Has your little one tried apple 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
How to Make Apple Pureé For Your Weaning Baby
1. Chop up apple into small pieces.
2. Gently stew apple 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 stewed apple 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.
Sarah shares some of the myths parents were told in the 1970s that they’re still being told today with Female First.
Have you been told any of these Myths?
Myth One: You can’t get pregnant when breastfeeding
Myth Two: There’s no harm in leaving babies to cry themselves to sleep
Myth Three: All babies wean at six months
Myth Four: All women can have sex just six weeks after giving birth
Myth Five: You only get postnatal depression with a newborn baby
Myth Six: Babies can’t choke
Myth Seven: If your child bites it’s best if you bite them back
Myth Eight: We don’t need vitamin supplements
Myth Nine: When your child misbehaves putting them in the naughty corner will put a stop to it
Myth Ten: You can spoil babies
Parenting expert and author Sarah Beeson MBE has worked with families for over four decades. Her latest book Our Country Nurse written with her daughter Amy Beeson, is set in a country village in 1975 and is bursting with stories of mums’ journeys during pregnancy and motherhood. Sarah shares some of the myths mums were told in the 1970s that they’re still being told today with Female First.
Come and see us at Babyfest Mumsnet’s one-day boutique baby event on Saturday 24 September 155 Bishopsgate, Liverpool St, London, EC2M 3YD.
Doors open at 9.30am. There’ll be goodies to giveaway, expert speakers, baby book shop, practical demonstrations, scrummy food and pampering treats. Book now or enter to win a pair of tickets with us.
EXPERT TALK 10AM BREASTFEEDING: A BRIEF OERVIEW, MAIN AUDITORIUM
Authors of Happy Baby, Happy Family Health visitor Sarah Beeson MBE and writer Amy Beeson will be talking openly and honestly about all aspects of breastfeeding, as well as other feeding options, and the importance of making the right decision for you. If you can’t make this session or would like to receive advice in a more informal, personalised setting, pop over to the Demo area after the talk for some one-to-one time with Sarah and Amy.
1-2-1 ADVICE AND BOOK SIGNING, DEMO ZONE
Sarah will be giving free 1-2-1 advice in the Demo Zone after her talk and signing copies of our books Happy Baby, Happy Family, The New Arrival and Our Country Nurse. at the Victoria Park Bookstall. Pop along for a friendly chat to ask any questions about you and your baby.
To win a pair of tickets to Babyfest head on over to our social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. (The competition will run 15-18 Sept and is open to UK Entrants only).
5 REASONS YOU’LL LOVE BABYFEST
1. Hands-on practice
Try out the best baby products – plus learn how to tie a sling, bathe a baby, and take part in a crucial baby first aid session.
2. Advice from star speakers
Hear from Britain’s foremost baby experts including Dr Pixie McKenna, Jane Clarke, Beverley Turner and Sarah Beeson MBE.
3. Pampering treats
Book in for a free manicure, reflexology or massage treatment, as well as a free pregnancy yoga session.
4. Delicious food
Enjoy a lovely free lunch from Soho House restaurants Pizza East and Chicken Shop.
Don’t forget to pick up your fabulous free Babyfest goody bag packed full of products worth over £50!
Liz: Let’s take you back to the 70s. It’s was a decade our next guest started caring for babies and their families. Sarah Beeson from Stafford has an MBE for services to nursing and has recently published her second memoir Our Country Nurse on her adventures. Think Call The Midwife 20 years later. Sarah, what are the big differences for you between then and now for babies?
Sarah: Babies really don’t alter. Fashions and fads come and go. The most important thing is the emotional needs of babies. Today’s parents really get that. As well as the care, the breastfeeding or bottle feeding and looking after your baby the emotional needs are very important.
Perry: You’re a health visitor; you’re going into other people’s houses aren’t you? Our Country Nurse is a rich tapestry of 1970s life.
Sarah: It is. I worked in rural Kent. I had a little mini which was given to us by the county as we’d be county council employees and had only just moved into the NHS. The weather could be tremendously harsh in Kent; snow in the winter and the book has the baking hot summer of 1976 where once I parked my Mini when I came back out the steering wheel was so hot I could barely touch it to drive onto my next visit. But knocking on doors for a living has been most enjoyable.
Liz: You didn’t have children when you started and you were very young when you became a health visitor. What made you want to do it?
