How to Meet Other Mums

Becoming a mother for the first time will change your life. During those first few months, your life will be full of new experiences. First smiles, first baths, teething pains, sleepless nights – it may take you a while to adjust to your new role. Caring for a newborn is amazing, and exhausting, and you will need a support system around you to make it easier.

If you and your partner both take leave from work for the first couple of weeks, you will become a team – caring for your baby together. Taking shifts to sleep, sharing in the nappy changing duties, and helping to keep each other sane.

As your partner leaves for work on his first day back, you may find yourself feeling a little helpless as you stare at your beautiful newborn baby, and wonder whether you’ll be able to cope alone. Of course, you will. And in many ways, the time alone will allow you to bond and grow more confident as a mother, but you may also miss adult company. When you start to long for the company of other adults, it’s time to get out and try to meet other mums. Here’s how:

1. Get in touch with old friends – if you have any friends with young children, now is the time to get in touch. Chances are, they’ve already rallied round to offer support during these first months, but if not, get in touch and see if they fancy meeting up.

2. Go to a healthcare group – there are plenty of baby clinics, breastfeeding support groups, pediatric first aid courses, and parenting groups for you to join. These groups are full of mothers just like you – people keen for more information, but also keen to meet friends to keep themselves and their babies entertained.

2. Go to a baby group – there are so many different types of groups available. From costly baby sign lessons, to free groups at your local church, there should be groups in your local area. Go along, and look out for parents with babies around the same age. If there aren’t any groups near you, why not try to organise one? Just an informal coffee morning at a local cafe would be a start, and it will be a great way to meet other mums.

3. Get chatting – when you’re out and about, at the park, shops or cafe, strike up conversations with other new mums. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to make conversation with complete strangers – motherhood is almost a universal language that allows women to bond. Don’t be afraid to suggest swapping numbers or meeting up again. It might seem forward, but chances are they’re just as keen to make some new friends.

4. Look online – there are a number of forums and online platforms where you can search for mums in your local area. From informal coffee mornings to huge group meets, from walks in the park to a local sling meet, there should be a few options in your local area.

These friends you make when your child is young could last you a lifetime, and you will see your children grow together and develop lasting friendships, too.

Written by Fiona (@Fiona_Peacock), mother, writer and lover of all things baby related.

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2018. All rights reserved.

Diaper Free Baby: Can you do it?

More than 50% of the world’s children are toilet trained by the time they turn one. Compare that to American children where 1/3 still celebrate their 3rd birthday in diapers.

In the early 20th century it was believed that a one year old should be out of diapers. So what has changed in the last 100 years? Before the age of the washing machine parents would sit their children on a toilet long before their 1st birthday. Later when washing cloth diapers became easier, the average age crept up to near 18 months.

However, the real change happened in the 1960s when a leading diaper company along with a noted pediatrician promoted the idea of waiting for a set of readiness signals before which potty training should not be started.

Slowly, the age crept up and by the 1980s the average was two years. Now only two decades later, despite the fact that a study in 1994 “The Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics” found no data to support any signs of social and emotional readiness for potty training, the average age is nearly three.

So if you don’t have to wait until your child is “ready,” what is the other alternative?

Elimination Communication (EC) has many names: Diaper Free Baby, Natural Baby, Infant Potty Training, Born Ready, etc. They all mean the same thing. Listen and look out for your baby’s communication and toilet training can be demystified. 

EC, a traditional practice in many parts of the world, is now becoming a growing movement in the West. The ethos is your baby is born with the instinct not to soil itself and will communicate this with you from birth. Just in the same way they communicate their other basic needs: hunger, sleep, and comfort. It’s up to you as a parent to read and respond to these signs and non-verbal communication. It is much less about potty learning than about respecting your baby’s abilities by responding and facilitating his or her needs.

The ideal window to start practicing EC is in the first 6 months, the earlier you start the better and clearer communication bond you and your baby will develop. A fully diapered baby will, after 6-7 months, have been conditioned into soiling the diaper and will lose the instinct and sensation of needing to go. 

