jueves, 20 de diciembre de 2012

Baby, it's cold outside

Since last Sunday, we are suffering at home the second cold of the baby's life.

Here are some of tricks that I've used and have worked more or less.

For the fever:
  • Remove some layers of clothes, sometimes to the bare minimum (only the nappy)
  • A warm bath (slightly colder than the usual)
  • Calpol (Seriously considering buying some Stock shares of this company)
  • Lots of liquid (colder than usual milk, water, diluted juice, etc.)
Remember that if the fever stays for over 3 days, you need to visit the doctor. And if it goes over 39 degrees better call your emergency services and check with them.

For the congested nose:
  • An onion cut in pieces so it "bleeds" next to his/her head.
  • Put some books under the top end of the cot and tilt it so the baby's head in higher than the feet.
  • Saline drops (Some babies hate it, some babies love it, but it works)
  • Some container with water over the radiator for having some steam in the room.
  • Snuggle baby ointment (for the chest, the back and the neck)
Note that if the baby is younger than 6 months the snuggle baby cannot be used on his/her skin, so put some on a handkerchief and attach it to the cot closer to the baby's head.

In general:
  • Try to make turns with your partner for calming the baby down. It will be a long night.
  • Make sure you are wearing warm clothes when you attend the baby: the steam and the fever will make you sweat and get cold yourself!!!
  • Patience, lots of it. You will get annoyed and sleepless for a few nights, but it gets better. Promise.

martes, 4 de diciembre de 2012

Tips & Tricks series 2

Once or twice a week, ensure you have a couple of hours for yourself. Your partner can take care of the new baby or the baby can be sleeping, but make sure no one is going to interrupt you.

Prepare yourself a bath, select a movie you really want to see or get a good book while drinking your favourite hot drink. Relax and forget that you are a mother for a while. You won't regret it!

miércoles, 21 de noviembre de 2012

Lesson 3: Follow some advice but make your own decisions

Before the baby arrived, as you know, I read many books and articles and I listened to other mums and dads, but one article that really stuck into my head was this one: Why French Parents Are Superior

After reading it carefully, I realised that it was my kind of parenting: playing with your children but teaching them independence, allowing them to enjoy with the parents but having some manners and discipline.
I thought long about it and I decided to combine it with some others old ones. Like not having them constantly on your lap or move them to their own bed as soon as possible. So far, I cannot say that I have succeeded or failed, but here are some of my techniques for achieving it:

  • Use the bouncy chair from the day 2 for doing home tasks while he was not sleeping. - It allows you some time for doing what you usually did before and gets him used of being on his own little by little.
  • Allow him to spend long periods of time playing on his own at the gym or the high chair.- Stimulation on his own and independence, just what we wanted!
  • Move him out of the parents bedroom once the night breastfeeding stopped. - Most of the times the parents are the ones who are wakening up the baby in the middle of the night and getting back your own bedroom feels weird but nice.
  • Ensure that other people hold him and encourage his smiles and interaction while doing it. - Sociability is a good skill and I think it reduces the separation anxiety...
  • Explain what is going to happen every time I need to change his nappy, his clothes  feed him or getting him to sleep. - Be respectful to him and he will be respectful to you (or that's the idea)
  • Encourage him to fall sleep on his own with different techniques. - Again, independence!!!

Some of these techniques were severely criticised but I had already discussed them with my husband and we were sure of what we wanted. After all, we are his parents and we supposedly know best.

jueves, 15 de noviembre de 2012

Ranting about winter baby outfits

Living in Scotland is great. I love its people, I love its atmosphere, I love its history. And I hate its weather.

As it was not difficult enough to dress for winter myself everyday (How do you manage to not look the same the whole year?) now I have to dress the wee one.

I've stocked up his wardrobe with lots of long sleeve shirts, polo shirts, jumpers, cardigans and corduroy trousers. But I feel like he is wearing everyday the same clothes!

Last week, we *finally* received a box full of presents and clothes from Spain. They were all lovely and warm and nice, but too big for him :(

I'm now in the search of a nice and smart party outfit for the holidays. Already seen this from H&M:  

What do you say? Do you like it? Any other ideas for the holidays?

Routines & "routines"

Although I thought I had a very good knowledge of what a baby could need during her first years of life, when we got pregnant, someone gave us the famous "The New Contented Little Baby Book: The Secret to Calm and Confident Parenting" by Gina Ford and I managed to read it during one of my business trips.
I felt it was quite helpful but too strict for my style of parenthood that I was planning already.

Then, a good friend and recent mum recommended "Secrets Of The Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect and Communicate with your Baby"  by Tracy Hogg and I read most of it (Some parts were too repetitive and were extremely similar to the first book).
I felt that it was closer to my parenting style but not close enough to follow it completely.

