- It is amazing how much 'stuff' even a tiny baby needs and you can guarantee that you will have just safely stowed away your hand luggage if you are lucky enough to be flying off somewhere, or packed all your luggage in the boot of the car, when little one needs something from the depths of your bag. A top tip is to group all your baby kit together into smaller bags (large freezer bags are ideal) then pack them into your suitcase. This means you can pull out just your nappies and wipes, or just baby's spare clothes or snacks, without having to rummage through your entire bag each time.
- If you are flying, make sure you tie something bright, memorable and unusual to your bags and your pushchair or travel cot if you are putting them in the hold. Thick, patterned ribbon is ideal as other families are unlikely to have used the same and, when three pushchairs are making their way round the luggage carousel, you will always end up with yours!
- Pack muslins - lots of muslins... they can be used for pretty much everything on holiday from pillows to blankets to sun shades to cloths for mopping up every kind of mess.
- Think about investing in a sling to carry your baby, baby wearing has many benefits from calming an over-tired little one to leaving you hands free at the airport or whilst sightseeing. If you are not sure where to start there are lots of local sling libraries that will help you get started and you may even be able to hire a sling for your holiday at a fraction of the cost of buying one.
- When you arrive at your destination it is so tempting to jump into planning lots of fun activities but little ones are creatures of habit and they will become tired very quickly, particularly in the heat. From experience, it is probably worth not trying to pack too much into one day, maybe factor in a slower pace and either a morning or afternoon activity with plenty of time to chill to stop everyone getting frazzled. Another tip is to eat out early, you will get a quieter restaurant, quicker service and a happier baby.
- A universal bath plug will change a shower into a bath for a little one, which could save some tears if baby isn't used to a shower. Other things you may want to consider packing that might not immediately spring to mind include Calpol, a travel black out blind, disposable bibs and a baby monitor, all handy bits of kit when travelling with a little one.
We here at Babyblooms hope that you all have a fantastic holiday, whether you are planning a longhaul trip to somewhere exotic or a caravan down the road and if you have any other top tips for travelling with a baby we'd love to hear them!
First up - let's talk about poo...
As a new parent, I couldn't believe quite how much time I spent looking at, cleaning up and discussing poo - frequency, colour, consistency, it became a bit of an obsession. And after having three children I must have spent hours just changing nappies. So below are some of my top tips gleaned through those hours of night-time nappy changes and piles of dirty nappies.
- Our first experience of our baby's poo is pretty terrifying, the tar-like meconium in those first nappies is like nothing else. And although the baby books warn you about this, I wasn't expecting it to be quite so sticky, it stuck to my tiny baby's bottom like superglue. Try adding a small amount of olive oil onto baby's bottom to help remove it, otherwise you may be wiping all day.
- I think this one is genius and I have to admit it took me until child number 2 to clock this one. The little shoulder flaps in a body suit or vest are to enable you to pull it down past baby's shoulders rather than over their head. When faced with a poo explosion this means you can avoid smearing poo in baby's hair, which is always a bonus.
- Another genius hack that it took me to baby number 2 to realise is that most nappy brands have a line at the front of the nappy that changes colour when the nappy is wet. I was literally speechless when someone pointed this out to me, I must have changed hundreds of nappies and had never noticed.
- Night time nappy changes can be the worst, you just want to get baby changed and fed so you can both get back to sleep. I found it best to change baby before feeding as then if they fell asleep during the feed I didn't have to disturb them - unless of course your baby poos during a feed, then the whole wonderful process starts all over again.
- Another helpful hack for night time changes is to double up the mattress protection and sheet on baby's bed. Then if you have a nappy leak in the middle of the night you don't need to go hunting round the house for clean sheets, wasting valuable minutes where you could be sleeping.
- Another time saving nappy hack is to place a clean nappy under baby before you remove the dirty one. It saves time with a wiggly baby and if you have a boy, a quick nappy change will reduce the risk of getting wee in your eye.
- During the first few weeks you will find yourself almost constantly reaching for the changing mat, and with my first baby I trudged upstairs each time to baby's bedroom where we had put his changing station. After a few days, a friend pointed out that I could keep a changing mat downstairs - absolute genius. I stashed a mat, some wipes and nappies under the sofa and saved my legs, energy and sanity.
- Finally pop a change of clothes for you in baby's change bag. This will avoid having to dash home smelling of poo when your baby's (or somebody else's baby) nappy leaks on your lap.
We here at Babyblooms have put together some gorgeous gifts to celebrate with new mums at this time of year. Our beautiful luxury spring bouquet or our Easter hand-tied bouquet are a perfect way to send your love to those new spring babies and their mums and dads. Our super cute cuddly bunnies make lovely gifts for a new baby and can be personalised to make the gift really special. We also have some gorgeous new baby hampers featuring our bunnies that make a perfect gifts to welcome a new baby at Easter time, such as our beautiful, new Little Love hampers.
