My little one is nearly 6 months old, so I will be weaning her on solids soon. I look forward to it, yet remember the hassle with cooking food in bulks and then having to defrost and warm up to the right temperature, preferably not by using a microwave. So I was very happy when offered to try and review the new BÉABA’s Bib’Second Control. It’s one of those smart inventions that make your life so much easier, you wonder why this product hasn’t been invented earlier.
I started using it straight away. I am still breastfeeding exclusively but sometimes I express and freeze breast milk for the times I am not around and my husband needs to feed my little princess. He is very hand on farther, but he still needs things to be simplified for him, and detailed instructions explained and written down (just in case). So finding out that the BÉABA’s Bib’Second Control defrosts breast milk and warms it up to the right temperature, I was so relieved. There is not much to explain to him either – you put the milk in the bottle and press the button, and voilà – a few seconds later you have the breast milk in the perfect temperature.
Did I mention that BÉABA’s Bib’Second Control saves me the hassle to sterilise the bottle as well. Indeed, it does it all for me. It can sterilise a small or a big bottle, whatever your baby’s feeding needs are, in no time either. The dummy just fall on the floor? No need for me to waste electricity to sterilise it in a big steriliser; just pop it in the BÉABA’s Bib’Second Control and it’s clean and ready again for use in seconds.
When I start weaning my baby in a couple of weeks time, I know I will be cooking in bulks again and then freeze in small containers. It would be great to know that a warm nutritious and home cooked meal for my child is just a few minutes away from taking it out of the fridge to serving it, thanks to this clever invention from BÉABA.
Going on family weekends away or holidays would save me so much trouble as well, as I won’t need to worry about carrying a steriliser plus making sure a microwave is available to defrost and warm up baby food. I can just carry one compact product, the BÉABA’s Bib’Second Control, and we’ll be all set.
So how does it work? Thanks to a heat-sensitive probe, the temperature that you choose is conducted throughout the bottle from the inside out. With just one simple touch of a button, you can choose from room or body temperature (22°C or 37°C) and select the right warmth for your baby. What’s more, as it automatically turns off when the centre of the bottle reaches the desired chosen temperature, your watched pot can indeed boil, (with or without your attention that is).
The precise thermometer guarantees the correct temperature every time, so you can rest assured that it’s safe for baby. Unlike other bottle warmers and sterilisers, there’s no need to enter the starting temperature or the amount of liquid to be heated. Simply select the desired temperature for the bottle or food and voilà; the probe does the rest. Once heated, it safely keeps bottles or jars warm for up to 10 minutes.
Apart from being so functional and compact, I love its design as well. I think BÉABA has its mark on every product they do, so the BÉABA’s Bib’Second Control is no exception – clear stylish design, nice pastel colours – just great to have it in your kitchen.
The product comes with easy to follow instructions, so it’s a game play for every mum (and dad) to use from day one. It’s ultra fast, silent and works with both glass and plastic bottles and baby jars. It’s BPA-free which is quite important for me. It doesn’t contain multiply parts that you wonder how to assemble – everything is ‘bottled up’. It’s my new little helper I love and wouldn’t live without. I haven’t tried any other product from this brand, but I’ll be checking their innovations and will be buying and recommending their products.
For more information about BÉABA, the Bib’Second Control and its great accessories range visit: www.beaba.com/en. RRP: £ 54.90.
February 13, 2014
As some of you may already know, GreenKiddie is one of the Change4Life‘s national partners. Our initiative Closer2Nature promotes healthy eating and welbeing of small kids and features some of the Government’s campaign tips and advice.
So it was really great to hear about a fab app which just launched: Change4Life Smart Recipes.
The Change4Life Smart Recipes app is a great, free way of helping everybody eat tasty, healthier meals.
Sometimes it’s hard to know what to cook or have new meal ideas. And remembering ingredients and keeping track of calories can be a hassle. Don’t worry – the meal mixer takes care of it!
Download the app today and use it to:
-Search over 100 easy, calorie counted recipes for breakfast, lunch, evening meals, puddings and snacks
-Find delicious meal ideas if you’re short of inspiration – just use the meal mixer
-Keep track with the handy shopping list, which organises the ingredients you need by supermarket aisle
-Email recipes and shopping lists
-Share with friends via Facebook and Twitter
-Learn more about being food smart and making healthier choices
You can download it now on your iPhone or Android phone.
