You can spoil babies you know (No you can’t!) How many out of these Ten parenting myths have you heard?

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

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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.

Win Tickets and See Us at Babyfest

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.

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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.

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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.

WIN TICKETS

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.

5. SWAG
Don’t forget to pick up your fabulous free Babyfest goody bag packed full of products worth over £50!

Parents Having A Health Visitor Shouldn’t Be A Nice-To-Have, It Should Be A Right

By Saraimg_4359h 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 Arrival is 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.

Her parenting book Happy Baby, Happy Family has made her the go-to expert for parenting brands and publications.

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.

What to really expect when you’re expecting.

What to really expect when you’re expecting- The Baby Show Expert Sarah talks to Blackhair Magazine about the realities of pregnancy and motherhood.

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Timing your feeds

Getting the right amount of nap time and milk during the day is part of the secret to a good night’s sleep. Let your baby have a maximum of four hours between feeds during the day.

Putting your baby down to sleep

Babies often wake when you put them down to sleep. Once they are asleep you could try using a large muslin or blanket like a hammock and gently lower them down into their cradle. There are some great products on the market for this.

Singing to your baby

Babies respond positively to calm and harmonious voices that they recognise from life in the womb. Your voice is familiar and relaxing and gentle tunes will make your little one feel safe and secure, helping them drift off into a peaceful sleep. Singing a lullaby or playing gentle music can really work wonders on some babies. You’ll soon learn what your baby likes to hear, and if you sang and played music a lot while you were pregnant it’s quite likely they’ll like those tunes best of all.

Soothing your baby to sleep

Stroking their forehead and temple of the back of the head. Some babies like gentle stroking to their head. This rhythmic motion and the warmth of your touch can be very soothing and help the get off to sleep.

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.

Meet Author & Baby Expert Sarah Beeson MBE at The Baby Show

Get free advice from author of london nursing memoirs and baby advice books for help with pregnancy, parenting, sleep, breastfeeding, bottle feeding, weaning and teething.

Sarah will be at The Baby Show at ExCel, London on Friday 19 February in the Private Consultation Area from 10.00 am to 3.00 pm to answer your questions with FREE confidential advice!

Formerly a Health Visitor, Sarah is the successful author of Happy Baby, Happy Family and The New Arrival who draws on her years of experience as a nurse and health visitor to give professional advice to mums and mums-to-be.

Book Signing

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.

Drop-Ins Welcome

Drop-ins are welcome but feel free to book an appointment with Sarah by letting us know in advance to reserve a slot.

Sarah giving out some advice to an adorable listener

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!

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).

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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.

Meeting Up With Balham Mums & Discovering Some New Natural & Organic Baby Products

It was lovely to meet new mums and their gorgeous babies at Natures Purest Balham this Autumn.

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).

Sarah signed copies of Happy Baby, Happy Family and The New Arrival Some of the mama’s bought copies for friends who were expecting as well as their own.

Organic Skincare

We met Jennifer Feltham founder of Mia & Dom Organic Skincare and became fans.   

I’ve started using the spearmint and lavender lip balm as part of my skincare routine and we’ve given the bottom balm to new mums to try out too (LO’s way past the nappy rash stage!)

I couldn’t resist doing a bit of shopping

Natures Purest is one of our go-to brands when buying new baby presents. I’ve got my eye on some Natures Knits blue baby bootees and a hat for a friend’s new arrival due this Christmas.

Whilst I was there, I couldn’t resist buying the Pure Love Bamboo Blanket and Greeting Card for another friend’s newborn baby. She said it was, “the softest blanket I’ve ever seen. He adores it.’ 

Always a pleasure taking some time out to talk to lovely mummies about their babies. Thanks Elizabeth for inviting us to your lovely shop filled with gentle natural products from Natures Purest. 

Amy x

Upcoming events

Find about events coming up with Sarah & Amy Beeson.

If you’ve got a question about your LO check out Ask Sarah or get in touch. Sarah Beeson is a former health visitor and author. She writes with her daughter Mumpreneur and writer Amy Beeson.

A heartfelt blog post from a mumpreneur on the realities of their child starting school

Have you been worried about your LO’s first day at school? I have, it’s been the subject of many heartfelt conversations with my mum (Sarah Beeson MBE author and baby expert), mum friends and teacher friends.

LO decided to recreate this photo of her with her teddy bears this week. For me and her dad Takbir, it was a reminder of though she’s still our baby, she’s not a baby anymore (though she loves to play babies). Super cute?

Developing self-help skills for reception class

For organised little old me, I have to prepare. I can’t not – I’m a planner. We started gently checking off the self-help skills Sarah recommended in April when the schools admissions came through.

