How to introduce your pet to a new baby

We were glad to give new parents and parents to be some advice in Mumfidential. New research from The Baby Show with MadeForMums has found that nearly half of new parents today have pets and that three-quarters of parents believe that having a pet is beneficial for a child’s development, teaching them a sense of responsibility and improving their social skills. (Photo credit Bumpkins).

This said, the process of introducing the family pet to a new baby can be a tricky experience and one that needs to be managed and monitored carefully. Expert speaker at The Baby Show, Sarah Beeson MBE, and Head Vet at Notting Hill and Baron’s Court Vet, Dr Emma Nicholas, share some top tips.

Dr Emma Nicholas (Mum of 2) and Head Veterinary Nurse Anna Connell (Mum to be).

Dr Emma Nicholas (Mum of 2) and Head Veterinary Nurse Anna McConnell (Mum to be).

Dr Emma Nicholas’s tips

Prepare your pet
Give yourself plenty of time to let your dog or cat adjust to being demoted in importance before your baby arrives. You can prepare your pet by gently starting to distance yourself, for example, leaving your dog at home for slightly longer periods of time.

If your dog or cat is used to sleeping on the bed or sofa, it’s a really good idea to get them used to a bed or basket of their own nearby while you are pregnant. In this way they won’t suddenly be upset if they are no longer allowed on when the baby arrives. By encouraging your pet to become self-sufficient the stress of the change will be minimised.

Watch out for the cat litter
Pregnant women who own a cat need to keep away from the cat litter. I advise my pregnant clients not to handle the tray because of the risk of Toxoplasma. If you are worried you can ask your doctor to perform a test to see if you have antibodies to the parasite.

Prepare your home
A lot women worry about cats getting into the cot with the baby. When I had my babies I had three cats and I was very worried about this. I bought a cat net to go over the cot to stop any cat jumping in and to put my mind at ease. A stair gate can also be useful for stopping the dog going upstairs (something that will come in useful when the baby starts climbing too!)

Make time for your pet
When your baby arrives, do make time for your cat or dog when you can or she will feel neglected. Try and keep to her routine and give her a cuddle when you can. It’ll do you good too. Studies consistently show that owning a pet is good for us. It drops our blood pressure and creates a sense of well-being.

Having a baby can be challenging at times and maintaining who you are is important. Your previous relationship with your pet may seem at first glance to be a trivial thing to some, but I believe that it helps you to maintain a sense of self whilst everything around and about you is changing. Embrace the fact you have a furry friend!

Keep your pet’s routine
Work out in advance how you can manage caring for your baby alongside your dog’s usual walk times. It is important that your dog doesn’t feel rejected when the baby comes home; forward planning will make it easier to adjust your dog’s routines as your baby’s routines change too.

Ask for help
Having some friends and family who can step in to take on dog or baby duties will help you get the rest you need.

Get some fresh air
It can be really great for mum, baby and dog to go for a walk. I really enjoyed the exercise and the head space it gave me. Everyone’s needs were met so it’s a win-win when you feel up to it. Babies who get out in the fresh air on a daily basis also have much more chance of sleeping well at night. The soothing motion frequently induces slumber so, fingers crossed after you’ve walked the dog you can put your feet up with a cuppa when you return home.

Sarah Beeson MBE (photo credit Our Family Film)

Sarah Beeson MBE (photo credit Our Family Film)

Sarah Beeson MBE health visitor and author of Happy Baby, Happy Family: Learning to trust yourself and enjoy your baby agrees that preparation is the key.

Sarah Beeson’s safety tips for pets and babies

1. No matter how nice your dog or cat is, it’s better to be cautious as accidents can happen in a spilt second.

2. Never leave your pet unattended around your baby or put them close together. If your baby pulls or hits the animal they are likely to retaliate on instinct.

3. Play it cool, don’t try and too hard to get your pet to like the baby, they’ll become friends in their own time.

4. Be realistic about your pet’s ability to understand and recognise what’s happening; it’s natural they may feel pushed out.

Am I changing the nappy right?

You’ll be an expert in no time but who couldn’t do with a few tips from a baby expert on avoiding nappy disasters. Sarah Beeson shares her top tips with Prima Baby magazine.

Safety first

When changing your baby’s nappy Sarah says “It’s safest on the floor. If you have a back or knee problem it’s fine to use a changing table, but you have to be there every second as your baby will soon get to the stage where he can roll off.”

The dirty deed

“Clean him every time, whether he’s done a wee or a poo. I’ve nothing against wipes, but some babies are sensitive and react to them. Alternatively, big lint-free cotton wool pads are good. Use slightly warm water and squeeze it so its not sopping wet.”

