FIRST TIME MUMS
HELPFUL TIPS AND ADVICE
Trust Your Instincts – As a first time Mum to be everyone will want to give you their own little tips and advice but go with your gut instincts. You know your baby better than anyone so have the confidence to trust your instincts, believe me you will be right most of the time.
Switch off Autopilot – When it comes to your baby sleeping, try not to rush to them every time they whimper. Check on them from time to time but try not to overdo it and check on them every hour of the day or night!
Stop the Guilt – Being a new Mum can bring on tremendous feelings of guilt. You want to try and do everything and feel guilty when you can’t or when you need to grab some time for yourself. A happy mum means a happy baby so stop the guilt and if you need to leave your baby with a family member or friend to get some jobs done or have time for yourself then please do it without feeling guilty.
Enjoy the Chaos – It’s amazing how something so small can cause such chaos and mess but just enjoy your new baby and don’t stress about the house. A little mess never hurt anyone and babies grow up so quickly you need to make sure you spend time with your newborn. This one on one time is to be treasured, when number two comes along you’ll be busy looking after your firstborn to appreciate the time with your second baby in the same way.
There’s No Rush – there seems to be pressure put on a new mums to make sure they have everything ready before the new baby. However, new babies really need very little at the start of their life. As long as they have the essentials to care for them, the nursery can wait a couple of months, especially since your baby is likely to be in the same room as you for at least the first couple of months.
Routine Isn’t Everything – Every baby is different, that’s what makes them so special and what works for one won’t necessarily work for another. Sometimes if you try and force a routine on a baby and it doesn’t work then you can stress yourself out and think you have failed. Some babies naturally find their own routine so spend the first few weeks watching and getting to know your baby and then see what you think would work best for you and your baby.
WHAT CAN YOUR BABY DO
We all want to make sure our baby is reaching their development milestones at the appropriate time so here’s a brief checklist for the first 6 months so you can see what skills your baby might have:
- Mastered Skills - Most Kids - stares at faces, lifts head when lying on front, responds to sounds
- Emerging Skills –Half of Kids - follows objects briefly with eyes, vocalizes: oohs and aahs, can see black and white patterns
- Advanced Skills –A Few Kids – Smiles, laughs, holds head at 45 degree angle
- Mastered Skills - Most Kids - vocalizes: gurgles and coos, follows objects across field of vision, notices his hands, holds head up for short periods
- Emerging Skills –Half of Kids - Smiles, laughs, holds head at 45-degree angle
- Advanced Skills –A Few Kids – Holds head steady, can bear weight on legs, lifts head and shoulders when lying on tummy
- Mastered Skills - Most Kids – recognises your face and scent, holds head steady, visually tracks moving objects.
- Emerging Skills –Half of Kids - Squeals, gurgles, coos, blows bubbles, recognises your voice, can lift head and shoulders when lying on tummy.
- Advanced Skills –A Few Kids – Rolls over from tummy to back, turns toward loud sounds, can bring hands together.
- Mastered Skills - Most Kids - Smiles, laughs, can bear weight on legs, coos when you talk to him
- Emerging Skills –Half of Kids – Can grasp a toy, rolls over from tummy to back
- Advanced Skills –A Few Kids – Cuts first tooth, may be ready for solid food, imitates sounds such as ‘mama’, ‘dada'.
- Mastered Skills - Most Kids - Plays with his hands and feet, can distinguish between bold colours.
- Emerging Skills –Half of Kids – Recognises own name, rolls over in both directions, turns towards new sounds.
- Advanced Skills –A Few Kids – Sits momentarily without support, mouths objects
- Mastered Skills - Most Kids - Turns toward sounds and voices, rolls over in both directions, imitates sounds
- Emerging Skills –Half of Kids – ready for solid food, sits without support, passes objects from hand to hand
- Advanced Skills –A Few Kids – Lunges forward or begins to start crawling, combines syllables, drags objects towards himself.
BOY OR GIRL?
For hundreds of years expectant mums have turned to old wives tales to try and guess the gender of baby. Even if you are adamant you want the baby gender to be a surprise there is part of you which is intrigued as to whether you are carrying a baby boy or a girl.