When the baby arrived, the mayhem started, and I decided to create my own routine based in all the knowledge acquired from those books.
I followed my own routine based in the FAST routine from Tracy and with similar hours than Gina, but not being too strict and modifying the times after each month or so. I used many of the tips from both books, like changing clothes from PJ's to comfortable clothes first thing after breakfast feed or waking the baby up using the light.

I don't think there is a manual for all mums and dads out there. Each parent has to find their own routine and stick to it. If it works for your baby, it works, and that's it.
I recommend reading those books and getting the essence of them, but do not get too stressed if your own baby doesn't want to follow those routines, probably your baby just needs a new and completely customized one, only for her!

martes, 30 de octubre de 2012

My baby essentials II

We've talked about the essentials for clothing and bedding, but there are other stuff that are essential for a new one. Let's try to do now a list for toys, furniture and general stuff:

Furniture (very simple essentials):
  • A moses or mini-crib:I recommend the moses as you can move it around the house the first three months
  • A cot with 2 adjustable heights: Mine is convertible in a bed for the future, just trying to save some money :) 
  • A changing table: Simple, stable and if it has drawers or shelves under it, perfect for keeping the nappies, creams, etc.
The nursery was finished long after Baby arrived...

Toys (Essentials):
  • A baby bouncer or baby hammock: This is a "must". Perfect for keeping the baby safe when you need to do other stuff. I even bring it to the bathroom and leave the baby there while having a shower.
  • A baby gym: It is great for the baby to play during the first months. Safe and full of fun.
  • A rattler: I discovered that Baby preferred the hard plastic ones than the softies, but that depends on the baby.
  • Bottles: I recommend this even if you are breastfeeding. Because there may be situations that you won't be able to be there and you can always express some milk and use a bottle. My favourite brand is Avent. I bought the beginners kit with absolutely everything on it, and it has been the best deal ever! (Tesco has it now for £40!!!)
  • Sterilizer for bottles: See above!
  • Dummy: This is going to cause some controversy. But I am very pro-dummies, sorry, my husband is a dentist and he told me: "You can always remove a dummy but you cannot remove a finger". My favourite brand is MAM (I've tried all of them and Baby only wanted that one!)
  • A flask: Good for "on the go" but essential at my home for preparing the night feeds. We did not even have to leave the bed!!!
  • Milk Powder dispenser: I use Avent because it came with the kit but Tesco has cheap ones too. Always in conjunction with the flask for the night feeds...
So, what do you say? Do you have anything else to add?

domingo, 28 de octubre de 2012

Tips & tricks series - 1

If you have enough space, make sure there is a sofa bed or a trundle bed in the baby's nursery.
It will be a life saver during those sick nights.

jueves, 25 de octubre de 2012

Babies first words

The first words of every baby are very similar, and there's a reason for most of languages have "da-da" or "pa-pa" as the father's name :)

Our wee one said firsts "da-da", then he went to "ta-ta" almost whispering to end up with a proper "pa-pa" that was soon followed by "ma-ma". He hasn't learn the famous "no-no" but I am not sure if I'm looking forward that moment or I prefer to delay it as much as possible :P

lunes, 22 de octubre de 2012

Lesson 2: Don't stop being yourself

Although having a child is the most beautiful thing in the world (sounds like a cliche, but it is true), sometime it can be too overwhelming, tiring or even absorbent. Most books about babies will recommend you to try to keep calm (we will talk about this on another lesson), but my recommendation will be to be yourself.

This is not as easy as it sounds, having a newborn is like a vortex, you end up being as dependent of the baby as she is of you. If you don't ask for help or for some time for yourself, you will probably end up feeling bad and not knowing the reason, and this is the start of some PND.

Two weeks after the baby was born, it felt pretty difficult to leave the house, my family had already gone back home, my husband was back to work and I had to face all the feeds, nappies and sleeping routines by myself. That made the simple job of getting ready both of us and going for a walk as as tremendous effort.
Let's get out of here!!!

Fortunately for me, I had met during my ante-natal classes a group of mums with babies born very closely and my GP has a "First Time Mums" group that the midwives really encourage you to attend, I felt really good after each meeting and soon it became a "must" every Monday and Friday to see this lovely people and share my feeling and adventures. Furthermore, the baby was sleeping or feeding better after each meeting, and that was mainly because I was feeling better.
I was getting ideas of what to do and lots of great advice from all the mummies. We were sharing tips, recommendations for baby stuff, new family issues (grandparents, parents-in-law, husbands...), recipes and most importantly a great friendship that still lasts!

