Babies and Chocolate

A couple of my friends were having a debate recently about whether or not to feed their little one chocolate. Personally I don’t want my little one to have chocolate until we have too. I’m of the opinion that she’s got the rest of her life to eat chocolate and she’s not going to know what she’s missing if she’s never had it before. I’m especially worried she’ll turn out like me, addicted to the stuff!

However, I totally respect other people’s opinions and decisions to give their children chocolate. I thought it was an interesting topic to investigate so I’ve included a few links below. My husband did some research about chocolate and babies when our little one was born. He discovered that chocolate changes the taste buds of babies. I can’t find any research to support this but the links below are still interesting reading.

http://babyparenting.about.com/od/startingsolids/f/chocolate.htm

http://www.itsamomsworld.com/tastebuds-and-sugar.html

http://www.nhs.uk/start4life/pages/sweet-as-they-are.aspx

The Importance of Skin to Skin

This weeks theme is “Babies”.

I only picked up on how important skin to skin is when my little one turned a month old. We didn’t have a very easy time with breastfeeding, for several reasons, but it was only when I went to see Lorraine, one of the breastfeeding counselors at North Hampshire Hospital, that it became apparent to me how important skin to skin is. I am eternally grateful to Lorraine for her pearls of wisdom.

I made sure that in the morning I spent as much time as possible skin to skin with my little one. This was fairly easy to do as it was summer time (this was last year, so nowhere near as much rain!) but I can imagine that in winter time it can be quite difficult to do this. My husband also found skin to skin very rewarding and whilst we spent our first few days as a family in hospital, he spent a lot of time with our little one on his chest. The nurses at the hospital were all cool with it as I’m sure they’ve seen it all before!

Even if you aren’t breastfeeding, skin to skin is still very important. Once my little one switched to bottles I had to make a conscious effort to make sure that skin to skin still happened.

My little one is now 17 months old and if I am not dashing to work in the morning I always make sure that the first feed of the day is skin to skin. My little one has always had her milk first thing in the morning so it’s worked out pretty well to be able to do this. I’ve noticed that my little one always needs to touch my skin when I’m holding her now. She puts her hand on the edge of my top or around the back of my neck. It makes my heart sing when she does this and reminds me of when she was really tiny. I’m sure that the skin to skin approach has helped us to bond as I really miss it if we haven’t been able to make time for it.

Whether you agree with skin to skin or not, and based on my experience,  I would really recommend trying to do this as much as possible, especially in the first few months. I can imagine this is really difficult to do with your baby if you have more than one child. Does anyone have any suggestions about to manage this complexity?

If you would like more information about the importance of skin to skin, please check out some of the links below:

http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/jack_newman2.html

http://www.nbci.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=82:the-importance-of-skin-to-skin-contact-&catid=5:information&Itemid=17

http://www.lotusfertility.com/Skin_to_Skin_Protocols_for_Bonding_and_Attachment.html

http://www.nhs.uk/Planners/breastfeeding/Pages/skin-to-skin-contact.aspx

Traveling with Babies

This week’s theme is about traveling. I published a few posts last year with tips and hints for traveling with babies. I’ve enclosed a link below to the original posts, rather than re-publishing.

General Travel Tips

Traveling with your baby – Part 1

Traveling with your baby – Part 2

I’ve been lucky enough to travel a few times with my daughter since she was born and have picked up a few tips.

If you can fit them in, take your own nappies with you. They are very expensive on the continent compared to here and feedback from other Mum’s who’ve traveled with little’s ones is that the nappies abroad aren’t as “good” as the ones in the UK.

I wasn’t sure where to get my little one’s passport done so I ended up getting it done in Costco. They were very good and it was all over in a few minutes. Several friends have recommended Jessop’s in Basingstoke town centre for baby passport photo’s.

Do you have any good traveling tips that you can share with other parents?

(Thank you to all of you who have added comments to the blog recently. I’m sorry I haven’t replied, it’s been a manic couple of weeks. I plan to respond to all of them over this weekend, but in the meantime, thank you all for your fabulous support!) 