Here’s some old wives tales indicating different ways to find the baby gender:
- Baby Bump - if you are carrying high then it’s a girl, low if it’s a boy
- The Mothers Face - if your face is round and rosy, it’s a girl
- The Pendant Test - swing a gold pendant over your pregnant belly. If it swings back and forth a girl is expected, if it swings around then a boy is on his way.
- Sweet or Savoury - if you have a sweet tooth then you are having a girl, salty and sour foods indicate a boy.
- The Key Test – place a key down on a table, if the expectant mum picks up the key from the thin end, then it’s a girl.
- Expectant Dad - if the baby’s father sympathises with you and puts on weight during your pregnancy it’s a boy.
- Acne – if you have more acne then it’s a girl.
Gender Prediction for Baby Boy - 10 other ways to predict if you are having a boy:
- You didn’t experience morning sickness in pregnancy
- Your heart rate is less than 140 beats per minute
- Your hands are dry
- Your bump is the shape of a basketball
- You are carrying the extra weight out front
- Pregnancy has you looking better than ever
- Your feet are colder than they were before you became pregnant
- The hair on your legs has grown faster in pregnancy
- Your urine is a bright yellow colour
- You add your age at the time of conception and the number for the month the baby was conceived in and the total is an even number
Gender for Baby Girl - 10 other ways to predict if you are having a girl:
- You experienced morning sickness
- Your heart rate is more than 140 beats per minute
- You are carrying extra weight at the rear and in your hips
- Your belly looks like a watermelon
- Your left breast is larger than your right breast
- Your urine is a dull yellow colour
- You crave orange juice
- Your hair develops red highlights
- You don’t look quite as good as you usually do during pregnancy
- You add your age at the time of conception and the number for the month the baby was conceived in and the total is an odd number
Baby names, just like fashion can be in or out, depending on the era you were born.
Some parents strive to find the most unusual name to ensure their child remains unique whilst others stick with traditional names which have stood the test of time.
It's interesting to see how baby names have changed over time and so we take a brief look at both past and present popular baby names.
We look at the top ten list for 2011 and compare this to the top ten names back in 1964. My, how things have changed. I wonder if any of these popular 'oldies' will make a come back in the future.
|TOP TEN GIRLS NAMES - 2011||TOP TEN GIRLS NAMES - 1964|
|1. Amelia||1. Susan|
|2. Olivia||2. Julie|
|3. Lily||3. Karen|
|4. Jessica||4. Jacqueline|
|5. Emily||5. Deborah|
|6. Sophie||6. Tracey|
|7. Ruby||7. Jane|
|8. Grace||8. Helen|
|9. Ava||9. Diane|
|10. Isabella||10. Sharon|
|TOP TEN BOYS NAMES - 2011||TOP TEN BOYS NAMES - 1964|
|1. Harry||1. David|
|2. Oliver||2. Paul|
|3. Jack||3. Andrew|
|4. Alfie||4. Mark|
|5. Charlie||5. John|
|6. Thomas||6. Michael|
|7. Jacob||7. Stephen|
|8. James||8. Ian|
|9. Joshua||9. Robert|
|10. William||10. Richard|
Jack which had been in pole position for a number of years has been replaced with Harry. Other more once traditional names such as Alfred are increasing in popularity with a new modern version in the form of Alfie.
Comparing today's most popular baby names with those of eras gone by is interesting. If we look at the most popular baby names from nearly 50 years ago in 1964 not one of the names on either the boys or girls list in 2011 is the same.
Paul and John were classic names in the 60's and Ian was at it's peak in the 60's but it's popularity was short lived.
Who knows if baby names popular in the 60's will come back into fashion or when the UK's most popular baby names in 2011 will go out of fashion. There is a trend of things coming back around again so who knows in a few years time we may hear the names of Florence and Arthur being called by parents in playgrounds around the UK!
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HOW TO BE PREPARED
Everyone loves a baby! Having a baby is such an exciting time for everyone, and as a new mother you often end up with a load of goodwill in the form of presents, flowers, baby clothes and homecooked meals. It seems like the whole world wants to show their joy!