Sarah: When I trained at Hackney Hospital on community practice towards the end of my training I went out with a marvellous health visitor visiting high rise blocks and there were terrible conditions in some areas. She was so welcomed by her families, she organised nursery placements, she sorted housing out and I thought I want to that. Later on when they were looking for nurses who wanted to do health visiting I applied and got in.
Liz: You’ve got some really interesting stories. It’s fictional with names changed but loosely it’s based on your life?
Sarah: Yes, it’s my memoir. All the characters names and circumstances are changed except me, Sarah Hill, I’m the only one who is herself and I’m not even completely sure about that.
Perry: So, presumably the main protagonist is you?
Sarah: It’s me narrating and it’s my story but there are some real characters. I dedicated Our Country Nurse to three Staffordshire health visitors who are no longer with us but there wonderful way of working come out in some of my characters particularly Hermione who is wonderful largely based on a dear friend.
Liz: Some of the stories people might find a little shocking. Tell us about the Filipino mum?
Sarah: They was a Filipino couple with a new baby. I went to see them and they worked very long hours for hardly any money. They got one half day a week off on a Sunday and really it modern day slavery.
Perry: How much did they earn?
Sarah: They earned £17 and ten shillings a month between them.
Perry: Good grief.
Sarah: I mean wages weren’t high but that was exploitation. And the excuse from was they got a room – which was an attic, and food – which they weren’t used to and couldn’t eat. They wanted to get away to the United States and their story was largely based on someone I did see.
Perry: What did Sarah encounter with this couple then?
Sarah: The mum was wonderful but she really couldn’t spend enough time with the baby. I used to do a number of clinics and one had bus that went round and picked everyone up and brought them to this monthly country clinic and took them all home again all for free. I more or less said it’s essential she goes to her employer she must come; dereliction of duty on your part if you let them go. She was a very pukka lady and didn’t want to go against that so allowed her to have this afternoon off once a month to come to clinic and that’s where we hatched the plot for her to escape.
Perry: So she escaped!
Liz: You helped her to get out of the situation.
Perry: It says in the book that she was advised to leave the baby under an apple tree so she could carry on working for the family?
Sarah: Yes, what her employer kept telling her was to wrap the baby up and leave her under the apple trees in the orchard and get on with your work, I used to do that on Nanny’s day off. It was January! It was real exploitation. You have to tread very carefully sometimes and that’s the thing with health visiting you have no right of access, you have no right to go in. It’s people’s good will.
Perry: For unmarried mothers back in the 70s was there still stigma there was in previous decades?
Sarah: There was. There’s a story about a young girl, another one I helped to escape from looking after two horrible elderly uncles in a tumbledown farm to a nice little flat of her own. Things were changing in the 70s, it wasn’t as Dickensian as 30s, 40s, 50s but it was still very hard and tough for women at that time generally but particularly unmarried mothers.
Liz: One of the stories from your book which are based on real events is about you going to help a mum with a three year old who’s having issues in the night?
Sarah: This is based on a quite a few incidents because quite a few parents say their child is talking to someone or seeing someone and it’s not that unusual and it’s not usually a ghost, it’s usually imagination and children have seven years before they really separate reality from fantasy.
Liz: What are they doing in the middle of the night though?
Sarah: I can’t give the story away but its not all that it seems. The whole family is really worried because they think they’ve got a poltergeist; things are falling off dressers and crashing to the floor.
Perry: Was this a real story?
Sarah: Yes, but the actual outcome isn’t quite that you might think it was.
Perry: Now that’s a teaser.
Liz: There were a lot of high profile stories in the papers in the 70s about children and ghosts.
Sarah: There is always something going on in that direction.
Liz: You must have thought why are you calling me?
Sarah: When you’re a health visitor people go to you to ask for help and very often you’re not quite the person who has the knowledge but you can be conduit; you can find the right person.
Liz: Did you have any other unusual cases like that?
Sarah: I’ve unblocked drains, I’ve called the environmental health for all sort of infestations – things that I can’t actually deal with though I’m quite good at unblocking drains. In the 70s people didn’t have the money and insurance cover for emergency situations so you did get rung up just as you were leaving the office. For instance on Christmas Eve as I was leaving someone rings with a problem and it was that story that started off the memoirs. A lady rang me and said I can’t settle the baby they’re crying, crying, crying. I went out I was there for absolutely ages talk about breastfeeding, positions and I’d left the minis lights on. I had a completely flat battery and no mobile phones in those days. I didn’t want to go back to the house I’d been there two and a half hours. I walked to the phone box and rang the local garage. Great big snowflakes started to fall and I was stuck in a drift with a flat battery on Christmas Eve and I didn’t have any money with me. This lovely mechanic came out, he started my car and I asked him how much and he said, ‘Nothing, Nurse, it’s Christmas Eve, Merry Christmas.’ I put that into the text of Happy Baby, Happy Familyas a little story and my agent said to me you should write your memoirs.