Preventing nappy rash

“Use a thin layer of barrier cream at most nappy changes. Every day, give your baby five minutes of nappy-free time kicking on the changing mat on the floor- it really does help prevent nappy rash. Line the mat with some paper towel or an old towel first.”

 

all ready

“If you have a boy, make sure his penis is pointing down when you put the nappy on, otherwise when he wees it will go up his neck!”

About Sarah Beeson

If you’ve got a question about your LO check out Ask Sarah or get in touch.

Sarah Beeson is a health visitor and author of Happy Baby, Happy Family. She writes with her daughter Mumpreneur and writer Amy Beeson. Sarah’s memoir of training to be a nurse in 1970s London The New Arrival is a heartwarming true story published by HarperCollins.

Advice on games to play with your newborn baby

Parenting expert, author and health visitor Sarah Beeson MBE shares her top newborn baby games with Louisa Pritchard in this month’s Mother & Baby Magazine.

Newborn games

Name that tune-A baby often calms down to the music you played or sang while you were pregnant. See if she recognises the the tunes while you gently sway her in your arms.

Ring, ring, is that baby calling?- With your baby lying on her playmat, put her foot to your ear and pretend it’s a telephone. Have a chat with her on the ‘phone’ and lightly blow raspberries on the soles of her feet. This helps speech development . Plus, the gentle movement can also help alleviate trapped wind.

Who’s got the hat?- This is a lovely way to introduce your baby to visitors. Take one of the baby’s hats and put them on her head. Sing: “[Baby’s name] got the hat, now what do we think of that? She passes the hat to Mummy now Mummy’s got the hat.’ Put the hat on your head and repeat the song using your name and the name of a visitor. Pass the hat around the room and clap your hands in time to the song. Your little one will join in someday.

Follow the light- In a darkened room, shine a not-too-bright torch on the ceiling. Move the spot of light around and make up a story including the objects the light lands on. Your baby will enjoy following the light with her eyes and will learn about her surroundings.

Nude tummy time- Every now and then, try tummy time your baby nappy-free on a washable blanket with some toys in front of her. She’ll love the freedom.

What games do you like to play with your LO? Let us know which of these games they enjoy? Tweet @NewArrivalBook or Facebook us.

IMG_9796.JPGABout sarah

Sarah Beeson MBE is a health visitor and author. Her new parenting book Happy Baby, Happy Family: Learning to trust yourself and enjoy your baby is published by HarperCollins (4 June 2015). You can read all about her nurse training in her memoir The New Arrival: the heartwarming true story of a trainee nurse in 1970s London. 

Baby expert Sarah Beeson answers mums sleep questions in Mother & Baby magazine

Mother and Baby Cover Feb 2015Your sleep problems solved by Sarah a trained nurse, health visitor and author of The New Arrival: heartwarming true story of a trainee nurse in in 1970s London and Happy Baby, Happy Family: Learning to trust yourself and enjoy your baby.

If you’ve got a concern or a question about your Little One why not #AskSarah to help you find the answer.

Q: What should I dress my three-month old baby in for bed now that it gets cold during the night?

Q: It’s so dark in the mornings that I struggle to get my 15-month-old up in time to get to nursery. What can I do to change this?

Q: I breastfeed my baby before bed, but then she doesn’t want to go in her cot. Help!

Q: Is a cot bed too big for a newborn to sleep in?

Q: Can I leave a bottle in my 15-month-old cot for her to drink during the night?

Q: Should I used a bed guard when my toddler moves out of her cot?

Mother and Baby Sleep Layout

Is your LO a good sleeper?

What does the trick when it’s time for your LO to go sleepy-bye-byes? Tweet @NewArrivalBook or drop us a line on Facebook. We’d love to hear from you and get a #BabySnap or two of your precious bundle.

Is your Little One a Christmas Baby?

All I want for Christmas is some peace on earth and time alone with my new baby.

If your baby is due during the holiday season you might be feeling like Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve can pass you by. The greatest gift all those festive well-wishers with time on their hands between Boxing Day and New Year’s Day can give you is some space.

Whether it’s weddings, Christmas or how you welcome your new child into your lives – you can’t please everyone, so just for once, why not please yourself? Wanting time alone to adjust and enjoy this time isn’t selfish, it makes complete sense. So, if you are feeling like you’d like to turn off the fairy lights and block up the chimney, skip the visits to the relatives and just have time as your new family or as a couple, I say do it!

