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.

Why does my LO do that? Problem pages in Mother & Baby

Sarah answers real mums behaviour questions in Mother & Baby magazine. Why won’t my three-year old poo on the potty? Is it OK to pass my baby around for cuddles? Do the terrible two’s really exist?


Potty problems

“Gentle encouragement and opportunity are what’s needed here.”

“Make doing a wee on the potty a part if normal everyday routine, without  saying much about having a poo.”

“Let her sit on the potty in her nappy , if she wants to. Loosen the tabs day by day until it’s almost falling off, then replace the nappy with toilet paper.”

Cuddles

“Your baby will tell you how she feels about it. Always responding swiftly to her needs is what matters.”

“Newborn babies often aren’t bothered…It’s when she gets to seven months plus that she may prefer to be held by Mum and Dad..”

 

Terrible twos

“As with everything, it varies from child to child.”

“Each child is unique, but every one needs praise, love, security and a consistent approach to dealing with the terrible or not-so-terrible twos.”

“Suggest let’s do this rather than ‘no, don’t do that’, and physically him out of the situation.”

About Sarah

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.

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

Why each child develops at their own pace 

Sarah Beeson MBE health visitor and author explained why four mums Little Ones’ developed at a different paces. Answering questions on weight gain, walking, talking and why twins and premature babies may develop at different speeds for Gurgle Magazine.

Walking

‘Most children start walking somewhere between ten and 22 months. And taller babies  may take  longer than those with shorter legs. Tummy time and floor play really help – and try to resist the urge to hold a pre-walking baby’s hands; cruising around the furniture and pulling themselves up to standing is vital exercise for strengthening all the important muscles needed for walking.’

Baby’s Weight

‘Some babies are just slower to gain weight than others, and very “long” babies may be slower than shorter ones. But generally, if a baby seems contended – smiling, happy and producing plenty of soiled nappies – there may be no need to worry. ‘ In Chapter One of Sarah’s book Happy Baby, Happy Family she explains the three signs that tell you if you’re baby is getting enough milk – and weight gain is just one. 

Talking

‘It’s expected that premature babies will be slower to reach key milestones, although by about a year they are likely to be catching up. A speech and language therapist can help enormously. These are very important areas of a child’s development, paving the way for all other cognitive skills. Ask your GP to refer you if you have any concerns.’

Twins

‘Any direct comparison between children is unhelpful, but that’s doubly the case with twins. As with language learning in adults, some babies need to have all the components of language learning in place before they will even utter a single word – and it’s common for some children to wait until they’re well past two to do so – whereas others start babbling from a very early age and imitating all the sounds they hear.’

About Sarah Beeson

cropped-sarah-beeson-circle.jpgIf 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.

 

How do I make mornings go more smoothy?

Sarah Beeson in Prima Baby Magazine with some parenting advice on how mums can have smoother and happier mornings.


Nail their routine

“When children spend too long in their PJs they often won’t be willing to break off from what they’re doing. Get them washed and dressed and clean their teeth first thing. Use an apron to keep clothes clean while they have breakfast.”

Keep them on side

use narrative

“Pretend you’re a football commentator and narrate what’s going on”…”For example ‘Are those your shoes? Shall we put them on?'”

speak nicely

“Don’t order them around, try to be inclusive. Say ‘Let’s do this’ rather than ‘Do this now!’. And speak in a warm, friendly tone.”

give regular praise

“Always say ‘Well done’ if they eat their breakfast. Otherwise why will they bother in the future? If their behaviour is really awful, blame the behaviour, not the child. For example, say ‘Kicking is not acceptable behaviour'”

offer two choices

“Give two choices-both things that you’re happy with. For example, say “Do you want toast or porridge today?”

give yourself credit

“If it all goes a bit pear-shaped, don’t beat yourself up- it happens to everyone. Don’t focus on what’s gone wrong, just give yourself credit for everything you have managed to do. Remember that most of the time you’re doing a splendid job.”

about sarah

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.

Clingy Toddlers: Making small changes for happier families

Baby Expert Sarah Beeson MBE gives a family some one-to-one advice for happier mornings and no-tears drop off at the childminder’s in Prima Baby Magazine.

The solution

“It’s normal for toddlers to cling to parents and carers, it’s all part of their learning and development. They do it because they feel so attached to you, which is a positive thing, although it usually doesn’t feel that way at the time! Praise and encouragement works wonders, and while it won’t transform a clingy toddler overnight, it’ll help you both enjoy the journey through toddlerhood together.”

 

SARAH’S 8-POINT ACTION PLAN

  1. ROUTINE MATTERS

  2. GIVE CONTROL

  3. PILE ON THE PRAISE

  4. TELL HER WHAT’S HAPPENING

  5. OFFER CHOICES

  6. play it cool

  7.  avoid the blame game

  8. accept bad days

About Sarah

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.