My week soon had a routine that went more or less like this:
  • Monday morning: First time mums group
  • Tuesday morning: Caterpillar music for babies & Post-natal exercise classes for mums (allowing babies inside)
  • Wednesdays: Relaxing at home
  • Thursdays: City centre shopping and lunch with colleagues
  • Fridays: Brunch at the family friendly pub with some of the mums.
This kept going for almost 7 months and then it was time to go back to work. It looks pretty busy, but believe me I still had the afternoons for long naps, and still had time for preparing dinner, doing the housework and having normal conversations with my husband or friends. I think the key was to keep the TV off during the day!!
Not us, but close enough ;)

By the 6th month, my first time mums group was closed to most of us, and I felt again that pain for leaving my home and being something else apart from a mum. My husband and I soon realized of what was the problem and we started planning for my return to work.
Nowadays, I still meet most of the mums for walks, swimming plans or simply dinner or coffee during the weekends or Mondays off.

So, this is my second lesson: Don't stop being yourself. Get out of home, do things that you liked before having the baby, meet new people and talk about everything. And always remember that you are something else apart of being a mum.

viernes, 19 de octubre de 2012

My baby essential I (the clothes)

Some of my best friends are expecting a new baby, and I did this list for them months ago. I've been changing it based on my experience, but now it's pretty finished.

So, in sizes (0-3 months) this is what I recommend to get before the baby is here:
  • 4-6 sleep-suits (I got most of them from Primark and Tesco, good quality and great price)
  • 6-8 t-shirts/vests (best ones are the ones from H&M that zip on the front and the bottom, so you don't need to put baby's head through them) 
  • 3-4 trousers (best ones are Zara crawling trousers) 
  • 4-6 pairs of socks (you get them on size 1-6 months and you will use them a lot, my recommendation is Next, they are perfect!) 
  • 2-3 dungarees/trousers/jeans for smart dressing and going out 
  • 2-3 cardigans/jackets for going out. 
  • 1 all in one for going out (preferably plastic or fake fur outside to make it extra warm, Tesco has fantastic ones) 
  • 2-3 bibs (big and small ones for feeding, try to get some of them super absorbent) 
  • 1-2 hats & mittens
  • 1-2 Grobag (I quite like Tesco's version, but you find them everywhere) or fleece onesie (Primark has gorgeous ones)

For the bedding, here is my list:
  • 3 fitted sheets (I didn't use the flat sheets, as the baby was sleeping with the Grobag or under the blanket directly)
  • 5-6 blankets (Different sizes and fabrics: wool, fur, cotton, etc. and not too expensive so you don't feel bad when they get stained or you use them for the floor)
  • 6 muslims (I used them for under his head when he is sleeping, so I don't have to wash the sheets everyday, and in an emergency they can be used for cleaning the baby's puke)
  • 4 face towels (This is my "must", I used them for protecting us from the burps, for cleaning his face during the feeds or when he has puked something. They need to be super absorbent and in clear colors so they don't look dirty of milk too much)
This is how the baby's wardrobe looked three months before his arrival...

jueves, 18 de octubre de 2012

Lesson 1: Sleep, baby, sleep

Tonight has been the first night in 7 months that the baby has slept over 9 hours uninterrupted.
Yes, I am a new woman.
Yes, I am not sure if it would be repeated in the future.
Yes, I am aware of how pathetic my life looks just because I am celebrating a night of 8 hours sleep.

Being a working mum makes your life not easy, but having a sleepless baby makes your life a nightmare. And I can talk from experience.
My baby and I sleeping...

When the baby was born I expected to be awake every 3 hours for his feeds, then we moved into the bottle and we were managing 4-5 hours of sleep and they promised that when the solids will be introduced it will be 8-10 hours of sleep. That's not exactly true, but it does get better.

One of my biggest stresses during the last 7 months was that the baby was not sleeping as it should. There are lots of parents that tell you how great their babies sleep, that from the second week they have been sleeping from 8 to 8 and so an so.
Well, first of all, they must be very lucky, and secondly I think they are little liars. If you keep the conversation going you will easily notice that not ALL the nights they sleep like that, or that if there is no need for a feed means that they haven't woken up, etc. Or if their children were babies a long time ago, they probably don't remember the bad nights (I don't remember those every 2 hours feed nights and it is just 6 months ago!!!)

The baby (2 months old) sleeping after a bottle.

So, my first lesson for how to be a cool mum is: Do not get stressed about the sleeping routine. Sooner or later it will get better and you will forget all about it. Meanwhile, sleep while you can!

miércoles, 17 de octubre de 2012

I am definitely not a cool mum

There, I've said it, I am not a cool mum. How could I be? I've just started in this position, well, 7 months ago, and let me tell you something, it's damn difficult.

Two weeks ago, I thought I had everything under control, I was back at work, the baby at the nursery and we were all living in a fairy tale.
This is how a cool mum looks, by the way

And then catastrophe came: The baby had his first cold!!!

Oh, dear, the sleepless nights, the work-related traveling and the first-time-mum-stress (yes, there is a new type of stress) are not a good combination... Poor hubby!!!

And that's exactly when I knew I am not a cool mum and I need to start learning how to be one. Let's keep this blog as the textbook for the training course.