It’s holiday time and whilst you may be really ready for a break in the sun after a long, cold winter, the idea of traveling with a small baby may be a daunting prospect!
There is nothing to worry about though, and if truth be told, it is far easier traveling with a baby than with a toddler – ask anyone who has had to contend with a bored, tired and fractious toddler traveler!
The first thing is to be organized. Even if you find it difficult to plan ahead and usually end up leaving several hours late having left half your luggage behind, it really pays to be prepared well before D day.
Shop in advance. A month or two before you plan to leave, stock up on holiday items such as sun screen and insect repellents, and don’t forget extra nappies and toiletries as well as any extra special holiday treats. This will not only save you from having a huge shopping expense all in one go , but will also avoid expensive dashes to the shops at the last minute!
Make lists. Start at least 2 weeks before jotting down important ‘to do’ lists to avoid last minute panic.
Organise a first aid kit Essential items to pack include:
Itch and sting ointment
Bruise and sprain ointment
Selection of plasters
One medium sized crepe bandage
Two pressure bandages ( one small, one medium)
Pair of sharp scissors
Pair of tweezers
Re-hydration sachets (at least 4)
If your baby is older than 6 months: paracetamol and anti-inflammatory syrup mix
2 X medium sized Burnshield
Small bottle of saline solution
2 pairs of latex gloves
Get your household in order. Update your personal filing, clear your desk, cancel your deliveries, and get your household lists up to date for your house sitter. Don’t forget to tell someone where your important documents are to be found.
Be prepared for any eventuality whilst traveling. Pack at least 2 sets of clothes and plenty of nappies, food and milk for your baby. Always put in an extra blanket. If you have a toddler, pack plenty of healthy snacks in mini containers and offer them at frequent intervals during the trip. Keep plenty of wet wipes handy. Another useful tip is to wet a small face cloth with hot water before you leave. Fold it up and put it in a small plastic bag, and use it to wipe sticky faces and fingers – better than wet wipes as it has no soapy residue! Offer small toys on a frequent basis to your toddler to alleviate boredom. Story songs and tapes to play on the car stereo are a win (even with babies) – you’ll soon know all the words to “the wheels on the bus” off pat!! Stop frequently to stretch little legs and for a change of scenery. If your baby or toddler suffers from travel sickness, make sure that you give the relevant medication timeously (you will have to get a prescription from your doctor for this)
You’ve arrived! The first thing to do is to suss the area out to ensure it is child friendly. If your baby is mobile, don’t forget to keep an eagle eye on him until you are sure it is a safe environment. Try to configure your baby’s sleep zone to be as similar to that at home (for example, place the cot in a similar spot in relation to the door or window). Give your baby (or toddler) time to settle in to the new environment before whisking him away to another new and strange activity. Spend some quiet time together as a family to get everyone accustomed to their new surroundings.
Keep a similar routine. To the best of your ability and the circumstances of the holiday, keep your routine as close to that at home. Children do not like unpredictability in their lives, and you will find that the holiday will be much more pleasurable if you have happy and secure children. When your children are small, it does mean that sunset cruises, and romantic walks on the beach may have to wait until they are older. If you have changed time zones, expect everyone to be ratty and tired for the first few days, but if you avoid the temptation of sleeping during the day, and keep a day/night routine stable, you should all feel better within a day or two.
Enjoy! Relish this special time when you can be with a family together all and every day of the holiday. However, do take time for yourself, by organizing a baby sitter and having a special dinner with you and your partner, or going for a facial or a massage. Don’t stress about untidy cupboards, eating junk food and having afternoon naps when your children have theirs – that’s what holiday is all about!
By Meg Faure
You will find summer outings a breeze if you have the essentials.
Dress your baby appropriately for the warm weather. A rule of thumb is that your baby will be comfortable in one layer more than you are wearing. So it you are comfortable in a T-shirt, your baby will do well with a little vest under his T-shirt. Dress your baby is 100% cotton if possible. If it is a really hot day, it is great fun for your baby to frolic in only a nappy, as long as his tender skin is out of the sun!
Dressed correctly, you are now ready to pack for the day’s outing:
THE NAPPY BAG
Gone are the carefree days of spontaneous day trips. There are some things that you simply can’t leave home without now. A good nappy bag that is packed with the basic is vital.