Happy healthy cooking!
February 11, 2014
Your baby responds to touch from the moment he’s been born. By giving a massage to your baby and toddler she will benefit from stronger immune system, better blood circulation and body tonus, reducing stress level, calming and soothing, better sleep, muscles straitening, toxins release, less colic, and better digestive system. But a nice and gentle massage has also emotional benefits – it is an excellent way to continue the bonding process, and to express your love and care.
How to give a massage to your child
You could start massaging parts of the body only, like back, chests, or feet, gradually increasing the massage time until you make a full body massage. If you have stopped massaging your child for a while for any reason, you can always renew the massage, but do it slowly again and start with partial massage initially.
Your partner can also give your kid a massage, so he could benefit from straightening the emotional bond between him a
nd the child while experiencing the pleasure and relaxing atmosphere.
The fundaments for a good massage – the preparation
- Always “ask” you child’s permission to give her a massages, even if she is a month’s old. Not all babies and children like massages, and even they do, everyone has his “don’t touch me” moments. Choose a time when both your little one and you are relaxed, with at least an hour gap between last and next feeding. Best time for massaging your baby and toddler is after bath and before going to bed, or quiet afternoons, when she is feeling calm. Start touching her palms and hands, and look for her reaction. If she looks like she is enjoying it, you may continue.
- Warm up the room, as you are going to undress her. Place a clean warm towel on a flat surface (make sure you are ready for little “wee accidents”). Have a soft cotton cloth handy to place over the parts of the body not being massaged at the moment.
- Prepare your massage oils. Blend a few drops of lavender, mandarin, rose, jasmine, sandalwood or chamomile essential oils – depending you child’s age, into a vegetable oil. Concentration should not be more that 1%. e.g. 1ml essential oils per 100ml vegetable oil. There are approximately 20 drops in 1ml essential oil. Shake bottle well to mix. Never use essential oils if your child has a chronic illness without professional help. Essential oils are powerful way to treat illnesses, but only if used accordingly. Otherwise they might be harmful. Please refer to our aromatherapy section for further information
- Warm up your hands by putting some oil on them and rubbing together. When you massage, place a lot of oil on your hands regularly and make sure you never do a “dry” massage, as rubbing the skin that way may cause irritations.
- Involve all senses – when touching your child, communicate with eyes, smile, kiss her and sing or whisper gently. This will encourage your emotional connection even further. Place a couple of lavender oil drops in an oil burner. Make massages the most pleasurable experience for both of you.
- Remember never to push your baby while massaging. Use nice and gentle movements only, touching lovingly. If at any time your child feels discomfort, stop massaging her, and give her a kiss. But don’t force her, so next time she can enjoy it even more.
- Prepare yourself for the massage, too. Leave your worries, thoughts about your daily routine and responsibilities for a while. Try to relax your mind and body and concentrate on the pleasant experience you are about to create.
Step-by-stem guide to a full-body massage
- Start with the feet. Take the right foot and start massaging the top of the foot – from fingers to ankle. Do it for 20 sec., or until your child lets you do it. Using you thumbs, start pressing gently under toes; then squeeze each of the toes one by one. Finally using a “thumb over thumb” technique, massage the sole area from heel to toes for a minute. Do the same with the other foot.
- Continue with the legs. Massage legs gently one by one, moving your right hand from tights to feet, followed by the other hand. This is called “hand over hand” technique. Do it for a minute with each leg or while your child feels comfortable. Then take each foot with your hands and begin moving them rhythmically towards her tummy, just like cycling. Do it for another minute.
- Tummy. Place your palm gently over the stomach and start massaging from just below the ribs. Always massage the tummy area clockwise. This helps with digestion. Be careful not to push hard. Do it for a minute. Then place both of your hand over the stomach, and start massaging from middle to sides horizontally. If your baby is colicky, tummy massage may help and sooth her.
- Chests. Place your hands over the chests. Using your thumbs, massage from middle to sides, “drawing” an “arc”-shape. This will “open” the chests and will allow your child to breath freely. This is a very useful massage technique in case your little one has a cough or a respiratory infection.
