Leaving the house with kids takes some getting used to. It is hard not to pack everything and the kitchen sink, even when you are just heading to shops for bread and milk. Packing for a few days away can seem overwhelming and the urge to just take everything with is strong but do you really need to take it all? These are our 5 top must pack items when travelling with kids. Are these in your suitcase? Baby Wrap or Sling. Babywearing makes travelling so much easier. If you are flying, wearing your baby while you navigate check ins and boarding means you have your hands free to carry bags and find important documents. It also means your baby is close to you which provides them with comfort and ultimately calms them. Toddlers don’t like to walk very far so invariable parents end up carrying them, having a sling with you makes this much easier. You can let them walk until they tire and then pop them into their sling and continue exploring your holiday destination. Thermometer. Children have this wonderful knack for spiking a fever when you least expect it (or need it). Having a reliable thermometer with you provides peace of mind and allows you to monitor your child. Remember to pack in an extra set or batteries or the charger for the thermometer. Muslin Blankets. When you are packing blankets in, pack ones your baby has already been using so they smell familiar. These Muslin blankets are great, they are large which means they can double up as a breastfeeding cover and be used as a picnic blanket. They are lightweight so perfect for the warm summer days. Sleeping sac. These come in so handy while on holiday. The holidays are all about visiting with friends and making the most of the gorgeous South African summers. This often means you are out over your child’s bedtime. Having a sleeping sac with you is more convenient than packing in extra blankets. What are some of your essential items to pack when you go on holiday? If you found this post useful, please share with your friends. You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram or visit our online store and browse our toys and products for moms and babies.
Holidays are around the corner, weeks of summer fun with family and friends. Before you had children going on holiday meant grabbing a few things, throwing them in a bag and heading out. It does become a little more complicated when children are added. There is a lot more to plan, consider and remember to pack. If you are going away for the first time with your toddler, these top tips may help make the experience easier for everyone. Make a list. Write down everything you need to pack in, trying to remember it all is doable but increases the chances of you leaving something behind. Once you have packed something in, cross it off the list. Making a list will also help with planning, you will know what you need and what you still need to buy. Pack a “spare” bag. Regardless of whether you are driving or flying to your destination pack a bag that is easily accessible that has a change of clothes, wet wipes, a spare dummy, a spare bottle and some nappies in. If you are driving make sure that this bag is somewhere that you can access it easily. Medicine is a must. Make sure you have the basic medication packed, something for nausea, diarrhea and fevers are a must. Plan to stop. This may mean your trip is a little longer than you would like it to be but regular stops can make all the difference. The stops don’t have to be long, they are a chance for toddler to run around a little bit and take a break from being cramped in their car seat. Introduce new toys. Travel is a great time to introduce new toys, or forgotten toys. These are more likely to keep their attention than toys they play with daily. Pick toys that are easy for them to play with in the car or in the confined space of an airplane. Have you traveled with your toddler before? What tips can you add? If you found this post useful, please share with your friends. You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram or visit our online store and browse our toys and products for moms and babies.
Breastfeeding is meant to be an easy and natural process. However, this is not always the case. It takes work and practice and is generally not for the faint of heart. Here are some tips to start you on your breastfeeding journey if this is what you choose. Get help early. Start researching and take a class while you are still pregnant. Habits form quickly and in the beginning you might struggle to get your baby to latch properly. You might have a fast let-down reflex, you might get clogged milk ducts, or you might even over/under-produce milk. If you can afford it, a lactation consultant will be your best investment. Be sure that you get the right latch. This is KEY. Not getting a proper latch has plenty of awful consequences like sore, damaged and cracked nipples. There is a ton of information online about how to get the correct latch, and your consultant would also be able to give you excellent guidance in this regard. Experiment with different positions. Part of getting the correct latch is experimenting with positions that make this possible. The breast crawl is excellent and intuitive for babies – they will literally latch themselves. Other positions to consider are the football hold or the cradle position. Here’s a link with more position ideas to try. Use all the props There are plenty of props on the market that can assist you on this journey. Examples of these include breast pumps, nipple shields, pillows and a good nipple cream. Again, your consultant will be able to assist you to find the correct prop for any issue that may arise on your breastfeeding journey. Expect that you may find breastfeeding a challenge. Try to stay positive and have a good attitude. Celebrate small successes. Take deep breaths. Try to relax into it. Don’t be discouraged. It takes time and it is an adjustment, but with time and practice, you will get it. If nothing helps and if you are feeling completely disillusioned, then do contact the closest La Leche League in your area for support and assistance.
Our partners often feel a bit left out when they become new parents because, there’s very little for them to do. Mom usually feeds them and all that partners can do is change a diaper or rock the baby to sleep. Some of them even find new babies intimidating. Here are some tips to help your partner get involved from the very beginning. Start by involving your partner in the pregnancy: Allow your partner to go accompany you to your antenatal appointments. Let them speak to the baby and feel kicks and movements. Allow them choices when it comes to things like choosing a cot or a pram. When the baby is born, allow them to start bonding immediately: Make plenty of provision for skin-to-skin contact, let them take the baby while you nap or eat something, let them change the baby’s diaper, let them burp the baby or simply just hold the baby. Arrange for them to have plenty of experiences with the baby. Perhaps they can deal with a fussy baby from beginning to end. Or maybe they can spend extended time alone with the baby i.e. without you, say from an afternoon to an evening. Give them specific tasks that they own: Perhaps bathing the baby every day can be their task. It’s easier for them to get their heads around “owning” an activity rather than “helping” with baby. In this way they have also have special time together and can bond. Do not micromanage: Trust your partner and allow them the space to find their way around the baby. Bear in mind that your partner’s parenting style will likely differ from yours. Give them the space they need to figure it out. Don’t be controlling about small matters. They WILL cope. When you do offer suggestions, be respectful and specific: Provide positive ideas of what they could do as opposed to what they should not do. Try not to be demanding or critical because gentle encouragement will make all the difference in the attitudes of both parties. Ask for and honour your partner’s opinion on raising the baby: Listen to their suggestions and try to understand where they are coming from. Respect and trust them in their role as parent. Remember that both of you are adjusting to a new experience. It doesn’t happen naturally for everyone and sometimes some space and gentle encouragement is needed. Do make a point to have regular alone time with your partner in order for you to discuss things that are bothering you both.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.