Cheap Transport in North Hampshire

This weeks theme is all about travel so I’ve done a bit of research into cheap travel options in the area.

Buses

Mega Rider Gold – £19.50 – includes Hampshire, Surrey, West Sussex and Brighton

Mega Rider ticket – 7 days travel for £11.70.

Unfortunately I couldn’t find anything online to support these costs (don’t know where I found them now! lol) but I did find a website which said you could buy the weekly tickets from the bus driver. Click HERE for more details.

Mega Rider ticket – 4 weeks travel for £43.50 – 52 weeks for £460. You can purchase tickets that are 4 weeks or more online HERE.

If you are traveling to South Hampshire you may be interested in the First Day Hampshire Family ticket which is run by First services. It’s a shame we don’t have a similar service in North Hampshire!

“Family travel on all First services in Hampshire for just £10 this summer!

We’re pleased to announce we’re reducing the price of our FirstDay Hampshire Family ticket to just £10 for the summer!

Normally £13, from 22 July – 1 September 2012, a family of 5 (max 2 adults) can travel as much as they like on one day on First buses in Hampshire for just £10. That’s unlimited travel for just £2.00 each (if used by 5 people!)”

Click HERE for more details.

Trains

The Family & Friends Railcard

“Costing just £28, for a 1 year Railcard or £65 for a 3 year Railcard, the Family & Friends Railcard saves you 1/3 off adult and 60% off kids’ fares across Britain for a year. If you travel with a child between five and 15 years old then you’re eligible.

Your Railcard gives you more than cheap travel! With your Railcard you can also get fantastic offers on holidays, eating out, some of the UK’s top attractions and much more!”

Click HERE for more details.

If you are planning to be out and about this summer, don’t forget to check out whether you can travel cheaper by public transport than by car.

10 Places to Breakfast “out” with Children in North Hampshire

As a parent you and your family are probably up early. Why not make the most of your weekend and indulge in breakfast out. If you plan well it doesn’t have to cost the earth and gives your family a great start to the weekend. Or, you could arrange to catch up with other families for breakfast as you know they will be up too!

1. Nelsons Diner – On the way to Newbury

I love Nelsons for breakfast. They do a great American breakfast, pancakes with maple syrup. If you aren’t watching your waistline, I totally recommend the milkshakes. Totally moreish. (I may regret putting up such a raving review next time we try to get a table! :-D)

2. Dayers – Chineham Business Park

They are only open from 8am until 3pm and don’t have baby changing facilities but they are generally very quiet in the morning and do a good breakfast. They do have free wireless though, if you can juggle that and a child! It’s only open on week days for breakfast though.

3. Sainsburys – Hatch Warren

4. Debenhams – Town Centre

There is a baby room next to the Restaurant. They also offer a special children’s menu and provide baby food and bottle warming facilities, free bibs and wipes.

5. BHS – Town Centre

Breakfast is £1.99 when you buy any hot drink before 11.30am

6. Morrisons – Brookvale

7. Frankie and Benny’s

Not sure whether I should be suggesting this place because the last few times I’ve eaten here friends have been sick afterwards. It could have been coincidence as it happened twice, but I haven’t dared risk it again!

(Dec 2013 – We tried again and had the pancakes for breakfast which were yummy. No one got sick this time ;-). They have a children’s menu and baby changing facilities.)

8. The Beach Arms – Oakley

Not eaten here yet but it’s on my list of places to try.

9. Wyevale Garden Centre – Sherfield on Loddon

I would recommend signing up to the Gardening Club they have because you can also use the points for meals. They also send you deals out in the post which can often work out to be very reasonable.

10. The Harvester

8 Reasonably Priced Restaurants in Basingstoke (Meal for 2 for under £15)

Sometimes I really miss the lifestyle I had before having a family. Specifically the spontaneity of being able to eat out. We still try to eat out when we can justify the cost, which is why I’m always looking for cheaper places to eat that don’t mind children and won’t break the bank. Let me know if there is a restaurant or cafe that I’ve missed!