There are lots of lovely ways to mark Easter time and the coming of spring with a new baby, many of which celebrate birth and new beginnings. Eggs have been used for centuries at this time of year to symbolise new life, just as bunnies have been symbols of fertility. When baby is very little then a chocolate Easter egg is just the thing for mum to enjoy with her feet up, but as baby gets bigger, an Easter egg hunt is lots of fun for all the family. If your little one is too young for lots of chocolate then you could decorate some real eggs (boiled is best!) or some polystyrene eggs (available in most craft shops or supermarkets). Have fun decorating the eggs with paint and glitter, hide the eggs in the house, garden or park, then get the kids to run round collecting as many as they can find, producing a prize for everyone at the end.
There are lots of fabulous Easter crafts to keep older children occupied, particularly important if mum is busy with a new baby. Easter bonnets, nests for chocolate eggs, Easter egg baskets and lots more, with kits widely available if you, like me, sometimes lack inspiration! Also, if weather permits, nothing beats pulling on your wellies and venturing outside for some spring sunshine, the older kids will love letting off steam and new babies sleep much better after a dose of fresh air.
Easter is also a time for families to get together and it can be a lovely idea to buy an Easter gift for a new baby. If baby is too little for an Easter egg then a cuddly toy makes a thoughtful Easter gift. Our bunnies make gorgeous presents for baby's first Easter or our beautifully embroidered, personalised bunny tops are perfect for babies and older children.
Here's hoping from some spring sunshine in the next few weeks and we hope you all have a great Easter!
Mothering Sunday, or Mother's Day, has become a celebration of motherhood in all its forms, a chance to show some love and appreciation to mum for all that she does. Who else knows where the spare nappies are kept, or the 'right' way to set up the train track for the toddler? Without mum, how would the pile of dirty washing be magically transformed into clean folded clothes or the bedtime story be retold for the millionth time? OK - we know dads can do some of this stuff too, but Mother's Day is one day in the year that is just for mum and we think it should be celebrated in style. New mums in particular need all the love and support they can get and so we have put together some ideas to help spoil a new mum or mum-to-be this Mother's Day, they deserve it!
- We're guessing the thing that most new mums would like best of all is some more sleep. If possible arrange a lie in, preferably with baby well out of earshot - this is undoubtedly the best gift money can't buy for a new mum.
- It is absolutely amazing how much time a new baby can take up and mum may well be missing some uninterrupted 'me time'. Our selection of lovely skincare can be just the thing to help mum feel more like herself again and our luxury pamper hamper will really make her feel spoilt. Top if off with some delicious handmade chocolates and the door to the bathroom firmly closed - heaven!
- If baby is still very new and you are looking for the perfect gift for mum and baby, then our first Mother's Day bouquet makes a beautiful, practical and stylish present. These baby clothes bouquets are a unique alternative to fresh flowers, the perfect little roses unfurl to reveal the softest babywear and the bouquets also include beautiful silk blooms for mum to keep.
- A first Mother's Day is a memory to be treasured forever so how about something from our beautiful selection of jewellery? Babies grow so quickly and an everlasting reminder of those precious early days would be a very special gift.
- And not forgetting for a mum-to-be, this first Mother's Day is really special. Maybe treat her to a soak in the bath with our mummy to be hamper goodies or a relaxing foot rub and pamper session with our essential mum to be collection, giving her an opportunity to relax and unwind before baby arrives.
Mums are superheroes and Mother's Day is a chance to celebrate her super powers. Life can be tricky with a new baby and each day can seem the same, so this is a chance for mum to step out of her normal routine and recharge her batteries. Let's hear it for all the mums out there - they are all awesome!
As mums we often put a huge amount of pressure on ourselves, whether it's how we look, how we dress or how we care for our babies and so the last thing we need is to feel obliged to write ourselves a long list of new year's resolutions that we will no doubt break by February. So, in a spirit of solidarity with all new mums out there we have put together a list of resolutions that we think you should try and keep in 2017...
- Shower at least once a week (preferably without an audience).
- Wear make-up that hasn't been applied by one of your children.
- Aim for more napping for everyone.
- Give yourself a break and take 20 minutes a day to do something just for you, maybe reading your favourite book or magazine, a spot of exercise or a hot bubble bath.
- Get outside more, whether it's a quick walk to the shops, a trip to a baby group or a playdate with a friend, leaving the house can really improve your mood.
- Practice saying 'no'.
- Embrace good enough, don't let your pursuit for perfection make you miserable.
- Don't try too hard to change; your little one loves you just the way you are.
Here's to a happy and healthy 2017 to all mums and little ones from everyone at Babyblooms!