The key components of a good nappy bag are:
A plastic covered wipe down changing mat
Space for mom’s essentials (wallet, keys and phone)
Adequate space for baby’s paraphernalia
An insulated bottle pocket if you need to keep a feed warm for bottle feeders
An easy access outer pocket for dummies, wipes and other emergency items
Ahead of time, pack the following into your nappy bag:
Pack of wipes
Feeding shawl for privacy if you are breastfeeding (Woolworths has the first of this convenient Baby Sense product from this month in selected Woolies stores this month!)
Bottle of cooled boiled water
Bottle of watered down juice if your baby is over 7 months
Formula if you are bottle feeding (measure this out ahead of time into a convenient formula container)
Sun cream - use one especially for babies’ sensitive new skin with a very high SPF.
A snack trap – for babies older than 8 months, pack a little bowl with a lid filled with yummy finger snacks such as biltong, mango strips, dried fruit, boudoir biscuits and cheerios
Two little board books, a rattle and two other toys to keep your baby busy.
A dummy and/or your baby’s comfort object for sleep time while you are out
Bib or two for emergency meals and babies who drool a lot
Baby spoon – restaurants never keep any of these
Three empty plastic bags for tying up those nasty smells
Keep an emergency bag in your car’s cubby hole
The idea behind an emergency bag is that if you have rushed out and forgotten your entire nappy bag or just one thing, there will always be a back up in the car. I cannot tell you how often a simple 5 minute trip down to the shops with one of my brood has ended in a poo nappy or a ruined outfit.
Small travel pack of wipes
Spare shirt for your baby
Mode of transport
Every outing needs a mode of transport for your baby. If you are off to the shops or for a walk on the pavement, a pram suffices. Make sure your pram folds as small as possible for convenient travel. The most versatile mode of transport for your baby is a sling, which packs easily into a nappy bag and can be used on any terrain – beach, shops or mountains. Make sure your sling is easily adjusted so Dad can use it too and look out for a brand that focuses on safety by testing and guaranteeing their rings.
Of course for travel in the car, a good car seat is essential! Don’t skimp on this vital piece of safety equipment.
Where & when to go
Now you are ready for a day out with your baby. Make sure your baby is in a happy mood and is well rested so that your outing can be enjoyed by all. If he needs to sleep while you are out, use the sling or your pram to give him quiet down time. Be sure the places you go are baby friendly; restaurants that have quiet corners to feed in peace and shops with baby parking bays near the shop entrance are a bonus.
The great thing about summer is that many of your outings can be into nature and your baby will love these excursions – feeling the soft caress of wind, hearing the white noise of the big wide world and seeing the muted colours of the outdoor world.
All this is a recipe for a fun and happy outing! Enjoy these precious times of making memories with your baby.
By Meg Faure
Your first Christmas with your little one is likely to be a very special time, filled with laughter and precious memories. Your baby will be the focus of much spoiling and indulgence; after all, it truly is a time for children. The silly season is upon us and holidays and festivals are the flavour of the month. For most of us our routined and mundane life will be upended by a series of business functions, parties or trips to relaxing destinations.
All the variety is just what we need to relax at the end of the year, but with baby in tow, the definition of relax has changed somewhat. Knowing that babies function best with boundaries, routine and their familiar environment, it’s not surprising that all the excitement and the frenetic tone of silly season can result in a very unsettled and miserable little baby.
Here are tips to surviving the long, exciting days
Changes to routine: Babies do better with flexible routines and for many mums having some structure to the day is a life-line, which is why Baby Sense advocates a flexible routine. However, there are times when family commitments and life in general make flexibility essential. When rushing around and fitting in parties, try to watch your baby’s awake times and make sure your baby can settle in a quiet space to limit the risk of over tiredness. For instance, if your baby sleeps easily in the car, drive to the party during a sleep time and be sure your baby has the opportunity to sleep before the event. On the other hand a quiet space in the house you are visiting can help you to settle your baby. Once your baby is a little older and in a good routine, you will find you can disrupt the schedule and happily return to it a few days later.
Bedtimes: The only solution for a tired and over stimulated baby is sleep. Ironically it’s the one thing they fight the most when routines and environments change.
Be sure to keep quite rigidly to your baby’s evening bedtime. Your baby won’t remember or benefit from late nights of carolling or ‘kuiering’ and at the end of the day, you will enjoy your social life more knowing your little one is asleep.
Find a spare bed where you are or hire a baby sitter to listen while your little sleeps.