1. Debenhams Restaurant

There is a baby room next to the Restaurant. They also offer a special children’s menu and provide baby food and bottle warming facilities, free bibs and wipes.

The restaurant is open until 8pm most week days

2. Olivers Fish and Chips

They have an early Bird Deal at the moment.

The restaurant is open every day until 10.30pm, but check the website to confirm this.

They do have baby changing facilities and colouring and crayons for bigger children. Maybe a place to visit if you are lucky enough to have a night out alone with your partner/husband.

3. The Trawlerman, Chineham Shopping Centre

(Couldn’t find a website)

4. Marks and Spencers Cafe – Chineham

Please see a previous post HERE for details about the cafe at M&S in Chineham.

5. Sainsburys Cafe at Hatchwarren

The restaurant is open until 8pm every day except Sunday. However, I think they stop serving hot meals at 7pm.

6. Festival Plaice

I haven’t eaten here and I’m not sure if they have baby changing facilities or are very children friendly.

7. Nando’s

Open until 11pm most nights and has baby changing facilities.

8. Pizza Hut

There are two Pizza Hut restaurants in Basingstoke, one in Festival Place and one near Toys R Us. They seem to have a pretty good set up for children although I wonder how healthy the meals are.

 

13 Things to do in Basingstoke with a newborn

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1. Subscribe to NorthHantsMum

Obviously! :-D. 

The best way to ensure that you receive each post is subscribe using the “Email Sign Up” box” on the right hand side of the home page of NorthHantsMum.co.uk. Every time there is a new post on NHM you will receive an email in your inbox.

I get the most interaction on” Louise NHM Smith” on Facebook . The best discussions and comments are always via “Louise NHM Smith“, so I also recommend adding me as a friend. Don’t worry, I don’t ever look at anyones’ profiles. I don’t have the time or interest! lol.

Also ask to join the secret “Newborn”  (or “Pregnancy”) facebook group that I have set up on “Louise NHM Smith” for parents of Newborns. It’s a great way to meet other Mum’s who are in the same stage of babyhood as you.

2. Join a Baby PEEP course

Click for more details about what a PEEP course and Baby Sensory.

3. Go swimming with your baby

Go swimming with your baby (after 12 weeks old) at the Sports Centre in the week or QMC swimming pool at the weekend. See Swimming with Babies for more details. You can check out other baby and child friendly swimming pools. Or maybe look into structured classes with Water Babies.

4. Go to a baby weighing clinic

Go to The Nest at Chineham Church on a Monday morning. I always found the cafe area to be lovely as everyone was very friendly and willing to chat to each other, even if you didn’t know them beforehand! You can check out other baby weighing clinics: Baby Weighing Clinics in Basingstoke. 

5. Visit a local coffee or tea shop

Visit the Little Roses Coffee Shop in Elm Tree Garden Centre for coffee and cake with your friends who are also on maternity leave. You can find other baby friendly tea and coffee shops: Reasonably Priced Afternoon Tea‘s and NHM Recommended Children friendly Coffee Shops.  I also recently reviewed The Parlour TeaRoom which also comes highly recommended.

6. Go to the Newbies cinema

Go to Newbies cinema on a Monday morning at the Odeon. It’s specifically for parents with babies. The sound is reduced and it’s half lighting so you can still see your baby. Much cheaper than normal cinema tickets and includes free biscuits and tea and coffee (if you get there before the Senior cinema oldies demolish the lot at 11am!). Also recommend signing up to their Odeon Club as you get points and it’s amazing how quickly they rack up and convert into free tickets or free food! Miss NHM went to the cinema every week from 3 weeks old till 6 months old!

7. Take a Baby Massage Course

You can book independently here or investigate whether one of the local children’s centres has a course. (this tends to work out much cheaper!) Gail who often does the courses is lovely and a real calming influence.

8. Go to a Baby Rhymetime session

Go to a Baby RhymeTime session (normally hosted at one of the libraries).