I did some research and discovered that every day, parents, caregivers and pregnant women are putting themselves and their children at risk due to a shortage of parent and child spaces. And this is a national problem, our research shows that 90% of pregnant women have reported struggling to get their bump in and out of a vehicle due to lack of space in a normal parking bay. Not only that, but 90% of parents more often than not cannot find a free parent and child space, and as we know, trying to get a baby car seat out of the car when parked in a normal space can be an absolute nightmare. What this all boils down to is that we need more parent and child spaces, for parents with young children and for heavily pregnant women.
I was shocked to discover that there are currently no official recommendations set by government as to the number of allocated parent and child spaces in public car parks and so I have launched a petition to raise awareness of this issue and to gather support for a white paper for government calling for more spaces to be allocated to families. If you would like to support our campaign and share your experiences then we would be delighted to hear from you, you can find all the information at www.givemespace.net. Please join us in supporting safer parking for families and the Give Me Space campaign!
Summer can disappoint but autumn always delivers.
We love autumn, the trees turn golden and glorious colours, we can dig out our warm winter woollies and favourite winter boots, wrap the kids up and go out conker hunting and splashing in puddles. No more worries about sunhats and suntan lotion for baby. Now, we can head out to give baby their first taste of blackberries or apples straight from the tree. Gone are those tricky, sticky, sunny nights where baby fights sleep and back are the darker, chillier, cosier nights with warm, cuddly bath times, comfy soft pyjamas, and snuggly stories in bed.
Babyblooms have some lovely gifts to help keep baby warm, cosy and happy both day and night. Why not treat baby to one of our supersoft snuggly organic cotton blankets, made even more special when baby's name is embroidered using our luxury pewter thread. Calm and peaceful bedtimes are the holy grail of parenting and cooler, darker nights make this tricky time of day that little bit easier. Our bath time and bedtime hampers contain everything a new mum needs to soothe baby peacefully to sleep. If the colder wind chaps baby's delicate skin then our award winning baby care cream is the perfect balm to soothe, nourish and protect.
During Autumn there are wonderful festivals to look forward to; your baby may not appreciate how fabulous they look dressed as a giant pumpkin for Halloween, but the photographic evidence can be a talking point for years to come. Little ones can't really join in with the trick or treating but they will love watching the candle in a carved pumpkin and they can enjoy some yummy , baby food made with the inside of the pumpkin (see our delicious and nutritious pumpkin recipes below).
Just a couple of words of wisdom based on past experience, it's probably best to keep baby away from the front door if trick or treaters call, until you have had a chance to ask them to remove their masks. Halloween masks seem to be getting more and more graphic and little ones will not understand that the scary face looming at them from the darkness is supposed to be fun! Finally, always watch baby around any candles or other naked flames, they will insist on getting as close to it as possible and candles and Halloween costumes certainly do not mix.
This new season of mellow fruitfulness is a wonderful time to give birth and our beautiful autumn baby bouquet makes a unique and special gift for a new mum and baby. Or have a look at our pampering repair collection, this award winning skincare is the perfect gift to treat a new mum.
As the year moves forward, the days shorten and we look forward to some clear, cold, bright sunny days, it is a lovely time of year to wrap up warm and venture out with baby to enjoy some autumn adventures. We here at Babyblooms would like to wish you a very happy autumn!
Babyblooms top 5 favourite pumpkin recipes:
- Apple Pumpkin Baby Puree (6-8 months)
-3 Apples, peeled & cored (use Macintosh, Gala, Braeburn or Granny Smith)
-cinnamon, nutmeg (optional sprinkle into the cooking water or when you puree/mash)
-Halve the pumpkin, peel and de-seed it then cut into cubes
-Peel and slice the apples
-Bring water to a boil and then steam the pumpkins and apples gently until soft and cooked. Be sure to check on the water level!
-Let cool a bit then puree or mash as needed for your baby.
- Apple, Pumpkin & Oatmeal Baby Breakfast (6-8 months)
-170g apple puree
-170g pumpkin puree
-510g (cooked) oatmeal
-Dash of cinnamon, nutmeg and/or ginger
-Mix spices, apple, pumpkin and oatmeal together
-Stir thoroughly or blend if needed
- Bananas & Pumpkin Baby treat (6-8 months)
-170 grams pumpkin puree
-2 small bananas
- Mash 2 small bananas and add the pumpkin puree
- Mix thoroughly, blend if needed for your baby's texture preferences. Makes a yummy addition to baby's cereal or yogurt.
- we recommend you try replacing the bananas with pears or peaches!
- Savoury Pumpkin Puree (8-10 months)
-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
-25g diced onion
-225 to 450g of pumpkin peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
-2 cups of vegetable stock
-dried rosemary and basil
-pinch of sugar if desired
Heat the oil in a medium saucepot then add the onion and squash cubes. Saute until the onions are soft and translucent then add the vegetable stock.
-Bring the mixture to a slow simmer and simmer until the squash is tender enough to puree. Season to taste with rosemary and basil
-Make this a sweet puree by adding nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon as the spices instead of the savoury spices and herbs.