- Go on with the arms and hands. Massaging techniques for arms and hands are similar to those for legs and feet. Start with the right hand, using the “hand-over-hand” technique from arms for wrist. Do it for a minute. Then continue with the wrist, gently massaging the top of the wrist, and the squeezing and rolling the fingers one by one. When you finish, do the same with the left hand.
- Slowly move to the back. Turn your little one over, so she can lie on her tummy. You can now massage her back. Place your right hand over her neck. Start moving the hand from the neck to the bottom, making sure you don’t push hard, as the spina of baby and young child can damage easily. Follow your right hand with the left one; continue for a minute. Then starting at the bottom of her back using the palm of your hand, put your hands either side of the spine and gently stroke up towards the shoulders for another 30sec. You can also make small circular movements with your fingertips going gently up and down the back.
- Finish with a relaxing head massage. If you are massaging a small baby, be extremely careful with the area around the fontanel, which is very soft during the first few months. Using your palm, massage the scalp from top to neck with circular movements, making sure not to put any pressure. Now use your palm again to massage the forehead with circular movements from eyes to scalp. Head massage should be like fondling your child over the head. This last part usually is so relaxing that may even send your little one to bed. If you do it just before bed, it may be a great way to ensure good night sleep.
Natural Baby and Toddler Cosmetics
70ml apricot oil
30ml jojoba oil
5 drops lavender essential oil
70ml almond oil
30ml olive oil
5 drops Roman Chamomile essential oil
Very dry and eczema prone skin
50ml calendula oil
30ml evening primrose oil
20ml olive oil
50ml wheatgerm oil
20ml jojoba oil
20ml hemp seed oil
10ml avocado oil
5 drops Roman Chamomile essential oil
40ml Apricot oil
30ml calendula oil
20ml wheatgerm oil
10ml sunflower oil
5 drops lavender essential oil
Dry and eczema prone skin balm
10g beeswax (melted in a double-saucepan until liquidised)
30g coconut butter (melted)
20g shea butter (melted)
Mix all the above ingredients.
Add 50ml evening primrose (add to the above mixture when cooled to approximately 37’C). Poor into a brown-glass jar.
Everyday use salve
30g shea butter
40g calendula oil
20g jojoba oil
10g apricot oil
5 drops Roman Chamomile essential oil
Nappy rash balm
(Start using it when the first signs of nappy rash appear)
20g beeswax (melted in a double-saucepan until liquidised)
30g coconut butter (melted)
50ml calendula oil
Nappy area salve – everyday use
20g shea butter
60ml calendula oil
20ml apricot oil
5 drops Roman Chamomile essential oil (optional)
January 29, 2014
It’s not surprising that most parents are eager to establish a sleep routine for their little ones. Bedtime routines reduce the amount of time it takes babies to fall asleep and they provide a great opportunity for bonding, two things that benefit both baby and her overworked and sleep-deprived parents. To be successful, sleep routines must be soothing, predictable and stress-free, but what you choose to include in your infant’s routine is up to you.
Sufficient sleep results in improved behaviour and attention span, not to mention sunnier moods. In fact, one major Canadian study of 8000 four-year-olds suggested that kids with a set bedtime tend to perform better at language, reading and maths and those with more haphazard sleeping patterns.
It’s not just getting enough sleep that’s important for children, but sleeping in a regular pattern as often as possible. Studies show that kids with a pretty consistent bedtime tend to fall asleep more quickly than those who toddle off to bed at any old hour – so how to establish that magic routine?
Once you’ve decided on a bedtime you can all live with, create a wind-down routine starting around an hour before lights-off.
This might consist of a low-key activity like drawing, followed by bathtime, PJs on and teeth cleaned, finishing up with a bedtime story, preferably when your child is tucked up in bed.
The bedtime story is particularly comforting, so try to summon the energy at least some nights. As well as boosting your child’s vocabulary and encouraging a love of books, the physical closeness of snuggling up together is great for his emotional wellbeing too. No surprise, then, that a story helps your child to drift off.
Tips for establishing a sleeping schedule:
- The first step to any sleeping schedule is to establish a consistent bedtime routine. In fact, most parents will argue that the sleep schedule is far harder to establish than feeding. When it comes to feeding, most babies fall into a consistent routine until the three-meal-a-day solid foods are introduced.