9. Visit “Coffee and Chat on a Friday morning

Visit “Coffee and Chat” on a Friday morning. This group also host a “Sling Day” on the 1st Friday of the month (see Slings for previous posts about slings) and they also do bra fittings on the 1st and 3rd Friday of the month.

10. Have a photography session with your newborn

You can click Family Photographers in North Hampshire for a list of family friendly photographers in the area. Some do specific newborn packages, so have a look through.

11. Join a local baby class

There are LOADS going on in the area (Tots Play, Buggy Fit, Baby Signing and Baby Sensory are just a few). To find more details about which classes are available have a look at the Activities Page on NorthHantsMum.co.uk which lists classes by day.

12. Take some hand prints whilst your baby is tiny

Get a head start on those all important first Christmas presents at Pots2Paint. Perfect for creating keepsakes from your baby for your loved ones.

Finally…

I found it really important to get out and about with my little one in those first few months. The house became thoroughly neglected but it was totally worth it for my sanity!

If you have any friends who have just had a baby, don’t forget to share this post with them!

Related Pages

Things to do/Places to go with a baby when it’s raining

What to do when you first join the NorthHantsMum Community

Important Local Information (e.g. family phographers, birthday parties, day nurseries, outings)

Subscribe to NHM!!

Baby Weighing Clinics in Basingstoke 

NHM Mum Top Tips

NHM Reader Questions

NHM Business Directory

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Google+Facebook Profile, LinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

Ikon Works Photography

Tasha contacted me about publicising her Photography business, Ikon Works, via the NHM Friend on FB. I love that Tasha asked first, rather than adding something to the NHM Friend Wall without checking. Tasha’s enthusiasm is infectious and this is what she came back with:

Ikon Works Photography Example

Special Offer: 

I would like to offer NHM Readers: Book a 1 hour session in the studio with me for just £25 and get a free 10×8 image.  Just get in contact via my details below – it’s that simple! The images from your shoot will go onto my website in a password protected gallery, so you can review and pick your favourite! Should you require further prints my price list is on my website, or I can email it through to you.

About Ikon Works

Welcome to Ikon Works – where a wonderful photographic experience awaits you. Our photographs become our collections of memories, and it’s brilliant we can document more than faces, more than smiles, more than brief moments in our relationships and lives.  Whether you know what you want, or need a little inspiration – we are here to make something personal, memorable and special really come alive!

I love my kids, but I am sure you are asking – “what does this have to do with photography?” – Answer – “NOTHING!” – I have to write something about myself and rather than sounding all serious, I thought I would make it a little off the wall – which is so much more like me.  My studio is in my home, therefore it allows me to provide a very personal experience – friendly, private, and fantastic for all kids of all ages…. even the shy one’s and the very new little tiny one’s….

I have two lovely children who are both at school come September.  I am therefore, lucky enough to be able to open on a daily basis by appointment only, between the hours of 9.30 and 4.00 – I can even open at weekend’s for those family shots when everyone can participate in the fun!  So please get in contact soon!

My website has the details of all of the services I offer – I am currently re-developing the site, the new one has an expected launch date of September 2012.

About professional photographers

Your selection of a photographer is a very personal one, based on chemistry and instinct, reputation and cost.  Ultimately talking to a photographer should lead to your piece of mind and therefore allow you to relax and enjoy your photographic session.  A professional photographer should have studied photography, have a comprehensive knowledge of how to pose their subjects, be able to use reflectors, natural light, and studio light; all this will be carefully combined with a warm, easy going personality (specifically they should have the ability to connect with their subject).  Any photographer should undertake personally the development of their skills – on all levels.  Ask your photographer what they do – although be prepared for the photography geek to surface, it’s a business which allows our passion for what we do to be demonstrated in every way – in every shoot.

Tips for photographing your kids in your time!

Get down on their level.  It is good to photograph kids from their eye level.  Toddler shots are best taken sitting on the floor, bigger one’s mean your knees are going to take a bashing – and 5/6 months then I am afraid its time to be flat on your tummy propped up on your elbow’s!! Be prepared to move around quickly though!

