Archive for the ‘Tips for new parents’ Category

How to Get Your Baby to Sleep Soundly At Night

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

eb-baby-cot-sleep-420w-420x0

About a quarter of children under 5 have sleep problems. They either don’t want to go to bed or they keep waking up in the middle of the night. When your baby is constantly waking in the night, your sleeping patterns are disturbed, making it tough to function, so here’s a few tips we’ve found for helping little ones sleep at night. We hope some of these are useful for you!

How much sleep does your child need?

During the first 2 months, your baby’s need to eat takes over your baby’s need to sleep. You need to feed him almost every 2 hours if you are breastfeeding and little less often when bottle-fed. At this stage, your baby sleeps from 10 to 18 hours a day, usually 3 to 4 hours at a time. At this time, babies don’t know the difference between day and night. Your baby might be wide awake from 1am to 5am.

By 3 to 6 months, babies sleep for up to 6 hours. But just as you think your baby is under a nice sleep routine, by 6 to 9 months, your baby’s developmental stages can throw things off.

Here is a detailed table of the possible sleep patterns of your baby.

Age Nighttime Sleep Daytime Sleep * Total Sleep
1 month 8 8 (inconsistent) 16
3 months 10 5 (3) 15
6 months 11 3 1/4 (2) 14 1/4
9 months 11 3 (2) 14
12 months 11 1/4 2 1/2 (2) 13 3/4
18 months 11 1/4 2 1/4 (1) 13 1/2
2 years 11 2 (1) 13
3 years 10 1/2 1 1/2 (1) 12
*Note: number of naps in parentheses

 

Make daytime activity more social and lively and night time more quiet and calm. This will help your baby set his body clock and learn the difference between day and night.

Give your baby a chance to fall asleep on his own. Put your baby down when he’s sleepy but still awake. Don’t rock your baby to sleep or feed him because if you rock or feed your baby to sleep, he may start to depend on it rather than getting used to settling himself.

Set a bedtime routine. Keep it short and simple. A good routine might be:
1. take a bath
2. nappy change
3. pajamas
4. a story or a song

Give him a security object. Give him a baby blanket or a stuffed animal. Make it mum-scented by keeping it with you for a while. Babies have a strong sense of smell so when he startles awake, your smell will calm him down.

A stuffed animal like this Alimrose monkey wrapped with your scent keeps your baby sleeping the whole night.

A stuffed animal like this Alimrose monkey wrapped with your scent keeps your baby sleeping the whole night.

SH-Alphabet-Zoo-Musical-Cot-Mobile1

Also a mobile like this Skip Hop Alphabet Zoo Musical Cot Mobile keeps your baby asleep even if he wakes up in the middle of the night.

Co-sleep with your baby. If you like for him to sleep in your bed, lie down together and cuddle him pretending to sleep. This will let him know its bedtime.

Meet your baby’s needs. Try to determine why he is waking up in the middle of the night. Is his nappy full? Are his clothes comfortable? Is he sick?

Dream-feed. Many believe the dream-feeding your baby might help if your child wakes up at night hungry. When you are dream-feeding your baby, you direct a late-evening feeding instead of waiting for him to wake up hungry. The extra feeding fills his belly up just enough to earn a bit more uninterrupted sleep.

Set an established bedtime. Experts believe that between 6:30 and 7:00 pm is an appropriate bed time for babies under 1 year old.

Massage. Babies who get massages for at least 15 minutes tend to fall asleep faster than those who are only read of bed time stories.

Don’t skip naps. Naps don’t keep your baby awake at night, in fact it makes him sleep better at night. Don’t omit naps because it is important for his mental and physical growth.

Understand the cues. Instead of waiting for him to completely fall asleep while doing something, look for cues that will tell if he is sleepy. Signs like rubbing his eyes, being whiny, or yawning. Your baby might have a unique cue so do check for that also.

How to Choose the Right Nappy Bag for You

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

As a mum, you’ll find a nappy bag useful in many situations. A nappy bag enables you to pack all of your babies needs, so make sure that you can place all your babies items in your diaper bag so you won’t miss anything important. You wouldn’t want to be caught up in the middle of a long trip to find out that you left your baby’s toys, or bottle at home…trust me! I’ve been there!

A diaper bag is not all about size however. As a modern mum, you should also consider how you will carry the bag – for example how will you carry it when strolling in parks, and how long you can carry it without straining your neck or any other muscles.

Then, of course, how will the bag look on you, and what handy features and accessories does it come with?

So let’s take a look at some key aspects that need to be taken into account when choosing the right nappy bag for you:

1. Capacity
Choose a bag that has enough room to hold your baby’s food, nappies, lotions, and bottles. You should also consider your family’s lifestyle. If you go to long trips often, you should have a bigger-sized bag that are useful for storing extra things. But if you plan go on shorter trips like walking in parks, grocery shopping ,etc. prefer a smaller diaper bag.

