Sarah Answers Mum’s Big Christmas Question in Mother & Baby

Sarah Beeson MBE is a former health visitor and author of Happy Baby, Happy Family (£9.99, Harper Thorson). In November 2017 Edition of parenting magazine Mother & Baby  Sarah shares her advice on celebrating Christmas as a new family.

Question: We’ve always taken it in turns to go to my parent’s house and the in-law’s house for Christmas. Now we’ve got a baby, we want to stay at home, by ourselves. How should I handle telling everyone – I don’t want to upset them!

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to stay in your own home for Christmas. When it comes to telling your families you and your partner can work as a team by being positive, clear and firm about your decision.

First of all tell both families as soon as possible so everyone has time to adjust and adapt to the new arrangements. When you’re both relaxed and calm each of you could phone your parents to let them know what you’ve decided.

Let your parents know how much you’ve enjoyed their hospitality during past Christmases but that you both feel this is the time to start an exciting new chapter in creating special Christmas memories for your little one. Thank your parents for all they’ve done and if you’d like to make them part of the festivities maybe suggest a family tradition they can pass on in the build up to Christmas Day. Make it clear that it isn't open to negotiation and it’s a decision you
and your partner have taken together.

Discuss with your partner beforehand if you’ve got ideas on how your families could be involved. If they don’t live too far away maybe you’d like to meet for lunch or tea on Christmas Eve and go to a Crib Service with your baby.

Whatever you decide give everyone plenty of notice and don’t feel like the rest of your days have to be spent making everyone else happy. Do what you feel is manageable whether that’s having visitors on other days or going to stay with family for a night.

It may be next year you’ll feel like doing things differently but the way we spend Christmas doesn’t have to be set in stone. Whatever you decide be resolute and don’t get drawn into lengthy explanations or heated discussions. Try your best to be calm, clear, positive and thankful for the love you’ve received and will now give to your own child and enjoy your special first Christmas together as a new family.

Sarah Beeson’s MBE is a former health visitor and author of parenting guide Happy Baby, Happy Family and health visiting memoir Our Country Nurse published by HarperCollins available in paperback, eBook and audiobook.

7 Baby Sleep Tips To Try

How much should my baby be sleeping? The truth is all babies vary in the amount of sleep they need and their sleeping patterns. Some days (weeks, months…) are easier then others and I know it can be especially hard when you’re desperate for a little shut-eye yourself.

Mums and dads will often have slightly different methods of getting the baby off to sleep, and having a variety of techniques up your sleeve certainly comes in handy. Here are seven sleep tricks that have worked for me and some of the thousands of parents I’ve had the pleasure of supporting over the years. (The days of the week is just for fun, you’ll find what works for you).


1. Help your baby relax with gentle, rhythmic shushing sounds which is like the blood circulating in the womb. Try this for a minute or two until your baby is calm.


2. Some babies like gentle stroking. This rhythmic motion and the warmth of your touch can be very soothing and help your baby get off to sleep. Got that? If not here’s a demonstration…

Repeat the stroking for a few minutes until the motion causes their eyes to close.


3. The motion and the closeness can help your baby relax and drift off to sleep. Repeat at least ten times, dropping your shoulders down and away from your ears, closing your eyes if you want to. As your body begins to relax so will your baby.


4. Your gentle touch can reassure your baby that you’re still near them. You can gently rock them to sleep or sit quietly with your baby until they drift off into a peaceful sleep.


5. If your baby is restless your touch and closeness may help calm them. Got that? If not here’s a demonstration…

Take deep breaths in and out and sit with your baby for a few minutes until they settle.


6. It’s a good habit to put your baby down to sleep most of the time but many parents find their baby wakes when they do. Waiting until your baby is in a deeper sleep and you’re relaxed and calm helps make the transfer smoother.


7. Songs and tunes your baby recognise from life in the womb can work wonders on some babies. I remember when the Australian soap opera Neighbours was popular lunch-time and tea-time viewing. Pregnant women would often put their feet up and relax to enjoy the show. I found there was a whole generation of infants who stopped crying when they heard the Neighbours theme song as a time associated with relaxation and calm from their days in the womb.

