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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7 Baby Sleep Tips To Try

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

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


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


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

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


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


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


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

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


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


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

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

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

Facebook Live Baby Sleep Q&A & Competition

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

Enter to Win

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

Why We Love Faye & Lou

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

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

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

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

Twitter Chat on Mums and Mums-To-Be Mental Health for PND Awareness Week #PNDAW17

It’s important to look after yourself during pregnancy and motherhood. Mums and mums-to-be mental wellbeing is just as important as their physical health. That’s why we’re supporting PANDAS Foundation PND Awareness Week.

Twitter Chat


Sarah Beeson MBE will co-hosting a twitter chat with PANDAS on how we can all take more care of ourselves and support other mums as part of PND Awareness Week 4-10 September. We’ll be focusing on the stress and anxiety women can experience during pregnancy.

Join us on Twitter 8pm Thursday 7 September Follow @NewArrivalBook @Pandas_UK using hashtag #PNDAW17

Why We Love BabyCup and Your Chance to Win One

Join Sarah Beeson MBE and Amy Beeson as they answer mums and mums-to-be baby questions and chat about weaning on Facebook Live at 8pm on Tuesday 29 August.

Enter To Win

When you ask a question in the comments section on Facebook you’ll be entered to win a pack from BabyCup and a copy of Happy Baby, Happy Family. (UK entrants only).

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About BabyCup

BabyCup is a mini open cup for healthy sipping from weaning onwards – no lids, spouts or seals. It’s translucent so children can see inside; easy to clean and can go in your steriliser and dishwasher. It’s good for tiny teeth too – with no spout to chew on.

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Sarah’s Tips For Using BabyCup

BabyCup is suitable for babies to use from 4+ months – follow your baby’s lead. Giving them an open smaller cup that fits into the palm of their hand gently gives your baby the opportunity to handle a cup at mealtimes when you start weaning.

Start by getting your baby to cup their hand first and let them explore this new object and get the feel of it – this is a new experience for them. Put a BabyCup intp your hand too and let them copy you.

Pop the BabyCup onto your baby’s high chair tray or place it into your baby’s hand. Don’t comment too much or go over the top if they start using it; calmly wait and see what happens. If they pay no attention to the cup at all, leave it a week or so before introducing it again. You might want to put down a plastic sheet to catch any spills!

Gentle praise is all that’s needed, don’t force it – your baby will get there in their own time. Keep putting the BabyCup on their tray but be patient and let them find it. It’s good to give your baby some decision-making power. They’ll have a preference but you’re giving them the opportunity to choose for themselves without pressure or expectations.

Fill the cup a quarter full with some cooled boiled water (if your baby is under six months). You might want to drink some water yourself from a matching BabyCup and let your baby observe and copy you – cheers!

Your baby will still need their breast milk or formula, so it’s great to use the BabyCup at meal and snack times to compliment their milk feeds in the early days of weaning.

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About Happy Baby, Happy Family

“There isn’t one perfect way of parenting; every single baby and family is unique. Feeling confident, authentic and positive about your role as a parent is key to building a loving relationship with your child,” says author and former health visitor Sarah Beeson MBE.

“This is the best generation of parents I have ever seen. I’ve never known more mums and dads who are putting their children’s needs first. I want a world filled with happy babies and for mums and dads to see what a fantastic start in life they are giving their children by putting them at the centre of their lives and meeting their emotional needs as well as their practical ones.”

Discover Sarah’s top three secrets of breastfeeding and what the signs are your baby is getting enough milk. How all parents can use feeding time to bond with their baby and instant calming methods to soothe and help your Little One sleep. Weaning your way and an A-Z of solutions to common problems from colic to teething.

Take care of the whole family by understanding the emotional needs of your baby. Discover what life as a new parent is like from your partner’s perspective with advice on sex and relationships from both a woman’s and a man’s point of view.

Nurturing, practical and refreshingly honest that one-size doesn’t fit all and no-one is a perfect parent, Sarah Beeson’s advice is the perfect companion to parenthood. Get your copy now.

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Join us on Facebook Live at 8pm on Tuesday 29 August and enter to win BabyCup and Happy Baby, Happy Family.

Weaning Recipe – Lentils with Butternut Squash

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

RecipeCard_LentilsWithButternutSquash_FinalVersion

INGREDIENTS

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

METHOD

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

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

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

Bon Appétit!

sarah name

 

 

 

Find out more in Sarah’s books.

Weaning Recipe – Pasta with Peas & Cheese

Watch Sarah cook her cheesy, peasy pasta.

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

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INGREDIENTS

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

METHOD

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

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

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

Bon Appétit!

sarah name

 

 

 

Find out more in Sarah’s books.

First Stage Weaning – Avocado Mash

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

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How to Make Avocado Mash For Your Weaning Baby

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

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

Bon Appétit!

sarah name

 

 

 

Find out more in Sarah’s books.

First Stage Weaning – Butternut Squash Pureé

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

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How to Make Butternut Squash Pureé For Your Weaning Baby

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

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

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

Bon Appétit!

sarah name

 

 

 

Find out more in Sarah’s books.