Following your baby’s lead and slowing down (Gurgle Magazine)

Alison Tyler asked ‘Can slowing down make you a better parent?’ in an interview with baby expert Sarah Beeson MBE in this month’s Gurgle Magazine. Do you think gentle or slow parenting is your thing? Tweet @NewArrivalBook or Facebook us.

All aboard the SLOW TRAIN

“‘The pressures on parents today are immense,’ says health visitor and baby expert for more than 35 years Sarah Beeson. ‘We are more child-focused than ever, taking babies to classes, buying more toys, playing with them. And there is so much more advice out there it’s relentless.’

Join the slow lane

‘It’s about learning to trust yourself; you know your baby best,’ explains Sarah. ‘Almost all parents meet their baby’s physical needs, but we need to focus on emotional needs too. Don’t forget to voice the love the security that you give your child, right from the start – it’s the most important thing you can do.’

How to slow parent

‘From birth, children strive for independence. If you thwart them, they’ll become frustrated,’ advises Sarah. ‘Everything you do should be baby-led. Your job is to facilitate your child’s needs.’ She suggests all parents sing and play with their babies and young children every day, and offer lots of cuddles and love. ‘And read to your child from the start,’ she adds.

‘Children go at their own pace…All milestones are so wide – tick-box parenting isn’t healthy for parents or children.’

Don’t beat yourself up as a parent. All your child wants is love and security, so try not to get into the rat race. Sure, baby massage is nice, and support groups can be great if they’re sociable, but your baby doesn’t need them – remember: you should be having fun too.’

The result is a calmer, more confident and independent child – and more relaxed parents too. As Sarah so succinctly puts its, ‘Enjoy the moment,, every one. They go so fleetingly.'”

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.

PL Magazine – Helping your Little Ones brush their teeth

Sarah talked to PL Magazine about how parents can help keep their children’s teeth clean and healthy in the December 2014 edition of the Plymouth lifestyle magazine.

tooth fairy

When your Little One’s first teeth break through it’s time to start brushing with a baby tooth brush and a smear of baby toothpaste (a few babies are born with a couple of teeth usually incisors). Use a little water and gently brush the tooth in small circles front, back and along the top of the tooth. Once they get all their teeth it only takes a couple of minutes and often reminds us to take care of our gnashers.

Do praise your child when they brush their teeth but resist the urge to overdo it. If you make too much of a song and dance about it and give them rewards and treats it often leads to children refusing to open their mouths because they know they’ll get lots of attention. Play it cool – brushing your teeth twice a day is just a part of morning and bedtime routines, like getting dressed or brushing your hair.

Smiling and tickling their cheek for a bit of low-key encouragement and getting on with it swiftly often works best with children who need a bit of persuasion. If you have the odd bad day it’s not the end of the world if you leave it till bedtime.

Let your toddler have a bit of responsibility for brushing their own teeth and lead by example by doing it together. Give them the choice ‘Do you want to brush your teeth or shall I do it?’ It doesn’t matter which option they choose – the result is the same.

Taking your Little One with you to the Dentist from an early age will help them become familiar with having their teeth checked and understand why we all have to take care of our pearly whites. During pregnancy and maternity leave mums can have free dental treatment and all children’s visits to the Dentist are free with the NHS.

Are you having problems getting your LO to brush their teeth?

Check out #AskSarah My toddler won’t brush their teeth

About Sarah Beeson MBE

Sarah was a health visitor for over 35 years and is now an author and baby expert. Her memoir The New Arrival (£7.99 HarperCollins) her parenting book Happy Baby, Happy Family: Learning to trust yourself and enjoy your baby (Pre-order £9.99 HarperCollins 7 May 2015). Find out more in About Me.

How to survive a Christmas shopping trip with kids

Sarah shares her top christmas shopping tips with Tesco Living.

christmasshoppinghero

Christmas shopping with a baby

If you’ve got a newborn or a baby, the secret to Christmas shopping success is in careful planning and timing, says parenting author and former health visitor Sarah Beeson. You’ll want to coincide your shopping trip with when your child is sleeping, “So before you set off give them a really good feed, change their nappy and ensure they’re snuggled up and content,” she advises. “You will most likely only have a two-hour window to do a trolley dash, so make a list and plan exactly how to use this precious time.” If your little one wakes up, she does not recommend persevering. “There is no joy in walking around the shops with a crying baby, so park it if you can and come back another day.”

Christmas shopping with a toddler

If you’ve got a toddler or young children, the key is to avoid rush hour at the shops. “Go off-peak and avoid lunchtime and directly after school, as keeping the kids occupied in long queues is often the most challenging part of shopping,” explains Sarah. Before you leave for the shops, give your kids a drink and a snack, and ensure they’ve been to the toilet.

Make sure you’ve got everything you need with you too: “Have a few old toys that they haven’t seen in a while in your bag as a back-up to entertain them if they get fed up,” Sarah recommends. “Take a small banana and a bottle of water with you; tantrums are often related to dehydration, so a small, healthy snack can really help with good behaviour.” While it may be tempting to give in to your child’s pleas for a treat when you’re out, this is likely to backfire: “Sugary foods and drinks often make children overactive,” explains Sarah.