Liz: Was it because of that going above and beyond dedication that you got the MBE?
Sarah: I got the MBE as a health visitor for working with children and families in Stafford. People put me forward for it without my knowledge. And I understand the Queen often says you get your MBE on behalf of a whole team of people. I just happened to be the one who was going up to get it and representing the profession.
Perry: Here’s the killer question – there’s a lot of people listening who would have been mums in 70s and are the daughters of those mothers. In your estimation are parents better now than they were?
Sarah: This generation of parents is the best there has ever been. Parents these days they really work as a team, they put their child’s welfare, their wellbeing at the heart of what they’re doing. Working parents, working mums especially often feel so torn between work and childcare but working is a good example for your children, whether you’re a stay at home mum, work full time or part time, there has been great improvements in parenting and especially in the emotional needs; that love and security. Recognising your child as an equal, you’re the custodian of those rights.
Liz: You think we do that more now?
Sarah: A lot more now.
Perry: Is it an attitude of mind thing? In the 70s they were only one generation away from a child should be seen and not heard.
Sarah: That was not quite as bad as it had been but the parents of children then had definitely been told to be seen and not heard. It’s evolved and now parents understand that harsh words can hurt. That’s a big leap forward and I don’t think many parents now would think that smacking children would be OK because it always makes things worse.
Liz: Physically though it was harder for mums back then using terry nappies – we’ve got it easier now.
Perry: And your washing machine saves your life.
Liz: In birth we’re a lot more likely to use pain relief now, there weren’t a lot of options then.
Sarah: We do have wonderful midwifery and obstetrics service these days compared with then but there was every week an antenatal class run by myself and the midwife, there’s a wonderful midwife in the book who was an absolute treasure her mums adored her. We did a topic every week and relaxation every week – taking you through labour – because the NHS is so squeezed and lacking in resources some parents can’t get onto a course sometimes. So yes, I’m all for the new developments, I think it’s wonderful to have them but it’s your wonderful midwife who steers you through it.
Perry: Sarah, it was lovely to speak to you and the new book is Our Country Nurse. There’s quite a few stories drawn from your time in Staffordshire.
Liz: Thank you for coming in Sarah Beeson from Stafford, MBE.
Published by Harper Element.
Paperback at £8.99 available from Amazon, Waterstones, Foyles and WH Smith.
eBook and £6.49 available from Amazon Kindle, iTunes, Google Play and Kobo.
Audiobook £12.99 read by Anna Bentinck available from Amazon Audible and iTunes.
By Sarah Beeson MBE Author and former Health Visitor
I recently had an article published in the Huffington Post on why Health visiting is under threat and that terrifies me, not because health visitors will lose their jobs but because we are putting the health and wellbeing of mothers and babies at risk.
In a letter to the Times the RCN has called for the government to stop the cuts to health visiting but it is the government handing over the commissioning of the NHS to councils at the same time as cutting the funding to the NHS and the local authorities, that has caused this problem in the first place.
The government are breaking the promises made in the Health Visitor Implementation plan that pledged to train an extra 4,000 health visitors. The big government plan that promised to get leavers to return to practice, promised to increase the number of health visitors available locally across the country. If the government don’t stop these cuts all that will be left is broken promises and the end of a service that even pre-dates the NHS and has being providing community nursing to families for over 150 years.
I believe every parent has the right to have access to their health visitor. The right to ask questions; The right to be reassured; The right to be heard.
I’m hoping parents will speak now and join NHS staff to stand up for the rights of their child to comprehensive health care. Because every child matters and every family, whoever they are, will need someone to share in their achievements and offer professional advice during the early years of parenthood.
Because being a good parent isn’t easy. You never know when you’ll need your health visitor. It might be when your baby is two weeks old, or 18 months or four-years-old. When you’ve got money worries, when your marriage breaks down, or when you lose your mum – I’ve been there with families during all these times and know that being able to talk to a health visitor meant the difference between finding the right support and struggling on alone for years, and sometimes the difference between life and death.