Some techniques will work for you and some won’t; it doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong – every baby is different. With patience and perserverance you’ll find the right way for your baby to drift off to the land of nod a little easier.

You can read my chapter on sleep in Happy Baby, Happy Family and read about a few mums who were kept up all night (one by spooky goings on) in my book Our Country Nurse. Sarah Beeson MBE. 

Facebook Live Baby Sleep Q&A & Competition

We’ll be answering your parenting questions and chatting about sleep at our next Facebook Live Q&A on Tuesday 3 October.

Enter to Win

When you ask a question during our Facebook Live you’ll be entered to win a copy of Sarah Beeson’s first year baby advice book Happy Baby, Happy Family and a pack of Faye & Lou muslins.

Why We Love Faye & Lou

We first came across Faye & Lou muslins at The Baby Show and have been big fans ever since. We often give these beautiful bright and colourful 100% cotton muslins as a new baby gift to friends and family.

A muslin is such a useful gift and can be used to mop up spills and as an extra layer. We’ve heard back from the many mums we’ve given them to that they don’t fad in the wash and when you’re in a group you don’t get them mixed up when you have a colourful muslin and everyone else’s is a dull white!

Where white muslins can become grey after a few uses, Rainbow muslins stay bright and colourful. Pastel Star Muslins: Lilac, Violet & Pink – 3 Pack is worth £11.95, Size – 60 cm x 60 cm, 100% cotton, Machine washable at 40c. (The colours are colorfast and will not fade)

Ask Sarah your questions and enter to win at our next Facebook Live Q&A on Tuesday 3 October.

Foods to Avoid During Your Baby’s First Year

During weaning it’s recommended you avoid the following foods due to unsuitability of certain foods i.e. honey and be careful feeding them foods they might be allergic to.

Avoid:
Soft and blue cheese
Cured meats e.g. Salami
Raw Eggs
Honey
Some Nuts
Pate
Salt
Shellfish
Smoked Salmon
Sugar
Sweetener
Unpasteurised dairy
Whole-wheat

When your baby is around seven to eight months old you you can start to introduce cows’ milk in cooking, eggs, nuts, fish and more family foods including protein like chicken and fish. It’s best to do this one at a time in very small amounts and watch carefully for any symptoms they might be allergic.

To prevent choking please use ground nuts if you’re using them in your baby’s food. If your baby is diagnosed with a food allergy or eczema or you have food allergies, eczema, asthma or hay fever in your family history you may need to be extra careful about peanuts and peanut products.

If you have any concerns talk to your GP or health visitor first.

Weaning Recipe – Lentils with Butternut Squash

Try this recipe from Mrs Beeson’s Family Cookbook. Suitable from 5+ months 🥄 #weaning

RecipeCard_LentilsWithButternutSquash_FinalVersion

INGREDIENTS

Spilt little orange lentils 60g/2oz, Cubed Butternut Squash 90g/3oz, Butter or Sunflower Oil 30g/1oz and a sprinkle of cinnamon (optional).

METHOD

  1. Heat butter (or oil) in the saucepan.
  2. Add well rinsed and drained lentils to the pan and coat for a couple of minutes until they look shiny.
  3. Add cinnamon allowing it to coat the lentils.
  4. Incorporate butternut squash cubes and mix well.
  5. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 20-25 minutes  until the butternut squash is tender and the lentils well cooked.
  6. Drain any excess water and mash up with a fork for younger babies. Leave to stand in a bowl to cool before serving.

Try to only introduce a couple of new tastes a week to start with to give your baby the opportunity to discover each flavour.

More ideas – We’ve got a great choice of early weaning foods for you. See First Stage Weaning Vegetables, Fruits, Cereals & Pulses, Meal Planners and more Recipe Cards for a more little weaning inspiration.

Bon Appétit!

sarah name

 

 

 

Find out more in Sarah’s books.