Pregnant over Christmas

christmas bump
The thought of eating a big dinner might be the only thing keeping you going. If that’s the case let someone else do all the hard work. You’ll need to be near to the place you are going to give birth whether that’s in a hospital or at home. Having a house full might not be ideal if you go into labour so have conversations early on to and try and explain to close family what will make you feel the most supported.

If you fancy one last Christmas just you and your partner – what could be nicer. Sounds relaxing and romantic to me, and could be just what you need. Next Christmas is going to be all about your Little One, you’ll never get this chance again. So put your feet up, go for a walk, watch a little TV and enjoy quality time together, because soon that’s going to hard to come by. It might not be what your mum and dad want to hear but part of being a parent is putting your child’s needs first, and you’re still their baby.

Yule Tide New born

christmas baby present

It can very special to have a new baby at Christmas but it can also be overwhelming how many people are off work and want to visit. If you are in a relationship, or have a close family member or friend that you want to be with you give them the role of Gate Keeper. Let them answer the calls, emails and texts on your behalf and say no we aren’t ready for visitors just yet.

Or if you do want people to stop by, make it clear when and for how long they can stay. You don’t want people knocking on your door when you’ve just got the baby to sleep and are ready for some much needed shut-eye yourself. Be specific about when it’ll be OK for people to visit, say something like, ‘You’re very welcome. If you’d like to pop in for a mince pie and to say hello between 3-4pm on Thursday that would be great.’

Don’t be afraid to cancel. If you’re having a difficult day and really can’t face visitors than just cancel – good friends will always understand. Keep tabs on how you feel. After a new baby your emotions can be up and down. Whatever feels right for you, is the right thing to do. Whether that’s having people every other day, three times a week, or once a week. Suit yourself.

Don’t try and do it all

Entertaining people takes a lot of preparation. You also need to keep yourself well-nourished because you’ll noticed your day mainly consists of feeding, feeding, feeding. If funds allow get your shopping delivered. Food that’s easy to warm up is a blessing, and you’re going to need that energy giving nourishing food now more than ever.

If friends and family want to help out let them know a homemade stew or lasagne and of course cake and mince pies would be very welcome. It’ll give you the time you need to focus on taking care of your baby and yourself if you’re not having to worry about preparing meals.

Christmas Baby Checklist

Ooops, I forgot to get them a present

You’ve just given the gift of life what more could anyone expect and also money might be a little tight with all the new baby shopping. With a new baby on the way it’s understandable that buying presents and sending cards to loved ones might have slipped your mind. What could be nicer than a photo of your little Christmas angel and a text message or email letting everyone know how you are.

Do it your way

However you want to spend the holidays is the right way to do it. Whether that’s merry-making with loved ones or a cosy time just the two or maybe three of you.

It’ll make our Christmas if you send us some #babysnaps on Twitter and Facebook. I guarantee you’ll be taking hundreds this holiday.

You are the expert on your own child, lots of luck and Merry Christmas.

sarah name

About Sarah Beeson MBE

After four decades as a health visitor Sarah Beeson MBE and her daughter Amy Beeson co-wrote The New Arrival, Sarah’s true story of life as a trainee nurse in 1970s London. The follow up memoir She’s Arrived! (March 2016) and parenting book  Happy Baby, Happy Family: Learning to trust yourself and enjoy your baby (7 May 2015) will be published by HarperCollins.

Did  you have or a are you expecting a Christmas Baby? Tweet us @NewArrivalBook or send us a message on Facebook – we want to hear about your experience.

 

Mother and Baby Mag Dec 2014Going to your first Christmas Party after having a baby?

See Sarah’s advice featured in Mother&Baby on leaving your Little One for the first time.

 

 

Breastfeeding in public does not just benefit mothers and babies but our society

Sarah and Amy were asked to comment by The Evening Standard on the mother’s breastfeeding in public. Here’s what they had to say.

Letters to the editor: Breastfeeding in public does not just benefit mothers and babies but our society

Not only do mothers have the legal right to breastfeed in public but as explained in The Equality Act 2010, businesses have a legal obligation to ensure they tackle discrimination on their premises whether that’s from their staff or other customers. The purpose of the Act was ‘to give women complete confidence to breastfeed while going about their day-to-day business.’

We believe it is a woman’s right to choose how they feed their baby, whether that’s in public or private, at the breast or with a bottle; parents have an important job to do and must be supported. Babies who have a strong attachment to their mothers are more likely to grow into happy and healthy children, adolescents and adults and ultimately this results in better society for everyone.