-Toss this mixture with cooked brown rice, couscous, lentils or even quinoa for a hearty meal.
- Autumn Smoothie (8-10 months) (serves one grown up and baby)
-170g plain, vanilla or banana yogurt
-1/2 cup milk
-60g pureed apple
-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
-dash of ginger
Combine everything in a blender. Blend it until smooth. Serve immediately.
Babyblooms' top five gorgeous Christening gifts;
- Something to treasure
Whether you are attending a full blown traditional Christening service or a more informal naming day celebration it is lovely to get a gift that the family can treasure forever. Our beautiful handcrafted English pewter has been made exclusively for Babyblooms and makes a perfect Christening present. Choose from cups, plates, tankards and egg cups, all beautifully embossed with either our adorable teddy or bunny motif. Another truly special Christening or Naming Day gift is jewellery for mum and baby. From a traditional baby Christening bracelet or silver cross necklace to our stunning mummy and me diamond pip necklaces, we have a range of outstanding, handcrafted jewellery that will be a lasting memory of a special day.
- Something just for them
By celebrating the giving of a child's name we are celebrating their arrival into the world and so choosing a Christening or Naming Day gift that includes the child's name is particularly special. We have a gorgeous range of personalised gifts that will surprise and delight both mum and baby, from a beautiful personalised bible to an adorable Christening bear with the child's name embroidered on his cute little t-shirt. Our personalised nursery rhyme and fairy tale books make a gift that will be enjoyed for years to come and our stylish baby keepsake box contains a gorgeous personalised snuggle wrap.
- Something for the big day
Baby needs to look his or her best on their big day and we have some lovely gifts to help baby stay looking cute and clean throughout the day. The guest of honour will inevitably need to eat at some point during the proceedings so why not get mum some of our beautiful, personalised muslins and bibs to make sure baby still looks lovely while protecting his or her special outfit? Our supersoft organic cotton baby blanket, embroidered with baby's name will keep little one warm in a draughty church or hall and our gorgeous nappy cakes make a fabulous and amusing centrepiece for the buffet.
- Something for memories
Big days such as Christenings and Naming Days are what memories are made of. Our stylish Christening keepsake book makes a fantastic guest book where guests can write special messages for baby to treasure as they grow. It can then be used to keep memories from other special days from birthdays to the first day at school. A truly special gift.
- Something fun
When you first announce that you're pregnant, particularly as a first time mum, you will undoubtedly at some point have a queue of well-meaning friends lining up to regale you with their birth stories. I can remember a pleasant picnic in the park, sat (somewhat uncomfortably as I was eight months pregnant) on a picnic blanket, listening to my lovely friends trying to outdo each other as to how terrible their childbirth experience had been. This conversation, intended originally to reassure me about my upcoming labour, had turned into a talking therapy session filled with intimate revelations and hysterical laughter, which left me less than reassured! But this sharing of the experience, this ability to laugh and cry and listen with others is how women have been coping with the aftermath of birth for centuries and no doubt next time a friend tells me she's pregnant I will have an irresistible urge to share with her a blow by blow account of my three day labour with my eldest son...
From when that blue line appears on the pregnancy test, giving birth becomes the ultimate goal, and as your pregnancy progresses the idea becomes more and more real. It is a very peculiar thing to be so excited about an event that you know will bring with it pain and discomfort, nudity in front of relative strangers and up close and personal examination of your intimate areas by several different people. It is also seen as an experience that will shape the rest of your life and alter the way you see yourself as a woman - but should it? Although childbirth is a universal experience, it is also a very personal one. We can aim to control the environment in which we give birth, we can carefully write our birth plan and we can attend courses and read books, but in the end our experience will be what it will and we need to accept the experience we are given. Whether you begged for an epidural ten minutes in or hypnobirthed your way serenely through thirty hours of labour, it says nothing about your ability to love and care for the little person you have grown inside you for nine months and no one has the right to judge you, nor should you judge yourself.
So how can we best support a mum to be who is at the end of her pregnancy journey and getting ready to give birth? Putting aside all the practical things that you may not be closely involved in unless you are her birth partner (the classes, the preparation, the hospital bag and so on) it is a lovely idea to let her know you are thinking about her. Maybe send a little gift just for her, some relaxing bath bubbles or a box of chocolates. Maybe pop round for a cuppa and ask her how she is feeling about giving birth and give her the opportunity to express any worries or take her out for a large slice of cake and talk about anything and everything except babies. It is a really exciting time for friends and family as well as mum-to-be and a lovely opportunity to share some special time before junior arrives and the fun begins!
When a new baby comes into the world it seems inconceivable that this little creature will one day be walking around in the world on his own, but it does happen and sooner than we think, and there is lots we can do to help them develop and grow in the best way possible. A simple, good quality baby toy can make a wonderful gift for a baby shower, new baby or Christening as, once all the new baby outfits no longer fit and the new born phase is over, your gift will come into its own.