Weaning Recipe – Pasta with Peas & Cheese

Watch Sarah cook her cheesy, peasy pasta.

Try this recipe from Mrs Beeson’s Family Cookbook. Suitable from 5+ months 🥄 #weaning

RecipeCard_PastaWithCheese_FinalVersion

INGREDIENTS

Pasta 90g/3oz, Peas 60g/2oz, 1 tsp of grated cheese or cream cheese and 1/2 tsp butter.

METHOD

  1. Cook pasta according to timings on the packet.
  2. Cook the peas for 3-4 minutes and mash with a fork for young babies but leave whole for older babies.
  3. Mix peas and pasta together with butter.
  4. Stir in cheese and allow to cool before serving.

Try to only introduce a couple of new tastes a week to start with to give your baby the opportunity to discover each flavour.

More ideas – We’ve got a great choice of early weaning foods for you. See First Stage Weaning Vegetables, Fruits, Cereals & Pulses, Meal Planners and more Recipe Cards for a more little weaning inspiration.

Bon Appétit!

sarah name

 

 

 

Find out more in Sarah’s books.

First Stage Weaning – Avocado Mash

Has your baby tried avocado yet? Try this recipe from Mrs Beeson’s Family Cookbook. Suitable from 5+ months and lovely on its own or added to a couple of teaspoons of baby rice or cereal. 🥄 #weaning

WeaningSuggestion_MealPlan_Saturday_MashedAvocado

How to Make Avocado Mash For Your Weaning Baby

1. Scoop 2-4 tsps out avocado and chop into small pieces (keep the rest for yourself and get some good nutrients yourself!)
2. Mash with a fork into a sterilised bowl (do not add anything to it like sugar, salt or honey).

Serve up straight away as the avocado flesh discolours quickly. Increase the amount of teaspoons as your baby develops their appetite.

Bon Appétit!

sarah name

 

 

 

Find out more in Sarah’s books.

First Stage Weaning – Sweet Potato Purée

Has your baby tried sweet potato yet? Try this recipe from Mrs Beeson’s Family Cookbook. Suitable from 5+ months and lovely as a purée on its own or added to a couple of teaspoons of baby rice or cereal. 🥄 #weaning

WeaningSuggestion_MealPlan_Friday_SweetPotatoPuree

How to Make Sweet Potato Pureé For Your Weaning Baby

1. Chop up sweet potato into small pieces.
2. Gently cook sweet potato in a saucepan using only a little freshly drawn water so it is not too wet when puréed.
3. Mash with a fork or push the softly cooked sweet potato through a plastic sterilised sieve into a sterilised bowl (do not add anything to it like sugar, salt or honey).

You can add 2 tsps of baby rice made into a paste with expressed breast milk or formula if you want to.

You don’t want it to be too solid or runny, so you can always add a little more expressed breast milk, formula or cooled boiled water to make it the right consistency.

Bon Appétit!

sarah name

 

 

 

Find out more in Sarah’s books.

First Stage Weaning – Butternut Squash Pureé

Has your baby tried butternut squash yet? Try this recipe from Mrs Beeson’s Family Cookbook. Suitable from 5+ months and lovely as a purée on its own or added to a couple of teaspoons of baby rice or cereal. 🥄 #weaning

WeaningSuggestion_MealPlan_Thursday_ButternutSquashPuree

How to Make Butternut Squash Pureé For Your Weaning Baby

1. Chop up butternut squash into small pieces.
2. Gently cook butternut squash in a saucepan using only a little freshly drawn water so it is not too wet when puréed.
3. Mash with a fork or push the softly cooked butternut squash through a plastic sterilised sieve into a sterilised bowl (do not add anything to it like sugar, salt or honey).

You can add 2 tsps of baby rice made into a paste with expressed breast milk or formula if you want to.

You don’t want it to be too solid or runny, so you can always add a little more expressed breast milk, formula or cooled boiled water to make it the right consistency.

Bon Appétit!

sarah name

 

 

 

Find out more in Sarah’s books.