Two very important topics that we cover in our BabyNatal Practical Baby Care classes and in our BabyNatal Sleep workshops are co-sleeping and baby-sharing. Whilst these terms are often used interchangeably, we like to make a distinction between the two and clarify that bed-sharing is a form of co-sleeping.
What is co-sleeping?
Co-sleeping refers to the practice of sleeping in the same room as your baby. This can be achieved in several ways. Some popular options are for your baby to sleep in:
- a bedside crib;
- a bedside crib or co-sleeper – with these, you can normally take one side down, so that they are effectively attached to your bed;
- a Moses Basket;
- a cot or cot bed;
- the same bed as you – this is called bed-sharing.
If you’re a new parent, you’ll have probably been advised by your midwife or Health Visitor to give your baby plenty of ‘tummy time’. But what IS tummy time, exactly? How do you do it, and why is it so important?
What is tummy time?
Tummy time refers to the practice of allowing your baby to spend some time on their tummy whilst awake and under your (or another adult’s) supervision. We emphasise the fact that your baby needs to be awake, as, for safety reasons, your baby always needs to be placed on their back when sleeping or about to go to sleep. Continue reading
We all know that vitamin D is important and that sun exposure can do wonders for our vitamin D intake. But is there more to it? What does vitamin D actually do? Is it recommended that expectant mums and new babies take supplements? And if so, why? What can too little or too much vitamin D do? We have tackled some of these questions in this blog post.
What is vitamin D and where do our bodies get it from?
Vitamin D helps us keep our bones, teeth, and muscles healthy. According to the NHS Choices website, in the UK from about March/April through to September, most people who regularly spend time outdoors can get enough vitamin D. This happens because our amazing bodies can create vitamin D through direct exposure of our skin (just think forearms, hands or lower legs) to the sun (without sunscreen). This is especially easier in the hours between 11am and 3pm. Short bouts of exposure of 10-15 minutes are enough for light-skinned people, but people with darker skin will need to spend longer in the sun to produce the same amount of vitamin D. For the rest of the year though, from October to March, we just can’t get enough vitamin D from sunlight alone. So if we can’t get it from exposure to the sun, where else can we get it from? Continue reading
In celebration of World Breastfeeding Week this August, we put together a few fascinating facts about breastfeeding that we hope you will enjoy!
- Colostrum is ‘liquid gold’
During pregnancy your breasts start producing a small amount of milk, ready for the birth of the baby. This early milk is called colostrum, and you may or may not notice little drops of it leaking from your breasts towards the end of your pregnancy. If you’re not, don’t worry, as your body is producing it, even if you can’t see it!
Colostrum is the milk that your baby will have for the first 3 or 4 days before your ‘full milk’ comes in. Not a lot of it is produced, so if you express it into a bottle, don’t worry if you can only see a little of it – this is all your baby needs. Remember that their stomachs are tiny! Colostrum is thick and sticky, it may appear buttery yellow in colour, and it’s full of antibodies. That’s why it’s also nicknamed ‘liquid gold’. The antibodies that colostrum contains provide your baby with protection against infections that mum has built up an immunity to. Continue reading
In our BabyNatal Practical Baby Care classes we talk about the ‘Golden Hour’, which is the term used to describe the first hour after the birth of a baby. We love talking about what typically happens during this time, and one of the things that we encourage parents to consider, if at all possible, is to have skin-to-skin contact with their babies.
Having skin-to-skin contact simply means having your baby’s bare body on your bare skin (normally on your chest). If your baby has literally just been born, they may still be partially wrapped in a towel, which helps them stay warm.
Skin-to-skin contact isn’t just for the first few minutes or hours after birth though – when you’re at home with your baby in the first few days and weeks of their lives, you can continue to take some time to enjoy skin-to-skin contact with them – and it’s ok for them to be wearing a nappy… because you just never know! In order to keep yourself and (especially) your baby comfortable and warm, you can always cover yourself with a light blanket or large muslin, depending on the temperature in the room you’re in. Continue reading
With the hot weather due to make another appearance anytime soon and lots of families planning their holidays, we feel it’s important that parents are aware of the latest recommendations to protect their babies and young children from the sun and heat.
The first thing to remember, and why this topic is so so important, is that babies can easily overheat. Something we discuss in our BabyNatal Practical Baby Care classes is that young babies don’t yet have a way to regulate their own body temperature. This means that if we cover them too much, they have no way to cool themselves down on their own. They literally rely on us, the parents, to remove some layers of clothing or shade them from the heat! Continue reading
From the moment you find out you are going to become a parent, you want the best for your baby. You’d do anything to protect them from harm – and that, of course, includes protecting their sensitive skin.
It’s no coincidence that a lot of parents-to-be start to become a lot more conscious and aware of the products they use on a daily basis even before their little ones are born. Any new parent will tell that then when your baby is finally here, a whole range of new products come into your life too. From washing powders and detergents, to nappies and baby oils – so many new items are suddenly added to your weekly shopping list. Continue reading
One of the topics we discuss in our BabyNatal Practical Baby Care classes is nappy changing. As with everything else we do at The Natal Family, we like to give parents plenty of useful information to help them make informed choices. This means that in our classes we go through a lot of options. And when it comes to nappy changing, parents can not only choose between different brands of disposable or eco-friendly nappies, but they can also opt for cloth or reusable nappies.
Sometimes in our classes, when we mention cloth nappies, parents-to-be look at us in horror. “Is this about the muslin cloths and pins that my grandmother used to use??” Not quite! The good news is that the demand for cloth nappies has exploded in the last few years, and as a consequence, reusable nappies have come a very long way. Continue reading
When it comes to caring for your newborn baby, bathing is probably the one thing that new parents feel more nervous about. New babies seem so tiny and fragile, and we, as parents, are aware of being so ‘new to the job’ that it’s completely normal to feel a little anxious and nervous. We’ve all been there!
Of course bathing is covered in our BabyNatal Practical Baby Care classes and, for the teachers who offer it, in our Caring for your Newborn courses, which also include Paediatric First Aid, Colic and Calming and Sleep. One of the things we cover when talking about bathing is where you can bathe your little one. As with many other things baby-related, parents have different options. And as always, we like to encourage parents to consider and discuss the choices available to them, in order to make decisions that work for them as a family. Continue reading
One question that often comes up in our BabyNatal Colic and Calming workshops is whether dairy allergy or lactose intolerance could cause colic. This is certainly a possibility (although there are others), and the advice that we give parents in our classes is to work with their health professionals to look at the baby’s feeds to try and accommodate these allergies or intolerance.
The good news is that a lot of babies do grow out of allergies or intolerance as their digestive system matures, but if this is an area of concern for you at the moment, here’s some information that you might find useful.
What is cow’s milk allergy?
Cow’s milk allergy is a reaction from the immune system to one or both the proteins contained in cow’s milk (casein and whey). It should not be confused with lactose intolerance, which is the inability to digest the milk sugar found in milk (including breast milk).
Cow’s milk allergy is the most common food allergy in infants and young children in the UK, and it can occur in both breastfed and formula-fed babies. Continue reading