If you must take her with you, put her in the Baby Sense Bunting – a sleeping bag with a hole for her car seat straps, so that she can travel safely in her car seat without being unwrapped from the warm blankets.
Busy spaces: During the holidays you are bound to find yourself dragging your little one into baby unfriendly and over stimulating spaces, such as shopping centres and airports. To cope in these environments, shield your baby from the busy, noisy, brightly coloured space by creating a quiet zone.
You can do this by covering your baby’s pram with a blanket and letting him play with a few toys in this zone.
For the young baby – under 6 months, carry him in a sling, which creates a quiet zone against your body.
Spend the minimum amount of time possible in these spaces by leaving your baby with a friend when you go shopping for gifts.
If your flight is delayed or you have extra time before takeoff, you should make your way to the Premier Club at the airport. This lounge offers a quiet space, kids play space and free drinks and snacks to certain bank card holders, such as American Express, Investec, etc. For the rest of us there is an entrance fee – a small price to pay if you have a long delay and need a quiet space with your baby.
Overstimulation: High levels of social interaction and stimulation can cause babies to become fractious.
For small babies – less than three months old, do be cautious and prevent your baby from being too exposed to stimuli. This is her first December and in reality she will not remember if she saw Father Christmas or was awake for present opening. On Christmas day or any other big family gathering, find a quiet space you can retreat to with your baby when you notice his subtle signals of over stimulation.
On the other hand older babies can cope with much more stimulation without being disrupted and so let him enjoy all the bright colours and fun interactions. Your baby will love the process of unwrapping lots of pressies and it’s probably the paper and boxes he loves the most! A good idea is to then hide away all but two of the new toys to bring out one a week over the next few months. In this way your baby always has something new and exciting to explore and learn from. He also won’t suffer the overstimulation associated with too much of a good thing.
Remember every baby is an individual and by now you will know if your baby is easily upset and more sensitive or chilled and easy going. Tailor the amount of interactions to your baby’s capacity for stimulation.
New sleep spaces: You may just have got your baby into a good sleep and bedtime routine and feel anxious about going away on holiday and disrupting your baby’s sleep habits. A familiar sleep zone is one of the best sleep triggers we know and we all sleep best tucked up in our own beds.
If you are staying away from home, try to recreate your baby’s sleep zone as much as possible by using his own bedding, and placing his cot is a quiet space that becomes ‘his sleep zone’.
Don’t forget to take his doodoo blanky or Taglet or whatever he uses at night to self-sooth to sleep.
If you are travelling to the Cape, remember the sun sets later and so a dark area, preferably with block out curtains will help you in the evenings.
If you are going to be sharing a sleep space with your baby take along the white noise CD so your baby won’t hear you at night and you will be less likely to be disturbed by the little baby sleep noises.
Travelling with baby: Going on holiday often means travelling a distance with a small baby which can be stressful.
If you are travelling by airplane,
Use a sling or baby carrier. In a sling your baby can sleep without being disturbed between boarding and take off.
A two-hour flight is the perfect length for the midday sleep and many babies are lulled to sleep by the noise of the airplane. Be sure that you don’t keep your baby awake especially for the flight, as an overtired baby is more likely to fuss on the plane than fall easily to sleep.
An international haul is best taken at night so your baby can sleep the whole way over.
If you are travelling by car,
Pack two boxes of tricks: one for toys and the other for food and snacks. Put in sufficient healthy sugar free and fruit snacks to keep your finger feeder occupied. If breastfeeding, plan stops for feeds into your road plan as having your baby out of his car seat is dangerous. In the second box of tricks, pack a few activities for your baby:
A brightly coloured interactive book, such as a lift the flap books or textured books.
A mirror attached to the back of the seat in front of your baby so he can see you (if still rear facing) or himself.
A noisy toy such as a rattle or push-button toy
Textured toy such as a puppet or feely toy
For older toddlers an activity book and crayons
CD’s for the car
If your road trip is long, take frequent breaks that coincide with your baby’s awake time. Drive while she is asleep as far as possible or shortly after waking when she will be content to sit in her car chair.
Snacks: A hungry baby is a miserable baby. In all the rush and socialisation of the holidays don’t feel like the worst mother if you forget a mealtime or a feed sneaks up on you and you find yourself unprepared. Make a big batch of healthy home cooked veggies and a chicken stew that you purée. Then freeze the veggies and chicken in ice trays. When you are going out over lunchtime, pack 3 – 6 frozen cubes in a sealed container and it will defrost slowly while you travel and be ready to be heated for the mealtime.