Light.  Windows are an amazing source of “natural” light.  For example a large window with a slightly cloudy sky outside can give you the most flattering lighting for one of the things we love out about our children “their baby soft skin”.  Give it a go!

Focus.  So many times you see a picture where everything is perfectly centre.  Instead of having the subject of the photo in the centre, try moving your camera a little to the right or left.  Technically it’s called the rule of thirds – you can have a quick read about it here: DPS – Darren Rowse (Rule of Thirds)

Thank you so much for reading my article, and I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Tasha

x

Thank you very much Tasha for the special offer for NHM readers and for the photography tips. I’ve had a look at the photo’s and they are lovely. Best of luck with the business!

 

First Aid Kit’s

I am taking a few weeks off to rediscover my blogging mojo and do some background work on NHM. The regular “Things to do” posts will still be published on Monday’s and if I receive any Guest Post Wednesday’s these will also be published. You may see the odd post pop up on other days but it depends on whether I find my blogging mojo and whether I can “persuade” anyone else to write some guest posts! lol. Thanks for your patience!

Sophie has very kindly put together another post for NHM about First Aid Kit’s. Thanks Sophie! I really must get my first aid kit sorted out at home! 

Sophie: At my last job I was designated First Aider – it came with a pay rise, I got a day off each year to do my refresher course and I only had to deal with two minor cuts and one concussion in 5 years, well worth it.  But now that it is my child I will be looking after, I’m taking it a bit more seriously!  And after a week of nosebleeds, ear infections and sore throats I realize that my medicine cabinet and first aid kit are seriously lacking.

St John Ambulance say that a first aid kit should contain the following:

  • Assorted waterproof plasters
  • 2 sterile eye pads
  • 1 crepe bandage
  • 4 triangular bandages
  • 6 medium sterile dressing pads
  • 2 large sterile dressing pads
  • 2 pairs sterile gloves
  • 1 pair paramedic (tough-cut) scissors
  • 6 alcohol-free wipes
  • 6 safety pins
  • Tape

But let’s be honest, I would swap all of the above for a single bottle of Calpol (other paracetamol suspensions are available).  So what is important for a mother’s first aid kit?

Painkillers  – Make sure you have an age-appropriate painkiller that contains paracetamol or ibuprofen, which can be used for headaches and fevers. You will also need a measuring spoon or, for younger children, a no-needle dosing syringe. Always follow the dosage instructions on the label.

Antiseptic cream or spray – This can be applied to cuts, grazes or minor burns after cleaning to help prevent infection. Some may also contain a mild local anesthetic to numb the pain.

Calamine lotion – This can help to soothe itching irritated skin, rashes (including chicken pox) and sunburn.

Antihistamine cream – This can reduce swelling and soothe insect bites and stings.

Thermometer

Digital thermometers are quick to use, accurate and can be used under the armpit (always use the thermometer under the armpit with children under five). Hold your child’s arm against his or her body and leave the thermometer in place for the time stated in the manufacturer’s instructions.

Ear (or tympanic) thermometers are put in the child’s ear. They take the child’s temperature in one second and do not disturb the child, but they’re expensive. Ear thermometers may give low readings when not correctly placed in the ear, so read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and familiarise yourself with how the thermometer works (this applies to all thermometers).

Strip-type thermometers, which you hold on your child’s forehead, are not an accurate way of taking their temperature. They show the temperature of the skin, not the body.

Mercury-in-glass thermometers haven’t been used in hospitals for some years and are no longer available to buy. They can break, releasing small shards of glass and highly poisonous mercury. Do not use mercury thermometers. If your child is exposed to mercury, get medical advice immediately.

Antiseptic wipes – These are a handy way to clean cuts and grazes and help prevent infection. To use them, take a fresh wipe and clean the wound, gently working away from the centre to remove dirt and germs.

Saline solution and an eye bath – This is useful for washing specks of dust or foreign bodies out of sore eyes.