Amy and AvaAmy Beeson breastfeeding during her daughter’s baptism at St Paul’s Cathedral – the photographer didn’t realise she was feeding when he took the picture

Every day you breastfeed is a massive achievement and for most women breastfeeding is a big challenge, though a very rewarding one. It is demanding both in the time it takes and the levels of energy it uses. Restaurants have a responsibility to make breastfeeding mums welcome and comfortable. You cannot feel relaxed if you feel judged and have to put up with unhelpful looks or comments from members of staff or other customers.

Breastfeeding in public can be a very liberating experience – it’s what breasts are for after all! It is also practical.  Babies are driven by an inner clock that demands food and cannot wait – they will scream, suck their fingers and work themselves up into a frenzy when they get hungry. New born babies feed every 2-3 hours and feeding takes time, so it is common sense for mums to take the opportunity to get a drink and something to eat – when else will they get the chance!

Sarah Beeson MBE Health Visitor and author and Amy Beeson author

Over four decades as a nurse and a health visitor Sarah Beeson’s career has been shaped by the needs of children. Since her earliest days on the wards of Hackney Hospital she has stood up for her patients as shown in The New Arrival her heartwarming true story of training to be a nurse in 1970s London.

Sarah firmly believes that this generation of parents is the best there has ever been. Her new parenting book Happy Baby, Happy Family: Learning to trust yourself and enjoy your baby is the culmination of a life time’s experience watching, listening and being part of thousands of families’ journeys and will be published by HarperCollins in Spring 2015. She regularly answers questions from parents in her blog #AskSarah @NewArrivalBook

 

What have your experiences been like of feeding your baby in public?

We’d love you to share your tips for feeding your baby when out and about and who has been your biggest support as a mum?

Tweet @NewArrivalBook

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/sarahbeesonthenewarrival

 

Sarah talks to Mother & Baby Magazine about leaving your baby for the first time to go to a Christmas Party

Sarah gives Mother & Baby Magazine some baby advice on how you can have a good time but still meet your baby’s needs during the party season.

Mother and Baby Mag Dec 2014

Build up to leaving your baby

“Sarah Beeson MBE, co-author of The New Arrival (7.99, Harper Element) advises building up to the big night – leaving your baby for the first time can be difficult for you both. ‘Start by leaving your little one with the person who will be caring for them for 30 minutes. Then try an hour. After a few days, before your event, leave your baby for a few hours. You can use the time for a festive indulgence – get your hair done, so you’re feeling confident.’

Party Tip

Sarah’s top party tip for mums’ who are on the wagon is, ‘Mix elderflower cordial with sparkling water, served in a champagne flute. It feels much more chic than wandering round the party with a tumbler or pint glass.’

Expecting a new baby at Christmas?

Sarah will be writing a special Christmas Blog on having a New born baby at Christmas in her Baby Advice blog very soon.

Tweet us your Do’s and Don’ts for managing festive well-wishers when you come home with a new baby @NewArrivalBook

About Sarah Beeson MBE

Over four decades as a nurse and a health visitor Sarah Beeson’s career has been shaped by the needs of children. Since her earliest days on the wards of Hackney Hospital she has stood up for her patients as shown in The New Arrival her heartwarming true story of training to be a nurse in 1970s London.

Her expertise and innovation have been recognised with the MBE from the Queen for services to children and families, and her health prevention work received the Queen’s Nursing Institute Award but she’s happiest listening to mums talking about their baby.

Sarah firmly believes that this generation of parents is the best there has ever been. Her new parenting book Happy Baby, Happy Family: Learning to trust yourself and enjoy your baby is the culmination of a life time’s experience watching, listening and being part of thousands of families’ journeys from birth to their Little One’s first birthday and will be published by HarperCollins in Spring 2015.

Sarah second memoir about being a newly qualified health visiting in rural Kent in 1970s She’s Arrived! will be published by HarperCollins in March 2016.

#AskSarah Dropping the bedtime breastfeed

This #AskSarah is all about dropping the last breastfeed and comes from Karen AKA Monkeyfooted Mummy @monkeyfeettweet.

Karen asks; “My LG is 13 months old and down to just night-time feeds. I’m struggling with stopping the feeds and replacing it with a feed free routine. She sometimes wakes up to four times a night but will sleep eight hours straight so I know she can do it.”

We chatted a little bit to Karen and she’s almost there in making that transition but here are some ideas about how to say night-night to the bedtime breastfeed.

MOnkeyfooted Mummy and LGKaren and her LG – cutie face! #babysnaps

It’s often at around 11-13 months that babies and their mums are ready to move on from breastfeeding, especially if they’ve been in the process of dropping a feed at a time. It can a bit of a wrench for some mums or it may be you’re glad to be going into a new stage – there’s no right or wrong way to feel.