Il Tutto nappy bags are known for being spacious but doesn't look bulky when full.

Il Tutto nappy bags are known for being spacious but doesn’t look bulky when full.

2. Compartments
Is there room to keep things organized? Does it have compartments for bottles to keep it upright? Does it have compartments for soiled items? A good nappy bag not only has compartments for your babies items, but also for your own things.

Also consider the number of external pockets in the bag. These are handy for keeping things in easy reach so you don’t need to open your bag often.

Isoki Carry-All Tote bag contains two generous interior compartments, two easy access front pockets.

Isoki Carry-All Tote bag contains two generous interior compartments, two easy access front pockets.

 

3. Comfort
Diaper bags are heavy, and unfortunately most diaper bags are styled as messenger bags. Although it provides easy access to your baby’s things, it is not that comfortable compared to backpacks. But most of us mums prefer messenger-type over backpacks as it is more stylish. To cope up with the comfort, make sure that straps are padded and adjustable. It should be well designed to support and alleviate shoulder and back pain.

Lassig nappy bags have large shoulder straps making it very comfortable to wear for hours.

Lassig nappy bags have large shoulder straps making it very comfortable to wear for hours.

4. Style
Going back a few years, some nappy bags had those ugly baby patterns that you wouldn’t dare carry around in public. The good news is, most diaper bags nowadays are chic, modern, and stylish. In fact, most of them don’t look like a diaper bag at all.

While you’re at it, choose a material which lasts for years. Nylon and leather bags cost more but last longer.

NB-Strksk-Sfia-Stne-2

Storksak nappy bags are a mix of style and function. The Storksak Sofia is the company’s most exclusive style made from soft, twisted leather.

5. Versatility
Choose a bag you can carry in more ways than one. Choose one that has shoulder straps, and have attachments that can easily fit any stroller. If you’re stylish, consider a bag that you can use as your every day go bag, so you don’t have to get rid of your diaper bag when the baby has grown old.

Petunia Pickle Bottom offer bags that can be a messenger and a backpack with built-in changing station and a detachable changing mat.

Petunia Pickle Bottom offer bags that can be a messenger and a backpack with built-in changing station and a detachable changing mat.

6. Accessories
Changing mats, bottle warmer, wipes case are usually included in a diaper bag. Stroller clips are optional as it depends if the bag has an included stroller strap or not.

OiOi Nappy bags comes with a micro fiber changing mat, an insulated bottle holder, a wipes case,  and a top wet purse.

OiOi Nappy bags comes with a micro fiber changing mat, an insulated bottle holder, a wipes case, and a top wet purse.

Your nappy bag is your trusty partner when traveling with your baby. We hope this guide will assist you in purchasing the right nappy bag for you and your baby!

You can browse our full range of nappy bags in our online store.

If you have any further questions about any of our nappy bags, please head over to the Tots n Tales online store and send us an email. We would be more than happy to assist you!

 

Things to Pack in Your Diaper Bag

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

The questionnaire

First time parent? Are you confused about what to pack in your nappy bag? Let us guide you through from the basics, to the essential items to have in your nappy bag.

When you have a new baby, your diaper bag is your lifeline to anything and everything you need. Have you full stocked your nappy bag? Are you sure you are getting everything your baby needs? Are you stuffing too much unnecessary items in your nappy bag?

Here are some items you can pack in your diaper bag to make sure you are prepared for whatever may come up when you go outside with your baby.

Diaper
An obvious one to have in your diapers (nappies). How many diaper bags you need depends on how long you are going to be out, how old your baby is, how is your baby feeling at the moment. On small trips, you’ll need about 6 to 10 diapers, but this also depends on how long you’ll be out. To be safe, don’t forget the rule when packing diapers: Pack more diapers than you think you will need.

Bottles and/or Breastfeeding Gear
Another obvious essential to have in your nappy bag. Have plenty of bottles and formula on hand or any breastfeeding items you need for feeding. Don’t forget to have a bottle of water and remember to pack more than you think you need.

Burp Cloths
A burp cloth is a small, soft cloth used to clean up spit when the baby has burped. Stuff one or two in your diaper bag or even more of these specially if you are already feeding your baby with solid foods.

Changing Pad
If you have read our guide about choosing the right diaper bag, then your nappy bag should have a changing pad built in. If you take it out to use at home or in your friend’s house, remember to always check that you have it in your bag before you go anywhere.

Baby Wipes
Wipes are handy to have in your nappy bag. They are great for cleaning your own hands before and after changing your baby’s diaper and it can be used to remove stains from clothes and furniture.

Diaper rash ointment
Always carry with you a tube of diaper rash ointment to use as a layer of protection and to protect your baby against diaper rash. It also helps soothe your baby’s bottom in case a rash develops.