Babies need different toys at different stages of development and so we have put together a quick guide to the best toys for each stage. When baby is first born they don’t need much stimulation past close contact with mum but once baby reaches four to six months they start to develop more control over their limbs and can begin to explore the world around them. At this age their mouth is their main tool for exploration and teething toys are perfect, as they are an interesting texture to chew on and too big to be a choking hazard. Our wooden bell rattle is a great gift for this age and will continue to hold baby’s attention for the next few months. Around eight or nine months baby will begin to move around and this is when the fun really begins! It’s time for mum to batten down the hatches and move the cat food out of reach as junior starts to understand his environment by trying to put everything he finds in his mouth. Toys that move with baby are great for this stage of development as following a toy car or a toy animal on wheels will help them to practice controlling their movement. Around ten months to a year baby will really start to play and there are a wide variety of toys that should keep them entertained, at least for a little while. They will begin some imitative play and may start to play with dolls and teddies in a simple way. They will also love to put things in containers and take them out again or attempt to stack items, our beautiful stacking rings are great for this stage of development. Their fine motor skills increase and they will enjoy more control over their pincer grasp meaning that toys such as our mini maze will fascinate them. Finally they will begin to use toys as tools, and will love pounding pegs into holes with our wooden hammer bench.
Colourful baby books are great to include in the toy box at any age, when they are little opt for board books that can take a bit of rough handling and chewing, they will enjoy a bedtime story, or simply looking at the colourful pictures and practicing turning the pages. Our story bag and book complete with puppets will bring hours of fun for many months to come.
Also, a new baby can be a tough time for an older brother or sister so it can be a really lovely idea to buy a little gift for a sibling when baby finally arrives. Our beautiful wooden toy aeroplane makes a great present for a slightly older child, or one of our big sister/brother t shirts with its own personalised bear makes a really thoughtful gesture for a little one welcoming a new baby to the family.
Watching a baby grow and develop and find their little place in the world is one of the greatest joys of parenthood and some well-chosen, good quality toys will help baby to reach their developmental milestones at the right time for them. Chosen with care and given with love, toys are the gift that will keep on giving.
You wake up, the sun is shining, and it seems like a wonderful idea to go out in the sunshine for a fun day out with baby. Three hours later, when you have packed enough bags for a trip to the tropics, you have attempted to leave the house three times but have been thwarted each time by the arrival of a dirty nappy, or the need for a feed, you are finally ready to venture out, at which point you realise it is now raining… To help avoid these pitfalls, we here at Babybloomos have put together some top tips and practical advice to (hopefully) help you get out of the front door and enjoy a day trip with your baby.
First of all, as we all know, we need to be careful to keep tiny babies out of the sun entirely, but when baby is on the move, around six months, then they can venture out in the sunshine, though you should head for the shade between 12pm and 3pm. It is best to protect their delicate skin with loose, light fitting cotton clothing and use a sun cream especially formulated for babies with an SPF of at least 15, offering good UVA and UVB protection. You generally need more sun cream than you might first think, a plum sized dollop is a good guide and pat rather than rub to give the skin a good covering. Try and apply around 15 minutes before going outside and remember to reapply every couple of hours (more if they are splashing around in water). Sun protection can be very tricky with a baby with eczema or sensitive skin, try a patch test of a hypoallergenic formula before applying all over (SunSense Kids SPF 50+ was great when my little ones had eczema, well worth the slightly higher price tag). Make sure you apply their eczema emollients or treatments first, then apply the sunscreen half an hour later.
Going out and feeling the sun on your face is definitely good for the soul and the world feels like a better place in the sunshine. It really is worth the effort to get out with your baby and so we have put together a list of suggestions to try and make this process that little bit easier.
- Take more nappies and wipes than you possibly think you could ever need, there is nothing worse than being miles away from a shop and realising you have run out.
- Nappy bags are also very useful and have many, many uses beyond a dirty nappy including dirty clothes, the remains of the picnic and to carry those pebbles that your child just cannot live without…
- Changing mats also have many uses including a place for baby to sit on at any time when you are out and about.
- Our gorgeous muslins are also essential for wiping faces, acting as picnic blankets or for creating some shade.
- Take an extra change of clothes for everyone, I am still scarred from the memory of a day trip where my little one’s nappy leaked on my lap and I was a long way from home and a change of clothes!
- Our award winning baby care cream is ideal for soothing heat rash and insect bites.
- Snacks, snacks and snacks (including for you) and plenty of drinks.
- Some of our beautiful wooden toys make great distractions for baby if they get bored.
- Our beautiful soft leather shoes are perfect for protecting little feet when baby is crawling round on the grass or sand.
- Finally, a neat trick for a teething or messy baby, pop more than one of our lovely personalised bibs on baby before you leave the house and then simply remove the top layer when soggy – genius!