Slow down: The frenetic pace of the festive season eventually takes its toll on the calmest of us. But for the young baby, susceptible to overstimulation, it can be torture. Your baby will begin to show signs of sensory over load, such as weepiness, fighting sleep and general irritability. And as we know when baby is unsettled we all feel the pain.
The best you can do is to slow down and have a quiet day with her.
Take her to a calming spot, such as a botanical garden or just stay at home for a day getting her back into her routine.
Take a deep breath and extricate yourself from family commitments or busy environments and take a day out with your baby.
Social pressure: Almost every mom feels the pressure to socialise and get her baby out over the festive season. If this is stressful for you, ask your family to understand that you are not ready to go out with your newborn. Your partner can help protect you from all the focus and demands of a busy social time. Toddlers likewise have a tough time managing too much socialising and can’t be expected to ‘behave’ once they are over stimulated. Limit toddler interactions and stimulation to 1 hour stretches per year of their life – in other words a party for a two year old can be two hours long; a visit to cousins an hour for a one year old. Thereafter give your toddler a break from interactions and some quiet down time.
Above all enjoy making memories and spending quality time with friends and family and remember to be sense-able with your baby and he will also love this time together.
By Meg Faure
It happens to many of us in our baby or toddler’s life – we need to go away on holiday or business or move home or need to move in with granny for a few weeks. We dread the disruption to our baby’s life and wonder if she will settle back into a good sleep pattern in a strange environment.
A variety of factors affect how your baby will respond to a new environment:
Firstly, how she manages change and interactions in general is a good indication of how she will cope with a new sleep space. Some babies are really laid back and go with the flow. For these easy babies you probably won’t need to expect too much upheaval. Generally by the second night they have adjusted well. However, if your baby is a ‘slow to warm up’ or sensitive baby you may have more difficulty settling her each night.
A baby’s age also make a difference to how they adjust. Interestingly newborns to about 6 weeks, often cope quite well with change as long as their feeding patterns are kept consistent and new people in the new space do not over handle them. As your baby gets older she may have increasingly greater difficulty dealing with change.
To ease your baby into the new sleep environment and to short circuit any major sleep problems after a change, try the following tips:
Take your baby’s favorite toys with her and make the new sleep space as similar to hers at home as possible.
Place her camp cot in a similar place in the room to where she normally sleeps – e.g. put the head of the cot next to a wall or away from the door (as it is at home)
Make sure you can dim the room even if it means putting black refuse bags against the window to darken it in the evening and for day sleeps.
Take bedding from home and her special blanky. Bedding from home and a familiar ‘doodoo’ blanky smell familiar and cue your baby into a state for sleep.
Sensitive babies, in particular, do better in their own rooms where parents getting up or even turning over at night do not disturb them. If possible put her in her own room, if not place her cot away from your bed in a quiet corner. From the first day have her take her day and night sleeps in her ‘new’ room.
Keep your bedtime routine identical to the routine you follow at home. Even though holidays are exciting times, try to keep her calm just before bedtimes by taking her to her room and quietly looking at books with her before putting her into her bed. Use lots of calming activities from four o’clock onwards, such as quiet walks in a sling or pouch or pram.
If she wakes at night, crying for you, wait to see if she will resettle herself and then comfort her by speaking quietly and giving her or at most placing your hand on her.
By Meg Faure
Summer holidays, Chanuka and Christmas are upon us! And as the days get longer and more festive, we expect the same from our babies and toddlers – long, happy, cheerful days! The problem is that all the changes in routine and excitement that holidays and family events bring, may make your baby over stimulated and irritable. To help you survive the festive season, here are some sensible tips.
Your baby will love all the fun associated with the festive season and if you go on holiday it is likely to be the first time in a while that your baby will enjoy both mom’s and dad’s full attention. But all the fun and games can be disruptive for babies. Do have fun with your baby and help them to enjoy all the stimulation but always balance all the excitement with ‘down time’ and calming input. Here are 5 tips to surviving the long, exciting days:
Watch your baby’s signals. As the excitement mounts your baby will give you signals that warn you that he is becoming over stimulated. For little babies looking away and sucking furiously on their hands often precede grizzling and finally crying. As your baby gets older he may push you or a toy away and try to turn away from the stimulus. It won’t be long before he starts to cry and fuss. Toddlers who are becoming over stimulated may start to suck their hands or whine for a dummy or bottle. Thereafter they become obstinate and difficult before descending into chaos. When you notice these signals, remove your baby from the environment and settle him quietly in a calm space or take him for a calming walk in a sling or pram.