I’ve been the health visitor that’s given the children their tea, to give a single mum a break, who’s spotted a baby needs urgent medical attention, that’s taken a mum to a women’s refuge – like many of us have. This is the best generation of parents there has ever been. Today’s mums and dads are so dedicated and work as a team – they’re giving their all and what are they getting back? Already the health service is becoming patchy. Some families haven’t got the service they deserve, but I know where there is still a good health visiting service the parents will stand with us and say we aren’t letting you take away our health visitor.
It’s not that those parents need a health visitor to tell them what to do. In my experience mums and dads are the experts on their own baby and every child is unique. But having someone who will support you, give you advice that’s right for your family – to me that is who a health visitor should be for every family on their caseload. That service shouldn’t be a nice to have – it must be a right.
Health visiting isn’t about ticking developmental boxes. If the local authority are going to be commissioning services they should be designing them around what families need, not what will save a few pence. Because if you skimp on the health of children in the early years the tax-payer and that child ends up paying for it for the rest of their lives.
In an attempt to save money the short-sighted councils are planning to cut the health visiting service. Already we are losing experienced health visitors through redundancy. In March and April this year 433 health visitors were lost from the service. There are now only 9,711 health visitors and last year 697,852 babies were born in England and Wales. If the cuts go ahead there will be even less health visitors and the service I’ve worked in for over four decades will be lost and once it’s gone there is no way to get it back.
I don’t think the government and local councils really understand what a health visitor does. If they did, they’d see that we are uniquely placed to be with parents to ensure the growth, development and health of babies and the mental and physical health of mothers. We are often the person who refers to other health professionals when there is a problem, who flags to agencies when children are at risk, who should be picking up on and supporting mother suffering from postnatal depression.
Already the numbers of health visitors have gone down from 20,000 to under 10,000. Every child matters to us, let’s tell the government and councils they need to matter to them too.
About Sarah Beeson MBE
In 1969, 17-year-old Sarah arrived in Hackney in the East End of London to begin her nursing career. Six years later she went into health visiting, practising for over 35 years in Kent and Staffordshire, and building up a lifetime’s expertise and stories through working with babies and families. In 1998 Sarah received the Queen’s Institute for Nursing Award and in 2006 was awarded an MBE for Services to Children and Families in Stafford by Queen Elizabeth II.
Now she divides her time between Staffordshire and London, writing and meeting wonderful readers and parents. She writes books with her daughter Amy Beeson. The New Arrivalis her true story of training to be a nurse in Hackney. Her second memoir Our Country Nurse is set in a country village in 1975 and is bursting with stories of mums journeys during pregnancy and motherhood.
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 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 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.
Join health visitor and author Sarah Beeson MBE and other mums at the Mums In The Wood Coffee Morning on Wed 8 June at 10.45am.
Ask your questions
Sarah will be giving a short talk on getting babies to sleep and any topic mums have on baby development in FREE one-to-ones. Come and have a cuppa talk confidentally about any issues you might be having.
Copies of Sarah’s books will be available in the Private Consultation Area (see her co-author and daughter Amy to buy one and Sarah will be happy to sign it). Sarah’s books also available online and at book shops or you can order a special signed copy from us.
Sarah giving out some advice to an adorable listener at The Baby Show, Olympia @Scandimummy
Win A Pair of Tickets To The Baby Show
We are running a competition to win 2 FREE tickets to The Baby Show. To be in with a chance of winning follow us on Twitter,Facebook or Instagram.
Like, favourite, retweet and share the competition post and comment or tweet #HappyBabyHappyFamily to enter from Tue 9 Feb – Tue 6 Feb 2016. (See terms and conditions below).
Win 2 Tickets!
Discounted Tickets For The Baby Show
We are also able to offer an exclusive discount using the code HBHF. Tickets will be £12.25 and £13.25 when you use this code (usually £14.35 and £15.35 in advance and £20 on the door).
Competition Terms and Conditions
1. This competition is open to UK entrants only.
2. Competition closes Tuesday 16 February 2016 at 12pm and the randomly chosen winners will be contacted that afternoon.
3. This competition is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by or associated with Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Author and Baby Expert Sarah Beeson (my mummy) gave the all mums one-to-one free confidential advice whilst Shop Owner Elizabeth and I served up tea and cake (and I had lots of cuddles with everyone’s baby and started to feel very broody).