Don’t forget to take some photos of your day to share with friends or to add to your baby diary, after you have gone to all the effort of getting you and baby out of the house it is worth making sure you all remember what a lovely day you have had!
Getting baby to sleep on a hot day can be a challenge. If you are out and about make sure you don’t leave baby to sleep in a hot car and, if baby is in a pushchair make sure you have a sun canopy or an umbrella to keep baby out of the sun. It can get surprisingly hot and airless in a pushchair so it is best not to put even a lightweight blanket or muslin over the hood to keep the sun off, maybe try putting the pushchair in some shade instead. At night, ideally their room should be between 16 and 20 degrees but of course this isn’t always possible. You can open lots of doors and windows before bedtime to try and cool the room down and put a fan on in the room before they go to bed, although it is best to keep this well out of the reach of curious little fingers and they probably won’t appreciate sleeping with the fan trained directly on them. A lovely cool bath just before bed will help, our calming baby bath time hamper contains lots of goodies to help with this, and you could try putting their pillowcase in a plastic bag in the freezer, so it is lovely and cold when baby rests her head. As a rule of thumb, if baby is wearing a nappy, vest and sleepsuit, just a sheet is needed if the temperature is over 24 degrees, but be led by baby, if she is still hot it is fine for her to go to bed in just her nappy and you can always cover her with a sheet later in the evening if her room cools down.
Sometimes life is so busy with a small baby we forget to take the time to just stop and marvel at how amazingly beautiful they really are. Sunny days out are where special memories are made, they give us the chance to relax and relish this little person as they and we enjoy the sunshine – just don’t forget the nappies and suncream!
Don't surprise mum
As a general rule it's best not to surprise the mum-to-be, some of us don't like surprises at the best of times and when heavily pregnant even more so. It's probably best to check that she is feeling up to a baby shower and even if she wants to celebrate pre-birth, as some women are superstitious about welcoming baby until after his or her safe arrival. You can of course plan the shower for after the birth, as long as mum feels up to it, the plus side of this is that gifts can be personalised for the new baby, the down side is that mum will have much less time and energy to enjoy the party.
Don't leave mum with the tidying up
If you can it is best not to have the party at the mum-to-be's house - unless some of the guests are willing to stay behind at the end to clear up! The last thing you need when you are nine months pregnant is to have to tidy up after everyone else so it might be best to host it yourself, find another willing volunteer or book a restaurant or village hall. Traditionally a baby shower is a female only zone and an all-girl party can be great fun, but if this is mum's second or third baby it might be more practical to invite kids and partners too. It's usually a good idea to consult the mum-to-be on the guest list, you don't want to forget Great Auntie Gladys or invite hubby's ex-girlfriend by mistake...
Do pick a fabulous theme
The theme of the baby shower can be as involved or as simple as you like. You can really go to town with decorations, cakes, food and party games all in your chosen theme, or plan something more understated. It is a lovely idea to choose a theme that is special to the guest of honour, favourite holiday location, favourite colour or maybe favourite book, and of course if you know the sex of the baby you can choose pink or blue to decorate your party. Our baby shower balloons are a stylish way to decorate the party, in pink, blue or neutral colours.
If this is mum's first baby, and she is not yet immersed in babyland, you could arrange an elegant tea party or sophisticated meal in a lovely restaurant instead of a full-on baby shower. There is no rule that tells us baby showers have to all about baby, you can make it all about mum too.
Don't get the vodka out
Although some of the guests might appreciate it, a baby shower is not really the place for a nice merlot or a bucket load of cocktails. Instead you could plan some gentle party games to break the ice and get everyone talking. Of course you know the mum-to-be best, she may prefer something more low key, but if you think she's up for a giggle you could try pregnancy twister where the guests strap pillows to their middles to act as a big pregnant belly and everyone tries to play twister. Or make up some jars of pureed baby food and get the guests to guess the flavour, or guess the date and weight of the baby. If you or your guests have artistic tendencies you could plan a lovely craft activity for everyone to do, maybe decorating some baby clothes or a blanket for the buggy or cot, something special for the mum-to-be to keep as a momento of the day. A really lovely idea is to set up one of our stylish guest books so everyone can send personal messages to the baby. You could take photos of everyone to stick in alongside their comments and this could be the start of a beautiful keepsake book for mum to add to as baby grows. Finally (and possibly most importantly!) provide huge amounts of tea and cake.
Do plan a gift
We have some beautiful gifts for mum and baby, perfect for a baby shower. Our stunning nappy cakes make a gorgeous centrepiece for the party and our fabulous baby clothes bouquets and hampers make stunning gifts. You could all make a contribution towards our luxury hampers for a real wow factor or our beautiful keepsake boxes contain all the essentials for a new mum and baby. You could keep it simple and ask everyone to bring nappies, wipes, bibs or muslins, gifts you can never have too many of when starting life with a new baby. You could also club together and buy something mum can keep and treasure, jewellery maybe or some of our gorgeous mum-to-be skincare. Baby showers are all about showing friendship and love for a new mum and so our beautifully illustrated promise and wish cards make a perfect baby shower gift. Each guest writes a practical pledge of support for after baby arrives, "I promise to bring dinner round", "I promise to do your ironing", they then pop these in one of our lovely gift boxes and mum can call on these favours when the time comes. Finally, one of our stylish baby diaries makes a thoughtful gift, beautifully cloth bound, this is the perfect way for mum to record all those special moments and memories.