Have a quiet space Holiday times are often spent in strange places, with disrupted routines. It is vital that your baby has a secure space created for him that he can retreat to when things get too exciting. Newborns are happy to sleep anywhere but it is still worth choosing a quiet room where you can go to feed your baby and put on a white noise CD and let him go to sleep, even in another persons’ home. Baby’s really need familiar sleep zones if you are to keep them in their routine. Choose a dark, quiet room with a cot placed in a similar way to their own room. Then put their own bedding into the cot to create a comforting space. For your toddler, take a familiar toy and blanket with you and make a space with cushions and books for him to have time out. Time out needs not be used as a punishment but rather as a tool to prevent over stimulation.
Travel with a sling Traveling with a baby can be stressful as you are generally confined to a space and time schedule that you have little control over. A good idea if you are flying is to use a sling as this can be used to create a womb space or quiet space where your baby can sleep and feed without being disturbed too much. If you are driving or flying try to schedule the trip during your baby’s sleep as they will sleep peacefully while you travel. For the older baby and toddler, a flight may be too exciting and it this case an overtired toddler will be a mission to travel with. So schedule flights for when your toddler is well rested and fed.
Keep a focus on day sleeps A well rested baby or toddler is much better equipped to deal with excitement, stimulation and disruptions to routine. Make sure that no matter where you are and what is going on, your baby or toddler has the opportunity to sleep when he needs to. Follow the ‘Awake time’ guidelines in Baby Sense for your baby’s age and be sure that he is in his sleep zone 10 minutes before his sleep is due. For newborns, you may have to disrupt a family event as opposed to miss your baby’s sleep, because and overtired baby won’t be fun for anyone. As your baby gets older, the awake times get longer and your baby becomes more flexible too. If you have an easy baby, then you can push the ‘Awake times’ out slightly.
Take time out Many a seasoned mom will tell you from bitter experience that holidays aren’t holidays at all any more. Somehow being out of the familiar environment with all the support and conveniences of home makes holidays hard work. Try to find holiday venues with child care and rely on family to give you a bit of a break.
Using some of these tips you should be able to enjoy your first festive season with your baby. Have fun, relax a little and take lots of pics!
By Meg Faure
Parenting can be a competitive sport, but planning your baby’s birthday parties (especially their first birthday) is in a class of its own! No matter how tight the credit crunch is we all strive for the perfect party, and inadvertently will spend more money on it that we actually planned to. Wanting to celebrate our babies first year, in which they learnt and developed so much, it is fitting that we throw them a party to remember, … only…. they won’t remember it!!!!
Whether you choose to have a small get together with family and a selected few friends, or you choose to invite every baby and parent in your mom and baby groups, or your child’s entire preschool class, it all take quite careful planning. There is food, decorations, presents and activities to organise. And the Cake seems to be the item of envy. Did you make it yourself? Did you get a baker to make and decorate it? Or did you buy it off the shelf at your local supermarket?
Here are some tips on the best parties:
For all parties
If you have the space, try to have your parties at home. It cuts the costs, you don’t have to worry about transporting food around and it is your baby’s most familiar environment where they are most comfortable. Also, with young babies, the chances are you may have some moms attending the party who are still breastfeeding. It is far easier for them to find a comfy spot to feed their babies and feel more relaxed in your home.
Try to get an enthusiastic family member or friend to bake the cake for you. It will be made with love will be specifically for your little one. At most you will probably only have to pay for the ingredients
Keep food simple and easy to do. Sandwiches and healthy finger foods are fine. Have some party food available, but don’t go overboard. Given a choice most people will go for the healthier option these days. Offer simple finger foods for the children like sausages, pita, soft crisps, strawberries, biscuits and raisins.
Arrange the party at a time when you know your baby would have just had a nap so that they are well rested before the party. Limit the party to no more than 2 hours as all the attention and excitement can be very daunting and overstimulating for your tot.
For your baby’s first birthday
Keep it low key and simple. Don’t give yourself too much to do so you can enjoy the time with your family and your friends. Most babies will probably be very little at the party so a calm(ish) environment would be the best.
Soft music playing and a few cause-and-effect toys will do the trick.