Accessories

  • Small pair of scissors for cutting down plasters and tape to size.
  • Tweezers to remove thorns, splinters and bee stings.
  • Ice packs or gel packs can be kept in the fridge and applied to bumps and bruises to relieve swelling. A packet of frozen peas is just as good, but wrap it in a clean tea towel before applying it to skin. Direct contact with ice can cause a ‘cold burn’.
  • Marker pen.  All lotions and medicines have a used by date printed on the bottle but some also have an open use date e.g. use within 12 months of opening.  If this is the case, make sure to write on the label when the bottle was opened, especially if it only gives you this information on an accompanying pamphlet (which may find its way into the bin long before the bottle itself!).

It’s also important to consider what you will be putting your first aid kit into.  Choose a waterproof, durable box that’s easy to carry; it’s much easier to take the box to the child than the child to the box. The box should have a childproof lock and be tall enough to carry bottles of lotion.  Keep the box out of the reach of children, but handy for adults. You don’t want to be hunting for your first aid kit when a child is injured and frightened.  You can either buy a first aid box (green with a white cross) or (if you’re like me and love a craft project) make up your own box.  Whichever way you go make sure it says ‘First Aid’ on it so if you aren’t around, other people know what it is. If someone else is caring for your children, let them know where the kit is kept.

Remember to keep your first aid box up to date. Replace items when stocks have been depleted and check use-by dates of all medicines. Throw away anything past its use-by date. You can take any out-of-date medicines to a pharmacy, which will dispose of them safely.

For more information on first aid for babies visit NHS choices HERE.

There are many specialized First Aid courses available through various agencies but two recognized providers are:

Red Cross – First Aid for Babies and Children – £37.50

St John Ambulance – First Aid for All Ages – £30

Related Posts

First Aid Angels in Basingstoke

Safety at Home

Emergency First Aid Course for Babies and Children

FamilySafePlus+

Makaton in Basingstoke

Sophie very kindly offered to help out with writing some posts on NHM. Below she shares some details about Makaton. Hope you find it useful. Thanks Sophie, great post!

When we walk past the park Lucy, my 14 month old, makes L shapes with her index fingers and thumbs and shakes them, this is her sign for swings.  I don’t know where it came from she just started doing it one day and then did it again when we were looking at a picture of a park.  Now she does it every time we pass the park on the way back from taking her big brother to school.  And then in the afternoon, when I say “It’s time to pick up Oscar” Lucy immediately rubs her knuckles together; this is the sign for brother (we picked that one up from a Makaton sign language library book).  So with our swimming lessons finished for the summer I thought I would look into Makaton courses and see if it would help us communicate even better until she finds her voice, which I don’t think will be that long.

Makaton is a language programme using signs and symbols to help people to communicate. It is designed to support and encourage spoken language.  The signs and symbols are used with speech, in spoken word order.  With Makaton, children and adults can communicate straight away using signs and symbols. Many people then drop the signs or symbols naturally as their little ones develop speech.  Makaton is extremely flexible as it can be personalised to an individual’s needs and used at a level suitable for them.

Many of the Sure Start/Action for Children centres do Baby Sing and Sign sessions which are centred around the Makaton programme.

Pebbles Children’s Centre – Tel: 01256 357028.

  • Story, Song & Sign – Monday 11.00am – 12.00pm.
  • Drop In/no need to book

The Courtyard Children’s Centre – Tel: 01256 843955

  • Baby Signing – Tuesday 10.00am – 11.00am.
  • Small cost applies – Must be booked in advance

Honeycomb Children’s Centre – Tel: 01256 331574

  • Sing, Song & Sign for Baby – Friday 10.00am – 11.00am – 6 week course from 15 June
  • Ridgeway Centre, Buckskin – Pre-book your place – £12 per child

Buttercups Children’s Centre – Tel: 01256 812615

  • Sing, sign and rhyme time – Friday 10.15am – 11.00am
  • Please call to book a space

For more information you can visit the Makaton Charity website HERE.

You can also see Makaton signing in action thanks to Something Special, a programme on the cbeebies channel and it’s supporting section on the BBC website HERE.