Spare clothes
Always be prepared for the worst. Pack a spare outfit or two for your baby and remember to pack an extra shirt for you too.

Extras
Depending on how long you are planning to be out, be sure to have ziplock bag (wet bag) for baby diapers, one to two blankets, pacifiers, toys, teething rings, first aid kit, tissues, lotion with high SPF, some medicines to alleviate pain and fever, snacks for you and your baby, tissues, and a somecash in case of emergencies.

If you need a printable checklist, here’s a free one we liked that we got from homesweethomemaker.net:

The-Nappy-Bag-Checklist-1-215x300

Also, here’s a link to a blank second page of this nappy bag checklist

Are there things I missed? Leave us a comment below.

 

Tips to help your baby sleep

Monday, December 31st, 2012

Babies are not born with an understanding of the day/night sleep cycle and so it is a skill that they learn in the early stages of development. We have compiled a list of tips that researchers and parents have shown to be helpful in encouraging sleep in babies.

  • Practice safe co-sleeping practices. Click here for more information on SIDS, co-sleeping and breastfeeding.
  • Night feeds can be a great way to calm baby back to sleep so avoid changing the nappy at the end of the feed, instead change the nappy before or halfway through the feed.
  • Let baby fall asleep on the breast.
  • Get baby used to the idea of associating calm with night time by keeping the lights dim and avoiding play and using high energy levels at night.
  • Offer your baby another feed before you go to bed, even if they are not due for a feed. Don’t wake them, let them suck in their sleep.
  • Avoid caffeine if you’re breastfeeding. This will be transferred to your baby through the breast milk making them restless.
  • Wrap your baby, this will reduce the startle reflex making them feel more secure.
  • Rock your baby, a soothing motion will calm baby to sleep. Baby slings are perfect for this, where mum can get things done and soothe baby at the same time. Alternatively a rocking chair is also a good idea.
  • Play your baby soothing music. Babies are accustomed to loud noises whilst in the womb, silence is not natural to them! Soothe them with music or ‘white noise’ such as the maternal heartbeat.
  • Massage your baby and they may find it easier to fall asleep. Mums enjoy a massage, so it’s worth a try and it makes a lovely bonding experience between baby and parent.
  • Create a routine that signals to your baby that it is bedtime. You may give your baby a relaxing and warm bath before bed or dim the lights to signal that it is time to quiet down.
  • Look for signs of tiredness as a queue to get baby ready for sleep. A lack of focus and fussing are signs that your baby is tired and if not seen to they will turn grumpy which makes it hard to settle them down to sleep.

Parents are bound to lose some sleep when they welcome their new baby into the home however it is important to remember that the baby will develop this skill eventually and parents should see these moments as opportunities to bond with their baby. Enjoy the touch of your babies skin, their smell and how amazing they are, your special creation.

For more information on babies and sleep, visit some of our favorite links:

http://www.tresillian.net/tresillian-tips/settling-techniques-newborn-12-months.html

http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/sleep-naps-12/slideshow-naps

http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/getting_help_from_parenting_centres.html/context/612

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/baby-sleep/FL00118

http://www.earlychildhoodaustralia.org.au/resource_themes/baby_and_toddler_sleeping.html

 

Children and nature at home

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

We feel extremely lucky to live in a beautiful and protected part of the Australian environment. We’re awoken by birds, possums scrambling across our roof top and what we thought was someone chopping wood at 4 in the morning is actually one of our resident frogs! We have a small pond in our backyard and whilst neglected we have recently cleaned some of the leaf matter out and trimmed some marshes surrounding it so it gets a little sun to keep the mosquitoes under control. As it turns out on close inspection this pond is teaming with tadpoles and I always catch a glimpse of an elegant dragonfly or two which are drawn to the abundance of insects on the menu.

Everything in this pond and its surrounds, live in harmony, the tadpoles and the frogs eat the mosquitoes and their larvae whilst the dragonflies keep annoying small pests in our organic vegie patch under control. Nature is truly amazing and it is so important that we teach our children to respect and admire nature. Not only for the benefit of appreciating the simple things in life but the future of our ecosystems rely on the little people we are rearing to stand up and protect them. The ecosystems can survive without our interference but too often we encroach on the fragile nature of these systems upsetting a balance and causing irreversible damage. Encourage your own little ecosystem in your backyard and admire it with your child, show them how to respect nature and how to observe it. A pond is a terrific example of an ecosystem and your child can watch the development of tadpoles as they grow to be frogs.