For older children
For 2nd birthdays it is much the same as 1st birthdays, only have more activities on offer. Playdough, an art activity, sand play, water play and outdoor toys are great fun for little ones.
If you have good weather always have an area outdoors where you can let the children play. Set up the activities there to encourage the children to stay outside.
Have food that is easy to make, hot dogs, chicken nuggets and chips, sandwiches and fruit and veg sticks are great.
From 3rd birthdays onwards it is a good idea to have a theme for parties. This helps you to plan fun activities and will keep the children busy.
Most of all, have fun yourself, and enjoy having all the attention focused on your babey Get into the spirit of the party. Your kids will notice and appreciate it in years to come.
By Meg Faure
Summer in the UK can mean rainy, wet weather while cold wintery conditions in SA mean we are spending less time outdoors than we usually do. Wherever you are in the world when the weather is not too great it can be a battle to think of things to do with your tots indoors. Baby Sense to the rescue! Here are 20 fun and easy activities to try on a rainy day.
1. Bring out door inside
Bring toys you usually have in the garden inside. You may find that they are used in different ways. A paddle pool filled with beanbags or soft toys is different to a paddle pool of water. A skipping rope becomes a bridge or part of a fantasy game.
2. Indoor construction site
Allow your little ones to use pillows and blankets from around the house to build a den/fort. The different size and texture add a whole new dimension to construction as opposed to blocks or Lego.
3. Make a head box
Find a large empty box. Cut off the lid flaps and one side so when you turn it upside down it makes a box that your baby/toddler can lie under and look at objects on the bottom. Cover the inside of the box with black paper and then hang and stick shiny objects onto the box like star stickers, glitter balls, shiny fish shapes, you choose. Your baby can spend ages just looking at everything.
4. Make a sand free sand box
Find an empty trough/tub that your little one can sit in. Put dry pasta/rice at the bottom of it and add in measuring cups, funnels, Tupperware boxes, toy cups and sauces, anything your little ones can explore with their hands.
5. Shaving foam
Shaving foam is great for tactile play. Use one that is fragrance free and for sensitive skin. Spray some into your baby’s hands or put it on his tray in his high chair to explore with his fingers.
6. Pasta / corn flour
On the tray of your baby’s high chair give him left over pasta to play with or put some corn flour and a few drops of water. You can even add a few drops of colouring. Messy but great fun.
7. Toy Bath Time
Use the opportunity to ‘bath’ i.e. clean toys like dolls, dolls clothes, special teddys, Lego, tea sets – anything that could do with a bit of a scrub. Do it where it suits you, in the kitchen sink, in the bath or in a tub.
8. Puzzles, games and cards
Simple puzzles, board games or card games are fun to do if you have the time to play the whole game. Choose something age appropriate and let them win.
9. Movie day
Have a movie day. Rent a DVD, take your duvets off your beds, bring all the pillows and make a comfy spot on your lounge floor. Make popcorn, have drinks handy and snuggle up under the covers to watch a fun and entertaining film.
10. Sort the toys
Use indoor days to sort through your child’s toys. As you take games/toys out to be sorted your children will rediscover old favourites and breathe new life into them. Get them to decide what they want to give away to charity or hand on to other family members.
11. Record sounds
Record everyday sounds around the house (dog barking, doorbell, washing machine) and have your little one guess what they are.
12. Junk modelling and box play
We all know that when our kids get new toys it is often the box they play with the most at first. There is nothing better than an empty box your child can sit in. There are no limits to what that box could be in your child’s imagination. Collect clean boxes you can give your children to build with. Boxes come in different shapes and sizes so they are great for construction, special awareness and exploration.
13. Play with string
Just as a box can be anything your child dreams up so can a piece of string.
14. Art and craft
Collect art and craft materials and keep them aside in a box for indoor play. Paints, pencils, different papers, bits for cutting and sticking, old greeting cards, shiny stickers or sequins and glue. Lovely creative fun.
Baking with your baby/toddler is a lesson in science and it involves all your senses, plus it provides opportunities to introduce different foods and ingredients. Try to cook savoury as well as sweet things and always allow a little extra to taste along the way.
There you have it. 15 great ways to keep older babies and toddlers occupied, but what about my tiny baby you ask? With very little babies – under 6 months - keep things simple and not too busy. Focus on each sense one at a time and keep the focus only for a short time 10-20 minutes max.