- Be patient with your little one. Newborns need time to adjust to the world, and most spend the majority of their time eating and sleeping anyway. Wait until your infant is at least a couple of months old and is somewhat predictable with her feeding and sleeping times before trying to start a bedtime routine.
- Pay attention to your baby’s signals, and schedule naps when she‘s most tired. If she’s rubbing her eyes, becoming unusually fussy or yawning, it’s probably time for sleep.
- Introduce a calming ritual to help your baby transition from wake time to sleep time. At night, this may include a soothing bath, a bedtime story, or a lullaby. For naps, a shortened version of the nighttime ritual works well, or you can choose something different to use during the day.
- Put your baby down for sleep when she is drowsy, but still awake. This will encourage her to self-soothe and make it easier for her to go back to sleep on her own if she wakes during the night.
- Be flexible once things are going smoothly. An occasional late bedtime or missed nap won’t wreck your routine, so don’t panic if something happens to throw things off schedule every now and then.
- Watch for signs that your baby’s routine needs adjusting. As your little one gets older, she will need fewer naps and may need to go to bed earlier. Also, activities that helped prepare your tired tot for bed when she was younger may actually interfere with sleep later on. Bath time, for example, may excite an older infant instead of calm her.
- It’s also important to know just how much sleep your baby is supposed to be getting. Check in with our age-by-age guide for a basic outline, but you’ll probably start to notice a shift around six weeks. Your baby might go from one- to three-hour sleeping intervals around the clock to more clustered sleep periods in the day and a longer stretch at night. It’s easier to schedule once your baby falls into this routine. In the newborn phase, your baby will most likely fall asleep whenever and wherever they please, which makes it almost impossible to schedule.
- Last but not least, comfortable bedtime clothing is something you should invest in early on. A pure cotton baby swaddle or a sleeping bag (depending on your child’s age) would not only help your little one recognise the time for bed sign, but will also help them settle quickly and will keep them warm and comfy through the night.
I was offered to try and review a great sleeping bag by Merino Kids. Following up from the baby swaddle from the same online shop I was using for my newborn up until age of three months, the sleeping bag comes just in time. I was sent one of their lovely 0-24months, standard weight Go Go Sleeping Bags in a new funky Dusky Pink design.
Your newborn’s ability to regulate body temperature isn’t yet fully developed and this can take up to a year to do so. To ensure your baby stays warm and not over heat Merino Kids have created the Go Go Bag™ which helps your baby to regulate his temperature while he is sleeping.
My baby already started kicking a lot, so when I use blankets during the day I sometimes find her completely uncovered. Which is why I am planning to use the Go Go Bag day and night for extra safety and comfort.
It’s also allergy-safe due to the merino fabric and a unique breathable function. Using merino on the inside, it ensures your sleeping bag absorbs and releases moisture away from baby in warm conditions and insulating through cooler times. This unique feature creates its own microclimate around the body, regulating the baby’s temperature. In essence your child becomes perfectly adapted to their sleeping environment.
The remarkable natural ability of merino fabric allows skin to breathe and regulate body temperature year round, so baby won’t overheat or wake up cold.
It’s very soft and gentle to the baby’s skin – something very important for me as my other child used to have baby eczema and I am very conscious of using only the best natural and skin-friendly fabrics for my kids. Baby’s skin is very sensitive anyway, so apart from clothing, it’s good to consider what sleeping bags you’re using for your little ones.
The Go Go sleeping bag also has a safety belt vent function, which makes it easy to transfer my baby between from the car seat to the cot or the buggy which makes it really comfortable and useful. It’s available in a Vanilla design and in toddlers (2-4y) size. Compared to using blankets, my baby is waking up less often during the night (just for her night-time feeds once ot twice per night).
So, which baby sleeping method to choose?
A parent-led routine would start thinking about sleep training at around four months, which is designed to help your baby learn to soothe him or herself to sleep. The logic is that if you keep assisting a baby in getting to sleep – whether it’s from rocking or nursing – then they will become dependent on that sleep aid.