This is great, but then comes the problem of how to thank all these generous people?
Personalised photo cards are a fantastic way to introduce your new baby to friends and family or simply say thanks for the presents and flowers. Having a picture on the card creates a beautiful keepsake for the receiver and is a lovely gesture as people can pop these into their photo album and you can place one in your baby's keepsake box for later. It's also the best way to involve distant relatives and help them experience the joy of a new little one arriving into the world. Make sure you choose a quality card as recipients won't be impressed with cheap baby cards.
CREATE A THANK YOU BOX
In order to prepare yourself for the gift onslaught and to stay as organised as possible, it is best to create yourself "a little thank you box" before the birth. Gather up all your addresses and contacts and make sure you have them all in one place so you don't have to go searching. In your thank you box you will need:
- A good pen
- A box of stamps
- A list of all your contacts, including name, address, postcode, space to note down gift received and extra pages for those unexpected surprise baby gifts
- Any glitter or stickers you are planning on using
This may seem a simple thing, but in the post-natal haze of having a new baby in the house, you will be so grateful to have all these things on hand, in the one place, especially the stamps!
As the presents come in, note down the gift they gave you on your list. Then, it's the fun task of choosing your card, uploading your photo, writing your personal message and creating your cards online. When your cards arrive, you simply sign, lick and stamp!
If you need some help to know what to write, visit our wording page which details baby poems and wording examples.
Keeping it simple is the key to making sure that everyone gets a peek at the new baby and you have as much time as possible to rest up and enjoy time with your new addition.
Click to view our full range of baby thank you cards click here
CHOOSING A BABY NAME
Choosing a baby name is a very personal and precious undertaking for new parents. It's amazing how the mere mention of a name conjures up an image.
It might be memories from the first boy you ever kissed, the boss from hell in your first job or the name of your first school friend. Names have so many different meanings for different people and it's impossible to please everyone with your baby name choice.
When you find out you are pregnant you instantly start thinking about names. You've usually had the conversation many times before with friends, "well, if I had a baby girl, I would call her ...". When you are pregnant many hours are spent surfing websites to see where your chosen names rank or simply to view the top lists to see what's popular or find more unusual names. When I was pregnant someone once said to me, if you have a name you like keep saying it over and over again as this is what you do when you're a parent!
FACTORS TO CONSIDER
There are many factors to consider when choosing a baby name. Do you want your baby to have a traditional name such as Elizabeth, which has stood the test of time or are you considering a more modern name such as Evie which is emerging up through the baby name rankings? Is your preference for a popular name such as Emma or are you wanting to stand out from the crowd by choosing a more unusual baby name such as Ellianna? T
There are many books and websites which list an array of baby names and meanings for you to consider. Whilst it is a time consuming exercise to read through all the names and meanings it is often an enjoyable one which conjures up many images as you read through the names. Research shows expectant Mums spend more time on the internet researching baby girl names than baby boy names.
BABY NAMES AND MEANINGS
Baby names and their meanings often have social, historical or biblical connotations. Parents-to-be also have to consider if a family tradition is going to be continued or whether they would prefer a name which suits the current trends. The majority of baby names are undoubtedly religious inspired such as Matthew or John, but other name categories becoming more popular take their inspiration from precious stones, such as Jade or flowers, such as Lily.
Our inspiration for the name Molly came from an old vintage morris minor car we used to own. I remember when she was born a friend said, "you can't call her that, you used to have a car with the same name!"
It's funny, when I was pregnant first time around with Molly we only had this girls name chosen. Our choices for boys were undecided so we were glad she was a girl. Second time around the situation was reversed, our boy's names were solid and our baby girl names wavered. Fortunately, second time around we had a boy.
With each pregnancy I always kept the names I had a closely guarded secret. I didn't really want the names I had chosen to be scrutinised just yet by others. Any name a Mom-to-be might suggests before the birth of a baby is sure to conjure up an image with someone and everyone always has their own opinion. "No, you can't possibly call them Smedley. I once worked for a guy with that name and he was such a chauvanist, he had no respect at all for women!