Music, whale sounds, white noise or nature sounds will all grab your babies attention. Play music or sounds softly in the background and lie on the floor for a snuggle with your baby. Great bonding time. Try our Womb to World CD
17. Colour and movement
Remember the days of cocktail parties? Paper umbrellas in your drinks and tiny food on wooden sticks. Well ditch the drinks and food and get yourself the little umbrellas and cocktail sticks with fun shiny bits on the end. They are sharp so make sure they are out of reach, but when your baby is calm and alert lie him on a blanket on the floor and hold the umbrella’s and cocktail sticks above their face to look at. Shake and twist them. Move them around for your baby to watch.
One of life’s most special moments is when you get to massage your baby. Doing it after bath time is great, but also try and put aside other times during the week to be able to massage your baby. The deep touch and quiet will keep your baby calm and contented.
19. Texture mat
If you are handy with a needle or know someone who is make a texture mat for your baby to lie. Get a large blanket and find different scraps of material with different textures. No need to buy especially, just whatever you can find, and sew patches of material onto the blanket. Anything from faux fur, sequins or old T-shirt material. Tummy time on this mat will be a great experience.
Give your baby plenty of opportunity to grasp at objects. Reaching out and grabbing build the muscles in their hands and arms, plus the added element of texture and shape makes for good exploration. You can use anything (make sure it is safe though) from soft toys, empty shampoo bottles, large Duplo blocks. As your baby grows encourage him to reach for objects.
Have kids, will travel
As any frequent flyer will tell you, flying with a baby can be frustrating. Just being near a fussy baby is hard at the best of times, but in a confined space, the situation can be intolerable. And its even worse if the baby is your’s. Each squeal is magnified as you are conscious of the other passengers, and with every temper tantrum you just wish the skies would open up and swallow you.
Baby Sense has some tips for parents.
Avoiding meltdown at 30000 ft is all in the timing - the most common cause of extended fussing in babies is over tiredness and over stimulation. The excitement of getting through check-in as well as the delays in sleep times as you board the plane may result in an overtired, over stimulated little one. Add to this, the drone of the plane, which creates a white noise that lulls a tired baby. The combination of a tired, irritable baby who is being kept awake by a novel environment results in a little one who really fights sleep. To avoid this scenario:
Try to have your little one sleep in the car on the way to the airport so you have a longer window period before over tiredness sets in. If a newborn, wrap him in the Baby Sense Cuddlegrow – the swaddle balnket desinged for car seat or pram swaddling
If you have the choice, book a flight that takes off just as a sleep is due so that your baby’s natural dip in alertness coincides with the white noise to lull him to sleep
Wear your baby in a concealed sling to decrease over stimulation as you check in and board the flight.
Managing a two-year-old’s behaviour from departure lounge to arrivals hall is a big task! To keep your toddler happy, try to time the flight just after a sleep or in the case of a long haul flight to take off when the sleep is due. Make sure you have a good selection of toys and games to keep your toddler occupied. Finally, make sure your toddler has healthy snacks to keep him occupied on the flight – this limits boredom and also prevents blood sugar dips.
Crossing time zones and dealing with jetlag is enough of a challenge for adults, never mind babies. Once your baby or child is in a routine, flying across time zones can cause major disturbances to sleep. This can result in poor sleep habits for the entire holiday, which is enough to ruin any parent’s relaxation time whilst away. To decrease jet lag:
4 days ahead of arriving in the new time zone, move bedtime 30 min closer to the new time zone each day.
On the flight, move the bedtime an hour closer to the time zone,
When in the new time zone, keep day sleep times according to the age appropriate awake time for your baby.
Packing a nappy bag. The essential nappy bag for traveling has the following basics:
Nappies and wipes sufficient for the journey plus two spare
Bottle of cool boiled water, even if you are breastfeeding, a little water may come in handy
Baby’s comfort object
dummy with a dummyclip so it stay safe close by
and favourite toy
Baby Sling or carrier to make travel through an airport easy
5 age appropriate toys which may include a book, a feely toy or play dough for toddlers, a chewy toy – especially for teething little ones, an imagination toy such as a car or doll for older babies. IPods can be really useful with toddlers too.
Lastly, don't be afraid to follow your wanderlust, visit loved ones and take a trip down memory lane. Children love to be with loved ones and a trip generally means more face time with loved ones. Be calm, be as consistent as possible and have fun.
By Megan Faure