believe that, despite all our greatest intentions, we unfortunately remold our children’s brains in the wrong direction. Here is why: Technology Using technology as a “Free babysitting service” is, in fact, not free at all. The payment is waiting for you just around the corner.  We pay with our kids’ nervous systems, with their attention, and with their ability for delayed gratification. Compared to virtual reality, everyday life is boring. When kids come to the classroom, they are exposed to human voices and adequate visual stimulation as opposed to being bombarded with the graphic explosions and special effects that they are used to seeing on the screens. After hours of virtual reality, processing information in a classroom becomes increasingly challenging for our kids because their brains are getting used to the high levels of stimulation that video games provide. The inability to process lower levels of stimulation leaves kids vulnerable to academic challenges. Technology also disconnects us emotionally from our children and our families. Parental emotional availability is the main nutrient for child’s brain. Unfortunately, we are gradually depriving our children of that nutrient. Kids get everything they want the moment they want “I am Hungry!!” “In a sec I will stop at the drive thru” “I am Thirsty!” “Here is a vending machine.” “I am bored!” “Use my phone!”   The ability to delay gratification is one of the key factors for future success. We have the best intentions — to make our children happy — but unfortunately, we make them happy at the moment but miserable in the long term.  To be able to delay gratification means to be able to function under stress. Our children are gradually becoming less equipped to deal with even minor stressors, which eventually become huge obstacles to their success in life. The inability to delay gratification is often seen in classrooms, malls, restaurants, and toy stores the moment the child hears “No” because parents have taught their child’s brain to get what it wants right away. Kids rule the world “My son doesn’t like vegetables.” “She doesn’t like going to bed early.” “He doesn’t like to eat breakfast.” “She doesn’t like toys, but she is very good at her iPad” “He doesn’t want to get dressed on his own.” “She is too lazy to eat on her own.” This is what I hear from parents all the time. Since when do children dictate to us how to parent them? If we leave it all up to them, all they are going to do is eat macaroni and cheese and bagels with cream cheese, watch TV, play on their tablets, and never go to bed. What good are we doing them by giving them what they WANT when we know that it is not GOOD for them? Without proper nutrition and a good night’s sleep, our kids come to school irritable,…


Potty Training, how do I know when my child is ready?

Parents generally get very excited at the prospect of potty training because it means no more nappies but it can be tricky figuring out if your child is ready to start the process. Potty training is not something you can rush or do before your child is ready. These are some of the signs that your toddler may be ready to start potty training. Pulling at their wet/dirty nappy. When their nappy starts to bother them after they have made a wee or a poo means they are aware of what is happening. They will start to want their nappy off immediately, even if they have just made a wee. They are able to pull their pants up and down. If your child is going to start going to the toilet on their own, they need to be able to pull their pants down and up on their own. Your toddler starts taking an interest in other’s toilet habits. They will want to go with you to the toilet, see what you are doing. They will express an interest in wearing underpants. A physical sign is that their bowel movements are predictable. Your child will start to verbalise their readiness, for example they are able to tell you they want to wee or while they are doing it (in their nappy) they share with you what they are doing. They will feel very proud of their “accomplishments” once they have finished. One of the cognitive signs your child is ready, is that they are able to follow a simple instruction and is able to tell you when he needs to go before it is too late. Even if your child is showing most these signs, does not mean that you will place them on the toilet, throw all your nappies away and they are potty trained. It will still take some time for your child to get used to the idea of using the toilet. Some children struggle with the idea of using a toilet, they may want to but once placed on the toilet they are anxious and uncomfortable. Many will forget, while playing, that they need to go and by the time they realise it is too late. Be patient with your child, start slowly and follow their lead. Children all achieve their milestones in their own time. Your child will start displaying some, or all of these signs, from around 2 years old but if they don’t, don’t rush them. By Laura-Kim le Roux  


Tips for Teaching Your Child Shapes

As parents, we all want to teach our children as much as we can. We want to help them to make sense of the world around them. It is possible to teach your child about the different shapes in a way that makes it fun for them. It is important to remember that your child will take some time to figure out the names of the shapes, so focus on repeating the names of the shapes, start with the basic shapes first and then introduce more once they have mastered the basic ones.