Names are a very personal thing and I have heard horror stories of other Mums thinking their name had been 'stolen' by a friend or family member as they called their child the same name. After hearing stories such as these imagine my concern when at 8 months pregnant with my first born, my best friend called me up and told me the happy news she was 3 months pregnant and insisted she wanted to tell me the names they had already chosen. I was absolutely delighted at her news as this meant our two babies would be close in age but I was adament I didn't want her to tell me her choice of names. I just didn't want to know them. My baby was going to be the first one born and what if, on the off chance we had chosen the same names! It just would have been such an awkward situation. What happens if they were the same, she might have accused me of stealing her baby name even though myself and my husband already had it on our list! However, she insisted on reciting her list of names and when she reached the end I breathed a huge sigh of relief as thankfully, our baby name choices were different.
If names are kept a closely guarded secret until the birth of your baby, then pregnant mums can avoid uncessessary stressful encounters. It's funny, everyone always has an opinion on names before your baby is born and then as soon as the little one arrives, attention turns to them and people's thoughts and opinions fade into insignificance as they cuddle and caress your new baby. Whatever baby name you choose and however long it takes you to finally agree on a baby name, you will choose one which is right for you and your baby. Enjoy the experience of choosing a name, it's an important one as it's a lifetime decision and one of the first things you do as you start your journey into parenthood.
SEVEN USEFUL PHOTO TIPS
Taking a photo of a baby can be a tricky and time consuming business. However, with the advancement in digital camera and phone technology in recent years, the job just got a little bit easier since you can click away until you finally get the perfect photo.
Babies tend to be naturals in front of the cameras, they often have great facial expressions and it's great to be able to look back in years to come at some great baby photos. Below are some digital photography tips to help you create your photo cards:
Tip 1 - Take Plenty of Pictures
The greater the number of pictures taken, the greater the likelihood of attaining the perfect baby photos. So keep clicking away and eventually you will capture the perfect shot.
Tip 2 - Find a Partner to Help You
Of course you can always take the pictures yourself but sometimes it is often helpful to have a partner to assist you. They can play Peek-a-Boo or shake a favourite toy to try and make your baby giggle and smile. Having a partner to help you often makes the process more enjoyable and fun. The burst mode or sports mode on your digital camera can often be a great help as you can take a number of photos in quick succession to ensure you capture all those perfect baby smiles and cute facial expressions.
Tip 3 - Choose the Right Light
To get great baby photos it's important to capture them in the right light. If you are taking photos outside the best time of day to do this is early in the morning in partial shade or early in the evening. These times of day experience softer light and capture warmer tones, plus you have the added benefit of your baby not squinting to avoid sunlight.
If you're taking pictures inside try to use natural light. Window light is great and diffused lighting provides for a softer feel. Try to avoid taking pictures with the flash. Flash can often wash out colours and babies in particular are sensitive to bright light.
Tip 4 - Avoid Distracting Backgrounds and Colours
Place your baby on a neutral rug or against a neutral background to obtain the best photos. Avoid bright toys in the shot as these can often detract from the main focus, which is of course your baby. Dress your baby in simple clothes for the same reason as noisy, bright clothes can leave your baby's skin tones looking washed out.
Tip 5 - Choose the Right Time
Before you attempt to take your photos make sure your baby is well rested and fed to guarantee lots of smiles. Make photographing your baby fun for both of you and try not to set your expectations too high, know when to put the camera away! There will always be another time. When your baby is tired after their photo shoot, it's always an idea to use this naptime to get some great shots of your little one sleeping like a baby!
Tip 6 - Add Family and Friends
Photos of your baby with someone special create a great story and are great to look back on. Be creative with your photos, they can be tiny fingers against an adults hand, or pictures of family welcoming the new arrival.
Tip 7 - Explore Black and White Photos
Black and white photos are timeless and often add a feeling of fine art and capture features and subtle details which are often missed in colour. Why not take a collage of black and white photos and use them to tell a story.
You've read some useful tips on digital photography so now it's time to put them to the test and see if you can capture the Perfect Baby Photo. Further tips and advice and a free photo health check are also offered here.
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