On the other hand, the baby-led “attachment parenting” philosophy believes that babies should be soothed (nursed, rocked, sung to, etc.) in order to help them peacefully fall asleep. In “attachment” parents’ opinion, it’s more important to create a peaceful, positive association with sleeping than simply sleeping through the night.
Whichever method you choose, it’s important to stay consistent. For instance, if you’re trying to teach your baby to soothe himself to sleep, then giving in and rocking him to sleep one night will only confuse him.
January 2, 2014
Children are natural gardeners. They are curious, love flowers and prefer playing in the dirt. So why don’t you create a kiddie-sized garden together with your child? You’ll help them learn about nature, encourage responsibility and let them experience a sense of accomplishment. A children’s garden is an excellent way to create a safe, summer place to continue learning. In their own garden a child can observe and discover while she interacts with nature. And above all, you’ll spend time together and will have fun.
Make it organic
An ideal children’s garden should be completely safe and child friendly. This means no chemical fertilisers or pesticides. Go organic in any way when it comes to producing your own vegetables, which your child would love to eat once they have grown.
Plant great selection
Let your child decide where and what to plant, but you may want to show her around other gardens first. Use your time together to tell your child about how important anre the vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables, and which ones are even better for her diet and will keep her healthy. Name variety of fruits and vegetables, so she can pick up her favourites and plant them in her garden. Plant vegetables that the child loves to eat. Explain the child how plants need sunshine, water and healthy soil. Establish a sense of ownership by giving the child his own plot. Remember that plants that sprout quickly, and grow fast, will hold the child’s interest and give him a sense of pride. For example cucumbers, beans, and zucchini all have large seeds and are easy to grow. Cherry tomatoes and radishes, although having small seeds produce rapidly. Let her plant some flowers as well, as this will encourage her sense of beauty and aesthetics. Sunflowers and marigolds are bold and easy to grow.
Place a kid-size bench close by where the child can sit, play or show off his garden to friends. Having an area with some rye-grass in the garden is a good idea as you could throw down a blanket for your little one to play and enjoy the sunshine around the flowers. A small fairy or other “garden friends” will add up to the perfect kiddie garden.
Create learning activities that at the same time are fun for the child. With the help of a picture book ask you child to point the birds and insects which visit the garden. Encourage her to draw the plants which she has in her garden. Don’t be too picky about the colours – it’s absolutely fine if her grass is blue on the scribble pad, as this encourages creativity and thinking “out of the box”.
Read a book about how to grow your own vegetables tgether. Recently I came across a lovely book, which was offered to me for review from Floris Books. It’s called ‘How Does My Garden Grow‘ by Gerda Muller. It’s a wonderful book which my daugher loved and started reading immediately. It’s colourful and educational, yet written in a very simple and easy to understand language. It is split in a few sections, each one offering interesting advice about planting your own garden and caring for it.
The story is simple and a lot of kids could project themselves into the book character, Sophie. She is a little girl who lives in the city, and her vegetables come from the supermarket. One day she goes to visit her grandparents in the countryside – and soon discovers how much there is to learn about how things grow! Sophie helps her grandfather through the different seasons, finding out about mulching onions, eating flowers, weeding, bees, making salad, catching beetles, digging, earthing up, picking and composting. When winter comes, Sophie has to go home – but her grandfather has one last surprise for her.
This is a gway freat wor children to learn about vegetable gardening through Sophie’s curiosity. It certainly has sparkled interest in my daughter and she’s already planning whay vegetables to start growing herself.
A garden will provide your child opportunity to utilize all his senses as he experiences the unpredictability of nature. Use her garden as a canvas for some relaxation and free play. Why don’t you give her a nice massage there on the grass, the flowers’ aromas will sooth and help her relax. Or how about showing her some yoga exercises while having a rest after planning the seeds? Let her have a rest and relax in her most favourite piece of nature.
Once you have a selection of perfectly organic and packed with vitamins vegetables, some cooking activities will help her love her garden even more. This is a brilliant way to make picky eaters have their vegetables! – By making her own salad (with the help of mummy), and experiencing its great taste, your child will enjoy it more!
Mix up routine gardening chores with more fun activities, like painting or colouring plant markers or even constructing a funny scarecrow. Don’t worry if planted rows turn out a little crooked and don’t criticise about minor mistakes. A perfect garden is the one created with love!
January 2, 2014