Gradually increasing the opportunities LO had to:

  • Get dressed and undressed on her own
  • Take her coat on and off and hang it up
  • Go to the toilet on her own and wash her hands
  • Put her shoes and socks on
  • Find a tissue and blow her nose
  • Pack up and take out her apple and books from school bag

School admissions stress

I never said this at the time, but we had weeks and weeks of worry following the School Admissions in April as LO didn’t get into any of the six choices of school we made and had no school place. My friends with older kids told me to hang in there; there’s lots of “horse trading” one seasoned school mum told me. And low and behold in June we moved up the waiting list and LO got into a great school.

Joy! I bought her school uniform almost immediately but put off labelling the 20+ items.

Do you hate ironing and sewing too?

I flipping do! It takes me ten minutes to sew on a button and I never iron, I just put things on a hanger straight out the washing machine to dry. There are so many labelling products out there I just didn’t know what to choose.

I turned to social media and asked my friends what they use. Nicola, a mum of two and primary school teacher recommended Stamptastic. I instantly started looking at their site and reading parenting blogger reviews from mums in the know. They all rated the product highly as hassel free and long lasting.

Stamptastic was set up by three mums, and as a mumpreneur myself, I always prefer to support another woman in business. I was really chuffed when Emma sent me the stamp with LO’s name on and the ink pad which costs £22. They also do a PTA scheme where you get great discounts if you get your school to sign up.

On the August Bank Holiday Monday I got out my stamp and bam…Over 20 pieces of school uniform labelled in ten minutes!

I really recommend Stampastic. It’s easy peasy, affordable and effective. That’s me sorted for labelling her stuf until she goes to university. I stamped her uniform, bags even her water bottle. It’s permanent ink and doesn’t come off in the wash.

Do you use books to explore new experiences?

I often turn to books to help LO prepare for a new experience. Whether, it’s ballet class, potty training, or having a day with grandma while mummy’s at work.

As one of LO’s favourite books is ‘The Jolly Postman’ we’ve been reading ‘Starting School’ by Janet and Allan Ahlberg quite regularly these last couple of weeks before our current bedtime book ‘Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland’. It’s helped remind me a few things about reception class that I’ve long forgotten. 

The first day of school 

I’ve been having a big declutter as part of my preparation for LO starting school. I’ve been mulling over how to do the school run, meet clients for my brand and campaign business Wordsby, write and promote our books Happy Baby, Happy Family and The New Arrival and our next book She’s Arrived!, exercise and have healthier lunches then be on time to pick up LO from school. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, mums have to be so organised we could plan military operations.

Finding the perfect school run to work bag

I’ve been asking and asking social media friends what is best bag to carry on the 0.9 mile walk to school, that will fit in my gym gear, laptop, notebooks, sketch pads, diary, pencil-case, purse, water and a snack. While keeping hold of LO’s hand.

Kiran Chung (who was at Pink Lining now at Mumsnet) recommended the Pink Lining rucksack. I do love Pink Lining, they’re stylish and practical and Creative Director Charlotte is fellow mumpreneur. Ever since they’d given us beautiful bags like this little mini rucksack at our rooftop mum and baby party for the launch of Happy Baby, Happy Family I’ve been browsing their website and trying to think of an excuse to get one (since LO is long out of nappies).

I decided I’d been faffing around long enough and hit the PayPal button and bought myself the mummy version of this gorgeous Pink Lining bows rucksack which is a great work bag. It’s perfect; comfortable, practical and other mums’ have been eyeing it up too as I’ve had to write down the website address for where they can buy one quite a few times already.

Do you like my yummy mummy school to work run backpack?


Is going school is harder on the mums and dads?

I’ve been a bit tearful over LO starting school the last few weeks. It’s been amazing just how supportive other parents have been in my everyday life and on social media. So, a big, big thank you.

But when the first day of school came it was a really happy one (no tears at all from any of us). We were happy, excited and enjoyed our time together as family and new experiences we’ve had when we’re apart. My mum said to me, ‘She’s happy, so your happy.’ Which seems kind of obvious now.

I know there’ll be bumps and tough days but I’m going to be positive and embrace this new phase of our lives and remember how lucky we are that as a freelance writer and communications consultant I have the flexibility to drop off and pick up LO from school (something my working mother never had).

For me, being prepared helps us to enjoy new experiences. I was a terrible Girl Guide but I do follow Sarah Beeson’s advice on the school pick up.


Those three tips so far have led to happy chats after school as LO has a snack and drink and little by little starts telling me about her day.

Is your LO starting school? How’s your week been?