EC does not have to be messy and dirty, and diaper free does not have to mean you never use a diaper ever. It simply means you choose the level of involvement that suits your lifestyle. Use diapers full time, part time or not at all, but be ready to whip it off and offer your baby the potty or receptacle of choice when you see the signs.

As with everything with a newborn baby, be it your first or third, there is a steep learning curve and it takes time to get to know each other. If you choose EC it is advisable to look on this as your journey together towards toilet learning rather than a short cut to a (compared to todays average) very young toilet trained baby. 

Remember your baby is teaching you, not the other way around. Of course EC is not about allowing your child to pee anywhere and anytime. If you find there are a lot of misses, there is likely an underlying factor such as illness, teething, or emotional upheaval (like new daycare, house move, etc.)

Manage your expectations. There are 4 classic stages of EC.

1: you and your baby are in tune and you are aware of his signals.
2: baby is clearly able to communicate verbally or via signing.
3: baby no longer needs to be reminded to go to the potty and you no longer feel the need to carry spare clothes.
4: baby can now take himself to the bathroom and complete the process independently.

There are of course no guarantees to instant success. How you practice EC, when you start, the nature of your baby and developmental milestones are all factors to be considered. But some degree of daytime dryness can be achieved between 6-20 months. 

There are so many benefits to practicing EC – primarily your baby’s hygiene as you will eliminate diaper rash and greatly reduce the risk for UTI ‘s – but also the environmental and financial benefits. Time is also a valuable commodity these days; imagine avoiding the diaper change battle every time. Just wipe, flush and go. More information is available online, or on the App Store

Written by Caroline Williams

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2017. All rights reserved.

Help! I’m Overdue

You’ve been waiting 9 months for it – and now your due date has come and gone. Only around five percent of babies are born on their due date, most are born after this point. Knowing you are in the majority is unlikely to make you feel much better if you’re feeling sorry for yourself, and waiting for labour to start.

Your due date is simply an estimation of when your baby will be born. There are various reasons why your due date may be incorrect. For example, if you have an irregular cycle, or are unsure when conception occurred, your due date may be out by a few days or more. Even if you had a dating scan, it’s still possible that your confirmed due date could be inaccurate.

Another thing to remember is that your due date is just an estimation, and is based on the average length of pregnancies. In fact, there is not a one length fits all gestation periods, some pregnancies are slightly longer or shorter than others.

Pregnancy is categorized as follows:

  • babies born before 37 weeks are considered preterm
  • babies born between 37 and 39 weeks are considered late-preterm
  • babies born between 39 and 42 weeks are considered term
  • babies born after 42 weeks are considered post-dates, or overdue

What should I do?

Going past term can be frustrating. You may be desperate to meet your baby, in a hurry to stop being pregnant, or just ready to get labour out of the way. If you still have loose ends to tie up, now is the time to do that. Buying last minute items, tidying the house or stockpiling frozen dinners for after the birth are all useful ways to use this extra time.

If you are wondering what to do with your still pregnant self, take a look at these suggestions:

  • Sleep – make sure you get enough rest. You will need your strength for labour, so try to get as much sleep as you can. If you are struggling to sleep, at least be sure to rest.
  • Stay active – if you’re feeling demoralised about going overdue, it’s easy to waste your days on the sofa. Try to stay active, by going for daily walks or continuing with your pregnancy exercise routine if you have one.
  • Talk – if you are feeling frustrated, tired or low, talk to your partner, friends and family for support.
  • Ask a professional – talk to your healthcare provider if you are worried about being overdue. They will be able to reassure you and talk you through your options as the days go by.

Trust in your body, and have faith that your baby will come when he or she is ready. While you may be fed up with being overdue, your baby might be going through the final stages of development to be ready for life outside the womb.

Don’t worry, it won’t be long until you meet your baby.

Why not start reading up on what to expect when your baby is there? Whilst you wait for your baby’s arrival, download our new Baby App for iPhone / iPad or Android. Click Baby+ iOS or Baby+ Android to install the App, and prepare for the arrival of your little one(s).

Written by Fiona (@Fiona_Peacock), mother, writer and lover of all things baby related.

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice.  All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2017. All rights reserved.