Do send the guests away with something special
Finally it is a lovely idea to send your guests away with a party favour, just something little to end the shower in style. Some ideas include a muffin (bun in the oven) or one of our luxury handmade mini soaps or bath bombs (baby 'shower'). If you have time you could plant some seeds and give your guests a seedling to nurture and grow as baby grows. You must also, of course, give each attendee a large slice of cake to take home with them, but make sure you leave enough for the mum-to-be to enjoy after the shower with her feet up!
A baby shower is much more than a party, it is about rejoicing in friendship and celebrating the start of the journey into motherhood. It is strengthening a vital support network that mum will need as she embarks on those difficult first few months and beyond. So don't stress about the theme or the decorations, the most important message is that you are all there for your friend as she begins the trickiest and most wonderful job of all, being a mum.
First of all you can start to drop sizeable hints about how fantastic it would be to have a baby shower. You can of course plan your own shower, this is a great way to make sure you have no unpleasant surprises and if you enjoy organising these sort of events then go for it, but if you would rather sit with your feet up and let others plan for you, a few well-placed hints to your best friend or mum should get the ball rolling.
There are a couple of things about a baby shower to bear in mind however. As the mum-to-be you may want to make sure that the shower does not take place at your house. Well-meaning friends may think it will be easier for you not to have to leave home but you definitely do not want to be stuck with all the tidying up, so you may want to subtly suggest it is held elsewhere. You may also want to have some input into the theme of the shower, this will be an event that you will look back on with great fondness in the coming years, and a naff theme may put a bit of a downer on the day! Also, don't be worried about making some suggestions for suitable gifts for the shower, your friends and family will want to buy gifts for you and the new arrival, and a list from you will be an enormous help. Finally, it is a really lovely idea to leave a keepsake book out for all the guests to write a message for your new baby. This is something that you can add to as baby grows and will make a beautiful memento to look back on.
A baby shower is much more than a party, it is about rejoicing in friendship and celebrating the start of the journey into motherhood. It is strengthening a vital support network that you will need as you embark on those tricky first few months and beyond. So whatever the theme or location, the most important part of the shower is to relax and enjoy spending time with friends and family before baby's arrival.
Another fun thing to consider in these last few months of pregnancy is enrolling you and your partner on a course of antenatal classes such as those provided by the NCT. The information they provide is useful but the most fantastic part is meeting other new mums (and dads) in your immediate area. When you all start the course you have nothing in common apart from a similar due date but if you are lucky enough to get on as a group then you may well form lifelong friendships. Nothing beats sharing the highs and lows of coping with a new baby with someone else going through it at the same time, you will laugh and cry together in equal measure and in the end a friendship forged in this furnace of emotions will last forever. You will also eat a lot of cake.
Finally, if you have worked through your pregnancy you will be approaching the start of your maternity leave. You may feel that once you have stopped working you still have a lot to organise for the baby, you may be thinking of ways you can keep busy before the birth. We have only one piece of advice for you here and that is to make sure you set aside plenty of time to put your feet up. Sit on the sofa, eat chocolates and watch daytime telly, sit in the bath with a cup of tea and a good book or relax in the garden in the sunshine. None of these things will be possible for the next 10 years so do as many of them as you can before baby arrives!
There is an old adage that it takes a village to raise a child and in our twenty-first century lives we often live away from our extended families. So in these last few weeks of pregnancy take time to connect with friends both old and new, put your feet up and enjoy the peace and quiet and get ready for the adventure ahead!
As your pregnancy progresses towards the halfway mark and you treat yourself to those maternity trousers with the big, stretchy waistband, there is no doubt to you and everyone else that you are expecting. I loved this part of being pregnant, for a couple of months after the nausea and tiredness had subsided and the heaviness of later pregnancy hadn’t kicked in I felt pretty good and very proud of what my body was achieving all by itself. You can look forward to your 20 week scan, nothing beats the amazing feeling of seeing an actual wriggling, kicking, healthy baby on the sonographer’s screen and it certainly makes this pregnancy thing seems very real. Of course the big question at this point is, do you find out the sex of baby, or not? There are lots of traditional ways of predicting baby’s sex; dangling a wedding ring over your belly (backwards and forwards like a pendulum equals boy, round and round equals girl), carrying high is supposedly a girl, carrying low a boy, carrying your weight out front equals boy, carrying your weight on your bum and hips equals a girl, heart rate over 140bpm is a girl, under is a boy, and so on, but the only sure-fire way to find out is to ask at your scan and as long as baby doesn’t have its legs crossed the sonographer should be able to tell you. A lovely way to tell friends and family which flavour baby you are expecting is to send them one of our gorgeous personalised announcement bears and balloons. Personalised with ‘it’s a boy!’ or ‘it’s a girl!’ this is a really fun way to spread the news. A great way to begin a new family tradition.