Food and drink

Developing into a toddler diet takes a few adjustments, most of which you’ve probably already done. Here’s how often they need a little something, and if you’re looking for menu or snack ideas Tweet, Facebook or #AskSarah and we will do another blog post for you.

A typical  daily diet for a 1-year-old

– 3 little meals a day

– Morning healthy snack

– Afternoon healthy snack

– Milky supper

– 2-3 milky drinks (plus water and the odd very diluted natural fruit juice)

– 1 pint of milk (as a drink or in foods e.g. yogurt, fromage frais, cheesy meals and custard)

I’d recommend avoiding sweets, high-sugar foods and drinks, sugar-free drinks and squash. The additives and sweeteners in sugar-free squash especially make children thirsty and so they often will drink more and more without quenching their thirst and end up literally running on squash, which fills their tummy and spoils their appetite and make them overactive and more likely to have toddler tantrums and not sleep very well.

If you’re Little One is having 2-3 milk drinks and/or milk in their food they’ll be getting enough to compensate for loosing the breast milk. You might find she’ll go through the night for a few nights in row and then start waking up again, this is her body waking her up to get the nutrients and calories it craves as it adjusts.

Keep her topped up by giving her a milky supper (e.g. cereal, cheesy toast triangles, porridge). I know it can seem strange if your baby had their tea at 5-6pm to give them a supper but they often need it to get through the night.

Give yourself a few weeks to adapt to this change to in your baby’s pattern of getting her nourishment.

Bedtime rituals

You’ll have your own way of doing things in your household but here are some ideas for a bedtime ritual.

A typical mini-bedtime ritual

– TV and devices off (iPhones, iPads etc put away)

– Lights turned down low

– Milky supper

– Bath time

– Milky drink and bedtime story

– Nursery rhymes or prayers

– Kisses goodnight

– Maybe an audiobook

– Check back in 5 -10 minutes, sit quietly in a dark corner, rock them or stroke them whatever you want to do

From suppertime to the last kiss goodnight, try and get your bedtime routine down to an hour or less. If they start delaying and dawdling your Little One is most likely trying to draw things out and keep themselves awake. Be positive and warm but keep things moving along – as they grow, it would be an absolute angel that didn’t try their luck at extra splashing in the bath, stories and snuggles.

Establishing a bit of a ritual for going to bed helps your Little One feel secure and accept that it’s now time to start calming down and go to sleep. The more relaxed and contented your baby feels the less likely they are to demand the comfort of a breastfeed. If you have the option, it might help if your partner or another family member gets involved in putting your Little One to bed to ease the tension and give you the opportunity to create new mini bedtime routines.

Stay positive and remind yourself that you are giving your baby everything they need, this is just a transition and that they do not need to have breastmilk any longer and that tthey get plenty of nourishment. You’ve done a fantastic job breastfeeding all this time, congratulate yourself, you’ve done your stint and you’ll both benefit from moving onto a new stage. There are plenty of firsts coming up for you and your baby.

At this age there can be other factors that contribute towards your Little One craving the closeness and comfort of breastfeeding, like teething or maybe you’ve returned to work, but as long as their emotional and practical needs are being met, you are doing everything you can to help your baby.

It’s normal to go through a bit of trial and error in finding what works for your family – you don’t have to be wedded to a set way of doing things every single night.

If you’re not getting much sleep, be kind to yourself and look at ways you can take a bit pressure off yourself the following day if you can. Lack of sleep is very tough on everyone!

Karen, I hope you and your LG get a well-earned night’s rest soon and thank you for your question. x

If you’ve got a question you’d like to ask then go to the #AskSarah page and drop us a line. Trust yourself and enjoy your baby, you are the expert on your own child.

sarah name

 

 

Ask SarahOver four decades as a nurse and a health visitor Sarah Beeson’s career has been shaped by the needs of children. Since her earliest days on the wards of Hackney Hospital she has stood up for her patients as shown in The New Arrival her heartwarming true story of training to be a nurse in 1970s London.

Her expertise and innovation have been recognised with the MBE from the Queen for services to children and families, and her health prevention work received the Queen’s Nursing Institute Award but she’s happiest listening to mums talking about their baby.

Sarah firmly believes that this generation of parents is the best there has ever been. Her new parenting book Happy Baby, Happy Family: Learning to trust yourself and enjoy your baby is the culmination of a life time’s experience watching, listening and being part of thousands of families’ journeys from birth to their Little One’s first birthday and will be published by HarperCollins in Spring 2015.

Sarah second memoir about being a newly qualified health visiting in rural Kent in 1970s She’s Arrived! will be published by HarperCollins in March 2016.