 

Recently we set up a compost bin in our backyard. Thankfully our council promotes the use of a compost bin and doesn’t provide a green bin. We purchased our compost bin for $50 from Bunnings and it has been such a great investment for ourselves and the environment. Once the products of our green waste have been broken down by natural bacteria and heat we can use it in our organic vegetable garden which will save us a great deal on compost! Why throw this brilliant green waste into your council bin?! We have no smell coming from our compost bin, it is airtight and doesn’t smell at all unlike our rubbish bin! No bugs or small critters can get in, it’s perfect and so easy! I was so thrilled with the compost bin system that I nearly purchased everyone in our family one for Christmas! All households should have one, it would be a refreshing exercise for people to re-connect with nature and children would be in awe at how quickly the waste breaks down. Not to mention the joy on their faces when they see the effects of this green ‘rubbish’ on their garden.

Some great links to environmental information:

http://www.environment.gov.au/

http://www.csiro.au/Outcomes/Environment.aspx

http://www.bom.gov.au/environment/

Step by step – how to change a nappy

Monday, December 24th, 2012

The steps involved in changing your baby’s nappy will vary depending on whether you’re using cloth or disposable but for the most part the steps are basically the same. Either way it is important to change your baby’s nappy regularly to prevent nappy rash which is an uncomfortable condition generally brought about by leaving your baby in a wet nappy which harbors the growth of bacteria and fungus causing what we see as nappy rash. Nappy rash is best prevented in contrast to having to treat the area with antifungal/steroidal creams and managing a baby that is in extreme discomfort. Nappy rash can be prevented by changing baby regularly and ensuring their skin is kept clean and dry. A zinc barrier cream is useful to apply after baby has been cleaned and changed, this creates a barrier between the moisture in the nappy and the baby’s skin.

How to change a nappy:

  1. Have a clean and dry nappy handy
  2. Unfasten the tabs on the nappy whilst keeping it in place
  3. If your baby is a boy ensure the penis is covered with a cloth to prevent a sudden warm shower!
  4. Wipe away any poo with the nappy
  5. Fold the nappy in half underneath the baby. Clean side facing up
  6. Using a damp baby cloth wipe clean the front of your baby thoroughly, making sure if your baby is a girl that you wipe from front to back- always away from the vagina. Doing so will prevent bacteria entering the vagina which can lead to infection
  7. Lift your baby’s legs holding them with one hand and wipe their bottom using a damp cloth, with the other hand
  8. Dispose of the dirty nappy and get a clean nappy
  9. Place the clean nappy so that half of it is positioned under your baby’s bottom and the other half between the legs
  10. If you have a newborn ensure that the back of the nappy is positioned higher than the front to avoid irritating the umbilical cord stump. For boys tuck the penis down to prevent moisture escaping
  11. Fasten the nappy, making sure it is snug fitting without being too tight
  12. If you’re using cloth nappies, knock any stools into the toilet and place the nappy inside a nappy bucket making sure the lid is sealed tightly
  13. When washing cloth nappies make sure you wash them in a separate load and use hot water with a double rinse. Avoid softeners which may cause problems with nappy absorbance and baby’s sensitive skin
  14. Dress your baby and wash your hands

Here are some helpful resources relating to changing nappies:

http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/publications/attachments/ch43poster2.pdf

http://www.birth.com.au/Changing-nappies/How-to-change-a-nappy-step-by-step#

http://www.babycenter.com.au/a536384/nappy-changing-the-basics

How we chose a dog for our family

Friday, December 14th, 2012

We recently adopted a new family member of the four legged variety. After doing lots and lots of research on all the different dog breeds available in Australia we finally narrowed our choice down to a small handful of breeds. In order to narrow down the breeds that were most suitable for our family situation we used the following criteria:

  • Must be great with kids including young children and babies
  • Must not be a breed that is known to bark excessively (we live in a quiet neighborhood)
  • Does not require more than a daily walk and a romp in the garden in terms of exercise
  • A small breed that will not knock small children over or eat us out of house and home
  • Short hair- Low maintenance in terms of coat care and not an excessive shedder
  • A great companion that loves to be around people and welcomes all guests into the home

Using this criteria we successfully narrowed our search down to one breed. A breed commonly referred to as the ‘little clowns’ of the dog world, the French Bulldog! After doing our research we felt confident in our decision to start searching for a suitable breeder and we went off to meet some of these delightful personalities in person. Our family loved everything about this breed, their cute faces, the snoring but most importantly their fun loving and comical nature. The perfect dog breed for our family.

After many months of waiting for the right puppy, now we can happily say we have our own French Bulldog and we would like you to meet Fifi the French Bulldog! Adorable, cuddly and charismatic, she is a ball of love and has settled into our family life perfectly.

We’ll keep you updated with photos as she grows!

French bulldog puppy

French Bulldog puppy 8 weeks old

Buying a French bulldog

French bulldogs make great family dogs

French bulldogs are little clowns

French bulldogs love children and make great therapy dogs for the elderly