Although it may not seem like it at the time, these precious few months will fly by and it is well worth celebrating those pregnancy milestones. Why not treat yourself to one of our fabulous pregnancy journals to record all those special memories, from cravings to baby’s first kick, baby hiccups to Braxton hicks, or maybe as an aide memoire for baby names or nursery ideas. You will also find yourself carrying your unwieldly maternity notes with you at all times so why not get one of our beautiful maternity notes cover to help you look stylish wherever you go. Another fun idea are our pregnancy milestone cards, beautifully illustrated cards to place on your bump each month, take a photo and have a lovely reminder of your growing baby. Share with friends and family on social media and they can join in with your joy.
Now you can feel movement you can start to get to know the little person growing inside your belly, just as they are starting to get to know you. Baby now has its own pattern of waking and sleeping and although it feels as if they are most often awake and doing somersaults when you are trying to sleep, these reassuring movements mark the beginnings of a bedtime routine. Little one now has their eyes open and will react to a loud or familiar noise. They are getting to know you and other members of your family and will be soothed by these familiar voices and sounds when they leave the womb.
So when the backache gets you down, or the indigestion kicks in, when you’re having trouble sleeping or another stretch mark appears, have a sit down and remind yourself what an amazing thing your body is doing. Give yourself a break from worrying and let yourself daydream about the little person about to enter your life (oh, and have that third chocolate biscuit while you can!).
The early weeks of being pregnant can be a strange and wonderful time. You are bursting with so many new emotions, you are often tired and hormonal and nauseous, but you probably don't look that different to normal and you may not have told many people outside of your family. This a time for you to treasure your precious little secret, before your bump grows larger and becomes something for all to comment on. This is a time to rest and plan and dream about the future.
And then comes the first big milestone, the dating scan, and finally, after seeing that precious heartbeat, you can start to tell the world your amazing news. This announcement is such a gift to those close to you, particularly parents who may be about to become grandparents and so why not make it really special and send them one of our gorgeous, personalised announcement bears and balloons. A wonderful way to start a new family tradition.
Once you start to tell the world then things start to feel real and the milestones just keep coming. The first time you can't do up your normal trousers over your little baby bump, the first time you tell a stranger or your work colleagues, the end of morning sickness and your first odd craving or that magical first kick that feels more like a tiny butterfly fluttering in your tummy. Everybody's pregnancy journey is different, many mums will share their experiences of pregnancy and birth but your pregnancy will be unique to you. It may not feel like it at the time, but you will look back at this time when you were growing a little person inside you with enormous fondness and every milestone is worth remembering and celebrating. It is a lovely idea to keep a pregnancy diary and record each one of these milestones along with your thoughts, emotions and feelings to share with baby when they are older.
It is really important for you and those you love to look after you during these first few weeks so we have put together our top five tips to help those around you take care of you at this special time. Stick it on the fridge as a gentle reminder to those around you that you need some looking after:
- Celebrate the bump! Getting rounder during pregnancy is something to be celebrated but mum may feel uncomfortable getting bigger and bigger. Lots and lots of compliments are the order of the day here, tell her every day how wonderful she looks and she will start to believe it. Jewellery can be a wonderful way to show her you care, one of our diamond pip necklaces would be just the thing.
- It is hard work growing a little person and so mum will need to be encourage to rest and relax as much as possible. Treat her to some pampering goodies such as our all natural, award winning essential mum to be collection or our pamper hamper packed full of wonderful essential oils, and make sure she has the time to use them.
- Start planning together - every pregnancy begins as a bundle of wonderful possibilities and it is great fun to take some time out together to daydream and plan for the future. Whether it's the colour of the nursery or baby's first outing, planning will help it all feel more real.
- Take time to talk - having a baby is probably the biggest shake up to anyone's life and the idea can be daunting. Every pregnant woman harbours the odd secret doubt about how she will cope when baby arrives, or worries about baby being healthy. Talking about the future will give her time to express any concerns she may have and will bring you closer together.
- Go with the flow - OK, so it is a fact that being pregnant generates a large amount of hormones and however we try sometimes these will spill out as emotional outbursts. Try not to take it personally and just be there with a box of chocolates and a hug when the storm subsides!
Pregnancy can be a rollercoaster of hormones and emotions but it is also an incredibly special time in a woman's life. You feel like you will be pregnant forever and you are counting down the days until baby is due, but then it is over in the blink of an eye. So take time to savour the moment, celebrate those milestones and put your feet up while you can!