Turn them into Santa’s Little Helpers

If you will need to do the big Christmas food shop with your children, you can get a bit crafty, says Sarah. “Before you go, cut out pictures from the packet foods you regularly buy and create a list of items your children will be responsible for finding when you’re there,” she suggests. “Let them match the pictures on the shopping list in each aisle while you get on with the rest of the shop. Many places have little trolleys for children, which are great for making it a fun experience for them.” This approach may take a little while longer, but it keeps them occupied and out of your hair, and turns a chore into a learning opportunity. “Praise them when they find the items and you’ll have your very own Santa’s Little Helpers!”

Christmas shopping with older children

Your kids may be at that in-between stage when they’re not quite old enough to leave unsupervised. If you’re taking them along on a shopping trip, it’s still worth making sure they’ve had something to eat and drink and gone to the toilet before you set off. “Avoid bribery or threats to get them to behave,” Sarah advises. “Shopping for Christmas is part of creating a lovely occasion for the whole family, but takes planning and preparation,” she says. “This is a good opportunity to show them that it doesn’t just happen by magic.”

Help your child to feel included in the process by making a list together and letting them choose and make decisions on some of the things to buy. “This gives them some responsibility and shows you respect them,” says Sarah. If they’re busy looking for items and making choices about what to get, they won’t be bored and sulking. “Thank them for helping and give them praise – this shows them the standard of behaviour you expect and leads by example.”

Read the full article on Smart Shopping on Tesco Living

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 My toddler won’t brush their teeth

This week’s #AskSarah is from Jillie in Wiltshire, mum to one-year-old Lily. Jillie’s #AskSarah question is; “We can’t get Lily to brush her teeth. We’ve tried a special toothbrush, princess bubble-gum flavoured toothpaste, getting her to watch us brush ours, trying to get to copy, trying to make it into a game, trying to get her to brush ours, singing….everything! But she won’t do it, just closes her mouth tightly and turns away. Any top mummy tips? Thank you so much.”

the willcocks bikesJillie, Lily and Luke

How lucky is lovely Lily have parents who are trying so hard and in so many creative ways to get her brush those tiny gnashers. I think the key to this situation is to STOP trying.

Here’s why – not brushing her teeth has almost become a fun game. She gets heaps of attention, things to play with and new experiences. From her perspective it makes sense to keep her mouth shut.

So why not try doing the opposite?

1. Play it cool

Put aside your expectations. At this age it’s not the end of the world if she doesn’t brush her teeth every day. Just add in as part of your daily routine for getting ready or going to bed, like brushing your hair or putting a vest on. And if she doesn’t do it on the first two goes, don’t worry about it. Don’t react at all, just carry on getting ready.

And if she does brush her teeth (inside you can leap for joy) but in front of your Little One keep calm and resist the urge to make it into a big deal. Just give her a smile and a pleasant ‘Well done’ and carry on as normal. Don’t phone daddy to tell him the good news or whip out your smartphone to mark the event.

2. No more inducements

Lily is obviously a clever little lady and she’s got the upper hand at the moment. Brushing your teeth is just normal and it’s just one of those things everybody does. So try keeping it simple, just a little toothbrush and age 0-2 toothpaste is all your need. She’ll soon cotton on there’s going to be no more rewards for not brushing her teeth.

3. No more singing and dancing

When you’re doing your daily toilette make her part of it but leave her to her own devices. Smear a little toothpaste onto her brush and leave it casually within her reach on the side of the sink, or pop it into her hand. Then get on with brushing your own teeth, washing your face and brushing your hair. If she picks it up just let her get on with it in her own way – she won’t make a thorough job of it but it’ll be step in the right direction.

4. Mum’s the word

Don’t talk about brushing teeth around her, whether she’s done it or not. Minimum fuss stops this issue becoming a battlefield later on. It’s completely natural you want her to brush her teeth, because it’s what is best for her and you are fantastic parents that you’ve tried so hard and care so much.

Final thought

Your Little One can benefit from having a little bit of responsibility here as she makes the journey from baby to toddler. If you are worried about the effect not brushing her teeth is having on her teeth and gums then you can minimise it by looking at her diet and checking she’s not having sugary and sugar-free foods and drinks as they are acidic for the teeth.

It is recommended as soon as teeth appear that you brush them twice a day with a little smear of baby toothpaste but while she adjusts to her new routine you can afford to take your time with a simple, relaxed low-maintenance approach to baby tooth care.

It may not happen overnight but with such great parents, Lily with get there in her own time. I know you’ll both be jumping up and down when she starts to do it, but just this once, wait till she’s out of the room.

What did you think of this week’s #AskSarah? Did you like it? Yes, then please do share it with your friends and subscribe for updates on mums, babies, books and stories and send us a tweet @NewArrivalBook or join us on Facebook.

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 Sarah

 

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.